I had to go to town last week for a memorial to celebrate a good, racing, gentle man – the space is deliberate. Nicky was there, having trained for him, and post-service we chewed the fat for almost three hours with a bunch of mutual racing chums and his . I personally gave thanks that David Minton had been unable to attend, thus allowing me to swerve a monumental evening of trouble. We didn’t discuss racing much, it was just the idle chat of men saying goodbye to a chum, and chats about health and hopes and politics and somebody mentioned Ted Walsh. I cannot remember the context, but once back I did some digging to see why Ted, Head of Walsh, Walsh, Walsh, Walsh and Walsh LLC (Racing Services to the Irish Gentry) had come into my mental view.
Eventually I cracked it. Someone from Ireland had suggested I keep an eye out for ANY SECOND NOW, who won last year’s Kim Muir. In 2017 he won a G2 Novice Hurdle at Punchestown, so has some class and he’s transitioned well to Chasing with a couple of places behind Footpad at Leopardstown. He’s in the Festival this weekend, running in the 4:00 Handicap Chase over 2m5f and he’s 14/1 against decent opposition. However, his target is The Grand National where he is 33/1 generally. I’m told his probable plan is to run in the BobbyJo Chase on 22nd Feb at Fairyhouse, by which time the National weights will have been published. Option 1 wait for the weights or Option 2 back him now. I’ve gone for the latter.
Off to lunch so curtailed tips for today – but you will see from an earlier post that astonishingly (and provably), we are dead level on our tips.
So today I firstly mention a couple that aren’t on telly, but FAKIR D’OUDAIRES will battle it out with NOTEBOOK in the Irish Arkle at 2:00. A win plus a SFC might be in order. In the Irish Champion Hurdle hard to see past SHARJAH
1:50 SANDOWN Betway Contenders Hurdle (Listed Race) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m4
CALL ME LORD – ELDORADO ALLEN. They’re too short for me and I have no strong views. On trends and market moves, I marginally prefer Eldorado.
2:05 MUSSELBURGH bet365 Scottish County Hurdle (A Handicap) Cl2 (4yo+) 1m7½f4
ASHINGTON has been backed all morning and the only question appears to be whether GROVEMAN or SIR CHAUVELIN will fill the places. I fancy a small e/w on Groveman.
2:25 SANDOWN Betway Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) Cl1 (5yo+) 2m4f4
ITCHY FEET. Trends, markets, itch feet feeling. Best value horse running today. Should be 4s, but I’m taking all the 17/2 I can get e/w.
2:45 WETHERBY William Hill Towton Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) Cl1 (5yo+) 3m4
BOLDMERE is the trends horse and favourite, but Oliver Sherwood sends DOMINATEUR to prep up for a potential GN tilt and he has a progressive profile. I’m expecting a decent showing for his first run in Graded company.
3:00 SANDOWN Betway Heroes Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m7½f4
GRAND MORNING – BIG SHARK – REMASTERED – COOLE CODY. I am struggling to put you off any of these four. Dutched (adjusting your stake to return a profit on four win bets) you’d be getting 2/1 about your money. Alternatively back the two longest priced horses e/w
3:15 MUSSELBURGH bet365 Edinburgh National Handicap Chase Cl2 (5yo+ 0-150) 4m1f4
ARTHURS GIFT has been backed this morning and benefits from having 5lb off with his decent claimer. If HARRY THE VIKING weren’t 15 I’d be having a pop, so instead I’ll have a look at BRIAN BORANHA who will hopefully not have had his confidence dented too much with his fall LTO
3:35 SANDOWN Betway Masters Handicap Chase Cl2 (5yo+) 3m4
Plenty of very good animals in what looks like a wide-open contest. CLASSIC BEN looks a decent favourite, but both MISTER MALARKEY and AMI DES BOIS are capable of taking the apple cart and running off with it. A combination forecast with all three perhaps? Certainly the latter horses backed e/w.