Saturday Selections: July, 14th 2018

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1.40 Newmarket: Class 2 Handicap, 7f

Tough race to break down, but I feel, despite the big price, there is a good case to be made for the only three year old in the race – Cardsharp.

A runner-up in the Middle Park Stakes last year, he has trained on as he won a good listed race last month and subsequently wasn’t totally disgraced in hotter company.

This here ain’t much easier, given he has a massive handicap mark to carry around. But WFA allowance lessens the burden a bit. He also has ran to a 100+ time speed rating in the past, which is a sign of high class horse.

Given he brings proven Group class form into this race, enjoys fast ground and has fair recent form. The step up to 7f is a question mark as he’s not proven yet to be able to bring his 6f form over the longer trip.

But, in fairness, he ran in hot races over 7f and on pedigree he actually should be excel this sort of distance. The likely fast will surely be a help today to see him to best effect, so at a big price I give Cardsharp a decent chance to be in the shake up when it matters.

Selection:
10pts win – Cardsharp @ 20/1 PP

……..

7.30 Hamilton: Class 4 Handicap, 12f

Killdeer should progress nicely and with the WFA advantage is clearly the one to beat. Nonetheless it’s not a given, and with proven force Mutadaffeq in the race, I side with the experience here.

Mutadaffeq has dropped to a sexy mark despite running relatively well in recent weeks. It’s true he looked in the grip of the handicapper but that solely because of consistency. He’s down a pound on his last winning mark, even though on soft ground, he also has winning form on a fast surface.

The fact Mutadaffeq has ran to time speed rating of 85 in the past suggests he’s due for a big performance today over a distance he’s a 23% strike rate.

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

Friday Selection: July, 13th 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

6.10 Chepstow: Class 5 Handicap, 1m

The two market leaders seem head and shoulders above the rest of the field, however there’s real concern over the trip for Air Of York, while it remains to be seem whether Nazzaa has the speed on fast ground dropping to a mile.

That means it could be worth to side with one of the other three. Four year old Alqalsar offers the most upside theoretically, but showed nothing this year after a promising campaign last season and his attitude has to be questioned.

The two veterans in the field, Living Leader and Peak Storm are of high interest to me, given their featherweight. Living Leader with Hollie Doyle in the saddle is by far the more intriguing individual having some solid form to his name while getting a big chance by the handicapper.

Peak Storm on the other hand hasn’t ran a good race in nearly two years. That says, he he has quite a good record over this trip at this track and dropped so far in the weights that if there’s still any sort of appetite for racing left he could be incredibly dangerously weighted now.

He drops back to a mile here at Chepstow, into a race he won back in 2015. The betting suggests there is zero expectations, but the booking of promising apprentice Andre Beslin, who claims 7lb, makes Peak Storm an interesting contender today.

Selection:
10pts win – Peak Storm @ 40/1 PP

Thursday Selections: July, 12th 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

5.45 Doncaster: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

Acadian Angel has been largely disappointing this season after largely promising efforts as a three year old last year. As a result she has tumbled down the weights to what looks a dangerous mark.

She returns to a place she’s won before over the same distance and ground conditions. While she hasn’t been knocking on the door lately, digging a bit deeper her form seems not too bad, in fact. She ran to time speed ratings in and around her current mark.

In addition a visor has been applied for the first time, that may eke out some improvement. Certainly having Silvestre De Sousa on board is an added bonus.

Selection:
10pts win – Acadian Angel @ 10/3 Coral

Wednesday Selections: July, 11th 2018

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4.10 Catterick: Class 4 Handicap, 2 miles

A wide open long distance handicap that could go the way of featherweight Kittileo. Only eight stone to carry, the sole three year old in the race has a massive chance to win on what is his fifth career start – if he stays the trip and acts on the fast ground.

He showed promise on occasions, but I feel the Mark Johnston runner might come over these marathon trips into his own. His pedigree gives him any chance to improve and Galileo’s have a tremendous record here at Catterick over this sort of trip.

Receiving weight all around, Kittileo has the added advantage of a good draw, which even over longer trips, can make a difference here at Catterick. Given, he has shown to be enjoy the lead in his runs same tactics will surely be employed here as well at a course where those up with the pace have always a big advantage.

Selection:
10pts win – Kittileo @ 13/2 GB

Tuesday Selections: July, 10th 2018

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8.40 Brighton: Class 6 Handicap, 7f

This is a brutal race quality wise. Gives the Daniel Kubler trained filly Chizz De Biz a tremendous chance to leave a recent disappointing run behind after she got off the mark here at Brighton so impressively in June.

That was over 6f in an equally quite poor contest. However, she showed excellent pace and won cosily in the end suggesting there is more to come. A drop to slightly shorter didn’t yield in improvement, however now stepping up to 7f only four pounds higher than her earlier success looks ideal.

Her pedigree offers hope to stay the extra mile. The way she ran up the hill the other day and the fact that fast ground will be a huge help mean she should enjoy this task going off the #1 draw as well, providing an opportunity to grab the rail being while being close to the pace.

Chizz De Biz is also the least exposed horse in the field who has achieved the highest lifetime time speed rating of anyone in the race also.

Selection:
10pts win – Chizz De Biz @ 4/1 PP

Monday Selections: July, 9th 2018

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Made To Conquer did as his name promised: conquering the Durban July! Turned out pace wise and how the race could turn out tactically went as analysed in my race preview. What wasn’t forecasted, though, that stable mate Do It Again would come sweeping past my selection with half a furlong to go.

The pair came miles clear of the rest of the field. But no doubt, Do It Again was well on top in the end and a deserved winner of South Africa’s most prestigious race. There was no pace in the early stages whatsoever so jockey Grant Van Niekerk decided to go for a dramatic move  when maneuvering race favourite African Night Sky from the back of the field to the lead halfway through the race.

