Newbury Preview: Ballymacoll Stud Stakes


Bit of a shocker yesterday – neither Bartholomew Fair nor Tamasha could land a blow and finished down the field. While Tamasha looked dangerous for a moment and may needed simply the run, Bartholomew Fair was very keen throughout and didn’t run any sort of a race.


3.25 Newbury: Ballymacoll Stud Stakes (Fillies’ Listed)

It’s easy to see why Encore L’amour is favourite to land this Listed event. Her creditable runner-up effort behind subsequent Oaks third Lady Of Dubai is the best form on offer. She may well improve from the run and you have to think this looks an ideal opportunity to score for her.

I feel she is opposable on the basis of her short price, though. As she was beaten at Goodwood by quite a margin nonetheless and it’s not unlikely that something else in this race can improve in a way to be a real thread.

I like lightly raced Jasmine Blue. She is better than the bare form of her last run at Newbury. Speedy Boarding is another unexposed sort with potential of dramatic improvement.

However I feel the Irish raider Hot Sauce is overpriced. John Murphy’s inmate is a good looking, big and scopey filly who’s certainly progressive. She won a hot Gowran Park maiden on quick ground – this form works out pretty well. She stepped up into Handicap company and ran a huge race in a competitive field at the Curragh last month. Just beaten in the dying strides in a wild finish by an equally progressive sort who went on to win again subsequently.

She deserves a go at Listed Level and with more improvement to come from here, she must be a major player today, given conditions are going to suit her down to the grounds.

Hot Sauce @11/1 Bet365 – 5pts Win


Lightly Raced Tamasha Can Improve Big Time


5.10 Haydock: Class 3 Handicap, 1m 4f

Satellite wasn’t too far beaten in a very tough Handicap at York the last time. He didn’t have the run of the race and can come on for it. Back up in trip, down in grade and dropped 2 pounds he’s a key contender today. That says he’s to raise his game too, given that his only win was a maiden success over a year ago and since then he hasn’t finished in the money.

Revitalized Chancery goes back to 12f and has already shown some fine form this season. He needs to be back to his very best to win off his current mark and I’m not sure if he is really up to it these days. English Summer is on a workable mark without giving the impression to be overly well handicapped. Chance on best form, but not shown anything this year so far.

The race will inevitably evolve around lightly raced filly Tamasha. She was very impressive winning a maiden at Salisbury last year and was clearly not disgraced in a hot Listed event on the Lingfield All-Weather subsequently, when she got a troubled trip due to a wide draw.

As a daughter of Sea The Stars she is likely to improve as a three year old and out of a Group 3 winning Sadler’s Wells mare she is sure to relish middle-distance trips. Race fitness and quick ground are questions marks, but if she can overcome them she is entitled to run a big race of a mark which could easily underestimate her true potential. At 4/1 I’m rather on her than against her in this field.

Tamasha @ 4/1 Sportingbet – 5pts Win

Bartholomew Fair Hard To Oppose in lower grade


3.10 Haydock: Class 3 Handicap, 1m

Stoute’s Pleaidas might be better than what he has shown in two starts this year, but he becomes increasingly a frustrating sort and is one to avoid today. I did like the way Steal The Scene won over 7f the last time. He looks scopey and needed the fist seasonal outing before. But the trip is a worry today. Purple Rock may still improve and back over a mile with a career lowest mark is certainly interesting.

However the top weight Bartholomew Fair is very hard to oppose in my eyes. I missed the good prices but still think he is too big a price in this field. He was found out for class and stamina in the Derby trial at Lingfield the last time on his seasonal reappearance but one would expect him to come on for it.

Drop back to 1m will suit so should the quick ground. This extremely well bred colt won a Yarmouth maiden last year in very taking fashion and wasn’t disgraced in a subsequent Group race where he ran better than the bare result suggests as he was always wide without cover didn’t help and he didn’t handle Newmarket either.
It’s a dramatic drop in class today, he takes on potentially inferior opposition and of a mark off 90 he should have no problems to come on out on top. I liked his athletic looks, he seemed to have improved physically too, and if he can find to anything of the class he showed in his maiden win and to what his pedigree is pointing to, he’ll be hard to beat today.

