Category Archives: Betting

Saturday Selections: 17th September 2022

10.45 Aqueduct: Group 3 Jockey Club Derby, 1m 4f

This is a rather poor Group 3 turf race even by US standards, which is the reason why two questionable stayers head the market.

Godolphin’s Nations Pride and Classic Causeway have met twice over shorter middle-distance trips as part of the Caesars Turf Triple Series this season, with an even split of victories.

Nations Pride, as a son of Teofilo, is odds-on and expected to stretch out over 12 furlongs after his recent excellent Saratoga Derby success.

On the ever turning Aqueduct inner turf track on firm ground there is a solid possibility he will do get the trip. He’s not unbeatable, though, his price (possibly) still driven by early season reputation when he was an English Derby contender.

I doubt Classic Causeway will find this race distance wise and tactically difficult. On the other hand the German raider Ardakan is probably underestimated here.

Obviously he won’t lack stamina. In fact he’ll relish going up in distance. He won the Derby Italiano over 1m 3f earlier this year where he showed a lot of guts, and then finished like a train in the German Derby.

Especially the Hamburg performance is noteworthy. This was a pretty good renewal but Ardakan had a troubled day. His wide draw didn’t do him any favours. As a consequence he had tons to do turning for home. I reckon, on another day Ardakan would have gone seriously close.

He was not disgraced when third in the Group 1 Großer Preis von Berlin subsequently. I though the race wasn’t quite ran to his liking, with a somewhat muddling pace. More aggressive tactics would have helped.

The firm ground is a concern today, given he has not encountered it before. In contrast some of his best performances came on much softer. On the other hand he did just fine on genuinely good ground. That’s gives hope.

I do hope Andrasch Starke will move forward, utilizing the stamina this son of Reliable Man clearly possesses, making this race a test of stamina, rather than one of speed.

If he does so, and possibly even can get first run hitting the home straight, Ardakan won’t be stopping anytime soon and could be difficult to get to for the rest in this field, as they stamina may run out.

Btw. this race is usually run at Belmont. Due to building works there this race, as others, have moved to Aqueduct. A few years ago I went there on a trip to New York. It was a cold December day. A bit of snow on the ground and in the air. Racing took place on the inner dirt track.

It was one of the bleakest days I’ve ever spent at a racetrack. Aqueduct is a massive place, but it was so sparsely attended on the day. It felt so empty, nearly ghost like – apart from a bustling Casino attached to the stand. It was a completely different sort of atmosphere to the usually much more colourful and interesting atmosphere encountered in the UK and Ireland.

10pts win – Ardakan @ 7/2

Friday Selections: 16th September 2022

6.45 Kempton: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

Competition for the pace doesn’t look too hot, which brings Dion Baker right into the equation, who drops down to 7 furlongs on his polytrack debut.

He is still a maiden but ran with credit a number of times; in fact he was arguably unlucky not to win at either Catterick, or subsequently on his Handicap debut at Haydock.

On both occasions he hang his chances away, otherwise he’d have a W to his name, I reckon.

Dion Baker ran well enough three weeks ago at Newmarket in softish conditions over a mile, just fading entering the final furlong. Given his early gate speed he should have no issues getting to the lead from the #1 draw here.

As he drops in class, he should find this race a bit easier, and has shown he has the quality to win off a 72 mark. He has the early speed and potentially the bit of extra stamina to keep it up right to the line.

10pts win – Dion Baker @ 9.2

……..

8.15 Kempton: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 3f

Arab Cinder caught the eye a few times now and looks ripe to win a race, stepping another furlong on her second start for William Knight.

She did well over shorter trips for Roger Varian, seriously catching the eye at Wolverhampton over 7 furlongs in May. With a clear run she would have gone really close as she had to contend with the widest draw, and found herself severely hampered in her challenge in the home straight.

