Grand National weights out today. Have you #startrackers got any views? Email me on email@example.com or tweet me on @mooresthepity. My shortlist would have to have Don Poli, Many Clouds and Alvorado on it. The Druids Nephew possibly? If Broadway Buffalo won on Saturday could creep in and would have a chance.
Thursday Fontwell 3.30 CHEF D’OUEVRE
Thursday Leicester 2.45 STILLETTO
Thursday Leicester 3.55 STILLETTO
Thursday Leicester 3.55 WUFF
Saturday Ascot 1.50 BALLY BEAUFORT
Saturday Ascot 1.50 ONENIGHTINVIENNA
Saturday Ascot 2.25 BALLY BEAUFORT
Saturday Ascot 4.10 FINGERONTHESWITCH
Saturday Haydock 3.15 BOX OFFICE
Saturday Haydock 3.15 FORT WORTH
Saturday Haydock 3.50 CAPARD KING
Saturday Haydock 3.50 STILLETTO
Saturday Haydock 4.25 CHEF D’OUEVRE
Saturday Wincanton 2.15 STILLETTO
Saturday Wincanton 2.15 WUFF
Saturday Wincanton 3.55 STILLETTO
Sunday Ffos Las 2.00 CHEF D’OUEVRE
Sunday Naas 2.55 CAPTAIN VON TRAPPE
Annie Power latest I was confused as why she needed a race with two opponents. It seems the first time hood is the answer. “She is odds-on across the board to right the wrong of last season back in the Mares’ Hurdle at Prestbury Park next month, but connections have not ruled out a crack at the World Hurdle two days later, a race in which she was narrowly denied by More Of That in 2014. Joe Chambers, racing manager for owner Rich Ricci, said: ” It will be good to see her back and this gives us a chance to get a run into her before a return trip to Cheltenham, all being well. She’s been wearing a hood at home for the last while, but this will be the first time she’s worn it on the track and we’ll see what effect it has. We’re hoping it will help her relax. She’s won around Punchestown a couple of times before, so she likes the track and we’ll see what happens.” Punters are waiting with bated breath for Annie Power’s Festival target to be confirmed, but connections are keeping their cards close to their chest. “Let’s get tomorrow out of the way first. Cheltenham is still four weeks away,” said Chambers. At the Races News Tues. 16th Feb.
“Nigel Twiston-Davies says Splash Of Ginge is “made for the race” but is “most excited” by chance of novice Bally Beaufort.” Grand National Weights lunch
TOP GAMBLE/CHAMPAGNE WEST/VILLAGE VIC “It’s never easy putting figures on a race where all bar the winner have run below form, but we do have a few methods we can use for a guide. Historical standards suggested a figure around 163 for Top Gamble, but as his rating had settled between 152 and 155 over the last twelve months I wasn’t sure I wanted to credit him with that level of improvement. Instead I went back to his last race, a competitive handicap at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day, which I knew was working out well. The winner Village Vic hadn’t run since, but Tenor Nivernais in second had improved another 4lb on top of that day’s form to be second again at Cheltenham’s late-January meeting. Considering Top Gamble had finished a close third, and clear of the remainder, I thought it appropriate to keep him in line with Tenor Nivernais from Cheltenham and therefore raise him 4lb to 159. As a knock on, Village Vic’s rating was also raised an extra 4lb to 157 despite the fact he’d never left his stable. This is standard handicapping practise – horses go down as well as up for ‘not running’ – but we do like the horse’s profile to support such movement, and as Village Vic has improved hugely to win good handicaps on all four starts this winter there’s no doubt that his does.” BHA Handicapper
So if Village Vic is to run at Cheltenham he would be taking his chance in the RyanAir where he would need to improve another 7lbs to be competitive? The upside to Phil Smiths observations are that Champagne West looks remarkably well handicapped re Village Vic/Tenor Ninervais/Top Gamble off “just” OR154ch.
“Fox Norton clearly wasn’t himself having lost touch fully five from home, and he’s down to 145, with the race in which he’d been beaten by Garde La Victoire at Cheltenham also pulled back 3lb” BHA Handicapper
I am not sure this is how Richard Johnson saw it!!
“AGRA LOOKS THE PART I suppose in what seems to be developing into a stellar season for 2m novice hurdlers it shouldn’t come as a shock that novices filled three of the first four places in last Saturday’s Betfair Hurdle. The season’s most valuable handicap hurdle is always a competitive affair and with Ladbroke dead-heater Sternrubin leading after the first flight a strongly-run renewal looked assured. However Richard Johnson didn’t seem to have read the script and he slowed his mount going into the first bend, causing a domino effect in behind in which there were one or two major sufferers. One of the main ones was the inexperienced favourite Blazer, having only his seventh race. Originally handicapped on his limited French form, he had made that initial mark look all wrong at Leopardstown the previous weekend and was running effectively 10lb well in at Newbury. He failed totally to cope with the slowing of the pace on the first bend whereas Lizzie Kelly and Agrapart were positioned just to the outside of the leader and took it in their stride” David Dickinson BHA Handicapper
“He just never fired and whereas I’m usually trying to restrain him early on, I only managed to get him to the lead on sufferance.” Richard Johnson Betway blog