Two selections for Friday’s racing, coming from Ascot and York. Tuesday was the last day of posting and even though all the stats suggested that Dropzone would run a bold race, that was not to be. He wasn’t helped by being held-up off a steady pace but I don’t think he quite handled the fast ground too. But clearly, he isn’t good enough in current form and is one to avoid. Busy day of Racing today and I’m visiting Thirsk this afternoon. Unfortunately, the card looks an absolute minefield and I haven’t a clue. So if anyone has any pointers for Thirsk, then feel free to tweet me “@joshfletch”and I’ll take a look. Selections below.
WOODEN KING (17:15) isn’t my usual sort of selection, mainly due to the fact that he isn’t actually that well-handicapped off his current mark and he doesn’t look capable of too much progression. That being said, the race today could fall into his lap, with an easy lead possible due to the withdrawal of Bertoliver. With not much pace in this line-up, Wooden King could get things his own way and will be difficult to peg back if so. An experienced campaigner, he’s never won off a mark this high but ran with real credit off this sort of rating around this time of the summer last year, with placed efforts at Bath and a 3rd over this C&D, in a race that wasn’t run to suit. This season’s efforts have been largely consistent, winning on his penultimate start at Salisbury. That was off a 4lb lower mark but he won with a little bit up his sleeve I thought and importantly, he didn’t get things his own way in front and emphasised that he doesn’t need to make all in order to win. He ran poorly last time out, but he wasn’t himself that day, most likely due to the ground and it wasn’t his handicap rating that beat him. I think he’ll be even better today when getting the lead and given there’s no other confirmed front-runner; there’s a fair chance he’ll be able to take them along. If so, a mark of 76 isn’t insurmountable. Minimum stakes only as it’s a bet full of risk really, but prices around the 16/1 mark are worth taking and a bold effort looks likely.
COCKTAIL CHARLIE (18:30) William Hill looks almost too obvious a bet and looks a huge price in this contest today, with decent course form to his name, a big step in the right direction last time and coming from a yard in form. It’s only that this race is super competitive and that the yard seem to have a more fancied runner in this contest that is stopping me from getting more involved. Trained by Tim Easterby, the selection showed very useful form as a juvenile and his early handicap career as a three year old, being rated as high as 95 and was second off 92 over C&D in a competitive handicap last year. He’s fallen down the ratings subsequently, his form tailing off during the late summer/autumn. In those races he often ran respectably, but never really looked like being the winner. Cocktail Charlie’s form in his first four starts of 2012 was even worse, not looking himself and therefore dropping 7lbs in the weights. It was not until last time out at Haydock that we saw respectable form. That was over 5f and that trip looked on the sharp side but it showed that he was on the way back and he now looks an extremely well-handicapped animal in decent enough form. Now dropped a further 1lb in the handicap, he looks a decent betting prospect running off this rating. He comes from a yard in form, Tim Easterby’s runners having a 20% strike-rate in the past two weeks, has solid course form at York, handles fast ground and isn’t badly drawn in stall 10, especially with Whozthecat likely to give him a good tow into the race. The step back up to 6f looks in order and although the yard’s first string could well be Medici Time, Cocktail Charlie is still worth a bet in a race that should be within reach.
17:15 Ascot – Wooden King; 1pt @ 16/1 William Hill (bog)
18:30 York – Cocktail Charlie; 2pts @ 14/1 Bet365(bog) [/notification_box]