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Saturday August 6th 2022

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The Saturday headache arrives once more: an abundance of racing and the Betfair Sprites beckon like ancient sirens luring us onto the rocks with promises of luscious bounty. I, for one have been dashed on their rocks on many an occasion, left flailing in the foam.

These days, I’m able to resist their charming calls and try to steer a safer course and so keep my bets as level-headed as possible, expecting the worst but enjoying the journey.

I have had what we professional losers call ‘A right good study’ last night and this morning, have picked, changed my mind and picked again, trying to keep a level head but also attempting to look at the form freely and without fear. In the end, I’ve come up with four main picks that are a mixture of science and intuition, will and reason, if you like.

My first choice just has to be:

Arecibo – 2.10 Ascot 5/1 Ew Unpl

Mm... Very disappointing that this didn't frame today. Yes, he had to be switched but he certainly had time to pick and these he certainly should have picked up.

At first, I didn’t even look at this one; a 7yo who seems to have been around forever and his form was probably the last I looked at. As it happens, I shouldn’t have been so dismissive.

The last time he ran in a handicap was eleven runs ago, just over a year, when he won ‘Comfortably' carrying 10st off a mark of 99. In the meantime, he has raced against some of the best in group class: Nature Strip, Khaadem, Oxted, Winter Power – all of them. That’s some roll call, isn’t it?

It may seem, from his last couple of runs, that he’s on the decline but lto at Sandown he came out of coffin box 7, the race before that was in the red-hot, Gp 1, Kings Stand and although he was down the field he ran an absolute stormer imo. He was drawn low – not good – and raced in a group of two on the far side – again not good but under those circumstance ran brilliantly to finish about 9L behind the winner. Before that he was beaten 4l by Khaadem at levels. Need I write more?

In the context of what’s on offer in this field, that is just fierce form and the 5/1 available is just too big. I think he has a favourite’s chance.

Next, I’m looking oop north to Haydock:

La Trinidad 2.25 Haydock 11/2 Ew Unpl

You mentioned , Goughie, that the race was a dawdle but if you look at the times for all the races run on the card, it doesn't seem so. There only two 'prpoer times' registered which suggests this race wasn't that slow. The problem was getting the horse to settle so maybe what he needs is a superfast pace. When he won at York last year, that was the case. However, he looks a bit 'in and out' to me and I'll be swerving him until he's dropped in grade, perhaps.

Do you know, I was dead set on top weight Young Fire until just minutes ago when I noticed that the ground at Haydock has changed from g/s to good. That was enough to put me off so I looked again and have come up with one that I know my respected partner-in-crime, Outsider, has been a follower of.

On inspection I see that this one is on a nice weight compared with previous runs against Young Fire, is back on his LWR of 89 and has the blinds fitted after disappointing this season so far.

Looking at his profile, it looks like you’d be a fool to back him anywhere else but York, having run there 14 times and won twice but he has won at Donny which, like York is a left-handed galloping track with a round mile and long straight. What’s more, I’m thinking that connections wouldn’t want to waste the first-time blinkers on a course that doesn’t suit. In 514 runs, jockey Ben Curtis (remarkably) shows a £13.19 profit.

So, that’s my thinking on that one.

Next is:

Themaxwecan – 2.45 Ascot – 12/1 Ew Won

It's not always that a horse who looks well handicapped runs a race to prove it but I'm glad this one had read the script. Lovely price and a lovely ride by the much maligned (imo) Spencer. Paid for my day.

Sometimes, that extra look at your selection can alter your perception enough to abandon it. Such was the case with Gary Moore’s Make My Day here. I did notice him recently looking like he might have a decent staying race in him since in his last two runs, he came with what I thought were promising runs, only to not get home over 2.5 miles on each occasion. Seeing him here over 2m, I thought this was his opportunity. After all, he’d very nearly won at Goodwood at the distance on his first run this season, hadn’t he?

Then I checked the stats. The trainer has not had a winner in the last two weeks – 18 runs. I’d imagined, bearing in mind his many wins over the course with his NH runners, that this would be a good track to back his runners. Well, not on the flat: 0-28 is the figure.

Now, although I’m not a slave to stats, there are times when, I think, I need to heed them and this is one such case.

So, My selection is Themaxwecan. He’s on mark of 92 right now and that’s the lowest he’s been for some time (LWR’s 98. 98. 96, 93) so he’s well handicapped. Five losses this term but three of those were over 14f – too short and another in the Pitman’s Derby on Tapeta. The other race was over 2m4f at Ascot when he was beaten in the final furlong losing by only 8L in the end off 97. Under 5Lbs lighter over a course he’s won on, the current 12/1 looks feasible to me.

Lastly, I’m having a risky punt on one who’s disappointed for me so far this season:

Star Of Orion – 4.20 Newmarket – 9/2 Ew 2nd

Ran a sound race and the ew meant no damage done but still disappointing that, once there, he didn't go on to win.

I loved the look of this one’s form when, as a 3yo, he was second in the International at Ascot last season against older, top 7f handicappers. That was a fierce run indeed. Unfortunately, he’s been below that form this year but he did show a glimmer in the Buckingham over 7f at Ascot when he looked to be making smooth headway but his challenge petered out (“going easily when not clear run over 2f out, pushed along when bit short of room over 1f out, kept on final 110yds, made no impression”).

After that, in the Bunbury, he raced alone on the far side after a slow start – not going to win doing that, is he? On his last run, he was slowly away again.

So, why today? Well, the stable has hit some form: two winners and two thirds from their last four runs, the horse is a c/d winner and they’ve put the blinkers on to give him a boost. He’s also on 93 which is a Lb lower than his LWR.

So, there you go.

4 x Ew singles

Ew L15

Whatever happens, you can’t say I haven’t made a case for my selections.

Good luck.

Updated 7th August 2022 at 6:32 AM by yorick

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  1. Outsider's Avatar
    Good luck mate.
    Arecibo has a good chance I think.
    I dont want Young fire to win today as I've took 50/1 for the clipper logistics and dont want a penalty.
  2. Outsider's Avatar
    I read that the slow pace was against La Trinidad last time and it looked the same today.
    I wont give up on him yet.could be rewarded at a good price and you know I have patience.
  3. Monkey's Avatar
    Nice winner. Well done.
  4. yorick's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Monkey
    Nice winner. Well done.
    Why, thank you, monkey man.

    A 12/1 ew winner and an ew Place @5/1 makes it a good day. Always welcome on a Saturday, innit.