Tag Archives: spring

Betting Preview: Cheshire Oaks 2019

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I have some sort of “love/hate” relationship with Chester – certainly from a betting perspective. I rarely get it right. On the other hand I do love the visual spectacle of the ever turning track. It makes for exciting viewing.

As for finding winners, as rare as it is, if they come, they’re more often than not trained by Aiden O’Brien. At this Chester May Festival you can pretty much blindly back his horses in the Group contests and you’d turn a profit – at least that was the case in the past.

Aiden O’Brien has won five of the last ten runnings of the Cheshire Oaks as well – can he do it again?

Certainly this years renewal looks competitive on paper. A couple of exciting- and race-fit fillies for John Gosden as well as the unbeaten Ralph Beckett trained Manuela De Vega make thinks interesting. Aiden O’Brien, though, throws only one dart at this race, and that’s usually a good sign.

There’s little secret about Secret Thoughts. The War Front daughter was a classy juvenile but was always sure to improve with age and when upped in trip. A good seasonal reappearance in the Guineas Trial at Leopardstown over 7f should have put her right for Chester.

Under a sympathetic hands and heels ride she finished a decent 5th in a hot race that looks already incredibly strong form, judged through the winner Lady Kaya and the runner-up Happen.

Now stepping up dramatically in distance to 1m3½ furlongs, Secret Thoughts can improve again. The first foal we see on the racetrack of the wonderful former Irish Oaks winner Chicquita, the question won’t be so much about stamina, but more about whether she can settle, handles the track and will be able to show her best on soft ground.

There is plenty of rain on its way according to the weather forecast. I assume Secret Thoughts would prefer a sound surface. However, she has shown to act with cut in the ground as well. So that is encouraging. Possibly the fact she had enough speed to be competitive in 7 furlongs contests will be an advantage here as well, as she is wider drawn than it is ideal. Using early speed to move close to the pace is an advantage at Chester.

I’m slightly surprised by the odds on offer for Secret Thoughts. Given her trainers strong record and her excellent form, which is by far the strongest on offer in this field, odds around 7/2 appear overly generous – with or without rain.

Selection: 
10pts win – Secret Thoughts @ 7/2 MB

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A Weekend To Remember

What a roller-coaster week. Culminating in an emotional and dramatic weekend that included a 16/1 winning selection for the 1000 Guineas as well as a winner in the Kentucky Derby that was no winner half an hour later and a superstar on the other side of the globe far too few people have heard of yet!

Throw in a couple of unlucky 2nd places and a 2000 Guineas result that left me wonder “what if” and you’ve certainly got a few days to remember!

2000 Guineas: What Draw Bias?!

Horses loading for the first Classic of the 2019 flat season, a last few words from Johnny Murtagh on ITV: he’s now leaning toward Magna Grecia based on his observation of the existence of a draw bias in favour of the stands-side.

A few minutes later Twitter was running hot as Magna Grecia passed the line in front of everyone else, indeed. The colt trained by Aiden O’Brien – of course – won the battle of his small group on the stand-side, far away from the rest of the field, comfortably. And because his side was always ahead throughout the race he won the 2000 Guineas rather comfortably in the end.

My selection Skardu ran a massive race and finished 3rd, winning the race in his much larger group. I guess, ideally we wouldn’t have this discussion now and instead we’d have seen a “fair” race. But this is racing. Happened in the past. Will happen again.

Whether there was a draw bias I am not so sure. Most likely there was a pace bias, though. And this had the most profound impact on the outcome of the race. This is certainly something that occurs any given day. If you’re drawn close to the pace and you follow it you always have a better chance of winning than not.

Smarter people will be able to explain all the exact reasons behind it in greater detail than I can or want right now. But that is a racing fact.

On balance I believe – at least over 1 mile – there is little between Magna Grecia and Skardu, and possibly Madhmoon. Will we see a re-match at the Curragh in a few weeks time? Magna Grecia is bound for the first Irish Classic. Wouldn’t it be nice to see these three meet there again? I’d love to see that!

Derby Delight Turns Sour

I live for these big races. The anticipation building over the whole day leading up to the moment when the gates crash open – pure excitement!

Normally I’m neither too high nor too low watching bred and butter racing, regardless of betting, the winning or the losing. Big races get my blood flowing, though.

