Angus McNae - Thursday 11th July 2013
Get aboard the good Ship on day one of the July Festival
I am lucky that my work schedule allowed me a day off yesterday and I took full advantage by watching day one of the Ashes, which made for compelling viewing.
I have always felt that we will prove too strong for the Aussies in the end, but yesterday they showed us that they are not going to go down without a fight and roll on another quiet day with feet up and endless cups of tea in front of the TV.
Today will be completely different as my attention will be focused on day one of the three-day July meeting at Newmarket, which is live on .
The July course is an interesting one. Firstly it is in essence a stiff track.
From the mile start on the straight track and the seven furlong point on the round they are racing uphill.
The dip is often talked about as making the finish stiff, but a look at the configuration of the track shows just how stiff a track it is aside from the dip.
I need to add a caveat to that though, because in races run over a trip (2m 1½f and 10f) the runners run net downhill until turning into the straight at about the seven-furlong pole.
They then start to climb. Thus the straight track could be described as stiffer than the round.
The dip has a role to play in that it makes it difficult for hold-up horses because they are trying to make up their ground going uphill and then late on their effort flattens out. With this in mind jockeys who have a good record at the track are worth following and the top four are statistically miles better than the rest. Here are the stats over the past five years.
Mickael Barzalona 23%
Richard Hughes - 22%
Ryan Moore - 18%
William Buick - 18%
This may come as little surprise, but it is a vital weapon in your punting armoury this week.
Let’s have a look at today’s action now and two horses catch my eye.
First up I am keen on Space Ship in the 3.15. He is my NAP on the card. I thought he ran a really good race in the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot. He was caught in a bad position in which was a steadily run affair, but he stormed home and ran on strongly right through to the line.
He has been steadily improving ever since his maiden win at Chester and there is surely more to come. The one blip on his card is the run at Epsom two starts ago, when he never got involved. Again he was in a moderately run race and being held up was a massive disadvantage. If things had gone his way he may well have won his last two handicaps. That he hasn't means he is well-in today and is a confident selection.
My second selection is not such a strong one, but I like the chances of Baddilini in the 5.00pm. This horse is back to the mark that he last won off and when he did win he was ridden by Richard Hughes.
Since then he has run over a mile and also over seven furlongs and in truth has not shown a lot. Hughes is back in the saddle, however, which is a sign of intent and this stiff five furlongs is spot on for him.
It takes something of a leap of faith to back this horse given his recent form, but he is worth an each-way interest with the champion rider back in the saddle and the handicap mark being just where you would want it.
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