12.15 Southwell: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4f
It’s rare I bet punt short prices, however, in this case, Acker Bill looks too much of a good thing in this race. The only two rivals in his age group can be easily opposed, while the older rivals have a fair shout if they run to form.
That says, Acker Bill is the lightly raced four year old in the field with plenty of upside judged on his last two performances. It’s a quick turnaround for the son of Rip Van Winkle – he won a Handicap at Wolverhampton over 12f in impressive style only a week ago.
He had no problem overcoming a wide draw and posted impressive sectionals in the context of the race, despite looking a bit raw in the finish. On RPR he ran 10lb higher than his current mark, even including the 6lb penalty.
A month before on handicap debut Acker Bill was probably a bit unlucky not to win. Again he had to overcome a wide draw – the widest in fact, travelled like the winner nonetheless but didn’t quite quicken as needed and took a moment to hit top gear. He was slightly impeded in the closing stages, too.
I like his scopey frame and given recent performances, he should have at least another win in the locker. The switch to Fibresand is the main question mark. The way he usually travells through his races suggests to me he’ll be fine plus his sire has – albeit small sample size – a 75% strike rate in CD Handicaps here.
10pts win – Acker Bill @ 13/8 Bet365
1.45 Sothwell: Class 3 Handicap, 1m
Drop a pen and you might find the winner of this race. This thing is such a wide open affeir. You can pick holes and question marks into each and every runner. Fitness? Form? Class? Surface? Trip? Age?
Funny, I think the two at the bottom of the weight scale, despite out of the handicap by some pounds, are the most solid options. Both Alpha Tauri and Muqarred have excellent course and distance form.
Age wise I rule out Alpha Tauri, however feel that given the conditions of this race, Muqarred offers value, regardless of the burden being 4lb out of handicap.
His two questions to answers are: can he bounce back from an unusual poor showing a week ago over CD? And is he good enough?
Fact is, Muqarred has won twice- and has been only once outside the first two over the Southwell mile. I can forgive him the run the other day. He probably made too much too early, and the other front-runner faded badly in the closing stages also.
Class wise; well, his success has all come in class 4- or the majority in class 5. Stepping into a class 3 Handicap is tough. He’s probably not well handicapped off 76. But if his consistency counts for something, in a race where there should be a lot of pace early on, the fact he has a super draw in 2 and clearly stays the trip, could be a big advantage when it matters most.
Many others in this field have to prove that they either stay the trip or act on the Fibresand surface. Interesting also, at least class wise, that time speed rating- and RPR rating wise, he is third- and joint-fourth highest in the field, with both ratings having only a few pounds between all runners.
That says, this is a wide open and close call, as initially mentioned. Given Muqarred, despite a long handicap, runs of a feather weight, while having a proven track record. At the given prices, he makes plenty of appeal.
10pts win – Muqarred @ 11/1 Bet365