Sport Horse Racing

Sunday 21 January 2018

Tax Free value looks too good to pass up

WILLIAM Shakespeare once said that "temptation is the fire that brings up the scum of the heart" and with those words in mind, I'm trying to resist the urge to have a bet tonight in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs.

Having lost a small fortune on the meeting last year, I swore blind that I wouldn't bet on American racing again, so I'm doing my best not to get caught up with the hype surrounding the 'wonder-mare' Zenyatta, which is unbeaten in her 19 races to date.

She was supposed to retire following her win in the Breeders' Cup Classic last year, but connections had a change of heart and allowed her to race for another season; a shrewd move which has proved financially rewarding.

She is truly is one of the most outstanding mares in the history of racing and this is a contest that can be enjoyed without a docket in your hand. Bet or no bet, make sure you tell the barman to switch over to 'ATR' at 10.45 tonight.

On the domestic front, Kauto Star makes his reappearance this afternoon at Down Royal in the Champion Chase (2.25), but regular readers may know that Kauto has cost me a packet over the years, so I'm not keen to go back for more punishment.

Every time I lay, he wins, and every time I back, he loses, so I'm going to hold the white flag up and admit defeat on this one as I just can't figure the gelding out. With question marks over most of his rivals, he is the fairly obvious choice here, but odds of 8/15 are a bit on the short side so this is another one that is probably best watched.

It's officially the last day of the UK flat season, so it would be nice to sign off on a high with today's main bet, Tax Free, which is overpriced around 15/2 in the Bet On Breeders Cup At Wentworth Stakes (3.40 Doncaster).

The David Nicholls-trained gelding hasn't been as impressive this term as he was in 2009, but he's a tough little cookie and I don't think he'll be far off today under these conditions.

He couldn't get the better of Tangerine Trees last month in a Listed race at Newmarket, but his second place against some capable performers proves he's well able to compete at this level and the vibes coming from the Tall Trees yard are positive.

Brian Meehan's Inler is probably the biggest threat to the selection, but he'll have to overcome a poor draw, so odds of 11/2 seem skinny. Tax Free has finished in the top three 24 times in 34 races and I'm confident that the eight-year-old can run another big one today.


When the November Handicap comes around, you know it's time to change your whiskey from cold to hot as it's a real sign that the winter has finally arrived.

I'll certainly raise a glass or two of the hard stuff to Prompter if he wins this year's renewal (3.10 Doncaster), and odds of 16/1 or thereabouts look a shade too high.

Don't be too worried about his seemingly disappointing seventh place at Ascot last time; he was forced to race wide because of his draw.

Even though he hasn't won a race since his juvenile days, he's still a smart performer and I'm expecting a good run for my money this afternoon.


12:15 Doncaster: Ceffyl Gwell

3.10 Doncaster: Prompter (each-way)

3.40 Doncaster: Tax Free

Irish Independent

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