Well, Saturday was bloody fantastic! Volatile Analyst didn't go off at the 40/1 (10p Rule 4!) he was backed at, shortening all the way into 9/1, and went through the race like he should have been an odds-on favourite. He even had time to hang all the way over to the far side of the track and still win handily. Hopefully he will keep progressing and it's safe to say that was the best bet I'll put up this season!
Pendleton was strongly punted in from 11/2 and duly obliged as well, always moving strongly and although it looked like he might be blocked off in behind horses, he quickened up lovely to hit the line hard. 5f or 6f comes alike to him and there's bound to be more improvement in the locker, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see him run big in the Wokingham if he gets in. He'll be on the shortlist if he does, that's for sure.
For a brief while I thought that Stone Soldier was going to give us a 33/1 winner! He couldn't quite quicken up as hoped, however, and whilst he stayed on well to the line, it only yielded a place (not great for a win-only punter like me!). It proved that testing ground is what he's needing on the turf and given his current split mark, there's every chance that he'll get to take advantage sometime in the not too distant future.
Umm Kulthum is one that got away. She moved along well in behind the pace but when Paul Hanagan wanted to switch around horses and get a run at things, the gap was closed by the eventual fourth. After that, she had to head for the rail and I don't think that was where the quickest ground was. As such, how she finished off was super encouraging and if she was able to challenge where the rider wanted, who knows...
The only runner I was disappointed in was Green Planet, who never really had a chance. He was keen and it's a pity as even if he was going to get beat here, I thought he'd be hitting the line hard at worst. That certainly didn't happen but on the promise of some of his previous outings, he could be worth another chance at some stage and I'm sure that Alan King will find the key, hopefully before too long.
+39.50pts on the day.
Thanks to everyone for the tweets and emails, it makes the miserable times you endure betting/tipping worthwhile! Fingers crossed for some more similar days, they're good oul' craic.
Matchless is an interesting runner here despite the fact that Ryan Moore is on one of the other O'Brien horses. The lightly-raced 3-year-old finished nearer last than first on this season's sole outing at Leopardstown but that came over 7f and was won by none other than Poetic Flare. On breeding, the trip always looked likely to be on the sharp side for him as he progressed through the grades and I thought it was encouraging that he managed to pass a few horses late on to hit the line fairly strong. Now, he's up a few furlongs to 1m 2f and with blinkers on for the first time, it's not impossible that he could take his form to a new level. He'll have to, of course, but his full brother Delphi won four on the bounce last year once the same headgear was applied and improved as he went up in trip. This lad might do the same.
Dance Jupiter was my original fancy for the Lincoln before he got pulled out there and now I'm thinking he could be a live runner in the Royal Hunt Cup next month, but hopefully that could be after he wins this! He had a very productive end to last season, placing on a few occasions before signing off with a handicap win around Naas and he looked quite smart there. This season's eventual return came over a mile here five weeks ago in a quality affair in which two of his stablemates were first and second home. He was weak in the betting there and based on the urgency of his rider, or the lack of, it looked like a run that had other days in mind. Should he improve as expected from that run, I think he can take advantage of a 3lb lower mark and a talented 5lb claimer - who won on him at Naas - being booked catches the eye. Up in trip, he can go close.
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