Thursday 23 November 2017

Hannon can get Toormore back to his best for Lockinge

Hannon: High hopes for Toormore. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Hannon: High hopes for Toormore. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Wayne Bailey

When studying a race, most punters focus on the positives about each horse and come up with a selection based on the one which ticks the most boxes.

Next, they'll look at the prices and if the selection's odds are reasonable, they'll have a bet. Most casual punters don't have the time to get too deep into the formbook but when contemplating a serious wager, I like to add an extra step.

Once I've found a selection to back, I then turn the tables and try to come up with a list of reasons why the horse should be opposed. The bookmakers are certainly no fools and you have to put yourself in their shoes and ask why exactly they are happy to lay the horse to you at the price on offer.


When looking for positives, we tend to overlook certain variables and also make assumptions on things like the ground, class or distance. But when you don a layer's cap and force yourself to pick holes in your own bet, it certainly makes you think twice before handing over the cash.

Quite often, I'll leave my money in my pocket, even though I initially fancied something very strongly. Sure, there are times when the horse goes on to hack up and that's certainly frustrating - but I've also cut out a whole load of losers by employing this approach and I tend to bet less too, which my records show is a good thing for the bottom line.

When I first had a look at the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes (3.55 Newbury) earlier this week, I was immediately drawn to Henry Candy's Limato which has the form in the book to win such a contest. But while we could give an educated guess he'll stay the one-mile distance, the fact that he's not yet raced beyond seven furlongs is a tick in the negative box.

All recent winners of this race were proven at the trip so any horse without the letter D beside its name on the racecard should be treated with caution. More doubts are raised when you look at the ground.

He won a Group Two at Doncaster last September on good (good-to-soft in places), but it was a weak renewal overall and he prefers better ground. Indeed connections plan on walking the track this morning and may pull him out if the ground is too soft.

Limato, then, is a good example of one I've decided to swerve and although Toormore has some negatives too, I'm happy to back Richard Hannon's charge at a price in the region of 4/1.

Narrowly beaten by stablemate Night Of Thunder in this last year, his form was up and down for the rest of the season where he signed off with a below-par effort in the Hong Kong Mile.

Last time out in April, he was sent off at 7/2 for the Bet365 Mile at Sandown where he put to bed any doubts about his ability by defying a penalty to beat some decent sorts including Dutch Connection and 13/8 favourite Belardo, both of which re-oppose today.

He dug deep on the softer ground to produce a challenge two furlongs out - and if James Doyle can get him out into his favoured front-running position early on, I'm sure that we'll see him battling it out for honours at the finish. Clive Cox's Kodi Bear could prove to be the biggest threat today, although he tends to become a little unruly and hang left, which is obviously a concern.


Some fairly decent horses have come out of the Al Zubarah London Gold Cup (4.30 Newbury) recently including Al Kazeem - but this year's renewal looks very tricky and it will be interesting to see where the money goes in what was an open market yesterday.

The Godolphin pair Ebtihaal and Good Run are likely to be popular and Vivre Pour Vivre also has claims having won twice already this year - but I'm taking a chance on outsider Gawdawpalin, which is expected to go off in the region of 20/1.

Trained by Sylvester Kirk, the Holy Roman Emperor colt was runner-up in two handicaps in the past month and has shown an aptitude for softer ground.

He gets in at the bottom of the weights off a mark of 75, and I'll be disappointed if he doesn't go close.

Today's selections

2.45 Newbury: Eagle Top

3.20 Newbury: Dream Dubai

3.35 Newmarket: Raucous

3.55 Newbury: Toormore

4.30 Newbury: Gawdawpalin (e/w)

5.05 Newbury: Beautiful Morning

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