A Look Back on Saturday
Getaway Trump ran a seriously good race to win the first race on the card at Sandown carrying 11 stone 12lb, and he’ll be an exciting horse to watch next season. Scarlet Dragon ran a good race to finish 4th and it seems as though the big field and strong pace made all the difference, as he ran too keenly on his previous start and the conditions yesterday helped him to settle. Definitly Red was a non-runner in the Oaksey Chase and so Black Corton went on to be the impressive winner. Altior was excellent and although he didn’t win with the swagger that we’ve seen in the past, it was another solid run from the champion considering the fact that he would have preferred not to have made the running and the right-handed track didn’t necessarily help his jumping.
Step Back ran creditably back at a right-handed track and that does seem to be the key to his form. Talkischeap appears to have been a very well handicapped horse. Over at Haydock, Spirit Of Lund missed the break again and then ran no race at all. I wouldn’t necessarily give up on him as it was his first time running on a softer surface and it’s possible that this went against him. Overall, it was a poor day for the selections after a good day on Friday, but that is only to be expected from time to time and it’s onwards and upwards.
It’s a quieter day today after a manic Saturday, and the best of the action is at Navan with two listed races in the support card for the Vintage Crop Stakes.
2:35 – The first handicap on the card sees the return of a horse that we backed a few weeks ago. Verhoyen went off at 20/1 that day and finished a close 3rd at Naas. He has shown definite promise in his last two starts and I don’t think that going up 2 pounds was overly harsh for that performance. He’s dropping back to 5½f today which shouldn’t be an issue and it’s a similar class of race. I reckon that the 8/1 on offer at the moment is more or less the right price and if he was to get any bigger, he’d probably be a bet for me at around the 10/1 mark – not as of now, though. UPDATE: Bet365 have gone 10/1 on Verhoyen and it seems a fair price to me for a horse that I suspect is still well handicapped.
Verhoyen 1pt win 10/1 (Bet365)
3:10 – The Irish Rover really caught my eye in the 2000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown. He wasn’t quite up to the top level as a juvenile but he didn’t seem to get the toughest ride first time out this year and once Heffernan did ask him for some effort he made some nice headway through the race. O’Brien has always maintained that he shows plenty of speed so it’s no great surprise to see him drop back to this sort of trip and he’d be my idea of the winner here, but again, I was looking for a bit more than the current best price of 5/2. If strong support comes for Cava or another runner and The Irish Rover drifts, he will be more interesting, but I’m not having a bet at the current prices and will update here if that changes.
3:40 – Encapsulation is one that we’ve been following since she caught the eye running green at Leopardstown first time out. She broke her maiden impressively next time out but this is a serious step up in class – that said, she is one of the only fillies in the field who is more or less guaranteed to stay the trip and considering it’s a ten-runner race I don’t see any harm in having a small each-way bet, although the race is likely to be dominated by Pink Dogwood who is ante post favourite for the Oaks.
Encapsulation 0.5pt e/w 25/1 (1/5 odds 3 places Paddy Power, Betfair)
4:15 – Capri is likely to go off at a short price here and he’s a horse than I’m very keen on. He did win first time out last season and the yard is in flying form, but O’Brien seems to think that he’s the type to need the run. He wouldn’t be a betting prospect for me today but he is interesting for the Ascot Gold Cup. Southern France is another to keep an eye on. He took a while to mature last season so one would imagine that he will have come forward a bit over the winter and he could be there or thereabouts in the staying division this season.
4:45 – Crimson King missed the break at Leopardstown on Guineas Trials day but stayed on into 6th like a horse with plenty of stamina. I was wondering whether they might step him up even further in trip, but that 10 furlong race was his first run over further than a mile and it will be interesting to see him again over that trip. A look back at some of last year’s form suggests that he’s well handicapped: he ran at Naas in a handicap over 7f, coming out of the stalls slowly that day too and then shaping like a horse who wants a step up in trip, staying on for 3rd. He was carrying 7lb less than the winner, Antilles, who finished 4 lengths ahead of him but who is now rated 35 pounds higher. The horse in 2nd (Colfer Me, also 4 lengths ahead) was carrying 1lb more than Crimson King and is now rated 27 pounds higher. Crimson King may well come on for his last run, will be suited by the trip and looks very well treated (on the assumption that he breaks well, which has been an issue on every run to date).
0.5pt e/w Crimson King 33/1 (1/4 odds 4 places, Skybet, William Hill, BetVictor)
5:15 – Newcross is just one that I want to keep an eye on over the next couple of months. He was unlucky at Galway last summer (in fact, he was unlucky a few times but Galway is the one that stands out in the memory) and that run saw his mark increase from 75 to 83. It’s back down to 80 now which makes him top weight today, but I get the impression that they might be aiming him at something. Whether or not it’s today remains to be seen, so he’s not carrying my money, but he would be interesting if his mark was to drop another few pounds over his next couple of starts.