FARCE descended on last week’s daily all-weather previews which, by and large, consisted of following Mark Johnston-trained horses which, for whatever reason, failed to run up to form.
The Middleham handler has another host of fancies tomorrow but – with last week in mind – it is Jack’s Revenge who is napped to get us off to a flyer in Southwell’s first (1.50pm).
Johnston trains the second favourite in this race, Three Opera Divas, and many will fancy her after a decent effort in finishing second on her first run of the year last time,.
The problem for her supporters is that Jack’s Revenge finished three-and-a-half lengths in front of her and even on six pounds worse terms there is no reason whatsoever why the form should be reversed.
Indeed, three pounds of that 6lbs is taken off by apprentice Matthew Davies and with the other three not looking very good, all things considered, Jack’s Revenge – who was very well-backed last time – ought to be the proverbial shoe-in.
Let’s hope the bookies are not too stingy which they no doubt will be.
The other two fancies at Southwell will probably also be market leaders but again, on the form book, both should do the business – the pair in question being La Estrella (3.25pm) and Steed (4.35pm).
Once given a few cracks with the whip, La Estrella won nicely last time on his first run for ages and with both Cobo Bay and Camps Bay finding it hard to win of late, this looks a gilt-edged opportunity for this animal to collect again.
Steed, meanwhile, has now won his last four and his latest success was easily his most impressive yet.
Connections have always thought that Steed might be a bit better than this level and while Elhamri and Smalljohn also won last time, the Kevin Ryan-trained horse can reasonably be expected to once again come out on top.
And so to the evening fare at Wolves where Middleham ace Johnston saddles two horses that, under normal circumstances, would be very strong selections.
Kingscroft is on a roll at present and must have decent prospects of going in at 7.30pm, while Black Pond – who cost a whopping 190,000 US dollars – makes his debut in a desperate maiden at 8pm.
The latter really ought to win by default but Johnston, pictured, did have a lot of shorties turned over last week and while obviously his horses will bounce back, that has to be a slight nagging doubt before placing your money down.
Hopefully, both go in and normal service at Middleham is resumed.
If not, however, then get your dough back on Barney Curley’s steadily improving No Complaining in the last (8.30pm).
This mare keeps winning by small distances and thus the handicapper is finding it hard to clobber her – typical of trainer Curley’s talents – and she can make it three in a row at the expense of Stargazing who admittedly is a big danger and really the market will doubtless disclose all you need to know.
Best of luck with your bets.
by lee sobot