Updated 9:15, 9:24, 9:39 - all selections online
** Hugh recorded a +281pts profit for 2016 with a return on investment of 1.44, his highest ROI ever. **
SHEILA’S PALACE is still a maiden, but both her running style and her pedigree suggest she is well worth trying at the new trip of 7f today at Lingfield (4.20).
She had a number of fair efforts to her name over 5f, but showed improved form on her first start over 6f last time at Wolverhampton, albeit in a weak race. Moreover, she was really strong at the finish, giving the impression another step up in trip would be in her favour.
That’s hardly surprising, because there’s little in her pedigree that suggests she should be a sprinter. Her dam’s best performance probably came when she was placed over 1m2f, and Sheila’s Palace has had two half-sisters who have raced for the same connections. Sheila’s Bond’s two wins came over 1m1f103y and 1m4f, and Sheila’s Buddy’s seven career wins have all come at around 1m2f, and both horses had sires more noted for imparting speed than stamina.
There could be more to come from Sheila’s Palace at this sort of trip and beyond, therefore, and granted luck in running she should go well.
The 1m4f handicap at Lingfield today (5.25) might not be run at much of a pace, and if that’s the case, BRIDGE OF SIGHS might be the likeliest horse to take advantage.
He caught the eye in no uncertain manner when 3rd at Kempton on his most recent start in January, making a sweeping move from the rear in a race which wasn’t run to suit hold-up horses.
His run did peter out in the closing stages, perhaps understandable given how quickly he had gone past many of his rivals, but it did mean there remains a slight doubt about his stamina in a truly-run 1m4f event.
That might not matter here, however, with a small field and little guaranteed pace, and a bigger concern might be his absence from the track since that last run. However, he created a big enough impression that day that he’s probably worth chancing, especially as he’s already won here over 1m2f.
In the 5f handicap at Lingfield today (4.55) MENELIK might be worth sticking with despite the drop in trip and rise in class.
He simply looks a horse at the top of his game, and although he was racing over 6f last time at Chelmsford, he had already outpaced some speedy types (including Mighty Zip, who was first past the post over 5f next time before weighing in light) well before they reached the furlong pole, then shooting clear despite his rider just nudging him along.
This will be an altogether different test against much sharper 5f specialists, and there are some potentially well-handicapped ones lurking in the line-up, notably Taajub and Powerful Wind.
However, Menelik has looked in such top form and has travelled so strongly in his recent races that he might be up to winning again.
Hugh's Best Bets (scale 1-5 points):
2pts win SHEILA’S PALACE (6-1 bet365, Betfred, 11-2 general with other Best Odds Guaranteed bookmakers)
1pt win MENELIK (11-2 general with Best Odds Guaranteed bookmakers)
1pt win BRIDGE OF SIGHS (4-1 bet365, Paddy Power, Sky Bet, William Hill)
all firms listed above are Best Odds Guaranteed.
Hugh gives a daily indication of when the column will be published via Twitter.com (username is HughRacing).
Hugh recorded a +281pts profit for 2016 with a return on investment of 1.44, his highest ROI ever. You can view his monthly figures by clicking the links below:
2016 results ROI 1.44 +281pts
2015 results ROI 1.34 +207pts
2014 results ROI 1.32 +199.79pts
2013 results ROI 1.32 +210pts
2012 results ROI 1.31 +222.65pts
2011 results ROI 1.28 +302.64 pts
2010 results ROI 1.23 +324.79 pts
2009 results ROI 1.26 +500.36 pts