2nd February 2018
We head to Musselburgh this weekend for our target race – the Edinburgh National Handicap Chase (3.15).
This is a class 2 event for horses aged 5yo+ and rated 0 to 150 on the official scale and the race is contested over the extended 4-mile trip and 24-fences….
A field of 12 runners goes to post on ground described this afternoon as good to soft….
Sue Smith’s Delusionofgrandeur carries top-weight of 11-12 courtesy of his official mark of 144.
At the other end of the list, Sandy Thomson’s Full Jack carries the minimum weight of 10-00. He’s rated 118 and he’s 2lbs out of the handicap.
Sue Smith’s Delusionofgrandeur is the front-runner in the early betting – up as short as 4s…
He’s had a reasonable campaign to date – going up 9lbs and registering one win in the four performances he’s produced over fences….
In a G3 handicap at Wetherby last time out he was beaten just half a length off 142 and he’s now up to 144….
Slowly but surely, the handicapper is getting his measure….
Of course, he could improve again. The marathon trip might be the making of him. He’s never been this far but he’s tough and back in November at Sedgefield he produced a gutsy performance from the front over the 3m5f.
He was rated 134 that day and carried topweight. But carrying topweight again tomorrow against better opposition isn’t going to be easy.
And I’m mindful that all his wins have come going left-handed – he’s going the other way tomorrow. And that his regular jockey Danny Cook won’t be aboard – he goes to Wetherby and is replaced by Henry Brooke.
At the price, I’m happy enough to take the horse on and look further down the list….
We’ll get to my selections for tomorrow’s race in a moment. First a quick word on the additional value bets I’ll be placing tomorrow….
We have a couple of decent handicaps to shoot at this weekend….
In the Heroes Handicap Hurdle at Sandown, I’m each-way about one at a big price. He’s been going well, and a couple of adjustments will help land a telling blow….
And I’m two-against-the-field in the big-field Coral Hurdle at Leopardstown. I think the market is missing a trick about both horses. Each of them can be backed at big prices….
You can get immediate access to these extra bets on the website when you take a FREE 14-day test drive of my Against the Crowd service….
SOUTHFIELD THEATRE’S form figures of 493P won’t get too many pulses racing. And fair enough. That’s why he’s available at double-figures….
But you can forget that last-time-out effort at Cheltenham because the horse was never going to be suited to that day’s heavy underfoot conditions….
The time before is a much more instructive snapshot of where the horse is at. In first-time-blinkers the horse ran a decent race – just as he had at Wincanton on seasonal debut….
The horse clearly isn’t as good as he once was after suffering a life-threatening injury in the 2015 RSA Chase – when rated 154….
But he’s shown enough to suggest that tomorrow’s mark of 139 is one he can be dangerous off….
He’s come down the ratings very quickly. He was rated 148 as recently as December 15th. And if the blinkers work again tomorrow afternoon – combined with a tongue-tie that has only been applied once before by connections – I can see him running a big race….
The better ground will suit him, the yard’s in form, a horse that finished 4th in a bet365 Gold Cup is a good bet to get the additional yardage tomorrow and Bryony Frost is just on a roll….
In tomorrow’s Edinburgh National Handicap Chase (Musselburgh, 3.15)….
SOUTHFIELD THEATRE @ 10s (Generally)
Standard place terms are 1/4 1-2-3. At the price, I’ll be backing win-only. But if you want to play for the places, don’t let me put you off. Your call.
A few tidbits to keep you occupied between races at the weekend….
That’s all from me this week. Enjoy your weekend.
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