PADDOCKS PATENT (FRIDAY)
We open todays action with the third race on Ascot’s card, a flat marathon distance over two miles.
The race seems to be a mixture of more established runners dropping down in class and younger horses trying their hand against better opposition. Such a mix creates a very competitive race indeed.
If the nine year old Times Up can recapture the form that saw the horse win the Group 2 Doncaster Cup two seasons back it would absolutely obliterate todays rivals and a current price of around 20/1 seems awfully generous. This being said however the horse has been a far flung shadow of its former self and the likelihood that it returns to its glory days is unfortunately slim to none.
Sir Mark Prescott enters four year old High Secret who managed to transfer its consistent all-weather form onto the turf when winning at Catterick on its previous start. The ground was on the soft side that day and todays firmer conditions may not be to its liking and although the horse is likely to place I’m hoping it’ll finish behind my selection.
Seamour looks the biggest threat with a very good sixth placed finish in The Northumberland Plate last time is undoubtedly the best recent form amongst the thirteen runners and clearly has to be respected. In all fairness the horse is the likely winner but at 3/1 doesn’t represent much value.
The horse I’m plumping for is one of the two Clive Cox trained runners that line up in this. He has course winner Hassle who makes its seasonal reappearance but without a recent run it can’t be sure how prepared the six year old is. The trainer also sends Le Maitre Chat, a horse I have been impressed with when taking three consecutive top four finishes in its three starts this season. The horse may need more cut in the ground but it has a great record under todays jockey Adam Kirby. At the age of four there may be some room to progress and a chance is taken that the gelding can trouble the main protagonists.
Le Maitre Chat (E/W)
Sticking it Ascot for the second of our three selections today as we seven line up for a class two handicap.
Martyn Meade’s Great Park did well at Newmarket last time and looks a lively threat to the selection here. It is slightly puzzling though that a horse who is renowned for good performances at Newmarket doesn’t return to flat HQ and although I expect a good race from the Fergus Sweeney ridden three year old it may have to settle for place money once again.
Any Richard Hannon trained three year old should be respected but I couldn’t side with a horse that hasn’t won in its last six outings.
The dark horse in the field is the consistent handicapper Master Of Finance who is pretty unlucky not to have won this year. This is probably a step down in terms of the races it’s been contending and could spring a surprise, however I feel it may have just bumped into what could be a very good horse in Exosphere.
Exosphere is the current market leader and deserves it’s place in the betting. Two wins over this distance shows it should handle the conditions and the lightly raced Sir Michael Stoute horse has vast scope for improvement. If it can handle things in this class should be the one to beat.
Our third and final selection sees us take in a rare evening meeting from The Knavesmire in York, Unfortunately, for betting purposes, there’s only fifteen runners that line up in this which cuts places down to just the first three.
The lightly raced Bashiba and Sleeping Apache look set to be dangers under the jockeyship of Graham Lee and Paul Mulrenan respectively. With both horses having more scope for improvement than most of its rivals they have to be respected especially the Michael Dods runner who has a win over the trip.
Makin The Rules represents top Yorkshire based trainer David O’Meara who has his yard in fine form heading towards Glorious Goodwood next week but the horses form doesn’t represent all that much and I think a place is probably the best that can be expected today.
Although the horse is current favourite I have to side with Mon Brav. The eight year old finished second in this race last year off a four pound higher mark. A good third placed finish over course and distance last time out shows the horse retains most of its ability from last season and a drop in class should see the Brian Ellison horse at least finish in the top three.
Mon Brav (E/W)
Two of our podcast eye-catchers run today, see who they are by clicking the image below.