12.35 Lingfield: Not a betting heat at the moment but I am interested to see how Compensate trades early as he was given a rather questionable ride last time out and looked intentionally run at Southwell to ensure a low debut handicap mark.
1.10 Lingfield: Far to close a call between Mohareb and Reeves. Sean Davis is 2 from 4 for Mr Cowell including a win on this runner. Ben Curtis is an interesting jockey booking for Power Link but I did think Baby Steps was a little overpriced.
2.20 Lingfield: Mr Haggas’s Far Rockaway by Frankel is the one I like here. The trainers recent record with his 3 year olds making their handicap debut on the AW after either 3 or 4 runs is very strong. Generally operating at over 41% since 2017. In 2017 it was 3/4, 2018 4/13 and 2019 6/12. The trainer should have a good line in to the race through his 67 Rated St Just who finished just under 1¾ lengths in front of Island Hideaway.
3.55 Lingfield: It will be interesting to see how the jockey gets Deeds Not Words beaten. The horse would be a confident bet if not for the trainers record with recent acquisitions from other yards. He is 3 from 6 over CD off at least 16lbs higher marks than today when winning 3 races on the bounce this time last year. He was clearly being handicapped by Tracy Waggot but whether he is fit enough to do himself justice is debatable and the market will tell us all we need to know.
A very limited day of interest but I thought I would share my thoughts for what they are worth.
4.15 Southwell: The obvious one looks to be Mr Balding’s Sea Sculpture who is making his fibresand debut. Mr Balding was always a trainer to note when sending a runner here, however his strike rate has tailed off somewhat in the last couple of years, going from a peak of just over 45% in 2014 to 18.75% in 2018 and 12% last year and all based on a similar amount of numbers but most notable of all was the fact that last year he sent 14 runners that had raced at least once here to make their fibresand debut producing no winners whereas in previous years he operated at an average of almost 26%. On breeding the surface should suit and is closely related to a two times Course winner including CD but at only a very moderate level. On proven figures My CD Top Rated, Azari is 3 times CD winner including off today’s mark and twice wearing blinkers. He was soundly beaten by Seven Clans last time out but did far too much early when pushed along to lead. If he can return to last January’s form now dropped to a level at which he is 2 from 2 over CD he looked a little overpriced at 25/1. Cold Harbour has never won outside of Class 6 Company, Crimson King still needs to break Kingman’s fibresand duck, Mousebird will surely come on for his run 19 days ago when returning from a long break, Jawshan makes no appeal whatsoever and Cold Harbour is another yet to win outside of Class 6 Company. So basically betting on Azari at 25/1 is basically more a bet that he can return to last years form.
4.45 Southwell: A very trappy little contest and one I really dislike as a betting medium especially with the Southwell Mafia and their Jockeys all involved. Moonraker and Robot Boy have the proven AW Class but Robot Boy still needs to prove himself on the surface at a ripe old age of 10 which I am not certain is going to happen today. Moonraker if following last years pattern in that he ran over CD on 21st Dec (20th this year) finished 3 lengths off the winner as he did this year, dropped in the weights, returned 11 days later (9 this year) won and put up to 86 (85 this year) returned to CD to run third then return again over CD off the same mark and win a shade cosily. If he can run to 85 he wins this. I am again leaving myself open for criticism but I just can’t have Cappananty Con. Samovar is My CD Top Rated but does not appear to go so well on such quick returns. Warriors Valley on the other hand looks to thrive having raced 5 times returning from a 1 to 5 day break winning twice and placed on another and is 2 from 2 when his penultimate start was between 1 to 10 days. He looks to have the prime draw to give him the solo center run and connections won this last year albeit with a slightly better horse. In my opinion this all depends on what Mr Appleby and Dixon have planned for the race.
SELECTION: WARRIORS VALLEY
5.15 Southwell: If this was for 2 or 3 year olds making their fibresand debut, it would be no contest between Mark Johnston and Richard Hughes, having gone head to head 7 times, it is 4 – 0 in favour of Richard Hughes. Last year Richard Hughes sent 14 runners to Southwell for the first time, 6 won and a further 3 were placed. Shane Kelly rode 8 of them winning on 5 and was only out of the places once. BUT only 1 of the 14 was over 3 years old and that was unplaced. In total of the 30 of his runners he has ever sent to make their fibresand debut, of those 30 only 10 were 4 year olds or over producing only 1 winner. So maybe it pays to concentrate on his younger horses. I’m probably wrong as usual but Glendavon now looks short enough. Mr Johnston has sent 61 such older runners to make their fibresand debut with 18 winning and a further 8 placed giving him a 42.62% win/place strike rate. Mosakhar is 1 from 1 over CD but does not set the bar too high. Gossiping is surely on the handicapping campaign needing an AW Career best, although being by Dubawi he may well relish this surface with his progeny showing a very healthy 35.29% strike rate over CD. Caballero may not offer quite as strong stats or breeding wise he does bring a decent level of form to the race. Smile A Mile will find this easier than his last assignment, his breeding also offers encouragement and as mentioned his trainer has a great record with his older runners making their fibresand debut so just edges it for me at the prices.
SELECTION: SMILE A MILE
Only two races that fulfill my race criteria tonight and unfortunately they look the two most complicated.
