Monday 23 October 2017

Heavy ground tempts me to lay camelot

Wayne Bailey - Betting Room

EPSOM Derby hero Camelot will most probably open up around 1/3 for this evening's Irish equivalent at the Curragh (7.40), but whether or not the Montjeu colt will attract any serious money in the betting ring remains to be seen.

Backing at those prices requires plenty of bottle, nerves of steel -- and maybe even a little madness in the head -- but I'm not so sure I'd be happy to take such short odds on the three-year-old today considering the inclement weather the country has been suffering.

Some punting pals of mine have a rule whereby they never bet odds-on, but backing at those prices in Group One races has proved profitable in each of the last five seasons, so I wouldn't dismiss it completely.

This year, eight horses have gone to post odds-on in Group One races -- Frankel (twice), So You Think (twice), St Nicholas Abbey, Camelot, Fame And Glory and Black Caviar -- and, had you put a ton on each, you'd have €189 profit in your pocket today.

Out of that bunch, just Fame And Glory lost his race, although backers' stress levels would have been at an all-time high last week watching Luke Nolen almost throw away the Diamond Jubilee Stakes on Black Caviar.

heavy

While he's clearly the best horse in the race, I reckon Camelot could join Fame And Glory as an odds-on loser, with the ground likely to come up soft with heavy spots in places.

Granted, he did win the 2,000 Guineas on soft ground but connections maintain he prefers better going, and Aidan O'Brien told RTÉ yesterday that conditions at Irish racing HQ are not exactly perfect.

With those concerns in mind, I've decided to take him on and, while the likes of Imperial Monarch and Born To Sea could be good backing alternatives, the simple option is to lay the favourite and have the rest of the field, including those two, running for me.

Camelot makes up around 75pc of the book, so by clicking pink you are effectively getting 3/1 on the rest of the field.

With regard to the meeting itself, it was a bold decision to move the Irish Derby away from the traditional Sunday afternoon but with racing attendance in decline, it's worth giving it a try.

Ronan Keating takes to the stage afterwards and while he's not my cup of tea, it brings a bit of life to the place and hopefully a big crowd too.

Across the water at Lingfield, Beggar's Opera has claims in the Surrey Royal British Legion Selling Stakes (8.0), priced 5/1.

They tried him out over hurdles last year without much success but I'm confident that we'll see this course and distance winner spring back to life now that he's back on the level.

EACH-WAY OUTSIDER

A few bookmakers quoted me 14/1 about Lexington Bay for the Northumberland Plate (3.20 Newcastle) yesterday but I've a feeling some bigger prices might be available closer to the off.

The Pitmen's Derby has thrown up numerous double-figure winners in recent years and this High Chaparral gelding won't be overburdened in the weights with 8st 4lbs. He had a progressive season in 2011 (winning three times) and his disappointing ninth last time can be overlooked as he wasn't fully race fit.

TODAY'S SELECTIONS

3.20 Newcastle: Lexington Bay (e/w)

3.35 Newmarket: Hoof It

3.40 Curragh: Leitir Mor

7.40 Curragh: *LAY* Camelot

8.0 Lingfield: Beggar's Opera

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