It was two on the bounce on Tuesday when Captain Vallo won at Southwell with a bit of authority in the closing stages. A rare sight over the last weeks… well, even months: not only one winner, but two, on the same day!
It helps seriously with the P/L sheet that looked brutal after the recent losing run. Although, what always helps is also putting it all into a historical context. My betting records tells a story: every year I struggle massively in autumn, October is always red, September often too. Perhaps something to review for the future.
That future is about ten months down the line. The immediate future sees the return of the Breeders’ Cup. I wouldn’t say I am a massive fan. Not really of the Friday card, and certainly not of the dirt races. But the turf races on Saturday are usually quite intriguing.
Currently I’ll probably have only one bet in mind for this Saturday. I’ve got a bit more work to do on the races, though. Prior to top-class action at Keeneland, it’s all about more mundane things, like sand racing at Newcastle. Selections as follows below.
I don’t want to leave unmentioned the queen of the mile, Goldikova, when talking about the Breeders’ Cup. The mighty mare was so good over there in 2009, when she the landed the Turf Mile. A wide draw, sitting far off the pace, second last turning for home… no bother. One of my favourite BC moments. What a star she was.
3.05 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 1m
The right conditions are present for Twistaline, who caught the eye at Wolverhampton in no uncertain terms the last time. That day she travelled in rear, seemed to struggle from 4f out before running home in quite sensational style, finishing the last three furlongs much the fastest, without being asked for everything.
Granted that was a poor race, but this Newcastle content is even worse. She drops into a 0-55 Handicap, her mark down to 54 as she lost another 2lb in the meantime, and she steps up to the straight mile which will be an ideal scenario for her on the All-Weather.
I don’t really like to back horses that have to come from off the pace on the sand, least a filly. But over a mile at Newcastle hold-up horses perform strongly. This will suit her, and her patchy starting habits won’t matter nearly as much as it is a clear disadvantage at sharp Wolverhampton.
Twistaline showed quite solid form on this modest level on the All-Weather earlier this year. She ran to consistent speed ratings of 50, 51 and 53.
She is clearly in that sort of form, perhaps even better, given the way she finished last time out.
I was initially worried about the jockey booking. Jason Watson isn’t riding any winners of late. But he’s been sitting on 20/1 shots on average. If further examined for his record with trainer Appleby, things look much brighter.
10pts win – Twistaline @ 11/2
5.45 Newcastle: Class 5 Handicap, 6f
I must give Pockley another chance. He was unlucky not to finish closer than 3rd last time over this CD and that form has worked out seriously well in the meantime.
That day he travelled in midfield, but was quite keen for the first part of the race. He didn’t get a clear passage at a crucial stage when the pace increased and the eventual winner got first run. He kicked on well from 2 furlongs out, but was reportedly hanging soon after.
Surprisingly, the handicapper has dropped him another pound. Down to a career lowest mark, even though he caught the eye on turf this year too, he moves up slightly in class – this is an 0-75 vs 0-70 the last time; as a consequence he’s got a low weight with the additional of 5lb claiming Mark Winn again. I feel there are only two or three other properly competitive horses in the field, so it’s not a strong race.
This could be well set up for him too: he’s got pace around him to follow right from his #5 draw. That should in theory tow him nicely into it, if he doesn’t miss the break, which he can, and which is the only real risk attached in my view.
The other question mark is the form of the Linda Perratt yard – 2/50, 0/12 over the last four weeks. But I rate Pockley’s chance so highly that I (stupidly?) ignore this.
10pts win – Pockley @ 4/1