Good morning all,
It seems wrong to be going to Uttoxeter when there’s the 2000 Guineas taking place at Newmarket, but jumping is where my heart is and so it’s to Staffordshire I’ll be going later!
I have given a view on the big race, but there’s numerous Newmarket previews out there, so it’s Uttoxeter I have concentrated on.
1.22- 3m Novice Handicap Hurdle
The interesting one here is Always Able, who showed ability for the Kehoe’s over hurdles and was clearly expected to make a winning debut for Matt Sheppard at Worcester last week, as she was backed into favouritism. She disappointed there and was well held, but she reverts to hurdles and gets the cheekpieces back that she seems to need to show her best.
Lightning Gold caught the eye on her first start for Laura Young at Newton Abbot last month, never really put in the race but didn’t finish far away under tender handling, and any market support for her needs noting strongly.
1.55 – 3m Novice Handicap Hurdle
Wouldyouadamandeveit simply can’t sink any lower than this, his first run in Class 5 handicaps and to be honest, how we’ve arrived at this point is a mystery to me.
He looked certain to win hurdles based on his bumper efforts – an excellent second to Mulcahy’s Hill on his debut and then was twice placed at Listed level, but it’s all gone wrong since then. An initial hurdles mark of 107 looked low enough, but he’s now off just 88 after a series of moderate efforts. On go the cheekpieces, which might be the catalyst as he can race lazily, and it is worth bearing in mind the yard have landed touches here in the past. Last chance saloon.
3.05 – 2m4f Handicap Hurdle
Some unexposed ones in here that still look to have plenty of improvement in them, but the switch from fences to hurdles for Havana Hermano has got me interested. He’s on the same mark as when a ½l second to the well-handicapped Colorado Doc at Huntingdon last time, so looks well enough handicapped on that, and the yard have had a crackling April, with two Aintree winners and all their other four runners placed. He looks too big at 14s and bigger.
3.35 – Staffordshire Plate 3m Handicap Chase
Good race but nothing jumps out at me. Boldmere is well enough handicapped if the cheekpieces do the trick, but he’s risky at present and will face competition for the lead from both Dandy Dan (another on a retrieval mission), Saint Xavier, who seems to have lost the plot completely at present, and Almazhar Garde, who improved to make all at Kelso last time.
Ofalltheginjoints steps back into handicap company after three tries in Graded races, and the Tizzard yard have had a couple of recent winners, so he could go well, but my fiver goes on the current track champion Minellacelebration. His form figures don’t look too inspiring (not his fault, in the main) and he’s got his share of weight, but he comes alive here and is unbeaten in three starts, including the valuable Summer Plate last July where he wore down Bandsman in the dying strides. Has his ground and as long as he picks his feet up, should go well.
5.12 – 3m Handicap Chase
Uttox make sure I stay for the full duration by shoving this 0-100 three-miler at the end of the card, best race of the day by miles. And yes, I include the Guineas in that.
Stay Out Of Court looks blindingly obvious after his Exeter win last time, as a 3lb rise still leaves him both in the right grade and 13lb below his initial handicap mark. He had run well enough here the time before (got tired late on first run after an absence) to think conditions are fine, and he looks the one to beat.
Montana’s hardly bred for the job but ran okay over hurdles last time, and is well enough handicapped if he can jump a fence. Leith Hill Lad is chucked in on the best of his form and there was a lot more to like about his Taunton third last time, he looks on the way back. I have doubts about Fact Flow staying the trip and he looks short enough but hang on, what’s this lurking at the foot of the handicap? Maxi Jazz, having his first run for Charlie Longsden having left Paul Webber? New headgear combination? Upped a mile in trip? And Charlie Deutsch coming for one ride in the last off 10st (Update – he has since taken a second ride earlier on the card). Interesting…
This lost a lot of interest when St Marks Basilica didn’t get declared on Thursday as I thought he was the most likely winner, and my small ante-post bet on him has gone west.
Of the O’Brien battalion, I like Wembley best. He did best of those held up in the Dewhurst when coming off the back was almost impossible, and he looks the type to do better this year as he keeps on going up in trip (full brother to Melbourne Cup runner-up Johannes Vermeer). This will be the quickest ground he’s encountered so far but I think he will handle it.
Mutasaabeq was very impressive when scoring here over 7f last month, clocking a big speed figure, but this is a big step up from a conditions race. If the books offer 4 or even 5 places then I’ll be having a look at likely pacesetter Naval Crown, who has a win over Master Of The Seas to his name, yet he’s a fraction of the price. He lost little in defeat in the Free Handicap, going down a neck after racing with the choke out for much of the race, and in the hope it’s favouring front-runners here, he could give you a good spin for your money.
Today's selection – Naval Crown (e/w 4 places) 3.40 Newmarket
Good luck with all your bets,