Today’s best bets, by Chris Cook
As is his wont, Julian Muscat has made an excellent point in today’s Racing Post, pointing out the possibility for headline-grabbing calamity in the new post-race procedures for the Grand National. While there’s lots of sense in dismounting the horses on the course and taking them immediately to the cool-down area, there is none in then asking the winning jockey to carry his own saddle for about 200 yards through crowds to the winner’s enclosure before he can weigh in.
Thankfully, Derek Fox weighed in at the right weight but what happens next year if the winning jockey weighs more or less than he should do? Will that mean he lost a piece of tack or a bar of lead in the scrum from track to scales? Or somehow acquired an extra bit of weight from somewhere?
The sport’s biggest betting event just does not need the possibility for that kind of disaster. Put the scales next to the cooling-down area and weigh the first four jockeys as soon as they dismount. Then the winner can return in triumph to join the celebrations unencumbered.
I find Ken Slack a very interesting trainer and I noted something he put on his Facebook page after a winner in late March, along the lines of: “Normal service will be resumed in mid-April, now that the plague has departed”. He’s only had a couple of runners since then, including a flop at Redcar on Monday, but I like 12-1 about Bell Weir (2.30) in Catterick’s second race, a staying handicap.
This grey has fared reasonably well over the years with Eoin Doyle and Dianne Sayer and the move to Slack may well help him back to winning ways on the Flat after a couple of modest efforts over hurdles in February, when presumably the plague was firmly in residence. He’s only 3lb higher than when winning at Ayr in August, which was also the last time Paul Mulrennan was aboard. Tongue tie and blinkers, both unused in February, now return.
Lackaday (4.30) is also interesting at 6-1 in a sprint handicap later on the North Yorkshire card. He won this race from a 7lb higher mark last year and should be sharper for a fair reappearance run at Newcastle. He’s also a grey but I swear that forms no part of my system...
Shady McCoy (3.50) is the one that takes my eye at Nottingham, where he’s 16-1 in a mile handicap. He won on his reappearance in 2015 and on his second start last year, having had excuses first time up, and remains fairly treated for when things fall right. He comes from the Ian Williams yard that has been on a storming run for a year or so.
Wasm 2.20 Blitz 2.50 Kyllang Rock 3.20 Moonrise Landing 3.50 Shady McCoy 4.20 Scribner Creek 4.50 Mori Yoshinari 5.20 I’vegotthepower
Elemento 2.30 Bell Weir (nap) 3.00 Faintly 3.30 Secret Glance 4.00 Instant Karma 4.30 Lackaday 5.00 Blue Jacket 5.30 Entertaining Ben
Black Valentine 2.40 Shantou Village 3.10 Dites Rien 3.40 Bandon Bridge 4.10 Gibson Park 4.40 Easter In Paris 5.10 Cornish Warrior
Swendab 6.15 Glorious Artist 6.45 Big Challenge 7.15 Arab Moon (nb) 7.45 Tadween 8.15 Gulland Rock 8.45 Zabdi