By Tony Calvin
I never put up a tip or selection without backing it myself – if you are losing, then rest assured I am, as well - and I had a bit of a dilemma when pondering over the chances of general 50-1 chance Harbour Seal in the opener at Brighton.
Now, the form of her debut seventh at Leicester is ordinary in the extreme and I am sure she won’t come into her own until being stepped up to 7f and beyond. In addition, Daybreak will take all the beating after her second to the subsequent impressive winner Gavota at Newmarket last month, not to mention that there are other fillies in here with fair maiden form and some likely newcomers, to boot.
But I saw enough in that opening run that will probably lead me to back her place-only at a big price - and maybe each-way “without the favourite” should the market materialise - when Betfair liquidity beefs up later in the day (she is currently 110 in the win market on the exchange).
She played up beforehand at Leicester but I thought she shaped quite well under a sympathetic ride, and a first-time hood may address her obvious keenness there.
Both of her trainer’s juvenile winners obliged on their second starts, and the trainer seems to know what he is doing with headgear, as his In The Spotlight won in first-time cheekpieces last month and his Lawmaking ran a good second with an initial hood on at Goodwood nine days ago.
Anyway, I may look to back her later on today, but that is no good to us now, so I’ll crack on. As I have started at Brighton, I’ll stay there, albeit very briefly.
I was nearly tempted in by Rebel Heart at 8-1 in the selling handicap, and Limerick Lord at 6-1 in the 4pm race, but those current prices just weren’t big enough given the nature of their contests.
Harbour Seal is one to keep an eye on at massive odds at Brighton
So off to Ripon we go and I am willing to take a chance on Stanghow at a general 13-2 in the 5f handicap at 3.40pm.
It is a very competitive sprint, for all there are only nine runners, but the selection has a fair bit going for him.
He put a couple of poor runs behind him when fifth at Chester last time, and I am very surprised that the handicapper dropped him 1lb for it. Yes, he was beaten two lengths there, but he did remarkably well considering he was drawn 12 of 12 and ran well above his market expectations as a 50-1 chance.
He has form figures of 2230 at the track, and he is back to just a 2lb higher mark than when winning at Beverley in July.
Penny Pot Lane has an obvious chance in the 6f handicap at 4.10pm, though I am bit uneasy why first-time cheekpieces are being used (trainer is 0 from 3 with this option since 2016) because she appears to have run perfectly well when placed off this mark on her last two starts.
She is also two from two at the track and, if there is some rain in the unsettled forecast then so much the better. I think she is the likeliest winner but the 9-2 in two places disappeared overnight, so I can let her go unbacked at 4-1.
House Of Commons could be worth chancing in the 2.50pm at Windsor, where it is now good to soft after 11mm of rain overnight. It is still drizzling there apparently, so expect non-runners if you are betting at the meeting.
There are negatives, not least the fact that he is unproven over the trip, and has been running poorly of late. And his only run at this track was less than impressive.
But he has come down 7lb since a good third over 1m at Pontefract in April and his breeding gives some encouragement that this trip will suit – he is by Sea The Stars – as well as his fifth over 1m2f at Chelmsford in January, when ridden by today’s jockey, suggesting it was well worth a try.
As ever, the price dictates whether I get involved or not, and 13-2 is big enough to get me involved.
I put up Kings Academy in this column last week when he was a non-runner, so he came across my radar in the last, as did Secret Soul earlier on in the card, but both have been well found in the market.
Hopefully, Getgo hasn’t, after a last of 10 at Beverley last time which is easily excused as he was drawn widest there.
Unfortunately, the handicapper has ignored the run but his earlier second at Yarmouth gives him a big chance.
The winner is now rated 9lb higher after a close third at Brighton next time, possibly unlucky not to have won, and the third obliged at Newmarket on his following start, as did the sixth. And it was only a seven-runner race. The general price of 12-1 was at least a couple of points bigger than I was expecting, so he rates a decent bet.
If you have access to a Best Odds Guaranteed bookmaker use them, as the horse is currently 17.0 to back on the exchange at time of filing – maybe that is a ground-related drift, but good to soft will hopefully be fine for him - albeit in an illiquid market.
Tony’s top tips for Monday
2.50 Windsor: House Of Commons at 13-2 generally available
3.40 Ripon: Stanghow at 13-2 generally available
4.50 Windsor: Getgo at 12-1 generally available