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Dubai: Longshots of the Day

Year in year out Dubai World Cup night signals the return of the flat – at least to me personally. A great day of racing it usually is, even though not a happy hunting ground betting wise.

The question today really is: by how far will Arrogate win? He’s the red hot favourite to land the World Cup and there is zero reason to oppose him. However there are two turf races that appear much more prone for an upset – here’re my two longshots ofthe day:

2.00: Al Quoz Sprint

Ertijaal seems the right favourite but not the right price. Yes, he is unbeaten in two starts this season and clearly loves Meydan but the majority of those successes came over the shorter 1.000m trip.

If Limato can bring his A-game he’s a big danger with decent ground he relishes to play with. Is he ready? Jungle Cat stepped up to win a good 6f sprint over CD when last seen, he’s sure to give his running but is he good enough?

From the bigger prices you have to consider Hong Kong’s Amazing Kid, a speedy sort who’s better over the minimum trip but the ground and flat finish may suit him. The same could possibly be said about Medicean Man who ran really well in two starts here at Meydan this year, though over 1.000m. But at 66’s could be worth a spunt

Not quite as big in the betting but overpriced in my book is Aiden O’Brien’s Washington DC. A classy, ultra consistent sprinter over both 5- and 6 furlongs. AOB did not enjoy the best of success at Meydan in the past but brings a strong team this time around.

The now four year old is rarely outside the money and ran close in some big sprints last season. Granted he has a bit to find with some of these and his last win came over seven furlongs on the Dundalk All-Weather, this race could be ready made for him.

At least with ground to suit and a trip he’s sure to get every inch of it he is underestimated in the field.

Selection:
5pts win – Washington DC @ 16/1 PP

……

3.30 Dubai Turf

This looks quite an open race to me with question marks all over aplenty of runners. That says you can make a case for aplenty of these too!

However I am surprised to see Christophe Ferland’s charge Heshem such a big price in the betting as he is. This horse is poised for a big run in my mind and according to the trainer has travelled extremely well.

Heshem is still a somewhat lightly raced individual after a fine three year old campaign Group 2 company culminating in an excellent runner-up effort on Arc day in the Prix Dollar, when he had today’s race favourite Zarek behind himself.

The fact that connections gave the now four year old colt a spin on the All-Weather in preparation of this race race seems they mean business. Tactically he’s more likely to be closer to the pace, which would make sense utilising a fine draw.

Selection:
5pts win – Heshem @ 22/1 Bet365

…….

Read also my comprehensive preview of the Sheema Classic 

British Champions Day or the end of the flat

Ascot Grand Stand, by Florian Christoph

British Champions Day is synonymous with the end of the flat season – hard to believe but the end of 2016 renewal is nearly upon us! It certainly passed me in the blink of an eye – or so it felt!

Honestly, I never really got into it. I missed out on many big days. Was just too busy with other stuff. I went to the Curragh just twice. Which is a crying shame.

Take simply: I never got emotionally involved in this season at all.

It didn’t help – I guess – my betting was brutal the first half of the season, slightly improved in the second half, though without ever coming close to making something like a profit.

Gotta to get going in the All-Weather season again, which usually works quite well if I put in the time and the effort. It’s something I enjoy. But for one last time, let’s have a look at those races of British flat season that do stand out.

Thoughts and selections are below – follow them may lead to bankruptcy. So do it on your own responsibility:

2.00 Ascot: Don’t Touch E/W @ 66/1 Coral (1/5, 5places)

Wide open race and Don’t Touch is surely not a prime chance in this competitive race, given he has yet to prove his class beyond listed level. Nonetheless he’s a speedy sort with an impressive record over six furlongs and if the first time blinkers can edge out a bit of improvement then he is in with a shout to content for the placing at least.

2.35 Ascot: Zhukova @ 5/1 Bet365

Potentially a minefield this race, but Dermot Weld’s filly has the right profile to win it.
Still not too many miles on the clock, lightly raced this year while unbeaten in 2016, she usually is not too far off the pace which I feel could be crucial today.

3.10 Ascot: Hit It A Bomb @ 25/1 Ladbrokes

Hasn’t hit the heights of last season in  two starts since his return, but may improve from those two runs and the light season could be an advantage today if he is still as good as he promised to be as a juvenile. Conditions should suit him. Of course he has a bit to find on form and the ratings with the likes of Minding and Galileo Gold.

However one shouldn’t forget they have had a hard and long season that started quite early as well, so they may well run not to their true form today. A bit improvement from HIAB and a bit regression from the key contenders, and the 25/1 looks a huge price.

3.45 Ascot: Jack Hobbs @ 14/1 Ladbrokes

It’s probably a stupid bet trusting a horse that has been pulled up when last seen over half a year ago, running after a long lay-off in a race as deep as this is. But regardless, I feel the price is too big. In theory Jack Hobbs should be getting better the older he gets.

