The headlines after Tuesday's racing are likely to be about Tony McCoy, and his continued quest to hit the 4,000 winner mark as a jockey. He's only 11 shy of that milestone, and it's possible that all five of his mounts at Ffos Las will go off as short-priced favourites. It's amazing to think that such a total is even possible for a jump jockey - I remember John Francome riding his 1,000th winner and becoming only the second man in history to reach that figure, which was considered the benchmark for such a long time. McCoy has raised the bar to a truly frightening degree.
So the fun and games will be at Ffos Las, but the prices there are too skinny for my taste, so it's off to Yarmouth, where Roger and Ned Curtis can team up to land the mile handicap at 14:10 courtesy of Collodi. The ex-German performer showed fairly useful form for Peter Schiergen in his native land before joining Curtis in September. It took him a couple of runs to find his feet, but he bounced back to his best when beating the reopposing Uncle Dermot at Windsor recently, winning by three lengths having travelled best throughout. Heavy ground can produce strange results, but there was no hint of a fluke about Collodi's return to form there, and he remains lower than when initially assessed by the BHA handicapper despite a penalty for that win.
Magique was also a winner at Windsor last time, but very much had things drop right for here on that occasion, and looks opposable, for all she's only gone up 3 lbs for that win. I'd expect Uncle Dermot to emerge as the main danger again, and will protect my stake by combining the pair in a reverse forecast.
The following nursery (14:40) is a cracking contest in which a pair stand out on bare form. Firecruise showed improved form to land a Pontefract nursery in blinkers last week, and the handicapper has seen fit to raise him to a new BHA mark of 79. That makes him look absolutely thrown in today, with his penalty for that win meaning he's running off a mark of 72 today. That will ensure he's heavily backed, but there is a chance that his margin of victory flatters him, having come in for a very canny ride from Robert Winston, saving ground on the inner as others went wide looking for better ground which turned out to be non-existant. There's no doubt that David Barron's gelding improved that day, but probably not to the extent it seemed, and he may go off a false price as a result.
If Firecruise is thrown in off his current mark, then that comment goes double for Evacusafe Lady, who races off a lowly BHA mark of 56 today, but has just been reassesed upwards by a full stone, having improved to finish second in a Newmarket maiden last time. There must always be a doubt about such performances, particularly when they come from seemingly exposed performers, and it's possible that Evacusafe Lady is flattered by getting a clear lead in that contest. It's worth noting that she put up a very big timefigure there, however, and there is no doubt in retrospect that she did indeed take a big step forward. The concern is that after such a big effort, she may well "bounce", but it's worth taking a chance on her, given that a repetition of that effort would almost certainly be enough to win here, and at around 7.0 on Betfair, she's not been overestimated by the market.
Both at Yarmouth
Back Collodi @ 5.24/1 in the 14:10 (NAP)
Back Evacusafe Lady @ 7.06/1 in the 14:40 (NB)