Members selections – Saturday 14th February

I hope at least some of you took the opportunity to back Coneygree at 33/1 for the Gold Cup last Friday. It proved to be a smart move. The horse won Saturday’s Denman Chase at Newbury in fine style and now connections are talking very seriously about sending him for the Gold Cup rather than the RSA Chase next month.
I think they will. They made the point this week that he won’t be able to come back and win an RSA Chase if he goes for this season’s Gold Cup. But that he could run in a future Gold Cup if he goes for the RSA this time round. That’s fair enough. But in waiting 12 months you always take the risk that the horse won’t be where he is now in terms of form or fitness, and they recognise that. They should strike this year whilst the iron is hot. But, of course, I’m biased now I have a vested interest….

Mark Bradstock’s horse is now as short as 8/1 in places for the Gold Cup. Ladbrokes are up at 16/1 but they aren’t offering Non-Runner-No-Bet (NRNB) which accounts for their apparent largesse. The bottom line is that we are sitting on vouchers about Coneygree at a nice price. And, of course, if he doesn’t end up running in the Gold Cup then we’ll get our stakes back anyway (assuming you did the sensible thing and struck your bet with a bookie offering NRNB!). Good business.

Lots of nice races tomorrow in Britain and Ireland, but lots of small field too where the markets aren’t particularly conducive to getting involved. Not to worry though, a few good bets present themselves in good races at Haydock and Ascot….

2.20 Haydock, The Rendlesham Hurdle (Grade2)

Selections:

Land of Vic 1pt win (11/2 generally)

Race Analysis:

Peter Bowen’s Land Of Vic can land this season’s edition of the Rendlesham Hurdle at Haydock tomorrow afternoon and at 11/2 is an attractive enough price to do so.
The two shorter priced rivals she faces tomorrow are both up against it. Last season’s winner Seeyouatmidnight must give weight all round on what is his first appearance this term following an injury and race favourite At Fishers Cross, whilst benefitting from the distribution of weights, simply isn’t running up to his mark and has been falling short of what he produced last term with mistakes at his hurdles becoming a bad habit.
Land Of Vic gets her ideal conditions, three miles on soft ground and will have learnt a bit from her first go at Graded level last time at Ascot. A couple of mistakes made life difficult that afternoon but she showed what’s she’s all about when rallying and making up plenty of ground in the straight. With a clear round she might well have won as she was only 1.5 lengths at the end.
The cheek-pieces have been removed for tomorrow’s run and if she can cut out the errors tomorrow afternoon she’s good value at the price to put in another upwardly mobile performance against horses with questions to answer.

2.55 Haydock, Betfred Grand National Trial (Grade 3 Handicap)

Selections:

Broadway Buffalo 1pt win (8/1 generally)

Race Analysis:

David Pipe’s yard is going along very nicely at the moment and his Broadway Buffalo makes appeal at 8/1.
At his best over hurdles the 7-year-old was officially rated 140 and produced a best Racing Post rating of 150. If he’s going to live up to expectations and be much better over the bigger obstacles, then his current chase rating of 137 suggests he’s potentially very nicely treated tomorrow.
He’s two wins from two appearances at Haydock (one over hurdles) and the track was the scene of his best effort to date over fences, when winning the Tommy Whittle in November.
This is a step-up in trip and, to some extent, a step into the unknown. But it is also the case that the extra distance will be the missing variable that serves to produce the improvement his hurdle ratings suggest he can find over fences. When performing at Haydock this horse has stayed on well, kept on finding extra and has plenty of stamina on his dam side to call on.

3.50 Ascot, Betfair Ascot Chase (Grade 1)

Selections:

Ballycasey 1pt win (4/1 generally)

Race Analysis:

Ballycasey showed real promise last term as a novice, winning the Grade 1 Moriarty Novice Chase at Leopardstown in February. Since then though he’s fallen a bit flat.
I think some of that has to do with being run at trips that don’t quite suit as well as 21f. He’s been outstayed at 3 miles and beyond a couple of times and his last time out effort can be put down to being run at a less than ideal 17f.
Today he’s back at what looks like his optimum trip and if he’s going to prove himself a genuine Grade 1 horse then it is all set up for him at Ascot. He’s a good jumper, the ground will be fine for him and, when you consider that at 20f to 22f over hurdles and fences he’s never been beaten when he’s completed, he represents a reasonable bet at the generally available 4/1.
There’s been some money for the horse today and whilst we’ve missed the price he was trading at this morning I think the 4/1 is acceptable given that Ptit Zig is inexperienced and stepping up in class whilst Balder Success, until recently thought of as a 2-miler, is going further than he’s ever gone before.

That concludes the advice for this weekend. Have a good one.
The Cleeve Team