A day of almosts… we almost had a wonderful set of fourfold accumulators come off; we almost got it right on Ricci Rich having the winner – we just went with the wrong one; we almost had a winner at Newmarket if it hadn’t been for some pretty poor positioning mid-race.
I was almost Prince of Wales, but our Nannies mixed up the prams in St James Park, so now I never have the cash to carry, and the other one never carries cash. Almost is such a handy word. Voltaire, who must have had a betting account, said:
Almost all life depends on probabilities.
I wish I could ask him what he thinks the chances are that isn’t true.
Oliver Sherwood dealt with the subject of Almost and Truths very neatly today, when he revealed that after a crap training year marred by the o’er hanging shadows of dreadful illness, he was given the medical all-clear, and he can now focus on next season. Huzzah for resurrections and resumptions. Maybe we should start a syndicate with him – I know where the Clubhouse will be!
Anyway, I digress -and having just been told that the Chateau D’If (and new clubhouse) remodelling project will take ten weeks by a builder who will patently take 14, I need to set the lead in being more accurate.
Today’s almost accurate tips are below:
1:50 NEWMARKET My Odds Boost On Betfair Hcap Cl2 (4yo+) 6f 20 Run
Firstly I’ve looked at low-drawn horses who like to take an early lead and that gives me MR WAGYU and IF YOU DARE. Then I’ve looked at horses who have a ton of experience at a higher level than this and that suggested TACTICAL and SUMMERGHAND – both of who are drawn low and have won Listed and Group races. Then for some reason, not unrelated to the price disparity between Betfair and Bet365 and because he is only 3lbs wrong of his victory LTO, I looked at BICKERSTAFFE who I backed at 28/1. Do I think he’ll win – no,, because I think he’ll need a bit of cut – but I do think Roger Teal has made huge strides with this horse since getting him from Karl Burke. For you my cherubs I suggest
TACTICAL 2½ pts e/w – IF YOU DARE 1 pt e/w
2:05 THIRSK Fitzdares Thirsk Hunt Cup Hcap Cl2 (4yo+ 0-105) 1m 15 Run
DUBAI LOVE is getting first-time cheekpieces from S Bin S and while he’s a perfectly nice horse the issue is his ability rather than his focus. PISANELLO’s Beverley victory LTO came in spite of major traffic problems in the last furlong and he’s good at any price down to 7s as an e/w bet. I also had a whisper for REDARNA, but I cannot remember from whom or why.
PISANELLO 2 pts e/w
2:25 NEWMARKET Betfair Daily Rewards Suffolk Hcap Cl2 (3yo+) 1m1f 10 Run
TURNTABLE beat Celtic Art here LTO, who has won twice since then. He meets all the trends and is probably still ahead of the handicapper. ANYTHINGTODAY is far too big at around 14s given his consistent RPRs
TURNTABLE 2pts e/w – ANYTHINGTODAY 1pt e/w
2:40 GOODWOOD William Hill Conqueror Fillies’ Stakes Cl1 (3yo+) 1m 7 Run
With Roger Varian on such good form, and with PRIMO BACIO failing some of this race’s trends, I’m minded to back ZANBAQ. Mick Appleby thinks a lot of KHATWAH who has already scored a fourth win at Donny last week and then got a second at Nottingham 4 days ago. at 22/1 and given her undoubted fortitude, she is the wrong price.
ZANBAQ 3 pts win – KHATWAH 1 pt e/w
3:00 NEWMARKET Betfair Palace House Stakes (G3) Cl1 (3yo+) 5f 12 Run
The only horse that meets the trends is Roger Varian’s ST LAWRENCE who has had his problems. If I have a question mark it is whether he is really a 7f horse rather than a 5f. The answer is much the same as Sam Vestey once declared as we spoke with a pretty girl somewhere, giving differing reasons why a race had finished the way it did. “The trouble is”, the Chairman of Cheltenham said, ” …one of us has ridden in a race here and the other hasn’t.”
