Friday 10 February 2017


Anyone else suffering mid-winter/mid-season blues? I hit the wall on Sunday, came down with yet another cold, and basically felt sorry for myself ever since. Maybe there's something to be said for SAD. Bit strange as it's been the best season since shaking off the shackles of 'normal' working life.

Anyway, after a few days break we headed down to Town Moor for what looked a frankly weak betting card that failed to get the juices flowing. Which was a shame as I came away thinking we might have had a few winners but brothers coulda, shoulda and woulda never paid any bills.

Pithivier and Twojayslad took a fair chunk out of the market in the opening handicap chase but in fairness there wasn't a great deal of depth to the race unless you were prepared to delve a bit deeper, which sadly I didn't.

The Bailey yard has got over whatever was ailing them in the first half of the season and Carli King was well enough handicapped to take a hand, especially if you believed first time blinkers would be beneficial. Turns out they were.

The other well-handicapped one was undoubtedly Beggars Cross, who showed us what he was capable of when winning over timber last term.

He simply hadn't come to himself yet in four starts over the larger obstacles but the handicapper had taken note and a perch of 112 seriously under-estimated his ability should the tide turn.

Beggars Cross is a nice sort but hasn't fired yet this term. When the market speaks in his favour he'll look a very nicely handicapped horse. - Jan 9

Some certainly thought so as he was nibbled at all day, going off 4/1 from double figures. He still didn't look like he was cherry ripe beforehand but the end-to-end gallop and dig in the ground helped make this a stern test which he relished.

Granted a greater test I'm sure he could run up a sequence from this mark, and he's a quite rare son of Presenting that prefers softish conditions.

Cabragh returned to form in headgear which made Pithivier's effort all the more baffling, as with a turnaround in the weights with the England horse he should have been thereabouts.

It's a while since he has delivered the goods and the jury is now out regarding the Pauling inmate, who was reported never to be travelling.

Creep Desbois had shown plenty to work on at Wetherby last time out when an unfortunate mistake put paid to any chance he had in a slow run affair.

I suspect the fourth, Creep Desbois, may have won if he hadn't pitched badly on landing having jumped the third last well. He's a nice athletic type and is capable of much better than this. - Jan 14
As such he was very interesting in the novices hurdle with main opponents being the penalised mares Mariah's Legend and Snow Leopardess.

The latter had made right meal of winning a tin pot affair here last time and had since had 10 weeks off, although she looked nice and straight here. She may need better ground, but looks quite one-paced and those who punted her in to a remarkable 11/8 never really looked like they were going to collect.

Mariah's Legend came into the paddock very late and was very fizzy. she went down ok and seemed to settle in the race, but made mistakes and was never going.

I was a little disappointed looking at Creep Desbois physically as he looked small against these mares, but as mentioned previously he's well put together and does jump very well. He's the type to do very well with another summer on his back and is one to keep onside with stamina in abundance.

I opposed Rockportian in the place market after his fairly dismal effort at Wetherby and again he looked awkward beforehand, and soon lost his pitch before staying on late. He's not one I like.

Might Bite landed the odds as expected but he doesn't look a Cheltenham horse at all as he doesn't seem to know what to do when he gets in close. His prominence in the RSA betting means there could be some value to be had elsewhere.

I don't know what happened to Ma Du Fou, nor indeed what HAS happened to Ma Du Fou. It's back to the drawing board.

The staying hurdle looked like one to avoid as they bet 4s the field. Henderson's Swoop To Conquer doesn't look a 112 animal but turned in a shocker, possibly not handling the ground as he was never going.

Expensive purchase Three Ways is a stocky, sturdy sort but he's full of enthusiasm and he produced a telling effort off another end to end gallop, up there all the way before staying on well to beat Abbreviate.

This form looks ok as they were well strung out behind and although he looked weighted to the hilt and the excellent jockey's claim helped, he could be the sort to keep improving granted a stamina test.

Souriyan was fit for his belated return, ironically having left the winner's yard, but didn't get home and again looked a bit quirky off the bridle.

Another novices hurdle came next and it looked like a match with the favourites flip-flopping, the market getting it spot on as Chelsea Flyer finally got it all together to win for the first time.

It took an age for the penny to drop, and although he was well on top at the line you have to question the form, as the second Ramses De Teillee looked quite small and the third Mister Whitaker looks more one for the future.

Disappointment was Charlemar, who couldn't cope with a 10lb penalty and this compact sort may just be flattered by his earlier form anyway.

We didn't hang around for a depressing 0-100 handicap hurdle which was hasty with hindsight as Episode came on again for his Catterick third, which had been boosted by the winner since.

The Kirby youngster has been a slow burner and he's so big and sturdy that he might revel in a busy campaign. As such, it would come as no surprise to see him go in again at back at Catterick on Monday off the same mark.

You can read my views on betting website the Gambling Times where I'll be previewing and reviewing the weekend action as well as providing a daily selection.

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