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RussP's Flat Handicappers


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After being away from the racing scene for a few years, I'm going to give it another try. Those that know me won't be surprised to hear it's flat handicappers only and I'll be betting to 10pts per race. My methods remain the same as previously but I don't expect there to be quite the number of long priced selections there once was. In the main, I'll be backing to 5pts EW. First 2 bets for tonight coming up :ok

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Re: RussP's Flat Handicappers 7.40 Ripon Russian Heroine, 5pts EW @ 15/2 Betfred The market suggests the winner will come from the top 3 and, whilst all have chances, I'm prepared to take them on. Snow Cloud has had a touch of seconditis but got off the mark in handicaps last time out. However, an extra furlong, different ground, 6lb rise in the weights, up in grade and Tudhope replaced by Sam James give me enough to oppose the current 3/1 on offer. Foreign Diplomat hails from the powerful Haggas yard but I'm extremely concerned by the jockey booking on a horse that doesn't appear to me to be totally straightforward. Again, I'm not sure conditions are ideal so looks worth taking on. Especial is the one I am worried about, with ground to suit and a recent C&D win albeit in a maiden. The step up to handicap company is the worry but if coping with that, looks the big danger. Instead, I'm going with Sir Michael's charge, Russian Heroine. Stables' last 3 runners have won and this one, albeit a maiden, has solid form and should be capable of defying a mark of 71. Form suggest this is her ground and I'm certain 6f is her trip. Finishes her races off well which prompted the yard to step her up to 7f but hasn't totally convinced in 2 tries over that far this term. Ran 8 days ago over 7f and travelled quite well but was a never nearer 5th. That was a big step up on her seasonal reappearance and looks ready to strike now over a trip more suitable, on ground that will suit this horse but not necessarily her 7 rivals. Record in small fields reads 2-2-2 including a nursery head defeat off this mark at 10/1. In just an 8 runner heat, 15/2 looks a decent price.

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Re: RussP's Flat Handicappers 7.50 Chelmsford City Vimy Ridge, 5pts EW @ 10/1 Bet365 Another race of just the bare 8 runners and this one has a very strong favourite in 6/4 Thahab. That price is on the basis on an easy 6L maiden win over C&D 3 starts ago but to say that was a weak event would be an understatement. Admittedly, Thahab could hose up but no way is this a nailed on 6/4 shot. In 2 runs, Richard Hannon's horse has finished never nearer in 5f handicaps on turf. An extra furlong and the switch back to the AW could do the trick but he's unproven in handicaps so far. What I do expect here is that the race should be run at a furious pace and so I'm swayed towards a hold up horse with a bit of experience that will stay at least this far. That takes me to 10/1 shot Vimy Ridge, trained by Alan Bailey. Ran 13 times as a 2yo winning twice including a handicap at Thirsk over this trip off a mark of 85, 1lb higher than today's. Came from last to first that day and showed an impressive turn of foot to win going away at a working mans price of 11/2. His first run this season, back in February, was over today's C&D, finishing 3/4L 2nd of 6 behind a horse that made all. I just cannot see a 'made all' winner here and am sure it will be set up for the closers, of which Thahab and Vimy Ridge are the most obvious. After 3 months off, reappeared at Windsor 9 days ago and finished 3rd after racing a little keenly over the minimum trip. The extra furlong back on the AW should help and, whilst exposed for a 3yo, it would be no surprise to see this one land the spoils.

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Re: RussP's Flat Handicappers Russian Heroine won quite cosily and, as predicted, the front 3 were worth taking on. None of them grabbed a place. It didn't quite pan out how I expected for Vimy Ridge but I was right in opposing the well backed favourite who, at 5/4, wasn't in the 3. The winner came from the back after they went hard early but Vimy was made too much use too early. Nice start though. 1 for tomorrow to follow shortly :ok

