Viewpoint can outrun the odds at Kempton

The clear favourite at head of the market is Godolphin’s progressive gelding Tryster. He is on a hat-trick and has to carry a big weight of 9st 7lb according to his high rating of 100. The four year can be a tricky ride sometimes and clearly showed signs of greenness at Chelmsford when he beat Gaelic Silver in a controversial finish. Tryster made things look  much easier the next time at Wolverhampton and won like a horse that could go on to bigger things. A hike of 7lb in the mark is fair for that performance on on hand, but could still be generous on the other hand. The best price of 11/10 looks a fair one too, no doubt. But is there a chance to take this hot favourite on?

Nearest pursuer in the market is Beach Bar who also ha a progressive profile. Only beaten in the last couple of strides over 10f at Lingfield the last time, he has clear credentials to run well again. I’m question his stamina, though. He had the run of the race lto on his only start over a trip that far, and looked like he couldn’t quite hold on to it. He is bred rather for a mile in my mind and the speed on the dam side clearly makes me wonder if he may fade away in a race where a couple of runners might want to chase a bit more aggressively the lead. On the other hand if he could get an easy lead in front he has a chance to get home, particularly over the sharp Kempton 10f course.

The Gay Cavalier has won his last two starts and clearly thrives on the Kempton All-Weather. He never does too much once in front, yet his recent success was visually a compelling one to my eyes. He takes quite a step up in class now and has effectively to carry 7lb more on ratings this time against much stronger opposition. He may well be up for it with further improvement not unlikely, but that also says he faces a tough task in my mind.

Gaelic Silver was a controversial runner-up behind Tryster at Chelmsford in January. He disappointed subsequently of a revised mark and has to prove that he can overcome a career highest mark. Rebellious Guest on his best, would have a chance, but his form is poor lately. Same applies to George Guru. It’s hard to see either of them going close here.

Leaves Richard Hannon’s six year old gelding Viewpoint. Once a progressive and prolific 10 furlongs handicapper, he won a big Apprentice Handicap at Glorious Goodwood in summer 2013 and also landed the All-Weather Championships Apprentice Handicap over 12f on Good Friday last season. Since then things went downhill for him. Last year was mainly a complete disaster, bar the early Al-Weather success, and his most recent efforts didn’t instil too much euphoria either. However the last three back on the All-Weather he ran in hot competition and looked a bit better again. With the AW handicap mark falling, he was well in contention at Lingfield lto back in January, though lost all chances when a horse fell right in front of him.

Now, there is still not too many positives speaking for Viewpoint. However I believe he is a huge price here against the favourite. He gets a good deal of weight, and would go very close if he finds back to anything near his best. The drop in trip back to 10f looks ideal, particularly here at Kempton. I can see him reverting back to more positive tactics, to be right up with the speed and make it a stamina test. Then being up with the pace is a huge advantage at Kempton’s 10f course. So if he would be able to kick on turning for home, I could see him holding on to it over the short run-in while Tryster, sitting probably trailing, may not be there in time.

6.45 Kempton: Class 2 Handicap, 10 furlongs
Viewpoint @ 14/1 Ladbrokes – 5pts win

7 Days…

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Racing’s Weekend Review

8days

Yep, it’s hard to believe, but it’s March again and Cheltenham is literally just around the corner! Next week were’ already discussing the big races, fallen favourites and hopefully some surprising & heart-warming stories. It’s a shame, I can’t make it this year. I broke my Cheltenham maiden tag last year, and it was absolutely amazing. Tuesday with club enclosure was the perfect race day. Top class racing action, big crowd but not that it felt uncomfortable, and some lovely warm spring sun shining down into this natural amphitheatre . It’ll be a shaky stream at work this time, and replays on TV afterwards (no need to cry for me – I’ll be going to the Grand National instead!).

VIEW: Our Photo Gallery – Cheltenham Festival 2014

The formerly in Ireland trained Designs On Rome has rapidly become one of the best middle distance horses in the world. Since he left Pat Flynn’s yard to start a new career in Hong Kong, he has nothing but improved. Now a three time Group 1 winner in overseas, he’ll be one of the favourites for the Sheema Classic on Meydan’s World Cup night. And rightly so. He won the prestigious Group 1 Hong Kong Gold Cup in very taking style on Sunday morning UK time. Having it all to do turning for home, he had come from the widest travelling welloff the pace for most parts of the race, but was simply too good for his rivals, mainly old foe Military Attack.

