Tag Archives: 2022

Breeders’s Cup Turf 2022 Preview

8.40 Keeneland (USA): Grade 1; 1m 4f

This renewal of the Breeders’ Cup Turf doesn’t appear to have the same quality as in previous years. As a consequence it’s wide open. A full field, a tight track and likely fast ground will make for an exciting race, though.

Two horses trained by Charlie Appleby head the betting market. Nations Pride is currently favoured – one can see why. The 3-year-old colt enjoyed a highly successful season, winning four races, and lately went back-to-back in Grade 1 company in the US.

Nations Pride only got beaten this year in the Epsom Derby and in the Belmont Derby when an unlucky runner-up . At the same time he clearly proved versatility, a preference for fast ground and the ability to sit handy and quicken nicely when asked to change gear.

Those are all characteristics that do enhance his chances. He’s a fair favourite in my view. But also beatable. Nations Pride is no superstar.

Otherwise he wouldn’t have been running in the US so often this season. This US form isn’t always easy to quantify, but almost never on par with European top-level competition.

Nations Pride’s European form is solid but hard to be too excited about. Also: in six starts outside the US his career-best speed rating is a modest 89 figure, dating back to his sole run at Meydan.

A #7 gate isn’t ideal here. He may have to spend quite a bit of energy if the aim is a prominent racing position. Otherwise he may be too far back in the field. He’s not always a sharp starter, either. It’s a tricky situation for William Buick in the saddle. At 11/4 I give Nations pride a miss.

Stable mate Rebel’s Romance comes here in red hot form. He landed the two most important Group 1 races in Germany lately, doing so in fine style, as he got the better of German Derby winner Samarko along the way – personally I really rate the German colt.

Unbeaten in his last four starts, he stays the trip and is fine on fast ground. However, his career-best on the rating front dates back to last year, at Meydan; how the recent soft ground form from Germany truly translates to Keeneland is a bit of a question mark. I have some doubts.

A year ago Mishriff would likely have been a red hot favourite in this race. This time he’s a 6/1 shot. Unlucky in the Coral Eclipse at the start of his season, he never looked the same horse again.

Drawn in #11, blinkers on for the first time in his career; this me strike as a somewhat desperate move. I struggle to find him attractive in these circumstances.

Broome has a good draw, in comparison. The six-year-old continues to run well at the highest level. He was an impressive winner of the Hardwick Stakes at Royal Ascot, and wasn’t disgraced in the Arc when last seen on unsuitable ground.

He’ll be a solid place chance if he doesn’t miss the break, which he’s now done a couple of times.

It’s difficult for me to properly assess the form of the home squad. The mare War Like Goddess looked pretty good – although, not brilliant – when landing the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic four weeks ago. She’s likely to be up with the pace from the #2 gate. Hence must rate a competitive chance.

Nonetheless, for betting purposes I’ll stick with the horses I know well enough to make a proper assessment.

With that in mind, the one that I was thinking about all week for this race was the other Aiden O’Brien runner, Stone Age. In truth: generally I am not a massive fan of him, opposed him at every opportunity this year.

However, I have come to the conclusion that he’s going to be a huge runner against this opposition in these circumstances, and certainly appears to be significantly overpriced.

Stone Age has a lovely draw to attack the race from. He’s Ryan Moore’s choice, who knows him well. The 3-year-old colt likes to race bang up with the pace, and can also make it all, as often seen this season. From the #3 gate he’ll be right there towards the front of the race.

I’m pretty sure if you sit more than four lengths off the pace with three furlongs to go your chances are doomed in this race. Stone Age will be right in the mix. He’s not the best horse in the race. But he may well be the one most favoured by circumstances.

He’s been to the US twice this year. On both occasions he ran with plenty of credit, as he had to overcome wide draws. Both Saratoga- and Belmont Derby runs can be upgraded. So can be his last two performances at the highest level against top-class opposition in the Irish- and British Champions Stakes.

He led the field in those races, possibly did too much too soon, but wasn’t all that far beaten in the end, in either instance. I believe he will enjoy the better ground at Keeneland – in combination with the track and his draw, it’s a real positive. And this is a much easier race than the rivals he countered the last two times.

