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
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
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
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
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!
Click Images to view in full size
All Photos: Credit Florian Christoph
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
I wasn’t sure about this race but seeing how prices develop I find it impossible to not have a small interest in Rock On Ruby. Now available at 4/1, I believe he is too big. This race looks very competitive, and evolves mainly around the first three in the market. It’s hard to distinguish them but I feel that Rock On Ruby is the one who has conditions 100% to suit.
Arctic Fire obviously is very attractive. He shapes as a horse that needs this trip, as he usually runs on strongly over two miles. His runner-up effort in the Champion Hurdle behind Faugheen was visually impressive. However he had a couple of hard races already, and the fact that he usually finds one or two too good, makes is somewhat worrying for – a 7/4 shot at least!
The 2014 Champion Hurdle winner Jezki has been a disappointment this season so far. He has to show much more and I’m not sure if he can suddenly step up big time. He’s a spring horse as we know, and has won a Grade 1 over this trip in the past. That’s the clear positives on the other hand. I rather don’t want to find out with my money if he can find back to his best, though.
Rock On Ruby in contrast, skipped Cheltenham and should be fresh and spot on for this race. He finished a gallant runner-up last year and 2m 4f appears to be his optimum trip these days. Ground conditions are sure to suit and he showed himself in good light this season. A bold bid is very much on the cards today and he looks the value against the other two.
3.25 Aintree: Aintree Hurdle (Grade 1)
Rock On Ruby @ 4/1 Paddy Power – 5pts win