The racing almost seems like it never stops at this time, another eight meetings in the UK and Ireland today and Alan Thompson has two selections to round of what has been a busy racing week from Newmarket and Newbury...
"John Gosden often does well in these sort of contests with horses that still have plenty more to offer than their handicap rating suggests."
John Gosden let me down a bit yesterday but he is still an exceptional trainer and I like his runner Valcartier in the opener at Newmarket, he often does well in these sort of contests with horses that still have plenty more to offer than their handicap rating suggests. On official ratings he has it all to do against the other Godolphin runner Leshiaa yet the market has them pretty much level second favourites. I don't think the penny dropped for him as a juvenile but he had no problem dealing with his contenders in a very eye-catching front-running performance in his first outing as a three-year-old to land a maiden at Nottingham last month.
This is definitely tougher but he's completely unexposed and really could be anything, and the biggest problem looks to be the Queen's horse Call To Mind who is rightly at the head of the market after his win at Newbury in April. That victory gave him an initial rating of 82 but I am not really worried about that and he will be better than that mark, so it's interesting that connections chose to run him here rather than taking advantage of that rating in a handicap. Champion jockey Jim Crowley is booked to take the mount and he is the one to beat. But at 2/1 against the 9/2 available for Valcartier, I think the value sits with the Gosden runner today.
This looks a wide open mile and a quarter handicap and gives the impression that it could be a race worth following, because there should be plenty of future handicap winners coming from this field. Mucho Applause is the one I like in it and he would have made it back-to-back wins when he was beaten a short head in the Esher Cup at Sandown but for hanging slightly left in the closing stages, a race where you could have thrown a blanket over the first four as they hit the line. He cost his connections (and me) the win that day but I think he has every chance of making up for it today.
He was beaten at Sandown that day by the smart Atty Persse, who is very well regarded and still holds an entry in the Derby, the third and fifth finishing horses have come out and run well and the seventh won on his latest start, so that could have been a decent Esher Cup. Despite hanging a little towards the end he kept on well up the Sandown hill, suggesting that this extra quarter mile shouldn't be too much of a problem. His breeding suggests that this trip could bring out further improvement, I think he can give a good account for himself today in what looks a tough handicap.
2017 Overall (prior to this week): -5.11 pts
This week so far...
Staked: 2 pts
Returned: 0 pts