BBOTD – June 22nd

James Boyle
June 22, 2012

Ger Lyons said that Piri Wango was going to take a lead today, but he flew out of the stalls and proceeded to attempt to make all of the running, which was always going to be a tough ask in such a race. He was up at the head off affairs until the two-pole, then got headed and wasn't given a hard time of it by Dettori, who rode as if he didn't care either way. They held on to get 5th place, which was a decent performance in the circumstances and it may happen that he proves to be a better animal on quick turf in time. No complaints though, he had his chance and just wasn't good enough to lead them all the way, which were silly tactics.

Commitment's nerves got the better of him again as he acted up and sweated badly before the race, like one of yesterdays selections, and it was game over before he even stepped out of the stalls. You just can't afford to get away with that in such competitive handicaps and he certainly didn't, as he ended up giving a performance that rates not even close to his true abilities. I'm fairly sure that there is a nice handicap to be won with him and maybe a hood would be of assistance. Once he relaxes, he will be a very nice animal.

-4.00pts on the day. Form of last 10 selections; 4-9-0-2-0-0-7-0-5-0 (0 winners & 1 place).

Punting on horses is a truly horrible game when everything is going so wrong and your confidence is lying shattered on the floor, but sometimes it's best just to step aside and think about things logically, because you can't beat the mathematics of the whole thing and they dictate that there will be plenty of spells where losses are just followed by more losses. I certainly know from experience, usually being one of the most streaky punters that is out there, seeing everything go so right when the good times are there and seeing everything go so wrong when the bad times come around (as can be seen; I only back what is posted).

Anyone that is following myself, Hugh and Tom Segal at the same time, at the moment, will be sickened I'm sure, looking at their accounts through a winced expression but quite simply, if you are punting with horses who are the incorrect price, you'll be a winner in the long run and correct bank management, and a bit of discipline, will see you take advantage of when the good times come back - which they always do. I have said this before but I hit a 48-long losing run back in April/May of 2011, which certainly cost a pretty penny but still managed to turn a 33% yield with a 235pt profit. All of that by simply continuing on with the usual strategy of backing what are, in my opinion, overpriced horses and not doing like all of the mugs in the world who simply search for the obvious winner. Everybody will know this stuff, but for your benefit and for mine, it's sometimes best just to write down your thoughts and that's how I deal with things! I am quite simply doing crap at the moment, providing the complete opposite service to what I had intended on doing but I can still take positives out of the fact that since we got all under way in January, the kitty is very healthy (+143.15pts for 2012) and it's just in the last three weeks that I have turned into a clown who can't do what he usually does. What I'm trying to say (not very good at explaining things!) is that playing the value game is the right thing to do and WILL, 100%, end in long-term profit, because you're backing horses who are too big a price in the circumstances. You will have losing runs, horrible, horrible losing runs, but you will have winning runs, which will be glorious!! It may not seem like it at the moment but that's how it has gone for me since I quit making the usual mistakes (though I still make many) and if you have got the bank in place, can get the prices that are considered value by whoever is advising them to you and can have the discipline to just stick with them, you'll be tallying up your accounts at the end of the season quite happily.

For more, here's Hugh talking about losing runs. A video which helps me when all I do is simply incorrect.



Now for the selections, of which there are two and hopefully one could win, please?! Have a good one.


4:25 Ascot - Sirvino - 2pts @ 22/1 (General)

