WHILST there’s no getting away from the fact that most people in betting shops will have been talking about Kauto Star and Master Minded et al over the last few weeks, there’s only one horse that has been in the hearts and minds of the vast majority of racing folk.
Grand old grey Monet’s Garden has been fighting the biggest battle of all for three solid weeks now and it seems the light at the end of the tunnel is slowly-but-surely brightening, providing hope for those that could only ever see a tiny pin prick way off into this distance.
The very latest reports describe the old warrior as ‘boisterous’ and that will be a huge tonic to every horse-lover in the land, who are just hoping he can stave off the serious hoof infection that had some vets recommending a final farewell.
The daily updates and good luck wishes that are currently cramming racing forums and news sites are just as heart-warming as the determined actions of the old boy himself, but should he come through, the only bad thing will be that someone has to convince him he’s retired! Get well soon old chap.
It seems frivolous to now tip some horses but I suppose we must soldier on, so here are Wednesday’s selections.
The first advised bet has to be Ron Harris’ Scary Movie (4.25) in a competitive mile handicap at Lingfield, as the 6-year-old gelding is in flying form at present and is very lightly raced for a horse of his age.
The main concern with this horse is undoubtedly the trip as he’s stepping back two furlongs from his last two races where he was impressive in winning by over three lengths before a close up third last time. That said, I do think he has the speed to overcome that hindrance and against more exposed types such as Tuxedo, Charlie Smirke and Lockantanks, I think he has a storming chance.
If I had to choose one to be worried about it would be One Oi, especially with Chris Catlin on board, but I would favour Scary Movie, who could just be a better price.
Another consistent handicapper worth backing comes in the shape of Milton Bradley’s Island Legend (5.05) over at Kempton, where he is likely to face the seemingly-back-to-form-but-thoroughly-unreliable Northen Dare.
There’s no doubt that recent winner Northern Dare is still well-handicapped on his old form but he tends to get left behind in his races so betting on his backing up his recent win with another is asking for trouble. That said, with Jamie Spencer again on top he might be a different kettle of fish but I’d favour putting my hard-earned on a much more reliable option.
Island Legend has had a break of nearly three months but was in grand form before that, especially over today’s course and distance. The fact that his trainer has booked Luke Morris for the ride suggests to me that he’s not going to be too rusty after his time off and connections expect a big run. So do I, and from his perfect draw next to the rail he should go very well at a decent price.
The last selection is a bit of a shot across the bows as he’s only ever ad one run and couldn’t be called a certain next-time-out-winner after that. Yet, I just feel in a race where the likely market leader (Riot Police) is clearly untrustworthy and the representatives from the big stables are either unraced (Stagecoach Danman) or have shown little (Area Fifty One), a chance should be taken on Hope It Is (6.05) getting much nearer here than he did on his debut.
The fact that Martin Lane rides him (though it could be presumed he would have the choice of the selection or Riot Police) is a bonus and the furlong further in distance from that he raced over last time is going to be a help.
Wednesday, January 26
4.25 (Ling) SCARY MOVIE
5.05 (Kemp) ISLAND LEGEND
6.05 (Kemp) HOPE IT IS