JBR – May 12th

James Boyle
May 12, 2018

Nothing of note happened on our last punting day with both horses out of the frame. Compas Scoobie didn't have the best of luck in the 5f handicap at Epsom and would have finished much closer had things went his way. He still appeals as the sort to be of interest on a downhill track and I'll be keeping an eye on where connections are aiming him next; although they haven't entered him in the Dash, which is disappointing. The other selection was Lorelina and she was punted from 10/1 into 6's, before ultimately running like a drain. I'm not sure but maybe softer ground is a requirement when tackling higher grades. Anyhow, on we go...

 

2:15 Ascot - Twin Star - 1pt @ 20/1 (General)

Put a gun to my head and I'd probably say that Thundering Blue comes out on top here but, whilst his run style suggests stamina prowess isn't a problem, he's yet to race over a trip this far and at the prices the percentage call is to oppose. At 20/1+, Twin Star is preferred and should relish the return to 1m 4f having clearly found the extended 1m 1f too sharp when third of 6 on his seasonal return at Wolverhampton ten days ago (only third start for this yard; connections paid lofty £260k for him in June).

On the face of it, the figure achieved wasn't much more than his mark of 95 but he was the first off the bridle and hung right, yet still finished powerfully in the straight when stamina kicked in. The two horses who finished in-front were well-bred Godolphin representatives ahead of their marks and with it being the selection's first spin for 248 days, you'd have to feel he'll come on for it physically as well (yard's runners are needing a spin). Anyway, he's interesting and I've seen worse 20/1 shots lurking around today.

 

2:40 Nottingham - Arzaak - 1pt @ 11/1 (General)

Arzaak doesn't find winning easy, as his 2-25 record shows, but he has a further eight seconds on the slate and is generally more reliable than a lot of sprinters. Of course, he ended up suffering as a result of last season's consistency and went off the boil after a three-month break, but I wouldn't judge him too harshly on his Newmarket run last time out when the grade, ground and track combination may have contributed to the resulting eight-length defeat he suffered (the furthest he has ever been beaten).

Returning to fast ground should see that put right and the sole time that Chris Dwyer let him rip at this C&D, he finished second on good-to-firm to a useful sprinter in Carlton Frankie. Coming back here is certainly no negative and David Allan is booked for the only the second time; the pair won at Catterick the race following that C&D second. It's interesting regardless and based on my book, any double-figured price is worth taking. This is a wide-open affair but Arzaak should be in there pitching for the win come the business end.

 

4:00 Ascot - Escobar - 1.50pts @ 16/1 (General)

The Victoria Cup has been a lucky race for me in times gone by and Escobar is where this year's pin has landed despite obvious risks being attached to the horse. In his early days with Hugo Palmer, there was talk of Group 1 expeditions being on the agenda and after two wins from his opening two racecourse outings, it was easy to see why. Afterwards, however, his form fell off a cliff and that's the reason why he has gone from a rating of 106 to 97 in the space of three or four runs last term.

Being confident of a revival is impossible but encouragement can be taken from the fact that his best run of 2017 came when fresh on top of fast ground at Sandown last May and it might be that this is the right time to catch the horse. It will be his first appearance for David O'Meara, who is an excellent target trainer, and the whole "change of scenery" angle could also come into play. I think he has the attributes to excel over the straight 7f at Ascot and with luck when it comes to the draw and all that, a big run could be forthcoming.

 

5:10 Ascot - Red Tycoon - 1.50pts @ 16/1 (General)

Red Tycoon doesn't take an excessive amount of explaining, despite a reasonably big price being on offer. This time twelve months ago, he finished second in today's race behind runaway winner Robero and now back at the track for the first time since, a big run is expected. The 6-year-old showed he's in fine fettle when scoring at Lingfield, value for more than the three-quarters-of-a-length margin, and it's easy to forgive his latest effort when the race-pace on offer simply wasn't strong enough to yield a repeat performance.

A big field on a straight track being combined with fast ground and a solid gallop throughout can help to see him to best effect and it's also worth noting that he's 3lbs lower than last year's renewal of this race. That's a huge positive for obvious reason and I don't see him as any lesser a talent this time around, he's just lucky the handicapper was lenient in dropping his turf rating in line with his All-Weather figure when a few poor runs were produced over the winter period. 16/1? Thank you very much, win or lose!