SAINT LAWRENCE 1 pt e/w
3:40 NEWMARKET Qipco 2000 Guineas Stakes (G1) (No Geldings) Cl1 (3yo) 1m 15 Run
OK Let’s get the tricky bit over with first. NATIVE TRAIL will probably win. BUT he will go off Evens or shorter and there are simply too many imponderables. So first let’s look at DUBAWI LEGEND who was only beaten 2l in The Dewhurst and who we haven’t seen since in the UK. Forget his Breeders Cup run – he had an impossible gate and he bolted out to try and get to the front expending a huge amount of energy in the process. It was in every sense, the luck of the draw. So while we can see NT has polished up nicely, we have no idea about DL. Hugo Palmer has given him a first-time tongue-tie, he’s got Tom Marquand – how can he be 25s to four places?
Then if I look at the trends, there are two stand-outs. LUXEMBOURG and POINT LONSDALE. Frankie gets the latter and has Guineas form for AOB. He won the Chesham last year, then won Group races at Leopardstown and the Curragh and then went down by 2l against NT in the National Stakes on Irish Champions Weekend in September ’21. The general consensus was that something was amiss and that PL’s turbo didn’t kick in from the 2f pole as it had done previously – it looked laboured. AOB simply wouldn’t bring him here if the issues hadn’t been resolved. Then we have LUXEMBOURG. All I will say is that Francesca Cumani has backed this horse large and will not hear of defeat. Even in confinement, she was busy telling the on-screen team what a good thing this was by text and possibly pigeon. I hate her hats, but she has enough racing savvy to know a good thing when she sees it.
DUBAWI LEGEND – LUXEMBOURG – POINT LONSDALE 1 pt CFC
LUXEMBOURG – POINT LONSDALE 5 pts Dutch win
DUBAWI LEGEND 1½ pts e/w
2:35 Dooley Insurance Group Cross Country Chs (5yo+) 3m1f 21 Run
I’m swerving tired legs from the La Touche and sticking with Enda.
STAND UP AND FIGHT 2 pts e/w – STEALTHY TOM 1 pt e/w
3:10 Colm Quinn BMW Hcap Chs (5yo+ 0-145) 3m7f 15 Run
GLENLOE 3 pts win – ANIBALE FLY 2 pts e/w
3:50 Coolmore Kew Gardens Irish EBF Mares Champion Hdl (G1) (4yo+) 2m3f 9 Run
Is there any more distinguished form on display than EPATANTE’s? This season alone she has won The Fighting Fifth, The Christmas Hurdle, the Aintree Hurdle… oh and she was second in The Champion Hurdle. She also happens to have 7lbs in hand over her nearest rivals. The only horse to have beaten her this season, Honeysuckle, won today etc etc etc. SHE WINS
EPATANTE 5 pts Win
4:25 Palmerstown House Pat Taaffe Hcap Chs (Grade B) (5yo+ 0-150) 3m 14 Run
I have four who make the trends for this race PHOENIX WAY – WEST CORK WILDWAY – POPONG – DUC DE BEAUCHENE. I think this has been the plan for Paul Flynn’s WEST CORK WILDWAY for some time. Forget the LTO 4l defeat to Bob Olinger (the next two were Capodanno and Gaillard du Mesnil) – it was simply too big a task. This is his level, he’s up in trip and I think he’ll stay. POPONG was 3rd in this last year and she’s had a decent pipe opener, so is match-fit.
WEST CORK WILDWAY – POPONG Dutch the pair for 4 pts total
5:00 Ballymore Champion Four Year Old Hdl (G1) (4yo) 2m 6 Run
VAUBAN 3 pts Win
5:30 Tote Always SP Or Better Hcap Hdl (Grade B) (4yo+) 2m3f 25 Run
CAMPROND 3 pts e/w – THE VERY MAN 1 pt e/w