Get rocking with Free World if price is right
I'VE never worked in a bookie shop so I'm not quite sure if this is an urban myth but someone once told me that there is a law still in place in Ireland which stipulates that turf accountants must cover up their windows so that the activity inside is not visible to the passer-by outside.
Thinking about it, I don't recall ever seeing a bookie shop with a nice clear pane of glass and any I've ever visited over the years have had their windows blocked completely, or at least had big banners in them.
Apparently, the law was put in place so that the good people of Ireland wouldn't have to see degenerates like me (and probably you) carry out their grubby activity in case they'd be tempted inside themselves.
A lot of betting is done online nowadays but if t'interweb is not your thing, enter the dark side and cross the threshold of your local bookies today to check the price of Free World for the Blue Square Handicap Chase at Doncaster (3.25).
If the six-year-old is priced 5/1 or higher, back him. It's hard to find value in a Paul Nicholls horse these days but that price looks great as Free World attempts to land his first win since taking a beginners' chase at Sandown back in 2008.
He came unstuck last time at Cheltenham, but he's a speedy sort and a relatively flat course like Doncaster should see him improve on that performance.
Despite making a bad mistake at the fifth, Ruby Walsh didn't force him too much and the horse seemed to enjoy the pace, eventually coming second. A similar ride at a less testing course could be just the trick.
Despite the absence of Denman, tomorrow's card at Leopardstown is absolutely top-notch with no less than four Grade One races.
It would have been nice to see the Gold Cup second-favourite back in Ireland, but without him we can appreciate the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup as a stand-alone event rather than just another Festival trial.
It's a tricky one to call, however, with Cooldine flopping last time out in the Lexus and Notre Pere running well below form lately. On paper, Joncol should be the clear form choice and Paul Nolan has had this race in mind for quite some time.
Then of course we have Money Trix, the surprise second in the Lexus which looks set to run another big one. Cooldine was pulled up in that race but he scoped badly afterwards so we can forgive that performance.
It's a fascinating contest but I've decided to side with Cooldine and if he wins I've promised to buy the wife the new laptop she's been hinting about; which should keep me in the good books for a while.
God be with the days when a box of Milk Tray and a bunch of flowers was enough to keep them happy!
The last 10 winners of the toteswinger Contenders Hurdle (2.05, Sandown) came from the first three in the betting so it's worth concentrating on the top end of the market. The 2009 renewal was won by Paul Nicholls' Celestial Halo, which was eventually returned at an SP of 1/2.
1.55 Doncaster -- Aqualung (each-way)
3.25 Doncaster -- Free World
4.10 Lingfield -- King's Salute
2.10 Leopardstown -- Dunguib (tomorrow)
3.45 Leopardstown -- Cooldine (tomorrow)
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