Wednesday Selection: July, 17th 2019

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3.10 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 5f

Firenze Rosa comes here on the back of two solid efforts on turf but continues to fall dramatically in her handicap mark – now down to 47, a career lowest, and down into a poor class 6 Handicap on the All-Weather.

She didn’t do overly well in two AW starts in the past, but as a daughter of Zebedee she should be fine on the poly. On turf she ran to a career best topspeed rating of 73 and achieved TS ratings of 50 or better on seven occasions.

So, granted she looked not completely lost to the game in her last couple of starts, the 4-year-old could be supremely well handicapped today. This isn’t a strong race anyway, it’ll not take a career best to win it, that’s for sure.

In addition Firenze Rosa has the bonus of a competent 7lb claimer in the saddle also while the yard having a fine spell.

Selection:
10pts win – Firenze Rosa @ 12/1 PP

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Friday Selections: July, 12th 2019

Twilight Son

4.45 Newmarket: Class 3 Handicap, 7f

Im very much interested in Jim Crowley’s mount La Maquina here. This lightly raced four-year-old only has his fourth start on turf and should still have a bit more to give, than what his current handicap mark has revealed.

He showed promise as a juvenile and also last season, even though without getting his head in front. As an April foal he was always more likely to need a bit more time and finally at Goodwood back in May he got off the mark in a 7f Handicap.

He ran of 3lb lower than today but achieved a 82 topspeed rating, matching his revised handicap rating. He couldn’t follow up the net time at Kempton, however was badly hampered when making progress. So it’s a performance to ignore.

Ground and trip looks perfectly fine today. If La Maquina can find a bit of improvement, he’ll be a big runner in this, otherwise quite competitive race.

Selection:
10pts win – La Maquina @ 15/1 MB

…….

4.55 York: Class 4 Handicap, 5f

I’ll take a risk on Militia, having dropped 4lb below his last winning mark. This horse had issues, quite obviously. He’s been gelded and had a wind OP during a long seasonal break and was well beaten on his return last month.

That’s obvious concerns, but he possibly needed the run. The fact remains he is a 5f winner on fast ground, and also won of a 77 mark, running to a topspeed rating of 79 last July.

So, if he strips fitter today, can find some of last summer’s form back, with a god 3lb claimer in the saddle today, he certainly will outrun a massive price tag.

Selection:
10pts win – Militia @ 33/1 MB

Thursday Selections: July, 11th 2019

Newmarket July Course

2.25 Newmarket: Group 2 July Stakes, 6f

Exciting renewal with two potential stars in the lineup. Favourite Visinari certainly appeals as a top drawer in the making, having been so impressive on his debut when achieving a topspeed rating of 98!

However, at a short price, with a viable alternative top pitch against him, I’ll happily take him on with Coventry Stakes 3rd Guildsman. He also won pretty well on debut, running to TS 90, which is a sign of a top class horse, and proved that with an excellent performance at Royal Ascot, posting a 97 TS.

The ground is faster today than he has encountered yet, remains to be seen how he acts on it. So far Wootton Bassett offspring done well on fast ground and 6 furlongs, so concerns are more down to that we haven’t seen Guildsman racing on firm ground yet.

Selection:
10pts win – Guildsman @ 4/1 MB

………

5.10 Newmarket: Class 3 Handicap, 1 mile

Very few in this race appear to be well handicapped. That says Martineo could well be after a string of excellent performances, now stepping up to the 1 mile distance for the first time in quite a while.

He’s predominantly do his best over shorter distances – 6f and 7f in particular, on the All-Weather. I don’t think Martineo is less effective on turf, though, and the few times he ran over a mile he was competitive, also on pedigree the trip shouldn’t be an issue whatsoever.

He’ll need to settle, obviously, but this is only his sixth start on turf, having been in the money on four occasions. He’s ran to topspeed of 81 on the AW and 75 on turf in the past, so if there is any bit of improvement for the trip and surface, he could look a massive price this afternoon.

Selection:
10pts win – Martineo @ 17.5/1 MB

……..

7.15 Newbury: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 2f

Star Of War looks overpriced for a poor field for this class. The filly has shown some talent in the past, has been steadily improving and only was found out in tough competition at Royal Ascot lately. A steep drop in class will help today.

She showed fair form as a juvenile in three starts but really excelled at the beginning of this season, winning a Kempton maiden easily and following up with two nice runs in class 3 Handicaps over a mile.

The three-year-old steps up in trip to 10 furlongs for the first time. On pedigree she has a fair chance to get the distance. If that can eke out further improvement, than she’ll be well in here of a mark of 82, given she has ran to TS 83 already.