Getting up at 3am in the morning for the Melbourne Cup? No bother. I can’t sleep anyway because of all the butterflies in my stomach!

The Kentucky Derby is one of my favourite races of the entire year. The occasion, build-up and atmosphere transported thanks to the outstanding NBC coverage is simply stunning.

No different this Saturday night. I was cheering home my selection Maximum Security with passion – surely the neighbours enjoyed it too – pumping the first in the air as the colt crossed the line ahead of everyone else. And who wouldn’t? A 9/1 winner in the Kentucky Derby is something to shout about!

Then the dreaded words: “objection lodged…. hold on to your tickets”. What follows are replay after replay dissecting ever aspect of the final three furlongs of the 145 Kentucky Derby. It was obvious Maximum Security was the best horse in the race. The runner-up Country House had no right to be upset with the result. He wasn’t impeded at all!

But it was also obvious Maximum Security impeded other horses when shifting around when turning home. It could resulted in a pretty bad situation on a different day.

Taking that into consideration I can understand the disqualification. And given the strict US rules it probably was the right call in the end.

On the other hand, whether it is truly a fair call to take the race away from the horse that was quite clearly the best one in the race, because of shifting around in an incredibly tight situation, racing on the limit at the end of a tough contest, doing so on a sloppy surface….

After all these are animals, not robots who run straight on rails as if they’d be pre-programmed machines.

It all happens so fast, there are 150.000 people screaming, horses and riders fighting for space, whips flying around…. it’s racing, not chess. These things happen in the sport and the question that needs to be raised in these type of situations is: did the winner got an unfair advantage and did the runner-up lost because of this situation?

The answer is unequivocal NO in this instance.

Ultimately I feel Maximum Security should have kept the race. What a fairytale it would have been. A horse thought to be so bad he started his career in a $16k claimer, going to win the Kentucky Derby…..

The Best Ever? 

South Africa as produced a lot of fantastic race horses over the years. The likes of Variety Club or Igugu come to my mind, in particular. But there is a new kid on the block and he could be the best there ever was in South Africa – some already suggest!

Well, one thing is for sure: Hawwaam is an incredibly exciting colt, with a turn of foot you rarely see produced in such stunning manner. How he races away from his rivals in the closing stages, like it’s the easiest thing in the world, is nothing short of breathtaking.

I took note for the first time – and was immensely impressed –  when Hawwaam stepped into Grade 1 company for the first time in the SA Classic earlier this year as he arguably exploded in the final furlong putting a handful of lengths between himself and the rest in a matter of strides.

He followed up on Saturday in the Grade 1 Champions Challenge when stepping up to the 10 furlongs distance and he couldn’t have been more impressive. How often do you see a horse in a top-level contest travelling hard on the bridle approaching the final furlong and then shooting clear under hands and heels? This horse is special:

On to the Durban July now? He surly will go off a warm favourite. And only luck or the lack of can stop him there I reckon.

How great would it be to see this superstar travel the world?! And what a shame that it remains so difficult for South African horses to travel. In turn it means far too few people get to know these classy horses that race on the other side of the globe.

Wayne Lordan Defies the Stats

He was 1 for 42 rides in the UK for Aiden O’Brien and his mounts went off a 25/1 average SP – Wayne Lordan couldn’t have been an unlikelier hero in the 1000 Guineas today – at least judged by the numbers.

Riding the least fancied of the Ballydoyle string once more, Hermosa was a largely ignored runner coming into the race. You could back her at 20/1+ this morning.

I missed those massive prices, but still got 16s with only a few hours to go to the race when making her my sole selection for the 1000 Guineas.

All credit to Wayne Lordan, though. What superb ride: incredibly brave, at the same time keeping it simple, bouncing the filly out of the stalls sending her straight to the lead, knowing Hermosa would likely stay all day and night long.

And she did! She was gutsy, stuck to her guns when challenged and won well in the end. A supremely well bred filly, adds another big race success to her superstar family, given she is a full-sister to Group 1 winners Hydrangea and The United States.

It brings a hectic week to an end. I had 30 bets. Way too many. I go carried away on Monday in particular but was bailed out by New Show at Windsor, thankfully. 4 winners & 120pts profit this week – the highlight obviously Hermosa.

A week of what would have been. 10 placed horses, multiple of those beaten in tight finishes on the line. A winner in the Kentucky Derby that was taken away half an hour later.

