Why I couldn't resist the ante-post 33s about this one....

Last Updated: 21.11.2019

Thursday, 21st November 2019

Why I couldn’t resist the ante-post 33s about this one….

A mixed bag today ahead of a weekend when the provisional plan is to target races at Ascot and at Haydock....

Plans are one thing, but reality is something else. What I end up doing will depend entirely on how the races cut-up in terms of final declarations....

We will see about that tomorrow. Today, a few words on this and that....

  • One for the Watch List....

I’m adding Belami Des Pictons to my Watch List....

Venetia Williams’ 8yo was beaten 15.5 lengths (4th of 17) in last Saturday’s BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham. But that doesn’t tell the full story....

He was having his first run for 287-days and he was racing over a trip sharp enough for a horse that’s shown his very best to date over 3m on heavy ground....

And things went wrong early in the race. He lost momentum and quite a bit of ground when Eamon An Cnoic unseated at the 2nd fence....

He was out in the rear for a large portion of the race and he deserves credit for a decent round of jumping and for the application he showed to work his way forward in the later stages of the race....

He likes to race prominently, so this was something different from the horse. He didn’t spit the dummy, he got on with the job and he’s of interest going forward....

He was a well-regraded novice but he’s had problems and multiple long breaks from the track. His soundness is always going to be open to question ad speculation....

But Saturday was encouraging and – if he can be kept right – I reckon he is going to prove nicely handicapped on a revised mark of 145 (down 1lb for Saturday....

He’s 8 turning 9 with just seven chases to his name. He’s still got a little time on his side – and it is plenty realistic to expect a future new ‘top’ for him....

As I say, his very best efforts have come on trips around 3-miles on soft and heavy. He’ll get opportunities in the weeks ahead....

  • Ante-post in the Ladbrokes....

I’ve had a few quid on Yorkhill at 33s for the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase at Newbury next week....

It’s a big price for good reason. But it is big enough for me to have a speculating few quid on. It’s a low-downside bet with a decent upside if things pan out....

From what I can make out, the Mullins team intend to run him. I don’t think he’ll be 33s on the day. Which is why I have gone in a little early. I want the price....

The 9yo has done most of his racing at trips short of 3-miles. And this would be a first-time go beyond the 3-mile trip....

But the horse is bred for it. In theory, it could be the making of him. In practice, for that to happen, he will need to settle....

His tendency not to do so is the reason he’s been largely campaigned at shorter trips than would seem ideal given where he comes from....

He’s out of Presenting. That sire produces proper stayers. And his progeny has a particularly strong record in the Ladbrokes. His last 14 runners produced 2 winners and 4 additional placed horses. Another runner finished 5th….

That might not seem like anything special, but in the context of a valuable chase handicap that always attracts a big field, those figures are outstanding....

Of course, there’s a horse that will break every logical expectation in the book – and Yorkhill might be that horse in this case. He’s an idiosyncratic character. He does himself no favours. He may self-sabotage again next week.

But he’s also got talent and a touch of class. He was previously rated in the 160s....

These days, he is rated 152. He has fallen down the pecking order. But in handicap racing, a period of misfortune is the very thing that produces the opportunity to register some fresh glory. On his current mark, Yorkhill is weighted to be very competitive....

He’s a horse with some interesting features going into this race. I reckon he is more dangerous than the price suggests. No more. No less.

  • A final word….

That’s all from me for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with details of the bets I’ll be having this weekend....

Until then. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd