I'm putting faith in Fourjacks after heart-stopping failures
I COME from a family which has a long history of ticker trouble, so I don't want to make light of the subject. But did you know that the rate of heart attacks among passionate sports fans is significantly higher than that of the regular population?
When faced with acute stress, humans have the in-built 'fight or flight' mechanism whereby the heart rate is increased and adrenaline is released to prepare the body for violent muscular action in the form of fighting or running away from danger.
Our bodies get confused when we get ourselves worked-up over things like sport and the stress response is invoked far too often, which can actually be damaging to the heart.
Penalty shoot-outs in football are particular culprits and researchers at Munich University Clinic found that heart attacks more than doubled in Germany during the 2006 World Cup.
English researchers revealed average cardiovascular complaints during the summer months of 1990, 1996, 1998, 2004, 2006 and 2012 – all of which saw England involved in a penalty shoot-out.
I dread to think what the highs and lows of horse racing are doing to my own heart each day and last week's equine action certainly didn't help.
Imperial Commander, which was the main bet of the day, was trading at 1/100 on Betfair in running as he came up the hill at Cheltenham, but my hopes of collecting a big payout were quickly dashed as Cape Tribulation battled back to take it on the line.
As if that wasn't hard enough to take, my next selection (The New One) traded at 1/50 in-running before getting beaten by a neck.
Such agonising highs and lows in the space of an hour can leave you feeling dizzy, so here's hoping that Fourjacks can give me a stress-free win in the Grade Two totepool.com Towton Novices' Chase at Wetherby today (3.20).
A useful novice hurdler, he comes to chasing relatively late in the day (aged eight), but he put in his best career performance to date when winning a novice chase at Wetherby three weeks ago, his first race over fences.
While we don't have a lot to judge him by, Tim Easterby's gelding displayed all the attributes that make up a good chaser. He jumped well, travelled fluently throughout and found plenty at the finish. He's yet to prove his stamina over the trip, but his racing style suggests he can stay and he looks a solid enough selection, priced around 4/1.
Super Duty, which won the Shloer Novices' Chase at Cheltenham last time, won't let him have it all his own way, however, and is likely to prove a significant danger to the bet.
THE Nigel Twiston-Davies trained Double Ross looks set to go off at a double-figure price in the William Hill Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las (2.05) and that's a fair deal considering how well he raced in the competitive Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot in December.
The two-mile distance was not ideal that day, so he had to force the pace which probably cost him in the end, but he shaped better than the bare result which saw him finishing fourth. The handicapper leaves him in with a chance and the front-runner should prove dangerous back at the two-and-a-half-mile trip on heavy ground.
2.05 Ffos Las: Double Ross (e/w)
2.25 Sandown: Captain Conan
2.40 Ffos Las: Alfie Spinner
3.20 Wetherby: Fourjacks