'Paco' a ringing endorsement for Hannon yard
AFTER nearly eight years of service, my old mobile phone packed in on Monday and I finally came into the 21st century by picking up one of the latest smart phones with all the bells and whistles included.
Aldous Huxley once said that technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards, and as I done my dough on Tuesday at Punchestown betting through my phone, I started to see where he was coming from.
Betting online is one thing, but if you are sitting at the racecourse bar with one of these new mobiles in your hand, be careful. Clicking €50 on your handset does not feel half as painful as handing the money over to a bloke standing on a box; and you tend to place some silly bets you might not have done otherwise.
Things picked up as the week progressed but even the wins didn't feel quite real -- so by the time Thursday came around, I was back in the betting ring using proper crispy notes. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the new phone but certain activities are just not suited to mobiles, and, for me, betting is one of them. The device itself cost me a pretty penny so here's hoping I can recover some of the money in the Group Two bet365 Mile at Sandown (3.40). Paco Boy has a number of things in his favour today and his trainer, Richard Hannon, has been having a great month so far boasting a strike rate of around 25pc.
We haven't seen the five-year-old in 269 days, which would normally put me off backing, but if you check back through his record you will see that he goes well when fresh, so I'm not too worried about the lay-off here.
He kicked off last season's campaign with a win in this very race but later reached new highs when beating Gladiatorus, officially the best horse in the world at the time, in the Group One Queen Anne Stakes at Ascot in June. He lost nothing in defeat in the Darley July Cup and finished off the season with a very respectable second to Rip Van Winkle in the Sussex Stakes.
It's hard to know which way Hannon will map out his season this year but if successful today, the Lockinge Stakes could be next on the agenda for the son of Desert Style.
Some concerns have been raised that this trip is not his favourite -- perhaps seven-furlong distances would suit his style better -- but it's my own view that he's no one-trick pony and he has the form in the book under various conditions.
The main danger to the selection is Michael Stoute's Confront, which beat Rio De La Plata last year at Newmarket and looks an improving sort. But Hannon knows the type of horse it takes to win this race, saddling five of the last seven winners, and the vibes from the yard are all good.
In the cathedral city of Ripon, Laverre is a confident bet in the Totepool At Totesport.com Maiden Stakes (5.10). The filly attracted a small bit of support in her debut here earlier on this month but she didn't get a clean break at the off and found herself playing catch-up.
She made good headway late on, however, and her eventual third place was more credible than it looks on paper. There's also been a few whispers about the unraced Sheiling over the past week or two so any market move for the Richard Fahey-trained filly should be noted.
Sixteen of the last 20 Bet365 Gold Cup winners (3.40 Sandown) came from the top three in the betting, so market confidence in your selection can be seen as a big plus.
1.55 Leicester -- Beat The Bell
3.40 Sandown -- Paco Boy
5.10 Ripon -- Laverre
7.50 Wolverhampton -- Wind Star
8.05 Haydock -- Deauville Post