It was Gauteng Guineas day at Turffontein, South Africa, on Saturday. You may have seen my previews for both the fillies’ and boys’ races. They promised allot and didn’t disappoint, though it was slightly surprising to see both races won by very convincing winners – that says it wasn’t the usual bunched up finished! Siren’s Call took the Fillies Guineas in style of a really good horse. She’s a hardly filly with the touch of class. Harry’s Son overcame all troubles in preparation to the big race and proved far too good for the opposition in the boys’s Guineas. Last seasons champion two year old will now try to go on to win the Triple Crown before he’ll be on the move to Dubai for next years Carnival.

Gauteng Guineas – Winner: Harry’s Son:

Gateng Fillies Guineas – Winner: Siren’s Call:

It’s not news to readers of this blog that I‘m a big fan of Bob Baffert’s colt Dortmund – who is my pick for the Kentucky Derby. It was pleasing, though also kind of odd to a certain extent,to hear Baffert talking about Dortmund, following a workout at Santa Anita: “His last two works have really been his best works. I think the light finally went on. I think he’s finally figuring out how he’s supposed to do it.” Mind you Baffert is talking about a Grade 1 winner, who is currently trading as the co-favourite for the Derby. One has to wonder, if Dortmund has been able to win all these races before without ‘the light on’, how much more improvement could potentially come from this extremely good looking colt?!

Eye-Catcher of the Weekend

Sundays card at Geyville, South Africa, was largely low grade stuff. With the exception of a fair Graduation plate, which saw 2013 champion two year old Kochka back on track for his second run after a long injury related lay-off. The four year old colt ran on well on his comeback run and has clearly grown physically into a brute of a horse. He was the clear favourite today to beat rivals below his natural class and for that reason he was our banker of the day. As expected, Kochka finished the job, even though it was slightly more thrilling than I as a punter would have like it. Which was very much the down to the very confident and light ride the big colt was given. Kochka itself is a horse to keep in mind when he steps up in trip again. 1.200m is too short against better opposition, but he is clearly back and should be a force over a mile.

My eye-catcher of the week ran in the very same race. The three year old Saratoga Dancer Saratoga Dancer, officially rated a low 78 rated, finished a fine third, less than two lengths beaten by Kochka, who is 105 rated, and runner-up Nineteen Fourteen who is a fair measure stick at 88 and clearly ran to form. Saratoga Dancer only received 3.5kg and 0.5kg respectivelly by these much higher rated individuals, yet he was able to finish so close. He is still lightly raced, was back from a break today and probably needs further. Not to mention that he got an odd ride, was never touched and still finished as close as he did. Let’s see what the handicapper does next But I suspect that Saratoga Dancer, once up in trip again, will be a big runner regardless of where he pops up next. .

R.I.P. Cavalryman

It’s been tragic news confirmed by Godolphin that veteran stayer Cavalryman has died. The nine year old sustained a leg fracture in a race at Meydan last night.

It is a great shame and very sad to lose this great warrior. It’s the cruelty of our otherwise wonderful sport. Cavalryman was a star of the turf, a multiple Group winner around the world. His unique late burst of speed was something special. A stayer with a turn of foot. That’s what he was and will be remembered for.

Cavalryman: Six seasons on the track, 39 races, 10 wins, six in Group company, one Group 1.

May he rest in piece…

Kochka’s a banker!

The 2013 Champion 2 year old Kochka is on his way to find back to his old best after a long injury lay-off. His comeback run over 1.200m earlier this month was excellent given his break of 18 month. He finished a fine runner-up and badly needed the outing, according to his trainer. Kochka won back summer 2013 the big Grade 1 Champion Stakes and surly has bigger targets on his mind this season than an ordinary Graduation Plate, also he’ll soon step up in trip to a mile again I suspect.

