A list of horses that caught my eye during the recent weeks of racing. Find all previous lists here.
With the flat season under way, it’s time to shift the focus away from the sand finally for good. Hence this is the start of the new series for the2023 flat season.
There can still be a few horses on the list that caught the eye on the sand, given All-Weather racing never sleeps. But the majority will come from turf from now on. Good times!
10/04/23 – 4.01 Redcar:
Bit awkward away from the gate. Swiftly moved over to the far side, travelled strongly as part of the group there, still on the bridle 2f out. Had to sit and suffer, before finally out 1f out and ran on really well to finished best.
Lovely return off a break. Down to a mark of 80 now. Won off similar mark last year (also ran career best 84 speed rating). Enjoys cut in the ground and looks ready to run a big race once again in those conditions over 7f.
10/04/23 – 5.46 Redcar:
Swiftly moved over to join the pace full of enthusiasm, a bit too keenly, doing too much. Nonetheless, travelled the best approaching the 2f marker, everyone else off the bridle. Tired rapidly inside the final furlong.
Strong return, especially on soft ground. Raced a lot for a May foal last year and may not have much scope for improvement. But down to realistic 55 mark again, won off similar plus speed rating last year.
Best form on decent ground. Worth to wait for those conditions, given she doesn’t have tons in hand, but is one who could strike on the right day in these early days of the season.
11/04/23 – 4.00 Pontefract:
Disadvantaged by widest draw, settled in rear. Turned widest for home while going best, smooth progress to hit the front at final furlong marker but hang badly to his left. Won well with plenty in hand I believe.
Impressive how he won on this ground against the pace bias. Almost certainly better on decent ground. Only 3lb up. Lightly raced, gelded during winter. There’s more to come.
12/04/23 – 2.10 Catterick:
Not ideal low draw in soft conditions here, moved quickly toward the centre, that was costly; going okay for a long time before tiering in the final furlong.
Comeback run can be upgraded. Down to good mark. Ran to higher speed ratings last year and won off current mark. Much better on decent to fast ground over the minimum trip and dangerous in those conditions.
12/04/23 – 5.20 Catterick:
Settled wide in drear from second widest draw. Looked poised over 2f out and tried to make progress through a gap that suddenly got tight and she got bumped several times by rivals. Kept going well to the line.
Superb run in circumstances. Lightly raced. Ran solid speed rating on the sand in line with her current mark, but possibly even more so open to progress on turf.
Should have a chance to stretch out over 7 furlongs on decent ground, but 6f with cut may prove the ideal trip.
13/04/23 – 5.05 Newcastle:
Went forward and made most after an initial pedestrian first furlong set a strong pace. Under pressure from over 2f out when headed by strongly travelling rival, but kept going gutsily and finished second best in final furlong behind winner from off the pace.
Nice reappearance, first time expected to run well. Still lightly raced and open to progress over 7f, perhaps also on turf on decent ground.
13/04/23 – 5.05 Newcastle:
Early up with pace, before tracking the leader who set a solid pace. Stylish progress from over 2f out to head the leader and move ahead. Travelled like the winner but did a lot in the middle part of the race. Tired badly in the final furlong.
Progressive as a juvenile, and won well over this CD upon seasonal return last month. Looks still open to more improvement, ran to 59 speed rating lto and travelled like a “good thing” here.
The way he fell away in the final furlong was a bit concerning but they went hard and he did a lot to push the pace as well.
17/04/23 – 3.45 Windsor:
Tracked pace early on before putting more pressure on the pace setter. Did too much in the first half of the race in desperate conditions. Most that finished better races more restrained. Tired from 2f out.
Solid comeback. Prefers better ground. Course and distance specialist. Won off 85 and multiple times off in and around 80, including running to 80 speed rating last season.
Dangerous if he drops below 80 now on better going, ideally at Windsor, but also ran well at Goodwood and Newbury.
17/04/23 – 3.45 Windsor:
Set the early pace, showed excellent early speed. Did way too much in desperate conditions and fell away rapidly from over two furlongs out. Still really positive the early speed he showed.
Ran well lto at Kempton clocking a good speed rating. Clearly in solid form. NTO can be ignored in hot company.
Prefers better ground. Ran well last season of mid 80 marks, including 3x 80+ speed ratings. Mark should be revised and becomes really interesting in right conditions. Has speed for minimum trip and stays 6f.
