Tag Archives: All-Weather Championship

Good Friday Selections – April, 19th 2019

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As the sun shows up more often these days, the garden becomes a more frequented place to spend time in and the general mood lifts, one could get easily overexcited. I am quite excited, in fact!

It’s not often I do fancy so many horses in a single day; having a handful of bets bears the danger of possibly given in to emotion rather than rationality. Fancying someone doesn’t equal loving someone. So, not every fancy is a quality bet.

I hope I used my head to identify some quality selections for this ‘Super Friday’, regardless. Could be a massive day, could be a brutal day…. we shall see. It’s the long-term that matters, of course. There’re days when it still would be nice to get a reward for the shift put in.

Either way, let’s enjoy the superb ‘Good Friday’ racing!

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3.20 Newcastle: Listed Burradon Stakes, 1m

Before I went to bed last night I was all over Daarik. I loved his last two runs, the sudden turn of foot he produced, his classy pedigree and Jim Crowley’s Newcastle record in spring time – but I was sleepy, so deferred decision.

Good decision! I’m now all over Magic J. Hence I discarded Daarik. The doubts I had over him became too big to punt him at around 7/2:

Physically he doesn’t seem to have improved much over the winter, the fact he started his juvenile season rather early – which makes sense as a February foal – suggests he was potentially precocious last year, though injury prevented him from running during the good months of the year. And he’s done nothing on the clock, despite those two visually impressive victories.

Magic J in contrast – same as Darrik, also with an entry for the 2000 Guineas (both Newmarket & Curragh) – looked physically strong, open for plenty of improvement in his only start last year. He won a poor maiden over 6f at Yarmouth but did that in excellent style.

This colt cost nearly a million US$ as a yearling, which is logical, given his incredibly sexy pedigree. Connections stated he’s been working well at home, see him still as a potential Guineas horse, though the mile is the question mark as he shows plenty of speed.

Pedigree wise the mile looks more than only a possibility. The All-Weather looks also rather certain to suit. This isn’t on the surface a particularly deep Listed race in my mind also.

The one thing against him, beside stamina and fitness questions, is the draw. He may not be ideally drawn on the outside. But Magic J is as good as I believe he could be, he’ll overcome it no bother.

Selection:
10pts win – Magic J @ 9/2 MB

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 3.30 Bath: Class 2 Handicap, 1 mile

Not sure whether today is the day, but if he’s given a fair chance I can see Sea Fox outrunning a massive price-tag. The 5-year-old has dropped to a wonderful mark and will act on fast ground as well as stays a mile.

His mark has fallen, and he such a massive long-shot today, because recent performances weren’t up to scratch – on paper at least. One shouldn’t forget he won three times last year of marks of 85 and 89 twice. So, now down to 84, given he also ran to TS ratings of 84 and 86 in the past, suggests he can be weighted to go close.

I rate some of his more recent AW performances higher than credit seems to be given. Even though he finished last and seemed a bit lackluster when last seen at Lingfield, on the clock he finished as good as anyone in the race, and in none of his last five runs was he beaten by more than 3¼.

It’s a long-shot, yes, but if Sea Fix can find back some sort of form, now back on turf, off a handy mark, he’ll be a danger to everyone in this race.

Selection:
10pts win – Sea Fox @ 55/1 MB/PP/Sky

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3.40 Lingfield: 3 Year Old AW Championships, 6f

First time blinkered and the aid of a perfect draw, this test looks tailor made for Quiet Endeavour, who was running well lately, even though the form book doesn’t quite tell the story how well.

The gelding won four on the track last season and was quite precocious, so there is always a question how that translates into a 3yo season. A disappointing seasonal reappearance aside, his last two runs were excellent.

He attempted to make all on both occasions, but found 7f at Lingfield clearly too far as, while leading the field to the final furlong marker, he ran completely out of gas. He went to France for the Montenica Stakes over 6.5f.

