Thursday, 6th April 2017
You can go back a couple of decades or more and you won’t find too many examples of horses winning tomorrow afternoon’s Topham Handicap Chase (4.05) off a hold-up ride….
I don’t have the exact figures. But such successes are few and far between.
Over the big Grand National fences, the horses up-front get into a rhythm and over the 21-furlong trip, they don’t tend to come back. And it is hard for horses playing catch-up to make up the ground….
The bottom line is that you want something that can race handy and which jumps well….
The other thing I’d say is that you don’t want to be on a horse that is over-burdened with weight. The Topham is something of a test of speed and weight slows horses down….
I’d make 11-00 the cut-off point. It isn’t impossible to win carrying that kind of weight. But it’s the exception rather than the rule. Just 3 horses since 2000 have won a Topham carrying more than 11-00.
I think two can go well at massive prices. First up IMJOEKING at 66s – a massive each-way price in a race where plenty of firms will be paying a 5th place.
He runs for the in-form Lucinda Russell yard and offers Derek Fox a first opportunity to go over the Grand National fences ahead of his ride on One for Arthur in the big race on Saturday.
But that’s a side issue. Imjoeking is showing up to race on his own merits and he arrives at Aintree in very good heart.
It might only have been a 3-runner race he won at Ayr last month. But he jumped for fun that day, put in a career best and did it from the front. He kept on very strongly from the last and stepping back up to this trip will improve him again.
That Ayr race was run on heavy ground. But I don’t think he needs that type of surface. He’s got plenty of form on a decent surface and I think tomorrow’s ground at Aintree will be another factor that helps his improve again. I think he’s a massive price.
The other one I want to be with each-way is Charlie Mann’s GOWANAUTHAT – also at 66s.
He did nothing but improve all last summer over fences – putting together a string of 5 consecutive wins and going up the handicap to the tune of 2-stone and more.
He got beaten on his last two performances in the autumn. He was unlucky the last time – getting cannoned into and losing his chance. He was eased up by harry Bannister that day and you can ignore the distance he was beaten. The bottom line is that he showed enough to suggest that he can compete on his career-high mark.
He hasn’t been sighted since. But that doesn’t concern me. He goes well fresh and will enjoy the good surface he’ll get tomorrow. He can also do his work on the front-end and that’s ideal as we’ve already discussed.
The Contrarian Bet Box….
To recap on where my contrarian money will be going tomorrow afternoon….
In the Topham Handicap Chase (4.05 @ Aintree)....
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 today.
I’ll be back tomorrow outlining where my money will be going on day 3 at Aintree – including in the big race of the week, the Grand National.
Until then. Stay tuned.
P.S. You can get 100/1 on ANY horse you fancy in Saturday’s Grand National – great news if you fancy something much shorter in the betting. You’ll need to open a new account with Racebets and the max stake is just £1. But value is value. Act fast. This offer won’t be available on Saturday. Get 100s here.