Her subsequent final start for the Varian yard at Goodwood was better than the bare for suggests. When last seen four weeks ago on her first start for new connections, Arab Cinder caught the eye when finishing well in the closing stages.

She has enough stamina for this new trip as a full-sister to 1m 6f winner on the All-Weather. Three pounds lower than her excellent Wolverhampton run and down in class she rates a major chance in this field from a good draw.

10pt win – Arab Cinder @ 9/2

Monday Selections: 12th September 2022

3.50 Thirsk: Class 4 Novice Stakes, 5f

I have been waiting for Lory to run in a suitable race ever since her move to the UK. In my view she ran better than the two forms suggest since switching from Andre Fabre to Julie Camacho back in May.

She showed good early speed on both occasions, albeit racing way too freely over 7 furlongs and subsequently 6 furlongs as well. Nonetheless, the Wolverhampton run looks quite good on form terms and the way she travelled for a long time after a long break was encouraging.

Obviously, she didn’t fulfill expectations in France. Fancied on her first two career starts as a juvenile in the famous blue Godolphin colours, she caught the eye on both occasions, though. Things didn’t quite go to plan both times but it looked obvious there is some talent.

A drop to the minimum trip on soft ground could certainly suit here. The wind operation suggests not all was right lately. With that in mind there is every chance she can improve quite a bit with those issues hopefully put to bed and race conditions possibly to her advantage. Certainly she could be good enough to win a race as poor as this.

In saying that, Proclivity also caught the eye a few starts back and find ideal conditions here. She’s the main danger. I go with Lory for the reason that I believe she offers more upside.

10pts win – Lory @ 11/2

………

8.30 Kempton: Class 3 Handicap, 1m 3f

Bottom-weight Picual looks potentially well-handicapped in this field. The lightly raced filly seriously caught the eye on her first two runs in Handicap company.

She thundered home in impressive style when she got off the mark at Nottingham – she won only by a neck but with much more authority than the winning margin would tell.

Next time at Sandown she was desperately unlucky. She trailed the field, the eventual winner went from the front and got first run; she endured a troubled passage and only got out late to finish second.

The handicapper hasn’t been harsh, thankfully. She is only 2lb up for the effort, and only 6lb altogether since Nottingham – form that has worked out really well.

Picual looked still learning on the job in all her runs. She is prone to miss the start, which is a concern. In this small field it may not be too much of an issue, though. The additional furlong looks sure to suit.

10pts win – Picual @ 5/2

Sunday Selections: 11th September 2022

3.55 Doncaster: Group 1 St. Leger, 1m6½f

New London is the right favourite. I’ve followed his season with joy, given he was one of my 5 To Follow for the season as well. He’s gone from strengths to strengths and will have a good chance to win this Classic.

This isn’t a vintage renewal and New London has got the strongest form in the book, plus has beaten some of todays rivals already – therefore it’s easy to see why he is clear at the top of the betting.

It’s hard to argue that his Gordon Stakes victory is a key piece of form that makes him the one to beat today.

Yet, I have some reservations over the combination of trip and ground. New London has got a fair chance to stay, though stamina isn’t a certainty over the Leger trip.

More so, his best performances came on fast ground. While It won’t be bottomless today, there is going to be significant give in ground, nonetheless. The price suggests there are zero worries about either parameter. I have concerns and with that in mind have to oppose him at this short price.

My clear number two on the shortlist is Hoo Ya Mal. A surprise runner-up in the Derby, he was subsequently third behind New London in the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood.

On the surface he was fair and square beaten that day. Nonetheless, in my view he is much more closly matched with the favourite than the final result of that race and the price difference in the betting today suggest.

In the Gordon Stakes Hoo Ya Mal seriously caught my eye, in fact. He improved in fine style from five furlongs out; he made rapid progress in the home straight and hit the front two furlongs from home. Ultimately, he paid the price in the closing stages for this huge but inefficient effort.