The young, unexposed and progressive types tend to dominate this race year in year out, with 4-year-old's taking no fewer than 8 of the last 10 running's of this race; the other two being 5 & 7. Plenty fit the bill again this time around but the two at the head of affairs are certainly too short to be considered and they should be taken on, even though they're the most obvious winners and could take plenty of stopping. Readers of my ramblings through the past couple of years will know how much I admire David Barron and he looks to have an insanely overpriced runner in the shape of Sirvino, who may be a 7-year-old but shapes as being as well in himself as ever, with his consistency over the past year being nothing short of brilliant, seeing him nearly always run to his mark. Now obviously that has done himself no favours, with the handicapper being unable to find any reasons to drop him down the ratings but he is capable of running to a point that would see him defy his current mark of 98 and may well get the chance to do so today. His record in turf handicaps when going around a right-handed bend reads 1-1-1-2-4, though the wins came when he was a very progressive runner back in '09 in a season that ended with an impressive win off a mark of 92 in the John Smith's Cup. The fourth placed effort came when he tried 1m 6f for the first time, at Goodwood on fast ground, and ended in a very solid run, though he did not get the trip. The second place came over 2f further at this track off a 3lb lower mark, when tackling his favoured soft ground and he ran a fine race in defeat, only finding a progressive 3-year-old that bit too good. All of those efforts came a long time ago, but it's clear that he enjoys going this way around, possibly more so than going left-handed and if that theory is correct then marking up two of his three turf runs this season must be done. The first of those came on heavy ground at Epsom in April, where he looked likely to win until our selection Right Step came to mug him in the final half-furlong and seeing as that runner was very well-treated on numerous pieces of form, it was an excellent run from Barron's charge to get so close, especially at a track that I don't believe suits. The handicapper then put him up a few lbs and he had the claimer on board replaced with the crazy but excellent Jamie Spencer, leaving him effectively 6lbs higher when lining out at York a few weeks later. On that occasion, Gatewood, the 7/2 favourite for this race, was having his seasonal debut and running off what now looks like an exceptionally lenient mark of 86. He ended up winning, despite being a bit green under pressure and was value for further than the winning margin. At the same time, Sirvino was just over 2-lengths behind him in 3rd place, despite getting hampered as Gosden's charge edged to his right and is now a full stone better off with that rival. It's clear that Gosden's horse has improved for the run, having won at Epsom on his next outing despite having no right to do so (given an awful ride) and he's clearly up to winning off this mark. I just can't believe that the price for David Barron's runner is correct now that he's possibly going the right way around and also tackling softer ground, which he needs nowadays in order to blunt the speed of his younger rivals. The main reason for his price is that he disappointed at Redcar last time out but that was on very quick ground and the race wasn't run to suit him given the quite sharp nature of that track, so you can overlook it as being an incorrect running. If Barron has him in the same form as he was at both Epsom and York, I have no doubts that he's capable of playing a hand. He's not a winner-in-waiting or anything of the sort, but he's a good, solid and game handicapper who can take advantage if the seemingly well-handicapped improver's fail to prove that they're exactly that. Richard Hughes is also booked and he looks an ideal partner for a horse who needs to be intelligently ridden. This is a bet that could really go either way, but I'd take anything around 20/1 about him under these circumstances rather than back those at the head of the market who may or may not be good enough to actually win this race.


Result - 7th @ 12/1; Held up too far back, then had to wait for a run in the straight, which isn't ideal for a horse with his attributes. Ran fine.


5:35 Ascot - Decent Fella - 3pts @ 20/1 (General)

Coming into such a violently competitive handicap without any prep run would be tough going for the vast majority of animals, but it's clear as day that Decent Fella is a far superior horse when fresh and I've been waiting for this Andrew Balding trained gelding to reappear for some time. He's an excellent performer on his day, but showed how good he is when winning first time up last year, beating the 83-rated Red Gulch with consummate ease over 7f at Newmarket on fast ground (probably better with a bit of cut). That one is now rated 102, having progressed a hell of a lot after that race and Primaeval, who's a short price for this, was back in third when rated a stone lower than he is here. How much relevance you can put on the bare form is certainly up for question, but it's there in the book and it does not look one bit bad nowadays. The problem for Decent Fella after that was that he wasn't getting home in his races, often being seen to be cruising before running on at the same pace, including when finishing 4th in this race last year. He moved better than anything throughout that race, trading at 2/1 coming into the closing stages and looking likely to emerge victorious. He didn't, though stuck to the task well to finish 1.5-lengths behind the better-drawn winner, posting one of the best performances in his career to that point. It was a similar story next time out, as he again travelled powerfully before failing to get home, but that was understandable given that he was racing over the stiff Sandown mile (edged left under pressure). Balding ran him a few weeks later at Glorious Goodwood and he again flattered to deceive, travelling well before weakening, not helped by racing keenly on the back of a relatively steady gallop. They then gave him six weeks off, brought him back to Goodwood when there was cut in the ground and added a tongue-tie to his regular visor, which led to him finishing out his race better than anything to defy a mark of 93 with David Probert on board. The trick couldn't be repeated when he ran in a better C&D handicap next time out, a few weeks later, but he again seemed to not get home. Connections have put him away since then and he has underwent an operation to correct his wind, which is said to have worked and can go down as the main reason why he failed to get home so often. This has long been earmarked as his number-one target and I think that everything's right for him now, with the ground coming up on the softish side of good (any more rain would do no harm) and the draw being relatively kind, seeing him posted close to the rail (28). Hopefully it doesn't transpire that there's a bias towards the low drawn runners, because that'd ruin his chances but a high stall looks like the place to be in this. Jimmy Fortune is on board for just the second time and it looks like it's going to be all-systems-go. Plenty of exposed types have done well in this race in recent years but despite this fellow being a 6-year-old, he's very lightly-raced with just 14 starts to his name and obviously not all of them have come when he can be considered fresh (half, maybe), at which point he looks like a significantly better performer (plenty of horses with wind problems are). The market will be so interesting, due to the Balding yards tendency to have a punt and hopefully it will speak in our favour. I think that he's a giant price though, despite the crazy number of runners in opposition but I'm sure that 96 is a workable mark when he's at his best and he's sure to be close to it today. Luck, luck and a bit more luck will be needed, but medium sized stakes should be used due to the price. 8's would reflect his real chance if he comes here at 100%.


Result - 5th @ 16/1; Ran a stormer, just not good enough after having a chance. He seemed to edge left under pressure, then got hemmed in on the rail late-on. Not one bit ideal, but it wasn't costly at the same time.