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Saturday Selections: April, 13th 2019

Newbury racecourse

3.05 Thirsk: Class 5 Handicap, 6 furlongs

Obviously a wide open contest but I can make a reasonably strong case for Prestbury Park, who has left the Johnston yard and wouldn’t be first one to improve for a change of scenery.

Now with Paul Midgley, Prestbury Park also has undergone a wind surgery lately, which may well be of further help to the not talentless 4-year-old gelding.

He lost his form in the latter half of last season, after finishing a strong runner-up in July at Epsom, he’s now a full ten pounds lower in his handicap, but it’s noteworthy he was able to finish second off 90 back in October 2017.

Prestbury Park is yet to win in Handicap company, though, he ran five times to TS ratings above 72 throughout his career, a lifetime high of 82, suggesting if he’s somehow got back into the mood for the game, he’ll be potentially well in here.

The wide draw isn’t ideal, particularly with loads of pace drawn in lower numbers. It’s a risk worth taking given the big price tag. It’s noteworthy also that Midgley and jockey Kevin Scott have an excellent record when teaming up.

Selection:
10pts win – Prestbury Park @ 16/1 PP

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5.00 Newbury: Maiden Stakes, 1m 3f

John Gosden’s Planissimo looks a strong contender, as the odds suggest – he ran to a TS rating of 71 on debut at Chelmsford, which is quite decent. However, newcomer Space Walk is the one I’m keen on here.

Always a risk with horses you’ve never seen. However, Space Walk is supremely well bred – all his relatives has won, in fact he is a full-brother to stakes winners Recorder and Call To Mind.

Space Walk has a Derby entry as well, and the fact he’s started over 1m 3f suggests he’s here not only for the education, but also to get things rolling on a more serious note.

Galileo offspring have a tremendous record here at Newbury generally, even more so over this sort of trip.

Selection:
10pts win – Space Walk @ 3/1

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5.35 Newbury: Class 3 Handicap, 1m 2f

New Show ran an almighty race in a hot handicap when last seen in 2018. Inexperience cost him dearly that day but to be in it for as long as he was, not finishing too badly, was impressive.

That Goodwood race has worked out tremendously well and judged by that a mark of 87 could well underestimate New Show, if he can improve as a 4-year-old with age and experience. As a late April foal, with low mileage, you do hope there is more to come.

He’s been gelded in the meantime, has Jamie Spencer on board and connections seem to have found a nice opportunity to kick things off in 2019. Of course it’s a competitive race with 19 starters, but I feel the 11 draw will give Spencer every chance to keep things simple and to find a clear passage – which is that’s needed.

Selection:
10pts win – New Show @  8/1 MB

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6.30 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

Ideally there’d be an additional furlong to go today, still Cappananty Con is exquisitely weighted and can be able to get a win over the minimum trip under his belt.

He’s been placed over CD twice before this winter – he ran to a TS rating of 68 and RPR of 80 at Wolverhampton in January – and has kept his form quite well ever since. Nonetheless he’s been dropped 5lb in the handicap mark, down to a 70 rating now.

The additional 3lb claim of Joshua Bryan should prove handy as well. The draw may be wider than ideal, on the other hand.

Selection:
10pts win – Cappananty Con @ 8/1 MB

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Friday Selection: March, 29th 2019

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3.35 Lingfield: Class 4 Handicap, 1 mile

Emenem hasn’t won in a while, however he’s dropping to a tasty mark, now 11lb lower than hist last success, which came over course and distance in December 2017 in higher class.

The 5-year-old has two runs under his belt since returning from a break – particularly his comeback run looks a strong piece of form, even if it doesn’t appear to be one on the surface.

He was found out subsequently in much higher grade over 12 furlongs. A return to 10f in class 4 off 79 should see Emenem to good effect in a pretty winnable race.

His CD record is excellent, and given he ran to a TS rating of 82 only back in August should hopefully mean that if Emenem can find back to some sort of that form, he’ll be hard to beat today. A fine draw is a bonus to his chances.

Selection:
10pts win – Emenem @ 4.8/1 MB

Friday Selections: March, 22nd 2019

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2.40 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 6 furlongs

Andrea Atzeni has only one ride today, and that is in this low-grade handicap at Lingfield. He’s riding Tavener again, whom he already steered to three victories in the past, most recently last Tuesday.

The seven-year-old gelding is on a roll, having his fifth start this months. He’s finished with plenty of credit most of the times, coming agonisingly close on his penultimate run and finally got the head in front when last seen.

Tavener did that nicely from the front running good fractions and earning a fine TS rating as well. He’s turned out under a penalty today, but given past form and ratings he ran to, it seems reasonable to assume he still is potentially well handicapped.

A good draw will certainly help today, even though he may face a little bit of competition for the pace, he should be in an ideal position swinging for home and have enough in the tank to win another low-grade race over a CD he thoroughly enjoys.

Selection:
10pts win – Tavener @ 7/2 PP

Saturday Selection: March, 16th 2019

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7.45 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 6f

Favourite Tour de Paris looks set for another big run after a breakout performance over course and distance when last seen here. The 4-year-old stepped up to this longer trip for the first time and produced a fine turn of foot to land the spoils.

He was keen enough in the early stages of the race, thankfully dropped the bit for Tom Marquand soon enough to travell strongly in midfield, getting closer to the pace in the second half of the race and once pulled out into the open swinging for home he put the race rather easily to bed.

That performance awarded him a time speed rating of 64 – the hike in the handicap mark sees him now race off 63, so potentially he could be still well handicapped, particularly if more improvement is there to be unleashed on what is only his 5th handicap run and second time over this trip.

Tour de Paris  got an okay draw in order to find a good position somewhere in midfield, and as long as he gets a clear run he’ll be very hard to beat.