Plenty has been made of Hoo Ya Mal’s subsequent and most recent victory in the March Stakes. It was a workmanlike performance, rather than a fleshy effort against inferior rivals workmanlike style. But he showed enough to enhance his reputation in my book: he produced a solid change of gear and proved his stamina.

It was a lovely Leger prep, I feel.. Everything points to a big run today. The trip will suit. The ground is unlikely to pose an issue. Different ground conditions and the additional distance could easily see Hoo Ya Mal turn the table with New London.

He’s also closely matched on topspeed with the Godolphin horse: 107 for Hoo Ya Mal’s Derby run; 108 for new London’s victory at Goodwood.

I struggle to make a serious case for other horses in the race. The “hype horse” Haskoy has to prove her class significantly up in class. Eldar Eldarov could improve back over this sort of trip. But I don’t rate him a better chance than Hoo Ya Mal.

Emily Dickinson looks a huge price, and has a solid each-way chance I feel. She stays the trip, has the pedigree and clearly talent; with ease in the ground she may find a bit of improvement, and that would make her dangerous.

10pts win – Hoo Ya Mal @ 8.6

……..

1.15 Curragh: Premier Handicap, 6f

Top-weight Power Under must carry a huge weight in this race. The jury is out whether he’s truly as good as his current 110 Official Rating. However, with soft ground sure to suit, I believe in these type of conditions there’s every chance he is that good, and perhaps a few pound better, in fact.

It has to be, if he should go close today. In saying that, if that turns out to be a correct assessment he’ll be a huge runner in this Premier Handicap.

The 4-year-old caught my eye when last seen over this course and distance. He finished third that day but fared best of those up with the pace. The form looks strong, with the winner holding his own in Group races subsequently, and the runner-up winning a Handicap off a big weight.

One can discount his penultimate run in Group 2 class when he welt, but he was strong in the finish landing a Cork Listed sprint. he seems to do well off breaks, so not having run since June isn’t a concern.

Power Under Me has yet to run to a noteworthy topspeed rating. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt though. Today he’s got a super chance: a group horse in a Handicap….

10pts win – Power Under Me @ 10/1

……..

2.25 Curragh: Group 1 Flying Five, 5f

As intriguing as this contest is, especially with Highfield Princess and her wonderful success story this season, the market overestimates her chances today, I feel.

She may well struggle after all her recent exertions on the deep ground likely encountered up the Curragh straight. She handles the going, no doubt, but I firmly believe the rain does suit A Case Of You much more.

Especially over the minimum trip, as A Case Of You holds the strongest piece of form in these conditions – his Longchamp victory from last October in heavy going, awarded a 114 topspeed rating, gives him an outstanding chance if he can be in the same form today.

He was an excellent runner-up in the Flying Five 12 months ago, before landing the Prix de l’Abbaye in dramatic fashion. He proved that wasn’t a fluke when winning the Al Quoz sprint at Meydan earlier this year.

Since then two lesser performances raise a few question marks. But with conditions sure to suit today, a fresh A Case Of You should be hard to beat.

10pts win – A Case Of You @ 8.4

Preview: Irish Champions Day 2022

Irish Champions Weekend is here. Always a superb two days of top-class racing. Especially Saturday at Lepordstown on a sunny Saturday is probably one of my favourite days for going racing.

I won’t go myself today, unfortunately. But certainly can’t wait to watch the action later on from the comfort of the living room. The sun is shining here where I live, not all that far from Leopardstown. I envy all those lucky folks who can make their way to the track this afternoon.

As for the racing: naturally my eyes are drawn to the Champion Stakes. It looks a fine renewal on paper. Soft ground isn’t ideal, nonetheless the right horse are here to compete. From a betting perspective I also am keen on the subsequent Solonaway Stakes, precisely because the going is soft.

…….

3.45: Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes, 1 mile 2f

French superstar Vadeni is favourite to follow in the footsteps of Almanzor, who won the 2016 edition of the Irish Champion Stakes for Jean-Claude Rouget and Christophe Soumillon.

