Grand National day. My preview of the big race can be read here. On the flat racing front things remain quiet this week and also this weekend, to the most part.
But looking at the tracker for next week things are going to get hot. There are no less than 21 eyecatchers scheduled to run only from Monday to Wednesday alone The flat is back!
4.30 Yarmouth: Class 6 Handicap, 6f
Not a particularly competitive race. El Royale saw some money this morning, and some of that may well be the “Billy factor” more than anything.
The horses drops down in trip and is unexposed, but strikes me as a weak favourite, nonetheless.
Phoenix Star and Concierge are the obvious interests for me, having caught the eye in their last runs. In saying that, the #8 draw isn’t ideal for Phoenix Star, who’s also one of the more popular horses in the market this morning.
High draws have a poor record over this course and distance. That aside, he strikes me as best over the minimum trip, perhaps with some cut in the ground. He’s yet to win over 6f on turf, hence Concierge is the more interesting horse today.
His record over 6 furlongs isn’t brilliant, either. However, he is a distance winner, even on good to soft in the past, has been able to stretch out to 7 furlongs, and has clearly the speed for the minimum trip (which may be his optimum).
In any case, I was impressed by his comeback run last month at Kempton, where he was a serious eyecatcher:
Concierge travelled at the back of the field. Made really good progress on the inside, showed multiple accelerations from mid-race right onward to finish the fastest from 4f out.
He couldn’t follow-up at Chelmsford, but travelling wide throughout, chasing the pace, was the reason why he dropped out badly in the closing stages.
As a consequence he’s down another couple of pounds, a new career-lowest. He ran to a 64 speed rating at Kempton, though, suggesting there’s enough there to believe he can win.
Whether he is still as good as last season remains to be seen, now that he’s back on turf. Last year he ran well a number of times, including when achieving a 73 speed rating run at Newmarket over 6 furlongs.
He drops down to class 6 today – obviously he’s not the force of old, but this is much easier than anything he’s encountered even in the more recent past.
Even though I’m not totally sold on credentials over 6f on turf, I feel he’s still got too much class for these rivals. He definitely won’t mind the ground, looks to be in fine form, and if on a going day (i.e. allowed to run on merit) he could be hard to beat.
10pts win – Concierge @ 6/1