Tricky affair but freshly gelded Commodore could be the answer, despite a bad draw. He was unlucky not to win at Sandown on his penultimate start. Subsequently failed to deliver off his revised mark at Newmarket, though didn’t have the run of the race going for himself.
He can be better than that and now switched to the All-Weather should suit. Going against older horses shouldn’t be an issue but the weight for age allowance can make a huge difference in a race that lacks depth. He probably doesn’t need to improve allot to be in the shake-up, but the fact that sons of Kodiac often show dramatic improvements for being gelded, there is every chance he can be a big runner tonight.
A very competitive little race – you could easily make a case for each and everyone. However from a price point of view Light And Shade is overpriced in my book. He’s potentially well exposed compare to others, but that says he has the right form in the book and is likely to run to his mark.
What is interesting though is the fact that he is fitted with cheek-pieces for the first time. He has has a tendency of hanging as well as carrying his head high. So in addition to a noseband, he’ll be fitted with CP today.
He won really well on his penultimate start, overcoming all these issues and he wasn’t disgraced at all when last seen. Not all too well positioned, he stayed on late and it is not out of this world that he is capable of doing better and finding more improvement with the headgear potentially having a big impact.
In that respect it is noteworthy that Aqlaam offspring usually does extremely well with cheek-pieces.
This a poor affair as you would expect in this class but it is noteworthy that Mr. Donohoe brings a horse over from Ireland for this race. He has a history doing so and has been rather successful in recent years, so one would think there is a reason why Virile is going to post at Newcastle tonight.
The four year old gelding has been racing on the UK All-Weather a couple of times earlier in his career, with career best achieved at Wolverhampton when 2nd in a decent maiden behind a good winner. Since then he has been seen largely in Ireland but wasn’t up to his marks.
However he looked far more into in his last two starts when he travelled notably well for a long time. He has been dropped to a career lowest mark nonetheless and will have the additional benefit of the 7lb claim of an apprentice in the saddle. I believe he could be seriously well handicapped in this field today for this reason.
Favourite Up In Lights is potentially very well handicapped on his debut in this company, and the weight for age allowance is a clear bonus. He may well hack up. But I believe there is massive value on Man Of Harlech, who could be a very potent threat here.
This will be the third run after a long break, during which he was gelded. He clearly needed his first run but was quite unlucky the next time at Sandown when poorly positioned and a clear run denied. However he finished very strongly with seemingly plenty left in the tank.
He drops in grade now, and this potentially easier opposition should help him to defy top weight. He is very nicely bred and comes from a family that does exceptionally well on the All-Weather. So the switch to this surface can be only in his favour today. At 9/2 he is an excellent alternative to the rather shortish favourite in my mind.
Good win for Harlequin Rock yesterday. Feels always good to get things right, as it doesn’t happen too often! Mass Rally looked to come storming home on the outside but faded away eventually. He needs more help from the handicapper these days. Katimavik was NR.
7.35 Ripon: Class 3 Handicap, 5f
This could be an excellent opportunity for the old boy Noble Storm to get back on the score sheet. The nine year old hasn’t been exactly close to winning this year but more often than not wasn’t disgraced nor far beaten.
He drops to a very handy mark now which should see him competitive in this grade, particular today with ground conditions sure to suit well.
Noble Storm @ 16/1 Paddy Power – 5pts Win
7.50 Chelmsford: Class 3 Handicap, 10f
The two fillies at the top of the market could be hard to beat here. Talawat of bottom weight will go very close if she gets the trip against this better opposition. Martlet makes more appeal as she is proven over track and trip.
However I feel Taaqah is overpriced here. She went close over a mile at Chelmsford earlier this year, when runner-up behind Boonga Roogeta. She hasn’t been seen to best effect in her last two starts but the return to the All-Weather may help. She steps up in trip and that is the factor which may see her improving a bit again.
On pedigree she has every chance to do so as a son of Arch out of a Gone West mare who has a stake in multiple St. Leger winner Leading Light.
Taaqah has only one maiden win to her name yet, and that over 6f. It’s is not given that she appreciates the new trip. But it’s possible. There aren’t too many in this field with a realistic chance on handicapping terms and therefore I believe she is a rather big price here.
Taaqah @ 16/1 Ladbrokes – 5pts Win
8.00 Cork: Give Thanks Stakes (Fillies’ Group 3), 1m 4f
This two times races filly Zhukova progressed nicely from her debut run when she landed a Navan maiden in fine style back in June. Trainer Dermot Weld was quite happy and was hoping she would make into a nice Stakes filly over further. Today is the chance.
She lacks experience in this field but is extremely well bred and should appreciate the step up in trip. With natural progression she can go close.
Yesterday afternoon at around 5pm I was pretty depressed…. but then came Dartmouth who got me out of the hole with his dominant success at Ascot. What started like a bleak day, ended in modest 10pts profit. Could have been better if not for hitting the post twice. Lightning Spear in particular was unlucky, as he ran into all sorts of trouble in the home straight.
3.45 Dundalk: Handicap (57-75), 7f
Good racing at Dundalk’s All-Weather today. The 7f handicap looks an intriguing contest. Favourite Ishebayorgrey has been a model of consistency and can race off the same mark as when he won a good 6f race at Leopardstown last month. Though he appears to be vulnerable over this trip; the additional furlong seems to stretch his stemina.
Some lightly raced and potentially well handicapped sorts can make their presence felt. Most interesting is Escapism on her handicap debut, however. The John Oxx charge has done not too badly in maiden races, most notably eleven days ago in a hot sprint. She travelled well but seemed to be out-sprinted in the closing stages.
She steps up to 7f now which should certainly suit on pedigree. Both sire and dam have won over this trip; in fact she is not badly bred at all. An opening mark of 66 is lenient in my eyes, given her most recent performance and the potential improvement to come over this trip. The All-Weather surface won’t be an issue either.
Escapism @ 7/1 Paddy Power – 5pts Win
4.15 Dundalk: Marshes Handicap, 5f
Ultra competitive race with plenty of pace – it should be fast and furious. You can’t discount anyone lightly here, but Ger Lyons’ Ardhoomey is particularly well fancied in the betting after a good performance in a hot Curragh Premier Handicap. He did well to finish 4th from the position he came from and gets help from the handicapper who drops him below a mark of 100 now: his wind problems in the past are a concern, though.
My Good Brother showed a return to form when an unlucky fourth at Fairyhouse. He is down to a handy mark and should go close. Lightly raced Urbestchance is interesting here, dropping in trip on her handicap debut. She is open to any amount of progress.
Old boy Russian Soul will have to overcome a wide draw in order to get to the front in a race where competition for the lead is likely to be fierce. The big weight is even more likely to stop him anyway. Prince Connoisseur hasn’t been any good this year so far but slipped down to a dangerous mark if back to his best.
I really do like Kimbay, who appears to be overpriced. She has been very progressive the last two seasons, and it didn’t stop this year as she got close on her seasonal reappearance and then took advantage of a drop to her prefered 5f trip at Tipperary. Forgive her last performance at the Curragh where she wasn’t in a good position.
She has been dropped 3lb for that and is now effectively only 4lb above her last winning mark. She could be still well in, particularly today where she is returning to Dundalk’s All-Weather. She is unbeaten in three starts over course and distance and should be a major player of her low weight here.
Kimbay @ 9/1 Bet365 – 5pts Win
4.50 Dundalk: Conditions Race, 1m 1f
Only three runners, and with Xebec exposed as a mid-80 rated handicapper, this should be a match between Outspoken and Don Camillo.
Outspoken was a fair runner-up behind stable mate Archangel Raphael. He is very lightly raced and open to further improvement, the switch to the All-Weather may not be an inconvenience. Says the slight drop in trip is not sure to suit given how one-paced he looked as well as easily outpaced one the tempo of the race increased turning for home. He’s clearly no superstar.
Dermot Weld’s Don Camillo was utterly disappointing last week in a listed event at Roscommon. However the race itself was a strange one, so was the ground. He was eased in the closing stages and may be better judged on what he did before. He wasn’t disgraced in Group company at Royal Ascot, and I liked what he did on the Dundalk All-Weather before.
He won here a maiden in great fashion and travelled all over older & more experienced rivals in a Handicap off a mid-90 mark the next time. He was outstayed eventually but should have learned plenty.
He was thought to be good enough to warrant an entry for the US Triple Crown series earlier this year, though he didn’t take it up eventually. Nonetheless quite well bred, by a Breeders Cup Classic winner, Don Camillo is likely to relish this trip and the surface. With a visor fitted for the first time, he can be sharper in the closing stages now.
This week didn’t started as I would have hoped – Starshaped made a mess of his race right at the start on Monday night. The widest draw is never easy but he was lazily out of the box, caught wide, way to far off the pace eventually and had zero chance. He stayed on very well, but clearly lacked focus. He needs blinkers I guess and will be of massive interest the next time once again – if headgear is fitted.
8.45 Kempton: Handicap (Class 3), 1m 4f
This race looks to be between the top two in the betting. You can forgive Majeed’s recent poor showing at Newmarket. He is better judged on the impressive performance here at Kempton before. However I feel the additional furlong today as well as the much bigger weight will make life tough and he’s easily oppose for that reason, particularly given his short price.
No doubt Plutocracy is a very talented, but also fragile individual. He had only ten career starts to date, which is low mileage for a fife year old. That says he’s best fresh anyway, his record clearly indicates that. I think you can draw a line under his Doncaster performance in November when last seen. Testing ground was never to suit. He run with loads of credit the other two times last season, though.
Off a handy mark today, he has a major chance in this field if he is fit and ready to go. Th trip is no issue and the All-Weather shouldn’t be one either. The yard is going well and the trainer/jockey combo has a 35% strike rate over the last twelve month – Plutocracy looks overpriced today.