Bearing in mind that this Saturday’s meeting at Ascot is CAMRA Beer Festival weekend, as the day goes on in Berkshire you would expect some of the patrons to throw the form book out the window.
Backing horses because their name sounds similar to their mate’s nan or because they ‘look like a winner’ may become more frequent as the ales continue to flow.
However, while you don’t need to study too much when Ted Durcan and Pat Dobbs are in town, having a look at the stats is well worth doing.
Since Royal Ascot the duo have been in flying form on their visits to the track.
Dobbs has made the frame in 40 per cent of his races since the Queen went home at the end of June, while Durcan has gone even better.
Two wins and five places in his 10 rides in that same period is an awesome return for the former St Leger winner.
The pair have five rides between them shown live on Channel 4, all eligible for Ladbrokes’ money back offer if they find one too good. All the details can be found here.
We’ve picked out the trio with the best chances (in our opinion) to continue the jockey’s solid records at the famous track.
Speed Hawk (Pat Dobbs) – Rous Stakes (14:00)
It’s been over a year since sprint-king Robert Cowell’s gelding got his head in front, but that doesn’t mean that he hasn’t run well.
Going down by just over a length by former Group 3 winner Cotai Glory in the Scarborough Stakes last time out was probably a career best, and as a four-year-old could have more in his locker.
Conditions will be spot on and it shouldn’t be a surprise if he is in the frame in the day’s opener and his first foray into Group company at the minimum five furlongs.
Windshear (Pat Dobbs) – Cumberland Lodge Stakes (14:35)
In a race dominated by a few potential dodge-pots, the selection included, it’s not advisable to be taking short prices about any of these. For that reason the odds of circa 8/1 available on Richard Hannon’s St Leger fourth look fairly attractive.
Granted he has run some stinkers this year, but he has also put in some smart performances behind some useful types.
Agent Murphy was in front at Newbury, before going on to finish second in the Irish St Leger, while the Corsican who was just in front at Glorious Goodwood won a Group 3 next time out.
If producing that sort of effort again, Windshear should be in the mix.
Polybius (Ted Durcan) – John Guest Bengough Stakes (15:10)
David Lanigan’s charge had three of Saturday’s opponents behind him when winning a Listed race at Newmarket, though he will need to step up again if he is to secure back-to-back victories for the first time in his career.
He made a slow start that time so is probably value for more than his one length victory and is a horse that his trainer has held in high regard this season.
Following his success at Windsor, Lanigan explained of how he “felt like an idiot” for taking him out of the Haydock Sprint Cup. If he four-year-old is good as his handler thinks he is, he will surely be very tough to beat.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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