Friday, 20th January 2017
It’s the time of year when the weather disrupts proceedings on the track – and that could be the case at Ascot tomorrow….
Right now, the Berkshire track is completely covered with the ground underneath described as soft (frozen in places). Sub-zero temperatures are forecast again overnight – meaning the ground is likely to freeze again.
There will be an inspection tomorrow morning at 6.30 to determine whether racing will go ahead….
Fortunately, up at Haydock where my primary focus is, the news is better….
Frost covers have been put on as a precaution. The forecast is for temperatures above zero through to Saturday afternoon. It’s looking like all systems go….
The main race of interest from a betting perspective at the Lancashire venue is the Peter Marsh Handicap Chase (3.15). And it is the newcomer to these shores, Alary, who is generating all the interest….
Having his first run for Colin Tizzard since arriving from France, the 7-year-old already has big claims to live up to….
Tizzard says the horse was bought specifically with the Gold Cup in mind. He’s been working with Thistlecrack too – who is quite the measure. And Tizzard also has Cue Card at home as another top-class gauge.
When in France Alary was placed in their equivalent of the King George and their equivalent of the Gold Cup. Maybe he will prove to be the latest awesome addition to the Tizzard chasing string.
But at this point he’s French import whose been beaten 11 times out of 13 over fences (18 times out of 20 overall) about to have his first run over British fences off a big initial official mark of 162 – the official handicapper hasn’t taken any chances….
The market hasn’t gone mad. It might have it about right. But I won’t be taking the 7/2. I’ll be taking it on.
That said, if you like Alary, you can back him at a big 14s….
It is the fashion for bookies to ‘buy’ new customers by offering big enhanced prices on fancied horses. They consider new customers worth the cost if the horse wins.
And, if you genuinely fancy a horse they’re offering at enhanced odds, why not take advantage?
You don’t owe the bookmaker any loyalty or any additional business subsequently. It’s mercenary, for sure – but this is a price war and the bookie would do it to you….
888sport are offering new account holders the opportunity to back Alary at 14s in tomorrow afternoon’s race – four-times the standard price – to the tune of £10.00…
The market has certainly got a lot right in this race – as far as I can tell. Definitly Red and Bristol De Mai make obvious appeal.
And I can see why Vintage Clouds is attracting bits of support. Sue Smith’s lightly-raced charge is out-of-the-handicap and a bit younger than ideal for this race but he is progressive….
But my preference at the prices is to back OTAGO TRAIL each-way at 14s.
He disappointed last time out at Leopardstown over Christmas when carrying top-weight in the Paddy Power Chase. He was prominent in the early stages of the race but eventually lost his place and was pulled-up – one of only seven in the 28-strong field not to get home….
I’ve got a suspicion the ground at Leopardstown that day was a little too quick for Venetia Williams’s charge – and I’m prepared to bet so at today’s prices….
All his very best work to date has been produced on soft or heavy surfaces and I’m hopeful conditions at Haydock tomorrow will enable the 9yo to resume where he left off in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle at the end of November – where he was an impressive winner….
He meets Bristol De Mai on worse terms. But that is more than factored in and I think at 14s on genuine soft ground Otago Trail is over-priced on the back of a single and forgivable disappointing run.
The Contrarian Bet Box….
To recap on where my contrarian money will be going tomorrow afternoon….
In the Peter Marsh Handicap Chase (3.15 @ Haydock)....
That is my take on where the value lies – but you will no doubt have your own ideas and that’s exactly as it should be.
That’s all from me for now. I’ll be back a little later today with ATC Extra where we’ll be targeting the prices in one of the handicaps….
Until then, stay tuned….