Good morning all,
By the time you read this chances are I'll be well on the way to Ascot, where I'm working on the rails. I'm also at Fontwell Sunday, which is arguably what I'm looking forward to that bit more….
The rain has come in no small amount and there's more to come today, by the looks of things – never mind blinkers and cheekpieces, look for those in flippers and snorkels. My Saturday thoughts on the main piece.
Best guess at this stage, as far as ground goes, looks to be soft, with a bit more rain forecast Friday and possibly late Saturday.
2.45 Ascot (7f Handicap)
Onr that’s hard to knock, and looks almost certain to run his race, is Luwalia, who has improved plenty this season and might not have finished yet. Twice a winner over 7f in July, when quick away and making all, he showed that this track suits when second here over 6f last time out. He pulled hard there, so did well to sustain this finishing effort, and clock a good speed figure in the process. Acts on all ground and despite the big field, there’s not that much pace on, and he should be able to lead up the middle.
The case for Squats is blindingly obvious given a good record at the track and he bounced back to form at Newbury two starts ago., Forget about Chelmsford last time as he got no run and it would hardly be a surprise to see him bounce back.
The firms going five and six places might regret going 33-1 about Bertiewhittle, who went close under similar conditions here at the end of July and usually runs his race without quite being good enough. But the place part of the bet is tempting enough on it’s own.
3.55 Ascot (1m4f Handicap)
Ultra competitive and not hard to make some sort of case for almost everything. On quicker ground, Cape Coast would have been very interesting as stall 16 isn’t a bad draw at all over this trip and he looks an improving type. But he’s no form on worse than good, so that has to be a concern.
At this stage, and with the rain coming, the improving Mam’Selle makes a fair bit of appeal. She beat a few in-form sorts at Newbury last time and with the fifth, What Wonders Weave, a winner next time, the form looks decent. Uplanother 7lb for that but that was only her fourth start and she looks just the sort of improving filly that’s worth following at this time of the season. She needs to cheat what could be a poor draw but that aside, has a bit going for her.
2.25 Haydock (6f Group 1)
Much as I like Blue Point, soft ground will surely scupper his chance here. I’m sure there’s more sprints to be won with him but I’d expect him nearer last than first on what promises to be very soft ground.
I’m undecided as to whether likely favourite Harry Angel will go on it or not – certainly there was some cut when she won at Newbury last year but it wasn’t desperate, and Haydock soft can get pretty deep. All his improvement this year has come on quicker, and the temptation is to try and get him beat, especially as he can be keen.
With the exception of one poor run here which clearly wasn’t his form for whatever reason, Magical Memory has some good form at the track (including a close third in this race in 2015) and will have ground to suit. But if I’m fancying his chances, I have to be having a saver on Tasleet, who thrashed him at York and then almost won the Diamond Jubilee the time after. He pulled far too hard last time and I’m happy to forgive him that, and if returning to earlier form, must go close.
3.00 Haydock (5f Handicap)
Not many of these want it soft, and I could see at least two or three non-runners if it got really deep. There’s loads of pace on as well, and you need something that gets home. Distant Past will do for me, as he’s got plenty of decent form in soft (including at Haydock, if you’re willing to go back far enough) and came back to some of his better form when done on the nod (under a useful 7lb claimer) last time out. He’s a bit in an out but capable of putting his best foot forward.
4.10 Haydock (1m6f Handicap)
Those with form at the trip have little form on soft/heavy ground. Those with form on soft/heavy ground have little form at the trip. The one or two that do have no form in this class. It looks a nightmare to solve, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if something won this at a price.
Given all that, I could be tempted to throw a couple of quid at Cleonte, who is hard to fancy on what he’s achieved for Andrew Balding so far but had form on very soft ground for Andre Fabre in France and perhaps there are legitimate excuses for a couple of his defeats this season (trip, outclassed). It was slightly better with the cheekpieces on last time and given he stays well in the soft, might be capable of springing a surprise.
Today's selection – Mam' Selle 3.55 Ascot
Good luck with all your bets today,