No joy with Buthelezi on Saturday, who by the look of things needs to be gelded again after a wayward performance and seems to have gone the other way (from being very keen, to very lazy). He is the sort of horse that will pop up at a price in a race when you think he’d have no chance, but I can’t see me backing him again after this effort to be honest.
Finally we have some good racing to get our teeth into with the start of the Craven Meeting at Newmarket today. The feature race of the day is arguably the Nell Gwynn but that is a race which is far too competitive for me to be getting involved in, so I’ll be a watcher rather than a player of that event.
There has been plenty of support behind Valbchek in the (3:00) at Newmarket today, but this horse has been priced up purely on reputation as opposed to what it has done on the track, and I’d rather side with the proven Balty Boys who rounded off his season with a solid fourth behind Crusade in the Middle Park Stakes. The son of Cape Cross ran a better race than it actually suggests at Newmarket last time, and with no penalties for this sales race he is officially top rated, has the biggest speed figure out the pack and is simply overpriced in relation to his rivals.
Solar Deity is a horse which could run well, who looked like a drop back to this trip last time out would be rewarded with better success, and is held in high regard by his yard.
Across to Beverley for the (4:30) and one where which the Tim Easterby trained gelding Deepsand is overpriced at around 8/1. A likeable son of Footstepsinthesand, he improved with each run last season and gave the impression he would be the much more finished article this season.
Bred to appreciate trips in excess of a mile, his form over shorter distances suggests he’ll have no problem coping with his current rating of 79, and with more yardage to cover I expect further improvement and expect him to finish up the season closer to 90, as opposed to what he is currently racing off.
In the (5:20) I expect a victory for John Gosden with the exciting middle-distance three year old Shantaram who created a favourable impression on debut when second (and not knocked about) at Sandown. Bred to be better with age, the son of Galileo is reported to have done well throughout the winter and a maiden looks a formality before progressing towards a tilt at Derby trial.
The (5:55) is a tricky handicap for three-year-olds but is one in which I feel is worth chancing a small bet on the Andrew Balding trained Top Cop who should make up into a very nice sprinting sort this year, and carried a large weight (in relation to others) at Doncaster on his final run, and for one so inexperienced ran a lot better than the form suggests.
The race has worked out well so far, suggesting to me that his current mark of 92 is very workable considering Bogart (carried 6lb less) won a Listed race next time rated 103, and was only in-front of Top Cop by around a length at the line.
He is weighted to confirm form with Alejandro, and both Factory Time and Mehdi ran very well off ratings in the low 100′s out in Dubai, so it all points towards a big run from the son of Acclamation.