Only 48 hours to go and some late thinking around the Supreme Novices.
Getabird racing away from Mengli Khan at Punchestown
This race usually bears the front load of the bookmakers’ best offers – being the opening race – and layers hoping they’ll suck you in for all four days. It gives punters a chance to ‘insure’ against earlier ante-post bets with some frivolous hedging of bets, safe in the knowledge around money back offers. I’ve backed Getabird downwards from 14/1 – though admittedly the Yankee at that price now only contains Invitation Only at 16/1 (after The Storyteller switched targets and Disko bailed). I’ve a small each-way saver on Slate House at 33/1 who I’ve argued earlier could represent some value against the best of the British form (Summerville Boy, Kalashnikov & co.)
However, my late growing interest in this ultimate test of the season’s champion 2m novice hurdlers is in Mengli Khan. Widely available at 12/1. All the rage earlier in the season when winning the Royal Bond, he later ran out in that dramatic Future Champion’s race at Leopardstown – when Sharjah aside, he was looking all over the winner swinging for home. Then on the last day, he was comfortably beaten by hot favourite Getabird in that most reliable of trials, the Moscow Flyer. He went into that race very evenly matched in the market (a late plunge sent Getabird off Evens against 7/4) despite his Leopardstown debacle and conceding 6lb. After further scrutiny of that race, my conclusion is that Mengli Khan is a very worthy alternative to the hot favourite.
The Gordon Elliott trained horse allowed Getabird a soft start of at least half the winning margin. He then exhausted energy closing down that gap until the turn for home when Getabird, having been allowed a breather himself, kicked away again and showed Davy Russell a clean pair of heels. If you watch Mengli Khan approach the last he appears to be getting a second wind, closing up again but made a slight error and lost momentum that I think caused the winning distance to be slightly flattering. On the face of it, 9L and yes, going away looks a resounding beating but factor in the 6lb, the easy headstart, the last fence error and I think there’s a case to be made for improvement in the Gigginstown horse.
I’d also imagine that connections were just happy to get in a complete round ahead of the Festival and will have more ambition for the horse come the big day on Tuesday.
One last thought. Getabird has yet to race left-handed whereas Mengli Khan has hosed up twice. There’s no reason to think Ricci’s animal won’t be equally effective going the other way but you don’t really need question marks around 11/8 shots.
I’d recommend looking at either Sky (money back special) or Hills offer to double winnings (max £100) in the Supreme combined with a bonus boost. I backed Mengli Khan last night at an equivalent price of 25/1 and wouldn’t think I have much of a better value punt all week long.