Friday, 23rd June 2017
Look at previous renewals of the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (4.20) and it is immediately evident that plenty of horses have run massive races having been sent off unfancied at big prices….
I think Brian Meehan’s WINDFAST can add to that record tomorrow and I’m backing him each-way at this morning’s 40s.
He might be a 6yo but he certainly doesn’t have the profile of a typical horse that age. He’s still lightly raced and most of what he has done has been over trips beyond sprint distances.
It’s taken Meehan quite a while to discover that this horse is a sprinter and tomorrow will be just his 4th go at 6f and just his 3rd since his days as a juvenile. He is unexposed at the trip and potentially very progressive – despite his age.
You’ll find little in his record to suggest he belongs in a G1 race alongside the top 6f horses on the block. And that alone succeeds in getting my radar twitching.
Meehan nominated this race for his charge straight after a 3rd place effort in the G3 Abernant Stakes at Newmarket in April. Not too many observers would have predicted that call and it suggests to me that Meehan is seeing a lot more compelling evidence at home than we have yet to see on the course – hence the price.
I’m going to hold my hands up and confess that this is one of those ‘feel’ bets I sometimes go to market with. Sometimes you look at a horse in a race and something feels odd – in a good way.
The horse is completely overlooked. Some punters will probably be wondering what the hell the horse is even doing in this race.
Fair enough. But reading between the lines I reckon there’s a bit of confidence behind this horse – confidence that he can go well. Certainly, confidence that he can outrun his price. He’s a real dark horse and, at the price, I want to be with him.
In tomorrow’s Wokingham Stakes (5.00) I’m two-against-the-field – backing both to win and foregoing the opportunity to play for place money.
David O’Meara chooses to step EDWARD LEWIS back up to the 6f trip for the first time since he joined the stable from John Gosden’s yard and he’s well worth a bet at 20s.
He’s been progressive this season over the 5f trip and last time (in the Epsom Dash over the fastest 5f strip in Britain) he produced an eye-catching performance to finish 5th – just a length in arrears to the winner.
He didn’t get a clear passage that day – so he did well to finish where he did. He came from off the pace and finished his race off strongly. He’s clearly got sufficient zip for the minimum trip but he stays further too.
Last term, for Gosden, (prior to being gelded) the horse was campaigned over 6f and 7f and was progressive – producing a couple of solid performances over the 6f trip at Haydock.
He’s risen in the rankings from 89 to 101 since the start of this season. O’Meara has found almost a stone’s-worth of improvement already and this step-up in trip is the variable that can find more still.
The other one I want to be with is the William Haggas-trained RAUCOUS with Ryan Moore on-board at 14s.
He ran a couple of crackers on fast-ground last-term including a 3rd-place effort in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood (backed by this column) off 102 and the horse has been on my radar ever since. I reckon there’s a big one in this horse and tomorrow could be the day off a mark of 105.
He was gelded at the end of last term and whilst he did little or nothing of any merit in his two runs to date this term, Haggas will have him spot-on for this.
Moore never has any shortage of options in big races and his presence in the saddle for the third race on the bounce suggests this horse is a work-in-progress – and one that he believes is worth sticking with.
Haggas goes for the first-time blinkers and the horse gets the genuine fast ground on which he produced his career-best performances (in my book at least) last summer. The 22s is a nice price.
The Contrarian Bet Box….
To recap on where my contrarian money will be going tomorrow afternoon….
In the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (4.20 @ Ascot)....
In the Wokingham Stakes (5.00 @ 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.
I’ll be back in your inbox next week.
Until then. Stay tuned.