Good morning all,
I'll be on the way to Hexham by the time you're reading this at breakfast time. A long way to travel but hopefully worth it, as Hexham is one of the most picturesque tracks there is.
Whilst I head North, the rain continues down South, and a wet weekend is on the cards, both here and in Paris. I've had a small e/w bet on Way To Paris for the big one but it looks like Enable's to lose now.
In the meantime, this is the last of the Flat Eyecatchers for the season before I turn my attentions to the jumps. I hope you find them of some use!
She’s All In Gold (Tom Dascombe)
Taken out of her intended debut at the beginning of September due to soft ground, she’s shaped very nicely in two starts since, firstly at Windsor on the 7th where she was pretty clueless, starting slowly and basically given an educational ride before staying on late into sixth (winner ran respectably in Listed company last week, although the second and third have let the form down a bit) before a third to the potentially useful Jacinta De Vega at Ripon last week, again quite tenderly handled and giving the impression there’s a lot more to come.
An opening mark of 72 is no gimme but she clearly stays well and there ought to be a race or two to be won with her. 1m4f-1m6f is going to suit.
Crownthorpe (Richard Fahey)
Those of you that watched the Saturday preview video will have heard me give Crownthorpe a good mention for his race at Haydock and he duly ran much better than he had done in his previous two outings. He looks like he’s being primed for another crack at the York handicap that he won in the October of last year and thanks to some judicious placing, he’ll only be 1lb higher this time around.
It’s good to see the Fahey yard in better form of late than they have been as well. If he turns up at York, and there’s some cut in the ground, then as long as he’s not drawn out of things, I’ll be having a bet.
First Charge (Ed Walker)
Cost me a few quid when he ran on Sunday at Nottingham as I was convinced he’d be in the first four, so backed him accordingly, and words were said when he finished fifth, beaten just a neck for fourth, under a pretty motionless Luke Morris. And worse, I’m sure this run won’t have passed people by either, as he stayed on nicely under just a pushing ride from Morris down the outside, picking up very nicely in the last 100yds.
He’d caught the eye when fifth to Modmin at Goodwood the time before too, and this half-brother to the useful Almodovar is going to be winning races now he’s handicapped. 1m2f seems to suit him fine for now, but he may get a bit further.
Monsaraz (James Given)
Ran at Nottingham on Sunday and performed much better than he had done in his two previous outings, beaten just over six lengths in a first time tongue tie and I’m marking the effort up a bit more, given he made his challenge up the inside rail, which I thought was a bit dead.
He’d been struggling to breathe in his previous two runs and that showed, finishing well tailed off at both Beverley and Thirsk but he seemed a lot happier to go through with his effort here, and he may well be one of those horses that will do better on his second start in a tongue tie, given how much that must have been hurting him (beaten 100 and 149 lengths, so really was in some discomfort). He’s no star but there’s a fair chance he’ll handle all-weather surfaces (half-brother Wigan Warrior did, which gives further hope) and he could pop up at a price. Perhaps a drop back to 12f might suit him as well.
Dress Kode (Eve Johnson Houghton)
Dress Kode finished sixth on her debut at Naas back in June (when with Ger Lyons) and I’ll give you a quid if, without looking, you can tell me the name of the horse that finished one place behind her in seventh.
Give up? I’ll tell you. It was Miss Amulet.
Now, it is fair to say that at this point, their career paths go in different directions. Miss Amulet has progressed to be one of the top 2yo fillies of the season, whilst Dress Kode didn’t go on in four more starts to Ger and was sent to the sales.
However, if there’s a trainer that might get a win out of her then it’s the superb Eve Johnson Houghton, who has the time and patience to get to the bottom of these tricky sorts and it was a step back in the right direction when sixth in a Bath nursery last week, doing some decent late work, and the first-time hood seemingly bringing about some improvement. That was also the first time she’d come across quick ground since that Naas debut, and maybe that’s also key to her chances.
Today, and with the rain expected overnight, Fontwell could well be riding quite testing by racetime. That could spark a raft of non-runners, so keep an eye out for that, but if there's one at an e/w price I like then I could see the maiden Spirit Of Rome going close in the 3.55. She has ability, and has run some of her better races when the mud is flying. Add that to her Fontwell record (23F), the fact she should come on for her seasonal debut, and she could hit the frame (or better) in a race where plenty won't want any cut at all.
Good luck with all your bets today,