Thursday 13 April 2017


There should still be plenty of meat left on the bone of National Hunt racing in the coming weeks and I always like this time of year from a betting point of view.

These late-season meetings at Wetherby are usually pleasant affairs and the shape of the racing looked just right...sure enough we got more right than wrong which makes a change of late.

With the Greatrex-trained Bob's Boy immediately opposable in the opening juvenile (he was backed into favouritism??) it looked a two-horse race between the strong looking Ravens Hill and the more athletic Lord Topper.

The pair duly travelled best and then came clear, the Snowden trained Lord Topper knuckling down best on the flat to win quite nicely in the style of a horse sure to stay much further.

Ravens Hill lost little in defeat and the Irish import should do better with this run under his belt as he took a fierce hold.

The following seller wouldn't usually appeal but it brought together the round eight and there was plenty of dead wood.

The hot favourite was the once-useful Mr Spingsprong but he hasn't looked in love with the game for some time and was very opposable, especially when Cooky dropped him out early.

Mr Snoozy isn't one to set your clock by but on a going day he was never going to be out of the three, and was an each-way steal.

Greenall may have got lucky but it looked a well-judged ride as the Walford horse cut down free-going leader Vercingetorix after the last to land the punt.

Things got even better in the next as I couldn't have Nine Altars, who simply isn't finishing his races off, Lightening Rod who has looked very awkward this season, or the heavily backed Boss Des Mottes, who is poor physically and has regressed under his current handler.

A horse that caught the eye a lifetime ago was Honourable Gent, who always used to travel well in his races and jumped like an old hand.

He was a big market drifter but I was in no doubt he was very fit indeed for this return from a lengthy absence and the odds were simply absurd in a race of this nature. His jumping was a delight to behold as he trotted up.

A very tricky looking handicap hurdle followed with Guitar Pete the most interesting on his first outing for N Richards.

A formerly useful hurdler in Ireland, he looked fit and well and probably should have won if given a more positive ride. This was one that got away but there's little doubt he retains much of his ability and the front two cleared away nicely after the last.

Following the victory of Applesandpierres, the Skeltons teamed up with Master Jake in the next after the frustrating withdrawal of Jovial Joey on account of the (soft!) ground.

They duly collected the double after Master Jake travelled by far the best throughout, hitting the front earlier than the jockey would have liked and pulling up in front when having the race won.

Global Dream looked well but ran a funny old race, dropping out early on and running in snatches thereafter, eventually posting a personal best. He looks a strong stayer, but they finished in a bit of a heap and I'd like to think Jovial Joey would have seen them all off.

For Instance was odds-on to beat three rivals in a staying novice but didn't convince in the paddock and hung all the way up the straight, suggesting he may not be straight forward either mentally or physically.

Neither he nor runner-up Quietly look well in on their current marks, for all that the latter should be much improved for fences and another summer off.

Pikarnia looked the most solid option in the closing stayers handicap even accounting for his 7lb rise and the fact he's merely marking time before going over fences.

However, after travelling well he couldn't get to Bankhall, who once again failed to impress in the prelims but backed up his solid form over timber this term, staying on more stoutly than in the past.

There wasn't much to shout about amongst the rags, however the Dobbin-trained Final Fling was not as straight as his stablemate earlier on the card and should do better next time after he ran on nicely into the places.

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