Ashforth’s Angles: Prize can be the answer at Bath

Bath racecourse

Bath has yielded some unusually large fields on Wednesday evening

  PICTURE: Getty Images  

BATH racecourse will be delighted and bookmakers thrilled but bettors will share the fate of kippers in a cattery if they are not careful.

Bath’s evening meeting is awash with runners, most of them in Olav Bjortomt (see the testing quiz in The Times) style handicaps. Luckily, salvation is at hand. Those who have eyes to see, read on. Those who can’t be bothered, suit yourself. This is what to do.

Bet only in the maiden race which, as a bonus, comes first (6.10). It means that, afterwards, you can watch and enjoy the rest of the card while perfecting a look of smug satisfaction. If asked whether you fancy anything the correct reply is, “No, for me the only betting race was the first. That worked out nicely.”

The maiden race is also awash but with runners that, rather unkindly, are known as “dead wood.” It’s not necessarily dead but it won’t be sprouting tonight. Having wielded your red pen you will be left with West Drive, Rasmiya and London Prize, a useful bumper horse for John Ferguson bought by Ian Williams in April for £70,000.

As always, your bets will be dictated by the prices on offer. London Prize will probably be an each-way price while West Drive and Rasmiya will both be short. I think the best thing to do is to use an exchange, study the prices in the win and place markets and stake accordingly – it may involve large place bets. Obviously, if the relevant horses/jockeys/trainers/stalls handlers mess up and disaster follows you move on to the system my Uncle George favoured, involving horses names.

Royal has a case of the twos

Ice Royal (Kempton 6.50) has not been a disaster but has been vexatious. The vexation is due to Jamie Osborne’s three-year-old having finished second in his last six races, his starting prices including 2-1 favourite, 3-1, 4-1, 4-1 favourite. Along the way his handicap mark has risen from 74 to 85. Life can be cruel, as can the handicapper.

On the other hand, there’s a perverse pleasure in seeing so many 2s in a row, even if a lot of 1s in a row is preferable. Will the sequence continue? Is the seventh 2 on its way?

And another thing; at Salisbury (4.20) the capable hurdler Dell’ Arca, with Ryan Moore riding, is having his first run on the Flat since winning at Le Mans in 2012. The horse is interesting and its owner, Professor Caroline Tisdall, for whom Dell’ Arca was bought for €280,000, is fascinating too.

Fascinating in her own right as, among other things, an art historian and prolific author of books ranging from works on the artist Joseph Beuys to the state of Beirut in the early 1980s. Interesting, too, through her partnership with the extraordinary and admirable – particularly for a billionaire – Paul van Vlissingen, who died in 2006.

Finally, I wonder what time the stable staff looking after Mick Appleby’s runners at Bath (8.10) and Kempton (9.20) will arrive back at his Nottinghamshire yard? After midnight. That’s part of evening racing.

 

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