6.35 Epsom – Indigenous Handicap
Thursday sees the return of some better quality action and at Epsom (6.35) I’m hoping MUHDIQ will outrun his price of 11-1 in this eight starter event. This son of Hard Spun ended 2012 in a progressive manner with form figures of 3211. All runs steadily got better, the last three contested on the all-weather at Lingfield and Kempton. While his best form is on an artificial surface there is nothing to suggest the grass is holding him back. In four runs on the green sod I think there is just about enough evidence to propose he copes with it. As long as the ground is on the quick side, which he will get tomorrow, I’m sure he’ll be fine.
With the terrain likely to suit it looks like we have another base covered with regards the course. The lightly raced four-year-old had one run here last season where he finished third. That was a good effort considering he helped set a strong early pace and Pat Dobbs’ mount was just chinned for second on the line.
From here his form took off with a second and two wins before coming into this campaign. This year has been a disappointment thus far as his form figures of two duck eggs suggest. While his form numbers look poor they don’t tell half the story. His first run came at Ascot in a much more competitive heat than this. After being drawn on the wrong side he did well to finish second on his wing, beaten just over six lengths in total. It was an unlucky start, but one which showed he had a race in him.
His second run of the year was much similar with the draw once again proving a curse. He was allocated a stall in the car park, as they say, and when this arises at Sandown over five furlongs most struggle to win. All in all his pair of starts have showed two things: 1, how unlucky he is and 2, he remains capable of winning.
With a smaller field, a good draw and a less competitive race he must run well tomorrow, if on song. Since Ascot he’s been dropped four pounds too which will of course aid his chance further. He’s shown his ability to handle this unique track and the ground should be fine for him. He’s by far the least exposed of these so I’m hoping for a big run especially given his classy pedigree for this grade. While I try to steer clear of sprint racing I do feel Muhdiq offers plenty of value at 11-1. Hopefully all eight stay in as I’m going to suggest an each-way play.
1.5pts each-way Muhdiq @11-1 (Bet Victor, Paddy Power)