Good Friday washed out – both selections non-runners thanks to the severe ground conditions at Bath yesterday. Let’s see if today – on Dubai World Cup day (one fancy for the Sheema Classic) – things go more to plan.
3.00 Musselburgh: Class 2 Handicap, 1 mile
Some of the lesser exposed individuals are interesting, particularly Paco Boy son Fake News. The one I fancy, though, is hardy sort Indomeneo, who has seen plenty of racing as a juvenile.
He is vulnerable to an improver, and will have to overcome a wide draw. However, he has proven himself over this sort of trip and ground last year. He looked good winning two on the bounce at Ripon and Redcar, and he already ran to a TSR of 82 – so of his current mark off 84 he looks a rock solid option.
I like the fact that he is usually up with the pace. Something that is of massive advantage at Musselbourgh particularly in these type of conditions today, I feel. He will need to be sharp at the start, on the other hand – as drawn in 10 is not an easy task.
10pts win – Indomeneo @ 7/1 VC
4.45 Musselburgh: Class 5 Handicap, 5 furlongs
Question marks all over, so I go with one who’s proven to enjoy the ground and might not have shown his best over this sort of trip in these conditions yet: Richard Fahey’s Geoff Potts has a poor win record, however, looked an improved horse last season, particularly with cut in the ground.
He was very consisted in the second half of last season, winning a 6f Handicap on soft ground and going close enough in a handful of races subsequently. A good piece of form over the minimum trip is missing, however only twice in Handicaps did he have the chance and was very much unfancied those times.
With more rain to come, this should turn into a grind and that will suit those who act on this type of ground and stay a bit further. Geoff Potts fits the bill.
10pts win – Geoff Potts @ 9/1 Matchbook
8.45 Chelmsford: Class 6 Handicap, 6 furlongs
Money is already pouring in, yet top weight Fareeq looks still a tasty price. He’s a tricky sort who can make a mess of things at the start and can hang violently in the finish, however judged on his two last CD runs here at Chelmsford he should be bang there when it matters.
He won here in January in fine style, running to a time speed rating of 61 and finished subsequently a good runner-up off a revised mark, when things did not go his way as he missed the break from a widish draw and travelled always wide mostly off the bridle.
Pretty much the same story at Kempton the last time, now back at Chelmsford, a kinder draw and a mark of 60 should give him a big chance with a good 5lb claimer in the saddle.
10pts win – Fareeq @ 12/1 VC
5.10 Meydan: Sheeema Classic, 1m 4f
The Japanese Rey De Oro and Arc runner-up Cloth Of Stars head the market, and probably rightly so. However, at given prices, I do fee Hawkbill is the forgotten horse and way too big.
He had a fine comeback run here at Meydan earlier this months. Overcoming a wide draw and travelling wide throughout, he grinded it out eventually. This is much tougher today, obviously, but that was as good a reappearance as you could expect and shows Hawkbill is still close to his best form.
William Buick is in the saddle of the five times Group winner, including the 2016 Coral Eclipse. I hope he will have Hawkbill close enough to the pace. Stall seven is wide enough but Hawkbill has the pace to get across quickly.
He is not the best horse in the race, but if he gets an ideal run, he could be hard to pass, given race fitness is ensured.
10pts win – Hawkbill @ 11/1 PP