Six races, three venues, only two pounds!
There’s also the not insignificant matter of one enormous win and bonus fund rollover that forms the basis of a Scoop6 Saturday which is causing unprecedented levels of interest…
Estimated at around a total of £10 million once the pool has been swelled by this weekend’s stakes, organisers Betfred are offering 4/9 that the bet is landed at long last!
Standing in our way are six tricky but hopefully not insurmountable legs, so here goes with a £2 straight line to try and grab a life-changing fortune:
LEG 1 – 1.45 Newmarket – Joe Breen And Sarah Morris Memorial Handicap
Six years on the bounce this race has gone the way of a four-year-old, and an obvious starting point among that contingent is Jeremy Noseda’s top weight Evident.
A beaten favourite on his final two outings of 2013, he has to prove he’s ready to go after a yawning 207-day absence, and with that in mind preference is for the fit and bang in form Shaolin for Seamus Durack and Dane O’Neill.
Shaolin has won two of his last five (both on the All Weather at Kempton Park), is only three pounds above his last winning mark, and reverts back to his favoured seven furlong trip after a creditable third over a mile on his most recent outing.
LEG 2 – 2.40 Newbury – Betfred Astronomical £10m Scoop6 Today Handicap
We head to Newbury for the second leg of this history making Scoop6, where 2012 Cambridgeshire winner Bronze Angel re-surfaces in preference to last weekend’s even tougher Victoria Cup.
It’s not an absolute given that a drop in trip is what will help him to return to winning ways, while top weight Morache Music will be hoping for better luck than when all dressed up with nowhere to go at Haydock last Saturday.
Despite running in a six horse race he was repeatedly denied a run in the latter stages, and was practically dancing on the spot as time ebbed away for him to make a meaningful challenge.
Compensation may await, but he’ll have to be sharp to give weight to another one who has perhaps been a shade unlucky in recent times – Andrew Balding’s Modern Tutor.
Not once but twice the five year old was mugged on the line in his final two starts of 2013, firstly at Ascot and then at Haydock Park, but they were both over a mile, and Balding has cleverly opted to drop him in trip to seven furlongs on this occasion.
What’s more, he’s snapped up the services of ace apprentice Oisin Murphy to take three pounds off an already handy looking racing weight, and Modern Tutor could be the one to help us make it intact into leg 3.
LEG 3 – 2.55 Newmarket – Tamdown King Charles II Stakes
The 111-rated Parbold is sure to be a popular pick here based on his lofty rating, but he’ll have to be a good deal sharper than when only fifth of six of the Free Handicap on his reappearance last month after an eight month absence.
John Gosden’s Dorothy B will be another who potentially has a big say based on the figures, but although she benefits from the fillies’ allowance she’ll need more luck than when beating only one home in the Nell Gwyn.
Rated significantly lower than either of those two is Roger Varian’s Toofi, who’d be a real threat if able to build on his solid Newmarket second last month when just held in a valuable sprint.
However, we mentioned Parbold could only manage fifth in the Free Handicap, and two places ahead of him that day was the strong finishing Ed McMahon-trained Aeolus, who flew home after being denied a clear run.
Aeolus was an eye-catching winner of a two year old handicap at York last year, and then ran second to subsequent 2,000 Guineas winner Night Of Thunder in a listed contest at Doncaster.
The stage looks set for a huge run from Aeolus.
LEG 4 – 3.25 Thirsk – Happy Birthday Mike Wood Handicap
We head to North Yorkshire and Thirsk for leg four, with a field of 15 declared to do battle in a 0-85 sprint over the minimum five furlongs.
Veteran Yorkshire trainer Mick Easterby (7 winners in the last 15 days) won this 12 months ago with an 18/1 shot and is represented by Hoofalong, while five of this field met over course and distance a fortnight ago, with Declan Carroll’s Lastchancelucas leading home 12-years-young Tax Free, Oldjoesaid, Bronze Beau and Tumblewind.
All five could again be involved, but perhaps more exciting is Keep It Dark for Tony Coyle and Barry McHugh.
The handicapper was impressed by what he saw when Keep It Dark bolted up at Catterick 11 days ago, putting him up a whopping nine pounds to a revised mark of 79.
That said, if he turns up in the same mood then it might not be enough to stop this Invincible Spirit gelding from going in again.
LEG 5 – 3.30 Newmarket – coral.co.uk Sprint Trophy (Handicap)
Twice previously trainer Roger Charlton has won this valuable handicap, and he holds a strong hand in the shape of progressive and hat-trick seeking Stomp, who is joined by hugely promising Sea The Stars filly Stars Above Me.
Stomp was shunted up eight pounds for his most recent success at Lingfield, but his shrewd trainer alleviates a big chunk of that with the help of the five pound claim that comes with talented apprentice rider Joey Haynes.
For her part, stablemate Stars Above Me narrowly failed to concede weight to the re-opposing Nova Champ over course and distance on Guineas weekend.
Both will have their fans, but lurking towards the bottom of the weights at bigger odds is the Clive Cox inmate Fear Or Favour, a fast ground specialist who will relish the drying conditions.
This is far harder than the races he’s been winning at Bath, but he’s bang in form and clearly gets on well with Ryan Tate (who won on him last time out), and on just his fifth ever run he looks well worth a shot at a big prize like this.
LEG 6 – 4.00 Thirsk – Marion Gibson Brown Memorial Handicap
Little can the Thirsk racecourse management have suspected such interest would be focussed upon their fourth race on the card when they sat down to discuss this weekend’s fixture earlier in the month, but with my employers at Channel 4 Racing sportingly agreeing to televise the sixth and final leg of the monster Scoop6 if there are still live tickets at this stage, that’s exactly the scenario that awaits as we head back to Yorkshire for the hopefully decisive final leg.
A field of 14 are declared, and Alan Swinbank’s Eutropius is sure to be in demand as he chases a third win on the bounce to add to recent strikes at Musselburgh and over course and distance at Thirsk.
Richard Fahey is two-handed, with top weight Lord Aeryn dropping in grade, alongside stablemate Justonefortheroad who obliged in selling company at Beverley on his most recent spin.
We must mention the old boy of the field Al Muheer, who took this race from a four pounds lower mark back in 2012.
All have their chance, but I’m very keen to nominate one of two runners in the mix for Michael Dods, with his Escape To Glory the horse to carry my cash in the pursuit of this giant Scoop6.
The six-year-old finished ahead of Eutropius when giving him weight at Ayr in September, and then won easily at over seven furlongs Redcar last time out, staying on powerfully under Mulrennan.
Based on that evidence this step back up in trip to a mile looks ideal, and if he turns up in the same mood then a six pound rise may not be enough to stop him going in again.
Saturday’s Totepool £10m Scoop6 Straight £2 line:
L1. 1.45 Newmarket – Joe Breen And Sarah Morris Memorial Handicap – 2 Shaolin
L2. 2.40 Newbury – Betfred Astronomical £10m Scoop6 Today Handicap – 9 Modern Tutor
L3. 2.55 Newmarket – Tamdown King Charles II Stakes – 2 Aeolus
L4. 3.25 Thirsk – Happy Birthday Mike Wood Handicap – 6 Keep It Dark
L5. 3.30 Newmarket – coral.co.uk Sprint Trophy (Handicap) – 10 Fear Or Favour
L6. 4.00 Thirsk – Marion Gibson Brown Memorial Handicap – 3 Escape To GloryPosted 3 years, 6 months ago