Let’s not forget Stone Age was once a highly fancied Derby shot. Obviously, he’s not that good. Certainly I never thought he was. His speed ratings are consistently not good enough to be considered a proper Group 1 horse in Europe, too.

Yet, here I am: strongly fancying Stone Age. He’s got a proper chance for Group 1 glory in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. This race will suit him more than most in the field. He has the stamina, the finishing kick, the draw and won’t mind the ground.

10pts win – Stone Age @ 9/1

Friday Selections: 4th November 2022

It was two on the bounce on Tuesday when Captain Vallo won at Southwell with a bit of authority in the closing stages. A rare sight over the last weeks… well, even months: not only one winner, but two, on the same day!

It helps seriously with the P/L sheet that looked brutal after the recent losing run. Although, what always helps is also putting it all into a historical context. My betting records tells a story: every year I struggle massively in autumn, October is always red, September often too. Perhaps something to review for the future.

That future is about ten months down the line. The immediate future sees the return of the Breeders’ Cup. I wouldn’t say I am a massive fan. Not really of the Friday card, and certainly not of the dirt races. But the turf races on Saturday are usually quite intriguing.

Currently I’ll probably have only one bet in mind for this Saturday. I’ve got a bit more work to do on the races, though. Prior to top-class action at Keeneland, it’s all about more mundane things, like sand racing at Newcastle. Selections as follows below.

I don’t want to leave unmentioned the queen of the mile, Goldikova, when talking about the Breeders’ Cup. The mighty mare was so good over there in 2009, when she the landed the Turf Mile. A wide draw, sitting far off the pace, second last turning for home… no bother. One of my favourite BC moments. What a star she was.

…………….

3.05 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 1m

The right conditions are present for Twistaline, who caught the eye at Wolverhampton in no uncertain terms the last time. That day she travelled in rear, seemed to struggle from 4f out before running home in quite sensational style, finishing the last three furlongs much the fastest, without being asked for everything.

Granted that was a poor race, but this Newcastle content is even worse. She drops into a 0-55 Handicap, her mark down to 54 as she lost another 2lb in the meantime, and she steps up to the straight mile which will be an ideal scenario for her on the All-Weather.

I don’t really like to back horses that have to come from off the pace on the sand, least a filly. But over a mile at Newcastle hold-up horses perform strongly. This will suit her, and her patchy starting habits won’t matter nearly as much as it is a clear disadvantage at sharp Wolverhampton.

Twistaline showed quite solid form on this modest level on the All-Weather earlier this year. She ran to consistent speed ratings of 50, 51 and 53.

She is clearly in that sort of form, perhaps even better, given the way she finished last time out.

I was initially worried about the jockey booking. Jason Watson isn’t riding any winners of late. But he’s been sitting on 20/1 shots on average. If further examined for his record with trainer Appleby, things look much brighter.

10pts win – Twistaline @ 11/2

………

5.45 Newcastle: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

I must give Pockley another chance. He was unlucky not to finish closer than 3rd last time over this CD and that form has worked out seriously well in the meantime.

That day he travelled in midfield, but was quite keen for the first part of the race. He didn’t get a clear passage at a crucial stage when the pace increased and the eventual winner got first run. He kicked on well from 2 furlongs out, but was reportedly hanging soon after.

Surprisingly, the handicapper has dropped him another pound. Down to a career lowest mark, even though he caught the eye on turf this year too, he moves up slightly in class – this is an 0-75 vs 0-70 the last time; as a consequence he’s got a low weight with the additional of 5lb claiming Mark Winn again. I feel there are only two or three other properly competitive horses in the field, so it’s not a strong race.

This could be well set up for him too: he’s got pace around him to follow right from his #5 draw. That should in theory tow him nicely into it, if he doesn’t miss the break, which he can, and which is the only real risk attached in my view.

The other question mark is the form of the Linda Perratt yard – 2/50, 0/12 over the last four weeks. But I rate Pockley’s chance so highly that I (stupidly?) ignore this.

10pts win – Pockley @ 4/1

Tuesday Selections: 1st November 2022

It’s a new day, it’s a new dawn…. I am very, very happy this morning. Gold Trip landed the Melbourne Cup, giving me a much needed 21/1 winner!

