All-Weather Championships: Tom Lee's Blog & Monday's Wolverhampton Tips


Keep chalking them off! One by one the days between now and the big money Good Friday all-weather extravaganza at Lingfield Park on April 3rd are vanishing, with just 11 bursts of the alarm clock separating us from the great occasion. 

Anyone who has been following the all-weather scene closely will know that all of the 'fast-track qualifiers' have been run and dusted, but that doesn't mean for one second the last few days have been any less entertaining for punters...

Monday's port of call was Essex for a trip to Britain's newest racecourse, with Chelmsford City proving a happy hunting ground for a trainer more synonymous with success at Southwell.

Mick Appleby sent a team south from his Nottinghamshire base, and left with plenty to brag about after bagging a quickfire double.

Both 11/4 shot Luv U in the mile handicap and 15/8 favourite Apollo Eleven in the two miler were partnered by Andrew Mullen, giving the duo a popular 9/1 double.

Also making the headlines at Chelmsford was resurgent trainer John Best, who attributes part of his recent upturn in fortunes to a change of premises - whatever the reason you'll have been smiling if you backed his 6/1 chance Just Because in the 1m 2f maiden!

Wolverhampton Races : News Photo

On to Southwell on Tuesday, and a horse with an entry in the Marathon on All-Weather Championships Finals Day was in situ to grab the mile and a half handicap by the scruff of the neck, with Lady Cecil's Tacitus just 2/5 to easily justify favouritism in the hands of Martin Harley.

If he was one of the shortest-priced winners of the week then the John Jenkins-trained Meebo was one of the longest, with the opening Unibet Offer Daily Jockey/Trainer Specials Handicap going his way at a whopping 40/1!

Ali Rawlinson got him home by a head, to the delight of the scattering of bookies at the track who'd laid eventual runner-up and 6/5 jolly Harwoods Star. 

With his sights firmly focussed on a fourth Jockeys' Championship before he hangs up his boots at the end of the season to concentrate on a career as a trainer, the not insignificant presence of Richard Hughes was on location at Kempton Park on Wednesday, powering home in the seven furlong maiden on long term ally Richard Hannon's 7/4 hotpot Munfarrid. 

Thursday meant another day and another winner for John Best, with his aforementioned new stables at Oad Street in Kent welcoming back more success, as Berrahri took Chelmsford's opening mile handicap at 5/2.

Some of his good luck must have rubbed off on fellow trainer Andrew Balding, with the brother of presenter Claire enjoying a 5/1 Chelmsford double courtesy of 6/5 jolly Haines and 7/4 chance Rocky Rider.  

Spoilt for choice on Thursday there was also Wolverhampton to take in, where Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby meant business, netting a Shane Gray-ridden 100/30 favourites double, as firstly 11/8 Rosenbaum rewarded a sustained gamble stepping up in trip in the mile and a half handicap, before Serene Beauty took the lucky last at 4/5. 

Four out of seven favourites obliged at Lingfield on Friday, but it was the winner producing machine Adam Kirby who really caught the eye, notching for James Tate aboard 7/4 Blhadwa in the six furlong Unibet Handicap, before a quick change of silks saw him at the double when following up on Charlie Appleby's 4/1 poke Blue Aegean in the five furlong sprint. 

Anyone backing him in an SP double would have been rewarded at just shy of 13/1. 

They also raced at Wolverhampton, where a new course record was set in the five furlong Daily Enhanced "Magic Multiples" At Unibet Handicap, with Kevin Ryan's 7/2 chance Searchlight scorching home under Shane Gray in a time of 1 minute 0.20 seconds.

Wolverhampton Races : News Photo

Lastly, it's back to Wolverhampton where we'll head on Monday, trying to boost the coffers with a winner. 

The seven furlong 0-70 handicap at 3.10pm looks an inviting opening, with a field of 12 declared including three former course and distance winners.

Newmarket trainer Alan Bailey has his string in good nick, firing in a couple of winners in the past fortnight, including Vivat Rex last week at Chelmsford, ridden by young apprentice David Parkes. 

On this occasion he gives Parkes the leg up on five-year-old Intikhab gelding Pearl Ransom, and it could be that his rider's seven pound claim proves crucial.

Pearl Ransom is dropping back in distance to the trip over which he last won, but in the meantime has run a very good race over further at Wolverhampton.

His rider's claim will take him back below the threshold of his last winning mark, with Parkes replacing the likes of Martin Harley, Fergal Lynch and John Egan, all of whom have enjoyed good spins on this horse in recent times. 

Pearl Ransom acts well at Wolverhampton and, knocking on the door, could be ready to deliver here on the back of a nice 18 day break between races.

Later in the day, the 0-70 Coral Connect Handicap over an extended 1m 1f is race five on the card (4.10pm), and could go the way of handicap debutant Water Dancer.

Steady improvement in three maidens means he's been allotted an opening mark of 70, and given that he's been finishing his races well over slightly shorter trips this looks a sensible piece of placing from David Elsworth. Good luck!

 

Monday's best bets:

3.10 Wolverhampton - Ladbrokes Handicap - 5 Pearl Ransom - 4/1 to win

4.10 Wolverhampton - Coral Connect Handicap - 2 Water Dancer - 7/4 to win