Koeman worth another punt

July 6th, 2019 | Ian Carnaby's Racing News

I tried hard to help David Ashforth with his Grab A Grand quest in the Racing Post. Indeed, I spent two or three hours on Tuesday’s Brighton Placepot and went very close, though one can over-analyse these things.

True, only the second leg went down as Kachumba, 4/1, beat only two home. That was a banker but, allowed another pick, I’d still have failed. The results made you wonder if there might be a bumper dividend and I suppose I was relieved it was only (only!) £1600. I do think the Placepot is a worthwhile bet but sometimes you know you’re going for too many and a combination perm of 96 on Tuesday was borderline. Anyway Kachumba saved David an awkward decision regarding the next day’s report in the paper, given my input.

It’s been a messy week on the betting front, one of those where you feel you’re on the right track without getting paid. (The bookmakers are more than happy for you to think this, of course.) Most people wouldn’t have touched the last at Bath on Wednesday, a Class 6 classified sprint, but it was a Carnaby sort of race and I made Cool Strutter a reasonably good thing. I’d backed him at Brighton the week before when he was caught close home, finishing third with Toolatetodelegate in fourth. So I was a bit surprised when he could manage only fourth on Lansdown Hill, the latter winning comfortably on 5lb worse terms.

It’s a long while, let’s say 25 years, since I had bets that really mattered. In the old days I’d have hit Cool Strutter pretty hard and known my fate long before they reached the start. I thought him value at 3/1 but he started at 5s, a clear indication that the layers knew he had little chance. Toolatetodelegate, on the other hand, was a solidly-backed 2/1 favourite. I have no regrets at all and I’m only mentioning this minor setback because I’d love to know what happens in the course of a long old day (the race was at 9.10pm) to turn things around. It happens quite frequently, as some of you will know. I’m not saying that it’ll help you back winners or show a profit, but looking at the screens all day    which we don’t want to do, I accept that    will save you quite a lot of money if you have the mental strength to sit back and merely observe. I know a bit about moderate sprinters and I’m telling you Cool Strutter couldn’t possibly be 5/1 in that race and still win. He’ll go back to Brighton at some stage and hold on.

Some good things happened. I finished second in the HWPA (the horserace writers) Ascot competition, thanks to Lord Glitters and Watch Me, while Victory Command, who kept on willingly in the Britannia on ground he hated, won a handsome prize at Hamilton this week. I had mixed feelings about it because there might have been something for him at a much bigger price at Glorious Goodwood, but Mark Johnston runs them again quite quickly as often as not and Victory Command had clearly recovered well from his Ascot exertions. He can win again.

At Goodwood a few weeks ago Roger Charlton’s Extra Elusive, a bit tricky, missed the kick in the race won by Johnston’s Elarqam. Jason Watson rode him hard to make up the lost ground and kept on urging him forward until he was second or third and predictably started feeling the strain two furlongs out. It wasn’t his best ride and when Extra Elusive lined up against Elarqam in a Sandown Listed race this week he looked excellent value at around 10/1    if he behaved himself. He was moderately away but Ryan Moore soon had him in contention and when he moved up to challenge I thought it was all over, only for Elarqam to hold on by a head. Each-way and no damage done, but galling all the same.

I might as well get the other indifferent ride out of my system while I’m at it. I thought Mick Channon’s Koeman had an each-way chance in the Old Newton Cup at Haydock and a more patient effort might have seen him finish fourth or better. You can’t come from somewhere near the back at Haydock, ride hard all around the outside on the bend to get a pitch in the straight and expect the horse to maintain the gallop all the way to the line. He’s a workmanlike handicapper, not a combination of Shergar and Pegasus. John Egan is one of the cannier operators in the weighing-room but this effort was a long way short of his best and I imagine Mick had some pretty forthright views. 

Koeman was still just about fourth at the furlong pole but weakened close home. When Channon’s win valuable races like this they aren’t 6/4 shots and there will be something for Koeman at a big, big price at some stage. Do not let him go unbacked from now on.