Tuesday Selections: 25th April 2023

Big Bard produced a great finish to run out an easy win by about 4 lengths today. The 5th winner in April.

He simply was so well handicapped with the 7lb claim of excellent Alec Voikhansky in the saddle, who gave the gelding a cool, patient ride: waiting for the gap to open on the inside, before he stayed on strongly in the final furlong.

I was deliberating back and forth last night because of the big field and the slight questions over the likely proper soft ground. But in the end the prevailing thought was the gelding is too well handicapped to let go. A correct decision in the end.

4.25 Yarmouth: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 2f

I was sweet on Dog Fox earlier this month before he was withdrawn after being upset in the stalls. There’s a concern over his behaviour here as well, of course.

But that aside, the same reasons as back then apply here too, why I’m prepared to back him again. For one, this isn’t a strong race on paper. Not many appear to have a large amount of scope to outrun their current handicap marks.

Dog Fox is also an intriguing horse: one I flagged up in my 3-year-old handicappers to follow list and feel this represents a superb opportunity to get off the mark for him.

This confidence may seem misplaced given Dog Fox showed nothing in three runs as a juvenile. However, those runs came over trips that were clearly on the sharp side.

He’s bred to enjoy middle-distance trips and is expected to improve dramatically in handicap company going up in trip. The majority of his dam’s offspring performs solid once upped to 10 furlongs, as his sire Cityscape has a 10.1 stamina index to offer.

An opening mark of 62 looks stiff judged purely on juvenile form, but could underestimate him judged on potential improvement for trip and age.

The soft ground won’t be an issue I reckon. The sire and dam enjoyed cut in the ground during their respective racing careers. The application of a hood may help to calm him.

10pts win – Dog Fox @ 4/1


6.25 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 7f

There’s no question Aihawawi is a great chance in this race and was a huge eyecatcher last time out. Off the same mark here, with the #3 draw to attack the race from, he could be hard to beat.

On the other hand, he was probably beaten for speed at Newcastle, and stayed on up the stiff finish in the closing stages. Does the sharper, less stiff Wolverhampton suit?

At 6/5 I’m not prepared to find out and rather take the proverbial gamble on another eyecatcher, that is Bridge Water. I say gamble because there’s every chance the filly is twice the price tomorrow afternoon.

But I make an as much as possible informed decision and risk assessment that says, all I can judge right now in terms of information in front of me, says she’s too big a price in this field. I have her much, much shorter.

She caught the eye two back at Kempton. There she was restrained from the widest draw and and trailed the field, nicely settled. She travelled strongly and made strong progress from 3f out to eventually finish much the best. She was simply poorly positioned, otherwise she could have won that day.

The form itself isn’t strong, but the way she finished was noteworthy and in line with her prior run that warranted an upgrade too.

Over 6f she probably doesn’t have the speed to win, I feel. But she could improve for the step up to 7f. She’s by Starspangledbanner with a7.0f stamina index, out of an unraced Le Havre mare.

She also has a lowly 49 mark. The return to the All-Weather is a plus, as she didn’t enjoy soft ground when last seen.

10pts win – Bridge Water @ 10/1


9.00 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

Dark Design ran a huge race in defeat when last seen at Lingfield. He moved quickly forward from his wide draw to slot in right behind the pace setter, but had to do a lot to get there just before the first turn.

He tracked a very strong winner racing in second place, travelled well approaching the home turn. He didn’t have the pace to match from 1.5 out and tired in the final furlong. A fine form, also given the fact he covered about a lengths more than others in front of him that day.

He ran petty well in recent weeks and months, including achieving a 50 speed rating here as well s a 56 one at Chelmsford in January. He’s clearly in strong form and now has been given a chance by the handicapper.

Dropped 2lb to a mark of 55, with a good draw and a CD that may suit, he’s well weighted. He Won off 55 and 57 last season and should enjoy a strong pace to track here which should bring his extra bit of stamina to the fore in the closing stages.

10pts win – Dark Design 5/1

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