But on his second run, he should have way to much for this lot even over this sprint trip, given the improvement one would expect. from run to run. Even if he may not quit yet be as good as his 105 rating, he is meeting some mid-70 rated individuals here, with one exception, of 88 rated Nineteen Fourteen. He’s  a decent handicapper & consistent but only one win in 16 starts which came in maiden company, means he shouldn’t have enough on the plate to be a real threat to Kochka.

Kochka is rightly the odds-on favourite, however he is not short enough with Sportingbet, and is a 1/2 chance on my tissue, therefore I think this price is actually quite generous.

Greyville 12.30: Graduation Plate, 1.200m
Kochka @ 4/5 Sportingbet – 10pts win

Uramazin can outstay his rivals in 2m qualifier

A Fast-Track-Qualifier for Good Friday with another progressive Godolphin Handicapper at the head of the market. Gold Trail won his last three and warrants plenty of respect, however he tries this marathon trip for the first time and there are doubts about his staying ability. It’s worth to take him. John Reel was equally progressive this winter and finished a fair third behind Gold Trail last time over 12f at Wolverhampton. He won over the marathon distance already and has a good chance to turn the form around with the favourite. Front-runner Double Discount may get away with a soft lead and that could help him to get the trip.

Hard to know what to expect from Hurricane Higgins after a very long lay-off. On his old best he’d be a major player, but probably is best watched today. Also not sure what Triumphant is up to today. He gets the trip but was disappointing lately. Masterpaver finished a good second behind Gold Trail at Lingfield over 12f last month. He needs a stiffer test and the step up in trip should suit. Though 14f may be his optimum and 2m already too far.

Leaves us with veteran Uramazin, who is surprisingly low mileage for a nine yea old. He won’t have an issue with the trip as he is a course and distance winner of a class 2 Handicap back in December here. He followed up nicely with an excellent second in a 2m Fast-Track Qualifier behind progressive Anglophile. He travelled super strongly but got first run and was simply the better horse. Uramazin is in clearly good nick right now and should be very competitive today. He looks overpriced in my eyes and may go much closer than the betting suggests.

15.30 Lingfield: Class 2 Handicap, 2 miles
Uramazin @ 11/1 VC – 5pts win

Gauteng Fillies Guineas

This looks a much more open contest than the the boys’ Guineas in my mind, with moire unexposed runners and plenty of guesswork to do. However we have a very good favourite at the head of the market with Same Jurisdiction. She was a top class juvenile, won a big Grade 1 last summer and had an excellent prep last month in Grade 3 company. She rates a worthy favourite, though the downside is her rather poor draw and the fact that she had bleeding problems in the past. A lack of run at this track also counts as a negative. She deserves to be favourite, however is too short in the betting in my mind.

Progressive Smart Call was utterly impressive in her prep, though this here is much tougher today. If she can improve again, she is right up there with the best. So should be Sean Tarry’s Siren’s Call. A hardy filly, she finished a well respected 4th in the Dingaans and her prep win in a big sales race over shorter rates top form. If she stays the trip in a truly run race, she must be a big danger.

Never make the mistake to dismiss Turffontein top trainer Tarry’s second or even third string. His other runners Tamaanee and Bichette may be big prices in the betting today, but could spring easily a surprise. The former one the slightly more exposed already, has form over 1.600m and won against older. A good draw will help. She is an interesting price, though I restrict myself to one bet in this race and I’ve to admit that Bichette is the one that looks hugely overpriced here. She is very lightly raced, won over shorter a good handicap and performed well in her prep in Grade 3 company over 1.450m. She isn’t the quickest but is gutsy,very well bred and looks big with plenty of scope.

Her pedigree points to a mile and the step up to this trip will certainly suit her, so should the testing standside track. She has a good draw and will probably use this to race in a handy position as she prefers to do. She won’t go down with a fight I suspect and while it remains to be seen if she can make the step up into this hot top level company, she has the right looks, pedigree and progressive form. From a betting point of view, Bichette is the underestimated runner in this field.

Other fillies, like Grade 3 winner Sensible Lover or De Kock’s Pine Princess can’t be underestimated either. The fillies Guineas looks open, but very interesting and should provide spectacular action.

1.50 Turffontein: Gauteng Fillies Guineas (Grade 2)
Bichette @ 25/1 Ladbrokes – 5pts win

Horse Racing Around The Globe

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