It’s been a torrid few weeks on the punting front, and the whiff of ordure was beginning to clag these pages. However, like a small, elegant, spring-like springy thing, (think Fantasia’s Hippos dancing), I have sprung back into contention for this year’s Luckier than a Bat in a Chinese Laboratory Trophy. Yesterday we were 12+pts up and thinking that today was televised, I have done some work. Mistake – it isn’t televised terrestrially, but the racing looks excellent, and there are a number of runners today who are being prepped for the Festival Handicaps. Or as the Irish like to call it: keeping one’s mark off the radar.
I saw one yesterday, who I do think might turn up in the County or Coral – You Raised Me Up who won the 4:00 yesterday. He ran keen, fiddled a couple of fences, almost upended and battled back to beat a decent type in a doughty finish. On the faster ground, it would be reasonable to expect in March, at odds over 16s he’d be worth a Mortgage-level plunge. I have placed it into my Cheltenham race notebooks, which you can find by going to the 2021 Festival Races page, the link of which is above. Alternatively, look in the library and you’ll see all the posts for each race.
The jab went well in the later afternoon, very smooth, no pain, no side effects. That is until I need Tea, Toasted Crumpets, Coffee Walnut Layer cake etc. Then, and this is a well-know side-effect, my arm becomes so incapacitated, Madame is needed to arrange manufacturing and transport. Fortunately, I had found a shop that sold a Lobelia named after her, (who knew there was a plant called Grumpy Plantagenet), and those and a card and some steak, frites, salad last night with a decent red, plus my contribution to the advancement of science, saw my stock fractionally rise.
This is in direct comparison to Sir Ben Ainslie’s fortunes, who had two disastrous starts this morning, both of which were avoidable. Americas’ Cup racing is so increasingly like Formula 1, that one tiny mistake of a few seconds is quickly magnified to the irrecoverable. Similarly, when you see a huge racing yacht take off in a near-crash, such as happened to Ineos at the beginning of Race 4 today, it can appear just as frightening as a Red Bull car smashing into a wall.
Talking of spectacular crashes, here are some thoughts on today’s Exeter and Punchestown races. Exeter’s Chase course is unraceable so the card has compressed – although I cannot discover what impact that will have on timings.
1:30 P.P. Hogan Memorial Cross Country Chase (5yo+) 3m1f RTV 17 runners
BLAST OF KOEMAN Win
2:30 Happy Birthday Sarah Ann Madden Maiden Hurdle (Div I) (4yo+) 2m4f RTV 18 runners
Racing debut after a decent point win, this is not the strongest of heats, and a focused performance could see the selection take this at a decent price.
GOLD CUP BAILEY e/w
3:00 Happy Birthday Sarah Ann Madden Maiden Hurdle (Div II) (4yo+) 2m4f RTV 19 runners
Probably one of Willie’s Punchestown runners. Head and shoulders the best in this.
JUNGLE BOOGIE Win
3:30 David Trundley Artist At Punchestown Hcap Hurdle (4yo+) 3m RTV 14 runners
Stepping up to 3m and going the right way round, Punchestown will suit him much better than Navan, where he jumped markedly right, over 2m4f.
4:00 Punchestown Festival Of A Different Colour Rated Novice Chase (5yo+) 2m RTV 8 runners
Won a handicap in Galway last October and a return to that form can see him go well, especially with his decent 5lb claimer
SCHEU TIME e/w
4:30 Punchestown Grand National Trial Hcap Chase (GB) (5yo+) 3m4f RTV 18 runners
Wide Open and amongst the possibles, NICK LOST should run well here for Henry De Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore. Had a pipe opener over 21½f at Thurles in January having been off for almost 2 years. He should be a lot fitter today and he tries 3½m for the first time today. He’s worth a punt at the price.
NICK LOST e/w
1:40 British Stallion Studs EBF “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle (Div I) Cl4 (4-7yo) 2m2½f RTV 9 runners
40s is a crazy price. He should be 12s or 14s. If you can get him e/w with Bet365 for say 6 places take it.
FUNKY SENSATION e/w
2:10 British Stallion Studs EBF “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle (Div II) Cl4 (4-7yo) 2m2½f RTV 9 runners
The Tizzard team appear to have found their mojo, and KILLER KANE who has entries in the Ballymore and Albert Bartlett runs here having been off for 112 days. A half-brother to Go Native, his debut at Aintree marked him as probably being his £300k cost following an Irish Point victory.
KILLER KANE Win
3:10 Bet At racingtv.com Novices’ Hurdle (Listed Race) (GBB Race) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m1f RTV 11 runners
OSCAR ELITE e/w – GRANDEUR DAME e/w
4:10 Pertemps Network Hcap Hurdle (Pertemps Hurdle Series Qualifier) (GBB Race) Cl2 (5yo+) 2m7f RTV 14 runners
I have this between BRINKLEY and CHAMPAGNE PLATINUM on ability – but be wary of horses that are qualifying and those that need a mark.
CHAMPAGNE PLATINUM e/w
5:10 Get Daily Tips At racingtv.com Intermediate Open National Hunt Flat Race (GBB Race) Cl5 (4-6yo) 2m1f RTV 9 runners
BOW TO GREATNESS Win