It’s quite an early start with tonights selections as we take in the first race at Dundalk, a fourteen runner six furlong handicap probably wasn’t the best of races to go for but I think I may have found one at a price.
The current favourite is top weight and mount of promising amateur Robbie Downey Acroleina. A course winner who hasn’t finished out of the top three in its last four starts, all coming at Dundalk. The six furlong trip seems to have worked wonders but a ten pound rise seems pretty steep in a race that looks better than it’s last contest. Although the horse is bound to be there or thereabouts it may find a few too good.
Fairy Foxglove is a horse that seems pretty talented but from a punting point of view (Speaking from personal experience) is so frustrating. The horse always looks like running a big race but continuously finds a way of getting beaten. It’d be good for connections to see it finally get its head in front but I’ve given up on the horse and I fear will continue its role as proverbial bridesmaid.
I’m therefore going to go for a horse that, despite being a maiden, has an interesting jockey booking. Being drawn in stall eleven isn’t the best but with three fourth placed finishes on the bounce shows it has a level of consistency. It was given quite an easy ride over seven furlongs in its last appearance and now the horse has Pat Smullen in the saddle the Johnny Murtagh trained Shushu Sugartown should go close.
Shushu Sugartown (E/W if 9/2+)
We move over to the UK and off to Wolverhampton with our one and only race from The Midlands track this evening.
It’s over a marathon two mile trip and looks ridiculously open with the top five in the betting only one point apart between 4/1 and 5/1. Considering there’s only eight runners and five are vying for favouritism you may think it’s far too close a call to tackle but I disagree.
Richard Fahey’s yard are hitting form and send top weight Gabrial The Terror for a crack at racking up a three timer. With a course win it has to be respected but it’s never won over this trip and for that reason and the fact it’s burdened with a big weight it has to be opposed.
Alan King will have much bigger races in mind over the next week but sends Daydreamer here and would have a great chance with a decent all-weather record. If it takes to the tapeta surface will run really close and is the most likely danger to my selection.
A little mention also has to go to Shadows Ofthenight who represents decent connections and may be slightly overlooked.
All this being said however you may be surprised to see that I am not going for a horse in the top five in the betting. It may seem a bit of a speculative effort but with eight runners and three places I’m going for the Michael Appleby trained Apollo Eleven. The trainer has a 62% strike rate on the all-weather in 2015 with horse either winning or placing and that’s a phenomenal achievement. Luke Morris is a magician with his all-weather rides and the yard are known for being able to get the best of a horse first time out. In it’s former days as a jumper the horse finished third in a race at Cheltenham and that race reads pretty well. At a price around 7/1 it seems way too big and if it remains at an each way price is definitely worth a shot.
Apollo Eleven (E/W if 9/2+)
We end tonights action with a return trip to Ireland.
As with the first selection we tackle another fourteen runner handicap this time over a mile.
The favourite is nine year old course winner Forbidden City who won well last time out and has to be respected. However that win was over at Wolverhampton and the horse has only ever tackled the one mile trip once before when finishing fourth of ten and for those reasons I look elsewhere.
If Little Arrows was to recapture some of its form from its younger days it’d be more than capable of winning a race of this nature but now at the ripe old age of nine you wonder just how much the horse has left.
The horse I fear most is course and distance winning seven year old Noverre Princess who, nine times out of ten, runs a respectable race and with Declan McDonagh taking the mount it’s the one I see causing my selection the most problems.
The danger horse is drawn in stall four which should be an advantage to my horse who is drawn next to it in stall five. Noverre Princess’s riding tactics sees the horse drop back and I’m hoping that’ll give my pick a bit of room in the first hundred yards.
My pick comes from Tracey Collins yard and if you’ve read any of my previous articles you’ll know how big a fan of the stable I am. The horse hasn’t won since December 2012 but another interesting ride that Pat Smullen takes has to be respected. Its previous run was quite unlucky when not finding much room to get through and surely would’ve done better than its ninth placed finish suggests. The horse in its heyday ran off a respectable mark of 81 and won off a mark of 74. Now racing from a handicap level of 65 and despite having top weight should do well tonight.
Beat The Ballot (E/W if 9/2+)
by Rory Paddock