Nick Rust, chief executive of the British Horseracing Authority, said on Sunday there are “10,000 horses in Britain desperate to run”, and cards like today’s 10-race, 120-horse epic are likely to be the norm over the next few weeks, so punters will need to proceed with a little caution.
That said, there is also more than 70 days’ of pent-up demand among the betting fraternity and the Levy on bookmakers’ profits will be the sport’s primary source of income until at least the end of August, so a bet or two is almost obligatory as the daily action resumes. But what is the best tactic to pick a route through the bear-traps as horses, jockeys and trainers try to pick up the threads of the Flat season after nearly three months off?
Punters have latched on to the tried-and-tested “first run for Mick Appleby” system in the opener, which has shown an 18% profit on turnover since the start of 2017 with 30 winners. These include the likes of Merryweather, who won her first start for Appleby in December at 22-1 just a few weeks after leaving Ralph Beckett’s yard as a twice-raced maiden, and has since added two more wins and run well in a Listed race at Deauville, with other winners on debut for the yard at 16-1, 14-1 and 10-1 twice.
Appleby suggests in this morning’s Racing Post that Stone Mason (1.00), a recruit from Roger Charlton’s stable, might need the run, so while many punters are happy to take 6-4 about the four-year-old, there are probably more appealing bets elsewhere and Ice Pyramid (5.05) could be the pick of the card.
Philip Kirby’s gelding put up a career-best to win over track-and-trip in February, travelling smoothly and winning with something to spare in a very good time. He is up another 7lb in the weights but is certainly up to bridging the gap if he is anywhere close to his best and a current price of 7-2 looks generous.
Little Red Socks (2.10) knew her job when making a winning debut for Karl Burke in March and has decent prospects of following up at around 7-2, while a step back up to six furlongs could be just what Heath Charnock (3.20) needs a couple of races later.
Simon and Ed Crisford, British racing’s first officially licensed training partnership, will be keen to hit the ground running with Rock Of Diamonds (3.55), while Newcastle specialist Be Proud (4.30), a dual winner over course-and-distance, is the solid option at around 100-30 in the five-furlong handicap.