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Tuesday, 3 July 2018

5.20 Thirsk, Wednesday, July 4

The Watch Racing UK on BT TV Handicap (5.20) at Thirsk on Wednesday isn’t a great race, even allowing for the 0-70 grade, but Jessinamillion appeared to appreciate his first experience of the North Yorkshire course just over two weeks ago and may be able to build on that effort in first-time blinkers. From the family of Primo Dominie, James Bethell’s four-year-old showed his first form of the season when fourth of 15, beaten 2¾ lengths, behind Fyrecracker over course and distance last time.

It’s fair to say that the form hasn’t really worked out, with the first and second both beaten in the 0-65 contest won by Munthany at Wetherby 12 days ago. However, off a handicap mark of 65 – his lowest ever – with the possibility of the headgear eking out a little further improvement, Jessinamillion looks worth a chance to confirm the promise of his previous course and distance effort. He’s only had 10 races in total and remains unexposed over 7 furlongs on a sharp or fairly sharp track, so while he’ll never set the world on fire he still retains at least a little potential.

James Bethell has a fairly dire 3-38 (8%) strike rate at Thirsk over the last five seasons and jockey Andrew Elliott is 0-7 for the yard in that period, so the statistics provide little succour. On the upside, though, as a horse from a yard with a poor record at the course, Jessinamillion may well be underestimated by the bookmakers.

Selection: Thirsk 5.20 Jessinamillion to win 6/1

Monday, 25 June 2018

3.40 Salisbury, Wednesday, June 27

In the Coors Molson Handicap (3.40) at Salisbury on Wednesday, Mr Top Hat has yet to win beyond 6 furlongs, but both his pedigree and style of racing suggest that stepping up to a mile won’t do him any harm. On his most recent outing, over the testing 7 furlongs at Sandown, he led at a good pace and, although readily held by the winner, Rum Runner, he kept on well to finish second, beaten 1¼ lengths. His previous form, over 6 furlongs at Leicester – another testing track – has worked out well, with the winner, Gabrial The Saint, far from disgraced in a hot 0-105 handicap at York and the second and fourth, Elnadim Star and Airshow, winning next time.

David Evans’ three-year-old steps back up to 0-100 level off a handicap mark 1lb higher than at Sandown but, while his sole win came on heavy going here last October, he appears fully effective on the prevailing good to firm going, so he must have a decent chance of regaining the winning thread. Jockey Fran Berry has a fair, if unspectacular, 11-52 (21%) strike rate on three-year-olds for the yard over the last five seasons, for a healthy level stakes profit of 25.25 points. Hopefully, the Kildarian can steer Mr Top Hat to a second course win.

Selection: Salisbury 3.40 Mr Top Hat to win 4/1

Sunday, 3 June 2018

5.10 Leicester, Monday, June 4

Twin Appeal drops into this grade for the first time since winning, off a 4lb higher mark, at Wolverhampton over the winter and ran well enough in a gentleman amateur riders’ race at York last time to suggest his turn isn’t far away. In fact, David Barron’s 7-year-old is 10lb lower in the weights than when last winning on turf, at Musselburgh just over a year ago and, while he’s remained winless for 15 subsequent starts in that sphere, he’s undeniably well handicapped.
In the Betvictor’s £Priceup Builder Handicap (5.10) at Leicester on Monday,

Indeed, the Oratorio gelding was only beaten 1½ lengths in a 0-95 contest over course and distance last summer off a handicap mark of 91 so, with capable apprentice taking off a further 5lb, he must have an outstanding chance if anywhere near his best. He has winning form on good to firm going so, while he does appreciate a little ease in the ground, he should be effective enough on the prevailing good going to take advantage of a lenient handicap mark. His draw, in stall 11 of 17, isn’t the best, but the draw bias on the straight course at Leicester isn’t huge and he should give us a decent run for our money.

Selection: Leicester 5.10 Twin Appeal to win 11/2

Saturday, 19 May 2018

When It's Just Not Your Day

I was skeptical of the 'this will make you give up punting' title to be honest, but to be honest if I'd been on this, I'd have felt cursed! File under 'It's not your day, mate!'