Shotgun Paddy still a contender

December 9th, 2017 | Ian Carnaby's Racing News

I hardly ever put up odds-on chances as selections because the horses in question are readily ‘findable’ in the racing press and, quite apart from that, the strike-rate when tipping or backing short-priced horses needs to be impressive, to say the least. This is why bookmakers will take bets on odds-on horses all day and all night and also why they love accumulators.

So I shall just say that I expect FOX NORTON to make the most of a clear-cut opportunity in the Tingle Creek at Sandown on Saturday and leave it at that.

Paul Nicholls does not run Vicente in the Becher Chase at Aintree and you do have to wonder whether the 12/1 ante-post offer in midweek took account of that strong possibility. Vicente was only a pound higher for his very good second at Cheltenham and, as a Scottish Grand National winner, he made some each-way appeal here.

The former champion trainer does run MALAYA in the Listed novices’ hurdle, however, and she may well step up again on her tidy victory last time. That was only a four-runner affair but she did it well after looking rusty the time before. She is an interesting recruit from the French provinces and should go in again, although Joseph O’Brien’s runner will make sure the market is not totally lop-sided.

Philip Hobbs has yet to hit form and I’d have been in something of a quandary regarding Hello George in the three-mile Pertemps Handicap Hurdle at Sandown. The trainer seldom runs horses seven or eight days after a good effort (third at Newbury), however, and it did not surprise me that he decided to wait for another opportunity.

Jockey bookings in the December Handicap Hurdle are interesting and I wondered if Alan King would want Mitchell Bastyan again for WILLIAM H BONNEY after the partnership recorded a very fair fifth in the Greatwood at Cheltenham – a race won by stable-companion Elgin. To be frank, I wanted the 7lb claim to kick in again but King relies on stable-jockey Wayne Hutchinson with Bastyan unavailable anyway. 7lb can make a huge difference and the recommendation has to be each-way.

I have been an admirer of SHOTGUN PADDY over the years and he is no back-number, even if victory in one of the major staying chases is now just beyond him. He has had a run this term and may find everything about the Coral Welsh National Trial at Chepstow to his liking. This is certainly a bit more straightforward than the real thing in three weeks’ time. Once again, the call is win and place.