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Re: RussP's Flat Handicappers 5.10 Lingfield Approaching, 5pts EW @ 8/1 Betfred 10 runners to line up here and, for me, it's a case of opposing the front 3 in the market again. These, namely, are Sublimation, Hot Mustard and Passover, all of whom I couldn't back at their current odds. Sublimation has the assistance of Richard Hughes but is surely supported on the basis on a nose 2nd 10 days ago. That, however, was in a seller and was a race where he stayed on over a furlong further than today and on a stiffish track. I feel he'll get tapped for toe against better quality of opposition. Hot Mustard has just 1 win from 22 starts, in a handicap off 3lb lower and whilst finishing 2nd 3 times off a mark 1lb lower than todays, this mark and higher have been against this one. Should be there or thereabouts but not one I'd put in the well handicapped bracket. Passover is a really dark horse having raced only 3 times but his last run was 609 days ago so that's enough for me to move on. Whilst Mister Mayday finished 3rd lto, I'm backing Approaching who finished 24L further back that day. Surprising on the face of it but there's plenty of reasons why I think he will turn the tables. Amanda Perrett's charge has only 5 runs to his name and was a very promising 6th of 13 in its 3 maiden start at the back end of last season. Make no mistake about it, that was one hell of a good race and the form has worked out very well. He then started out in handicap company at Bath, a track not too dissimilar to this, finishing 2nd off this mark in a Class 4 over 1m. Today, we are racing in 1 grade lower and 1f further which should suit after appearing outpaced. Add to that it was his reappearance run, there's plenty to be enthused about. Lto, Approaching set a fast pace and paid for it along with many others including the favourite and, to me, that run can be easily ignored. Every single prominent runner failed to show their true form and the form from that race at Newbury should be treated with extreme caution. Happily, Approaching is reunited with Pat Dobbs, who is 5 from 14 this season for the Perrett stable. Trip & track are likely to suit and 8/1 looks a good price in what's for me, quite a weak race.

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Re: RussP's Flat Handicappers Awful today :sad Onto tomorrow and 2 bets, albeit brief write ups. 2.35 Epsom What About Carlo, 5pts EW @ 10/1 Bet365 For me, you need course form here at Epsom and that rules out half the field. Of the others, I really like the chances of Hanagan's mount What About Carlo who won here on Derby day 12 months ago. Has the blinkers on which it is hoped will freshen him up after 2 poor runs but I can overlook each of those. Since winning here off 1lb lower a year ago, he has been running off marks clearly beyond him until dropped to 98 for the Lincoln where he finished well in 4th, staying on as well as anything. Since then, finished plumb last here but definite excuses that day whilst lto, he finished 14th of 18 at York but, interestingly, was only 7L back in a relatively bunched finish. That always puts a question mark in my mind over the form. Dropped a generous 3lb for this run, back at a track that suits very well and the other big positive for me is that I expect rain to fall which might put the word 'soft' in the going description. That will be a big plus. We should get a decent pace too which is another tick in the box and 10/1 is a good 2 or 3 points too big in a race where there doesn't look to be a stand out candidate. 3.45 Epsom Gratzie, 5pts EW @ 8/1 BetVictor Course form, as mentioned, is the order of the day so why not go with Gratzie, a 2 time winner at the track. Only a 4yo, she progressed well last year winning 4 times and seeing her mark shoot from 66 to 83. In both of her Epsom wins, she displayed a turn of foot which I'm happy about in a race likely to be short of pace. The favourite hails from the Stoute yard in Abseil, who won the race last year but may not be suited by how the race is run so I'll take him on at 3/1. Our horses' seasonal reappearance didn't go to plan, finishing 4th of 7 in a lesser race. However, she stumbled and hit the rail and, positionally, was at the back in a steady run race where the winner made all. She looks to have plenty of improvement left in her and I'm happy that De Sousa keeps the ride. Only 3 other runners have track experience with Imishvalla the biggest danger of the 3 but you can't really oppose a 2 time track winner at this specialist track and, at a generous EW price, I'm happy to side with Channon's runner here.

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Re: RussP's Flat Handicappers 1 more. 5.50 Epsom Fieldsman, 5pts EW @ 9/1 Coral A smallish field of 3yo's and I'm continuing the theme of horses that will like the track. The 3 market leaders all have question marks, with Make It Up yet to race this season, Goring penalised without winning & on a completely different type of track, whilst Al Bandar only has average form. I prefer the chances of Fieldsman, a twice successful 2yo that connections feel would make a much better 3yo. One of those wins was an all the way success here off 5lb lower and the course form bodes well. That day, he looks straightforward which is a plus here. Whilst he will have competition for the lead, he doesn't need to lead and the good or better ground is just what he needs. A 7f specialist who goes very well on undulating tracks; it's a rarity to find one of those so conditions couldn't really be better. On his last start of 2014, ran ok on the AW but not totally happy with the surface and that track is always set up for hold up types whilst it's easy to dismiss his reappearance run where he pulled too hard and evidently didn't last home over a mile. Dropped 2lb for that and I think 9's is big in an open heat.

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Re: RussP's Flat Handicappers Fieldsman & What About Carlo were poor but Gratzie got up close home to bring in the 2nd winner for the thread :ok There could be 4 or 5 bets for the thread today. Write ups to follow later but the first 3 are..... 5.10 Doncaster Augusta Ada, 5pts EW @ 16/1 Ladbrokes 5.15 Epsom Adventure Seeker, 5pts EW @ 14/1 Bet365 (paying 5 places) 5.50 Epsom Iseemist, 5pts EW @ 12/1 Paddy Power (paying 4 places) Any more bets will come from Newcastle this evening.

