Tag Archives: Saturday

Saturday Selections: March, 14th 2020

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Cheltenham is over. It didn’t deliver the goods on the betting front as it did in the last years. At the very least it delivered some relieve in the sense some of my selections were successful. Many more ran really well. That’s a big positive after the worst start to any betting year I ever had.

There is a bit a question “would, could, should”. But those type of thoughts rarely lead to anything good.

I got the Gold Cup spot on, though: Al Boum Photo was the one to beat and he had everything you need to go back to back. He didn’t quite have the same dream run through as last year but he had a super sharp Paul Townend in the saddle who made the right decisions in the right moment to ensure ABP endured as little trouble as possible.

He beat Santini in a brilliant finish. In third, my selection, Lostintranslation, ran a massive race. The two possible improvers were good enough to beat the rest of the field, as was my expectation before the race. But they were not quite good enough (yet?) to beat the defending champion.

After the week didn’t start too well for Paul Townend, he finished it off with a week that’ll go down in history. Champion jockey and the man who steered a horse to defend the crown in the Gold Cup. He doesn’t always get it right. But who does? Ruby and AP didn’t. What matters is that Paul Townend got it as right as it gets at the grandest of stages. That makes him a top top class jockey.

I will review Cheltenham tomorrow afternoon on Dublin City FM. Tune in if you like. Beyond that, I gonna struggle on in an attempt to get by betting back on track. Thankfully the flat is around the corner.

………..

6.00 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 9.5f

The money is pouring in for Taurean Dancer who returns from a break with a first time visor fitted and Rossa Ryan in the saddle for what is his only ride on the card.

Whether this Taurean Dancer’s optimum trip is a question mark, given his career best topspeed rating came over further. However hes form over shorter as well, having been beaten only by a neck at Kempton over a mile of a much higher rating in the past.

I imagine he’ll be ridden forward in order to set a good pace and use his undoubtedly existing stamina. As he can be keen, this should suit him well in a race that is wide open.

Selection:
10pts win – Taurean Dancer @ 11/1 MB

Saturday Selection: February, 1st 2020

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4.45 Kempton: Class 7 Handicap, 1 mile

Mrs Benson caught the eye on her return a eight days ago at Lingfield. Off for 141 days she had to overcome the widest draw and as a consequence travelled widest for most of the race and had to do more than most to be in a decent position turning for home, as sectionals clearly show.

Sectionals clearly show also that this was quite a good performance taking everything into account and she was for that plus the fact that this was her first run in half a year entitled to tire in the final furlong.

Dropping another pound as well as in class, with a much better draw today, she must have a massive chance if she can follow-up. That isn’t a given, as Mrs Benson is inconsistent and remains a maiden after 18 starts.

On the other hand she ran four times to 55+ tospeed ratings, including Kempton as well as twelve month ago over a mile at Lingfield, achieving a 61 TS.

Only three starts back, in summer on the flat, she was a fair third in a Salisbury handicap – the form looks rock solid – she did it of OR 53 that day and there isn’t an indication she isn’t as effective on the All-Weather as on turf. With that in mind, she could be well handicapped today.

Selection:
10pts win – Mrs Benson @ 12/1 MB

Saturday Selections: January, 25th 2020

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It’s bad. Well and truly horrible, in fact. I’m in the midst of what only can be considered my worst losing run in the last three years. Whatever I touch turns to a solid piece of shit. This January so far has been tough on many fronts – betting is certainly one of them.

My selections are rotten. They either drift and finish last or they get backed and finish down the field regardless. It’s in these times that one can easily wonder: “did I lose it?”. The touch for making good decision, that is.

I hope not. Truth is, the majority of selections I made this month I’d do again. Trust the process….. I do, but a winner would really help the battered morale.

………

6.00 Kempton: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 2f

Even though still a maiden, Thunderoad has been knocking on the door a number of times, none more so than when last seen at Wolverhampton. Travelling always strongly, making nice progress and going much the best turning for home it was merely a matter of putting it to bed.

A move toward the inside rail by Shane Kelly turned out fatal, though, as the gap was rapidly closing and Thunderoad was badly hampered one furlong out, losing his momentum, while the eventual winner had clear passage and kept his momentum.