18/04/23 – 2.00 Lingfield:
Bumped a rival as she hot out of the gate. Quickly relegated to the rear of the field. Going okay turning for home, but not quite a clear run in the home straight until gap opens up properly at the final furlong marker. Finished much the best.
Handicap debut, looks like she wants further, and pedigree says a mile could see her improve. Opening mark wasn’t a giveaway and jury is out whether she is ahead even if she steps up to a mile.
But she ran here to 61 speed rating in less than ideal circumstances. With natural improvement there is every chance she can make up the gap and be better than 68.
18/04/23 – 7.30 Southwell:
Overcame his #9 draw quickly to come across and grab the lead. Travelled well enough for a long time, only headed over 1f out and tired late.
Fine seasonal reappearance. Good form. Down to dangerous mark. Ran well off higher last year, including a 62 speed rating. Flexible ground wise on turf over 7f.
19/04/23 – 2.50 Beverley:
Tracked the pace early on before taking up the lead over 2f out. Still ahead entering the final furlong before beaten by strong finisher from off the pace half a furlong from home.
Excellent seasonal reappearance. Down to last winning mark from spring 2022, ran twice 74 speed rating plus, including near career-best 77 last year.
Looks in good form. Not a huge margin for error but dangerous if allowed to dominate.
20/04/23 – 7.30 Chelmsford:
Went forward really hard to get the lead no matter what. Raced wide as a consequence for most of the race, finally in front as the field turns for home, but tired badly as a consequence of early exertions.
Bumped into a few well-handicapped ones lately. Still ran huge races. Somewhat in the grip of the handicapper but looks capable to win off 59 in race with less pace to compete.
Return to turf would be interesting for possible improvement. Won over 5f on soft in France.
20/04/23 – 5.15 Newmarket:
Travelled strongly, smooth progress from 3f out, on the bridle, went on to press the lead approaching the final furlong but tired badly.
Perhaps didn’t get home over the stiff 7f. Still lightly raced. Won a maiden over 5f prior. Opportunities off current 67 rating over easier 7f or drop to 6f looks no issue.
20/04/23 – 3.20 Ripon:
Raced in midfield and made excellent progress to grab the lead from over 2f out in his group. Did well to win the near side group from the wide draw#. ( other 6f race on the card also won decisively by far side)
Fine comeback run. Down to excellent 80 mark now. Won off 80 and last year. Ran to 82 speed rating as well. Ripon specialist.
21/04/23 – 5.20 Bath:
Travelled well when tracking the pace, but stuck in a pocked from 3f out. Looked dangerous if a gap would ever open. No clear run until late when getting tired.
Good comeback run. This should be solid form for this low grade. She won her final race as a juvenile on handicap debut over 6f, which is strong form.
A 61 mark offers opportunities over sprint trips for the filly. She was arguably unlucky not to finish better here but also should come on for the run.
22/04/23 – 4.40 Brighton:
Keen to get on in the early part but restrained to track fast pace a few lengths off. Got rolling from 3f out, big move, pressed leader from 2f out. Established good lead but eventually caught half a furlong out by winner who was ridden more patiently in the middle part.
Excellent comeback. 1lb above last winning mark but ran three times to speed ratings 70+ last year. Clearly ready to go, ideally over 5f. Can run well downhill. Ascot entry next week intriguing.
22/04/23 – 3.45 Thirsk:
Crossed over soon after the start from his low draw to the stands’ side rail. Tracked good pace, move from over 2f out, in a head-to-head battle with the leader from 2f out all the way to the line. Just beaten in final 50 yards by horse from off the pace.
Strong comeback run after over 300 days off. First proper performance since moving to the UK but also first time on soft ground.
Cut in the ground seems key. Fall to sexy mark. Has speed for minimum trip and stays 6f.
22/04/23 – 4.15 Thirsk:
Off to an okay start, travelled well enough, but repeatedly a clear run denied from 3f out. Tried to get through an opening inside the final furlong just to be squeezed out again.
Would have gone close. Comeback run. Plenty of issues at the start in the past. Hood seemed to help here. Fallen a long way down in the ratings. Seriously dangerous.
Best over 7 furlongs, but 6 furlongs on proper soft off current low mark a possibility. Looks in superb form judged on this run.
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