15:30 Plumpton - Can East Indies take to new career?
In the search for the first winner of the week, and with a fairly uninspiring day's racing if I'm honest; the approach will be slightly different with an in-play lay of East Indies for Sunday. He lines up in the juvenile event for his first start over hurdles in Plumpton's 15:30.
You might remember this horse winning his maiden at Kempton on the Flat by an impressive seven lengths last season from the front. He ran in the Godolphin blue back then for John Gosden, but he failed to do anything in two runs subsequently. He didn't last long in those colours, and was sold for £31,000 at the Doncaster May sales.
In the old days, he'd be with John Ferguson by now.
At around 6/4 he is short enough, considering he was a really keen-going type on the Flat. His handicap debut over 1m4f at Leicester told us two things - he pulled hard and he didn't get home. He also has an interesting recruit of Alan King's as an opponent, and that yard has won this race a couple of times in recent seasons too.
East Indies wore a hood on the level, which is retained today. Now a gelding, we'll see if the three-year-old is more tractable now he has a different discipline. He could take to this hurdling game, or he might not. We also have no idea about the ground, as his one stand-out performance came on the all-weather.
15:40 Uttoxeter - Catch Russell's mare to break her duck
I'll know my fate today in the space of 15 minutes, as Catchthemoonlight bids for her first ever victory over hurdles at the Midlands track.
She's been a bit unlucky in her previous two runs; as she finished second last time out at Cartmel and was beaten by Shark Hanlon's Summer Storm. The Lucinda Russell mare travelled with more style than you would associate with a 0-100 hurdler - so it was no surprise to see her trade at 1.374/11 in-running. She didn't do an awful lot wrong - as the pair were seven lengths clear, and her inexperienced rider Harry Reed (who claims 7lb) gets another crack.
It was more of the same in her previous start at Perth; matched at 1.201/5 in-play behind Gordon Elliott's fairly exposed Blake Dean. The run in Scotland was her first start for a year, so we can give her that.
Undoubtedly Catchthemoonlight is one of the best-handicapped horses in this race from a figure of 86 (having been raised 4lb for the Cartmel effort) - given she was racing from marks of 100 in 2014.
Even though Russell's charge shaped like stayer in her younger days, I think she suits these sharper tracks with her travelling style. And maybe consider throwing in the in-play lay at an odds-on price for a little insurance.
Sunday's Recommended Bets
0.5pt Lay in-running East Indies @ 1.654/6 in the 15:30 at Plumpton
0.5pt Back Catchthemoonlight @ 7.06/1 in the 15:40 at Uttoxeter
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