Stat of the Day, 4th January 2013
Well, we didn't manage to "do the bookies" yesterday, as our selection ran a moderate race at best. He spent most of the race just off the pace behind the leading group and when the pace picked up, he didn't seem to. The end result was an 8th placed finish. The one small consolation that we got was that I called the SP correctly at 8/1, after we'd taken 11/1 earlier on.
We're off to Scotland today for a stamina test. Our selected race is an 11-runner, Class 4 Handicap Hurdle contest over three miles and a half furlong on soft ground. It looks like tough going for the ...
Lucinda Russell has got her horses flying at present. She has sent out twelve runners in the last two days and every single one of them has finished in the first five home. From these twelve runners, she has collected four winners' prizes and one additional placed finish so the yard would appear to be in good nick.
Lucinda also has a decent enough record here at Musselburgh, where 43.75% (14 from 32) of her hurdlers have made the frame in handicap contests in the last two years.
Miss Russell is represented by two horses here today: Morning Time seems to have a fair chance at 4/1 in a two-mile chase event scheduled for 1.40pm, but it's the hurdlers that have the better record and her sole hurdler today is Vallani.
Vallani is an 8 yr old chestnut mare who won back to back handicap hurdles at Perth in August. Both were on testing ground ( 1 soft and 1 heavy) and both were over today's 24.5 furlong trip, so she'll be well suited by today's race conditions. She also had a course & distance victory under her belt, which also came on Soft ground. Her career to date shows her having won three from six on Soft/Heavy ground.
She is, however, not the most reliable of animals, but when she's in the mood she will go well. She had seemed out of sorts a little in her last couple of outings, but it has to be said that the yard wasn't in good form then either. Lucinda Russell's string appear to be performing much better at present and if jockey Craig Nichol (claiming a useful 7lbs here) can keep her fairly close to the action, she should stay on at the finish and stake a claim for a place finish.
Her recent unreliability has been reflected in the prices available, where she is currently offered in the 10/1 to 12/1 area. Of the BOG bookmakers, Betfred, BetVictor and Stan James are all showing her at 12/1, so the call today is a 0.5pt E/W bet on Vallani at 12/1 BOG. I'm going to use BetVictor today, but you've plenty of choice, so feel free to...