Windsor Races Betting: Tom Lee's Monday Meeting Tips

The sands of time are very much ticking for the 2014 fixture list at Windsor, with this afternoon's eight race card (first race 2.00pm) the penultimate entry on what has been a long and highly enjoyable season at the Berkshire venue.

Regulars at the picturesque track are no strangers to water given its proximity to the River Thames, but its water originating from a rather different source that has been giving Clerk of the Course Jeff Green a sleepless night or two in recent days, as monsoon like rainfall has turned the ground Heavy.

A thumping 19mm last night has been soaked up by the track (which remains testing but raceable, with apparently no standing water), though a forecast which suggests up to another 10mm could arrive during the day means the groundstaff will be keeping a beady eye on conditions.

No-one knows whether Jeff was sporting a snorkel, diving mask, flippers and chest waders when he gave this morning's going bulletin, but either way a 'raft' of non-runners had already been registered by 9am.    

To emphasise how wet conditions have been it's worth remembering Salisbury haven't been so lucky - an abandonment owing to a waterlogged track means only Windsor and Sedgefield are left to fly the flag this afternoon.

Punters and bookmakers might be rueing their luck, but at least National Hunt trainers will be rubbing their hands with glee as some much needed precipitation has finally arrived to soften up the ground after the desert like September sunshine gave us one of the warmest months on record.

It's the change in ground which makes the first four races at this afternoon's meeting something of a lottery, featuring as they do two-year-olds - most of whom are yet to encounter very testing conditions.

The same cannot be said of six furlong 0-80 handicap at 4.10pm, in which the likes of Half A Billion, Lady Brigid, Withernsea, Polski Max, Baby Bush, Midnight Rider, Pettochside and Kinglami have all proven themselves on a Soft or Heavy surface.

It's Polski Max who tops the market at 3/1 with Unibet, but although he hasn't won since May 2013 that success did come off a mark of 97, whereas this afternoon he lines up off a rating of just 79, and that's before you factor in George Challoner's three pound claim!

Good enough to line up in the Stewards' Cup last year, what really does it for me is his form on genuinely Heavy ground: twice he's lined up on it, to earn form figures of 2, 1.

Fahey will be hoping for a winner to pay the diesel after despatching three runners to Windsor from his North Yorkshire base, and Polski Max looks the ideal material to provide it.

Running well without yet winning this year, one piece of form stands out: go back four runs and Polski Max was sixth at Thirsk, three and a half lengths behind Line Of Reason at level weights.

The horse that beat him that day went on to win off much higher marks at both the Curragh and York, suggesting it was a much better effort than it may have appeared at the time.

Either way, this looks a golden opportunity for mud-loving Polski Max today, and we should take the hint.  

Half an hour later it's again a case of trying to narrow down the swimmers from the landlubbers in the extended mile 0-80 fillies' handicap at 4.40pm.

Tullia looks an each way danger for trainer William Knight as she sports a pair of first time blinkers, but to my eyes the one to be with is her stablemate Sweet Martoni.

Available at 7/2 with Unibet, she was nudged up a pound by the handicapper to today's mark of 76 after a really good effort when second at Haydock Park 17 days ago.

Her last win bodes well as it came over course and distance at the tail-end of June, and further encouragement can be gleaned from a study of her lifetime form figures on Soft and Heavy ground: 2, 3, 1, 4.

With track, trip and ground all certain to suit Sweet Martoni looks much the most solid option.

However, we'll save the best 'til last as the strongest bet on the card comes in the 1m 2f 0-85 handicap at 5.10pm.

Richard Hannon has found a perfect opening for his brilliantly-named High Chaparral gelding The Alamo to get his name on the scoresheet for the first time this season. 

A winner on Heavy ground at Windsor over an extended mile this time last year, he has everything in his favour this afternoon on just his fourth spin of the season.

Not only have both his career wins come here at Windsor, but Richard Hughes (on board for both of those wins) is back in the saddle, he shaped really well over this distance at Newbury last time out, and connections can point to form figures of 2, 1, 3 on Soft or Heavy going.

Good luck!


This afternoon's best bets at Windsor:

4.10 - Ladbrokes Handicap - 6 Polski Max (win)

4.40 - Ladbrokes Fillies Handicap - 4 Sweet Martoni (win)

5.10 - Download The Ladbrokes App Handicap - 8 The Alamo (win)