Dream Of Dreams set to make amends for flop in July Cup
The word hap comes from the Old Norse happ which means luck or good fortune - and it's also the basis for the word happy. Unfortunately, this punter has been left feeling hapless in the past few weeks, and there's not much luck coming my way with regard to the horses.
I'm quick enough to shout about it when I get a few decent-priced winners - so likewise, I've got to hold my hands up and acknowledge when I'm having a torrid time. Just the one winner last week made very little difference to the river of cash that has flown from my account into the bookmakers' satchels lately, as it was priced 4/5.
I've read lots of books about chance and betting and I don't really believe in 'lucky' winning and losing streaks as such, it's more to do with randomness - but when it rains in this game, it often pours and it's hard not to feel I have a target on my back over the past month or so.
It's always worth remembering that nothing lasts forever, and that applies to both good and bad things across life in general, but the betting bank badly needs a boost and I'm hoping I turn the corner soon.
One man who has got me out of a hole on more than one occasion is Michael Stoute, and I'm going to rely on his charge today, Dream Of Dreams, which is expected to go off around 9/2 under Daniel Tudhope in the Betfair Sprint Cup Stakes (4.10 Haydock). Unfortunately, this race has lost some of its shine when the ante-post market leaders were ruled out.
With Aidan O'Brien's Ten Sovereigns being withdrawn due to the testing ground, and Martin Meade's Advertise also ruled out after scoping slightly badly, it should make our job a little easier this afternoon.
Dream Of Dreams is one of those horses that still seems to be improving, despite being five years of age.
A son of the classy Dream Ahead, I backed him in the Group One Darley July Cup Stakes last time at Newmarket which looks disappointing on paper as he finished 10th of 12 runners. But he found himself in a poor position and by the time he had to switch, it was too late anyway to make an impression.
I'm willing to overlook that run as he's shown some nice form this season, and was as good as ever when a head-second to Blue Point in the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot.
That came on the back of a Listed win at Windsor in May and one of the things I like about him most is that he acts on various types of ground. All considered, I think he's a cracking price this afternoon.
The one I'm most worried about is Charlie Hills' Khaadem, which is expected to go off as favourite around 9/4. While he's yet to win at Group Level, he was mighty impressive when taking the big-field Stewards' Cup Handicap at Goodwood last time and a top-level race is surely within his reach. Fingers crossed that will be on another day, however! Hello Youmzain is also worth a mention for Kevin Ryan under James Doyle. A Group Two winner at Haydock in May, he was a good third behind Advertise in the Group One Commonwealth Cup in June.
A little earlier at Ascot, I'm quite keen on Baasem in the Lavazza Stakes (3.55), and while I'd normally argue that 9/2 about any horse in a handicap is poor value, there's always the odd exception and Owen Burrows' New Approach gelding looks one of them.
Although he's gone up in the ratings from 74 to today's 92 in just three races, the handicapper can't keep up - and having won a handicap in July by seven lengths, he went on to win another by double that amount last time out at Doncaster. Based on those wins, he's definitely a horse which is going places and I hope to see jockey Kieran Shoemark take him out early and get him in front, which suits his style of running.
Cirque Royal is also worth a mention around 9/2. He's also won his latest two races, which were minor events and he was odds-on in both, but he caught the eye nonetheless as one that could improve further.
Do the double
Priced around 5/1, Gareth Southgate’s England are second favourites behind France in the outright betting for Euro 2020, and they should have an easy assignment this evening as they take on Bulgaria at Wembley. Odds of 1/12 look about right against a side which are 2500/1 in the Euro 2020 outright markets with one bookie – but the standout bet for today is England to win both halves, which is available at 4/5 with a couple of firms.
Trained by Saeed bin Suroor, Best Solution looks the pick of the bunch around 9/4 in the Group Three Sun Racing September Stakes on the all-weather at Kempton (2.05), although he’ll have to overcome an absence of nearly a year. A multiple Group One winner, the word on the street is that he’s fit and well after a nice long break and is all set for a strong return today.
I’m a little surprised to see Arbalet trade as high as 16/1 in the early market for the Cunard Handicap at Ascot (2.45) considering he’s now dropped down to a realistic 95 in the ratings. He was struggling when rated above 100 this summer and the assessor has finally cut him some slack following a poor performance when 12th of 18 runners at York last time.
While his latest races don’t inspire much confidence, he’s been out of his depth this term and wasn’t cut out for Listed level at the start of the season. He’s raced very well at the Ascot course in the past, and I’d say he’s the type of horse that is hard to find races for, rather than one with no talent.
1.50 Haydock: Laafy
2.05 Kempton: Best Solution
2.45 Ascot: Arbalet (e/w)
3.55 Ascot: Baasem
4.10 Haydock: Dream Of Dreams