This was the best possible start to November, after the most horrible number of weeks in the last while on the punting front.

It couldn’t have gone much smoother for the top-weight: a relaxed start, he settled well, and then brilliantly maneuvered through the field by jockey Mark Zahra, to be in the perfect position entering the home straight.

Gold Trip quickened nicely, and stayed on strongly all the way to the line. I mentioned beforehand that he’s the class horse in my view – and so it proved. Thankfully, once in a while things do work out the way envisioned.

At least it did for Gold Trip. Stockman ran a huge race to finish 8th, after encountering plenty of trouble around the home turn. He was never given a real chance to challenge.

No complaints, though. It doesn’t happen often that I back a winner these days, let alone a 20/1+ winner. A much needed booster for the P/L sheet.

…………

5.00 Southwell: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

Captain Vallo drops down to class 6 with another 2lb off his back. He is seriously well handicapped if anywhere near the form he showed on turf this season when he got his conditions.

I look back especially to his Redcar run three back, where he nearly got his head in front off 68. He ran to speed ratings in the 60’s a number of times this year, including to 68 and 69.

I don’t think he’s a lesser horse on the All-Weather. In fact, his record is 6-1-2 and his career best speed rating was achieved at Newcastle.

The jockey booking and form of the yard isn’t a confidence booster, but I hope he’s on a going day and can take advantage of running in poor contest that’s there for the taking off 7lb lower than his last winning mark.

A lot of money has been coming for him this morning too. I missed the big prices. But he’s still good value if there’s no handbrake on.

10pts win – Captain Vallo @ 7/1

Melbourne Cup 2022 Preview

The race that stops A nation suffers from a lack of international runners this year. Consequently this is a comparatively weak edition of the Melbourne Cup.

And yet, it’s still the one race that I’m so excited about that I get up 3am in the morning during the week – voluntarily – to watch it live: every year the first Tuesday in November; and so it’s going to be in about six hours from now.

The Melbourne Cup is a race that has been kind to me on the betting front, too. Right now I could do with a bit of kindness from the betting gods, anyway. It’s a new day, it’s a new dawn….

In any case, the 2022 edition of the Melbourne looks wide open – if you are prepared to take on the red hot favourite Deauville Legend.

Best price 3.7 at the time of writing, he’s a seriously short price and widely expected to become the first favourite to win the race since Fiorente in 2013.

The James Ferguson trained gelding certainly looks to posses all the right attributes for the Cup: he can travel through his races, can kick and shouldn’t find the distance an issue. There’s enough stamina in his pedigree and the race won’t be ran at a frantic pace, one would think, either.

He’s a full-brother to Sea La Rosa, a Group 1 winning mare in deep ground over 14 furlongs. With the ground likely turning soft, given there’s plenty of rain expected throughout the day at Melbourne, the indications are positive toward the likelihood that he does act on the ground.

There’s very little not to like about Deauville Legend, actually. Except the price. He’s just such a short price, in a race with twenty plus other horses, where you need a bit of luck to get the breaks at the right time.

Also: yes, he is more likely than not to act on the soft ground. But all his turf form came on decent to fast ground. He’s unproven on anything slower. That has to be a small question mark at the very least. Enough for me at this short price to look somewhere else.

The other international runner Without A Friend is of interest, too. Especially since he’s three times the price of Deauville Legend in the betting.

The five-year-old gelding won the Silver Cup at York in brilliant style in July, skipped the Ebor in favour of a prep run at Newmarket – a solid runner-up performance there – before heading Down Under.

He’s rated to go close, with a good weight and has ran to solid enough speed ratings over the last two years to see him go close. How will he cope with the hustle and bustle that he’ll encounter at Flemington? Connections opt for ear-plugs pre-race.

The fact he often raced in small fields, and tends to be keen over the longer trips, is a serious concern. If he gets worked up too early he will struggle to get home in the soft ground. I feel there are better alternatives to back in the field.

Hoo Ya Mal, now based in Australia with Gai Waterhouse, was regressive ever since his huge Derby run. He makes little appeal to me.

The best chances for the home team seem to evolve especially around those horses that ran well in the Caufield Cup and Cox Plate in the last fortnight.

