BBOTD – April 11th

James Boyle
April 11, 2012

Mitchum was friendless in the market yesterday, which is not a good sign with a David Barron horse and I can only assume that he was expected to come on for the run. He shaped as if that was indeed the case, but ran a very promising race in which nothing bar the winner got into contention at any stage. In the end, he finished 5th under a handy enough ride from Lee Newman and there's races to be won with him on turf this season. A mark of 80 is workable to say the least and he'll be of interest again when getting fast ground at a turning track. I'd like to see him lining up in a race that he could take control of from the front. This was a fine effort and I've no complaints; he hadn't a hope of winning it regardless of any scenario.

I was very keen on the chances of Suits Me getting involved and once the money started to come for him before the off (7's into 9/2), I thought that we were sitting on a very live one. Unfortunately, my biggest fears came to fruition as this strong-travelling front-runner got badly taken on at the head of affairs (by the fav) and was forced to go off significantly harder than is ideal. In fairness to him, he had no hope of lasting home up such a stiff run-in, but he still held every chance of winning the race until he fell into a huge hole around a furlong from home. He was matched at as low as 1.09 in-running and I can't help but feel that this was another that has slipped through my now butter-laden fingers. He looked a pretty picture in the paddock, was clearly primed to run a big race, was fancied by connections and put in a really cracking performance until he just had nothing left in the tank. He'll win a race this season; pity it wasn't this one.

-5.00pts on the day. Form of last 10 selections; 5-2-2-5-3-4-4-2-5-4 (0 winners & 4 places).

The recent form-figures are frustrating as hell, because we should be celebrating a run of hot form and instead it's now 12 selections without a winner. I'm finding it hard to know whether I'm right or wrong at the moment, but everything will continue exactly the same as usual and hopefully the winners will flow before too long. Modest runs will always pop up from time-to-time and riding out the storm has paid massive dividends in the past and I'll be doing my level-best to ensure that it does so in the future too.

When I was running my old site this sort of run wouldn't bother me (hell, I've had so many runs that were way worse) for the simple reason that it was a free-for-all, but it's rather different now and we're just not getting that bit of luck required. I'm 100% certain that we're backing the right horses though (just look at how short they've been going in-running) and everything will be back to normal soon; with winners galore I hope! All we need is one or two to pop up at the prices and we're quids-in again. I usually start the new seasons slowly for some reason. It'd be lovely if things would just bloody go well for the first while to gain some confidence, because now I just feel like crap even though I'm reading the races quite well generally.

Today's racing isn't too bad at all but again I've only managed to find some fairly tentative selections in the big-field handicaps. It could end up being a great day, or another frustrating one, but all of the horses are nicely overpriced at their current odds and should be backed. Hopefully one could oblige and get us back on the trail of happiness. God knows whether it will or not given how things have been going for us of late but stick with it, don't get carried away with stakes and you'll be rewarded. If anyone has any questions or the likes, just send me over an e-mail and I'll get back to you. Have a good one, it's certainly due soon...


2:30 Catterick - Solar Spirit - 2pts @ 11/1 (WillHill)

Quite a tricky 7f handicap in the offing here and the vast majority can be given some sort of chance. With plenty of pace being likely from the off, I expect to see Solar Spirit prove capable of bouncing back to form and Tracy Waggott's 7-year-old looks like a decent bet at current best-priced odds of 11/1. As a horse with an overall win record of 3-45, it's clear that getting his head in-front is certainly no easy task but he's a relatively unexposed animal over this 7f trip and 2 of his career wins have come when going left-handed (inc. over C&D); something which he has only attempted on 13 occasions.

Solar Spirit's course form reads; 2-3-2-1-4-8, which is obviously impressive and that win was achieved very readily off a mark just 1lb lower than today's, albeit when trained by the shrewd John Quinn. This track isn't to every animals liking and when he won here, he travelled so sweetly on the back of a furious gallop and similar goings-on look likely again. I'm not convinced that his sit in stall 3 is exactly perfect but I'm willing to overlook it in the hope that it doesn't hinder him. The ground should also be perfect and he has had a run recently - his first for some time - which should put him spot-on to play a strong hand.

That run came over 6f on very quick ground at Redcar (straight track; he's 0-24 on them) , in which he showed exceptional speed for a long time. It looked as if it was needed and Solar Spirit wasn't given a hard race, so it looks very likely that he'll come on for it (usually improves for his outings). Today, apart from the obvious competitive nature of the race, this fellow seems to have no excuses and he's even taking a step down in grade. Robert Winston hopping back on board for the first time since he was a 3-year-old is interesting and - like myself - he's long overdue a winner (last 34 rides have been beaten). Hopefully that will end here and small/medium win stakes will do (should be no bigger than 7's or 8's).


