Thursday, 13th July 2017
Mark Johnston has won each of the last four renewals of tomorrow’s bet365 Handicap (3.00) over the 10f trip. – each horse ridden by a different jockey….
Johnston would like to keep that record going. This time round he runs Titi Mafki with Ryan Moore up….
The Johnston record in combination with the eye-catching booking of Moore hasn’t escaped the market’s attention and the filly has been backed into 7/2 favouritism….
Fair enough. She’s an improving filly on a winning streak some four races long and she’s flown up the rankings to the tune of 23lbs since the start of June. She arrives with momentum. And there could be more to come….
All that said, favourites in handicaps exist to be taken on. At least that’s how it is for me. This will be a much tougher test for Titi Mafki and winning streaks generally end in defeat somewhere down the line….
She might be the one with the current reputation but there are other horses of interest at prices that make more appeal. Take SPEEDO BOY for Ian Williams….
I’m not quite sure why he’s the rag of the race. Maybe form figures in his last two outings that read 46 and margins of defeat in those races that read 4.5l and 7.5l….
But those defeats came in a listed race and a Group 3 contest. In the latter at Royal Ascot he was meeting better-rated rivals off levels and, while he probably isn’t at that level, he certainly didn’t disgrace himself.
Tomorrow he drops down in class and takes in what will be his first run in a handicap. He’s rated 100, that mark doesn’t put him out of this and he can prove better again.
I particularly like the booking of James Doyle. Ian Williams and Doyle have done well together when teaming up over the last 18-months or so. The 14s is a nice price.
With 11 runners going to post, the place terms make no appeal so I’m going to go two-against-the-field with Andrew Balding’s ATKINSON GRIMSHAW the second pick.
I talked earlier in the week about Balding and his 3yo handicappers at this meeting. He’s won this race twice in the last decade and this one turns up a couple of pounds out of the handicap to take his chance. He’s lightly-raced, progressive and rated just 80 he’s got mounds of margin to run into.
Balding doesn’t tend to waste bullets at this meeting and at the 12s I can justify being with this horse on what will be just a second run at handicap level after an easy win at Chester the time before – one the handicapper probably found it hard to put the right number on.
This is tougher. But that’s how progression works. There’s no way this horse is at his peak at 80. Now is the time to catch him on a mark that undervalues him….
Earlier on the card they go to post for the Silver Bunbury Cup (1.50) over the 7f trip. The 4yos have won the two editions to date, but I’m ignoring that and I'm sticking with the Ian Williams and James Doyle combination.
SHADY MCCOY is the selection this time. I think he's a nice bet at the 14s.
He needed his first run back this term. After that he ran a cracker in the Victoria Cup where he was 4th - in and amongst horses like Fastnet Tempest (now 99) and Zhui Feng (now 106).
He ran another decent race at Goodwood the time after from a position that didn’t do him any favours. Then he headed to York quite fancied for the JCB Handicap.
Something went wrong that day. He didn’t really show up and disappointed backers. But this is racing and a horse should not be discarded because of an aberration or one bad performance.
He bounced back to form next time out at tomorrow’s venue. He was back in 4th – but once again suffered for how the race unfolded. He had a first-time hood but that’s been removed for tomorrow’s assignment.
He likes to come off a hold-up ride and clearly needs things to go his way. But I think his time will come. He’s going better this term than his paper-form reads and he’s on a nice mark of 88 – just a single pound in advance of his last winning perch.
It was this time last year that he produced that win – at Goodwood under James Doyle who returns to the plate tomorrow. I think the 14s is a decent enough price….
The Contrarian Bet Box….
To recap on where my contrarian money will be going tomorrow afternoon….
In the bet365 Handicap (3.00 @ Newmarket)....
In the Bunbury Cup (1.50 @ Newmarket)....
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 tomorrow with my take on the action on Saturday….
Until then. Stay tuned.