Montefilia got a troubled run but finished much the best from the back of the field. She loves it soft and could come with a big run late, if she gets the extra distance. It’s a big if in my book, as she will need luck for a clear run.

That goes for a number of horses. Another mare often favourably mentioned by the locals is Duais. She came from off the pace at Caufield as well and seems to be tracking in the right direction lately, getting better with each run this year. The trip in combination with ground is a question mark, but she could be peaking at the right time. I like her at a big price, more so than Montefilia, that’s for sure.

Knights Order is a strong front-runner and impressed in the Caulfield Cup. Already a Group 1 winner over two miles, he also acts on the ground. He’s got the widest draw and will have to work a bit to get to the lead. That’s far from ideal.

I loved the run of Realm Of Flowers in the Metropolitan where she hit the line incredibly strong, indication she wants to go further. She’s an intriguing mare and definitely will love the soft ground. Stamina for the 2 miles look a given and she’s got a good draw for a relaxed start.

She will need a bit of luck for a gap to open on the inside turning for home, though. If it does happen, she is a great chance to run away with it off a really low weight.

She is a backable price but I have a major concern that puts me off: she missed her most recent engagement, which is a bit of a worry. is she 100%?

2019 Melbourne Cup hero Vow And Declare ran well in the Caufield Cup. Probably this is beyond him these days, but he can feature in the money. The same can’t be said about surprise 2020 Epsom Derby winner Serpentine. He’s improved for blinkers lately, but has a lot to find and should struggle from a #23 gate.

Talking of formerly trained classy European horses: 2020 Arc 4th Gold Trip has to carry top weight. The winner of only a single race in 15 career starts hasn’t set the world alight in Australia since moving there last year. The locals think 57.5kg is a lot to carry, and it probably is.

But: he looks like to really get going lately. He was an agonisingly close runner-up in the Caufield Cup (see video above), having raced less efficient than the eventual winner. And he got a highly trouble passage in the Cox Plate when last seen- Some of that was his own making as he jumped badly with first-time blinkers – yet finished nicely on the eye and can be upgraded for the run.

He’s clearly the class act in the field. Not only because of his Arc performance – which is probably too long ago now to really count as recent form anyway – but he followed up next season with 2nd and 3rd place finishes in the Group 1’s prix Ganay and Grand Prix de St. Cloud.

He only had five start in Australia since his permanent move, improving with each run and he clearly enjoys rain softened ground. The more rain the better, in fact.

The trip is a question mark. But his class, tactical speed and change of gear should see him being really competitive in my view, especially as the #14 draw gives jockey Mark Zahra plenty of options to find a good position.

At an even bigger price one of the home team caught my eye: Stockman. Connections were quite bullish, and I can clearly see why. Ignore his most recent 8th place finish; it was an obvious prep run and the gelding ran on nicely under an easy hands and heels ride.

The two preceding performances were of serious note, though. Two back he won the St. Leger Stakes over 2600m at Randwick is fine style, making an impressive move from over 600m out. He was always in charge in the home straight.

Two weeks earlier he was only 1ΒΌ lengths beaten in 4th in the Group 1 Metropolitan Handicap, finishing strongly yet again, even though not getting the clearest of runs from 400m out.

He’s 1.5kg better off on the weights with Realm Of Flowers today in comparison, who was a strong third that day. That’s noteworthy, given I rate her chance highly, as mentioned before.

Crucially, he loves soft ground. In fact, it’s key to his chances. Therefore, the more rain the better. He also got a good draw to move forward from, so has a lot going his way.

I believe his price is driven by his disappointing run in the Sydney Cup – his only try over 2 miles. He was quite fancied that day, but had too much to do from a wide draw and the back of the field. He’s clearly better than that, as he’s shown more often than not in recent weeks.

Summary:

If all goes to plan, Deauville Legend could be too good in this field. He has the form, the speed ratings, the stamina and possibly the ground versatility. But he’s an awfully short price. Unbackable for me.

The mare Realm Of Flowers is next likeliest winner in my book. 12/1 looks even a good price. But the worry whether she is 100% puts me off, because there are two strong alternatives at bigger prices.

Stockman is seriously underappreciated in the betting market, especially with every additional drop of rain to benefit his chances. He’s got form and a solid chance to stay the trip.

