Friday Selections: January, 4th 2019

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2.45 Kempton: Class 5 Handicap, 1 mile

I feel there are question marks over a range of the more fancied individuals in this race, so I happily take a chance on top weight Six Strings to finally find back some sort of form.

The 5-year-old drops to a super tasty mark, judged on past form. He’s had a number of yard changes, though, and has seen his colours dramatically lowered from contesting competitively hot class 2 Handicaps of marks closer to 90, to falling into a first class 5 Handicap on the All-Weather, off 75 now.

It has to be said that Six Strings actually ran rather decent in his starts of 2018 – the only really bad one, in my book, was his latest one, at Lingfield over a mile.

A first time stretching out that far, he had to overcome a wide draw, travelled wide throughout and never was in with a shout, nor given a serious race. Considering that he ran okayish, finishing not badly, in fact, suggesting the trip is a possibility.

Now dropping in class, getting another few pounds off the mark and having a competent 3lb claimer on board as additional advantage and a low draw to play with, I feel Six Strings could run a huge race.

The hood is off, remains to be seen what impact it will have. Here’s hoping for positive tactics anyway.

Interesting that Jack Duern on board, since down to a 3lb claim, has still been rather successfully used in similar situations by this yard before: a 12-3-5 record for horses that the betting indicates are in with a chance, when Duern has only a single ride, when this one is for DK Ivory, plus the majority of positive results came on horses with big weights, like Six Strings has to carry here.

Selection:
10pts win – Six Strings @ 17/2 MB

…….

4.35 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4f

Was thinking a while about this one, but the fact that bar the favourite, who’s a pretty skinny price now for all he has shown, this poor race screams for an upset.

To say Epitaph is a temperamental sort is an understatement. The gelding often runs some strange races, and all the sort of headgear tried is an indication for the difficulty to get him right. An unconvincing 1-37 record tells a tale, also.

On the other hand, he has also been 13 times in the money. Mostly on Southwell fibresand. But interestingly, his performances at Wolverhampton have been promising as well.

I thought Epitaph ran a fine race when last seen at the end of December over course and distance – certainly better than the bare form would suggest, if watching the replay of the race a couple of times. Inexplicably he slowed dramatically down between four to three furlongs out, but then ran on again, finishing well enough, in fact.

Obviously this lad is a long-shot in its true meaning. But, given he won- and has consistently well of much higher handicap marks in the past, I feel with a good jockey on board there is a fair chance he can outrun he price tag this time.

Selection:
10pts win – Epitaph @ 18/1 PP

…….

6.15 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 7 furlongs

I feel Aljunood has been desperately unlucky a couple of times lately and now dropping down to a mark of 56 could be potentially seriously well handicapped on his first fair crack over the 7f trip.

In saying that, I disregard shamelessly the lasted effort at Southwell. It’s fibresand, he didn’t take to it. Enough said.

However the three starts before of falling marks at Wolverhampton are of great interest. The start was a 8.5f Handicap in October, where he got lit up early after the start, marched forward and wasn’t to be reigned in by the jockey. He ran his race approaching the 3f marker.

Next time, a particularly eye-catching performance, given he was bumped early on and was a bit too far off the pace, maybe the winner also simply too good on the day; regardless, Aljunood ran on strongly to finish second. The third of those interesting efforts came the next time when he was badly positioned again, had to fight for position and angle out to get only late into the clear.

Aljunood has finally found his level I believe, after an early career maiden success in Ireland resulted in an unrealistic opening mark and took a while to get down to something more realistic. He’s now in a position to win. Given he’s a son of Bated breath, the drop to 7f should suit.

Selection:
10pts win – Aljunood @ 13/1 MB

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