Good morning all,
The rain has arrived at a couple of tracks this morning and I can give you a live update at 7.45am from Haydock – it's chucking it down.
However, before I disappear off for some breakfast, here's my thoughts on some of today's racing from Ascot, Newmarket and Haydock.
12.50 Ascot – 5f Handicap
You can set your watch by Tis Marvellous at Ascot, and sure enough he ran his usual solid race when third here last time out. He needs the rain to stay away, and stall 1 is probably not ideal, but with a few firms going four places, he’s something of a each-way banker for those playing Lucky 15’s and the like this afternoon. As long as it stays dry….
If it does chuck it down, and them some, an old friend in Snazzy Jazzy comes into the equation. It has taken him a run or two to find his feet for Lawrence Mullaney but he came back to form when fourth to Winter Power at York, with three higher rated rivals in front of him, and the handicapper has been lenient in dropping him a pound. The rain is the key though – the more the better, especially over 5f, which is on the sharp side for him. Regardless of what he does here though, he’s one to keep on side of as the rest of the season progresses.
1.25 Ascot – 2m Handicap
A few of these are starting to prove frustrating this term, and as such, the improving Call My Bluff, down the foot of the handicap, has to be given plenty of respect. A 3lb rise looks fair enough, but he’s up two grades in class and has an apprentice that cannot claim on board. A very good French one, I’ll grant you, but nevertheless it can’t be an advantage.
Uber Cool might be the answer. Progressive before injury in 2018, he came back from a 2½ year absence to score at Chester, an even better run than it first appears as he didn’t get the best of runs late. Nevertheless, he was well on top at the finish and a 5lb rise is entirely fair. He seems impervious to the ground as well, so a drop of rain won’t bother him, and having been given a 70-day break to get over those Chester exertions, it means the effect of the “bounce” factor is lessened.
2.00 Ascot – 1m4f Handicap
The surprise one in here is Mancini, who stays a lot further than this and would surely have been more at home in the 2m handicap. He rarely races at 12f, but might still be effective at it, especially if allowed a soft lead up front (which he might get if reserve Torcello doesn’t get in).
Graphite is the one I’m keen on. He’s got some absolutely top-notch French form and looks to be coming right back to form this season, despite going off big prices on his last two starts. There’s nothing wrong with his second to Duke Of Condicote at Newmarket last time and despite a 2lb rise for it, it still leaves him 8lb lower than the start of the season. He must surely pick up a good handicap sooner rather than later, and as a bonus, he’ll not mind if it rains either.
2.50 Newmarket – Sweet Solera Stakes
As ever when dealing with juveniles, something has the potential to take a massive step forward on what they have achieved to date and the one that falls into that category is Victoria Grove, who couldn’t have done much more wrong on her Sandown debut (Wild Beauty second, 2l in front of her) but was getting the hang of things towards the business end. If you’re looking for one at a big price, then she might reward each-way support, but I was keen on Shouldavbeenmore for the Duchess Of Cambridge, only for her to be taken out on the day. She ran really well to finish fourth in the Empress last time, form that is working out fine, and gave the impression a step up to 7f would be of benefit.
4.10 Haydock – Rose Of Lancaster
Again, if the rain comes this race could have a very different shape about it, with the fast-improving form pick Real World totally unproven on anything worse than good to firm. You’d have to try and take him on if it is on the soft side, and it’s not as if he’s up against poor opposition either.
Both Euchan Glen and Stormy Antarctic are proven Group performers when the mud is flying, and the step back up to 10f produced a season's best from Stormy Antarctic last time as well. Euchan Glen has had something of a renaissance this season, with his surprise Brigadier Gerard kicking off what has been a very good run of form, and with stamina for this copper-bottomed you feel he must go close. I’ll probably just lay the favourite, but if pushed for a selection, I’d just side with Stormy Atlantic getting 3lb off Euchan Glen, now the rain has come.
Today's selection – Stormy Antarctic (e/w) 4.10 Haydock
Good luck with all your bets today,