Friday, August 24, 2012

From the sublime to the ridiculous

This week we've seen the sublime and we've seen the ridiculous.

Frankel barely had to engage second gear to take Wednesday's Juddmonte International at York; writing as Thunderer in today's Times, Stephen Pollard informs us the great horse '...has achieved perfection.'

In marked contrast bookmakers Betfred have incurred the wrath of most by refusing to pay out on a grandmother's 200/1 Olympic medal wager; Sam Oldham won team bronze in the gymnastics but Betfred have refused a payout as the medal was won in a team, rather than an individual, event. Hmmm.

For the final day of the Ebor meeting here are a couple of tips which, come five o'clock on Saturday afternoon, you're likely to consider ridiculous rather than sublime...

The feature race is the Ebor at 3.40. In the past I've leant towards horses with some NH form for this event; this approach has proved decidedly unsuccessful over the years but I'm past caring. Four qualify this year - Steps To Freedom, Crackentorp, Royal Diamond and Blue Bajan.

Top weight Steps To Freedom looks up against it - only Sea Pigeon (1979) has carried more than 9-4 to victory in the past 50 years. At the age of ten, Blue Bajan appears to face a similarly stiff task; Sea Pigeon was aged nine when recording his victory - since then no horse older than six has come home in front.

In the past nine renewals the winner has come from of a double-digit stall on eight occasions - Royal Diamond doesn't appear to have the best of draws (stall 2) and his tendency to race from the front could leave him vulnerable up the long home straight.

Crackentorp has a better draw (17) but, on stats, can't win at the age of seven and last time out put in a slightly disappointing performance behind Mount Athos. Mount Athos has gone in again since and now heads for the Melbourne Cup, so perhaps I'm being a little harsh there... Previously Crackentorp finished second to Ile De Re in Newcastle's Northumberland Plate run on heavy ground. That day Icon Dream was third and tomorrow's favourite Motivado thirteenth.

The two I'm interested in at a price are Crackentorp and Icon Dream; on Northumberland Plate running there's little between them. Crackentorp is 16/1 with most layers while Icon Dream is 25/1 so I'll take a small each-way interest in Icon Dream (drawn 19) - most layers are paying a quarter the odds four places.

In the preceding Lonsdale Cup (3.05) I haven't totally written off Willie Mullins' Simenon. This one finished sixth behind Saddler's Rock in the Goodwood Cup last time but was only beaten four and a half lengths. On ratings he has plenty to find with several of these and on a literal interpretation can't reverse form with Saddler's. Having said that, I'm re-reading Ruby Walsh's autobiography at the moment and Ruby's comments about Willie Mullins make me think the great man wouldn't send his charge over if he didn't think the gelding was in with a shout. Simenon was done for toe in the final furlong at Goodwood; priced up early at 16/1 with William Hill, I'll bet Simenon each-way - any rain at the track will aid his cause.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

Clearly distinguishable with his big white blaize, Icon Dream (16/1) started at the back in the Ebor and proceeded to stay there for the duration of the race, beating just three home...

When it became apparent half a mile from home there was no way 13/8 favourite Saddler's Rock would win the Lonsdale Cup, I dared to hope Simenon (12/1) could at least make a place. The selection looked to be travelling well enough two out but the break never came and by the time Jamie Spencer had found a gap the principals had flown; Simenon finished fifth, beaten just under nine lengths but in all honesty I'm not sure the gelding would have had the required turn of foot even with a clear run. Times Up (11/1) beat High Jinx (10/1) with Lost In The Moment (14/1) third.