Thank Nick it's Friday 🙂
Nick Hardman (http://bettinginsiders.com) is back with tips for today's racing at Exeter and tomorrow at Sandown and Aintree.
By the way Nick also has an excellent article in the December On Course Profits magazine which explains his methods for finding winning trainer angles.
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Over to Nick…
I have been working on some betting angles for the AW Championships that I will share with you as soon as they are ready. For a bit of a change I have taken a look at Friday’s card from Exeter which features three valuable races. We follow that up with a trends analysis and some pointers for the Becher Chase and my fancies for the Tingle Creek and the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase.
Exeter hosts a really good card today including a £12k Novice Chase, a £15k Handicap Chase and the £12k Devon Marathon Handicap chase over 4 miles. I have gone through the card in search of value plays and worthwhile betting opportunities.
The novice chase at 1.10pm is a fascinating race featuring a couple of smart former hurdlers in Deputy Dan (2nd in the 2014 Albert Bartlett and rated 145 over hurdles) and Saphir Du Rheu (Lanzarote hurdle winner and Welsh Champion hurdle winner last season and rated 168). Deputy Dan has form figures 21 over fences.
He was beaten on debut by Virak who has since followed up in impressive fashion at Haydock. Deputy Dan won his next start, beating Far West who was also a decent hurdler. That gives him a form line with Dunraven Storm (who also beat Far West) who won a Grade 2 Novice Chase at Cheltenham’s November meeting.
Saphir Du Rheu unseated on debut but is held in high regard by Paul Nicholls and he would win this if translating his hurdles form to fences. Connections (same ownership as Big Buck’s and Celestial Halo) have said they might go back over hurdles if he fails to perform here. If you think he won’t get round you can lay him for a place on the exchanges at around 1.10. If pushed for a tip I would go for Deputy Dan on that form line with Dunraven Storm.
The handicap chase at 1.40pm will probably see Paul Nicholl’s Wilton Milan go off favourite following an impressive win last time out that saw him finally get off the mark over fences. However, I am happy to take him on and the two that interest me are Workbench and Umberto D’Olivate.
Workbench has been on the go since August notching 3 wins in the process. His last two starts were a decent 5th of 11 behind John’s Spirit at Cheltenham and a 4th (revised to 3rd) in the Badger Ales Trophy over further than ideal. He travelled as well as anything that day before making a bad mistake.
The drop in trip could work out well but the concern is that all three wins came on good ground. His trainer Dan Skelton has said he does not want it soft. However, his last two runs were on good to soft so I will definitely be backing him if the going has the word “good” in it.
Umberto D’Olivate was very progressive last season, rattling off a hat-trick and he will come on for his seasonal reappearance. The slight concern is that his best form is over shorter so this trip might just stretch him.
The Devon Marathon Chase has a small field and the 4 miles takes some getting. It is another race that features a few horses with smart previous form and it also lends itself to a trends analysis.
No 6yo has won this since 2000 and no horse in that time has carried more than 11st 10lbs to victory. All of the last 5 winners were rated 110+ and all of the winners completed their previous race.
That leaves us with Reblis, Adrenalin Flight and Gorgehous Lliege.
Reblis is back down to his last winning mark but has shown nothing on his last two starts. He has won over 3m 5f on heavy off today’s mark of 119 so should see out the trip if in the right mood.
Adrenalin Flight has 49 lengths to find with Gorgehous Lliege but gets a 17lb pull in the weights. I doubt that will make much difference though as Gorgehous Lliege looks quite progressive over staying trips and should go close if this does not come too soon.
Reblis and Gorgehous Lliege are the two trends horses against the field. For the brave amongst you, Flying Award has won a Devon National, a Highland National and a Somerset National. However, his form figures since read PP0. I’ll leave that one up to you.
