New Fforest to make it third time lucky in an intriguing Maiden Stakes over five furlongs of ‘good to firm’ Sandown tonight; the only betting proposition on a difficult six-race programme. Nowadays too much of racing is ‘betting shop fodder’ but as a TV programme indicated earlier this week gambling machines make it pay for the tenants. big-style! In many shops there are queues waiting to dominate the FOBT’s and not even an eye is cast toward the TV screens when races are run; a sad state of affairs in a sad society, eh? There are a few sane ones left, they would be classed as shrewd modern-day, and plenty will be supporting New Fforest, close fourth to previous winners, Liber/Lucky Beggar (winner since!) in a fast-run novice stakes at Bath last month.
Andrew Balding’s charge should be much sharper for that experience, mentally and physically; only ‘form’ danger has to be twice-raced Take The Lead, beaten six lengths by Califante at Windsor when racing on the wrong side was a huge disadvantage. On the time-handicap New Fforest justifies my nap selection but a forecast ‘saver’ is advised with Take A Lead, especially if you can get a dual. Southwell stages a seven-race meeting which includes the ten-runner Maiden Stakes over six furlongs and an opportunity for Relight My Fire to score at the sixth attempt. Obviously no ‘cert’ by any means but proven ability on the ‘deep stuff’ is paramount; Relight My Fire achieved her best TH mark on fibresand over course and distance before disappointing over further on Catterick turf.
Since Tim Easterby’s yard has really hit form, Relight My Fire is definitely fancied and looks booked for one of three places in what could well prove to be an uncompetitive race, if stable-jockey David Allan is positive and kicks on entering the straight. That’s where races are often won at this unique Nottinghamshire venue. One of SIX fixtures is Brighton where Charles Hills-trained Noble Bull gets his chance in the five-runner Maiden Stakes over a mile, ridden by veteran Darryll Holland, and at Haydock the Hong Kong surprise package, Matthew Chadwick, again partners recent Folkestone winning stable-companion Desert Strike in division two of an ‘aged’ six furlongs handicap. Don’t oppose either and, at a time when form is very much at hand, make sure you follow this column right up to and including October with its two-year-old ‘specialist’ bias. wonderful time of year to be bashing those bookies.
R8 (3) Noble Bull
R13 (6) Desert Strike (e.w)
R24 (9) Relight My Fire (e.w)
R27 (6) New Fforest (nap)