Another week older…. in fact another year older!!! It’s my birthday and I could do well with a birthday present. Why?
Because last week started so exceptionally well with three winners on the bounce but from from mid-week on turned into nothing but disappointment, agony and despair. A real nightmare, we can call it. And that’s only the horses. Let me not get started on the soccer….
I’ve really lost some money in those last four days or so. But always look on the bright side of life, eh? I try, I really try hard. But when you advance beyond a certain age, when you are very much entitled to attend the Over 30’s discos, when you…. ah let’s leave it there.
Thankfully there is enough racing to get stuck into and to forget about all the moaning and groaning. Age is just a number.
The British Flat Jockeys Championship has never really caught my imagination, I have to admit. Although I firmly believe it has its place in the racing season (there was an interesting discussion on its value on yesterdays ATR Sunday Forum – check it out). Whether the current format is the right one is a different matter.
Nonetheless I like the fact that it rewards the hard working jockey, the one who goes up and down the country, who’s sacrificing for a slim chance of a winner in the class 6 Handicap for three year old’s on a dreary Wednesday night at Wolverhampton.
Now, in recent weeks the Jockeys Championship moved a bit into focus because it developed into an intriguing head-to-head battle between defending champion Silvestre De Sousa and Jim Crowley, the latter one only recently emerging as a serious contender.
I ran the numbers and dug through the stats and come to the conclusion that Crowley does have the edge – not only on the actual numbers of winners (he’s leading by 2) – but basically every other significant metric. So it’s no surprise to see him being installed as the odds-on favourite to wrestle the title off De Sousa.
As a betting man, though, I’m always on the hunt for value. And I just couldn’t get my head around when I saw last years All-Weather Champion Luke Morris readily available at a whopping 50/1! Are you serious?
Yes, Morris is 15 winners behind Crowley at the moment – but Crowley himself trailed De Sousa by a more or less similar margin not too long ago either. So it’s not impossible to make it up.
Now, it’s a long-shot, no doubt. Crowley gets great support, is going all out…. but you know what? So is Luke Morris! He’s proven it all the years that he’s a tremendously hard working jockey, usually right up there with the most number of rides of any jockey in the country. He also has a proven pedigree of being able to sustain the pressure in a title race, given he is the reigning All-Weather Champion jockey.
With the assistance of some good trainers, mainly Mark Prescott, I feel Luke Morris has enough ammunition to grind his way closer and closer into contention. There is still enough time on the clock.
Interestingly the difference between Morris and Crowley over the last 50 rides is a mere 4 winners – quite close, isn’t it? Well, yes and no. Crowley has a higher strike rate and is only really getting into full swing right now, so the gap might widen inevitably. But then, Morris has shown in the past that once he sets his signs on a jockeys title, he can really dig deep and get his hands on an awful lot of winning rides too.
It remains a long-shot, and let’s not rule out Silvestre De Sousa at all, nor James Doyle – though he said he’s not all in -, Adam Kirby or Oisin Murphy. But it’s the 50/1 price tag for Luke Morris that really looks tremendously over the top.
2.35 Chepstow: Cocoa Beach @ 10/1 Ladbrokes
4.15 Chepstow: Work @ 12/1 Williahm Hill