Thursday Racing (23/04/09)
Eddie ‘The Shoe’ Fremantle brings us his exclusive plays of the day.
Michael Wigham tends to have the bookmakers running scared so it is not a surprise to find King's Icon favourite for the 5.00 at Beverley. Starting the season afresh off a mark 20lb lower than when having his first run for Wigham last September, King's Icon looks the kind of 'plot' long associated with the Newmarket trainer.
Others at more palatable prices to consider at Trans Sonic, who has been campaigned over much further and finally has the chance to shine at a trip that suits, and Mister Jingles, who enjoys it round here and has a decent draw.
The handicapper seems to be allowing Barney Curley enough rope to land a few touches by dropping his ex-German horses in sizeable chunks. Recent examples of this have been Agapanthus - down from 89 to 65 in five runs before winning at Yarmouth - and Tusculum, down an extraordinary 50lb in four outings before landing a huge touch at Kempton when Andrew Stringer still held the stable's licence.
Remarkably little comment seems to have been made of these phenomenal nosedives in the ratings but Sommersturm (6.20, Southwell) is another who could well have been let off the leash thanks to the assessor's 31lb plunge in four runs. In these cases the market needs to be watched for clues because there was little recent racecourse evidence in either Agapanthus' or Tusculum's cases that they retained any ability. Tusculum was last in three of his four outings, beaten 58l, 43l, 53l and 89l. Agapanthus beat a total of two horses home in his five runs, being beaten 62l, 60l, 13l, 14l and 47l.
Sommerstorm did at least show some signs of life at Kempton last time when fifth of eight (down 6lb as a result). Other animals that have been significantly down in the weights recently in Curley's ownership or trainership are Aviso (17lb) and Allanit (30lb). It does not seem that other trainers' horses are treated as leniently so Curley must be playing the system just right.
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