24th March 2017
In this week’s issue….
It’s very much a case of after the Lord Mayor’s show this week….
Last week at the Festival we were over-loaded with top-quality racing. Now we’ve got a quiet period ahead of the start of the flat season at Doncaster next week, Aintree’s Grand National meeting, the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse, the Punchestown festival…. and all the rest of it….
Consequently, there’s nothing for us to shoot at this weekend at ATC Extra….
It will do us no harm to have a quiet weekend and to keep our powder dry. The good handicappers can’t run in valuable big-field events every weekend of the year. And there will be no shortage of big targets in the weeks ahead. Think of this as a breather….
But having no targets this weekend does not mean we can’t try and bring you winners. Last week’s action at the Festival saw several horses produce performances that suggest they can win in the weeks ahead….
As a special bonus this weekend I will share with you a column that appeared earlier this week on my paid ATC service….
Go Conquer ran a cracker to finish 5th in the Ultima on day 1 after we put him up at 33s. He was prominent all the way, jumped great, did plenty of the donkey work for the big field and he pressed on quite a way out….
Ultimately, Jonjo O’Neill’s 8yo didn’t find anything extra going up the hill and faded out of the frame (unless you were on to 5 places) in the final furlong.
Maybe he doesn’t quite get the extra yardage beyond 3-miles. Maybe he just doesn’t get it on rising ground at the finish.
But the fact is he wasn’t too far shy of what was required and maybe in an easier assignment, maybe back over shorter and maybe back on a right-handed track, Go Conquer can land a pot for connections.
The handicapper has helped a little in that regard. Earlier in the week, he dropped the horse 2lb to a mark of 135. Every little helps the cause.
The Topham at Aintree next month over 2 miles and 5 furlongs is very much on the radar.
Wherever Un Ace goes next, he’s going to be available at a big price. He’s on a losing streak stretching back two years and 12 runs – and he was well beaten again last week….
But all is not straightforward with him. For a start, he’s been doing a lot of his racing at 3-miles+. Which is the wrong trip.
He’s been losing and tumbling down the weights. All the way down from a high-water mark of 149 to a new mark of 135 – the handicapper shaved off another couple of points earlier this week and he’s now 9lbs below his last winning mark.
But Kim Bailey dropped him back to 21-furlongs – the right trip – for last week’s assignment in the Plate. He got good ground. He was wearing first-time cheekpieces. Everything screamed ‘this is the day’ to me – at a big price….
On the day, it went wrong. The winner jumped across him at the first. It took David Bass a while to get him back in the game, but when he did the horse was hampered again and it was game over.
But this horse can win a pot at a big price – given the right trip (around 20f to 22f), the right ground (good) and luck in-running. Put him on your watch-list….
Sizing John and Jessica Harrington rightfully got the headlines after winning the Gold Cup. But Minella Rock got his share of the limelight and the fanfare too.
He ran boldly into 2nd up the hill and catapulted himself to the top of the Grand National market – albeit he didn’t stay there too long before Jonjo O’Neill and JP McManus scratched him from the race….
But that’s another story. My point is that on Friday afternoon, it was More of That back in 6th – also trained by O’Neill and owned by McManus – that took my eye.
He ran well in defeat – his second solid performance on the bounce after a period where he looked to have lost his way – and my first thought was that O’Neill has him back somewhere close to where he wants him and what a trial he’s just run for next month’s Grand National….
If the noises coming out of O’Neill’s yard are any kind of sign, I am on the right track….
Talking to the press O’Neill reiterated his belief that More of That is the best horse he has ever trained – which is quite a statement. He’s had Gold Cup and Grand National winners. So, the expectation is there and O’Neill is confident enough to apply pressure to himself….
‘He has probably lost a little bit of speed but he is going to come here (to the Grand National) in grand form. I think he is an ideal horse for it. He is the right age. I can’t see anything that can beat him!’
Of the last 14 horses trained by O’Neill and sent off at 16s or shorter in the Grand National, 7 made the front 7 in the race – in other words, they ran close to expectation.
More of That is currently 20s – and that’s not a bad price or a bad omen. He’s almost certain to be shorter on the day.
Big race angles, stats and analysis….
My ATC service is not just about tips in big races….
Value selections are a part of what I provide. But that’s not the whole story.
Throughout the week – Monday to Friday – I provide insight, stats, angles and analysis designed to help you find your own big-priced winners – with plenty of eye-catchers to follow (like those above).
You can check the service out FREE for the next 14-days – taking in the start of the flat season at Doncaster and the Grand National meeting at Aintree….
Joseph O’Brien’s Ivanovich Gorbatov is worth keeping on-side. Last week’s County Hurdle was his first start in handicap company. He was well-backed on a mark of 150 and he wasn’t beaten far despite sitting close to a furious early pace.
The 5yo hasn’t managed to cut it at top-level since winning last season’s Triumph Hurdle. He’s been bumping into good horses – Nichols Canyon, Apples Jade, Petite Mouchoir – and getting spanked.
I’m not sure where his future lies. He might be tried again Grade company. But, if he shows up in a big handicap, he can certainly do the business off 150 on genuine good ground.
Noel Meade’s Measureofmydreams could well be underestimated following his placing in the Ultima. He was fresh, having only his second run in a year – having being pulled-up on the first run at Gowran Park in January.
He was well-beaten – 48 -lengths – but he was badly hampered two fences from home and caught the eye running-on and passing tiring rivals up the hill. It’s a run that will have done him no end of good and he will come on for it.
He’s down now to a chasing mark of 143. That’s competitive. Let’s not forget that in last season’s 4-miler at the Festival, Measureofmydreams finished 3rd behind Minella Rocco and Native River – beaten 6-lengths – off a mark of 147.
That pair are now rated 166 and 167. He might not be up to their level. But 143 should enable him to earn a few quid – for connections and punters.
Finally, Theinval placed in the Grand Annual for us last Friday. He was having his first race for 95 days and he responded to the application of cheekpieces with a big run.
He just didn’t have enough left in the tank to maintain his challenge sufficiently going up the hill. But he will come on for the effort and he will be interesting on the good ground he will find over the next few weeks.
He could well turn out at Aintree and the omens are good – he won at the spring meeting in 2015 and you can forget his poorer showing last term when the ground was against him.
He’s gone up 3lbs for last Friday’s effort. But that shouldn’t be an issue. This is an improving horse and a mark of 144 gives him plenty of margin to work with.
That’s all from me this week. Enjoy your weekend.
Back to business as usual next week….