Miscall, clear top-rated on my time handicap but drawn widest in the ten-runner Fillies’ Novices’ Stakes over six furlongs of Wolverhampton tapeta tonight, sets veteran jockey Luke Morris a real poser aboard Archie Watson’s charge; ‘The Sniper’ as Sir Mark Prescott’s stable-jockey is called in the weighing room, will have a plan to ‘beat the draw’ and I’ve a good reason to believe he’ll make an obvious, pragmatic choice.
This twice-raced Archie Watson-trained Kodiac juvenile improved considerably from an ignominious eleven lengths defeat around Dunstall Park in November to finish third (of 10!) over this course and distance three weeks later behind Kodias Sangarious and 4/9 shot Pink Crystal; distances were three-quarters of a length and a head and, but for hanging somewhat in the closing stages, the 40/1 shot would undoubtedly have prevailed under Hollie Doyle who has ridden Miscall both times.
Hollie is tremendous, an outstanding female jockey but not better than 39-year-old Hayley Turner whose two winners at Lingfield on Saturday represented a ‘master-class!’ I’m still convinced there isn’t a superior ‘jock’ on this planet and I’ve told her so many times, and on Twitter.
Luke knows drawn ten means Miscall needs to go in stalls last; Morris will attempt to ‘hit the gate’ like a rocket and get handily placed before loosing his mount in the last two furlongs where it should be plain sailing unless there is a ‘mystery’ among the newcomers. The actual time-figure of my selection wins this-type dash nine times out of ten!
An intriguing situation without doubt and so was the ‘aged’ two miles handicap at Kempton on Saturday when our David Probert-ridden selection Oceanline was ‘mugged’ in the last strides by Moliwood, superbly produced off a desperately slow pace by Marco Ghiani!
‘It never rains, it pours’ is an old saying and I’m certainly getting soaked with ‘seconditis’ amidst a vexing spell which must surely end soon; Oceanline was typical of what’s been happening but my head is down and I’ll soldier on regardless into progressive duo Samtara and locally-trained Bridge North, respective fancies for two divisions of the NH Maiden Hurdle over two and three-quarter miles of ‘good to soft’ Ludlow this afternoon. Ground forecast suggests perfect jumping ground at a track where I’ve enjoyed tremendous consistency down the years.
Both look ‘bankers’ to be placed, always my objective with the each-way trixie/patent, whichever you choose.
Stick with this beleaguered battler as we enter a golden period for National Hunt racing.
Selections, Ludlow, 2.15 Samtara (e.w); 2.45 Bridge North (e.w); Wolverhampton, 5.30 Miscall (nap-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