14:05 Newmarket - One more chance for Reid's quirky runner
My old friend Athletic makes another appearance at Newmarket on Saturday, and after a long session of deliberation; I just had to include him as a bet.
He's tempted me again because he is so well-treated. Of course with a suffering mark, there's an element of decline in the form; and that is the certainly the case with the quirky character as he hasn't won for a while, and there are more bad runs than good these days.
However, it's not all doom and gloom with the veteran. Firstly, the well-handicapped mark of 67 - his lowest for a while. And secondly, he's performed well on the July course this season from ratings of 75 and 74 in much better races. His last success came in the summer of 2015 from a perch of 85.
There was a bit more encouragement last time at Windsor; racing over the extended mile. He broke away from the stalls better than normal, and from a mid-division position, managed to stay in contention when the pace quickened two furlongs out. He was bang there in the final stages, but didn't quite see out the trip. Windsor might not have been his ideal track either.
Dropping back down to seven furlongs at a course he likes ensures Athletic gets my vote again. He deserves one more chance.
15:45 Ayr - Absolutely the play in the place market
Trainer Andrew Balding won this race in 2013 with Highland Colori, and he holds a decent chance again with Absolutely So in the Ayr Gold Cup - who is priced at a rather large 21.020/1.
The six-year-old's campaign this term has been light with just two runs, and one of those was a comeback outing in May at Haydock. He was last seen running a stormer in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot; finishing best of those over the far side of the track, and that was a mighty effort from a mark of 109, which proved he was back to somewhere near his best after the hairline fracture he suffered prior to this campaign.
He's a horse I've always labelled as a strong-travelling type, and he certainly has form in big-field handicaps. I've mentioned the Wokingham run, but the sprinter also finished second in a Bunbury Cup in 2014. Throw in Group and Listed form, the selection holds a big chance despite being the top weight.
With cut in the ground, the surface should be ideal, and drawn in 14 gives him a chance to come down the centre or track a fair amount of speed in the higher numbers drawn towards the stands' side.
He also stays seven furlongs - which is a must for me in these Ayr sprints, and Rob Hornby claims three pounds. At an attractive 6.4011/2 in the place market, he rates a bet.
Saturday's Recommended Bets (both half point)
Back Athletic @ 8.07/1 in the 14:05 at Newmarket
Back Absolutely So @ 6.4011/2 place market in the 15:45 at Ayr
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