Turf Talk: The good, the bad and some useful two year olds

Tim Boulter
Tim Boulter

THERE is plenty of action this mid week but as is often the case the little bit of quality there is has been spread around the meetings and it is a long way between good and bad races.

There is plenty of two year old action across the cards which could provide a few useful types in the future, in the opening maiden at Salisbury Greatwood is a horse that looks well worth keeping an eye on into the future. There are a couple of interesting runners in the more competitive handicaps at Nottingham and Salisbury and that is where my attentions are turned for the day and can hopefully bag us a couple of winners.

An interesting contest, plenty make the shortlist and there are chances all the way down the field. There is one though that stands out above them all and that is Ascription. He was an impressive winner at Haydock last time out and the form of that race looks very strong indeed and is value for a lot more than the bare result. Only racing off 70 on his handicap debut he absolutely tanked his way through the race down to two out, the runner up Hi There was committed for home from the two pole and sat on the bridle Ascription had the best part of five lengths to make up on his rival inside the final two. He came out the pack and chased him down to get up near the line and in the process the pair come six lengths clear of the third with a further six lengths back to the fourth. Hi There has since held his form well finishing third in a good class three handicap at Newmarket before bolting up at Beverley in a class four handicap which as a result he has found himself raised to 80 in the handicap. Taking that into account and the way Ascription travelled and cut down Hi There last time out he certainly has more improvement to come and his revised rating of 78 doesn’t look nearly enough. He evidently enjoyed the softer conditions at Haydock so he should have conditions to his liking, he has had a break from the track but Ed Dunlop is pretty consistent bringing runners back from a break and just recently brought Nardin and Red Avenger back off the absences to win in August and September. I think he still has a lot more to come and could just prove a bit better than this field.

Cheworee could not have had her form franked any better recently than when Idler took a competitive handicap field to the cleaners at Newmarket last Saturday. Having made good headway out to the far side of the field from the mid division she looked to be going best inside final two and when she poked her head in front into the final furlong looked to have been produced perfectly. It was down the tenacity of Idler that just got him back up close to the line as the pair come clear of the rest of the field in what now looks pretty strong form. I certainly do not think there is an issue of her having shirked it in the finish as she was only run out of it inside the final 50 yards having got in front and was going on to the line the whole time. That was the first time she has raced in a hood and she will wear it again today and if it has the same effect second time around she will stand an strong chance of going one better than last time.

The hood is of course quite a new tactic employed by trainers but it is having a remarkable effect, it has had more success firs time around than any other tried headgear, though it is in its infancy statistically based against more tested methods there is no doubt there is a positive trend. There is a 13% strike rate for first time hood wearers, traditional blinkers, visors etc do not even get into double figures. Further more the effect of the second time in a hood still hits the 13% mark though unlike the first time hood produces a loss at SP. That was also the first time David Elsworth has deployed a hood for a runner and he is a trainer that uses headgear very sparingly, he shows a £68 profit at SP in first time blinkers from 36 runners with 5 winners. Other headgear tried first time amounts to just 19 runners and second time headgear had been used sparingly also with a further return at SP of £6.25 wearing blinkers (4/20 @ 20%) and an SP return of £7.80 in a first time visor (2/3 @ 67%). It is fair to say in his long career the use of headgear is selective and comes with some consideration and with the positive effects of the hood this filly will hopefully continue to benefit.


3.20 - Ascription (nap)

4.10 - Cheworee (nb)