Selection:
10pts win – Star Of War @ 12.5/1 MB

Tuesday Selections: July 10th 2019

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

3.20 Yarmouth: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 6f

Interesting step up in trip for Soloist, who shaped like she may get this new distance after a fine runner-up effort at Catterick recently over 1m 3f.

That was only her second handicap start, and the lightly raced filly improved quite a bit that day from what she showed in four runs before.

She ran to a 70 topspeed rating that day, so the 1lb adjustment of her mark is probably more than fair – if she can improve for experience and distance, indeed.

Selection:
10pts win – Soloist @ 4/1 MB

…….

5.45 Kempton: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

Fortune And Glory drops down to class 6 and is back on the All-Weather over his preferred mile trip at the place he ran to a career best last summer. Off 2lb lower he won a similar race really well, achieving a 65 topspeed rating as a consequence.

He won another race on turf later on at Salisbury, so now dropping again to quite handy mark after a number of not so good efforts is interesting, particularly in light of the most recent run, where, despite only finishing 7th, he wasn’t far beaten and caught the eye.

The aid of a good draw should help to be in a good position here in a race that is not all that competitive.

Selection:
10pts win – Fortune And Glory @ 7/2 MB

……..

6.00 Bath: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 2f

This looks an ideal opportunity for Ramatuelle to score on what is her second handicap start and only 6th career start. Possibly campaigned over way too short as a juvenile, and ‘enjoying’ a pipe opener over a mile in May, she now is upped to a trip likely to suit on pedigree.

Her sire Champs Elysees has a superb record over 10f, particularly at Bath and on fast ground. The dam side points to this sort of distance also. Dropped to 51 after her handicap debut, Sir Mark Prescott has campaigned the 3-year-old smartly as of this mark, with these conditions, in quite a poor race, Ramatuelle will be a strong contender.

She also has a number of subsequent entries already, suggesting connections may well believe she is well in, turning her out quickly again.

Selection:
10pts win – Ramatuelle @ 11/1 MB

Monday Selections: July, 8th 2019

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7.10 Ripon: Class 5 Handicap, 1m

He looks not the likeliest on recent form, however a wind surgery might do the trick for 3-year-old Fume. A son of Frankel, and a half-brother to solid Mesquite, now down to a rating of 69 in a rather poor contest offers a big opportunity to get off the mark, if the wind OP has helped.

Fume showed promise as a juvenile, particularly on the All-Weather, having beaten only by a neck twice last November of 69 and 72 ratings, also running a topspeed rating of 69.

A fair 3rd place effort in April this year also showed he’s trained on, so the breathing may indeed have been the problem the last twice.

Selection:
10pts win – Fume @ 14/1 MB

……

8.50 Windsor: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 3.5f

Small and competitive field but the most upside is with Fearless Warrior I believe. He’s a tricky sort now fitted with blinkers for the first time after three rather disappointing efforts this season.

He should be a sort that’s improving with age as a son of Sea The Stars born in April, so’ll happily give him another chance.

Fearless Warrior is down to a mark of 80 now, but finished last season with a strong runner-up effort at Newmarket running to a topspeed rating of 83. If there is still a bit more to come and the blinkers help to focus, then he should run a huge race today.

Selection:
10pts win – Fearless Warrior @ 7/2 MB

Friday Selections: July, 5th 2019

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2.00 Doncaster: Class 4 Handicap, 5f

Society Queen is a risky proposition given she tends to mess up at the beginning of a race, but this is not a particularly competitive race in nature, certainly an easier one than she encountered this year so far, the good ground is a big bonus and she has has dropped to a sexy mark.

The 3-year-old did well as a juvenile winning twice, having ran to a topspeed rating of 80 already, and showed promise earlier this season as well, despite her starting problems.

Now down to a class 4 race, back down to the minimum trip as well, in hands of Tony Hamilton who already won on her, I feel she’s overpriced in this contest.

Selection:
10pts win – Society Queen @ 6/1 MB

……….

6.40 Beverley: Fillies’ Novice Stakes, 5f

Odds-on favourite Mighty Spirit has experience and ran well at Royal Ascot, but I believe is vulnerable to improvers, as a topspeed rating of 84 is decent, but nothing more than that.

Much more of interest at prices are Living In The Past and Aryaaf, who both made their debut in the same Ripon maiden last month and both bottled the start and showed plenty of inexperience. Both finished well and offer plenty of upside.

I’ll go with the daughter of Kodiac, Aryaaf, though, as she will have learned plenty from a tough first day in school, racing on the outside far away from the rail, with plenty of daylight, unsure what do, after missing the break, pulling hard, wandering around a bit….

She should improve plenty from that, also for the much better ground and as a daughter of Kodiac should relish Beverley – her daddy has a superb record here with his two-year-old offspring.

