Monday 21 October 2019

Sir Dancealot can get back in the groove

Betting Ring

Sir Dancelot and Gerald Mosse can land the John Of Gaunt Stakes at Haydock today. Photo: Getty Images
Sir Dancelot and Gerald Mosse can land the John Of Gaunt Stakes at Haydock today. Photo: Getty Images
Wayne Bailey

Wayne Bailey

The English musician Benjamin Ambrose, who found fame in the 1930s during the big band and jazz era as 'Bert Ambrose & His Orchestra', once said: "You don't gamble to win. You gamble so you can gamble the next day."

It was a witty remark but there's a warning there too. One way I avoid getting into that rut is by planning beforehand what treat I'm going to give myself after a large win, particularly in the big races. After landing a nice bet, I often hit the 'withdraw' button from my account straight away, before I'm tempted to play up the winnings following that rush of adrenaline which makes you want to bet more - but undoubtedly clouds your judgment.

Generally speaking, my biggest wagers each year are on the top-level Grade and Group One races but unfortunately, by the time last week's Derby came around, I'd already lost a small fortune on the English and Irish Guineas this Flat season.

Thankfully, Aidan O'Brien's Anthony Van Dyck saved the day at Epsom and recovered a good chunk of those earlier losses - and I've already withdrawn half of the winnings from the colt to book a few days away in the sunshine.

So many people I know like to bet, yet not too many like to enjoy the winnings on something other than more bets. But believe me, there's nothing better than sitting in the sun sipping a cold drink in the knowledge that it was all paid for by a horse.

Not that I have reason to be boastful - I got the Flat season off to a very poor start betting-wise, so finding a 13/2 winner in a Classic was a much-needed confidence booster. I reckon any decent-sized win, on the big races at the very least, should be marked and enjoyed in some way - rather than ploughing the whole lot back in.

As for the Derby itself, five of the first six home were trained by Aidan O'Brien which is some achievement, even allowing for the fact that he trained more than half the field.

With a close finish involving five runners, some have questioned how strong the form will turn out to be and there's a fair chance that one of those behind the winner might turn out to be the better horse, but I'm willing to give the winner plenty of credit all the same.

He had to be switched a couple of times and I really thought my goose was cooked at one stage. So too did the in-running punters on the exchanges, who pushed his price out to 64/1, but he had a nice bit of stamina in the end.

Although he came fifth, Sir Dragonet ran a nice race and is another one worth keeping onside in his upcoming races, provided the price is right.

Of course, you can't spend all your winnings immediately as you'll never build up a betting bank that way, so having spent half my Derby winnings on a trip away, I'm going to invest (hopefully!) the rest of it back into the betting pot to have a crack at the Group Three Betway John Of Gaunt Stakes this afternoon (3.0 Haydock), for which I'm happy to take the 100/30 on offer early doors for Sir Dancealot.

This is a step down in class for David Elsworth's five-year-old, which finished mid-division in the Group One Lockinge Stakes last time - and although he's consistently fallen short at the top level, he's got a couple of Group Two victories to his credit so should be well able for this.


He's an interesting one - he's raced a number of times at six furlongs which is a little too short, yet the mile is a stretch too far.

You don't see too many horses that excel specifically at today's seven-furlong distance but he seems to be one of them, and it's worth noting that he avoids a penalty for his latest Group Two win as it came before the cut-off date. So based on regular race conditions, he could be considered well-in at these weights.

There's another few in the 12-runner field with strong claims, but I'd hazard a guess that Safe Voyage is the biggest threat to the selection.

Trained by John Quinn, he's been a smart handicapper lately but managed to rise out of that zone by taking a Listed race here last month. He's now won five of his last six races and appears to have more to come, so he's definitely in with a big shout at around 3/1.

Breton Rock, Mankib and Tip Two Win are others for the shortlist but Elsworth's Sir Dancealot ticks the right boxes for me, and I'm confident he'll run a big race under Gerald Mosse.

At Beverley, Rose Of Kildare is worth a punt at 4/1 in the eight-runner Hilary Needler Trophy Fillies' Conditions Stakes (2.0). She's won some minor events already, and is expected to improve even further over the summer.

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