Punchestown today was a meagre mess and highlighted the epiphany that this festival is subordinate to both Cheltenham and Aintree. Talking through my wallet you may jest? But no, somehow I profited!
I only studied the three Grade 1's for the opening day. I felt I had a value each way selection in the opener despite the lack of experience. Some Slam was my choice but it faded after leading them round for much of the way. I was not too disappointed with that as it was a risky bet and one which I would rather have than trying to follow up on General Miller at short odds who was to fail miserably in any case.
It was the horrendous run up to the Champion Chase that agitated me. I had put a hefty bet on Twist Magic to win at shortish odds, far shorter than I care for under normal circumstances. But I just felt the main contenders were not up to much and either lacked experience, confidence or form in the conditions so it was a bet I was willing to make. How disturbed though I looked as it kept being laid on Betfair for fun. 3.8 became 4.3, 4.5, 4.6... it didn't stop, 4.9, 5.2 and on and on. I was thinking to myself if this horse runs like a dog now then this is blatant bullshit. It carried on its drift out to 6.8 or so before claiming a brief fightback as Tony McCoy got ready at the start.
Then it was a matter of.... "They're OFF!" .....and where was Twist Magic?
Four Hooves PLANTED in the turf with his ears pricked and could be heard in horse language telling McCoy to "Get off my f**king back!"
A £65 bet lost in an instant, no returns as it was under orders. A woeful feeling of unrest jostled inside me as I wanted to get my money back. I felt frustrated but decided not to touch the race inrunning. Probably a wise decision as I may have ended up betting on one of the race favourites when it was a marginal outsider that did prove best in Golden Silver. A very smart horse on his day but in my mind had little chance due to the fast ground. Must have been the combination of below par rivals and just enough juice in the ground that made it prosper.
By 7.05pm I was not holding out much hope. For I was on a run now of around 10 or 11 consecutive losers since Saturday. The Midnight Club I had stuck a simple straight £20 on it to win. Quite keen on its chance of getting the trip and exposing its opponents on the quickish ground. I had also put a £25 bet on China Rock who was 7.6 on the exchanges and a horse I was 100% certain would not last the 3 mile trip. I had advised a bet on it at 1PT and then lay absolutely everything off at 1.6. I stuck to this and watched the horse go clear round the home turn but worried I was not as it reached 1.22 inrunning before being set upon by Kempes who powered through as China Rock ran out of gas. Phew! Thank you, £150 was needed. If nothing else then it has restored some confidence in my betting and given me a bit of time to get the next big winner that I crave.
A quick word for Zaarito though, what a disgusting piece of training to enter a horse in a GRADE 1 simply to hack round at the back trying to build it's confidence for jumping. The horse had fallen 3 times previously, each time when running against high class opponents in Grade 1 company, so it was bereft that they decided this time to hold the horse up well out the back away from traffic and never actually challenge. Pure filth! At least mine did not run so I did not have to go through the pain of watching it simply not being put in the race by its rider!
In current form I think I should stick to this betting to lose technique but make sure I am laying at short odds inrunning for absolutely everything, my stake, my profit, the lot! It worked today, but its a risky strategy only the very shrewd can succeed at. I think I'll just go back to trying to find the winners now and count myself very fortunate on Day 1 to make any sort of profit from my bets.