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.

Wednesday Selection: 18th October 2017

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A nice winner with Mutafarrid (6/1) got the week rolling on Monday, although the other two selections on the day ran stinkers. Well, it would have been too nice, I guess. There was not much to like on Tuesday, but thankfully the next day is just around the corner…

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2.20 Lingfield: Class 5 Novice Stakes, 5f 

The two fillies at the head of the market set a fair standard, however their form is nothing to shout about and while experience counts for quite a bit in these races I side with a completely unknown quantity.

It looks significant that Silvestre De Sousa is on board of newcomer Baileys Excel. That is because the colt is quite well bred and his sire does incredibly well at this track over this trip, particularly with two year olds.

Now the jockey booking is even more so significant as this yard’s record in these type of races with young horses isn’t good. However the record for SDS on Dwyer inmates, particularly 2yo’s is excellent.

From a good draw where the door is wide open for an upset, Baileys Excel might be the one who is good enough on debut to win this.

Selection:
10pts win – Baileys Excel @ 10/1 Bet365

Monday Selections – 16th October 2017

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2.40 Yarmouth: Class 5 Nursery, 7f

Owen Burrows’ Mutafarrid appears to be potentially well handicap on his nursery debut. The Dark Angel colt ran well in his last two races in maiden company – in his second career start he used allot of energy from a wide draw to be up with the pace, yet he finished a good fourth in a hot race that worked out well.

Last time at Wolverhampton he missed the break, got bumped into right after and never settled over too sharp 6f. Still he finished with credit in fifth and this athletic type should enjoy the simpler experience that is 7f at Yarmouth.

Judged on collateral form the opening mark of 69 is more than fair and he should be a bit better than that, I reckon.

Selection:
10pts win – Mutafarrid @ 5/1 Bet365

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2.50 Musselburgh: Class 2 Handicap, 7f

Big Tour is a progressive three year old colt with few miles on the clock. He won the last two in good fashion, though looked really home over 7f with a good pace on softish ground at Yarmouth last month.

He appears to be progressive and can easily have more to offer. A 6lb hike is reasonable but may not be enough to stop him.

The slight concern is the wide draw for a horse that likes to be close to the speed at a course where your chances rise and fall with track position. At the price I’m siding with him, nonetheless.

Selection:
10pts win – Big Tour @ 7/2 Skybet

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4.10 Yarmouth: Class 6 Handicap, 10f

Very weak contest and that opens the door for a surprise package. That could be handicap debutante My Name Is Jeff. He didn’t show an awful lot in three maiden starts, as you would expect. However he bumped into some decent horses along the way too.

This is way easier and ground and trip could suit perfectly. The dam was a sprinter but there is a bit stamina down the lines plus sire Mount Nelson has a fine track record over this trip with his offspring.

A lowly opening mark gives My Name Is Jeff a fair chance to improve dramatically from anything he has shown to date.

Selection: 
10pts win – My Name Is Jeff @ 12/1 Bet365

Photos: 2017 Birdcatcher Day at Naas

A few of my images from the Birdcatcher Day at Naas, featuring the similarly named Premier Handicap plus two Listed contests with the Garnet & Bluebell Stakes.

Been a wet day. Desperate conditions made it hard work for horses and jockeys. Still some good performances. Most notably the ones of team Lyons/Keane. Trainer and jockey teamed up for a hat-trick on the card.

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Sunday Preview: Naas

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La Coronel did the job in the QE II – wire to wire as they say over there. 6/1 – finally a winner again!

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On the menu today, Naas! For the first time since moving to the county Kildare town I have the chance to go racing as a local! Really looking forward to it. Always enjoyed coming here in the past, but of course it’s even sweeter if you just have to walk to this beautiful track, instead of slogging through Dublin’s traffic.

Selections for Naas, 15th October 2017:

1.20: Lost Treasure @ 9/2 Bet365

Superbly bred as expected bred from this yard and might have advantage over most here as an early January foal.

1.50: Cheering @ 9/1 Ladbrokes

From family of derby winner Pour Moi, so trip is short enough. However could easily be good enough on debut in an open field.

2.25: Zeb City @ 12/1 Bet365

Bottom weight who looked progressive in maidens. Now handicapping off fair mark with top jockey in the saddle could see him go close.

3.00: Cocohulababy @ 14/1 Bet365

Excellent run on second start in hot Leopardstown maiden when turning widest but finishing well. Put experience to good use at Dundalk last time and won well. More to come.

3.35: Pocketfullofdreams @ 16/1 Ladbrokes

Well exposed and does not strike as a likely winner. However if the better fancied horses fail to strike, he could be there to pick up the pieces given ground and trip should be fine and he has some fine form in the book from earlier the season, which gives him a chance.

