Bandstand ensured that there was another winner to add to the slate when getting up to score a shade cosily at Southwell, justifying strong support in the meantime (5's into 10/3). Having got away from the stalls slowly enough, I had feared the worst as you just can't afford to do that around this track and I had even said that the horse wouldn't win if he wasn't prominent throughout. However, they went a solid gallop from the off and although my selection was under pressure for pretty much all of the race, he was ideally suited to how the pace side of things panned out.
Justin Newman got him motoring in the home straight and then allowed him to find his stride before pushing him out hands-and-heels in an attempt to run down the leader. It all went to plan as he eventually got to the leader in the last few yards and although the winning margin was just a neck, I feel the horse is value for further. A rise in the weights will force him back up in grade but he has the scope for further improvement on this surface and should be of interest again in a race where he'll be able to take a prominent pitch. It's doubtful that I'll be siding with him next time out but today was all that mattered and thank God for Justin Newman - a man who's excellent value for his 5lb claim.
+15.00pts on the day, bringing the total profit from the service to +49.00pts so far. It couldn't be going any better, but a losing run of some sort is surely just around the corner. Hopefully it's not and I'll do my best to find more good bets in the coming days, weeks and months.
Today is another day in which I've just managed to find one selection as the racing isn't great at all. With a bit of luck, he could give a nice account of himself and fingers crossed that he will.
It seems likely that they'll go a good clip from the off in this 7f contest and Katmai River will relish that if he can just break away on terms with the leaders from a good sit in stall 2. This exposed 5-year-old can often fluff his chances at the start by breaking slowly and at a track where it's often an advantage to race up near the head of affairs, this isn't something that he can afford to do again. Regardless, his price counteracts the risk and with Rachael Kneller on board for the first time - taking off 5lbs (usually claims 7, this is an apprentice race) - I feel the horse is just too well-handicapped to ignore after his riders claim is taken into account. She's a very talented jockey given her limited experience and seems to have little problem in getting her mounts to run well for her.
Katmai River was subject to strong market support last time out when dropping into a Class 6 contest at this track for the first time since winning off a mark of 53 at the beginning of last year (over C&D) and unfortunately for connections, the money ended up going astray. It was an eye-catching run though, as this oddly campaigned animal broke away slowly from his modest draw in stall 9 and that pretty much put paid to his chances of getting involved (he must race prominent). He did make some late headway under pressure into 5th place and although well-beaten in the end, he showed himself to be in decent knick despite the result being unfavourable.
Katmai River was wearing a visor for the first time this winter when lining up here last time out (went without it on other 3 runs) and it's quite encouraging to see that connections have retained it here, as he has gained his last 3 career wins when wearing it. With Kneller's claim taken into account, the horse is effectively lining up off a mark of 52, 9lbs lower than when last successful over 7f at Epsom in what was a much better race. That was only in August, so it's clear to me that the horse isn't just regressive and the money that went down last time out must be a good indicator as to his current well-being.
The money may have went astray on that occasion, but with everything likely to suit Katmai River in today's race, they could well get it back if it's all-systems-go again and I'll happily have a small/medium punt on that happening at current best-odds of 10/1. Anything down as far as 7/1 is what I'd consider value and with a good break from the stalls, the horse should have a chance of giving his best. The Mark Usher yard haven't managed to get too many winners of late but plenty of his horses are going well and he has a nicely handicapped horse on his hands who should be up to winning before too long. Hopefully that's today but if it's not, this remains a horse to keep an eye on when getting things to suit. Of the remainder, I wouldn't have a clue who to back. It's a trappy race, but 10/1 is just too big about this animal. Unfortunately, if he fluffs the start, it'll be game over but it's a risk worth taking.
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