By Tony Calvin
I’d be lying if I said I had spent any time whatsoever looking at a jumps race since Sandown in April, so my options are rather limited today.
Brighton it is then and, although the card is full of races worth just £4,000 and £4,500, it has at least thrown up a few competitive contests.
My idea of the best bet on the card – and I must stress it is low-stakes stuff today – is Haulani at 11-2 with Paddy Power in the 1m2f handicap at 4.25pm.
The ground at Brighton is edging towards soft and strong winds at the course today could make it wet and wild. But that should not be a concern for the selection who acts on any ground and can boast a good to soft win here, and softer-ground form, too.
He had not beaten a horse home in two previous attempts over this trip but he seemed to get it just fine when third at Windsor last time.
The form of that race is mixed – the winner has run two good races in defeat since and the sixth won next time out, though others have done very little subsequently – but he races off the same mark here (he was rated 8lb higher at the start of the season) and blinkers replace cheekpieces for the first time.
Odds of 5-1 upwards about him are fair.
Solitary Sister is also worth chancing a few quid on in the 6f handicap at 4.55pm.
This filly comes with a bit of a wealth warning as she clearly has her own mind, is often slowly away and “flashed tail” gets a prominent mention in all of her in-running comments. Plus she is unproven over this trip and on this ground.
Not a promising start when looking for a bet, admittedly.
But today’s 7lb claimer Nicola Currie, fresh from a winning ride at Thirsk on Saturday, got a better tune out of her here over 6f last time in a first-time visor, and that makes her interesting at the price today.
She did well to finish a close-up fifth there given that she never saw daylight all the way up the straight and weaved across the track looking for a run – it could have been the horse dictating affairs, mind you - eventually finishing up on the far rail, and she is a full-sister to a mile winner so another go at this trip is warranted.
It’s a punt - and 10-1 or better about her is fair - but this isn’t a day for flashing the cash and rock-solid betting propositions.
I like World Record in the last but he has not been missed in the market at 7-4. I was half-interested in chancing Habbad on the ground in the 3.25pm but connections apparently weren’t and they pulled him out just before 9am.
Delannoy nearly tempted me in the 1m4f handicap at 3.55pm. He bolted up in a 1m3f seller in a first-time visor at Goodwood last time, after which the shrewd trained and owner combination of Neil Mulholland and Ashley Carr snapped him up for £10,000.
I think there is some mileage in his handicap mark of 61 but the ground has to be a concern – his two worse runs have come on soft – and on balance I can let him go unbacked and untipped at 6-1 (and a couple of points bigger in Betfair’s illiquid win market).
When the bets aren’t there don’t force them, so just the two plays today. Good luck.
Tony Calvin’s top tips for Monday: