Saturday Selections: 25th June 2022

I am currently going through the worst slump of “form” in the last half a decade or so of my serious “betting career”. It starts to become farcical. Even though the first three months of my 2022 betting year (March, April, May) were all green, June wears me down.

It’s just not working. Or something of the process isn’t working. The initial stage of video analysis and identifying potential horses for future opportunities works extremely well. The eye-catchers perform as well as never before, actually. But I don’t back them. It seems right now I have lost the touch for making good decisions.

Some days I am too conservative, others not patient enough. There’s the odd winner here or there, but they don’t offset the losing days. Their prices are too low, or more the fact of the matter is I don’t get “value”.

I never had a high strike rate, often back bigger prices. It’s inevitable that you have dry spells. But if things go so badly wrong for an entire month as they do right now it’s not all down to “bad luck” or variance. It’s down to poor decisions too. Not sure how to rectify this at the moment.

Hopefully things will turn around. But hoping is fearing. And I somehow fear I lost it. I see this also reflected in how the prices I take compare to ISP and BSP. Doesn’t make for good reading. I used to beat them regularly with my selections in the past. Doesn’t happen at the moment.

That’s a little ramble I had to get off the chest. Well, it’s Irish Derby Derby. I am excited going down to the Curragh no matter what. The race looks a compelling edition. Although I stay away from it betting wise. Here’s hoping those betting decision I have made for Sturday will turn out to be good ones, though.

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3.30 Newcastle: Class 2 Handicap, 2m

Bandinelli shaped a lot better at Ascot than the 6.5 lengths beaten performance suggested. He was clearly minded in the closing stages after it became obvious that he couldn’t win.

From a wide draw he moved across quickly to chase the pace but was caught wide around the first bend. He raced wide for the majority of the race. He made a good looking move into the home straight but wasn’t able to sustain it.

Back over two miles on the All-Weather he looks dangerous. Still rather unexposed over the trip, his excellent record on the sand gives him a better chance than the price if he can only find a tiny bit of improvement, which is far from impossible.

A good draw will ensure he can find a good early position somewhere behind the leaders, in fourth or fifth perhaps. I think he will run a massive race and is undervalued in the market.

10pts win- Bandinelli @ 22/1

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2.35 Curragh: Listed Celebration Stakes, 1m

The arriving rain makes this interesting, otherwise this listed contest would be quite a dull and poor renewal. It is a near certainty – unless they absolutely crawl – that Straight Answer doesn’t stay a mile, certainly not up the stiff Curragh finish.

The two standout horses in the field are 4-year old Raadobarg on one side. The more rain the better for him. He’s clearly a rock solid miler at this level and especially dangerous with significant ease in the ground.

At this point in time it’s not quite clear how soft the going will turn out. There’s a status yellow rain warning live for then next 20 hours. It sounds more like some isolated showers are coming, that’s for sure.

The rain brings Irish 2000 Guineas 4th Wexford Native into the equation too. He’s probably best with some ease in the going too and still offers some upside with more improvement to come.

He could be the sort that thrives on racing, given he has improved nearly with each race this season. You can put a line through the Royal Ascot performance. His cause was lost after the first furlong.

After an impressive debut win in March, he was comprehensively beaten by Buckaroo in Listed company, although he ran on well, even after being short of room over 1f out.

In the 2000 Guineas he tracked the pace, got closer with each passing furlong and fought gamely, still challenging Native Trail entering the final furlong. He tired but fared much the best of those closer to the pace and that performance can be marked up in my view.

Wexford Native can be quite keen and fighting for his head. I hope that with experience and maturity he can settle better. He will probably be close to the pace again, given he doesn’t have a turn of foot and looks more a grinder. Probably ridden sooner than most rivals he should be able to grind his way to the line making it a proper test. He has enough class to win.

10pts win – Wexford Native @ 4/1

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4.20 Curragh: Group 3 International Stakes, 1m 2f

Mac Swiney can give Jim Bolger a double on the card. He drops significantly in class here. He was a long way beaten in the highly competitive Tattersalls Gold Cup but that was his comeback run and I would expect him to improve,

He won the Irish 2000 Guineas last year, was a credible 4th in the Epsom Derby, although perhaps not quite staying the trip, and finished a fine 3rd in the Champions Stakes. He’s a proven top level performer.

The rain will surely aid his chances. The more the better, of course. Even if doesn’t turn properly soft, he simply looks a class above the rest in this field.