Well…. onwards and upwards. 

Thursday Selections: May, 2nd 2019

Ruby Walsh

It’s all over – Ruby Walsh has retired. Immediately after landing the Punchestown Gold Cup, delivering Kemboy under a typically ice cool ride, the 39-year-old announced the end to his long and esteemed career in the saddle.

I guess it doesn’t come entirely as a surprise, given rumours were making rounds in the last few weeks – even though, only a few days ago, on the back of the Irish Grand National, Ruby said he’s not done yet. Indeed, he wasn’t… not quite yet, at least.

To be honest, watching him celebrating exuberantly, and sometimes – or so it seemed to my eyes – taking the atmosphere in a bit more pronounced than in the past, indicated that something is coming to an end.

So, the man that will be forever associated with some of the biggest legends of our sport has left the scene. He did it in one piece. It’s the most important thing. Ruby, as far as I can judge from observing him on the racetracks of Ireland over the years, as well as on TV, has always conducted himself with great dignity, humility and a “down to earth” attitude.

Racing will be poorer without him in the saddle, though, I imagine we’ll see him becoming a regular face on TV as a pundit.

………

2.45 Musselburgh: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4.5f

A truly uncompetitive contest that should go to Kajaki who is ideally suited to this track, trip and likely ground, with the rain arriving probably even more so.

The gelding likes to be up with the pace, if not even attempting to make all. Clearly an advantage at Musselburgh in my book. He had a good comeback run at Pontefract recently and drops down to a handy mark.

Kajaki has won of 79 in the past and ran competitively of a mark as high as 84 last year. So down to 74 now the 6-year-old seems weighted to win.

Selection:
10pts win – Kajaki @ 5/2 MB

…….

3.15 Musselburgh: Class 6 Handicap, 5f

You can confidently take on the market principles in this contest. None looks particularly well handicapped. That leaves this race wide open and I think handicap debutant Brahma Kamal is interesting with Joe Fanning in the saddle.

The son of Equiano couldn’t have gotten a much lower opening mark, so I assume he’ll be ready to race today. He drops back to the minimum trip, which should suit as on his seasonal debut at Newcastle in February racing over 7f he broke well but was mad keen as well.

He’s not badly bred, out of a fair sprinting mare, while Equiano’s tend to do well when dropping in trip, particularly over the minimum trip.

Selection:
10pts win – Brahma Kamal @ 9/1 MB

…….

3.50 Musselburgh: Class 6 Handicap, 7f

Anything points to a big run for Be Bold today. He’s had a few fair runs on the All-Weather leading up to today, but he’s a much better horse on turf. Down to a sexy mark, given he won last year in spring of 54 and ran to TS 57, now on 51, he looks ripe for another victory.

David Allen in the saddle, even more so here at Musselburgh, appears to be a significant jockey booking as well as trainer and jockey have a strong record together.

Selection:
10pts win – Be Bold @ 11/1 MB

Tuesday Selections: April, 30th 2019

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3.25 Brighton: Class 3 Handicap, 1m 2f

This is quite a poor race for the class is it. A class 3 only in name, in my book. Most of these will struggle in a proper contest of this nature.

CD scorer Double Reflection looks a sure thing to go well, Sweet Charity is an interesting contender.

But I feel bottom weight Ashazuri has massive chance here. With 8st 2lb only to carry, on suitable fast ground, off a handy mark, the only worry is race fitness, given we haven’t seen her this year yet.

Still, this looks a clever bit of race planning if she’s ready to go. She isn’t a mare you’d normally expect to compete in class 3 handicaps. But off a mark of 68, given she has ran to TS ratings of 68 and 72 in the past, she appears potentially handicapped to win.

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

……..

3.55 Brighton: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

With blinkers back on Kafeel looks interesting as he’s also returning to turf for the first time in a year. His record is 6-3-2 with blinkers on, so now down to a mark of 56, a full 12lb lower than twelve months ago here at Brigthon as well, he may be a good thing.

Kafeel appeared revived in first time visor last month at Lingfield over the slightly shorter 7f trip. He travelled supremely well but didn’t get a run until very late.

Judged on past performances and TS ratings he could be handicapped to win today, even though it remains to be seen whether he truly appreciates the uniqueness of Brighton.

