Five out of six again and, of course, one place outside of the pay zone with our other one. Onwards, to Sandown, one of my favourite tracks. An early start at 1.40, so let’s get cracking.
1.40 – Leg 1: They whizz down the five furlong chute to begin with, in a juvenile maiden, and Biography – the jolly – is poorly drawn and weak in the market. Ed Walker won this last year, and his Bushcraft has been well backed to notch the double. On form, Costa Filey and Soul Of Motion are the pick, and Meeting Waters may not be out of it either.
In other words, it’s a trappy starter. I’m looking for some sort of an upset and fielding against the fav.
A – 3 (Costa Filey), 6 (Soul Of Motion)
B – 2 (Bushcraft), 8 (Meeting Waters)
2.10 – Leg 2: Oh, great. A three-year-old handicap. I’m going to have to learn how to read these things: there must be a reliable way into them! For now, though, I’ll follow the money for Benoni and King Bertie, and chuck in Prince Regal and Sam Spade too. I don’t like the look of blinkered first time, first time on turf, Kabbaas, as favourite.
Given my inability to read such races, he’ll probably win.
A – 6 (Benoni), 7 (King Bertie)
B – 2 (Prince Regal), 9 (Sam Spade)
2.40 – Leg 3: Jeremy Noseda’s maidens always improve for the run, and this fellow put up a strong performance first time when third to Bunker over six furlongs. He should make the frame at least, with the extra furlong and benefit of experience both expected to suit. Plenty of first time starters in opposition, and it’s hard to know what they are, but the best supported is Andrew Balding’s Collaboration.
A – 9 (Zeshov)
3.15 – Leg 4: The second division of the same maiden, though surely they could have run them all in the same heat. Anyway, the market leaders, Downturn and Solidarity, might both be hard to beat out of the places. Of the pair, I slightly favour the form in the book of Downturn. Diapenko, from the white hot stable of Brian Meehan, could go well on this first run.
A – 3 (Downturn)
B – 2 (Diapenko)
3.50 – Leg 5: A three year olds only fillies’ handicap. Sweet. Great Timing won a big field maiden for Godolphin, Mahmood al Zarooni, and Frankie Dettori last September. How the world has turned since then. She could be a bit better than these, and deserves a chance to show it.
Estiqaama runs within a few days of bolting up at Yarmouth before the handicapper takes another look at her, and I’m just anti-anything to do with Yarmouth right now. It’s an awful track and the form is unreliable. That said, you can’t argue too much with a six length win. Not for me, all the same.
Johnny G’s Vanity Rules ran second behind Great Timing in that Newmarket maiden, but whether she’d have won if drawn on the same side is another question. What’s not in doubt is that she was hastily stepped up to Listed class the next day and, after finishing down the field there, has now been hastily stepped back down to handicap company. She also comes back in trip to a mile, and has the hood on for the first time, which could well help.
At bigger prices, the Az’s, Azenzar and Azma, could get involved at decent prices: the latter showed a lot more last time, while the former is a lot better than she showed last time.
A – 1 (Great Timing)
B – 3 (Vanity Rules), 8 (Azenzar), 10 (Azma)
4.20 – Leg 6: A ‘proper’ all age ten furlong handicap to finish the pot, and at last a chance to use the formbook! It’s a wide open race, but the three I’m siding with are Cayuga, Tight Lipped and Shavansky.
Cayuga ran all right on Epsom’s roller coaster last time where the trip might have been too far, and before that was a length second to Ehtedaam (a win and two places from the race since). going, distance, and class are all correct for him, so he should run well, while not being stunningly handicapped necessarily.
Tight Lipped has the least weight because he’s the poorest horse, notionally at least. But he is in good form, and was a course and distance winner last time. It’s a big step up from Class 5 to Class 3, and time will tell whether he’s (at least, nearly) up for it.
Shavansky on the other hand is an old warrior at the top of the weights. Nine now, he is what he is. And, in the context of this race, he has a chance. A mile and a quarter on fast ground is optimal for him, and he has those conditions for the first time in a while. He’s been getting outpaced over a mile recently, and will relish this longer trip, especially if getting a level start with the rest of the field (something he doesn’t always do!)
A – 1 (Shavansky), 5 (Cayuga), 10 (Tight Lipped)
Just A’s – 2 x 2 x 1 x 1 x 1 x 3 = 12 bets
All picks – 4 x 4 x 1 x 2 x 4 x 3 = 384 bets
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