I’m expecting to be nabbed by friends while on course, so I did some quick form study. Here’s how I would manage the day…
Getting to the course by 11.30 (the time this race is off) could be a challenge if you’re in the company of women. In fact, you’ll be lucky if they’re out of hair and make-up by then. Some speedy three-year-old fillies look likely to fight it out, with Justin Snaith holding a strong hand. I like the look of Pleasure Jet and Varikate from the stable. Pounce is another fancied runner from the stable, but the stable’s other runners appear to have been nabbed by the top jockeys.
The value may lie with Testing the Wind, who carries bottom weight, and gets another 1.5kg off as a result of being ridden by an apprentice. She was beaten 7 lbs by Pounce last time out (2.25 lengths, at 3 lbs per length) at level weights. Now she carries 3.5 kg less (just under 8 lbs). At double-figure odds she may be an interesting place (or each-way) bet. She took 26 starts to break her maiden, so we’re not looking at a world-beater.
Casual Var looks like a decent sprinter in the making. He was beaten the equivalent of 11 lbs by Cape Royal last time out (carried 4.5kg less, and was beaten a neck). Also in the race, carrying 6kg less, is Code of Honour, who got a 19.5 lb beating from Cape Royal last time out.
So, theoretically, Casual Var is 8.5 lbs better than Code of Honour, but he is conceding over 13 lbs. Casual Var is a justifiable favourite, and may well bring home the bacon, but the value lies with Code of Honour (8-1 at time of writing).
I would focus my attention on three smart three-year-olds – The West is Wide (carrying 57kg), Tevez (54kg) and Barbosa (52kg). The latter gets the nod, in view of him carrying the lowest weight, but the other two are certainly in the mix.
Two-year-olds, at this stage of their careers, can improve dramatically from one start to the next. Following the money is not a bad strategy, but this is unlikely to get you value for money. Whichever horse wins, it will probably be a decent sort. Watch and enjoy.
A few lightly raced, promising three-year-olds (Unencumbered, Ashton Park and Western Jet, in particular) meet a couple of lightly raced four-year-olds (Cossack General and Queen’s Club). Bear in mind that the weight-for-age improvement for three-year-olds at this time of year is 10 lbs (on Charles Faull’s Form scale). The younger horses could well end up being much better horses than the four-year-olds when they mature, but the older horses have got the maturity factor on their side (under official WFA terms, the three-year-olds should carry 4kg less than the four-year-olds), which over 1600m equates to more than four lengths.
Cossack General beat Wind Power on the same weight terms last time out, and there’s no reason to expect a different result this time around. The other four-year-old, Queen’s Club has won 2 of his last 3 starts, and could be an interesting each-way bet.
A good trifecta payout is possible here, so a larger permutation could be a worthwhile investment.
Capetown Noir should be far too good here, although he is unproven over the distance. None of his siblings have won over this kind of distance, but the combination of Western Winter (his sire) and Fort Wood (the sire of his dam) gives every reason to believe that he will stay. At short odds-on there’s no point backing him outright, but he could be a useful Jackpot or Pick Six banker. If he fails at 2000m it’s anyone’s race.
The fillies’ Grade One is quite open, with several fillies having chances. Pick something and have an each-way bet. For the exotics, you’d probably want to go into the race with all of Thunder Dance, Viva Maria, Hammie’s Hooker, All Is Secret and Blueridge Mountain. And those may not be enough. Possibly a race to watch for the enjoyment of seeing a Grade One race being won, rather than having a lot of money at stake.
Jackson and Pomodoro are legitimately favourite and second-favourite. It would be no surprise to see either of them win.
But, and this is a big BUT, they are giving 2kg and more to some pretty decent horses. Over this distance, that’s three lengths.
There’s been a lot of talk about Master Plan, but he’s twice been beaten by Beach Beauty (admittedly by less the last time they met).
Bravura very nearly won with top weight in 2012, and carries 2 kg less this year. If he runs the same race he’ll go close to winning. According to his trainer, Joey Ramsden, he didn’t have much luck in the running in either of his last two starts.
Run For It is certainly in contention, and Hill Fifty Four won a cracker last time out. He is improving fast.
Beach Beauty won the Paddock Stakes very impressively last time out, but she’s only getting 2.5 kg from the top weighted colts. Igugu carried 3 kg less than Bravura when she won it. The last fillies to triumph on these weight terms (i.e. carrying just 2.5 kg less than the top-weighted colts) were Empress Club and Olympic Duel. Is she as good as these? We’ll find out tomorrow.
Based upon form against La Tigresse, Captainofmysoul should have the beating of The Which Doctor. I’d be tempted to sit this one out, though. Take the time to re-hydrate before the real drinking starts.
A few runners here have been on the fringes of the Met action, but the lightly-weighted Grasp Your Destiny and Halfway to Heaven both have admirable recent form. This pair may be enough for the Jackpot.
An open race, so it’s probably worth loading up for the Jackpot. On a line through Adobe Pink, Dance for Gold should have the beating of Audrey Rose. And, there shouldn’t be much to choose between Jet Supreme and Jet Lady, on their respective runs against Smart Colleen. Remember, you’re not obliged to have a bet on every race, so this may be another one to just watch.
The obligatory start in front of the stands. You can be sure of a good performance from Blake, but I fear that he’s not good enough to give 3 kg to Ilsanpietro. His current odds (28-10) look generous. I would possibly avoid the second Jackpot (the first one has more interesting races), but he’s the closest there is to a banker in this Jackpot.
Punta Arenas tries a new distance. He’s a smart sort, but he’s only carrying 1 kg less than Ilsanpietro, which is unlikely to be enough. Dubai Gina is another smart sort trying a new distance.
You’re welcome to mix and match this any way you like. And, there’s no need to enter the potentially bewildering territory of Pick Sixes, Jackpots, Trifectas and Swingers (OK, maybe those, but for other reasons). You can have just as much fun with the good, old-fashioned “each-way”. This involves a win bet and a place bet on the same horse. If the horse is 5-1 or longer, the place will pay even money or better, so if the horse runs a place the payout on that will cover the loss on the win part of the bet.