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HJ’s Hunter Chase Lays & Plays

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  • #6679
    Happy Jack
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    • Total Posts 515

    Given that I’m apparently regarded by a tiny minority on here as one of the forum’s resident Point-to-Point & Hunter Chase ‘experts’, I thought I would put my neck on the block and see if I actually can make a profit out of these races by posting my daily thoughts and selections on this thread. I do not profess to be an overly successful punter by any stretch of the imagination but do seem to do better in this discipline than any other. Let’s see how we go, starting with the 4.45 at Kelso today.

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    This looks a lot more competitive than many of the previous early-season Hunter Chases and there are plenty that would have a decent squeak on their best form. Heading the market are the ex-Nicholls pair of Cornish Rebel and Reflected Glory. The former is now trained by Lisa Williamson and needs to finish in the first two to qualify for Cheltenham, following his second to Green Belt Flyer at Huntingdon last week. This track should suit him better but it still may not be a sufficient test of stamina as he was beginning to look very slow and cumbersome at the back end of last year. That said, on his best form he would murder this lot – the question is whether he is capable of producing anything close to his best form these days. I’m not convinced. Reflected Glory, whose trainer won the Hunter Chase at Leicester yesterday, has been in fine form recently and has been unfortunate to run into high-class opponents in Irilut and Lord Of Illusion the last twice. There wasn’t a huge amount between him and Cornish Rebel under Rules last year, and on reliability alone I would prefer this one. The one concern I have is that ever since his chasing career began he has been kept virtually exclusively to right-handed tracks. Whether this has been deliberate or not I don’t know but Kelso is, of course, left-handed, and that is enough to sow some more seeds of doubt.

    Arguably the form horse of the race is ROBBERS GLEN who is unbeaten in Points save for an unfortunate episode last year when his saddle slipped. I was at Thorpe when he won a Ladies Open in impressive fashion at the end of last month under a typically patient ride from his regular pilot Val Jackson. The form is nothing special but there was plenty left in the tank that day and I am under no doubts that more improvement will be forthcoming. Despite pushing 50, Jackson is still one of the better lady riders on the circuit and what she lacks in a finish is more than made up by her tactical acumen. I really can’t see this fella out of the frame.

    INTERDIT is a real Kelso specialist with four wins and seven placed efforts in his time. A switch to Pointing last year really re-sparked him into life and his reappearance win at Witton Castle a week and a half ago in a competitive Ladies Open suggested that he is at least as good as he has ever been. Usually ridden by Pauline Robson in Points, it looks interesting that connections have once again booked crack south-west based amateur Josh Guerriero (who rode him at Cheltenham last May when he found four miles too far). His best form is not far off the best of these and with conditions bang in his favour a big run looks on the cards.

    Of the others, Lord Who and Anshan Spirit are both having their first runs of the campaign and, while decent enough animals, both usually come on for their first runs of the season. The latter (who has been referred to as the ‘Zola Budd of Pointing’ as he runs without shoes) will almost certainly not be suited by the prevailing soft ground. Sleeping Night is of course a former Foxhunters winner but has been plagued by injury recently and has now ended up in the care of Northumberland-based Simon Waugh. While he can be expected to come on for his recent comeback third, he doesn’t appear to be anywhere near the force of old and looks likely to struggle in this company.

    Selections:
    1pt win – Robbers Glen
    0.5pt e/w – Interdit

    #143416
    Happy Jack
    Participant
    • Total Posts 515

    Friday, February 15th

    A bad start yesterday. I did mention yesterday that Val Jackson was one of the more competent lady riders on the circuit. I still believe that although she certainly didn’t show it, riding Robbers Glen as if she was scared to death by the whole experience and then promptly falling off as they were beginning to get into contention. It was good to see Sleeping Night back to winning ways, he certainly retains a fair amount of his ability and deserves his place in the Cheltenham line-up although he does have to finish in the first two in another Hunter Chase to qualify. Cornish Rebel looked slow but should find a race or two this season if placed correctly, while both Lord Who and Interdit should find a race when the pro yards have disappeared off the scene later in the season.

    Talking about Festival qualification, Paul Nicholls has seemingly found Thisthatandtother a simple opportunity to cement his place in the Cheltenham line-up, in the Walter Wales Cup at Fakenham this afternoon at 4.05pm. His recent win at Fontwell was embarrassingly easy and a similar story looks likely today. Twenty Degrees is his only conceivable danger here – he is a classy performer in this sphere but an extremely hard ride and needs strong handling to keep him on the straight and narrow, which he will get from Richard Burton today. There were only a handful of horses rated higher than him last season, but Thisthatandtother has already been awarded a rating higher than anything seen in Points/Hunter Chases for several years and another stroll in the park looks the most likely outcome.

    Le Passing, who won the aforementioned Fakenham race last year, goes to Sandown for the ‘Ubique’ Hunters’ Chase in which he comes up against Jonjo’s East Tycoon and Polly Gundry’s in-form Raregem. This isn’t a race that appeals to me one little bit – Le Passing has about 6lbs and more in hand on ratings but wouldn’t want the ground to firm up any more and does throw in the occasional howler, East Tycoon isn’t the most reliable and I have doubts about his stamina even in this grade, while Raregem is in decent form in the Pointing arena but his previous Hunter Chase exploits haven’t been anything to write home about, and even on his best form would struggle against an on-song Le Passing or East Tycoon. I was tempted to put him up as a speculative selection but the current 7/2 is too short, so I think I’ll sit today’s action out.

    Selections:
    No bet

    #143508
    non vintage
    Member
    • Total Posts 1268

    HJ,

    I agree that East Tycoon looks poor value today, especially going right-handed, and I don’t think Le Passing is necessarily at his best first-time out.