Thunderoad ran to a topspeed rating of 58, matching his current mark. He has been running to 71 in the past already, so clearly he is potentially better than this. However, now 0 for 17, the 4-year-old keeps finding ways to get beat.

That is a concern. So is the widest draw. Even though, that is less an issue, given he’d be ridden off the pace either way. I don’t like to see that on the All-Weather, usually. But Thunderoad appears to be going so well, second up here after a small break in a very winnable race that here’s hoping today is the day.

Selection:
10pts win – Thunderoad @ 13/2 MB

 

Saturday Selections: January, 18th 2020

Ascot Grand Stand, by Florian Christoph

12.30 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 4f

Presence Process makes a lot of appeal dropping further and further in his mark, now below 50. His latest effort over course and distance was positive, given there looked a spark there for first time headgear.

He probably got a little bit too much locked up in an early battle for the lead, subsequently was pulled back and then didn’t quite have the kick in the home straight, nonetheless finished well enough to see him winning again.

He loves this CD, has ran multiple times to higher speed ratings than his now lowly 49 rating and must have a prime chance in a poor contest.

The key will be the early parts of the race, though: drawn in 9 is a negative.

Selection:
10pts win – Presence Process @ 8/1 MB

……….

2.25 Ascot: Grade 3 Handicap Hurdle, 2m3½f

It’s probably not the best of signs that he is on the drift with the high street, but I remain quietly hopeful at the very least that Pic D’orhy is a good deal better than his 146 rating and will show it today.

Connections have always said he’s a chaser in the making. Nonetheless, he showed plenty of promise in France over hurdles, in deep ground and I feel the trip and conditions today will suit him.

Granted it is a competitive field. 2m3½f fell the last time at Autil in Grade 1 company a long way from the finish. He made his Nicholls debut at Cheltenham in the Triumph Hurdle where he travelled strongly until a blunder at the second last that ended his chances.

He’s still a young horse, will little millage on the clock and more to come. If he’s a class horse for the future he will need to show something good today against this opposition. At given prices I am inclined to be on his side.

Selection:
10pts win – Pic D’orhy @ 13/2 MB

……….

4.25 Meydan: Handicap, 7 furlongs

One that caught my eye two weeks ago here at Meydan in a competitive mile handicap was Moqarrar. He started well but was soon pulled back and before hitting the turn switched to the widest outside of the field travelling five deep.

As a consequence Moqarrar lost a lot of ground and had to do more than others in order to stay in touch burning vital energy. The gelding fought on gamely though hitting top gear entering the home straight and looked in with a good shout for the placings but faded eventually.

That was a strong performance taking circumstances into considerations. He can race of 2lb lower today, although drops to 7 furlongs, which may not be a big deal as he won over this trip as a juvenile in the UK.

I imagine he’ll jump out of the gate to be much closer to the pace today in hands of Jim Crowley and if getting a clear run should have a strong chance to outrun his price at the very least.

Selection:
10pts win – Moqarrar @ 11/1 WH

Saturday Selections: January, 11th 2019

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12.15 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

Agent Of Fortune looks to have a solid chance following up with another victory here, however he’s close to his very best rated and has to deal with a wider than ideal draw.

My ideal of a value chance is Subliminal. He comes with clear risks attached given he’s not the easiest to win. Connections try new headgear – remains to be seen whether that has any positive impact.

On the positive side: there is in my mind clear evidence that Subliminal is better than his current 57 handicap mark if he puts it all together. His last three starts all at Lingfield are perfect illustrations for this. He’s been running into trouble multiple times, not helping himself when usually leaving the stalls a tick slowly.

I feel a fair case can be made that when 3rd in November over this course and distance that he came with a winning run down the stretch if not for being a clear run denied on the inside rail. His latest 10/10 finish behind Agent Of Fortune can be upgraded also due to the fact of the suicidal pace Subliminal set and still got as far as he did actually.

A smaller field, a decent draw and no other horse in this field seemingly well handicapped, this is the chance for Subliminal to shine. He’s ran to 60 and 62 topspeeds in 2019 on the All-Weather, so clearly any visual evidence is backed up by the numbers that he is a better horse than what his win record portrays.

