Thursday 1 October 2020

Warwick - October 1

There will be plenty of opportunities to make money this month so just because the National Hunt season is ramping up and the 'horses to follow' publications are out in force, let's not get ahead of ourselves.

The racing today at Warwick and Ffos Las looks very competitive and most of it makes little appeal from a betting perspective at first glance this morning.

The ground appears to be on the quick side at Warwick despite yesterday's rain - hopefully it will ride genuinely good and no faster otherwise we may see some non-runners.

The handicap chase at 2.20 is worth closer inspection.

Morning favourite Court Master is popular after winning twice in three starts last term, and is likely to remain well-handicapped based on his PTP (beat Jarvey's Plate) and bumper form.

However, he does shape like an out-and-out stayer to me, grinding out victory over 3m on soft ground at Newbury last December.    

He was highly-tried in the Timeform race at Cheltenham that worked out so well, but wasn't seen since and has had further wind surgery (his third on record) in the interim.

I can't see him getting anything other than a positive ride at a track where tactical speed can be important, particularly on this type of ground. I just wonder whether this will all happen too fast for him.

A couple I put a line through quite easily were Denmead and Global Tour. The former was useful but exposed on the Flat, and has overcome what has been described as a nervy temperament by landing a couple of novice hurdles. 

He's one of those Flat breds that does have the size for fences, but I doubt whether he has the mental capabilities, and he bled on his chase debut last time out. He has plenty to prove.

Global Tour has progressed through the ranks winning five hurdles before picking up a weak race on his first chase start. That form is shallow in the context of today's race, and his jumping went to pot at Perth last time.

Nightfly was a consistent mare at this sort of level but has only seen the track once in 18 months. I would, however, expect C Longsdon to have her pretty straight and she has won off this sort of mark.

That said she'll need a virtual PB today which looks a tall order given her lack of recent activity. B Hughes is an interesting booking with J Burke presumably claimed to ride Minella For Me.

The Tom George-trained 10-year-old is easily overlooked, being a rather weak finisher and his triumphs coming in a lower grade.

We are therefore left with Bootlegger, who arrives with a huge fitness advantage over all bar Global Tour, having shaped nicely over timber last time out in a competitive race at Perth.

A nice chasing type, he was jumping very nicely until a mistake four out at Worcester this time last year, after which he came home in his own time. A two month absence suggests he may have picked up a niggle.

Thereafter he found his form returned to hurdles, winning at Doncaster before running a sound race at Kempton in a really competitive C2 event.

The sort to benefit from a run or two, I'm expecting him to produce a career best effort today with his sound jumping technique an asset, rather than a drawback.

If the going is as lively as predicted he'll need Court Master to set good fractions, as he appears to be a strong galloper that wouldn't be seen to best effect coming off a slow pace. 

On balance, and despite a patchy profile overall, it looks to me as though Bootlegger has been found a good opportunity off top weight having sneaked into this 0-125 contest, off a mark that is 4lb lower than when he went close over hurdles last time.

UNFORTUNATELY...the odds have moved since I started writing this piece half an hour ago and as of 10am Bootlegger is 3/1 best price which is at the lower end of expectations.

At nearer 4/1 (or 5 on the machine) I'll be looking to back the horse, who is ridden by H Cobden for the first time. Court Master is the obvious threat with Nightfly the possible value play against the two market principals should they fail to meet expectations.


  1. Always a concise analysis Adam, thank you. incidentally, what is the Paypal £15 to the top right of the blog for ?

  2. I will be discontinuing the updates from meetings, instead writing a twice-monthly letter of horses to follow for those wishing to sign up. Will explain more on this in a later post.