10pts win – Mac Swiney @ 10/3

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7.15 Lingfield: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4f

Gold Charm took well to the step up in trip to 12 furlongs the last time at Thirsk. She finished the strongest after being briefly flat footed over 2 furlongs out

With that performance she confirmed the promise she showed in her Handicap debut at Lingfield a few weeks earlier. She caught my eye that day when she travelled stylishly into the home straight and finished much the best.

She has plenty of stamina in her pedigree, and matching that with the visual impression of her last two races it’s clear the 1m 4f trip doesn’t pose any problems. The return to the Lingfield polytrack is a positive and this in combination with the trip can unlock improvement.

10pts win – Gold Charm @ 9/2

Friday Selections: 24th June 2022

2.10 Doncaster: Class 5 Handicap, 1m

Thrave shaped really well a number of times ever since being rather unlucky at Beverley in May. He ran well on three subsequent occasions, and his most recent run at this track over the shorter 7 furlongs suggested he’s ready to win.

That day he found himself in a tight spot and squeezed out soon after the start, then relegated to the rear of the field. He weaved his way through as the only one truly coming from off the pace, and finished much the strongest.

He’s clearly well capable of winning off 65 over a mile, particularly in this slightly easier race. He goes really well over this course and distance, having gone close off 3lb higher last September, running to topspeed 67 too then.

10pts win – Thrave @ 9/1

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3.55 Doncaster: 1m 6.5f

Interesting little race that should be a solid stamina test given the pace chart. I think that will really suit handicap debutant Havaila who ran really well earlier this month in a strong maiden over 12 furlongs.

He was quite green in his first two career runs but showed more professionalism at Salisbury. He’s not one who does things quickly, though. Nonetheless he stuck to the task nicely behind two solid horses in first and second.

He ran to topspeed 75 that day, so his opening mark of 76 provides a good opportunity if he can progress for experience and distance.

The step up to this new trip will surely suit. The visuals are backed up by the pedigree as he’s out of Waila who was a smart mare over 12-14 furlongs.

10pts win – Havaila @ 3/1

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8.20 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 7f

By Your Side could still be well handicapped after recent turf exploits now back on the All-Weather, but the drop to 7 furlongs is a concern. Hence a proper alternative is Key Look who shaped the last time at Catterick like a winner in the making.

That day Key Look was one of the slower starters, settled in rear, travelled pretty okay, but had still only one rival behind turning for home.

She made excellent progress on the inside in the home straight until short of room about 1.5 furlongs from home. As a consequence she lost momentum, had to regain full effort, which she didn’t quite manage, but also wasn’t ask to do so. Yet finished nicely under hands and heels giving impression there was more left in the tank.

She ran well a number of times in defeat in recent weeks. Now a pound below her last winning mark she makes plenty of appeal, especially as her last victory came over the Newcastle CD. Having a solid 5lb claimer in the saddle is an added bonus.

10pts win – Key Look @ 11/2

Thursday Selections: 23rd June 2022

2.00 Newmarket: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4f

Vaynor was quite impressive winning at Bath when stepping up to 14 furlongs for the first time. The improvement wasn’t down to the trip in isolation I feel, but probably was a combination of distance and surface/going.

The surface stays the same, the ground should be fast here at Newmarket, while the drop to 12 furlongs doesn’t worry me. He showed plenty of tactical speed a Bath in what looks solid form, given those behind him ran well in the meantime.

The way he accelerated in the home straight and kicked clear suggested he has enough speed for the shorter trip.

Possibly the penny has dropped too. He was fancied a number of times, although never justified the support in the betting in three starts on the All-Weather this year.

He ran to topspeed 65 at Bath, can race off 67 today, but will go up another two pounds in the future. Given there is potentially more to come in these circumstances he a highly compelling proposition from a handicapping perspective.

10pts win – Vaynor @ 7/2

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4.40 Nottingham: H&H Apprentice Handicap, 1m 6f

This type of race wouldn’t be my cup of tea normally but Master Grey looks to have a good chance to outrun his price here. Form wise he must be in with a big shout and he certainly gets the trip.

He’s one who can catch the eye often when staying on late without winning. He made another of those noteworthy efforts earlier this month when he came from a long way back to finish 5th at Bath.

He’s got the same apprentice rider on board here, who’s pretty solid and looks value for his 5lb claim in this sort of race.

