look to 'asset' for a bailout
SOME of our older readers will remember Pope John XXIII or 'Good Pope John' as he was affectionately known. His papacy lasted from 1958 until his death in 1963 and, although nearly five decades have passed since then, recent economic events in Italy have proved that some things never change.
Italians, that Pope said, "come to ruin most generally in three ways: women, gambling and farming."
I don't know about farming, but fallen prime minister Silvio Berlusconi certainly has a soft spot for the women. And as for gambling, it looks like the Italian government has done almost as good a job as ours at blowing the family silver on terrible bets over the past five years.
As a small-time trader, I've found it fascinating to watch the news lately and my money is on the euro to fall by another few cent against the US dollar over the next couple of weeks as Italy continues to step in and out of the bailout zone.
It's hard to say how the crisis will end and what was once unthinkable, the collapse of the euro, is certainly not impossible.
For the moment, though, we still use the single currency for our day-to-day spending and if you're lucky enough to have any yo-yos going spare, it could be worth sticking them on Secret Asset, which is 9/4 or thereabouts for the Blue Square Golden Rose Stakes at Lingfield (2.50).
This course and distance winner has a fair bit in hand on official figures and Jane Chapple-Hyam hasn't been afraid to let the gelding travel around a bit and try out different options. He did well in some decent handicaps over the summer, but improved significantly in early October when second to Tangerine Trees in the Group One Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp.
His latest race, a Group Three at Maisons-laffitte, was a competitive affair, but he kept a good pace and he ran on strong enough to claim fourth place.
While this is a step down in class today, he won't have it all his own way and Docofthebay is sure to be breathing down his neck.
That horse had a good run of form on the artificial surfaces last winter and came back to his old self when second to Bonnie Brae in a good quality handicap at Doncaster last time. He looked nailed on at one stage and even traded near 1/10 in-running on Betfair when leading in the final furlong, but he couldn't hold the pace and had to settle for a place.
Kevin Ryan's Bajan Tryst is another one to note but Secret Asset's recent big-race experience should pay off.
While Mon Parrain deserves to be at the top of the betting for the Paddy Power Gold Cup Chase at Cheltenham (2.35), early odds of 3/1 are just a little too short for my liking.
There aren't many big races left that have eluded Paul Nicholls and the French import certainly has claims, but for a bit of value I'm going to side with Colin Tizzard's Oiseau de Nuit each-way, which generally trades at 25/1 in the bookies and a good deal higher on the machine.
His fourth place in the Betfred Haldon Gold Cup Chase at Exeter recently doesn't look great on paper, but he had every chance coming down the straight, even though the pace was not to his liking.
1.40 Lingfield: Frog Hollow
1.45 Wetherby: Do It For Dalkey
2.15 Lingfield: Spring Of Fame
2.35 Cheltenham: Oiseau de Nuit (e/w)
2.50 Lingfield: Secret Asset