Firstly, great work from Daryl Carter for all of his Cheltenham efforts, and his sheer passion. A job well done, and a rest well deserved as they say. We’ve got plenty on this week, and on the eve of the Flat season in both the UK and Ireland, we are blessed with an all-jumping day for Tuesday and the potential of the drying ground to contend with. We even have a Willie Mullins’ runner at Clonmel this afternoon rated 155. He really does need a winner doesn’t he?
Money Talk continues to highlight the Betfair Sportsbook big-money moves to keep you in the loop. This section highlights market moves between 1:00 am and 9:00 am.
14:01 Wetherby: Amber Gold – 34.033/1 into 15.014/1
15:01 Exeter: Encounter A Giant – 21.020/1 into 13.012/1
15:36 Exeter: Stormy Flight – 10.09/1 into 7.06/1
13:45 Clonmel: Spare Brakes – 3.505/2 into 2.89/5
17:10 Clonmel: Hazelhatch Lady – 17.016/1 into 13.012/1
The market says LAY!
Which horse is the Betfair Sportsbook market suggesting to Lay?
Mark your card
The Betfair Sportsbook is paying extra places today!
Fresh from a Cheltenham winner with Love Envoi, Harry Fry’s strike-rate warrants closer inspection in terms of his runners (or runner) for Tuesday and he has been operating at 28% since the end of February, as he’s getting warmer with five crossing the line in front from his last 11 runners from last Monday. The ageless Fry has one runner on the Exeter card in Deeper Blue who won by a mere 30L at Fontwell on Saturday dropped down in distance. He’s out quickly before the nasty assessor takes an almighty swipe and he runs in the 15:36 2m2f Handicap Hurdle and is available to back at 5.59/2.
I have a love/hate relationship with Fry’s horses in terms of market price (think more Fry’s misery than delight), as they go off shorter than they should and are often squeezed so tight there is no value. However, Deeper Blue is a fair price back into a handicap company.
The Novices’ Hunters Chase at 16:11 might not be for everyone, but Gina Andrews is riding at a strike-rate of nearly 36% and has a good chance with Indirocco 3.211/5for her three-times PTP champion trainer husband Tom. He made his Hunter debut at Leicester last time behind Marracudja stepping out of Points, and went well for a long way. Likely to make the running, he’s a good back-to-lay trade.
Gloucestershire maestro Fergal O’Brien has been the leading light at Market Rasen this term with six winners at a hit-rate of 23% and has three declared all with good chances according to the betting. Flann 3.505/2 has the most arduous task taking on the 1.330/100 fav Kamaxos in the 13:35 2m4f Maiden Hurdle, but Hunny Moon has a good opportunity to bounce back following a poor run at Huntingdon last time.
She has winning form over further than today’s 2m6f and made the running last term at Wetherby. Whether it was soft conditions last time to blame for the flop I don’t know, but she’s a good jumper. Paddy Brennan, who was most gracious and sporting last week in front of the stewards at Cheltenham is 5-14 this term at the Rasen at 35%, and is on board today for a likely positive ride. The yard also have Polish 4.57/2 in the 15:20 2m7 Handicap Hurdle with Connor Brace. He’s riding with supreme confidence at the moment with 9-20 at 45% since last month.
Oh Fergal, you have a dream team. Polish and Hunny Moon in a Sportsbook multiple pays 15.75.
Over at Wetherby, Charlie Longsdon has sent just four runners to Yorkshire this term and two have won. Castle Robin 3.814/5 is in the race of the day at 15:46 for the 3m Novices’ Handicap Chase. He’s better on left-handed tracks and as a front-runner might take some stopping following an easy victory at Doncaster last time.
He also has favourite Glebe Road for the 16:21 Novices Handicap Hurdle over 3m and could boost Longsdon’s 50% strike-rate at the track. Glebe Road’s dam is a full sister to Oscar Whiskey, and with a bit of promise in three quiet novice runs, looks to be on a good mark for the step up in trip. He should love the distance as he’s by Fame And Glory, and I am a true devotee to the stallion.
Horses for courses
This section highlights horses that have won twice or more at today’s tracks and could be in with a chance today.
13:00 Market Rasen – Presuming Ed 3.55/2 has won twice here (67%).
14:45 Market Rasen – Getaway North 5.59/2 has won twice here (25%).
15:55 Market Rasen – Angel Of Harlem 5.04/1 has won here three times (60%)
15:11 Wetherby – Black Pirate 10.09/1 has won here twice (100%)
15:46 Wetherby – Fern Hill 2.89/5 has won here twice (100%)
15:01 Exeter – Moroder 3.55/2 has won here twice (50%)
Weighted to go well
“Weighted to go well” highlights horses running that are more than 10lbs below their last winning handicap mark.
Philip Hobbs has raided Market Rasen four times this term with one victory, and the stable are hoping the petrol costs pay off with Forever Des Long 7.06/1 in the opening 13:00 2m2f Handicap Hurdle. He is dropping in class and conditional Jack Martin has ridden a couple of winners in his career so far.
Wetherby’s longest traveller is David Pipe’s Shot Boii 6.05/1 in the 16:21 Novices’ Handicap Hurdle over 3m, clocking up 263 miles from Nicolshayne. I’m absolutely usless tipping and backing Pipe’s horses, but he bolted up at Ffos Las last month and might have got stuck in the heavy going last time.
And with the way fuel costs are going, the prize money will need to go up to about GBP1million per race.
This section highlights a trainer, owner or jockey who is in excellent current form and their runners or rides for the day.
Not to be outdone on the Mullins front, Seamus had a nice double yesterday with two winners at Plumpton, and he’s also had a couple of seconds in the last 10 days. He sends out three to Exeter on Tuesday and Moroder 3.55/2 is looking for his third win on the spin at Exeter going into unknown territory over 3m7f in the 15:01 Handicap Chase.
