Thank The Lord: on Saturday the wait was finally over – after 30 consecutive losers, it was the appropriately named Thank The Lord who gave me the first winner in ages. The 3-year-old gelding won the 5 furlong handicap quite handsomely under the Chelmsford floodlights.
Even better, the 13/2 from the morning looked really big in the evening, given the fact he went off 3/1 fav in the end. I needed that. Badly.
Until this incredibly rotten spell – where it felt like I would even struggle to pick my nose if I’d ever tried (I didn’t; too afraid) – the flat season went quite well, actually. No more. I burned through all the profit. That hurts.
This was the worst losing run I have ever experienced; certainly since betting with some seriousness. The thing is, if I look back at it: the majority of selections I’d do again. Whether that’s a good or a bad thing? The future will tell.
4.10 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 2f
Oscar Doodle looks ready to romp home here off bottom weight after a surprisingly lenient treatment by the handicapper after his recent course and distance win.
He looked to get home a shade cozily, I felt, after always travelling well while tracking the pace. He was entitled to win off a basement mark of 45 after showing clear signs of improvement for a change to the 10 furlong trip with cheekpieces applied.
He was unlucky the first three attempts over 1o furlongs. The saddle slipped on his first attempt over this CD and blunted a better finish. But from there on he ran three huge races in a row: first at Beverley, and then even more so when desperately unlucky back at Newcastle.
No hard lucky story when last seen, and I reckon he’s got more left in the locker. He can pull hard, as shown in the past, and still was able to finish well. He seemed to settle much better last time out, though – has the penny dropped?
The pace looks solid enough here, he won’t have a problem to find a good posi from #8 draw either.
I am normally not a huge fan of Luke Morris in the saddle, but him taking the ride is a major advantage, especially as he goes down to 8st 5lb to take the ride. His record when doing these low weights on fancied horses is excellent, and he hasn’t ridden so low for weeks.
This is a solid race, not uncompetitive, but Oscar Doodle could still be quite well handicapped and should be able to follow up on his recent maiden victory off this weight.
10pts win – Oscar Doodle @ 9/2
4.50 Redcar: Class 6 Handicap, 6f
This looks a competitive Apprentice handicap for this class. Half the field is in with a shot. That says Stallone appears to be a silly price, even more so if the ground doesn’t dry out too much until late afternoon.
Over the 6 furlong trip he needs give in the ground to be seen to best affect. Currently it’s still proper soft ground and I hope it doesn’t get much quicker.
Even though Stallone’s very best form comes over 7 furlongs, he is also a winner over the shorter 6 furlongs. He’ s also highly consistent, especially if the word “soft” appears in the going description (9 of those 13 races on proper soft he finished in the money).
He also acts on a faster surface, though, as seen when finishing a strong third place at Pontefract two races back in June this year.
That piece of form worked out incredibly well, and Stallone ran a huge race, confirmed by a 62 speed rating matching his handicap mark on the day. He ran to 56 and 57 speed ratings this season as well, proving consistency.
He couldn’t follow up from Pontefract when finishing eight of ten nine days later at Hamilton. Most like the race came too soon after that big Ponti run. He’s been off since then.
That specific form on fast ground gives me plenty of hope that even if it dries out to good to soft, he can be a seriously competitive runner in this field. Down to a mark off 61 he’s certainly handicapped to go close, having run six times to speed rating of 61+.
Also: Stallone never had the opportunity to race off such low mark on softish ground over 6 furlongs. So, while his win record looks poor over the trip, seen in the context of this, I’ll give him a better chance than the market does.
The elephant in the room is the jockey booking, though. This is an apprentice race and Paige Hopper is the least experienced rider in the field. From I have seen she looks solid enough in the saddle, and her 7lb claim can prove really valuable.
I might be completely wrong, of course, but I feel Stallone could be quite well handicapped, that with the additional weight allowance could mean Paige Hopper just has to make sure to stay in the saddle and not fall off.
That is if he’s fit. Not see since June is a question mark. But the yard is in good form, outperforming expectations. And this will likely be his final race this year. There is no need to hold back or run for a better handicap mark Therefore I am hopeful Stallone is allowed to run on merit.
10ps win – Stalone @ 14/1