Thursday, 24th April 2017
When a yard has two or more runners in a race, it is common for punters and pundits to start speculating as to which is the first-string player and which is the second. And so on….
I sometimes wonder how worthwhile that exercise is. Especially when a yard is running multiple runners for different owners….
Take Jessica Harrington, for instance. She runs two in this afternoon’s edition of the Nick Coen Memorial Handicap Chase at Punchestown (4.15).
She saddles Don’t Touch in the green and gold hoops of for J P McManus. And she also runs Mr Fiftyone owned by David Bobbett.
Is there a first-string and a second-string?
If so, how do Mr. McManus and Mr Bobbett feel about that? How does either feel about being second fiddle on the big day?
Is Harrington running one as a live one and one as a tourist? Is that how these things work?
Or is there a possibility that both there on their respective merits – out of the same yard but very much in genuine competition with one another. A case of the trainer showing up with competitive horses for each owner.
I think the latter option the most likely. I would imagine that’s the way it works.
But not the Racing Post. In their assessment of the race this morning, I note that they warn punters that Don’t Touch looks to be the stable’s ‘number one’.
I wonder what makes them so sure. The horse clearly has a good chance. A look at the market tells you that. Ad perhaps that is all the Racing Post’s view is – a reflection of the betting. After all, Don’t Touch It is the jolly at 5s, whilst Mr Fiftyone is twice the price….
It is not going to stop me backing MR FIFTYONE this afternoon though. In fact, it all serves to encourage me to do so.
I don’t think the horse is a second-stringer. I think he’s here on his merits to do a job. And at 11s, the horse is a fair enough win bet.
We haven’t seen much of the horse over the winter. He appeared in October and was then put away until March and the Festival where he ran down the field in the Grand Annual.
He wasn’t fancied. He ran like a horse that was short of match-fitness. And he was fully entitled to need the run. He should strip fitter for it this afternoon. And it wouldn’t surprise me to see the horse run a big race off a revised mark of 138 – a pound below his last winning mark.
Robbie Power gets on the horse for the first time since last summer – when the horse was putting in a string of performances that took him 10lb up the scale.
I think that’s a small clue. You can see how Power might well have been expected to ride Sizing Platinum for Alan Potts. But he rides this one for Harrington instead.
Power and Harrington are not a bad combination to be with right now. They’ve enjoyed some nice successes together in recent times. This could be another.
The 11s about Mr Fiftyone is not an each-way price in my book. I’m going to back that one to win only. And that means I can have another crack and go two-against-the-field….
Colin Tizzard has certainly overcome the blues that hit his yard early in the New Year. He bounced back at Aintree and he’s produced winners and competitive runners this week at Punchestown….
Getting Sizing Granite back to do what he did yesterday was a tremendous feat. And I think it could be a similar story with SIZING PLATINUM this afternoon….
He’s not been doing – just as Sizing Granite wasn’t. He ran a stinker at the Festival in the Grand Annual. But I wonder can he run that badly again.
Tizzard’s horses were under a bit of a cloud then. They’re not now and in a first-time tongue tie off his lowest-ever official mark over fences, this one could be a live proposition at this morning’s 10s…
The Contrarian Bet Box….
To recap on where my contrarian money will be going this afternoon….
In the Nick Coen Memorial Handicap Chase (4.15 @ Punchestown)....
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.
Until then. Stay tuned.