Firth Of Clyde, mount of champion jockey Oisin Murphy, clear top-rated on BHA ratings and my time-handicap, is by far the most experienced and, from in-form yard of Paul Cole, represents a start of the week ‘special’ in the eight-runner Novice Stakes over a mile of ‘firm’ ground Bath; a real ‘box-ticker’ on a an urgent retrieving mission.
Odds-against is not guaranteed but with several well-bred newcomers in opposition and progressive once-raced winner Sheer Glory lining up along with strongly-fancied Royal Rift, fourth first-up, a ubiquitous betting market could well be unpredictable.
On a genuine firm surface, around the only course with no watering system, due prognostication could cause doubt in the mind of punters; hopefully Firth Of Clyde, second in his last three races, following an encouraging debut, will be viewed as a risk!
It doesn’t take long for a thoroughbred to become ‘labelled’ so to speak; many scribes/punters fall into the habit of avoiding those which continually hit the posts and ‘failures’ often run loose. The likes of myself, still a poacher in the penalty area when standing away from all scrimmaging, are ready to pounce and score.
Royal Rift should be ‘on the premises’ and is definitely a serious rival but a wide draw with the prospect of running outside the field, as a long left-handed bend is negotiated, will be daunting for Martin Dwyer’s mount.
If they all run however I’ll play an each-way saver Brian Meehan’s charge, a stable-companion of Glentaneous, withdrawn at the ‘eleventh hour’ from the ‘Cambridgeshire’ at Newmarket last Saturday along with nine other non-runners. I was somewhat angered to get a phone call Saturday morning stating this was the case.
A firm-ish surface was cited as the reason and yet the clerk of the course watered Friday night; given the winner was drawn on the stands side, where, Glentaneous would have raced, I’m convinced the Gleneagles gelding must have been in the first three.
Fancy worrying about causing damage to this consistent, genuine three-year-old, which would have been advantaged with the weight-for-age scale on a pristine surface.
One thing is certain my days of ‘advising’ are now definitely over!
Incidentally Firth Of Clyde, a 4/7 favourite, was also sired by Gleneagles!
Firth Of Clyde finished beaten a short-head under William Buick four weeks ago by Berkshire Rocco at Goodwood, with the rest two and a half lengths and upwards in arrears; Andrew Balding’s charge ‘dobbed’ his persistent rival in the very last stride under, Oisin Murphy!
It’s a tough game but it’ll stave off dementia; oh and by the way Hamilton has been abandoned, waterlogged!
Selections, Bath, 2.25 Firth Of Clyde; Newcastle, 5.30 Aunt Bethany (e.w); 6.00 Emily Post (e.w).
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