Our racing guru is playing up with bookies' money.
Having tipped up the Richard Johnson double at Catterick yesterday – paid 9.5/1 at the advertised odds, hope you were on?! – I’m no rush to give all the winnings back with Chelters just around the corner.
That said, I’m very tempted by a couple of chasers who should oblige as favourites this afternoon starting with the ex-French LA VATICANE, who contests the feature 2m4f handicap chase at Wincanton (due off 2.45pm).
She has proved a little disappointing in her three starts for David Pipe this season, including when a beaten favourite over 2m3f at Ascot last time. However, she was a smart mare when trained in France, winning three times at Auteuil and twice at Pau, and it’s surely a question of time before Pipe finds the key to her.
Intriguingly, he has her entered up in three handicaps at the Cheltenham Festival, with the Plate over this trip looking the best option, but she might struggle to get in off her current mark of 133 and a win this afternoon would help her cause no end.
That won’t have been lost on her in-form trainer, who is fitting first-time blinkers to help sharpen her up, and she is taken to see off seven rivals, the best best of whom looks to be Quite By Chance, who was narrowly denied a course hat-trick last time but who has to contend with a further 5lb rise.
There seems to be an increasing number of Irish-trained runners coming over the Irish Sea to contest British races, with Limerick-based Charles Byrnes the latest trainer to get in on the act. He saddles NOT FOR YOU in the 2m1f handicap chase at Bangor (3.05pm) and why not as there is a first prize of over £6k and it looks a very winnable race.
The eight-year-old is making a quick reappearance after finishing a clear second at Chepstow on Saturday when he looked like the winner for a long way, only to be headed on the run-in. Paul Moloney, who is back on board today, may have committed him a little too soon on that occasion, having led four out, and a more patient ride could pay dividends.
He looks to have the Venetia Williams-trained Cloudy Beach to beat and the top weight is very much respected having opened his account over fences at Fontwell last time. A 6lb rise seems fair and that is mostly taken care of by Charlie Deutsch’s 5lb claim, but he’s still giving a whopping 20lb to the selection and that may prove decisive.
A £20 double on today’s selections with bet365 pays £192.50 at current odds.