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Kingston Mines a Threat with Blinkers

3.00 Scottsville: Track & Ball ‘Derby'(Grade 2)

This stayers contest has been won by Hot Ticket last year in impressive fashion, when it was still held at now defunct Clairwood racecourse over half a furlong longer trip. Now at Scottsville over 2.400m, the same result is expected nonetheless. Hot Ticket is the hot favourite, and for all the right reasons.

He’s South Africa’s top stayer, 112 rated, and has a prime chance in this field with the official ratings weights very much in is favour. No doubt, he’ll be hard to beat as he should be in peak form today after two decent prep runs over shorter. The only thing that may find him out is the trip. 2.400m on quick ground is potentially not his optimum. Nonetheless, I give him a 50% chance of winning the race, given that the opposition has so much to find on the ratings.

Realistically there are only three other runners able to put a fight to Hot Ticket. Disco Al has been in good form lately and stays the 2400m trip well. He is, however, slightly below top class level and was beaten by 5.5 lengths in this race last year. This Ramsden charge is well exposed these days and while sure to run his race, is likely to fall short.

Double Clouth is an improving sort. He tries this trip for the first time and if he stays it it may well help him to progress even further – however there isn’t much in his pedigree suggesting he’ll stay it. There is pace on here and it probably will find him out.

Also on the upward has been Kingston Mines. He has progressed from low grade handicaps into a multiple Grade 2 winner in the staying division. He is likely to be setting the pace here and has top jockey Delpech in the saddle. He was disappointing in his last two starts and has a good deal to find on the ratings. Blinkers are on though, and that could well help to squeeze out a bit of improvement again.

The two three year old’s Krambabuli and Mater James should find it very tough to compete. Even so the former one has to be respected coming from a top yard with an unexposed profile. Says trip and class are against him.

Verdict: No doubt, Hot Ticket is very hard to beat here. However I feel Kingston Mines is a real threat and underestimated. He developed into a very good stayer, is a multiple Stakes winner and is likely to make all from the front with first time blinkers added. He’ll ensure to set a good pace and will try to stretch them entering the home straight.

If this turns out to be the stamina test is should be then, there are only him and the favourite likely to be suited by it. Given that we know how good Hot Ticket is, but can’t be quite sure yet whether Kingston Mine has reached his full potential, I side with this overpriced De Kock runner. If he can improve for the new headgear, he’s in for a very big performance.

Kingston Mines @10/1 Sportingbet – 5pts Win

Rita’s Boy can take it all!

Twilight Son

Thursday was a day with mixed feelings – Hans Holbein finished the job nicely. He has enhanced his Derby credentials to an extend, is now a general 25/1 chance for the big race. Nonetheless he would have to improve a lot to be a real contender.

His victory meant the day finished in profit, though. Which is always positive. Says all other three selections ran really badly. None did even go close or was in contention when the field turned for home. Disappointing.

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3.45 Chester: Class 2 Handicap, 5f

This race is as open as it gets. The two horses on top of the betting are fair individuals with decent chances to go close, without instilling any confidence and they look short into. Godolphin’s Wanting has to prove that he can act on soft ground, while Snap Shots seems to be on a high enough mark for the moment. Anonymous John has performed really during the winnter on the All-Weather but went up in the mark to 95 without winning in his last six starts. He looks vulnerable off top weight.

The one that looks a tick overpriced in this field is Rita’s Boy. The mount of Franny Norton has ran well on his last two turf starts, finishing runner-up on both occasions behind good winners who followed on from that in good style. He’s been certainly unlucky not to finish closer lto, when he didn’t get a clear run until the final furlong marker, and even wasn’t beaten up. He surely could have finished closer.

He was hampered and knocked out of his rhythm on his penultimate start soon after the start, he also hang a bit in the closing stages but was just beaten by a tight margin by a well handicapped individual. who scored subsequently again.

He went up in the mark for these last two performances but could still be better than his current mark off 82 judged on those runs. He will need to bring his A-game though. He acts on soft ground though and the only slight concern today is the draw which would ideally a bit closer to the rail. Nonetheless I feel he has a cracking chance in this field.

Rita’s Boy @ 11/2 Paddy Power – 5pts win

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8.25 Nottingham: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 2f

The Michael Appleby runner Philba is an interesting contender in this race. He should improve from his seasonal reappearance six days ago but most importantly has been gelded since then. His sire poses some impressive starts for first time geldings, so it may be worth to have a punt on this three year old Cockney Rebel son.

He is also first time blinkered and is probably bound to make all from the front in a race that lacks strengths in depth. He has actually some pretty fair maiden form to his name, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him going strongly today with blinkers fitted now as a gelding.

Philba @ 14/1 William Hill – 5pts win 

Preview – 1.000 Guineas

Rowley Mile

The ground for Sunday remains quick at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile – perfect conditions for an exciting renewal of the 1.000 Guineas. The field may lack an obvious superstar at this stage, but  maybe there’s a new one born as soon as the horses have been crossing the winning post? We will see. It certainly looks a wide open affair.

The Favourite:

Godolphin’s Lucida is currently at the head of the market. She replaced long-time favourite Found in that particular position. The Ballydoyle filly is out, though, and her abscense has ripped a big hole into the betting market. Lucida is currently trading a 6/1 chance – not exactly a favourite in the true meaning of the word, is it?

