Grand National Trial
3m4f — Grade 3 H’cap Chase — Heavy
Okay, so first things first, you’re probably wondering who the heck I am. So please allow me to briefly introduce myself – and feel free to skip straight to my preview of this week’s Haydock Grand National Trial if you’re in a rush!
My name is Connor Gallagher. I’m 20 years old, and I’ve been earning a very healthy full-time income from betting on horse racing for the last 4 years. I’ve had a keen interest in racing ever since I was a kid, and had my first bet at around the age of 11. A very different story to many of the so-called “tipsters” I am sure you will agree.
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Secondly, you’ll also be glad to hear that I’m not going to insult your intelligence by saying that I’ve made millions from betting. I haven’t. I don’t live in a luxury mansion in the centre of Newmarket, and I don’t claim to have access to any “inside information” either.
My selection process combines trends and statistical analysis with in-depth form study in an aim to identify “value” and unearth regular big-priced winners. I bet mainly in the top-class races – i.e. big handicaps, graded races, and the major meetings such as Cheltenham and Aintree.
Today I wanted to give you a feel for how my new Trends Betting service works, by giving you the lowdown and highlighting the value in the Haydock Grand National Trial. I’ll also be contributing to the Daily Punt website on a more regular basis so if you enjoy this article be sure to stay tuned for more of the same!
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Anyway, let’s get crackin’…
Silver By Nature
Won this in 2010 and followed-up in great style under top weight in 2011, so has to be respected, but he’s been off the track since finishing well-beaten in that year’s Grand National and it’s hard to say how much ability he retains. He’s 11 years old now, and despite a record that reads F211 on heavy ground at 3 miles and beyond, his form figures after a break are somewhat less impressive and it’s likely this is just a starting point.
Very lightly-raced for a 9yo, this Welsh National 2nd has a very strong trends profile but is without the assistance of Tony McCoy from the saddle this time. He stays all day and ought to handle conditions well, but I’m not sure whether this flatter track will see him to best effect, although the slight uphill finish should play to his strengths. Another question mark is obviously whether he can reverse form with Monbeg Dude as, despite being 3lbs better off with his Chepstow conqueror today, the winner didn’t jump well at all at Chepstow and was given a perfectly-timed ride by Paul Carberry.
A three-time course winner and confirmed mud-lover, this one finished 5th in last year’s Welsh National and has been steadily improving since, resulting in a 16lb rise in the handicap. He rarely runs a bad race, has a strong trends profile and looks sure to run creditably with Tom O’ Brien (3-5) booked to ride. I just don’t think he’ll be quite good enough on the day, and he had a tough race at Ffos Las.
Last year’s winner ran very well for a long way at Chepstow, jumping soundly in front and was only headed entering the straight. He stopped very quickly that day but was entitled to in such wintery conditions given that he’d been off the track since pulling-up in the Grand National. Of course, he’s 6lbs higher than when beating Neptune Collonges in this last year, but it’s possible he can bounce back today and it’s certainly worth noting that Denis O’ Regan is riding again as surely that’s a hint that he still retains much of his ability. This year’s renewal looks tougher, however.
A quirky and improving young horse that clearly has his own way of doing things and was given a fantastic waiting ride by Paul Carberry in the Welsh National. It may also be worth noting that he was the only hold-up horse to finish within the first 5 at Chepstow – all of the others had raced prominently – and this, coupled with the fact that his jumping left an awful lot to be desired, arguably makes his victory all the more meritorious. This flatter circuit shouldn’t be an issue, and the slight uphill finish should play to his strengths, but the fences are stiffer here and his jumping will have to improve. He boasts a perfect trends profile and Carberry rides again, but he’s never ridden at Haydock before.
A course and distance winner last year, this one possesses stamina in abundance and handles all types of going. He’s slightly overexposed in comparison to many of these, and is arguably quite a bit short of top class, but has been campaigned somewhat shrewdly and could be the one to spring a surprise. Danny Cook takes the ride and he’s won on him around here before. Very strong trends profile also.
Another who probably isn’t quite top class, but is a tough sort that has been running well consistently without winning. He seems to handle all kinds of going, but his better efforts have been on undulating tracks on better ground. That’s a worry, as is the fact he’s French-bred, but most alarmingly his record at beyond 3 miles is 0-4-12.
Rigadin De Beauchene
Improved markedly for the step-up in distance last time – winning Warwick’s Grade 3 Classic Chase – and clearly likes soft ground. He’s still very unexposed for an 8yo, and even further improvement looks likely. He’s another who possesses a fine trends profile, despite being French-bred, and his owner won this with Miko De Beauchene in 2008, who was also subsequently transferred to Venetia Williams. My only worry is that this is a much tougher race than he has contested before, and another step forward is definitely needed. He’ll probably be overbet and doesn’t offer much value in my opinion.
An interesting one at the bottom of the weights trained by canny Sussex handler Gary Moore, with 3lb claimer and son Joshua Moore riding. He had the beating of subsequent Grade 3 winner Rigadin De Beauchene two starts ago, on heavy ground, but was receiving a stone in weight that day and has risen 21lbs since. His jumping is another worry and the last 17 winners of this contest had already finished 1st or 2nd in a Class 2. He hasn’t.
A progressive stayer who looks sure to be better suited to a faster surface, albeit he’s won on soft. He often races in blinkers, but didn’t have them on when beating Major Malarkey at Sandown two runs ago. That’s his best effort to date and, whilst he’s arguably open to further progress and despite his trainer’s good record here, others are readily preferred today.
Very lightly-raced for a Philip Hobbs-trained 11-year-old, he’s extremely versatile and looks well-handicapped. His 3rd in the Welsh National was only his second run back from a long layoff, having previously finished 4th in Sandown’s Bet365 Gold Cup, and it’s possible he’ll come on again for that last run. He’s also dropped another 2lbs in the handicap, with James Best taking off an additional 3lbs, and is weighted to go close. On the other hand, his trainer’s chasers are just 1-16 at the track, so that’s a slight worry.
Overall a very competitive handicap containing a large number of improving horses taking on their older rivals, including winners of the last three renewals.
Monbeg Dude is undoubtedly the pick of the bunch from a statistical angle and offers decent value, albeit Welsh National runner-up Teaforthree also has sound claims and so too does Triggerman, who finished 3rd at Chepstow and looks extremely well-handicapped based on his form from a couple of seasons ago.
Three-time course winner Cannington Brook obviously excels in these conditions and ought to be respected under Tom O’ Brien, whereas Warwick winner Rigadin De Beauchene faces stiffer opposition today and needed every yard of the 3m5f trip last time out. It’s possible he’ll find this a lot tougher from a 9lb higher mark.
Of the remainder, Neptune Equester has a brilliant trends profile and should be staying on at the finish provided he can remain in touch in this higher grade, and he also looks appealing at the likely odds.