It’s Royal Ascot week. Exciting for many reasons, but mostly due to all the international competition. My excitement is slightly tempered nonetheless because on the bread and butter betting front I struggle to back a winner.
Even though the Eyecatchers perform really well, I simply don’t back the ones that win. That can happen. A number of poor decisions haven’t helped and that means I’m on 15 losers on the bounce right now. Today are pure value selections that are low percentage plays not necessarily likely to turn that around.
But I got to believe in the process that served me well for six straight years, not to forget April and May were green months, in fact. So here we go:
2.45 Carlisle: Class 6 Handicap, 6f
I am interested in Stone Circle here for obvious reasons, but I don’t think the fast ground will suit entirely, hence there is zero juice left in his price this morning.
One who looks seriously overpriced is the 6-year-old gelding Sharrabang. He showed some spark the last time at this venue, even though over 5 furlongs.
He was up with the pace early on, disputed the lead as part of a trio. He started to come under pressure from over 2 furlongs out, struggling to keep up the tempo. But he kept going, only to be ever so gently being pushed toward the inside by a rival, finding himself in a tight spot.
As a consequence he was a bit short of room over 1f from home, lost momentum and couldn’t find it again. This should be strong form for this grade in my view.
The minimum trip on fast ground was never to suit entirely, so the fact he ran so well despite the trouble is noteworthy. He needs 6 furlongs, despite a win over 5 furlongs last year – but that came on softish ground – and stays up to 7f on fast ground too and acts well on the All-Weather.
Hence I do think the stiff 6 furlongs at Carlisle suit him down to the grounds, a notion his past form would support. He has come down some way in the mark ever since the victory last May. Yet he also ran well a number of times last season when he achieved topspeeds of 50 and 52, was competitive of marks in the low 50’s and therefore could take advantage of a basement mark with the right conditions I feel.
In terms of conditions I can’t see any reason for excuses. The 3lb claim of Faye McManoman is good value normally and she knows the horse. The #7 isn’t a big deal in my view. I really expect a good run today from Sharrabang despite the massive price.
10pts win – Sharrabang @ 19/1
3.15 Carlisle: Class 6 Handicap, 6f
I was really keen on Marselan the other day at Catterick – which was stupid for the simple fact he never stood a chance from the wide draw and I got blinded by his sensational LTO performance, simply negating the obvious facts of track bias.
It happened what must happen. Marselan was never in the race. It’s one to draw a line through.
Ideally I want to see him over 7 furlongs, no question. So am I about to make the same mistake twice? I don’t think so. Off a 61 mark over a stiff 6 furlongs that requires some stamina in the final third it all play to his strengths today. The #8 draw is nowhere near as big a deal as the wider draw at Catterick was.
Marselan was one of THE eye-catchers of the year so far, for me personally. At Thirsk last months he raced as part of a duo isolated on the stand’s side. The pair was lengths behind the main bunch and had plenty to do with two furlongs to go. Marselan found tons to finish much the strongest to grab 2nd place, the only with a finish speed of over 100%. He also achieved a career best 60 topspeed rating that day.
He returned fresh from a wind operation which seemingly worked. The loss of form last year can most likely be attributed to breathing issues.
He won of 65 and 67 last summer over 7 furlongs. Now down to 61 he’s obviously well handicapped with the breathing issues rectified. Ryan Sexton claims highly valuable 5lb too, the cherry on the cake, so to speak.
10pts win – Marselan @ 11/1