Quiet Endeavour was hurried up early on in order to overcome a wide draw and before the first turn he got the lead. He travelled well, but again, was passed in the final furlong running empty.

The drop to sharp 6f at a speedy track as Lingfield is, will surely help. The blinkers should keep him focused in the closing stages hopefully.

Selection:
10pts win – Quiet Endeavour @ 12/1 Coral

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4.15 Lingfield: AW Middle Distance Champs, 1m 2f 

Taking on the 1/3 favourite doesn’t seem wise but I do it nonetheless. It’s an easy decision as I feel there isn’t as much between Wissahickon and second favourite Matterhorn.

True, Wissahickon couldn’t have been more impressive on the AW this year, matching, at least visually, the impressive Cambridgeshire performance at the end of last season. A 10-8-1 record speaks for itself, anyway.

Matterhorn was nearly equally impressive, posting a 9-6-2 record and five of his last six starts. Excuses can be made for a recent below par effort at Kempton, when he got locked up in a battle for the lead and made way too much too early.

The comparision on the numbers between Matterhorn and Wissahickon is interesting. The later ones best TS rating is 94, with a top RPR of 119 (on the AW), whereas Matterhorn posted a top TS rating of 100 and RPR of 118. Sure, the numbers have to be seen in the right context and there is always the question how relevant career best performances are for the “now”.

However, both horses are still rather low mileage, hence could also improve. Matterhorn, though, had one career run less and also was a late April foal (Wissahickon (February).

That all may not make any difference, but it’s reason enough for me to conclude that the horse I fancy should be shorter in the betting and the short odds-on favourite a little bit bigger than he is right now.

Selection:
10pts win – Matterhorn @ 7/1 MB

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4.55 Newcastle: Class 4 Handicap, 5 furlongs

Landing Night may not have won since having a wind surgery in autumn, but he ran consistently well in more than a handful of starts – in fact he was beaten at most by 3¼ lengths in his last seven starts.

Despite some excellent efforts in defeat, Landing Night  has fallen to a mark of 72, which is 5lb below his last AW winning mark. He also ran to a TS rating of 74, a second highest (career high 79) in November – so not too long ago, suggesting he’s well capable of running to- if not a bit better of his current rating.

The now 7-year-old isn’t getting any younger, and he isn’t a frequent winner anyway, so everything needs to fall right. If he can to the form he showed in early winter, though, he’s supremely well handicapped today.

Selection:
10pts win – Landing Night @ 9/1 PP

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Saturday Selections: February, 23rd 2019

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1.30 Lingfield: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 2f

With the champ on board, Hidden Depths looks poised for a big run returning to Lingfield. In his two starts since changing yards and coming back from a break the gelding has ran well, but now dropping in trip to 10f should suit.

He’s got a good draw which hopefully ensures a prominent position. Two runs back here at Lingfield over 12f in a maiden Hidden Depths tried to make all from the front going pretty hard, leading by as many as ten lengths. He got tired eventually but judged on that piece of form he looks competitive in this field.

His latest performance at Southwell was okay, but he didn’t seem to travel with the same fluency on fibresand. As a maiden after nine career runs he has all to prove, nonetheless, a key piece of form could a Novice Stakes run from last summer over 10f at Windsor, which looks a strong bit of form, as he was only beaten by a subsequent class 2 handicap winner now rated in the 90’s.

Selection:
10pts win – Hidden Depths @ 6/1 MB

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2.05 Lingfield: Listed Hever Sprint Stakes, 5f

This will be fast and furrious and we know with these sprinters they are usually closely matched and throwing a blanket over this field, anyone is in with a fair shout.

Favourite Encore d’Or looks the one all have to beat, though. He’s in fine form, group placed and was a close runner-up in this race last year.

However better value looks Corinthia Knight, who is much bigger then he should be, probably due to recency bias on the back of a few less impressive runs.

That says, at level weights it should be a lot easier here, actually. Also down to 5f at Lingfield, a CD where he is 2/2. The four-year old was last years Year Old All-weather Championships winner.

