I don’t think there is any excuse for having to pay cash in any bar these days, but that was the case where I was originally sat in an outside area at Ascot on Saturday – first world problems and all that – and there also wasn’t a TV anywhere to seen, either, and some very ropey phone signal.
So I had to get up to watch the race live out the front, and that’s really not on…..
But, joking aside, small quibbles on an otherwise excellent day in the sunshine – the weather makes and breaks occasions like these - and Magical’s win in the Fillies And Mares even covered the losses elsewhere on the card and a pretty hefty drinks bill.
On to Monday’s action, anyway, and I have dug up a few decent bets, I hope.
Dream Machine came second on his only start on soft ground to date, and he looks weighted to return to winning ways.
He ran well enough when fifth at Newbury last time and has been dropped 1lb to a mark of 82, which enables him to get into this 0-80 handicap.
The last time he ran in this grade he won over course and distance in May, and he is rated just 2lb higher now.
The stable have won with three of their last six runners, and it could well have been four had Boy In A Bentley not fallen at Wincanton on Friday.
He finished a place ahead of Dream Machine at Newbury last time, and the handicapper has played fair by dropping him 1lb for it, too.
That makes him just 4lb higher than when beating an in-form Big Adieu on soft ground at Epsom previously, and he was beaten only ¾ length off a 1lb higher mark than this over course and distance in April.
His best efforts have come with give in the ground, and he looks a very solid proposition here.
Crownthorpe makes a quick reappearance after posting an improved performance in first-time cheekpieces at Haydock on Friday, and I imagine the handicapper will be shifting him up at least 3lb or so when he gets the chance.
As it is, he races off the same mark here, and has his preferred soft ground as well, so he has a big chance.
He was beaten only a nose at Haydock, with the hat-trick-seeking Sods Law four lengths away in third, and this is a horse who ran an excellent third at Haydock off a 7lb higher mark than this back in May.
The quick turnaround is an obvious worry, but he is the best handicapped horse in the race with conditions to suit. The price isn’t anything to write home about, but I was expecting a fair bit shorter than 7-2, to be honest.
I am not having a bet at Pontefract, but I will mention a couple of runners there.
Royal Flag returned to winning form over 1m7f at Ayr last time and looks very fairly treated off just a 2lb higher mark in the 5.00.
The step up to 2m2f is a path into the unknown but he clearly stays 2m very well, so I don’t anticipate much of an issue on the stamina front.
However, the soft ground may be a problem, so I will pass.
Musharrif looks okay in the 5.30, too. But, again, no bet, so over to Kempton.
Florencio comes here after what I thought was a very encouraging run over 1m here last time.
He didn’t get a lot of racing room in the final furlong or so, but I thought he shaped really well with his run just petering out close home.
The step down to 7f here is very much in his favour, as is the re-fitting of cheekpieces.
He raced without the headgear there, and in his two previous starts for new trainer Jamie Osborne, but all his best efforts for former handler Roger Fell came in cheekpieces and over 7f, and this course winner is primed to run a huge race here under optimum conditions.
He looks the bet of the day to me at 12-1.