Although there’s as many as eight meetings across the UK & Ireland on Friday, it’s slim pickings as far as quality racing is concerned.
So, for today’s NAP I’ve gone for one at a bigger price than usual. Read on for the ‘who’ and the ‘why’.
On the face of it, Rod Millman is in poor form. The Devon-based trainer is, at time of writing, operating at a 6% strike rate after just one winner from his last 17 runners.
However, when you look a little bit deeper, the majority went off 5/1 or greater and many ran to form – in some cases exceeding expectations – without finishing first past the post.
I think the yard can enjoy a welcome winner at Ffos Las on Friday evening courtesy of JOHNNY JOHNSON.
The two-year-old was handed an opening mark of 72 after some promising performances in defeat behind the likes of Dragon Leader (subsequent 4L winner of the Premier Yearling Stakes at York’s Ebor Festival last week) but couldn’t get off the mark, despite going off 9/2f, on his first attempt in handicap company exactly 35 days ago.
Officially, he was beaten just over 5L in third at Newmarket that day. The winner, Say Hello for Ralph Beckett, looks a nice type though and has subsequently franked the form by going close off 85 over C&D.
It also must be noted that Johnny Johnson was hampered out of the gates and, after travelling like the best horse in the race, seemed to tire late on in what was rain-softened ground. It’s currently Good to Soft at Ffos Las but with a relatively dry forecast, so hopefully conditions are a bit kinder for the selection.
Of his seven rivals for this 0-75 nursery handicap over 6f, Count Palatine sets the standard. He’s been raised 3lbs for finishing second last time out, however, while The Smiling Wolf is also up 2lb for finishing runner-up in what looked an incredibly modest race.
Defying Orders should be taken seriously, but I prefer the claims of ‘JJ’ under the brilliant David Probert.