Tag Archives: All-Weather

Wednesday Selections: 28th December 2022

4.55 Newcastle: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

Bin Hayyan was a massive eye-catcher when last seen back in November, one few may have missed. It’s a question whether you have the trust that today is the day connections are serious about winning or not.

The early prices are probably more driven by this recent impressive run than anything else. Market moves during the day will tell us what to expect in this rather open and intriguing contest, in any case.

As for Bin Hayyan, he probably showed more to the handicapper than perhaps he should have, in an ideal world, when finishing incredibly strongly last time out. But it’s the reason I am clearly prepared to back at the prices on offer, in the hope he will run on merit.

Back then over the same course and distance he was restrained in rear, which was a disadvantage as the field crawled for the first half of the race. He made eye-catching progress from three furlongs out, travelled seriously strongly, but couldn’t get a clear run until approaching the final furlong. As he found daylight he finished by far the strongest.

He was a big price on the day (SP 25/1), and unusual race tactics were deployed. He was seen to best effect when more prominently ridden in the past.

He is almost certainly better than his current Official Rating of 69. He ran to a 71 speed rating on turf this summer, and has clearly proven his suitability to an All-Weather surface when last seen.

I also would argue his comeback run prior, off a small break, at Kempton, over a mile on his first attempt racing on sand, can be upgraded given the way he was ridden that day, over a trip possibly that stretches his stamina.

This smaller field of eight horses, with a modest pace expected, could suit Bin Hayyan really well, if he can settle closer to the pace. He is drawn close to the most likely pace setter, so should get a lead into the finish, And he has shown to be able to quicken nicely.

10pts win – Bin Hayyan @ 7/2

Thursday Selections: 22nd December 2022

I am prepared to give Havana Goldrush another chance, despite a major disappointment only a couple of days at Kempton.

It was an odd race on Monday. Certainly the winner was too well handicapped as the handbrake came off. But that had nothing to do with the poor showing of Havana Goldrush, who finished a long way beaten, in no relation to his excellent recent performances.

One of the possible reasons was the way the race developed from his wider than ideal draw in the early stages of the race. The gelding raced ide, not finding cover, and using valuable energy. He tends to be a tricky sort, so no surprise to see that it was game over before the race even really began. In any case, the performance was too bad to be true.

Hence I remain interested in Havana Goldrush once again. He was a massive eyecatcher on his penultimate run – he confirmed his excellent form, as I felt the two preceding runs deserved to be upgraded for various reasons, as well.

In the October race at Kempton, then over 7 furlongs, he had to overcome the widest draw, was bumped by a rival as the gates opened, was pushed to the outside as a consequence, and had to regain momentum. He found his stride swiftly, and then travelled strongly in the middle of the field.

Seemingly going best in the home straight, when looming large 2 furlongs from home, he failed to put the race to bed, apparently hanging in the closing stages and possibly paying for the trouble at the beginning of the race.

As touched on, his two runs prior were noteworthy as well: a strong 3rd place in September at Chelmsford over a mile, when he attempted to make all, and possibly was doing too much too soon. A few weeks earlier he finished third over the same CD, when badly hampered at crucial times of the race.

Those performances indicated Havana Goldrush is seemingly holding his form quite well, and is ready to strike, when he gets a clear run…. with the caveat that Mondays run puts a big question mark behind it all.

He’ll have assistance of a solid 5lb claiming apprentice once again. Draw and pace chart look favourable, in a sense he shouldn’t need to waste loads of energy to slot in a couple of lengths behind the leader.

10pts win – Havana Goldrush @ 9.5/1

Monday Selections: 19th December 2022

Before talking about more mundane things, such as a 0-70 Handicap at Kempton, I must mention the sublime: Charles Dickens!

South Africa has a new superstar – perhaps the most exciting colt for a long time, indeed. When someone like Mike de Kock says this, you must take note:

 “….the best I’ve seen since our own Horse Chestnut won the Guineas 23 years ago”

I’ve been following the progress of this son of Trippi for a while, and certainly felt ever since his Grade 3 Cape Classic victory he could be something special.

