1.50 Leicester – Educate 7/1 (PP/SJ/Coral/Betfair SB)
Horses that have won big races always tend to stick in the mind and seeing Educate in this race at 7/1 grabbed my attention and was worthy of closer inspection.
He is a previous Doncaster Spring Mile winner and most notable two years ago won the Cambridgeshire off 104, 6lb above today’s mark. He is the best horse in this race on all known evidence and if could bounce back to anything like his best he would win this. This will be the easiest race he has competed in for a while. He maybe ran a bit below par in the Cambridgeshire LTO but before that hadn’t been running too badly. Already this season he has finished close to The Corsican in a listed race at Goodwood – he went on to win a G3. He has been weakening late on his his races recently so I like the drop in trip. His recent York run can be ignored as he went up the inside rail by himself which looked to be the worst of the ground. Doncaster he ran ok, prominent until a few furlongs out, but that was another good race. He kept on to the line. Looking at his action it is a surprise he ever did perform on a firm surface, as he appears to hit the ground hard to my eye, with a rounded knee action. This return to soft is a positive as well for me. His record on soft/heavy in handicaps is 3/5, 3 places, Good to Soft or better 2/15, 6 places. As I said he has dropped in the weights and this will be the easiest opposition he has faced for quite some time. At 7/1 I was happy to take the chance. He has been travelling well enough in his races to suggest he retains ability and he should really be getting competitive here.
A lack of quality in the opposition also influenced this decision. A lot of these to date have proven that they are not class 2 animals, yet. Robert the Painter is 0/11, 3 places in C2 and OMeara couldnt even get a win out of him at that level, although he did go close. Now, he is in form which could count for plenty but he is short enough here for me. Storm Rock is one of the few unexposed horses in here but he does need to step up into this company. It isnt the strongest of C2s but he does have to go and prove it. Jacks Revenge is 3/33 in handicaps and is hard to predict. The fact he is 3rd in the betting says it all about the depth of this race. He has ability if putting it all together but he has yet to win at C2 level, placing a few times. Spirit of the Law has the ability but looks out of sorts. Rail Dancer is in the could be anything category – but a bit too much guessing there, although is maybe a ‘guessing price’. Athletic seems best over 7f, is 0/9, 2 places in C2 and unproven on soft, 0/2, 0 places to date. The rest have a few too many questions to answer on recent showings.
For me this is about whether Educate can show his class here. This is a weak C2 and a repeat of a few runs in recent times, including this season at Goodwood, would see him win this. The drop in trip should help and I think he will relish the ground. 7/1 was a decent price to find out for me. He should be able to sit and track the pace and there should be no excuses on that front.
2.15 Ayr – Touch of Steel 5/1 (WH) 9/2 general.- Ewart/Irving are 3/8, 5 places in handicap hurdles here and our old friend is worthy of supporting one more time. He was mentioned on the blog when winning at 20/1 two starts back due to this TTJ combo at Kelso, taken from the stats guide. He has since gone in again at 2/1. This is a harder race but he looks to be improving. He could get an easy lead here, the further step up looks to suit as he keeps galloping. He also has a really willing attitude. The ground is a niggle but it didnt look GF lto and he has yet to prove he cant handle a bit of cut. There is a shorty in here also on a three timer. But, this will be his third run in 11 days, he has stamina to prove and he also won a weak race LTO. He may well go in again but he is short. All in all, at 5/1 I was happy to reinvest some of the profits he has made me. He should run his race.
These two also team up with Herons Mill in the 2.45 – another handicap hurdle. Not a horse I will be backing as has had over 500 days off- guessing as to fitness and he is short enough – although that suggests he is ready to go. Still a maiden and maybe I have picked the wrong one but was happy to let him go.
3.55 Ayr – Retrieve The Stick (12/1 or under)