So, how was the Grand National for you? If you followed me in, don't answer that, because I know already.
Having smashed up the price on Burton Port at 33/1 (sent off 16/1) and Big Shu at 33/1 (sent off at 14/1), and with safe hands like Teaforthree in our corner too, all looked rosy in the National garden as the tapes rose second time and they were off. Also batting for Team Geegeez were Raz De Maree, a 50/1 shot, and Lion Na Bearnai, a 33/1 play.
It could have been worse, I suppose. We could have backed the recalcitrant Battle Group who, after two wins in three days at the meeting last year, failed to jump off this time. But that wouldn't have been much worse...
Burton Port, a horse who'd never fallen in fourteen previous starts, took just two fences to unship Brian Harding. It's my opinion, having watched the replay a good few times, that Harding could have done better.
Misfortune at fence two was to become disaster at fence three as Big Shu, a horse with just one chase fall in his career, was all but brought down by a loose horse and the official record reads 'fell'.
So it was that after just 10% of the thirty fences were traversed, two big hopes were sunk. Deep, deep frustration.
It was to get worse.
Teaforthree, another nag never to have tumbled, unseated his rider at the Chair right on half way. Barely half the race gone, and our three live hopes were varying degrees of on the deck. Bugger bugger bugger.
Time to pick the rags out. Where's Lion and Raz? Raz was easy to locate. He was last. Oh for pity's sake. OK, Lion, come on boy. We need you to show something...
There he is, there's the Lion. He's in about tenth place and going well. But wait, what's this? His jockey's not really doing anything but he's slipping back. Literally.
The saddle's slipped!! Aaargh!!!!!
And that, dear reader, was the Grand National for me. And maybe for you if you followed the words on these virtual pages.
Raz De Maree ran on takingly from position impossible to finish a never nearer eighth of the eighteen finishers, and more rain might have helped his cause. But with three falls and a submission, this was a race to forget. I know it's just a bit of fun, but there remains a perverse sense of professional pride in attempting to unlock this Pandora's Box of a punting puzzle, and that pride came before those three falls.
It was a horror day on the betting front, it must be said. A Carlos Valderrama style perm in the placepot pool was sunk in leg one - 4th, 5th, and 6th, natch - as the overlooked favourite, Lac Fontana, did the bizzo. Schoolboy error.
That was followed by an uncomfortably large bet on a horse called Victor Hewgo who pulled up before halfway. Victor Nogo. And Duke Of Lucca, a horse in which I could have owned shares so many times have I backed him, decided to poke me in the eye by holding on at 12/1.
The only small mercy was in Ireland. The Irish tote, bless it, continues to pump out value for desperadoes like me on a weekly basis. Saturday had a bit of a jackpot rollover at Gowran Park. I limped in for a piece of the action. Now the jackpot in Ireland, in case you didn't know, is a far more gettable four race bet.
The winner of the first leg - turning over the odds on jolly - was the 3/1 second favourite. The second leg was won by the 15/8 favourite. Leg three went the way of the 5/4 favourite, and the final leg was taken by the 13/8 favourite.
Cumulative odds of 67/1. Hallelujah, then, when the dividend returned a €351.40 whopper. That's over FIVE TIMES the starting price accumulator on a bet with three jollies and a second in. Wow.
That piece of good fortune definitely perked me up from my funk, but still, it was a horror day. I do hope your National day experience was a happier one.
Now then, it would be remiss of me not to congratulate the brilliant Dr Richard Newland and his equine superstar, Pineau De Re. The horse wasn't for me in the Grand National context, and that wound up being my issue, not theirs. He galloped right to the line under his light weight, and deserved the win, staying every yard of the marathon trip.
Balthazar King - one of my favourite horses, but not one I backed here - was a game second without ever looking like running down the winner, and McCoy cost the bookies plenty by making the frame on Double Seven.
Alvarado, back in fourth, ran on from the proverbial different parish under Paul Moloney and connections will be excited about what this one might do next year.
Eight year old Rocky Creek was the only one with a big weight to finish in the top sixteen, and connections will surely gear an apparently frustrating season - one where his handicap mark drops ten or twelve pounds, let's say - to another tilt at this. He's a proper National type with age on his side, and with a lower weight can go close next year.
The National meeting overall was actually pretty good, with Friday a real highlight. Josses Hill, Boston Bob, Bennys Mist (2nd at 40/1), and 25/1 Avispa in the mares' bumper, meant that blog followers came out well on top there. But it's always nice to finish on a high, and that was most certainly not the case this year, unless your hangover on Friday was so bad that you slept right through Saturday's spectacular slapintheface.
And then it was clear... All of those obstacles evaporate hereafter, as the flat season kicks on from its post-Doncaster hiatus and heads towards the Guineas trials, the Guineas themselves, the Derby trials, and the Derby and Oaks themselves.
By tea time two months today four of the five Classics will have been run. The anachronistic idiocy of this is a lasting legacy of racing's heritage, and rather makes a mockery of the 'flat season narrative', where many of the main characters have been killed off before the end of the second chapter.
Be that as it may, we punters must shift our focus and, in the immediacy, must tread carefully through the minefields of uncertain fitness and changing ground conditions.
One thing we can fret less about is the draw, thanks to geegeez new turbo-charged pace predictor tab, found on the race cards for Gold subscribers. I'm going to record some video today, which will hopefully showcase the value of this information and give you a 'leg up' on how to use it.
Suffice it to say that siding - literally - with horses likely to race where the early pace is, is a much smarter move generally than taking an absolute high/low stance. More on that tomorrow.
I do also need to tell you that I've decided on the new subscription fee for the cards, and that will be £24 a month. 80p a day is still a fraction of the cost of any even remotely comparable service, and I'm very pleased to be able to offer next generation race cards at such entry level prices.
A couple of points:
1. If you're already a member, you're locked in at the current rate of £12 a month. That will be the case for as long as you're a subscriber, and is my way of saying thank you to you for your support of geegeez.
2. If you think statements like 'next generation race cards' are a bit grandiose, let me tell you that I was invited to a very senior meeting last week with some of the most powerful people in the sport - both in official positions and in the industry itself - and they absolutely LOVED the 'data visualization' concepts illustrated in the Race Analysis Reports (traffic light report as you might know it).
Make no mistake, this IS the future: large volumes of words and numbers expressed in a single, clearly visible, image. 🙂
So, the Gold subscription is still £12 a month for the next week to ten days. And you still get a 17 day free trial to help you get 'acclimatized'.
Then, whenever the time comes in the next couple of weeks, the price will double and the free trial will halve. It will still be incredible value, and there will still be more than enough time to evaluate the offering in the trial. But you get twice as much now as you will then. Make sense?
OK, good. Here's the link to sign up if you need it.
And that's all for today. Look out for my video effort tomorrow if you're wondering a) what the hell pace prediction is, and b) why you'd even need to know that sort of nonsense!