Firstly sincere congratulations to Ditcheat-based trainer Paul Nicholls for being awarded an OBE yesterday; his record speaks for itself, consistency, dedication to this great ‘Sport Of Kings’ and we’re extremely proud of him!
Gin O’Clock stands out from sixteen declarations for the Novice Stakes over seven furlongs of Chelmsford polytrack tonight and after total scrutiny of ‘the field’ I’m convinced this once-raced Alice Haynes-trained Kodi Bear colt represents a ‘professional special’ under Silvestre De Souza.
The dual champion jockey was aboard Gin O’Clock on his debut at York five weeks ago when they led a quality field for more than five furlongs before an unexpected swerve allowed Luna Dorada to gain initiative and stay on strongly for a one and a quarter lengths verdict; others were more than four lengths and upwards in arrears which usually suggests a strongly-run race. After due computation of race-times this proved a classic example.
Obviously Gin O’Clock was unlucky, inexperience and lack of nous proved his undoing but as mentioned so often it doesn’t pay to win first-up with two-year-olds because they are subsequently burdened with penalties which, of course, compromise opportunities; weight is the measure for racehorses and form, what else is available?
Combined with ‘clocking’ it produces my time-handicap which has enabled yours truly to pursue a successful career along with so many other time aficionados; at the outset in the 1940’s mathematician Phil Bull, who introduced Timeform to the racing public, had it all to himself at a time when getting huge sums on with bookmakers was a matter of just asking with their margins biased toward automatic profit returns. Betting was frenetic during the second war and for decades afterwards. I was born too late!
Anyway Gin O’Clock is clear ‘best-in’, must surely improve and if Silvestre adopts similar tactics should go one better.
Half an hour later Saleymm and thrice-raced forecast-favourite Nizaaka, rated 77, appear superior to half a dozen rivals in the Novice Stakes over seven furlongs; they come out similarly on the TH and so price-wise the former is an obvious preference.
Jumpers haven’t been consistent during the last few days (apart from 16/1 ‘beaut’ Buckhorn Rocco, Sunday) but I’ll persevere and select Fairfield Ferrata because Jedd O’Keefe’s runner meets criteria requirement in the five-runner Maiden Hurdle over two and a half miles of ‘good to soft’ Market Rasen, a tremendous venue for serious punting.
A hot-favourite, Moonamacaroona, is in opposition but fell on hurdling debut and so with two places available each-way is advised. Love taking on ‘shorties!’
Selections, Market Rasen, 1.05 Fairfield Ferrata (e.w); Chelmsford, 5.30 Gin O’Clock; 6.00 Saleymm (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