March 23, 2016 at 20:18 #1239538
A very hit and miss race for me, and an absolute minefield, but always keen to give it a go. I seem to do well in it every other year, and this trend continued in 2015, with my decent payout in 2014 being a distant memory, with none of my runners every looking like landing a blow.
This years looks to be the weakest I’ve seen for some time, with not too many big names in there………….it won’t make it any easier to win though.
First horse to catch my eye in the list of entries was the Jonjo O’Neil trained Another Hero. After a very encouraging start to his chasing career, this novice looked the ideal type to get involved at Cheltenham, but very interesting that he looks like heading here, to take in a route that Jonjo has had some success with in the past. Was far too big at 25’s and he was the first one bet by myself. I also had to have a go at 26’s to 27’s on Betfair as well. Hopefully I’ve called it right, and I’d be fairly confident of a good run for my money from this JP owned runner.
Not surprisingly, JP has a few others engaged, and the most high profile of these would be Cause of Causes, who looks to have Aintree as his main priority. I’ve a feeling they’ll give him every chance to get over his win in The Kim Muir, and he didn’t run too well in this 2 years ago. Chucked in if he does run though. Having bet him for Aintree, I’m hoping he doesn’t head here, though if he does, it’ll be hard not to bet him, but I’ll sit him out if he does, as this wouldn’t fit in with what they’re doing with him.Cantlow is another who ran at Cheltenham, but he couldn’t be bet with any confidence just now, with another poor show in The Cross Country. This could come too soon for Riverside City, who was only out the other day, but he’s a horse I’ve a soft spot for, and certainly on his Troytown victory, he can’t be dismissed. White Arm may be one for the future, and might struggle to get in.
Fighting for favouritism, are Venitien De Mai, and Bonny Kate. It’s not particularly difficult to see the appeal with Bonny Kate, and probably worth noting that she swerved The 4 Miler at Cheltenham for this. She’s already on a 3 timer, showing her versatility by winning over a variety of distances, but it’s her win 2 races ago at Punchestown, over 3 miles 4, where she beat a competitve enough field, in a performance that screamed “Irish National”. I had a good few quid on her to win at 14’s to 16’s last week, that was too big. Yes, she’s risen up the weights, but she’s earned it. I’ve bet her, with a view to lay, and I can see her halving in price, the plan is for her to pay for any other bets, giving me a “free go”. Venitien De Mai is going for a 3 timer of his own, and his win last time in The Leinster National booked his ticket here. Perhaps not quite as impressive as Bonny Kate, but nonetheless, after looking like getting pegged back, and giving the impression the Irish National trip may just stretch him, he found plenty on that brutal Naas run in, and that run alone, against very decent opposition, puts him bang in contention.
My Murphy is an old favourite of mine, and he gave me a good return in this years Thyestes Chase, having got him at a big price. He can be a bit frustrating, but this type of test is right up his street, and he ran with credit in it last year. I’ll have to desert him this time around though, as he’s got to go off 8lbs higher, not that I don’t think he’ll acquit himself well though.
Just touched off by My Murphy in The Thyestes was Mala Beach, and he looks a big player off the back of that run. He’ll meet the winner that day on much better terms, and but for falling 2 out, would have taken The Bobbyjo Chase last time out. His jumping has let him down a couple of times, and I was a bit surprised he didn’t win at Ascot in December, but he was full of running last time, and that Thyestes run is enough to confirm his suitability for this. Also entered in the same ownership are Jarob, who I think would find this too tough, and Futuramic, who despite running well behind Venetien De Mai in The Leinster National, will struggle to get in. He’s not a complete “no-hoper” if he makes it.
The race was won last year by the Gigginstown owned Thunder And Roses, and he could easily figure again, based on how well he took to it last year, though he will come here a lot higher in the weights. There’s another 11 entered in The Gigginstown colours, namely Sub Lieutenant, Folsom Blue, Killer Crow, Lord Scoundrel, Mckinley, Rogue Angel, Nickname Exit, Wrath of Titans, Captain Von Trappe, Unic De Bersy, and last but not least, Horendous Hulabaloo.
Mckinley, as much as I rated him highly as a hurdler, certainly has his own ideas, not that I’d write him off, the ability is certainly there. Rogue Angel can travel very sweetly during his races, and occasionally he can keep it going to the end, as he showed when nailing the leader close home in last years Kerry National. Good chance on that run, but you just don’t know what you’re going to get. I’m a big fan of Folsom Blue, and his 5th in this 2 years ago, gives him a real chance, while I think Horendus Hulabaloo & Wrath of Titans might have too much on their plate here.
Gordon Elliot is responsible for 5 of the Gigginstown runners, with Nickname Exit, who despite showing a lot of early promise, just hasn’t looked good enough, being joined by the 4 Novices, Lord Scoundrel, Captain Von Trappe, Unic De Bersy, and Killer Crow. You can take your pick of what one of his will have been laid out for this, but I’ll take my chance that Killer Crow is the one. His second to Empire Of Dirt in January has a good look to it, and he also had the in-form Seabass, and the very decent Fine Rightly behind him. Corals stood the 25’s and I’ve had to have a few quid each way at that price. The biggest danger to him from within The Giggs ranks looks like being Sub Lieutenant, who could go very well, and no surprise to see this versatile type near the head of the market.