Corinthia Knight got the perfect draw to be close to the pace. He’s 2lb lower rated on BHA ratings to the favourite, however 1lb higher on RPR’s. I expect a big performance today.

Selection:
10pts win – Corinthia Knight @ 11/2 MB

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3.50 Lingfield: Class 2 Handicap, 1 mile

Mr Scaramanga returns quickly after finishing full of running at this venue yesterday when pretty unlucky in a 7f event. His draw and sometimes starting habits killed off his chances as he didn’t get a clear run through the field while travelling much the best, though.

That is a fine follow-up effort in line with his penultimate CD win, when albeit only by tight margin, he won cozily. Mr Scaramanga is still only 2lb higher for that effort, which, judged by what we know he is capable of on the All-Weather could underestimate him, given he seems in top order.

He has some form with others in the field from the past, when he was a lot higher rated, such as his close runner-up performance in this very same race twelve months ago, finishing a nose beaten of a mark of 99.

Selection:
10pts win – Mr Scaramanga @ 4/1 WH

Good Friday Racing

Good Friday, long Easter weekend, no Alcohol….. something isn’t right in this list. I have to work while everyone doesn’t and I’m not allowed to down a well deserved drink in the pub afterwards…. What’s good about that???

Well, what’s certainly good about Good Friday is the excellent All-Weather Champions Day which has been going from strengths to strengths since its introduction a couple of years back.

If you enjoy the sand racing – as I do – and if you enjoy even more so decent horses running on it, well, then Friday is indeed Good Friday!

Some selections for the day as follows below – hopefully following on from two winning days in succession – what a rare feast that has been for quite some time. But thanks to Outcrop on Wednesday, who won at tasty odds of 8/1, things look slightly less bleak than they did a week ago or so.

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2.10: Lingfield: AW Marathon Championships, 2m

I have set my eyes firmly on First Mohican here, fourth in this race last year, when incredibly unlucky. He travelled like the winner for most parts but didn’t get a run whatsoever.

He had a busy campaign subsequently, ended it winless, however was placed in some big Handicaps, including an excellent runner-up effort in the Cesarewith!

After a small break during the winter he returned in a conditions race at Kempton, finished a fine third, then went on to win the Fast Track Qualifier over the 2m at Lingfield last month in good style, suggesting he is still as good as ever.

Now, he can start slowly and might be outpaced early on, as a result may well find himself far off the pace, similar to last year. No doubt he will need all things to fall right in order to win, but in an open race he’s a very big price.

Selection:
10pts win – First Mohican @ 20/1 Bet365

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3.10 Lingfield: AW Sprint Championships, 6f

Most of these have collateral form and it is quite hard to split them. Royal Birth looks a prime candidate if he could bring his form to this longer trip, though the form selections would be Kimberella and surely the most likely winner has to be Lancelot Du Lac.

Front running Mythmaker from pole position has the ability to steel the race wheres Boom The Groom at his best has a huge shout.

The “x-factor” in the race is Godolphin’s Pretend. He won this very race two years ago. Since then things did not go right. After yet another absence he returned to the track at Kempton in February and showed that still possesses above average ability when easily sprinting away in a slowly run race, travelling powerfully in rear throughout.

The next two times here at Lingfield things went horribly wrong. In the Cleves Stakes he got a bump soon after the start and was set alight as a consequence, despite racing keenly he found extra in the closing stages but was then short of room when it mattered most.

Dropped to 5f the next time he bottled the start and in a race where you had to be at least prominently positioned in order to have a chance he lost the race right there. Nonetheless sectionals tell its own story and he ran a huge race according to them, though he looked fairly awkward in the home straight.

Making excuses for a horse twice is a never a good sign but I’m inclined to do so for Pretend. He’s better than what he has shown the last two times, is a former winner of this race, a Group 3 winner on the All-Weather and his overall record suggests he is the most talented individual in this race.