The Becher Chase is run over the Grand National fences where the horses jump 21 obstacles over a trip of 3m 2f. 16 of the last 17 winners had a top 5 finish LTO. Only one 7yo has won since 1997 and 8 of the last 9 winners were aged 9yo or older. The last 9 winners were all rated 130+ and only one of the last 13 winners carried 11st 7lb or more. In fact 10 of the last 13 winners carried under 11st. 15 of the last 17 winners had between 0 and 2 season runs and 8 of the last 11 winners had won over 3m or further.
The one horse who ticks all the boxes is Benbens for Nigel Twiston-Davies. The two that who fall down on just the one trend are Knock A Hand for Richard Lee and Renard for Venetia Williams. This may be a prep run for Knock a Hand ahead of a tilt at the Welsh National, Benbens has had just 6 chase starts and Renard looks a shade high in the weights. None of these are really fancied in the market and I have not seen them tipped up anywhere, but we rolled the trends dice and that’s what we have.
If you are not a fan of trends then there are a couple of other ways of looking at the race and one is course experience.
There are plenty of horses who have shown they jump these fences well including Saint Are, last year’s winners Chance Du Roy and Mr Moonshine. However the most interesting could be Across The Bay @25/1 who led the last two Grand Nationals for a fair way.
In 2013 he led until fence 26 and last year he was bowling along in front until carried into a different post code by a loose horse after fence 16. However, usual jockey Jason Maguire opts to ride Donald McCain’s other runner Kruzhlinin who is an even bigger price @40/1.
Despite this I think Across The Bay could well give each-way backers a run for their money. Saint Are @14/1 is probably the best handicapped horse in the race here off 127 which is 10lbs lower than his last winning mark. He ran his best race in a long time on his first start for Tom George at Cheltenham in November and he has attracted some support this week. It’s a wide open race and a case can be made for most of the runners. I will probably back the trends horses and Across The Bay to small stakes with any bookmaker offering 5 places. It would be a pleasant surprise if one of them were to win.
The Grand Sefton Chase looks like a cracking renewal. The trends on this one are not that strong but the one horse that ticks the most boxes (aged 8yo -10yo, rated 123+, carrying less than 11st 5lbs and a top 5 finish LTO) is Rebel Rebellion who attempts back to back wins off a 5lbs higher mark. 8/1 is plenty short enough.
One I like at a bigger price is Dolatulo who has a good form line through Court By Surprise (promoted to winner of the Badger Ales Trophy after disqualification of Young Master) whom he walloped by 35 lengths at Stratford back in March. His seasonal reappearance behind Sound Investment was a great prep for this race considering the 1st and 4th from that race occupied the front two places of the novice chase at Newbury on the first day of the Hennessy meeting. Up To Something for Charlie Longsdon could also outrun his price if taking to these fences.
The Tingle Creek has been far more straightforward for me. I think God’s Own has a huge chance and I have backed him @9/2 even when he held another entry in the novice chase on the same card. If Somersby brings his A-game he should give each-way backers a decent run for their money @10/1.
So there are my thoughts for Friday and Saturday and hopefully a few pointers for you. Racing is all about having an opinion and the conviction to back it up with a wager. With that in mind only back the selections below if you agree with my thoughts and analysis. Good luck if you are having a bet this weekend.
Exeter 1.10pm Deputy Dan @6/4
Exeter 1.40pm Umberto D’Olivate @12/1 & Workbench @6/1 (good or good-to-soft)
Exeter 3.20pm Reblis @20/1 & Gorgehous Lliege 3/1 (trends horses), Flying Award @20/1 (for the brave)
Sandown 3.00pm God’s Own @9/2 and Somersby @10/1 (each-way alternative)
Aintree 1.30pm Benbens @20/1, Knock A Hand @20/1 & Renard @25/1 (trends horses), Across The Bay @25/1 (each-way alternative), Saint Are @14/1 (best handicapped)
Ainree 3.25pm Rebel Rebellion @8/1 (trends horse) and Dolatulo 14/1 (each-way alternative)