We hit the bar last week with three selections – and I certainly tucked into a drink or two after the result of the Windsor stewards was announced – with a winner, a runner-up and the third tip, Parnassian, getting chucked out after landing a mini-punt from 8-1 the evening before (in truth, 5-1 was the more representative opening price).
It was a bit galling to see Parnassian lose the race after being odds-against in the photo and odds-on in the stewards’ betting – especially as the “winning” rider, the ever-impressive Jason Watson, was only cautioned and presumably not deemed to have committed a ban-able riding offence – but hopefully most of you backed it first-past-the-post with the fixed-odds firms and got the double-result concession and the cash.
Muggins here backed him on the exchange, though I admit to laying back my liability in the stewards’ enquiry.
On a wider point, I am not sure I get the logic of a horse getting thrown out if the jockey has not committed an actionable misdemeanour, but perhaps the stewards were just being nice, so I’ll park it there.
I had a very enjoyable, if wet, 32Red Sprint Cup day at Haydock on Saturday, and the trains even behaved themselves on the way home.
Monday’s fare is pretty sparse stuff as I have vowed not to get involved in any jumps action before I start following it seriously on a daily basis this season - I haven’t looked at a National Hunt card in anger since Sandown in April – and the only Limericks I get involved in contain at least one swear word.
So just Brighton in the afternoon, and Chelmsford in the evening for me.
Yeah, me too . . .
Good Luck Charm has a fair shout of following up his win in the race last season in the 3.05pm and Gary Moore has fair claims with King Athelstan, too, in the 3.35pm.
Winged Spur and Nyala also caught my eye in the later races as well, but I am going to chance Kath’s Boy in the last. And I will warn you now; it wouldn’t surprise me if he completely blew out.
The horse was beaten a country mile on his only other visit here in May and did not appear to cut much ice in midfield over 6f at Chepstow last time (though I saw some promise in the run), his second start back after wind surgery, and he is 4lb wrong here.
Not the most convincing start to a tip I have ever penned, I grant you, but I think he could be worth risking on a day of limited betting opportunities. I am backing him anyway.
He was running well, in the context of this 0-60 handicap, off this kind of mark in the summer last year and he looks well worth another try at this mile trip to judge by his pedigree as his page includes two half-brothers who have won over more than a mile and a half.
Tony Carroll, who also runs the more obvious Imbucato in the race, is operating at a 30 per cent strike rate, and the fact that he equips Kath’s Boy with first-time blinkers is interesting as he is an impressive 9 from 44 with this option in recent years.
In fact, I did some more digging on the headgear front, and he's 6 from 13 since 2016, with winners at 4-7, 14-1, 11-2, 11-1, 6-1 and 16-1. Also he also had two thirds at 20-1 and 10-1 in that spell.
I have a feeling we could see a much-improved performance.
There is a lot of pace on the cards here here, so Silvestre De Sousa, who is two from five on Classic Pursuit, may have to adopt patient tactics.
The selection has made all over 5f at Pontefract and Nottingham of late but he has scored from off the pace, too, including here last season.
He has gone up 17lb as a result of his recent turf exploits, which include a good fourth at Doncaster last time (the return to top form has coincided with the blinkers being re-applied), but at least he is 4lb lower on the all-weather and he clearly comes here in great nick.
The step up to 6f may put some people off, and his recent improvement has come over the minimum trip, but he has won three times over this distance and I am not unduly concerned, especially if De Sousa bides his time, as hoped and expected.
There are some bet-prompting headgear stats in here, so I am a bit wary of tipping Secret Art.
John Gosden (Tricorn) is 18 from 74 since 2011 when using a first-time hood and Saeed Bin Suroor (Moqarrab) is 9 from 36 when initially reaching for the cheekpieces.
However, I will soldier on, and take Secret Art to improve upon his already-impressive course form figures of 51142.
I thought he would run in the London Mile Final Handicap at Kempton on Saturday, a race he has run well in before, but connections have decided to come here instead.
He can throw in the odd stinker but he was a good second to the lightly-raced Adamant over 1m2f here last time, and he looks a solid proposition from the same mark here.
Some of his better efforts have come over a mile, so I am not concerned about the step back in trip and hopefully there will be a solid pace for him to aim at.
That is all that I am backing at Chelmsford but, quite clearly, Sir Mark Prescott’s Connoisseur is very interesting in the 1m5f handicap.
She steps up markedly in trip in first-time cheekpieces (Prescott is 9 from 44 since 2016) and her pedigree – she is a half-sister to the 1m7f Flat winner William Of Orange – suggests stepping up from 1m2f will suit.
However, there is always a certain amount of guesswork with these “trip projects” from the Baronet, so I will happily pass.
Tony's top trio: