Good morning all,
With three of my favourite tracks to have a bet at – Warwick (fair, good jumping test), Hexham (stamina) and Fontwell (very much a specialists track, and a personal favourite for a visit) it makes sense to try and find a winner or two. Better still, nothing less than double figures for any of the picks – because this is the Daily Punt and you come here for the value, right?
2.45 Warwick – Royal Plaza
Patience has all but run out with Royal Plaza now but in the hope of a new jockey giving him a more forceful ride today, and the old second-time-after-a-wind-op angle coming into play as well, he gets one last chance here.
An early mistake at Fontwell last time basically did for him, as I think he’s best when bowling along in front and having a cut at his fences, something he did at Stratford the time before and he actually ran better than his finishing position suggested there (still there between 3 out and 2 out before weakening quickly, hence the wind op afterwards) and I still think there’s a race in him.
I’ll be honest and say I’m pleased to see the excellent Richard Patrick on board today, as he might give the horse the ride he needs, I think Nick Schofield has become a bit stale on him and it might be the catalyst to an improved effort, not that Nick could ride here, as it’s a conditionals race. The handicapper is doing all he can to help, with another 5lb off his back, and he will carry a couple of my English pounds here.
2.00 Fontwell – Kalabee/Tea Time Fred
In essence, Tea Time Fred has simply been too high in the handicap for a while after he rattled off a hat-trick of wins last autumn and has been working his way down the handicap for some time, but I don’t think his turn is too far away based on his latest effort at Wincanton when finishing midfield behind Hahadi. He kept going a lot longer than had been the case in his previous couple of efforts this autumn, suggesting he’s basically been working his way back to full fitness, and the trip there was on the short side anyway. He’s a C&D winner on good ground, so has his conditions today, and the 16-1 looks too big to ignore. (Sorry, that's long gone, seems someone thinks the same as me…)
A mention for Kalabee, who I put up on a different publication last weekend but ran a shocker, jumping awfully. My initial thought was that he needed to go back left-handed, which he does today, and they have been quick to remove the headgear as well, so it’s possible that you’ll see a better showing. I couldn’t recommend him with any great confidence, though, so it’ll be no more than a small saver.
3.10 Fontwell – Mahler’s Promise
If I told you you could back something here at double figures that was unexposed, had already won a big-field maiden and was sent off 4-1 to beat Shiskin (giving a penalty away) you’d jump at it, right?
Well, you can. For Mahler’s Promise is that horse, and I’d have him considerably shorter than the 10-1 he’s been put in at here.
The maiden he won at Newbury is working out fine, with second home Enemy Coast Ahead a three-time winner this summer (and is now rated in the 130s) and off the back of that, was 4-1 to beat Shiskin next time. Sadly, he made it no further than the first hurdle before taking a fall, so we’ll never know how close he would have got to the future Supreme winner.
There was nothing wrong with his comeback run at Warwick last month either, running well to two out and only getting tired late on. He should have come on for that, this small drop back in trip is probably ideal at this stage, and the handicapper has dropped him a couple of pounds too. If he can reproduce his Newbury form here, he’s got a great chance.
3.30 Hexham – Just Georgie
Sometimes you watch a horse that’s hard work from the word go. Slowly away, outpaced, makes mistakes and yet at the end of it all, it’s somehow not completely tailed off. Such a horse is Just Georgie, who performed in such a fashion at Sedgefield on his reappearance last month but was still only beaten 23l. Essentially he’s that far behind after two fences, as they are going so quick he simply can’t keep up, but he gets no further adrift despite clobbering three fences and is actually starting to stay on at the death.
That was over 2m5f on a sharp track, so this step up in trip on a stamina track ought to suit him. Like many of Sue Smith’s, he should come on plenty for his first run of the year, the handicapper drops him another 5lb, and if he can’t get competitive here, then there’s basically not much hope for him. His only win to date has come in heavy ground as well, so conditions won’t be an issue. Risky, and as likely to tail off as win, but the price compensates the risk.
Today's selection -Mahler's Promise, 3.10 Fontwell
Good luck with your selections today,