Selection:
10pts win – Kafeel @ 11/1 MB

……

4.25 Brighton: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

Power son The British Lion had little chance to show his besto n turf yet, though on the All-Weather he won a couple of races already, including a 7f handicap back in January. He’s 3lb lower than when winning that day, where he also ran to a TS rating of 71.

As this is only hith 5th start on turf, and the times before he raced over different trips and higher marks, I feel there could be still a bit of improvement to come. If not that, then certainly he has shown to be a bit better than that – if only on AW for now.

Interestingly, his sire has a tremendous record over 7f, as well as on fast ground and also here at Brighton. In a race where not much jumps out, he should have a good chance to get his head in front.

Selection:
10pts win – The British Lion @ 9/2 MB

……

5.20 Newcastle: Class 4 Handicap, 7 furlongs

I feel the short priced favourite has a bit to do to overcome a career highest mark. There are far more interesting horses in the field. Such as lightly raced Algaffaal, consistent Chosen World or course specialist Chaplin Bay.

At given prices he’s my choice today. A good year ago he won a similar race off his current mark. In fact he won twice over course and distance of 74, and was placed in two more races of higher ratings later last year.

Chaplin Bay ran well on his seasonal reappearance in a hot race nearly two weeks ago – a fair 3rd place finish off a pound higher should see him stripping fitter now.

Selection:
10pts win – Chaplin Bay @ 6/1 PP

Monday Selections: April, 29th 2019

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I said in my preview my hope for Winklemann is that Miss Imogen Mathias won’t fall off. She didn’t. But she also couldn’t have given the poor horse a worse ride. Winklemann finished a close third in the end. So did Roaring Rory, who stayed on from a long way back in his race.

No complaint, though: I knew the dangers of backing a horse in an Amateur race. And maybe it wouldn’t have mattered if a different jockey would have steered Winklemann home. It’s easy to point out a seemingly weak ride while sitting comfortably in the chair myself, of course.

I was massively impressed with Pink Dogwood at Navan today. The ante-post favourite for the Epsom Oaks proved too strong for her rivals in the listed Salsabil Stakes over 10f. She showed a lovely attitude under a hands and heels ride and looks to have wintered well from a physical standpoint as well.

She’s been cut from 6/1 to 7/2 in the meantime. I’m not the man for ante-post wagers these days, so will not touch it. But I think she’ll be hard to beat if getting to Epsom healthy.

On to Monday – there’s plenty of flat action both on the All-Weather as well as on the green lush grass! Still, I’m a little bit surprised to have found nearly two hands full of selections…. whether that’s a good or a bad sign remains to be seen.

…….

2.10 Southwell: Class 6 Handicap, 7f

Smashing Lass is the only winner in this field – a poor line-up with a few unexposed sorts, but generally one where the filly stands out. She won a seller last year and also was a decent runner-up at Newcastle twice.

A recent seasonal reappearance was surely nothing more than a pipe opener and big improvement is expected from that run. She has dropped to a 55 handicap mark, while she already ran to a TS rating of 59 and 54 in the past.

So improvement is possible, also as she was an April foal and may get better with age. First time Southwell is always a risk, but her sire has an excellent fibresand record. Interestingly, it’s Shane Gray’s only ride on the card.

Selection:
10pts win – Smashing Lass @ 9/1 PP

……..

2.20 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

The favourite is clearly opposable given his super skinny price. I’m keen on Rantan, even though the draw may not be an advantage with the pace more drawn toward the other side.

Nonetheless, I feel this lad has been campaigned with this race potentially in mind. He had two pipe openers over the minimum trip. Last time out here at Newcastle he finished quite nicely showing a bit of spark in the closing stages, while it was obvious he needs further.

He drops in class but is stepped up in trip. He slipped to an incredibly dangerous mark as well, judged by last seasons performances in particular.

Selection:
10pts win – Rantan @ 15/1 MB

………

3.45 Southwell: Class 5 Handicap, 1 mile

Dropping in class here and further down in the ratings, Me Too Nagasaki may finally found a race to fulfill expectations. He was well backed since joining the Stuart Williams yard, and though running with credit most of the time, he never looked like winning.

Surely the now 5-year-old isn’t the force of the past, but down to a mark of 75 he looks very dangerous, particularly down in a class 5 Handicap. It’s his second time on the fibresand – even though well beaten in January, he looked like taking to it until falling away after travelling widest of all throughout in a hot class 3 Handicap coming off a long lay-off.

