Tuesday 24 April 2018

Wayne Bailey: Khalidi should give a boost to weary punters

Betting ring

Frankie Dettori celebrates in typical style after his victory aboard Al Jazi in the Oak Tree Stakes at Goodwood Photo: PA
Frankie Dettori celebrates in typical style after his victory aboard Al Jazi in the Oak Tree Stakes at Goodwood Photo: PA

Wayne Bailey

Personally, I'm not a fan of hare coursing, and animal lovers should probably look away now - but in that sport, the exhausted hare being pursued by dogs will stop if he gets a chance to catch its breath.

When this happens, it usually sits up on its haunches to have a look around, and if it's completely worn out, its chest will heave in and out, forcing the animal's front legs to move back and forth involuntarily. The weary hare gives the appearance that it is clapping, hence the phrase 'clapped out'.

After five days of Galway and four days of Goodwood, you can end up feeling a bit clapped out by this stage of the week, although that all depends on whether or not the results are going your way.

But I sometimes find that as the week wears on and interest wanes in both festivals slightly, some overlooked betting opportunities crop up.

Opportunities

I reckon Sang Tiger, which I'm hoping to back at 20/1 or above, could be one of those opportunities in the Grade B Galway Shopping Centre Handicap Hurdle (3.05), under Jonathan Burke, albeit with the possibility of being 2lb overweight.

The nine-year-old has been through a number of trainers in his career and this will be current handler Nicole McKenna's third time racing the gelding.

A dual-purpose horse, he's been racing on the flat since June last year but he's not exactly setting the world alight and I think it's well worth giving him a chance again over timber, a code where he's won two races from seven.

He was last seen over hurdles at Navan in September 2015 when second to Gordon Elliott's Casual Approach. But this is his first time in a handicap hurdle so there's a lot of guesswork in his rating of 121, and I've a feeling it could be on the low side. If so, he can go close today and at the prices, he can be taken each-way.

In the opening maiden hurdle (2.30), Big Ben has claims for Joseph O'Brien under Barry Geraghty.

The Galileo gelding won a maiden on the flat for Joseph's father Aidan, and shaped well when second to stablemate Landofhopeandglory in a juvenile maiden at Fairyhouse in November.

It's only a matter of time before he wins a hurdle and early odds of 5/2 look about right.

Of the rest, Adrian Keatley's Mountain Rock is of interest. He hit 1/3 in-running on the machine when second to Elliott's Tuesday festival winner Knockmaole Boy in a maiden hurdle at Down Royal back in June, although he was disappointing on the flat last time when beaten at 9/10 in a maiden at Leopardstown.

There's been a few whispers about Dermot Weld's Aydoun too but as far as I can see, Big Ben is the one they have to beat.

At Goodwood, Frankie Dettori looks set to take the Group Three Qatar Gordon Stakes on board Khalidi around 9/4. Top-rated of the five runners at 112, John Gosden's colt was supplemented for the Derby but made little impact - but he showed some smart form when second to Permian in the Group Two King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot last time out.

The one worry is whether he'll handle the ground. He raced on heavy on his debut but most of his best form comes on good to firm.

Third in that King Edward, Crystal Ocean is likely to go off as favourite here. Previously, he was third in the Dante on good to soft and Michael Stoute's colt still has some room to improve so I'm looking forward to a good battle.

Ralph Beckett's Mount Moriah has won a couple of handicaps but might be outclassed here - although it's worth noting that he acts on poorer ground so he could feature if Khalidi dislikes the conditions.

I'm surprised to see Felix Mendelssohn chalked up as high as 12/1 in the Qatar Summer Handicap (2.25 Goodwood) for Joseph O'Brien under Fran Berry. First trained by Aidan O'Brien, Joseph was on board when he won a maiden at Navan back in 2014 but he later went to David Simcock where he seemed to lose his way.

He wasn't disgraced when making his flat debut for this stable in a handicap at the Curragh in May, and he's the type the yard can bring on to win a decent handicap at the least.

With a rating of 93, he seems to be treated fairly in the weights, although Stoute's Shraaoh also looks reasonably well treated off that rating and it's not going to be an easy race to win.

Each-way

Projection should prove popular in the betting for the Qatar Stewards' Cup Handicap (3.35 Goodwood) and that support is understandable considering his form in some strong handicap races. You get the feeling he's yet to show his best but he's been frustrating to follow and has let down his backers on a number of occasions following significant market support.

David O'Meara's Edward Lewis is also of interest having finished ninth at Ascot in a competitive handicap last time in which he found himself on the wrong part of the track.

But at 8/1 or thereabouts, I'm quite keen on Sir Dancealot under Ryan Moore. David Elsworth's three-year-old gets to race off 101 here - but his second place in the Bunbury Cup last time on 106 suggests he's got more to come and that 5lb difference can work in his favour.

Today's selections

2.25 Goodwood: Felix Mendelssohn

2.30 Galway: Big Ben

3.0 Goodwood: Khalidi

3.05 Galway: Sang Tiger (e/w)

3.35 Goodwood: Sir Dancealot (e/w)

3.40 Galway: Amedeo Modiglian

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