‘WILFRID’ HAS THE WHIFF OF A BIG OUTSIDER: Daqman is expecting a turn-up in the Great St Wilfrid at Ripon this afternoon from two well-drawn huge outsiders on Betdaq at 54.0 and 40.0, and he naps at Newbury at around 5-1.
It’s easier up North! That’s Kieren Fallon’s complaint against the jockeys who are getting away from him in the title race. So let’s start with Ripon and the Great St Wilfrid.
The stats say that no horse drawn higher than 12 wins the races. That’s eight horses in today’s field of 20 that can go straight out of the window. Easy, isn’t it! No winners over the age of seven: that’s two more gone. Half the field should stay at home, then?
My experience tells me it was never that easy and we know we have an ingredient which has spoiled racing for thousands of punters this week: changeable ground. It was forecast good to soft at Ripon and there’s rain about.
The Pricewise selection, Waffle, is only my fourth choice of the race: his quoted price in the Racing Post column had already gone when I scanned Oddschecker early on and the best offer was 12.5 (on Betdaq, of course), which makes him a saver.
3.05 Newbury (Geoffrey Freer Stakes) Only previous Group winners take this, and a class-2 handicap is the best that Brown Panther can bring to the table, albeit the King George V at Royal Ascot.
The runner-up, Census, has run second in a Group-3 since, is improving and will get a lot closer to Brown Panther this time, the pair seemingly the best of the three-year-olds.
Last year’s Oaks runner-up, Meeznah, is up against the boys here and, though he’ll like the ground, Mores Wells is seven now and was well behind my selection, Times Up, at Longchamp last month.
3.20 Newmarket Bertiewhistle might be an appropriate winner for the Premier League Kick-Off race but can he, and Dimension – second and fifth at Goodwood – get going in time, dropped back in trip.
They‘re claiming off ‘Bertie’ – or ‘off of’, as they say on Channel 4 – so I’ll try Bless You (13.5 on the Daq this morning), who could be one of those Henry Candy sprint stars in the making, and the keen Mr Fallon on Dimension (7.8).
3.30 Ripon (Great St Wilfrid) Waffle might win today, and he probably was value at the 14-1 but I’m sure you’ve met with the usual bookies’ waffle when you try to have a bet (‘it’s 10-1 now, sir’, it’s ‘been in demand all morning, sir,’ and, in fact, he is no clear cut choice.
Waffle has only ever won his maiden, the very first race of the 16 on his CV, always a bad sign. He and four others in the race are the only horses not to have scored at class-2 level. He has gone up 8lb since October for failing to win, as one of the most notorious bridesmaids, with six seconds, a third and a fourth.
I’m not deliberately sniffing at his rider, McNiff, but apprentices don’t win today’s race and hardly ever win any major race. Twice in his last four runs, Waffle’s form report states ‘not clear run.’ That’s because he makes his own trouble.
The snag with opposing him is: what with? Tajneed is well drawn and has won the race before but he’s eight now and also apprentice ridden. Tax Free is nine, drawn out in 15 and prefers firm ground. Addictive Dream is one of the few in the race – as I’ve said – that have not done well above class-3 level. And Pepper Lane has been hit hard by the handicapper, up a stone for her last two wins.
As well as the bias to low, the pace is low, too. Evens And Odds and Parisian Pyramid, along with Tajneed, are front or van runners.
I like Fathsta and Enderby Spirit: hampered in the Stewards Cup when badly drawn, Fathsta will love the rain and is 12lb better with Waffle on their Royal Ascot form.
Enderby Spirit, who has campaigned in Group and Listed company, found 7f too far at Goodwood and is 5lb better with Quest For Success, a pound better with Colonel Mak and had Tajneed behind, when obliged to race alone but beaten little more than two lengths at Hamilton last month.
For me the snip of the weights is Gallagher. Dandy Nicholls has just taken him on, and reckons he’s found the answer to his problems. One of them was his handicap mark, but he’s now down 16lb on his heyday and is 10lb well in with Fathsta.
Fathsta (drawn 2) is 12.5 on Betdaq this morning, while Enderby Spirit (stall 5) at 40.0 and Gallagher (stall 11) at 54.0 are huge.
3.40 Newbury (Hungerford Stakes) Three-year-olds have broken through in the last three years (Paco Boy and Shakespearean) after a lean spell, and Excelebration is hard to oppose after his German Guineas win (soft) but, more obviously, his Royal Ascot third to Frankel (firmish), closing him down nearly a couple of lengths on his Greenham second to the same horse in the Spring.
Beacon Lodge holds Doncaster Rovers, previous winner of the race Balthazar’s Gift, Delegator, The Cheka and Palace Moon on form this summer, which seems to leave him challenging Dubawi Gold and Musir for the places.
But Beacon Lodge would be the first six-year-old winner since 1976 and the trip is a bit on the sharp side for 10-furlong winner Musir, so I can see Dubawi Gold in the one-two. He’ll be my stakes saver, in case anything goes wrong with Excelebration.
BET (to win 20pts) 3.2pts win NIMIETY (2.15 Newmarket)
BET 4pts win (nap) TIMES UP (3.05 Newbury)
WIN-30 JACKPOT: BET 4.6pts win DIMENSION and 2.4pts win BLESS YOU (3.20 Newmarket)
WIN-30 JACKPOT: 2.6pts win FATHSTA, 0.7pts win and place ENDERBY SPIRIT and 0.5pts win and place GALLAGHER, plus 0.4pts win (saver) WAFFLE (3.30 Ripon)
BET (to win 20pts) 8.8pts win EXCELEBRATION and 2pts win (saver) DUBAWI GOLD (3.40 Newbury)
BET 1.2pts win and place EARLY APPLAUSE (4.30 Newmarket)