Tuesday Selections: 7th February 2023

8.30 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4f

I’m somewhat puzzled as to what the early market sees here. Of course, value is always personal, but I’d argue – even if he would find a way to win – Dinoo at 7/4 is shocking price, for a variety of reasons.

Sure, you can argue he was a shade unlucky lto, but I am adamant he’s a highly suspect stayer over this trip. I was wrong before about his stamina, though; perhaps I’m not the judge to trust in this matter. Nonetheless, I happily take him on.

He’s a son of Starspangledbanner who has an atrocious record at Wolverhampton, and is clearly not a great influence of stamina.

To be honest, there isn’t much else in this race. Possibly that makes Dinoo the default favourite, in fairness. Bit Harsh is up in trip, a son of Australia has a chance to improve for the trip, but he certainly has to do s, as he’s yet to run a fast enough speed rating to believe he’s anywhere near as good as his new mark asks him to be.

Spiritofthenorth has a fine record fresh. If he’s fit, he has the profile to keep improving over this sort of trip. But he’s been off since August, and he may not get an easy lead here, has a career-highest AW mark to defy.

Bottom-weight Order Of St. John with a 7lb claimer in the saddle would be dangerous if allowed to get his own way up front. But he had a poor comeback run and is yet to win over this longer trip.

That’s how I came to the position of believing Percy Willis is hugely overpriced. Ideally I would have liked a couple pounds less or at least, formally, a slightly lesser race. However, this is not a strong 0-75 Handicap.

The gelding is in superb form. He was certainly a bit unlucky not to finish a lot closer the last two times since coming off a small break. In a slowly run race at Wolverhampton he seemed to hit top gear – he needed a moment or two to get there – as he was badly squeezed out at a crucial stage of the race. He got going again, which was impressive.

He found his route forward blocked two furlongs from home the next time at Newcastle as well after travelling strongly.

It’s the risk attached to this lad. He makes life tough for himself. That’s a danger here, especially if they don’t go a solid gallop, he may find himself in a tricky spot when the field enters the home straight.

He has got a #3 draw. Ideal, normally. He can jump and simply settle third or fourth a few lengths behind the pace setters who are jumping from 1 and 2 gates.

If he gets too far behind, he will likely be stuck in a pocket and may get out too late. There is a danger. But there is plenty of upside if he can get into a prominent racing position. Those horses tend to fare best over this course and distance.

Percy Willis is currently rated three pounds lower than his last victory (this CD), and a pound lower than his second last win. These performances came last year, and it was only as recently as October that he was just beaten by a head off a 72 mark, running to a 71 speed rating over this course and distance.

Clearly having proven to be in the same sort of form right now, he is one of the likelier horses to run to form here, with no doubts over stamina and track suitability.

There is currently still a significant discrepancy in odds on offer with traditional bookies and on exchanges. I can’t imagine this to last much longer. I grabbed every bit of the 9’s on offer and supplemented for my full stake to get 15/2, which I feel is absolutely massive for this horse.

10pts win – Percy Willis @ 15/2

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