Wednesday Selections: January, 23rd 2019

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7.45 Kempton: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 4f

Still a maiden after 18 starts, but Caracas has shown a bit of life here and there, both on turf and the All-Weather. He drops in trip, a somewhat unfamiliar one, as only twice did he contest the 12f distance.

Form wise his 5th from last March over 2 miles at Chelmsford rates a pretty strong piece of form. He came agonizingly close a few months later at Nottingham when only a head beaten. Consistency, though, isn’t Caracas’s game.

Second up after a break today in a poor race, he has a highly successful 3lb claiming apprentice in the saddle – Joshua Bryan comes here for this one ride only today, which looks significant.

Of a mark of 52 Caracas looks rather well handicapped if he can put his best foot forward over this trip that on pedigree should suit.

Selection:
10pts win – Caracas @ 21/1 MB

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Tuesday Selections: January, 22nd 2019

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7.15 Newcastle: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

The British Lion won off 5lb higher over course and distance twelve months ago – that form looks strong and has been franked. He never went quite close ever since, though ran a few fair races in better grade and off higher handicap ratings.

The 4-year-old gelding has dropped significantly in his mark, despite two okayish efforts in his last two starts, which came after a break.

He Johnston yard is in fine order right now and The British Lion has another engagement next week Monday – so here are more than a few hints that a big performance can be expected today.

Selection:
10pts win – The British Lion @ 13/2 MB

……

7.45 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 6 furlongs

The drift in the betting is a worry but I feel there is a strong case to be made for Bobby Joe Leg here.

First time blinkered, dropping down to class 6 for the first time, a 1lb below his last winning mark, even though he also was successful off 4lb higher, a CD scorer who has TS and RPR ratings that give him a top chance if he’s anywhere near that today.

The jockey booking isn’t inspiring, which is a concern – but James Sullivan only comes here for this one ride – let’s hope he make it count.

Bobby Joe Leg usually goes from the front. This looks to be a fast race. He stays a bit further as a strong 7f effort here at Newcastle last year proved. He may the answer to a tricky race.

Selection:
10pts win – Bobby Joe Leg @ 18/1 PP

Monday Selections: January, 21st 2019

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6.55 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4f

Top weight Smiley Bagel drops in class back into a class 5 Handicap – the last time he ran in a similar contest he won off 2lb lower a shade cozily. This will be his third start after long break also.

Draw a line through his comeback run, however next time at Lingfield he was far from disgraced in a hot race that looks solid form franked through the runner-up, behind a well handicapped winner.

While Smiley Bagel may be better suited to Lingfield, the gelding is also a CD winner. He’s handicapped to go close, but it seems significant that a good 7lb claimer takes the ride who comes here for this one ride only.

Oliver Stammers has ridden Ed Walker mounts five times so far, having been placed four times (plus one winner). He looks good value for his claim and gives Smiley Bagel a good chance, as long as he gets a run, as the draw isn’t ideal.

Selection:
10pts win – Smiley Bagel @ 12/1 PP

Preview: G2 Horse & Jockey Hotel Chase, Thurles

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A wide open contest in my view; the trip and ground in combination is something most of these have to prove their class. Tramore’s Savills Chase appears to be a key piece of form, which the market seems to evolve around.

Total Recall was a clear runner-up that day. Invitation Only a distant third. Progressive handicapper Tout Est Permis is the sexy new kid on the block. He’s quite clearly the most interesting of the lot, as he is unknown quality, not having met any of the others in this field yet and also handles good ground.

However, most, if not all in this field, prefer to go further than the 2m 4f 118y; particularly on fast ground this race becomes a bit of a lottery.

Hence the one I find most interesting is Sub Lieutenant. He’s got to bounce back from poor showings in his last two starts. On the excuse side one could argue: Tramore was on ground way too heavy for him and Down Royal a much tougher race, even though it looks more likely he simply didn’t fire that day.

Sub Lieutenant also prefers a longer trip. Nonetheless, he has quite decent form over this sort of distance. That form looks even better if only taken races on better ground into account. Sub Lieutenant is a horse that thrives on fast ground. And with that he is one of only a few in this line-up.

That the 10-year-old isn’t gone that proved his Punchestown victory in the Irish Daily Star Chase back in October and to lesser extend the Galway Handicap success in August.

No doubt Sub Lieutenant has to step up today. And whether he is still near his old best remains to be seen. In these conditions today, in such an open race, I back him to bounce back.

Selection:
10pts win – Sub Lieutenant @ 9/1 MB

Preview: 2019 Peter Marsh Handicap Chase

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I gonna treat myself to a rare bet on a National Hunt race today. That is because the Peter Marsh Handicap Chase shapes as a wide open renewal, that offers value in the market, given there is no clear favourite, and the one that is at the top of the market right now, is certainly one the take on.

In saying that, you can hardly point to anything with a lot of confidence and say “win material”. However, Captain Redbeard is the one who looks most likely to run to his form, given he has never been out of the money at this track and was a fair runner-up in this race last year.

It’s probably fair to forgive him the latest Aintree performance, and rather judge him by his other two fine efforts this season, back in November over hurdles and fences two 3rd-place finishes subsequently.

