Houblon Des Obeaux can go well again

February 18th, 2017 | Ian Carnaby's Racing News

The wind has been taken out of my sails this weekend with Glaring missing his engagement at Sandown on Friday and Evening Hush sidestepping the Victor Ludorum at Haydock on Saturday. It has left me with two or three choices that will be too short in the market – Cue Card at Ascot, Yanworth at Wincanton and Wonderful Charm, who would appear to have about a stone and a half in hand in the hunter-chase which rounds things off at Haydock.

There is no future in playing at cramped prices so I find myself looking at my old friend HOUBLON DES OBEAUX in the Grand National Trial at the Lancashire track and outsider MAN OF PLENTY in the Les Ambassadeurs Casino Handicap Hurdle at Ascot.

This is a pretty warm Aintree trial, with Vicente already backed at 33/1 for the big race and Vieux Lion Rouge, probably the best of David Pipe’s, trying to follow up his Becher Chase exploits. Add in Blaklion and the opposition clearly has plenty on its plate. Even so, Houblon Des Obeaux ran very well in the Coral Welsh national and kept on again for fourth after losing his pitch last time. There will be enough cut in the ground for him and Charlie Deutsche is excellent value for his 3lb allowance. Win and place is the call.

That should also be the bet, though to smaller stakes, where Man Of Plenty is concerned. There is always a problem with horses which seem to run well above their best on one isolated occasion and you would have to say that was the way of it with Sophie Leech’s eight-year-old at Cheltenham last time. But he came there with a strong late run and would have prevailed at 50/1 had William H Bonney not kept on a shade too well.

Man Of Plenty will be going the other way round this time but he has run well at Taunton and other courses and I doubt it will be a problem. Also, Paddy Cowley knows him well and takes the weight down to 9st 13lb. Of course, the powerful yards are out in force and this can be only a very small investment but he will not be disgraced and may well nick a place.

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