This here looks a very winnable race – if he can finish off his race. The way he dropped out lately is slightly concerning, in truth. But he’s the class act in this field, so I give Me Too Nagasaki the benefit of the doubt as he is potentially well handicapped.

Selection:
10pts win – Me Too Nagasaki @ 13/2 PP

……….

4.15 Southwell: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

This is an ultra-competitive race. Margins could be decisive, so being drawn wider than ideal is a negative. Nonetheless I feel Big Brave Bob has a tremendous chance first time out for a new yard if race fit.

It’s likely hell be race fit given Big Brave Bob returns to the place of his biggest- and sole success: the 6f at Southwell. He won here last year in taking style, even if the tight margin tells a different story. He clearly looked like an individual who’d strive on the fibresand.

He followed up with a number of good performances of higher marks in good races – particularly his follow-up effort at Bath is super strong form; but also all his last runs on the AW are solid.

He left the Hannon yard over the winter, and has also dropped down to a mark of 70. With a fair 5lb claimer in the saddle, back on the fibresand, I think there is a good chance Big Brave Bob has too much on his plate for the rest of this field.

Selection:
10pts win – Big Brave Bob @ 6/1 MB

………

4.25 Newcastle: Class 3 Handicap, 1 mile

Ballard Down looks underappreciated in this race. Since changing yards he has ran well on two occasions, particularly an unlucky 3rd place finish behind Mr. Scaramanga rates a strong piece of form.

He’s clearly a tricky sort, but Newcastle’s straight mile suits him. Down to a 91 mark now, I feel he looks poised for a big performance, given there seems to be a good deal of pace in the race as well, to see him coming with a late charge to get his head in front again.

Selection:
10pts win – Ballard Down @ 16/1 PP

……..

4.55 Windsor: Class Handicap, 6f

Kwela was desperately unlucky not to get her head in front when being several times severely  impeded in the closing stages at Lingfield on her seasonal debut recently.

She’s a pound higher today but that won’t make a difference. Back on turf, with fast ground likely to suit well, she can attack from pole position riding the golden highway of Windsor.

Excellent Georgia Dobie keeps the ride; she’s well worth her 7lb claim and I predict we’ll hear a lot of her in the future.

Selection:
10pts win – Kwela @ 5/1 WH

……

6.30 Windsor: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 2f

The favourite Just Brilliant is an intriguing runner here: a lightly raced colt for a good yard and race fit. But he’s a short price for all he has shown to date.

I put trust in Silvestre De Sousa’s mount Allegiant, who hopefully doesn’t lack for fitness either. The gelding is also low mileage, but already won a race: on handicap debut coming off a break at Epsom last autumn. He couldn’t follow on from there  when turned under a penalty soon after, but he seems to be a tricky individual and maybe the race came too soon.

He’s 7lb higher in the mark today, but ran to a TS rating of 69 at Epsom – so, if he can find any bit of improvement for age and the new trip, he could well be a good thing.

Allegiant certainly looks the part. A big, strong gelding with scope. On pedigree the 10f looks a fair possibility, and even though fast ground was cited as a potential reason for his under-performance when last seen, I think it could, in fact should suit.

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

……

7.30 Windsor: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 3.5f

Couple of weeks ago I was keen on New Show…. and desperately disappointed with his run. However, it’s too early to give up on him. What applied back then still applies today as reason why he remains an interesting individual:

New Show ran an almighty race in a hot handicap when last seen in 2018. Inexperience cost him dearly that day but to be in it for as long as he was was impressive. That Goodwood race has worked out tremendously well, so, if he can improve as a 4-year-old with age and experience, he could be on a nice mark.

As a late April foal, with low mileage, you do hope there is more to come. H steps up in trip again and tries blinkers for the first time. At the same time, dropping in grade should help as well.

Selection:
10pts win – New Show @ 11/2 Coral

………

7.40 Thirsk: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 4f

It’s fair to say Star Ascending is a better horse on the All-Weather than on turf, an on the synthetics he wasn’t particularly good lately either. On the other hand, back in January he won seemingly with a bit in hand a class 5 handicap over 12f in fine style.

He can race off a 6lb lower mark than he did that day at Wolverhampton. Judged by the past that may not mean all that much, as Star Ascending had plenty of chances on turf and has only one win to his name in 17 attempts.

