I am so nervous – this is actually worse than when he ran in the Cheltenham Bumper. Then I was just glad to be there and hoped that he wouldn’t disgrace himself (and he certainly didn’t) but tomorrow it’s an 81-123 rated hurdle over a distance that should suit , on ground that should suit and on a course he has won over; what excuse am I going to come up with if he runs poorly?
It’s strange being an owner: I am simultaneously convinced that he is both going to win and finish last. How does that make any sense?
He is 20/1 right now and the favourite, Sea Light, is 7/4 (which is a terrible and really short price). Interestingly, there is a form line that links Bay of Freedom and Sea Light: we finished 20 lengths behind a horse called Ah Littleluck (don’t blame me – it’s not my horse) off level weights. Sea of Light finished 14 lengths behind him receiving 8 pounds which would make us, technically, a two pound better horse than Sea Light. Tomorrow is a handicap so we actually give him 3 pounds so, in theory, he has a one pound advantage. That certainly doesn’t account for the different between 7/4 and 20/1 and when you take into account that our race against Ah Littleluck was when he just didn’t fire at Sligo and also that we are ‘confident’ Bay will be better suited to three miles, there is a pretty strong argument that we our price should be close to that of Sea Light.
One reason why Sea Light is so short in the betting is that he ran earlier this week and was just beaten; the horse who beat him ran again today (in a better race) and ran very well. Normally, I would be very skeptical about Sea Light’s (or any horses) ability to run well within four days of a race but, unfortunately, Sea Light has run before in quick succession and won both times so not much comfort to be gained there. Even so, I am not convinced the extra three furlongs will suit him as much as us so will look elsewhere for dangers.
There are almost too many dangers to mention but, for me Rendezvous Peak is a real serious player. He also ran earlier this week and did not get the clearest of runs so I expect him to be in the mix. Of the other fancied horses, I think that Oisin James will struggle to maintain his improvement; he has been in great form but , sooner of later, the handicapper catches up and he had already gone up 20 pounds since March. Similar sentiments apply to Bye Bye O Bye who has been raised 24 pounds; however, in his case, there may be more to come so I am a little more reluctant to dismiss his chance. He’s clearly been aimed for Galway and did not make the cut for a race earlier this week; he has a chance and, probably, a similar chance to Irish Bulletin.
The other horse attracting a lot of interest is Tulsa Jack. He won the Midland’s National at Kilbeggan recently but that was over fences. He is rated much higher over fences and so a lot of analysts are saying he can ‘exploit’ a much lower rating over hurdles; the only problem with this line of thinking is that his hurdle mark is based on his hurdles performances which are much worse than his runs over fences; I think it is a fallacy to equate form over fences with hurdles and am not really too worried about him at all (and he many not like the faster ground tomorrow either) – so, now you just know he’s going to win, don’t you!!
The race is wide open but Bay of Freedom is definitely over-priced at 20/1 so please feel free to take some of that price. I noticed the Racing Post questioned if he would improve for the step up in trip to three miles; as I have said before, his breeding suggests he wants every inch of three miles so I really don’t understand their caveat – we will see who is right tomorrow.
This is a very serious blog entry isn’t it? I think I must be feeling some nerves so will stop now and have a couple of pints to loosen up. More to come after the race tomorrow!