Preview: Tattersalls Millions & Craven Stakes

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Another successful day punting wise – Corbata won the Leopardstown Handicap as I had hoped he would. It was a bit of a surprise to see him going off the 9/4 second favourite, considering that I felt he was already too big at 15/8 last night. Anyway, BOG is a nice thing to have, indeed! Corbata travelled well throughout the race, though didn’t seem to find an awful lot off the bridle. But in the end the head was in front when it mattered. First winner for John Oxx this season btw…

Hakam didn’t quite enjoy the same fortune. He travelled much the best but had absolutely nowhere to go until very late. It’s fair to say he was the best horse in the race and would have won with a clear run. Well, that’s racing.

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200,000 Tattersalls Millions 3-Y-O Trophy

This intriguing contest over 1m 2f looks wide open. As usual at this stage of the year it remains to be seen whether horses have trained on over the winter or not. Therefore I remain cautious about short priced three year olds on their seasonal reappearance.

Favourite Secret Belief certainly looked a top class colt in the making when landing the 500,000 Tattersalls Millions 2YO Trophy last season here at Newmarket. A subsequent disappointing effort in Group 1 company can be excused on the basis of the soft ground that day. On pedigree he looks to have the trip surely in his blood.

In fact she should actually improve for this stiffer test. The yard is in red hot form too – says Secret Belief should have a major chance to go very close if he has wintered well and is fit enough for his comeback run. I do like him, but 2/1 looks a skinny price nonetheless.

Lightly raced Rocky Rider won really well on the deep Chelmsford polytrack last month. Much more is required here though. He may well be up for it, but I can easily oppose him on the basis of his short price. Richard Hannon’s Azmaam kept on well in the 500,000 Tattersalls last season, but on pedigree he doesn’t look certain to stay the trip.

Cape Clear Island is very hard to fancy on what he has shown last season. He may improve for the step up in trip, but may well fall short of staying it either. O’Brien’s stable form isn’t exactly inspiring too.

I kind of like Mike De Kock’s Tannaaf. I’m pretty sure he can improve over the new trip. He was unlucky in his only run at Meydan earlier this year and remains on of the more interesting candidates in this race. He’s a fair price. Groor may be progress as well, 10f seems ideal on pedigree. But he had already nine career starts and others make simply much more appeal.

If there is one horse overpriced in my eyes then it must be the second Godolphin runner Greatest Journey. Trained by Saed Bin Suroor, this gelding has gradually improved over the winter on the All-Weather. The drop in trip to 7f was never to suit when he was the last time seen, though he wasn’t disgraced finishing third behind the subsequent 3yo AW Champion.

He has fitness on his side here I feel, but even more so looks likely to progress for this new trip. On pedigree he’s entitled to stay 10f and he has won comprehensively over 9f in the past. If he can transform his recent form to the turf I think he can be a big runner in this race.

Greatest Journey @ 9/1 Coral – 5pts win

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4.05 Newmarket: Craven Stakes (Group 3)

There are a couple of potentially smart individuals in this seven runner line-up for the 2015 Craven Stakes, but two horses do really jump out here for me: Moheet and Hail The Hero. Both have been quite expensive as yearlings and logically both are bred to be really good horses. Pedigree isn’t all of course, but there is much more to them:

The Richard Hannon inmate Moheet is only a maiden winner to date. However the way he won on his debut last year at Salisbury couldn’t have been more impressive. The turn of foot he produced once Dettori pushed the button was instantaneous.

Yes, it was probably not the strongest of maidens, however this was visually as impressive as it gets. He looked special that day. One can only hope that he has wintered well and is fit for his seasonal reappearance. I believe he has the most potential in this field and is clearly the one to beat in my eyes.

As an interesting alternative I like to nominate Hail The Hero. He left Aiden O’Brien after a rather disappointing two year old campaign – even though a 2nd place to a subsequent close runner-up behind Gleneagles is not bad form at all. Though he didn’t quite progress as much as hoped, considering his huge 525k gns price tag.

On his seasonal reappearance at Doncaster last month he got finally off the mark. He travelled like a dream and put the race quite easily to bed. One would think that given his pedigree he’ll improve for the step to 1m. Now more mature, and with a recent run under his belt, I see no reason why he shouldn’t be capable of running really well. Mind you he is bred to be an absolute superstar and seems to get his game finally together.

Moheet @ 7/2 VC – 5pts win
Hail The Hero @ 22/1 – 5pts win

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Hakam has the edge

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Usually I avoid maidens like sprouts – but I’ve to make an exception here. The favourite Akeed Champion showed clearly promise last season and may well develop into a nice horse now as a three year old. The Fahey yard goes extremely well and for that simple reason you’d assume Akeed Champion is fit and well. But his two year old form is nothing out of the ordinary and the fact that he beaten a short favourite on his second start means he could be vulnerable today.