8.00 Kempton (14 runners) 32Red On The App Store Handicap (Div 1)
7f (1540 yards) Class 6, 3yo+
Avg OR : 52, Median OR : 52
With the likes of Mr Howling, Butler and co this looks like a race to definitely let the exchanges do the talking. Since 2016 and possibly well before the draw over 7 furlongs looks as important a factor as anything. From 48 races of 14 runners since January 2016 11 have been won by stall 1 giving us an Impact Value of just over 3. I have also found that runners who have a tendency to either lead or track the speed also do well which really points everything in the favour of Sea Shack who has the plum draw and is generally ridden from or just off the front. At first look you could be forgiven by being put off by his CD record of 4,6 and 2 but if you consider those runs were off marks of 76,80,77 and he runs off 51 tonight. He is My CD second Top Rated but taking a price of around 4/1 about a runner that has never won on any artificial surface from 21 attempts would not be for me but with the majority of the early pace pressure looking to be poorly drawn in stalls 10,12 and 14 this does look his best chance of changing that. There is a very well handicapped runner in here but I am not certain today is the day. Picket Line last won on the AW way back in April 2016 off a 16lbs higher mark but that was over 6 furlongs albeit at this track. He does have a single piece of CD form that would be of interest and that is his close third off a mark of 71 back in March 2017. He drops down to this 0-55 level for the first time ever and has placed on 4 of his 8 starts as top weight but a combination of Jockey, Trip and Headgear is a concern. If I was to play in this race a small investment in the 4 place market on Picket Line at around 5.8 would be my suggestion.
8.30 Kempton (13 runners) 32Red On The App Store Handicap (Div 2)
7f (1540 yards) Class 6, Standard To Slow, 3yo+
Avg OR : 51, Median OR : 52
Another race likely to be better predicted by the exchanges but another one with an interesting draw/pace angle. For some reason the bias is rather more spread out between stalls 1 to 6 in races with 13 runners. Tavener catches my eye with the defection of Tarseekh from stall 1 giving Tavener the inside berth. Master Poet in stall 8 now looks the main early pace pressure but if Tavener breaks on terms and is allowed to run his optimum race I believe Master Poet will have to do to on my pace ratings much to lead. The main worry I have with Tavener is this is only his third run for this stable and they may not be ready to let him loose plus the fact he has never run at this venue connections have the perfect excuse with the long run in either way so a market watch is definitely advised. Indian Affair is My CD Top Rated for his run back in October 2018. Prince Of Time is the runner that interests me as he is well handicapped, as run well over CD (My second Top Rated) and does generally run well carrying lesser weights against better runners. That said with a John Butler runner heading the market and runners from other connected stables it would not be a race to be getting overly involved in.
A brilliant albeit massively competitive little card at Chelmsford City today so I thought I would share a few of my thoughts with you.
2.10 Chelmsford City (8 runners) Havens Hospice 6f 3yo Handicap, Class 3.
Avg OR : 89, Median OR : 88.
A case could be made for the majority of the field but a runner I thought may run well was Quiet Endeavour who is having his first run for a yard that have generally done well with runners they recruit from other yards. They generally operate around the 19% strike rate but if narrowed down to just the AW that strike rate jumps to 32%. Quiet Endeavour has led or raced close to the speed on all 8 of his AW starts, Heath Charnock may be pushed forward, Blonde Warrior has led and gets the first time blinkers but both may be out of their comfort zones taking on Quiet Endeavour who from stall 3 may get an easy time up front, he is a two times CD winner as a juvenile when with his previous yard but it is that previous yard that worry me. There is no argument in the fact Archie Watson has an incredible record recently but in my opinion like a few other Trainers, his horses can be over raced and exhausted by the time they go to a new yard which may well be the case with this one. Quiet Endeavour run 8 times as a two-year old winning 4 races on the bounce before taking the leap from Class 4 to Group 3 when he finished last beaten 7 lengths, in fact since his last career win although being gelded, he has been beaten a total of 52 lengths in 7 runs. So as one can see it takes a leap of faith to think he can get back to winning ways but the change of scenery, return from his longest career break of 91 days, well drawn and 2 from 2 over CD at 25/1 he does look a decent price at which to take a risk.
2.45 Chelmsford City (13 runners) Luxdeco.com Elsenham 7f, 3yo+ Handicap
Avg OR : 91, Median OR : 93
Another fiercely competitive handicap with a few well handicapped runners. War Glory is My CD Top Rated for his win LTO in what looked a stronger race than this. He had Firmament and Habub in behind that day . Firmament was 5lbs well in that day but meets him on the correct terms today. Habub is interesting on 3lbs better terms especially if you consider he was given a suspect ride last time when having every opportunity to lead the jockey was constantly looking around as if there was a previous arrangement. Better drawn in stall 3 today one would like to think the lightly raced colt may be able to dictate the pace but he does look to face some early pace pressure from the likes of, Piece Of History in stall 2 has led over further so may sent forward to make this a true test, Lake Volta has made all for all 5 of his career wins but from stall 11 he will need to be out sharply although it was with these connections that Habub surrendered the lead to last time. Lake Volta does not look the same animal on the AW as he does turf but this does look one of his easier AW tasks. Sonja Henie stall 4 is another that has made all for both of her AW wins and pressed the leader for her only turf win but all of those wins have come in much lesser company. So with the likelihood of there being a decent early pace it may pay to sit just off the speed. The one I have opted for is Breathless Times who is another making his debut for a new yard, this time for the in form Stuart Williams who again appears to do better on the AW where he generally operates at around 28% with experienced runners making their debut for him after a 75 days plus break. Breathless Times was previously with Roger Charlton when last seen over CD back in May in a race that has worked out quite well with the first and second now rated 104 and 106 respectively, the second that day was Raucous who is now a stablemate. Breathless Times will need luck from stall 13 but I don’t find the draw as important over 7 furlongs as I do over 6 and 8 furlongs.