Oceanline, on the back of a career-best flat effort five days ago, when a a beaten-favourite over a similar distance on Wolverhampton tapeta, reappears in an intriguing five-runner two miles handicap at Kempton tonight when David Probert rides Alan King’s charge for the first time; that’s a bonus but my problem concerns are, is this too soon or indeed too far?
For all the world Oceanline looked set to justify strong support two furlongs out around Dunstall Park but then seemed to flatten in the closing stages; one comment suggested this Adaay gelding, running in colours of Million In Mind Partnership, ‘stayed on’ but that wasn’t my take.
Fast-run races on sharp courses are often more stamina-sapping than on more galloping tracks; Wolves is all about positioning and there was no hiding place off a strong pace from which Famous Star finished strongly to win by two and a half lengths.
When Oceanline scored twice last season, before running respectably in two novice hurdles, the distances were fourteen furlongs which I wasn’t aware of when assessing his recent run visually.
On my time-handicap Coltrane is an obvious danger but, as mentioned, the trip rankles.
King is a fine judge, probably much better than myself and places his horses shrewdly. If Oceanline shows at odds of 3/1 therefore or better he’s worth punting.
Incidentally there is a tinge of sentiment in the selection; a colleague of over five decades has long been a member of the popular ‘Million’ syndicate which is why I’m close to the ‘politics’ of this particular situation.
‘The Probe’ also has a good chance aboard Andrew Balding-trained Sea Grey in the opening Novice Stakes over twelve furlongs of the pristine polytrack and what beats this once-raced Lingfield winner will surely win.
Sea Grey, a 25/1 shot, ran on strongly to score under Probert when beating our 14/1 selection Percy Jones eight weeks ago and was impressive; his actual time-figure gives rise to optimism for a follow-up.
Percy Jones has advertised the form since!
Balding, a real ‘favourite’ when it comes to serious punting, will also be fancying Far Away Thoughts in the Novice Median Auction Stakes over a mile of the Surrey course; this Storm The Stars colt was also a winner first-up six weeks ago and apparently has thrived considerably. Jason Watson rides, none better.
A busy day awaits but ‘Super-Saturday’ is often overwhelming which is why my modus operandi is all about targetting less glamorous race-meetings, and pouncing.
Selections, Lingfield, 12.35 Far Away Thoughts; Kempton, 4.10 Sea Grey; 7.15 Oceanline.
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