TATENEN gave the Betting Ring column's coffers a nice boost last week when landing the Betvictor.com handicap chase at Ascot, although at one stage it looked like the eight-year-old would be denied on the line by I'msingingtheblues.
My heart sank as Tatenen appeared to run out of gas in the final few yards and, with the in-running punters clicking pink on the machine, his price was pushed all the way out to 45/1 in-running. But somehow, Andrew Thornton managed to get a little bit more out of the Lost World gelding and he got it on the bob of the head.
Those kind of races are not great for the ticker but it felt good afterwards as I've had quite a few of my nags get beat on the line in recent weeks. I was a bit disappointed with the SP of 8/1, though, as the odds compilers I rang the day before had him tentatively priced at 20/1 and above.
Steady money all morning followed by some big on-course wagers saw the double-figure odds disappear. Unfortunately, I left it late to place my bet so I had to settle for 9/1 an hour or so before the off.
Still, it's a welcome few bob and comes at a good time as the nifty 50 I had on each-way will help pay for a few days away with the lads in Norway this weekend to visit an old friend.
With their oil industry thriving, Norway is one of the richest countries in the world and, as such, you expect to pay high prices for food and drink. But the tax on alcohol is simply jaw-dropping and makes our own prices here in Ireland seem generous.
A Norwegian krone is worth 13 cent and, with a pint of beer costing around 90 kroner, you will understand why we'll be paying the nice people in the duty-free a visit before we fly.
Even a bowl of soup and a sambo will set you back a pony (€25) so another few winners certainly wouldn't go astray today. On that note we look to Doncaster, where Lifestyle looks the one to beat in the opening Sky Bet Mobile For Android Doncaster Mares' Hurdle (1.15).
She didn't seem herself last time when fourth of seven finishers in a race won by Celestial Halo at Newbury at the end of last month, but that race came hot on the heels of her victory in a Class Three handicap at the Kempton Christmas Festival, so she's forgiven for being a little weary.
She's raced in some bumpers and also a chase in the past but her record over sticks is four wins from six races and I'm well pleased with the 7/4 on offer early doors.
Alasi could prove threatening and this could end up being a match between the market leaders but that horse has an extra 5lb to deal with, which may prove the crucial advantage for the selection.
Elsewhere, Big Buck's is back out today for the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham (3.40) and while he'll go off at an un-backable price, you don't need a bet to enjoy watching this horse race. Expect another demolition job this afternoon.
WHEN I say outsider, I really mean it as this week's selections Merigo is more than 100/1 in places for the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster (2.50). He won the Scottish Grand National in 2010 and finished second in 2011 so presumably that's his target once again this year. Admittedly, he hasn't done much of note since but he's not exactly over-burdened with weight today and he may just spring a surprise by taking a place.
1.15 Doncaster: Lifestyle
2.35 Cheltenham: Diamond Harry
2.50 Doncaster: Merigo (e/w)
2.30 Leopardstown: Hurricane Fly (Sun)