Inevitably what should have been a slight anecdote about the restoration of Kneesup computer connectivity, has become a saga. Hard Disks that should have been operating separately had been affixed in such a way that if separated they stop talking to anyone. The Solid State Drive on which the operating system resided won’t boot, the …. the…… the….. the…. the… Altogether Now… “No, I have no computer, I have no computer today.”
Meanwhile, over at Sandown and Exeter, we came parlous close to having it away with a stonking e/w patent with Skybet, where I benefitted in the lucky last from a fourth-place return on Penny Mallow at 9/2. With Portrush Ted and Dancing Shadow, that returned just shy of 35/1. I was cross with myself for failing to select Alnadam who was my second choice to Killer Clown and pleased to have listened to Venetia’s very honest, pre-race interview, which prevented me from adding to my mistake in selecting Funambula Silvola. Star Gate was not a surprise, Empressive Lady was.
The one thing we should all be thankful for is the sterling job yet another National Institution is doing, in this case, The Bank of England. (Did we all spot the pun there?) In brief, and yes there is more to this than probably meets the eye, The Public Accounts Committee has stated that the Bank of England does not “appear to have a convincing reason for why the demand for notes keeps increasing or any real understanding of where around £50 billion of issued sterling notes are, although it acknowledged that it is a trend being seen with other major currencies.” The Bank estimates that 20% to 24% of issued notes are used or held for cash transactions. This leaves about £50 billion of issued banknotes that may be being used overseas for transactions or savings, or held in the UK as unreported household savings or for use in the shadow economy. I think what they’re saying is that they have lost £50bn in cash and it is probably overseas, where it is considered a better currency for International Ne’er Do Wells than Bitcoins and Dollars. I will say that I have yet to meet a Chinese Takeaway in the last ten years that takes a Debit or Credit Card and the same can allegedly be said of many Fish and Chip shops, where cash is king. (We are obliged to say that other Foreigner-owned Take-Away shops not accepting cards might also be available if not plentiful). Just saying.
Talking of not troubling HMRC with your betting profits, here are the tips for Tingle Creek day.
I am anticipating Aintree will have had about ¼” of rain overnight and the ground will be soft all over. Sandown rode sticky today and was testing and with temperatures plummeting I should be surprised if much moisture comes out.
In the first at Sandown take note of the Gary Moore ex-French pair, who are considered good at home. They might be worth dutching for around 7/2 the pair.
1:30 AINTREE William Hill Becher Hcp Chase (G3) Cl1 (6yo+) 3m2f
I am pretty certain that this is the only raceday in the year at Aintree, where the Grand National Fences are seen in action twice, and somehow that is an affirmation that we are on the rocky road to recovery.
NTD runs CALETT MAD who has been off for 693 days, and he’ll stay, won’t mind the ground, and is generally safe. WALK IN THE MILL is attempting a unique hat trick having won this race twice before. KIMBERLITE CANDY was 2nd in this in 2019. Down at the bottom of the weights sits COO STAR SIVOLA who is being seriously considered by many pros to win this, despite not having ever seen a National fence, nor having won a race since the 2018 Ultima. He’s now 5lb below his Ultima mark of 142 and despite some slight scoff on my behalf, he might be a Hmm? While I was down at the bottom of the weights, I started looking at CALIPSO COLLONGES from Olly Murphy’s yard. His last runners have produced 3W and 4p. He’s 9p from 19 at Aintree and the more I look at him the more I think he’ll be running off an exact and honest 10st. (3lb out of the handicap – but decent 3lb claimer). He meets many of the trends and his form is decent, as is his trainer’s recent form.
CALLETT MAD e/w – CALIPSO COLLONGES e/w
1:50 SANDOWN Planteur At Chapel Stud Henry VIII Novices’ Chase (G1) Cl1 (4yo+) 1m7½f
Paul Nicholl’s HITMAN caught the eye at Ffos Las LTO and despite his mistake two out, he won well. The three four-year-olds all get a 6lb age allowance from their elders), and the current favourite, G1-winning hurdler ALLMANKIND was impressive when winning his Warwick chasing debut – the runner-up winning a Newbury handicap last weekend. He will try to set the pace with the third 4yo, GA LAW.
