Good morning all,
A great weekend of racing coming up, with two days of York and Ascot and yes, to keep me happy, Cartmel is back tomorrow as well! What could be better?
As usual, I’ll try and solve one or two of the more difficult handicaps, rather than sticking the short ones up. Where’s the fun in that, eh? Have a good weekend, and keep one eye on the skies today, as the rain is coming at some point.
2.25 Ascot – Moet & Chandon Handicap (7f)
I know John Burke spoke about this earlier in the week and I can really only echo his comments regarding Blue Mist. I fancied him strongly for the Silver Wokingham here last time and it was a horror show from start to finish, with his path blocked a few times. But we all saw it, and as such, he’s likely to get overbet. You can argue 5-1 is fair enough but this looks a tougher contest and I’m not convinced he’s that well drawn, either. If he wins, he wins, and I’ll just have to accept it.
The pace appears to be middle-to-low, Cardsharp in stall 20 apart (there is a small possibility he gets loose from high) and to that extent, I’ll put Shelir top of my shortlist. He was the first home of those drawn in single figures over C&D behind Motakhayyel in the Buckingham Palace at the Royal meeting, and I’m more than happy to forgive his effort over 1m in slower ground at Haydock last time (although even that wasn’t terrible). The faster they go the better his chance late, and the handicapper is giving him a real chance now.
O’Meara’s second string, Arbalet, makes some appeal too. Basically, he was drawn out of it at York last week, finishing fourth from stall 15 (of the first nine home, only he and second home Admiralty didn’t come from a single-figure draw) and doing some good late work. He’s so hard to catch right, and you’ve got to go back a couple of years to find his last win, but he has lots of good Ascot 7f form to call upon. Perhaps a small win bet and a bigger place-only bet is the way to go with him.
3.50 York – Skybet Most Extra Place Races Handicap (6f)
Tukhoom won over C&D last week and you can argue he faces easier opponents here, but he was probably favoured by the draw that day. He can still win, of course, and in truth this looks a pretty winnable event, with plenty of these getting the red pen for various reasons, so I wouldn’t discount a follow up. But there are one or two others worth a look.
If the rain really comes before racetime you can expect Autumn Flight to go off a lot shorter, as he might be the one to benefit most. I think a step back up to 6f might suit him as well, but as I say, you’d want to see the heavens open before having him onside.
I’m going to try a small e/w bet on Swissterious. I have reservations – not least the form of the yard, which isn’t great – but there are reasons for thinking he’s not totally gone at the game, and a race of this nature could still be won with him. He’s only raced twice for David Barron and it has been a little better recently – yes, he was well held at Ayr last time but he wasn’t thrashed, and it was arguably his best run for some time. The handicapper is doing all he can to help, he drops in grade here, and he ought to be race fit after a couple of runs (and that after a year off). In the hope a high draw is where you want to be, I'm giving him a go.
Today's selection – Shelir (e/w) 2.25 Ascot.
Good luck with all your selections today,