Author: Will Smith
Published: 16:28 20/12/2013
When I advised backing Chatterbox and Totalize for tomorrow’s Ladbroke Hurdle at 10/1 and 25/1 respectively, if you’d suggested that they would both be hovering around the 8/1 mark now, then I’d have laughed in your face!
That is how it’s panned out however, and a quiet gamble on the Barry Geraghty-deserted Chatterbox continues alongside the somewhat louder gamble on Totalize, who, should he win will surely net connections and, it seems, many members of the general public a fair few quid.
If I were to add another string to my bow then it may be the classy mud-lover Alaivan, who at around 33/1 is too big for a horse that was third in a Triumph Hurdle and beaten just 2½ lengths off a mark of 144 in a County Hurdle. He gets in here off 134 and went with zest for a long way on his reappearance.
I'll put him in with two very strong fancies already in the Ladbroke and I am going to Haydock for the other recommendations for the day.
The Tommy Whittle is a race with a decent history to it, but this looks a sub-standard renewal for a 0-145, as the top weight is only rated 133.
That said there are two horses that might be rated up near 145 at one stage, and that is Emperor’s Choice and Loch Ba. It is typical that two horses I have kept an eye on both appear in tomorrow’s race.
I think they should be 4/1 joint favourites, so I guess the fact that they are 11/2 and 8/1 means I can’t resist suggesting backing both and then having a reverse exacta on the Tote.
Most of their rivals won’t stay 3m on what will be testing ground, and they look two class acts amongst some lesser rivals.
Emperor’s Choice might want further ideally but will race prominently and ensure his rivals have to stay well to get past him. The only horse that I think has a chance of doing that is Loch Ba, who was eyecatching in defeat at Bangor on seasonal reappearance, and was held up way back in the Hennessy, and gave up the outside to no-one.
Adding even further ballast to his case, capable amateur Harry Bannister takes off 7lbs in addition to a 1lb drop from the handicapper.
Tommy Whittle Chase (Haydock 2.05):
Emperor’s Choice – 11/2 (bet365)
Loch Ba – 8/1 (Paddy Power)
& Reverse Exacta (Totepool)
Ladbrokes Hurdle (3.35 Ascot):
Alaivan - 33/1 (Boylesports)