Alan Dudman takes over for the next seven days from Alan Thompson, and he is hoping for a good start with two bets at Ascot and Chepstow for Friday...
"Today's trip is a new stamina test, but she shaped like a proper stayer at Lingfield back in April and is worth a go at 2m. Receiving plenty of weight is a big plus; and is surely a better horse than her recent efforts."
15:55 Ascot - Saunter to go well at huge odds
David Menuisier's Saunter looked a decent horse last term when winning a good Newmarket handicap from a mark of 90. Several beaten horses in that have gone on to win some nice pots - including Brorocco in the City And Suburban and GK Chesterton's success in a recent 0-105 at HQ.
I put up Saunter in the column last year for the Old Rowley Cup - a race he was well backed in too. He was beaten in that, and since then has struggled to recapture that fine performance at Headquarters.
However, the yard have been in the grip of a virus for most of the season, and Menuisier had to wait until July 18th for his first winner of this year. That kicked off a sequence of three wins and two seconds from eight runs. The stable are in much better nick, and I really rated this horse last term. He is worth a go as an outsider at 16/1. The trainer described him as his best three-year-old in 2016.
He raced last time at Ascot over 1m2f, but the winner Laraaib could be a Group-performer. Saunter steps back up in trip today which could be more suitable - although he can travel quite well.
I will be happy with good ground or good to soft, and will almost certainly look to the Place Market at around 5.04/1.
20:20 Chepstow - Curtsy to give the favourite a race
With the market centred on the Sir Mark Prescott-trained Easy Wind here, it could pay to avoid the favourite and side with Hughie Morrison's Curtsy. The former is a typical type for the yard to improve for the longer trip and is completely unexposed - but there isn't much juice in backing a 2/1 shot. So Curtsy is the one.
And make no mistake, this is a bad race. Although, I admit to having a soft spot for dear old Riptide - purely heart there.
The case for Curtsy is simple. She's been poorly positioned in her last two runs at Wolverhampton and Redcar. The race on the all-weather was a mess of a contest in which they went a stop-start gallop. It paid to be handy, and she was given an awful lot to do. For good measure she met a bit of trouble too.
Her run at Redcar previously was a similar story. She was again held up and fared best of those to come from off the speed. That was from a mark of 58 - and she races from that figure again today.
Friday's trip is a new stamina test, but she shaped like a proper stayer at Lingfield back in April and is worth a go at 2m. Receiving plenty of weight is a big plus; and is surely a better horse than her recent efforts.
Friday's Recommended Bets
Back Saunter 0.5pt @ 16/1 Sportsbook in the 15:55 at Ascot
Back Curtsy 0.5pt @ 7.06/1 in the 20:20 at Chepstow
Alan's Bets of the Day - P/L
This week so far: 0.00
Previous week: +1.00