WhichBookie racing analyst Will Smith provides a preview and two each-way selections for the sponsored card at Fontwell Park on Wednesday 20th October
Tote.co.uk Challenge Cup Handicap
|Blown By Wind||25/1||E/W
Tote.co.uk Challenge Cup Handicap
Date of Tips: 29/09/2020
Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (17:06 29/09/2020) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.
The big betting race of the weekend, the tote.co.uk Challenge Cup Handicap over 7f at Ascot on Saturday, has already started to take shape, with Ascot regulars Raising Sand and Kynren being backed already. While you can absolutely see why, I do think there might well be a couple at bigger odds who could be worth an early each-way investment.
I wouldn’t be categorically sure that they will shorten in the week, but they are just too big in my eyes, and so would be loath to let the opportunity to back and recommend them currently.
The Ascot straight course is a front-runners’ graveyard at the best of times, but granted what will be soft ground (if the forecast is even close to accurate), and a strong-ish headwind predicted, then it will be ripe for a stalking Ascot special.
Step forward Jamie Spencer, (I apologise for the cliché Jamie, it is clear you are not just a hold-up jockey, but it makes for a good read!) At the time of writing, Spencer is jocked up on David O’Meara’s Orbaan, and at 20/1 each-way with Ladbrokes he is a massive price. Paddy Power are offering 5 places currently, so if you would rather have the bigger safety net then their 16/1 is still appealing.
I’m a little unsure of the current travel restrictions, but Spencer does ride at Longchamp on Sunday, so whether he in fact rides at Ascot on Saturday, who knows. But either way, David O’Meara has long been a genius at targeting these valuable races, and whoever pilots Orbaan will have a great spin.
A winner on his second start for O’Meara having joined from France, it was clearly unexpected as it came at the generous price of 20/1 at York, on ground with a bit of dig in it. What was notable during that win, was the manner in which Orbaan travelled, and Saturday will be the first occasion that Orbaan has had strong pace to aim at over 7f on soft ground, at a track that suits that style of racing.
The other horse worth backing is Mark Johnston’s Blown By Wind, who is 25/1 with Ladbrokes and Paddy Power, but obviously taking the 5 places with Paddy Power would seem the sensible option at this stage.
Blown By Wind’s chance also takes a bit of explaining, and being the rarest of rare commodities – a Mark Johnston-trained horse who benefits from hold-up tactics – he has caught the eye on a number of runs this season. Most notably on a couple of occasions at Newmarket and also at Chester, when on all three occasions he got going too late at tracks that don’t generally suit.
He had a lovely sighter here at Ascot on penultimate start over 1m, in the same race that Orbaan finished third in, and both were inconvenienced by a tailwind and a slow gallop. If you look at his Ascot record in fact, then it bares up well to close examination. Four runs – one win, two runs at Royal Ascot (where he was 7th and 13th, but crucially 2nd and 3rd home in the group that he raced with), and the aforementioned never nearer fifth on penultimate start.
While if you glance at his record on soft or heavy ground and he is 2 wins from 2 starts – including a resounding win over Montatham at Musselburgh this time last year. So please, let it rain I say!
It does that a little explaining granted, but picking through the minutiae of both Orbaan’s and Blown By Wind’s credentials, and they simply shouldn’t be 20/1 and 25/1 respectively.