The going at Ascot being listed as good-to-soft was clearly not right and Wizz Kid would never have been worthy of a bet at the prices if they had correctly informed us that the ground was actually on the fast side. In any regard, she wasn't good enough to play a hand from what proved to be a modest draw and things were made worse when the potential pace-maker Masamah had to be withdrawn; went mad in the stalls. The French filly was never really travelling as she can and hit a flat spot quite early, before making some headway late on and finishing in mid-division. In fairness to her, she did third best of those drawn in the top half and didn't discredit herself by any means. She'll be back here in the autumn and will have a say.
Hermival proved his Curragh run to be all wrong by posting a brilliant effort to finish second and he was a bit unlucky to do so, having been given a strange ride by Gregory Benoist. The pair broke well from a good draw and were poised to track the leader throughout, until the jockey gave up their position when another rival moved to cut across him. That forced him to be a bit further back than was ideal, allowing the winner to get first run on him just after they turned back for home and that proved to be rather costly in the end, as he went down bit less than a length. The winner may not have been doing a whole lot in front but he was up there to be shot at in the straight and if our selection had have held his position then who knows how it would have went. It was a cracking run though and it's just a pity that we've another second on the slate.
The Coventry fell to yet another favourite and New Pearl was never able to threaten that one, having looked a bit awkward under pressure. He showed plenty for most of the journey though and was understandably eased right off once beaten, with other days being kept in mind. It looks as if he's reliant on getting some cut in the ground but his full brother Alrasm was a middle-distance performer (well beaten in this race as a juvenile too) and it could well be that David Brown's charge is also going to be in need of a bit more time and a step up in trip. He's a horse with plenty of raw ability and will be worth keeping an eye on next year.
Cosimo De Medici was the big, big disappointment of the day but that was down to Darryll Holland doing exactly what I feared, by riding him so dead that he never had a chance of getting involved. Indeed, he was never put into the race and never moved out of last position, which is disappointing as he was backed and sent off as the favourite on the exchanges. This is completely and utterly not his true running and the utter stupidity involved in that ride/those instructions is baffling. Long term, keep in mind for the Cesarewitch.
-8.00pts on the day. Form of last 10 selections; 0-0-0-5-4-9-0-2-0-0 (0 winners & 1 place).
There will be a hefty bounty on my head if this stuff keeps up, because when the selections run well, they come second and when they don't, they finish out the back - with nothing winning. This is now my worst losing month since Cheltenham of 2011 - though it's the first at advised prices for over a year; B/SP is a different story from the Bet Buddy days of ruining prices even more so! - with nearly 40pts blown and one winner to "celebrate", a 4/1 shot as well. The winners will eventually even themselves out in time (we've had plenty of seconds), but the amount of horses running badly has increased a lot and I do not know where I'm going wrong, because I've been trying a lot harder nowadays, spending mad amounts time on the computer trying to ensure that we'll have success - which has stopped to a horrible, shuddering halt.
On the days of lesser quality racing we are having a very instant effect on the market at a time when they're still weak, so I'm thinking that we should push the time of the selections being posted back by an hour to 10am and that will help there somewhat. We could leave it later but the chances of missing the price on potential gambles would increase thus meaning that there would be no-bet days despite the fact that we have found one who's a bet at the prices between my form-study hours of 10pm & 6am. The main reason for moving the time back is that there's less chance of us ending up on non-triers due to the connections missing their price. We would hit the market that bit less and we'd be waiting another hour, meaning that whoever wants to get on, might be on by then. It would also mean that we can punt in the lower quality handicaps with more hope of being on a horse who will be out to try, because if I listed off the amount of complete non-triers that I have posted in the last number of months then you'd be sick, and I'd be sued, despite telling the truth. It comes with the risk that we'd have to miss bets because we have missed the price but it'd help in the long-term for sure. I'd be interested to hear peoples thoughts on what time suits.
One of the guys brings up a point on another site, saying that I didn't back the likes of Crackentorp, Klynch and Oriental Soct on the run after I tipped them, though that's easy to say after they've won. It's a fair point and I welcome any questions, with the answer being quite simply the price. Crackentorp was drawn out in the car park and though he does handle cut, hadn't performed to any sort of level in such testing ground that would suggest he could post a career-best performance at the age of 7, on his thirtieth outing. It was also a lady amateur riders' handicap and that's a no-go for me straight away. He was also available at around the 6/1 mark that morning and that was not a price I was willing to take about everything going for him in such a race off such a mark on such ground, so he wasn't a bet. Oriental Scot wasn't a bet as he was too short at the prices, then running back up in grade compared to when I put him up on his previous outing over a longer trip and on softer ground. I didn't think that he'd get a race run to suit him granted a race that was going to put more of an emphasis on speed against better rivals and he wasn't worthy of chancing at the prices. The 12/1 shot we did back traded at evens and looked likely to go close before his effort flattened out, so it was disappointing but that is racing - you'll get more disappointments but just need about 12% of the horses to win at the odds we play in order to make a profit. Last, but not least, was Klynch and fear over him being held up at a track that was blatantly favouring those on the speed made me wary of accepting the price about him. I had backed him at Catterick under the assumption that he would be racing prominently at a track that favours those tactics but that never happened and nor did it happen when he won at York either, making the performance so much better than it looks. He was only ever going to be put up by me when running around a bend at a tight track and it would have taken a much bigger price to tempt me into advising him that day. I also left two of those three races alone for various reasons and I can assure everyone that if I feel past selections are going to be worthy of a bet on their next outing(s), they will be posted here. Circumstance is the reason why horses run up to certain levels and they just didn't have enough going for them that day (in my opinion) to be backed at the prices. I was to be proven wrong there, but the vast majority of the time I am wrong anyway and we just need to play prices.