Selection:
10pts win – Subliminal @ 7/1 MB

………..

1.30 Kempton: Class 3 Handicap Chase, 2m4½f

Dipping my toe into unusual territory at this time of the year. But I feel Paul Nicholls’ Sao is supremely well handicapped and should be hard to beat here – if the handbrake is off.

This lightly raced 6-year-old hasn’t won in Britain yet, although showed promise a few times already and looks ready for an interesting campaign. Evidence of his latest run prove a couple of things: Sao wintered well and doesn’t appear to have any breathing issues.

That last race here at Kempton over 2.5f shorter back in November was his first after a summer break and he travelled and jumped well throughout. However he also was hampered by fallers and lose horses twice in the middle of the race, seeing him trailing the field.

Sao made up nice ground and after a pretty light ride by Harry Cobden finished strongly and seemingly with plenty in the tank after jumping the last.

A 123 handicap mark appears certainly low given potential improvement rather likely to come from this half-brother of Frodon. The additional furlongs are unlikely to bother Sao, however he appeared plenty keen the last time over shorter. So there is a light risk as well as the ground which may not quite be soft enough.

Nonetheless Sao appears an outstanding chance in this field in my book if he puts everything together and gets a clear run.

Selection:
10pts win – Sao @ 9/2 MB

Saturday Selections: December, 21st 2019

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11.45 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 5 furlongs

Roundabout Magic is a fair favourite here, he clearly will go close. Is he a horse to put as much trust in as a 7/4 promises? Certainly not.

Fareeq is a superb alternative at multiple times the price. He had two runs since a wind OP. The jury is out whether this made any difference. With benefit of the doubt he should be race fit now for sure, at the very least.

As a course and distance winner earlier this year off 2lb higher than his revised 56 handicap mark he makes plenty of appeal, given he also ran to a topspeed rating of 62 that day. He ran a close 3rd at Wolverhampton in August off 6lb higher than today also.

Therefore, if his breathing is fine, with a good draw to play with, Fareeq should be a major player today.

Selection:
10pts win – Fareeq @ 6/1 MB

……….

3.10 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 4f

Accessor could have done with a better draw but he proved the last time that it doesn’t have to be a hindrance to a strong performance so I am hopeful he can overcome it here with a good start today.

He has clearly fallen a long way in the mark and nearly took advantage of it last time at Newcastle over the same trip. First time in headgear and off a small break he travelled strongly and rallied impressively in the final furlong to nearly catch the eventual winner, who ran to a 3lb faster TS rating than his official mark that day and followed up under a penalty with a neck beaten runner-up performance.

That days Accessor himself ran to a 52 topspeed rating that day, so off a 51 mark he looks potentially weighted to go close again, as a one pound hike for this latest effort seems lenient. He also ran four times to 52+ TS ratings throughout his career, so a second victory is only a matter of time now.

Selection:
10pts win – Accessor @ 6/1 MB

Saturday Selections: November, 30th 2019

Kilimanjaro goes clear

1.05 Lingfield: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

As suggested yesterday in my Dundalk preview, Aloysius Lilius found it difficult to make it in to the race as a reserve, but he would eventually rock up 24h later at Lingfield. So here we are, the three-year-old is running today.

What held true merely a day ago is still very much the case today – however it has to be said this class 5 Handicap is probably more competitive than the Dundalk race last night. On the other hand, as competitive as it appears on the surface, most fancied runners fall away when checking whether they are well handicapped. Aloysius Lilius remains a proper chance, though:

Aloysius Lilius dropped to a tasty handicap mark but can’t be really faulted given he ran some fine races this year on turf when going close on a couple of occasions over the minimum trip.

His first attempt to tackle the All-Weather was highly promising  at Dundalk a fortnight ago. A wide draw was a big disadvantage and receiving a heavy bump right after the start didn’t do him any favours. This was a wild race, he was at the back of the field and didn’t receive the clearest of runs, but finished strongly on the outside in the final furlong.

