Today the big race is the World Hurdle and that’s a long race (3 miles) so it takes a special horse to run that far and that fast – flat horses need not usually trouble themselves with this one (although remember Nomadic Way for one!). And that horse Alderbrook would be gasping before he could get to the end of this race.
In the last 11 years the race has been won by only five horses: Iris’s Gift, My way de Solzen, Baracouda (twice), Inglis Drever (three times) and Big Buck’s (four times) but since none of them is running this year that doesn’t help us much.
One of my favourite horses is running in this race – Oscar Whisky. OW is a favourite not just because his name includes a strong hint as to how you should celebrate his victory but because he is a very good horse and wins lots of races. He is a bit unlucky in that he is very good at winning races at 2.5miles and this race is over 3 miles (and history shows that that extra 880 yards makes a lot of difference) and Tuesday’s Champion Hurdle is over 2 miles (and those approximately 880 fewer yards in the other direction make quite a lot of difference too). So I would love OW to win this race (provided I haven’t backed anything else), and he is the favourite at 4/1 but I can’t quite see that as a good bet.
Reve de Sivola does stay 3 miles but I don’t like him nearly as much and anyway he is only 4/1 as well. So it may be a race to avoid betting on this year.
Fortunately there is the Ryanair Chase – also over 2.5 miles but this one is over fences. This race has been very simple for the last three years. Alberta’s Run has won it twice and come second last year – at odds of 14/1, 6/1 and 10/1 respectively (and I got significantly better odds than those in each year). Although Alberta’s Run is running again this year, and runs well fresh, and runs well in the spring, and runs well at Cheltenham, and is clearly proven over this distance, I think his best days are behind him and even at 14/1 I can’t see that as a value each-way bet.
I can’t quite see any of the horses who are entered in this race winning it – yes, I know one of them has to, almost certainly, but I can’t see which one. The intermediate distance is perfect for some horses (like Alberta’s Run in this race, and OW in hurdles) but it doesn’t suit others and I can make out a case for most other horses that they need a longer or shorter trip.
So maybe this isn’t a day for making money this year even though it has been a good one for me in other years.
And as for yesterday – it was an almost-winning day. Back in Focus won the first race (I didn’t think he would) but I backed the third horse each way. And Sprinter Sacre cruised through the Champion Chase looking like a class horse. Sizing Tennessee’s odds tumbled before the Bumper, suggesting that confidence in him was high, but he ran very poorly. Oh well – it was an almost-winning day.
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