Today is the start of the two day Scottish Grand National meeting from Ayr, and the combination of high class racing, plus that 'end of season' imponderable makes for an interesting placepot puzzle. Indeed, even with one of the last four Scottish National Friday dividends paying £36, the average is £2,020! That's because there have been two four figure divvies, including a huge £6,760 payoff.
So it may not be easy, but it'll be worth catching if we're smart/lucky enough to land a slice. This is how I'll be playing.
Leg 1 - 2.10
It's pretty hard to see Sign Of A Victory out of the frame and, such is his market dominance, he can be layed for a place to insure the bet in leg one, assuming all five line up. Of course, before I'd finished writing the post, there's been a non-runner meaning just four now go to post. So, we need to lay in the win market at around 1.66. He's still a placepot banker with that insurance option available, and an alternative might be to back the second favourite and hope one of the massive outsiders doesn't double whammy us.
A - 3
Leg 2 - 2.40
Of course, with such a shortie in the opener, we're looking for something to happen on the rest of the card, and that might start here, where the top weight Ballybogey has bundles of track form, including when winning the opener last term. Although he's seemingly been off form in his last two runs, the first was when sixth behind subsequent Grade 1 scorer, Boston Bob; and the latter was a pulled up effort in a chase. That was his only chase start, and he's 211 here at Ayr over hurdles.
We'll add some ballast to the A tickets with Fourth Estate, Hendo's runner expected to be sharper on this sounder surface.
A - 1, 4
Leg 3 - 3.15
We're deliberately thinly spread in the first third of the bet, to save some bullets for the latter part, should we survive that far. Leg 3 is a novices' handicap hurdle, with eight runners currently. A non-runner would bring this down to two places, and that's something to keep in mind. In both recent years when the placepot has been a whopper, this race has played its part so I'm going wide and deep here in the hope of catching a result.
On A, Vicente looks a bit more solid than Ulzana's Raid, having won a similar race by ten lengths compared to the latter's battling victory in a maiden hurdle. I'll add the Irish raider, Quickasyoucan, and also the consistent McCoy-ridden Portway Flyer to the A list.
I'm taking B's here, including Ulzana's Raid, and the rag I think is over-priced is Hartforth, another consistent animal at the bottom of the handicap and with track/trip form. Kilbree Chief will complete my sextet in this race. Like I say, I'm looking for a result!!
A - 1, 2, 8
B - 3, 4, 7
Leg 4 - 3.50
Another really competitive race, and one in which the favourite has a poor record in recent years. Despite that, the hard to win with Tap Night looks a solid place option on this drop in class. He takes the A fight alone, but B has a pair of alternatives in Bless The Wings and Viva Colonia. The former is very well suited to conditions and is now eight pounds lower than his last win, a class, distance and going affair on a similar-ish track (Newbury).
The latter represents just about the best trainer at this meeting, Brian Ellison, and looks to have been laid out for this. Both wins have come over this distance and on this sort of going, and he ought to run well.
A - 1
B - 2, 4
Leg 5 - 4.25
Another non-runner early has reduced this field to seven and two places. I'm getting a great placepot vibe about this card!
Le Bacardy is favoured here, and he's a bit of a monkey. So much so in fact that he got his jockey banned when the horse lost his confidence (allegedly) and the rider eased him up. He's won two straight since then, and is in good form. But this is a step up in class, and the jolly has been unsighted in the only three runnings of this race to date.
Further spice is added by the presence of three Irish raiders in the seven-strong field, and I'm casting my dragnet again here. On A, I want Back To Balloo, Doynosaur and Claragh Native. The first named has form tied in with the likes of Ballycasey, Mozoltov and Djakadam, and there's nothing remotely of that ilk in this field. Doynosaur has her chance too, and has dropped a few pounds since her first couple of handicap chase starts.
And Claragh Native has perhaps the best place chance of all on form, despite being the outsider. He's dropped to an attractive mark, and this will have been the plan for some time.
On B, I want a couple more, and they'll be Le Bacardy and Ellaway Rose. It's daft to leave the favourite out completely, even though I hope he's unplaced; and the latter is another Irish raider whose best form has all come on a sound surface. She will appreciate the good to soft today.
If you're the paranoid type and the placepot pool is shaping up well before this race, you can always do a reverse exacta with the two uncovered horses - Araglen Lad and Too Cool To Fool - as insurance.
A - 2, 4, 5
B - 1, 7
Leg 6 - 4.55
Another race where the jolly's missed the party in the past two years, though with nine runners we should at least be pitching for three places. With luck, we'll already be sitting on a nice potential dividend, and the key thing to note in this race is the very strong record of the Irish runners. First and second last year (fav unplaced), their only rep the year before fell, and they had a big-priced second the year before that.
As a result, I'm covering their trio. The A team has Gordon Elliott's Clara McCloud, a winning machine with three golds in her last five starts; and also Twin Plan, for whom the step up in distance looks cherry ripe (she won the race last year).
Romantic Fashion has won her last two here, taking the ferry from Ireland on both occasions. She steps up in grade, but has a good jockey and might be under-rated. B. Bull and Bush, a progressive stayer, completes the reserve squad.
I'll nab a C too in case we've A'd all the way through, as I like the huge-priced Micro Mission, winner of this in 2012 and back to a mark two pounds below that rating. She was fifth last year too, and comes here in a little bit of form.
A - 4, 8
B - 2, 5
C - 9
On days like these, when we're swinging the haymaker in the hope of landing a knockout punch, there's always the chance that we'll return less than we staked, or even fail to collect. But faint heart never won fair maiden!
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1. Tote multi-race bets like placepots are my absolute favourite bets
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3. I'd prefer if geegeez readers' commission went to geegeez rather than, say, Betfair or Betfred or anyone else who already has more than their share of funds. All such proceeds are ploughed back into the site, as you know, so if you don't already have a totesport account, you'll be able to help geegeez to continue to help you. Obviously, if readers can help geegeez in this way, then I'll invest more time in perhaps reviving the daily placepot posts, or at least make them a more regular occurrence. 🙂
I do hope that makes sense and comes across as fair enough. (And thanks). Please leave a comment below if you'd like more placepot features.
OK, so here's how the perms shape up:
A's only: 1 x 2 x 3 x 1 x 3 x 2 = 36 bets
A's, B's and C's: 1 x 2 x 6 x 3 x 5 x 5 = 900 bets (!)
Ticket builder perm (my preferred method), based on 10p stakes, with the multipliers as noted by the check boxes.