Anyway, I'm sure that everyone's sick of me talking nonsense so here's the selections, of which there are two and neither have outstanding claims in what are tricky contests. They could go well though, hopefully well enough to stop making me look like a clueless clown and that'd be nice. Have a good day folks, take it easy and look forward to when we start to run hot again, because we better run hotter than hell. It's due.
So You Think will be a tough animal to beat in this Group 1 contest, clearly holding a solid shout against a modest field for the grade but at around the even money mark, he must be taken on. Carlton House is not the one to oppose him with though, as he's a very skinny price as well despite making a semi-impressive seasonal reappearance. He's a 3/1 shot based on reputation as far as I'm concerned and though he has got obvious claims at what is his proper trip, I couldn't back him. One horse that looks completely ignored in the betting is Planteur and he has got a much better chance than the odds would suggest of giving new trainer Marco Botti a third Group 1 success. The main reason for the price must be the possibility that he will be encountering relatively quick ground, as he actually finished ahead of today's favourite in the Group 1 Dubai World Cup at the end of March, all of this despite not getting a race run to suit (prominent runners favoured) and being slow from the gates. Granted that was on a completely different surface, but so much went wrong for Botti's charge and he still managed to beat the well-backed Aussie tank into third place. It was also his first run for new connections and his first for over 200 days, which he would be expected to improve from. On the other side of the coin, Planteur has over 6-lengths of C&D form to turn around with the same horse from his running in this race last year, when trained by Elie Lellouche and achieving that will be no easy task. I don't think that he was at his best on that occasion though, as his usual good turn of foot was non-existent and he was found to be completely one-paced when asked for an effort, possibly not suited by how the race panned out (trainer had no explanation for it). Many good judges marked his performance, or lack of, down to the ground but although he clearly likes a bit of cut, I don't believe that he can't run right up to his best on a quicker surface. The round course today is said to be on the soft side of good but as being good in places, most likely the home straight, where he would most prefer to get his toe in. He did win Group 1 & Group 2 races over this trip at Longchamp last season when the ground was said to be good and I think that the price makes him worthy of chancing despite worries over how he will handle Ascot's version of good ground. He's coming here on the back of a solid Group 1 performance in the Prix D'Ispahan at Longchamp last month, in which he was a close third to Golden Lilac over what was an inadequate 1m 1f; a half-length behind Cirrus Des Aigles, who beat So You Think over C&D last year and was coming into the race in top form, though running over a trip too short as well. Planteur may come on for that as well, due to it being his first outing since Dubai a couple of months earlier and if he does, he could post a performance that would see him run into the frame at least. He's a very talented horse on his day, one that's capable of running the market leaders close in this and he's overpriced to do exactly that.
With 30 runners lining up for this lucrative handicap, it certainly won't be easy to find the winner. However, we managed to land on the right one last year and Man Of Action is the one that I'm going to chance this time around, as there's almost certainly a big handicap in this quirky 5-year-old whenever he consents to put it all in. His quirks are there for all to see, with a visor now being a regular part of his racing attire. For some reason, connections tried him in blinkers for the first time on his only British start this year, which came in the Lincoln over a mile at Doncaster and to be fair to him, he didn't run too badly to come home in 10th place from a modest draw. He didn't seem to take much interest in the early stages of the race and only made modest headway late on, possibly indicating that his new headgear did not have the desired effect. Saeed Bin Suroor reaches for the visor once again and that's encouraging, as is the fact that he's returning to Ascot for the first time since running a 2.25-length second to Side Glance nearly a couple of years ago, when conceding 6lbs to that progressive, now Group-class performer. It's not exactly form of relevance nowadays but at least we know he does handle this track and his sire also has an excellent record here, with 3 winners from 9 runners with his older progeny who have lined up in Ascot handicaps (compared to 6-38 overall). Man Of Action should enjoy the ground and is up to defying a mark of 99 at some point, hopefully today. That's just 4lbs higher than his last career success, which was achieved over a mile at Doncaster (albeit in a steadily run affair) and was a good enough performance to see him sent off as favourite for the Cambridgeshire in September. He never came off the bridle that day, but it was down to getting absolutely no luck in-running. Had he got a run, things could have got interesting and it's an indication of the class that he does possess when on a going day. This will be an completely different proposition and we don't know what the story with him is, as he hasn't run for near three months. At least he has gone well when fresh in the past and I would imagine that this has always been his early-season target. The form of the Bin Suroor yard isn't inspiring, nor is the form of his jockey Silvestre De Sousa, but their charge is a big enough price to overlook that and maybe this is when the pair will end their big-race drought. It may just be that this horse took a while to get over his trip to Meydan, where he underperformed twice, and if coming here in top form then I've got no doubts that he has the ability to run well. Being out in stall 26 could mean anything, but if that side is favoured (it usually is) then he will have no excuses if they have him sharp enough for the run. Being the type of animal that he is and the type of yard that he comes from means that any sort of performance could be on the cards, from the good, to the damn ugly. I'm quite certain that he's a well-handicapper horse though and with just 12 outings in his four racing seasons to date, we won't have seen the best of him yet and will hopefully do so now. At the end of the day, 25/1 is too big and should be taken. Of the rest, Capaill Liath could outrun his price but may lack the class required.
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