There is plenty of rain forecast for the north west between now and the weekend and in Haydock’s opening 12f Handicap on Saturday I have already had an interest in David Simcock’s Prejudice – who is a full brother to Group 1 winner Postponed – who is 6/1 with BetVictor and is bred to get better with age. Any softening of the ground would not be an inconvenience to the each way recommendation.
True Self is 2/1 at BetVictor for the following Pinnacle Stakes and if Willie Mullins’ confirms his mare for the race I can see her going off a shorter price given she has been carrying all before her of late. A number of her potential rivals would have a bit to prove if the ground turned soft – but not True Self.
There was plenty of rain forecast for Nottingham on Tuesday ahead of today’s eight-race card. Ouzo must have every chance near the foot of the weights for Richard Hannon in the Mile Handicap, but I hope to see an improved run from Dalaalaat (1.00) who failed to get home over an additional couple of furlongs last time on soft ground and will appreciate the return to a mile.
Martyn Meade closed his yard earlier in the season after he was disappointed with the form of the stable. A market move for top-weight King Ademar would be worth noting although, as a son of Scatt Daddy, he would not want significant overnight rain.
There is only 2lbs in the weights between the 8 runners in the £25,000 Mile Handicap and David O’Meara saddles a couple with French import Baltic Baron a fascinating contender on his British debut. A market move would be worth noting.
The vote, however, goes to top-weight Escobar (1.30) who is 4lbs lower than when second in a valuable Mile Handicap at Ascot back in October. The selection goes on any ground and is currently 25/1 with BetVictor for the Royal Hunt Cup later in the month. He is 47th in the weights at present and the penalty he would pick up this afternoon would see him make the cut for Royal Ascot.
Moon King is likely to go off a short price as this progressive stayer goes in search of his hat-trick for Ralph Beckett from just a 5lbs higher mark than when scoring at Wetherby last time. I am going to take a chance, however, on Palladium (2.35) representing Martyn Meade.
The selection ran a fair race on his handicap debut at Doncaster back in April, but that was at a time when the yard’s representatives were not running up to stable expectations. I hope to see Palladium – irrespective of how King Ademar runs earlier – run a big race stepped up to 1m 6f for the first time.
I’m looking forward to the chase debut of Not Never (2.50) in the Beginners’ Chase at Fontwell who meets an exposed rival in the form of the former Gordon Elliot-trained De Plotting Shed who has his first start for Suzi Best.
De Plotting Shed – 0-10 over fences – is officially rated 140 although I’m not convinced he has been running up to that rating of late although he does have some top-class form over the larger obstacles. He could win this with his head in his chest, but Not Never is a younger horse who may have the legs of the likely favourite over this extended 2m trip.
Deputy Jones (3.25) shaped with considerable promise on debut and she receives plenty of weight from her two rivals in the Novice Hurdle over 2m 6f. The selection was a winning pointer in her native Ireland a couple of years ago and looks sure to build on her comeback effort over C&D back in April.
Regulation has been a revelation since, belatedly, switching his attentions to the larger obstacles at the age of 10 and goes in search of a quick hat-trick this afternoon. If the ground is no worse than good I hope to see Not A Role Model (4.00) go one better than when second in the corresponding race 12 months ago. The selection is still only seven and was too keen for his own good at Market Rasen last time when coming back from a break.
At Kempton Land Of Legends (6.45) disappointed last time, but he is taken to confirm the promise of his second at Yarmouth on debut. He is well drawn this evening and gave the impression he would be at least as effective over tonight’s 7f trip when fading close home at Newmarket last time.