Another weekend past and another National in the form book. One horse clearly springs to mind from the weekends action and that is a certain AURORAS ENCORE! Since he was highlighted by myself as the solitary eye-catcher from the weekends action back on March the 12th he has won a valuable pot at Haydock at 12/1 (BFSP 16.69) and ran his heart out in the Scottish National to finish a head second at 25/1 (BFSP 40.02!). Auroras I salute you boy.
Auroras Encore does not make the ‘to follow list’ today, there was very little ‘under the radar’ about his run on Saturday, however, I did note a few down the field runners from the weekends action and here are the 2 main NTF to follow horses -
GALAXY ROCK (J J O’Neill) – Saturday – 3.25 Ayr– PU in the 4m Scottish Grand National
Despite finishing pulled-up I thought the run of the 8yo was in fact quite promising. He travelled well throughout the contest and looked to be moving smoothly into contention as they approached 5 out. He jumped that well enough but as they turned for home the petrol gauge began to flicker on empty and any challenge he was set to mount evaporated quickly. He has shown staying capabilities in the past but it is interesting to note that on both occassions he has run over 3m5f or further he has finished pulled-up. The first of those P’s was gained in the Welsh National on heavy ground so I’m inclined to forgive him that run although here at Ayr there should have been no ground quibbles and I’m very much of the mindset 4 miles is beyond his stamina threshold. There must also be a train of though that suggests he is maybe a touch high in the handicap. He currently sits on a mark of 144 and his form figures when racing off marks in the 140′s+ read P-4-P. I’m slightly in 2 minds over this issue although I do believe that if he is not above the ceiling of his abilities he is probably right at the top of them; i.e. he could win off this mark but dropping a few lbs certainly would not go amiss. If they can find a race in the 3m2f – 3m5f range on decent ground then I could not rule him out off his current mark. The important thing here is not to get distracted by the ‘pulled-up’ aspect of this run, he was travelling very well under the champion jockey until his stamina reserves bottomed out and once it was clear he was not going to have a say in the finish McCoy eased up considerably on the Heron Island gelding. This run suggests there are still valuable races in him yet and it would be folly to dismiss him on the back of this performance.
Galaxy Rock ideal conditions - Good to soft or better ground – 3m to 3m5f races – Running within 30 days of last start
RUSSIAN WAR (G Elliott) – Saturday – 4.00 Ayr – 5th in the 2m5f Handicap Hurdle
The 9yo was looking for back to back victories in this race although running off a mark of 10lbs higher than last season made that a very difficult task. To be honest life has been tough for the horse since landing this race in 2011. He had 3 failed attempts over fences before reverting back to the smaller obstacles and has found himself either too far up the handicap or out of his depth. If we look closer at his races we see he has hardly been put in any of the 4 hurdle contests he has taken part in and has gained comments of ‘Held up in rear, still last approaching final flight, stayed on run-in, never going pace to get into contention’ – ‘Held up in rear, poor 6th when blundered 10th, tailed off when pulled up before next’ – ‘Held up in last trio, mistake 3rd, some progress into midfield when mistake 2 out and reminders, never a threat’ and ‘In rear, not fluent 2nd, headway when hit 9th, never near leaders’. With this has come a dropping handicap mark and one would expect a few more pounds to be shed from his mark after Saturdays performance. If kept on the go over the summer this makes him a very interesting proposition indeed. Take a look at his form figures in the month of June, July & August – 4-2-1-1-1-4-1. A slipping handicap mark coming into a time of year he enjoys on ground that should suit him well; this makes the talented 9yo a horse of interest.
Russian War ideal conditions - Good to soft or better ground – A handicap mark of around 140 or less
Which runners over the weekend caught your eye the most?
Drop me a comment below with your biggest eye-catcher from the weekends racing.
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Dave’s journey in this book begins where it all first went wrong. The women he loved upped and left him and Dave then embarked upon a disastrous 6 months (yes, 6 MONTHS!) losing streak where everything he gambled on went wrong. Instead of giving up completely Dave vowed to set the record straight, get disciplined and win back the money he had lost in that treacherous 6 month spell.
The Perfect Punter takes you through an entertaining journey around the sporting world as Dave Farrar delves into the heart of each bet he is about to make, leaving no stone unturned in his quest to become ‘The Perfect Punter’.
Although these journeys are exceptionally entertaining and a joy to follow it is my opinion that the real strength of this book is the home truths that Dave spills out, the thoughts that all gamblers/punters/bettors have but rarely admit to. Trust me, when you read this book you will regularly find yourself saying ‘I know exactly what you mean Dave’. You may not admit it to others but all punters have these thoughts, it may even make you a better punter if, like Dave, you were to admit to having these thoughts!
All in all this is a seriously entertaining read and one that all gamblers (serious, fun or a bit of both) will enjoy – The Perfect Punter by Dave Farrar
I can’t leave without giving you one of my favourite Dave insights from the book -
“Then I remembered a magazine article in which Francis Rossi of Status Quo said he started every day with a glass of lemon juice. I was following advice on equilibrium from a man with little or no septum. Brilliant.”
I’m sure we would all be better off if we followed equilibrium advice from the legend that is Francis Rossi
NTF Rating – 5 out of 5
Grab a copy from Amazon – The Perfect Punter
ps. I’m currently finishing the first FREE NTF flat guide that will be sent out to members of the FREE NTF list tomorrow (Tuesday 24th). To make sure you also get the first FREE guide simply pop your name and email address in the form at the top right of the site.