An early bath yesterday, with the second leg our undoing. Ailsa Craig was my sole A selection, and I'd backed her too. She could finish no better than fourth, and looks a bit regressive perhaps, these days. That said, she's tumbling down the weights and her smart trainer will surely find a race for her soon.
Today, we'll head to the beach, and Southwell, for a change.
Leg 1: 2.00 - We start with a competitive staying handicap and the US-bred Gucci D'Oro is market leader. US bred horses perform very well at Southwell for some reason: presumably due to the similarities with American dirt track surfaces. It's a leap of faith that the surface will suit on this first try, but he's worth a shot and has form to be in the shake up.
Medieval Bishop looks nailed on for this trip and track and, on this third run off a break, should be hard fit. I like his chance the best.
More established Southwell performers include Koo And The Gang, Tobrata and Omid. The first named has had eight spins round here, and won three of them. Those wins were between five and seven furlongs however, so fourteen furlongs might be stretching it a bit. He has placed over hurdles, but I'm not sure he's the toe for this, despite it being a fairly moderate level.
Tobrata stayed on well to win over a quarter mile shorter here last time, and he looks a decent place prospect, IF he's fit enough after a break. Lack of market support is a worry, but I'll take my chances with him anyway.
Omid seems overlooked a little here. He's a bit in and out, and his last run was a poor one. But he has won over course and distance, and been second - both last Summer - so his best form would give him a squeak. He's dropped a few pounds in the handicap now too.
Akarana represents very shrewd connections and this trip-up-stepper has been well supported. It's possible today could be the day for him. And Rock Of Ages has been the subject of strong money: as a son of Pivotal, he might like it round here...
A - 4 (Gucci D'Oro), 6 (Rock Of Ages), 7 (Medieval Bishop), 8 (Akarana)
Leg 2: 2.30 - A six runner maiden in which four are very closely matched on official ratings. Speed Date probably has most improvement of the quartet, but she was very disappointing last time. It's possible she might have needed that, and it's possible she hasn't trained on. Too much of a question mark to include.
Mark Johnston and James Tate are the in-form trainers in that foursome, and their Sandy's Row and Gebayl respectively seem the reliable pair. Sandy's Row was beaten far enough often enough last term, and making his three-year-old bow here; and Gebayl has finished second here on his three tries, all over a furlong further. The drop back in trip is not obviously in his favour, but the trainer knows more than I do about such things!
The last of the four, Solarmaite, is also dropping back in trip from a mile and three furlongs. Though he patently didn't stay that far last time, his other runs have all been around a mile. I'd be far from convinced he has the speed for this.
Stand N Applaude has one piece of six furlong soft ground form which gives him a squeak in this, but has otherwise been poor. And Mistress Shy is poor.
This is a terrible race, and I really don't know which way to turn. So I'll include most of them and hope for a result.
A - 3 (Gebayl), 4 (Sandy's Row)
B - 5 (Speed Date), 6 (Stand N Applaude)
Leg 3: 3.00 - A novice stakes race, with five runners, one of which is a no hoper. Despite that, we have the spectre of a non-runner making it win only, and it's really tricky anyway. We need to conjecture on which has the most improvement, or whether to side with course form.
I favour course form here, so will include errant five furlong Southwell winner, Loma Mor, who will appreciate this longer trip; and I'll take a chance with the well supported Left Defender, for no other reason than that.
A - 1 (Left Defender), 4 (Loma Mor)
Leg 4: 3.30 - A five runner sprint handicap and they bet 5/2 each of three! I like Flirtinaskirt, whose form looks solid. Sharaarah has been well backed, and her soft ground form entitles her to respect too. Of the trio of 5/2's, I'd be against Harbour Captain.
A - 1 (Sharaarah), 2 (Flirtinaskirt)
Leg 5: 4.00 - A funny race, this. It's a mile and a half maiden, with Sir Michael Stoute and Mark Johnston represented. Sir Michael has had just one winner from the ten horses he's sent here in the last decade, and that puts me of his filly. Johnston saddles Street Artist and he looks likely to at least make the frame here, after a couple of strong staying performances to finish second.
Gwael is fantastically bred for the job, and James Tate's are normally straight enough first time. Eighteen of Tate's 25 Southwell runners to date have made the frame, with nine of them winning (for a profit of over 30 points at SP).
A - 9 (Street Artist)
Leg 6: 4.30 - I went banker in the fifth leg because I need some ammo for the last! It's a five furlong sprint down the straight, and it could be a muddling result.
Constant Dream is the best horse in the race, and she might be good enough. She's my A banker, but I'll take a few on B as backup.
Confidential Creek is hard to overlook, after some consistent all weather runs. He didn't seem suited by the faster turf he's faced lately. Outbid and Laughing Rock have taken plenty of market interest this morning, and they're both capable of prevailing if on a going day. And finally, Viva L'Inghilterra could lead and prove hard to pass.
A - 1 (Constant Dream)
B - 2 (Confidential Creek), 3 (Outbid), 4 (Laughing Rock), 5 (Viva L'Inghilterra)
That leaves us looking like this:
Just A's - 4 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 1 x 1 = 32 bets
All picks - 4 x 4 x 2 x 2 x 1 x 5 = 320 bets
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