Good morning all,
In the middle of the last week, it looked like we would struggle to have any racing on turf on Saturday. In fact, all three meetings at Kempton, Chepstow and Wincanton took place.
Racing was the winner, in a country were most leisure activities have been curtailed. ITV offered the watching public a tasty menu of ten races and it was non-stop action. For many in isolation the ITV racing coverage has been the one big highlight in an horrendous nine months. For how long it will continue is anyone guess, given their hints that the British Government may tighten lockdown restrictions further this week.
A normally low-key Saturday was enlivened by the re-arranged Coral Welsh Grand National at Chepstow. The race was another win by a Welsh trained horse, as well backed favourite Secret Reprieve comfortably held off his rivals to give trainer Evan Williams a first win in the race.
Inside the main piece you can read my thoughts on Saturday's action. Plus, I have selection from Doncaster.
You can never be sure where you are with Paul Nicholls horses in January. It’s around this time of year when he vaccinates his horses for flu. There was no problem with those who ran on Saturday, as the trainer had a 10,419/1 seven timer with doubles at Chepstow and Wincanton and, a Kempton treble that included my ante post selection Master Tommytucker in the Silviniaco Conti Chase. More on him later.
Jacob shares headlines
Daryl Jacob shared the headline with Nicholls with a 3,275/1 five timer at Wincanton. All five for different trainers, including one for his old boss.
No Reprieve for me
At 5/2 I can happily let Secret Reprieve win a Welsh Grand National. I think we all expected the race to be run on heavy ground. Well looking at the times at Chepstow it was good to soft and not the slog in the mud which had looked likely for most of last week.
Yala Enki and The Two Amigos duelled for the early lead and both put in a good jumping display. However, you could see the well handicapped Secret Reprieve travelling powerfully in midfield. He moved smoothly into second five out before taking up the lead from The Two Amigos. Despite a slipping breath girth, he went onto win a by a comfortable three lengths.
The Two Amigos who had finished fifth in the previous years race ran on all the way to the line but just came up against a very well handicapped horse on the day. It was a career best by the consistent 9-year-old.
Yala Enki has now finished third in the last three Welsh Grand National’s. When the winner went past him five out you wondered if the 11-year-old had run his race. However, to his credit, the top weight battled on to finish third, a neck behind the runner-up.
Captain Drake who had run poorly on his two previous starts, ran well to finish fourth in the first-time tongue tie. This run was at the same level as his second in last seasons Midlands National.
One of my race selections Bobo Mac was given a patient ride. He was getting into contention when making a mistake three out and but for that would have finished closer. He proved his stamina for a 3m 6f and connections can now race him a bit more handily in future.
Master Tommytucker completes
I said in Wednesday’s column that I really liked the chance of Master Tommytucker in the Silviniaco Conti Chase and I thought the 5/1 available was a fair price. Well it turned into shrewd ante post bet as the 10-year-old overcame a bad mistake at the last to win easily.
Just the four went to post but they did include favourite Imperial Aura. The race fell into Master Tommytucker’s lap when the favourite unseated his rider at the second. From then it was all about whether the Nicholls horse would make a stupid mistake as he had done previously at the venue.
Coming to the last he was well clear of his two remaining rivals but it was real heart in his mouth stuff, well it was for me, as he made a terrible mistake at the last. He overcame that mishap though to register a twelve-length success.
Fingers crossed Hereford passes an early morning inspection but no problems are anticipated for Doncaster seven race card. There’s also all-weather action from Wolverhampton and Dundalk.
It’s to Doncaster that I head for today’s selection.
3:10 – Hawthorn Cottage made all to win this race 12 months ago, off 10lb lower, and then followed up at Plumpton, off 2lb lower. Not at that level on her three starts so far this season but shaped with more encouragement when 3rd of 5 at Plumpton 35-days ago. The cheekpieces she normally wears are replaced by first-time blinkers. If the new headgear has the desired effect she’s got a good chance of following up last year’s success.
Good luck with your Monday bets.
John Burke is the tipster behind the long standing Victor Value service you can join him here – https://victorvalue.uk