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Re: RussP's Flat Handicappers Here are my thoughts on the 4. 5.10 Doncaster Augusta Ada, 5pts EW @ 16/1 Ladbrokes Free Code is the 7/2 favourite here and has top weight, but that was on the basis on 1 run on ground very different to this and is now 5lb higher. Admittedly, he may returned to form but there's enough negatives to want to oppose him. It's hard to dismiss O'Mearas 2 and Victoire De Lyphar but I'm happy to oppose Khelman who rises in the weights without winning. However, at a very generous 16/1, I feel I must have a go on Hanagan's mount Augusta Ada. Whilst the stable has yet to hit form, the jockey booking is telling and the firm ground will suit this one better than most. Steps up in trip but I'm certain it's what the horse wants, in fact she stayed on well when 3rd over this trip at Carlisle on her only try over 7f. In her 15 starts, she has 5 goes with firm in the going description with form figures of 3-2-1-3-1. In her other 10, she's only once finished in the 3. Last won 4 starts ago at Pontefract over 6f (stiff track) when staying on well and scooting clear at 16/1. That was off 5lb lower but won with plenty in hand. Since then, she was a close up 4th at Newmarket under today's jockey (off 2lb higher) when pulling hard due to a slow pace. Then soft ground was against her and, lto, on her seasonal reappearance, she showed promise but 5.5f was too short and she needed the run. Has won in the grade, loves the ground, mark should be ok as I feel she's open to improvement and, provided the stable form doesn't impact us, she'll go very close. 5.15 Epsom Adventure Seeker, 5pts EW @ 14/1 Bet365 (paying 5 places) 19 runners for this and many with chances. Whilst I normally go with proven Epsom form, I'm concerned about the mark of the key ones, namely Lungarno Palace, Jakey and Barwick. The one I like is Adventure Seeker. Has a decent draw in 9 which is actually a factor at Epsom, even over this trip and has an attractive mark of 96 to his name. What I really like is that this one has a progressive profile and goes particularly well in big fields. In his 12 race career, has 3 times faced fields over 15 or more runners; his record is superb. 1/15 at 12/1 in a 12f handicap at York, 2/17 in the Melrose at York and 2/24 in a 62K Heritage handicap at Newmarket. That last run was off just 2lb below today's mark of 96. Raced off 100 and 99 in 2 runs this term and has had 2 no shows. I'm not too worried about that as the field sizes weren't particularly large, mark was probably too high but, most importantly, stable was misfiring. Ed Vaughan has 3 winners from his last 7 runners, and was 0 from 14 since the beginning of April beforehand. Likes to come off a strong pace which should be guaranteed here and provided Dane O'Neill gets the breaks, I fancy him to go well. 5.50 Epsom Iseemist, 5pts EW @ 12/1 Paddy Power (paying 4 places) The final race and a competitive 6f sprint. One thing you need here is a lowish draw and the market principles, Secretinthepark, Ashpan Sam, Swiss Cross and Pearl Blue all have that. However, I'm bypassing them all either due to form (first 3) or ground (Pearl Blue). Instead I'm taking Iseemist from stall 4. Firstly, she goes particularly well on undulating tracks including being 1 from 1 here at Epsom. She won easily off 79 on her only try here and is just 3lb higher today. Finished 2nd off 2lb higher than today's mark in the Ayr Bronze Cup at the backend of last term so big fields and mark shouldn't be beyond her. Races prominently too which is usually a plus over sprint trips here. Steadily coming to hand this term but has yet to hit top gear but, as with the last selection, stable form could be the reason. John Gallagher was 1 from 40 in 2015 until 22nd May, but is 3 from 6 in the last 2 weeks. A speedy type who now has the assistance of Martin Lane who has been responsible for 3 of Gallagher's win this year, amazingly from just 4 rides. Lots in her favour and 12/1 is a big price when, in reality, I'm happy to rule out half the field on account of their draw. 7.10 Newcastle Teds Brother, 5pts EW @ 15/2 William Hill Up to Newcastle for the 4th bet, a straight mile on firmish ground. The very warm favourite here is So Its War at around 2/1, following a pair of wins in handicap company. However, he's raised another 4lb and there's enough in opposition to take him on. A few of these are reopposing on better terms but I've decided to go with another, Teds Brother. Is steadily coming down the weights and is now racing off 66, a mark lower than his last 3 wins. Goes well over the straight track here recording 2 wins and 2 2nds from 11 starts. It's clear to me that he has a class ceiling of grade 5 (never won in higher, 0/20) and is 9 from 46 in this and lower grades. Has also never won first time up or over any distance other than 7f or 1m. Won off 72 last season but anything above that has proved troublesome. Off just 66 today. In the last 12 months (with optimum conditions of distance, not first time out, Class 5 and mark of 72 or lower), form figures read 4-7-1-1. This season, he needed his reappearance as always and then has recorded 2 decent efforts. The first, when 4th of 7 off 2lb lower, was a good run considering he was very keen early doors and didn't get a clear run at a crucial point. Then he was 7th of 15 off the same mark, running much better than finishing position suggests as he was drawn badly and race wasn't run to suit (held up when prominent types held sway). Both of those runs were in a higher grade and over a furlong shorter, and it's noted that he was staying on well and would appreciate the extra furlong he gets today. Has so much in his favour and is the one to beat if running to form.