Of course, you hope, but you never can be totally sure whether such bonkers performances are real or simply down to some freak conditions on the day. Well, Charles Dickens followed up in similar style, before going into the Grade 1 Cape Guineas as the heavy odds-on favourite on Saturday.

He delivered in the most incredible way possible, in a strong renewal of the Cape Guineas, left his rivals standing still as he changed gear over two furlongs from home. You won’t see many easier winners in a Grade 1.

Spectacular, sublime, unreal, brilliant, outrageous… take your pick. I struggle to find actual words to properly describe this performance!

………….

2.50 Kempton: Class 5 Handicap, 1m

This is a rather competitive race for a modest Monday card at Kempton. You can make more or less solid cases for probably half the field. The pace scenario is certainly intriguing. Hard to call what’s going to happen.

Favourite Brains is handicapped to win, no doubt: the handbrake was off last time out, when he wasn’t quite the luckiest, though; same mark today, 9lb lower than his last winning mark and a solid 3lb claimer on board.

Obvious chances, however, quite a short price, one I wouldn’t want to trust with my money in a hot race as this, I must say.

There is solid opposition in Covert Mission, who may be a touch too high in the ratings now, but he loves this course and distance and has the form in the book to go close.

Buick on board of Exciting News, on her All-Weather Handicap debut. She will enjoy this additional furlong today and is dangerous off her rating, but ultimately difficult to gauge.

Lost In Time caught the eye two races back – if this is a muddling affair he’s not out of it; although I prefer to see him over 7 furlongs.

No question, though, the one I am really interested in from a betting point of view is Havana Goldrush. A massive eyecatcher when last seen, he confirmed his excellent form, as I felt the two preceding runs deserved to be upgraded for various reasons.

Last time out at Kempton, then over 7 furlongs, he had to overcome the widest draw, was bumped by a rival as the gates opened, was pushed to the outside as a consequence, and had to regain momentum. He found his stride swiftly, and then travelled strongly in the middle of the field.

Seemingly going best in the home straight, when looming large 2 furlongs from home, he failed to put the race to bed, apparently hanging in the closing stages and possibly paying for the trouble at the beginning of the race.

As touched on, his two runs prior to this most recent October race were noteworthy as well: a strong 3rd place in September at Chelmsford over a mile, when he attempted to make all, and possibly was doing too much too soon. A few weeks earlier he finished third over the same CD, when badly hampered at crucial times of the race.

Those performances indicate Havana Goldrush is holding his form quite well, and is ready to strike, when he gets a clear run.

It’s a slightly easier race today, and get the assistance of apprentice Taylor Fisher, who’s value for his 5lb claim. The downside is a wider than ideal draw, although perhaps less of an issue with only seven other rivals in the race.

Havana Goldrush tends to hang in finishes, he’s clearly a tricky sort. Nonetheless, I feel, even in this competitive Handicap, if he gets a clear run, he’s going to be difficult to beat today.

10pts win – Havana Goldrush @5/1

All-Weather Eyecatchers #4

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

Aberama Gold
03/12/22 – 6.20 Wolverhampton:

Soon moved forward, took lead, before heading for home as part of leading duo; tried to kick, fought gamely, before tiering inside the finial furlong.

This should be strong form, as it was a good field with some horses in decent form. He ran right up to his current rating. Has been dropped 2lb right after this. Won off 85 on turf this year.

Clearly in fine form as evidence by subsequent fine 3rd place performance at Lingfield. I want to see a drop below a mark of 85. A Handicap over 6 furlongs around Chelmsford with a good draw would be a dream scenario.

Race Replay

He’s So Brazen
05/12/22 – 6.20 Wolverhampton:

Restrained early on, seriously keen, as he was throughout, especially between 5 to 4 furlongs out. Loomed large with seemingly big challenge entering home straight. High head-carriage, looked awkward, wandering, and ran into trouble over one furlong out.

