‘Paradise’ in my Garden!

Raging attempts to go one better tonight in a thirteen-runner class 4 Maiden Stakes over five furlongs at Bath where the highest racecourse in the United Kingdom stages a punter-friendly seven-race card on ‘good, good to soft’ ground; given the amount of rain we’ve been subjected to during the last few days it’s truly astonishing to even think conditions will be so favourable on a track which was once the absolute ‘favourite’ of the late, great 26-times champion jockey Sir Gordon Richards.

‘Moppy’, as he was affectionately known to thousands of racegoers, who followed him avidly for decades, rode 4870 winners in an astonishing career that spanned more than thirty years before a freak paddock accident curtailed it in 1953; he’d already been knighted the previous year during which he rode the Epsom Derby winner for the first time.

Pinza won unchallenged, beating Aureole, owned by Her Majesty, The Queen, who had placed the sword on his broad shoulders only days before; a remarkable sequence of events.

Richard Hannon’s consistent, tried and tested policy with two-year-olds is all about giving them a pleasant ‘first day at school’ experience and then running them back quickly; 20/1 chance Raging apparently caused a surprise when beaten just over a length by heavily-backed Angel Blue at Salisbury seventeen days ago, under stable jockey Sean Levey, who again climbs aboard the Holy Roman Emperor colt with far better expectations. I napped fourth home Banana in a race which had pace throughout.

On the time-handicap therefore Raging meets criteria and justifies support, if better than 2/1, my lowest price for single betting on juveniles.

Incidentally strongly-fancied Fair And Square has a similar profile and is bound to be ‘on the premises’ but 50% of the field contains newcomers which are likely to find this first up outing somewhat daunting; fascinating to watch them learn as races progress but, never forget, they are the future, it isn’t all about today!

Half an hour later Hannon and Levey also team up with twice-raced Gustav Holtz in a shallow-looking Novice Stakes over twelve furlongs but will find 77-rated Garden Paradise a tough nut to crack; James Tate’s charge is a confident selection to make it fourth time lucky.

Earlier ‘good to soft’ York’s first day of the ‘Dante’ meeting is undoubtedly difficult but Fat Sam (115 BHA) rates a solid bet in a Maiden Hurdle over two and a half miles of Newton Abbot where I ‘worked’ on a racecourse for the first time back in the 1970’s; what a memory, an incredible, fulfilling day, You never forget your first experience!

Selections, Worcester, 4.00 Yauthym; Bath, 6.20 Raging; 6.50 Garden Paradise.

 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