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Re: RussP's Flat Handicappers Final bet for a busy Saturday. 6.40 Newcastle Cabelo, 5pts EW @ 9/1 Boylesports I'm happy that this race can be broken in 2, the front 6 in the market really should have this between them. Big Bear is a worthy favourite but I'm worried about the switch to firm ground and not sure whether he can follow up having had a 3 day break. Harwoods Volante & Shamaheart have both been raised in the weights without winning and Advance has question marks having been pulled up lto. Woodys Way could be a danger but may need another furlong. This leads me to Brian Ellison's charge, Cabelo who, like Big Bear, gets 10lb off her rivals being a 3yo tackling older horses. Jockey booking looks telling in that De Sousa, the Epsom star yesterday, is one her and is 1 of only 2 rides he has tonight. Gets in here off 73, 1lb lower than its handicap debut lto at Newmarket. Did run over C&D in a maiden last year finishing an unlucky 3rd at 20/1. Not every horse likes this stiff track so I'm pleased she has some course experience. We can ignore her first run this term, on ground too soft and clearly needed it but next time, won very well at Catterick over this distance & she looked better the further she went. This stiff track will be perfect and the likely fast pace will play to her strengths. She also has a nice draw near the pace so should get a good tow into the race and that's something she didn't get last time at Newmarket when well fancied. Was drawn wide and pulled very hard early doors in a steadily run race. Was still in with a shout 2f out but didn't really pick up, probably as a result of not settling. I'm also not sure 1m suited and she was eased once beaten. Back over a suitable trip on a stiff track with a top jockey all points to a big run.

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Re: RussP's Flat Handicappers Absolute disaster yesterday, with only a non runner saving me :lol. Anyway, just the 1 flat meeting in England today but plenty of handicaps to get stuck into. 2 bets for me, all bets are 5pts EW :ok 3.30 Goodwood With 1 NR, we are down to 10 for this Class 4 Veterans Handicap over the minimum trip. Being open to 6yo+ only, we are unlikely to see a progressive type and looking for horses with conditions to suit should prove fruitful. Ginzan trotted up lto but has been raised 9lb. Whilst a 6L beating looks worthy of such a hike, the race was pretty poor in fairness and it is better judged on its previous effort when winning narrowly off 12lb lower than today in a lower grade. Slip Sliding Away is the favourite and should go well but I really think the horse is better over an extra furlong. Whilst it should stay on from the rear, I'm predicting a hard luck story so will avoid. Lady Of Gibraltar (8/1 Bet365) - You probably need a good imagination to understand why this is a bet but I just think it is ready to strike today and a very significant jockey booking supports that, having his first ride for the stable. Last won 3 years ago but that was over C&D and off a 5lb higher mark. 2 years ago, the horse ran some very solid races in top handicaps off marks a stone higher than today's. Clearly likes the undulating, sharp tracks with 3 turf wins coming here, Epsom & Lingfield and all wins over the minimum trip too. Must have ground good or better which it is today and hasn't really had the right conditions for since those good days of 2013 and previous. Soft ground, stiff tracks, high mark, wrong grade have all been to blame for average performances last year and that has continued in 2015. Likes to race prominent which is a plus over the sprint trip here and I also feel a lot of the rivals need a breakneck pace to show their best. Is entered at Haydock later in the week too so I'm hoping that's an indication of the horse's readiness to win. At 8/1 in a smallish field, I'm happy to take my chance. 4.05 Goodwood From one extreme (5f) to another, this is a Class 3 handicap over 2m with 11 going to post. 3 of the front 4 raced against each other lto but this is a step up in grade and I'm not sure any represent value. The other fancied horse hails from the Sir Mark Prescott yard but this is another that may find this too tough having previously been placed very well. A few of the longer shots are in with the chances and it's one of those that I'm going in on. Kashgar (12/1 Bet365) - Has top weight here racing off 88 but has a very good 7lb claimer on top. The horse has form figures here of 2-2-1 and is a straight forward type, going particularly well for apprentices. Form on sharp tracks last term reads 2-1-1-2 seeing its mark rise from 73 to 88, with 88 being the mark it goes off at today. Interesting too that the last 3 of these were all apprentice ridden. Started off in listed company this season, running just ok but then disappointing at Ascot which is a stiff track and one I'm sure does not suit. Much improved effort last time out at Chester, a sharp track, over a trip too short when staying on best of all into a never nearer 2L 5th off this mark. I expect a return to this venue will suit and I think 12/1 is way too big for a horse that beat big Epsom winner of yesteday, Blue Surf, on its last start here.