Probably doesn’t get the trip, either. He looks desperate for a drop in trip, and looks ripe to strike then. I won’t back him beyond 7 furlongs, though.

Comes from a pretty poor family. Wouldn’t want to give him many chances. Attitude needs to be monitored too.

Race Replay

Mobashr
05/12/22 – 7.20 Wolverhampton:

Grabbed an uncontested lead, set good pace from the front, lead for home, tired badly as he was headed. Good race for this class, form can be upgraded.

Change of tactics seemed to bring out improvement. Started well this time, unlike often in the past. Dropped another 2lb in the meantime. Seems to recapture some form for a new yard.

Should be well handicapped now. Similar type race, 7 furlongs with good draw and not much pace will be ideal.

Race Replay

Tothenines
05/12/22 – 7.20 Wolverhampton:

Travelled in midfield for majority of the race. Eye catching progress from three furlongs out on the inside. Had momentum slightly stopped in home straight before fully in the clear. Didn’t find too much in final furlong.

Probably not at his best over 7 furlongs. Best form over 6 furlongs. Eye catching when last seen over this trip at Newcastle. Bit too high in the mark right now. Wait for drop to 6f and I would like to see him below a mark of 78. Ideally at Southwell.

He’s a tricky customer. Can find trouble, make a mess at the start and will always be up against pace bias on the All-Weather. Below 78 he’ll be quite well handicapped though, to offset these negatives.

Race Replay

Smarden Flyer
07/12/22 – 11.20 Lingfield:

Moved forward, pushed pace early in the race. Slightly impeded over 4f out, had to take a pull. Attempted challenge over 3f out on the outside, gave ground away before finishing tired, 4th.

Solid run, 2nd after small break. had a wind operation in June. Jury is out whether he is totally fine in his breathing. He hasn’t finished a race well since then, but this was a return to some form, and he was perhaps only tired in the end.

I am prepared to give him a chance off a career lowest mark next time out over 7-8f, as he has been dropped another 3lb post race. That looks potentially lenient.

Race Replay

Hellavapace
07/12/22 – 11.20 Lingfield:

Pushed forward from widest draw to grab the lead. Put under pressure over 2f out, got quite tired in the home straight and fell away.

Ran quite well a number of times in recent weeks; in fact this year, caught the eye in early summer on turf. Struggles to get a real chance from the handicapper, but has been dropped another 2lb and is clearly competitive.

I want to see her to drop down to a mark of 50 or lower, and ideally into 0-50 against her own sex.

Race Replay

Flying Secret
07/12/22 – 1.25 Lingfield:

Not helped by #7 draw and the way race unfolded. Outpaced at the back of the field halfway through, but finished incredibly well, the strongest in the final furlong.

Caught eye a number of times. Especially at Salisbury on turf back in May, but also excellent return of half a year off at Kempton.

Likely needs the step up to 7 furlongs to be seen to best effect. Remains unexposed and open to improvement. Has shown enough to give him a chance.

Race Replay

Champagne Supanova
08/12/22 – 8.00 Chelmsford:

Held up at the back, travelled notably well into the home straight, made nice progress on the inside under an easy enough hands and heels ride.

First start since August, trip not ideal, didn’t look in this to run to his merit. Drop to 6f will see him competitive, should drop below last winning mark too.

Strong run four runs back in March over 6f at Lingfield off 63. Won last December off 59, ran to 63 speed rating. Couple of efforts in the 50’s in the meantime. Can be tricky some days, but clearly ripe to win if on a going day and the handbrake is off.

Race Replay

May Remain
09/12/22 – 12.15 Wolverhampton:

Repeat entry to the list from Eyecatchers #3 – another excellent performance, albeit once again over 7 furlongs, which is literally a furlong too far, as was evidence here once again. Led strongly from the front before hitting the wall in the home straight.

Very game, great attitude, even when beaten. Reduction in the mark on the cards now, especially after subsequent solid, but uneventful run over 7f three days later.

