THE MYSTERY OF STALL FOURTEEN: When is a bad draw a good draw? Shamrock investigates at Ireland’s only meeting of the day, on the Polytrack at Dundalk.
They didn’t listen to a Word. The whisper was around last year for Word For Word (6.10 Dundalk) but they said he was drawn too high in stall 14. Result: he won at a price bigger than he oughta: 7-1.
The Word is out again and, incredibly, he’s drawn stall 14 again, running into form and only a few pounds higher than his winning weight of 2010. Pat Smullen agan has the mount.
Strangely stall 14 was the place to be last year: that’s where the 5.10 winner also came from and, would you believe, stall 14 has won this mile handicap three times in four runnings!
In any case, you’d feel justified on form alone in having an each-way bet on Blue Eyed Miss. But that stall booster makes her 8.4 offers this morning seem even more attractive.
The middle distance (5.40) handicap always goes to a young horse so five of the runners can be deleted on those grounds.
But more difficult to spot on the card as you see it at face value is the huge gulf between the top seven and the bottom half of the handicap: horses numbered 9 to 16 are considered between 11lb and more inferior to the rest of the card.
So it is that the stats lead me to a short list of Caracal, Peccatorum and the first-time-blinkered trio of Lord Chancellor, Mobane Ali and Mokama.
Peccatorum is well drawn, and has so improved over hurdles that he has a 109 rating in that discipline, compared with the 49 he races off here.
Though Ballydoyle is bidding for a hat-trick in the 3.05, it is from the Dundalk champion duo of Ger Lyons and Johnny Murtagh that the vibes are coming: Pitlochy should be suited by the 7f today.
NAP: Word For Word (6.10 Dundalk)
NEXT BEST: Peccatorum (5.40 Dundalk)
EACH-WAY: Blue Eyed Miss (5.10 Dundalk)
DAQ TRIO: Pitlochry (3.05 Dundalk), Peccatorum (5.40 Dundalk), Word For Word (6.10 Dundalk)