Friday, April 29, 2011

Racing thoughts on a royal wedding day

On the day Prince William and Catherine Middleton were married, I'd hoped to get by without mentioning the blessed event but the victory of Nick Gifford's nine-year-old gelding Royal Wedding in this evening's opener at Fontwell put paid to that notion. Bookmakers have indicated they'll pay out millions on the result. The Sporting Life recorded some fair-sized bets on course too including £2500-£500, £2000-£500 (twice) and £1800-£400 (four times). Liam Treadwell sent the 4/1 chance to the front at the third; despite a mistake two out, Royal Wedding stayed on to take the Crabbie's Alcoholic Ginger Beer Handicap Chase by a comfortable 12 lengths. No doubt the race sponsors hope winning punters will splash out on lashings of their product to ensure the street parties continue to go with a swing...

The racing focus now moves to the Flat with the 203rd running of the 2,000 Guineas; the season's first Classic, contested over Newmarket's Rowley Mile, is due off at 3.10. On the form book Henry Cecil's unbeaten colt Frankel shouldn't be opposed; several commentators see this horse as the next big superstar so it's no surprise to see layers offer 4/7. In many ways the race doesn't make much appeal as a betting medium. Some observers weren't overly impressed with the colt's seasonal debut in the Greenham at Newbury while Nick Mordin, writing in the Weekender, makes his case for Roderic O'Connor. For what it's worth my each-way suggestion is Willie Haggas' Fury (18/1 with Coral) but, be warned, I don't follow the Flat so closely and am considering a different approach with the blog for this campaign.

A trend noted last year was that horses with jumps form ran well in a number of Flat races over a distance of two miles or more (with Mamlook winning the Chester Cup, Junior the Ascot Stakes, Bergo the Queen Alexandra Stakes and Overturn the Northumberland Plate). So, time permitting of course, I hope to focus on selected Flat races over a  distance of more than one and a half miles (and some summer jumping). With this in mind I'd noted Philip Hobbs' Comedy Act held a five-day entry in the 4.40 at Salisbury on Sunday but didn't appear in the final declarations. By the same yardstick, entries in Wednesday's Chester Cup that may be worth a second look include Dirar, Sentry Duty, Mamlook, Overturn, Admiral Barry, La Veccia Scuola, Swingkeel, Tyrrells Wood, Cotillion, Nemo Spirit and Royal Rationale.

And perchance, the last named brings me right back to where I started this post...       

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