Selection:
10pts win – Tour de Paris @ 10/3 PP

Friday Selections: March, 15th 2019

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  • Cheltenham Festival Selections Here
  • Cheltenham Gold Cup Preview Here 

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7.30 Chelmsford: Class 4 Handicap, 1 mile

The favourite Pheidippides could well follow up on his recent success. The hike in the weights only matches the TS rating he achieved that day. On the other hand his overall record is patchy, so at a much bigger price I take a punt on Brittanic.

The 4-year-old has class form in his book. He still managed to run a tremendous race finishing second returning from a break here over course and distance in December – a form that looks pretty strong judged through the winner and third placed horse.

Unfortunately Brittanic lost his way subsequently, hence he slipped down to a 10lb mark than back then. Obviously he’d be well handicapped now if he could regain anything of his past form.

He’s got a habit for starting slowly. This is an obvious concern. He’ll need everything going right today. At least he has a good draw and David Simcock’s Chelmsford record gives hope.

Selection:
10pts win – Brittanic @ 16/1 PP

Saturday Selections: March, 9th 2019

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2.25 Sandown: G3 Imperial Cup Handicap Hurdle, 2m

I was incredibly taken by Malaya’s return to the track three weeks ago at Ascot for the first since December after falling subsequently twice. The mare wasn’t fancied at all as a 20/1 shot but outran her price tag by a wide margin.

The five-year-old travelled much the best for the majority of the race, jumping well and making stylish progress in the closing stages. She didn’t get the clearest of runs two out but also seemed to tire significantly jumping the last, without being too many too hard questions asked either way.

Malaya is down to a handy mark and the way she travelled the last time indicates a drop to 2 miles will suit. So should the slower ground. In a race that does look for the taking she has a massive chance.

Selection:
10pts win – Malaya @ 5/1 MB

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2.40 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Novice Stakes, 8.5f

Last season in hands of Roger Varian, Nawar tracked in the right direction, looking like a horse that’s close to get his head in front. His last two pieces of form in Handicaps at Kempton over a mile are rock solid form and his second- and third placed efforts are to be upgraded taking into context how the races unfolded.

He changed yards since, off the track over the winter, and now first time out for Martin Bosley, back in a Novice race. I suspect he’s fit for this outing with George Wood booked.

The slight step up in trip sure suit, no doubt. Nawar hasn’t too much to fear in this race in my book also as he is the most experienced in the field, while the others don’t look world beaters either.

Selection:
10pts win – Nawar @ 6/1 MB

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4.25 Wolverhampton: Class 2 Handicap, 6 furlongs

Not particularly original in the context of the race, but Corinthia Knight is the obvious selection here. He got close in a handful of hot sprints in recent weeks, ever since he won off his current mark over 5f at Lingfield.

His last two performances, particularly when beaten by only a neck by Royal Birth, rates the strongest piece of form here, I feel. The winner had an absolute dream run, Corinthia Knight not quite so much.

Having the opportunity to race off 105 once more, even though stepping up to 6f, which should not be an issue whatsoever, given he’s a 3x distance winner as well as having course form, Corinthia Knight looks poised for finding his way back to the winners circle.

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

Saturday Selections: March, 2nd 2019

National Hunt Fence

1.30 Newbury: Class 3 Handicap Hurdle, 2m 4f 118y

Nico de Boinville for Ben Pauling over hurdles at Newbury…. an interesting combination. A winning one, history tells us. They team up here with A Hare Breath. The veteran has question to answers after poor showings lately.

Nonetheless, fitted with CP for the first time, dropping significantly in the weights into an easier race, with conditions to suit, he should have on based on that a tremendous chance to win this race.

Obviously only if he is still in the mood. We probably will know soon after the start whether he is on a going day. At given prices I feel it is a fair risk to take.

Selection:
10pts win – A Hare Breath @ 6/1 MB

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3.00 Doncaster: Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle, 3m½f

Danse Idol has top form in the book as runner-up in graded company. She could prove hard to beat if she takes to the trip over this fast ground.

I feel she is short enough in the betting and red hot mare Bonza Girls offers better value. 5-5 in handicaps this season, she is improving rapidly. This is a higher grade and she has to improve again.

However, given she tries 3 miles for the first time, a distance that could suit and may well eke out more improvement, given she has been very game in her races, always running well to the line, it is possible we haven’t seen her best yet.

Selection:
10pts win – Bonza Girl @ 5/1 MB

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3.35 Doncaster: Class 2 Handicap Chase, 3m 2f

Given form and ratings, Dingo Dollar offers plenty of upside and looks a shade overpriced in this race. On the surface he was slightly disappointing in the Listed Skybet Handicap Chase here at Doncaster recently, however that form as well as his run in the Grade 3 Landbrokes Chase were strong races.

This looks easier. The trip will suit. The additional furlong should be to his aid. Off 148 back in a handicap I feel there is still a bit more to come.

It’s Wayne Hutchinson’s only ride on the card also. He knows the horse well already, which is a bonus.

Selection:
10pts win – Dingo Dollar @ 4/1 PP

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7.30 Chelmsford: Class 5 Handicap, 6 furlongs

Real Estate is clearly in good form as his last performances suggest. He also remains handicapped to go close again. He may have better form over 7f, however he can be keen over that trip, and his latest runs over the shorter trip are promising.

Those races look like rock solid form, he’s also rated a pound below his last winning mark right now. There doesn’t seem to be too much pace on in this race today, so from a good draw there is fair chance he’ll be well positioned to make a break turning for home, playing out his extra bit of stamina in the closing stages.

Callum Shepherd comes here for this one ride only; let’s hope he can make this one a winning one.

Selection:
10pts win – Real Estate @ 10/1 PP