Yesterday’s selection at Uttoxeter ran a very good race but unfortunately bumped into the favourite on a going day and was never going to peg him back. That being said, I feel Butte Montana should be collecting a similar contest such as today very soon and is definitely one to keep the right side of next time out, especially given improvement is likely.
Today’s cards circle around the big racing at Epsom, where the Oaks takes centre stage. The Oaks doesn’t look like an overly strong renewal on paper, but often good horses can still spring out of the pack and that is what the division needs. Santa Barbara and Snowfall head the betting for the Aidan O’Brien team, but there are more than enough reasons to be hesitant to back either.
Santa Barbara was very green in the 1000 Guineas and even though she will have come on massively for that, there are still a lot of things that you are having to take on trust from her address. Snowfall was very impressive in the Musidora at York, but she looked more than exposed as a 2YO and I certainly would prefer to see her back that performance up before taking it completely at face value.
My selection in the race would be Saffron Beach, for Jane Chappel-Hyam and Adam Kirby. She ran an equally promising race in the 1000 Guineas, when seemingly outpaced at a key stage before keeping on well for second place. She steps up half a mile in trip here, so there are a lot of unknowns also – but the price of 11/1 is reflective of that. She gave off the impression in the Guineas that a step up in trip would suit her very well, so it will be very interesting to see how she gets on.
However, my selection comes from Market Rasen today, in the competitive handicap hurdle at 2.15. It’s a good race for its kind at this time of year, and has a few horses that could be ahead of their mark. Getaway Luv is the most likely favourite for the race for Olly Murphy and Aidan Coleman. She was progressive last season but one would have to be slightly disappointed with the way she was beaten last time out and questions are to be answered now. Pawpaw also comes into this in good form, but Paul Webber’s charge will have to prove himself outside of novice company.
Instead, I have landed on Isolate, for Alan King and Tom Cannon. Despite being slightly disappointing on his last two outings, where a combination of poor jumping and being too keen – he should have a big chance here on this drop in class. Having won two novice events on varying ground conditions, I think the return to this sounder surface will help Isolate, who has competed in much tougher handicaps than this.
He is now down to a mark of 122, six pounds less than when finishing a respectable mid-division in the Betfair Exchange Handicap Hurdle at Ascot prior to Christmas. If he can learn to relax in his race today, he should take a lot of stopping in this sort of contest. At a general best price of 11/2, I make him a strong Each Way selection to fill the frame, and hopefully land the spoils.