Saturday Selections: 7th January 2023

Sense Of Security ran a lovely race to finish 3rd, about a lengths beaten; ultimately she was way too keen in the early stages. That cost her when it mattered most.

I will leave her alone now, as I believe she will struggle over 6 furlongs to win, and if she doesn’t settle better, will not be much better handicapped than her current mark over 7 furlongs either.

Ustath didn’t have the sharpest of starts, then moved quickly forward and set a pretty fast pace. He was cocked 2 furlongs from home.

I probably would have done better to wait for him to drop a couple of pounds more. In hindsight it’s fair to assume he wasn’t desperately well handicapped off 63 in this race today. The only thing I got right (but can’t buy any bred for) is that the two hot market principles got beaten, as suggested in the preview that they are worth taking on.

Onwards and upwards… we move on to Saturday. And I’m seriously excited. An outstanding day of top-class action awaits at Kenilworth in South Africa: two seriously competitive Grade 2’s and two Grade 1 races, including the mouthwatering King’s Plate, and a certain Christophe Soumillon is also going to be around.

The crème de la crème of South Africa’s older horses is present, as undefeated 3-year-old colt Charles Dickens tries to enhance his status as one, if not the very best colt in a very long time – perhaps, ever? More on that in a seperate post, later.

For now, I’ll focus on the bread and butter on the All-Weather. Not high hopes or expectations, being honest. However, both horses are well capable of outrunning their price tag, if on a going day.

……..

3.30 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 10f

It looks like there could be quite a bit of pace here. In a race where not all of those up there are certain to stay the trip, and very few appear anywhere near well handicapped, it’s set it up for a closer, potentially.

I hope this could be Dashing To You. The gelding seriously caught the eye the last two times, in nearly the same fashion. That’s not entirely positive, because on both occasions he was he slowly away, travelled in rear and had to make up a lot of ground. Which he did in no uncertain terms, meaning he finished best and second best over the last three furlongs in those races.

The step up to 10 furlongs here looks a positive, in my mind. The jury is out whether he truly gets the trip – he is yet to win over this distance. But the pedigree gives hope, and the way he sees out his races, too.

Even though the pace might be hot – for a 10 furlong race – it may still be a bit more comfortable than in the recent races over a mile. He also was much more prominently positioned when racing over 10 furlongs in the past. That’s unlikely to happen here from the #12 gate. He will be ridden for luck, I assume.

In any case, Dashing To You to is clearly well handicapped. This most recent Lingfield effort saw him run to a 56 speed rating. Kindly enough the handicapper dropped him another pound, though. He already has ran 3 times to speed ratings higher than his current mark now.

There are clear question marks and concerns, namely draw, pace and stamina. But there are clear positives too, namely handicap mark, potential improvement for the trip and a slightly slower race as well as lesser opposition she has to face. Worth the risk.

10pts win – Dashing To You @ 15/1

…….

8.30 Kempton: Class 6 Handicap, 1m3f

I am tracking bottom weight Special Times since her eyecatching effort at Leicester in June last year and hope to catch her on the right day for a big effort.

Back in the summer she impressed with a solid speed rating over a trip most likely too sharp. There were additional circumstances that made this run worthy of an upgrade.

The pace was on and she was tracking it closely for most of the race. It became all a bit too hot from three furlongs out but she stuck to the task. She was quite one paced in the closing stages, clearly tired too, when it got tight inside the final furlong as well, but she continued bravely to finish the race in a good manner.

She showed some ability in maiden races before as well, especially catching the the eye the way she travelled at Windsor in May.

Special Times was always likely to be more at home over trips beyond a mile. She is out of a German dam who won over 11.5 furlongs in Germany, sire Time Test with a stamina index of 9f has shown to get horses that stay as far as 1m 4f – so plenty of stamina there to believe she can be competitive up in trip.

She returned after 193 days off the track at Wolverhampton last month over 9.5 furlongs. She ran well for a long time but faded badly in the closing stages, entitled to come on for the run.

Going up to 11 furlongs now, with the run under her belt, in this pretty poor race, I think she must have a big chance if allowed to run on merit.

The Cox yard isn’t going too well, but the application of blinkers is interesting, as she didn’t always look the sharpest, certainly not out of the gate on her comeback run, and seemed to lose focus in the closing stages in other races before, too.

10pts win – Special Times @ 15.5/1

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