5th May 2017
In this week’s issue….
We pay our annual visit to Thirsk tomorrow for the Thirsk Hunt Cup – where they race over the left-handed mile….
A field of 18-runners goes to post on ground described this afternoon as good to firm….
Lat Hawill is shortest in the market this afternoon. And it’s easy to see why. You can make a massive case for him….
He’s back to form and whilst he failed to get in front last time at Musselburgh he didn’t get the best of runs. Supporters who put up the sustained money for him that day will be set on compensation tomorrow.
Winless last term, the 6yo has tumbled down the ratings to a very workable 93. He’d be the second-highest rated winner across the last 16 years but he’s got plenty going for him – including an inside draw and the services of Philip Makin who rides the Thirsk mile as well as anybody….
The only problem is the price. He’s 6s. That’s way too short for this column. Our job – self-imposed as it is – is to uncover what the market has missed or under-estimated. I must look elsewhere….
The one I’m going to take at the prices is Les Eyre’s talented COTE D’AZUR. You can back him at 20s – and that’s a nice each-way price….
Where to start? Not many trainers improve a horse they inherit from Sir Mark Prescott. But Les Eyre has done precisely that with this 4yo. He got him 3 wins into a 4-win sequence last summer and improved the horse from 87 to a high-point of 96.
The highlight performance came in the Silver Cambridgeshire over the straight 9f – where the horse finished 2nd off a mark of 92.
The horse shows up here tomorrow on 93 – more than workable. He’s had two runs this term over 10f – but has disappointed. He pulled too hard on seasonal debut on the all-weather and he was free-running last time at Pontefract….
Now he pitches up here at Thirsk, drops back to the mile on a tight track and will be ridden by P J McDonald rather than the man I’d anticipate – David Allen (who does have rides booked at Thirsk tomorrow and is generally Eyre’s go-to man)….
It’s an odd set of circumstances that I’m not sure I understand. And that’s really what attracts me. Either Eyre and his team are tilting at windmills or they have a defined plan.
Cote D’Azur is drawn wide. That’s not ideal. But given he’s a strong stayer, being out deeper on the track might not be the problem for him than it would be for others. But I confess, for me the draw is the big negative factored into the price….
That said I’m going with it – and two things really encourage me….
First, I believe a big-field will improve this horse. The one time he’s had the opportunity to get cover in and amongst a big pack of opponents, he produced a career-best.
Second, P J McDonald has produced some useful performances in this race. He won for Michael Dods in 2010. And he’s placed on two additional occasions. Maybe that race savvy is what won him the ride tomorrow.
Of course, I could be seeing too much. Or seeing it mistakenly. They might want to hit the front with the horse right from the get-go to try and make all – knowing the horse can go hell for leather all the way up the 4f straight and still be staying on strong at the end.
I don’t know. But there are enough interesting oddities in this entry to attract my attention and to encourage me to put my money down at the big price.
And, if it all goes wrong, this horse is weighted to provide compensation further down the line. Sooner or later he’s going to deliver.
COTE D’AZUR @ 20s (Generally)
Standard place terms are 1/4 1-2-3-4 and I’ll be going in each-way.
Over on my paid ATC service I’m focused on tomorrow’s Palace House Stakes at Newmarket.
A big-field goes to post over the fast 5f and I’m siding with an overlooked sprinter with plenty going for him at a nice price….
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That’s all from me this week. Enjoy your weekend.