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25 Dec 14 11:10
Date Joined: 28 Oct 01
| Topic/replies: 4,043 | Blogger: TheAnorak's blog
Probably a bit sad to be thinking about the racing at this time, but wrote this yesterday and hopefully it will prove useful to anybody betting on the race.

Punters are now quite used to the idea that ex French hurdlers/chasers can arrive here and be allocated a ridiculously lenient handicap mark, so it's no surprise to see Alternatif installed as favourite for the final race at Kempton .
His last race at Auteuil was restricted to 4-y-olds that had never run at Auteuil and had never won 11,000 euros (or more) in a single race over hurdles. He finished a close up third, clear of the rest of a 13 runner field and he would have been a short price in running. After that race the French handicapper put him on 570 and a month later he was sold for 180,000 euros to the current connections.

Here's a link to the closing stages of that race - Alternatif is one from the right in blue colours when the film starts.

Our handicapper has simply translated 570 to our scale as 123, which is accurate as far as it goes. But he's taken no account of the subsequent performances of the two horses that beat Alternatif. The winner, who was in receipt of 1kg at Auteuil is currently rated 600 (130), the runner-up, who was getting 3kgs, is now rated 650 (142) after winning a Listed hurdle. Whilst it's likely they've improved (the runner-up was making his hurdle debut that day), my view is that Alternatif, on that form at least, should be running off 130 here and you could make a case for something closer to 140.

I've also watched his previous run at Nantes, a sharp left handed track, where he was at least 15 lengths off the lead jumping the second last, but came home so strongly he was only beaten a length. There is absolutely no question that the longer trip at Kempton will be in his favour and the more galloping nature of the track should help as well. Again, here's a link - Alternatif in blue with a yellow vertical stripe sets off in rear:

The only negative from those films is his jumping, which was the reason he was so far back at Nantes - and at Auteuil there was a suggestion that he might be happier going left handed anyway. He jumped better there, but still spent more time in the air than most of his rivals. The Pipes have had five months to sort that out, which maybe why he hasn't run sooner. Will he win on Boxing Day - well these handicap blots don't always strike first time (see Batavir for a recent example), but I'm pretty certain he'll be rated higher than 130 by the end of this season and it would be no surprise to see him running well in the Pipe race at Cheltenham next March.

Should he be running in a handicap here when our handicapper has so little to go on - absolutely not imo. He's still qualified for novice hurdles and I see no problem in asking that he run at least once and preferably more in such races before he gets a UK handicap mark.
Pause Switch to Standard View Alternatif - Kempton 3:45
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Report NOW WE KNOW December 25, 2014 11:20 AM GMT
Nice write up and good to see somebody else working this morning. In all probability he is well handicapped and the 2 races were decent contests but as ever until he wins the jury will be out.

However, at the odds available would not want to lay but as a backer perhaps taking a shorter price if he is getting into a decent rhythm might be the angle.
Report FOYLESWAR December 25, 2014 11:29 AM GMT
excellent write up anorak.....and very interesting thank you
Report SEATHESTARS....NO1 December 25, 2014 11:57 AM GMT
Already on at 11/4 Cool and have doubled him up with Batavir at 15/8 Wink

As soon as I read that Scu was helicoptering to Kempton from Wincanton i placed the bet. It is touted that the copter is being used to get him to ride Dynaste, this is very true and why wouldn't he, but why is he starting off at WincConfused unless the yard fully expects that horse to also win. It is well known the KG is a hard race to win, but these two run of the mill races at 1:40 and 3:45, very winnable imo
Report differentdrum December 25, 2014 6:33 PM GMT
Thanks for the detailed write-up and links. My concern would be why if he is such a handicap blot is he relatively easy to back at 5/2?
Report SEATHESTARS....NO1 December 25, 2014 8:41 PM GMT
I'd imagine the market isn't quite set yet on that race. As the fav is an unknown quantity I feel we will know more near post time. It was suggested to me by a friend that he be either evs or 20/1.
Where as batavir is a more solid proposition for guessing a market position.

Ive took my view anyways and have played as above
Report TheAnorak December 26, 2014 1:54 PM GMT
First half of your double up and presumably beat SP een with the R4. Whatever happens with Alternatif today, we can safely say that our handicapper underestimated Batavir's French form.
Report holywell December 26, 2014 1:56 PM GMT
What was the rule 4 TheAnorak ?
Report AFTERTHOUGHT December 26, 2014 3:54 PM GMT
Good write up and positive result - well done that man, much more interesting that just posting a tip.
Report FOYLESWAR December 26, 2014 3:56 PM GMT
well done the anorak very much appreaciated thank you
Report Magic__Daps December 26, 2014 4:00 PM GMT
Nice one
Report Marcus Cicero December 26, 2014 4:01 PM GMT
Anorak nice one son! Had a little nibble myself.
Report Ibrahima Sonko December 26, 2014 4:06 PM GMT
Well done Anorak Happy
Report mr phantom December 26, 2014 4:20 PM GMT
Hat tip to you Anorak and many thanks for putting me onto this horse. I watched the youtube clips and agreed with your analysis. Thread put me onto Batavir also so big thank you all round :)
Report TheAnorak December 26, 2014 4:35 PM GMT
Thanks all, generous comments given it was only a 5/2 fav! Still, that will put it on a mark of at least 130 and it will be interesting to see where they go next. His jumping was safe, but not always quick, so the Cheltenham New Course with the minimum of jumps in final 6F might suit him in the Martin Pipe race.
Report NOW WE KNOW December 26, 2014 4:49 PM GMT
Thanks The Anorak. Backed IR when he went to the front which given your comments made me more confident.
Report opatcho December 26, 2014 4:51 PM GMT
Report pulio December 26, 2014 5:15 PM GMT
talk about having an edge

good stuff mate
Report SEATHESTARS....NO1 December 26, 2014 5:30 PM GMT
Report TheAnorak December 30, 2014 11:17 AM GMT
Just to round off the story, Alternatif has been raised 9lbs for his win, putting him on 132. That wouldn't have got him into either the Coral Cup or the Martin Pipe C/J race last season, so if my guess about their target is correct, he'll need another run and a further rise of at least 3lbs before the end of February.
Report NOW WE KNOW December 30, 2014 11:27 AM GMT
Ha Ha, a rare case where connections probably wanted to go up 12 and keep him fresh and well. Quelle Probleme!
Report ged December 30, 2014 12:06 PM GMT
Perhaps Sandown the week before to get the penalty then?
Report ged December 30, 2014 12:08 PM GMT
oh sorry, it doessn't work like that does it.
Report TheAnorak December 30, 2014 12:49 PM GMT

A penalty can get you into a race at the festival. There was a famous example a few years back involving the Jewson novice handicap chase, where Jonjo ran a horse called I'm So Lucky in a beginners chase at Stratford on the Monday in order to get a 5lb penalty to ensure he could run in the Jewson on the Thursday.

The 5lb penalty got him in with a couple of pounds to spare and he finished second to Chapoturgeon.

Re Alternatif, my best guess is that Pipe will run him next at Wincanton on Jan 29th, a £20k handicap hurdle.
Report ged December 30, 2014 12:57 PM GMT
Anorak - put me straight then. The Pipes tried the double with Big Eared Fran a few years ago - won at Sandown, then ran in the MP race a few days later and finished 3rd, but I think he'd have been in the weights for the latter race anyway. If Alternatif is out of the weights for the MP, can a win at Sandown put him in, or would he have been excluded by that time (assuming no other runs before then)?
Report TheAnorak December 30, 2014 1:11 PM GMT
If he's out of the weights, yes a penalty can put him in. As I understand the rules, if a penalty raises him to a mark of 137, then he gets put behind all the horses that were rated 137 when the weights were published, but ahead of those rated 136 or lower.

At least that's how it worked when Jumps Road got into the County Hurdle earlier this year by winning at Newbury the weekend after the weights were published. He wouldn't have got in with his original 10-3, but his 5lb penalty meant he ended up as #22 of the 28 runners, but behind all the others on 10-8, who were numbers 19 to 21.
Report Magic__Daps December 30, 2014 1:24 PM GMT
Northern Bay that finished second to Alternatif back in April is running in the 400 Taunton. Pipe usually has a few entered for this meeting and a winner or 2 (last few years anyway).
Report ged December 30, 2014 2:21 PM GMT
Thanks. I'd got to thinking that maybe the penalty would come too late.
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