Good morning all,
I don't think the rain had actually stopped for more than ten minutes over the past 30 hours here in the Midlands, it certainly feels like a case of yesterday once more as I wake up to heavy rain again. Thankfully I'm told it will be passing over by lunchtime and I'm pleased that Pontefract has been given the go-ahead, as that's my most likely destination later on.
For today, a review of Nottingham's races of interest last night and today's selection.
You'll be wondering why it's half a review rather than a full one, and the answer to that is simple – after four races I decided I'd had quite enough of getting wet, sacked the later handicaps off and went for a carvery just up the road. A good decision, as the rain just kept coming….
We kicked off with a 2-y-o Median Auction Stakes at 5.05, and they were a mixed bunch. The one I liked best with a view to the future was John Quinn's grey Cavalry Regiment, who won't be winning anything soon but might be able to pick a back-end maiden nursery up. Tall, rangy and with some scope, he needs to strengthen up a bit at the back but he travelled well enough in the race (without being given a hard time) to suggest there's some ability there.
Book Of Dreams was your typical Mark Johnston 2-y-o, good size and scope and despite hanging badly left, did just enough to hold on from Qianlong, not the biggest but well put together and has a good head and neck. He ought to be up to going one better next time. Diamond Dougal was the other I liked, but it's debatable whether he's progressing. He gets a mark now and perhaps is worth one more try on better ground next time, and possibly over shorter.
Ones I wasn't keen on – Oliver's Betty, very on her toes and green (needs plenty of time) and I wasn't mad keen on third home Speak In Colours either, quite small and short coupled, and didn't impress going to post either. He's run better than I expected so might be up to winning a race.
Dark Freedom was another that was far too keen to post, and was well beaten. He too gets a mark now, and no surprise if he gets some headgear next time either.
Then onto the nursery at 5.35 and there were two paddock standouts. The first was Martyn Meade's Tony Soprano, who looks to be filling out well at the back and actually has more of a sprinting look about him. He'd been gelded since his last run and attracted a bit of money, and the way he travelled well once he settled (was a bit free early on) suggests that, back on a quicker surface, there should be a nursery to be won with him. I like him a lot. The other, who looked absolutely spot on, was winner Hemingford, a picture of health in his coat and a really well made specimen. Certainly one better than a mark of 63 and I was impressed with the way he dug in to pick the runner-up off late. Ought to win again.
There wasn't much else to be taken out of this, although runner up Mr Carbonator was probably third best in the paddock and soft ground clearly suits him well. He's probably improved again here and an ordinary Northern nursery at somewhere like Carlisle should be up his street.
Then another maiden and this is where I rather cocked it up betting wise. Favourite Mafaaheem looked head and shoulders above the rest, he has a bit of quality about him but I was very surprised to see second in Zeelander come into the paddock looking badly in need of a run. He looked pretty big around the middle and there wasn't much ribcage on show. So rather than back the jolly old favourite, I decided to place lay Zeelander at about 1.35 on the machine. It was only standing on the steps, watching them go into the stalls, that I remarked to a friend that Zeelander could get beat 15 lengths here and still rock into third, and that's more or less what happened. Done my money then, but I suggest Zeelander goes into trackers as he must be better than this when fitter, and probably wants better ground too.
Casemates Square was the only other one to make any appeal pre-race and he did a bit better here, travelling fine until the ground took it's toll. One for handicaps down the line.
For today's selection I'm going to chance one that's not won for a couple of years at Pontefract, namely Cadmium in the 3.10. The RP thinks this trip may be on the short side and they're right, to a point, but 1m on soft with an uphill finish is going to feel like further and there's enough pace on here to ensure this should be run at a decent gallop. He stuck to the task well enough at Beverley last time to think he's not completely gone at the game and he's a big enough price to chance a small bet.
Today's selection – Cadmium 3.10 Pontefract.
Good luck with all your bets today,