It’s not going the way we planned
Ben Morgan on his cautious start to the National Hunt season
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