Tactics Could Be A Shrewd Bet At Newbury

Captain Redbeard finished 4th, my least favourite position, but in truth it was a poor 4th and well off a place. He never travelled throughout the race, though his jumping was much better than on his chase debut. He was again held up in rear, and as he showed over hurdles he is best when racing prominently. He is definitely not one to write off yet, and it will be interesting to see where he turns up next.

Moloney rides Shrewd Tactics for the first time.

Tomorrow I like one in the 3.10 at Newbury, an 18.5f Novice Hurdle. Shrewd Tactics was picked up at the sales last December for a cool £70k by Evan Williams after dotting up in a point to point (24f gd/yld) by 6L at Dowth Hall. He made his debut under rules last January when he was a closing 2nd at Warwick (16f sft), shaping as if further would almost certainly suit.

He was put away after that run, and he made his reappearance in a maiden at Uttoxeter last month, where it looked as though the step up to 20f would be ideal. On the face of it a 7th place finish beaten 38L looks disappointing, but the form of the race has actually worked out really well. Five of the horses that completed have run since, and three of them have won.

Mr McGo was over 6L behind the selection, and he won a novice next time out. Duel At Dawn was 10L ahead and he also won a novice on his next outing. The 2nd home, Above Board, beat Couer Blimey cosily last time. If you consider that it was the Williams’ horse first run for over a year at Uttoxeter I think it wasn’t a bad return to action at all, and hopefully he strips a lot fitter tomorrow.

The trip of 20f might have just stretched him too at this stage of his career, so the drop back to 18.5f is another positive. His two siblings that have seen the track have both won races at trips ranging from 19f to 24f. He was very well backed prior to his last run, and his price tumbled from 17/2 into 7/2 before the off.

He must have been showing plenty at home, and I think he could produce a much improved display tomorrow with stable jockey Paul Moloney taking over from Leighton Aspell and with that comeback run behind him. At odds of 33/1 he is surely worthy of a couple of quid each way in what admittedly looks a competitive novice hurdle.


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