Monday Selections: 20th February 2023

7.00 Newcastle: Classified Stakes, 1m

This is a seriously poor race but Otto Oyl looks to have a clear edge in this contest, especially with an eye catching jockey booking after an eye catching recent run.

Hence I am prepared to get involved at a price that I still think is at least a point too big. I rarely back horses at prices this short. But I feel as confident as can be that the short odds still represent value, for a variety of reasons.

Current favourite Odd Socks Havana, who won this very race last year, comes here in solid form, as he won last time out. Nonetheless, I don’t think he should be close to the same price as Otto Oyl. He’s clearly an inferior horse, I believe.

In 34 career runs Odd Socks Havana posted a career best 45 speed rating. That’s even in the context of this poor contest desperately low.

No Diggity looks the main danger. He also won last time out. His last two efforts suggest he’s in fine form, having ran pretty close to his career best speed rating – not that it would set an incredibly high standard, though.

Otto Oyl, in contrast, looks clearly a level above his opposition, if he can follow up from his eye catching effort produced last week at Wolverhampton.

That day he moved forward from the widest draw to grab the lead just before entering the first turn. He gave ground away throughout as he went wide round every turn, seemingly difficult to steer.

The lady Amateur jockey on book clearly had issues controlling the gelding. Nonetheless, he travelled notably well for long enough, still going okay entering the home straight, before getting badly tired.

He came off a small break there and can be upgraded for the run. On speed ratings Otto Oyl has a clear edge in this field and with Oisin Murphy booked he must have a cracking chance over a trip and its stiff finish likely to suit. He looks hard to beat.

10pts win – Otto Oyl @ 5/2

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