The 3-year-old colt enjoyed a sensational season to date: runaway winner in the French Derby, and subsequently a dramatic victory in the Eclipse at Sandown.

He enjoyed a break in the meantime and is now back to go and win the long-term target connections set out for the season.

Vadeni’s brilliant ability to change gear in an instant, tactical versatility, ability to handle soft ground and weight allowance he receives from his elders makes him fair favourite in the betting market and also in my book.

Yet, I do wonder whether the soft going may take the sting out of his turn of foot. Yes, he won the French Derby in similar conditions, but he meets much better opposition today and my feeling is he’s a seriously better horse on decent ground.

Also he meets some of the older rivals on worse weight terms than at Sandown. That may not be an issue, as Vadeni should have improved physically too – it’s somewhat nit-picking; you have to be, though. In such a competitive field, when the favourite is such a short price.

This years 2000 Guineas runner-up Luxembourg endured troubled campaign. He missed the Derby and only returned to the track about four weeks ago in a Group 3 at the Curragh. He got the job done, without sparkling, but is expected to come on for the run a lot.

You certainly can bet on seeing a better version of Luxembourg today than in August. Whether it’s going to be enough to win an Irish Champion Stakes is a different matter.

The trip will suit, the ground isn’t ideal but he handles it. Yet, he’s far from outstanding on topspeed, with his career best going back twelve month – 102 in the Beresford Stakes. He’s got a bit to find with most of his rivals today. He could have the ability to do so, mind.

Stable mates Stone Age and Broome are intriguing runners. The feeling is Stone Age has more to offer than what he has shown since landing the Derby Trial over this course and distance back in May.

Broome won at Royal Ascot this summer, was then unlucky when last seen at Saratoga. An easy lead for him would be a dangerous scenario.

Don’t underestimate Alenquer. He was a dramatic winner of what was perhaps the race of the season, the Tattersalls Gold Cup, back in May at the Curragh. He wasn’t disgraced at Sandown in the Eclipse the next time despite finishing last, and comes here fresh.

Grand Prix de Paris winner Onesto provides a second chance for French connections. The drop in trip may not be ideal, but on ground soft it may not be a big deal. He probably can be marked up for his French Derby 6th place finish and seems to improve at the right time of the year.

Underestimate Mishriff at your peril. Now a 5-year-old, he may not be quite as good as he was last season, but he still runs to a seriously high standard. He was arguably the most unfortunate runner-up in the Eclipse back in June. It’s fair to say if the gap doesn’t close for him when it did then, he probably beats Vadeni on the day.

There are valid excuses for his poor subsequent performance in the King George. He’s better judged on his fine runner-up effort behind superstar colt Baaeed in the Juddmonte International Stakes. Mishriff didn’t stand a chance with Baaeed, but who would?

Yet, this second place finish is still the best performance this season by any runner in this Irish Champions Stakes field on ratings: it was worthy of a 111 topspeed rating and 124 Racingpost Rating – both the highest achieved this season.

Soft ground isn’t quite ideal, though. Mishriff’s best performances all come on decent ground. Nonetheless, he handles it. The drop to 10 furlongs is sure to suit.

Selection:

The ground should be the leveler, I feel. There are plenty of reasons to like Vadeni, yet he’s a short enough price in a race with solid alternatives. Fellow French raider Onesto makes plenty of appeal on prices.

But in summary I must give Mishriff the nod. He’s a superb price, given he’s probably the best horse in the race. He showed signs of brilliance and signs of the opposite this season. Let’s hope he can run one more time to his best. His best will be good enough to win.

10pts win – Mishriff @ 5.3

………

4.20: Group 2 Solonaway Stakes, 1 mile

Many intriguing contenders here, without a real standout chance in my view. Even though, I feel Boundless Ocean could be too good in this field if he can show his best on the soft ground.

