Friday, 11th June 2021
Royal Ascot starts on Tuesday – but we take a break from our prep work today (I’ll get back to it over the weekend) to focus on the weekend action….
There’s not quite as much of that as I’d anticipated – the mile handicap at Sandown has attracted just 10 runners….
That leaves the Pavers Foundation Catherine Memorial Handicap at York (3.40) as the one race of betting interest to me tomorrow – 17 go to post for the 6f dash up the straight….
I’ll get to my selection for the race in a moment. First – another horse for the ATC Watch List….
When Summerghand won the Stewards Cup last August at Goodwood, I remember jockey Daniel Tudhope remarking how nice it was for the horse to win a big race after going so close in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot earlier the same season….
The horse he beat just a head at Goodwood that afternoon – Joseph Tuite’s Kimifive – deserves a similar fairy tale happy ending after going so close in a big one. And it could very well be on the cards later this term….
Kimifive was put up 4lbs to a mark of 96 for that defeat at Goodwood under 3lb claimer Cieren Fallon – and he hasn’t managed to win in the 6 handicaps he’s contested since (4 at the back end of last term and 2 runs this season)….
But the good news for connections is that the 6yo’s worked his way back down the pecking order to a mark of 91 – a pound below the mark he ran so well off at Goodwood….
And whilst he hasn’t troubled the scorer this term, he’s fit and looks like he’s running into some form….
He ran with promise at Goodwood on seasonal debut over 7f. Last week at Epsom he produced another satisfactory effort in defeat – whilst being very much on the premises – on ground that would not have been ideal….
Goodwood and Windsor have been his ‘on business’ tracks; fast ground is his thing – he literally bounces off it; and whilst he’s no serial winner (going in just 3 times from 39 goes) he’s plenty good enough to land a decent race off his current mark….
I’d be surprised if a return to Goodwood for the Stewards Cup or the consolation race is not on the agenda this term – given how well he ran in the former contest last year….
There are no guarantees in a top-level big-field handicap, of course. One year is not the next and in big-field handicaps long-held plans can go arse about elbow in a millisecond….
But there is something out there for this horse off 91 or lower – and I’m betting Joseph Tuite will find it. Kimifive is set to win something later this term – and he goes on to the Watch List….
Anybody whose been on this service for a while will know that I have no compunction about swinging the bat at a big one – as and when I can make a case that justifies opening the shoulders….
And that’s how I’m playing it at York tomorrow – I’m on the Michael Dods-trained BLACKROD who can be backed at 18s & 16s this morning….
On the face of it, there’s not much to recommend the bet – not in the formbook at least. The Mayson colt has only raced 4 times to date – 3 of those on turf – and nothing stands out as remarkable….
He didn’t set any fires as a juvenile – though someone must have thought something of him to pitch him into Listed company at York in October….
On his return at Haydock, he ran down the field – but he didn’t get any cover that day. He was always out on the wing running into daylight and appeared to tire late on. He probably needed the race….
Even so, it’s still a reach to put him up tomorrow and I wouldn’t swing the bat at this horse – or one with a form profile like his – if it weren’t for Michael Dods and the fact this 3yo handicap is being run at York….
This bet is as much about the man and the track as it is about Blackrod….
Dods doesn’t have the volume of ammunition that other big Yorkshire trainers have. The likes of Tim Easterby, Richard Fahey, David O’Meara, Mark Johnston, and Kevin Ryan habitually pepper the York handicaps with multiple representatives….
But believe you me – pound for pound Dods out-performs them all. And that’s particularly the case in the 3yo handicaps run at the track. Overall he’s 10 winners and 6 placers from his last 35 qualifiers. And in the top 3yo handicaps at the track – the C2 events – he’s 5 and 2 from 9….
That’s some record. And it tells you that he doesn’t turn out chancing his arm with no-hopers. The 3yo handicappers he sends into the top events at the track tend to do his yard justice. Dods clearly likes to target York with ‘live’ ones….
Blackrod will need to improve a lot on that Haydock performance – and on what he’s shown before. For sure. But those stats above suggest there’s a strong chance he will. I note that Oisin Murphy is booked for the ride despite Paul Mulrennan (who rides regularly for Dods and who rode the horse last time at Haydock) being on the track tomorrow….
Perhaps Mulrennan doesn’t think it worthwhile to get down to 8-10 for this horse. That’s always possible. But he is down to do 8-11 on one tomorrow for Ed Walker….
That extra pound might be tougher to shift than I imagine, but Mulrennan did manage to get down to do 8-10 for a ride on a 33/1 shot at Redcar for Jim Goldie at the end of last month….
Who knows? Unless you’re on the inside of things, you can’t be sure. But perhaps the booking of a top saddle man is a positive indicator. We’ll find out tomorrow. At the 18s &16s I’m happy to swing the bat and get horse, trainer, and jockey onside….
Each-way backers take note: Sky Bet are paying out 1/5 on the first 7 home. William Hill are paying out 1/5 on the first 6. You can get 1/5 the first 5 and 1/5 the first 4 generally….
Nick’s contrarian picks….
To recap on where my idea of the value lies tomorrow afternoon….
In the Pavers Foundation Catherine Memorial Handicap (3.40 @ 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 today.
I’ll be back over the weekend – with more spadework ahead of next week’s Royal Ascot meeting. Meanwhile….
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Until next time. Stay tuned.