Good morning to you, dear reader, and I hope this post finds you in better form than me. I'm writing it from my bed, feeling a little sorry for myself and the fact that my chest is full of 'purest green' (as Lord Percy once famously said in Blackadder II), my head is pounding, and my throat feels like it has been subject to the vigorous motions of a cheese grater all night.
But enough about me, how are you? ;o)
Today sees slightly better racing than the abominable bunk we've had thus far this week, with decent cards at Newbury and Bangor, and a cracking Listed race at Kempton tonight.
Finding winners is not necessarily easier when the racing is good, but at least it is a challenge I am happier to attempt to rise to.
At Bangor then, the marathon chase (1.10) has some veteran plodders in a competitive line up. The ones most likely to prosper today, having shown a liking for going, trip, class and field size, are Finzi, Moustique De L'Isle and Le Briar Soul. Of these, Moustique looks best on current form, but I reckon that if the Briar can jump better (fairly sizeable 'if'), he might surprise here.
Over at Newbury, the opening novice hurdle is all about high class ex-Irish flat stayer, Hebridean. Winner of a Group 3 at the Curragh in May, Aiden O'Brien's former charge will win if taking to obstacles for the Nicholls stable.
His biggest rival according to the market is Nicky Henderson's Zaynar. Although the trainer farmed the race in the early 2000's, this one has nought to recommend it on form, and - though he may win - I can't have him.
Alan King's Walkon may struggle to conceded half a stone all round as the only previous winner in the field, and of most interest from an each way perspective may be Sainglend, who has had the misfortune to be a hampered 2nd on both starts to date. Assuming lightening doesn't strike thrice for him, he could bag a place.
But Hebridean should advertise his Cheltenham aspirations here...
Charlie Mann's stable continues in blinding form, and Borero has a good chance in the novices' handicap chase (2.35) from the lower end of the weights. Interesting to note, though, is that despite Mann having no fewer than eight of his last nine horses place, only one has won. Borero looks an each way wager to nothing.
In the 3.35, there are plenty of nice types for chasing in future. That man Henderson is on the hat-trick here, having won the last two runnings, and he saddles three today. Although Lindeman (circa 3/1) is the better fancied in the market, Bonikos - at around 12/1 - is the last time out winner albeit under very different conditions. (You And I, who makes up the Nicky H trio, would be a shock winner).
Probably one to watch rather than wager, but Bonikos looks a pebble of value.
Tonight at Kempton, Atlantic Story bids to continue his astonishing rise on the dirt. He started out a 55 rated horse, and is now virtually four stone higher in the handicap!
His record of eleven wins from sixteen AW starts is phenomenal and, in a hot race, I take him to record an all weather four timer (he was beaten three times on the turf in between his last win and his previous two wins on the dirt - he clearly isn't fussed for grass!).
Project Betfair got back to losing - and therefore winning - ways yesterday. Of three horses nominated, Upright Ima was too big a price, but the other two were fine and both were duly beaten.
PB is now three points up, with an eight from nine success rate.
Today's runners are:
2.45 Garrulous (odds dependent)
3.15 Action Impact
2.20 So Now
Check out the sales page, and buy Project Betfair here.
Finally, my old stick Rapid City runs again in a claimer today. He was definitely unlucky last time, and may just be getting a bit of affection for the game back again. At 4/1 he's no bargain, but I reckon he'll go close this afternoon (12.30, Lingfield).
I'm off for another Lemsip, and a 'first class returd to Dottinghamb please'... (Anyone else rememeber, "Tuuuuuuunes. They help you breather more easily"?!)
p.s. To Robert Knott, PLEASE stop emailing me. I've replied about ten times and every time your email service provider bounces it back. If you, or your son, want to buy TTS for Christmas, go to www.trainertrackstats.com, sign up for a month, download and print the manual, then unsubscribe. Thanks. :o)