I was lucky enough to be allowed back at Bath for their nine-race card. Once again, everything ran like clockwork, temperature tests and accreditation all done in minutes. Owners were allowed entrance this meeting which differed from the last time I was here.
12:00 – Visit attheraces.com Handicap (Class 5) (3YO plus) 5f
The first race started just as a short sharp shower did its worst. Sam in the office got in touch to say that there had been sharp early morning money for Giovanni Tiepolo at 9-1. The colt is trained by Henry Candy, in the old days if said trainer had a bet on course the staff would all vacate their positions and follow him in. The guess is that the money was sharp wasn’t that sharp, the subject of the morning readies ultimately finishing fifth behind Paul Midgley’s 3/1 favourite Indian Sounds who bolted up under Dougie Costello. Thankfully, for the firm at least, there were no big bets for the winner.
The regulation ‘twitchers’ were in the bushes again, it’s doubtful they’d have got much business done due to the rain. They were also chaperoned by security, which I’m reliably informed has been the case for the last few meetings.
12:30 – attheraces.com Maiden Auction Stakes (Class 5) (2YO only) 5½f
4/9 favourite Bright Armor made short work of his opponents in the next and almost his jockey Adam Kirby too, though luckily not until after the line when he jinked, his rider doing well to stay on. The winner was trainer Clive Cox’s ninth two-year-old to oblige this season. He said after the race that the colt was strong and that this would have been a confidence boost, he has an entry in the Super Sprint and should step up after this. The punters who bet £571 – £1000, £1200 – £2700 and £400 – £900 the winner must have felt like they found their winnings on the floor.
1:05 – Sky Sports Racing Sky 415 Handicap (Class 6) (3YO plus) 5½f
Sam in the office reported that there had been some warm early money in the morning for Leo Minor and Gherkin in the next. The latter was the warmest, runner-up at 5/2, but not hot enough to have found Grace Harris’ 16/1 winner Port Noir who came with a smooth run under Hollie Doyle to win by a neck.
1:35 – Signs Express Handicap (Class 4) (4YO plus) 5½f
Next up was a competitive looking handicap where they bet ‘carpet’ 3/1 the field. There was very little action in the office but out on the turf Hollie Doyle worked her magic by a neck again landing her double on the day. This time she made all under top weight Corinthia Knight rewarding backers to the tune of 5/1. Eventual 10/3 jolly Mia Mento finished fifth.
2:05 – Follow At The Races On Twitter Maiden Stakes (Class 5) (3YO plus) 1m
While I was hanging around Luke Harvey hoping to earwig an interview with Hollie, Dave Stewart of Star Sports was up to mischief tweeting ….
Rideson 2.05 Bath
Some form figures 2️⃣3️⃣-2️⃣2️⃣2️⃣2️⃣2️⃣
and a BEATEN FAVOURITE in 6 of her 7 races !!!!!!
The Bridesmaid's Bridesmaid.
— 𝙳𝚊𝚟𝚒𝚍 𝚂𝚝𝚎𝚠𝚊𝚛𝚝 (@david_stewart) July 14, 2020
He had a point though, all eyes were on Roger Varian’s Rideson who had indeed appeared happy to be runner-up so far in her career, at least she was consistent. Everyone, not that there were many here of course, appeared to have an opinion on the horse. ‘They usually keep finishing second for a reason’ was the matter of fact summing up of the horse by a less than charitable lady of the press.
Whatever that reason was, it was not only undisclosed but soundly debunked whatever it was. Rideson won with some ease by a length and three quarters under Andrea Atzeni. If a horse could flip the bird I’m sure it would have done, not only to Dave Stewart and the latter mentioned press lady but all the naysayers out there. That number didn’t appear to be the punters though, the former bridesmaid certainly caught the bouquet this time and was backed to do so from 7/4 into 5/4 including bets of £2500 and £750 at the top price 7/4 in the office.
Between races, Hollie Doyle was awarded ‘Ride of the Month’ by Luke Harvey for her first Royal Ascot triumph on 33-1 shot Scarlet Dragon in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes. She donated the £500 that went with it to Racing Welfare.
2:35 – Home Of Winners At valuerater.co.uk Handicap (Div 1) (Class 6) (3YO plus) 1m
There were some excellent scenes in the business end of the sixth when Megan Nicholls came late to win on 10/1 chance Air Of York providing trainer Grace Harris with a double on the card. The gelding’s owners, Mr and Mrs Cullimore were screaming home their winner from their reserved area. It’s easy to hear who is cheering for who in lockdown environment but I think these two would have been heard had it also been a packed grandstand.
After the race they told Luke Harvey that being able to come to the races to watch your horse run ‘re-energises’ your enthusiasm for racing which is all about ‘fun and excitement’. Can’t argue with that, and that they definitely appeared to enjoy their winner today.
Luke also collared trainer Willie Muir between races and quizzed about plans for Pyledriver after finishing 11th in the Derby, he said that plans could include a crack at the German Derby and the St Leger.
3:10 – Home Of Winners At valuerater.co.uk Handicap (Div 2) (Class 6) (3YO plus) 1m
It was doubles all around when Clive Cox’s Willy Nilly won the race before the penultimate under a tenacious ride from Adam Kirby just getting the better of 9/1 chance Derry Boy. The winner was sent off the 6/4 favourite but would have given his backers value for money in the excitement stakes before getting home a head. It was quite lively in the office too. They were cheering home the jolly, a punter had bet £14,000 – £1200 the runner-up, sadly for the firm each-way, that bet was added to by a bet of £2200 – £200 plus £250 each-way Accomplice at 15/2 which finished just out of the money in fourth at 11/2, the punter still had the value. There was a solitary grand bet on the winner at 13/8 too so a bad race all around.
Up in the sky, there weren’t one, but two noisy little buggers. They weren’t birds or planes but drones, that was double the number last time I was here, the game’s not gone. They were very high and off away from the racecourse so no obvious danger.
3:40 – Sky Sports Racing HD Virgin 535 Median Auction Maiden Stakes (Class 5) (3YO to 5YO) 1m 2f
It all went a bit better in the penultimate when bets of £2400 – £2000 Aquascape and £1100 – £1000 x 2 Tenfold stayed in the hod. 10/1 shot Ridgeway proved the fly in the four-runner ointment running away with the race by nearly five lengths for Eve Johnson Houghton under Charles Bishop. ‘Good old fashioned skinner’ was Sam’s message. Aye Aye.
4:10 – Visit valuerater.co.uk For Free Handicap (Class 6) (3YO only) 1m 6f
The ninth and lucky last was a handicap but featured a very short one, Mark Johnston’s Camouflaged, an even money chance when ‘betting opened’ on the internet. The jolly could well have been a coincidence bet for the twitchers who appeared to be in some sort of stand-off with the security in hi-viz! What with the airborne competition and security too close for comfort, they must have wondered why they bothered? At least it hadn’t rained since the opener, there’s always a silver cloud, shame about the drone in it.
There was a bit of interest in the last with bets for Camouflaged £1000 at 10/11 and an even monkey twice. Sophar Sogood attracted a bet £1500 each-way at 9/2. Both bets stayed in the hod behind 6/1 winner Deposit who put a last time out last of three behind him to win well for David Simcock under Dylan Hogan concluding a very entertaining day on the turf.
Views of authors do not necessarily represent views of Star Sports Bookmakers.
Simon Nott is author of:
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