Well, this series has started quite interestingly. In our first two attempts at the placepot, we managed to find all six winners in week one at Wolverhampton, and notch the placepot again in week two at Plumpton. Alas, on both occasions, the placepot dividend was less than perfect and my desire to publish a ‘winning’ combination led to more permutations than ideal, I suspect.
So, with a couple of weeks experience behind us, and after a week of quiet reflection last Monday, we’ll take a bit more of a risk this week in search of a bit more reward, and slim the pemutation down to a more manageable number of lines.
Again, it’s Wolverhampton that we go at, as I’m not much of a fan of Kempton’s all weather circuit (read, I can’t seem to find winners there!).
Leg 1 – 1.40
The first of two low grade amateur rider sprint handicaps, and that sets the tone for what could be a trappy afternoon’s fare here at Dunstall Park.
This race is made more interesting by the prospect of the short-priced favourite, Hab Reeh, being a non-stayer at this six furlong distance. Whilst Hab Reeh did win a six furlong race, that was a maiden handicap on fast ground, and races don’t get much worse than maiden handicaps!
In his Wolves 6f spins, he’s been outpaced when trying to lead. I’m not sure if they’ll send him to the front here but, if they do, I think he’ll be out of the frame. However, with a couple of fancied horses now non-runners, he still has to make the ticket. He’s ridden by Serena Brotherton who is one of very few jockeys that are trustworthy at this level.
I’ll support him on my main ticket with the consistent Miserere Mei who, along with Hab Reeh, has the best jockey in Simon Walker. He finds winning tough, but is usually thereabouts and it would be a surprise to see him out of the top four or five again here.
Prigsnov Dancer is interesting at a price, and makes the B ticket, as does Glennten, who has run well on both starts over course and distance (including one win).
A – 1, 8
B – 2, 12
Leg 2 – 2.10
The second division of the same handicap, and we’re faced with the same conundrum. Lord Buffhead, the joint favourite, looks like he much prefers five furlongs to six and, with a full field of bad pace judges charging from trap to line, he might get run off his hooves. All four of his wins have been at five furlongs, and his sole decent run over this course and distance was in a short seven runner field when he was still beaten nearly five lengths. Not for me.
Against him, I like the look of the other joint jolly in the early exchanges, Artful Lady, and also Whiskey Junction.
Artful Lady has only had two runs here and finished second, beaten a head in a seven furlong race, and then won over this trip four starts back. The pistes at Kempton and Lingfield are a bit quicker than here, and it might be that she’s far better suited by the deeper dirt in the Midlands.
Whiskey Junction doesn’t have an ideal draw for his like to lead style, but if the latest Carson off the production line can get him to the front, he’ll take some catching. He’s been in the first three in 26 of his 68 career starts, and four of his last eight. This won’t take too much winning, and at least six furlongs is his trip.
A – 2, 6
Leg 3 – 2.40
It doesn’t get easier, with a non-runner here making this a seven runner contest, and therefore we only have two places to shoot at, with four horses trading at 5/1 or shorter.
Luckily, there are three which look complete no-hopers, so we can at least narrow it down to the short odds quartet. Of those, the most likely winner is Hiddon Coin, David O’Meara’s all weather improver. Having his first start on the sand last time over track and trip, he readily pulled clear of the re-opposing and consistent, Windforpower. That one is quirky enough however, and has needed the considerable riding skills of champion all weather rider, Luke Morris, to get him home in his two recent wins.
Today, Joe Fanning takes over and, whilst he’s a very good jockey, he doesn’t know this fellow… and this fellow takes some knowing. He’s capable of making the frame, but not a reliable proposition so to do. Windforpower’s form is tied in closely with that of Marmot Bay, a horse which might be a tad less capable than the first named, but is a good bit more reliable.
In truth, I don’t really like either of them in the context of this race, and I prefer Bill Turner’s Hillbilly Boy. Bill has saddled two horses in this contest in the last four years, and both of them won. Now, that might be coincidence, as I doubt it’s a race people look to when planning campaigns (!), but he at least knows what’s required to win it.
Hillbilly Boy was a well beaten fifth of five on his last start, but that was his first trip to the track for six months and he’s sure to have needed it. More match fit today, and dropped in grade, the Boy is the highest rated horse in the race and fully ten pounds clear of the third highest rated. As such, he gets a space on the B ticket billing, with Hiddon Coin on A.
A – 1
B – 2
Leg 4 – 3.10
A seven runner maiden, featuring exposed form versus newcomers from respected stables, makes this fiendish. On the face of it, Bouyrin has the best form in the book, and is most likely to reproduce it here. He gets tentatively scribbled onto A.
The favourite is Mark Johnston’s well bred but unraced Henry The Aviator, unsurprisingly a son of Henrythenavigator. Henry cost 130,000 guineas in April last year, and that’s an almighty whack of cash in the context of a race like this. If he’s anything close to matching his price tag with his ability, he should win and win well. A.
It would be far from a shock if Willie Haggas’ Botteen was good enough to trouble the judge first time up in this race, but I’ve got two bullets to fire here and I’ve fired them at Bouyrin and Henry.
A – 3, 7
Leg 5 – 3.40
In my personal placepot perms, I normally go with what I call ‘one brave race’. This is a race in which I ‘bank’ on one horse making the frame for me. And today, that race will be leg five, a ten runner seven furlong handicap, and that horse will be Bussa, a highly consistent type.
Bussa has been in the first four in his last seven starts, and he acts perfectly well on this track, as he showed when just beaten a head last time over course and distance.
With the overnight favourite, Jack My Boy, pulled out (he had a car park draw), and the second favourite, Restless Bay, also having a poor draw to overcome – they start the seven furlong races here on the crown of a bend – it looks set fair for Bussa to hit the board once more, assuming the exertions of his run on Friday haven’t left their mark.
Of the rest, Needwood Ridge is better than a 25/1 shot, but I’m siding with Bussa as a banker.
A – 8
Leg 6 – 4.10
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any trickier, the ‘lucky last’ is a four runner, win only contest. With all four closely rated – and certainly closely weighted against their ratings – and all of them wearing headgear, three of them for the first time, it’s anybody’s guess what will happen here!
None of them have won over this trip, and only Amelia Hull has won at all..! I’m covering all of them: Amelia Hull and Mick Dundee on A, and Handsome Stranger and Silk Scarf on B.
This means that I’m guaranteed to win a share of the pool if I get to the sixth leg with one B line or less used that in getting there. Consequently, I’ll be able to insure my position in leg 5 by laying Bussa for a place, if the dividend looks worth winning.
If that last paragraph made no sense to you, don’t worry. I’ll explain it another day. (I did actually spend an hour and a half recording a ‘how I research the placepot’ video last night, only to find when I came to edit it that I’d not picked up the sound..!!!).
A – 2, 4
B – 3, 6
So, here’s how the placepot looks today:
Basic Version, A’s only
2 x 2 x 1 x 2 x 1 x 2 = 16 bets
Basic Version, A’s and B’s
4 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 1 x 4 = 128 bets
Advanced Version, using ticket builder
This is using a 20p base stake, but you could do it for as low as 5p’s. Note the weighting on tickets 1-4. Ticket 1, all A’s, has a 4x weighting. In other words, I have staked this to four times my base stake of 20p (i.e. 80p per line). Ticket 2-4 have a 2x weighting and are therefore 40p per line.