2:45 – Ripon – FOLLOW @RIPONRACES ON TWITTER SELLING HANDICAP (CLASS 6) (3yo 0-65) Good To Soft 5f
In a race in which the other 12 runners have collectively won 4 times from 115 starts on the turf the record of Elusive Bonus stands out like a beacon. The 3 year old bay filly has won 3 of her 13 starts on the turf giving her a winning strike rate of 23% which in the context of this race is massive. Her main rival this afternoon both on form and in the betting is Tuibama who has a very similar form profile to Elusive Bonus in that he has won on two of his last three starts but has no course form and is 6lbs higher than his previous winning mark.
Elusive Bonus has won 6 times this season winning twice. The going at Ripon is Good to Soft and two of her three wins have come in good to soft ground. Her other win was in Soft ground which is handy as the weather forecast for the Ripon area is for more rain today. In fact she runs pretty well in any ground with the description of soft in the going. In 7 starts in Good to Soft and Soft ground she has won three times whereas in Good to Firm ground she is unplaced from 5 starts.
She runs over 5 furlongs this afternoon and 12 of her 13 runs have come over the distance, including all three of her wins. She is also a course and distance winner which can be vitally important as some horses do not act on the track’s humps and bumps.
Elusive Bonus has won two of her last three starts and was going for her hat-trick at Doncaster last time. However the ground was Good to Firm and it appears fairly well established by now that she needs some cut in the ground to be seen to best effect, especially given that she hung from over 1 furlong out and was not able to make an impression on the leaders. She runs off a Handicap mark of 63 today, the same mark she ran off at Doncaster. Her highest previous winning mark is 57 so she needs to find some improvement again this afternoon. However, her Doncaster run was her best effort to date in Good to Firm ground which perhaps points to the form she is currently in.
She also has the assistance of apprentice jockey David Bergin doing the steering today who claims 7lbs today. David has made a very decent start to his riding career and has won 6 times from 31 rides this season and finishing 2nd and 3rd on a further 7 occasions. All 6 of his wins have come for David O’Meara who trains Elusive Bonus.
Elusive Bonus runs in a Class 6 Selling Handicap this afternoon which is about as low a level that a horse can run in. The fact that she goes well in the ground and has won over course and distance are big positives. Another big tick in the box is that she is in good form just now and has what appears to be a very capable apprentice jockey on board who takes off 7lbs, putting her a pound below her last winning mark. It is no surprise therefore that she is favourite for the race and she really should go very close to winning her third race from four runs this afternoon.