Double Dutch, 13th January 2015
I don't mind admitting that I find mid-January tough from a punting perspective and yesterday typified why. We'd one jumps meeting full of small fields on testing ground and one mediocre A/W meeting to choose from and that's it.
Today looks exactly the same, if I'm honest, but just swap Plumpton & Wolverhampton for Fakenham & Southwell, after Ffos Las postponed, as it was even wetter than usual there!
But, as I've said in the past, every race, no matter how poor, has a winner. Unfortunately, though, I didn't find any of them, with Nouailhas' narrow defeat being as close as I got, after he was nailed on the line to lose by a short head with our other runner Mr Fickle, a disappointing 3rd, a further 13 lengths back.
Mind you, we'd already lost our stakes an hour earlier, as Tigre D'Aron could also only manage to be runner-up, beaten by 8 lengths by the 10/1 Regal Flow, who made full advantage of receiving 15lbs from our pick, overtaking our horse from 2 out and staying on well to win. Our other runner, Golanova was last of the five to finish, almost 40 lengths adrift and I feel he might be running out of chances now.
Saturday's results were as follows:
Tigre D'Aron: 2nd at 15/8 (adv 11/4)
Golanova: 5th at 2/1 (adv 2/1)
Nouailhas: 2nd at 7/2 (adv 5/2)
Mr Fickle: 3rd at 7/4 (adv 6/4)
Results to date:
457 winning selections from 1602 = 28.53%
142 winning bets in 415 days = 34.22%
P/L : +73.42pts (+8.85% ROI)
REMINDER: THERE IS NO DOUBLE DUTCH ON SUNDAYS
Like Monday, Tuesday looks tricky, but I'm going with these...
Both horse Queen of Skies and her trainer Mick Appleby are no strangers to the winners enclosure and both are in good nick. Mick has saddled up 8 winners from 29 runners (27.6% SR) so far this year, including a 5/17 (29.4% SR) record in Southwell handicaps. He comes here mob handed with 6 runners today, but will hope/expect to start his day in style with a win for this horse , who ran five times here at Southwell last January/February.
She finished 21224 in those races, all over a mile, before returning to this course four weeks ago to win by half a length, also over a mile, despite coming off the back of a 292-day absence from racing. The four week break since that run will overcome any ill effects she may have suffered and I'd expect the drop back to 7f to help her cope with a more than reasonable 2lb rise in weights. Liam Jones rode her for the first time in that win and he's on board Queen of Skies again today, hoping to repeat the feat at a generally available 9/4 BOG.
For me, the likeliest fly in the ointment is set to be the 100/30 BOG priced Pat's Legacy, who might not seem like an obvious choice, coming off the back of seven straight defeats since his last win 15 months ago. He has, of course, tumbled down the weights as a result of this run, but now runs off an attractive mark of 61, just three pounds higher than his last win.
He has shown signs of a return to form of late, making the frame over 7f at Ayr on soft ground in October and he followed that up with a runner-up finish here at Southwell last time out, when beaten by just a length and a quarter over a mile, despite conceding 20lbs to the winner. That was only his second run here at Southwell and with USA-bred males performing well here, today could be Pat's Legacy's day.
Cappielow Park has finished second in both his hurdles outings this winter so far, the latest being a defeat by just a neck at Fontwell on Boxing Day. He was caught very late on that day, seeming not to have the finishing speed required and suggesting that a step up in trip would have suited him better. He gets an extra furlong and a half today and also drops down in class.
The only one of his Boxing Day rivals to reappear so far is Hold The Bucks who finished 4th, some 15 lengths behind Cappielow Park, and he stepped down a grade to win nine days ago, which could be a sign that this one has a decent chance at 3/1 BOG today. He quite likie some cut in the ground and in Adam Wedge, has a jockey with a good record at this track.
The one he'll have to beat, though, is likely to be the 15/8 BOG favourite and lightly raced/unexposed Rendezvous Peak, who has only raced five times over hurdles, winning over a longer trip (+1.5f) last time out. He's raised 6lbs for that win, which isn't too much of a punishment, but having to carry the extra for a shorter time should help to ease the burden.
Lucy Wadham's horses have been running consistently well for a good few months now, winning over 20% of their races and making the frame more often than not and she has a 25% strike rate with her handicap hurdlers at this track in recent years and will fancy her chances of extending that record with Rendezvous Peak today.
4 x 0.5pt BOG doubles as follows:
Queen of Skies / Rendezvous Peak @ 9/1 (49/20 & 19/10 : Betbright)
Queen of Skies / Cappielow Park @ 12/1 (9/4 & 3/1 : generally)
Pat's Legacy / Rendezvous Peak @ 11.57/1 (10/3 & 19/10 : Betbright)
Pat's Legacy / Cappielow Park @ 16.33/1 (10/3 & 3/1 : generally)