Double Dutch, 19th January 2014
The plan on Saturday was to combine two horses that I couldn't see getting beaten and then having a couple of trusty backups, just in case things went awry.
As it happens both first picks won, but I think every man and his dog was backing them and the end result was a 4.94/1 double, which was still almost 14% better than the 4.34/1 paid out at SP.
Nevertheless, it's another winning double and although we only made 0.97pts profit on the day, that's still 48.5% of our stakes invested. I could live with that every day!
Yesterday's results were as follows:
Benvolio : won at 11/8 (adv 11/8)
Trustan Times : 3rd at 13/8 (adv 3/1)
Sire De Grugy : won at 5/4 (adv 6/4)
Somersby : UR at 11/4 (adv 9/4)
Results to date:
122 winning selections from 424 = 28.77%
39 winning doubles in 114 days = 34.21%
P/L : +11.41pts (+5.05% ROI)
Action from both sides of "the water" today:
Gitane du Berlais progressed nicely in her four runs at Auteuil in the spring/summer of 2013 (6413 in increasingly more difficult races on soft/heavy ground) before coming to Ireland and the Mullins yard. She didn't perform as expected when 3rd on her Irish debut at Down Royal in November, but she was hugely impressive when subsequently making all to land a 2m1f Listed hurdle at Aintree six weeks ago.
Her detractors will say that the form of that run hasn't quite panned out yet, but she won easily and just the manner of that success makes her a very attractive proposition at 2/1 BOG with Betfred. She's also aided by receiving chunks of weight all around at the bottom of the weights today.
There's also likely to be support for the other Mullins runner: Vicky de l'Oasis, a likeable sort with Ruby Walsh on board, but I prefer the top-weighted Theatre Bird as my Plan B here. She has a win and a place from three previous efforts on soft ground and comes here looking to complete a 44-day hat-trick. She was last seen winning a grade 3 hurdle on soft ground at Leopardstown three weeks ago, when she made all and stayed on strongly to defeat Caoimhes Delight who was then third in a grade 2 event just three days ago.
Theatre Bird may well try to take this race from the off and if she's allowed an easy lead, could well be difficult to catch and/or pass, which could well make a mockery of the 9/2 BOG widely on offer here.
Kilvergan Boy is no mug when it comes to these long distance tests of stamina, but Mansonien Las gave him 22lbs (including KB's jockey claim) here on Boxing Day over course and distance and still beat him by 27 lengths on similarly heavy ground to today's fixture. Royaume Bleu was third that day and he went on to score at Plumpton by 16 lengths five days ago, suggesting that our selection's run that day was as good as it seemed at the time.
Masnonien Las is, of course, much higher in the weights today, but I'm not convinced that 13lbs will be enough to stop him going in again. He's a course and distance winner, he loves soft and heavy ground and he stays all day. We're not getting rich off him, but 2/1 BOG (Betfred) seems plenty fair to me.
If, however, the career high mark of 95 proves too much for him, then I expect Smart Exit to be waiting in the wings. Although he hasn't won since New Year's Day 2013, he always seems to be there or thereabouts, being placed in his last four races, the latest of which was a 1.25 length defeat by Gorgehous Lliege over this course and distance a month ago. He'll relish the test of stamina here and gets to run off the same mark as that recent narrow defeat, which is the same mark as his last win making him a real danger at a generally available 4/1 BOG.
4 x 0.5pt BOG doubles with Betfred as follows:
Gitane du Berlais / Mansonien Las @ 8/1 (2/1 & 2/1)
Gitane du Berlais / Smart Exit @ 14/1 (2/1& 4/1)
Theatre Bird / Mansonien Las @ 15.50/1 (9/2 & 2/1)
Theatre Bird / Smart Exit @ 26.50/1 (9/2 & 4/1)