Captain can win battle of outsiders

ON THE greyhound scene, the Laurels takes centre stage and despite the most unfortunate absence of semi-final winner St Louis Charlie, it’s still a terrific contest and one that’s not easy to solve.

I spoke to Leeview Jet’s owner, Tommy Delaney, earlier in the week, and his is an understandable mix of excitement and nerves.

"I'm a bundle of nerves as it is," revealed the Ballincollig owner. "This is his sixth final but I have to say I handled the other five a hundred times better than this. I suppose it's down to the fact that it's at Curraheen Park in front of the home crowd.

"It's a dream really. I'd say I've been at 50 Laurels' in my lifetime and it's something that you always want to be involved in when you have a dog.

"If he doesn't win it, he still has a mighty record, and he gave us tremendous pleasure."

Cashmans offer match betting on the race and perhaps the best value lies in this market, where Varra Captain is an even money shot to beat Beaming Dilemma (8-11).

The latter is more consistent at traps but, unless he can clear Deerfield Music early, he looks booked for a troubled passage.

Varra Captain, on the other hand, should be able to slip around the bend unscathed. The Leger runner-up possesses big backstraight pace and he should be on hand to capitalise if there is trouble up front. He’s threatening to find his best form and rates a value option to finish in front of Beaming Dilemma.

On the horse racing front, today’s Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster is the final Group 1 race on the British flat racing calendar and, if the betting is to be believed, Camelot is home and hosed.

But his is a case that requires a little faith on the part of the punter, as he’s been seen just once and that came back in the early part of July when he won what has turned out to be a very ordinary maiden. Admittedly, he won the race very easily but three of the four beaten horses have run since and none of them have managed to achieve anything noteworthy.

Form punters will always struggle to row in behind this kind of horse because he’s up against some rivals that have already achieved more than he has - and they’re also open to improvement.

John Gosden, who may have a poor record in this race in recent years, has a very likely candidate in the shape of Fencing, while Godolphin’s Encke was very impressive last time and could yet be anything. Add the well-regarded Zip Top from the Dewhurst-winning stable of Jim Bolger and it’s clear that the six-runner race is much more about quality that quantity.

I’m not saying Camelot won’t win - who knows what is needed to win the race more than Aidan O’Brien? - but at the odds I’d rather leave him alone.

If looking for an 11-8 chance, Pimpernel looks a more solid conveyance. The Godolphin filly runs in the Listed Totepool Stakes at Newbury this afternoon and, in contrast to Camelot, she is rated vastly superior to her rivals.

Curiously, the fear with her is that she has had a lot of racing in recent months and she might be over the top. But her trainer, Mahmood Al Zarooni, has been one of the revelations of the season and it can be taken on trust that he would not be running her unless he thought she was capable of running her race.

On her most recent outing she ran Camelot’s stable companion, Wading, to a couple of lengths in the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket.

With just a few exceptions (most notably Michael Stoute’s Ultrasonic), today’s rivals are exposed and, given that this is a pretty significant drop in grade for Pimpernel, it’ll be disappointing if she cannot collect.

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