The handicapper should have enough reasons to ease him in the ratings. Once the drop to 6f comes he’s gonna be a strong bet.

Race Replay

Independent Beauty
09/12/22 – 8.15 Southwell

In rear on inside, travelled well enough. Incredible progress from three to final furlong against inside rail, before tiering, Strong performance in competitive race – winner won nto again.

Still a maiden, but looks to be capable to take advantage of basement mark soon. Ran much better over shorter 6f at Newcastle lto. 7f looks ideal.

Can be ridden closer to the pace. Has entry for fillies 7f handicap next week, and there certainly of interest.

Race Replay

Vespasian
10/12/22 – 4.50 Wolverhampton:

Moved forward to lead, set strong fractions, part of pace setting duo. Still lead approaching final furlong and only headed late, by eventual winner from off the pace.

Seriously strong piece of form. Returned from a long break and after being gelded; looks high enough in the mark on speed ratings but not impossible to find improvement, especially with wellbeing confirmed.

Quite consistent before his break, often placed and ran with credit. Front-running tactics seem to suit; so always of interest over 6f on AW.

Race Replay

Minesbiggerthanurs
10/12/22 – 4.50 Wolverhampton:

Part of the pace setting due, kept the leader honest, racing on his outside. Still right there with a furlong to go before he got tired.

Comeback run and gelded, still lightly raced, can improve after only six career starts. Some good performances, won well from front at Kempton last winter.

Things went wrong at Southwell in hot class 3 contest before his break, when beaten by progressive Tyber Flow. Can be upgraded.

Race Replay

Sergeant Tibbs
12/12/22 – 1:12 Lingfield:

Restrained at the back of the small field, well off pace turning for home, although travelled notably well. Started move before badly short of room over 1 furlong out. Had to delay, got going again to finish fastest over last two furlongs.

Was well backed, and clearly in tremendous form, as evidence by other recent performances as well. Possibly really well handicapped, too; may struggle on All-Weather due to his racing style, though.

Probably best over 6 furlongs, seems to have pace for minimum trip, and one to keep in mind for the next turf season, unless he gets any more help from the handicapper and finds the right race on the All-Weather.

Race Replay

Aurelia Gold
12/12/22 – 1.42 Lingfield:

Moved forward quickly, led early then tracked leader, off the bridle 3f out but kept going strongly before carried over by eventual winner over 1f out.

Frustrating sort, still a maiden. Second run for new yard. Ran 4x times to speed rating 52+. Down to intriguing mark. Would be really interesting down to 7 furlongs, ideally in a fillies race; I don’t think she truly stays 1 mile.

Race Replay

With Respect
14/12/22 – 12.50 Lingfield:

Bit awkward out of #1 gate, needed encouragement to move forward, did so eventually to take lead as part of a duo. Travelled well into the home straight before finishing very tired.

Second run after two years off. Intriguing comeback run at Kempton, when bumped early, and seriously keen subsequently. Smart as a juvenile on his debut running to a 90 speed rating. Issues subsequently, and long break.

Wasn’t expected last two runs. One to monitor for the right day, possibly better over 7 furlongs if allowed to stride forward.

Race Replay

Dashing To You
14/12/22 – 1:55 Lingfield:

Possibly hampered at the start (hard to see but mentioned in race commentary), certainly slowly into stride, never really travelling before turning for home; excellent progress from 3f out, finished strongly.

Unlucky last time out as well, clearly a tricky sort. Could be quite well handicapped when he can put it all together, ran 3 times to speed ratings higher than current mark. Would love to see a return to 10f.

Race Replay

John The Baptist
14/12/22 – 3:30 Kempton:

Under drive early to get into position, outpaced from 4f out, lost many positions in the home straight until he rallied incredibly strongly in the final furlong to finish 4th.

First good run since a debut win in Ireland. Probably better than current 60 rating, as the finish to this race is a clear indication, if he ever can put it all together.

