To get a winner yesterday was nice, but I need to touch on Jason Watson’s ride on Somedayonedaynever. I don’t have a clue and I don’t think he had a clue what he was doing in that race. He decided to take the horse across the entire track, taking him to the near rail, away from everyone else, before using the stick in his right hand which sent the horse to the left, wasting so much ground. He was subject to a big gamble as well, going off at 11/8F after being available at 5/1 and slightly higher. At least Mollie Phillips did me a favor by getting Temur Khan winning an hour later.
The Racing The league starts again today, with their first meeting being at Doncaster. I know it split the opinion of many last year, so I wanted to know what was your opinion on it. They made it sounds like it was good for racing with the increased prize money on offer, which is true, but it only helps the trainers who are involved, with the majority of smaller trainers not being offered the opportunity to do so, so I’ I’m not totally sold on it.
The feature race of the day comes in Ireland in the Grant Thornton Ballyroan Stakes (Group 3). Normally I would be going for the Paddy Twomey horse, who once again has very good claims on the back of landing the hat-trick just over a month ago, but I’ll be chancing my arm on DUKE DE SESSA, who definitely has the ability and is capable of winning a race of this nature.
It’s probably a bit risky going for a Dermot Weld horse considering he is having the worst season of his career as a trainer with just 8 winners from 189 runners (4% SR). However, I’m sure I read somewhere that his yard was hit by a virus and that is the reason for the poor form. In recent weeks, especially during the Galway Festival, which is a place which is normally good to him, his horses seem to be coming back to form. He went a long time without a winner, but managed to get one at that Festival, and had a few horses run into the places, so there is optimism that his horses are coming back to what they should be.
Duke De Sessa has run some decent races this year, including a 3rd in a Group 3 behind Piz Badil at this track on seasonal reappearance. He encountered a bit of traffic in that race and was cruising along at the time, eventually running well to finish in the places. He has since run okay in the Irish 2000 Guineas, where he was held up off the pace (like normal) and started to run on in the final furlong or so, ultimately finishing 5th and not troubling the horses in front. Last time out was back over 10f where he was held up and finished 2nd to Aikhal who sprung a surprise that day and is clearly a decent horse for the Aidan O’Brien team. What I think is interesting is the decision to put him up to 12f. I think that move is what he has needed for a while now. Despite the fact that he has a good cruising speed, he doesn’t seem to have a turn of foot for the shorter trips and always finds himself running on when the race is already over. His pedigree suggests this trip could bring out improvement and the fact he usually breaks out of the gates slowly, gives him more time to get into top gear and use the stamina which I think he has.
Dermot Weld has come out and said they’d like the ground to be slower, but that seems like nonsense to me as he has only run on soft ground once. He did win on that occasion, but surely if he needs soft ground they wouldn’t have run him on good ground, which he has also won a Group 3 on. The Twomey horse will be well-backed like they often are, and I think we can get a decent price on this guy.
It’s always dangerous going against Sir Mark Prescott when he runs his 3yo’s as they are often very well-handicapped and are capable of racking up wins and flying through the handicap, but I don’t think his runner of Arclight is a certainty in this race. He has some decent form as a 2yo, and ran well on seasonal reappearance at Sandown but doesn’t look to be ahead of his mark that some of his normally are.
The one I landed on is WHISPER who still looks capable of progressing again off a mark of 68. He has already won twice this year, both over today’s C&D, which bodes well. Hey beat Head shot by 1.5L when they previously met in May, and even though there is an 11lb swing in the weights in favor of Headshot, I think he’ll struggle to reverse that form as he beat him on seasonal reappearance and won with a fair amount in hand. Since then, Wisper has run well on every start, with a career-best coming last time out at Epsom when finishing 2nd to a well-handicapped Godolphin horse, who was 12lbs higher than Wisper but only carried 2lbs more, and he recorded an RPR of 93 which suggests he was well ahead of his mark. Wisper did well to finish as close as he did and on the back of that run, I think he is worth backing against the SMP horse.
Novice races aren’t my cup of tea but the price of NIGWA you have tempted me to back her. Her debut effort was a cracking run considering she was against horses with experience and horses who had already shown an okay level of form and were coming from the Gosden & Bin Suroor stables. The run didn’t quite go to plan either as she was short of room at a vital stage of the race, which meant she had to switch wide, but when she did he showed a cracking turn of foot and almost got up to win, eventually losing by a head. The way she powered through the line suggested a step up in trip would be well worth a go, and I think the price of around 7/4 is extremely generous. There are some interesting horses in this, including some newcomers from big yards, so I can see why they aren’t putting her at a very low price, but I think the trainer has something to do with it as well. Nigwa is trained by Edward Bethell, who is still relatively new to the training game. If this horse was trained by Haggas or Gosden she’d be odds-on for sure.