However, over 12f and on decent ground he had very few opportunities to run, the last one eleven months ago at Doncaster where he finished 5th, albeit a good deal beaten. He ran off 69 that day, and in the context of the form of that particular race, it was probably quite a good performance.

So 5lb lower than when last seen on turf now, a fair 5lb claimer in the saddle as well – even though he’s totally inexperienced at Thirsk, so hopefully this isn’t just a race to gain vital experience, as also trainer Candish hasn’t an overly fruitful record with apprentices.

That’s the clear risk. But if Star Ascending can find back some form and doesn’t miss the kick most importantly, as he sometimes does, he may be able to utilize a good draw (high draws over 12f at Thirsk an advantage) there is a fair chance he can outrun his price tag.

Selection:
10pts win – Star Ascending @ 16/1 MB

Saturday Selections II: April, 27th 2019

Online Alexander & Jamie Spencer

I’ve got a bit more work done after the second coffee was downed, so here’s a little add-on to my initial selections for this wonderful Saturday’s racing:

4.20 Haydock: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 2f

Sands Chorus looks like he’s finding back some form as he’s dropping down the weights and now also drops further in class. He was 3rd at Newbury recently, making all from the front – not many got into it, but the winner came from off the pace, suggesting Sands Chorus went off a little bit too hard.

This is an easier contest. He’s lost his way completely last year and changed yards. But off 78 now, with a good 5lb claimer in the saddle – it’s Theodore Ladd’s only ride on the card as well, I feel Sands Chorus looks capable of running to a higher rating still.

Selection:
10pts win – Sands Chorus @ 17/2 MB

…….

5.25 Haydock: Class 5 Handicap, 1 mile

A wide open contest where you can make a case for a number of these potentially being well in if they return to form. I do quite like one who doesn’t have to return to form but who could still be well in: Ascot Week.

His comeback run at Pontefract earlier this month was quite eye-catching as he had a wide draw to overcome, didn’t get the clearest of passages in the closing stages but travelled supremely well until 2f out and finished the race strongly also.

Although his overall record is patchy, and outright poor outside class 6, since Ascot Week has been fitted with headgear he’s been a different horse. He won three races in the second half of 2019 as a consequence.

The mile trip will be fine today, only the rain arriving is a bit of a question mark. Form and handicap mark wise I feel he belongs right here and could have a bit more to offer as he also has surpassed his current handicap mark of 65 twice on the TS ratings.

Selection:
10pts win – Ascot Week @ 16/1 MB

…….

7.45 Doncaster: Class 4 Handicap, 7 furlongs

Dance Teacher returns to the track for the first time in 2019 and looks primed for a big run with SDS on board. De Sousa is 2/2 with the mare, and also rode her the last time she got her head in front, at Epsom last August.

She won off 81 – the same mark as today. She’s ra to a TS rating of 84 that day, and also won off 80 on the All-Weather. So, on that evidence, Dance Teacher looks ripe for another success.

Ground conditions will be fine, she showed to go well fresh in the past and dropping back into class 4 where she holds a 10-4-2 record is another bonus.

Selection:
10pts win – Dance Teacher @ 11/2 PP

 

Sunday Selections: April, 21st 2019

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

Junoesque (5/1) was punted of the boards last night at Brighton – thankfully she emerged as the winner of the final race on the card – this time, unlike on Friday, it was the ‘lucky last’! That’s been two nice winners this week – all in for a hat-trick?

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5.15 Southwell: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

Without a win in 17 starts, Captain Dion may finally found the ideal opportunity to get his head in front again. The grey changed yards earlier this year and ran with plenty of promise on his two starts since returning to the track.

A pipe opener at Newcastle over 7f, followed by a strong 3rd place finish in a competitive Handicap here over course and distance – that piece of form looks particularly strong as it has worked really well already.

It was a first run on Southwell’s fibresand that day, Captain Dion didn’t seem to mind it at all, in fact looks a sort likely to be pretty effective. The handicapper has been lenient, Captain Dion dropped another pound, down to 59. He’s also dropping down in class today.

There may a be a bit of improvement to come for Captain Dion’s second run on fibresand – his sire has quite an excellent record here. The jockey/trainer combo of 3lb laiming Gabriele Malune and Ivan Furtado is a strong one – it’s also Malune’s only ride today.

Selection:
10pts win – Captain Dion @ 6/1 MB