Iron Major’s a huge price

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I’ll be on my way to Dundalk today – for their weekly Friday night meeting. It’s far from a high class card, but I really like the track. A fair All-Weather surface, excellent facilities and a relaxed atmosphere. That’s all I need to be happy.

The feature on the card is the 7.35 Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Race for three year olds. A really good race one has to stay – the stand-out race by a mile this evening. There are a couple of promising individuals in the line-up, none less than the favourite Queen Nefertiti. She made a big impression when last seen at Leopardstown. O’Brien’s colt The Happy Prince won a maiden recently, while looking still very green. He’s a nice prospect, but that can be said about each and every runner. Great race!

Betting wise, I’ve serious interest only in one race – the 7.05 Handicap over seven furlongs. It looks open enough but I do feel veteran Iron Major is hugely overpriced at 10/1 – if he is fit on his seasonal debut. He’s down to a very low mark now, and has additional assistance of a 10lb claimer. Without coming close to win in his last eight starts, he performed with credit of much higher marks nonetheless.

In this modest field he is one who is proven over course and distance and has a very good chance to go close in my mind. That says only if he is fit enough for his first start in 2015. Concern is that his trainer hasn’t hit any sort of form yet. But I’m prepared to take the risk as Iron Major is more like a 5/1 chance in this field for me.

Iron Major @ 10/1 Paddy Power – 5pts win

Preview – Sandown Mile

Bow Creek

I love milers. Why? It’s simple: 1 mile races are the perfect combination of speed and stamina. Now, what does this say? I’m feeling quite excited about the Sandown Mile on Friday afternoon. My all-time favourite miler Paco Boy won this race twice during his illustrious career. So this race really has a special place in my heart.

That says we have a cracking renewal on our hands! Some smart, progressive milers are going to post. There might be bigger targets on their radar further down the line, but this is a good starting point. A real pointer in fact!

The jury is out on Shifting Power in my mind. He ran a cracker in last years 2.000 Guineas and backed it up with a fine second in the Irish equivalent behind Kingman. He ran another cracker in defeat in the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat that summer. But was subsequently a huge disappointment n lesser grade when last season in 2014.

His trainer feels he’s a Group 1 winner in the making. The form tells so, to an extend. I always thought he lacks the extra bit of speed required at the highest level, though. Now, the Sandown Mile is a Group 2 and Shifting Power entitled to be favourite. Particularly since he is in receive of weight from other main rivals. But his price is nothing more than fair. At 11/4 there are better alternatives.

The Irish trained Custom Cut really made gigantic progress last year. He won a couple of races, including the Group 2 Joel Stakes at Newmarket. I expect him to be ready for the race and a bold bid is expected. I’m just slightly worried that he certainly needs the lead to be seen at his best. However he may be challenged here, or at least won’t have it all that easy from the front with horses chasing him.

Here Comes When won two Group 2’s toward the end of last season. He’s been clearly progressive and an exciting prospect. However the quick ground certainly counts against him at Sandown. He seems sure to be seen to best effect with cut in the ground. For that simple reason he looks opposable to me.

By far the most exciting individual in this field is Bow Creek. Now trained by Charlie Appleby, he was a two times Group 2 winner last season for Mark Johnston. He landed the Celebration Mile at Goodwood from the front, despite hanging badly in the closing stages. He followed up with a gutsy success on Irish Champions Weekend.

Cheek-pieces fitted for the first time should help him to stay focused in the closing stages, as sometimes things seem to distract him and he can hang. No doubt he has bigger targets this year and will come on for the run, but he’ll love the fast ground and the track should suit as well. He looks a big price to me.

The rest of the field has allot to find against the main contenders. Baltic Knight went close to beat Custom Cut in a Listed event last year, but hasn’t been in any sort of form similar to that when seen recently. Fast conditions may not be quite suitable for Breton Rock and Master Carpenter. Top Notch Tonto would not be out of it if he could run to something like his performance in the Group 2 Boomerang Mile. But it’s not easy to see to be honest.

Verdict: A cracking renewal with some rally exciting horses in the line-up… you can’t ask for more. That says the penalties for last seasons successes make it an even more intriguing contest, in that sense that Shifting Power has no excuses receiving 5lb from his main rivals. However betting wise I’m sweet on Bow Creek. He has tons of potential plus track, trip, ground will suit perfectly.

2.30 Sandown: Bet365 Mile (Group 2)
Bow Creek @ 4/1 Paddy Power – 5pts Win

Scopey Bow and Arrow can win again

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CD scorer Pleiades proves popular in the betting. He may well have much more to offer now as a three year old. He won well here at Beverly when seen the last time in September 2014. He’ll go certainly close if fit for this seasonal reappearance. Though the opening mark looks rather stiff judged on his two year old form.

All-Weather performers Enlace and Crack Shot have fine recent form in the book and make this race an intriguing contest. But it is Godolphin’s Bow and Arrow who makes most appeal. This Iffraaj son certainly has the looks. He is big and scopey and still lightly raced, with more improvement likely to come.

He showed a great attitude to win a 7f Handicap on the Lingfield All-Weather earlier this month. Right up with the pace, he was heavily challenged in the final stages of the race but fought gamely back and held on to win. Now back on turf and only 3lb up for this performance, he may well be better than that. Beverley should suit his style of racing perfectly and the quick ground shouldn’t be a problem either.