4.10: Remembered Joy @ 22/1 Skybet

Still a maiden after five career starts, however goes handicapping for the first time now and that might make a difference. A lowly opening mark gives her a chance over trip and ground possibly to suit. It is a poor race that does not take allot to win.

4.45: Giorni Felice @ 13/2 Bet365

Nicely off the mark at Roscommon, overcoming all sorts of trouble. He may have looked impressive because he beat poor opposition and therefore an opening mark off 80 is stiff. However there is not allot in the race to fear here and conditions should suit.

5.20: Jet Streaming @ 8/1 Bet365

Superb win at Galway when overcoming near impossible circumstances. Cried out for a trip and not disgraced when five lengths beaten in a big Curragh Handicap subsequently and when fifth in a Group 3 at Newmarket when last seen. This is easier – she remains with potential.

Saturday Selections: Cesarewitch & more

Rowley Mile

3.40 Newmarket: Class 2 Cesarewitch Handicap, 2m 2f

The lottery that is the Cesarewitch stampede along the Rowley Mile – can’t remember I ever backed a horse that came even near the eventual winner. Could it be different today?

I have a sneaky feeling Mark Johnston’s tough colt Time To Study is undervalued in this contest. The only three year old in the race, despite a 4lb penalty for a gritty success at Doncaster last month, looks well in off his low weight thanks to WFA.

How much difference that can make in a 2m 2f contest is a fair question, however the lightly raced colt has been on the upward curve all year long and still had ‘only’ five starts this year – for a Mark Johnston horse that’s on the low end of the scale.

Time To Study is rather smallish in size, however is all heart as proven in the Mallard Handicap against some tough older opposition a good four weeks ago. Stamina is no issue, the ground, though, may be quick enough.

Tactically I would be surprised if jockey PJ McDonald doesn’t move forward to settle Time To Study close enough to the pace – that should ensure a fair run, if anything.

Selection:
10pts win – Time To Study @ 14/1 Bet365

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4.50 Newmarket: Listed Boadicea Stakes, 6f

A biggish field but not many in it appear to be any better than the grade. The one who is is clearly Queen Kindly. It’s true that she has to carry a 3lb penalty and also has been slightly disappointing all year.

However her latest effort a very creditable 5th in the Group 1 Abbaye at Longchamp is by far the best in this field. The step up to 6f will surely be a help while the drop down into Listed company means she is the one to beat.

Fast ground does not pose any problems for her – she won a Group 2 on quick ground as a juvenile. I feel she is overpriced judged on the extra weight she has to carry, which I do believe does not make that much of a difference, though.

Selection:
10pts win – Queen Kindly @ 5/1 Bet365

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10.30 Keeneland: Grade 1 QE II Challenge Cup Stakes, 1m 1f

Open contest but I feel La Coronel has plenty of upside on her third start back home after a decent outing at Royal Asccot where she was only a good five lengths beaten by Winter.

She needed her home reappearance, though was much better last month in the Sands Point, when narrowly denied in the closing staged by Uni. She was pulling quite hard early on and looked a bit awkward in the home straight – so I feel if things go more to plan, she can clearly turn the form with Uni today.

Belmont Oaks winner New Money Honey has an excellent turf record, and back on this surface she is a major player. Also German 1000 Guineas Unforgettable Lady can run a big race.

Selection:
10pts win – La Coronel @ 6/1 Skybet

Saturday Selections – 7th October 2017

Wet Dundalk Polytrack

8.15 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4f

Shocking race, despite the large field. Screams for an upset. Innish Man can be the one who causes it. An upset on last seasons form it wouldn’t be that much, however he’s been off for a long time and got merely a pipe opener under the belt a fortnight ago.

We don’t know whether he has regained full fitness and some of his old “class”, that says he was a progressive performer in low grade All-Weather handicaps in 15/16.

Now 3lb below his last winning mark and a full 6lb below his career highest mark, of which he finished a fair runner-up in a race that worked out well back in January 2016 – anything close to that will see him have a big say off a good draw today.

Selection:
10pts win – Innish Man @ 16/1 Bet365

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9.15 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 9.5f

I do fancy Bebette quite a bit on her debut for a new yard plus first time over this trip and on the All-Weather. The switch to Tapeta over 9.5f should suit her much better than she shorter distances the encountered in her four starts to date.

She remains lightly raced, we may not need to read too much into her four disappointing career outings to date, three came in maiden company and one in a 16-runner Handicap at Yarmouth.

A fair 5lb on board is an added bonus I suspect, with a potentially lowly mark of 53 Babette could easily run a big race.

