Double Dutch, 6th March 2015
We drew another blank on Thursday, failing to find a single winner, despite our picks being very popular amongst punters with three of the four being quite heavily backed. All that does, however, in increase the number of disappointed backers!
My old gran (rest her soul) always said that I should look for a positive. Well, I correctly suggested that Sleet might just find one little bit too good for him and so it proved, as he was beaten by just a neck at Southwell. The downside to this was that our other runner was 2 lengths further back in fourth place!
None of which really mattered anyway, after our two runners at Carlisle had been utterly routed. Rayadour performed "best", finishing 4th, some 30 lengths adrift, whilst Miss Estela was pulled up before the last to avoid injury after making tired mistakes 3 out and 2 out.
Sometimes, it's pointless working a horse in a lost cause, especially in a strange race like this where a 25/1 shot beat a 20/1 shot by just half a length with their nearest challenger 24 lengths away. And the forecast was "only" worth 372/1, nice work for someone!
Thursday's results were as follows:
Rayadour : u/p at 4/1 (adv 4/1)
Miss Estela : PU at Evs (adv 7/4)
Sleet : 2nd at Evs (adv 85/40)
Fairy Wing : u/p at 9/4 (adv 7/2)
Results to date:
506 winning selections from 1775 = 28.51%
159 winning bets in 460 days = 34.57%
P/L : +100.40pts (+10.92% ROI)
REMINDER: THERE IS NO DOUBLE DUTCH ON SUNDAYS
I don't mind admitting that it has been a pretty dismal start to the new month after February's success, but the very nature of the double is that one good day can make profit for a whole week and with that in mind, here are Friday's races...
In what looks a decent contest on paper, I think it will go to one of the unexposed handicap debutants, of who my preference is for Lessons In Milan, the latest in a long line of soft ground hurdlers by Milan, whose progeny have really good records. He comes here to make just his third start under Rules after winning his only PTP race at Tinhely, Wicklow a year ago.
He showed plenty of promise in finishing third on his hurdling debut at Ascot in a Class 3 contest over today's tip on soft ground seven weeks ago, when he got to within 5 lengths of his stablemate, 4/9 fav and Albert Bartlett fancy Out Sam, who was ridden by Barry Geraghty that day. Lesson In Milan then turned out at Lingfield 18 days ago and although there was only five runners, you can only beat what's offered to you.
Just four finished that day and he beat his three rivals by 37L, 66L and 86L respectively despite being eased down from a fair way out. The assessor might have underestimated him with an opening mark of just 126, making his 9/4 BOG odds look a tad generous. Next in line is the 11/2 BOG (Betbright) Ustica, who although not as impressive as the first pick last out, was still able to open his hurdling account at the second attempt, just beating a 1278=rated rival at Uttoxeter almost four weeks ago.
That came after a 3 length defeat as a runner-up on his hurdles debut at Exeter on heavy ground, where he competed well enough to finish 10 lengths clear of Dawson City, who has won twice since and was a runner-up off 120 a fortnight ago. Ustica is also rated at 126 and with both big stables putting their top jockeys up for this, we could be in for a treat as Geraghty & Henderson take on McCoy & O'Neill.
I've talked about the potent Harding/Richards combination in the past and they've an enigmatic runner here today, who on his day will win this relatively comfortably, but it isn't always his day! Over the last four years And The Man has failed to complete 9 of his 15 starts, he tends to jumps well (just one fall : first fence here after a long lay off) but has been pulled up 8 times in the 15 races. But in the 6 completions, his record reads 112112 with his defeats not being too bad (2.25L & 1L).
Backing And The Man is always a gamble, but he's 4/8 here at Ayr, of which he's 3/6 over fences with a 211 record over course and distance. And barring that first fence fall I mentioned earlier, he has only failed to complete once of the other 7 runs here, meaning that if he gets home, here's a good chance of him winning at 11/4 BOG. It's hard to get too bullish about a horse who doesn't always (or often!) finish, but you could even look at it as an 11/4 BOG bet on him getting round.
And the beauty of the Double Dutch is that we can have a backup plan if things do go as we hope with the main pick and so I'll also be taking Grate Fella for that purpose. Far less experienced/exposed than most here, Sue Smith's runner looks progressive and comes here in fine form. He had a decent record over hurdles, but fell 5 fences from home on his chasing debut, yet his confidence wasn't dented, as he has finished 131 in his three starts since.
He won by six lengths at Catterick a fortnight ago and although this is a tougher task over a longer trip, he seemed to have plenty in the tank that day and is still definitely on the rise. Grate Fella doesn't have hundreds of miles on the clock and looks an ideal secondary pick at an attractive 9/2 BOG today.
4 x 0.5pt BOG doubles as follows:
Lesson In Milan / And The Man @ 11.19/1 (9/4 & 11/4 : Betfred & Paddy Power)
or 13/1 with Ladbrokes who are non-BOG until 9.00am
Lesson In Milan / Grate Fella @ 16.88/1 (9/4 & 9/2 : Paddy Power)
Ustica / And The Man @ 22.40/1 (11/2 & 13/5 : BetBright)
Ustica / Grate Fella @ 34.75/1 (11/2 & 9/2 :Betbright)