Bartholomew Fair @ 3/1 Paddy Power – 10pts Win

Scopey Sirheed’s the type to improve

Moheet and Frankie Dettori

2.55 Salisbury: Maiden Stakes. 7f

Hard to know what to expect from some individuals in this race,, nonetheless I find it rather easy to narrow the field down to four, five contenders.

I’m most intruded by the Richard Hannon trained Sirheed on his three year old debut, though. He has been gelded over the winter which could help him to be mentally more ready for the job. This Rip Van Winkle son cost a bit of money as a yearling and is pretty well bred, related to a good family.

He looks the type likely to improve with age and should be able to leave his juvenile form easily behind. That says he appeared well framed and scopey last year. I like his performance when last seen at Kempton over 1m. He showed early gate speed, made all and looked the winner entering the final furlong. He tired late and got caught in the final fifty yards.

The drop in trip looks a good thing judged on that effort. There is speed on his dam line and it’s interesting that Dettori makes his way to Salisbury for this one ride only. One would suggest Sirheed is race fit today.

Sirheed @ 5/1 Coral – 5pts Win  

Newsletter can score in Ballyogan Stakes


3.40 Curragh: Ballyogan Stakes (Fillies’ Group 3)

Widen open renewal on paper but I find it rather easy to narrow down the field.

Ger Lyons’ Ainippe heads the betting at the moment. This filly was a Listed winner last year over 5f and seemed to train on well over the winter. She was a close runner-up in a hot Conditions Race at Navan last month behind smart Toscanini – though she had everything going for herself. She received plenty of weight from the favourite and had a very good 10lb apprentice in the saddle too. She certainly will find it tougher here where the weights aren’t favouring her as much as the last time.

Recent Haydock Listed winner Blhadawa improved dramatically for first time cheek-pieces. She drew well clear and her lightly raced profile gives every chance for more improvement. She’s a top chance in this field. However she has to give weight away to some smart three year olds and that becomes increasingly difficult at this time of the year where things swing in favour of the younger horses.

I feel his main danger is going to be Newsletter. This 3yo filly was a smart juvenile, but took her form to a new level this year. She shaped with promise on her seasonal reappearance at Bath over 5f but subsequently enjoyed even more the additional furlong at Nottingham. She won the Listed Kilvington Fillies’ Stakes in fine style, beating some decent opposition. This success came on soft ground but she also done well over much quicker in the past, so the likely good ground at Curragh won’t be an issue at all.

Stormfly ran well in the 1000 Guineas and the respective trial, but the drop to 6f isn’t sure to suit. Same could be said about Iveagh Gardens, who beat Found recently. The drying ground is clearly against her. Hard to fancy either Steip Amach nor Cape Factor on form.

Verdict: Two horses stand out for me: Blhadawa and Newsletter. Both lto winners gave strong impressions. Hard to say who is the better one but the weight may decide in favour of the three year old filly. She gets eight pounds here which is allot, given that she has beaten some decent older horses when last seen.

Newsletter @ 4/1 Ladbrokes – 5pts Win

Preview: Belmont Stakes


11.50 Belmont: Belmont Stakes (Grade 1)

Pretty clear storyline tonight: American Pharoah wins the Belmont and becomes the first conquer of the Triple Crown in ages. That’s the theory at least, or what the betting is telling us. Well, in fact many experts were making strong cases for this scenario as well. Pharoah’s relaxed attitude, lack of real opposition and so on where all brought up. And rightly so.

It would be massive for our sport if American Pharoah could make it happen – the sport needs superstars. Pharoah already is a star, of course. He won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. But win the Triple Crown and immortality beckons. While he was still heavily challenged in the Derby, he hacked up at sloppy Pimlico – but here’s the all important question: can he show the same class over in the Belmont Stakes, a race which puts an alien like test to him?

