A Fun day in store if Mac lands the Ebor
I like to think of myself as a disciplined punter but like most of us who take on the old enemy, I'm prone to losing the head now and then and placing a ridiculous bet.
On Wednesday, I was wandering around Dún Laoghaire with the missus and the little one, trying not to complain about spending a fortune on school uniforms - all the while missing some great racing at York which was on the box.
But the most costly exercise that day came when I told the wife I was popping in to the bookies watch the Juddmonte International Stakes, while she went off to buy a school tracksuit for our daughter with 45 quid of my money.
When I saw the price of Golden Horn (4/9), it quickly dawned on me that a ton on the colt would return a profit of €44 - almost the amount I'd handed herself to buy the tracksuit!
The idea of the bookmakers paying at least part of the school bill was too tempting to resist but there's a reason bookmakers take bets on dead certs like Golden Horn and that's because there's no such thing as a dead cert.
When the pacemaker went off at the wrong pace, I knew I might be in trouble but in the end I reckon it was the ground which cost Golden Horn the race and left me thinking I should have stayed in bed - or at least walked the pier where there are no bookmaker shops and no signal on my phone.
Oscar Wilde once said "Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the noblest motives," and I'm sure that, if he was around today, he'd include me under that maxim. Then again, maybe he'd say I was simply greedy and I suppose it's hard to argue against that when you go out and back a horse at 4/9.
That loss came on the back of a poor day for the column last Saturday - and although I'm still quite a few points head profit-wise for the year, a decent-priced winner today would certainly be a welcome boost.
The Ebor Handicap (3.45 York) is not exactly the easiest race to decipher so I won't get my hopes up for a turnaround just yet but nonetheless, I like the look of Fun Mac each-way for trainer Hughie Morrison, which seems overpriced in the early markets at 14/1.
Robert Halvin gets the ride on the four-year-old, which went up a stone in the ratings to 98 for destroying the field in a valuable handicap at Salisbury in May, but he still managed to come second in the Ascot Stakes Handicap at the Royal meeting in June, despite the hike in the weights.
He's up to 102 today but he has a touch of class and I suspect we'll see him take a chance outside of handicaps, provided he puts in another good run this afternoon.
Aidan O'Brien's Fields Of Athenry looks set to go off as favourite around 5/1 with O'Brien's son Donnacha entitled to claim valuable 5lbs.
Having won the Group Three Ballyroan Stakes at Leopardstown last time out, his claims are fairly obvious but in a 22-runner field where a strong case could be made for at least half a dozen runners, those odds are a little short.
Tony Martin's Quick Jack is also worth a mention and was available around 7/1 yesterday evening which seems about right. The Galway Hurdle winner was last seen on the Flat when running a big race to finish second in the Chester Cup, and despite being raised 4lbs to 101, I get the feeling that he may have yet more to come before the handicapper turns the screw too tight.
In the preceding Gimcrack Stakes, Buratino (3.10) catches the eye in the early markets at 11/4 although his participation may be in doubt due to the ground. With four wins from seven races, Mark Johnston's colt is the most experienced in this race (which is restricted to two-year-olds) and based on ratings, he should have 3lbs in hand on nearest rival Ajaya.
That said, he does get a 3lb penalty for winning a Group Two in June so it could be close enough with the Wesley Ward-trained Finnegan also an interesting entry from the United States.
That horse won a maiden at Pimlico, but Buratino is the proven form horse here and should take all the beating.
The Tom Dascombe-trained Capo Rosso gets a very good draw in stall two for the Sporting Handicap at Chester and should be worth a punt each-way at 14/1 or thereabouts.
A runner-up in handicaps off a mark of 98 twice this term, he's been dropped 1lb to 97 for today. But he's in good form, and was very unlucky not to beat Hawkesbury last time, having traded below 1/10 in-running on the machine.
1.45 Sandown: Talmada
3.10 York: Buratino
3.30 Chester: Capo Rosso (e/w)
3.45 York: Fun Mac (e/w)
4.10 Curragh: Alice Springs
4.40 Chester: Soie D'leau