Following last week’s flight of fancy, we’ve decided to rein in our natural impulses and go for three horses that we expect to run well at decent, if not astronomical, odds.
The first of them is Advance in the Matty Bown Handicap (2.45) at Pontefract. The Aqlaam gelding has already won four times this season, but would probably have gone very close to doing so again if not for being snatched up in the closing stages at Leicester last month. A 2lb rise in the weights for being beaten doesn’t seem entirely fair but, frankly, shouldn’t make much difference and he can resume winning ways. He should relish the stiff uphill climb to the line at Pontefract.
Our second selection is Correggio in the next race at Pontefract, the Book Your Christmas Party Here on 0113 2876387 Handicap (3.15). Micky Hammond’s 5-year-old apparently lost a shoe and suffered minor abrasions when below par over course and distance last month, but had previously won a similar contest by 6 lengths and deserves another chance.
Finally, in the EBF Stallions Breeding Winners Fillies’ Handicap (3.50), Pretty Bubbles is an interesting contender for John Jenkins on a course where he’s had just five runners during the last five seasons. The Sleeping Indian mare has yet to tackle 6 furlongs, but has been running well over 7 furlongs and is another who should find the testing hill over the last three furlongs at Pontefract to her liking.
There’s no shortage of runners at Doncaster on Thursday, the second day of the Ladbrokes St Leger Festival, which gives us the opportunity to back some high class horses at apparently generous odds. We’ve failed to land one of our ‘deadly’ doubles so far, but all of our selections have been there or thereabouts, so we’re far from discouraged.
Our first selection this week is Fadhayyil in the Japan Racing Association Sceptre Stakes (2.30) at Doncaster. Barry Hills’ filly was only beaten half a length in the Group 3 Jersey Stakes, over 7 furlongs, at Royal Ascot in June and, although failing to build on that performance in the Queens Plate Stakes at Goodwood, was trapped wide for much of the way and appeared ill-at-ease on the course in any case. She’s the highest rated filly in the field according to the BHA and looks a decent bet to follow up at 5/1 with Ladbrokes.
Our second selection is more nebulous, insofar as it’s based on Tony Hamilton’s choice of Another Touch from six Richard Fahey-trained entries in the Weatherbys Hamilton £300,000 2-Y-O Stakes (3.40) at Doncaster. The Arcano filly appeared to be beaten fair and square by Time Warp at Leicester last month but, with the winner following up in a French Listed race on Monday, the form looks better than it did at the time. Coral offer a standout 40/1 in the early price lists, which is simply irresistible!
Selections: Doncaster 2.30 Fadhayyil, Doncaster 3.40 Another Touch, win double
It’s fair to say that Thursday’s cards aren’t particularly inspirational but, in our search for value, we’ve once again come up with a couple of selections, which constitute our ‘daily double’.
Newmarket trainer Charlie Appleby has a 2-9 (22%) strike rate with his three-year-olds at Haydock this season and appears to have a decent chance of improving that record with Second Wave in the Betfred “Double Delight” Handicap (3.35). The New Approach gelding won on his seasonal debut at Redcar in April, so an absence of 138 days is less of a worry than it otherwise might be and, although beaten off a 1lb lower mark at Nottingham on his only subsequent start, he remains open to significant improvement.
At Salisbury, the Country Gentlemen’s Association Dick Poole Fillies’ Stakes (3.45) is the race of the day and features an intriguing clash between the progressive fillies Mayfair Lady and Whatdoiwantthatfor, who are inseparable on official ratings. However, preference on this occasion is for Whatdoiwantthatfor, whose two defeats have been inflicted by subsequent Lowther Stakes winner Besharah and is proven on the prevailing soft going.
Selections: Haydock 3.35 Second Wave, Salisbury 3.45 Whatdoiwanthatfor win double