All posts by Florian Christoph

Florian - not a cool kid and don't try to be one. I'm a 31 year old photographer and writer, make a living in the land of rain but am German by nationality yet free and cosmopolitan by heart. The camera is my companion at places near and far.

Monday Selection: May, 21st 2018

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+8.00 Leicester: Class 5 Fillies’ Handicap, 7f

Big field, highly competitive – normally not a race I would be particularly drawn to. Says, Amanda Perrett’s filly Flirtare catches my eye in many different ways.

The Oasis Dream daughter tries the flush green turf for the first time after showing promise on the All-Weather in four starts.

She finished middle of the pack on handicap debut at Kempton last months, however she came across to challenge the lead from a wide draw early on and travelled always wide. The fact she actually led briefly over a furlong out is credit to her, I feel. She faded away eventually, but this was a promising run.

Two pounds off the mark, now on turf, this lightly raced filly is fitted with first time blinkers ad a hood as well. If that in combination can eke out a little bit of improvement then Flirtare is in with a more than decent shout.

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

Sunday Selections: May, 20th 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

2.20 Ripon: Class 6 Handicap, 6 furlongs

Currently trading as favourite, I believe there is good reason to believe indeed, that Sir Derrick can get off the mark today.

The gelding has ran with promise in his two starts this season, now that he’s eligible for a handicap mark. Soft ground was probably not ideal on those occasions and the 7f trip stretched him the last time.

However, as a late May foal he is due to come into his own and looks certain to improve dropped to 6f again now on fast ground. With a small ease in the weights as well, Sir Derrick seems poised for a big run.

Selection:
10pts win – Sir Derrick @ 4/1 PP

Friday Selections: May, 11th 2018

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2.15 Lingfield: Maiden Fillies’ Stakes, 1m 2f

The market principles with form on their side haven’t achieved an awful lot. Twice a runner-up, Cosmic Love sets a fair standard but looks vulnerable enough to be opposed.

The look of Godolphin newcomer Duchess Of Berry appeals to me. She is very well bred, related to some smart individuals and given she was a February foal should be – in theory – forward enough at this stage of the season.

The Appleby yard tends to have their newcomers ready for the first day at school. The record, particularly in spring, is excellent. So it’s easy to take a chance on this filly in a winnable race.

Selection:
10pts win – Duchess Of Berry @ 11/2 Matchbook

Thursday Selections: May, 10th 2018

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That looked good… at least for the wallet: Magic Wand (7/2) thundering down to landing the Cheshire Oaks yesterday. A general 14/1 chance for the Oaks, it remains to be seen how much that form is worth as it surely didn’t look a strong renewal. Ispolini in contrast was a real letdown in the Chester Vase.

…..

4.35 Chester: Class 3 Handicap, 1m 4f

You don’t see that often an Aiden O’Brien trained individual running in a British Handicap, and those that do generally fail to fire. So, you got to be wary of this Christopher Robin today.

On the other hand, this son of Camelot showed promise as a juvenile and despite a disappointing reappearance at Leopardstown recently remains to have some very fancy entries for later the season.

Christopher Robin could also be excused for his 6½ lengths beaten fifth of fifth finish in heavy conditions over 10f in a race that was run at a start stop gallop. If the going was a concern, then the fact he was trailing the field and in a bad spot when the field turned for home is in combination a fair excuse.

Nevertheless, this lad is unlikely to turn into a Group performer. But of a handicap mark off 81 he looks well in given improvement is likely to come for the better ground and step up in trip. This race isn’t that deep and at given odds I feel Christopher Robin is overpriced, actually.

Selection:
10pts win – Christopher Robin @ 5/1 Matchbook

Wednesday Selections: May, 9th 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

2.25 Chester: Cheshire Oaks, Listed, 1M 3F 75Y

This is not a good renewal. At least on paper it appears rather weakish. So, given his record in this race and the jockey bookings at given prices I’m happy to take a chance with Aiden O’Brien’s Magic Wand.

Only to starts to date, a fair debut as a juvenile, and fair pipe opener at Leopardstown in probably unsuitable ground conditions. She looks like crying out for the trip, though the better ground should be a big help too.

Magic Wand was an expensive purchase, is obviously incredibly well bred and has some fancy entries for later the season. Hence this is hopefully only a stepping stone.

Selection: 
10pts win – Magic Wand @ 7/2 WH

…….

3.35 Chester: Chester Vase Stakes, Group 3, 1m 4f

Open looking contest as it often it is the case at this time of the year: who of these well bred colts turns out best? The answer for today may be found in the recent Sandown Classic trial. Two of the main contenders clash here again: Hunting Horn and Ispolini.

I prefer Goldolphin’s Ispolini today. I like his progressive profile and the fact that he clearly has come on over the winter as we seen when he ran a fine race to finish 2nd at Sandown on his seasonal debut.

That was only his third career start and you saw a bit of inexperience in the closing stages. At the same time he is entitled to come on for the run. From a good draw and with the step up in trip likely to suit, this could turn out to be a real Derby contender for the boys in blue.

