It’s not go­ing the way we planned

Ben Morgan on his cau­tious start to the Na­tional Hunt sea­son

Racing Ahead - - AMATEUR PUNTER -

The Na­tional Hunt sea­son is well un­der­way and it’s at this time of year I find my­self en­gag­ing in a cagey bat­tle against the book­mak­ers. Not want­ing to stake too much as not all horses are 100% but also not want­ing to miss out on one of my fan­cies romp­ing home at dou­ble-fig­ure odds.

This leads to in­dif­fer­ent lev­els of form and a gen­eral feel­ing of in­de­ci­sion within a punter’s mind.

I started the month with a visit to my lo­cal track, Lud­low, which proved to be a prof­itable af­ter­noon. A £10 win bet on Alan King’s Inn the Bull in the first yielded £32.50, I pock­eted the £2.50 and re-staked £15 ew on For­ever My Friend in the next. Five days from his Ffos Las win he was ob­vi­ously in good form and I was sur­prised that he drifted out to 7/1. Judg­ing by the man­ner of his vic­tory the mar­ket weak­ness was un­jus­ti­fied, be­cause he never looked like be­ing caught, two races down, £150 up.

Barry Ger­aghty made the jour­ney to Lud­low for one ride on I’dliketheop­tion who was 2/1. Feel­ing con­fi­dent I in­vested £50 on the nose and de­spite an early blun­der, where Ger­aghty lost a stir­rup briefly, he won with a bit in hand and I made it three out of three.

Most pun­ters high­light in their mind their best bet of the day and mine on this oc­ca­sion was Abbey­grey, who was re­turn­ing off a near two-year break. I felt he was well hand­i­capped against some horses who were low on con­fi­dence. At 15/2 I struck a £15 e/w bet and I was as good as queu­ing to col­lect my win­nings as Abbey­grey eased to the front ap­proach­ing the penul­ti­mate fence, only to just catch the top of it which was enough to un­seat Is­abel Wil­liams, who was ev­i­dently frus­trated as the race was at her mercy. I was a lit­tle down­hearted af­ter miss­ing out on a big win, but my ear­lier suc­cess cush­ioned the blow.

Only a few tick­led my fancy on the Fri­day of the first Chel­tenham meet­ing. Mar­racudja was in­cred­i­bly bold as he and Nick Scholfield made all, de­spite set­ting a hec­tic gal­lop early Paul Nicholls’ charge just about lasted home. Scholfield’s judge­ment of late has been spot on.

Casper King was slightly dis­ap­point­ing as was Wish­ful Dream­ing who I thought was go­ing to hose up much like he did at Chep­stow two weeks ear­lier. Un­sure as to what form I was ac­tu­ally in, I car­ried out ex­ten­sive re­search be­fore I headed off to Chel­tenham.

My day out did not start well, as my “bet of the day”, Co­gry, got no fur­ther than the first. He looked to have a good each-way chance and there is cer­tainly some room for ma­noeu­vre off his cur­rent mark.

Thank­fully, his sta­ble­mate Whole-

Whole­stone and Daryl Ja­cob win­ning at Chel­tenham

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