Tag Archives: 2019

Thursday Selections: November 21st 2019

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

4.35 Newcastle: Novice Stakes, 5f

Normally not my cup of tee this type of contest, however I make an exception for the fact that Agent Shiftwell appears to be undervalued in the market.

The son of Equiano showed plenty of promise on debut at Windsor on less than ideal ground, coming in as a good runner-up in a fairly decent maiden contest under a sympathetic ride.

He should have learned plenty that day and looked also rather ready on the day already, bouncing out of the gate well and travelling strongly for long. Agent Shiftwell has the profile to improve rapidly, out of a listed placed dam who was a winner on the All-Weather as a juvenile also.

The colt should improve not only for the Windsor experience but also for the switch to Tapeta, given Equiano has quite a strong record on this surface with his juvenile offspring (albeit the jury is out on Newcastle).

Selection:
10pts win – Agent Shiftwell @ 7/1 WH

Wednesday Selections: November, 20th 2019

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7.40 Kempton: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 3f

This really isn’t a strong race hence a long-shot can upset the market. Pempie is the one I quite like, even though there are obvious negatives as well.

Those are: you have to trust a combination of second run since a wind OP and off a break see him finding back some form. Also he will need to start much better than when dwelling on his recent Kempton run. That performance over a mile included, since his Salisbury victory in May Pempie has regressed.

On the other hand, the 3-year-old is still lightly raced, has clearly had issues which may have been rectified with the wind OP, he will strip fitter for the comeback run and will respond positively to the first time tongue tie today.

Also the step up in trip looks clearly in his favour, so is the drop of 2lb in his handicap mark, bringing him down to a rating of 69.

When winning at Salisbury in May Pempie won of a 71 handicap mark and also ran to a topspeed rating of 71, suggesting he could be handicapped to go close today. As a full-brother to Sky Eagle, a two times All-Weather winner over 12 furlongs, currently rated 82.

Selection:
10pts win – Pempie @ 19/1 MB

Sunday Selections: November, 17th 2019

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1.15 Cheltenham: Cross County Chase, 3m 6f

Tricky affair that leaves the door wide open for a big price to win. Neither market leader appeals today: ground possibly against Kingswell Theatre and return from a break with bigger fish to fry later the season for French Urgent De Gregaine.

I find the other Emmanuel Clayeux runner Diesel D’Allier the most interesting one: A three times Cross-Country winner in France, still only a six-year-old with more to come potentially, particularly over this longer trip, he’ll love the ground and has potentially a nice weight to play with here.

His last two starts have been slightly disappointing, but he comes here fit at the very least to “test the waters”, according to Clayeux, with an eye on a return to Cheltenham later the season if he takes to the test.

Selection:
10pts win – Diesel D’Allier  @ 15/1 MB

………

3.00 Cheltenham: Greatwood Handicap Hurdle, 2m½f

Quel Destin looks to be a potential Champion Hurdle candidate hence I feel, even though it’s a tough ask for a four-year-old to shoulder 11-12, his opening mark of 149 may not stop him.

He won a tough contest over course and distance last month – a career best – and clearly thrives over the old course at Cheltenham, also having no trouble with the soft underfoot conditions whatsoever.

he showed plenty of promise last season already, including multiple graded victories and a fine 5th in the Triumph Hurdle.

Selection:
10pts win – Quel Destin @ 7/1 MB

………

1.40 Punchestown: Handicap Hurdle, 2m

After a number of poor performances Scheu Time drops to a tasty mark. The six-year-old likely needed his seasonal reappearance last months and was keen enough to forgive him.

He ended last season poorly, however. Although he showed promise before that, culminating in a strong performance at Aintree clocking a 124 topspeed rating, a career highest performance.

He drops down to a 117 rating now, which I believe gives Scheu Time a big chance to go close if in the mood today. Well riding 5lb claimer Kevin Brouder is booked for the ride.

Selection:
10pts win – Scheu Time @ 10.5/1 MB

Friday Selection: November, 15th 2019

Postulation

8.45 Dundalk: Handicap, 6 furlongs

Quite an interesting contest and I like nearly a handful, in fact, though, most of them I decide to monitor today and hope the handicapper might be lenient so they become hot property next time.

