Good morning all,
Southwell the destination for me tonight and for those going you'll get my views on all seven races as I'm doing the Punters Panel tonight. Which, given my current form, means seven you can cross out….
Looking forward to working at Ascot next week already and I'm just starting to have a look at the cards. I might have a couple for the Hunt Cup later in the week after a first look at it, so if I decided they are worth an ante-post punt, I'll let you know.
Saturday started off with us setting off from Redhill to Dingley on the Leicestershire/Northamptonshire border for their final point-to-point of the season. I probably go pointing three or four times a season and I really should go more, as I always enjoy myself when I do.
We called in at a local pub for a spot of lunch and to watch the 1.55 from Musselburgh where Fendale sadly ran well below my expectations. Sometimes your form just leaves you, and it definitely has me these last couple of weeks. Please come back in time for Ascot….
It was the good lady’s first time at a point (I’m slowly educating her) so she had no idea what to expect. It didn’t take her long to settle into her surroundings and it surprised her how well run everything is. My good friend Will Bowler was doing the commentaries as well – it can only be a matter of time before some of the old guard pack up and Will is given a fully-fledged Rules fixture to commentate on.
It was equally good to see some of my friends among the books – the ever jovial Peter O’Toole and Steve “Tucker” Noyce as Albion Racing. Steve knows his point-to-point form and is often one of the first to price up. He’s no fool!
I had a couple of e/w bets that hit the frame and then what I thought was an excellent e/w bet in the Ladies Open, as one book let the useful Can Mestret drift to 3-1. He even said as much when I had the bet – “how have I allowed that bet to happen? That’s a cracking e/w bet, that.” but sadly for me, another place, as despite Can Mestret leading most of the way he faded late to finish third. No damage, but no winner either.
But Just Cause in the Mens Open proved the winner for me. Opened 4/6 in a place, and as money came for one or two others, I was able to get 7-4 near the off. He jumped superbly and came home an easy winner. One to watch next season!
I bumped into Lawney and Alan Hill before the last, and they were keen on their charge, Celestino, who had been working well at home. The only worry they had was whether he would stay. Those worries were well founded as he travelled like the best horse and looked the winner on the final turn before running out of petrol late. It’ll be interesting to see if they keep him on the go through the summer, as there’s surely a race to be won with him once dropped back a bit in trip.
On to Sunday and a beautiful sunny day at Nottingham. A big, family crowd made it a great atmosphere (for once). My good friend Daren was standing there and I spoke to him after a couple of races to ask how it was going. “Every bet a pound, two pound” he complained. “Haven’t taken a bet more than a fiver.” At which point a bloke came up and had £20 on the Godolphin runner in the second race. Bookmakers, eh, always making out they’re hard done by!
Sadly for Daren though, it won….
I was there to have a look at Implicit in the first race, who had shown plenty of promise despite doing everything wrong at Windsor on debut and was fitted with a hood here. And it did the trick – she was much calmer, went to post nicely and I was convinced she would beat the favourite, who looked more a 6f/7f horse in the paddock. I was right too, she did beat the favorite but sadly not the Karl Burke newcomer Shine So Bright. When you hear the trainer afterwards saying “he’s a proper horse” and that he’d go to Ascot, then perhaps you know you’ve been beaten by a good one. Compensation surely awaits Implicit in an ordinary novice, although the cat is out the bag now.
The good lady normally has a bet on her phone these days but decided that cash was king for the afternoon and backed three winners! Which was two more than I backed – Undercover Brother was my only winner on the afternoon (which was a system horse – I don’t follow many but topweights in handicaps that have the best speed rating last time out is one) and saved the day for me.
I’ve said before that Nottingham don’t do enough to promote their track, and having got a big crowd on the day it was a shame not to see them encouraged back with half-price vouchers for repeat visits as they all left the track. An opportunity missed, in my opinion.
Sadly, the Cheesecake Factory (about half a mile from the track, an absolute must if you’re visiting the place) was closed, so no dessert for me when we got back home! But other than that, a most enjoyable weekend and one that’s set me up for the week. Pontefract tonight and then Southwell tomorrow….
And onto Southwell and their handicap hurdle at 8.10. This looks very competitive and plenty can be given chances, but Ozzy Thomas looks sure to run his race under conditions that suit – his form here reads 212, his record at the trip 11232 and he'll get the fast ground he needs to show his best. He almost won here last time out, beaten only by the improving Laugharne, and despite a 3lb nudge up in the weights it still looks a workable mark on his chase form. Plenty to like and 8-1 looks a fair e/w price.
Today's selection – Ozzy Thomas 8.10 Southwell
Good luck with all your bets today,