Monday 23 February 2015

Tuesday Preview – Nefyn Can Prove A Point

Bridget Andrews, winner of the National Ladies Point to Point Championship in 2013/14, is an interesting booking for Donald McCain’s 6-year-old Nefyn Point in the opening Lady Amateur Riders’ Handicap Hurdle (2.00) at Catterick on Tuesday. The Overbury gelding escapes a penalty for his half length defeat of Honourable Gent in a conditional jockeys’ event at Wetherby last week and, although his stamina for an extra three furlongs needs to be taken on trust, he’s hard to oppose.

A line through Amtired, who finished fourth at Wetherby, suggests Nefyn Point is closely handicapped with Deny, but Henry Hogarth’s charge weakened in the closing stages when last of eight, beaten 60 lengths, behind Politbureau at Newcastle last month and is probably best watched for the time being.

In truth, Nefyn Point is probably the more progressive of the pair in any case. He didn’t show much on his first four starts, in the spring and summer of 2013, but wasn’t seen again in public again until Boxing Day. He was entitled to need his reappearance run, his first for 18 months, but has won both subsequent starts and may still be open to significant improvement. He probably doesn’t want too much rain, but otherwise appeals as something of a ‘good thing’ at around 2/1 in the early price lists.

Selection: Catterick 2.00 Nefyn Point to win

Sunday 15 February 2015

Monday Preview – The Sky’s The Limit

Only modest fare, as usual, on Monday, but even the lowliest contest must have a winner and there are compelling reasons for believing that Amazing Blue Sky can complete a double in the Bet in Play at Coral Amateur Riders’ Handicap (2.35) at Wolverhampton.

I’m not usually a fan of these amateur riders’ contests, but there are amateur riders and amateur riders and Serena Brotherton is one of the very best. Perhaps the most interesting thing about her, as far as we’re concerned, is that she has a 3-3 (100%) strike rate for trainer Ruth Carr on the all-weather.

Obviously, Mrs. Brotherton can’t win without the horse, but she rode Amazing Blue Sky to victory over a furlong or so shorter at Southwell two weeks ago and a 4lb rise in the weights for that success seems more than fair. In fact, it puts Amazing Blue Sky on exactly the same handicap mark as when winning over 1 mile 4 furlongs, in this grade, at Thirsk in the summer, so it’s hard to argue that he’s anything but feasibly weighted for a return to the winners’ enclosure.

In a race where recent winning form is in short supply, Amazing Blue Sky appears to have an outstanding chance and makes no little appeal at 3/1 with Bet365 in the early price lists. Santayana, who’s still a maiden, but is 2lb better off for the length he finished behind Amazing Blue Sky at Southwell could, again, be the one that gives him most to do.

Selection: Wolverhampton 2.35 Amazing Blue Sky to win (3/1 with Bet365)