The one I do fancy today to run really well is Comhghairdeas. The gelding has fallen to an Official Rating of 47 now, after starting year on a 24lb higher handicap mark. He was largely well beaten throughout the season, albeit showed a little bit of hope when 5th at Listowel in December and sixth here at Dundalk in his most recent start.

It is also noteworthy Comhghairdeas achieved a 51 topspeed rating at Limerick back in June, on what his second run after coming off a near year long break. Before that break he was highly competitive of marks in the 70’s up to winning off 80. And he ran eleven times to topspeed 51+ in his career.

So if any life is left in Comhghairdeas then he could be handicapped to go close today, particularly as he drops down to 6f, which is a more suitable distance than the 7f from last month.

That most recent performance is a much better one than the bare form suggests, though. Comhghairdeas  finished sixth, 5 lengths beaten in a competitive race – the form has been franked in the meantime. He travelled really well for long, didn’t quite get the clearest of runs in the closing stages but more likely also didn’t quite get home over the 7 furlong trip.

Now another 2lb lower, down to a more suitable trip, a fair 7lb claimer on board and decent draw to play with, I feel Comhghairdeas can outrun his price tag, that is already coming down significantly anyway.

Selection:
10pts win – Comhghairdeas @ 17/1 WH

 

Saturday Selection: November, 9th 2019

Wet Dundalk Polytrack

6.40 Southwell: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

Dropping significantly in his handicap mark, with first time visor applied, Ower Fly is an intriguing contender. The 6 furlong trip is certainly no issue, questions are more about the fibresand and whether he still has the appetite to race.

I would argue having been dropped 4lb for the latest Newcastle effort, a fair 5th place where he dwelled yet moved soon to the front, travelled well for long enough and ran on gamely to the line, Ower Fly has been given a significant opportunity by the handicapper.

In act the six-year-old is down a whopping 25 pounds since the start of the year. Which shows he hasn’t been at his best in 2019, and a wind surgery didn’t seem to help either.

So there is significant risk attached to him. Further to this he didn’t seem to start quite as enthusiastically in his latest races, however wasn’t helped at the penultimate race when heavily bumped early on. On the other hand there were glimmers of hope, as the most recent performances showed as did a solid 5th place at Ascot in the summer.

Ower Fly has achieved a topspeed rating of 63+ on 14 occasions throughout his career, on both turf and the All-Weather. With that in mind there clearly is a fair chance that if rejuvinated by the switch to fibresand and visor, he can run a massive race in this poor field.

He can also be beaten soon after the start. A wider than ideal draw, if he dwells again and struggles to take to the surface, he’s gone after two furlongs. I’m prepared to take the risk.

Selection:
10pts win – Ower Fly @ 10/1 MB

Friday Selections: November, 8th 2019

Iron Major Dundalk

6.35 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

Back after a little break, Lucky Violet appears a compelling alternative to the market principles in an open race that lacks standout chances.

The seven-year-old isn’t the force of the past, however arrives off a career lowest handicap mark on either turf or All-Weather. He is still searching for a maiden victory on the sand, though, only had eight starts, all of a higher marks and only three over his preferred mile trip.

Lucky Violet showed that there is still life when running well earlier this year on turf – a number of placed efforts at Ayr at Hamilton off 64 and 65 ratings in higher class.

Down in class 6 back on the All-Weather, his mark a lowly 49 rating, given he ran to much higher topspeed ratings in the past, in fact he did so in 2019, albeit on turf, but also a 51 TS performance last November at this venue, suggest he could go well today.

Selection:
10pts win – Lucky Violet @ 23/1 MB

………

6.45 Dundalk: 45-65 Handicap, 7 furlongs

If Crest Of A Wave can bounce back after a recent below part effort she is in with a big chance of her current mark. That is a substantial if, given she remains a maiden after twelve starts. Equally there is plenty to like about her chance today.

For one, she ran well in her other two Dundalk starts this autumn, when not beaten far and in fact finishing a good third place last month. She is two pounds lower today, which is a career lowest for her.

Crest Of A Wave showed promise on the All-Weather earlier this year already, when finishing runner-up and 4th on two subsequent occasions. She ran to topspeed ratings of 50 and 59 back then, suggesting there is opportunity for her today with a good draw and lowly 47 handicap mark to play with.

