A fascinating week of racing is en route. Khairaat will be the first of three selections for the opening day and I retain the hope that he's going to take another step forward sometime soon. He was subject to a heavy punt in the Wolferton at Royal Ascot but raced keenly and faded out of the equation in the straight, a run that is best ignored. Some horses don't take to the track for a variety of reasons and I refuse to believe that the forthcoming performance is indicative of his true levels, particularly after the way he won at Chester six weeks previous. Getting onto a less speedy surface could help him return to that sort of form.
Dream Castle is a conundrum as there's high-class graded ability in the locker but his refusal to settle mid-race is a killer. Tactically, it's tough to figure out what they should do with him and striding on could be an option today if the early pace is slack. Regardless, however, I'm happy to have a small play and feel that the horse ran an excellent race when we backed him in the Jersey behind Le Brivido. That experience won't be lost on him - he has only had four career outings after all - and today he runs around a bend for the first time. That's an interesting additional factor and one that could be rather favourable.
The final play comes in the sprint handicap and it's Boom The Groom, winner of the race twelve months ago. He didn't have his optimum conditions in the Wokingham last time out but previous to that, ran a cracking race in the Epsom Dash and evidently has a liking for unique, downhill tracks. I would suspect that he has been lined out for this ever since and the handicapper has dropped him back to his last winning mark, which is an obvious positive. With luck in-running and a good ride from Adam Kirby (who knows the horse inside out), they'll have a huge chance of winning this and a 2pt stake at 13/2 is the call.
1:50 - Khairaat - 1pt @ 8/1 (General) - 3rd @ 7/1; came there to win but got worried out of it.
3:00 - Dream Castle - 1pt @ 7/1 (General) - 7th @ 5/1; beaten 1.5-lengths, ran well enough.
4:45 - Boom The Groom - 2pts @ 13/2 (General) - 13th @ 9/1; drift spoke, draw ruined him.
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