Tag Archives: All-Weather

Hamelin the value in hot Kempton Listed contest


A good winner today – The Quarterjack got home at Southwell to land the 2m Handicap. He did that really nicely after a tough battle down the home straight. Missed a perfect day unfortunately. Empress Ali ran well but could only manage 2nd place.

7.10 Kempton: Listed Race, 1m 4f

Excellent Listed contest on Kempton’s All-Weather track for a Wednesday night. Last years winner Grendisar is back to defend his crown and he can’t be faulted. He’s a classy individual on the synthetics who loves the trip and the track. In fact in ten starts at Kempton he has never been out of the money.

What speaks against him? His running style can be reason for concern. Grendisar travelles strongly but need to things fall right. He got that often enough last season but if they don’t go overly mad in front here it might be difficult to peg back one or two who get first run. He’s a very short price and his last two performances in recent weeks don’t instil too much confidence.

Grendisar will renew his feud with Fire Fighting. The Mark Johnston inmate was a close runner-up in this very same race last year but beat this rival at Chelmsford last month. He went on to land a good Listed contest at Dundalk over 11f. A mightily impressive performance.

He goes up to 12f again, a trip that can stretch his stamina to the absolute limit. He also has had an awful lot of racing and has to give weight away due his recent success – it’s a pretty tough task in my mind, nonetheless he has the class to overcome all these obstacles.

I really like Missed Call’s chance. She progressed nicely this year from winning a Class 3 Handicap at Ascot to finishing runner-up in the Group 3 Cumberland Lodge Stakes. I also feel she has a nice chance on the weights here. Question mark is, despite having winning form over 12f, the trip, though. It stretches her stamina to a maxium and there is the fear that others will outstay her in this very deep contest.

Stamina concerns hanging over In The Fast Lane as well. As a lover of South African racing I’m happy to see this former winner of the Grade 1 Woolavington Stakes now racing in the UK. The mare is classy on her day, but has serious question marks about the trip. And not only that.

Due her transfer to the UK she had a very long break, for that impressed on her comeback run at Chelmsford in September, but then completely bombed out subsequently. So it’s hard to know what we get from her.

Sweet P is undoubtedly a very progressive filly who also seems to enjoy the All-Weather. Nonetheless, despite presenting herself in top form lately, she has to progress big time to land this race. Which is not impossible, given she tries the 12f trip only for the third time in her career.

You can’t leave out of the equation progressive handicapper Dartmouth. The ground was maybe too soft when we saw him the last time, but up until then he won three of his five starts in 2015. More improvement is required here now, with the All-Weather being an unknown. I’m not sure if this test is what he wants, but he is unlikely to be far away if he can translate his turf form to the polytrack.

However I’m completely sold to Hamelin. I really like his profile. He’s got not too many miles on the clock for a five year old, had only three starts this year and has previous course and distance form. He also has been in impressive lately when landing a competitive class 3 Handicap at Wolverhampton.

He was a bit off at the start but was soon rushed forward from his wide draw to lead the field. It’s true that he wasn’t particularly hard pressed, but those early antics at the start must have cost loads of energy. It was impressive to see how he kicked on from three furlongs out and had the whole field quickly on the stretch.

Yes, more is required here in this race and the weights aren’t exactly favouring him – but he has the profile of an improving horse and could easily have more to offer. He will have to, obviously, but if he can find some improvement, he has to rate a top danger for the others.

Hamelin @ 9/1 Bet365 – 5pts Win


Tuesday Selections: Redcar & Southwell

2000 Guineas Field going to post

2.00 Redcar: Class 3 Handicap, 1m 2f

I feel key form to this race is a recent York Handicap over 10f which was won by Empress Ali. The four year old filly overcame the widest draw in a 20 runner strong field. Back here today she remains of interest despite a raise of 6lb in her mark as well as a step up in class. With that she won two of her last three starts, while the one in between she was a good third.

Empress Ali thrives in soft ground, so should certainly love these conditions today. From a good draw she has to enter calculations and could be able to overcome a career highest mark.

A good third that day at York was El Beau. He was a bit unlucky as when he finally was in the clear the race was gone. He stayed on well and will enjoy conditions here at Redcar. However he is on a high enough mark given his depressing strike rate. Nonetheless he should be the mane danger for Empress Ali, who is, though, a really good price to follow-up.

Empress Ali @ 6/1 Bet365 – 5pts Win


3.10 Southwell: Class 4 Handicap, 2m

Southwell is back! Fibresand action… yeah! Winter is back… that’s what is actually means. There is this decent two mile handicap on the card today, although it’s less competitive than what these races usually are. Only three, max. four of these have a chance – on what we know.

I can see why Brassbound is a clear favourite. He has a fine record here at Southwell and won over the 2m trip before. He did so on his penultimate start over CD, and it’s not impossible that he has still more to offer. But he has a career highest mark to defy. Seven years olds don’t do that all too often, so I’m prepared to take him on.

Tartan Jura is an interesting contender, as if he’s fully wound up and fit on debut for his new yard after an extensive lay-off, he has to be bang there. But you will need to show a lot of trust.

Ullswater for new connections now based in the UK makes his fibresand debut and has not too much form on the flat. He’s kind of exposed for that reason and really hard to know what to get.

