The Beautiful South

Good morning all,

For the rest of this week I've repositioned myself down South, with the intention of going to Lingfield tomorrow and then onto Sandown on Saturday, where I may well be working in the ring. If you're going to either meeting, feel free to find me and say hello. Always good to meet new people, and reacquaint myself with old friends.

Thanks for all the comments on yesterday's piece. General consensus seems to be that it goes on and whilst it does, it's all fair game. And that's how I see it, to be honest – half the fun of this game comes from trying to spot these plots and good prices and although you're frequently off target with them (after all, they can be plotted up, but they still have to perform) it's worth it for the few juicy priced winners that we do find.

And we're off to a winning start on the week as Cabragh got back to form, winning quite cosily again at Bangor. There's even more to come once stepped up in trip again and we will be keeping him very much onside this season.

Today, two races from Hereford to have a look at. 

The opening Amatuer Rider's contest at 12.55 throws up a few interesting ones. The first to catch my eye was Storm Alert from Sue Gardner's yard, who has a dreadful win record (just 3-42) but would be more than capable of lifting this if finding some of his better form. He's very well handicapped on the best of his form but that's because he simply didn't show enough last year. His first run this year, a Novice Chase at Carlisle over two miles, was never going to be his thing and merely looked a warm up for this. The yard are in good form and like to land a gamble, so watch the market carefully.

This step back up in trip will suit Rainbow Haze too, who has been recently been plying his trade over two and a half miles. It wasn't a terrible effort at Ffos Las last time and with little in the way of pace in the race, might get the run of this from the front, He should be on the short list, along with Late Shipment, who showed plenty of promise when starting out his hurdling career and you felt a handicap would be a given, but it's not happened yet. This trip should suit, and although softer ground might well be required, he too has to be considered. At present, Rainbow Haze would be the one, but watch the market for Storm Alert.

At the other end of the card, the handicap that closes it at 3.55 looks a tricky affair. I'm sure that Peruvien Bleu is capable of winning more races once he gets stronger handling – he does seem to rather take the mickey out of his young amateur rider – but should be of interest for the back-to-lay players anyway, having touched 2.38, 2.1, 2.58, 1.6 and 2.4 in the five starts he's been beaten (of his last six).

As before, the Sue Gardner trained Rafafie warrants a mention – it's still early days for him over hurdles and this test will suit. All depends if he's fit after a break – again, market will guide.

But for the selection I have to try Keel Haul, on such a good mark compared to his chase form and the booking of Richard Johnson looks a big clue. He's 5-15 for the yard and rode a winner for Henry Oliver earlier in the week when the well backed Sparkling River obliged at Warwick on New Years Eve, and with trip and ground ideal, he will do for me and is the selection today.

Good luck with all your bets today,




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