Stat of the Day, 29th November 2012
We don't like to make excuses here at SotD, but I felt a little let down by the ride given to our selection yesterday. Harry Poulton left it too late (in my opinion) to get involved in the race, then he managed to get himself trapped on the rail, before having to snatch the horse up and switch to the left. That said, Diplomatic picked up some pace and moved from last to 5th place on the run in. I can't help but feel that a better judged ride would have got us at least a place.
Plenty of racing to look at today and we're off to Staffordshire to visit one of my favourite courses for a Class 5 Handicap Hurdle over the bare 2 miles. The ground is set to be heavy for the twelve runners set to compete in the...
Trainer Phil Middleton has an excellent record here at Uttoxeter reading 15110281: four winners and a place from just eight attempts. Backing all eight to a £10 stake would have generated a profit of some £232.50 at SP, whilst E/W backers would have been rewarded with a gain of over 28pts.
All bar that runner-up result came in handicap hurdles here, making his record in similar contests to today an impressive 4 from 7 for +24.25pts (+28.06pts for E/W bets).
The horse we're interested in today is Gougane, an interesting sort who has been running well (and consistently) over both hurdles and more recently chase courses.
Gougane opened his chasing account at Cartmel over 2m 3f in June and he was second over 2m5f at Southwell last time and his record this calendar year over both types of hurdles reads 123132262, 2 wins from 9 have produced a level stakes profit of 36pts and the fact that he has made the frame so often meant that E/W backers were 52pts better off.
He produced an excellent performance last time out at Southwell and reverting back to hurdling today off a reduced mark shouldn't pose too many problems and I'm not over concerned at the drop in trip. The ground will be particularly testing at Uttoxeter this afternoon and the 2 miles will certainly feel a fair bit longer. It might sound a strange type of logic to suggest a drop in trip can be balanced out by going that is more energy sapping, but I'm happy with go with that!
Based on the trainer's excellent record here and Gougane's overall consistency, I'd expect this horse to at least make the frame today and I'd be surprised/disappointed if he didn't.
At 8.50am, the market was showing him to be available at prices between 6/1 and 7/1 and I'd think he might go off a little shorter than that today. There are some doubts about the trip and the ground, if we couple these doubts with the fact that we can get 13/2 BOG from both Paddy Power and William Hill (Skybet are 7/1 non-BOG), I think there's enough room for a safety-first E/W approach.
Therefore, my play today is a 0.5pts E/W bet on Gougane at 13/2 BOG with William Hill, but if you'd prefer to use another firm, then please feel free to...
PS Mr Middleton is also represented in the following race where Sail And Return is currently best priced at 14/1 to make back-to-back wins at this track.