Three English racecourses, two jumps meeting, the final televised Flat Handicap Turf race (as I type I wonder whether that’s right?) of the 2021 season, eight Championship races from the States and a house removal so imminent that I am in despair for the management of Zen as we know it. Staying up to watch what had been (up to the shenanigans of the last) the brilliant management of a major global racing event, was with hindsight a mistake.
It is the same old story with the Yanks. Too many chiefs, and a genetic belief that action = solution. The vets withdrew Modern Games because he had “broken through the gate” as opposed to what we could all see, which was the handler opening the gate to get the horse out of harm’s way. That meant they had to examine him, which they didn’t do, on the assumption that he had been struck into or gone down in the stall. They reinstated him almost immediately because a man in the backroom stopped everyone shouting. The mistake was not reinstating the pools. I suspect that was a software issue and an inability to rewind to the market at the time of withdrawal without some complicated doohickory. Anyway, I got paid for Modern Games and I got paid for 4th-placed Grafton Street who I backed last minute on a form whim. We did OK in the Turf Sprint and named the winner; having seen the odds I got the near 9/2 Trifecta – and we very nearly had it away big-time on Tarabi; the next was a train-wreck; ditto the juvenile; and we had Charlie’s in the last.
No time to give you my views on life – there are 18 races to tip. Caramba – pass me the Oxygen. I haven’t the time to explain all my thinking for every race – but some thought has gone into the selections and as always, you can be assured that I will have backed them as well!
I will not be able to do any work for the next three weeks because of the move. The panic you might detect in my voice is that I can feel already feel the quicksand sucking at my knees.
1:08 AINTREE Pertemps Network Hcap Hdl Cl2 (4yo+) 3m½f ITV4 11 runners
Supremely Lucky returns to Hurdles – either for confidence or because he’s a dismal jumper. My antenna is twitching on him.
ACT OF GOD Win – SUPREMELY LUCKY e/w
1:25 DONCASTER Virgin Bet Hcap Cl2 (3yo+ 0-105) 7f ITV4 18 runners
FRESH for the winner and I am on full alert for Sheila Avery’s QUIZICAL. Why here? Why now? When was the last time Sheila had a runner here?
FRESH Win – QUIZICAL e/w
1:50 WINCANTON John Romans Park Homes “Rising Stars” Novices’ Chs (G2) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m4f ITV4 3 runners
MICK PASTOR Win
2:05 DONCASTER Virgin Bet Wentworth Stakes Cl1 (3yo+) 6f ITV4 15 runners
KINGS LYNN is the obvious selection, but PUNCHBOWL FLYER has me curious. As does ZARGUN who looks a crazy price. This is trickier than tricking Mr Trickster with a tricky trick.
MAGICAL SPIRIT Win – ZARGUN e/w
2:15 AINTREE Betway Grand Sefton Hcap Chs Cl2 (6yo+) 2m5f ITV4 14 runners
This is the first race of the season over The Grand National fences, with four of the runners having jumped them before. One exception is the Jonjo trained winner of The Midlands Grand National, TIME TO GET UP. He has drifted overnight, or to be more precise, the market has hardened with two possible favourites. One of those is SENIOR CITIZEN who finished third in the Topham last year, 12½l behind the excellent LiveLoveLaugh and was seventh in this last year under Tom Bellamy. He won on his seasonal debut LTO, and the market fancies him. The other favourite is CAT TIGER from Paul Nicholls who has jumped these fences before and who was also third in The Foxhunters last year. Last year’s runner-up SIR JACK YEATS does have the look of value about him and is the e/w punt in this race. HOGANS HEIGHT won this race in 2019 (+4lbs today), if you can get 10s he’s backable e/w.
SIR JACK YEATS e/w
2:25 WINCANTON Richard Barber Memorial Mares’ Hcap Hdl Cl2 (4yo+) 2m5½f ITV4 11 runners
Based on her Newbury race which has produced a lot of winners and which was too fast for her, ROSE OF ARCADIA’s expectations must be tempered by the news that the going is Good on the Hurdle course and GF in places on the Chase. I think it’s too fast for her. Last year’s runner up PERFECT MYTH will enjoy conditions and is e/w value.
PERFECT MYTH e/w
2:40 DONCASTER Virgin Bet November Hcap Cl2 (3yo+) 1m4f ITV4 23 runners
FARHAN Win – DEJA e/w
3:00 WINCANTON 60th Badger Beer Hcap Chs Cl1 (4yo+ 0-155) 3m1f ITV4 13 runners
COBRA DE MAI looks value at 11s. IRISH PROPHECY loves Wincanton (2/3) and has ability.