British raider Jadoomi relishes ease in the ground and improved nicely this season, having won two on the bounce, including the Group 2 Celebration Mile at Goodwood when last seen. His best topspeed of 88 doesn’t scream short-price favourite, though.

After 367 days off the track the filly Just Beautiful is back. She was highly progressive as a 3-year-old, won five of her seven career runs and could easily improve to a level good enough to land this race. The question marks of race fitness and ground suitability are off-putting, nonetheless, especially at the current odds.

One who is certain to be seen to his best in these conditions is Raadobarg. I was waiting for him to get another chance in a race with plenty of cut in the ground. He ran better this year than bare form may suggest.

He won two on the bounce at the beginning of the season, was then desperately unlucky in a Listed contest at Longchamp, before finishing well from off the pace in the Celebration Stake at the Curragh when not advantaged by his racing position. He ran a better race than the 5¼ lengths margin behind Boundless Ocean in the Desmond Stakes suggested.

Raadobarg has to improve on ratings to seriously feature. His best 92 topspeed is solid in this field, but no more. However, with the right ground conditions, possibly a positive right from the #1 draw, he could find that bit of extra. If he does he’s quite a bit overpriced.

10pts win – Raadobarg @ 6.8

German Oaks 2022 Preview

There’s every chance a filly is the best horse in Germany’s classic generation this year. And that says something, given Derby hero Sammarco looks a special colt.

Nonetheless, it was the filly Wagnis who took on the colts in the Derby, who seriously caught my eye that day at Hamburg. With Holly Doyle in the saddle she was fancied in the betting but ultimately encountered the most horrible run from the widest draw in stall 20.

She had to race in rear of the field, which was no advantage at all, and had way too much to do turning for home. Just before the home straight entering the final bend Wagnis stumbled badly and nearly threw Holly Doyle off. The pair recovered, made rapid progress toward inside just to find no room to manouver over 1 furlong out.

Given the circumstances Wagnis confirmed the incredible promise she showed weeks earlier in the Group 3 Diane Trial at Hoppegarten. Then she produced a serious turn of foot to win in style, leaving some solid opposition behind.

It was this dazzling performance so that made connections believe she is good enough to take on the boys in the Derby.

Wagnis is clearly a temperamental filly at the same time. Not an easy ride. She can mess up at the start. She can pull hard. She can find trouble.

That’s a real concern today, where we have with Nachtrose a highly talented and uncomplicated filly, who can go from the front and will stay all day and night.

Nachtrose was a fine winner of the Oaks d’Italia. That was only her third lifetime start, after getting off the mark in a maiden at Munich in April.

She is progressing rapidly and has formally the strongest winning form in this field, given the Italian Oaks are a Group 2. There’s every chance she can improve again. And if she does she may be hard to catch.

In addition Nachtrose has been handed a huge advantage with stall #3. She will get the run she wants, most likely prominent, tracking the pace, if not even attempting to make all.

I don’t rate Toy, Aiden O’Brien’s runner. She improved quite dramatically when a good runner-up in the Irish Derby. But it was a decimated field that day and she doesn’t possess the class some others in this field do.

Well Disposed was a fine winner of the Group 3 Mehl Mulhens-Trophy on the Derby card at Hamburg when last seen. She could improve again but was well beaten by Wagnis in the Diane Trial.

From the bigger prices I give Toscana Belle a solid each-way chance. She changed yards recently, after running on quite well n the Diane Trial. The additional furlong will suit today.

But it’s Wagnis I must go with. She is too big a price. She will need some luck, given most likely she will come from off the pace. I imagine there’ll be a good pace, which will suit, though. It’s a smaller field than at Hamburg, which is a positive too. I have no doubt she is the most talented filly in the race. Here’s hoping she can prove it today.

There is a livestream for Düsseldorf here.

10pts win – Wagnis @ 13/2