16th June 2017
In this week’s issue….
We’re up at York this weekend for our target race – the JCB Handicap (2.20)….
It’s a class 2 event for horses aged 3yo+ and rated 0-105. A field of 18 runners goes to post. They race over the left-handed 7f trip on good to firm ground….
Salateen heads the weights on his mark of 104. Hugo Palmer’s Mazyoun brings up the rear on his mark of 88. The field contains a quartet of last-time out winners.
There’s not much to go on in terms of evidence from previous renewals. The race has only been contested twice before. Both editions fell to 4yo participants rated in the 90s.
The market likes the bottom-weight Mazyoun. He’s the jolly in this afternoon’s betting – in at 8s.
Fair enough. But he’s won just once in 8 starts to date – and that was a maiden on the all-weather.
He did win plenty of money for finishing 2nd in the 2yo Stakes at Doncaster last September – in first-time cheekpieces. And he followed up with another placed-effort in a big-field Listed race at Redcar – sporting first-time blinkers.
He clearly handles a big-field. But this is a different proposition. He’s the youngest horse in the race and up against streetwise veterans for the first time in his career.
The market might well be on to something. He might well dot up. But, at the price, I won’t be betting on it.
We’ll get to my selections for tomorrow’s race in a moment. First a quick spin through the other races I’m targeting this weekend….
There’s some cracking action for enthusiasts for big-field handicaps and big prices on Saturday afternoon….
Up at Musselburgh there’s the Scottish Sprint Cup over the fast 5f. I’m two-against-the-field for that one – backing a pair of live ones at big prices….
At York, there’s a valuable 6f handicap for the 3yo sprinters. That’s another race where I’ve gone two-against-the-field – backing one to win and the other each-way – at nice prices….
You can get immediate access to these extra bets on the website when you take a FREE 14-day test drive of my Against the Crowd service….
Daniel Tudhope is an interesting booking for the ride on GURKHA FRIEND. He’s associated primarily with David O’Meara’s horses but the boss doesn’t have one for him to ride in this tomorrow. He rides York well and O’Meara’s loss is Karen McLintock’s gain.
Moving onto the horse, the 5yo has been improving with every run since mid-April and turns out tomorrow pretty-much in the form of his life – something that might have a little to do with being gelded last October.
Granted, all his decent performances this term – including two wins – have been produced at Ripon. And he clearly likes going right-handed. But I don’t think he’s a one-trick pony and I’m mindful that connections were targeting a handicap with him at Epsom.
He shows up here instead targeting the most valuable pot of his career to date. He’s fit and firing and on a mark of 94 there could well be more to come.
He’s dropping back to 7f having been racing over a mile and 9f. That might put some off. But I’m not concerned.
This horse likes to lead or race with the pace and from the inside stall tomorrow I can see him going off hard early doors. He stays beyond 7f and if he’s given enough rope early-doors, he might prove difficult to peg back in the later stages of the races.
The 14s is a fair each-way price.
GURKHA FRIEND @ 14s (Generally)
The standard place terms are 1/4 1-2-3-4 and I’ll be going in each-way.
That’s all from me this week. Enjoy your weekend.