Well that was a long time to wait in the day for a horse to run that poorly. Tiger Jim, who I was far from confident in, hacked up at 10/1>15/2 in the 5.30, and the horse I was most confident in ran a shocker. I hate when they never get competitive. He couldn’t get to the front which surprised me, was taken out of his comfort zone, and appeared to sulk. The ‘could be anything’ horse is clearly a bit better than this lot. Frustrating, but at the odds I play at I will pick plenty of losers, although it really irks me when I/we dont get a run for our money. On this occasion he ran like a 9/1 shot that drifted to 16/1.
Well after the excitement of watching Desert Law somewhat ‘hack up’ (relative term for a 5f sprint) I thought I would see if there was anything today that caught the eye…
(I would take Boom The Groom out of the race who I thought would run well if improving on turf. He had a tongue tie on which helped and rattled home up the rail. He did have a clear passage but there are clearly races to be won with him on turf. Monsieur Joe is still in fine for and over a slightly stiffer 5f looks like he could still win from that mark. I do need to re watch it to see if there were any other unlucky horses who may have finished closer for clear runs)
Bronze Beau 9/1 – 1 point EW, 1/4 odds 3 places (2 points total) ( i got 10s although that has disappeared since I started writing)
This looks a cracker for a class 5 race and while I never like to play below C4 too often (usual caveat, outside of systems, profiles etc) this horse caught the eye. Firstly the pace angle interested me. He looks to be the only out and out front runner, but he can also track the pace. He also has the highest geegeez speed rating in the race. He is also drawn low. The likes of Basheba, Springbird and Scoreline like to be up there but none of them have led on their last 4 starts. Indeed Bronze Beau is the only one to have had the outright lead in a race, within the last 4 starts. So, track position will not be a problem. I hope he gets an easy time and doesnt have to battle up front. If that is the case, given his current form, I would like to think he will place at worse. He came 3rd in this race in 2013 and in the same year won a shade cosily off this mark. The rest of the race conditions look fine to me. There should be no excuses.
Given he should have no excuses that just leaves the other possibility – that there is a better horse/ better handicapped horse/ more progressive horse than him in the race. Bashiba was on the shortlist and I think he will run well. He is 0/5, 2 places on Good to Firm, and 4/7, 6 places on Good (I am tracking him to see if this is just coincidence or if he does have a preference for ‘perfect ground’ that isnt too firm, and isnt too soft!) This is his first race at the track but other than that he looks solid, and the jockey booking is interesting given his record on the horse. Sleeping Apache should also go close. His draw is ok, but never ideal here in my opinion and he will either get stuck wide, or have to rely on luck in running. His jockey is also 1/25 at the track, which given he is still making a name for himself may not mean much – but 5f sprints are a game of split decisions and maybe he hasnt fully got to grips with Pontefract. However, given his form etc he must have a decent chance, as the market would suggest.
Stonefield Flyer is a small field horse I thought, so the weight of money on him is interesting. He is 0/10, 0 places in handicaps with 12 or more runners. He did win an 11 runner race on the AW so maybe it isnt that crucial, but he clearly needs a lot to drop right. He is also 0/13 below 7f in handicaps, so I wonder where the required speed is going to come from. I couldnt take that price, and if he hacks up I wont be annoyed that I wasnt on. Maybe knowing he has loads of stamina means they try and make plenty of use of him up front – for my chances I hope they dont!
I couldnt justify backing the others. Oldjoesaid will carry some EW money of mine if 12/1 or under, being trained by ‘that man’ again. Although he is an old timer and looks up against it on form, so I wont bet much. But this is a strange game. Thatcherite is maybe too big a price but is 0/13, 2 places from a mark above OR70. He is also 0/16, 4 places on undulating tracks as well as being a hold up horse that will need plenty of luck. Jan Van Hoof is the only ‘could be anything’ horse in the field, and as such has to be given a chance. However, he comes here off a break and it is a competitive race in which to make your handicap debut – unless blindly following a trainer with such runners, he is the not the type of horse I like to back. Fahey is 1/10, 3 places with his handicap debutants here in last 5 years, so maybe has a squeak.
The rest I have discounted for one reason or another. Spring Bird looks in the grip of the handicapper I think, always finding a few too good recently, and Oil Strike is 2/32 in career flat handicaps, and 0/15, 1 place 12+ runners. Maybe he is a plot horse but in general I dont like backing horses that struggle to win. He has also had a bit of a break and so far his 2 wins have been within 30 days. A similar thing can be said about Scoreline,(1/18 on turf) and he keeps finding a few too good at the moment. Furas hasnt shown much and on that basis I cant back him. Secret Millionaire isnt in any form and the market suggests that he isnt about to find any either. The trainer is also a bit cold at the moment, 1/35 in last 30 days.
So, all in all, if BB gets away on terms and gets to the front as expected we will get a very good run for our money. He should be leading into the final furlong with any luck and from there who knows. Hopefully everything else is 5L adrift and being ridden, ensuring he clings on at the end as the fast finishers arrive. With any luck only a couple of horses will be chasing him and we dont lose anything if he is beaten.
