'Work' worth another shot
DECIDING on which horse to back in a race is a tricky enough process for any person who puts a bit of thought into their betting -- but if the horse you're leaning towards picking cost you money last time out, it can complicate matters further.
As ridiculous as it sounds, punters often fall into the trap of believing the horse they backed (and lost on) somehow owes them something -- especially if that defeat was particularly narrow -- and will back it when it runs again in a desperate attempt to get their money back.
I remember a mate of mine putting €200 on Moscow Flyer to win €50 at Punchestown back in 2005 only to see him beaten by a short head. He then put €300 on at 4/11 next time out at Navan, but he was once again beaten. Finally, he put a monkey (€500) on in Moscow's following race at Leopardstown at Christmas, and the look on his face was priceless as the then 12-year-old got turned over at 8/11.
Three odds-on defeats in a row and a grand down the drain, you couldn't make it up!
As someone who writes about horses, it's my job to be objective. However, the fact that I lost half a week's wages on Workforce when he was beaten by So You Think last time is still niggling away in my head as I go through the form for today's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (4.30 Ascot), and I don't want to get into the situation where I throw good money after bad.
But, all past bets aside, I think a price of 6/4 about the four-year-old is fair value and, God help me, I'm going back to the well for more today.
That's not to say there are no concerns. Ascot is one of the trickier tracks in Britain and good course form is a big plus. Workforce flopped badly in this race last year, the only time he's raced at the course, but he's done nothing much wrong since and connections have learned an awful lot about the son of King's Best in the year just passed.
It looks like there will be a bit of cut in the ground, which will be to his liking, and the return to a mile and a half should also see improvement as he seemed like he wanted to go a little further when beaten in the Coral Eclipse.
St Nicholas Abbey is next in the betting but has been on the drift all week and on all known form he still has some 5lbs to make up if he wants to beat the market leader.
If any horse is to upset the party it could be Rewilding. He'll like the going, he's great over a mile and a half and he has also beaten Coral Eclipse winner So You Think in the Prince of Wales' Stakes at this venue.
That said, Aidan O'Brien said afterwards that So You Think was not as fit as he should have been, so perhaps it's wise to treat those formlines with some degree of caution.
Finally, Nathaniel is worth a quick mention at 13/2. He's a progressive sort that should win more races and he also gets a fairly decent weight allowance as he's still a three-year-old. While I don't think he'll beat Workforce, he's a bit of a live wire and may be an each-way option, despite the fact that there's only two places up for grabs.
Excellent Guest trades around 8/1 for the Betfair Summer Double First Leg International Stakes (3.50 Ascot) and that price looks fairly big for a horse that's proven at the course and distance.
He has also been going well of late, most recently landing second place in a very competitive Bunbury Cup at Newmarket. He's midway down the weights, but may have a bit more to come before the handicapper gets him in his grasp.
3.50 Ascot: Excellent Guest e/w
4.30 Ascot: Workforce
6.45 Lingfield: Baltic Fizz
7.20 Lingfield: Cape Rambler