Channon's Amralah ready to blossom in Rose Of Lancaster
According to the 1865 'Slang Dictionary', or, to give it its full title, 'The Vulgar Words, Street Phrases, and 'fast' Expressions of High and Low Society', bookmakers were said to 'skin a lamb' when the favourite in a horse race was beaten.
I'm not sure if that phrase is used much these days, but certainly, those that backed Al Kazeem in from 15/8 to 11/10 for the Listed Doom Bar Stakes at Newbury last month were butchered like lambs at the slaughter by the old enemy.
The Roger Charlton-trained four-year-old, which had just returned from stud, could only manage fourth and the layers went home with their satchels stuffed, thanks to a card which had just one winning favourite.
Unfortunately, I was one of those that did my brains on the multiple Group One winner, but all credit must go to the victorious Amralah, which went down in my notebook as one to back next time if the price is right.
A Mick Channon-trained son of Teofilo, Amralah will face eight rivals in this afternoon's Group Three Betfred Rose Of Lancaster Stakes (2.55 Haydock) and while some have claimed that his win at Newbury was opportunistic (he was one of the few horses to have raced recently), he was still allowed to go off at 16/1 and wasn't expected to win, regardless of what has been said afterwards.
That Newbury win was an improvement on his previous second place in a similar race at Sandown, and was a third career success from a total of 10 races.
Now rated 108, he's no longer just a decent handicapper and if Joe Fanning keeps him close to the pace, he can pounce in the final two furlongs and defy his odds of 8/1.
Market leaders Hillstar (3/1) and True Story (7/2) have strong claims, but are not unbeatable.
The former has been runner-up in a number of Group races this term, but just can't seem to get his head in front anymore, while the latter ran reasonably well when fifth in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown last time and could be the biggest danger to the selection.
At Newmarket, David Elsworth's Arabian Queen is tipped to defy a 5lb penalty to take the Fillies' Group Three Sweet Solera Stakes (3.35), priced at 5/1 or thereabouts.
This is her first time running at seven furlongs, although she made all when winning the six-furlong Duchess of Cambridge here last month and her pedigree suggests she'll appreciate the step up in trip.
As mentioned, she'll carry a penalty, but she's already got quite a bit in hand on those which have a rating and her experience should give her the edge.
That said, the likely favourite Alonsoa won't go down without a fight.
Henry Candy's filly is a half-sister to several smart winners and with two wins from as many races at this distance, she certainly commands respect.
She beat some promising sorts to win a Listed race at Sandown a couple of weeks ago – although she did appear to idle a little and may do better still over a mile.
2.40 Ascot: Two For Two (e/w)
2.55 Haydock: Amralah
3.35 Newmarket: Arabian Queen
7.10 Ayr: Bashiba
7.50 Lingfield: Masterpaver
DO THE DOUBLE
THE Nigel Tinkler-trained Bashiba is a useful enough handicapper and the three-year-old bounced back from a poor run at Leicester to win a minor handicap at Redcar last time.
While it's fair to say that things fell his way and he was suited by the strong pace, his trainer has found a good opportunity to follow up in a seven-runner handicap at Ayr this evening (7.10). 9st 3lbs does not seem too restrictive and, at 5/2, he's a worthy favourite.
GAELIC FOOTBALL DUBLIN are now 1/2 to lift Sam Maguire and are as short as 1/20 in places for this evening's All-Ireland quarter final against Monaghan. At those prices, it's pointless having a bet, but the 6/4 about Bernard Brogan (above) to score a goal at any time looks a good deal, provided he gets plenty of time on the field.
* Last week's double was successful at just under 6/4.