A quick update on the Blog. Since the debacle of Aintree where I had a shocker (and have had for a couple of years actually, maybe I should just treat it like the social occasion it is and go easy on the betting – I havent missed a day at the meeting in 8 years now I think, and clearly the lack of dedication to proper race analysis shows!) the blog is +41 points up, to advised stakes. I think that is 13 posts where I have recommended a staking amount, and therefore it is recorded an ‘official blog bet’. I am not sure how many horses that is etc, and I dont care too much as I am more fussed about profit than backing winners 🙂 That run includes Wayward Prince winning at 33/1 (the second 33/1 winner on here since November) and now Desert Law at 16/1, as well as a 40/1 second who won the race a few meters after the line, a 25/1 5th, 14/1 3rd. Following WayWard Prince’s win I changed staking and in such races I now back to 1 point EW, especially when 4/5 places to aim at.
If I had backed 1 point EW on both Oscar Time and Wayward Prince (instead of 1/2 point EW) I would be about 41 points richer. Ouch. That will teach me. Given I spend 2 hours+ looking at such races (over 2 hours on the ‘Dash’) it is a bit silly to only bet 1/2 a point.
Bronze Beau could well have just been a 1 point win bet but I convinced myself he will place at worse and I couldn’t stand not having 1 point on the nose at those odds. 1/2 point EW seemed a bit feeble a 10/1.
I wanted to have a bet in this race – well, ok, I have had a bet. I have had a small play on Right Touch and Tiger Jim. I shouldnt have had really because in my opinion the top 3 in the market are all still unexposed and could well go onto better things. I dont like betting ‘big’ or betting at all when there are quite a few unexposed types who look to be improving. Boy in The Bar is the right fav I think and if repeating his last run should go very close. Shared Equity drops from 7f and I dont know if that is a good thing but he is knocking on the door. Right Touch, if building on his reappearance, where he cut out quickly late on, is also open to progress and was a decent price. Tiger Jim is a hold up horse, arguably in a race lacking break neck pace, so while he will flash home late i think, the line may come too soon. However, he was 10s earlier and I had a little nibble for another in form horse who is open to improvement. This could well turn into a race to keep an eye on moving forward, albeit there are no superstars in here yet.
Given I am not confident on these two, or the complexion of the race, and the fact there are a few too many unknowns, I couldnt ‘recommend’ an offial bet. And I have put a lot less on those two than I have on Bronze Beau, which reflects the time I have spent on each race, and my confidence. You know what will happen now!
Following the win of Desert Law that race at York on the 14th May is one to keep onside. Maybe all the horses have done their winning now but the front 5/6 have all gone on to run better races. If you haven’t looked at it you should. I will watch it again to see if there are any more clues for the future. It does make Willbeme more of a horse to follow, having backed her last time.
A quick word on Epsom.
I had the pleasure of going on Saturday (hence lack of time to email out, apologies again!) and have to say that was the most fun I have had at a racetrack. Yes backing 16/1 winners helps, as does throwing last minute change at Pether’s Moon simply because of the price (i didnt look at the race at all and wasn’t going to bet £5 on anything under 4/1) but it was a great day regardless of betting outcomes. The weather helped of course. I was in the Upper Tattenham end, at about the 2f pole. The sound system was fine and there were a couple of screens that I could see. It was easy to get around, it was easy to get served food and drink, and bet. The atmosphere was very relaxed. It was easy to park, and to get away after the final race. For £25 I would recommend it to anyone, and I certainly wont be paying £55 to stand 2f further down the track in future! I didn’t realise you could bring chairs in, cool boxes etc etc and will be making a proper day out of it next year.
One reader made a valid comment about my Desert Law pick and the fact he was drawn in Stall 1. Although there is a historical bias for higher numbers at Epsom, over a straight course it is the pace that is more important to me. I knew there was pace drawn low which made it less of a concern. And at the end of the day, bar Boom the Groom who I highlighted, i didnt fancy the chances of anything else. 16/1 allowed me to take a ‘risk’, especially with 5 places to aim at. Also, in the previous 13 renewals of the race 2 winners had been drawn 1 and 2, so if wasn’t impossible.
We all have a different take on racing but I will repeat – over a straight track I think that pace, rather than draw, is more important. Having said, that, of course there are some clear draw biases around, and they can change on the day depending on the weather, and this should always be considered. But if you like the price, and you think your horse will get a lead into the race if needed, I wouldn’t let the draw be a deciding factor. But, that is a personal view, and yours may differ.
That will do for today. I will start to dig into all of the sprints/major handicaps (up to 1m) at Royal Ascot soon and I dare say there will be some kind of stats/trends guide for me to send you. So keep a look out for that. I haven’t started yet but hope to pull something together by the end of the week, mainly for my own betting purposes – but if I have a collection of notes I may as well share them with you.