Blue Corner looks a knockout bet
Ian Ogg picks out a bet of the day, a longshot, a special and a jockey and trainer in focus ahead of today's action.
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Saeed bin Suroor and Silvestre de Sousa hit the ground running at the Dubai Carnival's first meeting and this son of Teofilo looks capable of keeping their run going on his first start in the blue of Godolphin. A clearcut winner of a modest maiden on debut, the then Michael Halford-trained colt impressed in the manner of his victory and left his trainer purring about his future. He may not have won either of his next two starts but each was a step forwards and there should be a great deal more to come from this late developer. Halford commented that Blue Corner "loves quick ground" after his maiden win so he should relish a return to faster conditions following two runs on a softer surface. His initial handicap mark looks fair and the addition of a tongue-tie may also help unlock further progress.
Wincanton has beaten the weather which is terrific news with a really competitive card in store and Well Hello There may be able to help us get off to a decent start in our daily battle with the bookies. Jonjo O'Neill's charge has run like a drain in two starts this term (he has run well fresh in the past). It's possible that they may have been needed after an 11 month absence and those outings have seen his mark drop by 7lbs. He drops in grade, has conditions to suit while the return to racing right-handed may well help a horse whose two best performances have come at Ascot and Carlisle.
Okay, okay, I know. It's not as if Messrs Mullins and Walsh are out of the spotlight and it's not even as though they have a runner in the day's feature, the Kinloch Brae Chase, where Days Hotel bids to enhance his burgeoning reputation. The powerful pair, however, could dominate the rest of the card with four runners looking set to be sent off at odds-on. French import Djakadam appears to have been found a decent opening for his first start for new connections while the former great white hope Mikael D'Haguenet attempts to put his latest blip behind him in the following novice chase. Tarla also took a tumble last time but was mightily impressive on her preceding start while Ballycasey impressed on his hurdling debut and will be well supported to retain his unbeaten record under Rules.
Mullins is enjoying a quite remarkable year with a strike rate of around 33% and he could well better that at Thurles this afternoon.
Definity is arguably the most vulnerable of the triumvirate and gets the ball rolling for this treble. He looked a very exciting prospect despite returning a beaten favourite in the Centenary Novices' Handicap Chase at the Festival. That was back in 2011 but Paul Nicholls is sure to have him straight enough for this first run back and he's potentially very well handicapped.
There are trainer more adept at turning their horses out successfully under a penalty than Venetia Williams and Brick Red is extremely well in after his Ludlow romp despite a penalty and appears to have a penalty kick - although those who bought Wayne Rooney's goal minutes last night will know that doesn't always guarantee success.
Last but by no means least is the smart bumper performer Shutthefrontdoor. He was awful on his hurdling bow and didn't appear to enjoy it one iota but it was a completely different story at Uttoxeter and he should have little difficulty following up now that he's got the bit between his teeth.