Wednesday Selections, February, 7th February 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

6.25 Wolverhampton: Class 3 Handicap, 7f

Hot race, with plenty of established form on offer, even though many are well exposed, which leaves the door open for relatively low mileage gelding Mickey.

The five year old returned to the racetrack in December at Lingfield from a 15 months long absence. He was well backed in a tough handicap, however, bottled his chances at the start. He travelled well, though wasn’t really asked for a big effort turning wide and was looked after in the closing stages.

He drops 2lb for the effort, now second up after the long break, also the second run after being gelded, he might well be better for it. He’s got a decent draw which should ensure a good position in midfield with cover, as long as he starts better this time.

Mickey has only eight starts under his belt; he won quite impressively over course and distance as a three year old in maiden company, and followed up with two fine runner-up efforts the same year.

Off his current mark, Mickey could be well handicapped given he promised to be a bit better before his lay-off. Additional positive signs for his chance in this race: the Dascombe yard seems in rude health at the moment and sire Zoffany has a fine record on Wolverhampton’s Tapeta, particularly over the 7 furlong trip.

With all this in mind, I feel the price Geoff Banks offers at the moment is out of line, and offers tremendous value for this horse, taking int consideration the upside Mickey theoretically possesses.

Selection:
10pts win – Mickey @ 15/2 GB

Tuesday Selections: February, 6th 2018

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4.40 Southwell: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 4f

A poor race, where the favourite looks solid, but vulnerable after a 4lb hike in his handicap rating after a recent success. This race could well turn into a muddling affair and I’d rather be a layer at odds-on for Star Ascending.

A speculative punt on Clayton Hall looks more interesting. Visor is back on for the second time, the five year old finally has the aid of a good draw here at Southwell, and that could help him to be in a better position than certainly five days ago over course and distance.

He didn’t start all that quickly from the second widest draw but also got bumped by the horse drawn beside him; subsequently Clayton Hall raced wide throughout. Turning for home widest of all, he didn’t seem to go anywhere, however, the gelding stayed on quite well in the closing stages, finishing the last two furlongs fastest of all.

Clayton Hall is five pounds out of the handicap and on overall form has a lot to find with the market principles, nonetheless. However, he won a class 4 handicap on turf off 72 back in May 2017, so there is clearly a bit of talent there.

With his recent slight improvement, a low weight, a better draw and a trip he seemingly stays, he could be the one causing an upset in this race.

Selection:
10pts win – Clayton Hall @ 14/1 VC

Saturday Selections: February, 3rd 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

Kicked the month off as the last one ended: with a winner on Thursday: Archimedes (7/1), despite looking in trouble halfway through the race, found plenty when it mattered most. The one I actually fancied even more, though, Azam at Kempton in the evening, was a disappointing flop.

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7.45 Kempton: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 

Hat-trick seeking Humbert looks the one to hard with more to come and a lenient hike in the ratings unlikely to stop him. That says a far better price, with a lot of potential upside too, is William Muir’s Cyrus Dallin.

The son of Irish 2000 Guineas winner Roderic O’Connor has been gelded over the winter and that could make him an easier ride now, which in turn could eke out some additional improvement.

He also looks the type of horse likely to improve as he gets more mature, as his father’s offspring tends to do best as four-year old horses.

Cyrus Dallin certainly showed more than just glimpses of talent last year, winning on debut, despite showing plenty of greenness and getting bumped into in the home straight; he followed up on turf over 7f in a Handicap during the summer, suggesting he could develop, if stepping up in trip back to a mile, into a mid-80 rated individual, at the very least.

He ran fine in softish conditions at Newmarket subsequently, but two poor performances afterwards saw him being put away for the rest of the year. With added maturity and less interest in the ladies, he could be better than what his current rating of 78 suggests.

Remains to be see whether Cyrus Dallin is fit on his seasonal reappearance. I suspect he is. Because he has an entry for the Lincoln but in order to be able to take up that assignment he’d need to put some more pounds against his handicap mark.

Selection:
10pts win – Cyrus Dallin @ 7/1 GB

Thursday Selections: February, 1st 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

Ending January with a bang – Jack The Truth (9/2) won the lucky last at Chelmsford in fine style. Bringing the total for the first month of 2018 to seven winners and a profit of 325pts for a 95.59% ROI!

That says, it was Cosmelli, the 33/1 shot  at Southwell, who clearly made January the excellent month it was – thankfully, after so many other big prices were hitting the post. Onwards and upwards…

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1.30 Southwell: Class 6 Handicap, 5f

Pretty much a week ago I put Archimedes up to win a similar race over CD – I’ll do it again, despite the 5-year old gelding having been a flop that day – at least judged on pure form.

However, there were plenty of positives to take from the race, which was his first one after a 99-day-long lay-off, seeing him undergoing wind surgery during that time.

So, Archimedes was probably entitled to tire as he eventually did a week ago, while looking threatening all the way until the final furlong marker.

Again, he has the luxury of the prime draw in 1 – as mentioned in my preview the other day, Archimedes is for many reasons – not only the positive draw – an intriguing individual.

For one, he is a course and distance winner – last January he won this exact race off 3lb higher than his current handicap rating. He ran to a whopping RPR of 70 that day (in the context of his official rating).

He backed this up later in the year on turf at Bath on fast ground over 5f, when winning off the same mark running to a similar RPR.

Problems started soon after. He missed plenty of assignments and ran mostly poorly. That when they identified the wind as an issue and he got the OP and break.

Archimedes drops into a weaker race, from a competitive class 5 into this very winnable class 6 handicap. He meets the winner his comeback race again – Something Lucky attempts the four-timer. He may well have still something in hand, judging how easily he did it a week ago – but has not the advantage of a low draw this time.