Captain Redbeard is not incredibly well handicapped. On the other hand, with his course form in mind and the fact he does act on faster ground, he looks ready for a big run.

The other one at much bigger odds I do like here to bounce back is Three Musketeers. He’s been badly out of form and takes a big step up in trip as well. Though, on past form he could be well in at the weights, granted he stays the trip and finds back some enthusiasm.

I feel on this better ground he has a chance to be competitive over this trip; in a wide open contest it isn’t out of this world to see Three Musketeers causing an upset.

Selections:
5pts win – Captain Redbeard @ 13/2 MB
5pts win – Three Musketeers @ 17/1 MB

Saturday Selections: January, 19th 2019

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1.25 Lingfield: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 2f

Super competitive race; there is the unknown quantity of Irish recruit Sheberghan. Hard to know what to get from him. Short favourite Forbidden Planet looks ready to defy a 9lb penalty after an impressive DC win when last seen.

And yet, conditions today pointing toward Emenem, who’s somewhat underappreciated in the market here.

The 5 year old comes from a break, but runs well fresh, usually. He also returns to the scene of his best efforts. He’s 4-2-2 over course and distance and achieved his two highest RPR’s – 99 – over the 10f trip at Lingfield.

The most recent of those, nearly a year ago in a hot class 3 Handicap, when runner-up of a mark off 93, is arguably the best piece of form in this field in my book. Emenem is down to 84 now after a string of underwhelming performances.

Underwhelming only by this high standard set. So, he looks potentially well in here – he will most likely enjoy this small field as his record proves, which he may be able to dominate or at least sit tight behind the pace. Emenem should be in the perfect spot to challenge when it matters most.

Selection:
10pts win – Emenem @ 9/1 MB

…….

3.40 Lingfield: Class 5 Handicap, 6 furlongs

The market leaders appear strong but are beatable all the same. I am happy to take them on with Big Time Maybe who’s fresh off a wind OP and drops to a sexy mark.

Fitness is a question mark after the break and whether the wind issue has been rectified. The way he dropped out of races showed he had a problem there obviously. If the OP has done any good, then Big Time Maybe could be supremely well handicapped here judged on past performance.

He’s ran a handful of times to much higher time speed ratings than his current handicap mark and achieved many times much higher RPR’s too. Mostly over 5f, however he ran only 3x over 6f on the AW when odds suggested he wasn’t there to win.

In this small field the race could be run to suit him the most. Master Kirby is in the saddle. So well worth the risk that is undoubtedly attached with Big Time Maybe, who on the other hand could also have way too much in hand for this lot.

 Selection:
10pts win – Big Time Maybe @ 6/1 MB

…….

7.45 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 4f

Iley Boy has been running well lately. He took advantage of a slipping mark at Kempton but couldn’t follow up subsequently. However, I felt his last two runs were better than the bare form suggests.

It is probably true he’s a better horse at Kempton, still he travelled pretty well over CD the last two times here; particularly the most recent effort when 4th behind Apex Predator is a strong piece of form where his performance has to be upgraded due to the fact he didn’t quite get the best of runs.

A mark of 56 leaves little wriggle room most likely, but he’s handicapped to go close. He’s got an excellent draw tonight and Joey Haynes, who rode Iley Boy to victory at Kempton also, comes here for this one ride only.

Selection:
10pts win – Iley Boy @ 11/1 MB

Friday Selections: January, 18th 2019

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3.05 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 5 furlongs

Second up after a wind OP, Fareeq looks set for a big run once more after a fine runner-up effort over course and distance at the end of last month.

He was a clear second in a race that looks fair form franked by the winner and third. He wasn’t beaten up that day, only ridden hands and heels. He remains on the same mark, which judged on past performances gives him a massive chance – if the wind OP does the trick.

The draw is a slight concern, so is the minimum trip if there wouldn’t be a lot of pace on. But this should be a pacey race, which will suit.

Selection:
10pts win – Fareeq @ 10/3 MB

……..

6.45 Kempton: Class 4 Handicap, 2 miles

Risking that today may not be the day as a price drift already suggests,  Champagne Champ is still a massive race in a very winnable race.

The 7-year-old was a long way beaten on his comeback run after a break and wind OP when punted into 5/1 second favourite last month over CD. That suggests he must have shown some positive signs at home, I believe.

He drops another couple of pounds in the handicap mark, which gives him on past form a superb chance. He doesn’t have be at his best today, but simply fit and healthy.

Rod Millman has an excellent record with long-shots in Handicaps, even more so at Kempton. So the price drift isn’t so much of a worry. A top jockey is on board – so at massive odds I give it a shot.

Selection:
10pts win – Champagne Champ @ 25/1 PP

…….

7.45 Kempton: Class 7 Handicap, 6 furlongs

Le Manege Enchante looks the obvious choice here. Too obvious, perhaps? He showed clear signs of returning to form lately, particularly earlier this month at Chelmsford when n unlucky second in a tight finish.

Only 1lb higher gives him still a good chance to win, even more so as he drops down to a class 7 Handicap. Track and trip will be fine, and a good draw is a bonus.

Jockey Raul Da Silva comes here only for this one ride. So this is an obvious chance at a good price.

Selection:
10pts win – Le Manege Enchante @ 10/3 MB

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