Zoltan Star is a long-time winning but this 75-rated Kodiac colt has a gilt-edged opportunity of putting behind several disappointments in a nine-runner Maiden Stakes over five furlongs of Chelmsford polytrack tonight under glorious floodlights which make flat-racing dynamic for spectators; a far cry from many drab venues of yesteryear when, at this of time year, turf-flat racing would have been ‘shelved’ by the majority of professional punters, due to adverse so-called ‘unraceable’ underfoot conditions.
Strangely it was my absolute favourite period, the ‘back-end’ as we called it, because big prices were often available and tremendous winnings accrued due to targetting confirmed ‘mudlarks’ but, for obvious reasons, it doesn’t apply with my modus operandi nowadays; I’ve not been to a racetrack for several years.
Apart from ‘clocking’ privately my secret weapon was watching and studying thoroughbreds go to post; their actions determined many late, colossal’ swoops!
Unfortunately it would now be pointless to make the effort given for the most part ‘they’ go down on all-weather strips which, ironically, have been introduced to ‘save’ turf from unnecessarily pummeling. What a joke, just consider the state of ground at Newmarket, Ascot etc last weekend. Let nature take its course and ‘devil take the hindmost’ I say.
Incidentally I’ve tried in vain to persuade TV channels to concentrate cameras on horses both in the paddocks and start-bound but ‘talk, talk, talk’ in studios is the preferred option and so, believe it or not, mine is to engage the ‘mute’ button on both massive screens.
The character has gone out of the game to all intents and purposes; ‘tic-tacs’ have vanished, contact with jockeys/trainers isn’t possible and of course no more photo finishes, which could sometimes last several minutes as judges deliberated while I would be ‘active’ in the betting ring jungle, now virtually non-existent.
Betting on photos was dynamic and with an eye like a magpie I’d strike time after time backing winners after they’d won, without any fear of doubt; sadly PF is just a memory. Sophisticated equipment means even a short-head verdict can be delivered within seconds, by virtue of a pixel if necessary.
Betting is all about patience; Zoltan Star definitely ticks enough boxes and is trained by Richard Hannon whose namesake ‘Dad’ was a wizard in Autumn with two-year-olds especially.
On a point of profiting I’m still totally convinced each-way patents are devastating and Sean Levey-ridden Zoltan Star, for instance, is worth playing into well-regarded once-raced Mizzen You in the Novice Stakes over seven furlongs and Nostalgica at Exeter’s jumping fixture.
A phone call has alerted me to the folly of betting/laying on Irtish racing-take heed; so I’ll ‘swerve’ it completely.
Selections, Exteter, 1.55 Nostalgica (e.w); Chelmsford, 5.30 Zoltan Star (e.w); 6.30 Mizzen You (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