Thursday Selections: 5th January 2023

2.15 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 7f

Is this the day for Give A Little Back? it was rather obvious how was not ridden to best effect the last few times, so to speak.

Whether the money that saw his price quickly collapse from 9’s down to 5/2 remains to be seen. A few quick can shift these early markets. In any case neither 5/2 nor 9/1 were quite right. Though, I reckon, the shorter price is closer to the truth. He’s come back to a backable price in the meantime, thankfully.

Give A Little Back drops down in class, another 3lb lighter after a suicidal run at Southwell when last seen. He went off way too hard from his wide draw to lead the field for home. No surprise to see him drop away badly in the closing stages, but it was noteworthy how long he was able to stay right in the mix.

He was a massive eyecatcher prior to this as well. That day he was slowly away from his wide draw, trailing and outpaced halfway through, before making serious progress from over 3f out, finished a clear second best, without being asked to fully extend and handled rather tenderly.

It’s fair to assume that he could be better than his current 65 rating on the basis of those performances. He also showed bit of talent when a fine 3rd in a Wolverhampton maiden over 7 furlongs in May; 1.5l behind first and second who are 81 and 83 rated these days.

The projection is for little pace in the race. I hope Charles Bishop moves forward from the #6 draw. He shouldn’t have any issues getting into a nice position.

I wasn’t initially sure whether I want to back him, whether I truly believe this is the day to let him go and run on merit. But the fact is he must be in quite fine form, the way he ran the last two times. This looks an ideal opportunity to strike.

10pts win – Give A Little Back @ 7/2

……….

3.45 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

Seriously competitive race with a bunch of these horses presenting themselves in fine form lately. It should be a fast and furious race.

Pace and a good handy position are usually what decides the races over the minimum trip at Wolverhampton. It’s all about racing as economical as possible as close to or with the pace as possible.

While I could make a positive case for about five runners, the one that ticks pretty much every box is Ooh Is It. He did so a few weeks ago at Southwell as well, when I backed him as he dropped down to 5 furlongs agter a seriously eye-catching effort over 6f at Wolverhampton in November.

I cautiously optimistic that he’d have too much in hand to win the Southwell race. Therefore it was a bit disappointing that he only finished 3rd, over six lengths beaten. He ran well, but well below expectations at the same time, given he ran t a 71 speed rating last time out.

Thankfully the post-race comments revealed the likely cause for his tame finish:

“Vet said gelding had struck into himself on his left fore”

Of course it’s diffult to know whether that truly was the cause and whether the horse is 100% again. I’ll take the risk because everything said leading up to the race still holds true – in fact the handicapper has dropped Ooh Is It another pound, to a mark of 67. He should be tremendously well handicapped now over 5 furlongs.

As mentioned the last time, the November performance over 6 furlongs here at Wolverhampton was a brilliant performance and the one that needs recalling:

That day he started quickly and set the world alight in the first half of the race. No surprise to see him tire rather badly from 3f out. Nonetheless, he still held a 1 lengths advantage at the final furlong marker.

That was seriously strong form. The winner was well handicapped and caught the eye before. Three horses won subsequently already. Ooh Is It ran to a near career-best 71 speed rating as well – in comparison to his current mark that’s seriously intriguing.

The fact he ran so well over 6 furlongs, a trip I believe he doesn’t truly stay, was especially noteworthy. He ran three times to speed ratings 70+, all his best performances over 5 furlongs, in fact.

Clearly he’s rated to win now, especially with a good draw to attack the race from. Others want to move forward too, but have a wider draw to overcome.

This is a seriously competitive race, though, as mentioned before. He could be well handicapped and still finds one or two too good. But as I got my full stake matched at 5/1 (Smarkets) I know this is a tremendous value bet, whatever happens on the day. Having the assistance of 5lb claiming Jordan Williams is simply the cherry on the cake.

10pts win – Ooh Is It @ 5/1

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