Top weight Gold Trip is undervalued because of his poor strike rate. But he’s the class act in this field, has improved with each run and will love the ground.

5pts win – Stockman @ 30/1
5pts win – Gold Trip @ 21/1

Monday Selections: 31st October 2022

7.30 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 9.5f

This is a shocking contest in terms of quality. This fact opens the door for a little surprise, I feel, or perhaps hope, more than anything.

No doubt, the filly Queen Of Ipanema should have a good chance to win back to back under a penalty, given she ran to a strong speed rating the last time.

However, I have the feeling she is vulnerable, certainly too short in the betting. Personally I never like a to see a 3-year-old filly shooting up in the weight so suddenly from 9.0st to 9-12, especially if a strong winning performance came off the low weight.

There are only one or two other solid rivals in the field, though, hence I can see why she is as short as 6/5 this morning. Any repeat of the last run will see her hard to beat.

In saying that the one that looks overpriced here is Rumourmonger. The 3-year-old filly runs off bottom weight and remains open to improvement, especially with the new headgear combination working well last time out.

One has to note, though: the filly can be quite a tricky customer. She messed up at the start a number of times in the past, as she did two back at Chelmsford. She still ran better in my eyes there and then, given the circumstances. This tiny step in the right direction was followed up by quite a significant step in the right direction the next time.

Rumourmonger stepped up to 10 furlongs, a combination of hood and blinkers applied, she jumped better, attempted to make all, was a bit keen early in, was joined by the eventual winner to set the pace, and was bang up there for an awful long time.

She was eventually passed in the home straight, yet I like the fact she kept going pretty well to the line. No question this filly can win a race if she can get her act together on the day.

This most recent race worked out incredibly well form wise (11r: 3w, 5p). Hence it’s intriguing that Rumourmonger drops from that recent 0-62 down to 0-55 level.

The slight drop in trip today can also be in her favour. She probably doesn’t quite get 10 furlongs. No hot pace is expected, so from a good #4 draw Theodor Ladd should have every option to move forward and settle this girl.

Obviously, you can’t be anything more than hopeful that she runs her race. It may well be over if he rears in the gates again. She may drop out tamely. But I also think she showed enough the last time to suggest she can win off this lowest of handicap marks, and on the plus side we can be certain she will be allowed to run on merit.

10pts win – Rumourmonger @ 25/1

All-Weather Eyecatchers #2

A list of horses that caught my eye during the recent days and weeks of racing on the All-Weather.

Eye Of The Water
17/10/22 – 5.30 Wolverhampton:

Widest draw, moved forward to join leader after the first bend. Pushed on and increased pace from 4 furlongs out, but eventually caught approaching the final furlong. held on for third.

Had to carry big weight dropping into 0-60. Ran right to current rating, possibly a couple of pounds better; in line with performances this year as he ran to speed ratings 60, 64 and 65. Also his January 3rd at Southwell over 6 furlongs from the widest draw off 65 rates strongly.

Ran next week over 8.5 furlongs at Wolverhampton another stormer from the front, just going down late.

Probably best over 6 furlongs. Will be really competitive over 7 furlongs with good draw as well. Really interesting next time over either distance, with good draw and possibly the assistance of a good claimer. He’s ready to win again.

Race Replay

Cleveleys
18/10/22 – 3.08 Newcastle:

Started well and led the field for half the race until put under pressure on the outside. Tired but kept going well enough to finish best of those up with the pace.

The slow tempo helped him to get home so well over this trip. 7 furlongs most likely the absolute limit for win purposes, and then in a race with an advantageous pace chart.

Caught the the eye before on turf in his first two runs for the O’Meara yard. Clearly in good nick and comes down to a possibly generous mark. Ran to speed ratings of 65 and 66 in October last year, although over sprint trips.

Can have issues at the gate, one with risks attached. Still, drop to 6 furlongs or 7 furlongs on the All-Weather will be interesting.

Race Replay

Quanah
18/10/22 – 4.13 Newcastle:

Led isolated on far side, set hot fractions and ran to 3 furlong marker faster than preceding class 3 6f Handicap. Tired soon after, as one would have excepted. Was big price too.

Poor showings last starts since return from break. But comes down to last winning mark and can be a big runner down to 5f again. Usually goes from the front.

