Emma Lavelle must have felt like pulling her hair out at Cheltenham with RSA runner Le Bec being brought down when quietly fancied, and the backed-off-the-boards Claret Cloak hitting the second-last fence extremely hard when looking all-over the winner of the Grand Annual.
Today she brings out her, arguably, third and fourth best horses – and both have a good chance.
Gullinbursti makes the long-trip north to Kelso for the Liz Adam Memorial Handicap Chase where he’ll carry top-weight against inferior horses, and should reward each-way backers at around 9/2. His recent runs have seen him perform well behind the likes of Gevrey Chambertin and Hadrian’s Approach – and there’s nothing of that class here.
Gullinbursti each-way 9/2
Lavelle’s other major runner is Highland Lodge who returns to Newbury for the Ultima – proud sponsors of the Alan King Stable Handicap Chase. He’ll have to put two poor recent performances behind him, but his fourth in the Hennessey here in November is head and shoulders above anything the rest of the field could hope to achieve. A little bit of rain overnight wouldn’t go amiss – but the 10/1 looks worth a bet regardless.
Highland Lodge each-way 10/1
The 7/4 about Grandeur looks well worth taking, and the bigger than expected price is down to the Winter Derby favourite’s draw in stall 14. However, whilst many are seeing this as a disadvantage I’m not overly concerned. Sure, somewhere closer to the middle may have made jockey Ryan Moore’s job a little easier – but I still expect Jeremy Noseda’s six-time winner to come with a withering late run down the outside to mow them all down where it matters.
Grandeur 7/4 or better
Chelsea v Arsenal 12.45pm
The teams with this season’s best home record and away record clash in the Premiership today – Chelsea (41 points) and Arsenal (29 points). Arsenal may also have won at Stamford Bridge more than any other premiership side (7 times) but this is offset by the fact that Arsene Wenger has never won a match against a side managed by Jose Mourinho (lost 5 drew 5)
The latter stat looks the one to concentrate on here with Chelsea’s mid-field looking set to dominate in their quest to win another Premiership title, and victory here would keep Manchester City and Liverpool from overtaking them, and all but end Arsenal’s hopes – though this is Wenger’s 1000th match in charge if you believe in fairytales.
With George Coetzee and Adam Scott both odds on at the time of writing – it’s extremely hard to find an angle to bet on over the weekend for either the Arnold Palmer Invitation or the Investec Cup – so we’ll keep our powder dry.
A Final Note
Wednesday’s top golf-tip Bubba Watson sudden development of a chronic allergy at Bay Hill this week on his way to an 83 (followed by a quick withdrawal) was certainly not a factor I’d previously considered – but at least Manchester United and AP McCoy made us a nice little profit on the day.