Lingfield Preview/Placepot Picks, 3rd September 2013

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I don’t normally curse our luck, but we were on the receiving end of a shocker in the opener yesterday. Here’s what the Racing Post said about it,

“Paul Mulrennan had a nightmare aboard favourite Les Gar Gan, the pair sitting in behind the leaders with nowhere to go for much of the last 3f. She’d still have won had she been switchedout sooner, but it was left too late and she then had the door slammed in her face when squeezed up by the front pair late on.”

Erm, exactly. Anyway, there was a £139.20 trifecta from three horses in race two, a £14.14 straight forecast in race three, and a £13.48 forecase in race five.

It’s a competitive card at ‘Leafy’ Lingfield today, starting at 4.45pm, but some interesting enough betting options and of course a placepot opportunity too.

4.45 – Leg 1: A seven runner nursery to get us going, and only one that can be easily ruled out. Finn Class has a lot going for him: he’s dropping back to seven furlongs, a trip at which he’s two from two, after not quite seeing out the mile in higher class. Indeed, he’s also dropping in grade from those two Class 4 wins, to Class 5 here. He’s also won on today’s going and, with Thomas Brown’s three pound claim, I think he’s a sound bet.

There are plenty of improvers, perhaps most notably the dual all weather scorer, Cape Factor. Both her wins were here, though not on the turf; and both were in today’s grade, the latter over this trip. She’s not won either race by far at all making it difficult for the handicapper to properly assess her level, and if she takes to the turf, she ought to again go close.

It’s highly likely that there’s more to come from something like Queenie’s Home or Pyjama Day, but the two picks have already shown a liking for some or all of these conditions, and are capable of improvement themselves.

A – 3 (Finn Class), 5 (Cape Factor)

5.15 – Leg 2: Another eight runner race reduced to seven by a non-runner, so just two places to go at. Good news if we get through; bad news if we’re third! Pucon has a lot of positives in his profile. Drawn one from the rail, though with the fast starting Royal Bajan on his inside, he’s well berthed; stays this trip and further; has won in the grade twice and is just a pound higher than his best winning mark.

Inside him, Royal Bajan is a fast starter as mentioned, and will try to make all. But he’s racing off his highest turf rating ever and didn’t have anything in hand last time. I suspect he’ll get run out of it late, hopefully by Pucon.

If not Pucon, then I’m pressing up Million Faces. The trip, grade, ground and field size are all spot on for her, and she should come on plenty for her seasonal debut where she looked to run out of gas having travelled well. She ought also to appreciate what will probably be a very fast gallop despite the smallish field, and can finish best.

Excellent Aim has done his winning in Class 6 and looks too high in the weights for now, and Somoud is a more compelling outsider.

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A – 2 (Million Faces), 6 (Pucon)
B – 5 (Somoud)

5.50 – Leg  3: And yet another eight-down-to-seven runner race, this time over six furlongs. It’s a very good handicap, and the top two left in the weights both look interesting. Clear Spring is top weight, and he won the Great St Wilfrid consolation race, itself a Class 2 event, two starts back. He then ran third in another Class 2 distance handicap off his revised rating just a pound lower than today. He’s carried big weights to victory and has a beautifully progressive career profile. He may just not be done with winning yet.

La Fortunata has been given a chance by the handicapper, only raised three pounds despite winning and finishing second in her last two starts. Still, it might be enough to tilt my wagering elsewhere.

Piscean is an old boy with a chance. He has never convinced at seven-eighths so it was little surprise to see him beaten over that trip last time, and before that he missed the break in the Stewards’ Cup consolation race at Goodwood. Prior to that, he’d run some nice races under today’s conditions and, if getting away on terms, could run into the frame.

Spin Artist is unbeaten in his two starts to date, and could make that three here, despite the step up in class and rating. He progressed from first to second run, and obviously can do so from second to third. He’s feared, as is Zero Money, a horse which has finished 21 in today’s distance, going and class combined.

It’s a wide open race and I’m taking plenty and hoping for a good result.

A – 1 (Clear Spring), 6 (Spin Artist)
B – 4 (Zero Money), 8 (Piscean)

6.20 – Leg 4: Twelve declared and currently all go for this mile juvenile maiden on the all weather. That trip takes some getting for the babies, so breeding is a compelling factor. Interestingly, nine of the top ten stallions for juvenile distance performers are US-bred, so there definitely seems to be something in that.

Solent Lad is one of only two US-bred’s in the field, and he’s by English Channel, a winning machine that won the Breeders Cup Turf amongst many other Grade 1 contests on the lawn. This fellow will come on a bundle for his debut and for the extra furlong and is a decent placepot type, and perhaps a fair each way bet in a race where stamina isn’t granted everywhere.

Elysian Prince has been nicely backed for smart connections, and the trainer does well with staying juveniles. Let’s be honest, this is a dreadful race, and any one of the newcomers could easily prove better than those to have run thus far. In that context, Ican’tknow has been the best backed by some margin.

A – 2 (Elysian Prince), 5 (Solent Lad)
B – 3 (Ican’tknow)

6.50 – Leg 5: The three-year-olds are still in receipt of seven pounds over this mile and a quarter trip against their elders, and a number look to have the scope to exploit that, most notably Drahem.

She comes from the shrewd James Fanshawe yard, and has been very well backed – indeed, along with Plenum, they’ve captured almost the entire market. With just four runs under her girths, and as a daughter of Teofilo, this extra quarter mile should be well within her range on her first try off the turf.

Plenum is a more obvious candidate, having been second in a course, distance and grade handicap last time. But he’s yet to win and Drahem has more scope to be better off two runs less so far. I’m banking on the Fanshawe runner, with a place lay option depending on how things are shaping up.

A – 11 (Drahem)

7.20 – Leg 6: We conclude with a fourth handicap where the declared runners have now contracted to seven, and it really is a nightmare for each way punters. Favourite is Candoluminescence, a fairly slow filly owned by The Queen. But then, this is a race for fairly slow horses: a mile and a half Class 5 handicap. She’s done little more than plug on in two starts at around this trip, and she’s bred to be better than she’s shown. She doesn’t look very good.

Those with snippets of better form are Prospera and Sweet Martoni. The former is trained by the marvellous ‘Raiff’ Beckett, and has been good enough to win twice, once on Kempton’s all weather track over this distance. She’d previously run two limp races here though, and that does temper enthusiasm somewhat.

Sweet Martoni ran into a typically well-handicapped Sir Mark Prescott horse last time she raced here, that one going on to land a hat-trick, and she took a big step up in grade at Goodwood on her most recent run. Back on favoured terms, she’s a nice price – around 5/1 – and might be the best punt in a mediocre contest.

Rock God has taken his time to get things right, but he’s definitely going the right way, and could be the key danger to the selection. This son of Shirocco is bred for a trip and, after running in Class 4 handicaps in two of his last three runs, he almost scored last time out when dropped to this level. He’d previously run a sound enough race at Wolverhampton giving hope that this artificial surface may suit (though there’s not necessarily a correlation between the two tracks).

A – 4 (Sweet Martoni), 6 (Rock God)

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