A couple of singles, and a rare double are the selections for Friday's racing. Good luck if you're following.
On paper this does look quite a competitive race, but I'm once again following the Side Shot form, hence why ARQOOB is my selection in this.
At the time of writing he is priced up at 6/1 which is a price I am willing to take, and it would not surprise me to see him drift out before racing starts, due to the other horses in the race, who are trained or owned by well respected people. I tipped up Classic Lord yesterday at 2/1, and that horse was in the same form line with Side Shot, but in a different race to Arqoob. However, I stated in the write up yesterday, the form around that horse is very strong, and that was on display again with Classic Lord winning. Arqoob ran a decent enough race last time at Haydock, where he travelled strongly, was boxed in on the rail and struggled for room on more than one occasion, which made life difficult. He eventually finished 5th, 3.25 lengths behind the winner, but I think with a clear run he would've at least finished second, and would've gotten a lot closer to the winner. Despite the lack of space, Racing Post rated his run 2lbs higher than his actual rating, so that goes to show how well he ran.
The drop back in trip to a mile could suit, as he did travel well over 1m 2f, so his pace might be better suited over a shorter trip. He clearly stays further, so the Newmarket uphill finish will bring out the stamina he does have.
Trainer, William Jarvis, won this race in 2019 with Arigato, so it is interesting that they've brought this horse here, as it does seem like it has been in the works for a while.
The jockey booking of 7lb claimer, Gavin Ashton caught my eye for ATHOLLBLAIR BOY, who is on a very tempting mark of 79.
Nigel Tinkler likes to put up apprentices on this horse, with the main one being Faye McManoman, who rides a lot for the yard. However, this time he has gone for Gavin Ashton, who has never rode for him before, and I think he is one of the apprentices to keep an eye on for the next couple of years, as he has really improved as a rider since he moved to Roger Varian's yard.
Gavin started off at Sir Mark Prescott's yard, where the opportunities were limited, due to him having two stable jockeys (Luke Morris & Ryan Tate), and not a great amount of runners. He then moved to Ian Williams, where he struggled to get winners, but since moving to Roger Varian, he has been racing quality over quantity, and must be spending a lot of time behind the scenes with his jockey coach as his technique is much better now. He has rode 3 winners from 12 rides this year so far, with eight of them being Roger's horses. This is Gavin's only booked ride for the next 14 days, and I think it's noticeable that they've jocked him up for this horse, who is well-handicapped on old form.
Fast ground over 7f would probably be this horses perfect conditions, but this 6f shouldn't be an issue as he has won over this trip before. The faster they go, the better it will probably be for the selection as he is often held up or positioned in the midfield. I think he could run a nice race, at decent sized odds, and is definitely worth an EW play.
Advised: Each Way
Newmarket 8:22 & York 7:00
BHUBEZI (Newmarket 8:22) was impressive last time out in an apprentice race at Newbury, where he attempted 7f for the first time, and he clearly relished it. He is currently 4lbs well in, with him due to go up 4lbs as of next Tuesday. He get's Jonny Peate's full 7lb claim this time as well (had no claim last race), which means he is better treated, and in theory 11lbs well in, which means a repeat performance of last time will make him extremely hard to beat. The only concern would be the quick turn around of 7 days, but it's a risk I'm willing to take as he is still above EVS, which could be seen as good value. This race is harder than the previous one he contested, but as a result of that, he is racing off a featherweight of 8st 3lbs.
SILKY WILKIE (York 7:00) This horse is currently priced up at around 7/4, which isn't desperately short, but I want to back Bhubezi, and I think this horse is a perfect partner to double him up with. As always, with 2yo's there's dangers attached as they are quite dodgy, but I was impressed with his debut where you could tell there was potential with this horse. He was a breeze-up purchase, which makes it no surprise that they've dropped him back to 5f from 5.5, as he does has speed. He was a little green on debut, so hopefully the racecourse experience would've done him the world of good. He finished 2nd behind Eternal Hero, who looks a smart recruit for the Kieth Dalgleish yard, and he was giving away 5lbs to her, so that was a fair effort. If coming on from his debut, I think he'll be very hard to beat.