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Re: RussP's Flat Handicappers It's been a very strange first week back! Lady Of Gibraltar won narrowly but Kashgar got squeezed out and finished 5th. So, after 12 EW bets, I have the unusual record of 3 winners (better than anticipated) but none of the other 9 placing (which is surprising). Maybe it will begin to settle down and I'll get a few more in the frame but, that said, I'll take a 25% win ratio any time :ok P&L is as follows: 2015 Staked = 120.00pts Returned = 185.00pts Profit = +65.00pts Yield = +54.2% Bets = 12 Wins = 3 (25.0% s/r) Places (incl wins) = 3 (25.0% s/r) My internet keeps dropping but, if I manage to keep it going, I might have a couple for tomorrow :ok

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Re: RussP's Flat Handicappers Bet for Monday afternoon. 5.00 Ayr 10 runners for this Class 4 handicap over 1m2f. What is interesting here is the mix of runners; despite a bet I put up last week, I'd normally side with older horses coming up against 3yo's before July and I'm sticking to that here. That effectively rules out half the field including the fav Strong Steps who doesn't look that well handicapped and is uncertain to be suited by trip & ground. Admittedly stable send it all the way from Newmarket and have put a good jockey on top but there's enough question marks for me. The other well faniced one is Quest Of Colour from a powerful yard but seasonal reappearance and a massive hike in the weights put me off this one that's on for a hat trick. Instead I'm going for a more exposed one. Warfare (13/2 Bet365) - 4 wins from 29 career starts for this 6yo and is a horse in decent nick at present. Often plied its trade over shorter but this trip looks worth chancing especially considering some good efforts on the AW over just half a furlong shorter. The appearance of 'stayed on' in the post race comments are what we need. Has run 7 times since the turn of the year, 6 of those on the AW and has put in some very good and consistent performances. Wins off marks of 66 and 72 (subsequently placed 2nd) to begin with, and it races off 72 here. That 2nd run was over the extended 9f in this grade. Last 3 runs have seen figures of 4-3-2, the former when racing a tad keen over that extended trip. The winner of that won next time out. Next up was a 3rd over 7f on turf when racing widest of all. Add to that a poor start over a trip too short and it's not a bad run. Was beaten into 2nd lto by a real on course gamble off this mark and a repeat of that run should see our horse in the mix today. Ground on the easy side is ideal and should get a decent enough pace to track. With a lack of real contenders here and question marks over the 2 favourites, I like the chances of the selection here.

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Re: RussP's Flat Handicappers One for tonight. 7.40 Pontefract A Class 3 handicap for 3yo's over the 6f with 10 doing battle. As usual with 3yo's, a lot is about potential but, with that comes some silly prices on what's achieved and, ordinarily, I'd back against that. Normandy Barriere, Billyoakes and Swift Approval have all been raised in the weights without winning lto whilst Dawns Early Light and Shootingsta both come here straight from maidens. I'm going against them all for one with proven form. Feeling Easy (15/2 Betfred) - A 3yo but has 10 races on the clock, including 3 wins. Last win was a handicap over this trip off 3lb lower but has performed creditably since off higher marks than that & higher marks than the 82 it races off today. Ran a cracker off 85 at Doncaster over 6.5f, and was subsequently highly tried in a Group 3 event at Newmarket. Reappeared at that track a month ago, finishing 5th of 10 in a Class 2 running on well after having to be switched. Slight improvement lto when 3rd to a progessive type when again staying on well, this time off todays mark. All form is on good or faster which is ideal for conditions here and has shown some form over slightly further and on stiff tracks which is ideal at this track, probably the stiffest finish of all. I expect our charge to stay on as well as anything and, unlike its rivals, has shown its ability off the mark it has today. Stable, who are beginning to find a bit of form, have sent just one to the meeting and have the stable jockey on top (has won on it before). 15/2 looks a nice price for one with proven form against a set of rivals none of whom look like handicap snips.

