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The flat is back! which I'm sure many of you are happy about, including Cairnzy, who definitely prefers the flat action, so I'd expect to see some frequent posts coming from him. I prefer the jumps, but at this time of year, the jumps action becomes quite stale, and I am also glad to see a bit of fresh action.
I'm fairly certain Diligent Harry will have a lot of supporters in the second race of the day at Doncaster, and I can see why that will be case. He has shown plenty of ability from last year, and when it seemed like he was going to be an AW horse, he proved people wrong by putting up a good effort to finish 2nd in a Group 3 behind Happy Romance, who has since franked the form on her travels to Riyadh which saw her finish 3rd in a big prized sprint race. However, there are reasons why I wouldn't be too keen to get stuck into him, and I'm opposing him with GARRUS.
Sometimes us punters like to over complicate things, by trying to find a bit better value, or a bigger priced horse who could well, when in theory, if you back the best horse in the race, they generally do win. That sounds a lot easier than it is, but on paper Garrus is the best horse in the race, and has much better form than the others (in my opinion). He has won a Group 3 in France, been placed at Listed level on a few occasions, as well as winning a Listed race. He's ran well in Group 1's, and there's very little not to like about his résumé. His record when fresh reads 3,1,2,1,1 which is a massive bonus when the majority of the horses coming into are fresh, so to know he runs very well first time out is a big bonus. The ground seems to be drying out every minute, so will be Good at the time of racing, which will suit. Charlie Hills won this race last year, so it's no surprise to see him bidding to retain it, and Marco Ghiani is a good jockey booking, who has done well with the Hills stable: 14 runs, 6 wins (43% SR), extra 4 places, which equals a +£21.50 to level stakes.
Going back to Diligent Harry, he has been keen in his races, so the fact he comes into this off a 175 day break is a big no in my eyes. Chances are that he'll be keen, due to not being on the track for so long, especially when he has a previous of doing so.
Another favourite which I'm putting up, which isn't something I normally do all too often, but MODERN NEWS must have a huge chance in the Lincoln.
It's obviously a competitive race, but I get the feeling that this horse is a Group horse in a handicap, and that is something you want/need when backing a horse in a Handicap like this. He has already had a run this year, which came in Dubai at Meydan, where he ran a creditable race to finish third, where he was slowly away but ran on strongly, which gives the impression this extra furlong on a track like Doncaster will be right up his street. Charlie Appleby has been quoted saying that the one run in Meydan was always the plan, and then to quarantine him and head for this race, which seems like a smart idea, as he will have a fitness edge on the majority in this race, and the fact this race has been the plan for a while is always nice to hear. He is a previous course winner, so we know he handles the track and likes what it has to offer. Also, the jockey booking of Harry Davies is a very shrewd move in my opinion. We saw how effective it was last year in this race by using a 7lb claimer, when John Gosden won with his apprentice Benoit De La Sayette doing the steering on Haqeeqy. It is a massive help to take those 7lbs off the horse, which means he is middle of the pack with what he has to carry, and the pilot is a very promising apprentice from the Andrew Balding yard, who don't employ rubbish.
Charlie has a fine record in this race, winning it twice in the last 6 years, so it goes to show when he targets this, they need to be respected.
Even though there's some good racing in Britain and Ireland, there's a stacked card over in Dubai at Meydan. AL NEFUD catches my eye in their second race of the day.
How often do we see a horse get a lead on the dirt at Dubai and be extremely hard to catch. Well, let me answer that, plenty of times I've seen it happen. With Al Nefud drawn in a very good stall of 2, I can't see any of reason why Tadhg O'Shea wouldn't want to get the lead, or sit just behind the leader in this race. The only way I can see that not happening is if he breaks slow, but as we've seen on many occasions before with this horse, that's not the case and he likes to run from the front. Last years winner Secret Ambition (also his stablemate) is drawn next to him in 3, and is a horse who also likes to run from the front, so that is why I mentioned he might sit just behind the pace, as there is a strong possibility that Secret Ambition will go from the front, like he did in this race last year. It's interesting that Tadhg O'Shea has opted to ride the 4yo over the veteran Secret Ambition, as he is the stable jockey of B Seemar, so he'll be able to work out whose work is better etc.
The form of Al Nefud's races this year have started to work out quite well. The runner-up in the race he won, has since come out and ran well to finish 2nd again, but then went on to win a Group 3. The third has ran respectably on his next three runs, including being runner-up in a Listed contest on his latest start.
When SUESA made her British debut, she was gambled off the boards into 9/4F for the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot. I think I tipped her up that day, as I thought she would relish the ground, which was heavy, as she had proven in France that she took to it very well. It wasn't the case, and she ran a stinker. They went and tried her at Glorious Goodwood over the 5f race, where the ground was Good To Soft, and she absolutely hosed up, winning by 3L. That race took a lot of people by surprise as they didn't think she had that kind of speed on a quicker surface (quicker compared to Heavy where she had previously shown her form), and it does come across that she is a better filly on a sound surface. She then struggled in the Nunthorpe, like many of them did, as the winner Winter Power set a lightning pace with Lightning Pal, and the ones who were held up never got involved. She was an eyecatcher in that race, and even though the ground was probably a shade too quick, she ran on strongly, which gives the impression the 6f that she races over today is worth a try. I don't have problems with the ground, and she is drawn next to the hot favourite, so she'll be able to track his moves. She is a good EW bet in this race against the favourite, especially with the fillies' allowance.
18:03 Catterick - Race: 4
18:10 Curragh - Race: 6
18:20 Downpatrick - Race: 5