He stays on the same 66 OR. Interesting: Aloysius Lilius ran twice to 67+ topspeed in his career, including in his penultimate run. So with a much better draw here, and potentially enjoying the step up to 6 furlongs (he’s a half-brother to a 6f winner on the All-Weather).

Aloysius Lilius dropped to a tasty handicap mark but can’t be really faulted given he ran some fine races this year on turf when going close on a couple of occasions over the minimum trip.

His first attempt to tackle the All-Weather was highly promising here at Dundalk a fortnight ago. A wide draw was a big disadvantage and receiving a heavy bump right after the start didn’t do him any favours. This was a wild race, he was at the back of the field and didn’t receive the clearest of runs, but finished strongly on the outside in the final furlong.

He stays on the same 66 OR. Interesting: Aloysius Lilius ran twice to 67+ topspeed in his career, including in his penultimate run. So with a much better draw here, and potentially enjoying the step up to 6 furlongs (he’s a half-brother to a 6f winner on the All-Weather).

Selection:
10pts win – Aloysius Lilius @ 7/1 MB

……….

1.40 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

Favourite Papa Delta has an impressive record and is likely to run his race, having every chance to win, but he is handicapped to his best form at the same time.

On the other hand The Lacemaker has been pretty consistent the last while, having also ran to topspeed ratings of 59 and 56 in her last four starts but gets a fair chance by the handicapper nonetheless.

Down to a mark of 56 now, she came damn close only seven days ago at this venue, albeit over 7 furlongs, where she tired only inside the final 200 yards after having done a lot from a wide draw, cutting across, leading and setting decent fractions.

Coming down in trip again in a smaller field, off her current mark with those recent performances in the book that are confirmed by the clock, The Lacemaker is clearly handicapped to win today.

Seletion:
10pts win – The Lacemaker @ 6/1 MB

Saturday Selection: November, 9th 2019

Wet Dundalk Polytrack

6.40 Southwell: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

Dropping significantly in his handicap mark, with first time visor applied, Ower Fly is an intriguing contender. The 6 furlong trip is certainly no issue, questions are more about the fibresand and whether he still has the appetite to race.

I would argue having been dropped 4lb for the latest Newcastle effort, a fair 5th place where he dwelled yet moved soon to the front, travelled well for long enough and ran on gamely to the line, Ower Fly has been given a significant opportunity by the handicapper.

In act the six-year-old is down a whopping 25 pounds since the start of the year. Which shows he hasn’t been at his best in 2019, and a wind surgery didn’t seem to help either.

So there is significant risk attached to him. Further to this he didn’t seem to start quite as enthusiastically in his latest races, however wasn’t helped at the penultimate race when heavily bumped early on. On the other hand there were glimmers of hope, as the most recent performances showed as did a solid 5th place at Ascot in the summer.

Ower Fly has achieved a topspeed rating of 63+ on 14 occasions throughout his career, on both turf and the All-Weather. With that in mind there clearly is a fair chance that if rejuvinated by the switch to fibresand and visor, he can run a massive race in this poor field.

He can also be beaten soon after the start. A wider than ideal draw, if he dwells again and struggles to take to the surface, he’s gone after two furlongs. I’m prepared to take the risk.

Selection:
10pts win – Ower Fly @ 10/1 MB

Saturday Selections: November, 2nd 2019

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Friday night started in the worst possible way: me looking like an idiot. Here I am backing a short priced favourite for the first time in ages, touting the horse as the proverbial “good thing” that will go on to win the 2000 Guineas. Yeah, that worked out well….

The winner of the Futurity Stakes is a good horse, make no mistake. He already ran twice to 99 topspeed ratings before last night, is an April foal and clearly is consistent on a high level as another 97 TS performance showed last night.

I continue to retain some faith in Kinross, nonetheless. He was pretty keen early on and once again starting issues made life tricky. Hopefully Ralph Beckett can sort this behaviour out over the winter as I firmly belief the time to shine for this colt is as a 3-year-old.

Before moving on to selections for Breeders Cup Saturday, let me say I’m properly grateful to Jose Ortiz: he gave Structor a superb tactical ride. I needed that winner badly. Particularly as Vive La Difference finished strongly once more but found trouble – obviously – at Newcastle earlier.

