Early Bird – 18th August


2:25 Newbury – Algometer – 1.5pt win @ 6/1 Paddy Power

3:15 Ripon (Gt St Wilfrid) – Growl – 1pt win @ 8/1 Willhill, Boyle and Coral

Flying Pursuit – 1pt ew @ 12/1 Skybet 1/5th odds 6 places

3:20 Newmarket – Syrian Pearl -1pt e/w @ 15/2 Bet365 1/4 odds 4 places

3:25 Doncaster – Muntadab – 1pt e/w @ 9/1 Bet365 1/5th odds 3 places


2:25 Newbury – Algometer – 1.5pt win @ 6/1 Paddy Power

The Geoffrey Freer looks a competitive race featuring those coming down in class (Dal Harraild & Algometer), those stepping up from handicap company (Hamada) and then improving 3yos (Raymond Tusk & Perfect Clarity). As is often my way, it is the proven form in the grade that I like so Dal Harraid and Algometer are the two for me to concentrate on. To split the pair it is the ground that is significant in my view. Dal Harraild is best when it can hear its hooves rattling.

3:15 Ripon (Gt St Wilfrid) – Growl – 1pt win @ 8/1 WillHill Boyle and Coral

Flying Pursuit – 1pt ew @ 12/1 Skybet 1/5th odds 6 places

Taking two in this which I believe will represent value come race time and both are sure to have been targeted at the race having run in it last year (Finishing 9th and 5th respectively). Growl actually went off favourite for the race last year at 5/1 despite being rated 109, in a race in which the last 10 winners had been rated between 92-100, not a race for the higher rated horses. Has since fallen down the handicap to a mark of 99 from which it has gone close the last twice. The yard has a tremendous record in the race and won it twice in the last five years. Having been rated 10lb higher last year it must have a serious chance of winning it this year and would be no surprise if it was to go off a similar price as last year. The concern I have is that this track often favours those that race prominently. Mattmu made all in the race last year, the same with Nameitwhatulike the year before. Basically you want a horse who can travel well before kicking on and sees the trip out well. That is why I am also backing Flying Pursuit. Admittedly beaten in this race last year off a 4lb higher mark though was drawn on the wrong side. I also see less competition for the lead, with lots of these preferring to be held up off a strong pace, tactics that are hard to play out on this track. Already a course and distance winner, it may prefer a bit of give in the ground though has won and ran well on good ground before. From the same yard as last years winner it should go close if the race falls its way.


3:20 Newmarket – Syrian Pearl – 1pt e/w @ 15/2 Bet365 1/4 odds 4 places

Has a fine record in this race and over 6f in double figure fields. Seems to get targeted at this race, specifically for grey horses each year and though only beaten two horses home in three races this year, its last effort was better than the figures may show, getting taken off its feet on the fast ground before staying on to be beaten just over 3 lengths. Should appreciate the softer conditions, I am expecting a much improved display under one of the leading apprentice jockeys this year.

3:25 Doncaster – Muntadab – 1pt e/w @ 91 Bet365 1/5th odds 3 places

Front runner who is better these days in smaller fields when able to dominate. However, doesn’t seem to get that scenario very often these days in handicap company. Its record in fields of 12 or less over 7f in handicap company reads 014113. Slight worry as it may get competition for the lead from Ower Fly though to be fair the latter has been tracking the leaders of late rather than taking them on. Drawn to attack, the jockey takes a very handy 5lb off its back. It should go well.