Author: Will Smith
Published: 08:37 09/05/2014
Sprint handicaps are not usually my strongpoint, and especially at Ascot.
But what better time to buck the trend, as I can’t see any reason why Hillbilly Boy won’t run really well in Ascot’s 6f handicap at 7.15 tonight, and it usually pays to follow sprinters in form.
Bought by Martin Smith for 8,800gns after winning a 7f Lingfield seller, he was second on his first start for the Newmarket trainer before going one better when winning another all-weather handicap, and then following up with a really taking performance back on turf when winning at Doncaster.
Having not tried 6f since January 2013, his recent good form at 7f was characterised by a strong impression that the drop to sprint distances would suit. Right on cue, he was upped in class and dropped in distance for a race at Ripon two weeks ago, and to all intents and purposes would have come out of that race with confidence sky-high, as he ‘won’ the race on the stands side (which looked to be the unflavoured side.)
That Ripon race was a 0-105 handicap, whereas tonight’s is apparently a lesser race as it is a 0-95, though there are a number of less exposed rivals to face compared with at Ripon.
There is every reason he will excel at Ascot, as usually horses that go well on the all-weather run well at the Berkshire track. Being a son of 2,000 Guineas winner Haafhd suggests he should have no difficulty with the surface as Haafhd was beaten just 1¼l in a St. James’ Palace Stakes, and perhaps one of his most notable sons is Don’t Call Me, who regularly runs well in big Ascot handicaps.
The rain yesterday will have helped too, as he handles a bit of cut in the ground, and being drawn in stall 15 could be an advantage too, as he may be able to assume a good position near or on the stands rail. The goingstick readings of 7.5 stands side, 7.3 centre and 7.4 far side while not being a marked difference, do suggest that it certainly won’t be a hindrance.
With so many positives about Hillbilly Boy’s chance, it is hard to see why you shouldn’t have a bet at 17/2 with BetVictor.
Ascot 7.15: HillbIlly Boy (each-way) – 17/2 (BetVictor)