So that was day one, dear reader, of the greatest flat racing festival in the UK calendar. And it was a day for the punters... Yesterday's six stats to bash the bookies with were helpful. So let's go again for tomorrow's fare. Before that though, a quick review of this afternoon's action.
2.30 - Paco Boy looked a decent enough winner in a sub-standard field. Cesare was arguably unlucky but wouldn't have won to these eyes. Gladiatorus ran no kind of race, and I'd be swerving royal blue silks until the signs are better...
My Group 1 stat yesterday made it a coin toss, and one of the won the races.
3.05 - Even the worst draw couldn't prevent Scenic Blast from bringing home a bit of bacon for me (and most of the 'convicts'). He's a top drawer sprinter and laughed at our boys and girls. Draw 15 was he, and he beat stalls 1, 2, 8, 7 and 4 to underline the disadvantage he started with. A pity that he's not going to run Saturday in the Golden Jubilee, because I'd had a sneaky win wager on that ante-post too. Jumped out after the race when I heard the news...
The draw trend was pretty much upheld, and only a VERY good one was able to usurp it.
3.45 - Delegator is back, Mastercraftsman is tough as teak! Cracking race. Thought I'd done my money on the winner, but he's a stout enough beastie. Looks like these two will be meeting again before the season's out. The form looked rock solid as well. The trend I mentioned yesterday pointed to the first two, but then so did the market, so no brownie points for me there...
4.20 - I was against Canford Cliffs (even though it's a suburb of my home town, Bournemouth), and I was wrong. And how! Six lengths the margin, but this one was away and gone on the bridle when everything else was under the cosh. Facile winner, but I'd not be rushing to take 8/1 for the Guineas. He's a sprinter, and probably a 2yo to boot. (i.e. he likely won't grow much from 2 to 3).
Canford Cliffs could contest the Nunthorpe Stakes at York in August, which would be very interesting if he came up against Scenic Blast (naturally getting stacks of weight for age!)
The US bred quartet could do no better than 4th, despite having the 2nd and 3rd favourites, so this was a statbuster race.
4.55 - An eventful race indeed. The winner is clearly very progressive, having now rattled off a hat-trick. He looks like he might have to step up into Cup competition now, as he'll surely lug topweights in staying handicaps...
Again, the 4-6yo stat for this race was upheld, with the first three home in this age group. Of course, my each way bet, Som Tala, finished one place out of the money.
5.30 - Not a great race, but a great story with US speedball Strike The Tiger hanging on by a fast dissolving half a length. In fairness, he also was awfully drawn and used a lot of early pace to get across. He kicked on some way out (unsurprisingly for a horse who won his sole start over 4 1/2 furlongs!), and stayed there. The owner seems to have had 33 monkeys to one, and picked up a nice bonus Â£16,500.
My tickle, Di Stefano, finished third and would have won in another six strides. He ate the ground in the last 330 yards, and looks one to follow over 6 furlongs. Incidentally, the Tiger was drawn 16, and the 2nd, 3rd and 4th horses were drawn 2, 4 and 5, which highlights the merit of that performance.
The killer stat was upheld but in truth hadn't whittled the field down too much.
So, a good first half of first day for me. Downhill after that. Let's roll on to tomorrow...
2.30 Jersey Stakes: Typically a big field race over 7f, for horses who don't stay a mile or aren't fast enough for 6f (maybe a little harsh!). One to reduce the field is eight of the last nine winners had won in a Class 3 race or better. This scratched five of the sixteen. Not hugely helpful, but still helpful..
3.05 Windsor Forest Stakes: Contested by 4yo+ dames, this mile contest is a new race, and the trends are only five years old. As such, proceed with caution. Interestingly however, 7 of the 15 places have been claimed by 5 or 6yo's. There's only three in there tomorrow, and I personally like the look of Heaven Sent, who could be just that!
3.45 Prince of Wales' Stakes: Again, its 4yo's and up, but this time its the boys, and it's over 1m2f. This is a top class race, and it's therefore not a shock to learn that the last nine winners had already won a Group 1 contest. Only half of the eight strong field can boast that, so half can be (fairly) confidently excluded.
4.20 Royal Hunt Cup: It doesn't get any easier, does it?! 31 (ok, 29 after defections) go to post. However, nine of the last ten winners had already finished 1st or 2nd that season. This discounts 13 of the 31. Still eighteen to go, but a little more manageable, no?
4.55 Queen Mary Stakes: A good race for me, not just because I like the young ladies! The stat is eight of the last ten had finished 1st or 2nd on all starts. Lose 4 from 13.
As it stands, and unless anything untoward happens, I will be piling in on impressive Hilary Needler winner, Don't Tell Mary. She looked to go better the further they went, and was pulling away at the end. I reckon she's proper decent, guv'nor.
5.30 Sandringham Handicap: A mile listed handicap for the girls once more. Quite a strong stat in quite a weak race is that ten of the last thirteen winners had already won that season. If you buy into that one, you can scratch 13 out of the 21 due to go to post.
So there we are: 98 starters - 45 down, 53 to go! Bonne chance! Et allez Mary!!!!