No surprise to see Baker ride another winner

Adam Brookes
Adam Brookes

WITH no Jumps racing to warm your cockles, here’s hoping some of you landed a nice little touch with Dandy Nicholls’ Cape Vale at Southwell on Saturday, who was given a great ride by son Adrian and returned at 9/1.

As the team now have a satellite yard at Haygarth House Stud, very near to Southwell racecourse, you could do far worse than backing all horses at that venue where the Nicholls family combine this winter.

On to more immediate things now and the selections that are hopefully going to continue our good run of form.

At Lingfield, it would have been interesting of Fantasy Gladiator had made a quick reappearance after his comfortable win on Saturday, but it looks as though it’s not to be. In his absence the door looks open for Jamie Spencer and Norman Orpen to combine again to land the spoils. That said, he won’t be much value now the aforementioned horse has defected and therefore doesn’t represent a value bet.

One person who is always good value is Andrew Balding, as his runners are usually honest and robust and his juvenile Angelic Upstart (4.20) is hopefully in the same mould.

Presumably named after the working class band of the late 70s, this colt shares a similarity with those Punk Rockers in that he is still raw and far from polished, yet that didn’t stop him winning his latest start and jockey David Probert will be looking to get a another tune out of him again here.

Several factors point to this being a good bet for me – his trainer is in blinding form, the selection is going to appreciate the step back up to a mile and the opposition don’t look very strong.

Imaginary World has to step up on what she’s shown so far, as does Suddenly Susan, whilst both Azlaa and Oliver’s Gold, although the most likely dangers, look very beatable. Therefore I am expecting a very big run from Angelic Upstart.

Continuing at Kempton, I hope we can complete the double with the unexposed Surprise Us (5.50) in the hands of the peerless George Baker.

This horse has only had the three runs and consequently is the horse most open to improvement in this lowly seven furlong handicap. Ridden by the same jockey last time, he did very well to finish so close to better-fancied rivals in a Kempton maiden over a furlong further, but looked to run out off puff in the final stages.

Staggeringly, his first two races we over even further distances of 12 and 11 furlongs and not surprisingly for a horse who showed such blistering acceleration from the gates last time, he was well beaten. Simply, if this son of Indian Ridge can ping the gates like he did last time and hold his position close to the rail, he could just look very well handicapped off of 55, and at a likely decent price, I’d be willing to take the chance.

Like Saturday’s column, I am only advising two bets where I have been advising three in the past. This is because, in my opinion, one of the keys to betting on the all-weather is to be very selective and don’t get drawn into betting on low-quality, open races unless you have found a horse that you know is improving. Try to watch as many races as you can and begin to create a profile in your mind of as many horses as possible, trying to identify horses on the up and those that you know are better than the grade the are running in. This will hopefully lead to a system by where a select handful of horses naturally jump off the page each day, enabling you to focus your betting and providing you with the best chance of backing winners.


Wednesday, December 8

4.20 (Kemp) Angelic Upstart

5.50 (Kemp) Surprise Us