Ben Morgan had an enjoyable Glorious Goodwood even if his month ended on a low note
Ben Morgan has an enjoyable month despite a low at the end
Anyone who read last month’s column would have done very well not to have wept as it was quite a tear jerker. It got worse after the piece went to press as both Ballykan and Presenting Arms ran off course with the races at their mercy.
A tale of woe by all means, but the most important part of punting at any level is to accept losses and not go looking for a quick recoup. Feeling very sorry for myself, I sat and waited for Goodwood.
One horse in particular caught my attention when looking at the declarations and that was Richard Hannon’s Mehmas in the Richmond Stakes. Regular readers would know how highly I rate this horse, I think he is miles ahead of any English two- year-old mentally and arguably he is the equine version of newly appointed England manager Sam Allardyce, tough and consistent with a touch of class.
Not only does he hold favourable comparisons to middle aged men from Dudley but also has rock solid form in the book, a clear second behind Caravaggio as Ascot was surely good enough to win this but the bookmakers thought differently.
He was lowest priced 9/2 minutes before the race which I thought was astronomical given his form, but the market doesn’t often get it wrong so I was cautious given my current form as I staked a £20 win bet. Approaching the two-furlong pole I was fairly confident but Blue Point looked better as the race went on but Mehmas just kept finding and stuck his neck out at the right time. A very timely winner which boosted my satchel and confidence somewhat.
This was followed by a few good eachway wins, Wicklow Brave battled on into third at 14/1,Kassia thrusted home late on at 10s to grab second and Easton Angel was unlucky in the King George. I thought she would be suited by the big field and strong pace which would allow Paul Mulrennan to play her as late as possible. But that tactic has its downfalls, one of those, being denied a run at a crucial stage which is exactly what happened. When she did get a gap the race was over but she did fly home and probably would have won in five more strides. Still, it bought home a small and tidy profit.
The final day is renowned for the competitive Stewards’ Cup which has been won by a couple of progressive types in the past few years, and I fancied another one, Dancing Star. She stood out in the entries as she was a three-year-old filly going in against some experienced boys, but the only worry was whether she was going to get in.
I spent my Thursday lunch hour like I normally do, scrolling through the cards of the big races on the Saturday, I scrolled and scrolled but she was nowhere to be seen, until the final name, “Dancing Star (4)”,she got in off bottom weight and was handed a favourable draw, a sign my luck had changed for the better perhaps?
By the time I got round to placing my bets on Saturday morning she was 9/2, short enough but £15 e/w was struck very swiftly before she shortened any more. It turned out to be a very big price as she won with a bit in hand. David Probert always looked comfortable and probably couldn’t believe that the race turned out exactly as he would have envisaged, sat just off the leaders, took it up two furlongs out, quickened, ran on, simple. When a race like that looks so easy to a horse it probably means you’ve found a good one. Back in form, almost certainly.
Confirmation of this change in fortune had to wait as the Flat season hits a bit of a lull at this time of the year with not many quality races on show. I could only muster one selection the following Saturday, Nations Alexander in the Sweet Solera Stakes at Newmarket.
The football season kicked off on the same day and I watched my team, Shrewsbury Town, go down 1-0 in a hard fought game against MK Dons which was the only result to let my football accumulator down, I travelled home hoping this “change in fortune” wasn’t a terrible misinterpretation.
I flicked on the recording of the race eager to see a positive result. Despite setting a good gallop, Nations Alexander was last off the bridle and the race soon became very comfortable. Nothing else really got into it and my £20 e/w bet at 4/1 yielded a healthy profit and also a continuation of a fine run of form.
The week that followed was again quiet, Clive Cox’s Zonderland provided me with another winner on Thursday as he flew home quite comfortably at Salisbury. I only had a small £5 each way flutter on him but a winner is a winner.
The weekend meetings at Newbury and Newmarket in particular had that prefestival feel about it. Some of the top jockeys were in Chicago contesting the Arlington Million and not many top trainers were about either. I flicked through the cards and not much caught my eye. I could only find two horses of “banker” status.
Firstly, Escobar, who won going away on his first start after playing up in the pre--
A tale of woe by all means, but The most important part of punting at any level is to accept losses and not go looking for a quick recoup
liminaries, looked pretty strong and at 11/8 on Friday night he also looked pretty tasty. A £30 wager was struck and I was pretty confident. Frankie dropped him in and slowly lengthened out to hit the front and with one tap of the whip he was clear with plenty in hand. A classy performance from a horse going places.
The second “banker” was a favourite of mine, Home of the Brave.The Hungerford somewhat fell apart in the week running up to it with Nemoralia and Hit it a Bomb both pulling out. When the odds came out I was suspecting to see him best priced at even money but he was around 7/4 which was good enough for me so I put £30 on him.
He bounced out in front which boosted my hopes as he likes to set his own tempo, and it was looking good past half way but as soon as the strong travelling Richard Pankhurst came along side my lad I knew my money had gone which was frustrating as I had a small each-way flutter on Gosden’s colt in the Sussex at 50/1,if only he had come in then. Perhaps Home Of The Brave’s past few runs had took a bit out of him as he didn’t put up much of fight but I’m sure he will have another day.
Despite this loss my account was topped up to a good level which will be needed as we head into the final third of the flat season. Roll on York!
SEPTEMBER’S BEST BETS Crimean Tatar
This lad made a belated but impressive debut. Straight after his victory at Newmarket, trainer Hugo Palmer nominated the Great Voltigeur as his next target en route to the St Leger but it looks like he may go straight to Doncaster, either way he could prove superb value.
Wall of Fire
Another Hugo Palmer inmate, he was unlucky at Goodwood as he was just hitting top gear before he was shut down completely. He looks progressive, will love autumn ground and could be a big price wherever he lines up next.
An extremely unlucky loser in the Stewards’ Cup, drawn the wrong side he ran a mighty race to finish where he did. The Ayr Gold Cup beckons and he could provide Richard Fahey with more success in the race.
Mehmas (purple cap)
Dancing Star and David Probert win the Stewards’ Cup