Race Time: 2.10pm Meeting: Chelmsford Day: Saturday 16th January 2015 Full Race Name: totequadpot Handicap Class Three
A sprint handicap here on the all-weather and as we do our early preview the draw is an unknown, but you would have to think that the Julie Camacho trained Judicial has a superb chance despite the burden of top weight. Starting with the few negatives, the four year old hasn’t raced for a couple of months so may be a shade short of race fit, and his trainer has only had the one runner in the past fortnight as we write which is also a concern, but the positives outweigh those at the moment, and by some margin. A gelded son of Iffraaj owned by Elite Racing, he has only had the five career starts, winning four of them, all over the minimum trip and with two of them on all-weather surfaces at Kempton and Wolverhampton. Formerly with Roger Charlton, he is one of the few horses ever to have won two maidens, having finished second to Strath Burn at Newbury (who was later disqualified, giving Judicial the race), and again at Ffos Las at odds of 1/10! A third win at Wolverhampton followed after which he was put in to the Tatler Stakes at Goodwood when he failed to travel at all and finished stone cold last. Changing trainers though not owners since, he had three and a half months off and returned at Kempton when hacking up despite a poor run that forced him wide, and although up seven pounds for that win may still be improving and looks to be the one to be on in our view at the prices today.
Brain Meehan is a trainer we have a lot of time for and in Red Stripes he has a serious contender who has an excellent track record. His four race wins (if you include a dead heat) have seen one at Southwell, and the other three here so he clearly loves the track layout and surface more than most, and when added to a second and two thirds from a total of seven starts, he starts to scream each way at us for now. The gelding won last time out here a bit cleverly from Waseem Faris and has only gone up three pounds which seems pretty generous, and if in the same mood today if he can get to the front inside the last furlong, he seems likely to prove pretty difficult to get past.
Dean Ivory is one of those trainers who does particularly well with his sprinters as proved by a level stakes profit of over £50 to £1 stakes over the last five years over five and six furlongs, and with a 17% strike rate here as well, Stake Acclaim has to be a serious consideration (though do watch your bets with Pearl Acclaim in the same race). A lightly raced four year old with two wins and two second places from just the seven career starts,he did finish stone cold last on his only try on the all-weather at Kempton, but that was over a seventh furlong so can be excused in our view as he is bred to be a sprinter (by Acclamation out of a Rossini mare), and although this is a step up in class all things are possible. He certainly has more room to improve than most for his age, and would be a rock solid pick had he not been off the track since last September, leaving his fitness as an issue for his many supporters.
Trainer Michael Appleby is a bit of an unsung hero in our view, and does remarkably well with his string in the circumstances, meaning we have to at least mention It Must Be Faith who is a winner over five furlongs at Nottingham (twice), and over six furlongs at Wolverhampton on the old surface, so ought to handle the going well enough. He has had four runs here and finished second in two of them, but has never won off a rating higher than 76 despite thirteen attempts and may well need to come down a few pounds before he scores again, but then again he has placed six times in that period and is another for the each way options list.
Lastly, David “Dandy” Nicholls has been going through a few lean years by his standards but has a live contender here in the shape of Pearl Acclaim who is potentially well handicapped if they can find a way to get him back to his very best. He has won off of higher marks in the past and scored at Musselburgh off of 85 last June, and wasn’t beaten a million miles last time out at Kempton off of two pounds higher (three and a quarter lengths behind the winner in fifth), and isn’t without a chance today off a feather weight and could surprise a few at the very least with Adrian Nicholls doing the steering.