Friday, September 07, 2012

Suggestions for Stratford

The passing of Lord Oaksey earlier in the week has brought many affectionate tributes including this one from The Daily Telegraph, a newspaper he started to work for in 1957.

In my mind's eye he belongs to an era of TV racing coverage where the presenter sat in front of camera sporting a trilby which was invariably doffed to viewers in the most polite fashion before the first race; Oaksey was second only to the great John Rickman in that respect.

If I have one single thing in common with The Noble Lord it's my ability to tip losers; Oaksey was not renowned for his skill as a tipster but he carried on regardless and in that sense proved a personal inspiration - this brief post before the 2006 Derby acknowledged the fact.

On the streets of Stratford last Satruday I saw some trilbies together with some tweed (that's Stratford-upon-Avon, you understand, not Stratford, East London), a sure sign that autumn is just around the corner when the jumping game moves up a gear or two.

Tomorrow's feature at the Warwickshire track is a race carrying a misleadingly pedestrian name -the Walls And Ceilings International Handicap Hurdle. This Class Two event over two miles and half a furlong has attracted a very competitive entry of sixteen, is likely to be run on good quick ground and is worth over twelve and a half thousand to the winner.

Recent winners Monte Cavallo, Laudatory, Hes Our Lad and Gay Sloane are all likely to prove popular while the bottom five run from out of the handicap.

Donald McCain fields two - on RP ratings Star In Flight should be thereabouts; the handler will have an idea of the gelding's capabilities through stablemate Absinthe who was second in the Scottish Summer Hurdle at Perth three weeks ago. Two from that race contest this - His Excellency and Smalib Monterg. The former hasn't been with the Pipe outfit long, having run in the Galway Plate previously - it would be no surprise to see him come good here - while the latter was tipped each-way by the blog for Perth and ran into a place. In a very competitive event, I'm going to stick with Smalib Monterg - a previous course winner -  who will represent reasonable each-way value if the tissue price of 14/1 is available on the day.

In the past I've done better than I had any right to expect by opposing favourites at this course so, for the brave, course and distance winner Papadron represents a play against Ballybough Gorta in the trappy-looking 4.20; Allerford Jack has been busy clocking up a four-timer over the summer but he unseated last time and there has to be a query about Sagredo's ability to last home.

However I'm not really inclined to oppose the short-priced favourites in either the 2.40 or the 3.15.

At 2.40 Rebeccas Choice and Tough Talkin Man don't really make much appeal against Geneva Geyser although that one hasn't been foot perfect in his first two chase starts.

One Term has to concede at least a stone to his rivals at 3.15 including newcomers Planetoid (rated 85 on the Flat), Good Boy Jackson (82 on the Flat last autumn, although it looks as though McCoy prefers to ride the favourite) and Danehill Dante (68). Having said all that, it's difficult to get away from Rebecca Curtis' charge who has made all to win his last two and could well repeat the trick in this.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

Hes Our Lad and Gay Sloane were both non-runners in the feature and there was no 14/1 on offer about Smalib Monterg; nonetheless Tom O'Brien brought the selection with a well-timed run to beat market leader Monte Cavallo (2/1f) one and threequarter lengths at odds of 6/1.

Papadron (13/2) made all and looked at trifle unfortunate as he was bumped on the run-in and went down half a length to Ballybough Gorta (7/2). I was surprised to see Bowntobebad made the 15/8 favourite for this but he ran no sort of race and finished tailed off. One to keep an eye on perhaps...

Geneva Geyser (8/11f) and One Term (4/6f) both obliged.