What looked a potentially decent weekend for betting has been somewhat dashed by the weather gods.
The hot weather has left ground a bit too fast at Sandown. The feature race – the Coral Eclipse – sees Derby winner Golden Horn face only 4 rivals in his bid to maintain an unbeaten record. The form of that win is looking all the better following a boost in the Irish Derby and he really should win. At odds of no more than 2/5 he’s hardly a value bet though considering the small field and no obvious front runner in the race. It could easily end up a tactical affair in a falsely run race and is best left to watch.
Fast ground has also seen the unsurprising withdrawal of Meccas Angel in the 2.00. Waady is 2 from 2 at the course this season over this trip and fast ground – and has a decent draw making him firmly the one to beat. He’ll probably go off around 2/1 now though – and that’s plenty short enough.
Haydock had a couple of races that looked of definite interest midweek but once again this course has done its best to ruin some potentially decent events by course mismanagement.
With rain expected, it’s hard to fathom why watering took place on Wednesday night. Good to Firm ground was declared for the first race on Thursday and it was quickly apparent by the time it was nowhere near that. Within no time at all it was changed to Good to Soft.
This isn’t the first time there have been erroneous ground descriptions from this venue. It can only be a matter of time before the name of the Clerk of the Course, Kirkland Tellwright, enters Rogers Profannisaurus in some guise – and for all of the wrong reasons!
What all of this only confirms that Haydock is a poor place to hold any advance views as the going information just isn’t reliable enough. Its only when seeing times and a visual impression of the ground that an opinion can be made.
The circumstances have certainly helped Lady Tiana’s case in the Lancashire Oaks at 2.15. The softer the better for her, so if it looks hard work in the opener she is definitely the one to beat.
There have already been non runners in the supporting Old Newton Cup at 2.50 due to the ground situation. If it remains bad I’m half expecting fast ground loving Battersea to join them and add a Rule 4 deduction to current odds.
Penhill will appreciate the easier ground and was reported to have not handled the track at Newmarket last time. I think he has the potential to be a good bit better than his mark but does need to settle a bit better in his races – something that makes his odds for this race look a tad short. Kinema appeals most of the outsiders as he still remains a bit unexposed at this trip.
All in all this is a weekend to watch and keep stakes low so I have no recommendations. However I do have a strong fancy for an Ante Post punt next week.
Mount Logan had a slightly unfortunate passage at Royal Ascot last time when a close fourth and would have undoubtedly given winner Mahsoob (now Group race bound) more to do but for that. He comes into next weeks John Smiths Cup off the same mark as a result and I think he’s overpriced at 12/1.
Trainer Luca Cumani has intimated on his website that he is a most likely runner (ahead of stablemate Ajman Bridge – trainer has a good line to potential rival Arab Dawn through that)
Lightning Spear is current favourite but is by no means a certain runner holding an alternative engagement in the shorter Bunbury Cup at Newmarket next weekend. A quote from his trainer Olly Stevens after his latest impressive win is a little telling to me –
We´ve got a variety of options for Lightning Spear. He´s in a Listed race on Saturday, but I wouldn´t have thought we´d rush him back. We´ll discuss things with the owners, but it´s hard to change things when you keep winning. However, he has the speed for 7f and the class for 1m2f so he´s in two big handicaps over those trips – the Bunbury Cup and John Smith´s Cup. It was a shame he didn´t make the Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot, and while we might be forced to go for something higher later in the year, a handicap is the next logical step
This would suggest to me that his optimum trip is between the two distances mentioned and that would favour the Bunbury Cup option. (Ground at both courses may also play a factor of course)
We also have Sahaafy and Spark Plug close to the head of the betting next week. As they are both running at Sandown tomorrow it would be a bit quick to expect them out again unless either win impressively and try to take quick advantage of their marks.
There is some chance of thunderstorms next week but hopefully that will only serve to make York’s ground (currently Good to Firm) just ease slightly before the weekend. Mount Logan’s only dismal performance last season came on almost unraceable heavy ground at Doncaster and anything like that is highly unlikely.
Given he looks the most likely to run of the principals and holds strong form claims I can see him being much shorter than current odds this time next week and think now is the time to jump in
1.5pts ew Mount Logan – John Smiths Cup – 12/1 (SportingBet, Paddy Power, Ladbrokes, Stan James, Betfair Sportsbook)
Thanks for reading and good luck