Friday, 6 November 2015

Aintree and Wincanton

Paul Nicholls really targets this Wincanton meeting because in the last 5 years he has had 12 winners at it including 3 in the Rising Stars Novices chase which in a 10 year period he was won 6 times!
Overall his strike rate is 29% at the track and that is only topped by Dan Skelton whose strike rate is 33% albeit from fewer runners but that's not to say his strike rate won't become even better over the coming years. Neither stable had any runners yesterday and they both remain in good form.
It's disappointing that Paul Nicholls does not send one runner up to Aintree.
Harry Skelton takes the rides at Wincanton for his brother Dan whilst Bridget Andrews goes up to Aintree for some decent rides.

Paul Nicholls
12.20 - Marracudja had a breathing operation over the summer. After his run at Doncaster last December he was put away. He duly rewarded patience when he made a comfortable winning return here on 25th October in a Class 4 novices hurdle. He jumps well and the hood remains on and he will need all his concentration here if he is to beat Philip Hobbs Wishful Dreaming who is a nice prospect who likewise returned with a win following his Listed bumper win at Cheltenham last season. With one fifth the odds on the first three you will have more chance of winning something if you look to see what will come third to these two short priced runners.

1.30 - Arpege d'Alene has always been thought of as a chaser in the making and he is half brother to Hennessy winner Triolo D'Alene. He is a scopey horse who has the potential to go to the very top over the larger obstacles having matured that much more over the summer. He was no slouch over hurdles either beating Tea For Two rated 153 on level weights at Ascot. He has schooled well over fences at home and he follows the likes of Turko, Ornais, Breedsbreeze, Silviniaco Conti, Wonderful Charm and Southfield Theatre to have won this race for Paul Nicholls. However the likely short odds put me off and a more interesting runner price wise may be Warren Greatrex's Warrantor (13/2) who is held in high regard and looks like making up into a useful novice.

2.05 - Benvolio was beaten a short head in last seasons Welsh National and that is presumably his target again. He finished 4th in this race last season off 139 and is 6lb higher now and he needs soft going to show his best as he stays and stays and unless it rains a bit more he's best watched.

          The Ould Lad is a new addition to the stable having arrived recently from Tom George. He has relatively few miles on the clock and won two handicap chases off marks of 110 and 118. He starts the season on a mark of 125 and Paul Nicholls is no stranger to improving horses that have lost their way. He is sure to have been rigorously schooled at Ditcheat to get his jumping in order. Only a 7yo he remains a horse of potential and is one of those you could be saying afterwards how did I not back him off that rating but the miserly 7/2 on offer isn't tempting.

3.15 - Irving runs here instead of making the trip up to Aintree. He won the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle last season and that race will presumably be on his agenda again-although soft ground is a major requirement for him to show his best. He usually needs a run to bring him to the boil but hat said he was mounting a strong challenge in this last season when falling at the last on going similar to today's.

          All Yours won the Grade 1 4yo hurdle at Aintree as well as running some other good races and the plan has always been to start him off in this. He is a half brother to the stables Lac Fontana. He never stopped progressing last season and the likelihood is that he has not stood still over the summer as he has matured. This season should see him progress and I would imagine he will be cherry ripe here and the track and going should be perfect and I expect a big run.

3.50 - Bol d'Air wears a first time hood on this his first start for Paul Nicholls. He has come from the same source as All Yours having run and won impressively in France. He has the potential to be decent and Harry Cobden who rode a winner at Cheltenham recently takes the ride to off set his penalty.

          Fazakerley is a horse I know little about and presumably we will know more after this run but they both have to beat Alan King's Big Chief Benny.

Dan Skelton
1.30 - Long House Hall had been unbeaten in three races for the stable since arriving from Ireland prior to his fall at Cheltenham. He had been impressive in his wins and the form had been franked. The stable had planned to bring him to this race prior to his Cheltenham fall. He has plenty of speed and normally jumps well so it is hoped his fall doesn't bother him too much and the stable think quite highly of him. He should like the good to soft going and should give a good account against the likes of Arpege d'Alene(see above), the highly thought of Warrantor and Alan King's talented mare L'Unique.

2.05 - Wilton Milan ran eight times for Paul Nicholls last season winning just the once at Newbury in a Class 3 Conditional Jockeys Handicap Chase over 2m 2f 64y on going described as Soft. That was off a mark of 123. He is currently rated 130 and he ran a reasonable race from 2lb out of the handicap on his return at Chepstow over a distance short of his best. The stable planned to bring him here and he should appreciate the good to soft going. Although he's only on 10-7 there are others such as The Ould Lad(see above) who might be better handicapped, however this will let the stable know where they fit in with his rating and I would expect him to fill one of the places as I didn't think he ran that badly at Chepstow.

3.15 - Zarib was bought out of Mick Halford's yard and has run just the 5 times over hurdles to date so remains open to improvement. He led over the last in last seasons Fred Winter at Cheltenham before finishing 6th. He is said to travel and jump well and is regarded as one to follow. He has won at the track before and hopefully he can take advantage of his current handicap hurdle rating of 133 at some stage. The stable ran two decent hurdlers last weekend but both seemed to be needing the run to bring them on and Zarib may be the same and on this occasion I feel more inclined to side with Nicholls All Yours.

1.55 - Just A Normal Day got a bit crowded out on his last run at Newton Abbot, having travelled well, to finish 4th beaten 2 lengths. He drops a couple of furlongs here and the going should be fine as long as it doesn't get any softer. He remains open to progress having only run 8 times but he's up against some decent sorts from top stables such as flat bred Broxbourne who switches here rather than contest the mares hurdle at Wincanton.

3.05 - Upepito came to the stable having run six times for Venetia Williams winning once at Warwick in a Class 3 Handicap Chase over 2m off a mark of 124. It was though that he didn't finish his races and has been operated on his wind over the summer. He is considered to be an ideal type to go two and a half miles and is on a workable mark of 128. He started the season in the Bobby Renton Handicap Chase at Wetherby over 2m 3 and half on good. In that race he finished 2nd to Village Vic(won again today) beaten a neck and that lack of race may have just cost him. He may enjoy the slightly softer going here and with Bridget Andrews claim he can run off 10-1 and should give a very good account of himself.

Hopefully I may get the chance to go to Aintree on Saturday and at this stage I have noted One Cool Scorpion, Carraci Apache, Broxbourne and The Fresh Prince on my short list from other stables.

Well there is a lot to get your head round there and I hope you appreciate how long it takes to write up this sort of monumental post. If you do profit from any winnings as result of the blog write ups then please fell free to hit the donate button.


3.15 Wincanton - ALL YOURS, 1 point win @ 3/1 Coral, William Hill, Betfred and others
3.05 Aintree - UPEPITO 1 point win @ 9/4 Bet365
2.05 - Wincanton WILTON MILAN 0.50 points ew @ 11/1 Totesport, Betfred, Betvictor and Paddy Power

I'm afraid Sunday is a day of rest in this house - so your on your own ! that Winner Massagot and Chef d'Oeuvre may be worth a check out at Sandown.

Good Luck!

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