‘You’re damned if you do, and you’re damned if you don’t’ – that will surely be etched on to the headstone of every clerk of the course ever to have the not insignificant responsibility, of whether to turn the taps on at race tracks up and down the land, or not.
Andrew Cooper is widely hailed as one of the finest around, and given the watering schedule in the week leading up to this weekend’s Classic action at Epsom, every weather forecast suggested that he had got it spot on. That is until mother nature reared her scornful head and dumped a good load of rain over south London on Friday morning, turning the ground pretty testing.
It wasn’t testing enough for Snowfall in the Oaks however, and she fairly skipped clear of a competitive field. Should we take the hint that if Aidan O’Brien didn’t know that Snowfall was going to produce an effort like that, as one of five stable representatives, then surely his only Derby entry Bolshoi Ballet could be a shoo-in!
Of course, that won’t be the case, and if they weren’t drawn in stalls 2 and 1 respectively, then I’d be keen on opposing the favourite with the Lingfield Derby Trial 1-2, Third Realm and Adayar. But they are, so I won’t.
In terms of a bet on the day, things look tricky, and I was interested in Sunday Sovereign in the Dash at 3.45, but his price has collapsed and despite his advantageous draw high up the track under the stands rail, this race is just too much of a bunfight to go in at the current best price of 6/1.
Instead, I am going for the unusual tack of supporting a short-priced favourite in the opening World Pool At The Tote Handicap at 2.00, in the shape of the Mark Johnston-trained King Frankel at 9/4 with Bet365. Whatever selection I put up on these pages, it is always with a strong opinion that the price is wrong.
King Frankel’s price I think could and should be nearer 6/4 for this 1m2f handicap, as he comes out of the BetVictor London Gold Cup Handicap at Newbury three weeks ago – I’d go as far as to say that backing every horse out of that handicap blind over the course of the next few months, could be a profitable pursuit, such is the strong-looking nature of the form.
King Frankel has a nice uncomplicated run-style too, which should allow Ben Curtis to keep him out of any trouble on the slopes and cambers of Epsom, and the soft ground will hold no fears either. So, in assuring you that any priced winner is a good price, King Frankel at 9/4 with Bet365 in the 2.00 at Epsom on Saturday is the daily pick.