A plum for Ascot tomorrow...

Last Updated: 22.01.2016

22nd January 2016

Good afternoon, friends,

In today’s Juicy Plums bulletin….

  • Russe Blanc continues the charge in 2016….
  • This week’s target race….
  • This week’s Juicy Plum selections….

Russe Blanc continues the charge in 2016

Russe Blanc made it two winning Plums from two in last week’s Classic Chase at Warwick– having been advised at prices as big as 25s on Friday evening….

There were plenty of reasons to like the horse at the price – the momentum and confidence levels of the Kerry Lee yard, the horse was trying a new trip that it would potentially improve for (and connections had clearly advertised aspirations of winning big races at extended trip), and his recent run at Newbury has been full of promise….

Yes, to back the horse you had to forgive the poor run at Bangor last-time-out. But forgiving a poor run is often what delivers the big price.

You have to discriminate though. Out and out poor runs which illustrate a gross lack of fitness or problems of some other sort have to be accepted at face value. But when horses under-perform for some non-obvious reason, it can benefit you in the markets to give them the benefit of the doubt. Russe Blanc was very much a case in point….

But pickers like me can only take so much credit. Ultimately, the horse has to jump the fences and get round in contention. And the 9-year-old did that with aplomb under Charlie Poste – despite the saddle slipping back at a key point in the race – holding off the late challenge of Midnight Prayer (who ran a cracker himself considering he’d been pulled out of the Welsh Grand National the previous week with a cough).

We very much hope you got the best of the prices on Friday evening. The 25s was pretty easy to locate and take advantage of. If you didn’t get the 25s then we hope you got the 20s – which was certainly easy to bag.

For what it is worth, Foxbridge, our other Juicy Plum selection was still going well and creeping into contention from the back when hampered by Rigadin De Beauchene’s fall and unseating Jamie Bargary…. but it would be distinctly churlish to even mention it….

This week’s target race….

This weekend our target race is the bet365 Handicap Chase. This is a Class 2 event for horses aged 5yo+. It is contested over 2 miles and 5 furlongs at Ascot tomorrow afternoon at 3.35. You can watch the race live on C4 and RUK.

Just 11 runners go to post on ground currently described as soft.                          

  • The field could be down to 10 by the off-time with Reve De Sivola also engaged in the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock. That Haydock race is said to be his preferred engagement. The bottom line? Not really a day for each-way betting with terms of 1/5 1-2-3.
  • Cold March – running out of the Venetia Williams yard – heads the weights on a mark of 150. At the other end of the scale Tara Road on a mark of 123 is 2lbs out of the handicap carrying minimum weight of 10-00.
  • Royal Regatta, Bennys Mist, Regal Encore and Bernardelli are all last-time-out winners.
  • Two trainers play the claim game – Venetia Williams has booked Charlie Deutcsh (who did so well for his last week) to take 5lbs off the topweight,Cold March. Jamie Bargary takes 5lbs off Minella Reception for Nigel Twiston-Davies.

This week’s Juicy Plum selections….

The market has done its job for this one and picked out the clear-cut major contenders in Royal Regatta, Royal Encore and Salubrious.

The last two are lightly-raced and open to lots of progression. The first-named arrives on the back of win over course and distance where he beat Mala Beach 11 lengths. That one paid Phillip Hobbs’s horse a real compliment yesterday with a 2nd-place finish in the Thyestes Handicap Chase at Gowran Park.

It would be easy to make a case for any one that trio and for Reve De Sivola who – although it is 5 years since he last raced over fences – will be running on his favourite track and ground that very much suits….

But that would be too straightforward a play. Here at Juicy Plums we like to turn our back on the market and go another way.

You can call it bloody-minded but we prefer to think of it as a contrarian stance that is focused on finding value-for-money bets rather than the same horses everybody else is over-betting….

I’ll be backing COLD MARCH at the generally available 8s.

He’s been very consistent with his work across the last 12 months and though he got well-beaten last time out I don’t think he gave his true running that day, and I take him to bounce back tomorrow afternoon to something more in keeping with his previous seasonal efforts – both of which came at tomorrow’s venue.

He carries top-weight but Charlie Deutsch takes off 5lbs and he’s been an effective booking for Venetia Williams – finishing in the top 3 on 11 of the 20 horses he’s ridden for her since September.

Connections have been taking their time with the 6yo. He was described by Williams as weaker than she’d like last term. He steps up to tomorrow’s trip for the first time and that’s a sign connections feel he’s physically ready to go on – and he can be expected to improve again for the extra distance.

The 8s is not the big price we like. But its not an ideal race for us and, in the context of this market, the price is respectable enough. There’s no point reaching for a really big one if you can’t really justify it.

How I’ll be playing….

We don’t have to be betting in hundreds to make the game worthwhile or fun. A few quid is sufficient to be going on with. I’ll be investing as follows:

  • COLD MARCH £5.00 win @ 8s (Generally)

That’s all from me this week. Enjoy your weekend.

Until next time, be lucky.


Juicy Plums