Scampi looks a tasty betting proposition in the Novices’ Stakes over twelve furlongs of Lingfield polytrack today and Andrew Balding’s charge, mount of his former apprentice Oisin Murphy, should start at relatively decent odds, always a major factor when punting seriously.
So many boxes are ticked for the twice-raced Nayef gelding; trained by my absolute ‘favourite’, ridden by our champion jockey, whose grip on the title looks extremely tight, and clear ‘best-in’ on the time-handicap which continues to produce an impressive level of consistency due to my total dedication computing electrically-recorded race-times.
Four of six rivals are un-raced, Reverend Hubert has shown little and Godolphin-owned, Frankie Dettori-ridden Polling Day, needs to improve considerably on a first-up course success over a mile and a quarter five weeks ago, for which this John amd Thady Gosden-trained Sea The Stars colt is penalised a hefty 7lbs.
Such an impost equates to at least three lengths and the actual time-figure of Scampi, when making his debut over a mile of Sandown, is superior; extra distance is definitely a bonus and so, by process of elimination, this looks a two-horse race. Betting will be most interesting but don’t be surprised if Polling Day is odds-on.
Earlier Catterick stages a seven-race card on ‘good to firm’ ground which should suit thrice-raced Aquaman in a ten-runner Novice Stakes over seven furlongs which, to all intents and purposes, is nothing more than a ‘penalty-kick’ for this 84-rated Roger Varian-trained Kodian colt.
Apart from Mulhalhel, doubtless being readied, with a third run, for handicapping purposes by Varian’s Newmarket neighbour William Haggas, there is no competition and so expect stable jockey Jack Mitchell to take no prisoners by forcing the issue around the ‘frying pan’ circuit of this popular North Yorkshire venue. It’s a grand sight.
National Hunt racing remains in full flow and Amy Murphy’s progressive Tonyx, one of nine ‘decs’ for a nine-runner Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle over two and a half miles of ‘good to firm’ Taunton, is expected to supplement recent unchallenged Sedgefield gains under Jack Quinlan; don’t oppose.
Selections, Catterick, 2.20 Aquaman; Lingfield, 4.35 Scampi; Taunton, 5.30 Tonyx.
Jeffrey Ross, horse-racing correspondent for WMN since 1983 when winning the most prestigious racing journalist award, Sporting Life Naps Table, before winning it a record number of six times collectively in the Racing Post, the current ‘trade’ paper, including 2019