IRISH PROPHECY Win – COBRA DE MAI e/w
3:20 AINTREE Betway Hdl Cl2 (4yo+) 2m4f ITV4 6 runners
SUMMERVILLE BOY – BREWINUPASTORM Dutch Win the pair
3:35 WINCANTON Unibet Elite Hdl (G2) Cl1 (4yo+) 1m7f ITV4 7 runners
SCEAU ROYALE Win
7:05 BC Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) (3yo+ Fillies & Mares) (Main Track) (Dirt) (3yo+) 7f 5 runners (NOT ITV4)
GAMINE is going for a back to back. However, BELLA SOFIA is improving. I think she is a natural stalker and could take this on the line. Not a big Exacta, but that’s probably the way to play it.
BELLA SOFIA Win
7:40 DEL MAR BC Turf Sprint (G1) (3yo+) (Turf) (3yo+) 5f ITV4 12 runners
I would love to see EMARAATY ANA win this but again we have to suggest this is too fast, the wrong trip, bend inexperience… not for me. One I do like is LIEUTENANT DAN, impressive Del Mar experience (2¼l win in The Green Flash) then went on to win the Eddie D at Santa Anita (same surface). 2/2 at Del Mar, decent draw. I have taken a small interest in CARAVEL, after he got into the race after Casa Creed moved to The Mile. I watched a couple of her summer races and she was dazzling and the form lines were pretty good.
LIEUTENANT DAN Win – CARAVEL e/w
8:19 DEL MAR Big Ass Fans BC Mile (G1) (3yo+) (Main Track) (Dirt) (3yo+) 1m ITV4 8 runners
LIFE IS GOOD, you might remember was part of the infamous Bob Baffert Kentucky Derby Scandal. Now moved to Todd Pletcher, he remains the Horse Most Likely To. The next best is GINOBLI, who only a week or so ago was 16s.
LIFE IS GOOD Win – GINOBLI e/w – Forecast.
8:59 DEL MAR Maker’s Mark BC Filly & Mare Turf (G1) (3yo+ Fillies & Mares) (Turf) (3yo+) 1m3f ITV4 12 runners
LOVES ONLY YOU is one of the best fillies in Japan and caught the eye in March at Meydan in The Dubai Sheema Classic when 3rd to Mishriff. On her best form, she could take this. WAR LIKE GODDESS has kept improving all season and I find it hard to separate the pair. You might consider ditching the pair, but I have already got an ante-post ticket and won’t desert now. The best e/w value might lie with POCKET SQUARE, who used to be Roger Charlton’s ward.
WAR LIKE GODDESS Win – POCKET SQUARE e/w.
Consider these three with LOVE in a chancy Superfecta and Trifecta.
9:38 DEL MAR Qatar Racing BC Sprint (G1) (3yo+) (Main Track) (Dirt) (3yo+) 6f ITV4 9 runners
DR SCHIVEL might be the one to frighten the favourite JACKIE’S WARRIOR and the pair must feature in any exotics. He has winning Del Mar form and has a decent draw.
DR SCHIVEL Win
10:20 DEL MAR FanDuel BC Mile presented by Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund (G1) (3yo+) (Turf) (3yo+) 1m ITV4 14 runners
MO FORZA missed out on this last year when Order of Australia took it. He is the best miler in the USA and he has outstanding course form.
MO FORZA Win
11:00 DEL MAR Longines BC Distaff (G1) (3yo+ Fillies & Mares) (Main Track) (Dirt) (3yo+) 1m1f ITV4 11 runners
LETRUSKA is hard to see past. The market appears correctly priced and I wouldn’t be looking past the first four for the exotics.
11:40 DEL MAR Longines BC Turf (G1) (3yo+) (Turf) (3yo+) 1m4f ITV 14 runners
Now that DOMESTIC SPENDING is out, I am left with YIBIR. the place horses I see as coming from TRIBHUVAN – GUFO – JAPAN. Consider doing the four in combination exotics.
YIBIR Win – GUFO e/w
00:40 DEL MAR Longines BC Classic (G1) (3yo+) (Main Track) (Dirt) (3yo+) 1m2f ITV 9 runners
I cannot believe the price of the favourite, KICKS GO. I thought I was seeing the figures the wrong way around! 5/2 is too big. HOT ROD CHARLIE might well make the forecast up with ART COLLECTOR filling the minor spot. You might also see what the market is for KNICKS GO to win by 2l+
KNICKS GO Win – HOT ROD CHARLIE exacta – ART COLLECTOR e/w and exotics