Selection:
10pts win – Archimedes @ 7/1 Bet365

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7.30 Kempton: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 3f

Another one I was keen on earlier this month: Azam, when he ran over 14f at Wolverhampton recently; on the back of some decent performances in really hot races with form working out quite well, off a dropping mark he looked ripped to win a race himself.

In fact, he travelled like the winner turning for home, hard on the bridle, but then when in the midst of unleashing it all, got badly interfered and lost all momentum subsequently.

In truth, he probably wouldn’t have won regardless, as the trip is probably a bit too far, however he was every chance robbed to do better than he eventually did, after going so well for so long.

Azam drops in trip to potentially very suitable 11f while also dropping another couple of pounds in his handicap rating. This gives him a tremendous chance I believe – he looks incredibly well handicapped now, off a career lowest mark, as one should not forget he performed okaish enough of marks in the 80’s on the flat last summer.

Only judged on his recent All-Weather form he also must have a huge chance, running to RPR’s of 75, 82, 76 and 79 in his last four races, while three back matched a 75 time speed figure, too!

Selection:
10pts win – Azam @ 11/2 GB

Wednesday Selections: January, 31st 2018

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4.10 Chelmsford: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

Competitive race, both favourite Bosham and Jorvik Prince, who was a bit unlucky not complete a four-timer at Lingfield last time out, should go really close. Question is, given they have a lot of mileage on the clock, how much more improvement can they eke out?

Lightly raced Jack The Truth is the intriguing contender in this field I am keen on. He hasn’t ran a single bad race in five starts; despite the main body of form coming at Southwell, he also proved to be capable on other AW surfaces.

He already won twice at Southwell this winter; his 5f success on handicap debut was an impressive performance, he followed up subsequently with an even better effort when third in a 6f class 4 Handicap. From a wide draw he came across and was up there with a hot pace.

As the only one from the front trio, he kept going in the closing stages to finish third eventually, whereas winner and second came from the back off the field to stay on. This already works out a good piece of form.

Jack The Truth remains on the same handicap mark, a 73 rating he matched on TS figure on his penultimate run. Dropping back to the minimum trip and down to a class 5 contest, he should be ready for a big performance from a fair draw.

Selection:
10pts win – Jack The Truth @ 9/2 VC

Saturday Relfections: Oooooh Susannaaaa!

The losing run (12) broken – 2 winners, both sweet in their own right. Fiery Breath (9/2), backed before the off as if defeat was out of question, got there in a thriller. No doubt, the highlight of the day was Oh Susanna (5/1), running away with the Met at Kenilworth!

When this 3-year old filly won the Paddock Stakes three weeks ago, I thought she’s got the making of a superstar, if stepping up in trip. Connections duly obliged, entering her in the Grade 1 Sun Met – I could not wait to get a price for her in that race!

It was a long wait as European bookies didn’t price the race up until Saturday morning. But with so many things speaking in her favour, as outlined in my preview, I thought the price offered was too generous. In fact, she even went off 6/1SP!

Oh Susanna Makes History

Oh Susanna made history: a three year old filly winning the Met – that didn’t happen for over a 100 years. It’s an incredibly difficult task, in South Africa’s richest race, for a young horse to prevail against, hardy, experienced top-class rivals.

It shows what special talent she is. You only have to watch the replay to see it with your own eyes. She is still so raw, babyish, making life tough for her rider.

Halfway through the race, still pulling hard, then, when the pace increases over three furlongs out she seems to hit a flat spot. Seemingly, but not really, as moments later she hits sixth gear and simply runs away with it. Leaving Grant Van Niekerk once again celebrating long before the winning post!

Unbeatable Gun Runner

It didn’t turn out to be profitable for me personally, as Sharp Azteca completely flopped, however as a racing fan you couldn’t be not in awe with the performance Gun Runner put up in his final race in the $16 million Pegasus World Cup.

The freshly crowned American Horse of the Year overcame his wide draw – what many thought to be a death trap – with ease to be up with the pace without using too much energy right before the first turn.

The supposed early speed from Sharp Azteca was taken out as Collected moved forward quickly, while the star miler got also hindered in his own way forward by the crossing Gun Runner. That killed pretty much his chances – and my money went down the drain.

Second favourite West Coast was right there as well, however, when the money was down, was once again no match for the superstar that Gun Runner is – not only winning the richest horse race on earth, but also setting off to a new career after winning six Grade 1 races on the bounce. WOW! Simple as that.

Saturday Selections II: January, 27th 2018

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8.15 Kempton: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 

The favourite Able Jack looks hard to stop given he’s potentially gotten away lightly from a handicapping point of view for his latest success. However, same could be said about still rather lightly raced Shadow Warrior.

The gelding has been progressive since being gelded and switched to handicaps; he’s been outside the top three only once in his last six starts.

Dropped to a mile last month at Lingfield, he travelled well and finished strongly with a bit to spare in a hot contest, despite coming from off the pace which was not ideal in a rather start-stop run race.

A four pound hike in the mark seems more than fair, and despite a step up in class, he looks open to further improvement over the mile trip. Also this latest form has worked out well already. With a good draw and Kirby in the saddle again, Shadow Warrior should go really well here.

Selection:
10pts win – Shaddow Warrior @ 9/1 GB

……

There is a lot going on today – a massive racing day. Top class action wherever you look and I put out a good handful of previews and selections over the last 24h. As an overview:

All-Weather Saturday Selections
Pegasus World Cup Preview
Sun Met Preview

Horse Racing Around The Globe

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