Past Winners » Mister Hardy


Everyone knows now how well the pace held up at Chester on the first two days of this meeting, and there may be a slight angle in going against that today. Usually when apparent little-known biases in racing become common knowledge, there is value to be had in going against the notion. Jockeys try to ride to the bias, with the result that the advantage is at best negated and at worst turned into a disadvantage, and punters bet the likely beneficiaries of the bias, which often lead to those horses being over-bet.

There is a chance that jockeys will want to be on or very close to the pace at Chester today, with the result that the pace, especially in the early races, will probably be furious, possibly too furious, and that it may be set up for the closers. And you can be sure that punters will want to bet the pace horses today.

Two other elements that may lead to the pace horses not enjoying the same advantage today that they have enjoyed over the last two days. Firstly, the rail has been moved out again, with the result that the home straight will be slightly longer, the distance between the home turn and the far rail will be greater and there will be more room for closers to pass on the far side. All of this is against the pace horses. Secondly, they have watered the home straight overnight, so it just may take a little longer to get home off the home turn. There could be in-running carnage today, and it might be an idea to lay everything in-running at odds-on, especially in the early races.

There is loads of pace in the opener. Celtic Sultan is sure to blast from stall one, as he did from stall six when he won this equivalent race last year, Dunn’o is a front-runner, Noble Citizen is a front-runner, and there are several who like to race handily, so this could be frenetic, and it could set it up for Mister Hardy. His penultimate run at Doncaster at the end of March, when he showed an impressive turn of foot to come clear of some useful rivals over seven furlongs on fast ground, was the best of his life, and puts him well clear of his rivals here on ratings. He wasn’t so impressive in just scraping home on his latest run at Newcastle, but that was just six days later, Richard Fahey obviously keen to run him under a penalty instead of waiting for the handicapper to re-assess him, and it may have come too soon.

He should have been nicely freshened up for this, we know that he handles fast ground now (he has good form on soft ground as well), he is effective over the trip, he has the ideal draw in stall six, he has the really useful Frederik Tylicky taking 5lb off and, if he can just get into a good position just behind the pace, his turn of foot in the home straight could see him home. He does have to race off a mark that is 9lb higher than the mark off which he won at Doncaster, but he won so well that day that he should be able to cope with that type of rise, and, taking the rider’s claim into account, he is actually 2lb lower than the mark off which he won at Newcastle. Huzzah and Carcinetto are non-runners, so there is no each-way angle with just 14 runners now.