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Just the one winner on Thursday, which I hope you got the drifted odds of 13/2 rather than the 7/2 when posted the night before. The filly, who I named as a male in the writeup, did it the hard way by being held up and went down the outside, but probably won with a bit to spare.
As for the others, Barenboim ran a decent race and probably will be dropped a lb or two, and maybe a slight step up in trip by a furlong or so will help him out. I still believe he is on a very good mark and it won't be long before he gets back in the winner's enclosure. Struck Gold was pants, let's not beat around the bush, he wasn't great and I expected a lot more!
Meydan 2:40 – Taakeed 4/1 (1pt, WilliamHill)
The cold weather has seen off another couple of jumps meetings, but there is a fair bit of AW and Meydan racing, so I thought I'd take a look at Meydan and I thought that Taakeed was worth a try in this race.
He is a 6yo but has only had four runs in his career which is very strange. He finished 9th last time out, but had excuses and prior to that, he put in a dominant performance from the front to a Meydan handicap by 4L. His handicap mark went up by 11lbs for that win and he didn't follow it up at Meydan over today's C&D but he didn't scope well, showing mucus which will have affected his performance that day, and that is why he hasn't been seen since 22nd December of last year, but he's back today and that should mean he's back to normal and on that run and form from Jebel Ali I think he has every chance of winning a second race in his short career.
We all know how Meydan suits the front runners, there are a couple in this race and trainer Michael Costa has a couple of them in the same colours, but my selection is drawn in 4 so has the best chance of getting to the lead for jockey Johnatan Castano Mateus. I'd like to think my jockey had the pick of the two horses trained by Costa as he rode Mojeyrr to his easy win at Jebel Ali last time out, but he has jumped ship to Taakeed today and that would ring alarm bells if I was on the favourite. Ben Coen hasn't got any rides at the meeting, and in recent times J Castano has been the second jockey to go to, with Tom Marquand never having a ride with this trainer before today.
As I mentioned, the form of his 56-75 handicap looks strong. The runner-up was 2nd on his next two starts at Meydan, producing progressive RPRs of 81 and 84, which is a fair bit better than the 77 he produced when Taakeed trounced him from the front. There's other bits of runner-up/place form from those in behind the Meydan race.
Wolverhampton 1:05 – Kodebreaker 15/8 (1pt)
I had this race between Kodebreaker and the Irish raider, Muhalhel, but I've opted for the Michael Herrington horse.
This consistent horse has some decent form from recent runs, and I think he will be suited to this smaller field. Class 6 races are often maxed in field size and I don't think that suits Kodebreaker who is often held up from a fair way off the pace and that often gives him mission impossible to weave through the horses, or run down a horse who gets first jump on him, so with just 7 runners in the field I think that should allow him to sit closer to the pace and it'll hopefully be easier for him to get a clear run. He travels so powerfully in his races, and it's a surprise he has only won a handful of times in his career, but I think that is due to his running style.
Jason Hart is on board him today and I think that's a positive, which is no disrespect to Tom Eaves who has won Group 1's in the past, but I'd rather have Jason on top all day long. Jason was on board Kodebreaker when he last won back in March 2023 which came off a 2lb higher mark, so based on that, you'd like to think he is more than capable of winning races like this off his current mark of 54.
The form of his recent runs looks strong for the grade. The winner from last time out finished 2nd yesterday, and the runner-up came to Southwell on the back of a win so was evidently in good form. From his runs earlier in the winter the run behind Finn Russell reads well as that horse has won twice since and has gone up 10lbs in the handicap, and like usual, Kodebreaker didn't get the clearest of runs through.
Wolverhampton 1:40 – Palace Boy 10/3 (1pt, Bet365)
Obviously, today's assignment off a 10lb higher mark will make life much more difficult for Palace Boy, but you can't knock the win and the fashion he did over today's C&D 23 days ago.
He was a decent hurdler for Fergal O'Brien, shown by finishing 2nd in a Listed hurdles race, finishing ahead of a 130-rated horse and was behind Luccia who has turned out to be a very useful mare. He was a winner in Germany on the Flat prior to moving to Fergal's and has since moved to Ralph J Smith's yard which saw him win on stable debut and off a 288-day break. George Rooke oozed confidence last time out, he crept round the outside before turning for home and the runner-up who kicked for home and had many lengths in hand was reeled back by Palace Boy with ease and then my selection kicked on again and won with a fair bit in hand, so the 10lb rise in fair, but it's not enough to stop this horse who looks like a very progressive horse and one to stay onside of, especially at odds of 3/1 or bigger.
- 2:40 pm
4/1 @ William Hill
Wolverhampton - 1:05 pm
15/8 @ Bet365
Wolverhampton - 1:40 pm