Elliot also has the outsider Definite Ruby entered, and he doesn’t look up to this, though stablemate Bless The Wings is harder to rule out. If the ground continued to dry out, I could see him run a big race. He’s been a busy boy over the years, and rarely runs a bad one. He recently placed at Cheltenham in The Cross Country, and his running on second to The Package at Cheltenham last year is also fresh in the memory. He’s crying out to be bet at 28’s.
Living Next Door has been given a very quiet prep by Tony Martin, running over hurdles, and you can be sure he’s good to go, wherever he goes, but he has 4 possible engagements over the next fortnight, and might be one to hold fire with. His win in The 2014 Paddy Power shows he has what it takes to land a prize like this, and very interesting should he head here. Martin also has No Secrets in there along with the the JP owned White Arm, but it’s a long time since No Secrets showed any worthwhile form, and I’d have to pass him over.
Behind Living Next Door that day in The Paddy Power was Foxrock, and although he’d head here off of top weight, he should be more at home back in handicap company, but can’t help thinking there’ll be a few better handicapped, and he might have to settle for a place at best, though no reason to suggest he won’t be thereabouts.
Although he’s normally got a few in there, it’s just the 2 potential runners for Willie Mullins, and Mckinley could be joined by recent winner Tennis Cap. I’ve always had a soft spot for Tennis Cap, and despite the obvious concerns over the trip, I think those willing to risk the 33’s might get a decent run for their money.
Baie Des Isles should relish this trip, and has already chased home Bonny Kate this year, before running with credit in The Bobbyjo, which would have been short enough for him, and he looks a tad overpriced at 25’s. Despite only being a 5yo, he looks just the type tho thrive here, and my idea of an interesting outsider, along with the hard to predict Ballyadam Approach , who’s got me out of jail a couple of times. It’s highly unlikely he’ll be good enough to win this, but in a far from vintage renewal, he’s another who interests me at a price, and I’ll have a few quid at the 66’s. Another outsider who I’m always loathed to leave alone is Pass The Hat, and I always try to give him a good word. Ran well enough in The Skybet, and although I’m likely to leave him out this time, he’s going to pop up at some point, and the 33’s about him looks very fair. Raz De Maree is getting on a bit, but it’s just over a year since his fine second to Goonyella in The Midlands National. I’d be willing to forgive him pulling up at Ayr, where things would have been too quick for him, and off the back of a quiet spin in his comeback over hurdles, he’s another who’s very backable at 40’s. Heaney ran very well in this 2 years ago, and has some other very creditable performances to his name, and he looks overpriced as well at the 40’s. The problem with him is that when he’s bad, he’s very bad, and I’ve seen him down tools so badly that you’d think there’s something amiss with him. Who knows what he’ll do on Monday?
Kerry Lee has done very little wrong this year, and she could send her Classic Chase winner Russe Blanc. Goes without saying the softer the better for him, though the current going of Good To Yielding might not be soft enough. He ran in The Eider last time, with the burden of a few quid of mine on him, but he was beat when unseating, and it may just be that the rise in the weights will stop him. He won’t have my cash on him this time, and that’s got to be worth a few lbs to him.
Kilford and Embracing Change took in a veterans chase last month, and it was a demolition job, with Kilford winning by half the track. You could argue that Kilford might not be good enough, but there’s no getting away from the fact that he’s in good heart, and has since won again. He’s getting bet at 33’s.
Portrait King continues to run well without winning, and for a horse who would surely have taken a hand in The Becher but for falling, and has since finished 3rd in The Eider, I’m a bit surprised to see him still readily available at 33’s. He’s normally popular on here, so fill your boots at 33’s guys.
Tulsa Jack has went a wee bit off the boil since looking like a real contender for this, whilst the “bear” form of Bearly Legal, leaves him with a bit to do.
Pretty straightforward for me then, and it’s Another Hero as the main fancy at 25’s each way, along with the 26’s and 27’s. Killer Crow is a very able deputy, also at 25’s each way. Cause of Causes will get a few quid his way, but I really do hope they head for Aintree, as much as it looks unlikely he’ll get in there.
I’ll go with an outsider on the day, but it could be any one of half a dozen of them, with slight preference at the moment for Ballyadam Approach.
Ballyadam Approach 66’s EW
GLMarch 23, 2016 at 20:35 #1239543raymo61Participant
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Another terrific summary Bobby!!
I must remind myself to stop praising you!!
Currently my three against the field are
Living Next Door
I was going to back Killer Crow at Cheltenham but they took him out.
Tony Martin has been a little quiet with his plots recently and it wouldn’t surprise me if he hadn’t laid this out for this.
And the sub is a solid horse that looks the right type for this!March 23, 2016 at 23:42 #1239567
lol, Cheers Raymo, good luck with your picks.March 25, 2016 at 12:43 #1239769raymo61Participant
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At least my three are still in at the mo Bobby!!