He ran a 14.93 21f sectional last time over Exeter’s 3m in soft conditions, and gave the impression he might be even better with a stronger test. Indeed, Seamus Mullins called him a staying chaser of the future when he was a youngster winning over hurdles. He acts on soft and good ground and is progressive. Jockey Micheal Nolan was enduring a relatively quiet season with only nine winners at a strike-rate of just 10%, but those two success at Plumpton yesterday have boosted his recent tally to 29% in two weeks.
Not forgetting Clonmel today, and while it’s a bog-standard card, the Willie Mullins’ trained Blackbow is the class act in terms of ratings, and at 155, he’s the best horse on show for the whole afternoon.
He’s in the 16:38 Beginners’ Chase at an ultra-short 1.330/100. He has a history of getting turned over at odds-on prices, with four to his name so far and quite a few short prices in defeat for successful layers that have taken him on down the years. With a 1.051/20 and a 1.141/7 on his dance card, he can also make an error – as witnessed with the late mistake in the historical Dan and Joan Moore earlier in the season.
I think he’s a beatable horse, but realistically he only has one rival to beat in Spyglass Hill – who is far from a proficient jumper himself. Will the layers be out to get him this afternoon with a big drop in class? It’s not quite Mullins v De Bromhead from Cheltenham, but a winning lay is a winning lay.
The closing bumper looks the most interesting race on the card, and you need no introduction to Willie’s (we’re on first name terms like Aidan) two in High City Roller and Klarc Kent. The Closutton team are one behind Gordon Elliott in numerical terms at Clonmel this term with five to his rival’s six, so he’s not exactly on the cold list, but I might take on a chance on Colin Bowe’s Golden De Coeur 7.06/1, who was in a fair race at Ayr last time behind a nice newcomer of Nicky Richards and the time figure wasn’t bad.
He made his debut against Martin Pipe winner Banbridge in a Killarney bumper, and has been ridden positively in his recent two starts – being matched at 1.21/5 in-running last time with a plucky second. He might not have the class of some others, but he’s solid and should be able to offer an opportunity to back-to-lay.
Race of the day
The 15:36 2m2f Handicap Hurdle at Exeter has the Extra Place Special on offer, which gives us the three instead of two for an each-way bet and it’s where we’ll find out if Fry’s Deeper Blue is as good as he looked last time.
Paul Nicholls’ Sonigino was a winner in France for David Cottin, but in four UK runs has failed to hit the target. He pulled far too hard at Doncaster and Ascot earlier in the season to give himself a chance of winning, but he absolutely tanked through the race last time over Newbury’s 2m1f to highlight himself as a potentially well-treated runner off a 7lb lower mark than he started the season, and today’s drop in class gives him a good chance. Although with the in-running hat on again, he was beaten in-play at 1.341/3 last time and it’s easy to see why he wears a tongue tie with his free-going nature. He could be susceptible to something with more stamina, and there are a couple who have form over further.
Venetia Williams’ Franco d’Aunou 9.08/1 looks the best each-way option, as he needs winter ground and at the time of writing the surface was officially soft – although clearly it could dry with the forecast, but he’s a front-runner who slammed 127-rated Champagnesuperover in a novice hurdle by 9L and ran well at Fontwell on his comeback run last time after a break of 98 days.
He’s had an interrupted career but as a confirmed stayer, I’d be surprised if Charlie Deutsch doesn’t make the running. Jeremy Scott’s Stormy Flight has also got form over 2m4f and he tends to hit a flat spot in his races.
Big race verdict
Moroder up in trip at 3m7f in the 15:01 at Exeter can complete the four-timer, and I am big believer in form for yards, while the Wetherby strike-rate of Longsdon in Yorkshire is swaying me to make Glebe Road my best bet of the day.
The new trip gives him a big chance of staying, and as a well-bred horse, 97 is a low mark to start life handicapping. His debut at Uttoxeter was his best run, and he wasn’t too far behind Don McCain’s Tim Pat in that, he recently won by 4L off 111.
Tony Calvin’s first ante-post preview of the week
Tony has taken an early look at the Lincoln as the Flat returns this week, and gives his assessment on the early prices and the potential for the perennial “thrown in” William Haggas horse.
Timeform offer up three of their best at Wetherby
Andrew Asquith from the Halifax team runs the rule over the Wetherby card and has three bets for the jumping action close to home in Yorkshire.
The return of Daryl Jacob from a fractured hip was great to see even if he went winless from his pair of rides at Cheltenham last week, but he gained his first winner back in the saddle since December on Torpillo at Wincanton yesterday – a track he calls his lucky one, and that would have been a moment of sheer joy after months on the sidelines.
Having suffered a pretty terrible football injury myself years ago which effectively ended my playing days, the mental toughness displayed by all jockeys is something to admire, as the process of non-weight bearing before any form of rehab can be very tough to deal with. Most of his rehab I believe was done at Oaksey House with the Injured Jockeys Fund. They also have Jack Berry House in the north, a lifeline really for many in the sport.
I tweeted only last week that Berry, for all of his fundraising efforts for the IJF, and the GBP3.5million Malton facility in the north, ought to be recognised with a Knighthood. Others have been handed such titles for incompetence, and yet past the grand 80 years of age, Jack can still be seen in his red shirt and still raising money.
He trained over 1,500 winners and I remember the brazen, brilliant speed of Mind Games over 5f and 6f. He wouldn’t have stayed a yard further, but ‘Sir Jack’ has stamina and class in abundance.
I’ll be back tomorrow and good luck for today!
You can follow me on Twitter @DudmanAl
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