I have to admit in my head I was counting the money when I saw the splits and certainly when Sweet Melania turned for home in the Juvenile Fillies Turf…. shame she couldn’t quite hold on. Anyway, plenty on the menu on Super Saturday as well!

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7.30 Chelmsford: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

Big chance for Cashel to get back to winning ways: already a course and distance winner, he has fallen to a super sexy handicap mark, having won of allot higher in the past and having run to topspeed ratings of 59+ three times this year alone! So, now down to 58 he is rather obviously well handicapped.

In my view he clearly proved this point when last seen at Kempton. Cashel had a strange break, nearly lost the jockey and was always trailing the field which isn’t his ideal style. He ran on well to finish third in what was an unusually competitive contest with form that stands the test of time already.

The 1lb drop in his mark since is a nice little bonus in combination with the 3lb claim of Theodore Ladd in the saddle. First time CP will hopefully help early on the race – the draw is bad, and he’ll need to be quick out of the blocks.

If Cashel does he’ll be hard to beat tonight.

Selection:
10pts win – Cashel @ 9/2 MB

………

6.17 Santa Anita: G2 Twilight Derby, 1m 1f

Tricky affair and most market principles have raced each other without conclusive outcomes in the past. I think, however, one who still seems underappreciated is Tapit colt Kingly.

He remains pretty lightly raced and certainly unexposed on turf. On the other hand he showed plenty of promise in three starts on the lush green, much in line with his excellent pedigree.

He showed early promise in spring landing the Listed California Derby at Golden Gates polytrack but couldn’t bring his best to the dirt subsequently. Since the switch to turf he won a grade 3 at Del Mar, beating current favourite Neptune Storm. A 4th and 5th place finish subsequently look questionable but are exceptional pieces of form judged by circumstances.

He was lit up the next time in the Del Mar Derby, bumped right after start by the horse beside him in a bid to overcome the widest draw. He stormed to the lead soon after and that’s where the damage was done. He was less than two lengths beaten in the end.

Next time at Santa Anita, stepping up to open company, he led again, setting off way too fast, going hard all out and nearly led gate to wire in fact, only to be swept by late by the elder horses.

A wide draw doesn’t make things easy today, but there aren’t too many who are likely to compete hard for the lead, so I think he can overcome that.

If Mario Gutierrez can minimize the amount of fuel to be burned in this early phase of the race I think there is a massive chance Kingly will be hard to beg back as he stays the trip, will get a clear run, while some of the other market principles will have to hope for have to weave through traffic.

Selection:
10pts win – Kingly @ 6/1 BF

……….

8.54 Santa Anita: G1 BC Filly & Mare Turf, 1m 2f

It may look foolish to oppose Sistercharlie, given her incredible record. Even more so as I really struggle to fancy the Euro opposition. However, the one who seems to have come back to life and has run to a career best only recently, backing up other good performances from earlier this year is 2018 1000 Guineas winner Billesdon Brook.

She is completely unexposed over this sort of trip, bar one try in the Nassau last year, which was an odd race to some extend and the filly potentially not at her best anyway. Her pedigree however gives her quite a decent chance of staying the distance.

Particularly with conditions she’ll appreciate. I hope Sean Levey is not afraid to utilize the excellent draw and moves instead of settling off the pace, where Billesdon Brook would only find herself around a number of other European contenders who all will be compromising their respective chances.

After a number of disappointing efforts following her superb Newmarket success last spring somehow the 4-year-old found back to her best this summer, winning three times, runner-up another time, starting in Listed company getting confidence back seemingly, all the way up to landing the Sun Chariot – which was a career best judged by tospeed, as she ran to 103, bettering her Guineas best of 101 – she also ran weeks early to 96 in Oak Tree Stakes at Goodwood.

What this shows: Billesdon Brook is in the form of her life! Obvious question is whether she can hold it and bring it to Santa Anita. If she can she has a much better chance to go really close today than the big odds suggest. She also gets the added boost of running first time on lasix.

Selection:
10pts win – Billesdon Brook @ 14/1 MB

……….

