A hard day to assess yesterday and perhaps it was a case of me getting a little bit ahead of myself putting out five selections on a Thursday. Four of the selections ran very poorly and were never really going. However, when I needed it most – Believe in Love cruised into the lead at Leopardstown to seal the staying Group 3 in decisive manner. She had drifted out from a morning price of 7/2 to 9/2 – so therefore her winning ensured profit on the day. There is plenty of good racing around the grounds today, and there will be a fair few selections as a result.
I am going to start again at Newmarket this afternoon, where there is more fantastic flat racing on the July Course. I am going to be focusing on the feature race of the day, the Falmouth Stakes at 3.35. The mile division for 3YO fillies has been a tough set of horses to get a gauge on. There have been plenty of reversals in form, plenty of disappointments – this has led to a lack of clarity. Alcohol Free has come into this race as favourite, having taken out the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot. However, prior to that, she was 5th in the 1000 Guineas – so I don’t make her out to be too solid. Instead, the most solid option in this race is Mother Earth, who has been nothing short of consistent this year. She reappeared to win the 1000 Guineas, before going close in the French equivalent and the Coronation Stakes. Those two efforts were on heavy ground, and she returns to a sounder surface this time round – which should suit. At a generous price of 6/1 with Bet365 for 4 places available, I think she is a cracking Each Way bet.
However, it is this evening when we get into the really juicy action – with cracking National Hunt cards at both Kilbeggan and Cork. I challenge you to find me anything more exciting than the Midlands National card at Kilbeggan. We start there for the 4.30 race on the card, a mares maiden hurdle over 2m4f. Plenty of these are fairly exposed campaigners at this stage, so it is really a case of who can make use of this winnable opportunity to get that elusive win over hurdles in the bag. I am going to be backing What Wonders Weave, for Shark Hanlon, who supplied us with a winner earlier in the week. This mare won three times on the flat when trained in England, and has been a solid, if unspectacular, horse for Hanlon over hurdles so far. The basis of his form leaves her as the one to beat in this. At a best price of 4/1 with Bet365, I think it’s at least a point too big.
The 5.35 is a handicap hurdle over the same trip as the opener. Those that know me well will know where I will be heading in this race. Glen Robin has been a very progressive horse this summer, and even though he continues to scale the weights – he has a massive chance in this. I rarely advise each way prices at underneath a fifth of the odds, but I am going to make a small exception in this case. I just can’t see this horse outside the first four in this race, considering the way he has been jumping and improving. Some of Paul’s horses often go off at a bigger price than the morning, so make sure you’re ensuring BOG terms with this horse. At a general price of 9/2 with 4 places available, it’s a conservative but very solid each way bet.
The Midlands National at 7.35 is the feature race on the card, and is the sort of juicy staying handicap that I wake up dreaming about. Freewheelin Dylan returns to try and defend his crown, and it would be remiss to think that the Irish National Hero couldn’t do it again. However, I am siding for one at a bigger price, with The Big Lense looking very interesting in this for the in-form Denise Foster team. This horse was very progressive in summer 2019, but jumping has let him down since then. He finished a close up 5th in this race last year and that performance would give him a massive chance reappearing here off a mark of 132. It is a risky play but one that I’m willing to play at a price of 14/1 with 4 places available with William Hill.
For my final two selections, attention turns to Cork for their card, and I have two hopes in handicap hurdles. Starting off with the 5.20 contest. I am hoping for a return to form for Ya Ya Baby, for Jessie Harrington and Paul Townend. This mare had some decent juvenile form in the book, when coming second to Coventry before beating Clever Currency at this venue. The last two runs in handicaps have been disappointing, but she returns to the course she won at and there has been a small bit of relent from the handicapper. Townend looks like an eye-catching booking for this mare, who has more than enough ability to be firmly involved today. At a price of 8/1 with 5 places available with SkyBet, I’ll be backing her.
Finally, the sixth and final selection is in the 6.20 at Cork, a mares handicap hurdle. China Princess is desperately overpriced and overlooked in this race, having been brought down on her last start at Wexford. Prior to that, she won comfortably at that track off a mark of 90, and she has been raised 6 pounds from that. She was brought down before the race developed last time out, and has been left at the door in the market for this similar contest. As long as her confidence hasn’t taken a knock from that incident, she should run a big race here. At a big price of 12/1 with Paddy Power with 5 places available, she must go close.