Ahead of his horse Nipper Reed going for a treble in handicap hurdles in 1998, trainer Rod Simpson was asked if the gelding was doing well after his latest win.
Simpson replied: “He’s eaten up well – but then my girlfriend left me this week, and I’m still eating.”
Nipper Reed finished fifth of the 10 runners in his treble attempt, and I suppose the lesson we might take is that a horse’s well-being and latest form might not always translate to more success on the racecourse.
Still, without inside knowledge of each yard, it’s all punters have to go on, and a horse which is going for a hat-trick always stands out on the race card.
Although it’s a different code and type of race altogether, I thought of Nipper Read when I spotted the John and Thady Gosden-trained Peter The Great, which is going for a treble today in the Group Three Betfred Rose Of Lancaster Stakes (3.0 Haydock).
Priced around 8/1, he’s sure to have his supporters following two handicap wins in June, but he had it all his own way in both – quick to the front in two small fields and, in my view, connections should have tested him out in a Listed race first before stepping up to Group company.
Grocer Jack is attracting support in the early betting and trades as favourite around 13/8 following a Listed victory at Newbury recently and some Group Three wins in Europe last year, while Intellogent is another with claims at 11/2 having finished third in the 22-runner John Smith’s Cup Handicap at York last month.
But the value bet here looks like the winner of that John Smith’s Cup, Anmaat, which was available at 5/1 yesterday.
Trained by Owen Burrows, the four-year-old won the York race after a 287-day break which was a nice training performance, and he’d been in good form last term trading at 1/5 in-running in the Cambridgeshire on his last race of the season, having tasted victory in two handicaps previously.
His latest win suggests he’s retained all of that ability and could have more to come, and I reckon he’ll be able to take the step up in class here handy enough. Jim Crowley gets the ride and for a Group Three race, this could be a cracker.
For an each-way bet, a chance is taken on Lampang in the 5f Dash Handicap at Ascot (2.10), which is part of the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup, an annual competition at the track whereby the jockeys compete in various teams against each other over a number of races.
Priced 12/1 yesterday evening, Tim Easterby’s gelding was mid-division in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood last week when rated 106, but he has excuses and is best judged on his previous race where he won a handicap at Pontefract off a mark of 100.
He makes a quick return to action today and although he’ll be joint-topweight under Christophe Lemaire, a mark of 104 seems reasonably fair.
Another one I like at Ascot is Montassib which is available to back at 5/2 at the time of writing for the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Mile Handicap (3.35) for William Haggas under Daniel Tudhope.
A son of Exceed And Excel, he’s won three of his five races, one at 6f and two at 7f, and he steps up in trip here having finished a good fourth of 18 in the Bunbury Cup Handicap at Newmarket last time out off today’s rating of 97. He has room to improve, and looks a solid bet this afternoon.
At Newmarket, I’m quite keen on the Richard Spencer-trained Ivory Madonna, which has been chalked up at 4/1 early doors for the Group Three Jewson Sweet Solera Stakes (3.40), a race open to two-year-old fillies.
She cost connections a fair few bob, and is yet to get off the mark after three attempts – but she was runner-up in a maiden here last month, and certainly wasn’t disgraced when third to Meditate in the Group Three Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, having gone off friendless in the market at 33/1.