Ran at Catterick on Tuesday 25th in the meantime, without having an impact.

Race Replay

Thrilla In Manila
18/10/22 – 5.20 Newcastle:

Set a seriously fast pace, despite not breaking the sharpest. Did too much and tired from 2 furlongs out. Overall race time and the pace he set compare favourably with Division I on the same card of the race.

This represented a solid return to form, after being heavily beaten on his comeback run off a near year long layoff.

Continues to drop to a good mark and can become dangerous over the minimum trip pretty soon.

Race Replay

Intervention
19/10/22 – 7.30 Kempton:

Reared in stalls, crossed soon over from widish draw in a wild opening phase. Was seriously keen throughout, yet travelled powerfully. Couldn’t go with the front-running winner – nothing could on the day – and tired in the final furlong.

Trip is too far, especially without any sort of pace to aim at. A drop to 6f will be ideal. Has been progressive and is possibly handicapped to his best. A reduction to under 80 with the right trip will be interesting again.

Race Replay

Tyger Bay
19/10/22 – 8.00 Kempton:

Dropped to rear of field soon after the start, had a lot to do, yet travelled much the best. Couldn’t get through until late, finished in eye-catching fashion.

One who often tends to catch the eye. Has won off 4lb higher over this CD earlier this year. Will need a bit of luck, as can start sluggishly.

It will be worth to wait until he drops down in grade and a few more pounds in the mark.

Ran at Catterick entry on Tuesday 25th in the meantime; excellent 3rd; doesn’t help the mark for the immediate future. One to monitor for a a while.

Race Replay

Nat Love
20/10/22 – 1.55 Southwell:

Went with the early pace from his #8 draw, travelling wide early one. Didn’t have much to offer when tired in the home straight.

The fact he remains enthusisatingly racing up with the pace is encouraging, though. This race came probably too soon, hence I can forgive the way he faded. It was a third race in the space of four weeks, after returning from 446 days off.

First two runs back appeared full of promise. Especially the Newcastle comeback run can be upgraded.

He’ll come down to a highly compelling mark. Once down to/below OR 60 he should be really well handicapped. He ran four times to speed ratings of 58+, three of those 60+.

Race Replay

Abbey Heights
20/10/22 – 3.05 Southwell:

Bounced out of the widest draw to move rapidly forward, lead the field. The damage was done at that point, all attempts to slow down didn’t help him from tiering badly.

Still a solid performance back from a year long break. The ability to break quickly and to travel well on the lead should see him competitive, especially off the current mark. Ran to a 76 speed rating when landing a solid Newcastle Novice race last year.

Race Replay

Milbanke
20/10/22 – 4.35 Wolverhampton:

Moved quickly into the lead from widest draw, led the field by a couple of lengths, took a keen hold on this first attempt over 7 furlongs. Slowed the tempo down, and tried to kick on when put under pressure 3f out. Finished good second, running well to the line.

This performance ties in well with the lto run that can be upgraded when he travelled really wide. Won on debut over 6 furlongs last year, remains unexposed an open to progress, especially over this trip if he settles better, as the pedigree gives him every chance to stay 7 furlongs.

The new mark, 2lb lower now, should see him potentially quite well handicapped. He may be too short a price to back nto, though.

Race Replay

Roman Dynasty
22/10/22 – 6.30 Chelmsford:

Already mentioned in the last edition as one who caught the eye. Did so here again, even more dramatic this time. Always travelling off pace on the inside, he looked poised approaching the home straight. Came with a strong looking move over 1 furlong out but the gap closed in that very moment. Eased eventually.

Clearly in good form. I hope his mark will drop a couple of pounds now. He’s then a potentially well handicapped horse.

Race Replay

Dinoo
22/10/22 – 6.30 Chelmsford:

Travelled always wide and seriously keen as consequence of his draw. Refused to settle until late in the race. Went inside route in the home straight and could have gone close but had to delay full effort having to work his way through the field.

Big run given the circumstances and the energy he must have burned early on. Most likely will be better served down to 7 furlongs again. Usually raced prominently over that distance, but last twice off pace; perhaps to get him settled.

