Double Dutch, 25th February 2014
I think it's fair to say that yesterday wasn't one of our better days. Two weak-looking five-runner races seemed ideal for another relatively simple payout for us, but it certainly didn't pan out as expected.
A well-backed runner-up who went down by three parts of a length was as good as it got, with our other three selections finishing outside the front two.
It would be churlish of me to complain about the performances, though, since we're still in a very healthy position, so I put yesterday down to experience!
Yesterday's results were as follows:
Dingo Bay: 2nd at 15/8 (adv 4/1)
Moonlight Maggie: last of 5 at 11/4 (adv 9/4)
Fantasy King: 3rd at 13/2 (adv 9/2)
Doldrums: 4th at 11/8 (adv 9/4)
Results to date:
163 winning selections from 570 = 28.60%
55 winning bets in 151 days = 36.42%
P/L : +49.63pts (+16.65% ROI)
We've both chase and A/W action to consider today:
Barenger is the only one of the four runners here with a recent win and the way he put his last race to bed was pretty impressive. He led from 2 out and readily opened up a decent lead, eventually winning by a good 7 lengths without really trying too hard. He is, admittedly, up 8lbs for that Market Rasen victory on Boxing Day, but the drop back in trip will help him carry the extra burden today. he seemed to have plenty in hand and I'd expect further improvement from this one, who can be backed at 7/4 BOG with Coral.
Phase Shift might well be in the grip of the assessor now, but she's the most consistent of the four here and is rated the best on official figures. Carrying top weight, there's a concern she could get outpaced over the minimum trip, but these small fields races tend to be slower, more tactical affairs which could play right into her hands. There doesn't seem to be any real pace or front runner in the race, so she could well still be in contention on the run in. If that's the case, she's a viable alternative at 7/2 BOG here.
Shannon Haven proved he gets this trip by getting up on the line to grab a share of a win over Course & Distance here almost a fortnight ago. He was a huge 14/1 price that day and ran very well indeed to maintain his trainer's excellent record at this track (23% strike rate). This is an apprentices' race and in Louis Steward in the saddle today, we've got one of better ones available in this sphere.
Shannon Haven is the only runner in this race with a victory to his name and I'd take him to follow up here at 6/4 BOG with Coral.
The more interesting (to me, at least!) of his rivals is the handicap debutant Ventura Reef, who currently trades at a steady 5/2 BOG in most places. He showed some potential in three 7f A/W maidens, but he was never up to the pace of the race and the suggestion is that he really needed a much longer trip. Allocated an opening mark of 58 might well make him top weight here, but I feel that might still be a lenient starting point.
The Fahey team are adept at getting unheralded handicap debutants to go well at the first tome of asking and this might just be the kind of weak-looking contest they would target.
I'm aware that if the two favourites go in, it's a fairly short-priced double today, but it looks like a good shout here, with the added insurance of the extra selections, just in case.
4 x 0.5pt BOG doubles, as follows:
Barenger / Shannon Haven @ 5.88/1 (7/4 & 6/4 : Coral)
Barenger / Ventura Reef @ 8.19/1 (13/8 & 5/2 : generally)
Phase Shift / Shannon Haven @ 9.69/1 (7/2 & 11/8 : BetVictor & Hills)
Phase Shift / Ventura Reef @ 14.75/1 (7/2 & 5/2 : generally)