Horse racing tipster Rhys Williams has analysed Friday's racing and has a quintet of selections starting at Downpatrick...
Showed ability on pointing debut
If Wild Shot can get back to the level of ability that he showed on hurdling debut at Fairyhouse then he will be a tough rival for all in this maiden hurdle. He was a bit disappointing since, though, at Kilbeggan. The others at the head of the market have run to a fair level without looking anything out of the ordinary and I think they could be vulnerable to a rules newcomer who showed ability on his only run in an Irish point.
Serenity Grove made his debut for Pierce Power at Cork in April and he ran well before coming down at the last. Having made progress early on the final circuit to race nearer the front of the chasing group behind runaway leader A Thousand Sparks, he travelled well into the home straight in fourth. He jumped into a share of second at three out, came under pressure and was in a leading line of three at two out. He couldn't quite go with the front pair going to the last and, having jumped the fence well, he crumpled on landing.
The way that Serenity Grove travelled into contention was notable and I think the leading trio in the chasing group made their effort to catch the runaway leader a bit sooner than ideal so his performance can be marked up a little.
The winner of that race, Minella Crooner, was subsequently bought for £70,000 to join Gordon Elliott. The runner-up, Scipion, had run well when green on debut in a British point behind Famous Clermont who chased home the now 132 rated pair of Sonny Crockett and Cascova at Newbury later in the season. House Of Stories and Ree Okka, who were fifth and pulled up respectively, have both won maidens since too.
In a maiden hurdle that isn't particularly strong, it's very surprising that Serenity Grove is a double-figure price. I expect that if Minella Crooner was turning up for this race for Elliott then he would be close to, if not, favourite. I think this sharper test should also suit Serenity Grove given how he travelled on debut.
It may turn out that he doesn't take to this track and will only show his true ability in the future on a flatter track but I think the market is significantly underestimating his chance in a race of this quality. Any 7/1 or bigger appeals.
Strongly run race will suit
This is a wide-open nursery and there's a horse at a big price who I think the market is underestimating.
Jkr Cobbler has to race from 1lb out of the handicap and he's finished no better than seventh in three starts but he's shown enough promise on the last two starts to think he could be competitive in this.
He was green on debut at Newcastle and he had clearly learned plenty from that experience as he was much sharper early on at Hamilton on his second start. He was travelling best just behind the leaders two furlongs out but once pushed along he 'cut out' fairly quickly and dropped away to finish seventh.
He had a wind op following that and a tongue tie went on for the first time at Thirsk when he was stepped up to seven furlongs. He raced keenly in behind the leaders early on and Andrew Mullen still had a tight hold three furlongs out. Jkr Cobbler was pushed along two furlongs out and couldn't close on the leaders but maintained his position without being given a particularly hard ride and finished seventh.
The way he travelled at Hamilton and Thirsk suggests that a strongly run six furlongs could be ideal for him and it was encouraging that he finished the race better at Thirsk than he had done at Hamilton which suggests the wind op and tongue tie had a positive impact.
It may turn out that this is a bit too competitive for him or that he needs more time to fill out before showing his full ability but I think his chance has been overlooked by the market and any 25/1 or bigger appeals.
Drop back in trip to suit
Given that there is rain forecast this afternoon at Ayr, I expect that any 'firm' may have gone out of the going description by the final race and it could have turned on the soft side.
That wouldn't be an issue for En Couleur who showed over hurdles during the winter that he can run well with cut in the ground. I think he's returning to a far more suitable trip today having finished well beaten when favourite for a 1m4f handicap at Southwell last time.
He showed a bit of promise early in his career on the flat, finishing third at Southwell and seventh in a stronger maiden at Newcastle before being drawn on the 'wrong' side at Redcar.
Switched to hurdles after that run at Redcar, he often ran the same sort of race as he would travel strongly for a long way and look a danger before failing to see out the trip.
That didn't have on his final start over hurdles at Musselburgh but he hung and jumped left that day so that he's running on a left-handed track today is a positive.
Cheekpieces go on for the first time today which may be due to him not travelling as well as usual at Musselburgh or Southwell last time and he drops back to a more suitable trip.
It might be that he's just a tricky ride but I think he's shown that he has the ability to be competitive off 58 and any 9/1 or bigger appeals.
Signs of promise on a couple of occasions
Mick and David Easterby's other run in this race also appeals a little at a huge price after showing signs of ability on a couple of occasions.
Rhythmic Blues made his debut over a mile at Newcastle. He was niggled along with half-a-mile to go and came under stronger driving three furlongs out. He looked a bit green initially before running on late under hands and heels to finish fifth. The front pair in that race are now rated in the 80s while stablemate Two Brothers finished half-a-length ahead of him and has been competitive in handicaps since off 65.
He was never going next time when racing at Southwell but bounced back at Pontefract over a mile when things didn't go right for him. He was a bit awkwardly away from the stalls that day and was shoved wide on the first bend. Angled to get to the inside rail soon after, he lost his place a bit and had to be briefly nudged along.
He then got stuck in a pocket just before turning the final bend and had to wait for a clear run during which time the leading quartet had got away. It then got worse for Rhythmic Blues as Jo Mason's right foot slipped out of her iron early in the home straight and she could only nudge the horse out after, coming home in fifth.
He's since run over hurdles at Stratford but was held up in last and jumped poorly and finished tailed off.
The return to the flat will suit Rhythmic Blues and I think he could show that he's better than his rating of 63 at some point. It may be that this will only come when stepped up in trip to middle distances, or with more time as physically he looks a late developer, but I can't let him go unbacked at a such a big price. Any 33/1 or bigger appeals.
Return to all weather could spark revival
Won Love hasn't shown much in two starts this season but he now returns to the track where he showed promise on debut and he could be capable of bouncing back accordingly.
He made his debut over six furlongs in October last year. Having broken well, he tracked the leaders and briefly raced very keenly at the end of the back straight. He soon settled better and travelled smoothly into contention with just over two furlongs to go but he raced greenly and was outpaced as the front pair went clear before rallying late on to finish seventh.
He was gelded and had a wind op before returning over a mile at Bath in June. He was gradually restrained to race towards the back of the field at the end of the back straight. He made a little headway with around two-and-a-half furlongs to go before finding little for pressure and dropping right away.
Won Love showed little on his latest start at Lingfield too and it might be that he's had a problem that means he's not as good as he was on debut or maybe he needs a tongue tie back on but there's a chance that he could bounce back for the return to an artificial surface. His dam was a two-time winner on the all weather and all four wins of the dam's other progeny have come on the all weather. So it would be no surprise if Won Love needs this surface to show his true ability. Any 10/1 or bigger appeals.
RHYS' PROFIT/LOSS 2021
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