Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Absolute Beginners!

This week has seen the passing of a great idol of mine in David Bowie and the world will be a smaller place without him. Artists of that age and talent are slowly starting to leave us after being with us through the ups and downs of our hectic and mundane lives. Technology, whilst good, has also robbed us of raw musical talent - which has largely disappeared from popular music. For instance I was looking at the cover notes for Jeff Lynne's (ELO) "Alone In The Universe" CD and I was very surprised to see that he did not only the lead and background vocals but also the guitars, piano, bass, drums, keyboards and vibes - what more can I say.

Back to the racing and today both Dan Skelton and Paul Nicholls have a runner or two at Taunton which has somehow managed to survive the biblical rain that we have been having lately and although 4.2 on the going stick it's still on.

Dan Skelton has his first runner for a week with his last Value At Risk falling at the 2nd fence that day.

Paul Nicholls is PUU13 since his treble at Doncaster but the jockey and trainer have a 44% strike rate when teaming up here - I thought that both Nicholls runners in the Welsh National ran well considering the conditions and I will be keeping an eye out for them on less testing going. Harry Cobden on Black Thunder fell off at the 13th fence having nearly fell off at the 12th - it certainly wasn't unseated rider, but there's nothing else they can put down.

Just on the Welsh National it was a great performance by the winner who showed age was no barrier to a good run in the race. It is often wise to look at the older brigade when the going is attritional because they are stronger than the younger horses as we have often seen in the Grand National. 

Paul Nicholls
Taunton - Heavy
2.40 Easter Day has suffered all sorts of problems over the last year or so and he ran well enough back over hurdles at Cheltenham on 14/11 when 6th of 16. Previously he was sensibly pulled up by Sam Twiston-Davies after three fences at Kempton when he was unsettled by jumping into the back of another horse at the first fence. He is said to be on a fair mark over both hurdles and fences(138c) and he resumes his chasing career here in a Class 3 handicap chase over 2m 7f  3y in a field of 8 runners. He has not worn cheek pieces in a chase before so the stable will be hoping they will help as he has not won a race for over 2 years now. Last time at Newbury was disappointing as he dropped away tamely after 3 out and the jury is out as to whether he will stay this far on this heavy going - but he certainly has the talent within as he beat O'Faolains Boy in 2013 when conceding 4lb and he's now rated 156c and that has got bookmakers at odds with each other over what price he should be.

3.10 The Brock Again hasn't run for 418 days and he returns here in the Bathwick Tyres Class 3 handicap hurdle having dropped 4lbs to 123h. The reason for his absence has been a combination of wind issues and a leg injury which are now all clear. He should have no problem with the going as both his wins in France on the flat came in similar conditions and the 12lb he receives from the fav Pull The Chord should be a big help. He's generally available at 7/2 which is fair if he shows improvement for his time off.

Dan Skelton
1.10 Churchtown Champ has his second run for the stable having fell at the 4th fence on his debut at Leicester having made the running to that point. If he is none the worse for that he could go reasonably well as the stable do well with horses from other yards.

The Hunter Chase season is back ! -  they are often races in which you can pick up some easy cash as half the field are usually hopeless whether it be the jockey or the horse !....however today's event seems to be a fair race of it's type although the official ratings go between 88 and 139. The two on 139 Chance Du Roy and Join Together look to be favourably weighted and that is why they are at the head of the market along with the proven 13yo Pearlysteps.
Of the jockeys Will Biddick must be worth an ew punt on Viking Blond at odds of 28/1 and drifting.

The Brock Again - 1 point win at 7/2

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