AW form line hints at Via Via

October 23rd, 2018 | Ian Carnaby's Racing News

Overall, one should not complain. Low Sun won the Cesarewitch at 10/1 and Major Jumbo at 12s was an excellent winner on the line. However, there were a couple of disappointments as well, including Smokey Lane at Goodwood and Fire Jet at Nottingham.

I’m not revisiting the whole business of horses running completely unfancied on the day itself after looking to hold a favourite’s chance. Smokey Lane’s second at Ffos Las had been endorsed by the winner, Beyond Equal, and I thought he should have started at around 4/1 favourite at Goodwood on Sunday. The bookmakers, clearly aware that he had little or no chance, could not give him away at 8/1 and he ran accordingly, never joining issue at any stage and looking leg weary in ground which should have suited him. He has not been with Roger Charlton all that long but it hardly looks as if the move from Christian Williams is going to work.

Fire Jet drifted in a Nottingham staying handicap as well and the form line with Alasia at Goodwood was well and truly turned over. Roger Varian’s runner had rallied well to pip Fire Jet on the Sussex Downs but was an uneasy favourite here as his old rival eased out to 7/1. They finished last and last but one and it looked a real back-end result.

Still, Major Jumbo finally gained his reward for several good runs in ultra=competitive sprints and Low Sun was generously priced considering how many prominent tipsters went for him. It will be interesting to see whether Willie Mullins opts for top staying handicap hurdles or races leading up to the Stayers’ at Cheltenham.
So, Goodwood and Brighton over for another year, which always makes me sad. Time passing and all that and I’m not quite with the army of punters which welcomes NH racing with open arms. The risks associated with steeplechasing have always helped me avoid financial worries so I suppose I shall be deeply into valuable handicap hurdles before long but not just yet.

Brighton was bathed in sunshine and David Ashforth and I had a rare old tilt at the Exacta in the last with five selections. It worked at 7/1 and 20/1 but then we realised we had the third and fourth as well and the Tricast paid well over eleven hundred pounds and Trifects more than two grand. I have racing friends who would have found this an inexcusable miss and they may well be right but I’ll admit to you here and now that I don’t know how many combinations a combination Tricast with five horses comes to. I suppose we’d have knocked the unit stake down from a pound but it was nice to get it all right and as we stood down by the furlong pole, all over for another year, there was hardly a horse involved that we hadn’t nominated. It won’t happen again for a long, long time.

Charlton’s Blue Mist did me a good turn at Ascot the other day and I backed him to follow up at Kempton this week. At first I was disappointed with his fourth but this was a very warm handicap by AW standards, with the first three all more than capable of winning good mile handicaps on turf. Argentello won impressively, having beaten Via Via by a length at Newmarket. Via Via carried 10st 2lb on that occasion and was giving the winner 10lb – clearly an impossible task. A valuable back-end handicap at Ascot on easy ground does not represent a major punting opportunity but Via Via, third in the Cambridgeshire, must have an each-way chance in the Balmoral Handicap on Saturday. Bookmakers will no doubt be paying each-way on the first five and that may turn out to be quite significant. The booking of Ryan Moore is another major plus.


I apologise for the late upload of this blog. I was away for the weekend and it was missed in my absence. Rebecca