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Yesterday was a decent day with a 11/2 drifted price winner in Richie Valentine, who beat the gambled on Lost In Montmartre. Zafar travelled well throughout his race, but didn't pick up when needed, so he's possibly in the grips of the handicapper.
Novice races aren't generally my ‘go to' race for a selection, but I get the feeling that MERRY MISTRESS will be overlooked in the market, and could offer some good value against the horses towards the top of the market.
At a glance, you'd have to say that Cup Of Coffee has the best form on offer, but she has gone off at big odds in the past, and I can't see punters/bookies making the same mistake, as she has outrun her odds on previous occasions. She ran well in a bumper race at odds of 50/1 where she was brought down when clipping heels with a horse in front. I definitely think she would've finished second that day, behind a horse who looks quite smart and is rated in the 130s over hurdles. She then fell at Catterick when travelling well, and that was at odds of 28/1. If they overlook her again, I wouldn't put off anyone from backing her, however, I've gone for a different selection.
Merry Mistress starts her career again under a third different trainer, after being previously trained by Tom Symonds and Matt Shephard. She is now under the control of David Dennis, which could be a bit of genius placing by connections. This horse was a good winner of a bumper race, where she beat a subsequent bumper winner by 8 lengths. She was then tried in tougher races, such as Class 1 bumper races, where she struggled. Her first start over hurdles was an unlucky start, as she was probably about to challenge the leaders until she was scruffy at one of the final hurdles, which meant Tom Bellamy had to ride the rest of the race without his feet in the irons. Her most recent start was better than the distances suggest. She definitely didn't stay the trip of 2m 4f, and that was quite apparent with the way she had a good turn of foot to take second place, but she then tired soon after. I think this drop in trip is what she is after.
David Dennis is her new trainer, and this is her first start for him. This is her third trainer in only six runs, which doesn't give a good impression. However, David Dennis was the person who purchased the horse in the first place from the Goffs sales back in 2019 before she had even raced. I think it could be a smart idea to return her to the place where she was originally meant to be, as David would've seen something he likes about her. Another positive is that Tom Bellamy remains as the rider, as he been on her for five of her six rides.
A mark of 123 and carrying 11st 10lbs might make this challenging, but I believe that EYEOFTHESCORPION is better than his current handicap rating, and will be able to defy a heavy weight.
The form of his second placed finish behind Bushypark at Doncaster at the back end of 2020 has worked out an absolute treat. Bushypark was arguably the most well handicapped horse of last season. He went from an 80 rated hurdler, racked up five wins, and ended the season as a 132 rated animal over hurdles. When Eyeofthescorpion met Bushpark, he had to give away 16lbs away to the winner, and at the time he had a rating of 105, so to finish 2.25 lengths behind that horse was a very good performance. The 3rd and 4th have boosted that form. The 3rd went from being 107 rated to 123 rated which saw him win twice over hurdles. The 4th went from being 114 rated to 136 rated with three wins.
We didn't see the selection for the rest of last season, but he managed to win on his seasonal reappearance at Bangor. The form of that race has also worked out relatively well, with the 3rd and 4th winning since. On that day he only managed to win by a head, but I think it was a good performance for his first start in 231 days off the track. His most recent run saw him go up in trip to 3m 1.5f, and he wasn't disgraced, finishing 2nd. That trip probably stretched his stamina a little too far, so a drop back in trip is seen to be a positive.