The Shamardal filly hasn’t done too much wrong in her career. She was a progressive juvenile, finishing a close second behind Cursory Glance in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes, while following up with an impressive success in the Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket. Subsequently stepped up to 1m on her final start in 2014, she finished only fourth but the soft ground was probably against her.

One would think that on pedigree the 1m trip is ideal, so is the quick ground. Question mark is – did she train on? We haven’t seen her this season yet and have to find out this afternoon. She is a pretty good chance on her two year old form, though.

The Challengers:

Fadhayyil, currently a 7/1 chance, finished a good runner-up behind Lucida at Newmarket last year in the Rockfel. She has only had three starts to date and won only a maiden, but the step up to 1m looks sure to suit. If she can improve a bit for experience and distance, she is fairly closely matched with Lucida. We haven’t seen her this year either, though.

Lightly raced Jellicle Ball only won a Kempton maiden to date but clearly stepped up to pattern class when she repapered last month in the Fred Darling Stakes over seven furlongs. She is well bred and talented. With the recent run under her belt she’s bound to come on a good deal for an excellent runner-up effort that day. She is supposed to be better over further, so 1m looks a perfect trip for the moment. She is a big runner and money is coming for her.

David Wachman’s exciting Legatissimo won a Listed event over 9.5 furlongs last week. She loves the quick ground and is clearly very talented, but the drop in trip isn’t sure to suit her. However she is the choice of Ryan Moore and has to be respected for that simple reason.

Royal Ascot winner Osaila proved that she trained on thanks to a gutsy success in the Group 3 Nell Gwyn Stakes over 7f last month. She has good form over 1m from her only start over this trip when she ran out a fine 3rd at the Breeders Cup. She will need to improve a good deal, though, in order to be competitive today, I feel.

The Raven’s Pass filly Malabar proved her class in hot Group 1 races last year. Good performances in the Prix Marcel Boussac and Moyglare Stud Stakes give her a fair form chance if she has trained on. Recent Fred Darling scorer Redstart is not out of this either. She won well but has to improve for the new trip here again and one would think that runner-up Jellicle Bell is a better prospect, given that Redstart had everything going for herself from the front, which might not be the case here today.

The Outsiders:

There is plenty of money coming for Tiggy Wiggy. She is now into 10’s which is madness in my eyes. Apologies for the harsh words – but I have to be honest here. Maybe I eat my words afterwards, but that’s fine. I simply can’t see her stay. She is all speed on pedigree. She is all speed on visual impression. And she has been a precocious two year old sprinter, who doesn’t look to have grown allot over the winter. Others make simply much more appeal.

UAE Guineas and Derby winner Local Time is an interesting runner. She won at Newmarket over 7f last season but has particularly excelled on the Dirt this year at Meydan. if she can translate this form to turf now, she is not out of it. That says more is required here and others may have more scope.

Aiden O’Brien’s sole runner is Weld Park Stakes winner Qualify. She was a good two year old but has to step up a good deal here, as well as has to overcome a trip that looks like stretching her stamina. Irish Rookie won a Listed race over course and distance last November. Much more is needed today and the ground is a question mark too. Kodiac filly Terror looks up against it over this new trip.

Leaves me with the biggest outsider of them all – Queen Nefertiti. This Galileo filly, trained my David Wachman appears to be pretty overpriced in my eyes. A 33/1 shot at the moment, you can get 1/4 odds and 4 places with Paddy Power – this looks big value. Why? Well, this filly won on her debut last year a good maiden in pretty taking style and was ever since thought to be a Guineas horse.

She made her seasonal reappearance at Dundalk recently, the day when I was there and to be honest I really liked what I saw. She looked excellent in the parade ring, clearly has trained on and finished a nice third in a hot little race while only beaten in a very tight finish. She travelled strongly throughout, but gave the impression of greenness in the closing stages when she seemed to be a bit intimidated by the other horses beside her. She was literally sandwiched in the final half furlong, and didn’t stick her neck out as a consequence.

I would expect Queen Nefertiti to come on a good bit for the run. She should have learned plenty as well and with trip and ground very likely to suit, this extremely well bred filly could be able to outrun her big price tag. She is my selection against the field, in a wide open renewal, where I probably most like the Gosden filly – but can’t see 7/1 as a particularly appealing price.

1.000 Guineas – Newmarket; 1m, Group 1
Queen Nefertiti @ 33/1 Paddy Power – 0.5pts e/w

Corbata’s Golden Opportunity

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The lightly raced Corbata ran a big race on his seasonal reappearance in a hot Handicap at the Curragh last month. He finished really well and looked moment like the winner close home, just to get beaten in the dyingstrides by two better horses.

The winner went on to win a Group 3 last week, while the runner-up finished 4th in the 2.000 Guineas trial. That shows this form is very strong and merits serious respect. The handicapper has been lenient, though, as Corbata’s new mark is up by only one single pound. He takes on much lesser opposition here at Leopardstown on Wednesday and could have way too much on his plate for this lot.

Bottom weight Sakhees Jack is the main danger. A fine second on his seasonal reappearance, he has a chance of an unchanged mark. Red Ivy drops in class but has to prove her stamina. Fields Of May for Jim Bolger with first time blinkers can’t be discounted of a slipping mark.

4.55 Leopardstown: Corbata @ 15/8 PP – 10pts win