Double Dutch, 12th December 2014
Unfortunately Thursday went the same way as Wednesday, with a winner (and a forecast) paired up with a narrowly beaten runner-up with the margin of defeat being a mere half length after an energy sapping slog in the Newcastle mud.
At Taunton, well fancied favourite Money For Nothing loomed large on the run to the last fence and looked the most likely to win as he hadn't even had to make an effort to get alongside the leader. Unfortunately for him, the 13/8 (in from our 10/3 odds!) favourite made a right hash of the last, virtually handing the race to Un Anjou, who stayed on stoutly to repel the favourite who rallied late on.
Fortunately for us, the 9/2 winner was our "other runner" in the race helping us to a nice bonus of a near-12/1 forecast and having got on Un Anjou at 5/1 earlier in the day, we'd have been looking at a nice 14/1 double, had Trust Thomas not folded so meekly late on at Newcastle.
Trust Thomas absolutely cruised through the race and eventually hit the front after the last fence and looked set to run away with it, but course specialist Pamak D'airy dug deep and stayed on, whilst our runner found very little for pressure and went down by half a length.
Our other runner here, Categorical, was a further 11 lengths back as he tired late on and I'd overlloked the winner, because I felt he might need the run after a 224-day absence from the track.
I was, of course, wrong!
Thursday's results were as follows:
Trust Thomas: 2nd at 5/4 (adv 6/4)
Categorical: 3rd at 2/1 (adv 9/4)
Un Anjou: won at 9/2 (adv 5/1)
Money For Nothing: 2nd at 13/8 (adv 10/3)
The forecast paid £12.96.
Results to date:
432 winning selections from 1506 = 28.69%
137 winning bets in 391 days = 35.04%
P/L : +83.44pts (+10.65% ROI)
REMINDER: THERE IS NO DOUBLE DUTCH ON SUNDAYS
Undeterred, but spurred on by the recent near misses, we dust ourselves down and go again with these for a Friday...
In a race generally bereft of any good recent form, Echo Foxtrot's recent pair of runner-up efforts at Uttoxeter seems to make him the one to beat here. He was beaten by just 4 lengths over 2m on good to soft ground at the end of October coming off an 8 month break and was only headed late on with a couple of subsequent winners further behind him. He then ran over the same track and trip four weeks ago, but on heavy ground (which we're heading towards here!) and only went down by two lengths, headed late on again conceding quite a bit of weight.
He looks better off today and his recent experience over heavy ground will surely play its part here. Trevor Whelan rode him on both occasions and he's back on board today, where I expect him to make it third time lucky at 7/4 BOG.
The most interesting of his four rivals is the 11/4 BOG-rated Smart Motive, who has shown promise in both bumper and hurdles races to date, despite not troubling the judges. Breeding suggests he'll have more to offer in handicap company and after just five runs to date, he's still a young 4yr old learning his game. He's by Motivator (Gr1 flat winner and father of Treve amongst others) and out of Santana Lady, as was Alan King's classy hurdler Santia in the past. Alan King will be hoping that Smart Motive can replicate some of Santia's Success (4/10 over hurdles, incl Listed success) and he should be a different prospect in handicap company for a yard that's in really good nick at the moment.
The withdrawal of Casino Markets has hopefully made this one easier to assess and I wouldn't be surprised in the lightly raced 7 yr old Centasia was the one to take advantage of her rival's non-attendance. Today is just her eighth start, having won three and placed in two of her seven runs to date. She has a 112 record on soft ground and one win plus a runner-up finish from her three efforts over hurdles.
She has been off the track since finishing 4th over course and distance on her handicap debut here ion January and has changed hands during her recent lay-off. She was with David Pipe, but moved to Warren Greatrex's yard earlier in the year. She still has scope for improvement, she should come on for having had handicap / C&D experience and her new handler is in great form this year, all of which points to a possible 13/8 BOG win today.
If the conditions don't worsen too much, then I'd fancy Kelvingrove to provide most resistance. This 4yr old was a useful stayer on the flat, winning handicaps at 1m6f and also over 2m, before switching to Jonjo O'Neill for a hurdling campaign. He was a comfortable winner on his hurdling debut before stepping up yo today's trip to finish second last time out.
He would rather it remained Good to Soft, where he is 2 from 2, but did make his flat debut on oft ground and was a creditable third that day, so he could well handle the going if it does deteriorate and makes a decent Plan B at 5/2 BOG.
4 x 0.5pt doubles as follows:
Echo Foxtrot/ Centasia @ 6.22/1 (7/4 & 13/8 : generally)
Echo Foxtrot / Kelvingrove @ 7.94/1 (7/4 & 9/4 : generally)
Smart Motive / Centasia @ 8.84/1 (11/4 & 13/8 : generally)
Smart Motive / Kelvingrove @ 11.19/1 (11/4 & 9/4 : generally)