I'm a massive fan of Graham Gibbons but I don't think that Long Awaited got a good ride from him and that being combined with the pair getting absolutely no luck in-running was a recipe that led to the horse under-performing. He wouldn't have won anyway, because Gibbons switched into the middle of the track and he needed to be more towards the stands' side, as what should have happened from what was a lovely draw in stall 5. Regardless of being switched, he was coming with a good run in the closing stages but got badly squeezed out by Solemn and Medici Time, and I think that he could have placed otherwise. Not placing doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things anyway and following him on soft ground will be profitable. I'm fairly sure that he has more to offer, but some Barron games may be being played as well.
-2.00pts on the day. Form of last 10 selections; 2-5-7-2-5-0-0-3-7-0 (0 winners & 3 places).
Again, I'm tempted to pull down the stakes until the normality resumes but we'll plow on with the usual for a little while longer, and hope for the best. Two selections for today, neither of which are bombproof by any means but they're capable of winning their races and are overpriced to do so. Hopefully they can and best of luck everyone. These are trying times, that's for sure, but the luck will return at some point, always does.
Three-year-old handicaps usually aren't my thing, especially when there's such a big field lining up, but this one doesn't seem as competitive as the field size/betting would suggest and I think that having a go at it is the right thing to do. Mince is the horse that I want to keep on side, as Roger Charlton's improving filly looks capable of being a Listed/Group 3 performer in time and off a mark of 95, she is obviously one to favour. I'll win no prizes for originality, as she is currently vying for favouritism but she'd be the fairly clear favourite in my book and as such rates as a decent value bet. Backing confirmed hold-up performers on ground like this isn't ideal, but she does move notoriously well on it and there didn't seem to be a huge pace bias at the track yesterday, in the races over shorter distances at least, so we'll take the chance that she won't be hindered by her usual style of racing, which always leaves her as a hostage to fortune. The main reason for her price is because she flopped last time out, when upped to Listed level over this 6f trip at Haydock. Ground conditions were against her on that occasion though, as it was quite fast and I really think that she's far superior when getting her toe in. It was also her third outing in about a month and for one so inexperienced, on the back of two hard races on the Rowley course, it may have proved to be too much, too soon. Her shrewd connections have since given her six weeks off the track and she should be sweetened up quite a lot for having had some time off, which will hopefully see her back to the peak of her powers. Previous to that disappointing run, she won a valuable race over this trip on the Rowley course, when making an impressive late surge to score from a seemingly impossible position under what was described as a phenomenal ride from Frankie Dettori. It wasn't though, it was a stupid ride in which the filly got him out of so much trouble but she was value for much more than the winning distance and was only put up 4lbs for it, which is the only plus to come out of what was a crazy race. It also came on ground that was plenty lively enough for her and I thought that it was a performance of real class. James Doyle is on board today, as he was last time out, and hopefully he'll keep things simple in order to give the filly the best possible chance. She has clearly been kept for this race, a race that the yard have taken twice in the last ten years from just three runners and they have a really good chance of landing it again. If she was a prominent racer and sure to be suited by track position, I'd play more than the usual stakes but there is obviously a lot of risk attached to the selection and taking the cautious route is the right and proper thing to do, especially when my judgement is all over the place as it is now. She's a very talented sprinter at the same time and I'd be really disappointed if she didn't at least make a very bold bid from a good draw in 4.
I bang on about pace/track biases quite a lot, especially in sprints, but that's only because they're so very important to the chance of most animals and Racy came a cropper to such biases when we backed him over C&D last time out. Kevin Ryan's charge was one of the many drawn high that were floundering badly coming up to halfway in the race and it clearly wasn't his running, so you are best ignoring it completely in my opinion (only the speedy, well-handicapped, mud-loving winner ran well of those draw high). If going back to his two previous efforts before that race, then he would look sure to have a chance of running a lot better today and I think that he'll relish being in a smaller field as well, which will be the first time in ages. His run in the Scottish Sprint Cup, under today's jockey Amy Ryan, was very good considering he was not drawn to be seen at best effect and the fact that he came in for strong market support that day was also encouraging given the yard that he represents. The ground conditions that he'll face today will be testing enough, but I don't think that he has an issue with getting his toe into genuinely soft ground and there's a chance that it won't be too bad here either, which would be a bonus. He will at least be suited by the run of the race and shouldn't encounter the detrimental problems that came about from being badly positioned by what proved to be a worthless draw over C&D last time out. A mark of 91 is clearly workable for this animal, based on numerous showings, but it's so clear that he's a tough horse to win with and will need plenty to fall his way in order to do so. The long and the short of it is that I think he's completely overlooked in the market, based on an understandable run last time out and he could well bounce back to form, with enough in his favour to view the 9/1 price-tag as being on the large side. This horse is so frustrating, not least for all of us who've been backing him for some time now but he's good enough to win this and will hopefully do so. Jamaican Bolt was impressive last time out but this is a monstrous jump in grade and his price is hilarious. That's not to say that he won't win, but he's about a third of what his true chance is.
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