The wide draw does not help today, or does it? I suspect it’s better for him so he can come with a big sweeping run on the outside turning for home and then his electric change of gear might see him pick off the leaders, instead of facing a wall of horses.

Selection:
10 pts win – Pretend @ 5/1 Skybet

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4.40 Lingfield: AW Middle Distance Championships, 1m 2f

Favourite Convey produced a massive performance on his reappearance lto and is fancied for good reasons. But is he that much better than the rest as the odds suggest? Unlikely in my book.

You can make a case for a handful of horses, yet the most interesting is Battalion. He loves this course and distance, won twice here this winter, including a listed contest.

He is clearly a quirky character as seen in the Winter Derby and those antics cost him every chance. as a standard he is slowly away and that will make life difficult in a race without a lot of pace today yet again.

But despite his antics he ran incredibly well judged on sections the last two times and that swerve in his direction: if he is on a going day then he clearly has the ability to pick them all up and win.

Selection:
10pts win – Battalion @ 6/1 Bet365

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2.55 Newcastle: Class 4 Handicap, 7f

Against the odds I feel Ruth Carr’s five year old gelding Chaplin Bay looks an overly big price on his seasonal reappearance. He ran well as a fresh horse in the past so it would not be a surprise to see him return to form.

He seems to be an exposed sort on turf, however not so much on the sand, where in two career starts he finished runner-up in a Dundalk maiden and fourth in a hot Handicap last season.

Off his current mark he may could still find a bit of improvement on the All-Weather; in fact his breeding suggests there might well be more to come. Fastnet Rock offspring outruns the odds year after year, even more so over the 7f trip and very much so this season at Newcastle.

Selection:
10pts win – Chaplin Bay @ 16/1 PP

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3.30 Bath: Class 2 Handicap, 1m 3.5f

Richard Hannon’s Hushood is thrown into the deep end here on his handicap debut of a rather biggish looking opening mark, judged on what this lad this as a juvenile.

But he is expected to improve big time for the trip. He’s nicely bred and a full-brother to Group 3 placed Seaport. His family is stamina laden and has also form on fast ground, though Hushood himself showed his best  in a maiden on good to soft last year, beating a short odds-on favourite from the Gosden yard, who subsequently franked the form.

Interestingly Hushood is by sire Champs Elysees who has a tremendous record over this trip and on firm ground, which gets even better at this Bath track  – a small sample size it is, but the numbers look significant.

All in all Hushood makes appeal as there is a good chance he finds the improvement needed in these conditions to overcome a mark of 86.

Selection:
10 pts win – Hushood @ 13/2 Skybet

Khameela can outrun big Price

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

3.40 Kempton: Conditions Stakes, 6f

A clear case can be made for Gracious John, who despite having to give weight away, is the one to beat. He already proved to be equally as good a three year old as he was as a juvenile and continues to progress.

Much more exposed Field Of Vision is a smart sort in his own right, but is the 6f trip what he wants? If there isn’t too much pace on he might be able to steal it from the front.

I’m most intrigued by the filly Khameela. She impressed at her debut for the Simcock yard earlier this month at Lingfield, confirming a promising racecourse debut in October. She as clearly way too good for her opposition the last time – this here is a steep rise in grade.

At the given odds I feel she is worth chancing with in this race, given that she has loads of scope and can only further improve as she looked still green enough at Lingfield.

Khameela @ 11/1 Ladbrokes – 5pts Win

Lingfield: Lamar Can Bounce Back

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It’s annoying – another second yesterday! Salient ran a blinder at 20/1, but didn’t win. Three second places this week so far, all good prices, none went in. It’s a tough game from time to time.

3.20 Lingfield: Fleur De Lys Fillies’ Stakes (Listed), 1m 1f

Lightly raced Godolphin filly Very Special has to be respected, given she has the weight for age allowance and is open to any amount of improvement after an impressive success at Kempton when last seen. However this dates more than 200 days back, which is a concern. Whether she stays the additional furlong while stepping up in class is another question mark.

