There are many who may think of me as a sentimental aging old git; I have always worn my heart on my sleeve
and never been afraid to hide my feelings and emotion and the events of yesterday at Haydock have left me both
deeply saddened and yes, a little bit angry. A man (Stephen Yarborough) went to work yesterday morning to do
the job he loved as a stalls handler, due to a terrible accident, he won't be going home; a family and friends and
colleagues will have to cope with a huge loss and void in their lives. Horse Racing will no doubt pay a fulsome
tribute, well at least most in racing will, but I fear that all too soon, for the majority, the matter will be forgotten.
In the "blame culture" that we live in, someone will be blamed, corporate responsibility will be passed down to
the lowest common denominator and lessons will not be learned. Horse Racing like many sports is frequented
by billionaires; millionaires, superstars and the powerful and wealthy but Horse Racing like almost all other sports
is nothing and would not exist without the Stephen Yarboroughs of this world; the low paid, indeed the volunteers;
the vital cogs, without whom there would be no sport; no enjoyment and no opportunity.
The greatest respect we can all pay to Stephen, his family; his friends and his colleagues is to respect their lives;
consider what they do for us and to try to improve their pay, their conditions and to shout loudly and proudly
about what they do day after day, week after week; month after month to keep our sport; all sport going, they
may not be billionaires; millionaires or superstars, but they are the heartbeat and true stars of sport
On to today and even before the horrors of yesterday it always looked a difficult day of Racing Cards
to figure out. The fact that we have had very heavy rain in parts and that Going and Weather reports
are "all over the place" makes form analysis very difficult, and that is before the anticipated glut of non
runners decimate fields and with it, the betting markets. A day for caution, and with is a more flexible
and less rigid approach I think, and certainly caution over staking and the money we place today.
The solution for SP2A is to look at the 5 races that stand out to us as with the value we are looking for;
well handicapped horses, with the ability to handle conditions from Good to Heavy and the form to back
up live chances at decent odds....so here is our analysis and at the side the service we will proof them to
(Daily tips will be back to normal tomorrow and Elite Service back to normal next Saturday then on to Glorious Goodwood)
2.10 3 MAD JACK MYTTON - each way @ 13/2
I think John Constable may have a bit too much weight; Kapstadt may now need a bit further over jumps and
whilst Red Tornado and Ebony Express have very valid back for the one most suited to conditions is MAD JACK MYTTON.
He runs in form, fit but fresh; fine going right handed and plenty of good form with some cut in the ground.
3.20 3 ALCALA - each way @ 9/1
A very competitive and interesting race over just under 2 miles and 6 furlongs BUT note that due to rail changes
the actual distance has increased by almost a furlong and that could be decisive. I like Casino School but just worry
about the 84 day break and a yard that might still be in a bit of a summer lull; Poker School ticks many boxes but
the value has gone for me and the one who is FIT; in form, fine on the Going and from a yard desperate to rake
in some early prize money is ALCALA and I will be very disappointed if he is not placed at least.
1.50 2 Johnny Barnes - each way @ 8/1
Interesting on actual form dropped in to a handicap and Gosden is a master tactician at this genre; the trip
looks ideal and the Going won't be a problem as the horse seems totally versatile and this could open up
all kinds of new opportunities for him.
3.00 6 Raucous @ 10/1 + 7 Tupi @ 8/1 - both 1/1 point each way
The Going will be a key factor here and I have it in my mind that they gravitate stands side when muddy but
can't fully corroborate that. Both these horses though enjoy a bit of cut in the ground and have enough form
off these marks to be really competitive. Gifted Master would be a real danger but you have to take his fitness
on trust although he has gone well fresh before but RAUCOUS and TUPI tick the boxes for me
(I can't find a single bookie offering anything other than odds to 3rd on the races above - shameful!)
Finally for a bit of fun the big 2 year old race at 3.35. Sky go to 6th place; Paddy Power to 5th;
Ladbrokes/Corals and Bet Victor to 4th place - the remainder who go odds to 3rd should be ashamed!
I am really looking for some value here; some form in soft; some indication of a bit of stamina beyond
5 furlongs and will have no more than a few quid on the following one of the bookies going to 4th
place or better on the basis of that criteria.
18 One For June @ 16/1
17 Falabelle @ 16/1
22 Debutantes Ball @ 12/1
The 3.00 at Newbury will be proofed as ELITE SERVICE the remainder as PLACESPOTTER
and as you will know I am responsible for both, and apply similar logic to both.
A strange and a sad weekend so lets hope everyone with 2 legs and 4, comes home safe and sound.