Selection:
10pts win – Aryaaf @ 6/1 MB

Preview: Irish Derby 2019

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Hello there, it’s Irish Derby Day! Let me tell you: this is an exciting day! Why? Well, the excitement really comes from all angles. Sure, we have the classy racing and the race itself – the Derby, off at 5.20pm – which shapes like a red hot renewal. But probably even more so, I feel, it’s a day when the new Curragh has the chance to delight.

Properly tested for the first time, it’ll be quite exciting to see how this unfolds: tested in a sense of how do facilities hold up when a large crowd is in attendance. Tested in a sense whether a large crowd actually materialise in first place. Attendance figures for Thursday and Friday were low. That was to be expected. Derby Saturday, on the other hand, has always seen a healthy crowd over the years.

Now that the new Curragh is firmly established, the weather – hopefully – balmy and dry in the afternoon, there really is no excuse for not attracting a solid double figure crowd today.

Curragh officials haven’t been particularly outgoing with their own expectations: 6-10.000 is what they are hoping for, officially. I’m sure behind close doors they’d be disappointed if there’ll be not in access of 10.000 in attendance today.

Tickets were €23 if you bought online in advance – that’s a cracking offer, to be fair. I’ve been critical of the Curragh and its pricing policy in the past. Likely will be in the future again. But this is a sensational offer. 23 bucks for what’s going to be an outstanding day of racing action at a modern, top-class venue – unbeatable!

The racing itself, as said there earlier, I feel strong about as well: the Derby aside, which I’ll preview in detail below, the supporting races hold up. Competitive handicaps that certainly offer value, plus some strong stakes races, particularly the intriguing renewal of the Railway Stakes – truth told I’m as keen driving down the N7 to the Curragh as haven’t been for a long time!

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5.20 Curragh: Irish Derby, 1m 4f

An exciting re-match looms large at the Curragh this afternoon as the 2019 Epsom Derby winner, runner-up and close 4th meet again. In those circumstances it doesn’t really matter that five of the eight starters belong to the same yard. This is all about Anthony Van Dyck vs. Madhmoon vs. Broome!

Can Anthony Van Dyck do the Derby double? I’ve never been the biggest fan of his: I opposed him in the Lingfield Derby Trial and even more so for the Epsom Classic. How dare I doubt a Galileo?!

Truth told, Anthony Van Dyck is rock solid – I’ve to concede. He already was a rock solid contender for the Derby. He’s even more so today. Because: he’s done it again and again, particularly taking all the relevant metrics into account: he’s ran three times to topspeed ratings of 100+ and he matched a 110+ RPR on four occasions also. He clearly is rather decent.

Hence the main characteristics of Anthony Van Dyck are “solid” and “consistent”. He usually runs as well, if not better, than expected – leaving a disappointing debut and Breeder’s Cup effort aside. You can also see why it’s difficult for people – like myself – to warm to him and (maybe) give him the full credit he probably deserves: this colt is as unsexy a Derby winner as I can remember for quite some time!

Now, perception aside, as alluded earlier, on ratings (and reputation, given he is the reigning Epsom Derby champ), Anthony Van Dyck is a firm favourite today. Undoubtedly. On the other hand: A 5/4 chance – really? I don’t think so. Sorry. I’ve got to oppose this lad once more.

Reasons are rather obvious: yes, on ratings he tops the field. But he’s not miles ahead of Madhmoon and Broome. He’s consistent, running to the same sort of form over and over again – if any of his main rivals can find any bit of improvement, he’s in trouble because as solid as AVD is, it appears unlikely he’s one with any additional upside.

And the Epsom race itself: Anthony Van Dyck looked a beaten horse two furlong out. He seemed to take full advantage of an opening with less than two furlongs to go, his jockey making a superb decision in the moment of the heat, maneuvering AVD out, sizing the opportunity for a clear passage.

AVD responded strongly and probably profited from the fact that he avoided the ding-dong battle that happened to his right side. The others didn’t quite see or notice him I suspect- they were locked up in their own little battle – while Anthony Van Dyck was too far able to finish his own race with the guidance of the rail.

Well, that’s my interpretation, at least. Anthony Van Dyck is a really good horse, no doubt. He’s certainly no world beater either. Even though he comes out on top in the ratings, his career highest top speed rating is nothing to shout about. If you’d run the Epsom Derby ten times from the moment the field turns for home you’ll probably get a different outcome any time – Anthony Van Dyck wouldn’t be as ‘lucky’ again, I suspect.

Okay, so we have that out of the way, which begs the question: who wins the 2019 Irish Derby? Obviously it would be an emotional victory if Madhmoon could land the big price for his veteran trainer Kevin Prendergast.

