3:45 – Lingfield – LINGFIELD PARK MARRIOTT HOTEL & COUNTRY CLUB HANDICAP (CLASS 3) (3yo+ 0-95) Standard To Slow 1m4f
While it is highly possible that I have lost the plot this Halloween, there is some merit in considering the chances of an 8 year old gelding running off top weight up against some progressive 3 year old rivals. A key factor in Emerald Wilderness’s chances today is that he has changed yards recently having been claimed by his new connections for £6,000 after finishing 4th in a Seller at Wolverhampton in August.
Emerald Witness has had a reasonable career winning 11 times and being placed a further 15 times from 50 career starts on the flat turf and all weather combined. His record on the all weather shows that the artificial surface is definitely his strong suit as he has won 7 times and been placed 7 times from 22 runs on the surface, giving him a decent winning strike rate of 31.8% and a combined win/place strike rate of 63.6%. He has run up to a decent level on the all weather winning in Class 2 twice and Class 3 once. He also contested the Group 3 Winter Derby in March around Lingfield.
There are certainly grounds for looking closely at him today. He won back to back races at Lingfield in January in a Class 3 and Class 2 handicap respectively before going out to Maydan to compete in two all weather handicaps. He paid for himself on his first start for his new yard when he won a Class 3 Handicap on Good to Firm ground at Yarmouth in September taking home the first place prize money of £6,490. He was a 33/1 outsider that day but after being held up in touch, he took the lead inside the final furlong to stay on well to win by 1 ¼ lengths. He bombed out on his last start which was also at Yarmouth when he finished last of a field of 8 runners although he did have a perfectly valid excuse in that the going was Heavy which he did not act on.
Emerald Witness has a good record at Lingfield winning three times and being placed three times from 8 starts at the track. He runs over 1 mile 4 furlongs today which is another interesting factor in that he has only tried a trip this far on the flat once previously, when he finished 2nd by a head in a Class 2 handicap at Lingfield in January 2009. As he has run six times over hurdles at distances between 2 miles and 2 miles 1 furlong it is highly likely that he will have the stamina to see out the trip today.
He runs off top weight this afternoon with a handicap mark of 92 which means that he has to give a stone to some useful 3 year olds. However, he has won off a mark of 98 on the all weather previously and as strange as it sounds when talking about an 8 year old, he could have some progression left in him over 12 furlongs. He is ridden by Frederik Tylicki who has ridden him on both of his starts for his new yard.
Emerald Witness is a massively speculative selection today against some younger progressive rivals, but the chance of scenery appears to have given him a new appetite for the game. On a course that he clearly likes, off 6lbs lower than his previous high winning mark and over a trip he has only tried once previously a small each way investment at 16/1 could pay dividends.