Friday, September 27, 2013

Market Rasen on a Saturday in September

Derek 'Tommo' Thompson wouldn't necessarily be everybody's cup of tea but, in case you hadn't heard, he has an autobiography out at the moment entitled Too Busy To Die.

As David Ord's review highlights, somewhat bizarrely the great man's stock appears to have risen now we don't see him on the small screen... I met the guy briefly just the once five years ago when he opened a new Betfred shop in Coventry; love him or loathe him, he's not easy to ignore.

The highlight on tomorrow's card at Market Rasen is the listed handicap chase at 2.50.

Top weight The Disengager took last year's renewal off a mark of 134; twelve months on he tries to repeat the trick off 152. Philip Hobbs' charge did the blog a favour when obliging at odds of 10/1 at Newton Abbot four weeks ago, beating stablemate Rob Conti who reopposes from two pounds out of the handicap; after that victory Hobbs immediately nominated this race as the next target. There are dangers aplenty (including Harry Fry's Bold Chief ) in a very competitive field but I'm not going to desert The Disengager.

Those looking for something a little less obvious may want to consider Peter Bowen's Al Co in the same race. This one was beaten just a short head in the 2012 running of the Summer Plate over course and distance. The yard hasn't had a winner since September 1st but he'd have an each-way squeak if fit enough to do himself justice after an absence of 134 days.

In the preceding listed hurdle at 2.15 Solaras Exhibition appears to have his fair share of weight. Having said that, Alan Johns claims ten and Tim Vaughan's charge won nicely enough at Stratford in July and he's since had a refresher on the Flat at Ffos Las a fortnight ago. Connections considered their charge a 'lively outsider' for the Fred Winter at Cheltenham in March - on the back of that I may take a small each-way interest if the tissue price of 16/1 is available on the day.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Newmarket's Cesarewitch Trial

Tomorrow's Ayr Gold Cup looks far too difficult for this observer and there are easier races than Newmarket's Cesarewitch Trial at 3.40 but for some unfathomable reason the race just makes more appeal.

Course and distance winner Cosimo De Medici will be one of the more fancied runners after a victory on the all-weather at Southwell last time; he has been raised a harsh-looking 10 pounds for that effort.

The 18 furlong trip is likely to find out a few of these including Burnham and possibly Nanton (ninth last year), Saborido (thirteenth) and Body Language (last). Eagle Rock was fourth in that race twelve months ago and comes to this on the back of a victory at York; he has to race off a five pounds higher mark.

Mark Johnson saddles the first two in the handicap - his Courtesy Call came home second last year - but the biggest weight carried to victory in the four previous renewals is just 8-13; in the same timeframe the winner has come from the top four in the market.

Eagle Rock has the right profile but I've been on the lookout for a lightweight at an each-way price that should stay the trip - Ian Williams' Teak fits the bill.

This one has been kept busy over the summer and has a few miles on the clock but third behind Kangaroo Court in a Newton Abbott hurdle on his penultimate start reads well enough. Cheekpieces were tried on his last run but connections obviously felt they didn't help as they're omitted tomorrow.

Rated 111 over hurdles, Teak goes off a mark of 75 and appeals as a sporting each-way chance to run into a place - this evening most layers are offering 16/1, a quarter the odds four places.

Friday, September 13, 2013

St Leger 2013

Eleven declared for the 236th running of the St Leger, racing's oldest Classic, although Galileo Rock looks likely to be withdrawn with rain expected overnight.

John Gosden has won three of the past six renewals (Lucarno 2007, Arctic Cosmos 2010 and Masked Marvel 2011) and saddles current favourite Excess Knowledge. He looked unlucky when beaten a head by Cap O'Rushes in Goodwood's Gordon Stakes (Secret Number fifth, Havana Beat seventh). I've seen a couple of hints for Secret Number (16/1 generally) on the back of that performance but I'm not convinced.

Leading Light, winner of the Queen's Vase at Royal Ascot, looks Ballydoyle's first choice and should have no problem with the trip while stablemate Foundry may be less exposed but isn't readily dismissed - he didn't look full wound-up when beaten by Telescope in the Great Voltigeur.

On official ratings Libertarian, second in the Epsom Derby, is bang there with every chance. William Buick was reunited with the colt after his original mount, Feel Like Dancing, clearly didn't feel like running and failed to appear amongst Thursday's final declarations. The horse ran something of a stinker in the Irish Derby - connections were convinced the very quick ground was against their charge that day - but he hasn't been seen since which tempers enthusiasm.

Target, the only filly in the field, faces a stiff task - the last filly to oblige was User Friendly in 1992.

We've seen some big priced winners in recent years including Mastery, 2009, 14/1; Arctic Cosmos, 2010, 12/1 and Encke, 2012, 25/1.

This looks an open affair with the forecast rain certain to play a part. The Ballydoyle pair catch my eye; Foundry won his maiden on soft ground while Leading Light clearly has the necessary stamina.

Leading Light (9/2 generally this evening) is the suggestion.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Two September selections for Stratford

Two quick selections for Stratford tomorrow.

Rhum goes in the 4.30 following a pipe-opener over an inadequate trip at Ffos Las 16 days ago. Previously Twiston-Davies' charge ran well to finish fourth behind Monsieur Cadou in the Tim Molony at Haydock. He comes to this fresher than all his rivals, with any further rain likely to help the cause.

Just five face the starter in the 5.05 with Bennys Quest the likely favourite as he looks to chalk up his third win on the trot. Giant O Murchu was disappointing on occasions last term so I'll side with Synthe Davis and Tony McCoy.