This page makes its return following a sort of unexpected hiatus. Last year proved to be a good one, but a new year brings new plans for the page. Each selection will now come with a points staking system in order to effectively measure profitability, based on a scale of 0.5 up to 5 points.
Cheltenham is fast approaching and it’s not necessarily the easiest time of year to select winners (if indeed there is such a time), with both Haydock and Ascot hosting good national hunt cards tomorrow, though the field sizes at Ascot especially truly are woeful for the prize money on offer. That said, one catches the eye tomorrow:
Palace Moon 4.15 Lingfield 18/1 Skybet
Not without his risks, he hasn’t won in 999 days and is the rank outsider of the field here but the gelding is tumbling down the weights and hopefully tomorrow is the day that he finally gets his head back in front. Now a ten year old, he was a smart gelding in his younger days, though he probably never won as many races as he should have, having only gotten his head in front six times from forty-seven attempts. The first of those victories came second time out in July 2008, looking a smart prospect when landing a 6 furlong Salisbury maiden by 5 lengths, and confirmed that impression two starts after when running away with a competitive looking Doncaster handicap over the same trip, beating a subsequent Ayr Gold Cup winner in Advanced by five lengths off a mark of 88 in March 2009, before landing his biggest win to date that same season when beating the smart sprinter Swiss Diva by a neck at Newmarket in a Listed race.
It was nearly 2 ½ years after that before he once again got his head in front, having contested handicaps off marks in the low 100, landing a Kempton conditions race over this trip in early 2012, before going on to win twice more during that season, comfortably landing a Lingfield handicap over 6 furlongs the following month off a mark of 98, and belied a rating of 100 to land a competitive Newbury handicap in May of that year. He’s failed to win since then, but he has ran some good races in defeat off marks much higher than this (was rated in the low 100s as recently as summer 2013), and he was probably a bit unlucky not to break his duct around this time last year. I was a bit disappointed at the time that he didn’t win at Lingfield late 2013 when he went down by a head over 6 furlongs to Absolutely So when racing off a mark of 78, but he was unlucky to bump into one that day, with the winner running off a mark of 77, he was a multiple winner subsequently and is now rated 108.
He did follow that run up with a couple of decent efforts in defeat, finishing placed at Kempton next two starts, and went down by a head at Lingfield off a mark 11lbs higher thereafter. He hasn’t been in the same vein of form since, but he’s started to tumble down the weights, and he fared better than the bare result last time out over a trip too far when not beaten all that far at this track over a mile, a race where the third has won since. He was dropped three pounds for that which looks generous, and he could be ready to strike soon. 18/1 looks about 8 points too big, given not too many of the others necessarily look to have too much in hand.
Advised stake: 3 points win
by David Taheny