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How Latin Verse didn't win on hurdles debut I'll never know. He didn't jump the best, but I feel like the jockey should've had him hugging the inside of the hurdles as he was jumping out violently to his left at nearly every hurdle and that would've straightened him up. 8/1 into 7/2 for a runner-up is painful.
William Dewhirst drifted out before the off and ran a poor race, never getting involved and struggled to pick up, looking like the class rise was a major issue.
Nottingham 3:42 – Desert Games 6/1 (0.5 pt EW SkyBet 3pl)
It's going to be a very tough 5f at Nottingham on today's heavy ground, so with that you'll need a horse who handles the ground and will probably stay further. I believe Desert Games will be best suited by today's scenario and looks great value at the current odds.
62 days ago he made his first start for new trainer, Hilal Kobeissi. For the majority of the race he was outpaced and going nowhere but I think his performance was much better than it might appear. I'd probably say that he was on the wrong side of the track that day at Goodwood, he didn't react to the first time blinkers all that well until about 1.5f from home where he found a new gear and picked up in eye-catching style and he was probably a bit unlucky not to finish closer if he was on the far rail and if he managed to pick up a bit quicker he would've been a player for the win.
The blinkers stay on for today's race which I think is a positive as he'd have a better understanding of them now. The soft ground is what he wants, he appears to appreciate this type of ground than any other and going off how he stayed on so well last time out I think he might have the stamina for further, which is going to be needed for today's race on stamina sapping ground. There could also be a decent pace on offer with a couple of horses liking to be up with the pace, and that would enhance his chances even further.
Nottingham 5:12 – Navarre Express 2/1 (1pt)
I don't think this is a strong race at all, I guess you could make claims for a couple, but I'd be very surprised if they were handicapped well enough to beat Navarre Express.
At a first glance you could say the drop to 10f isn't going to help this horse's chance of winning, which I totally understand as he looks like a true galloper and strong stayer, but on testing ground, like today I can only see that being a positive. I can see a lot of horses at Nottingham paddling for the finishing line many furlongs from home, so I think having that strong stayer on your side is going to be needed and knowing this horse stays 2f further than today's trip, and arguably further, is great.
He is very lightly raced and he clearly enjoyed the tough conditions at Ffos Las last time out. The form isn't anything to get excited about, but I like the progressive profile of this horse and it would be a shame if he couldn't progress again off a few pounds higher than last time.
Kempton 6:30 – Desert Cop 10/1 (0.5pt EW)
Running off top weight isn't ideal for Desert Cop but now he's back on the AW I think his progression as a sprinter can continue.
The Godolphin runner will be a short priced well-fancied horse for this race based on his form as a juvenile and his rating being clear in this lineup, with this being a big drop in class, but I wouldn't say he is bombproof. At the odds, I'm more than happy to take him on and I think Desert Cop is a great bet against him, and I think he has a much better chance of returning to form than the hotpot favourite.
Desert Cop won a Class 2 race on AW Champions Day at Newcastle when finishing ahead of Shouldvebeenaring. The latter horse was a recent tip at Longchamp on the weekend just gone and he finished 3rd in a Group 1 behind Kinross and the French winner. That form has worked out nicely since, and that was his last run on the AW, as connections opted for a try on the turf which didn't exactly work out, but I don't think he ran without promise. It's quite clear that this horse is better on the artificial surfaces than on grass and I'd say this race isn't as strong as what it might look on paper.
I think Brad The Brief is on a fast downward curve, he was a very good sprinter a couple of seasons ago but this year he hasn't been anywhere near that level. Misty Grey is a solid enough runner and is decent on the AW, but his recent efforts haven't been great. Mischief Magic is the one who should win if returning to form but we've seen it on many occasions that when something is wrong with a horse it's very hard to come back from it, and at the price, I think he has to be taken on.