Barry Doyle (champ.ie), Colm Finlay (BetXS), Ronan Groome (The Irish Field), Andrew Blair White (Blair White’s Blog), Thomas Coyle (Trainer), Jason Kiely (Sporting Life) & Alan Doyle (Aldorithm) take each other on once again #8PointstoPlay special this weekend.
Colm Finlay (110.5pts ) is still running riot at the top of the leaderboard, so we’ve called in the Sheriff to sort a few things out. Welcome on board life long racegoer and renowned punter ‘The Rooster’.
Colm Finlay #8PointstoPlay score: +102.5pts
4:45 Newbury – Ocean Wind (5/1) 8pt win
Once again my selection only makes a short journey from his box to the racecourse. Lambourn trainer Roger Teal’s 4yo (Ocean Wind) finished only a neck second to Audacity last time out and should step forward with a 4Ibs swing. Should improve !
Jason Kiely #8PointstoPlay score: +27pts
4:45 Newbury – Getaround (10/1) 2pt win
Loved the way this won its bumper at Chepstow, BG booked. Could be anything.
3.50 Warwick – Uno Mas (25/1) 1pt ew
Needs to come down a few pounds to be certain of winning but if he wins and I dont put him up I’ll regret it. Certainly being ‘laid out’ for a race, if it’s not this then it may be next time.
3.35 Newbury – Highly Prized (10/1) 2pt ew
Jonjo jnr to have a big day with Native and this one runs well fresh and loves the ground, thrashed some battled hardened warriors the last day and can’t see him out of the three especially as he’s fresh
Alan Doyle #8PointstoPlay score: +23pts
3.35 Newbury – Not So Sleepy (7/1) 8pt win
Uninspiring stuff today so I’ll tentatively select Not So Sleepy. Got a whopping 17lbs and went up to 144 but that may not be enough to stop him in the Betfair Hurdle today. If Not So Sleepy wasn’t in the Betfair Hurdle last time our, Monsieur Le Coq would have won by 5L and he was only 4L behind 160 rated Call Me Lord. That could put NSS at around the 150 mark. Worth noting the time in the Betfair Hurdle was only 0.6 seconds per furlong slow; compared to the other races that day which were all greater than +1.2s/f so the time stands up to scrutiny.
Andrew Blair White #8PointstoPlay score: +14.43pts
3.35 Newbury – Whoshotthesheriff (16/1) 1 Pt EW
A horse that was rated very highly in his bumper days for Gordon Elliot, didn’t quite live up to the hype over hurdles for that trainer. A switch to Phil Kirby’s northern base has rejuvenated himself and he backed up a brilliant 2nd at Haydock with a solid 5th at Ascot on ground he didn’t like. He’s a better ground type of horse and the forecast ground here should be right up his street to run well off a low weight.
1.05 Naas – Valdieu (15/2) 2 Pts Win
A horse that Noel Meade has always held in high regard but things have struggled to click with him throughout his career and cheek pieces are now being turned too. Having made 3 satisfactory Chase efforts and a fall to his name so far this year, he enters handicap company at a very realistic level. He could be ahead of some of these and he returns to the course in which he won his Maiden Hurdle impressively. Should go well.
4.45 – ChampagneSuperOver (2/1) 4 Pts Win
Sometimes you have to make decisions on what your eye tells you. The facts will say that the race this horse won at Ayr doesn’t amount to that much. This could well be true. However, he won with so much ease and command that it would be silly to think that this horse doesn’t have a very bright future ahead of him. Olly Murphy’s record in bumpers is very strong and he should take some beating in this hot contest.
The Rooster #8PointstoPlay score: N/A
1:05 Naas – Beyond The Law (9/1) 8pt win
His best form in the book probably comes when second to Real Steel this time last year at Fairyhouse. Mouse’s horse looks attractive of his current mark and will relish this ground and trip. Micky Hamill can steer this one home in front for a stable in form.
Colm Finlay #8PointstoPlay score: -19.12pts
3.22 Naas – Yafordadoe (9/2) 2pt win
3.35 Newbury – Thebannerkingrebel (9/1) 2pt ew
4.10 Newbury – Post War (8/1) 2pt win
Barry Doyle #8PointstoPlay score: -26.5pts
3.35 Newbury – Not So Sleepy (7/1) 2pt ew
I can’t remember a more striking winner of a 2m handicap hurdle than Not So Sleepy’s Ascot procession. Anything short of a 20Ibs rise would not be enough to stop Hughie Morrison’s hurdler go in again next time, were my initial thoughts afterwards and having studied it back, those thoughts still stand.
The 8yo did plenty wrong last time and ideally I’d like to see him run with less of the choke out today. Up 17Ibs but may be the best handicapped horse in training!
2.05 Newbury – Rouge Vif (7/2) 2pt win
At the prices I’m happy to take on warm favourite in Nube Negra. Rouge Vif shaped lovely at Kempton over Christmas, on what was only his first start since a wind op. He jumped well LTO and should be ridden more aggressively today. High class horse!
1.05 Naas – Valdieu (15/2) 2pt win
7Ibs higher over hurdles but looks every inch a chaser. Ran in some of the big novice hurdle races last year and very interesting on handicap chase debut. Course winner which is a positive especially at Naas, cheekpieces applied for the first time, Valdieu looks a big player.
Ronan Groome #8PointstoPlay score: -45.37pts
3.35 Newbury – Thebannerkingrebel (9/1) 2pts ew
Officially the best handicapped in the race, Thebannerkingrebel arguably should be favourite for today’s feature. A novice, he fits the strong trends for this contest and he can justify his connections lofty ambitions off a mark of 141.
1.05 Naas – Valdieu (15/2) 2pts win
Noel Meade’s seven-year-old has struggled to land a blow in his three beginners chase starts but did show a glimpse of promise when chasing home Dunvegan on his penultimate start at Punchestown. More significantly he was a useful novice hurdler around this time last year when the ground was quicker than it has been for his three runs this season. He actually won at this course and with the ground drying up again he is taken to find the improvement. First-time cheekpieces can also help him.
3.22 Naas – The Tartan Spartan (16/1) 1pt win
It might be worth taking a chance on The Tartan Spartan, who has a long absence to defy but is potentially very well handicapped off a mark of 109. Previously trained on the flat by Robert Osborne for Thistle Bloodstock, this seven-year-old peaked at a rating of 102. He had three runs over hurdles for Andrew Hughes, the most notable of which was a third to classy types Vision D’Honneur and Elixir D’Ainay at Punchestown. A mark of 109 for his handicap hurdle debut and yard debut makes him very interesting.
2.05 Warwick – Torpillo (7/1) 1pt win
Worth taking a chance that the 20 lengths he finished behind Nube Negra last time wasn’t this geldings true running. Prior to that he beat both Mister Fisher and Lisp, who have both won since, over today’s course and distance.