It'll be tough to beat classy duo Laurina and Un De Sceaux
In 1968, an experiment was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology with the rather complicated title 'Postdecision dissonance at post time'.
It involved asking horse racing punters at the racecourse to rate the chance of the horse they picked. Half the people surveyed were asked to rate the horse's chances just before they placed their bet, the other half just after they placed their bet.
The findings were that those who had already committed their money rated their horse's chance of winning a good deal higher.
In other words, once the chips are down, we are no longer as rational or impartial.
So, I hope I'm not left kicking myself today after the Grade Two Dawn Run Mares' Novice (4.50), having originally picked out Maria's Benefit around 6/1.
The Stuart Edmunds-trained six-year-old has now won five in a row including a Grade Two at Doncaster last time, but as the race approaches, I've become lukewarm about her chances and I'm switching my bet to the Willie Mullins-trained Laurina, which is admittedly an unoriginal choice at a price around 8/13.
For something at a better price, consider backing Terrefort in the opening Grade One JLT Novices' Chase which should go off in the region of 4/1. A French import like Laurina, Nicky Henderson's charge has won twice in Britain and I was particularly happy with the five-year-old in February, having backed him to win the Scilly Isles Novices' Chase at Sandown.
In the Ryanair Chase (2.50), Un De Sceaux is tipped to retain his crown and he looks set to go off around even-money. He was beaten at 10/11 following this race at Punchestown last season, but he got back on track in December with a Grade Two win at Cork. He later showed how versatile he is by winning the Clarence House Chase at Ascot last time out by seven lengths in January in very testing conditions.
The news that Ruby Walsh picked up another injury yesterday shows how tough this game is. It's heartbreaking for Walsh to miss rides like Un De Sceaux and we wish him a speedy recovery.
I'm surprised but pleased to say the biggest threat to the bet could come from 12-year-old Cue Card. I've been opposing him due to his age and it's unlikely to happen, but no-one would begrudge him one final big win.