Capton overdue now

October 27th, 2018 | Ian Carnaby's Racing News

There comes a time to switch over to the jumps and I’m bound to say the moment is imminent. Favourites won the first four races at Cheltenham on Friday while Bernardo O’Reilly was one of several surprises on the Flat. When you’ve seen a horse finish stone last at Goodwood it’s hard to make him a threat in a large field of sprint handicappers at Newbury. He won at 16/1 and, whilst there was no great financial setback in this corner I realised it’s nearly all over for another year. Ice Lord at Doncaster was another to have finished last on his most recent outing but in he went. As a sprint handicap man it’s hard to bear.

Wayne Hutchinson somehow managed to nurse Lil Rockerfellaer round at Cheltenham and those who played at a very skinny 5/6 owe him a large drink. Lil Rockerfeller had deteriorated a bit towards the end of his hurdling career and his win on the level at Goodwood, where he carried a featherweight, is not strictly relevant. He jumped much too low at Cheltenham, and was lucky to survive a serious early mistake. This was a soft race and he went clear in the end but I’d lay him next time with a certain amount of confidence.

In my dotage I go into betting offices only rarely but it’s pretty clear their days are numbered. I should think half of the 8,000 outlets would close without the machines, which is sad because it tells us quite a bit about obsession. It’s a strange business; the people hooked on roulette and other machines never thought of joining a casino to play them before. Of course, that line of thought founders outside the big towns and cities because there are no casinos within reach in your average British village.

I only mention it because I spent an hour or two in a couple of shops this week. It was early evening and I was the only one thinking of a bet on the horses, though I have to say no one was playing the machines, either. I watched a race at Chelmsford where George Margarson’s Windy Guest was 5/4 favourite despite having been raised 9lb for a clear-cut win the time before. Horses like this are tipped more or less willy-nilly in the racing press and most of them lose. Two sprint handicappers on Monday, both with 6lb penalties, finished out of the frame. Horses with this sort of extra burden can never be good value but I acknowledge the guests at my do will be looking at the long box, singing Dear Lord and Father Of Mankind and thinking of the ham sandwiches afterwards before the penny drops.

Anyway, Windy Guest looked like winning until the second favourite Reticent Angel came along to deny him close home. I have no problem with apprentice riders and anyone who listened to my line on a regular basis will know that I championed Josephine Gordon before the world cottoned on. But sometimes you have to criticise in a constructive way and if people accuse you of sexism, so be it. Jane Elliott keeps horses nicely balanced and tactically she’s probably quite sound. But she isn’t strong enough in a tight finish, and when Adam Kirby loomed alongside at Chelmsford it was perfectly obvious what would happen. The idea of this blog is to save you money, especially when it’s hard to win any. If you ignore sprint handicappers penalised 6lb you will save a packet and if you study which women are the equal of men when the whips are up, and which aren’t, you won’t do too badly either.

The Exacta in that Chelmsford race paid thirteen pounds fifty – not bad for second and first favourites but probably unusual. I don’t expect anyone reading this to be all that exercised by the BAGS greyhounds, though soon afterwards on Wednesday Trap 4 beat Trap 2 at Doncaster, 5/1 and 5/2 and the CSF paid 26.48 to a pound. Forecasts on the dogs are very generous and I think the way forward is to play three of them, ie six combinations at around the 4/1 mark. You don’t need to be right very often, though I accept you and I are unlikely to adopt a completely new strategy, especially in semi-deserted outlets.

I suppose I shall stay with the Flat to the bitter end. I haven’t truly caught Henry Candy this term but Capton is quite lightly raced and has each-way prospects in the 4.30 at Newbury, while Weekender may give the favourite plenty to think about earlier on. Keep smiling.