We start tonights action with a claiming race from the Midlands. I know the next Frankel won’t appear from this lot but there’s some decent all weather horses lining up.
For what is just an eight runner field a case can be made for at least half and the proverbial bridesmaid City Of Angkor Wat hopes it can recapture another course and distance win. The five year old is a horse I have followed a lot this season, unfortunately to my detriment and I fear it’s now at a point where it just doesn’t remember how to get its head in front. At around 12/1 it seems quite overly priced and place money could be on the cards however I have to look elsewhere especially with the less than favourable outside draw.
The likely danger to my selection has to be the oldest horse in the race Dialogue. The nine year old is quite inconsistent but with an encouraging fifth placed reappearance run likely to bring about improvement and a course win to its name it has to be in the shake up.
This leads me on to my pick and sticking with older horses I’ve opted for course winner Monsieur Chevalier who won on the new Wolverhampton tapeta surface back in November. The eight year old could repeat that performance and has all weather maestro Adam Kirby in the saddle who road the horse the last two times it won. Although many years ago it’s easy to forget this horse won a group three and listed races in its day and although not at level now is still trained by top trainer Jamie Osbourne. The horse is much classier than todays rivals and if it retains any of its ability should have more than enough to win this.
Monsieur Chevalier (WIN)
Sticking at Wolverhampton we take in their next race on the card and another eight run contest lies before us.
There’s a lot of talk about old stalwart Mia’s Boy having a hand in this and despite it having an obvious chance I couldn’t be confident about a horse that hasn’t won in it’s last eighteen starts and of those eighteen only placed once. Its third placed finish last time out shows it may have started to hit a bit of form but I just feel it may find another few too good for it again today.
The two I fear the most are course winner Off The Pulse who has a good draw in stall one and can mix it in this company. As well as the John Mackie trained horse I also think four year old Salon Sushi has to be monitored as the booking of Adam Kirby is noticeable and if you forget its last run it has very decent form.
Although it is top weight I just cannot look past Cayuga who has five top three finishes from seven starts on all-weather surfaces. The horse tackles Wolverhampton for the first time but I feel the new surface shouldn’t be of any great worry. It is also very interesting to note that top jockey George Baker only has one ride all day and this is it. The jockey seems to be in decent form this winter and trainer Brett Johnson had 35% of his horses win or place on the all-weather over the last twelve months.
It is going to be a competitive race but the six year old current market favourite looks the best option.
It wouldn’t be a “Friday Night Lights” article without a trip over to Ireland to take in a race from Dundalk.
We look at their third race on the card and opt for a bit of an each way punt to end the night with.
The current market favourite is the Donnacha O’Brien ridden Shinyhappyjohn who is a worthy favourite after its third placed finish last time out but with fourteen runners scheduled to go to post I just couldn’t be with a horse that isn’t an each way price.
Another horse worth noting is the Johnny Murtagh trained Shushu Sugartown who may improve on its last effort and is one that could be there or thereabouts for place money.
The one that gets the nod however is the oldest horse in the race Enigma Code who ran a very creditable race last time from what was a horrible draw. It didn’t seem to quite stay the seven furlongs last time out so a drop down in trip is sure to suit. The horse is now drawn much better in stall eight ad at around 8/1 has to have a good opportunity to go close here.
Enigma Code (E/W)
by Rory Paddock