Rhys Williams struck with a 15/4 winner yesterday and has four selections today at Stratford, Nottingham and Epsom...
"The way that Fat Sam travelled and jumped for much of the contest was encouraging and the slight drop back in trip should suit."
Some promise last time out
There's a wide open look to the opening novices' handicap chase at Stratford and I think the chance of the outsider of the field has been underestimated.
Fat Sam ran well when second to Onagatheringstorm at Warwick in April. He didn't build on that on his next two starts over hurdles but he showed some promise on his second start over fences at Newton Abbot last time.
He raced a bit keenly tracking the leaders early on and showed a good aptitude for jumping fences, getting himself out of trouble well when in too close. He travelled smoothly into second turning down the back for the final time and jumped upsides The Bees Knees at 6 out. They continued to have a battle for the lead until 2 out when they were headed by eventual winner, That's A Given. Fat Sam was tiring quickly at that point and made a mistake at 2 out before taking a tired fall at the last.
The way that Fat Sam travelled and jumped for much of the contest was encouraging and the slight drop back in trip should suit. He also wears a hood for the first time which hopefully will result in him settling better early on.
Fat Sam does need to show that he still finds for pressure as he also dropped away quickly late on at Ffos Las and looked a bit awkward under pressure at Worcester and it's always a bit concerning when a horse has taken a tired or heavy fall last time.
However, despite these concerns, his price doesn't seem to make much sense given his run against the current second favourite last time and this is a race where none of the field looks particularly well handicapped. Any 10/1 or bigger appeals.
Glimmers of promise since return from long break
He's A Bully was off the track for 818 days before returning in mid-June for Jimmy Frost and he's starting to show that he might be capable of being competitive off a dropping mark.
He was understandably outpaced when making that return at Newton Abbot over 2m½f but showed more next time over 2m5f at the same track, despite finishing last of eight, on ground that was softer than ideal for him.
On his latest start over today's C&D, he shaped better than the 40-length margin of defeat suggests. Having raced in midfield, he made headway to jump the first down the back on the final circuit in third and he still held that position, a few lengths behind the leader, jumping 2 out. He couldn't go with the leader after that and dropped away quickly in home straight to finish fifth.
He's A Bully was never the most straightforward of rides in the past and it may be that he's got a physical issue which may prevent him from getting anywhere near the level he showed in the past for Philip Hobbs.
However, he's been dropped another 5lb for that run and there's likely to be more competition for the lead today which hopefully will lead to a stronger pace which I think will suit him. At a huge price I can't let him go unbacked and any 25/1 or bigger appeals.
Return to quick ground will help
Bavardages' rating has gradually been on the slide since being bought by Mick Easterby from Mark Johnston for 7,000gns but I think he could be capable of bouncing back today.
He showed a bit of promise on his first start for his new yard in an amateur riders' race at York over seven furlongs on soft ground. He raced quite keenly early on before making some headway in the chasing pack around three furlongs out. He couldn't sustain that effort and dropped away to finish seventh.
He was well beaten at the same track on his next start but showed more at Doncaster two starts ago. He was a bit keen and caught wide on the bend, making a bit of ground while that was happening. He came under pressure around two furlongs out and plugged on to finish fourth while never challenging the winner.
On his latest start at Beverley, Bavardages was awkwardly away and done on his nose early on which left him in second last going to the bend. He couldn't make any ground in a race where it was a positive to be handy and finished well beaten.
It may be that Bavardages just isn't a turf horse and will only start to show his true ability again when back on the all weather but he's now back on quick ground which I think is far more suitable for him than the soft ground he raced on last time and this race should be run at a fair pace which hopefully will help him settle better early on. Any 12/1 or bigger appeals.
Inefficient ride last time
Berrahri, Montaqem and Quita faced each other over C&D two weeks ago and while the latter was some way behind the other pair on that occasion, I think she could be capable of running much better this evening off a 4lb lower mark.
In that race, Quita was slowly away from the stalls and raced in last early on before Tom Queally asked her to make a lot of ground going up the hill to track the leaders before going across the top of the course. She managed to stay in a prominent position until around two furlongs out from which point she dropped away to be well beaten.
Making that much ground going uphill is never a wise idea and I think she was also unfavoured by being towards the inside rail in the straight.
I think the rain that arrived last night to turn the ground soft will be more in her favour than some of her rivals as she showed that she can run well in soft ground when finishing fifth in a Listed race in Germany in 2019.
I have a slight concern that Quita might just be slow and she might be better suited by a very stiff test of stamina rather than 1m4f at this track and it wouldn't help if she was slowly away again.
However, despite these concerns, I think her performances at Kempton and Sandown off 75 suggest that she can be competitive tonight off 69 and any 12/1 or bigger appeals.
RHYS' PROFIT/LOSS 2021
Daily Offer - Get a £5 Free Bet on Multiples
“Place £20 worth of multiples over the course of a day, and, after the bets have settled, you'll get a free £5 to use on multiples. Bets must settle before 23:59 on the day they're placed. No opt-in required, T&Cs apply.”