Rhys Williams struck yesterday with a 30/1 winner and is back today with a sole selection at Catterick.
Change of headgear to bring a revival
Saras Hope has managed to beat a total of only eight horses in his last six starts but I think he might be capable of bouncing back to a better level of form under today’s circumstances.
He ended the 2020 turf season with a victory on soft ground at Nottingham off 69 and made a good start to last season when beaten a length off 76 at Haydock. He was always behind next time after a slow start at Beverley before running well despite an awkward start at Windsor off 75.
He’s failed to get competitive since but I think there have been excuses for many of those poor runs. He just isn’t a six-furlong horse so his two runs over that distance can be easily excused while he was on the wrong side of the track at Redcar and ended up on an unfavourable part of the track at Newcastle three starts ago.
It was encouraging that Saras Hope showed he still retained some ability two starts ago at Chelmsford. He was a bit slowly into stride and raced towards the back of the field early on. Driven along with 1 1/2 furlongs to go, he managed to stay in touch with the leaders rather than dropping away as had often been the case on recent runs and was beaten 4 1/4 lengths.
He races off a 7lb lower mark than he did that day and I think the return to turf with cut in it will suit him, with his two wins having come on soft and heavy ground.
The hood that he has often worn also comes off today and is replaced by blinkers. I think a hood can often be left on for too long and the initial positive impact of helping to settle a horse turns into a negative of switching them off too much as they start to naturally settle better. The application of blinkers for the first time suggests John Gallagher thinks that is the case with Saras Hope as he attempts to sharpen him up.
There is a concern over his slow-starting tendencies and it might be that he just isn’t as good as he once was but given the potential for a revival in a weak race I think he’s overpriced and any 10/1 or bigger appeals.
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