I’m going against the grain slightly today, in that there are two aspects to today’s daily selection that are aside from the norm. Firstly, it is a win only recommendation – previously, virtually every tip has been taking advantage of decent each-way terms and prices. While, secondly it comes on the all-weather, and again I can’t recall ever putting up a selection on the synthetics.
However, it is because of a hugely eye-catching run on the turf at Windsor five weeks ago, that I am keen to side with L’Operateur at 4/1 with Bet365 in the opening race at Kempton at 5.25 this evening – Unibet Casino Deposit £10 Get £40 Bonus Apprentice Handicap.
It is a three-year-old handicap over 1m, and a such there a few that could be improvers – Natural Value, Ivynator, and Athers chief among the dangers. Also, Willyorwon’t He would have claims on his better effort at Doncaster last time, but having been gelded just two weeks ago, it would take some effort for the horse to be in peak condition so soon after that particular operation. They also might think about changing his name to Won’t He!
Childish jokes aside, there is nothing infantile about the career and credentials of L’Operateur’s trainer Sir Mark Todd, who is one of New Zealand’s most decorated Olympians, being a legend of the eventing world. Now plying his trade as a thoroughbred trainer on these shores, there won’t be many around with the expertise he can command.
Having undergone the cruellest cut of all himself at the turn of the year, L’Operateur has been much improved. Two runs since have suggested that he is flourishing and finding his stride now – firstly, at Lingfield Park, he way outran his odds when third in a maiden, battling back on the inside in the closing stages, which you don’t often see horse able to do.
Then, on handicap debut at Windsor five weeks ago, in a race won by the front-running Bint Al Anood (backed from 40/1 to 14/1), L’Operateur was one of the only horses on the whole card to make up any significant ground from the rear, as Windsor’s golden highway was very much in evidence.
At 4/1 with Bet365, he is still just a shade over-priced for me, and given he handles the surface well and comes here off the back of a mighty effort, L’Operateur could take some beating in the apprentice handicap. Having a fairly experienced conditional, in the shape of Callum Hutchinson, is the icing on the cake.