Our Punting Pointers team landed another winner in the first race at York on Friday - don't miss Dave Massey's Saturday selections.
1pt win King Frankel in 3.00 Newbury at 8/1 (bet365, Boylesports, no lower)
0.5pts e.w Smeaton’s Light in 3.15 Newmarket at 16/1(BetVictor, Betfred, Boyles 1/5 1,2,3,4,5, min 14/1)
Good morning from Cambridge, which is where I am as I type up tomorrow’s Pointers from a hotel room somewhere in the centre of it. I’ve just had one of the worst night’s sleep I’ve ever had in a hotel, as sadly, when booking my room, I didn’t realise the Dagenham Girl Pipers had the room above me, and they were practicing their marching for a good proportion of the night.
Normally, being English, I’d do what any righteous Englishman would do, and complain under my breath to myself, wishing a plague of frogs on their room, but I did actually complain to management on this occasion and got moved to a different room, two doors down from where I was before. So I still got the banging from above, but from a slightly different perspective.
Anyway, onto the racing. A day to tread carefully, with heavy showers liable to break out just about anywhere, although it appears the worst of it might be on Sunday. Nevertheless, we can ease ourselves into the weekend with just a couple of bets if need be.
I didn’t have a huge opinion on the London Gold Cup but Rory does, and he makes the case for KING FRANKEL quite strongly. He would have won easily at Pontefract even without the second sadly breaking down in the latter stages, and even his second to Trawlerman at the same venue the time before looks all the better after the fourth, who was beaten miles there, was successful at Chelmsford on his next start, winning by no less than 14l. The form should continue to work out, and overall a 2lb rise for that latest win looks on the lenient side.
He looks the only pace angle in the race, so Joe Fanning can dictate his own fractions, and he’s proven with some cut too. On historical evidence he looks well drawn, and there’s a lot to like about his chance.
It’s very hard to opposed Palace Pier in the Lockinge, in which the Gosden horse will be a red-hot favourite, but I would argue pretty strongly that Lope de Vega has done nothing to justify his position as second favourite, and there is an angle in the ‘without favourite’ market as a result.
In beating Saltonstall in a weakly contested Listed contest at Leopardstown, Lope de Vega didn’t prove his credentials as a top-class miling prospect, and the runner-up has been beaten an aggregate of 84 lengths in three other starts this year. On the other hand, Top Rank has already given weight and a beating to My Oberon, looked better than ever when winning under a penalty at Doncaster in March, and will be ideally suited by a straight mile on softish ground. He’s a bit of a late developer, which is no surprise given his physique, and he can improve further under suitable conditions this term. Safe Voyage is a viable alternative at the prices, but potential and race fitness makes James Tate’s grey the obvious choice.
The firms haven’t yet priced this up, so we will return to it in the morning as regards a bet.
I have to totally convince Rory for the case of SMEATON'S LIGHT here, but I do like backing an unexposed lightweight in a handicap who clocked a speed figure on his previous start that’s good, and doesn’t really tally with the amount of weight he/she’s is being asked to carry. Usually, the faster the horse, the bigger the weight, but that might not be the case with Smeaton’s Light, who romped home in a good time at Thirsk, settling better than had been the case, and has been given a mark of 80 to start off life in handicaps with.
The Thirsk form is pretty much untested, but the bottom line is that was a huge improvement on his two starts at two, and he’ll probably want 6f as a minimum going forward. Perhaps he’d prefer a slightly easier task, and stall 15 may or may not be a positive draw, but that's all factored into the price.
With the prospect of further rain at Bangor, it makes me want to try and take on the likely favourite, Armattiekan, as any further easing of the already good-to-soft ground would be against him (twice a non-runner on soft with “unsuitable ground” given as the reason).
Sadly, the one I have been waiting to have a go over fences, Pass Rusher, might have the same problem, with his best form so far coming on no worse than good to soft, but there’s no doubting he’s well enough handicapped on his point-to-point win back in 2019 and for much of the past two seasons he’s been killing time over hurdles over trips too short. That’s not the case here, as he goes up half a mile in trip for his chase debut, and all he’s bred to do is stay and jump fences. I expect better from him now he goes chasing, and if he acts on the ground, he’s got every chance.
Rory will moan that I’m covering a 0-100 chase on a Saturday but if he wants to argue he can argue with a man that’s had no sleep, so bring it on, pal.
Daranova is the one I like here. He wasn’t really going anywhere over hurdles but on only his second chase start here a fortnight ago, was probably a bit unlucky to bump into a resurgent and well handicapped Leith Hill Lad, and you could apply similar comments to the second, Montanna, too. The way he finished off there suggests this little drop back in trip could be ideal, and if he runs that race again, he’ll go close here. The usual caveat of ground applies - that was on good ground, and a lot of rain at Uttoxeter would add a level of uncertainty, but whatever, he looks about ready to win a little summer jumps handicap over fences.
Published at 1810 BST on 14/05/21
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