Friday Selections: 20th January 2023

It was good to back a winner on Wednesday – Iva Feeling did it really well, as hoped, always nicely positioned from her low draw and she saw out every inch of the mile.

The rare trip over to Dundalk was a profitable one for me – finally positive news on the W front, the third winner for the month; yet, January is nothing to shout about on the P/L sheet.

Not so good was the blatant non-trier Northern Chancer. That’s disappointing to see if you back a horse. But then, that’s the nature of the game I willingly participate in. It’s bound to happen, another time in my favour.

Probably even more disappointing, a disappointment with my own decision making, was backing May Remain. I knew pre-race the pace scenario is against him; was blinded by the mantra chanting in my head “but he’s so well handicapped”.

Maybe he was, and perhaps he’s even more so next time, but the way the race was going to unfold was always going to kill off his chances. This is not hindsight bias because I knew it well enough beforehand, identified this issue and still put the money down. Wanted it too much.

It’s important to be honest with oneself. I can be and know: this was a poor bet. You can’t construct good bets. Only bad ones.

……..

12.50: Classified Stakes, 5f

I must give Ustath another chance. He drops down to the minimum trip, which shouldn’t be an issue, given he’s a multiple course and distance winner.

His most recent run in Handicap company over 6 furlongs earlier this month was disappointing, but the damage was done in the first half of the race, and he also was hanging in the straight.

I go back to the penultimate run, though, that was seriously eyecatching. That level of form, if he could run close to it, will see him hard to beat against poor opposition today.

Ideally he would have a low draw, given those low numbers on the far side are clearly preferred over the 5f at Southwell. But there looks to be little real pace on that side in this race, which means it will probably play out in the middle of the track, so the #9 gate is fine.

10pts win – Ustath @ 9/2

………..

5.15 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

It was an excellent comeback run for Seesawing last month at this venue when 6th after a long break. That form looks quite strong as it has started to work out well.

After an awkward start he moved forward to led toward stands’ side, somewhat isolated there. He seemingly travelled well, before hanging toward the middle of the track from 2 furlongs out; tiering late and losing a few places.

He was entitled to tire, was 330 days off and changed yards in the meantime as well. This run is noteworthy for the strengths of the form and the fact winner and runner-up came from well off the pace, which is no easy task at Newcastle; it gives the form substance, and shows Seesawing ran pretty well from the front.

He’s hopefully fitter today. In any case he’s down to a solid mark that offers opportunities as he’s still lightly raced enough, although also seeking a first career win.

He ran to a speed rating of 63 last year, that ties in nicely with his current mark (minus 3lb claimed by Mark Crehan) and he’s quite unexposed over this sort of trip, especially on the All-Weather and in Handicap company.

I would have liked to see him over 7 furlongs with turn, but the drop to 6 furlongs with a stiff finish as present at Newcastle could be an ideal scenario. There shouldn’t be much competition for the lead and I hope he goes forward, drops his head and will make most of an easy lead.

10pts win – Seesawing @ 5/1

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