4.05 Haydock – Pertemps Network Spring Trophy Stakes
The ratings suggest CUSTOM CUT has his work cut out to win this and while that may be true he still interests me at a price of 5/1. That looks a little big given he seems to have plenty in his favour today.
David O’Meara’s charge will enjoy the rain that has fallen around the track in recent days and the more it rains the better. His forward going style should also be suited to this speed track and there is a chance he may get his own way out front, allowing him to set his own fractions.
Current favourite, Lockwood returns after a break and wants the ground faster so I’m prepared to take him on at the price. He can be held up too and that won’t be ideal in a race that may be run at a crawl. Highland Colori too returns from a break and at the prices I’ll take him on.
The selection will have a strong fitness advantage over the two market leaders having run twice this campaign. Both runs were good efforts and this race fitness may be edge he needs to scrap home today.
1pt win CUSTOM CUT @5/1 (Bet Victor, Coral, Ladbrokes)
4.30 Nottingham – Family Fun Day Sunday 1st June Handicap
Since being gelded and having blinkers applied, ARTFUL PRINCE has been turned inside out and I’m hoping he can continue his progression after a fantastic 2013. The son of Dutch Art won five times for connections last year and if summering well he may be able to continue that, this campaign.
Despite being by a speedy sire he has excelled over ten furlongs on ground with a bit of cut. He will get that today and should step-up on his disappointing seasonal reappearance. Over an inadequate mile, on fast ground with the blinkers off, on his first run in six months, he trailed in 15 of 18 at Redcar.
On paper it was a bad run, and it was, but he now steps up to ten furlongs again and more importantly has the blinkers back on. Graham Lee, who has won twice on him, is too back aboard and that’s another plus. His course and distance winning form is another string to his bow.
It doesn’t look a great race numerically, but it may well prove the likes of Saigon City and Putra Eton are ahead of their marks, especially the latter. That said, the former must carry top-weight and Putra Eton might be a candidate to bounce, and a bigger danger may come from the inform Handheld.
Its interesting Handheld has been well supported, but on a line through a horse named Dark Ruler, there isn’t a whole pile between them, yet, the selection is (around) four times his price.
Artful Prince isn’t a confident pick given his last run, but he looks worth chancing. It should be noted that the selection is 20/1 in the open market, but 18/1 in a market without Putra Eton. For the sake of two points, given Putra Eton could easily win this, this is the way I’m going to play this race, in the ‘without Putra Eton’ market.
1pt each-way ARTFUL PRINCE @18/1 ‘betting without Putra Eton’ (Coral, Paddy Power)
5.05 Nottingham – The Odds On Favourite DG Taxis 01159500500 Handicap
Karl Burke has his string in superb order and his ARAN SKY may be able to defy a potentially lenient handicap mark now back on turf. He went straight into my At The Races Tracker on his seasonal debut when he was beaten a long way at Doncaster over five weeks ago.
That was a maiden event, his third run and it looked as if another day was in mind as he was dropped out the rear and not asked too many tough questions. While beaten a long way, this race could hardly be working out any better and he did show ability.
He was possibly slightly disappointing last time out on the all-weather. His sire has a below average record on artificial surfaces and the son of Arakan has at least been dropped a further three pounds.
He now runs off a mark of 65 and will also have the assistance of Rob J Fitzpatrick, a capable seven pounds claimer who has ridden three winners from his last eight rides.
Now in lowly handicap company back on grass he may prove to be well-handicapped in a race where there appears to be plenty horses more exposed than him and others that may struggle with the trip.
I was going to suggest a higher confidence bet, but I just don’t know what the weather is going to do in Nottingham. He wouldn’t want too much more rain, but on the other hand, may get away with it as I feel he is handicapped to win, if on song.
1pt each-way ARAN SKY @7/1 (bet365, William Hill)