Selection:
10pts win – Ispolini @ 7/2 PP

Monday Selections: May, 7th 2018

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That was as rough as it gets! In brutal conditions on a muddy Churchill Downs oval Justify justified the favourite tag to land the 144th Kentucky Derby. The colt overcame the so called “Apollo curse” as for a mere 136 years no horse unraced at two was able to win the Derby!

My boy Mendelssohn lost every chance before it really began. The writing was on the wall when the heaven opened its gates as the more rain fell the less likely Mendelssohn was to enjoy the experience he was due to encounter.

As if that wasn’t enough already staked against him, right after the start Mendelssohn was nearly taken out by the cavalry of horses charging across from the wider gates. He didn’t break badly, yet he didn’t break quite fast enough either in order avoid it.

I found it interesting to read Aiden O’Brien’s comments afterwards. They were surprisingly insightful as even he seemed puzzled by the whole experience – he who’s seen so much already!

“There were nearly 160,000 people there, all wet, all screaming, the rain coming from everywhere. Everyone was jammed in and everyone had these plastic things [ponchos] on them.  Mendelssohn was just mind-blown by the whole thing. I’ve never experienced something like yesterday. It was just mad. That many people, that’s two cup final crowds together.”

Ballydoyle, though, haven’t lost faith in Mendelssohn to deliver the goods on US dirt. A bid for Breeder’s Cup Classic crown is firmly on the agenda for the colt later this year.

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3.25 Bath: Class 6 Handicap, 5.5f

Top weight Chicago School has been disappointing since his return to the UK, though he had some valid excuses those last starts as he completely missed the break at Wolverhampton three weeks ago and was carried out to the widest outside turning for home at Lingfield before that.

In truth, those performances are in line with his last few starts at Dundalk, though, back in December he was still able to win a super competitive handicap at the county Louth track.

The interesting bit today is: Chicago School back on turf. Not since October 2015 have we seen the now five year old gelding on the green grass. The last time he was a a 74 rated individual, a mark back then he proved to be worthy of when finishing an fair third at Musselburgh.

Plenty of non-runners today at Bath due to the fast going. This could be an advantage for Chicago School. In his six career turf starts, in five of those the word “firm” appeared in some shape or form in the going description and three times he finished in the money.

So it is fair to assume his best is likely to come on firmish ground. His turf handicap mark off 58 could really underestimate his chances today, given he ran to much higher time speed ratings and RPR’s on turf in the past.

Jockey George Downing comes to Bath for this one ride and his record over the 5.5f trip here is excellent. That says, the latest forms Chicago School produced are slightly concerning as twice he missed the break. Let’s hope this does not become a habit and the return to turf rejuvenates him.

Selection:
10pts win – Chicago School @ 14/1 VC

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6.05 Windsor: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

Bottom weight Haveoneyerself looks poised for a big run with conditions he likes off a career lowest weight. The winter on the All-Weather didn’t really work out for him and on his seasonal turf debut over CD last month the heavy ground certainly annihilated his chances.

Judged on juvenile turf form, though, he could have a big shout today: he placed a couple of times in Novice races on fast going at the beginning of his career and eventually landed a nursery of a mark off 70 at Bath in August.

That is not a particularly strong piece of form, nonetheless, Haveoneyerself has dropped to 62 now which may underestimate him given he has ran to TS 66 already.

Selection:
10pts win – Haveoneyerself @ 7/1 Sky

Preview: Kentucky Derby 2018 – A Spring Night’s Dream?

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After contemplating the whole week whether it’s a smart or not so smart decision, yet after listing to some beautiful Mendelssohn on this balmy spring Saturday, I decided the time has come: at 5/1 I’m IN!

A lot has been said about the UAE Derby winner’s performance at Meydan by people who are far more knowledgeable than I am: quite a few experts are of the opinion Mendelssohn was riding the “golden highway” on the inside rail and what did he beat anyways after Rayya bombed out in the Kentucky Oaks last night.

There is certainly merit to it. Figures based on that UAE Derby performance have to be taken with a pinch of salt. Nonetheless, what remains with me at least is the fact Mendelssohn not only won that day, but he annihilated a half-decent field with incredible ease (18½ to the runner-up Rayya) while doing so in a record winning time.

But there is more to like about him than only this one freakish performance: Mendelssohn won the Breeder’s Cup turf at the end of his two-year old campaign at Del Mar.

Given he was  a late May foal, he achieved far more as a juvenile than one could usually expected, as he also ran out a fine 2nd in the Dewhurst.

In summary: Mendelssohn has proven to travel well internally (so the slight issues around his arrivel may not be a big deal at all), he acts on any sort of surface and his best is (probably) yet to come.

Coolmore also seems rather bullish about his chances, Ryan Moore makes the trip across the pond, missing out on the 2000 Guineas, and while Mendelssohn’s wide draw could theoretically spell trouble it’s in practice no problem – as long as he breaks well (which he would need from any stall anyway).

So, c’mon Mendelssoh, make it A Spring Night’s Dream!

Selection:
10pts win – Mendelssohn @ 5/1 Matchbook