Friday, 22nd September 2017
You can’t beat the weather and Ayr’s entire Gold Cup meeting was abandoned shortly after 8.00 this morning because the track is waterlogged and beyond immediate recovery….
It is exceptionally disappointing news. Especially when you spent most of Thursday running the rule over all 50 horses set to run in the Silver Cup and the Gold Cup on Saturday….
If I were a more emotional man, I might have burst into tears this morning when the news was confirmed….
But they breed us tough as old boots on the mean streets of South Cheshire, and we take these things in our stride….
The bottom lip may have quivered momentarily, but we managed to hold it together….
And a good thing too. We need our wits about us to get to grips with the one race of interest left to us tomorrow afternoon – the Dubai Duty Free Handicap at Newbury (3.25).
It’s a good race – a class 2 contest over the 10f trip for horses aged 3yo+ and rated 0 to 105. A field of 20 goes to post on ground described this morning as good.
The bookies are not taking many chances with the prices. Fidaawy is the stand-out favourite. Then Luca Cumani’s Banksie. And then you’ve got a whole clutch of horses trading at pretty much the same price.
Fidaawy was a decent last time out winner and Sir Michael Stoute has a good record in this race. But the 4yo is up 5lbs to 103 and this isn’t a race with a strong record of falling to horses rated in 3-figures.
Luca Cumani has a good record in this race too – he’s won it 4 times since 2004 and placed on two more occasions from just 13 participants….
But his Banksie is another one rated high enough on 104. And that one has done nothing since winning the Spring Cup at Newbury back in May.
That was over a mile. Tomorrow’s he’s back up to 10f and he’s fresher than most. But he does a have a little something to prove.
I want to be with Eve Johnston Houghton’s SILVER GHOST.
I don’t think he lost anything in defeat at Sandown last time when he was 4th behind Thundering Blue.
He’d been on the front-end in a race that ultimately favoured horses raced more patiently….
He was still on the premises deep into the closing stages and it couldn’t have helped his cause that his jockey lost his whip more than a furlong from home….
Prior to that he’d posted a three-timer for a yard that’s had a good season and remains in a solid vein of form right now….
Granted, things are getting harder than they were for Silver Ghost but that’s the case for a fair few of these. He remains on 93 and I take the view that he’s still very much in business on that mark.
He’s acceptable enough at 11s.
That’s not an each-way price for me. I’m going to go two-against-the-field and forego playing for place money….
The other one I’m going with is a horse I noted earlier in the season – the William Haggas-trained 4yo, AL NEKSH.
Back in May he produced a very promising effort behind Master Carpenter in a big handicap at York.
I expected him to progress for that. It hasn’t quite happened in his three subsequent runs. But there are valid excuses for each disappointment.
He bled next time out at Newmarket. At York, he didn’t quite see out the 12f trip. At Doncaster, he got caught out in a small-field tactical affair.
Tomorrow he’s back in a big-field for the first time since that May race at York – and that might well be the key to the improved performance finally arriving.
The Haggas yard is going well right now and in reaching for the first-time cheekpieces, Haggas might just squeeze a bit more out of his horse at just the right time.
The 14s is a fair-enough price….
The Contrarian Bet Box….
To recap on where my contrarian money will be going tomorrow afternoon….
In the Dubai Duty Free Handicap (3.25 @ Newbury)....
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.
No ATC Extra today. I’ll be back next week.
Until then. Stay tuned.
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