Selection:
10pts win – Crest Of A Wave @ 16/1 MB

Race Preview: 2019 Melbourne Cup

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The race that stops a nation…. or the race that stops me sleep. Every year the same procedure: Melbourne Cup Tuesday is nearing and I am excited as a little child on the eve before Christmas. I LOVE the Melbourne Cup, it’s my favourite race.

It helps having backed the winner of the last two editions at rather generous odds, of course. While I love the spectacle of watching the race on TV at half past three in the morning with a blanket and a warm cuppa in my hands, it’s certainly has been financially rewarding as much as it’s emotionally warming – backing a winner or not.

But backing a winner is even more fun. So Let’s do three in a row?

………

This year appears to be a highly compelling renewal – certainly on paper. The field includes Cross Counter, the defending champion; the exciting Japanese rider and Caulfield Cup winner Mer De Glace; the Ebor Handicap winner Mustajeer; last years Irish Derby hero Latrobe; plus a highly competitive home team.

On the other hand, I feel this race is much easier to dissect than in years past. Sure, luck can play its part in the race. A massive field will always produce a hard-luck story…. or two, or three of those stories. Regardless, I can see only a handful of realistic contenders, to be perfectly honest.

You can cross a line through half the field easily on the grounds of the softish going, distance, weight or racing style. The ones I can’t dismiss so easily and who made it on to my shortlist are as follows:

Il Paradiso: fits the trend of recent winners. Still relatively low mileage, some classy form in the book, looks to have the right sort of relaxed attitude, appears to stay and will be fine on any softness left in the ground. His tendency to break slowly is a major negative from draw 17, though. Blinkers may help but the “may” is already reflected in the price, I’m afraid.

Constantinople: you couldn’t watch the Caulfield Cup and not be impressed how he finished despite the fact he came from well off the pace and was significantly hampered at a crucial stage. Ran twice to a 108 topspeed ratings year. Most talented horse in the race?

His racing style is not and advantage. His tendency to sweat and exert energy in the preliminaries neither. Not easy to get things right on him. Needs everything to fall right, which it may well do, but I’m happy enough to let it go for single figure odds.

Vow And Declare: Strong chance for the home team if there wouldn’t be the draw. Classy stayer, form in the book, hits peak at the right time as excellent runner-up performance in Caulfield Cup suggested. Drawn in 21 will make life tough.

Dawndraft: Quite a bit of racing under the belt yet still improving. Good performances in Ireland this summer, including career best Listed success (101 TS) albeit below standard required here.

But two good runs since arriving Down Under. Visually compelling latest victory. But that performance came only 3 days ago which is a major concern.

Mustajeer: Excellent winner of the Ebor. Has improved again this season, ran well in Group races before having the perfect race at York. From the draw to the way the race developed to a clear run: everything worked to perfection.

He is a strong galloping sort who I feel will be suited perfectly by the Melbourne Cup. Had a fine prep in the Caulfield Cup and won’t fear the ground.

But that is the point: everything went to perfection at York. Will it today? He’s uncomplicated, that’s a big plus. I think he will go close. Still, it’s going to be the Ebor 4th Raymond Tusk that my money is riding with on Tuesday morning, 4am Irish time.

Raymond Tusk: On a different day he’d have been the brilliant winner of the 2019 Ebor and would be much shorter in the betting than he is now. Drawn in the car park he was trailing the field still turning for home, a wall of horses in front, yet travelling much the best. He had to weave his way through for a clear run and the bird was flown when he finally did.

Still finished a strong 4th, not far beaten, and running to a career best 107 topspeed rating. He’s 4lb better off with Mustajeer here and has a much better draw to play with.

I have one fear that is Jamie Spencer: we know he likes to come from off the pace with his mounts. I hope the good draw will help to settle on a positive racing strategy. Interviews I heard have given me hope indeed.

Still with low enough mileage, Raymond Tusk is an improving individual, who comes here fresh, which seems to bring the best of him usually. Cut in the ground is a question mark. His best results cam on fast ground. However he didn’t have a lot of chances to race on soft. And he did win a maiden over 1 mile on good to soft. Another pointer to give hope.

Selection: 
10pts win – Raymond Tusk @ 23/1 MB