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Today’s Racing News: O’Brien unleashes Derby hope River Thames at Sandown

Money Talk

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.

Mark your card

The Betfair Sportsbook is paying extra places today!

It’s lower graded action on the flat at Doncaster for much of the day today, but in the 14:15, trainer Ronald Harris saddles Sarah’s Verse 3.7511/4 and is partnered by Laura Pearson. The jockey trainer combo has a 33% strike rate.

Jockey Brian Hughes celebrated 200 winners yesterday and will look for his next at Perth in the 13:30 when teaming up with Gordon Elliott on Laffite 12.011/1, who ran on the first day of the meeting here. Together they have a 20% strike rate.

Trainer Tom George has an excellent 22% strike rate at Perth and today has an interesting runner in Oscar Robertson, 9.08/1 who steps up to 3m6f in the 14:40 Highland National. He has been screaming for a longer trip.

The 13:50 Esher Cup looks like a competitive race at Sandown. Jockey David Probert has a 17% strike rate for Andrew Balding when riding three-year-olds, and together, they team up with Al Marmar 5.59/2, who is bred to be very useful.

Disappointingly the 14:25 Gordon Richards Stakes has just the three runners. Trainer John Gosden is looking for his fourth win in the last ten years with Mostahdaf 1.910/11.

A dual Group 1 winner at three, Alcohol Free 1.84/5 returns to action in the 15:00, but she wears a first-time hood, and that’s a big negative for Andrew Balding-trained runners with his fillies zero for 45. Punters beware!

At Chepstow in the 18:20, Harry Cobden takes the ride on L’Air Du Vent 3.02/1 for Colin Tizzard and has a 25% strike rate this season when riding.

Horses for courses

This section highlights the best bets from horses that have won twice or more at today’s tracks.

14:25 Sandown – Mostahdaf – Has won here twice (100%)
17:50 Chepstow – Kateson – Has won here twice (50%)
19:20 Chepstow – Gats And Go – Has won here twice (100%)

Weighted to go well

“Weighted to go well” highlights horses running that are more than 10lbs below their last winning handicap mark.

13:00 Doncaster – Hajjam – Has won off 78 runs off 65
14:40 Perth – Seaston Spirit – Has won off 125 runs off 110
17:50 Chepstow – Kateson – Has won off 134 runs off 121

Furthest traveller

Today;s furthest traveller is again trainer Nigel Hawke who makes the 446-mile journey to Perth for his runner Some Detail 13.012/1 in the 14:40 Highland National Handicap Chase. His runner yesterday was disappointing, but he remains to have a good place strike rate here.

Race of the day

We head to Sandown for their 15:35 Classic Trial. All of the six runners in the race have a Derby entry, and classic claims will be put to the test.



Trainer: Charlie Appleby
Jockey: William Buick
Age: 3
Weight: 9st 1lbs

Goldspur sets the form standard on what he achieved last term in three starts but finished out his season with a disappointing effort at Saint-Cloud when in pole position in a steadily run race.

It’s not wise to judge him too harshly on that evidence, and he looks the type to progress from two to three, but he does lack pace, and he does have a rounded soft ground action which may concern backers with the drying ground at Sandown today.

Still, he is very interesting and others do need to improve today to reach the level he has and if on-song he will be tough to beat.



Trainer: Aidan O’Brien, Ireland
Jockey: Ryan Moore
Age: 3
Weight: 9st 1lbs

River Thames represents the powerful Ballydoyle yard, and recent comments suggest he is one of their big middle-distance hopes for the season. He ran a remarkable race when scoring on debut at Punchestown, coming from the rear of the field to run down a subsequent scorer in cosy fashion.

He clocked the fastest furlong per furlong time figure at Punchestown at a notoriously difficult track to win from the rear. He looks a highly promising horse for powerful connections and looks just the type to improve from two to three. He is fascinating.



Trainer: John & Thady Gosden
Jockey: James Doyle
Age: 3
Weight: 9st 1lbs

Franz Strauss looks the more interesting of the John Gosden pair, but along with stablemate Frantastic, they both lacked speed in their respective starts, and this is being thrown in the deep end on what they have achieved to date.

Both are open to improvement, and both could yet prove to be anything, but they shouldn’t have the tools required to deal with the top two in the market.

Big race verdict

This is a very informative race, and I like the chances of River Thames, who showed star quality when winning on debut at Punchestown. He could easily progress past Goldspur, who has proven he is not unbeatable. It has to be said that the current “yard form” of Charlie Appleby has affected the market.

Timeform go to war at Donny

Timeform’s Andrew Asquith highlights a NAP, Next Best and Each-Way selection at Doncaster on Friday.

Well-bred Al Marmar the one to punt on handicap debut

In the 13:50 Esher Cup, Al Marmar should be hard to kick out of the frame on this handicap debut off a workable mark of 88. He chased home a useful subsequent winner on debut at Lingfield before routing his inferior opposition at the same venue next time.



Trainer: Andrew Balding
Jockey: David Probert
Age: 3
Weight: 9st 2lbs
OR: 88

He missed the break in Doha and found himself poorly placed but was finishing with a power-packed punch behind two horses that had secured some handy form. He is bred to be very smart and has improved with each outing, and he could turn out to be a useful handicapper in time. He looks worth siding with each way in this contest.

Final Word

With so much racing each day, the attribute of discipline is paramount and separating an opinion on a race and what is a bet can prove both beneficial and frustrating but important.If you’re looking at each day’s racing, you’re probably going to look at 50 races a day (48 today), and there are opinions on most of those but not many bets.An opinion example on a race is this.I think horse X will beat horse Z if his jockey gets breaks well from his inside draw and grabs the rail. I’d be worried about horse Y because he has gone forward previously but not on his latest outing. Horse W has needed a strong pace but doesn’t look well-handicapped. Horse X is the best-handicapped horse in the race if he can get a soft lead.The prices are 3/1 fav horse X with few points between horses W, Y and Z in a tight market.You have now created an opinion on the race, but the market is clearly thinking similarly, and with so many unknowns about how the race will be run, your opinion should be left as that and not turned into a bet. Price will ultimately force your hand when your opinion should be a bet, but you are always looking for what the market has missed, whether on horse W, X, Y or Z.An important rule to remember is that just because you have an opinion on a race doesn’t mean it’s a bet. I have an opinion on most races per day, all if I am heading on course to speak to clients, but there have been days where I have personally had no bets.Race reading is an integral part of successful punting, but letting one or two go on price grounds because the market has read the race correctly is more important.Trying and separating what you think is an opinion from what is a bet will ultimately pay in the long run. There’s nothing wrong with taking chances, but every bet placed should be with the odds in your favour.Until Monday, be lucky.
Follow Daryl Carter on Twitter @DarylCarter7

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