Now more mature after a summer off, John Gosden can get his horses ready first time out and Jack Hobbs won FTO in the past – I like the fact that he should be in the right spot when they turning for home, given he is usually right up with the pace, so does not need in-running luck, which will inevitably play a role today for some of the more fancied runners.

4.05 Catterick: Machine Learning @ 5/1 Bet365

Fine winner on penultimate start, probably should have won under penalty the next time. Still on a fair mark and now heading to Catterick for the first time. Michael Bell has an excellent record here, even better with those he brings here for their first run at this odd track. Fine Apprentice is booked, trainer and jockey enjoy some success together – from bottom weight Machine Learning must have a big chance.

The Curragh: A piece of history

Irish Thoroughbred

Like any old storyteller The Curragh Racecourse bares the wrinkles and ravages of time. However, she wears them with pride, a pride in knowing that she has been telling her enthralling story for a very long time.

The word “Curragh” itself means place of the running horse, and as early as the 1700’s racing as we know it was taking place on The Curragh. Now, approaching the twilight of the 2016 racing season The Curragh is preparing to pull on her surgery gown in preparation for the sixty-five million Euro face lift many have longed for.

Having grown up to two miles from The Home of the Classics I have always seen the Curragh as a place  of wonder and mystery. What champion of the future will make its stage entrance on the hallowed turf? What great of the now will fight to hold its reputation as a true champion?…

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Monday Betting: All-Weather

Laytown2

2.30 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Nursery, 1m 141y

Favourite Ripoll could still be on the up, but at a much bigger price Monday Club is an intriguing contender as he finished only one place behind Ripoll when the two met the last time here at Wolverhampton – form that looks very strong and is franked through Ripoll, who was subsequently a runaway winner at Kempton.

Monday Club had the widest draw to overcome in that race, travelled well but was briefly off the bridle over 4f when trying to close the gap to the leading pack, which seemingly slipped away. He came back on the bridle, travelling strongly into the home straight, though seemed to hang a bit to his left then and wasn’t helped by shifting horses who prevented him from a clear run.

He probably was a tired horse at that stage anyway, so the slight drop in trip should suit perfectly. He gets 2lb off his mark and has a decent 3lb claimer on board today. From a handicapping perspective he must have strong claims in my mind.

Working against him will the unkind draw – again widest of all. He will have to get all the brakes and need to be well in to overcome in a race like this, but at a huge price is certainly worth the gamble.

Monday Club @ 25/1 Coral – 5pts Win

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5.20 Kempton: Class 4 Handicap, 7f

I firmly have my eyes on Loyalty who seems underestimated here. His last run in much better class 4lb out of the handicap at Chelmsford wasn’t a bad one, but I thought he was most eye-catching over course and distance on his return when he made all from a wide draw and just tired in the final furlong, probably in the need of a run.

He’s got a decent draw and is on a fair mark at the moment, although the trip could be on the sharp side. However he has won over 7f in the past and loves Kempton. Given he’ll make this a stamina test from the front again he could be primed for a big run today.

Loyalty @ 18/1 William Hill – 5pts Win

Fairyhouse Betting: Grade 1 Action

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Royal Bond Novice Hurdle (Grade 1)

Willie Mullins holds the keys in his hands to the outcome of this race. Exciting Long Dog might be hard to beat but stable mate Bachasson can’t be underestimated.

The French import is unbeaten in four starts in Ireland and landed a good Grade 3 Hurdle in excellent style when last seen. He’s also receiving some weight from Long Dog.

Bachasson @ 7/2 Paddy Power – 5pts Win

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Hatton’s Grace Hurdle (Grade 1)

If Arctic Fire runs to his best he’ll be probably running away with this. However he’s fallen short to prevail on the highest level up until now and is one I’m prepared to take on.

Receiving 4lb from all his rivals, French gelding Gwencily Berbas is an interesting alternative. He probably would like it a bit softer but has won on yielding ground here at Fairyhouse over 2m on Grade 3 level earlier this month.

Still lightly raced, he is unexposed over the 2 1/2m trip, which on pedigree should very much suit.

Gwencily Berbas @ 10/1 Paddy Power – 5pts Win

Preview: Hennessy Gold Cup

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3.00 Newbury: Hennessy Gold Cup (Grade 3 Handicap)

It’s great to see Bobs Worth back as a contender for a big race. His prep over hurdles when beating Simonsing was encouraging but I find it hard to trust him to back it up stepping up to 3m plus in a much tougher race.

Ante-post favourite Saphir Du Rheu has top credentials. His trainer knows what it takes to win the race. The six year old could still be on the up and looked striving on his seasonal debut. That says 11-12 is a tough ask and it needs a special performance.

