TWO LAYS UP OUT OF TWO: Daqman delivered on the Chester draw yesterday when he laid two paper favourites, Arley Hall (2nd 3-1) and Rose Blossom (2nd 9-2). The first six races were won by stalls one to four. His Goodwood week best was to have two bankers out of two.
I’m courting the girls at Carlisle. One in particular from the lady-jockeys-only meeting, which must surely give a big edge to fully fledged riders like Cathy Gannon, Kirsty Milczarek, Amy Ryan, Kelly Harrison, Julie Burke and Sophie Doyle.
Cathy’s mount Red Scintilla (6.25) – notice the first name terms! – has dropped 15lb since last autumn and returns to her most successful trip. She needs this morning’s rain but 14.5 on Betdaq allows for any doubts.
I’m continuing to oppose an out-of-form Richard Fahey (two wins from a very expensive 95 runners in the last fortnight), and what better opportunity than with a pace horse on the tough Carlisle track.
Sunnyside Tom (7.55) leads, or tries to, and in his last three consecutive races on this course, he is reported, in race order, as weakened over a furlong out (11th); kept on same pace, rider used whip in incorrect place (2nd); led, ridden over two out – under Paul Hanagan – held close home, as beaten joint favourite.
No offence to Laura Barry but, if Hanagan can’t get it right when the money is down, she has a serious problem today on an animal which has won only claimers for the past two years.
Cathy Gannon may be her second biggest problem: her mount, Tartan Gigha, would have eaten these for breakfast, as a class-2 horse rated up to 100 in Spring handicaps in 2009 and 2010.
He plummets 17lb and two grades here, and failure to win this would surely mean Fray Bentos (sorry, a quiet retirement on a farm) or, worse still, becoming Mark Johnston’s hack.
The ladies’ night mood continues at Windsor with the ‘will you marry me Eileen’ handicap. There’s still time to save the poor deluded fella, whoever he is. Or at least, find him a winner to help with the cost of the honeymoon.
Imaginary Diva (7.10) might foot the bill. The mare, a winner at Brighton three weeks ago, has landed back-to-back wins before and won this race last year only 2lb lower.
Even Bolder has a chance at the weights of reversing Newbury form with Rebecca Romero but his trainer, Eric Wheeler, is now on day 433 since he had a winner (get a grip, Eric!).
Interesting that Sarah Brotherton misses out on the Carlisle ladies’ day to ride just the one horse at Windsor, the consistent Choral Festival (6.10), always thereabouts, so a good each-way bet.
Feature race of the day is the Armstrong Memorial at Ripon (3.45) this afternoon: there have been no winners this century over the age of six and none with more than 9st 6lb on their back.
So we’re seemingly down to a lucky seven. Of these, I wouldn’t fancy Oil Strike, Flowing Cape and Baldemar, with their stables out of form.
Pepper Lane is high in the handicap now. So, too, King Of Eden, though it was a fine performnance at Ascot last time out. I fancy Midnight Martini (13.0) to return to form after some good efforts in the Spring and a quiet run back at York recently after a break.
BET 11pts win (nap) TWO KISSES (3.30 Newton Abbot)
BET 1.6pts win MIDNIGHT MARTINI (3.45 Ripon)
BET 5.1pts win and place CHORAL FESTIVAL (6.10 Windsor)
BET 1.4pts win and place RED SCINTILLA (6.25 Carlisle)
BET 4.5pts win IMAGINARY DIVA (7.10 Windsor)
LAY to win 10pts SUNNYSIDE TOM, and 3.1pts win TARTAN GIGHA (7.55 Carlisle)