Rhys Williams was on the board yesterday with Amarillo Sky and has three selections today at Chester and Huntingdon.
"The step up to 1m4f is likely to bring improvement and the return to softer ground will do no harm to his chance either."
Will relish increased test of stamina
Only six line up in the closing handicap on day two of the Boodles May Festival. While Baileys Derbyday is 3lb well in for his narrow defeat at Yarmouth and Sonning looked promising when easily slicing through the field late on at Beverley, they meet a rival today who I think is a cut above.
Set Point created a good impression when comfortably winning a soft-ground maiden at Nottingham last season and he did nothing to harm that view despite only finishing fifth on his first start of this season at Newbury. In a slowly run race, he initially tracked the leaders before being hampered leaving the back straight which left him in fifth on the outside. He was pushed along three furlongs out as the pace started to lift and couldn't go with the leading trio but he kept responding to pressure and was staying on again near the line.
The slow pace was completely against him, not only in terms of his positioning in being wide and midfield but also that stamina rather than speed looked his strong suit last season.
While River Alwen (who finished half a length in front of Set Point) winning since off 96 likely hasn't helped Set Point's price today, it does back up the view that those who weren't handy were at a disadvantage and suggest that 87 is potentially a lenient opening mark.
The step up to 1m4f is likely to bring improvement and the return to softer ground will do no harm to his chance either. I'm also hopeful that the presence of Love Is Golden, Classic Lord and Baileys Derbyday in the field with ensure this isn't slowly run.
I'm not sure that Chester is the ideal track for Set Point and, even if he wins today, I expect he will be seen to best effect on a more galloping track. There is also the usual worry, even in such a small field, that he could end up being boxed in until it's too late to find room but I think he's a step above this level. The overnight market has somewhat corrected his price to nearer to where I would have it but any 7/4 or bigger still appeals.
Reapplication of tongue tie to bring improvement
A change of tactics and a brilliant ride led to Rooster Cogburn winning comfortably on his last start at Market Rasen and the same may well occur again today. Rather than take him on, I think there's a more appealing bet in the without the favourite market.
Elisezmoi is the outsider in that market and he's the one who catches the eye. His rating has gradually been on the slide since coming from France but I think there's more encouragement in his last two runs than the beaten margins suggests. Two starts ago at Fontwell, he was taken on a long way out by Billy's Angel and had got the better of him by 3 out. He still looked the most likely winner at that stage but after 2 out he began to struggle and weakened quickly after the last to finish fourth.
Last time out at Warwick, he again travelled very well for a long way and was still in second at 2 out but faded tamely after and was beaten 13½ lengths.
The big change today from those two runs in that he now wears a tongue tie, something that he also did when winning over hurdles at Fontainebleau. This may help to solve his weak-finishing tendencies and show that he's better than his rating of 100.
The likely strong pace should also help him to settle better, something that's been an issue at times.
There is a concern that he's just a non-stayer, even over two miles, as his win in France did come when making the running at a track that has a significant bias towards such tactics and suits non stayers.
However, I think there was enough in his run at Fontwell to suggest he could stay the 192-yard shorter trip today and given the unreliability his rivals, any 7/2 or bigger appeals in this market.
Spark of promise last time
Dramatic Pause is very lightly-raced for an eight-year-old and in a career littered with long breaks, he's shown ability while also being very inconsistent.
He started his careers with the Rowleys and unseated on debut before running in a void race at Garthorpe. He then moved to Tom Symonds and won on rules debut in a bumper at Chepstow, beating Blue Flight who is now rated 150 over fences.
After that he was off for nearly a year before running fairly well under a penalty in a bumper at Bangor. However, his two runs for Symonds after that were far less encouraging. He was beaten 40 lengths on hurdles debut at Chepstow and beaten 42 lengths at Ffos Las, having had a wind op between those runs.
He went back to the Rowleys after that and ran twice for them in Restricteds last season, pulling up on both occasions.
Dramatic Pause looked on his way to becoming a lost cause but he suddenly came back to life in a hunter chase earlier this season at Catterick on his first start after 346 days off. He was held up and given a very patient ride, only gradually creeping closer going down the back straight on the final circuit. He moved into a share of second after jumping the last in the back and still looked to be travelling well in fourth shortly before turning into the home straight. He was nursed closer going to the last (usually two out) and briefly went into second on the very long run in but had little left late on and faded into fifth.
That was the first sign since Bangor that Dramatic Pause still had ability and he ran well in a race that I expected to be a completely unsuitable test for him given he had looked an obvious non stayer in points.
I think today's test will be a more suitable one for him and he has potential to improve from his rating of 108. It may be that he adds to his unreliable profile by throwing in another poor run or that he doesn't find much under pressure no matter the trip but I think he could run better than his big price suggests and any 16/1 or bigger appeals.
RHYS' PROFIT/LOSS 2021