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Re: RussP's Flat Handicappers 1 winner, 1 unplaced today. 3rd & final bet, very brief write up. 8.40 Pontefract 4 NR's leave us with 9 for this Class 5 6f handicap. Le Laitier (8/1 Bet365) - Trainer excels with sprinters and this one gets in off a potentially lenient mark. Should be able to make all too which is a bonus as it likes to lead. Won here last year off 2lb higher when making all so has a liking for the track and mark is obviously within reach. Will love the ground and should be suited over this trip rather than a furlong shorter it faced lto here when outpaced. Interestingly, is entered up 3 times this week so trainer must feel it's ready to strike for the first time this season. With lots in its favour, I think a big run is on the cards.

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Re: RussP's Flat Handicappers Just lost a big post, arghhhh, so here is a shortened version. 9.20 Hamilton 9 runners, Class 6 handicap over 1m. Dolphin Rock (11/1 Stan James) - Formerly won off 76, now racing off 56. Has recently moved stables, was well supported on debut although running poorly. Better now back on better ground and has good run on stiff tracks. Shorter trip too also likely to suit as is good jockey booking from a stable amongst the winners. Form over less than 1m1f on good or better ground since last win reads 3 of 10, 15 of 17 and 4 of 11, all off much higher marks (the last being 8lb higher).

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Re: RussP's Flat Handicappers Dolphin Rock was 3rd so +6pts on the day for that one. 1 for tomorrow day. 4.10 Nottingham Class 6 handicap over 6f with 13 average sorts going into battle. Quite an open market but there's only really 1 that appeals to me. Spowarticus is in decent form but is better on the AW, a comment that can also be angled at Indian Affair, Maymyo and Razin Hell. None of them look particularly well treated to me. Some of the others are just a bit long in the tooth with Dancing Maite, Divertimenti & Red Cape having 33 years between them. My fancy is far less exposed than that. Bush Warrior (6/1 Paddy Power) - An 8 race maiden but has shown enough to suggest it should soon be winning in this grade. I'll focus on its tries in turf handicaps, being its most recent 2 races. 2 starts ago, it was 3rd of 15 in this grade when actually not having the race run to suit. All its challengers were held up whilst the selection did too much, racing up with a strong pace throughout. That performance can be upgraded. Interestingly, it races off that same mark of 64. Lto was more disappointing, a 5th of 13 off 1lb higher. However, that was in a higher grade and was an apprentice hands & heels race, the form of which can normally be discounted. Has raced here in the past, so track should be fine and stable is in decent enough nick. Both trainer & jockey are represented by just this horse at the meeting and in a race lacking depth, this unexposed type should be up to doing the business.

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Re: RussP's Flat Handicappers Another that finished 3rd. One for tonight. 8.50 Haydock A small field of 8 for this 3yo Class 4 handicap over 7f. The market would have us believe it's a 3 horse race but I'm not so sure. Mccreery could be anything after winning a decent maiden last year but that was on soft and hasn't been out so far this term. Sakhees Return definitely has a chance of its last run but raised in the weights without winning and, whilst it's thought Wiener Valkyrie needed its run lto, it was their only ever run on firmish ground and, quite frankly, disappointed. Instead, I'm going a little further down the market. Captain Revelation (8/1 Bet365) - Has raced 9 times, winning 1 and 2nd on 4 other occasions. Narrowing that down further, record under this jockey is 2-2-1-2-3-2. Won its maiden on firm ground last term over a furlong shorter but on a stiff track and since then, has mainly plied its trade on the AW. This season, opened up with a 2nd off 75 over 6f on the AW, before finishing 3rd off 2lb higher and over a mile in a race where it probably didn't get home, in addition the race was a pretty good event. Back on turf, the horse disappointed but that was on unsuitably soft ground which resulted in a drop in mark back to 75. Finished 2nd over this distance on the AW but ran very well & was only beaten by a very well handicapped sort. Stable likes a winner here, stable jockey on top and, based on its RPR, looks well capable of striking off its current mark. With just 7 opponents and 3 major rivals I can't really get too excited about, I'm happy to be on at an EW price.

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Re: RussP's Flat Handicappers Last one bombed out completely. Just the 1 for this afternoon. 2.30 York A Class 3, 10f handicap with 10 runners that has some familiar names doing battle. It looks a really open race going 6's the field and I'm against the front 3 of Monaleen, Final Countdown and Mistiroc. The first named is lightly raced and progressed well through maidens and 1 handicap but disappointed lto in listed company. My concern is that its mark may well be too much. Final Countdown has some fantastic form figures but is another where I feel its mark has now caught up, especially back on firmer ground whilst Mistiroc is a definite danger on last season's form but I believe an extra 2f would suit better. Donny Rover (8/1 Coral) - I'm siding with the top weight here who is dropping in class and mark. Last win, 9 months ago, was in this grade, over this trip, on this ground and had today's jockey on top. Since then, the Rover finished last on its reappearance in the Spring Mile over a trip too short, off 4lb higher than this and probably needed the run. An improved run next time out but the trip was then too far at 1m4f. 3rd run off that mark of 93 (89 today) was less impressive but again the trip of 12f and on a stiffer track did not help. Was then dropped 2lb and back to this trip, also in Class 3 (albeit 0-95 rather than 0-90 it has today) but finished no better than midfield, largely due to pulling too hard early doors. All its winning has come on galloping tracks like this and record at the trip is 2 wins, 1 2nd from 6 tries. Goes well in this grade but has never placed in a Class 2 (3 of its 4 wins this term) and jockey is 3 from 9 on the horse. Has its optimum conditions today and I'm sure it will run well, especially as trainer was quoted as saying at the back end of last season that this one will be listed class this term.

