A very decent start to the USGA Open and the course appears to have been far kinder than anticipated. We have a brace sharing second place, one who needs to get a wriggle on, and I fear one who won’t make the cut. I am hoping to be able to “Green Out” by close of play tonight – fingers crossed.
Friday of this weekend has always had a special place in my racing heart. Nick Clark, the jovial chief of Haynes Hanson Clark, wine merchants to the gentry, has been a generous host to most of Lambourn on Haynes Hanson Clark day, which the day’s major sponsor Dubai Duty-Free would like to believe is their own. Back in the days when Richard Pridham and General Pank ran the place, my original proposal was that we run a Japanese day with an Arc trial as the feature. Our PR business had a good commercial relationship with several Japanese companies, and we were confident we had the sponsorship. However, unknown to me, Pridham, who now runs a racecourse in New Zealand, had been approached by DDF and bit their arms off – and an excellent deal it has been for them too. However, on Friday of the new meeting, most of our focus would be on the HHC box, where there would be 150 of our closest friends, drinking dozens of wines that also wanted to become our closest friend. Always jolly, always fun, it was and remains (bar today), a raceday that has delivered hospitality with a capital H.
A happy 40th racing Birthday to all at HHC.
Up at Ayr, what used to be known as The Western Meeting, gets underway. The course has seen some commercial aggro in its time, quite apart from being the victim of a terrorist bombing when a suffragette cinema cashier from the Gorbals firebombed the grandstand. Later, financial mismanagement on a grand scale tried to complete the gallant lady’s work, resulting in what was effectively a fire-sale of the course and it is now in the hands of local businessmen, who have turned the auld girl’s fortunes around.
Talking of turning fortunes around, here are today’s tips…
13:40: British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes (Plus 10) 14 Runners, Class 4, 7f 50y
In these unraced novicey races, we should perhaps be looking for a decently-priced place, and if I can get 10s e/w about DEPP from the reliable Kevin Ryan’s yard. I shall be pleased. The same connections as Brando, we can be fairly confident of a run.
14:10: EBF Nursery 10 Runners, Class 2, 6f
WOBWOBWOB’s first two runs suggested some ability, and at Thirsk, he was supported in the ring, the word having got out that his recent gelding operation might have improved him. Off a preliminary mar of 62, he ran a blinder. He was still rough around the edges, under pressure at halfway, but once he got to the front over 1f out he settled it in a short space of time and was eased at the finish. He’s picked up 6lbs for the three lengths, but I suspect – as does the market – that he is probably far better than that. Cieran Fallon back on board adds hope and I missed the 7/2 and took 5/2. He’ll be 6/4 at the off I suspect.
14:45: Shadwell Stud/ EBF Stallions Harry Rosebery Stakes (Listed) 12 Runners, Class 1, 5f
ROLFE REMBRANDT has been the subject of sensible money conversations, and the money was definitely on when he won at Newbury LTO. This Listed race is a big step, but the manner of his winning suggested the ground and distance are all within compass. Any price at 16s+. I would also be worried by ROMAN ENCOUNTER only 25k in the breeze-ups but won her debut with something in hand. She was boxed up but pulled away nicely when shown daylight. Some decent form coming out of that race, suggests 7/1 is overpriced.
ROLFE REMBRANDT e/w ROMAN ENCOUNTER win
15:20: Arran Scottish Sprint EBF Fillies’ Stakes (Listed) 17 Runners, Class 1, 5f 110y
Kevin Ryan’s LAST EMPIRE is a useful filly who caught the eye when 2nd in a Beverley Listed LTO. The pace didn’t suit, and she was out the back for most of the trip but kept on noticeably well to the line. She must have a decent chance. DANCIN INTHESTREET has beaten decent types, and before anyone says she’s 0/6 on Turf she is 4p as well. I think 5½ f will suit her, and given Haggas’ Aye 10-year form of 19R – 5w – 7p, her price looks short.
LAST EMPIRE win DANCIN INTHESTREET e/w
15:40 NEWBURY 40 Year Anniversary Haynes, Hanson & Clark Conditions Stakes (Plus 10) (Str)
JUMBY was a little unlucky in his listed race LTO and has the potential to do well today. BARADAR cost 260,000gns as a yearling, Back here in August, he picked up nicely from the back of the field to win with a little to spare, overcoming a slow start and looks a useful prospect.
Dutch JUMBY and BARADAR.
15:55: QTS Ayr Bronze Cup Handicap 25 Runners, Class 2, 6f
Firstly check out the odds comparison sites again. Several bookmakers are going 6 places, and there are bargains to be had. Both ABSTEMIOUS and NEVER IN PARIS meet the trends, and the former caught the eye when 2nd to Alben Spirit LTO. He’s 4ln better off and was only beaten ½length. LTO. His draw gives him options. NEVER IN PARIS is still relatively unexposed and she has decent 6f form. Nigel Tinkler has three chances in this and after ABSTEMIOUS, I can’t split them. ROUNDHAY PARK has won a decent York handicap, (seeing off a number of those here today), and the ran well at Ripon in the last six weeks. His mark has only moved 5lbs for a win and 2 places, and he’ll get that back from Tinkler’s young apprentice the talented Faye McManoman.
ABSTEMIOUS e/w – NEVER IN PARIS e/w – ROUNDHAY PARK e/w
16:15 NEWBURY Dubai Duty-Free Cup Stakes (Listed) (Str) 7f
The win in July over the same distance showed the potential of D’BAI and would be the one to beat if that form can be repeated here. Five of his seven victories have been over the distance, and if you ignore his Goodwood runs, (he hates the place having run there three times unplaced), and with his five-time winning partner William Buick in the plate, he looks a decent shot.
16:25: Eat Out To Help Out At Western House Handicap 6 Runners, Class 3, 2m 1f 105y
FUN MAC win
16:55: Western House Hotel Handicap (Div 1) 14 Runners, Class 5, 1m
SORBONNE lost a shoe LTO which makes her win look a little more impressive. ENGELS ROCK looks the threat.
SORBONNE win – ENGELS ROCK e/w
17:25: Western House Hotel Handicap (Div 2) 13 Runners, Class 5, 1m
DONNELLYS RAINBOW e/w