Good morning all,
The wet weather gear is back out for Towcester today. A tricky card but not without it's charm, betting wise, although the ones I like are quite short.
Still, there should be something to be taken from the races that bookend the card, and if there is, I'll let you know about them tomorrow.
I was right about Leicester yesterday, there wasn't anything to take from it, but it's sad to see Reg packing up. His beef rolls will be much missed at Leicester, but I suppose at 91, he didn't fancy another winter out there.
Here's the second part of Fontwell, plus today's selection – close, but no bananas yesterday. Here's hoping I can go one better.
A decent bunch for the Novices Limited Handicap Chase that followed and there wasn’t much between them. Accord, who has been mentioned here in dispatches previously, just proved too good for them and chasing looks to be the making of him. He came up against some smart sorts last year and should have more wins in him yet.
Free Stone Hill again went out like a light once he got there and isn’t one to trust at short odds.
A couple of interesting points to note from the handicap hurdle that followed – Magna Cartor, who looks useful every now and then, normally gets very worked up in the paddock beforehand and was deliberately late in here (others already going out onto the course before he came in). It did him little good anyway and it could just be he needs to get himself in a bit of lather to gee himself up.
Loverboy, off the track for almost 900 days, looked very fit for this and won’t be coming on much from it, not fitness wise anyway. A more positive ride may have seen him get a bit closer, and a flatter track may help. There could be a race in him in the next few weeks.
The Novices Hurdle at 4.15 was much more like it and the form of this should be followed. There was a whisper going around for Chosen Path, third in his maiden point-to-point (which I am informed was a decent event, second won easily next time) and he looked the part here. Despite signs of greenness, he’s come right away in the end and looks an exciting prospect for this season. I shall be following him very closely.
But he was by no means the only one to catch the eye in the paddock. Battle Of Ideas is a proper old-fashioned chasing type that found things happening far too quickly here. He needs to tidy his jumping up as well, but there should be races to be won with him once getting the idea. Admiral Barratry went off favourite, which I never realised until after, but he did look like he would need this and is more a work in progress. We won’t see the best of him for six months at least.
Gunfleet did look well and ran accordingly, something of a relief for the Lavelle fans, and should win a similar event once stepping up in trip. Jimmy, for Chris Gordon, is another grand sort that needs a bit of time to fill out but should be up to winning a handicap or two in the new year.
I even liked the look of rank outsider Garrane, totally outclassed here but has some scope to do better, and a minor handicap could fall his way this season. Hopefully at a price…
And another decent looking bunch for the concluding bumper too. I do hope there are winners from the novice hurdle and this race as they both looked good fields beforehand. Forgot To Ask looks like he has a bit of quality about him, great shape and topline and he was my pick. I’m hoping the fact he went out very quickly after being headed is just a case of him doing too much too soon, and I’m willing to give him another try next time.
Atomic Rumble (Peter Bowen) has some proper jumpers bumps about him, a rather angular type but again, very eyecatching in the paddock and ran nicely here, staying on well late. Winner Court Liability, like many from the Harry Whittington yard at present, looked very fit for his comeback and although maybe not the paddock stand-out, maybe a bit more racey than a few and in truth, although second in a point on his only other start, I suspect he has a bit more speed than your average Court Cave and may be best at around 2m4f.
Django Django wasn’t unfancied either but to my eyes needs to grow a bit, he looked a little weak at the back and will do better. The Brothers is already crying out for obstacles and will do much, much better once getting them and a trip – mark him down for a 3m novice hurdle at Exeter.
And so to the big surprise – Baddesley Knight. Absolutely huge, must be well over 17 hands high, and you were convinced he would need the run – very green beforehand, playing up a bit as he went out onto the course, and if he’d finished nearer last than first you wouldn’t have been surprised. But he’s come there to throw down a challenge late, and but for a bit of greenness up the final climb, might have got there. I was impressed he could get so close and it either means two things – one, this form isn't great (but I think it’s decent) or two, Chris Gordon could have a good one on his hands. It’s not like Chris has bumper winners either, so this was a most encouraging effort. A must for trackers.
Today's pick comes from Ludlow, where I'm going to give On Demand the nod in the Mares Handicap Hurdle at 2.25. She had a good autumn last year, winning on quick ground at Wincanton and running well on good/good to firm on other occasions. She rather went off the boil later on but there are valid excuses – soft ground and simply being outclassed in two runs at Cheltenham – but there should be more races in her off this mark. Poetic Lady is obvious enough but the yard are struggling for winners, and she will find this harder.
Today's selection – On Demand 2.25 Ludlow
Good luck with all your bets today,