'Dream' set to make up for Ascot second
We had one of those great racing stories on Tuesday when See Double You won a handicap hurdle at Roscommon at the grand old age of 16. I read somewhere it was the oldest winner in Ireland since The Ladys Master won a Tipperary Handicap Chase at that age in 1987, and Tuesday's victory was filled with emotion for trainer Ronan McNally, who bought the horse the day after his father was buried.
McNally may send the horse to England before he calls it a day, and all racing fans would love to see him land another prize. There were a couple of 16-year-old winners in Britain in the 90s, and Eastern Destiny I won a Hunters' Chase aged 17 back in 1995 but collapsed and died afterwards.
While I love stories like See Double You, you have to remember how rare they are. I overheard a couple of blokes in the bookies the following day talking about the race, and one said that it's proof that it's worth following older horses - which is pretty poor advice if you look at the stats.
Ordinary people posing for photos with a big cheque make us believe we too can win the Lotto, and in a similar vein, freak stories in racing can lead punters down the wrong path. But it's not just teenage horses that punters should be cautious backing, the oldest horse in the race in general is often worth avoiding.
I'm not saying I never back the oldest horse, if he's showing the right form and temperament he should make the shortlist like any other, but I find that punters can back older horses through sentiment and familiarity as they've obviously been around a while, especially in jumps racing.
In flat racing, particularly the all-weather, the oldest horse in the race can be unprofitable to follow and since 2008, backing the oldest horse in those codes produced 6,000 winners from nearly 74,000 bets (8 per cent). Not that you would, but had you placed a euro on each, you'd have lost about 24 grand to SP! On the flip side, laying each of them on Betfair would have produced a profit of over €1,600 to a €1 stake, although with the average Betfair SP at 55.0, liabilities would have been quite high.
With those figures in mind, it will be interesting to see how ten-year-old Caspian Prince performs in the Listed John Smith's City Walls Stakes at York today (2.05), with bookmakers chalking up the race's oldest horse at 4/1 in the early markets.
A son of Dylan Thomas, he hasn't won in six races but he was third in a Group Three last time so he may well be one of the rare flat ones that still has something to offer at this age. But with Copper Knight, Emblazoned, Final Venture and Poetry all in with a shout, this is a no-bet race for me and I'll just enjoy it with my wallet in my pocket.
Today's feature, the Group One Darley July Cup (4.40 Newmarket), doesn't have a clear-cut older horse with Limato and Brando both aged seven. I've been a big fan of the latter down through the years and he won this race in 2016 and was second in 2017, but despite his win in a Group Three last time, I think he'll find this a bit too difficult and early odds of 14/1 look right.
At the time of writing, Advertise and Dream Of Dreams are vying for favouritism around 3/1 and there was a lot to like about Advertise's Group One Commonwealth Cup success at Royal Ascot last time under Frankie Dettori. That came after a poor performance in the Guineas, but he's best over today's six-furlong distance and is sure to run a big race.
But Dream Of Dreams ticks all the right boxes for me for Michael Stoute under Daniel Tudhope. Having gone all last year without success, he kicked off this term with a win in a minor event at Chelmsford, and followed that up with a nice win in a Listed race at Windsor.
While he had to settle for second place to Blue Point in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot last time, it was a fantastic performance where he hit even-money in-running on the exchanges, having gone off at 12/1 with the bookmakers and 30.0 on Betfair. On that piece of form, he has what it takes to win this afternoon.
Do the double
My GAA betting hasn’t gone too well this season and as a Dub, it will be strange to be cheering on Kerry tomorrow as I hope to turn things around. But the Kingdom are a confident bet, albeit at the short price of 8/13, to beat a Mayo side which have been hit with a number of injuries. Kerry have a remarkable record in Fitzgerald Stadium in the championship, although Mayo can always surprise you. This could be a real cracker.
Primitivo won the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2016 for Alan King but was later brought to Hong Kong and renamed Gold Mount. Now trained by Ian Williams, he won his first race for that stable last time out, a Listed contest at York in June. On that display, he’s very good value to step up in class and take the Group Three Silver Cup Stakes (2.40 York), priced around 5/2.
Seventh in the John Smith's Diamond Jubilee Cup Handicap at York (3.50) last year off a rating of 101, Richard Fahey's Another Touch can hopefully go a little closer today, now rated 95. He hasn't been seen since finishing well down the field in a handicap here back in August, and punters are obviously concerned about that absence with the six-year-old trading as high as 33/1 yesterday evening. Although he hasn't won since 2017, I think those odds are a bit too high now that the handicapper is cutting him some slack, and I'm hopeful he can land a place at a big price. Mountain Angel has very strong claims for Roger Varian, but looks a little short at 9/2 in a big field of 22 runners.
2.40 York: Gold Mount
2.55 Newmarket: Ropey Guest (e/w)
3.50 York: Another Touch (e/w)
4.0 Ascot: Beat The Bank
4.40 Newmarket: Dream Of Dreams