Wednesday 21 August 2019

Best not miss the Blue Point profit train

Betting Ring

Blue Point ridden by James Doyle. Photo: Toby Melville/Reuters
Blue Point ridden by James Doyle. Photo: Toby Melville/Reuters
Wayne Bailey

Wayne Bailey

I've often tipped up horses on these pages, particularly in jumps racing, based on the fact that they are making a very quick return to the track.

You see it quite a bit in handicap races, where a trainer will send a horse back to the racecourse within a few days of a win or place. That ensures he can run off his old handicap rating meaning he may be, in theory, a few pounds ahead of the handicapper.

In those cases, a penalty is usually carried but it's often not as much as the horse is due to go up in the weights, leaving the horse lighter than it should be or 'well-in' as it's often called. You see quick turnarounds in non-handicaps too, although not half as much, as they don't necessarily have any advantage at the weights.

There are arguments for and against a quick return - certain trainers do it quite a bit, while others avoid it. Some feel it can be tough on a horse to run in quick succession, and if too tired it will negate the chances of winning. I've seen that happen, but as a general rule I'm with the trainers who like to strike while the iron is hot.

Even though the non-handicap horses don't have a weight advantage, it's still worth keeping an eye on them - if you blindly backed horses on the flat which were making a quick return having won in the past five days, you'd almost break even.

The figures for the Royal Ascot festival are quite interesting. Since 2008, we have seen 33 runners come back a second time in the same week. Of those, just two won, namely Simenon (2002) and Kingsgate Native (2008), but that's irrespective of where the horse finished in his first outing.

If you narrow it down to horses that were successful in their first race that week, you are left with just three qualifiers, one of which won. That was the aforementioned Simenon, which won the Queen Alexandra Stakes on the Saturday, having already won a handicap at Royal Ascot on the Tuesday.

In other words, it's rare to see a winning Royal Ascot horse make a quick return to the festival - so it I can't wait to see how Blue Point gets on today in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (4.20), having won the King's Stand Stakes on Tuesday. It was a cracking win for Charlie Appleby's five-year-old, which saw off Battaash to win the race for the second time - and if successful today, he'll emulate Choisir which completed the same double back in 2003.

As mentioned, the main worry in a case like this is whether the first race has taken a lot out of the horse - but Appleby said he's been great at home, eating up well and doing some light exercise. So having consulted with Sheikh Mohammed, it looks like they are going to let him take his chance.

He travelled really strongly and found plenty on Tuesday, and that made it a four-timer for the year, having won three races at Meydan, including a Group One. He's absolutely thriving right now, and he has a cracking record at Ascot with four wins and a place in five races.

There's a hell of a lot to like about him, and it's well worth bringing him back to the festival for a crack at this today. It will be interesting to see whether punters, who can also be divided about a quick return, get stuck in. At the time of writing, he's 9/4 which I believe is very good value.

Of the rest, I'm most worried about Invincible Army from James Tate's yard. He's won his two races this term, a Listed contest and a Group Two, and the four-year-old really seems to have come on a lot over the winter. I'm fairly sure he's capable of winning a Group One soon enough, but of course I'm hoping it's not today.

Veterans

Enzo's Lad and Le Brivido also make a quick return. The former is 100/1 in the early markets, and that's not surprising considering the New Zealand raider was second-last in the King's Stand Stakes, while Le Brivido was fifth in the Queen Anne on Tuesday so today's odds of 14/1 about that one also seem about right.

The Queen Alexandra (5.35) is Britain's longest flat race so it always attracts a mixed bag including a few old veterans from the jumps. I can never quite make up my mind if I'm a fan of this race but I'll declare myself one for sure if Willie Mullins' Max Dynamite lands the prize today under Ryan Moore, priced around 11/4.

Second in the Doncaster Cup in September, he looked out of his depth in a couple of Group Ones since - but Mullins has won this race a couple of times before (one of them being Simenon), and the jockey booking suggests the nine-year-old is not just here for the scenery.

He hasn't been seen since October which is my main concern, but the word on the street is that he's fit and well at home. The market might provide a bit of guidance but at this stage, I feel the main threat to the bet comes from John Gosden's Corelli.

Irish Independent

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