Friday Selections: 6th January 2023

Not the outcome I was hoping for today. Was pretty sweet on both Give A Little Back and Ooh Is It. Unfortunately Ooh Is It missed the break and it was race over there and then. I still believe he’s very much ready to strike. Next time.

A Little Back was an interesting betting story as he was punted down to 5/2 last night, before drifting out all the way 15’s on Betfair minutes before the race, until some late money saw him go off SP 15/2.

He briefly looked like coming with a winning move but couldn’t match the speed of the eventual winner – and supposed gamble – Bondy Power; only managed 3rd place in a photo for second, in the end.

The strange betting pattern aside, I still think, having reviewed the race (keen to see the sectionals, though), he probably ran a bit better than his current mark. He had to make up a bit of ground to the winner, ideally would have been a little closer to tracking the pace, and had an ever so slightly interrupted run in the home straight.

…….

1.45 Kempton: Class 6 Handicap, 7f

Sense Of Security has been in really good form in her last starts. Although I tend to avoid fillies and mares during the winter, as all data points to them underperforming during this period on the All-Weather, this filly ran to near career best speed ratings in her last two runs.

She caught the eye during the flat campaign earlier this year, and entered my list in October when she returned from a wind operation at Kempton over 6 furlongs.

That day she was badly bumped and squeezed right after the start, was keen in the early parts of the race, possibly as a consequence. She made good progress from 3 furlongs out, kicks well in the home straight and found plenty. The winner from the front was not for catching, and well on top, though.

She followed up a fortnight ago at Chelmsford with another huge run, finishing strongly, against the pace bias.

She ran to speed ratings 57 and 58 in those two runs, which means off her 57 handicap mark she is handicapped to go seriously close. The bonus is the step up to 7 furlongs. I believe she always struggles over the shorter trip when the pace is hot.

Obviously as a maiden after 15 runs you never can be quite sure. Also the fact she was a non-runner a few weeks ago is a concern. But I firmly believe that if her wind is okay, she ‘s going to really enjoy this trip and has a tremendous chance.

There is good money coming in the early market already. I hope it’s not a Déjà vu to A Little Back on Thursday. 9/2 would have been nice… I imagine 4’s is gone soon. Hopefully SOS can justify the support. It would be a nice one for confidence too.

Because the shorter priced horses just don’t deliver for me at all. The last time I had a winner at odds below 13/2 was all the way back in July! That’s 36 selections (shortest was 5/2). Autsch.

10pts win – Sense Of Security @ 4/1

………

8.15 Southwell: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

Favourite Praise Of Shaddows looks a rock solid favourite. Judged on his excellent recent win and speed rating achieved he could be still well handicapped, especially as it looks legit thanks to strong performances in defeat in November and December.

However, he won’t get an easy lead here and has to overcome the #10 draw, plus loses the valuable 3lb claim of Grace McEntee. Reason enough for me to looks elsewhere.

Ustath is my natural choice. He would have made it on to the next Eyecatchers list if not for this run before publishing it. His most recent run (to some extend the one before as well) indicated that he’s probably in quite good form.

Last time over this CD he was off to a flying start, led early on, before being joined to push the pace as part of a duo racing a number of lengths ahead of field. Obviously he did way too much too soon and faded badly.

Nonetheless, that was a return to form I believe, as he still managed to finish 5th only 3 lengths beaten in the end, by a winner who was handicapped to win.

The enthusiasm for racing is still there. But he can be one that’s hard to catch. In any case he is down to a solid mark again. He ran 3x times to speed ratings 54+ last year.

In an ideal world I would have loved to see him drop below 53, but let’s not be picky because he’s still good value at current prices in this open race, if one is prepared to take on the two market leaders, especially with a low draw that should enable him to move easily forward.

The other well backed one in the market, Bernard Spierpoint, won a poor race earlier this week. He also was on a recent eyecatcher list, but this race is much hotter and his mark isn’t attractive having to defy a 5lb penalty.

He’s also one likely to be right up with the pace. I hope Ustath can feed of him, drawn right beside him, to relax early, but sit comfortably tracking the pace. That should be the ideal scenario for a big run.

10pts win – Bernard Ustath @ 9/1

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