THE WEEK AHEAD: CODESHARE IS ONE TO WATCH AT SOUTHWELL
I notice that there are several horses entered in the coming days that I have mentioned in earlier blogs, including a few from my interview with Peter Bowen in Week Three.
Judge Earle runs in the Fiona Crawford Equestrian Photographer Lady Riders' Handicap Hurdle at 4.10 at Newton Abbot. I suspect he ran a bit flat last time out at Cartmel which was his second run in five days. He has enjoyed a two week break since then and will hopefully be freshened up for Saturday. He returns to the same course and distance of his previous wide margin success and will hopefully go well. The unknown with him is how he will fare without one of the Bowen brothers on his back.
My idea of the best opportunity from the Bowen yard over the next few days is Codeshare who is set to line-up in the 0-110 Keytree Handicap Hurdle at 8.00 Southwell on Tuesday. I expect he will rate much higher than his current mark of 106 in the coming weeks. If I have a bet between now and next week then Codeshare will certainly be close to the top of the list.
Regular readers of this blog will know that I have been waiting for Get An Oscar to run in a 0-100 contest. She is entered in just such a race at Southwell on Tuesday and I hope she takes up that engagement. If she runs at Southwell it would be disappointing if she were not competitive in the latter stages.
The Tom George trained Sumkindofking returns to the track after a 52 day absence in the Actuate Marketing Handicap Chase at 3.35 at Newton Abbot on Saturday. He has won well before after a longer break so I do not envisage his time off being a problem. I prefer to mark him up when he has a professional jockey on board as he does not appear to be the most straightforward of rides. He will have a lot in his favour if taking his place in the line-up for the Actuate Marketing Handicap Chase at Newton Abbot on Saturday. The trip is ideal and the good to firm ground will play to his strengths and Jonathan Burke is booked to ride. Maybe he is the type to place more often than he wins; consequently he is a horse I might consider playing each way to small stakes when trading at a big price. At the same time, I would prefer not to have to trust Sumkindofking in a race when he was starting at very short odds.
COURSE IN FOCUS: PERTH
I have to say that Perth is one of my favourite courses to visit and, although I will not be there this Sunday, I do intend taking the trip north later in the year. I have focussed my attentions on two trainers with particularly strong records at the course in recent years.
Gordon Elliott holds a 31.65% strike rate over hurdles and a 22.17% record with his runners over fences. If we split his overall record into handicap/non-handicap races then his record in handicap races is 23.98% whilst he has a strike rate of 34.34% in non-handicaps. Clearly his high strike rate in hurdle races and non-handicap races is reflected in the average prices of his winners in those two categories.
If we put the two big percentages together (non-handicap races over hurdles) then Elliott holds an impressive 38.69% record (65/168) and we would have made a small profit backing them all to Betfair SP.
Gordon Elliott has just the one entry in a non-handicap hurdle races at Perth on Sunday; Borice in the 2.05.
Onto the second trainer with an excellent course record at Perth, Peter Bowen who I interviewed previously for this blog. He mentioned to me then that he only sends his horses on the long journey north to Perth if he thinks they have a strong chance of winning; moreover his course statistics support his view. The Pembrokeshire trainer holds a phenomenal 44.44% strike rate in non-handicap races at the course (16/36); in addition he has a near 27% strike rate in handicaps at the Scottish track and an even better percentage strike rate with his chasers (29.69%). That first statistic in non-handicap races might be worth remembering for the next few meetings at Perth.
He has three entries on Sunday including General Allenby who was beaten by a well handicapped horse (For Jime) last time out over course and distance. If the rain stays away then he should be thereabouts in the Lodge At Perth Handicap Hurdle.
The most interesting entry from this yard on Sunday is Play The Ace who is possibly an extremely well handicapped horse (the other possibility being that he is not as good as he was) due to being dropped 17lbs for three quick runs in hunter chases. He paid a big price for racing prominently off an overly aggressive pace at Cartmel last time out and has been declared for the Favourite Handicap Chase (5.00) at Perth. I think there is a good chance that Play The Ace can follow up his promising run at Cartmel with another strong effort here.
LOOKING BACK: ASYLO IS WORTH KEEPING FAITH IN
The Dr Richard Newland trained Asylo was mentioned in week four of my blog. On July 7th at Market Rasen he was outpaced off the turn for home on the good ground over an intermediate trip. His profile would suggest that he is one to mark up when competing over a similar distance on good to soft ground.
Two days earlier at Newton Abbot The Jam Man followed up his Cartmel success with consummate ease. His most recent victory was gained over hurdles whilst his previous success had been earned over the larger obstacles. Consequently The Jam Man remains well handicapped under both codes. The style of his recent performances would strongly suggest he will be at home over extreme distances in the future. For now I would be happy to have him on my side over an extended three mile trip; particularly if competing on a more galloping track.
Tikkinthebox appeared to have been found a relatively easy opportunity at Uttoxeter this week. He was returning to the track for the first time after wind surgery. Unfortunately he was doing far too much out in front on this first outing since early May. Hopefully he will not be so buzzy the next time we see him; consequently I would be happy to give him one more chance in similar company on good ground. He was very fluent over his fences at Uttoxeter and his front running style should, at least, offer some potential as an in running trade next time out. I will prefer his claims when competing on good or good to firm ground. Prior to his breathing issues surfacing Tickinthebox had won very easily off his current mark of 115; thus offering plenty of encouragement for his chances in the short term. Moreover he may actually get dropped a couple of pounds for that Uttoxeter defeat.
The Olly Murphy-trained Oscar Maguire won with some authority on that same Uttoxeter card. Previously at Market Rasen he had made one or two errors including a serious one at the third last hurdle when competing over an intermediate trip. On that day he looked to be in desperate need of a step up in distance; moreover he confirmed this impression the way he won earlier this week. He was not travelling in the early part of the race but did all his best work from half way up the home straight. He had previously ‘developed his low mark’ by running over the minimum trip in his first five races over hurdles. Consequently Oscar Maguire has begun his three mile career from an extremely low platform. I strongly suspect he will be a horse to follow in the coming weeks despite the hike in the weights he will, no doubt, receive on the back of his wide margin success at Uttoxeter.