UK racing this weekend.
In the UK the news has been dominated by trainers allegedly being offered better prices by certain bookmakers, presumably so they get a better idea of how strongly a fancied a horse really is (or isn’t), but once again the authorities see that as being of little relevance as they continue it effectively ignore the punters who part subsidise the sport at the very least.
Whinging over, for the moment anyway, and on to the racing this weekend where we have one last taster of the flat season proper from Doncaster with the minefield that is the November Handicap, as well as a couple of half-decent Listed races to keep us all interested.
I have been pretty much ignoring the maidens for a few weeks now with plenty of the fields in action just so the trainer can prove to his or her long-suffering owner that the horse is still alive, but with some black type up for grabs, the Wentworth Stakes at 2.05pm is far more interesting.
Most hardened media hacks are pure form book and no emotion, and in some ways, my bank balance for example, I envy them, but I am more heart and emotion than is sensible in the circumstances. But I will be having a little each way on Gordon Lord Byron, possibly the only runner here with an entire TV programme about only him and his exploits. Already the winner of sixteen races and over £1.8 million in prize money, he is now a nine-year-old and can’t have too many races left in him, but at 18/1 how can I resist.
His five-length third to Limato last time out is solid enough form to give him a chance regardless of any reminiscing I may be doing subconsciously. Although he has to carry a penalty for a May Group Two success, I am still willing to take the risk albeit to minimised stakes.
Over the jumps, all eyes will be on Aintree and if The Dellercheckout is as good as the rumours suggest he could be worth a bet in the opener at 1.30pm over hurdles. A point-to-point winner in Ireland at Lismore, he was bought by John Hales for £260,000 straight after that victory and is clearly a bit of a looker. If he is as good as they think he may well win a few over hurdles before being sent over fences where his future lies.
I cannot decide between Unowhatimeanharry and Top Notch in a tactical three horse race over hurdles at 2.50pm so will sit back and watch but I will open the wallet ahead of the bumper at 4.00pm though again it is all based on rumours. Welsby is said to be a really smart recruit to the winter game as a son of Gold Well out of a Snurge mare, and with some exceptional gallops, allegedly as I was not there in person, he may well get off the mark at the first attempt for the all-powerful Nicky Henderson stable who look set for another profitable season.
Gordon Lord Byron each-way 2:05pm Doncaster 18/1
The Dellercheckout 12:30pm Aintree
Welsby 4.00pm Aintree