Anyone whose New Year's resolution was to cease betting should look away now. For the news yesterday that an Irish horse will not run in Wales this weekend opened up an irresistible wager for the one steeplechase that has no frontiers.
Becauseicouldntsee owes his clumsy name to the limit on the number of characters permitted in registering a thoroughbred. But his trainer, Noel Glynn, is himself proving commendably far-sighted. He has decided that a slog through the mud in the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow tomorrow would put the horse in a no-win situation. For one thing, he has had very little time to recuperate after a generous effort at the Leopardstown Christmas meeting, and Glynn is wary of the tank running dry. Were he to win, equally, the horse would show still more of his hand to the handicapper. Instead the Co Clare trainer yesterday committed to switching him to timber in the build-up to the John Smith's Grand National – a ruse that has become well established in recent years, notably among his compatriots.
"We've pulled the plug on Chepstow and we're going to run him in a few hurdle races before Aintree," Glynn explained. "I was tempted to have a go, as he came out of his last race like he hadn't had a run, but if he had a hard race at Chepstow that might finish him for the year. We want to have a go at Aintree. He jumps, stays and has a bit of toe, so why not?"
Why not, indeed? Becauseicouldntsee, previously recommended in these pages as a chaser to follow this winter, is 33-1 for the National and – provided nothing goes wrong in the meantime – would seem guaranteed to be much shorter odds on the day. Whatever he achieves over hurdles, clearly, will be of limited consequence to his profile as an unexposed and progressive chaser. Moreover, there is every chance that he will again be ridden by Nina Carberry, admirably qualified to become the first woman to win the National. April remains a long way off, but it is conceivable that her involvement might see this horse sent off favourite on the day.
With the physique and stamina of a dyed-in-the-wool staying chaser, Becauseicouldntsee has still only contested two steeplechases at three miles or more. He was a brave second in the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last year, and was again foiled only by a single rival – a very classy one, too – in one of the most competitive handicaps of the Irish season at Leopardstown last week. He should get a sensible weight, and has an ideal profile for a race still sorely lacking in focus.
Another Irish chaser on the Aintree radar, Cooldine, was pulled up in the Lexus Chase and obviously needs to regroup now. He may yet do so, that race having come barely a fortnight after his reappearance at Fairyhouse, and he did show up well for a long way. For now, however, it makes sense to stick with a horse being trained expressly for the race. Becauseicouldntsee is no shot in the dark.
Rigadin De Beauchene (3.30 Fontwell) Was never going to shine over 2m last term, and trainer yet to hit form on his reappearance. Different story now, and significantly fast-tracked to a handicap for chasing debut.
Our Mick (1.50 Bangor) Useful bumper performer who went with gusto on his hurdling debut here, passed only by an exceptional prospect in Backspin.
One to watch
Health Is Wealth (Colin Tizzard) Was much improved switched to fences at Plumpton the other day, still going well in the van when paying for his first mistake four out.
Where the money's going
Knight Pass is 10-1 from 14-1 with William Hill for the Weatherbys Champion Bumper after impressing again at Southwell on Wednesday.Reuse content