Friday, 26th May 2017
There are plenty of good races and betting heats to pick from tomorrow – with decent meetings at Haydock, Goodwood, York and Chester.
You wonder why they don’t spread the butter a little more evenly. It’s odds-on that in the weeks ahead we’ll get a weekend where there’s very little attractive betting action. And we’ll be wondering then what the sense is in having too much of a good thing one day and scraps for supper the next.
But we work with what we’ve got. And what we’ve got tomorrow are multiple good races up to a mile in trip – some of them confined to the 3yos. The best six races of the afternoon (as judged by me) have close to £500k prize money up for grabs. It’s going to be competitive.
We’ve had warm weather all week. They’ve been watering at all four tracks. The going is on the fast side of good at each. But….
Rain is forecast up and down the country tomorrow – in the morning and in the afternoon. We must be mindful of that. Some reports say 6mm will fall over Haydock. Others say it will be an afternoon of sunshine and showers.
The G2 Temple Stakes at Haydock (4.05) over the fast 5f hasn’t produced many big shocks. Nine of the last 15 renewals were won by horses in the top 3 market spots at the off. And the bookies are taking no chances this time round with 8 of the 12 runners in at 10s or shorter….
It would probably have been a race I’d have left alone had Bryan Smart’s ALPHA DELPHINI not been running and not been available to back at 20s – a price that might look generous in hindsight.
I rate this horse. I think the market underestimates him because he’s 6-years-old now, has been around for a while and maybe got pigeon-holed as a handicapper and nothing more.
But he comes from late-maturing stock. Half-brother, Tangerine Trees, didn’t hit his peak until he was 6yo and I reckon this one will prove similar. Smart has always said Alpha Delphini is quicker than Tangerine Trees was at his peak.
Smart also reports the horse has matured again over the winter and is physically bigger than last term. I expect him to progress on the track this term.
He’s already been out – in the Palace House Stakes at Newmarket. He needed the run – and it will have put him straight for this run at Haydock tomorrow.
I don’t want the ground to get too soft for him. The weather reports are conflicting and it’s hard to predict. So, I’m going to accept that the risk is factored into this morning’s price.
In any case, I’m mindful Alpha Delphini was only beaten as short-head by Cotai Glory on good to soft at the back end of last term. That ones’ half the price of the Smart horse for tomorrow’s race. And I’m mindful Smart’s horse is a strong stayer at 5f. A little cut could well play to that strength at flat Haydock.
The bottom line is this: whatever happens tomorrow, this horse is going in at some point this term and where the price is available, I’ll be on him.
The big betting heat of the day is the Unibet Sprint Stakes up at York (3.50) over the 5f trip. A field of 19-runners go to post – this race is right up our street.
David O’Meara is the top man at York these days – having displaced Richard Fahey – and his Out Do is a warm order for this contest with the market.
It’s easy to see why. The horse has dropped like a stone down the weights and his last time out effort at Ripon suggested O’Meara might have him on the way back.
Fair enough. But I’m mindful that this race wasn’t the plan for Out Do. He was slated to turn-out at last week’s Dante meeting but the soft ground got in the way. So, he shows up here. But this is the after-thought rather than the actual intention.
Which draws my attention to O’ Meara’s second entry in the race, WATCHABLE – who can be backed at 25s with William Hill and 20s generally.
A record of just 2 wins from 33 starts tells you this horse has been difficult to win with. But it’s a record that certainly fails to reflect this horse’s ability.
This time last year the horse was rated 110 by the official handicapper – having put in some none-too-shabby performances in big races and against decent opposition at high-level. He looked like a horse going places in the sprint division.
But then it stopped clicking. Over the summer months the horse failed to produce. And that’s been the case ever since. In the autumn, he was poor. In Meydan, he repeatedly misfired. In his seasonal reappearances to date, it hasn’t clicked back. But….
He shows up here for this valuable handicap sprint on a mark of 95. He hasn’t been rated that low since first getting a mark back in 2014. O’Meara enhances that situation with the booking of a 7lb claimer.
O’Meara is also dropping the horse back to 5f. He’s run over that trip. But mainly on sand or overseas. In Britain, he’s a bit of an unknown quantity at 5f. It’s an interesting move that catches my eye.
And the reapplication of the visor for the first-time since the back end of last year – and the removal of the cheek-pieces – also catch the eye. The visor coincided with some of the horse’s best performances.
Maybe O’Meara is just chucking the dice in a desperate bid to get this horse to fire. That’s a possibility. But at York, in a race like this and with all the subtle rejigging of the stall, I’m prepared to roll the dice too – and bet that Watchable can outrun his big price tomorrow afternoon.
The Contrarian Bet Box….
To recap on where my contrarian money will be going tomorrow afternoon….
In the Temple Stakes (4.05 @ Haydock)....
In the Unibet Sprint Stakes (3.50 @ York)....
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 now. I’ll be back in your inbox a little later today with ATC Extra.
It’s a Bank Holiday weekend, so I’ll be back in your inbox with ATC on Tuesday.
Until then. Stay tuned. And enjoy the weekend.