White Willow is tasked with recouping recent losses in a nine-runner ‘aged’ Fillies’ Novice Stakes over an extended nine furlongs of Wolverhampton tapeta today and judged on time-handicap ratings Richard Faehey’s charge should make it third time lucky under long-time stable jockey Tony Hamilton; however all that glitters is not gold!
I’ve been reminded of this obviousness so many times this month; one is beginning to wonder whether personal computation of race-times is still reliable but, from long experience of the pitfalls and pleasures of punting/selecting/advising, I’m phlegmatic and will remain faithful to a modus operandi which has given me and thousands of readers regular monthly profit over decades.
There’s an old saying in racing, ‘if you’re doing things wrong it’s necessary to change tack…’ but I’ve been fastidiously studying in the same way as usual and determined to stick with tried and trusted methods; White Willow merits ‘good thing’ status and if odds of 3/1 or better are available, which isn’t guaranteed, I’ll be wagering with intent.
‘Playing’ on a level stakes basis with strict rules has always been my ultimate professional criteria even though I’m an advocate of each-way trixie/patent bets when possible; a recent moderate spell hasn’t resulted in serious losses because the majority haven’t been backable on account of the strict ‘price regulation’ I’ve imposed through the years; indeed only last weekend three losers (all placed!) wiped out any setbacks and contained a 33/1 nap Andante, a creditable third. A fifth of the odds at 7/1 (included in three bets, two doubles and a treble!) soon bumps up the ante and Susan Corbett’s progressive novice hurdler will make amends to give us a decent profit; I’ll bet on that!
White Willow carries a monster 9st 13lbs against three-year-olds carrying 21lbs less; it’s bound to weigh heavily in the minds of punters but there are only two rivals Chorus Song and Sous Les Etoiles which are of any concern and they hail from yards probably intent on getting future favourable handicap marks.
I’ll give you a classic example of doing this job wrong, going against my better judgement!
On Saturday I napped Twilight Twist, clear ‘best-in’ for the Juvenile Hurdle, won impressively by Dan Skelton-trained Doctor Parnassus; the former was pulled up and is trained by Alan King whose yard is in dire form.
Trusting that King must know something others obviously don’t know I weighed in with Twilight Twist, much to my embarrassment; as mentioned, if you’re doing wrong…but how could a seasoned, highly-respected trainer be so much off piste?
‘All in good time’ is a favourite saying and, ironically, it really is about time!
Selections, Southwell, 1.30 Highest Ambition (e.w); Wolverhampton, 4.30 Born To Sire; 6.30 White Willow.
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