Carlisle has been rewarded with a big field for the track's feature, the bookies.com sponsored Carlisle Bell, and this 14/1 shot looks big each-way value.
bookies.com are proud sponsors of this afternoon’s feature at Carlisle, the historic Carlisle Bell (due off 3.35pm), as well as the consolation race (3.00pm).
The main event has drawn a huge field of 17 and it’s no wonder as winning connections will scoop a tidy £18,675, with prize money down to sixth. The race is run on the round course and, while Carlisle is a relatively tight track, there is no discernible draw bias. What is more important is that horses stay the mile trip well as the stiff uphill finish here takes no prisoners.
When tackling big handicaps like this one a good starting point is always David O’Meara and the North Yorkshire trainer could not be in better form with a magnificent seven winners last week, including surprise Royal Ascot scorer Amazing Maria. He sets punters a bit of a puzzle here by running three but the form pick from the trio is undoubtedly He’s No Saint, who was spotted keeping on well into third over 7f at York last time. That was just his third start for his current stable and this Irish import looks nicely treated this afternoon on a mark of 85, having been as high as 102. The extra 200 yards he has to travel (the race is actually 20 yards short of a mile) is sure to suit and he looks to have a clear-cut chance at around the 6/1 mark, with first-time cheek-pieces another positive.
There are plenty of alternatives, mind, and David Barron’s Art Obsession has to be near the top of any shortlist – he’s the bookmaker’s choice with Hills going a best-priced 5/1. Still lightly-raced after six starts, the four-year-old made a pleasing return from eight months off when second (Our Boy jack fourth and Karaka Jack sixth) at Ayr last month and is just 5lb higher than when winning at Musselburgh last September over a furlong less. Given he helped to set a generous pace that day before keeping on gamely and his stamina-laden pedigree – his dam won over 1m1f – he should relish this stiff mile and he seems to act on any ground. The slight worry with him is that his stable has been relatively quiet with just one winner in the last fortnight and there have been several beaten favourites in that time.
There are several others in with good claims and they include Ginger Jack, who doesn’t look too badly treated despite a 5lb rise for winning Thirsk last time, with Trinity Star in third. The other last-time-out winner in the field is Boonga Roogeta, who has been nudged up 4lb for his Chelmsford success, which is mostly taken care of by his rider Rosie Jessop’s claim. O’Meara’s other two runners are also worth a second look, although Dubai Hills would prefer more cut in the ground than he’s going to get and stablemate PROVIDENT SPIRIT finished well beaten on his Ayr reappearance. The latter has at least got himself well handicapped and would have a right chance if returning to the sort of form he showed when winning a well contested 7f Newmarket maiden last May for John Gosden. He stayed on strongly there and gives the impression a stiff mile will suit, so with the O’Meara magic likely to work sooner rather than later he’s well worth chancing at an each-way price.
The consolation race is only marginally less competitive with 14 runners set to go to post and Keith Dalgleish is responsible for three of them (his other runner Tectonic doesn’t run). Of the trio, Go Dan Go looks the most interesting as he’s continued to run well since landing back-to-back handicaps back in the spring and didn’t get luck from a wide draw when third at Sandown last time. He’s preferred to stablemates So It’s War, who found disappointingly little when asked a question last time and is on a career-high mark, and all-weather winner Argaki.
The bookmakers look to have the Dalgleish runner’s measure, though, with 11/2 the best on offer and I’d rather take a chance on last year’s winner ANOTHER FOR JOE coming back to form off a 1lb lower mark. Admittedly, he has barely been sighted in his last two starts, having finished runner-up at Hamilton on his reappearance, but both were on ground with plenty of cut in it and he seemed to relish the fast going and stiff mile when scoring decisively 12 months ago. It would be no surprise if Jim Goldie has trained him with a repeat bid in mind and, while several others need respecting – Chiswick Bey, Woody Bay, Gambino and Janaab are four that have been in good form of late – the seven-year-old has got to be worth an each-way punt at the 20/1 on offer at Betfair.
All odds were correct at time of posting.