3.00 Beverley: Class 3 Handicap, 7f
Bow and Arrow @ 9/4 PP – 10pts win

Who Dares Wins’s The Value In Epsom Finale

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The last race one on the card at Epsom today is quite an interesting Handicap for three year olds with potentially some fair individuals in the line-up. That says there could be one or another horse underestimated on a rather low mark. If that is the short priced favourite American Artist, well I’m not so sure. He won a maiden well last year, but nothing came really out of that and the step up in trip isn’t entirely sure to suit. Let’s take him on.

There are plenty of interesting alternatives. The Godolphin gelding New Strategy for example. There could be more to come over this 9f trip. Lear’s Rock is on a hat-trick and may well be able to overcome a penalty. Lightly raced Deerfield also can’t be discounted.

However I do like most the Hannon trained Jeremy colt Who Dares Wins. He improved for his second start last season and run eye-catchingly on his seasonal reappearance at Wolverhampton earlier this month. The 7f trip was maybe a bit too sharp that day and he was poorly positioned when the leaders kicked on. Though he travelled well for a long time and looked almost a non-trier entering the home straight while running out an easy third in the end.

You would imagine that he will come on for the run and has a bit more to offer on his Handicap debut, which is only his fourth start, off a low opening mark. The trip should be fine on quick ground to suit and as the bottom weight he may well be able to exploit a lenient looking mark. The fact that Sean Levey is coming here for this one ride only, is interesting too.

5.05 Epsom: Class 4 Handicap, 9f, 3yo 
Who Dares Wins @ 9/1 Sportingbet – 5pts win

Can Sennockian Star bounce back?

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Very interesting day at Epsom tomorrow. It’s the Derby Trial Day. Exciting Christophermarlowe is the hot favourite to land the feature race on the card. If you have red my Horses To Follow List then you’ll know by know that I’m pretty sweet on this son of Tapit. The trip will certainly suit tomorrow and I expect a big run.

Betting wise I’m most intrigued by the 1m 2f Handicap, though. An open & competitive looking contest but I’m not sure if the right horses are at the head of the market. I can see why What About Carlo is favoured to run well after a fair effort in the Lincoln Handicap. The step to 10f should suits perfectly, given that he won over course and distance last year. Though a caree best is required on ground that didn’t seem to suit in the past.

The progressive Mount Logan may relish the fast surface in contrast, but will he be able to cope as well with the drop in trip? Recent Windsor winner Collaboration takes a steep rise in class. He looked good winning a class 5 Handicap, but much more is required here. Fire Fighting looks not out of this by all means, however has to overcome a very tough mark.

For me by far the most interesting runner is Sennockian Star. He won this very same race last year and won another big Handicap at Glorious Goodwood of a 4lb higher mark than what he is rated right now, and with conditions very much to suit, one would hope that he can run well.

He is a horse that can be on or off and you never quite know when he is on a good day. His recent form isn’t too inspiring, but the gradual drop in the mark, plus a track and conditions to suit could see him easily being there or thereabouts. He looks a tasty price and offers value in this field.

3.55 Epsom: Class 2 Handicap, 1m 2f
Sennockian Star @ 14/1 William Hill – 5pts win

Brighton conditions in favour of Jet Setting

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It must be a tip in itself that Irish raider Taexali comes over to Brighton to try to get off the mark in a maiden with jockey Shane Foley booked to ride. This Raven’s Pass colt showed nice early speed on debut in a very hot Curragh maiden that works out well form-wise. He faded late and was certainly not disgraced.

Worries are the much different ground today in my mind. It’s fast as it often is at Brighton. The track with its emphasis on stamina may help, but he’s a very short favourite and may be worth to take on in these conditions.

With the Richard Hannon trained filly Jet Setting, there is potentially a dangerous rival. The Fast Company daughter started slowly and looked green on debut earlier this month, but finished fast. She’ll be much better suited to the fast ground today than the softish conditions at Leicester the last time.

She’ll get further in time, no doubt, but the track may well suit perfectly today. Her five pounds sex allowance are certainly a bonus and Sean Leavey booked on his only ride on the day could well be a tip in itself too. This filly could be a big danger against the short favourite and makes appeal at 2/1 in a field where nothing else looks to have a realistic shout to win.

4.40 Brighton: Maiden Stakes, 5f
Jet Setting @ 2/1 Bet365 – 10pts win

Eisenhower Open To Plenty Of Progress!

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A maiden at Cork that doesn’t look overly strong. The short-priced Weld favourite looks like one I’m happy to take on. Hasn’t been seen for roughly a year and despite fair form in two starts last season, it is nothing out of the ordinary.

Without a shadow of a doubt the most appeal makes the Aiden OBrien one-time raced Eisenhower. He is lovely bred, and while he is sure to get much further in time than this minimum 5f trip here, he should have no problems dropping down from his 7f debut run.

That day at Gowran Park he travelled much the best, loomed up large on the inside to take up the lead around two furlongs out, but then seemed not quite sure he was supposed to do next. He faded badly and showed signs of greenness big time. There is much more to come from him and the drying ground suits him perfectly. He looks a rather big price in my eyes.

5.15 Cork: Maiden Stakes, 5f
Eisenhower @ 11/4 Betfred – 10pts win

Horse Racing Around The Globe

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