12th February 2016
Good afternoon, friends,
In today’s Juicy Plums bulletin….
We chalked up another winner in last weekend’s Heroes Handicap Hurdle at Sandown.
Saddlers Encore went in having been advised at 8s on Friday evening and sent off at 5s at the off – with Join The Clan following him home having been advised at 16s and sent off at 9s. The only thing more we could have requested was to have the placings reversed – on account of the respective prices – but that would be churlish.
Saddlers Encore was the unexposed horse in the field and had only appeared once on the track since returning from an injury that saw him miss the whole of last season. He ran well enough at Wincanton and was entitled to improve for that outing. Which he did – enough to win Saturday’s race.
Pre-race I made the case that an official mark of 129 was probably short of his true level – giving him a nice edge to capitalize on. That viewpoint was probably justified by Saturday’s performance and the handicapper has now raised the horse to a rating of 135.
I’d suggest that still underplays where this horse can get to. Yes, he was all out in winning Saturday’s race but it’s probable he’s still working his way back to full fitness and better ground would likely play more to his strengths than Saturday’s surface and succeed in squeezing out quite a bit more.
In any case whatever this horse achieves over hurdles is a bonus for connections. His future lies over fences and that’s where we will see him next term. Until then he will be campaigned over hurdles and he can go in again before the season is out.
I reckon he can reach the 140s over hurdles. And if he improves again for chasing, as you’d expect, then he could be pretty smart. He’s one to keep abreast of going forward.
This weekend our target race is the Betfair Hurdle. This is a Grade 3 event for horses aged 4yo+. It is contested over 2 miles at Newbury tomorrow afternoon at 3.35. You can watch the race live on C4 and RUK.
A field of 22 runners goes to post on ground currently described as Heavy. Before we get into my take on where the value is in the market, let’s have a quick spin through the key pointers and splitters….
Some key statistical pointers help split the field and provide a route into the race….
If you like to find your own bets then those statistical pointers should help identify horses of interest….
FOREST BIHAN was unlucky not to win last time out at Catterick. He got mugged in the last 50 yards by a rival he was giving plenty of weight to and it should be noted that jockey Danny Cock lost his whip before the final flight.
The positive is that the horse runs off the same mark of 140 tomorrow – and that is to his advantage. It has taken time for him to adapt to British conditions and hurdles since arriving from France – but that last time effort suggested things are clicking.
Trainer Brian Ellison thinks highly of the horse and expects him to announce himself as a class-act next term – maybe over fences. But he can land some prize money in the meantime and at 16s for tomorrow’s race he represents a nice each-way bet.
Ellison says this is the best horse he’s ever entered in the Betfair Hurdle. That’s a ringing endorsement when you consider he saddled Bothy who was beaten into 2nd in the dying strides of the 2011 renewal.
The other one I’m going to get onside at a very attractive price is BABY KING.
Given slightly different circumstances he too might be turning up on the back-end of a win. Last time at Wincanton he was beaten into 3rd by two horses he was giving loads of weight to.
As it is he’s only been raised a pound for what was a clear career-best effort on my figures and tomorrow he runs under a burden of just 10-01.
This horse loves soft ground, he’s in very good heart and I think he will improve again for tomorrow’s big-field fast pace. At 33s he’s just a bigger price than my book says he should be. He can outrun that quote, hit the frame and maybe a little more.
How I’ll be playing….
We don’t have to be betting in hundreds to make the game worthwhile or fun. A spend of a few quid is plenty to be going on with. I’ll be investing as follows:
That’s all from me this week. Enjoy your weekend.
Until next time, be lucky.