The best value bet all weekend
Fancy being a millionaire? All you've got to go is crack the Scoop6 on Saturday. Here's Jack Nicol's guide to the bet.
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The opening Classic of the Flat season, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, has been selected as the final leg of this weekend’s record-breaking £5million totescoop6.
A total of £2,096,863 – the biggest pool in the bet’s history – currently sits in the win pot, while the bonus fund stands at £1,777,220. Scoop6 organisers anticipate somewhere in the region of £2m will be invested into the pools on Saturday catapulting the win fund towards £3million and the bonus fund over the £2m mark.
Angel Gabrial’s victory at Ripon last Saturday meant the Scoop6 rolled over after only four legs and this week’s races are, to be frank, only marginally easier to decipher.
Bookmakers Betfred made the bet odds-on to be landed last Saturday and it’s more of the same this weekend, with the win fund 4/9 to be won and 13/8 to rollover once again.
But with plenty of 'dead money' in the pools, there's no doubt about the value that is on offer to the lucky/smart punter this weekend. Here's where our money in the office will be going - see you in the Carribbean!
This week’s Scoop6 starts in very much the same manner as last week with this 19-runner handicap kicking off leg one and as nobody likes to have their dreams dashed within a couple of minutes, it is probably best to take (at least) two horses in this race.
William Haggas has made a red-hot start to the season and his Rock Choir will be a popular choice for punters hoping to get off to a dream start, the full-sister to Chorist is making her seasonal reappearance in a race which might just be on the sharp side for her, so instead I’d advise keeping both Farraaj and Trumpet Major on side.
Farraaj returned from a 209-day absence in the Winter Derby last time out and should certainly strip fitter for that run. Nine furlongs won’t be a problem and the decent ground is certainly in his favour.
2012 Craven Stakes winner, Trumpet Major, is another to note and amazingly this is his first run in a handicap. He could just be the class horse in this race in a first-time tongue-tie.
If you’re still in the Scoop6 after the first leg then you’re doing well and at least leg two offers a slightly easier puzzle to solve.
Having nominated Pearl Secret as one of my horses to follow this season, it seems to logical to start with him although I’m actually worried about the going for him here, especially after he suffered a serious injury last season and his apparent preference for soft ground.
So with those doubts I’m going to select last year’s winner, Sole Power, who is sure to run his race with conditions in his favour and the brilliant Ryan Moore in the saddle.
Onto leg three and we’re back to the wide-open handicaps as 14 runners are set to line up in this tricky affair and it might be time to get tactical with your selections.
If you bear in mind that there is a definite advantage for those drawn low at Thirsk attention is immediately drawn to Music In The Rain, Capaill Liath and Desert Creek.
Both Capaill Liath and Desert Creek aren’t in the best of form though and likely favourite Music In The Rain is the standout horse in this field. The ex-Jim Bolger-trained gelding landed a hefty gamble on his reappearance and a 6lb rise may not be enough to stop him going in again.
Only 10 runners, but not much easier to solve although there is only one horse coming into the race of the back of a victory.
That horse is course-and-distance winner and likely favourite Pal Of The Cat but I’m happy to take him on off a career-high mark of 82 in a much tougher race
Kyleakin Lass threatened to win a race last season without ever managing to get her head in front but ground conditions are set to be in her favour here, though she is still 5lb above her last winning mark and is overlooked this time.
Preference instead is for the David Barron-trained Long Awaited who has a tremendous record when fresh and must have some cut in the ground – conditions he is likely to encounter tomorrow.
If you’re still in after four legs then you’d be pretty excited although things don’t get any easier in leg five in what is probably the most difficult race of the six to solve.
It is important to once again factor in the draw bias at Thirsk as double-figured stalls on the round course do tend to be at a disadvantage as they have more ground to cover around the bend.
Farlow is sure to have his supporters and stall five is a positive for the gelding who won over seven furlongs last time out at this track and is clearly thriving, a mark of 90 means he’ll need a career best to win this and I’m just don’t think he’ll be up to it.
Off Art is another who is sure to be popular and it easy to see why. The chestnut colt rattled in a hat-trick last season and made a nice comeback when finishing fifth in the Lincoln.
Interestingly, trainer Tim Easterby came out and said that, in his opinion, Off Art had gone slightly off the boil before the race. In the expectation that he arrives at Thirsk in better heart, I can see Off Art being the one they all have to beat.
I am also quite sweet on the chances of Bold Prediction for in-form trainer Karl Burke and he could be an alternative to Off Art. The Kodiac gelding easily won a Wolverhampton handicap last week and arrives here on a revised mark of 82; useful claimer Joey Haynes takes a handy 5lb off his back and could go close from stall seven – the same stall which has berthed three of the last four winners of this race. Oh go on then, I'll put him in too.
If anybody is still in after five legs then I guarantee the majority of those will be relying on the unbeaten Kingman to bring home the money in this record-breaking scoop6 and rightly so.
The inevitable comparisons were made to Frankel following Kingman’s scintillating performance in the Greenham Stakes three weeks ago and they don’t stop there as the Khalid Abdullah-owned colt has been drawn in stall one at Newmarket – the same starting position from which Frankel routed his rivals back in 2011 – and on form he is the one they all have to beat.
For win purposes, I’m happy to leave out both Australia and Kingston Hill as, even though they could go close, they are surely likelier types for the Derby in June.
Toormore and War Command are closely matched on their form last season and are difficult to separate accordingly and I’m actually going to take a chance on an outsider as my second selection in the race in the form of Godolphin’s Outstrip.
It may be greedy trying to go for the prize outright but Outstrip is likely to be overlooked for the major players and I feel he is being judged on his third in the Dewhurst Stakes last year; the grey colt was never really travelling in the softer conditions that day and I definitely believe is his better on a faster surface - exemplified by his victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last time out.
There you go. I'm rich.
Leg 1: Newmarket 2:05 – Farraaj, Trumpet Major
Leg 2: Newmarket 2:40 – Sole Power
Leg 3: Thirsk 3.00 – Music In The Rain
Leg 4: Goodwood 3.30 – Long Awaited
Leg 5: Thirsk 3.40 – Off Art, Bold Prediction
Leg 6: Newmarket 3.50 – Kingman, Outstrip