A trip up to Scotland…(no passport required 🙂 )
What a day we have in store. Just superb. If you like your sprint handicaps it doesn’t get much better than this. These are the hardest puzzles to solve and I just love the challenge. Let’s get to it.
Before looking at the two big sprints a quick word on the draw- A lot has been made about the ‘golden highway’ that exists on the stand side however Red Baron demonstrated yesterday that there is also a golden highway against the far side rail. Unfortunately jockeys perceive there to be a bias so those drawn middle have tended to track over which causes all kind of problems. I still think it is best to stick to where the pace is. Those drawn in the middle waste a lot of ground getting over to one side or the other and if they try to get to the front they use up too much energy. The problem is compounded if you are on a hold up horse drawn high as you can become trapped behind a wall of horses and will need a lot of luck in running. These conundrums are what make these races so great. I like horses that can run up with/track the pace, or lead and if the price is right I am not too concerned where they are drawn. The flip side to this is they may have watered the stand side to try and ensure there is no bias and it could end up be better on the far side!! In truth it is a bit of a mess…put simply I wouldn’t automatically let the draw put you off your fancy.
2.40 Silver Cup.
Bogart 8/1 1 point win
Mehdi 16/1 1 point win
Lexington Abbey 10/1 ½ point win.
There are a few trends to go at here-
17/17 were top 10 last time out; 14/17 were 3,4,5 years old; 11 of 17 ran in past 15 days.
These trends help to narrow the field down. The majority of the pace appears to be drawn middle to high and as such I do think the low drawn horses will struggle, especially if they track over. If Tatlisu were drawn higher he would have been on the list but I think he may be out of this if I have read the race correctly.
Anyway. Not too much needs to be said about Bogart. He ran a cracker last time out and according to connections he has really come into himself the last few weeks. Providing this race does not come too quickly he has everything in his favour. Normally 8/1 would be a bit skinny for me in a race like this however his draw and form meant I couldn’t let him go unbacked. He can front run or sit behind the pace and Amy should be able to get a good position close the rail. If he does get beaten I can’t see it being by far.
Mehdi is interesting. He ticks a lot of the trends and for me looks like he has been laid out for the race by a trainer that does very well in this contest. This is only the 3rd run for Richard Fahey and he will improve this horse. The run over 8f last time out demonstrated that he had a target as he was never going to stay – I am hoping this race is the target. The one concern/intrigue is the jockey booking. I can’t quite work out why a more regular rider for the trainer and/or owner is not on-board. However, he is 16/1 and he will be up with the pace. Clearly he finds winning hard but if Fahey can find some improvement he could go very close. He is certainly one to keep an eye on over the next few weeks and months.
Lexington Abbey has a very progressive profile, again ticks all the main trends, is well drawn and has one of the best flat jockey’s in the UK and Ireland on his back. He is only 3, and although he is not a massive price if he repeats either of his previous two performances he should be bang there and as such I thought worth a saver.
Majestic Moon is the interesting horse given he could get an uncontested lead against the rail. I think he is better over 7f and wonder if he will have the pace or if he is good enough. But if the highway is still golden that could make the difference and at 16/1 he is interesting…but just not interesting enough for me. Again given Fahey’s record in the race you have to wonder if this has also been the target for this horse.
This looks to be a cracker of a race and as always in these sprints a chance can be given to a few. However, I think these three will give me a very good run for my money and should all be there or there about.
3.50 Gold Cup
Barnet Fair 28/1 1 point EW 5 places
Hamza 28/1 1 point EW 5 places
Go Far 16/1 1 point win
Again there are some trends to help up narrow down the field. 11/17 were top 4 last time out with 14/17 finishing in the top 10; 13/17 were 4 or 5yo and 16/17 were 4,5 or 6; 17/17 ran in past 60 days.
Just applying those trends leaves a ‘shortlist’ of 14! – not too helpful but something to go on.
Dandy Nicholls and Kevin Ryan have won 8 of the last 14 renewals between them so I was immediately drawn to their runners.
The real conundrum with this race is the draw and the pace. There are no natural front runners drawn high. The majority of high drawn horses are hold up types and it will be interesting to see if anything drawn middle tries to get over. How the race plays out on the stands side will be fascinating. However it looks like the pace is mainly middle to low with Ashpan Sam and Hamza the only trailblazers in the field. Ashpan Sam likes it soft and I don’t think he will be quick enough to lay up with Hamza.
I think Hamza could be able to lead fairly hassle free. I really hop Pat Smullen dives for the far side rail but I have a feeling that he may dive to the centre. He obviously has a touch of class and is exposed but what I really like is his attitude. He just keeps trying and finding and as such I would like to think he will be placed at worst –hence the each way bet. He also loves rattling fast ground. Given the trainer’s record in race and the fact he is 28/1 combined with his class, running style and jockey booking I felt like I couldn’t leave him alone.
Barnet Fair – now this is an interesting horse who I think is overpriced. I don’t know if his draw will be a help of a hindrance but he is not a hold up type which means he shouldn’t need that much luck in running given he can track some pace. Dandy Nicholls hasn’t had him long and I think he could still be improving him. He won at Goodwood with a bit in hand and I think he has a decent chance here. The slight doubt is whether he is better over 5f/does he stay but the trainer knows what it takes to win this race and he will be given every chance – I reckon this has been his target, possibly ever since he was sent to this trainer. I am ignoring his last run as I don’t think they ever intended to win that race and were saving him for this. I could be completely wrong but at 28/1 I couldn’t leave him alone.
Go Far – well I backed him last time out and he ran a very solid race. He ticks the trends and is in very good form. He didn’t get the run of the race last time out (obviously wouldn’t have beaten winner) having to be switch and ideally not in best place on track. Anyway, I want to give him another chance as I think he could win a race like this. My slight concern, as with Bogart in the silver cup, is whether this race will come too quickly, but there is only one way to find out.
Obviously there are dangers everywhere but a combination of trainer form, horse form and price has led me to my two main ew fancies and if one were to go in and I wasn’t on at that price I would kick myself!
My only other bet today will be on Don’t Call Me in the following race at Ayr. This horse has a special place in my punting heart as I having been tracking him for over two years and he did the business for me at Ascot. 8f is his trip, is 2 from 2 over course and distance and likes coming through horses. There is still just enough room in his handicap mark I think and I couldn’t let him pass without a bet. It may be the last time I ever back him given his advancing years. This is a part head and part heart bet but I think he will run well at 8/1. There a few unexposed types in here which may have the beating of him but hopefully he is competitive.