Friday, May 08, 2009

Haydock's Swinton Hurdle & the Lingfield trials

Plenty to choose from tomorrow, including the evening meet at Warwick, just down the road from me, which markets its Ladies' night as 'perfect for a girls' night out' and boasts (?) a Rod Stewart tribute concert, jewellery, hat and bag stands, a florist, a 'best dressed lady' competition and a 'best hat' competition; the stalls look likely to do more business than the bookmakers. This used to be one the few jumps meetings I was allowed to go to without asking but now it's on the Flat it just doesn't make the same appeal...

The feature at Haydock is the ultra-competitive Swinton Handicap Hurdle at 1.55 in which twenty four are set to face the starter. This evening Cockney Trucker is favourite at a best-priced 9/1 with William Hill. His third in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham behind American Trilogy reads well, although he was beaten fair and square that day. I'd imagine Mrs Alison Thorpe will have a fair idea of the chances of her two, Ellerslie Tom and Dishdasha, as her Nortonthorpe Lad, priced at 50/1, was only a half length behind Cockney Trucker at Cheltenham. Ellerslie Tom has claims as he's top on RP ratings, was third in this last year off a six pounds higher mark and likes to race from the front, a tactic that is likely to serve him well in this. Having said all that, he didn't really take to novice chasing and has been a bit in and out, although his last effort could be read as signalling a return to form. The write-up in the Weekender takes that view but I'm going to take a chance on his stablemate Dishdasha provided the rain stays away. He has a racing weight and at 33/1 with Victor Chandler merits a small each-way investment. Others worthy of a second look include Harper Valley (in spite of top weight) who was third in the Scottish Champion last time and Jim Goldie's Toshi.

At Lingfield the trials have small fields but will be interesting nonetheless. In the Derby trial I prefer Henry Cecil's Father Of Time to Age Of Aquarius; the selection should be sharper for his third behind High Heeled three weeks ago. On ratings there doesn't appear much between Midday (from the Cecil yard) and Tottie in the Oaks trial, while Ralph Beckett used this race as a preparation for Look Here last year. I marginally prefer the Cecil horse, so Midday gets the vote. The same trainer winning both Lingfield trials - when was the last time that happened, I wonder?

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

I picked the wrong one from Alison Thorpe's two runners - Ellerslie Tom (12/1) tried to make all and looked as though he might well succeed; Joe Jo Star (16/1) fought hard after the final flight to secure a half length advantage at the post. Dishdasha (33/1) raced midfield for much of the race but was left behind three out and finished ninth. The story of this race was the money for Caravel; available at 14/1 in the morning, he was sent off 5/1 favourite, despite his apparent lack of handicap hurdling experience. Like a number in this, he weakened from the third last - he crossed the line in twelfth position.
Before the Lingfield Derby Trial the Channel Four team were all pretty sweet on Age Of Aquarius (8/11f), to such an extent that I'm sure those of us with an interest in the other runners must have wondered why we'd bothered. In the end the favourite obliged, but not without a fright. He beat Montaff (16/1) and Father Time (11/4) a neck and a head. In all honesty the selection, Father Time, never looked like collecting, but Montaff certainly did - Murtagh, who wasn't top of everyone's Christmas card list after two defeats on short-priced favourites at Chester, did well to win this, and it took the jock an absolute age to pull his mount up. There could well be more to come from Age Of Aquarius but was that the Derby winner we'd seen there? I didn't think so but bookies are divided. Betfred go just 12/1 this evening while Skybet stand out with a quote of 25/1 - I'm half-tempted to have some of that on grounds of value alone.
Henry Cecil's Midday (5/2f) won the Oaks trial in convincing fashion and is now a best-priced 9/1 shot with totepsort for the Epsom showpiece. Current market-leader Fantasia (6/1) runs in the French 1000 Guineas tomorrow.