Double Dutch, 25th July 2014
Another 1-2 yesterday, alas, as Assoluta comfortably took care of the early leg at Bath; but neither Beach Of Falesa (2nd) nor Elsie (4th) could land the payout.
That means, as the chair changes to me (Matt), we're still seeking that elusive 100th Double Dutch (from just 275 betting days), and we'll give it another bash today, of course.
Indeed, today a winning double would secure both the 300th individual winner and the 100th winning double since we started, so there's no pressure...
Thursday's results were as follows:
Assoluta: won at 9/4 (adv 7/4)
Soiree D'ete: 3rd at 9/2 (adv 9/4)
Beach Of Falesa: 2nd at 9/4 (adv 5/2)
Elsie: 4th at 2/1 (adv 6/4)
Results to date:
298 winning selections from 1054 = 28.27%
99 winning bets in 275 days = 36.00%
P/L : +67.16pts (+12.17% ROI)
REMINDER: THERE IS NO DOUBLE DUTCH ON SUNDAYS
Nurseries (handicaps for two year olds) are notoriously tricky contests, due to the combination of young horses often trying something different for the first time, and the fact that they may be receiving or giving weight for the first time.
Despite that scope for rapid - and ostensibly surprising - improvement from most runners, it is the favourite that I think looks pretty solid here. Alpine Affair was a classic example of how juvies can improve first time in a handicap last time: he went into the race with form of 007 - James Bond he was not! - but stepped up markedly on that maiden form and sluiced up by almost five lengths. Alpine Affair also wore blinkers for the first time there.
Here, he faces very similar conditions - six furlongs, good to firm ground - but steps up to Class 4 and is obviously rated higher. In fact, he has gone up from 66 to 79 but, due to the delay in bringing the new handicap mark into effect, he gets to run here off just 72, meaning he's essentially half a stone lighter than he should be if the 'capper has got it right.
If Brian Meehan's colt fluffs his lines for any reason, the most likely beneficiary would be Bronze Maquette, according to the market at least. But I'm taking a (big?) chance against him, as he's had a few tries and was beaten under identical conditions a fortnight ago. Although he was only a half length second then, he's been shoved up six pounds in the handicap, which seems a bit harsh. 9/4 is hardly a steal in the circumstances.
That all means I'm taking a flyer on Clive Brittain's Dubai Breeze, who could have railed against the softish turf last time. Prior to that, the Lope De Vega filly had run a good third in a big field Newbury maiden, beaten less than a length. She's got more scope after just three runs than most of her rivals, and I think her last run can be overlooked. 8/1 is pretty large, considering her trainer's fine Ascot record (3 from 11 in the last year, for 26 points profit; 12 from 101 since 2009, for 70 points profit).
A fillies' Listed contest over a mile and a quarter, and it has a most lop-sided look to it. The favourite is Tasaday, formerly trained by Andre Fabre and now in the care of Saeed bin Suroor for the Boys in Blue. She's rated 113, a peg earned courtesy of four pattern wins: two Group 3's, a Group 2, and most recently a Meydan Listed event.
So she's obviously got the class for this. However, two reservations are 1) she's returning from Dubai and plenty struggle first time after that plane journey, and 2) she's never won (or even run) on ground this firm. She could well overcome both of those concerns, and 6/4 is about right on the basis of her class; but I'm happy we take two in the race, just in case she does find something not to her liking ce soir.
'Raif' Beckett's Regardez is the best placed lass to leap into the winner's circle if the fav flops. She's the only other filly in the line up rated over 100 (104), and she gets a couple of kilos off her young back as a consequence of being a three year old. She won a ten furlong Listed contest on good to firm last time out - by six lengths - so she's clearly not going to be inconvenienced by conditions.
In fact, aside from her Oaks failure, she's got a very likeable profile for this level. Lots of horses struggle to come to terms with the helter-skelter that is Epsom, and that run is easily forgiven. I think she ought to be about joint favourite with the Godolphin runner on the basis of her guaranteed profile for the conditions, notwithstanding she has a bit to find with Tasaday in overall form terms. As a more lightly raced - and younger - filly, she is interesting, and she'll probably bid to make all tonight.
4 x 0.5pt BOG doubles, as follows:
Alpine Affair / Tasaday @ 6.14/1 (2/1 & 11/8 : BetVictor)
Alpine Affair / Regardez @ 9.5/1 (2/1 & 5/2 : BetVictor)
Dubai Breeze / Tasaday @ 20.42/1 (8/1 & 11/8 : BetVictor)
Dubai Breeze / Regardez @ 30.5/1 (8/1 & 5/2 : BetVictor)