There are small glimpses of form starting to arise and I am slowly but surely beginning to abscond my natural ability to chase an improbable betting dream. I feel I am at the stage now where I should be betting strategically and using my initiative. How this will pan out I am not certain, but gung-ho bets on big priced selections is clearly not the way forward, as so often they find one or two just that little bit better, finishing in front.
Today, the best of the racing action comes from Lingfield and Ascot, but only Ascot will feature turf racing as Lingfield has suffered from a deluge of rain this week, that has forced them to use their All Weather surface for their biggest racecard of the season. Hopefully that measure, on their part, will not impede any of my forthcoming selections and we can all still enjoy a profitable day.
Here are where my thoughts lie ahead of racing:
2.10 - Betfred Mobile Chartwell Fillies' Stakes (Group 3)
A very interesting renewal confused perhaps only slightly by the change of surface to polytrack rather than turf this year, with a fair turnout of 13 runners considering these new conditions. Only six of the field have contested a race previously on an artificial surface and one of those features prominently in the betting, in the shape of Fallen For You.
That run on the polytrack at Kempton came last time out in a conditions event where Fallen For You needed to show little in order to win. The race was over a mile and this return to 7f on a sharper course looks to be mildly more unsuitable this afternoon.
Now a 3yo Fallen For You will surely want AT LEAST a mile trip given he was competing well at the distance in his maiden season at 2 years in 2011. It is a known fact that horses tend to run increased distances from the ages of 2 to 3 and a look back through the results of this race, may help confirm that.
Three times in the last decade has a 3yo run out the winner of this race, two of which had made appearances on the track aged two. On both occasions those winners were stepping up in trip to 7f at the age of three, rather than stepping down. In all cases, those winners had spent all or almost all of their maiden season competing at 5f or 6f trips.
As a result I just do not see it as a huge probability that Fallen For You can win, despite the fact she is rated 110 and has the potential to be very classy as the season progresses.
Another consideration which may possibly help narrow down the list of possibles is to ignore horses rated below 100 if they have not won last time out. This race notoriously goes to fillies in form on an upward curve or to those established already as an 100+ rated type.
Only once in the last ten years has the winner been aged outside of the 3 to 4 year old age bracket, with overseas raider Sabana Perdida winning in 2008 and noticeably she was the favourite.
Best Terms looks ideally placed to take advantage of a sharp 7f and a race visibly lacking in likely pace. If her young jockey can set the correct fractions from the front, there is a fair potential of her winning, given the allowance over the older horses is 12lb.
However, despite having race fitness there are still doubts over whether she may have trained on to full effect, as reports suggest she has not grown over the Winter. These doubts make me almost convinced that the Sir Henry Cecil trained CHACHAMAIDEE will have her measure at the finish.
The selection is a 5yo who illustrated her high class with a flurry of solid performances in Group company last year. A win in this grade was also complimented by four further placings in other contests, including a 2nd placed finish by just one length, in the Chariot Stakes (Group 1).
The form of the stable, in ideal circumstances, could be better, but the majority of the stables high class horses have run very well since returning to the race track and I have convinced myself, that Chachamaidee will be another. Short price, but she faces very little realistic competition.
With a possibility of Best Terms being more than able to hold off the rest of the competition on the run to the line, there is an interest in a possible Exacta on my part.
THE BET: CHAICAMAIDEE @ 5-2 (William Hill)
Add Best Terms (9-2) for potential Exacta winnings. Libyas Dream has a chance for third (20-1).
Further racing takes place on the Lingfield card with trials for both the Derby and Oaks eagerly anticipated. The fillies take to the stage first and here are my quick thoughts on both events.
2.40 - Betfred "The Bonus King" Oaks Trial Stakes (Listed Race)
Eight potential improvers line up to see if they have what it takes to feature in the Epsom Oaks on June 1st, but just six are entered at this stage and they are quite possibly the ones to concentrate on. It also has to be noted that the race favourite has a poor record in this race having only won 2 of the last 10 renewals, but despite this it is apparent that 50% of winners have been priced at 5-1 or shorter.
The favourite this year is Vow who only has the experience of one previous outing. There is no disputing though that her victory over Everlong reads as a very respectable piece of form. As an offspring of Motivator this trip should prove ideal at this stage and with the William Haggas yard in good form, she looks the most likely winner at 15-8.
Value though can be taken on one of her rivals. Two runners that are next in the betting include the Roger Charlton trained Estrela at 4-1, who on breeding looks very capable. However I was quite horrified to notice that none of her Dam's progeny has ever won black type. This would not usually put me off, but when there have been EIGHT attempts previously, it has to be noted in BOLD.
The other short priced pursuer at 4-1 in the market is Colima, trained by Ralph Beckett. She is a half sister of Estrela as both are fillies by the Derby winning Sire Authorized. Her Dam achieved less as a thoroughbred than that of Estrela, but this runner is perhaps the more likely longer term prospect. Indeed she has a big chance in this race, if she can overcome her inexperience.
Considering this race has been moved to the polytrack I am giving a chance to the less likely Classic winner APOTHECARY who is trained by John Gosden. She has the benefit of three previous runs over shorter distances and all of these have been on an artificial surface. In all three racecourse appearances her only defeat came by a short head and this daughter of Manduro is capable of more.
The selection was not seen out until as late as December as a 2yo illustrating instantly that she was more of a 3yo prospect, more than anything else. In giving 12lb to rival Zain Princess last time, she beat a future next time out winner which gives the form of that race an encouraging look.
The likelihood is that Vow will win, but both Colima, and at a more rewarding price, Apothecary can challenge despite being the stable number two on jockey bookings. Given the current odds the latter filly is the preferred choice and some varied combination bets can be expected.
THE BET: Too many to mention, but a big place bet / small win bet on Apothecary is expected with a couple of Exacta and a possible Trifecta bet being researched.
3.10 - Betfred Derby Trial Stakes (Group 3)
The turn of the colts to put forward their prowess before being aimed at a potential tilt at the prestigious Derby race on the 2nd of June at Epsom. In similar fashion to the fillies' event, just two of the favourites have won this in the last 10 years. More intriguingly still is that, despite this fact, no less than EIGHT horses have won who started at 5-1 or less in the betting.
Just five of the eight strong contingent are installed in the Derby market, but no horse realistically can be ruled out on account of this. The horses worth focusing on include Rougemont, Shantaram, Ed De Gas and MAIN SEQUENCE.
Each colt on form has fair prospects of victory, but it is Main Sequence who gets my vote for the unheralded yard of David Lanigan. Still a very green filly is this one, yet she remains unbeaten in three starts. Her trainer reporter him to be very fresh for his debut this season and he reiterated his plan to bring him along slowly. A Derby entry looks destined to be fulfilled should he run out the winner of this.
Other runners hold claims and it indeed does have to be recognised that this will be the first run on a polytrack surface for six of the field. Of those that have tried the All Weather previously, Ed De Gas has obvious claims and is undefeated from three career runs so far. Two of these have been on the polytrack, but both wins came against limited class opposition.
From a value perspective Rougemont is perhaps the best alternative bet given that both he and the selection Main Sequence are similarly matched on all known form. However I cannot fail to be impressed with what Main Sequence has achieved from just three career starts and have to acknowledge that better is likely to come now that he is introduced to this new 1m 4f trip.
THE BET: MAIN SEQUENCE @ 5-2 (Bet365)
Rougemont and Shantaram are likely to give the selection most to think about.
Ascot will follow later this morning.... time for some breakfast first!