Rory Delargy looks to an old-timer to turn the clock back at Lingfield...
"A bigger positive is a belated chance to tackle this lower class contest, abetted by the handicapper's leniency in dropping Orpsie Boy to 75 for the first time since July 2010. On that occasion he accepted the gift with open arms by beating a big field at Pontefract, and his only other appearance in 0-75 company saw him land a nursery at this track for Nick Littmoden."
It's an uninspiring day of racing, with the only Flat turf action being a quartet of races to start the card at Lingfield, none of which could be described in glowing terms, and the imbalance in the racing calendar is still something that needs to be worked on within the sport. It's true that every race still has a winner which needs finding, but some of those quests are more appealing that others.
Much as I enjoy good turf racing at Lingfield, that's not something we're subjected to today, and it's only at the tail end of an eight-race card that things get at all interesting. The 0-75 handicap over one mile at 17:00 is an unlikely highlight, but it does look to throw up one of the card's few obvious angles, and that is the veteran Orpsie Boy. Ruth Carr hasn't availed herself of the services of the excellent Silvestre de Sousa since 2011, and the last time the pair teamed up was when the doughty Beckermet was a fine second of 20 at Newmarket that autumn. Earlier in the season, he'd been successful on Orpsie Boy at Catterick, and the renewal of that association is a positive sign for the gelding's chances today.
A bigger positive than that is a belated chance to tackle this lower class contest, abetted by the handicapper's leniency in dropping Orpsie Boy to 75 for the first time since July 2010. On that occasion the son of Orpen accepted the gift with open arms by beating a big field at Pontefract, and indeed his only other appearance in 0-75 company saw him land a nursery at this track for Nick Littmoden. He's waited a long time for a third invite to the Class 5 party, but he's unlikely to leave said party empty handed.
The 10-year-old can go well fresh, winning on his reappearance at Thirsk last spring, but he looked decidedly rusty on his return at Catterick 15 days ago, and ought to derive plenty of benefit from that run. Ruth Carr is no fool, and she'll have been aware that her charge was in line for a drop in the weights if running as he did, and she's likely to have had him slightly undercooked for that outing. Expect a late market move if that has indeed been the plan, and take the generous morning price of 6.6.
Another for whom late money would be a significant pointer is the Jim Best-trained Boogie Dancer in the 16:40 at Huntingdon. The nine-year-old mare won off a mark of 101 at Hereford in 2010 for Stuart Howe, but lost her way for that yard last season, dropping to her current mark of 77 after another no-show at Newton Abbot in September. Since then she's been picked up by Best, who has forged his reputation on renewing the vigour of such jaded performers, and his decision to book Brendan Powell to ride, plus the addition of a first-time visor suggests that today is the day when he thinks she'll put it back together.
Today's opposition is weak, with the consistent Pob's Trophy creeping up the weights without winning, and the biggest threat may well end up being Nick Ayliffe's Freddy's Star, who was third being a couple of handicap blots at Wincanton last time. History Lesson is a horse with "potential plot" written all over him since first going hurdling for Alan Jones, but the trainer either has the patience of Job, or this one-time useful Flat performer is just no good any more. I'll plump for the latter, but an avalanche of late cash would tell a different story. Hopefully the late move will be a positive one for Boogie Dancer, and that would add hugely to pre-race confidence.