The flat is back!! And I'm looking forward to hopefully showing a good profit over the course of the next 6 or 7 months. Granted, nothing is ever assured in this game and it tends to have a mighty way of kicking you in the arse, but I won't be lacking for the effort of getting back to the old profitable ways. The sprinting scene, particularly the handicaps, is one I'll be targeting and hopefully the form will settle down nice and quickly this season! As long as the ground stays good more often than not, we'll have a bit of fun.
Father Of Jazz lost his unbeaten All-Weather record when stepped up to Group 3 company last time but if anything he enhanced his levels in finishing third despite being keen in a less than ideally run race. This is a hotter affair, despite being a Listed contest, but all of those in-front of him in the betting haven't run this year and race fitness is a big plus. I also think dropping back to a mile on a straight track can suit and Roger Varian's course record is fantastic with 40 winners from 166 runners (68% of opponents beaten, which is the highest in the race). Hopefully a big performance is en route from this promising 4-year-old.
Usually in a race of this nature I'd be looking for some proven stamina and Queen's Sargent doesn't fit the bill there! However, he has only gone up to a mile on a few occasions and I think he can get it. The fact that he runs so well when fresh is a major encouragement and although only a four-time winner, the way he can move through a race when at peak form is impressive. Off this mark in such a competitive race over a mile, he might need the stars to align perfectly but he is a best-priced 33/1 and that's the thing that interests me the most! From a yard who can ready one for a good handicap, this fellow is interesting enough.
Brentford Hope is a fascinating contender. His career thus far is topped and tailed by two brilliant performances in which he won on the bridle and inbetween those is a trio of runs where he disappointed relative to market expectations. However, that most recent win came about after dropping a half-mile in trip to line up over Haydock's mile and Jamie Spencer literally didn't have to move to get him to win. An 8lb rise won't be a problem and these straight mile cavalry charges could be right up his street. The only worry I have is whether the ground could be too lively but I don't want to pigeon hole him as a soft ground runner just yet...
I backed Finally Mine when she ran at Wolverhampton earlier this month but a combination of doing far too much too soon and possibly needing a run after 139 days off may have caught her out. Given how she went at Newcastle when sent off as the fav last October, it's also likely the All-Weather just isn't for her and she finished a neck second on her sole handicap turf outing. Getting back onto the real stuff is a plus-point and off 68 I think she's reasonably treated. Any rain would do her chances no harm and with a promising apprentice in the saddle, she could be in there pitching at the business end. 8/1 is worth a shot.
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