Double Dutch, 18th October 2014
Well, that was weird, wasn't it? Anyone who made a bet at Newmarket yesterday was a very short price to have lost. And that includes Double Dutchers. Big Classic dreams lay in tattered piles as high as the mountain of torn up betting slips that littered the ring on the Rowley Mile as one of the most bookie-friendly days in living memory transpired.
No winning favourites. No winning second favourites. No winning third favourites. Ouch. On the bright side, we only lost two points and Saturday is another day.
Friday's results were as follows:
Lucida: u/p at 6/5 (adv 13/8)
Agnes Stewart: 2nd at 5/1 (adv 9/2)
Estidhkaar: 4th at 11/8 (adv 6/5)
Smuggler's Cove: 3rd at 7/2 (adv 4/1)
Results to date:
377 winning selections from 1329 = 28.37%
122 winning bets in 346 days = 35.26%
P/L : +49.81pts (+7.2% ROI)
REMINDER: THERE IS NO DOUBLE DUTCH ON SUNDAYS
There are no easy races at Cheltenham, but two trainers who know better than most how to get the job done here are Paul Nicholls and Jonjo O'Neill. Nicholls saddles Vivaldi Collonges, an easy winner when stepped up to this trip for the first time on his last run. That was in handicap company too making it more meritorious, and he should take some beating if fit enough after the summer holidays.
If not Jonjo's In The Rough might oblige. He comes here on a four-timer, but his last win was so striking - "hard held" was the Racing Post comment - that it must have been the step up in trip that improved his performance. That was over 2m7f around Worcester, and this is another three furlongs on a more testing track. He wasn't stopping so hopes are high he'll stay, and he looks a bit of value against the jolly.
Talented horses abound in the field, but these two handicap winners could be back for the Festival in due course, and ought to be good enough to contest today if that's right.
A decent Listed race over an extended mile, and the two to focus on are Sruthan and Stuccodor.
Sruthan is three from three on yielding ground, and is a dual Group 3 winner. A mile is fine for him, and on his second start off a break, I think he'll probably win. He does have to concede a five pound penalty to his rivals though and, as a consequence, it's as well we can add another string to our betting bow.
That string is Stuccodor, Dermot Weld's lightly raced Modigliani gelding. He was last seen in March when winning the 21 runner fifty grand Irish Lincolnshire. He'd been running through the winter in novice hurdles, and this will probably be a stepping stone to a similar programme this season. Still, he has done a fair bit more on the level than over sticks to date, and he's best in at the weights with Sruthan's penalty.
I'd have no particular worries with fitness - Weld is a master at bringing horses back off a layoff - so this lad should be in the shake up.
Jim Bolger's Sun On The Run is respected, with his two from two course record, but he'd need to improve to get past the selections.
4 x 0.5pt doubles as follows:
Vivaldi Collonges/ Sruthan @ 6.92/1 (15/8 & 7/4 : Betfair sportsbook)
Vivaldi Collonges / Stuccodor @ 9.8/1 (15/8 & 11/4 : Betfair sportsbook)
In The Rough / Sruthan @ 7.25/1 (7/4 & 2/1 : Coral)
In The Rough / Stuccodor @ 10.48/1 (15/8 & 3/1 : bet365)