Master Grey strikes me as the horse you can ride hands and heels and he’ll just stay on and on and on. Which looks a good match for this race with potentially a lot of early speed and many inexperienced riders who may judge things wrong.

My hope is Oliver Searle will judge things right, have Master Grey in a position where he’s not have to travel home from as far as another galaxy and then pick them off in the home straight.

10pts win – Master Grey @ 10.5

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6.15 Leicester: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 2f

Going against a well fancied Haggas handicap debutant isn’t often a smart thing to do but I think bottom-weight Malcolm has nearly as good a chance to win in this rather uncompetitive affair.

Malcolm wasn’t fancied at all on his turf- and handicap debut earlier this month after showing nothing in three starts before. He returned from a break and gelding operation too.

He travelled well in the rear of the field, made a nice move from over 4 furlongs out on the outside getting alongside the actual winner, who eventually quickens a bit better. Malcolm isn’t helped by a rival to his side bumping and pushing him toward the inside at a crucial stage. He still manages to finish 3rd in the end.

This was probably quite a good race for this class that should work out well. With a clearer run Malcolm would have finished even closer and wouldn’t have been allowed to race off the same mark today. With a strong claimer in the saddle he looks weighted for a massive run.

10pts win – Malcolm @ 6.2

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7.15 Leicester: Class 5 Handicap. 6f

The key question for Tyson is obviously how he handles the start and the early phase of the race. He’s a temperamental sort but clearly talented.

He showed some promise as a juvenile, entering his 3-year-old season potentially a bit exposed already. He’s yet to go close in three starts this year, but showed more than the bare form suggests I firmly believe.

Especially last time at Kempton when heavily bumped out of the gates, consequently lit up and way too keen he showed a nice change of gear in the home straight, but ultimately paid for racing way to inefficiently.

He drops another 3lb in his mark and looks certainly dangerous off 75 in this field.

10pts win – Tyson @ 9.2

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9.00 Hamilton: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

Macho Pride ran well the last two times; he finished a solid fifth in a strong contest at Pontefract after a narrow runner-up performance in a hot Haydock sprint, when he had make a highly inefficient move to the outside of the field to get a run which possibly cost him victory.

He drops down to class 6 today, on the same mark as back in April, 8 pounds lower than his last winning mark.

He clearly is in pretty good form; perhaps not quite as good when a 1.5 lengths beaten fifth in class 4 at Haydock in September off a mark off 80, running to topspeed 75. But down to a 67 rating, with a useful 3lb claimer in the saddle he must have a strong chance to add a third career success.

10pts win – Macho Pride @ 4.6

Wednesday Selections: 22nd June 2022

2.25 Carlisle: Class 4 Handicap, 1m

Tangled looks cherry ripe. He was quite unlucky at Doncaster earlier this month when repeatedly a clear run denied. He just failed last week at Beverley when finishing the last three and four furlongs the fastest running to topspeed 75.

His poor starting habits can make life difficult, but the fact he can run off the same 73 mark as at Beverley before going up marginally is a bonus, so is the slight drop back to a mile as well as his return to Carlisle.

Even though he moves back up in class, this class 4 Handicap doesn’t look much stronger than the Beverley class 5 race last week. In fact, if not for 80 rated 3yo War Of Words this would be a worse race judged by official ratings.

Regardless of class, Tangled can add another Carlisle victory to his name. He won back to back over course and distance last summer off 76 and 78, is ground independent and has the added advantage of Laura Coughlan in the saddle claiming 5 valuable pounds on her sole ride.

If he gets a clean run to the line and doesn’t mess up completely at the start I can’t see him getting beaten; he’ simply so well handicapped. He certainly is overpriced in my book, taking everything into account.

10pts win – 7/2 Tangled

Tuesday Selections: 21st June 2022

7.40 Newbury: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

Dreaming drops in class and will have a better chance to produce a competitive performance over this trip than the big price suggests, I think.

The three-year-old gelding is still quite unexposed over trips beyond 6 furlongs as well as on turf. He also comes down to a good mark, after having excuses this year on a number of occasions.

He was heavily bumped right out of the gates at Kempton the last time, subsequently didn’t look comfortable and never landed a blow, although this was quite a strong class 4 Handicap, too.

He seriously caught the eye two back at the same course over 7 furlongs, when he was caught wide giving ground away all the time; after hitting a flat spot he rattled home much the strongest in the closing stages, suggesting the trip won’t be an issue and a mile isn’t out of question either.

