It’s been another profitable Festival, I’m sitting at +4.93pts. With only the three points laid out today my 100% record dating back to 2005 has continued. Today is more important than that though, over the winter I build myself a nice position on Presenting Percy, using any free bets I could generate. If he wins I would’ve definitely hit my expectations for the week.
This is all about one horse for me. SIR EREC appears to be the best of the Joseph O’Brien juveniles. Unusually for the slower version of The Sport of Kings Sir Erec is still a full horse. He won a Listed race over twelve furlong last summer. On British Champions Day he finished third in the Group Two Long Distance Cup, I doubt any other horse in the field has the talent to do that. I would expect that the plan is for him to win this then be aimed at The Ascot Gold Cup in June. All going well they’ll retire him with some nice black type to take up stallion duties.
The Joseph O’Brien trained pair of Fakir D’Oudairies and Band Of Outlaws were heavily supported in the markets and I expect the same to happen here. I’d be surprised if Sir Erec goes off bigger than 1.73. I can see JP McManus having a good go on this one and it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Coolmore lot punting it too. Being by Camelot, who’s stud fee is already €40,000, this would highlight him as a decent jumps sire. There’s a lot of potential ifs and buts regarding the future of this horse. He has to win it first, but he has the feel of a proper ‘banker’.
I put it out there on twitter that I was taking the 2.10 on Sir Erec yesterday, that price has now gone but I would still consider 1.91 to big as I can only see him shortening from that.
BACK SIR EREC @ 1.91
14:50|Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle
As usual The Albert Bartlett looks an awful race for punters. Unlike the days of Black Jack Ketchum and Wichita Lineman this race has become really difficult. My last strong opinion on it was Death Duty back in 2017, he was absolutely smashed into in the markets, going off at 2.63, but unseated at the last went fading.
This season it’s 7.00 the field in a twenty runner field that is chock-full of pace. With this in mind I’ve looked for a horse with plenty of experience, that’s going to be held up off the pace. Lisnagar Oscar is the current favourite after his success in the Haydock trial for this. He had Ask Ben and STONEY MOUNTAIN behind in second and third that day. They were sent off co-second favourites of three and it’s the latter that interest me here.
The Henry Daly trained six year old was beaten fourteen lengths by Lisnagar Oscar on in the above Haydock race, but that doesn’t tell the full story. The selection shaped as though a stronger run race would suit. He stayed on really well at the end after making a mistake two out.
In a race that it’s difficult to have a strong view on I’m happy to play one at a price. With plenty of experience and the pace of the race run to suit, Stoney Mountain ticks the boxes of what I’m looking for.
BACK STONEY MOUNTAIN @ 34.0
15:30|The Gold Cup
PRESENTING PERCY Day has finally arrived. Way back in November I put it out there on twitter that people should start nibbling away at Presenting Percy, putting all the free bets they could get on him, this has given me a decent position.
The RSA Chase
Now that the day is here and everything has panned out the way it has he’s still the horse I want to be with. He ran an excellent race in last years RSA chase where he demolished the field. In that race he had this seasons Welsh National winner Elegant Escape, Grade One winners Black Corton and Al Boum Photo trailing a long way behind. Grade One placed and Grade Two winner Monalee was also in behind. I watch that race back and I see a similar performance to that of Denman in 2007, a demolition.
The positives for the selection are that second season chasers have a great record in the race. He’s won twice at The Festival already and we know he can stay this trip on the back of him winning a handicap over 3m 5f off top weight in 2017.
No Chase Run This Season
It’s seen as a negative that he hasn’t ran in a Grade Two Chase over 2m 4f this season. There were people who genuinely believed that he wouldn’t have seen a fence in a year. We know this horse can jump, we know he’s still alive because he won a hurdles race in decent style last month. If he’d lined up in The Red Mills, he would’ve been odds-on and he would’ve likely won. What price would he be for this race now? 3.00? Running in that race would not have improved his chances of winning this race. Native River only had the one start last season and he won the race. It was exactly the same with Bobs Worth back in 2013.
The next point that you hear is “he hasn’t run in open company”. He was sent of favourite in open company last season against Our Duke, the same Our Duke who went off 5.50 (9/2) third favourite for The Gold Cup. Markets are pretty accurate on average, why were these two so wrong? Or maybe they weren’t. Our Duke beat Presenting Percy that day, but the latter was ‘looked after’. Coneygree won The Gold Cup in 2015, as a Novice on only his fourth start over fences and his second in open company.
Is This Season’s Form Upto Much?
Clan Des Obeaux was around the 10.0 mark when he won a King George that fell apart. Might Bite looks like he’s mentally gone at the game and didn’t fire for the second time this season. Native River isn’t suited by the speed test of Kempton and doesn’t look the same horse as last season. It’s possible that the brutal nature of the 2018 Gold Cup slog took its toll on the pair.
The Nicholls horse then went and smashed up Terrefort in an egg and spoon race at Ascot. Terrefort is a dual Grade One winner, who defeated what is now officially the best jumps horse in the world Cryname at the back end of last season. This season has been a different story, he finished fifty lengths fourth of for on his seasonal reappearance. His third in the Cotswold Chase looks good on paper, but with only six starters and five finishers, the two he beat home haven’t advertised the form. He was pulled up in yesterdays Ryanair.
Other than suspect form I would also be concerned by his tendency to jump slightly out to his right. On a left-handed track jumping twenty-two fences, he’s going to give up some ground. We don’t know if he’s going to stay this far, with a hill at the end, therefore the jumping to the right will only increase the test of stamina for him.
The Main Danger
The best of the Irish form would be the Savilles Chase won by Kemboy. A few have crabbed the form by saying he was afforded an easy time on the front. He made a move before the eighth to take the lead, but he didn’t go on. When they turned in for home they they were all still behind him, including Bellshill, yet he kept on finding and ran away from a bunched field. He’s be my biggest concern to the selection.
I think that Presenting Percy is the best jumper of a fence in this field. He has previous Festival form. If he wasn’t fit I don’t think they’d be running here and the strong end to end gallop should play to his strengths. I expect to see him held up and just picking them off one by one as they fade away. If he’d ran in the Red Mills Chase I don’t think we’d be getting anywhere near the price on offer. With the information we have I’d be happy to back him at anything larger than 4.00
BACK PRESENTING PERCY @ 5.00
£1 Through The Card
- Sir Erec
- Stoney Mountain
- Presenting Percy
- Caid Du Berlais
- Le Prezien
- Dallas Des Pictons
£1 7-Fold pays at least £800,000