I struggle to see why Smad Place is as short as he is, as in my mind he will struggle in a deep race like this off a big weight. If In Doubt has still not too many miles on the clock for a seven year; he could bounce back given he’s on a handy mark.

Ned Stark and The Young Master will enjoy this test of stamina in soft conditions. Both have fair credentials and could still have a bit more to offer.

Seemingly not too much love from the punters gets last years Hennessy runner-up Houblon Des Obeaux. True, his seasonal return late in October wasn’t all too encouraging, but also not completely off putting, given another crack at the Hennessy was always the target.

He was a fine second behind subsequent Grand National winner Many Clouds but is one pound lower rated today. If in the same sort of form he must have a big chance given he backed this run up with two other strong performances subsequently.

Houblon Des Obeaux @ 14/1 Paddy Power – 5pts Win

Chelmsford: Jassur deserves another chance

Gordon Lord Byron

6.10 Chelmsford: Class 6 Nursery, 1m 2f

Competitive affair and more open than the market suggests in my mind. The favourite has a big shout of an unchanged mark after an excellent performance lto but looks a skinny price nonetheless.

Goldenfield and Jassur both ran eye-catchingly in the same race last month, which looks strong form in my mind.

Goldenfield fared better, tracking the pace and just came up short. A 2lb hike in the mark is fair and he may improve again.

Jassur is more interesting though, given his big price tag. He set a suicidal pace the last time but was still there in the home straight; it was no surprise to see him fade badly eventually. The merit of the performance looks better than the bare result suggests

He won at Chelmsford over 10f before by a street and could easily have more to offer off his current mark, particularly with a different ride.

Jassur @ 10/1 Paddy Power – 5pts Win

Southwell: Schottische has a big shout

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Winner and a third today – we clearly make some progress here. Even though I would have much preferred Dynamo Walt to win than Natural Nine – but hey, I don’t wanna complain.

12.10 Southwell: Class 6 Amateur Handicap, 1m

Two horses caught my eye on the Southwell sand recently. One is Roger Thorpe who was unlucky to bump into a seriously well handicapped horse the other day. He has a big shout today, though the jockey and the draw are slight concerns.

For a much bigger price I feel Schottische is interesting. She was quite unlucky two starts back here at Southwell when she travelled strongly but got badly hampered approaching the home turn when coming with a huge run, only to get checked moments later yet again.

It was impressive how she stuck to the task and finished as close as did. I didn’t pay attention when she popped up at Lingfield subsequently. 10f is too far form her. Back at Southwell now she’s really interesting, back over 1m and 2lb below her last winning mark which came over course and distance earlier this year.

Schottische @ 16/1 bet365 – 5pts Win

Eye-Catchers: Kempton on Monday

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3.35 Chelmsford: Class 2 Handicap, 5f

Seven year old Dynamo Walt is probably high enough in the mark here but ran with plenty of credit the last two starts, following on from his half a lengths success over course and distance.

The draw hasn’t been kind those last two times, it is much more in his favour here. It was eye-catching how he overcame the widest draw at Kempton lto, burning allot of energy in the first two furlongs to get across and take the lead.

He tired eventually in the final furlong, but the merit of this performance is better than the bare result. The form starts to work out well too in the meantime.

Dynamo Walt @ 18/1 Bet365 – 5pts Win

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4.05 Chelmsford: Class 4 Handicap, 7f

Lightly raced three year old Natural Nine drops down to 7f and has a big chance to follow-up on two strong recent performances. He found the mile trip too far two starts back here at Chelmsford, coming off a break after winning a Beverly maiden in June.

He really caught my eye the last time at Kempton, though. Changed tactics saw him held up; he travelled very strongly and made excellent progress in the home straight, though got hampered at a crucial stage around the final furlong marker by a shifting horse.

He didn’t quite seem to see out the trip anyway, so it’s questionable how much that really cost him. But he came a long way clear of the rest of the field and was only 3 lengths behind smart, well handicapped & subsequent scorer Afjaan.

With conditions sure to suit, I feel Natural Nine could have still a bit more to offer from his current mark off 79.

Natural Nine @ 4/1 Coral – 5pts Winner

Wolverhampton: Clockmaker Can go Close

Laytown 3

20.15 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

Despite his age, nine year old veteran Clockmaker makes plenty of appeal in this race from his good draw. He is certainly down a good mark, given he’s a couple of pounds below rated below his last (turf) winning mark and has won off his current rating on the All-Weather before.

His most recent performance here at Wolverhampton over the 7f trip in a better race was most eye-catching given that he ran off like a lunatic, leading the field by several lengths, even when approaching the home straight. It wasn’t a surprise to see him tire soon after, yet he led the field into the final furlong and finished a good 4th in the end.

With a slightly better judged race he can go very close given the handicapper left his mark unchanged.

Clockmaker @ 14/1 Paddy Power – 5pts Win