Everything was panning out perfectly for Spice Fair, with the race-pace being very strong through the early stages and that's something he rarely gets in the staying races that he contests. He travelled quite nicely throughout, if not a little keenly, but then hung violently in the straight when coming to make his challenge and he either pulled a muscle or found something else uncomfortable. This was an opportunity missed for sure, but it's hard to legislate for such goings-on and it was just unfortunate that we didn't get a chance to see how he would have gone if charting a straight course. There will be other days for him, better ones!
-1.00pts on the day. Form of last 10 selections; 5-0-0-3-7-0-8-9-1-8 (1 winner & 1 place).
Modest enough stuff today, bar a couple of races, but we've still got a few bets to cheer on and hopefully one of them could oblige. Two are market dependant, as in my confidence would dwindle if they're easy to back, whilst the other is a massive outsider who could run a cracker or finish right out the back. They're all worth a shot anyway and here's hoping for the best from them all. Best of luck today folks and take it easy.
Richard Fahey's clearly got his string in excellent form at the moment, with 7 winners and 3 seconds from his last 10 runners, and taking a chance on Coolminx returning to her best looks a worthwhile experiment given her current odds. This 5-year-old mare usually comes into her own towards the end of the season, but the current ground conditions are exactly what she's in need of and her run at Pontefract last time out was eye-catching to say the least. She was ridden by a 7lb claimer that day, who did not give her anything like a hard time and she proceeded to run a very strange race, getting completely outpaced and dropping to the rear before staying on strongly up the hill to finish a 4-length fourth of 8. All of her runs suggest that she's a true straight track performer and I'd mark that run down to an unsuitable track, though it was still a very good one considering. Returning to a track like this will certainly suit and Barry McHugh taking over the controls is a sure-fire positive (won the Ayr Bronze Cup on her off this mark last September). Whether she will be trying too hard to win this is my worry, as another trip to Ayr will surely be on connections' radar in a couple of months but the money on offer for this race isn't too bad really and it looks very winnable if she's back to her best (as she hinted last time out). The betting market will be very informative and if she is easy to back, then it will surely be a point lost. If she's strongly supported, my confidence would shoot up a lot but for the moment she's worthy of a bet at the prices. Here's hoping for the best, and a victory!
Dolphin Rock has really struggled to win over the past couple of years due to his admirable consistency leading to him getting no respite from the handicapper, but he has no fallen to a very attractive mark of 75 (9lb lower than the start of the season) and can take advantage before too long. It's over a couple of years since his last victory and his form this season has been rather hit-and-miss, but he has now fallen to his last winning mark and David Barron is sure to have his 5-year-old gelding primed to strike before too long. I think that it could be here, because he is facing a number of rivals who aren't overly well-treated off their marks and he's running at a track where his form figures read 4-2-2-0, all solid runs barring when held up on his only trip here this season (needs to be prominent to run to his best). The main reason for his price is due to disappointing when favourite in a six runner affair at Haydock last time out, where he seemed to do too much too soon and had to commit for home a fair way out on ground that was tough enough to get through. It was also just a week after he ran a gallant race at York, coming third of 17 over 1m 1f on testing ground and that trip is a bit far for him, though he was favoured by being on the speed throughout. Coming here and performing to a similar level would surely see him go close, giving this game, consistent and admirable handicapper a well-deserved victory for the in-form David Barron team. It won't be one bit easy for him, that's for sure, but he's overpriced to get involved and should be supported with the usual stakes.
I can't have any of the markets leaders at their prices in a race of this nature, so I'm going to do something that may seem very stupid after the event and side with Capaill Liath, who was tempting to me at similarly fancy prices when he ran in the Royal Hunt Cup over a mile here last month. Kevin Ryan's 4-year-old ran a very good race on that occasion, holding every chance of getting involved until not seeing out the final one furlong too strongly and this drop back in trip will certainly help. There's no doubting that he was favoured by the draw on that occasion, but it could be a similar scenario this time around if my judgement is correct and if he can run a couple of lengths better than he did last month, then a very solid performance could be on the cards. It's wishful thinking in truth, but a relatively stiff 7-furlongs is his optimum and there's simply no doubting that this will be a good test of stamina for the trip. We can ignore his penultimate run, where he was seen slipping at Epsom, and previous to that he was an impressive winner at Newcastle over this trip off a mark of 87. He's rated 5lbs higher now, but won that race cosily and always shapes as if keeping plenty to himself (holds head awkwardly too). This demands a hell of a lot more, but he won his only race over C&D, will get a race run to suit, has no issues with the ground and comes into this in good form, so seeing him outrun his massive odds would not be a surprise to me. Winning a race of this nature will be very tough for him, but it'll be very tough for the majority and I simply think that his price is much too large, and playing a standard sized stake on him will do no harm. Hopefully he'll run to his best and get involved.
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