Madhmoon travelled much the best over three furlongs out in the Epsom race – travelling surprisingly well, because I have to admit –  I was wrong in doubting this lad to be good enough and/or stay the Derby distance. He duly did!

You can argue Madhmoon was a little bit unlucky, as he travelled so well, but had a rough passage from the three furlong marker on, having to fight for his position, squeezing through gaps, possibly lit up as a consequence – still he fought gamely to the line, and in our hypothetical game of running the race ten times again from the moment the field turns for home, you’d have to give Madhmoon a strong chance to come out on top a number of times.

Two issues I have with Madhmoon, though: despite the fact he is rather lightly, which may see him to progress further, he also had a number of opportunities to run fast already. He didn’t take these chances to run fast. A career highest topspeed rating of 99 – achieved in the Derby – is poor for a supposedly class act.

Further to this: my suspicion is Madhmoon will always show his best on a fast surface. With the rain we’ve got here in county Kildare over the last 15 hours or so, the ground may ride a bit too tacky for him.

While I fo see his potential for additional improvement, I also feel this is already reflected in his odds: 5/2. I can not make a case where I see him a better chance than that, at all.

Before moving to my preferred selection, a quick glance further down the market, to the outsiders in this field: realistically none of the long-shots should have a say here. You could make a case – with a bit of imagination certainly – for Norway to bounce back. At 50’s he’d be a decent each-way shout. But he’s 33’s in the betting. Which is only fair.

Truth told: none of the long-shots is good enough. Of course, it can happen from time to time that a pace setter proves difficult to peg back, particularly at the Curragh. Still, I struggle to make out a viable each-way alternative at given prices.

So, that leaves Broome as the one for me. The negative first: what I said about Madhmoon can be copied and placed here to count against Broome as well: for a supposedly class horse he’s yet to run particularly fast. A TS rating of 97 and an RPR of 117 – he needs to improve today.

Can he? I think if one of this trio is able to break out and move significantly forward it’s him. The reason for this is a simple one: he looked a fair prospect as a juvenile, but was always sure to show his best as a 3-year-old stepping up in trip. And so he did: Broome won the Ballysax and Derby Trial at Leopardstown in fine style, without breaking sweat.

On Derby day Broome was one of the more unlucky sorts. Not massively hampered or anything of that sort, but he was always travelling wider than ideal, covering extra distance and turning quite wide for home as well.

Taking that into account as well as the visual impression of him staying on strongly in the final furlong plus the fact he was beaten by a close margin and hitting the line with full momentum, potentially winning if the race is a few yards longer, is enough for me to believe Broome is the one with the most upside today.

There is a good chance he’s a dour stayer who prefers the Leger trip. On the other hand, with the bit of rain that’s falling, hopefully a strong pace and a stiff uphill finish at the Curragh, I strongly feel the conditions are right for him to shine.

Selection:
10pts win – Broome @ 10/3 PP

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The rest of the Curragh card: I don’t fancy anything as much as that I would back them at my usual stake. I placed some accumulators win and each/way (the bigger priced ones) to keep me entertained for the other races. That includes’s: 

1.45: Twenty Minutes; 2.20 Beckford; 2.55: Old Glory; 3.30: Global Giant; 4.05: King’s Field; 4.40: Fort Myers; 6.00: Mutadaffeq  

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2.35 Chester: Class 3 Handicap, 5f

This is a highly competitive race, but I feel the horse at the bottom of the market is grossly underappreciated, as Wild Eric now drops to the minimum trip for the first time, which I believe will suit this pacey front-runner down to the grounds.

The 3-year-old is already course winner, albeit over a furlong further; he’s been disappointing in three starts this year, but now drops below the 80 rating barrier that sees him racing off a feather weight in this race today.

Wild Eric ran to topspeed 84 last season. If the trip revitalizes him and he can come close to that he’ll be hard to beat today from a top draw, I firmly believe.

Selection:
10pts win – Wild Eric @ 15/2 MB

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7.30 Doncaster: Class 4 Handicap, 6f

He’s yet to show any sort of that form that saw him become a mid-90 rated sprinter as a three-year-old, but now dropping to to a handy mark as well as dropping to a class 4 Handicap, Roundhay Park appears ripe for a big run today.

Even though he hasn’t been in the money in four starts this year, I’d argue his 6th place finish at York in an ultra-competitive race back in May shows there remains plenty of ability and appetite for the game.

The good ground will suit at Doncaster today and this is a much easier race than anything he’s encountered this season so far. A mark of 85 with a good 5lb claimer in the saddle will see him go close.

Selection:
10pts win – Roundhay Park @ 13/2 MB

Horse Racing Around The Globe

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