The other three year olds in this race make not too much appeal to my eyes. Pack Together and Alfajer ran second and third in a good Ascot Listed event earlier this month. But the step up to 9f is a major concern as their pedigree doesn’t scream stamina.

Form wise it is hard to oppose Rekdhat. Third in a Group 3 in Turkey recently, she looks primed for a big run here, if she is able to overcome the wide draw and slight stamina concerns. Those concerns are valid, though, and could find her out here.

Top rated Dusky Queen can’t be discounted, although she has to give weight away and has concerns about trip too.

Very little in this field stands out and that brings Lamar very much into contention. She has been poor on turf, couldn’t confirm her strong winter form. But she is back after a break which may have helped her as in the past it did seem to do her the world when she returned as a fresh horse.

She won two competitive Conditions Stakes at Wolverhampton and Lingfield back in January, confirmed this with a runner-up effort in the Winter Derby Trial and ran out another impressive second when dropped to 7f in the Fillies’ and Mares All-Weather Championship.

Trip and track will suit her perfectly today, she has a good draw and might be able to dominate here from the front. Other than that she is one of the best All-Weather fillies around and that gives her a prime chance today.

Lamar @ 4/1 Paddy Power – 5pts Win 

All-Weather Championships Day

It’s good Friday, it’s Easter weekend and it is a fantastic day for  top class racing. Lingfield’s All-Weather Championships card is simply brilliant – it brings quality horses together on a surface that is often dismayed by purists. I’m a huge fan of the All-Weather though, and think it is particularly spectacular if good horses competing on it. So it’s a a fantastic day of racing on the tab – let’s hope it’s a profitable one as well!

1.40 Lingfield: All-weather Fillies’ And Mares’ Championships

A very hot renewal with plenty of interesting runners. I feel that in these kind of Conditions races quality is what matters most, and that should mean horses right at the head of the ratings are often favoured. Plenty of money is coming for Lamar. I’m not sure if the drop in trip suits her and she looks short enough in the betting. Khatiba is progressive, so is Don’t Be. Expect them to be right in the mix.

Overpriced is the French filly Fresles, though. A 4/1 chance, she is a full point bigger than I would have thought she’d be in the betting. This filly has had a strong run over 6f in Listed company here at Lingfield in November when she came agonisingly close. Since then she won a Listed race over 7f in France on the All-Weather and produced a very fine prep  run over slightly shorter earlier this month. She’ll be primed and could have a tactical advantage from her good draw today.

Fresles @ 4/1 Coral – 5pts win

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2.10 Lingfield: All-weather Sprint Championships

The red hot favourite Pretend looks very hard to beat given how easily he beat similar opposition over five furlongs recently. If he can translate the same sort of form to this 6f trip, then he is hard to beat. But it’s a new day and maybe a bit more open this time, if not at least for the minor placings.

I particularly feel that Boom The Groom is massively overpriced. You can get 33/1 with 1/4 odds each-way with some firms and that looks a cracking bet. This colt is a course and distance winner, who holds his form very well this winter and finished a fine third behind Pretend over five furlongs the last time. He has excellent place claims at least here and with the race probably run to suit him, he may get even closer this time.

Boom The Groom @ 33/1 Bet365 – 2.5pts E/W

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2.40 Lingfield: All-Weather 3 Year Old Mile Championships

It’s been a very impressive seasonal reappearance by Lexington Times earlier this month and he is sure to go well with the step up to a mile sure to suit. But it’s the French filly Growing Glory who makes most appeal on prices. A massive 10/1 chance you wonder how that can be. With a handy 5lb sex allowance here, this filly has beaten the boys last month on the French All-Weather over 1m. It was a very impressive display as she was interfered twice in the home straight. Forgive her the recent poor showing on turf, and you see a top class All-Weather miler.

Growing Glory @ 10/1 Coral – 5pts win

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