By Josh Powell | Sports writer and Placepot fan
The racing season is buzzing with the new-look C4 team, the countdown to Cheltenham and Paddy Power’s mega-generous Money-Back All Losers offer. This weekend sees the re-arranged meeting at Chepstow take place which includes the Welsh National.
Here at the Paddy Power Blog we’ve tried to pick our way through a competitive Placepot that has more booby traps than all the Indiana Jones films rolled into one. Luckily Champion jockey Tony McCoy is here, and along with our good friend Ruby Walsh, should get us through a few legs.
12.25pm: O’Faolains Boy and Sin Bin
A nightmare start for Placepot punters with a fiercely competitive 14-runner maiden hurdle. Two lines – if not three – are a must here to safely navigate leg one. Ruby Walsh takes the ride on Sin Bin who is an obvious contender to be in the frame. In his last two race he has come second over the course and distance here and can be in the frame again. He showed he can go in heavy ground last month around this track when he just found The Romford Pele too good. O’Faolains Boy won a point-to-point in April and made all when winning over two miles at this track in December.
1.00pm: Keppols Hill
It’s hard to look past the favourite in this seven-runner-field but this might not be the comfiest one-liner you’ll ever see. The Paul Nicholls-trained Keppols Hill was beaten a short head at Ffos Las when making his debut under rules but then fell at the final obstacle when leading last time out at Exeter. Ruby Walsh is in the saddle and the gelding tries cheek-pieces for the first time. If he sorts his jumping out he should win.
1.35pm: Caid Du Berlais and Vasco D’Ycy
Another tough contest but it’s worth sticking to two French horses in the season’s first Grade 1 juvenile hurdle. Caid Du Berlais proved he had no problems going in the mud winning at Clairefontain and coming second at Ateuil when he was 12/1 and 15/1 respectively. Vasco D’Ycy won at Newbury last time out in November. The Philip Hobb’s trained Pistol was second that day and went on to win a juvenile hurdle at the end of December so on that form Vasco D’Ycy should go close.
2.10pm: Carrickboy and Shoegazer
The Venetia Williams-trained Carrickboy hasn’t done anything since making his reappearance in November but this might be his time to get in the frame as he drops down the weights. Carrying 10-12 the Class 3 winner offers just enough appeal to make it into the frame. Interestingly Tony McCoy has opted to ride David Pipe’s Shoegazer instead of See U Bob for Jonjo O’Neill. Shoegazer has won both times he’s ran on heavy and scored around this track in April. He should take to this ground and trip better than most of the field and has a great chance.
2.45pm: Fred The Shred and Mauricetheathlete
Two horses that have both won over course and distance and both have 7lb claimers on board. The Kevin Bishop-trained Fred The Shred carried 10-3 around here when winning by a neck in heavy ground and Mauricetheathlete was third on that occasion. That form might be reversed however as Mauricetheathlete is 11lbs better off this time around. His form line at Chepstow is 1F173 but might be worth a gamble in the mud.
3.20pm: Sona Sasta, Monbeg Dude, Teaforthree
It’s fair to say the Welsh Grand National certainly isn’t an ideal race to have to finish a Placepot on but it does mean there might be a tasty few quid up for grabs if you’re still in. The Paddy Power Blog’s very own Sean Goff has gone through the card for Saturday’s big race here, and we’re following him in on three horses that are all in with a decent chance of making the frame.