19th February 2016
Good afternoon, friends,
In today’s Juicy Plums bulletin….
Saturday’s cards at Haydock, Ascot and Wincanton don’t provide much in the way of viable targets for Juicy Plum aficionados.
Some of the races we might have hoped to target have cut up – producing fields that are unattractive from a betting perspective.
It might be the terrible ground we’ve been saddled with this winter, it might be the proximity to the Cheltenham Festival or it might just be a simple continuation of a persistent problem – too much racing and the equine population spread too thin.
I don’t know. I try not to bother myself with the politics of the sport or the administrational aspects of it, but on Fridays like this when I’m looking for big-field handicaps to bet in at the weekend – and drawing something close to a blank – I can get a bit brassed off.
I must work with what is available to me and this weekend we’ll be firing bullets at the Les Ambassadeurs Casino Handicap Hurdle at Ascot.
This is a Class 2 event for horses aged 4yo+. It is contested over 2 miles and 3 furlongs tomorrow afternoon at 3.00. You can watch the race live on C4 and RUK.
A field of 11 runners is set to go to post on ground currently described as soft (heavy in places).
Against the Crowd this weekend….
Over on my paid Against the Crowd service we’re firing two big-race bullets this weekend….
Right now you can put my brand new Against the Crowd service to the test free of charge for the next fortnight – giving you a no-strings opportunity to check out and review all the new on-site tools, my Monday to Friday email service and our big-race betting selections.
Sign-up right now and you can get instantly access tomorrow’s selections on the website. You can sign-up right here. See you inside.
Tomorrow’s field contains plenty of in-form horses and plenty of unexposed ones too. It’s not too difficult to make a strong case for the top two in the market – Montdragon and Debdebdeb – who both show up on the back of wins. But playing short prices is not the Juicy Plum game and there are bets to be struck at juicier prices further down the list.
Back in October Paul Nicholls described SIRABAD as ‘probably the most exciting young horse we have at the moment.’ For whatever reason it hasn’t quite gone to plan over fences for him this term – but he clearly has some talent and is highly thought of.
Tomorrow he goes back over the smaller obstacles and if he’s straight then a mark of 134 surely undervalues him. He certainly looked like he’d go beyond that mark when last seen over the timber at Sandown last March.
Tomorrow’s ground won’t inconvenience him if his win on similar bad ground at Auteuil in October 2014 is anything to go by and the general 10s is a decent enough price about a horse who has already had a go on the idiosyncratic Ascot track when beaten just 10 lengths by current World Hurdle favourite Thistlecrack this time last year.
The other one I can’t resist is SIROP DE MENTHE at 12s. On the face of it he’s plenty more exposed than all his rivals but last 5 form figures reading 21122 illustrate how a move to Sue Gardner’s has given him a new lease of life.
He’s produced better new ‘tops’ in each of those last 5 runs – rising 23lbs in the weights in the process. For sure he’s going to plateau at some point but the elevation in trip could well improve him again tomorrow and he gets the underfoot conditions that play to his strengths.
Whilst everybody else is focused on the unexposed types I’m going to go the other way and support a horse that has seen plenty of racing but has been doing by far his best work in recent times.
How I’ll be playing….
We don’t have to be betting in hundreds to make the game worthwhile or fun. A £10.00 spend is plenty to be going on with. I’ll be investing as follows:
Note: With 11 in the field the firms up with prices are paying out 1/4 the odds on the first 1-2-3 places. Not the best terms. Personally, I’ll be backing both picks to win. It’s your call.
That’s all from me this week. Enjoy your weekend.
Until next time, be lucky.