Friday, November 20, 2020

Wrexham riddles and a Haydock longshot

My hometown football club has been in the news this week.

As a counter to a number of meretricious articles that have appeared in the media, I bring to your attention a more prosaic, widely ignored piece entitled 'Wrexham wrelegated' - written in 2008 following relegation from the Football League - in which brief details of my own personal association with Wrexham Association Football Club are recorded. 

A former colleague thinks he may have detected early signs of 'Disneyfication' at the club, a concept I'm now coming to terms with, although I've had to call upon previously untapped reserves of tact and discretion to prevent myself from pointing out to him we've been playing a Mickey Mouse brand of football (in a cartoon strip) for years.

On the back of all that I considered making the case for a Disneyesque runner from those competing tomorrow - Heart Of A Lion (Huntingdon 11.45), Sumkindofking (Haydock 3.35), The Turtle Said (Huntingdon 3.43) and Printing Dollars (Ascot 1.30) were all in the mix but, in the end, I decided to look for an outsider in the Betfair Racing Only Bettor Handicap Hurdle at Haydock, due off at 1.50.

Seventeen have been declared with the going described as soft, good to soft in places on the hurdles course; this race is scheduled to be run over brush hurdles.

It's no surprise to see Kid Commando at the head of the market following a facile victory at Ascot three weeks ago (Dear Sire 23 lengths adrift in fourth). I've seen the name of Anthony Honeyball's charge in a number of 'Horses to Follow' lists, with tipsters keen to point to the gelding's third in the Dovecote at Kempton in February. The handicapper raised his mark seven pounds to 143 after Ascot; he shares top weight with Forest Bihan but the step up in trip is thought likely to suit. In the past seven renewals the winner has come from the first four in the betting; over the past decade comparing winning weight figures against entries, the victor is over two times more likely to shoulder 11-00 or more. 

Shake Em Up'Arry made all to win unchallenged at Ffos Las last time while Arrivederci waved goodbye to all his opponents when coming home two and three quarter lengths ahead of War Lord at Wetherby. On The Wild Side is another in the field who likes to race from the front and enters the fray here with two victories in Hexham novice hurdles to his name.

The Harry Skelton trained Flash The Steel is given every respect having won the 2019 running of the Silver Trophy at Chepstow, subsequently finishing second in this year's renewal behind the well-regarded Tea Clipper; he was beaten a long way over an extended trip in last year's renewal of tomorrow's 2.25 race.

I'm not quite sure what to make of Umbrigado on his seasonal debut but I note that Tom Scudamore is booked to ride at Huntingdon - Seymour Promise and Sizing Cuisimano for Colin Tizzard; Kentucky Hardboot for Mohamed Moubarak. 

Owned by Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, Fix Sun can be expected to improve for soft ground on this his second run following wind surgery after he trailed in next to last of 19 runners behind Captain Tom Cat (Our Power sixth) at Cheltenham last month. 

Our Power is talented but not entirely straightforward while course winner Ebony Jewel makes his seasonal and also likes to race prominently.

In a race with so many front-runners Kaizer, regularly taken down to the start early, won't mind a hold-up ride; Billy Garrity claims three and the partnership have just 10-1 to shoulder. 

Racing on good ground at Chepstow in early October Dear Sire beat Le Ligerien nine lengths into third (fourth Stimulating Song a winner at Cheltenham last weekend) - seven pound claimer Theo Gillard was in the plate that day. Champion jockey Brian Hughes takes over tomorrow and Philip Hobbs' charge looks weighted to reverse the form. 

'Obbs' 'orses weren't running all that well at the time but they're operating at a better win strike rate now; course winner Le Ligerien has previously won over this distance and should also appreciate the ease in underfoot conditions. 

It's likely to be brutal up front from the off but Richard Johnson's mount looks competitive on Racing Post ratings and on the clock; I'm hopeful he can outrun odds of 20/1 currently available with William Hill who pay six places on this race.

Le Ligerien is the each-way selection.

What chance a happy ending to this particular Disney tale?


Anonymous said...

162,WAR LORD(GER),9.9
157,OUR POWER(IRE),8.2
156,DEAR SIRE(FR),7.7
150,IRISH ROE(IRE),0.2
150,FIX SUN(FR),0.2

A no bet race for me but best of luck with the selection.

Bet of the day? Marracudja [M] in the Hurst Park Handicap at Ascot. The most exposed chaser in the field he has 28 lengths to find with Capeland on last year’s running. There is a chance Capeland ran above himself that day as he has not looked like building on that impressive win since.

M went on to win well off a mark of 134 at Wetherby’s festive fixture and then ran too well in the Clarence House and was punished by the handicapper for doing so! He stood little chance in the Grand Annual at the festival off a revised mark of 154. He’s ran O.K in two outings this term over trips too far, his mark is falling again and now down to 143, William Marshall takes off another 7lb which effectively gets M in at a very workable 136. He’s back over 2 miles, ground and course suit well and whilst he may not win this he deserves to be a lot lower than the current 22/1 in places. I’m hoping for a big run!

I also like the look of Ask Dillion @ 25/1 in the Stayers Hurdle at Haydock.

As a Middlesbrough support two things spring to mind when I think of good and one...well let’s be kind and say entertaining at times.

John Neal was a great manger for the Boro and got the team playing some lovely football. Of course he also signed Billy Ashcroft who served to entertain and frustrate in equal measure.

Good luck


GeeDee said...

Thanks for providing your ratings for this race, TW.

Paul Kealy has tipped up Marracudja in the Weekender.

Haven't done the form for the Stayers Hurdle but two that are tempting (me anyway) at a price - course and distance winner Flashjack 40/1 [was 66/1 earlier this afternoon] and Justatenner 50/1; they look closely matched on Ayr running this time last year.

Share your views on John Neal and Billy Ashcroft.

[Prof] Simon Chadwick hails from Middlesborough and is a keen Boro fan.

Billy's last known whereabouts: licensee of The George public house, Southport.

GeeDee said...

No happy ending here - more 'The Nightmare Before Christmas'.

Before the off I wasn't unduly concerned by deteriorating conditions, the selection having won here previously on heavy ground; I still haven't quite fathomed how the official going wasn't changed to heavy until after Main Fact's ninth consecutive victory in the 2.25.

Le Ligerien (22/1) won the race to front-run but on a couple of occasions his hurdling was far from fluent, particularly first time up the home straight. Richard Johnson started to send out distress signals as they came out of the back straight; it was clear from that point he'd play no part in the finish and the gelding was pulled up before the final flight.

War Lord (13/2) had plenty in hand to repel the challenge of the well-backed Umbrigado (5/1) one and a quarter lengths with Our Power (10/1) making late headway to pinch third from Shakem Up'Arry (11/2) and Kaizer (16/1) recording a creditable effort in fifth.