    Raregem is solid and makes some appeal, and I can’t discount Wild Is The Wind. Both of these make just as much appeal to me as the aforementioned pair, but…

    I looked at today’s race a few times and kept coming back to Bolachoir, who has plenty to find on the form book, but is young and hopefully has unfulfilled potential. The Chamings yard often do well with their pointers here too.

    Nothing like a big bet, but he’ll carry a little bit of my Mark’s Tey money!

    (And sorry for hijacking your thread to muse on HJ)

    #143518
    Happy Jack
    Participant
    • Total Posts 515

    Not at all NV, feel free to chip in whenever you like (I was beginning to feel a bit lonely!)

    Interesting shout about Bolachoir, though. I have to admit that I didn’t pay too much attention to him other than noting that he had ‘only’ won a Maiden in Ireland. Delving a little deeper, however, it turns out that his win that day was in a very fast time – and he was ridden in all of his Irish races by the chap who partners him today, who is someone I know absolutely nothing about. He could run a lot better than his odds suggest, but this is still a watching race for me.

    Have fun if you’re going to Marks Tey – a bit far for me but I’ll probably be at Horseheath next week!

    #143565
    Happy Jack
    Participant
    • Total Posts 515

    I think it may be time for me to find another hobby……… :shock:

    #143590
    Happy Jack
    Participant
    • Total Posts 515

    Well done NV!

    #143628
    non vintage
    Member
    • Total Posts 1268

    Thanks HJ – have an extra few quid for tomorrow now!!! 8)

    #145492
    Happy Jack
    Participant
    • Total Posts 515

    Warwick – Friday February 22nd

    An above average contest in which Tribal Venture and Reflected Glory make up nearly 80% of the market, but I suspect that it may be a little more competitive than that. In the analysis of last week’s Kelso race it was suggested that Reflected Glory needs a right-handed track. Whether that had anything to do with him dumping Richard Burton on the turf half way round I’m not sure, but this is left-handed again and he would certainly prefer more juice in the ground – so I would be against him here.

    Tribal Venture is clearly the form choice and needs to finish first or second here in order to qualify for the Foxhunters. He won well on his debut in this sphere at Ludlow but the standard of opposition that day was poor and he should find this a bit tougher. That said, the run would certainly have brought him on and with conditions in his favour (the track shouldn’t be unsuitable and his career best form has been achieved on good ground) he will take all of the beating.

    There are, however, a couple who could easily go well at a price. On my ratings, Gallik Dawn isn’t far behind the leading pair, having won a competitive renewal of the four miler at Cheltenham’s Hunter Chase evening last May. Conditions are in his favour but the big problem is he has been off for ages and has no history of going particularly well fresh. The one I’m interested in for a place is DICKENSBURY LAD, a lightly raced sort who was a fair novice chaser in his time for John Spearing. He has made a fine start to his Pointing career, finishing second to Jumbul Sale on his first outing for fifteen months on his debut, and then inexplicably going the wrong side of a fence at Thorpe Lodge. He had just taken a narrow lead that day and, with only around half a mile left to run, would almost certainly have gone very close against a well above average pair in Amicelli (formerly decent novice chaser for Philip Hobbs) and Buckby Lane (injury prone but very useful handicap chaser for Paul Webber). If finishing the race, that effort would have earned him a rating comparable with Reflected Glory’s, so the discrepancy between the duo’s prices in the market looks wrong to me. Today’s ground will also be spot on for him.

    Of the others, Knife Edge has gone at the game and just can’t be fancied, Over The Storm has had his problems and isn’t good enough, while Howard Howard is best over shorter and would need by far a career best anyway to get involved. Le Seychellois is rapidly on the downgrade – ignore the "2" next to his name as the form is meaningless, while Toms Prize is a game old sort who could shake up a few, but is always likely to find at least one or two too good in this grade.

    Selection – 0.5pt each-way Dickensbury Lad

    #145505
    carvillshill
    Participant
    • Total Posts 2778

    You make a persuasive case Mr Jack, I’ve followed you in at Mr Hill’s generous 16/1….here’s hoping!

    #146576
    non vintage
    Member
    • Total Posts 1268

    Leicester – Tuesday 26 February

    This HC is at least big on numbers, but I don’t think it’s all that. I saw Rydal Park at Marks Tey and he was very good without taking the breath away. My feeling is that that might well be enough today, but the potential value bet to my eyes appears to be Cash In Hand who is not ungenuine and surely has to win one of these soon, having put in a decent enough seasonal return.

    I’ll be backing both and having small reversed forecasts and exactas. I’d be interested to know if anyone (HJ or others) have any views on this race…

    #146833
    Happy Jack
    Participant
    • Total Posts 515

    Not the greatest start to the season, results-wise, but we keep going! Folkestone today.

    Like yesterday’s race at Leicester (which I was going to preview but ran out of time) this is an event for horses that have yet to win under Rules, so Pointing form should be even more important. This is not a good race for the grade and probably displays the paucity of decent up-and-coming Pointers in the South-East area at the moment.

    Alpha Image – Lowly rated under Rules, only form came when runner-up in a poor novice handicap at Cartmel. Has been placed in a couple of old horse Maidens recently but doesn’t get the trip and was given the comment “thoroughly ungenuineâ€

    #146851
    non vintage
    Member
    • Total Posts 1268

    HJ,

    I had quite similar thoughts to you, but came down on the side of BEAREEN LAD who seems to have got the hang of things now and actually ran pretty well at Sandown the time before last, which bodes well for him acting round here.

    Of the main dangers, Mr Tee Pee looks to be a bit skinny, as does Peppershot, who appears to be priced up according to his best form without taking his completion record into account, and, as you say, Jewel Song just doesn’t win.

    Good luck anyway!!!

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