Double Dutch, 9th February 2014
All four of yesterday's runners attracted decent support and shortened in the market and despite calling the second race correctly, where Module triumphed by just a neck to land a 3.62/1 forecast, there was no payout for us from Newbury.
That's because Al Ferof suffered an unexpected 25 lengths defeat at the hands of Harry Topper, which must surely cast some doubts over his chances at Cheltenham next month.
So, it was a blank day yesterday, but it didn't cost us anything either, after Betfair refunded all losing doubles. The strike rates for the winners and the doubles took a small hit, but no financial damage was incurred.
Yesterday's results were as follows:
Al Ferof: 2nd at 5/4 (adv 7/4)
Katenko: u/p at 9/4 (adv 3/1)
Module: won at 11/8 (adv 7/4)
Dodging Bullets: u/p at 2/1 (adv 9/4)
Results to date:
144 winning selections from 507 = 28.40%
48 winning doubles in 135 days = 35.56%
P/L : +29.05pts (+10.92% ROI)
The ROI remains in double digits, but today looks tough!
Chocala made a promising start to life over hurdles when finishing third at Newbury in November and with conditions set to play their part, he looks the best bet here. His hurdling looked sound on debut and he has good form on the flat in the mud all the way up to 2 miles, so any natural progression from that first effort in this NH sphere should be enough to take this at 13/8 BOG, with the biggest danger set to come from...
...Vibrato Valtat, who despite being a 7-race maiden is a very consistent sort with six top three finishes in those 7 defeats. He's a former bumper winner in France though and only went down by a short head last time out, when he was headed on the line in very soft condition at Kempton at the end of last year. He seems to be the best treated at the weights and therefore has solid back-up claims here at 9/4 BOG.
The truth of the matter is that I can't pick who is going to win this race, but I'm very confident that it will one of the two at the top of the market, namely First Lieutenant and Tidal Bay. And due tot he nature of this Geegeez feature, I don't need to nail my colours to any particular mask!
First Lieutenant can currently be backed at 5/2 BOG and you'd expect that a similar performance to his last outing over course and distance would be enough to take this one. He was only a length and a half behind Bobs Worth in the Lexus and although he was beaten by Tidal Bay in that very same race in 2012, he now has the benefit of Tidal Bay now being the ripe old age of 13.
That's not to say that the old warrior hasn't got one more big win in him and he's still got all that stamina of old, as shown when staying to finish a close third (beaten by half a length) in the Welsh National at Chepstow in December. That was over a longer trip than today and the ground conditions were really quite bad. A drop in trip and some (slight!) easing in the ground should help him here and this might just be that last big win. He's currently 3/1 BOG.
4 x 0.5pt BOG doubles, as follows:
Chocala / First Lieutenant @ 8.19/1 (13/8 & 5/2 : PP)
Chocala / Tidal Bay @ 9/1 (6/4 & 3/1 : Stan James & Hills)
Vibrato Valtat / First Lieutenant @ 10.38/1 (9/4 & 5/2 : PP & Coral)
Vibrato Valtat / Tidal Bay @ 11.19/1 (9/4 & 11/4 : Betfred, PP & Coral)