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Re: RussP's Flat Handicappers A nice winner today, winning at 10/1. Onto tomorrow, and here's the first bet. 4.20 York Currently, we have 16 in this Class 4 handicap over a trip of 9f. We appear to have a well supported favourite and then a stablemate as clear 2nd fav. Following that, it is pretty much anybody's. However, I'm opposing the 2 at the top of the market. Top weight and fav is First Sitting after recent form figures of 2-1. However, first race was in a maiden and lto, it won but is now 6lb higher and uncertain regarding ground. Too inexperienced to warrant the 7/2 on offer. Stablemate has good recent form too and has been raised just 3lb for a win 2 starts ago. However, it was holding on that day when getting an easy lead and, whilst the rise looks lenient, I think Rousayan will struggle to have a race run to suit quite as much again. Park Place (12/1 Betfred) - Our horse has actually finished behind Rousayan twice this term but is 3lb better off today and excuses can easily be made. The horse is drawn in 1 today which is a positive in that the 9f here has a very early left hand turn. Won its maiden 6 starts and has since had form figures of 5-6-3-7-5 but every time, there has been valid reasons. Likes to be held up and has often met trouble but a big track like York with a long straight should play to its strengths. In those 5 races since, was first 5th when finding trouble at a crucial stage off a mark 2lb higher than today, yet finished well only 4L back. Next, it was 4L back again off a 1lb lower, 75 (which is 1lb higher than it faces today) but was drawn very wide and used up too much energy from that box. Was then a 1L close up 3rd over 8.5f but again got hampered and was finishing as well as anything. Was then 4L behind Rousayan but the 1m trip was too short and, whilst have no apparent excuses, definitely delayed its run too long and was never getting there. Lto, in this grade off this mark, was only 1L back in 5th, again behind Rousayan. Is now 3lb better and, of most interest is the fact that this race massively favoured those up with the pace so getting so close from the back deserves more credit. Again, it was hampered at a crucial stage and could quite easily have won. Has a knack of finding trouble but, if for once, it can be avoided, the 12/1 is a huge price.

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Re: RussP's Flat Handicappers (+163.60pts, 86.1% yield) 5.30 York Class 4 handicap over the straight 6f with a rather large cavalry of 20 lining up. Slingsby and Harwoods Volante are the 2 market leaders and, as usual, I'm in opposition. The former couldn't have been more impressive but a 13lb hike in mark and raised 2 grades with ground concerns. No thank you. The latter could go well but is raised in mark without winning and that's a type I often ignore. However, my selection is still well fancied. Mon Brav (12/1 Betfair Sportsbook) - Has been backed into 8's or 9's elsewhere and I can understand why. Finished in the places in the last 2 runnings of this race and has top jockey on top who, on his last ride, won at a tasty 16/1. Has been campaigned strangely at trips below and beyond this 6f, yet it's evident to anyone that this is the only trip the horse likes. I'm guessing that was in a bid to get its mark and this has worked. Absolutely loves big fields and its record over this trip since the beginning of 2013 with fields of 15 or bigger reads 5-3-3-2-4-3-2-6-9-1-10. The '1' was with todays jockey on top and was its last win in a grade higher than this off 5lb higher. All ground comes alike but genuine ground is probably the best which it is likely to get today. Since that win last year, has raced off marks around 7lb-10lb higher than this and often over wrong trips. Opened this season off 82 and over 7f, was unsurprisingly unplaced. Then raced in a claimer, a seller and a handicap with a maximum field size of 7 and never over this trip. I'm prepared to overlook those runs. Lto, raced in a big field handicap at Ascot over this trip off 2lb higher. Was 10th of 21 but was given a ridiculously poor ride, and was staying on way too late. This jockey is 10x better than that and will surely put the horse in the race with conditions strongly in its favour.

