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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

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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

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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

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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

Thursday Selections: January, 9th 2020

Wet Dundalk Polytrack

12.45 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

The favourite Double Martini has to be respected for the step up in trip that looks sure to suit, a fair handicap mark and a top jockey booking. I feel the potential improvement is already reflected in the price, though.

There isn’t too much else to fear in this race, which enhances the chances of Double Martini having found an ideal opportunity. Although 7-year-old gelding Destroyer drops down to class 6 with another couple of pounds off his rating and appears certainly well-handicapped if finding some form again.

It’s his second run after a break, so he should strip fitter for the latest – arguably poor – showing over this course and distance last month.

Only four runs back though in September he still finished a fine third only a lengths down at Pontefract of a 67 handicap mark, also matching a 67 topspeed rating, suggesting there is life and enough class to be competitive in a low-grade handicap such as this.

True, Destroyer is without victory on the All-Weather but his career best speed rating was achieved at Kempton (79). He also acts on tapeta as proven when a 1¼ lengths beaten 4th over a mile here in November 2018 of a 13lb higher mark than today.

He may well have enough of racing, as he’s not getting any younger, and his last three efforts are concerning. If back in the same mood at Pontefract, though, he’d have a massive chance.

*Edit: Non-runner!*

Selection:
10pts win – Destroyer @ 15/2 MB

Sunday Selections: January, 5th 2029

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2.30 Southwell: Class 5 Handicap, 6 furlongs

This is a highly competitive event, despite the small field. This could be called a minefield from a betting perspective – certainly a race to take plenty of interest in for future races.

Nonetheless there is value on offer because the current favourite is too short in the betting.

Al Suil Eile posted a fibe course debut confirmed by an excellent top speed rating. The drop to 6f may suit. However he has to show it first given the raise in his handicap mark doesn’t make him an obviously well-handicapped horse.

Our Charlie Brown is one for the tracker. Once back over 7 furlongs he’ll be of high interest I reckon thanks to a falling handicap mark. In the past he ran much faster than his current mark suggest on turf the unique 7 furlong distance and shown positive signs on the All-Weather too. Today won’t be his day, though.

It boils down to a battle between Liamba and Global Melody. Both meet again three weeks after Liamba got the better of the two over this course and distance. Liamba ran to topspeed 70 that day but his mark has only been raised by two pounds He is of obvious interest and will surely go close again.

However Global Melody is a much bigger price – slightly drifting, which is a negative (has an engagement early next week, keep an eye on him) – bigger than it should be, given it was a close call the other day and a 2lb turnaround and better circumstances in-running can change the scenario.

Global Melody didn’t get into the best of positions following the start that day, had to eat fibresand for the first four furlongs and also didn’t get a clear run entering the home straight. His tendency to hang to his right doesn’t help either, yet he finished strongly (posted fast split for final furlong), resulting in 2nd place and a 67 topspeed rating.

He ran to TS 64 over CD weeks earlier and looked like the winner in his next race over 7 furlongs on the fibresand only to throw it away hanging badly in the final furlong. There is a little concern after his latest lackluster showing at Wolverhampton. Though, hopefully only an off day and he returns to form on the fibresand today.

Selection:
10pts win – Global Melody @ 8/1 MB

Wednesday Selections: January, 1st 2020

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3.40 Southwell: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

Only two that appeal: Zapper Cass has potentially more to offer on this surface and has backed up twice in 2019 that he is capable of running fast enough to win off his now lowered handicap mark. Recent form isn’t on his side, though, and he is short enough in the market.

Warrior’s Valley is fine alternative. He also has shown a few times that he is potentially faster than his current rating suggests, having equaled or exceeded a 67 topspeed rating on three occasions in 2019.

He enjoys the minimum trip on the fibresand having run his best races over this CD in the past. A 67 handicap mark gives him a fair shout as the gelding also seems to hit form after a decent effort at Lingfield when last seen.

The draw could be lower in an ideal world, but I hope he jumps as well as he usually does, gets to the front and draws the field to his tail where he’s then tough to catch once in front.

Selection:
10pts win – Warrior’s Valley @ 6/1 MB

Tuesday Selections: December, 31th 2019

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Last day of 2019! This year flew by – it’s been intense on many fronts, including the betting. A profitable year once more, the third successive one. Complete and transparent update on that another day, though.

Here’s hoping to finish the year with a bang: one or two winners at Lingfield please!

……..

12.00 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 5 furlongs

Roundabout Magic appears to be a fair favourite but is hard to trust particularly at a short price. He needs to have everything falling right hence I oppose him, even though is sure to go close, particularly if getting a clear run.

Two other interesting ones are rivals Roundabout Magic seemingly beat last time out: the filly Starchant is still searching for a maiden victory but has ran to speed ratings in the past that suggest she can win a race like this and clearly didn’t get the best of runs last time. However blinkers didn’t help alleviate her starting issues the last time so I oppose here.

It will not come as a surprise to readers of this blog that the only other viable alternative for me in this field can be Fareeq. I was on him the last time as well but he lost his chance at the start as well.

It’s a gamble to put faith in the 5-year-old to get it right this time, however the way he finished that latest race proved that my notion of him potentially being well handicapped isn’t necessarily wrong.

Despite encountering plenty of trouble in the home straight he finished the last two furlongs fastest – faster even than Roundabout Magic. He’s a pound lower today, so all that’s been said the last time is still valid – certainly his breathing seems fine judged by that effort, the 3rd start since the wind OP:

“As a course and distance winner earlier this year off 2lb higher than his revised 56 [now 55] 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.”

Selection:
10pts win – Fareeq @ 8/1 MB

………

1.05 Lingfield: Class 2 Handicap, 1 mile

As much as this looks a trappy affair as much it’s rather obvious that most in this field appear to be in the grip of the handicapper now. Favourite Kuwaiti Currency needs a significant career best, which looks not impossible given he is 3-year-old and was a May foal, but 17 starts to his name and recent performances don’t suggest he’s close to get there.

Another Touch looks rock solid and will run his race with confidence after a recent success. However he is certainly not well handicapped with little secrets for the handicapper.

Same can be said about the rest here as well, but I can make a strong case for Mr Scaramanga to be significantly overpriced in this race – granted the handbrake is off.

The 5-year-old should enjoy the drop in trip to a mile after two efforts over 10 furlongs in his last two starts. All his best career performances came over the mile trip and more significantly over this course and distance in fact.

The gelding ran to 99, 97 and 91 topspeed ratings over this CD in the past and also won of his current 87 handicap rating here back in January this year. He’s got a good draw to play with and should be primed after his two recent runs coming off a break to go close in a winnable contest.

Selection:
10pts win – Mr Scaramanga @ 7/1 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

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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