Alien like because the 12f trip is a marathon distance for US racing. Something comparable with 2m in Europe. That’s down the nature of US racing. Emphasis is on early speed, unlike in Europe.

Personally I’m wary. I was sceptical before the Preakness, back then voicing concerns about the potential third leg of the Tripe Crown. American Pharoah doesn’t give me the impression to be a stayer. He’s speedy and powerful, but on pedigree you would give him very little chance to go as far as 12f.

Now, he has the right attitude, he really has! And he usually hits the line strongly – so happened in the Derby and the Preakness – plus there is there general perception of the lack of classy opposition in the Belmont Stakes, which many believe there is just nobody who’s capable of beating him.

My view is: that all counts for nothing if he doesn’t stay the trip. It’s that simple. Yes, my heart is with him tonight, all fingers crossed when he enters the home straight. But my money won’t be.

So let’s check out Pharoah’s opposition, shall we? I’m a huge fan of Mike De Kock and South African racing, so I’d love to see Mubtaahij running a mighty race. He swerved the Preakness, which was probably the right decision. But I’ve trouble to see him getting home over this trip. Unfortunately.

Derby fourth Frosted is thought to be the biggest danger to American Pharoah. He also comes here as a fresh horse and seems likely to appreciate the trip. He wasn’t well positioned at Churchill Downs, staying on well from the back. On pedigree he has a fair chance to stay 12f, but it’s not a given either.

Tale Of Vale came from a long way back to finish second in the Preakness, albeit still decisively beaten by Pharoah. Not sure if this performance reflects his true ability. He didn’t really excel in minor races before. So I’m rather cautious – he might not be able to back it up. Though the longer trip may well suit.

Staying on in the Derby was Materiality. A son of Belmont Stakes winner Afleet Alex, he may appreciated the trip. Whether he is good enough is another question. At least he already is a Grade 1 winner, so can’t be easily discounted. Might be an interesting alternative against the red hot favourite.

However I find Keen Ice more appealing at a much bigger price. He also didn’t go to Pimlico, and is closely matched with Materiality on the Kentucky Derby form, as he finished behind him in 7th. Keen Ice encountered a troubled run, travelling way off the pace. He was hampered and short of room in the closing stages, but finished the race well enough.

He’s a son of Belmont Stakes runner-up Curlin, who can get offspring capable of staying the Belmont trip, like in 2013 with Palace malice – his stock sometimes needs a while to hit best form as well. Keen ice has some fair Belmont form in his dam line too.

That brings me to my final point: the heart is with American Pharoah – if he wins tonight he’s to be considered one of the all-time greats. My head and money is with Keen Ice, though, who seems to have good credentials to appreciate the Belmont trip and who looks still a big price, despite some money pouring in for him.

Keen Ice @ 16/1 Paddy Power – 5pts Win

Pack Leader Can Surprise


5.15 Epsom: Class 2 Handicap, 1m 4f

A 19 runner strong Handicap – of course it is ultra competitive! That says I do really struggle to see anything obvious and believe this is as open as it gets. A massive upset wouldn’t be a surprise. If I’d have to tip the likeliest winner it’d be Jakey, who has the right credentials to go close.

But there is better value to find in this field: 40/1 long-shot Pack Leader is the one I have my eyes on. Yes, he’s even a long-shot in my book, though probably more like a 20/1 chance. I felt he improved physically from three to four, evident on his seasonal reappearance at Kempton last month. He looked rusty and not very sharp that day, however big and strong, and should come on for the run.

Pack Leader has already form at Epsom, when third here last year. He also proved stamina over 12 furlongs in the past, when runner-up at Salisbury in a Handicap off his current mark. His strike rate is worrying, he won only single race to date – though in fairness that was a very good maiden at Goodwood last June – this form works out really well, indeed!

I can see him able to outrun his price given that track and trip should suit perfectly plus the possibility of improvement from his seasonal debut run.

Pack Leader @ 40/1 StanJames – 5pts Win

Horse Racing Around The Globe

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