Flatley will surely be a step ahead of five inferior time-handicap rivals in a Novice Stakes over seven furlongs of Southwell fibresand today; this Kendargent gelding, obviously named after the sensational Riverdance ‘lead’ male, Michael, is rated 78 on the back of several useful efforts in seven attempts and there is a plus!
David Probert replaces an apprentice who found Flatley a handful last time out, 33 days ago, against handicappers over a similar distance on Kempton polytrack where he hung at a vital stage but still achieved a mark better than either Raajil and Chim Chimney which occupied the first two places over this course and distance.
Raajil prevailed by a length or so but Chim chimney was racing for the first time and should reverse placings on more advantageous terms.
Whether it will be good enough to beat Flatley is a fascination; in such circumstances experience usually wins through but Hollie Doyle is riding magnificently and can be relied upon to present the Richard Spencer-trained Cockney Rebel gelding as a challenger when ‘the field’ approaches final furlong on a surface which, as mentioned last week, is proving a mite questionable for the jockeys.
I’m really looking forward to backing Flatley if odds of 3/1 or better are available. Strict rules and regulations are a must where serious punting is concerned and avoids so-called ‘gambling’ irresponsibly.
Kissininthebackrow (4/1) was a typical example at Lingfield on Saturday when landing our selection against long odds-on chance Far Away Thought (1/6) as I anticipated; it was an exciting, pleasureable outcome and we’re definitely coming out of the ‘cold’ January with gusto. Long, somewhat unlucky, losing runs are the bane of my life but they happen and are unimaginable when the ‘good ship Ross’ is sailing along smoothly.
Good, recent form is a prime requisite unless I know something no one else knows and on a ‘good’ Hereford surface Zestful Hope looks a stand-out proposition for the seven-runner Maiden Hurdle over two and a half miles under Paul O’Brien who partnered Charlie Longsdon’s charge earlier this month when they finished a creditable third around Catterick; the Zanzibari five-year-old was making his hurdling debut.
Twice-raced ex-Irish-trained Perryville will probably be favourite but hasn’t raced for 227 days, a good reason to get on with a ‘Zestful’ approach.
Looking forward to seeing unchallenged Sedgefield winner Sweet Auburn in the concluding Mares’ ‘bumper’ over two miles but Don McCain’s penalised charge could well be denied a hat-trick; once-raced Minniemum is strongly-fancied on the back of an extremely promising first-up fourth (of 16!) at Ffos Las, where the Telescope mare was amateur-ridden. Don’t oppose, just enjoy what should be an absolute belter.
Tomorrow, best ‘system’ I’ve ever known, revealed for readers/punters.
Selections, Hereford 1.30 Zestful Approach; 4.00 Minniemum (e.w); Southwell, 7.00 Flatley (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