He ran to a 68 speed rating earlier tis year on turf. Comes down to a good mark now and is still unexposed on the All-Weather, having been placed on two of his three starts on the sand already. He should be really competitive for a drop to 7 furlongs.

Race Replay

Twilight Madness
22/10/22 – 7.00 Chelmsford:

Bang up with pace from widest draw, always travelled wide and without cover. Kept going strongly to the line nonetheless; did much the best of pace setters.

Caught the eye the last two times on turf, too. Especially the Windsor performance was seriously impressive, given the circumstances and the big move he made mid-race.

This race confirmed he’s down to a good mark, and clearly capable to win off 74. Speed ratings say he hasn’t tons in hand, so it’s worth paying attention to draw and pace chart.

Race Replay

Lucky Lucky Lucky
24/10/22 – 7.30 Newcastle:

Not an eye-catching performance on the surface. But the fact he jumped off well and travelled enthusiastically was noteworthy as it suggests there is somewhere a performance still in him.

Was seriously unlucky at Redcar in August over 6 furlongs. Has mainly finished down the field subsequently, all over 7 furlongs.

Want to see him back over 6 furlongs here at Newcastle. Is a full-brother to a listed placed Dundalk mare. Pedigree would suggest he has a bit of stamina to stay a mile, but the way he travelled suggests 6 furlongs could be ideal.

His sire has an excellent record at Newcastle over this trip. Which ties in with this observation. Has an entry next week over 7 furlongs again. I’ll sit that out.

Race Replay

Never Dark
24/10/22 – 8.00 Newcastle:

Was early up with the pace on the outside toward the stands’ side as part of a trio. Tried to kick on over 2 furlongs but faded away entering the final furlong. Not far beaten.

Is quite consistent, got close a number of times year. As a consequence appears to be in grip of the handicapper. As a prominent/front-runner he’ll be really intriguing if his mark comes to 70 or lower, perhaps a slightly easier race and a switch to a track with a turn.

He’s ran five times to speed ratings matching- or bettering his current mark. In aforementioned circumstances he will be well handicapped, given he looks as good as ever.

Race Replay

Sir Sedric
27/10/22 – 1.40 Lingfield:

Tracked the pace setter, always travelling prominent. Started good looking move from over 3 furlongs out and travelled strongly into the home straight, before fading quickly.

Was back from a two months break. Ran seriously well the last two times prior, ran to to 58 speed rating three back, in line with other strong performances and speed ratings achieved within the last twelve months.

Should drop below a mark of 58 soon, really intriguing over 7 furlongs then.

Race Replay

Delegate This Lord
27/10/22 – 6.00 Chelmsford:

Quickly out of the gates, pulled back to midfield soon after and seriously keen, especially around the turn. Looked quite awkward and a rough ride in home straight, seemingly hanging, but still able to finish pretty easily fourth without ever asked a real question.

Showed a bit of form on turf during the summer. Now drops down to intriguing handicap marks. Should be a massive runner down to 5 furlongs. Best form all below 6 furlongs.

All-Weather form looks horrible, but six of eight starts went off 16/1 plus. This performance suggests he won’t struggle on the surface, if he can settle, which is more likely over the minimum trip.

Race Replay

Guitar
29/10/22 – 5.30 Wolverhampton:

Wasn’t advantaged by wide draw and as consequence travelled always on outside. Looked to do a bit too much early on, seemingly not finding a position to relax. Appeared threatening turning for home before fading.

Solid run in circumstances. hated Chelmsford kickback lto, but quite promising on comeback run before.

Won well over 7 furlongs at Wolverhampton in January, ran to 49 speed rating. Strong follow-up performance when a bit unlucky not to win. I don’t think he truly stays a mile. 7 furlongs possibly ideal. Looks a big lad. Wouldn’t want to back him off a break. Will come down to interesting mark soon.

Race Replay

Thrave
29/10/22 – 7.00 Wolverhampton:

Obviously the handbrake was on. Restrained at the back of the field, pulling for his head, this natural front-runner wasn’t in it to win it. He caught the eye earlier this season on turf, running a number of strong races.

His relative consistency means he is too high in the mark to win at this stage of his career, clearly in the grip of the handicapper. Connections seem to have realised this reality. One to monitor for drop to 7 furlongs down a few pounds.

Race Replay