Betting expert Tony Calvin was on the mark with Temasek Star (10-1) and Vallarta (5-1) last week from three tips - his other one finished second at 7-1 - and has four selections for Monday.
A few bookmakers were caught snoozing on Saturday night after Queen’s Vase winner Kew Gardens showed he had the pace for 1m4f when winning the Grand Prix de Paris.
It wouldn’t have been the strongest Group 1 contests you will have seen, but after the Longchamp race Aidan O’Brien said they were using that contest as a stepping stone to a possible shot at the King George and that Ascot was now on the agenda.
Yet some ten minutes later some bookmakers were still offering 25-1 and 20-1 for the middle-distance summer showpiece; half an hour later and the best price available was 10-1, and the biggest you will find now is 6-1.
The betting is dominated by the Sir Michael Stoute pair of Crystal Ocean and Poet’s Word, but the race appears to lack depth below that pair and the improving O’Brien colt was clearly an each-way proposition at the big prices.
Whether or not the punters that took the 25-1 and 20-1 will see their accounts survive their smash and grab raid on Saturday is another matter.
Sometimes, in this game, if the layers snooze, you lose. Anyway, on to Monday’s racing.
Solesmes is worth another chance in what looks a very winnable 5f nursery.
She travels pretty well through her races but it looks like 6f is stretching her stamina at the moment to judge from her effort over that trip at Haydock last time.
Back to 5f and down 2lb, she is on a very fair mark on the evidence of her length and three quarter win over the minimum trip in a Goodwood seller, in what was a fair time for the grade.
You wouldn’t go overboard about the bare form but the runner-up comfortably won a Lingfield nursery off 65 last Wednesday, and the selection races off 67 here.
When I am studying a race, my immediate instinct is to see whether the horses towards the top of the market are worth opposing.
And, more often than not, the answer is yes, because I have found shying away from the obvious is the way to make money.
I couldn’t find many negatives in Zylan though, and he rates a decent bet.
His best efforts have come at Southwell but he has put up two improved efforts on turf of late after being ridden more aggressively and his only probable pace rival in here seems to be Viscount Loftus, who occasionally likes to go forward but is not a habitual front-runner.
The selection is 6lb higher than when winning at Beverley last month but the form has worked out well – the second Mujassam has already won three times since, including at Hamilton on Saturday night – and his second off this mark at Haydock last time is solid.
The winner won easily but was well-handicapped if coming back to form (and he certainly did) and the third there only just lost out in a three-way photo at Chester on Friday.
The Roger Fell stable continues in great form (he is 6 from 17 in the past ten days) and, provided he can get to the lead from stall seven, Zylan could prove hard to peg back.
Sultan Baybars can finally get back to winning ways, dropped into a 0-75 handicap for the first time.
He was a costly failure for plenty when backed from double-figure prices the night before (though admittedly it would have taken little to make the bigger odds disappear) into 4-1 at the off in a 0-85 at Carlisle last time.
However, he didn’t run too badly and he has been dropped 3lb to a mark of 76, which enables him to get into this lower-grade handicap.
He would pick these up and carry them if returning to the form of his brace of Sandown seconds last season, and he can sit just off the lead here (if not making it himself, as he has led before) and outclass these.
The mile trip is a slight concern, as his best form has undoubtedly come over 7f, but that’s a potential worry I can live with in this lesser company.
Pumaflor had been dropped 14lb for his recent runs on turf before finishing third at 40-1 over a mile at Hamilton on Saturday night – what he had been doing racing over 1m4f on occasions is anyone’s guess, but the handicapper fell for it - and he traded at 4-5 in running before weakening late on.
If he runs – and he has gone well from quick turnarounds a few times in the past - then he is clearly dangerous off this mark now that he has shown some spark again.
Epsom Secret in the 5.50pm was the closest I came to a bet on a pretty unappetising Windsor card.
I was tempted to put up Mendeleev at a big price, each-way, in the 6.10 at Wolverhampton as he was drawn widest in one at Ripon his debut, and was last for most of the race before finally beginning to get the hang of things late on.
Don’t get me wrong, he was still beaten the thick-end of 20 lengths and probably wants a lot further already – his dam’s best efforts came over two miles and more - but juveniles from this yard often come on a ton for their debuts (Alicia Darcy being a recent example) and he may not be the no-hoper he appears at first glance.
Soaring Spirits also nearly made the cut in the 8.40pm but Anonymous John, from a stable that had its first winner since May at Kempton last Wednesday, is my last bet of the day.
He is 5lb higher than when just touched off at Newbury last time but the vast majority of his best efforts have come on the all-weather, and a fair few of them at this track where he has form figures of 3214532281970.
This is the first time he has been back here since February, and he does so as an in-form and fairly-treated horse for whom 6f is ideal. He is worth a nibble.
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