Robert The Painter was well supported in his bid to make a winning return to the racecourse, although, given the timing of the support, that was to do with us as much as anything. In the end, he wasn't beaten very far at all and shaped encouragingly. The return to 1m will definitely suit and looks needed, preferably at a straight track when a solid pace is likely. Connections will be celebrating a win with him before too long and hopefully we'll catch him. He will improve for this outing and is one to be monitored quite closely.
-2.00pts on the day. Form of last 10 selections; 9-0-7-1-4-4-1-0-0-6 (2 winners & 0 places).
Another day of modest racing is in the offing but we've got two worthwhile selections at Beverley. Both of them are going to need certain aspects to pan out in their favour if they're going to give best but it could well happen and they're worth taking a chance on at the prices. Hopefully one could oblige and the very best of luck folks. We're now within touching distance of some very good racing again and that's a relief!
One of the few benefits of the terrible weather is that horses like Shawkantango will thrive due to getting their conditions more often than not. Derek Shaw's 5-year-old has certainly thrived during his few outings this flat season and no longer looks like a moderate all-weather specialist. His current handicap rating of 71 doesn't leave a whole lot of room for error, but he is improving and may have another win in him, which will hopefully come about today. Soft ground, a stiff 5-furlongs and a solid gallop to chase after are definite requirements for this fellow when he's lining out on turf and although he got the first mentioned last time out, he was running at Ripon and that probably wouldn't test my stamina, never mind his. The fact that he managed to finish just 3-lengths behind the winner reads quite well in my book and today's test will be much more up his street. The handicapper has dropped him a pound and Dale Swift hops back on board to take off a further 3, effectively leaving him 4lbs below his last outing. Swift is a jockey that I rate as being excellent value for his claim and he gets on really well with this horse, having guided him to 3 wins and 3 seconds from 11 runs. Seeing him booked again is certainly a positive and, like most of our selections, it will be very interesting to see how the market speaks. He was supported on his last couple of outings and I'd imagine that connections have a similar thinking to myself and expect that he has more to offer yet. The stiff Beverley track will help him immensely, as his rivals will be coming back to him towards the end and hopefully there'll be enough time for him to pick them up. A solid gallop will help and that looks to be likely, although not a given by any means. If things fall his way, he could be very hard to beat here and anything around the 7/1 mark represents a good value bet. The usual stakes apply, although I'd be tempted to play more if it wasn't for his tendency to get away from the stalls slowly (won't get away with that around here).
Tim Easterby's yard is motoring along a lot better than in the early stages of the season and there should be plenty of winners for them to celebrate before too long. Collateral Damage will be one of their runners that should be entering the winners' enclosure in the not too distant future and let's hope that it happens sooner rather than later, and preferably in today's contest! Now that he is a 9-year-old, this previously very useful gelding (started 2010 with a rating of 96) will find winning opportunities rather hard to come by and the handicapper will play a key role. He is being quite generous though, as the horse is now rated 73 and very well-handicapped on some of last years showings. His most recent effort came over C&D in a race that developed into a sprint for home, which was never going to suit a horse with his attributes. As can be the case with this fellow, he was running-on quite strongly at the end and overall, it's an effort that needs marking up. The possibility that this race will also end up being a steadily run affair is quite off-putting, but I'm willing to overlook that due to the price making it a risk worth taking. There is a chance that it'll be run at a decent clip from the off and if that ends up being the case, he will be in with a good chance of making the frame. The more rain, the better and with a bit of luck we will be sitting on a lively contender. The usual stakes are all that I can advise once again and hopefully a few of the opposition will make it a true test.
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