Race Time: 3.10pm Meeting: Newbury Distance: 7f
Full Race Name: Betfred “Supports Jack Berry House” Ladies Day Handicap Class Three
With no significant bias reported we are rather hoping the draw has little to no effect (apart from where any early pace is, of course), leaving our five selections with excellent chances assuming they are not diverted to alternative races, of course. Withernsea (11/2) could be interesting for Richard Fahey with David Nolan booked in the saddle this afternoon, and at his best he could be well weighted. Although he has yet to win off a rating higher than 80 (he races off 88 today), he was a good second to Arctic Feeling off of 87 over an inadequate six furlongs at Newcastle back in April but off a reduced mark today and on a softer surface which the son of Dark Angel seems to relish, he should make a bold attempt at taking this contest, and seems overpriced to us? Mullionheir (12/1) is next on our list and has already had a brilliantly successful season for trainer John Best with wins at Chelmsford, Kempton, Lingfield, and Windsor – but does that mean he is firmly in the handicapper’s grasp? Last time out the three year old was fourth at Newmarket in a Class Two handicap after fading very late on to lose second but dropping back a class this afternoon off only a pound higher he could still get in to the mix, especially if his jockey holds him up a little bit longer over the seventh furlong to deliver a telling thrust when most needed.
Naturally, we need to look for others with decent chances at better prices and Mujassam (9/2) certainly fits that category with a sudden win at Salisbury ending a blank run of two races this season. What trainer Roger Varian has done to the son of Kyllachy (other than drop him in class) to get that much improvement is no doubt a trade secret, but he hacked up by eight lengths when last seen in public, and although he has been put up a whole stone for that win, when a horse is in that sort of form you ignore them at your own cost more often than not, especially when you see Paul Hanagan is in the saddle! Firmdecisions (28/1) is officially the best horse in the race and therefore has to carry top weight for his sins, yet 95 is one heck of a handicap rating and may be too much for him. Put up to 96 for his Newmarket win three races ago he has struggled to get even near to the first three home since then, and the drop of a solitary (miserly) pound seems unlikely to see him back in front, especially on what could well be a softer surface here. Lastly, Charlie Hills is having a good season and won this very race in 2013 and it looks as though he will be sending Captain Bob (10/1) in to the fray. Now a four year old, the gelded son of Dark Angel, his two wins from fifteen starts is not impressive but he has finished runner up in each of his last two races over this seven furlong distance, but has been put up a pound for a close to four length loss last time out at York in a better race, which seems a little harsh in the circumstances and leaves him racing off a mark four pounds higher than he has won off of in the past.