Most interesting candidate and the value in the race is The Quarterjack. He’s on his second start on Fibresand and seemingly liked it on his debut earlier this year over 14f when fair runner-up over. He’s 3lb lower in the mark and should appreciate the additional two furlongs.

While he hasn’t been in any sort of form lately, the return to this track is interesting and can rejuvenate him. It has to if he wants to beat the others, but I’m prepared to give him this chance.

The Quarterjack @ 5/1 Bet365 – 5pts Win 

Kempton: Welsh Inlet Has Tactical Advantage


8.25 Kempton: Class 5 Handicap, 1m

I can see why the three year old Boarding Party is fancied here. He is one of very few with the slight hope of a bit of improvement. But on what he has shown so far it’s hard to be too euphoric about him either.

What may decide this race is who gets first run. There seems to be a distinct lack of pace in this race. That brings a couple into the equation who have proved to be comfortable on their own in the past. Red Cossack or Charlies Mate for example, as well as Welsh Inlet. None of these is sure to go forward though, for a variety of reasons.

In my mind Welsh Inlet makes most appeal though. He won in soft conditions over 1m at stamina demanding Brighton this year making all. While 7f is his optimum he has proven to get this little bit further too. Which could be vital here. The other two times he won this season he was very prominent as well.

So there are indications enough to suggest that he will be up with the pace if not attempting to make all today from a perfect draw. I’m pretty sure that’ll be a big advantage. From a handicapping point of view Welsh Inlet makes perfect sense as a main contender in this field. He’s rated 60 at the moment and he has won off this mark earlier this year, albeit on turf.

Whether he is quite that good on the All-Weather these days remains to be seen but judged on recent form where he was 68 at Windsor when last seen means he is certainly in excellent form.

Welsh Inlet @ 8/1 VC – 5pts Win

Kempton: Salient Can Outrun Big Odds

Dundalk All-Weather

19.55 Kempton: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 4f

Really only one horse stands out here: Salient. He’s quite a big price which opens the question whether today is his day. However his record says he can cause an upset alright. He meets ideally conditions here in terms of field size, trip and is down to his last AW winning mark.

His Kempton record is slightly concerning, given Slient is usually an excellent All-Weather horse. But then those poor runs came all over much shorter trips. He was found out for class in a class 4 Handicap at Epsom when last seen but won back in September at Goodwood.

He gets the assistance of talented 7lb claimer Callum Shepperd who has ridden Salient in most of his races this season and won twice on him, including back in May at Lingfield’s All-Weather over 12f off the same mark Salient is on at the moment. Plum draw should suit to go forward.

All depends whether Salient is on a good day – if so he’s going to be a big danger to the short priced favourite Jack Bear, who has fair credentials but doesn’t look like a 2/1 shot at all!

Salient @ 16/1 VC – 5pts Win

Wolverhampton: Amazing Blue Sky Can Make All


20.45 Wolverhampton: Handicap (Class 6), 1m 4f

There is not much depth in this race and that is the reason why San Quentin is such a short favourite. He certainly has the form to land this but has to overcome a career highest mark. He may well do so, as the only other real danger seems to be A Little Bit Dusty, who has form over course and distance.

But what is very much evident in this race: lack of pace. That brings notorious front-runner Amazing Blue Sky into the equation. The 12f trip is his absolut stamina limit, so one has to hope that no surprise comes out and presses for the lead – on paper ABS should have it all to himself and that can often be n advantage at Wolverhampton.

The veteran hasn’t too much in the form book at the moment and the yard is not in any sort of form. It’s a speculative pick, based on the facts of Amazing Blue Sky finding here the perfect conditions today, which means he can be competitive if he’s on a good day.

Amazing Blue Sky @ 16/1 Coral – 5pts Win 

Kempton: Cascading potentially well in

Wet Dundalk Polytrack

8.15 Kempton: Fillies Handicap (Class 4), 7f

Milady could be too good if she stays the trip, which isn’t unlikely, but given the prices I feel fellow three year old Cascading is better value. She has been in excellent form in recent weeks, without getting her head in front. When last seen here at this scene, albeit over 1m, she looked the winner one furlong out, just to get a bit tired and get beaten by a shoulder eventually.

I’m not 100% whether she really has the speed required to win over 7f, but it is worth dropping back and try as despite a revised mark, she could still be well in, particularly in a race like this today, where most appear exposed.

Cascading can race as the bottom weight, and it should help going head to head with her own sex this time too. From a good draw, she should be in the perfect spot when it matters and it’d be disappointing if she isn’t in the money at least, given she finished only once in seven starts on the AW outside the placings.

Cascading @ 13/2 Bet365 – 5pts Win

Kempton: Gelded Perche can be a big improver


6.10 Kempton: Maiden Stakes, 12f

Godolphin’s Perche cost a lot of money as a yearling and actually looked a promising sort on his two starts last year, albeit he showed some problems at the start in his final run back then. Back off a break in July, he reared at the gate and lost his race there. Gelded in the meantime, which usually works exceptionally well for sons of New Approach as well as trainer Charlie Appleby, he might be a bit more calm now.

Still lightly raced, he remains with loads of potential, and the 3lb claim of talented apprentice Kevin Scott as well as a good draw are a big bonus today. The step up to 12f is a slight question mark, albeit far from impossible.

Perche @ 9/1 VC – 5pts Win