8.20 Santa Anita: Grade 1 BC Mile Turf, 1 mile

I don’t think the fast ground and turns over this sharp mile will suit Circus Maximus. Two other Europeans I like a lot instead are Space Traveller for one – but the fact he usually settles off the pace plus the small issue of not racing on Lasix is enough to put me off.

The other one is Hey Gaman. This is a consistent horse, running to a high standards usually, if he gets his conditions. So throw the recent soft ground performances out of the window. Leaving those aside,  he won two contests in Listed and Group 3 company and was runner-up in two more hot Group 2 races, all over 7 furlongs.

He achieved topspeed ratings of 99, 100 and 105 in three subsequent races this season. That is quite a high standard I argue not many in this Breeders Cup Mile field have achieved. Furthermore he has the racing style you want for your horse at this track.

Add to that the fact he gets first time Lasix and you have a massive chance. Negative: the draw. However, maybe not as much a negative potentially as this race could turn into affair with little early pace to shout about. Hey Gaman usually breaks well so he should be able to make it over fairly quickly I feel.

The step up to a mile on this lightning fast ground is no issue either. There is enough stamina in pedigree, he is a full-brother to a winner over a mile and himself has some fair form over the trip too.

Selection:
10pts win – Hey Gaman @ 18/1 WH

………

11.40 Santa Anita: G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf, 1m 4f

Bricks And Mortar and vulnerable over this trip. AVD has gone backwards since the Derby. Something else may spring a surprise from the front, but I feel eerily confident Old Persian will be able to cover all moves.

He’s not quite superstar status, however he certainly is a high class individual with comparatively low mileage this season, coming here potentially fresher than others.

He’s won the Northern Dancer comfortably when last seen, so had a perfect prep while having ran to topspeed ratings of 110 in the past plus to 104 at Meydan earlier this year, he looks to have the making of what should be the favourite in the race.

The draw isn’t ideal and is my main worry that Buick will “slot in” too far off the pace. I hope he is smart and brave enough to go forward, without being suicidal, and not let the pace go too far away.

If the pilot gets the tactics right then the horse will deliver with everything sure to suit: track, trip, ground.

Selection:
10pts win – Old Persian @ 4/1 PP

Saturday Selections: October, 26th 2019

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6.00 Chelmsford: Class 5 Handicap, 1 mile

A competitive race with a short prices favourite who ran a career best last time out. Can Bobby Biscuit follow up? It’s worth taking him on, I feel.

Particularly as there are two horses at double figure prices who appear handicapped to go close, and I can’t split them, hence I split my stake in half for them.

Creek Island: back on the All-Weather where has two placed efforts in three starts to his name. Bar a most recent poor showing, the colt ran with credit in his last handful of races.

The 3-year-old drops below the 70 rating barrier, though, which makes him a compelling shot today, given he has ran to a topspeed rating of 70 in May (albeit on turf on soft; won that day OR 67), and has the solid assistance ofa 5lb claimer today.

Al Reeh: potentially a Kempton specialist, however looks potentially well in if he can show his best at Chelmsford. Gone close off 3lb higher than current handicap mark last winter.

Ran four times in his career to a 72+ topspeed rating (3x on the All-Weather). Was fancied when coming off a small break last time out here at Chelmsford. Things didn’t quite pan out but it was a strong contest. 2lb lower today, big shout.

Selections:
5pts win – Al Reeh @ 11.5/1 MB
5pts win – Creek Island @ 12.5/1 MB

………

6.30 Chelmsford: Class 5 Handicap, 1 mile

This is such a poor race that I can see a long-shot getting up to win. It looks unlikely by recent form, and possibly his days are over, nonetheless at given prices I’ll risk a bet on bottom weight Mr Minerals.

Hard to make a case for him by what he showed in recent times. However, only back in February he finished 3rd and 4th in stronger races at Newcastle, off 12lb higher than his current rating, and ran to 68 topspeed also.

In fact, five times Mr Minerals achieved a TS rating of 67 plus, the majority on the All-Weather. So there is something there, that if he could find some spark for the drop to a more realistic trip, he may outrun his massive price tag today.

Selection:
10pts win – Mr Minerals @ 50/1 WH