Grounds for supporting Dancing Art's Newcastle mission
WITH the wife being Canadian, I've spent quite a few winters in North America and experienced snow so deep that I've had to climb out of the window to dig out the front door.
A load of rain to melt the snow is seen as a blessing and the native Inuit people even have a goddess named Asiaq, whom they pray to when looking for a downpour.
It would be handy if we had a goddess opposite to Asiaq which we could call upon to end the incessant rain we've had lately, if even for the sake of the weekend sport -- it would certainly make my job easier.
Word came through yesterday that Sandown had been called off, with inspections due this morning at most other courses. Considering the deluge in parts of Cork, I was surprised to hear that mallow is likely to go ahead, but their drainage system has worked well.
In the opening two-mile hurdle there (12.30), the Willie Mullins trained Turban looks the pick of the bunch at 11/8, with Cork native Paul Townend booked to ride. He won a two-mile maiden chase here on heavy ground back in April with plenty in hand, but subsequently found an extra six furlongs a little troublesome when finishing fourth of five runners in a novice chase at Killarney back in May.
We haven't seen him since, but a short trip over hurdles looks a good way to ease him back and the seven-year-old could be one to keep onside over the coming months.
But I reckon the bet of the day could be across the water and I'll be all over Dancing Art if he goes off anywhere near his forecast price of 7/4 in the Straightline Construction Handicap Chase at Newcastle (12.35). With just three other runners taking part, the odds for Keith Reveley's charge seem quite generous, especially with conditions coming up in favour of the eight-year-old, which won a couple of handicap chases here on testing ground back in 2012.
Numerous setbacks saw the Definite Article gelding take a break for a year and he was last seen back when finishing second-last in a handicap chase at Uttoxeter in November off a rating of 112. But that result belies his performance on the day where he jumped soundly and travelled well. His lack of race fitness began to show three from home and tiredness saw him blunder at the last, but now that the cobwebs have been shaken off, he should prove dangerous this afternoon, especially since the handicapper has dropped him 2lb for Uttoxeter.
Dotties Dilema also has claims at 2/1. Lucinda Russell's gelding won a maiden point in Ireland in 2012 before going on to win two under rules at Hexham. He was well supported when third in his chasing debut at that course last time and it could take a couple of runs before the assessor can accurately gauge his ability.
THE Simon Dow trained Diamond Charlie gets into the Compare Bookmakers At bookmakers.co.uk Handicap (3.10 Lingfield) down near the bottom of the weights off a mark of 87 and should give punters a good run for their money, priced around 10/1. While his best form is over five furlongs, he stayed on well to take second in a six-furlong handicap off this mark at Wolverhampton last time and should have scope for improvement.
12.30 Cork: Turban
12.35 Newcastle: Dancing Art
2.15 Newcastle: Lysino
2.35 Lingfield: Castilo Del Diablo
3.10 Lingfield: Diamond Charlie (e/w)