But CoC worries meMarch 25, 2016 at 13:17 #1239775peter .hParticipant
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I’m convinced Portrait King would have gone close in the National if he got in, so i’ll hope for compensation here. Pass The Hat is proving expensive to follow, but i just can’t leave him alone… just in case!
EDIT: It gets easier to abandon them when they don’t runMarch 25, 2016 at 13:40 #1239780OscarParticipant
- Total Posts 45
I was also intrigued by Vtc’s write-up of Ballyadam Approach – he doesn’t seem to have been tried beyond 2 3/4 miles since he won a point-to-point in 2010. His pedigree is very similar to that of Irish Invader (sire: Bob Back, dam’s line featuring Busted) who ran very well to 2 out in the 2009 grand National. Got to be worth a punt at 50-1 with Boylesports (e/w 1st 5)?March 25, 2016 at 13:40 #1239781thewexfordmanParticipant
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I was lucky enough to pick last year’s winner at 25/1 when I got it. Looking briefly through them I think I’ll back Futuramic and cantlow. And possibly sub lieutenant
But I must add that this looks like an awful race. Also my tactic for picking winners of big field handicaps is to ignore horses who have won last time out. They are probably penalised for it and the market over reacts and brings them in too short. Just my opinion. Best of luck to allMarch 25, 2016 at 14:50 #1239784MarkTTParticipant
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Cause Of Causes mark has been adjusted in Ireland so he’s running off 152 and now carries top weight – what a difference a week makes !
I think he flopped here last year because he’d been brought to the boil twice that season already for the Paddy Power at Christmas and then Cheltenham – i think they went to the well too often and he was over the top when he ran in this. Been a steadier season so far and he’s a year older.
Going to study the race tomorrowMarch 25, 2016 at 22:18 #1239818stilviParticipant
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Plenty of rain forecast for tomorrow so presumably we are going to be talking soft ground.
I always think there is more danger in the early stages of this race than the Grand National itself. So many jocks fighting for a position and far less space.
It is hard not to save on the favourite who was pretty impressive last time. The negative for me is the jock who hasn’t had the greatest of seasons and is 0/3 on the horse, beaten favourite each time. Although he isn’t the Cooper selected I think last year’s winner might represent better value. It looks as if he has been trained with one race in mind and hopefully the blinkers might just produce a little improvement.March 26, 2016 at 00:19 #1239826BigGParticipant
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Absolute belter of a write up Bobby
This isn’t going to go down well in a few quarters, but I think CAUSE OF CAUSES, and his
highly rated buddies ie topweight down to THUNDER AND ROSES, can save themselves a drive
to the course and stay in their nice warm stables. The last time any horse won the Irish
Grand National carrying more than 11st was 16 years ago, and that was no less than COMMANCHE
COURT. The National was pretty much like that until recent years where it has bucked the trend,
but until the Irish version starts to show a similar trend, I think it gives you a better chance
of working out what will win, with several decent horses removed from the equation.
I’m not a favourite backer normally, if I can help it, but I’m finding it very hard to get away
from VENITIAN DE MAI. The way he has won his last 2 races at Down Royal and Naas, going
away at the finish, makes this look tailor made for him. I’ve missed a couple of points by being
late looking at this race, but 8/1 is a fair price for what looks to me a likely winner.
I’m having a couple e/w at bigger prices, and both have decent chances in their own right. RUSSE BLANC
was impressive in the Betfred Chase, and that form would give him a shout here if he is back in that
kind of form. Bobby is right pointing out that he is best on heavy ground, but they are expecting 4mm
today, 6mm Saturday, 7mm on Sunday and 4mm in the early part of Monday. Stilvi is right, the ground should
be soft, I think probably more towards heavy. 33/1 with Stan James looks big.
RIVERSIDE CITY scraped into this, and I like his chance. His win in the Troytown would be good
enough to put him in the frame here, but he ran disappointingly in his next 3. His last run at Downpatrick
looked like he was coming back to form, running on well into 6th. The only downside could be that this has
come a bit soon. I think that at 40/1 it’s worth taking the chance.
It’s a tough race, GLAMarch 27, 2016 at 11:06 #1240020Red Rum 77Participant
- Total Posts 1784
My bets in the race are
KILFORD @ 20/1,
CAPTAIN VON TRAPPE @ 40/1,
BAIES DES ILES @ 20/1
ANOTHER HERO @ 12/1
VENITIEN DE MAI @ 7/1
BONNY KATE @8/1
All to winMarch 27, 2016 at 18:34 #1240059
Backed four in this last year and did not even get a place.
Portrait King must be taken at 40s. Will be having a good look this evening but messy is an understatementMarch 27, 2016 at 19:09 #1240068
Bonnie Kate and Folsom Blue added although will wait for the morning to back Folsom Blue in the morning – hopeful of getting 33sMarch 27, 2016 at 19:10 #1240069
So good I should back twice in the morningMarch 28, 2016 at 00:22 #1240091
Looks a solid line up to me Wex, not sure what more you could look for??
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