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Thursday, 26 August 2010

Just what the Doctor ordered

In today’s blog:
Review of yesterday’s racing
Today’s Racing Selections
2010-11 Chasers & Hurdlers Alert List

Review of yesterday’s racing
I passed over GRAND SLAM HERO a bit too quickly when assessing the class 2 chase at Ffos Las last night. He is still clearly on the upgrade and Twiston-Davies has yet to get to the bottom of his talent seeing as he won his first race off OR113 and last night won off OR138 in a canter. The heavy rain during the day caused the going to change to good-to-soft and that wrecked the chances of most of those in the race.

Today’s Racing Selections
With rain lashing down over most of the country, it seems to me to be a good excuse to give racing a miss unless you have a notion about a real mudlark springing a surprise.
Goodwood has already been abandoned, and the meetings at Lingfield (turf) and Ffos Las are on soft going.
At Ayr in the 3:40 DOCOFTHEBAY drops to class 4 on OR84. He has looked a tricky ride lately, but I believe that the talent is still there judged by his 5th to Fareer at York in May (off OR94). He was never going to stay the 10f he raced over LTO, but before that on the AW at Lingfield, he just could not find a way through as his jockey held him at the rear of the field. There is nothing for him to fear in this race, and he will get a good pace. At 15/2 he looks a fair price, but perhaps he will drift a bit before the off.

No selections but in such circumstances I expect DOCOFTHEBAY to run well.

2010-11 Chasers & Hurdlers Alert List
SKIPPERS BRIG, 9yo chaser trained by Nicky RICHARDS

At 9yo, SKIPPERS BRIG will be the oldest in my list, but having only had 7 chase runs (and having won 4) he has plenty of scope to improve on what he’s shown already. He ran only 3 times in 2009-10, and the first of those was – in hindsight – disappointing. Altho’ he has won at 3-miles, it was only a 4-horse race on heavy (which he handles) and SKIPPERS BRIG was top-rated in the race and merely had to complete to win. Personally, I don’t think he stays 3-mile as in his other 3 attempts at the trip he’s been well beaten. Returned to 20f NTO, he easily put the race to bed, winning comfortably. It was his next race that was most exciting, when 3rd in the Boylesports at Cheltenham. His trainer, Nicky Richards, has a poor record here (2 wins from 35 runners and worse, 0 from 18 with chasers) so a win was not on the cards (clearly, Richards does something wrong sending runners to Cheltenham, in fact anywhere beyond 100 miles from his Cumbrian stable base). However, SKIPPERS BRIG ran the race of his life to be 3rd to Poquelin (NTO 2nd in Ryanair), and Razor Royale (won Racing Post Chase) and record an RPR148 rating. Remarkably, the handicapper has dropped him 1lb for that run to OR139. He was due to go back to Cheltenham for the William Hill Trophy but was withdrawn and put-away after knocking a knee the week before the Festival. Hopefully, Nicky Richards will find a race on a northern track for SKIPPERS BRIG this autumn and as he’s won 1st-time-out in 06 and 08 (missed 2007-08 season) then, so long as he’s not raced over 21f+, he should be a good thing as Richards won’t chance him on going quicker than good-to-soft.

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