Travelled well for a long way at Warwick
First time tongue tie to help
Key Instinct is overpriced at Wincanton
Shaped with promise on last two starts
Wincanton 14:00: Aurigny Mill 0.5pt e/w 66/1
The market for this novices' hurdle is dominated by four horses but none of them have achieved an insurmountable standard and three of them have questions to answer.
Spartan Army has to bounce back from a slightly disappointing run in the Finale, Matata has to show his temperament isn't going to prevent him from showing his full ability once again and Killaloan's jumping didn't convince at Plumpton in a race where the hurdles in the home straight were omitted so he has to show that has sharpened up today.
Given these doubts about those at the head of the market, I'm going in a different direction and I think the market has overlooked the potential of one at a huge price.
Aurigny Mill shaped promisingly in a bumper at this track on his second start last season, travelling strongly into contention approaching the final bend before being unable to match Tahmuras and Blow Your Wad in the straight and he finished fourth.
He also showed some promise on his hurdling debut in very testing conditions at Sandown in November.
He wore a hood and tongue tie for the first time (retained today) and was held up early on before making some headway from halfway down the back straight. He was still travelling well at the back of the leading group of seven turning the final bend and was nudged along to go into fourth at 2 out before being looked after in the gruelling conditions and he held that position to the line.
Aurigny Mill was up against the future Tolworth fourth, Colonel Harry, that day and he doesn't face anything of his calibre today.
The manner in which he travelled in his bumper and at Sandown to some extent suggests he has a fairly good level of ability and the likely good pace that Matata will set should help him to settle in the early stages and give him a chance to close late on this better ground.
There is a chance that today will be more about his education with the long term in mind and he will be held up too far back early on to be able to make an impact or he might just be a weak finisher but I think he has more ability than his price suggests and any 33/1 or bigger appeals.
Travelled well for a long way at Warwick
Wincanton 16:45: Key Instinct 1pt e/w 200/1
At an even bigger price than Aurigny Mill, I think the market has completely missed the chance of one in the closing bumper who showed far more promise on her rules debut than the margin beaten suggests.
Key Instinct started her career in the Irish pointing field where greenness cost her victory on debut. Having travelled well to join the leader turning out of the back straight, she ran very wide coming out of the bend and almost hung left off the course. She was straightened up to get back on course but she continued to hang left under pressure and could only finish second.
She joined Neil King after that and was given a wind op prior to making her rules debut in a bumper at Warwick after 580 days off the track. She raced very prominently on the outside from the off and she was still travelling well in a share of the lead turning the bend towards the home straight but once asked for her effort she found little and nearly stopped to nothing, eventually being beaten 51 lengths in eighth.
The manner in which Key Instinct travelled for a long way against better quality opposition than she faces today suggests she has a good level of ability and I think the better ground today will help.
She also has a tongue tie on for the first time and given she had a wind op prior to the run at Warwick, it would be no surprise if that causes her to finish off the race stronger today.
It might be that she still has a significant wind problem and will once again find little in the closing stages or that she will regress having finished so tired on her first run after a very long absence but Key Instinct shouldn't be anywhere near 200/1 in a race of this quality given the promise she has shown. Any 33/1 or bigger appeals.