Thursday, 3 April 2014

It's all in the Name

There’s a heightened interest in horseracing this week and the blog is sure to receive a lot more traffic than normal, including many readers who are only really interested in one race-meeting – the Cartmel Whit Holiday Monday on 26th May.
Oh yes, there may be a few that are looking for advice about the Aintree Grand National too…
I thought it might be a pertinent time to draw your attention to the disclaimer that accompanies this blog and the Cartmel Racecourse website. You see, some people may believe that they have lucked across a genuine source of racing information.
The truth is that, according to my calculations, if you had put one pound on every weekly selection published to date, you’d have lost nearly £2 over 15 months. I’m hoping that past performance is not an indicator of future success - although you should be aware that your investment is more likely to go down than up. Whether you choose to follow my lead is your decision.
Having got that bit out of the way, you’ll be pleased to know that picking the winner of the Grand National is quite simple – it’s all in the name. The first ever winner, in 1839, was Lottery – which is quite obvious when you think about it.
If you live anywhere around Cumbria you’ll probably be tempted by Mountainous (trained by Richard Lee), although coastal dwellers may prefer Tidal Bay or Rocky Creek (both trained by Paul Nicholls). It worked for me in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, won by Lord Windermere, so I shouldn’t really knock it as a betting system - but it lacks the rigorous scientific approach that I usually favour.
Instead, you may wish to try a well known and profitable system: to back horses with alliterative names – such as Red Rum and Party Politics. Quite apart from identifying the three-time winner Red Rum, the system also pointed towards the ultra-lucrative 100/1 winners Tipperary Tim (in 1928) and Mon Mome (in 2009). If you stretched the rules slightly, you’d have also scored with Rhyme ‘n’ Reason (1988) and Hedgehunter (2005).
This year’s qualifiers are Buckers Bridge, Mr Moonshine and the favourite Teaforthree (if you’re cheating). Mr Moonshine will carry the same colours as Aurora’s Encore who won the race last year. Part owner Jim Beaumont is a regular visitor to Cartmel Racecourse and even brought the Grand National trophy with him last May to allow racegoers to have their photographs taken with it.
Like Aurora’s Encore, Mr Moonshine is trained in Yorkshire by Sue Smith, whose husband Harvey is probably one of the most famous show-jumpers in history. You’ll see them together at most Cartmel racedays and last season they notched up two winners at the course in conjunction with last year’s Grand National winning jockey, Ryan Mania (who rides Mr Moonshine).
The top trainer at Cartmel also happens to be a household name at Aintree. Donald McCain has trained 21 Cartmel winners in the last five seasons and was responsible for Aintree winner Ballabriggs in 2011. His father Ginger trained the legendary Red Rum as well as the 2004 winner Amberleigh House. His runners this year include Kruzhlinin and Across The Bay - one for any individuals that live in Morecambe (unless you live in Morecambe, in which case you probably think it is one for those that live in Grange-over-Sands).
As might be expected with the world’s richest jump race, most of the top trainers have entries and most will be familiar names to racegoers at Cartmel having enjoyed runners in the last few seasons. Nicky Henderson (Long Run, Hunt Ball and Triolo D’Alene), David Pipe (Our Father) and Phillip Hobbs (Balthazar King) have all made the journey north to Cartmel, although they’ve usually been beaten off by the local trainers.
Jonjo O’Neil used to be based near Penrith, although he now plies his trade from Jackdaw’s Castle near Cheltenham. The move didn’t stop his flow of Cartmel winners and last season he won the Cumbria Crystal Cup with Church Field – who incidentally holds an entry at Market Rasen on Sunday; a race which will be a lot easier to win than the Grand National. Nevertheless, O’Neill is still giving it a good go with Burton Port, Twirling Magnet and Lost Glory.
I quietly fancy Burton Port, who has a low weight and some classy form to his name (I’m also quite partial to Pineau De Re – a nice blend of brandy and grape juice).

However, if your name is Bill, or your father or grandfather’s name is Bill, you’ll probably prefer Swing BillIf your name isn’t Bill, but Rose, Roy or Balthazar, you might have more luck with Rose of the Moon, Chance Du Roy or Balthazar King.

Rose of the Moon is trained by David O’Meara who won over the Grand National fences and scooped lots of races around Cartmel as a jockey, before becoming a trainer and lifting the Cartmel Cup with Viva Colonia in 2011. Based in Yorkshire (like last year’s winner), his charge is set to carry 10st 3lb (like last year’s winner) and is grey (like the winner two year’s ago).
The head says Teaforthree, the heart says Rose of the Moon. Heart rules head. Good luck!
First - Rose of the Moon
Second - Teaforthree
Third - Burton Port
Fourth - Long Run



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