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Re: RussP's Flat Handicappers (+163.60pts, 86.1% yield) 2 more. 2.55 Musselburgh The big consolation sprint, with 16 lining up for a Class 3 5f handicap. In fairness, you need a degree of luck in running in these types of races but I do feel that the race isn't actually that strong. We have a well supported favourite in Distant Past and I can understand why but I'm against it. Won lto in an apprentice race and mark remains unchanged which is largely the reason for the short price. That said, this is tougher and a step up in class. 3 wins from 4 is impressive but the one other was its only try in the class. I'll oppose based on that. Mappin Time (8/1 BetVictor) - Now a 7yo but still running well and has plenty in its favour today. Drawn near the rail which could be great although might need to find the gaps. Races off 87 today which is a mark well within its grasp and looks to be racing in the right sort of grade. Last 2 wins have come off 85 and 90, albeit on the AW, but over this trip. Likes ground as firm as possible so the good to firm is a positive. Stable are in good form too whilst it's interesting the trainer puts a 3lb claimer on top even though there were perhaps more obvious choices. Since winning off 90 in Feb, has raced 6 times finishing 2nd 3 times. 2 of those were on AW and the other AW run was over 6f. 3 runs on turf to gear up for this; 7th of 11 at Chester on wrong ground off 87 (2lb higher than today) but last 2 runs far more promising. 2nd of 8 back in this grade off 1lb lower on good to firm ground before running really well 5th of 20 in a Class 2 0-105 event on ground that perhaps wasn't quite fast enough. Only 1L back that too and off same mark today, but with 3lb claimer. Highest rated opponent here is off 88 so it's a big step back in class. Conditions should suit and, granted luck in running, I expect our horse to go very close. 6.35 Chester 5 NR's leave us with 12 for this 7.5f race round this turning track, class 4. What I'm looking for here is a horse that races prominent, has a good draw but, importantly, wants quick ground. It looks a very open heat but the fav is Mambo Paradise on the back of 2 wins from its last 3 starts. Those wins were on the AW over 1.5f shorter and were confined to 3yo's. To me, that makes the horse very opposable indeed. Postscript (9/1 Stan James) - Owner absolutely loves a winner here and has recently moved this horse to his number 1 stable; that is almost a tip in itself. This horse gets in here off 83, a mark well within reach as its last 4 wins have been off 85, 85, 87 and 81. Record on good to firm ground reads 2 wins and 5 places from 11 starts so the fast ground here is a huge plus. Has a good low draw and races prominently so that again ticks a few more boxes, whilst today's jockey was on top for its last win. In this grade on this ground, has only raced 3 times with form figures of 3-2-4. May not have won on turf for 2 years but that's not surprising at it has almost exclusively plied its turf trade in class 2. Best runs have been when dropped in this grade. Has only raced once this year, 2 weeks ago at this track over a trip 2f too far. That was clearly just a warm up for this and it actually run well for a long way. Dropped 1lb for that and now gets the faster ground it craves. Trainer is expecting a big run too and I expect it to be right in the mix. 9/1 is too big.

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Poor day yesterday but just Mon Brav managing a place. I'll provide an update after the racing today. 4.50 Doncaster There's now a non runner leaving us with 11 to sort through for this Class 4, 1m handicap. First thing to look for is a weak favourite and I think we've got one here in top weight Derulo. As with the 2nd fav Thornaby Nash, both animals have been raised in mark without winning lto. That's enough for me to bypass. Teds Brother (8/1 William Hill) - I backed this one last week when it was taken out at Newcastle but most things still stand. Is steadily coming down the weights and is now racing off 66, a mark lower than his last 3 wins. Goes well at this track with 2 wins from 6 starts. I worry a little over the class ceiling in that its never won in a Class 4 but this is a poor event for the grade as only 1 horse (rated 77) stops this being a Class 5 anyway. Has never won first time up or over any distance other than 7f or 1m. Won off 72 last season but anything above that has proved troublesome. Off just 66 today. This season, he needed his reappearance as always and then has recorded 2 decent efforts. The first, when 4th of 7 off 2lb lower, was a good run considering he was very keen early doors and didn't get a clear run at a crucial point. Then he was 7th of 15 off the same mark, running much better than finishing position suggests as he was drawn badly and race wasn't run to suit (held up when prominent types held sway). nterestingly, that run when 7th has turned out fantastically; the horses that finished 2nd, 3rd, 5th have run 4 times since between them and won them all. The one finishing 14th also won its only race since and only 2 others have run again (the 8th and 9th), and finished 4th and 2nd. So the form of that race is 7 runs since, 5 wins, a 2nd and a 4th!!! Both of those runs were in this grade. Will absolutely love the ground that has now turned soft and the firm ground was apparently the reason for its withdrawal. Has so much in his favour and should go well with a proper jockey now on top.

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