He tried the 8 furlongs distance once, on his seasonal debut at Newmarket where he stumbled badly over two furlongs from home.

I don’t like to make excuses repeatedly for a horse but feel this lad is better than what he has shown this year. The market isn’t fond of him, but he’s a totally wrong price if on a going day, with the 3lb claim of Georgia Dobie rather useful too.

10pts win – Dreaming @ 19.5

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8.10 Newbury: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

I am tracking the filly Ebtsama since her eyecatching February runner-up effort at Southwell. She caught the eye a number of times subsequently, yet the right day to back her didn’t materalise, yet.

Today looks a solid opportunity. She has no hope according to the betting but that couldn’t be further from the truth, if – and that’s the key – she can settle.

The hood is on and has to make a difference, especially over this trip. It’s not a given that there’s a blistering pace today, and that’s a clear danger to her chances. She may pull her race away as she has done on a number of occasions before. However, 7 furlongs should be, in theory, the ideal trip.

Ebtsama is completely unexposed on turf, apart from a promising Newmarket debut last year in June. She raced on the All-Weather ever since. She pulled way too hard last time out at Kempton but produced a nice change of gear in the home straight, which petered out as she ran out of energy, nonetheless giving the impression she has got talent.

She gave this impression in her other three starts this year too. The aforementioned runner-up performance at Southwell looks good with the form franked, and she was unlucky the next time at Lingfield, not getting a clear run, which was also the story at Wolverhampton. On that evidence alone she should/could/would be any number of pounds higher in the ratings today if things would have gone more her way.

Down to a mark of 71, she takes on older rivals for the first time today. As bottom-weight I think she has a good opportunity today to be competitive as long as she settles.

10pts win – Ebtsama @ 16/1

Saturday Selections: 18th June 2022

5.35 Ascot: Class 2 Golden Gates Stakes, 1m 2f

I really like the two Gosden horses, but given the prices have to side with Aldous Huxley who I feel can defy top weight with the excellent assistance of 5lb claiming Benoit De La Sayette in the saddle.

Overcoming a mark of 101 in such a competitive Handicap isn’t an easy task. But I still feel Aldous Huxley has much more to offer than what he has shown to date; he should be a Group class horse in my view.

I’m a keen follower since his brilliant Kempton debut earlier this year when he overcame greenness and still ran to topspeed 90. Since then he was beaten behind New London, and a close runner-up in the Listed Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood most recently.

The drop back to 10 furlongs will suit. The #1 draw will provide every opportunity to go forward and be in a good position turning for home. He will stay, no question about that and I’m not too worried about the fast ground either.

10pts win – Aldous Huxley @ 10.5

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4.54 Ayr: Classified Stakes, 1m 2f

Highlight Reel was disappointing on Tuesday when he got going too late, although some of that had to do with how the race developed for him. This today looks easier, while the step up to 10 furlongs isn’t an issue.

His last win came over this sort of trip 12 months ago and those latest runs suggested it’s what’s possibly required these days. He ran with plenty of credit a number of times lately, proving wellbeing and form.

I felt he outran his price tag two back at Redcar over 10 furlongs in a pretty hot contest for the low grade, he also caught the eye at Wetherby.

Ideally the ground would dry out with no soft in the description. Not sure how likely that is. He acts on soft, but probably is best on faster surfaces. But I only see Oot Ma Way as a proper danger in this field.

10pts win – Highlight Reel @ 10.5

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5.18 Lingfield: Class 6 Classified Stakes, 1m

Surrey Territories is one I am interested in since his strong Kempton third place at the end of March. e was the only one able to finish from off the pace. He’s clearly capable of winning a race but need things to fall right.

He wasn’t disgraced in his next two starts; perhaps a shade unlucky at Wolverhampton, although the trip maybe stretching his stamina, too. Last time out he had a tough assignment on the weights in a Claimer.

This Classified Stakes is easier and quite a poor race. Less than a handful of horses give the impression of serious contenders. With a fine 7lb claimer on board and his 3yo weight allowance Surrey Territories looks to have a major shout.

The concern is the fact he will have to come from off the pace. If there is no pace on, which is far from impossible, he’ll struggle. It’s a risk I’m prepared to take because I also can see him flying home late to win.

10pts win – Surrey Territories @ 5/1

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