Nicholls also runs TAMAROC DU MATHAN who benefits from Nico de Boinville taking the stick, ran decently at Wincanton LTO and might have had something left in the tank, which never needed to be produced. ELDORADO ALLEN is decent and might pick them off at the finish.
HITMAN win – ELDORADO ALLEN e/w
2:05 AINTREE williamhill.com Best Odds Guaranteed Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle Cl1 (3yo) 2m1f
Coincidentally, I know several MEGANs, some of whom feature de temps en temps in my always-charming, sometimes-romantic-in-a-caring way, often-wearing-a-period-costume, dreams. Sometimes, and entirely reasonably, The Hon Mrs Kneesup appears in the same dream and tells me to take off my armour and go and make a cup of tea. Whichever Megan it is, always looks at me sadly as I disappear off and out of her life. Stuart Edmunds bought MEGAN from the Moser stable in Germany, where she was an OK flat racer, however, at her Leicester debut, she was good enough to open up a gap on the run-in and looked decent. She will come on for that and might try to make it pillar to post. Obviously HICONIC and SCHOLASTIC might be able to confound Edmund’s plans, but as per my dreams, I’m hoping MEGAN might turn out to be something special.
2:25 SANDOWN Betfair Tingle Creek Chase (G1) Cl1 (4yo+) 1m7½f
There was an interesting piece in the papers yesterday which gave five reasons why ALTIOR wouldn’t and five reasons why he would win. Let’s assume for the moment that ALTIOR can’t win, then the bottom line is that just POLITOLOGUE, GREANETEEN and ROUGE VIF are left. While Hendo is very positive about ALTIOR, Paul Nicholls thinks POLITOLOGUE has come to his own earlier than normal, although I tend to side with the view that his Champion Chase victory was tactical rather than masterful. While ROUGE VIF will love every hour of drying wind and every degree of the warming sun, he isn’t going to get that, so that leaves me with GREANETEEN vs ALTIOR
ALTIOR Win NR GREANETEEN Win
2:40 AINTREE William Hill Many Clouds Chase (G2) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m1f
Another cracking race with Gold Cup runner-up SANTINI mixing it up with last year’s winner and 2018 Gold Cup winner, NATIVE RIVER, and both keeping half an eye out for FRODON. With only ten starts under his belt, and only beaten a neck in the Gold Cup in March LTO, SANTINI didn’t get a clear run at a critical moment that day and he’ll do for me.
3:00 SANDOWN Betfair Exchange Back And Lay London National Hcp Chase Cl2 (5yo+ 0-150) 3m5f
3:15 AINTREE William Hill Grand Sefton Hcp Chase Cl2 (6yo+) 2m5f
CRIEVEHILL was 6th in this in 2018 and has won Wetherby’s Bobby Renton Handicap Chase, off 138 and then won a decent Haydock handicap off 145. That earned him 155 – and he has now raced badly enough to get back down to 149. He ran well in The Old Roan here in October (152) and appeared to be heading back in the right direction. Given that the 2nd and 6th and the reinvigorated Yorkhill who was Pulled Up that day have all won since CRIEVEHILL’S 8th suggests he could be good for a place here.
I am tempted by SPRINGTOWN LAKE but he was a 9l second to MODUS four weeks ago. Tom O’Brien’s mount gets a 9lb pull at the weights with Modus for that defeat and I think that makes him competitive.
SPRINGTOWN LAKE Win – CRIEVEHILL e/w
3:35 SANDOWN Betfair Exchange December Hcp Hurdle Cl1 (4yo+ 0-150) 2m
This is a competitive hurdle and the 10lb rise for MISTER COFFEY might prevent him from winning again – and his tendency to just run too freely. At around 6/4, I think I’d rather watch his undoubted talent unfold and swerve him on this occasion. Looking for value, JOLLY’S CRACKED IT caught my eye having travelled well to come 5th at Aintree in October, after a 253-day break. NICKOLSON was beaten 5½l by Ribble Valley on his return, who was third in the Fighting Fifth last weekend in spite of the ground being far too fast for him. I think that was decent form.
JOLLY’S CRACKED IT e/w – NICKOLSON e/w