Weblog: A Ladbrokes look at the sport
Headscratching results in semis leave us well ahead
The weather was always going to play its hand when it came to my involvement in the Ladbrokes Golden Jacket and in lightof Newbury’s postponement, my journey on Saturday morning for some live action was reduced to less than five minutes.
Having never previously experienced top class racing in daylight hours I was unsure how the atmosphere would translate from the action under the floodlights. The terrace was packed with connections and punters who had all come to see three ultra competitive races, in which two of them threw up real headscratchers in terms of results.
The reaction to the race of the day was the polar opposite to my prediction as detailed in the first blog. As Farley Zach loomed upsides dark-horse Lottes Girl the cheers from the stand were indeed for the jolly, but most remained muted as the dog failed to far enough clear. Connections, a step down from me, seemed deflated but consoled themselves with the fact that they are still indeed in the final.
Most would have had Zach as a short favourite in a final without Express Trend, but the wider draw in four leaves Kim Billingham’s charge as a 3/1 chance, a price which is sure to have its takers.
The jolly in the next race was soon to be on the express train out of the competition, falling victim to one of the Jacket’s most noted trends. We’ll have to now wait until 2013 to see if an ante-post favourite can do the business in the event and despite waxing lyrical about the dog last week sadly it’s curtains for a performer who I’ve no doubt we’ll be seeing contest top quality races this year.
Getting both favourites beaten was a superb result, and despite giving them the respect, on paper, they deserved we fielded them all morning. Despite this sounding typical PR spin, even the most hardened of trader would agree however that in a race which you sponsor, it’s always better to have that extra touch of class in the final. That’s not to take anything away from the dogs who have triumphed in some difficult races. They’re there on merit and with the draw also adding an extra twist the final is sure to be a cracker. A case can be made for virtually every dog in the race with the front four in the betting holding particularly sound claims, all for different reasons.
Look out for Saturday's Racing Post and the tale from Crayford trainer Barry O’Sullivan about their trip a few years ago to the pub with Milldean Clarky in tow,sporting his Golden Jacket. By the sounds of the way the celebrated, if this camp defy odds of 16/1 to win I’ll have to leave the car and follow them to them for the rest of the day!
As mentioned previously we’ve dodged our biggest ante-post bullets, bar a chunky each way bet on Wise Signal at 12/1. All we’re hoping for now is a good clean race.
Track management informed me that their Saturday night fully graded card was another sell out in the restaurant, which again is testament to the fantastic work done by all involved in Crayford. A series of large and extravagant cakes were being delivered as I left for those enjoying birthday celebrations that night and no doubt this time next week it’ll be bottles of champagne waiting in the goods in-section for connections of every finalist to enjoy, win or lose.
Later that day I left the track to watch a fairly underwhelming Six Nations match after seeing the football results roll in. Everton extended their superb home record over Chelsea with victory at Goodison - something for me to discuss with Jonathan Hobbs next time no doubt.
It’s a busy week with the Grand National Weights lunch a highlight on the horseracing front along with the rescheduled Newbury card I’ll thankfully be able to pay full attention to on Friday. Just as the birthday boys and girls found out at Crayford on Saturday night, sometimes you can have your cake and eat it.
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