It’s Monday folks and we’re back in Palmerston North after a detour to Hatrick last week.

A shorter card this week with 13 races and the first is off at 2.10pm.

That gives us all plenty of time to do our homework.  Back again around 1PM with our bet of the day and lay of the day.  After a couple of off weeks, we’ve taken all the chocolates the last two weeks – small they may be but they still taste sweet.


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Bet of the Day

In a first, I’m going early with today’s best bet. Some observant readers among us – plus anyone who reads this sentence! – will realise that the sponsors of the first race at Palmerston North are fine upstanding citizens with an amazing service!  And modest too.

What has generally stopped me in the past is that the first race is pretty much always a C0 and it’s often hard to line up form.

Anyway, rules are there to be broken and I really like Barge Bale (6) in the opener.  I think the $2.50 is great value based on his first up effort.

At his first NZ start, he showed plenty of box speed before getting a little lost.  He stormed back into the race ending a close second.  The dog who ran THIRD in that race is Benny Burrito.  He was our bet of the day last week and won paying $1.70.  He races today in a C1 qualifier (R11) and the bookies have him as a $2.40 favourite which in my book makes the $2.50 on offer on Barge Bale great money.

You always have to respect the Cole runners but there was nothing out of the ordinary about Bigtime Twinkle’s first start, admittedly at Hatrick.

The biggest flag of course is that it is a C0 and anything could happen.  But based on his opener last week, more than happy to make Barge Bale my bet of the day.  I rate him as a $2 shot.

Ouch.  That hurts.  Jumped as expected but then got checked from the inside runner which set it up for BT Twinkle.  Was only a head in it but a head the wrong way.  

Lay of the Day

We’re going to let the speed map help us with the lay of the day.

Keep in mind that the purpose of the lay of the day is to find a favourite that is likely to be beaten which in turn means other runners will be better value than they otherwise would be.

Right, check out the speed map for race 7.  Three dogs look likely to have the early speed – Kinetic Shadow (9 out of box 4), Azandei (5) and Cawbourne Skeet (6). The favourite, Bigtime Steve is in box 2 which for many runners would be an advantage.  However, what looks quite possible is that the three faster runners will cross Steve leaving him with a wall of dogs in front.  And if this does happen, it could also bring the outside dogs into play.

Bigtime Steve hasn’t managed to land closer than 4th in the running since he graduated from C0.  If you now check out the statistics for the track and distance, you will see that just over 70% of races over 375m at Palmerston North are won by the dog who is either first or second to the first marker.  Or if you look at it from Steve’s perspective, just 15% of races have been won by dogs who were 4th-8th in running.

On the positive side, Steve’s run last start was his best lifetime rating.  However, most of the field have run similar times or better over their last 6 starts.

Of the two likely leaders, both have been running competitive times (the Filter helps narrow down the top performances) so our money would be on Azandei with a little saver on Kinetic Shadow.  Azandei on paper looks to have a stronger finish.  On past performances, Don’t Muzzle Me in box 8 has to be in the mix but his form has tailed off and it would require quite a reversal to bring him into this race.  However, as noted above, the speed map may help bring him into the race.

Given the above, I don’t see any value in Bigtime Steve at $2.80 and would be looking elsewhere for value in this race.

Well you know when it’s time to turn the page when the dog that has never jumped and you call it … jumps.  After that, the rest of the preview went west.  The only positive was the race underlined the relationship between getting to the lead at the first turn and winning.

Back again next when the scars from today have healed!

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