Upsie to spoil Dunguib return -- but beware madness of crowd
"Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one".
Scottish journalist Charles Mackay wrote those words in his most famous piece of work 'Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds' in 1841.
In that book, he describes various boom and bust periods throughout history where men lost every bit of common sense betting on all sorts, such as shares in the South Sea Company bubble of 1720, or the Tulip Mania craze of 1637 (where tulip bulbs in the Netherlands were selling for 10 times the annual wage of a skilled worker).
Recent economic bubbles prove that man has learned very little about hype since Mackay's time and I was reminded of his words on a smaller, more local level this week when I read that Dunguib was set to make his comeback in the Limestone Lad Hurdle at Naas (1.0).
I consider myself a rational person, but I must admit that I was one of those who got totally caught up in the hype surrounding Dunguib and, like a lot of people, I simply couldn't see him being beaten in the 2010 Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham.
I spent over a monkey (€500) backing him at all sorts of prices down to 10/11 for that race, but this tipping business can certainly be humbling at times and Philip Fenton's charge, so exciting when winning the 2009 Champion Bumper, could only manage third.
Injury has robbed him of a few years and he hasn't been seen since the 2011 Champion Hurdle when he finishing eight. Now aged 11, he's not a betting proposition today at 100/30 and his trainer has suggested that he'll need the run. But it will be interesting, if nothing else, to watch him race again and it would be hard to begrudge some level of success in the future.
I'll watch this race without a wager, but if a gun were put to my head, I'd suggest Upsie is the one to beat. For betting purposes then, attention turns to Ascot where Sire De Grugy (5/4) looks a solid prop-osition in the Grade One Sodexo Clarence House Chase (formerly the Victor Chandler Chase).
Regular readers will know I'm a big fan of Gary Moore's eight-year-old and, although I lost a packet on him in November's Sholer Chase, my faith was rewarded when he beat Mick Channon's Somersby by four lengths in the Tingle Creek at Sandown at 7/4. He later took advantage when 2/9 shot Sprinter Sacre was pulled up in the Desert Orchid Chase and stayed on well to land the spoils, priced 4/1.
Somersby is next in the betting today at 3/1, but when he tried to go toe-to-toe with the selection in the Tingle Creek, he just couldn't keep up with the strong pace and was beaten fair and square.
Sire De Grugy has also beaten a couple of today's other rivals, including Kauto Stone and Oiseau De Nuit and there's nothing to suggest that any of those can improve enough to reverse the form today. The danger horse comes in the shape of Hidden Cyclone, which was unlucky to finish second when forced to switch in the Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase at Leopardstown.
THE Peter Marsh Chase (3.15 Haydock) has attracted some small fields in recent years and with 10 runners listed for this year's renewal, it could be a good race for each-way backers. Vintage Star's stamina was stretched in the Welsh National last time, but he'll appreciate the drop in trip today and has a great chance at finishing in the money, priced around 7/1.
1.30 Haydock: Taquin Du Seuil
1.50 Ascot: Mickie
2.05 Haydock: Un Temps Pour Tout
2.40 Haydock: Melodic Rendezvous
3.15 Haydock: Vintage Star (e/w)
3.35 Ascot: Sire De Grugy