Result - Winner @ 10/1; Bit keen but race went perfectly. Won handily.


3:30 Catterick - Chilly Filly - 2pts @ 14/1 (Bet365, Ladbrokes, WillHill)

I'm at a loss as to how many times I've backed Chilly Filly without success but there's no doubting that she has plenty of talent when she's on a going day and connections should have plenty of fun with her throughout the year in some decent staying handicaps. Second-guessing what Brian Ellison is going to do is certainly no easy task but his 6-year-old mare looks very attractively handicapped off a mark of 80, now that she's dropped into a Class 4 contest for the first time since joining this stable (this will be her fourth run). Whether this sharp 1m 4f test will suit is up for debate but a good gallop looks likely - which will help massively - and the bit of cut in the ground shouldn't inconvenience her one little bit either.

Chilly Filly had some smart form for Mark Johnston in 2010 and won off this exact rating over 1m 6f at Nottingham (on fast ground). She won that race so impressively and looked sure to have more wins in her despite being bumped up the handicap to run off a mark of 89, which led her to lining out in some really competitive handicaps. She put in plenty of cracking efforts without winning, then joined the James Given stable and lost her form at the beginning of 2011. As a result of four poor runs for that yard, she came down the handicap from 92 to 79, at which point she was sold for £20k and joined the Ellison yard. Her debut run resulted in a fine three-quarter-length 2nd of 16 over 2-miles at York, although she did swish her tail violently when under pressure and didn't look overly keen on following through on her effort.

Ellison ran Chilly Filly a further couple of times after that, the first of which came at Chester in a steadily run contest in a small field and that was never really going to help to see her perform to her best. A week later, she stepped back to today's 1m 4f trip at Newmarket but failed to give any sort of running in first-time headgear (now left off) despite being well-backed and it may be that the headgear had an adverse effect. There's also the chance that she just wants to run on flat tracks, which would put into question her ability to go around here but 14/1 is a very attractive price if connections have her lined up to run well after her winter break (has run okay fresh) and she's simply better than all of these when she consents to give her true running. Barry McHugh hops on board for the first time and he's a good rider, one that will hopefully get the best out of this tricky mare. Another standard bet will suffice and it'll be very interesting to see what the market says here. If she's friendless, she'll do absolutely nothing I'm sure. If she's supported, there's every chance that she'll run a big race. Connections seem to have plenty of room for movement with her current rating at least and trying to get her to put her head in-front again might be the order of the day.


Result - Winner @ 7/1; Cruised throughout and won gamely (unlike her).


5:10 Nottingham - Oriental Scot - 2pts @ 10/1 (Bet365, Hills, Ladbrokes)

Another horse I backed numerous times without success last season was Oriental Scot, but I think that I've got more of a handle on when he'll be seen to best effect nowadays and hopefully he'll get a chance to show it today. A good gallop is clearly important to this relentless galloping 5-year-old and you'd think with 15-runners lining up here that he'd be likely to get things run to suit in this. Unfortunately, I'm not too sure whether he will or not and it really could go either way. With the ground being quite testing at the moment, it's unlikely that anything is going to tear off in-front and with the benefit of hindsight, I may be looking back upon this selection and saying what an idiot I am. I do, however, think that there's enough in place to see him as a risky bet worth taking at 10/1 and hopefully fortune will favour the brave once again!

Oriental Scot has shown a liking for going well when fresh in the past (ran a cracker in the Spring Mile from a dud draw this time last year) and judging by William Jarvis' comments on his website, the horse should be fairly well for this race. Frankie Dettori is an obviously interesting jockey booking and more interesting is the fact that the horses owner - who resides in Hong Kong - is making the long journey from Edinburgh to Nottingham in order to see his horse run. I may well be reading too much into that but connections landed a nice punt on one of their horses (which I advised at 16's; he won at 9/2!) when this owner was over for the race last year. In the grand scheme of things, it may not matter a damn but the horse is pretty much nailed-on to be trying and that's half the battle, especially at this time of the season.

The best run that Oriental Scot produced last season was over this 1-mile trip at Haydock on rain-softened ground, a race in which he became victorious by getting up in the shadows of the post. The horse he beat by a head that day, Robemaker, is the 11/2 joint-favourite for this race and although there's every chance that he can improve, I fail to see how he's worthy of being half the price of Jarvis' charge. My selection was value for further than the winning distance in that race and although he may not have the same amount of scope for improvement as that rival, he has plenty going for him if fully wound up. A flat, galloping track around a left-hand bend on ground with a bit of cut in it is absolutely ideal for this fellow and I'm just praying now that he'll get a pace to run after. If that happens, he's got the ability to get involved off a mark of 84 with Dettori on board. 7/1 would be his correct price I think and he could go very well.


Result - 4th @ 6/1; Found ground too demanding. Encouraging though.