Bank on 'Mystery' to power home for Hannon in Mill Reef
Some two-year-old races are very tricky, but the Group Two Mill Reef Stakes (2.55 Newbury) usually follows the script and it's a race I enjoy betting on - although I'm a bit biased having been lucky enough to pick the winner last year, Kessaar, at 100/30 with Frankie Dettori on board.
Indeed, I'm sure plenty of other punters enjoy this particular race with the market being a fairly good guide, and had you simply backed the favourite over the last 20 years or so, you'd have come out on top against the old enemy.
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Since 2001, just one winner has been priced in double figures, namely Lord Shanakill at 10/1 (2008), and like last year, I'm happy to go with the second-favourite in the market this afternoon.
Regular readers will be sick listening to me whining about a bad betting patch I was going through, but three winners last week (albeit at short prices) and the each-way bet coming second at 9/1 has finally put a pep in my step again - and Mystery Power looks a bit of value around 7/2 for Richard Hannon under Ryan Moore as I attempt to wrangle some more of my money back out of the bookies' satchels.
He looked smart when winning his debut maiden at Haydock back in June, beating subsequent Group Three winner Valdermoro amongst others, but he definitely caught the eye when taking the Group Two Superlative Stakes at Newmarket in July.
That success means he'll have a small penalty today which I don't think will hold him back, and I'm willing to overlook his latest sixth place of seven in the Goodwood Vintage stakes as he met with some very decent sorts including the winner which was the exceptional Pinatubo, one of the most exciting prospects we've seen in quite some time.
This assignment looks far easier, and I'm hoping to catch the bookmakers on the hop with that price.
Pierre Lapin will most likely go off as favourite around 3/1 and is sure to make a good race of it. Roger Varian's colt hasn't been seen since May when powering home to take his debut maiden at Haydock and backers have to trust that his trainer has him fit and well although personally, I do have concerns about a break for that long. When you combine that to the fact that he's only raced once, I think he's opposable at the prices.
A little earlier on the same card, Michael Dods' Dakota Gold is tipped around 7/4 in the Group Three Dubai International Airport World Trophy Stakes (1.45).
A hat-trick winner in handicaps in July and August, the five-year-old is in the form of his life at the moment and followed up those wins with a victory in a Listed race at York last time, in which he kicked on very well for Connor Beasley when asked, having raced a little freely at one stage.
This is another step up in class, but sometimes you have to strike when the iron is hot and on all known form he should have the measure of most of these.
The one I'm most worried about is Equilateral for Charlie Hills with Ryan Moore on board. He was out of his depth at Group One and Two level at the Curragh and Ascot, but he was runner-up in a Group Three at Newmarket in May, having traded at 1/4 in-running on Betfair.
Moore gave him a good ride to win a Listed race at Doncaster recently and he won't be too far off - but I feel the selection has that extra bit of class and should just about see off his main rival.
Up in Scotland, at Ayr, I'm amazed to see Orlaith trade as high as 7/2 in the Fillies' Group Three William Hill Firth Of Clyde Stakes (3.15). I thought she'd be much shorter than that considering the improvement she showed to take a Listed race at Newbury last time in August, having finished mid-division in a previous conditions race.
She's related to some talented sorts and following a bit of a shaky start to her career, Iain Jardine's charge is finally finding her groove as she gains more experience.
Lambeth Walk looks the best of the rest and will probably go off around 5/1. Archie Watson's filly began her career promisingly with two wins but has regressed a little with three losses since.
Do the Double
Tottenham come to the King Power Stadium as 11/8 favourites to beat Leicester, but that seems short considering the Londoners have gone eight away league games without a win. Leicester are 15/8, but I'm taking a chance on the draw around 5/2. Both teams have two wins, two draws and a loss each this term, and it's a worry for Spurs to see a two-goal lead slip to Olympiacos in the Champions League on Wednesday.
If you ask me, the 6/4 available yesterday evening for Desert Encounter in the Group Three Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup Stakes (2.20 Newbury) is a cracking deal. Trained by David Simcock, the 2018 Canadian International at Woodbine winner clocked up two Group Three wins at Goodwood and Windsor in August, and is now doing some of his best racing, despite his age of seven.
He's friendless in the early markets at 33/1, but I'm expecting Soldier's Minute to run better than those odds suggest. Now rated 96, he's finished well down the field in his latest few races when rated a few pounds higher than that, but he hacked up in a decent handicap at York back in May off 92, and there's a chance he can redeem himself off this mark. He's most effective when up with the pace so I'm hoping Joe Fanning gets him into a prominent position early. At the other end of the market, Ger Lyons' Buffer Zone has strong claims around 9/2.
*Last week's each-way selection, AMomentofmadness, was second at 9/1
1.45 Newbury: Dakota Gold
2.20 Newbury: Desert Encounter
2.55 Newbury: Mystery Power
3.15 Ayr: Orlaith
3.50 Ayr: Soldier's Minute (e/w)
4.15 Gowran: Credenza