Robert Walford has found some improvement recently for his lightly raced 5 year old Our Merlin, winning his last two very convincly suggesting that he is well ahead of the Handicapper and can go well again today to deny Tobacco Road. Backed at 2.86 I'm hoping Our Merlin can give me a winner today.
Improving with each race so far this season, close but no cigar in a Conditional Handicap last time out at Catterick over a similar distance and going and with a little more improvement then Manny Owens can get his head in front this afternoon at Doncaster in the 1.00 race. Mr J J ONeil being able to claim his full 7lb allowance also helps. Backed at 5.15 (after being reduction )and at 1.93 to place. The danger is Barton Knoll who although finishing 5th last time out, the fourth from that race has come out and won a Class 1 Listed race at Haydock.
Lawney Hill runs Miss Mayfair in the 2.50 at Huntingdon with Fergus Gregory talking off the equivalent of the 7lb penalty for her facile success at Plumpton a few days ago then she will be very hard to beat today and is sure to go up massively in the ratings when reassessed. The 11/8 with Skybet early doors was the best price here.
Having an impeccable all weather record of four from four including a Listed win and a win in a Class Two at Kempton I'm thinking that at the price available tonight Second Thoughts is a good win and place prospect I've taken 2.64 about the place and 7.6 for the win. The three year olds best piece of form came after winning the Three Year Old All Weather Championship Stakes at Lingfield and finishing second to Harrys Angel in a Group Two at Haydock. A return to the all weather after two modest turf runs will definitely help tonight and a natural step up in distance to a mile is also a big plus. Its a competitive affair but a place is the least I'm hoping for here.
Its a Ladies race I'm interested in this afternoon and Katie O'Farrell has only two winners to her name from 50 rides which is the only negative here, on a positive note one of them was for the Gordon Elliot stable. It does enable her to use a full 7lb allowance though in this 2.35 Fairyhouse race and Elliot seems to have placed this one well in the search for a five timer, four from four so far since swithcing to this stable, three over fences and one over hurdles, susequently the gelding has seen his rating rise from 85 to todays 110 but the way he won a Down Royal Handicap Chase just three days ago suggests that he may not have stopped improving yet. That was a stronger race than this and with Kaite's 7lb claim Poormans Hill is actually better off than in his last race. Eased in the betting from 8/13 to 20/21 is probably because of the jockey rather than form and 2.06 available on betfair and Poormans Hills running mid division in running style may get us 2.4 or so during the race.
Sedgefield this afternoon and hopefully a winner can be found in the 3.40 race a Handicap Hurdle with the likely favourite being the winner of a conditional event last time who should again make a good showing in this weak race. The worry about Undefined Beauty is the drift from 1.95 out to 3.3 but she was impressive winning last time giving her a win and a second place since moving to this stable. At a price of 3.25 its a back for me.
Although she has won a point to point over three miles in Ireland she seems to have no problem in rules races over the shorter distance of two miles. The bay mare won a slightly stronger race than this at Worcester last time out and with Rebel **** being her main opposition is taken to win again. Listen To The Man is the selection, I've an adjusted 2.17 on Betfair and thats quite fair in my opinion.
Last time out was his first attempt on genuinely soft going and it had the desired effect with him drawing clear close to the line and also suggesting that the rise in distance to todays seven furlong should also suit Placebo Effect. Nearest maket rival today Shovel It On has yet to encounter soft going and with connections running him on Tapeta perhaps they arent too confident about soft going? I'm happy to go with Placebo Effect with the form in the book for this Seller and have taken 3.3 on Betfair.
Having his third run this afternoon since moving from Nigel Twiston-Davies to the Peter Bowen yard and down to a mark 5lb below his last winning mark plus the added advantage of a 10lb Claimer in his back should see Mont Choisy in the 2.45 at Cartmel there or thereabouts at the business end of the race. He has won over this distance in a point to point when trained in Ireland and with a recent run under his belt should be ready to go. I've gone for win and place taking 6 for the win and 2 for the place. If its expected, then I'm sure there will bemoney for this one.
Now that the non runners have made way for a reserve, still leaving a big field though of sixteen runners then the Lyons trained last time out winner Always Dancing looks to be in with a big shout. He won nicely at Killareny three days ago and now gets in here in what despite being still a big field is not a strong one. I've taken 3.9.