Tip of the Day: King’s gambit
Matt Brocklebank provides the racing tip of the day and, on a quiet afternoon, is willing to chance one at a huge price.
Sue Smith: Trainer could saddle a big-priced winner this afternoon
Like so many leading National Hunt yards, the unseasonably warm weather has resulted in a pretty slow start to the season proper for Sue Smith but three winners and seven seconds in the past fortnight alone suggests the tide could be about to turn.
The last campaign saw Smith leap from saddling just two winners (from 43 runners) during October to a perfectly respectable 10-54 in November and we could be about to witness a similar strike-rate spike this time around as we reach the halfway point in the month.
Losing Hexham's Tuesday meeting to waterlogging is an obvious blow (had five horses entered) but the yard has three runners at Southwell today and the eye is drawn to the longest priced of the trio.
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Maxed Out King looks to have a daunting task on the face of it in the At The Races Handicap Hurdle at 1.45, but there are one or two pointers to suggest he could be capable of defying massive odds in the region of 40/1.
Firstly, last month's Carlisle run was obviously badly needed after two years on the sidelines so the early jumping mistakes and the fact he weakened to finish eighth of 15 isn't too much of a concern.
The assessor clearly wasn't too impressed, dropping the lightly-raced eight-year-old another 3lb to a mark of 94. That's 23lb lower than the mark he achieved after his first three starts over hurdles, which featured a promising staying-on second over two and a half miles at Sedgefield.
He was unable to build on that effort in four subsequent appearances before injury struck but he's obviously had some ability in the past and it looks significant that Smith – whose colours the chestnut carries – has kept him in training.
The ground may not be soft enough and in all likelihood we're dealing with a horse who might be better suited to tackling fences, but from such a lowly mark in a moderate affair it will be really disappointing if Maxed Out King can't at least be competitive from near the foot of the weights.
On a quiet day of action, a small each-way wager at long odds looks the way to approach things and chancing a runner from the Smith yard could offer decent value in the hope that the stable is about to hit top gear.
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