Reading between the lines - the Cunard....

Last Updated: 11.09.2018

Tuesday, 11th September 2018

Reading between the lines – the Cunard….

We didn’t get it right in the Cunard Handicap at Ascot. But we were not all that far away either....

We certainly got the value and the best of the prices....

Cliffs Of Capri was advised each-way at 25s on Friday morning and returned at 10s on Saturday afternoon....

But we didn’t quite get the result we were looking for. Jamie Osborne’s 4yo could only finish 5th of the 20 runners that went to post....

Readers of ATC are autonomous creatures when it comes to how they bet. And I know that some will have waited until Saturday morning and bet with a firm offering Enhanced Place Terms....

They will have got a return for the 5th place finish. But probably not at Friday morning’s prices. Wings and roundabouts come to mind....

Those who took the best price on Friday morning would have been on to 4 places only. And they had to endure another rerun of the faded old comedy that sees the each-way horse finish one place outside the frame....

Cliffs Of Capri’s performance was the latest in a line of nearly-but-not-quite efforts from this column....

  • Knocking on the door....

We put Cape Byron on our Watch List following his cracking effort in the Golden Mile at Glorious Goodwood in August....

It was a good call – but one that leaves followers of the Watch List horses shaking their heads in frustration....

Since running so well out of a wide draw in the Goodwood race, Roger Varian’s charge has finished 2nd of 18 in another big-field handicap at Goodwood (overcoming another wide stall)

Then on Saturday Cape Byron finished 2nd of 20 in the Cunard – beaten just half a length by a fast-finishing winner after bursting through and looking like he had the race in his grip. Talk about knocking on the door....

He’s been put up another 2lbs to a mark of 103 on the back of that latest effort....

That means that since being gelded in June, the horse has gone up 5lbs in the weights without having won....

Nobody minds their horse being sent up the weights when it’s won a pot. That’s the game. But life getting harder on the back of places – no matter how lucrative – is something that will have connections tearing their hair out....

The new mark doesn’t necessarily put the lid on Cape Byron though. He could still be a winner in waiting.

You can expect Cape Byron to be back at Ascot next month for the Balmoral over the mile....

In case you missed it....

You might be aware of the long-running Megan McCann case....

McCann is a student from Northern Ireland and she is suing bet365 who refuse to pay her winnings of £1,009,793 from racing bets placed in 2016. They haven’t repaid her five-figure stake either....

The Staffordshire betting firm refuse to pay because they say her stake was provided by a third party. In other words, she was betting on behalf of someone else and breached the Terms & Conditions all punters must agree to before they can bet with the firm....

McCann and her legal people claim bet365engages in unconscionable, exploitative and unlawful’ practices....

The respective claims are set to be tested in court in November. The outcome is sure to have implications for punters across the board....

Learn more here....

  • Onto the Watch List....

It is probably fair to say that Cape Byron ran well yet again despite another disadvantageous draw....

Of the first eight horses to finish on Saturday afternoon, six emerged from double-figure stalls....

Cape Byron won the far side race – having run from stall 2. The other one to run well from a single-figure stall was Sabador in third – beaten less than a length....

On my figures, that represented a career-best performance from Ed Walker’s 4yo....

The handicapper has put him up a pound in the ratings to a new mark of 97. That won’t diminish his chances of progressing again and for my money he’s the one to take out of the race and add to our Watch List....

A straight 7f has produced the best 3 runs of this horse’s career. He hasn’t been tried at a mile since May last year and I wonder if stepping back up to that longer trip is an option for him now that he’s grown up a bit.

He certainly ran on well enough on Saturday afternoon after making good ground from the back of his group and maybe getting to the front and seeing a bit too much daylight too soon....

He’s only had 10 runs to date – just 8 on turf – and there’s plenty of scope for more yet whether that be over the 7f trip or the mile....

  • To good effect....

2018 has been a fine year for 3lb claimer Jason Watson....

His win in the Cunard on Saturday on Ripp Orf added more cream to a stellar season – one that has already delivered a Stewards Cup and additional decent handicap wins at York and at Sandown....

He’s on 50 winners for the campaign – eight winners ahead of his nearest rival in the apprentice title race – and he’s not far off having won £1 million in prize money for the connections he’s been riding for....

Watson is the latest top apprentice off the production line down at Andrew Balding’s yard. And it is Balding that has provided the lion’s share of the winners during this calendar year – 19 from 71 at a whopping strike rate of 26.8%....

But you wouldn’t have made money backing them blind. On the nose level stakes betting on all rides this year has produced a small loss....

Better to look beyond the rides a top apprentice takes for the ‘home team’ and to look at rides for ‘outside’ yards that have cottoned onto the advantage he might represent in the saddle of one of their handicappers....

Saeed Bin Suroor, for example. He’s used Watson to good effect – giving him eleven handicap rides this year that produced 3 winners. Punters backing them all are 9 points to the good....

Mark Usher is another. Eighteen times Usher and Watson have combined on a handicapper in 2018. They’ve won with 5 and produced a level stakes profit of 22 points for punters....

Maybe Usher and Bin Suroor will seek to go to the well again before Watson finally rides out his claim entirely. The stats say such instances are worth looking out for....

  • The last word….

Plenty of good claimers over the years have fallen off the radar once they ride out their claim and are forced to compete with the top boys off scratch....

But I have a feeling Watson won’t be one of those. I think he has what it takes to become one of the top men in the years ahead....

That’s all from me for today.

I’ll be back tomorrow.

Until then. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd