Not the most appealing of days racing, especially not when having been studying this weekends numerous competitive handicaps and Group races. However, I do have a bet that should turn out to be value.
8:25 Kempton – Vincent’s Forever
Course and distance winner for John Gosden who moved to David Pipe yard before ending up with Ed De Giles. Handicap mark has dropped significantly since its return to racing this year after a couple of disappointing runs on the a/w. However, seems better on that surface and with champion jockey De Souza booked for the ride and has a good draw in stall 2 it looks to have a very good chance. Money for the yards runners is often significant so with all this put together it should be a good bet.
1pt win Vincent’s Forever @ 8/1 Betfair and Paddy Power
12:45 Ascot – Ascot Heritage Handicap
As you can imagine, it’s a very competitive Ascot handicap though unlike some it doesn’t really feature any unexposed, lightly raced sprinters from top yards which you often find. That’s not to say there aren’t improvers in the race, Tanasoq has won its last 4 having really come of age this year and several turn up on the back of a victory or place finish last time. However, it is rising up the handicap and is surely going to get found out soon racing off a 20lb higher mark than when it first won. A standout to me is Polybius. Incredibly it has yet to win over 5f though was second in this last year off a 6lb higher mark suggesting a stiff 5f suits well. Went over to Dubai for the winter but wasn’t a successful trip, though did see its handicap mark drop from 105 to 97! Wasn’t disgraced when seen for the first time in 134 days lumping 10st 2lb having been backed into favouritism. Seemed to lose its balance in the final furlong or two when mounting a challenge and finished under hands and heels. Looks like it was returning to form and is certainly capable of winning off this mark. With the course form to boot, granted a good draw it has an excellent chance for an in form yard.
1pt e/w Polybius @ 16/1 Bet365 1/4 odds first 4
1:40 Newmarket – Bunbury Cup
Like the Victoria Cup, which often proves a good guide to this race, it is a major handicap run over the specialist trip of 7f. It is one that ran in the Victoria cup that interest me here as well. Spanish Citytravelled well but was given too much to do in the Ascot 7f race. Followed that up though with a comfortable win at Doncaster off the same mark, the jockey seemingly confident he would get there as it stayed on late to lead at the line. Was a beaten favourite at York next time off 3lb higher though the slow early pace didn’t help, it seems to be much better coming off a strong pace and didn’t have the quickening speed when needed. From a yard that does so well with his handicappers it should be well suited to the pace of this race. Will always need luck in these sorts of big field races, it can be lost on the draw which is why I have rejected Gilgamesh where there just isn’t enough leeway in the price to account for draw, track and luck in running, though it looks the one they have to beat.
1pt win Spanish City @ 20/1 Skybet, WillHill and BetVictor
3:40 York – John Smiths Cup
A race which has some strong trends. 15 of the last 16 winners had been aged 5 or younger whilst 14 of the last 16 has gone to a horse who had won over at least 1m 1f, significant as several runners re stepping up from a mile trip. Just these two trends alone reduces this field by more than three quarters. Dash Of Spice fits the trends though had been beaten twice beginning off 83 until stepped up to 1m 4f and though races off 103 here it is officially 4lb well in. Could well be more to come but then improvement may of been due to the longer trip. I will take a chance on Seniority putting its Ascot run behind him where it just found things happening a bit quick for it over a mile, having already won over 1m 3f at Kempton. Was well backed into favourite for that race however, though may just of been people putting the Royal aspect to the horse being owned by the Queen. Was progressive prior to that run having won two in a row an yard are so good at bringing horses through in handicaps. Is entered also for the race before over a trip just short of a mile. That looks considerably easier but the prize money is considerably less also and may just be back up in case it wasn’t to make the cut for this race. I suspect this trip will be much more suitable however and once confirmed for the race I imagine it will go off a much shorter price.
1pt e/w Seniority @ 16/1 widely available 1/4 odds first 4