Didn’t end well. The 3/1 chance faded into insignificance in the closing stages. No fairytale ending for Jeff Lloyd either. The retiring veteran jockey hit the post, but remains luckless in a bid to win the July.

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2.00 Ayr: Class 5 Novice Stakes, 6f

You can pick big holes into the three market leaders so it might be worth siding with the man who knows how to win these type of races: Mark Johnston. His charge Royal Big Night was well supported on his debut nine days ago but appeared plenty green enough when jumping left at the start and seemed clueless in the closing stages.

The way he faded in the final two furlongs is slightly worrying, but the positive early speed he showed soon after the start is enough for me to believe this lad can do much better with the run under his belt.

This colt is related to some nice dirt winners in the US, so the rattling fast ground will certainly to his liking. He has to improve from his first run, however dropping two classes from a class 3 York Novice race into this here seems on paper at least a bit easier.

He also gets a good deal of weight from those with winning form in the book. That’s an added bonus.

Selection:
10pts win – Royal Big Night @9/2 Sky

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5.55 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4f

I find it noteworthy that jockey Kieren O’Neill makes the journey to Wolverhampton for his only ride on the entire day at the peak of the British flat season. That enhances the already strong case I feel able to be making for bottom weight Trinitas.

A tree-times raced maiden on his handicap debut, he did achieve little on pure merit of his results and ran according to his SP’s: without a chance. However, further analysis of his last two starts provide a different answer.

The Nathaniel colt did more than he should in the parts of both races burning a lot of fuel in what turned out be two pretty hot maiden contests. Though, he wasn’t there to win, only to gain experience. He should have plenty of it now plus showed glimpses of ability too.

A step up in trip to 12f is likely what he needs. So with that in mind, an opening mark off 64 could underestimate the ability ready to be unlocked in Trinitas. Going from pole position in stall 1 with he has every chance to make this a winning handicap debut.

Selection:
10pts win – Trinitas @ 9/1 Coral

……

7.00 Ripon: Class 5 Handicap, 1m

Ripon and a biggish field over a mile – you got to need a bit of luck if you aren’t up with the pace. Hence my selection Al Ozzdi is risky. However, he is the only three year old in the race and can make his weight advantage count – the Simon Crisford charge is certainly handicapped to win.

Last time out at Windsor was a slight disappointment, given Al Ozzdi showed an awful lot of potential when finishing third in a hot Yarmouth maiden on his penultimate outing. Only 5th in the end, well beaten – not good. But there were reasons.

Windsor can be a tricky track for hold up horses and Al Ozzdi wasn’t the fastest out of the blocks to be closer to the pace than trailing. You got to get the breaks here and he didn’t. A wall of horses in front, when finally angled out and in the clear the bird was flown.

This still quite lightly raced lad has found an ideal opportunity to score. The long home straight should help jockey Paul Hanagan to move out in time this time.

Selection:
10pts win – Al Ozzdi @ 9.5/1 PP/VC

Big Race Preview: Durban July 2018

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South Africa’s most prestigious race intrigues year after year with a a massive field size including at least two handful of runners you can all see playing their part in the outcome of the race. A tricky contest to work out and one where favourites have a hard time.

The winner paid 17/1 or bigger the last three editions alone, and the last two years no single figure priced horses even made it into the money. Tactics pay an important part but the pace angle is one that used to gather little traction in the discussions leading up to the big race in the past, I feel.

Different this time. It’s the discussion topic number one. A muddling affair is feared. That will make life tough for those who come from behind naturally or those who end up in rear due to their wide draw.

It also poses a difficult decision for those jockey sitting on horses who need a proper stamina test but who are drawn wide or who wouldn’t naturally like to be too close to the pace.

Either way, the hot favourite African Night Sky from the powerful Justin Snaith yard may well be the most talented individual in the race but is clearly a price to forget. He stays the trip and had an excellent preparation, however his tendency to miss the break on occasions plus the need to be dropped in will make life incredibly tough for the four-year old gelding.

My eyes are firmly set on his stable mate Made To Conquer, instead. What can go wrong with a name like that?! In seriousness, this supremely talented son of Dynasty has been coming through the ranks, improving bit by bit while showing excellent desire combined with the ability to change gear.

Made To Conquer has been winning four on the trot. Albeit largely in much lower grade. The progressive gelding took his time, though since September last year he won six of his seven starts and showed a step up in class to graded company isn’t a problem when landing the Grade 3 Stirrup Cup off a big weight. Officially only a head between himself and multiple Stakes winner Strathdon, Made To Conquer held the stable mate under a hands and heels ride rather easily.

A step up to the highest level is only the right consequence. Made To Conquer is a staying type. He already won over 2.500 meters. So, dropping down to the 2.200 meters in the July is a slight question mark, particularly in the light of the predicted pace.

That says, despite a wider than ideal draw, it is likely that Jeff Lloyd will make plenty of use of the featherweight and the stamina his mount possesses and march forward early on to be close enough to the pace and take it up if needed. This is as much as he said himself: he ain’t gonna sit around.

If he holds true to this then Made To Conquer will surely be in the right position – which nearly always in the July is closer to the pace than too far off. Lloyd can send him on his way hitting top gear entering the home straight confidently knowing the gelding will stay all day long and clearly relishes having a fight on hands too.

For Jeff Lloyd it would bring an incredibly career in the saddle to a fairytaile ending. The 56 year old has never won the July despite being a six-times South African champion jockey. It’s going to be one last hurray before retirement beckons right after.

Selection:
10pts win – Made To Conquer @ 9/1 Sky

Horse Racing Around The Globe

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