The Godolphin newcomer Gossiping is an interesting individual, considering his fine pedigree and the strong form of the yard. The Richard Hannon trained Acaster Malbis has experience on his side but appears exposed.

Interestingly, beside the favourite, only Charlie Hills’ inmate Hakam has a future big race entry (2.000 Guineas). The War Front son cost almost half a million US$ as a yearling and he’s obviously well bred and related to some fine horses. What I particularly like is the fitness edge. He started his campaign in a Lingfield maiden last month, when he finished 2nd, beaten in a photo and showed loads of greenness.

Hakam looks a big, strong individual with plenty of scope and should have learned plenty from his debut. The switch to turf should be no problem, nor the good ground. Since he is related to some fine turf horses, one would think he may turn out to be nice horse. If he’s a Guineas horse is another question, but on balance I feel he is overpriced in this field, where not too many horses make much appeal.

1.45 Newmarket: Hakam @ 7/2 Bet365 – 5pts win 

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

Gingili’s a big chance

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I feel that the betting market has it wrong here. The Swingback trained Bobs Lord Tara is surely entitled to go very close with strong recent form to his name but it doesn’t look right to have him the the odds-on favourite. While the drop in trip may well suit, the ground potentially won’t. He also has to give a good deal of weight away to the potentially biggest threat, Gingili. Six pounds, to be specific.

The former Irish point winner Ginili won two bumpers earlier this year and now over hurdles for the first time, should make his point experience count, particularly with trip and ground to suit. It’s telling that jockey Noel Fehily is travelling here for this one ride. Gingili must have a very big chance to follow on from the promise shown and should be the odds-on favourite in my mind.

3.45 Carlisle: Gingili @ 6/4 Coral – 10pts win

Monday Quickie at Redcar

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A quick tip for this Monday – Godolphin stable jockey William Buick has only one single ride today and he should make this a successful one. His mount Second Wave reappears after a promising debut win at this course last season. The yard is going really well, so one would assume the colt is probably fit enough for his comeback.

Second Wave is sure to appreciate the trip, which is a step up from his 7f maiden win, where he overcame greenness and stayed on well. He has scope to improve with age as well and meets perfect ground conditions today on his Handicap debut. That says his opening mark could be quite lenient as he is nicely bred and bound to progress – on paper at least.

4.20 Redcar: Second Wave @ 11/10 Ladbrokes – 10pts win

Photos – 2015 Grand National Weekend

WOW – It’s been a massive weekend! I’m just back from Aintree… and sorting my photos. That says, the National day started with a huge disappointment for me personally actually, when I was refused entry with my camera. Though, I got lucky at the end, when after the last race – I was handed back my cam by this time – they paraded Grand National winner Many Clouds in front of the stands once again – so I took the chance, went back in and got my lucky snaps of the champ!

The day before I had a quick stop-over at Leicester Racecourse. A beautiful track. Cosy and relaxed. It was from there where I got to know the big result from South Africa & Saratoga Dancer – my 10/1 Friday selection at Greyville! It’s going well in that sense lately. On the other hand my ante-post National fancy Rocky Creek didn’t do the job. But that’s alright, the National was won by an absolute superstar!

So, here’re some photos from Leicester, The Grand National and of course Many Clouds. Hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them!

Grand National winner Many Clouds

Aintree Grand National

Leicester Racecourse

Click Images to view in full size
All Photos: Credit Florian Christoph

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Saratoga Dancer’s ready to strike at Greyville!

I believe odds-on favourite Jet Explorer can be beaten here. He’s a fair Stakes performer, and his 4th in the Queen’s Plate is a big piece of form, though he hasn’t won in a long time and usually stays on from off the pace only beating tired horses, which can sometimes look spectacular from a visual point of view, but doesn’t mean that he is getting any closer to putting his head in front when it really matters. That says this race represents a significant drop in class and theoretically he’s the horse they all have to beat. However he probably won’t be 100%, as this is only a stepping stone and prep for bigger targets down the road.

There are some other good horses in the race here, but without a shadow of a doubt the most intriguing runner is lightly races Saratoga Dancer. He receives loads of weight from most rivals here and that should ensure that he’s well in, as he is clearly a better horse than his current rating of 78 in my mind. This will be his second run after a break as well after being gelded and his reappearance over 1.200m in a hot race was very promising last month.

He finished a fine third that day, less than two lengths beaten by Grade 1 winning Kochka while receiving only 3.5kg from this 105 rated top class individual. Kochka wasn’t 100% that day, but so wasn’t Saratoga Dancer, who also got a very light hands and heels ride but stayed on nicely over a trip short of his best. He clearly got ability and needs further. Up over 1.600m now, he’s got a massive chance to win.

7.15 Greyville: Pinnacle Stakes (3YO plus)
Saratoga Dancer @ 10/1 Sportingbet – 5pts win  

Horse Racing Around The Globe

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