Last year’s winner Twighlight Son apart, almost every horse you would hope to be lining up in today's Group 1 32Red Sprint Cup (4.30) is doing so. Regular readers of this column will know of the regard in which I hold Limato but the uncertainty around his participation because of the weather, makes him a difficult horse to recommend as a bet, especially at cramped odds.
Whilst he has the class to blow this lot away, his somewhat late inclusion in this contest, allied to the fact that he may not be at his peak relative to some of the other leading fancies, has swayed me into backing a horse each-way at a bigger price. That horse is SUEDOIS who has barely put a foot wrong since joining David O’Meara’s yard, including a sequence of highly creditable efforts in top level company. He really has very little to find to be in the mix and, if Limato doesn’t shine as has sometimes been the case, then Suedois is as feasible a winner as any other of the leading fancies, yet is a much bigger price.
Earlier in the afternoon, in the 32Red Mile (3.00), I’m going to take a chance on the class-dropping FIRST SELECTION, who has been set some extremely ambitious targets this season and is now running at a more realistic level. I was struck by a recent Newmarket work report suggesting he had been producing his best work of the season and I can see this race panning out nicely for him tactically, given the plethora of hold-up horses in against him. Richard Kingscote has been riding especially well of late and there are few better at the Merseyside venue.
In the race that used to be known as the Old Borough Cup (3.30), I am of the view that WALPOLE can take another step up the ladder and bag the biggest prize of his short career. Hugo Plamer’s fast-improving son of Rock Of Gibraltar has won four of his five starts so far and he sneaks into this valuable contest off bottom weight. He could easily jolt of improvement for this longer trip and it’s encouraging that connections have rerouted him here rather than take in the lesser contest at Ascot yesterday, where he was strongly fancied. Shakopee didn’t convince me with his finishing effort at York but he still ran a cracker on the figures and this might not be quite as strong a contest.
In the 5f Be Friendly Handicap (4.00), I’m going in again with GAMESOME, whose best efforts have undoubtedly come over this trip on flat tracks and there are a few real trailblazers in here to suck him into the race. You can forget Sandown last time as he wasn’t suited by the track, he was drawn on the wrong side at Goodwood in July and in between those runs he posted a super effort in defeat at Doncaster. He’s been dropped a couple of pounds by the handicapper and he should be extremely competitive off this mark.