Matt Mitter makes a case to follow Fire Brigade
Matt Mitter makes a compelling case for a horse he has followed for several months
Ihave had my eye on a horse that looks likely to be at Glorious Goodwood. Even if he does not pitch up there, this is still a horse that needs to go into your horse tracker.
FIRE BRIGADE first came to my attention in 2016 when he won on the all weather in a Class 6, 0 to 60 would you believe. The horse won off a mark of 56 which is quite incredible when you think what he has achieved since then and he currently has a mark of 97. So, just the 41 pounds of improvement since way back then – or of course is it improvement or has the handicapper just found out about him?
I flagged him up way back as a well handicapped horse but I must admit I never thought we would be talking about the horse like we are today.
As he rose through the ranks of handicappers it was clear that FIRE BRIGADE was suited to big fields and he had too be ridden from the back weaving through the field.
I have always felt that when you have a horse that has to be delivered like that they are, shall we say, easier to get handicapped. You can always say, well he found trouble and of course they can find it if they want to and I am always a little suspicious.
Last season FIRE BRIGADE won at Haydock in a Class 4 event off 84 in soft ground. He was then tried at Ascot where he just failed behind CAPE BYRON off 90 in a fairly small field.
The one line of form I am particularly interested in and want to look at is September 29 last year at Newmarket in the Cambridgeshire consolation race the Silver when he ran off 90. That is the mark he has today and that race was a class handicap in its own right despite being a consolation for the main event.
That race is run over 1 mile 1 furlong and how that race has worked out is quite remarkable. It was won by ADDEYBB for William Haggas and went on to be a stunning winner of the Lincoln at Doncaster.
He followed that up by winning a Group 2. Fire Brigade was in receipt of only three pounds from that horse and was only beaten less than half a length.
The second horse, trained by Charles Hills, was AFAAK, who after disappointing on his comeback run this year went to York and won a decent handicap off 97 beating LOVE DREAMS. At the recent Royal Ascot meeting AFAAK finished second in the Royal Hunt Cup off a mark of 103.
So, we can see both those lines of form from the Silver Cambridgeshire have not just worked out they have worked out extremely well.
On my private handicap ratings looking back at this race FIRE BRIGADE has run somewhere near a mark of 108 to 110 which shows you what he has in hand.
This season on the face of it if you had not been watching the horse closely you would think he has been disappointing and he wouldn’t have caught your eye.
His first run of the season was in the Lincoln and he was a fairly short price off 98 and was well gambled to win. He was well beaten but let’s not forget it was a very soft ground Lincoln and the race fell apart because of that.
For me it just did not suit the horse’s running style. I watched the horse carefully at Newmarket on his next run on April 17 in a big field Class 2 handicap with 19 runners and he was ridden by Jamie Spencer.
Spencer has been a regular pilot for the horse who only finished tenth that day and was slowly into his stride by design I think. He was held up and, given his running style, he had to weave his way through but I felt that if he had wanted to he could have been an awful lot closer. Once I had seen that run he was definitely on my radar, thinking they will be lining this up for a decent handicap.
His next appearance was at Haydock where I backed him on April 28 and even though it was a small field I felt it was too tempting at the prices at around 9/2. I was not sure if that was going to be the day and I do think they had a right go with him.
He finished second beaten 3 and a half lengths to a horse called GULF OF POETS from the Mick Easterby yard. That horse had previously won well at Pontefract and there was a nice gap back to the third MASHAM STAR.
I think the small field did not suit the horse and he had to get racing GULF OF POETS too early and they were isolated on their own whereas this horse needs to be delivered late passing horses.
After this run FIRE BRIGADE had a wind op and was off the track for 61 days. He returned on the all weather at Newcastle on June 28 in Class 2 company a 0 to 95 race.
The temptation for me was to back him that day but I stopped myself because I thought there may be a bigger handicap around the corner.
I watched him very carefully from start to finish and was full of interest to see his first run back. He was in midfield then lost his place two furlongs out and I would urge you to go and watch the race!
I don’t want to point any fingers I just say go and watch the race back. If anyone thinks that horse was asked to do his very best then I would seriously beg to differ. It finished 8th beaten 3 and a half lengths and I thought personally he could have been a lot closer.
After that wind surgery you could say it was a perfect comeback run and he remains on a mark of 97.
The handicapper clearly has not been fooled by the horse because it has only been dropped one pound since the first run at Doncaster, a fact I am sure has frustrated connections.
The Haydock run in second when he was fully extended will have reinforced to the handicapper that he had the horse about right.
He has an entry at Goodwood on August 3 in the Unibet Golden Mile Handicap.
There will certainly be a big field and though you can be unlucky here I always think it is a good track for horses that like to find trouble and need to be delivered late. For FIRE BRIGADE this could be the prefect location and at the time of writing he is 33/1 for that race.
Of course, it is always difficult backing horses without knowing their full intentions and I would suggest you maybe want to take a little bit of the 33/1 and then follow up on the day if he does line up.
Whatever happens I am absolutely convinced we have not seen the best of FIRE BRIGADE and I am sure he has been lined up for a big handicap and he is certainly one I will be backing.
While we are talking about Goodwood we still are offering you the Free Trial of my private Race Reader service where you get full analysis with each bet. Your Free Trail would cover Goodwood so why not give it a go!
All you need to do is go to Valuerater.co.uk and go to the Race Reader Free Trail page and all we need is your details and you will receive all you free selections including Glorious Goodwood.
I hope you have a great Goodwood and please look out for Fire Brigade.