Rhys Williams' Thursday Racing Tips: Socks to strike off lowly opening mark

Our racing expert has three selections on Thursday

Rhys Williams has analysed Thursday's racing and has three selections.

"That distance has clearly been far too sharp for him and he now steps up to a far more suitable 1m5f with connections reaching for cheekpieces for the first time."

Ran better than margin beaten suggests

Uttoxeter 13:45: Every Breakin Wave 0.5pt win 66/1

Three horses dominate the market in the opening staying novice hurdle at Uttoxeter but all three have doubts hanging over them. Drakes Well's jumping hasn't convinced on a few occasions and he's not always looked the easiest ride. Taste The Fear's jumping has frequently been worse than the opposition in races and there have to be doubts over what Dock Of The Bay actually achieved at Fontwell given the winner was tailed off on hurdling debut.

Given these concerns, I'm happy to take them on and there's a horse at a huge price who showed more promise than the margin he was beaten on rules debut suggests. Every Breakin Wave has spent most of his career in the pointing field on either side of the Irish Sea and showed a fairly good level of ability, while being inconsistent, in that sphere.

His best run came when third at Chaddesley Corbett at the end of 2018 when third behind Risk A Fine and Sego Success. The winner would go on to win four hunter chases that season and ended it rated 141, while this was Sego Success' first run in British points having been rated 132 at the end of his time under rules with Alan King.

Every Breakin Wave was a bit disappointing in two more runs that season and didn't offer too much encouragement on his return from a 615-day break at Larkhill at the start of this season.

However, making his hurdles debut at the age of eleven at Worcester last month, he showed far more than the market was expecting. He raced quite keenly in a prominent position but had to be given a crack after making a bad mistake at the first hurdle on the last circuit. He was better at the next two and turned out of the back straight in second as the leading group of four went clear of the rest. He jumped 3 out in a share of the lead but came under pressure soon after and found little, quickly dropping away and ending up being beaten 33 lengths.

The winner of that race had shown a good level of ability in Irish points and the runner up was rated 120 so Every Breakin Wave was facing a slightly tougher task than he faces today as those horses weren't carrying penalties.

Every Breakin Wave did look quite an awkward ride as he was hanging left and jumping sharply left at a couple and it was worrying just how quickly he stopped to nothing.

However, I think he showed enough ability in that run to think he has a better chance of winning this than the 87-rated Farocco, who is currently a shorter price than him, and any 25/1 or bigger appeals.

More promise in bumpers than market suggests

Uttoxeter 14:55: Gms Prince 0.5pt e/w 25/1

It was no surprise than the huge prices on Gms Prince went in the overnight market as it's unfathomable that anyone could think he has the same chance as some that have shown so little ability.

Gms Prince showed some promise in a bumper on debut at Stratford, where he raced in last for the first circuit until starting to make some headway going down the back for the final time. He ran a bit green and had to be shaken along coming down the mound and ended up widest of all on the final bend. He came under stronger pressure in the straight and continued to run green but plugged on well enough to finish fifth, beaten 11½ lengths. The winner of that race was Hooper who is now rated 132 over hurdles while the runner up, Luttrell Lad, won his next two bumpers and finished fourth in the Aintree Bumper.

Gms Prince was well held next time at Bangor but that was on soft ground and given that he was a non runner following that due to soft ground, it's likely that was to blame for the performance.

On his final start in a bumper at Wincanton, he again showed promise when a fast-finishing eighth. He was held up last of the field and was still there turning out of the back straight. He was detached from the main group turning into the home straight, albeit still travelling fairly well, and was nudged along to get closer. He still looked quite green and gangly but ran on well late on to finish eighth.

Three of the seven horses that finished ahead of him that day are now rated 127+ over hurdles while three of the other four finished in the first three in a bumper next time.

The concerns are that this is Gms Princes' hurdling debut so there's an unknown over how well he will jump and two miles might be a bit sharp for him. While they seemed to be holding him up in bumpers to get him to settle, he looked a little short of pace in the closing stages so he might want 2m4f once he settles better.

However, I think Gms Prince showed enough ability in bumpers to suggest that he can be competitive in a race where the favourite is rated 117 and any 14/1 or bigger appeals.

Looks well handicapped given ability in bumpers

Hamilton 15:55: Socks Off 1pt win 100/30

Once again the overnight market took care of the very attractive prices about Socks Off (but the RP won't be running a piece on me complaining about that). However, I think he's still too big given just how well handicapped he could be based on the ability he showed in bumpers.

He got off the mark on the second start of his career at Lingfield in an all-weather bumper, where he quite comfortably picked off Fantomas in the closing stages. The runner up finished a close third in another all-weather bumper next time while the third won a bumper next time.

Socks Off ran well under a penalty on a couple of occasions after that. At Doncaster, he was held up and raced a bit keenly. He was last of the main group turning into the home straight and was shaken along going through the wings of 3 out. He came under stronger pressure after going through the wings of 2 out and kept responding well with finish fifth without ever looking like troubling the winner.

The runner up had already shown a good level of ability in bumpers including when splitting Gelino Bello and Sandy Brook at Plumpton. The third ran well in defeat at Warwick next time and the sixth is now rated 120 over hurdles.

Socks Off finished fifth again on his final run in a bumper at Newbury. He was quite keen again but faced handily on this occasion and moved into a narrow lead turning out of the back straight. He was still in a share of the lead with three furlongs to go but couldn't go with Jonbon and Flying Demon and dropped away to finish fifth.

He has since run three times in novice races over a mile and the closest he's finished to the winner is sixteen lengths which has seen him receive a rating of 46. That distance has clearly been far too sharp for him and he now steps up to a far more suitable 1m5f with connections reaching for cheekpieces for the first time.

There is a concern that he has an action that suggests he wouldn't want the ground to be too quick so hopefully the forecast rain hits this morning and eases it slightly.

Despite this concern, Socks Off's bumper form suggests he could be so well handicapped off 46 that he might not like the ground and still be too good for these and any 5/2 or bigger appeals.


Staked: 166.00pts
Returned: 156.97pts
P/L: -9.03pts

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