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Friday 10th May 2024

Friday Freebie: Three Time Course Winner Can Strike In May Again

Friday Freebie

Last week’s race at Goodwood was read ALMOST perfectly.

The four horse shortlist filled the first four positions and Gisburn proved a decent value each way bet at around 8/1. I was fairly confident he could reverse Newbury form with the shorter priced Spanish Star and he did exactly that. The each way bet on Gisburn was profitable with him filling 3rd position and the way he was outpaced around half way through before staying on strongly suggests he’ll very much appreciate going up in trip or running at a stiffer course next time out.

The other recommended bet was a straight forecast on Bishop’s Crown to beat Baldomero and it looked as though that was going to be a winner too at a decent price until Baldomero got the better of Bishop’s Crown towards the finish. Baldomero had gone 31 races without getting his head in front and although it was a well deserved win, it was also a slightly frustrating one!

This Week’s Race

I thought we’d definitely be heading to Ascot this week as there are a couple of very well handicapped sprinters running there on my tracker. The problem is they are entered in the same race and are both having their first runs of the season (on ground that is probably a little slower than ideal) so I’m going to swerve that.

The Chester Cup is often a good betting race, with the lowest 6 stalls having a great record over that course and distance. The last four winners of the race may have been drawn 16, 10, 10 and 14 respectively but most of those have been run on much softer ground and the draw bias tends to be more pronounced on the fast ground we are seeing this week. The horse I‘ve fancied for that race for a while has been drawn much higher than hoped and he doesn’t have an ideal run style for the race either so that’s another race I think I’ll leave alone.

I don’t actually have a strong opinion about any race on Friday and I’m leaning towards a ‘no bet’ day for my private service despite some very good quality races that would usually throw up bets.

There is a horse running in the 1.30pm at Chester that I can make a half decent case for at a price though so that’s the race I’ll be previewing this week.

Chester Pointers

Everyone knows about the strong draw bias at Chester and although there is a bias over the 7.5f trip that the 1.30pm race will be run over, it’s not quite as strong as many other distances on the Roodee.  

With all the talk about the draw bias at Chester, the pace bias can often be overlooked. In many races it pays to be up with the speed as the short straight makes it difficult for horses to make up loads of ground.

On Wednesday, the high drawn closers did surprisingly well in many races as they are often the first horses you oppose and whilst that may have been down to the dolled out rails, which will be on the inner configuration here, I’m hoping that higher drawn hold up horses do have a chance here.

Prolific May Winner Is Well Handicapped Again

The horse I’m quite interested in here is Boardman. The key to this horse seems to be backing him at this venue in May.

His first run at the course came in September 2020 and it was an eyecatching effort where he got no run whatsoever and was far better than the bare result. He’d return to the course in May 2021 where he’d win over this extended 7f on good ground, in comfortable fashion.

In May 2022 he ran in this race and despite not getting the rub of the green he ran very well in a hot renewal, beaten just 1.75 lengths. He returned to the course and distance later in the month and won cosily off a 1lb higher mark than he runs off here.

Last season Boardman was beaten again in this race and once again he returned later in the month for ‘his’ race, winning it for the third year running off a 3lb higher mark.

For the past three years, he’s won the first time he’s encountered good or better ground during May at this course. This race fits that bill.

He finished last season in pretty poor form, which saw him drop 6lbs in the handicap, setting him up as well handicapped again going into this season.

He always needs his first run of the season, he won 2nd time up in 2021 and 2022 and despite ‘only’ finishing 6th of 9 on his reappearance at Haydock, it was a very encouraging run. For a horse that always needs the run, it was no surprise to see him weak in the betting. He was sent off a 25/1 chance and let’s just say he was ‘ridden with next time in mind’.

He returns to this venue off a 3lb lower mark than his last course and distance win, with a decent reappearance behind him, under the jockey who gave him an excellent ride the last time he won here.

