Friday, 12th May 2017
A relatively quiet day for us tomorrow as we build up to next week’s Dante meeting at York – a meeting where there will be several handicap events for us to shoot at….
Tomorrow the Victoria Cup at Ascot (4.00) is the big betting feature that catches the eye. A field of 27-runners goes to post on ground described this morning as good to firm.
The race is the first in a series of big handicaps up the straight 7f that stretch from one end of the flat season to another. And there are plenty of familiar names in tomorrow’s line-up.
In a race of this nature, with such a big field, I’ll be going in double-handed – two-against-the-field….
TAUREAN STAR has a record which suggests he’s a bit of a specialist on the idiosyncratic surface at Ascot.
Four runs at the track to date have produced 2 wins. Both were produced under the stewardship of Jamie Spencer – as was a 5th place finish in last season’s Woodford Reserve Handicap at the track.
Spencer take the ride tomorrow. He’s in good form and riding with confidence having won on 8 of his last 37 mounts. And he has few peers up the Ascot straight.
The 16s is a nice price about a horse that has already illustrated his well-being with a win at Yarmouth at the start of the month. He goes well fresh and did so again – beating some reasonable opponents without Spencer having to resort to the whip.
I think there’s more to come. He can improve for that sharpener and he’s got every chance to land a career-best pot tomorrow afternoon.
He goes off 91. I suspect that leaves him some margin to work with. He beat Banksea at the track over a mile last year – conceding weight. That one is now rated 103. It’s not a definitive way of looking at things – but it serves to illustrate how far ahead of 91 Michael Bell’s horse could well be.
BOSSY GUEST hasn’t won a race for more than two years and last season he ran a sequence of absolute stinkers. Excepting his decent effort in the Royal Hunt Cup at Ascot, he looked like a horse who had become happy to let the pack finish in front of him.
On his final run of last season – which came as early as July – he virtually refused to race and was beaten 121 lengths.
Connections clearly decided to pull up the stumps. I don’t know if something was wrong or if there was something connections wanted to work on. But one thing they did do was geld him.
First time back this season, in the Spring Cup at Newbury, the effects looked positive. The horse produced a decent run to finish 5th. He was short of room and got a bit squeezed when making his move, but he finished the race off well and there’s every reason to believe he can progress again on the back of that run.
Most of his racing life has been spent in conditions events. Tomorrow’s race will only be his 5th go in a British handicap and, if the in-form Mick Channon does have him back to his best, a mark of 103 gives this horse a real chance – because he has a bit of class to call on.
At his best, he was rated 114 and produced some very smart performances against high-quality group horses. Regular rider Charles Bishop will be at Haydock. But William Buick is an eye-catching replacement booking. The 20s is a fair-enough price….
The Contrarian Bet Box….
To recap on where my contrarian money will be going tomorrow afternoon….
In the Victoria Cup (4.00 @ Ascot)....
That is my take on where the value lies – but you will no doubt have your own ideas and that’s exactly as it should be.
That’s all from me for today. No ATC Extra this week….
I’m taking a day on Monday. I’ll be back in your inbox with more insight and analysis on Tuesday morning.
Until then. Stay tuned. And enjoy the weekend.