Selection:
10pts win – Babette 6/1 Ladbrokes

Preview: ARC DE TRIOMPH 2017

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“You are prone to bad luck at Chantilly; often the best horse gets beaten there” – John Gosden

Correct. John Gosden, trainer of wonder filly Enable is rightly concerned if it comes to external influences in today’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

The dual Oaks and King George champ is the red hot betting favourite for quite some time. Rightly so. There is little more she needs to do to prove her class. She IS all class.

However a long season, a big field of top class contenders, most of them the opposite sex, tough ground and a course that can throw up strange results – there is a lot to overcome today….

…. and a lot to like about Enable! 

On the positive side of things, Enable could have not get a better draw allotted in the lottery that can kill chances of any horse before the race is even run. She can start from stall 2 – it gives her flamboyant star jockey Frankie Dettori every chance to make a decision whereas other rivals have to take what’s left over.

Enable is an uncomplicated filly, she has no problem to race prominently. I’m sure Dettori will settle her close enough to the pace with every chance to get the clearest of runs. The track will be more of an issue for anyone behind her: no excuses.

So – put the mortgage on? 

If she is in the form she presented herself all year – yes, ’cause she’ll win. Plain and simple. Fillies and three year old fillies in particular have a superb record in the Arc.

But what if a season that started in a Conditions Stake at Newbury back in April has taken a toll? You couldn’t begrudge Enable to lose some percentage of her superb form that saw the three year old land spectacular victories throughout the summer.

Well – Autumn, soft ground and Chantilly can do strange things to horses. So at prices I have to take on Enable. As much as I would love the story of her winning the race, as much I feel ENABLEd to say: this is one too many for her this year.

Bigger odds, Bigger Value!

I like three individuals at much bigger odds: the German raider Dschingis Secret, the recent Leger hero Capri and the French Cloth Of Stars .

Why? The German horse has no issues on the soft ground and usually does his best at the back end of his races. The way he finds another gear in the closing stages, as seen in the Prix Foy and Großer Preis von Berlin, is a trait not too many horses posses.

The way he races does not look sexy. He can get sweaty, be a bit keen but also can appear to be off the bridle earlier than a high class individual should be. But that doesn’t matter. The apparent ease – once hitting top gear – he puts away classy contenders suggest that this lad is hitting top form when it matters most.

The draw isn’t ideal, ten is as wide as you want to be and he will need a bit of luck. But hey, this is horse racing. You’ll always need a bit of ” luck” on the big day. 16’s is a serious price for a serious horse.

But Capri? A Leger winner? Yep. The drop in trip won’t be an issue. He’s an Irish Derby winner with form over shorter too. He travells strongly through his races and simply has an exceptional attitude to keep on going, as seen at Doncaster a fortnight ago. Soft ground doesn’t bother him, in fact the true stamina test expected will rather suit him today.

He’s here’s soon enough with little time to recover plus faces the difficult task to break from stall 15. However that is reflected in the price, and I feel taken into account overly negative. Yes, he is not the likeliest winner of the race, but surely a dual Classic winner has a slightly better than 5% chance with conditions likely to suit him?!

It’s been eight years since Sea The Stars became a legend in this very race. His son Cloth Of Stars is one who has the tools to emulate his almighty daddy. He’s got a good draw, a fair prep run under the belt off a four months long break when runner-up in the Foy behind Dschingis Secret and was unbeaten in 2017 before that.

Stamina is a question mark. He is yet to win over 1m 4f. On the plus side he loves the ground and deserves another crack at this distance after only two tries and with some improvement still possible.

Anything else to say?

Don’t count out Ulysses, either. He will love the track, he’s been a revelation this season and acts on softish ground. That says ground and trip in combination should not play to his strengths, I feel.

There is loads of money coming for Order Of St. George. He’s a sexy contender, I admit. He looked SO good in the Irish Ledger. Ground and trip is fine. A stayer with a turn of foot, Arc 3rd twelve months ago. Yeah, he’s a serious chance, Ballydoyle’s best, no doubt.

I say that because it’s only the 1st October and Winter is not coming – not today. The superstar filly has done it all this season, but this is a step too far. Sure, as a daughter of Galileo all is seemingly possible – but a long year, tough ground, a trip as far as she’s never gone before – too much.

The point is….

….. this is a wide open Arc! Much more open than the betting suggests. We have a star filly in Enable who is likely to take plenty of beating if all goes right for her. But this is the Arc, it’s autumn, it’s Chantilly, it’s tough ground, it’s a high class field…. there is plenty of room for things to pan out in a completely different way. Let’s hope it goes my way.

Selections:
10pts win – Dschingis Secret @ 16/1 Bet365
10pts win – Capri @ 20/1 Bet365
5pts win – Cloth To Stars @ 28/1 Bet365