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It's a typically quiet Monday of racing, but there are a few interesting angles at Brighton, which is where we're headed for today's preview, tips and placepot perm. We start with a fillies' handicap at 2.30.
Two non-runners at time of writing, brings us down to just five, so each-way/placepot punters beware: one more absentee and we're win only. The favourite here is a horse called Saskia's Dream, and she's run 26 times on turf, during the course of which she's managed a single solitary win, and a further single solitary second place. Moreover, her recent form on ground on the soft side of good is... lamentable. She'll also likely have to pass them all to win, given her hold up run style and propensity to miss the break. Any horse can win any race, but she is palpably terrible value at 11/8.
Against her in what is, granted, a weak race, I think Commandingpresence represents a bit of value. Sure, she's a bit in and out, but she has won five times, and been second or third on another twelve occasions from her 47 turf starts. And she won as recently as four starts back too. At 17/2, she's of very mild interest.
The second choice is Above The Stars, a mare who has won or placed on eleven occasions, but just two of those were over a trip as 'far' as six furlongs. They were a win in a Class 6 handicap on good to firm, and a place in a seller last time on good. This is little better than a seller but she's a poor price all the same, despite three course wins, all at the minimum.
Interakt is another of keen interest, as she is fine on any ground. She has stacks of course form, including three wins, one of which was on soft and one over six furlongs; and she's taking a drop in class on most of her recent runs which were either in Class 4 or in Class 5 at premier tracks.
Take The Lead has the most scope to improve after just six runs, but she's been awful in two starts this year after winning on her final juvenile race in soft ground. It's possible she could rediscover enough ability to take this, but she's really given no indication whatsoever so far in 2013.
I'm tempted to lay Saskia's Dream here, and I think Commandingpresence and Interakt may be value against her.
In the placepot, I'm going deep in search of a result, but will insure with the market fancies on B.
A - 2 (Commandingpresence), 4 (Interakt)
B - 1 (Above The Stars), 6 (Saskia's Dream)
3.00 Brighton: An interesting little maiden, where nothing stands out for a bet. Juan Alonso vies for favouritism with Our Channel, and the former is rated 75 after three runs. That would normally be enough to win a race such as this at a track such as this. But today there are some dark'uns in opposition, notably Our Channel, a once raced son of English Channel. The sire hasn't had too many runners in UK, but his race record in the States made him a tip top turfer, so much so that he actually won the Breeders Cup Turf on a miserable rain-lashed day at Monmouth Park back in 2007. I was there, cursing his victory over Euros, Red Rocks and especially Dylan Thomas, in whom I had invested too much.
Anyway, Juan Alonso is likely to get out well, and unless he gets bogged down, he ought to hang on for a place at least. No selection, and Juan is the h-one (h'won) for me in the 'pot.
A - 2 (Juan Alonso)
3.30 Brighton: Seven runners after an early defection, so another curse for each way ticklers and placepot plunderers alike. Uganda Glory is a solid looking jolly, having proven stamina and run well with a bit of cut in the ground. Orla's Rainbow has track and trip form but I'd not be sure about the ground for that one.
Frederick Alfred on the other hand is a player, especially with Kieren Fallon booked. His last run is best ignored, as he failed to handle the turn and was eased right down after. Prior to that, he was beaten two lengths in a better race than this over this sort of trip. That was on the Kempton poly, and the sodden turf is taken on trust, though with some fat in the price to justify such a leap of faith.
And Special Report has been running consistently well, and will probably do so again, without necessarily winning.
A - 1 (Uganda Glory)
B - 5 (Frederick Alfred), 6 (Special Report)
4.00 Brighton: Six runners this time and a wide open race over a mile and a quarter. Mizyen looks like the one to take them along, like so many James Tate runners, and he could prove hard to catch. Indeed, despite having proven a little frustrating to win with so far, his consistency makes him a strong placepot player.
Jewelled almost certainly wants quicker ground and is overlooked as a consequence, but Hunting Rights comes into it back down in class.
Red Shuttle is consistent, despite failing to win in eleven starts and failing to run on ground softer than good since his debut. He is therefore unexposed in the conditions and, in a race where many have black marks against them, his consistency and small chance of better form on deeper ground puts him on the map. Brown Pete has finished behind Mizyen and Jewelled in recent runs here, but both were on much quicker ground and this fellow does at least have proven form on slower than good.
Arlecchino, meanwhile, drops in class and gets an eye-catching jockey switch to Richard Hughes. He ran well on one of two slow turf starts and should be involved again today for savvy connections.
A - 4 (Hunting Rights), 5 (Mizyen), 6 (Arlecchino)
4.30 Brighton: Despite ten being declared, this race has lost three of its entry, meaning we're again in two place territory. New Falcon is another on what might be a good day for James Tate, and she should be up with the early gallop. She's unraced on ground softer than good, but as a daughter of New Approach, shouldn't have an issue with it. In fact, this might be spot on.
One at a price against her is Perfect Pastime, a horse who has been running better than his finishing positions suggest recently. Moreover, those runs have been on all weather tracks in the main, and this reversion to soggy grass is in his favour. He ran well on his only previous run at the track when outpaced over five furlongs before staying on to be a never nearer third of eight. He looks a reasonable place bet (three places on Betfair still).
A - 4 (New Falcon)
B - 7 (Perfect Pastime)
5.00 Brighton: Just the one non-runner so far here, from a field of ten, meaning we still have three places to go at in this mile basement grade handicap. Pour La Victoire has run well enough of softish ground, and has run just plain well here in recent starts. He looks a strong placepot banker in the last, with the 'lay the place' option open assuming at least eight run.
But I wouldn't be that tempted to back him to win. Instead, I'm looking for an each way punt, and the one which I'm most attracted to (in a sort of last orders in the nightclub beer goggles kind of way!) is Polish Rider. He's had less chances than most, and the mile looks optimal. Ground is taken on trust to some degree, but if he can't get competitive off 46 for the Hannon yard, I'd imagine his days are numbered there.
But crikey, this is a shocking race.
A - 3 (Pour La Victoire)
5.30 Brighton: The 'lucky last' is a dozen runner mile apprentice handicap: lucky for who?! Katmai River and Saint Irene are the ones with going form, and both have been backed as a consequence. But Cape Crossing won on soft last time, and with just seven runs to his name is definitely more progressive than the aforementioned pair of old lags. He's a similar price and has the talented Oisin Murphy steering. I'd say he's become a bit of value thanks to the support for Katmai and Irene. The fact that Murphy may be able to control the pace is also a positive.
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All picks - 4 x 1 x 3 x 3 x 2 x 1 = 72 bets
Ticket builder optimized perm - see below.