Rhys Williams struck with a 9/1 winner with his only bet yesterday and he has three selections today at Catterick and Chepstow...
"I expect the ground at Chepstow today will be more suitable, with the combination of that and this track putting more of an emphasis on speed"
Drop back to five furlongs likely to suit
Manila Scouse is a strong favourite in the opening novice race at Catterick and justifiably so after a couple of very good runs in defeat but I think one of his rivals could be more of a danger to him than the market suggests.
Both of Poetikel Piece's two runs have come over six furlongs and on both occasions she's looked in need of a sharper test. Of debut at Haydock, she went right at the start before swiftly recovering to race in a prominent position. She looked to be travelling best with just over two furlongs to go but once shaken up and put under pressure she didn't find as much as looked likely and faded in the last furlong to finish sixth.
She was stepped up in class for the Listed Two-Year-Old Trophy at Redcar on her second start and again shaped with some promise. She was trapped furthest from the favoured far rail and was still in contention for a place until dropping away in the final furlong.
The sharper test of five furlongs today looks likely to suit Poetikel Place given how she's travelled in both starts and this is more her level having contested a listed race last time.
It may turn out that she just doesn't find as much under pressure as seems likely but I think the market is underestimating her chance and any 7/1 or bigger appeals.
First start after a wind op and tongue tie on
Mr Glass in the odds-on favourite for this maiden hurdle and he showed a good level of ability in bumpers last season but I'm not completely convinced that this is the ideal track for him. He looked a very strong stayer when winning at Wetherby and looked a bit lacking for a turn of foot in his other two starts so I'm not sure this track will see him at his best.
As a result of that, I think Fishkhov could be more of a danger to him than the market suggests. He travelled very strongly on his only run in an Irish point for Robert Tyner before being outstayed by subsequent Albert Bartlett winner, Vanillier, and his two runs for Harry Fry last season suggested he wanted a test of speed.
On his rules debut for Fry in a bumper at Uttoxeter, he was handy in a strongly run race from the start and went on going over the mound. He was a few lengths clear entering the home straight but had nothing left in the final two furlongs and finished fourth.
His hurdling debut came on heavy ground at Bangor over 2m 3½f, and he travelled strongly behind the leaders for a long way until dropping away quickly after 2 out.
Since then, Fishkhov has had a wind op and a tongue tie goes on for the first time today so that suggests they think his wind was the cause of his tame finishing effort at Bangor. I think the ground that day would also have been far too testing for him and I expect the ground at Chepstow today will be more suitable, with the combination of that and this track putting more of an emphasis on speed.
It may turn out that the wind op hasn't worked and he finishes weakly again even under more suitable circumstances but I think he has the ability to be more of a danger to Mr Glass than the market suggests and any 4/1 or bigger appeals.
Much quicker ground may bring improvement
Much of Dorrana's form wouldn't give cause for hope of her getting off the mark today but I think there's a chance that she's been racing on unsuitable ground in the vast majority of her races.
When a horse runs well on soft or heavy ground on debut, connections can be tricked into thinking that this is the ground that the horse wants and so they will keep running the horse on that ground and expecting good performances. However, it may have been that the horse handled conditions better than others that day, was fitter than others or was a stronger stayer than others and that is what caused them to run well rather than loving that ground.
I think that could be what has happened in the case of Dorrana, who finished fifth in a bumper on heavy ground on her debut at Exeter. All bar one of her runs since have come on soft or heavy ground and apart from one fairly good run in a mares' novices' hurdle at Exeter when finishing fifth, she's failed to build on that early promise.
Her action doesn't suggest that she wants testing ground so I think she may improve today for the good ground. She's also had a wind op since her last run so it may be that an issue with her wind was preventing her from building on the debut promise too.
There is a chance that, while running better on this quicker ground, that she wants more of a test of stamina than this race will offer so it might be that the improvement comes in future over longer trips but her price in a race of this quality is too big to leave alone and any 20/1 or bigger appeals.
RHYS' PROFIT/LOSS 2021
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