He’ll need a good ride once again as his hold up style does present problems here (not enough problems to stop him from winning here three times) and he does have a less than ideal draw in stall 10. It’s less of an inconvenience than it would be for many runners though as he’s going to be dropped out anyway so he wouldn’t really make much use of a better draw. He does need them to go a decent gallop though, to pull off these tactics, and hopefully Liamarty Dreams and Island Native will want to take each other from decent draws.

Percy’s Lad likes to go forward as well, as does Finn’s Charm, but from stalls 13 and 9 respectively they face some tough choices. If one, or both try to lead from those draws they’ll need to go very fast early on and that would be an ideal scenario with regards to Boardman’s chances.

The Main Contenders

Liamarty Dreams is the early favourite and that’s no surprise given he’s well drawn and is an uncomplicated ride. In hindsight he was a good thing to win last time at Musselburgh as he’d beaten another well handicapped horse on seasonal debut when winning at Doncaster. 

He’s a course and distance winner but that was off a 15lb lower mark and he’s now gone up 4lbs twice this season for his two wins. He very much got the run of the race last time out so whilst he’s definitely respected, he also faces a much tougher task here with competition for the lead.

Dancing Magic ran okay in the Spring Cup at Newbury last time out (which was undoubtedly a better race than this) and although he’s been extremely highly tried, it’s still disappointing that he remains a maiden after 12 starts. I’m not entirely convinced this slight drop back in trip is especially in his favour and he looks opposable as the second favourite.

Finn’s Charm looks feasibly handicapped on his Newmarket 4th last August but he disappointed at York next time out and has since been gelded and given a wind op. The stable can have them ready first time out but he might need an easy lead to win a race like this and that seems unlikely here.

Percy’s Lad likes it here and he ran well last time out (enjoyed the run of the race) but he’s still 1lb above his last winning mark and he looks likely to use up too much energy trying to get to the lead early on from his wide draw so he’s probably one to watch out for next time out.

There’s not actually a massive amount of strength in depth outside of the market leaders. Last year’s winner Revich won off this mark at Ayr later in the season but he’s run terribly on both starts this season, showing absolutely nothing. He tends to win after a good effort in defeat so he’ll be worth following once he shows a bit more.

Meanwhile Fools Rush In would have an excellent chance on his best efforts last season but he’s been incredibly inconsistent and he was beaten a massive distance last time out so couldn’t be backed with any confidence at all.


This race might not take as much winning as it initially seems so any horse with decent form claims and conditions to suit has to be respected. I’m not a massive fan of Dancing Magic’s chances but to be fair, this is probably his simplest task since his racecourse debut so he can’t be ruled out with much confidence.

Liamarty Dreams is probably the most likely winner but last time out was the occasion to back him at this sort of price and he faces more competition for the lead now.

I don’t like backing wide drawn horses at Chester but BOARDMAN is going to end up in last early on anyway so if anything, the draw is giving us a much better price than we’d normally get and it’s not as much of a negative as it might have been for the rest of the field.

He should be spot on for this after his recent prep run and he’s unbeaten at this course in May when racing on good or better ground so the early 12/1 and 14/1 (generally available at the time of writing) seems to underestimate his chances somewhat.

He’s almost certainly a win only proposition as if this doesn’t set up for the closers, he won’t place, let alone win. The fact that the race seems less competitive than some recent renewals makes the place bet a bit more tempting but if you are going down that route it’s probably better to only have enough on the place to cover your outlay, rather than level stakes win and place. If I’m backing this one I’m going win only though.

If this isn’t his day I’ll still be very interested in the horse when he reappears here at the end of the month trying to win ‘his’ race for the fourth year in a row. It’s possible this is another prep run towards that race so I’m not massively confident but he’s a big enough price to make it worth the risk here for a small bet.

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Please note that these articles are written shortly after final declarations so any prices, whilst available at time of writing, are subject to plenty of fluctuation. There will hopefully always be value in the content and some of the shortlisted horses even if the main selection has shortened considerably.

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