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The least I want to say from a horse is that it's given a fair crack at the race and if he/she is not good enough on the day then so be it, but it's very frustrating when you're relying on a jockey to put the horse in the right position.
I'm referring to Rab Havlin who for some reason decided to anchor Tolstoy in last position, around 10L behind the eventual winner, giving my selection no chance. He ran on strongly when he got open air to run into, and there is a strong possibility that he wouldn't have won today, but you'd like to see how it would play out if given a competent ride.
Casilli, the other selection on the day, was hammered from 12/1 into 7/2 or something close to that. She went with her usual outside-the-field run at Beverley but didn't pick up like usual and looked quite flat, in a race which was torn apart by two non-runners.
Chantilly 2:15 – Berneuil 8/1 (0.5pt EW)
The decent Class 1 sprint comes at Chantilly and I think the value play in the race is Berneuil.
You've got one English raider, who is Perdika, coming from the George Boughey stable. She has been in good form this year, running well at Bath, Meydan, Newmarket and winning a Listed at today's venue, but she is surely a terrible price at odds-on. I think her best runs have come over 6f, so this drop to 5f makes her a lay in my eyes, especially at prices of 5/6. I thought Berneuil drawn in stall 1 was the angle in this race, especially with Ronan Thomas in the saddle.
Ronan has ridden Berneuil just once before, and that resulted in a career-best performance at Longchamp in a Group 3. He is usually a horse who doesn't front-run, but Ronan took full advantage of the rail draw and went to the front, grabbed the rail and wasn't for catching, and I'm hoping for similar tactics today with him being drawn closest to the rail, which is often a big advantage at the French sprint tracks.
The ground will be drying out overnight and during the day with some warm temperatures expected, so the ground will more than likely be good or slightly quicker come the time of racing, which isn't a problem for Berneuil who has won a Listed race on good ground before when beating the once classy Suesa. With bookmakers offering 3 places on this race, I think 8/1 is a fair price, and he is an EW player with the recent run likely to have blown away the cobwebs.
Carlisle 4:50 – Lady Onyx 10/3 (1pt Bet365)
Though this Listed Fillies race looks competitive, I think you can write off a good proportion of the runners. I thought a few had a chance, but I came down on Lady Onyx.
I always like the unexposed angle in races like this, and that is what Lady Onyx is. She only started her career as a 3yo and has only had two runs to date. She was a game winner on debut, she clearly needed that run and learnt plenty as she went on to finish third in a Listed race at Musselburgh the time around. She was only 1.25L behind Heredia who was rated 102 and was a 2022 Royal Ascot winner, and has been placed at a Listed level on three occasions. The winner at Musselburgh was 106 rated and had run well at Meydan including a 2nd in a Group 2, so I think the form is a decent level, plus Lady Onyx was competing against her elders, which is always a tough ask, especially for such an inexperienced horse.
She won on soft ground on debut, so the rain forecasted to land at Carlisle won't be a concern, and I think her low draw in stall 2 will be handy. Carlisle isn't a forgiving track if drawn on the outside as it's quick nippy around the bend and if you're stuck wide you'll be covering a fair bit more ground than the others. It's a strange track though, Carlisle, in the way that when the ground goes soft they sometimes spread across the final straight or come to the stand's side, and I think the jockey booking of Ben Curtis is a great booking. He knows the track very well, he has a good strike rate around here and he'll know all the tricks in the book and what part of the track is best to ride on.
Jonny Murtagh clearly thinks they can plunder a decent pot at Carlisle, he doesn't like wasting his shots when sending his horses across the sea.
- 2:15 pm
8/1 @ Bet365
Carlisle - 4:50 pm