Another relatively early start to tonights Friday Night Lights as we tackle the third race on the card at Wolverhampton.
The horse I’m going with is a horse that caught the eye when finishing sixth last time out when it wasn’t given too much of a hard time by Martin Harley. The jockey rides Major Muscari once again and despite a less than beneficial draw in stall eight it has a good chance. The horse definitely seems to prefer the all-weather with a total of nineteen top three finishes from thirty two runs on an artificial surface. Martin Harley is clearly a jockey on top of his game and with some decent market support this morning it looks to have a very good chance.
Of the remaining runners it’d be remiss of me to ignore the top weight Air Of York who has won two of its last three outings. The horse won’t need to improve much, if at all, to take a major hand in this and is the likely one to beat but maybe there to be shot at after an eleven pound rise since its first all-weather victory.
A horse I feel that is markedly over priced is the other three year old in the race in the form of George Bailey. The horse has never taken on an artificial surface but did turn in some good efforts, including a winning one, on the turf this summer and 25/1 loos far too big for a horse with a low weight.
Major Muscari (E/W if 9/2+)
The only trip to Ireland tonight sees us take in a ten and a half furlong contest where the top weight and three year old Mademoiselle Penny heads the betting. This course and distance winner has put in two respectable performances on the all-weather in its last two starts and it looks to have scope for further improvement. A light rise in the weights since its decent placed effort last time seems very generous and I’d be shocked to see it out of the top three but at 7/2 it isn’t the best betting prospect especially from stall nine.
The other big danger looks to be another course and distance winner in the form of Solar Benny a win last time here looked good enough and the handicapper hasn’t overreacted with just a four pound rise. The horse maybe seven but it’s lightly raced and may improve for that run. This being said however stall eleven is less than advantageous and maybe worth noting for another run further down the line.
The horse I’m plumping for comes here of an exceptionally low handicap mark after an encouraging return to Dundalk with a third placed finish. Shukhov has raced of an all-weather mark as high as 80 and has won off 75. It now races off just 49 and with Donagh O’Connor taking a further seven pounds off the horses back it’s ridiculously low. If you ignore the horses poor turf season then you can see it’s preference for an artificial surface is clear to see. With a nice draw in stall four it may have the race run to suit as it tends to track the leaders. My only slight niggle is wether or not the horse wants this trip but a win over course and distance shows it won’t be overly inconvenienced and at the age of six it is far from “over the hill”. A decent each-way bet at around 13/2.
Shukhov (E/W if 9/2+)
A quick dash over from our second selection at Dundalk for the last race of the night at Wolverhampton as ten runners look set to contest a very open contest just short of ten furlongs.
I’ve heard a good mention for the Liam Keniry ridden Sheila’s Buddy who has contested listed contests previously and now rocking up in a class five race is a huge drop in class. My only two concerns however is it’s pretty poor performances at Wolverhampton and it’s very high draw. It’s current best price of 9/1 looks very big and I couldn’t discredit its chances too readily but I’m going for a more speculative runner here.
Matraash seems somewhat of the old statesman in this race as the nine year old looks to have far more race experience than its rivals. Obviously the horse isn’t what it once was but has won over course and distance from a nine pound higher rating. It’s difficult to know what the horse has left but with Adam Kirby in the saddle, a good draw in stall three and a 25/1 price it looks too good to ignore.
Of the handful of three year olds that are entered you have to respect the ultra consistent Manolito who has won here before and also the course and distance winning Commanche Chieftan, it is the latter than I actually fear the most and in my opinion looks the one with more room for improvement.