Difficult sort, as evidence by headgear combination. Will need to step up to 1m to be seen to best effect, but needs to settle to have a real chance.

Race Replay

Brandy Station
15/12/22 – 2:33 Southwell:

Prominent on stands’ side, travelled well enough but increasingly outpaced halfway through the race. Stayed on strongly in the final furlong, finishing the fastest.

Strong speed rating of 58, in line with his best performances. In excellent form. Southwell 5f specialist. Always with a chance over this CD, ideally with a low draw.

May be too closely handicapped to his best current form at the moment, though. Ideally would love to see one or two lesser runs at different tracks before returning to this CD off lower mark.

Race Replay

Arlecchino’s Gift
16/12/22 – 1:25 Southwell:

Wide draw, travelled on the outside, didn’t look entirely happy there and was pushed out even wider by a rival 4f out. Hang in the home straight, finished well beaten.

Wasn’t expected, returned from small break. Won 3 times this year, twice on the All-Weather, all over 6 furlongs. Bit too high in the ratings right now. One to wait for to drop a few more pounds and watch the market.

Race Replay

Testing Faith
16/12/22 – 3.10 Southwell:

Was quickest out of the gate, but possibly didn’t quite have the pace to stay in the lead; badly hampered 7f out, race was probably over there and then. Faded badly in the home straight; entitled to, after 111 days off.

Still a maiden, but showed some promise earlier this year. Falls rapidly in his mark to a rating he could be seriously well handicapped.

His pedigree suggests a step up to 10 furlongs will be interesting. He only had one try, right before his break, and it’s fair to conclude that run is best to forgive. Can move forward. One to keep an eye on in the next weeks.

Race Replay

Friday Selections: 16th December 2022

The eyecatchers win…. but I don’t back them. It pains me that travelling for work all week didn’t leave any time to dig into racing. it meant I missed a number of winners from the current All-Weather eye-catcher list.

But if it’s not possible to analyse a race properly, I won’t have a bet. Simple as that. No bet = no money lost, which isn’t a bad thing, in any case.

Seeing the horses run well gives me solace that the work put in has been solid. Though, you never know whether that continues to be the case, of course.

I try to make up ground on Friday. Although, the selections are much bigger prices than I would have envisioned. That could be good or a bad thing….

In saying that, I still hope racing goes ahead, because even if they run badly, it means they got a run, at the very least, and the may even better handicapped the next time.

…….

4.25 Southwell: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

I am conflicted in this one as there is four possible choices and all four have reasonable claims. I’d feel ready to support in isolation. But the strongest chance could be Surprise Picture from a good draw to attack the race dropped to 7 furlongs again.

His last three runs have all been noteworthy and eye-catching but certainly not economical rides that gave the gelding not the best chance of winning.

He drops another pound after a strong 4th place last week over 8.5f at Wolverhampton. He didn’t get home, but ran to 65 speed rating, once more confirming his excellent form.

Down to 7 furlongs again, as he ran two back at Wolverhampton when arguably a bit unlucky, he ran multiple times to speed ratings 68 plus this year, as well.

There doesn’t seem to be too much proper pace to compete against he wants to, almost certainly, move forward from a solid #6 draw.

10pts win – Surprise Picture @ 13/1

……….

5.25 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 7f

I was keen on Saturday when Lucky Lucky Lucky had an entry over 6 furlongs at Newcastle, before the meeting was called off, and remain interested, although would have preferred to see him race over the shorter trip

But I still think he’s got an strong chance over 7 furlongs, too, in a race as poor as this, if this lad is allowed to run on merit, i.e. the handbrake is off, and he’s trained to be fit.

Granted, on the surface it requires a little bit of imagination, when checking the form of  It’s clearly there to see, though – in my eyes, at least.

For one: while not an eye-catching performance at first glance, his most recent run over 7 furlongs at Newcastle noteworthy. For the simple fact that the gelding broke well and travelled enthusiastically, with his ears pricked, up with a solid pace early on. This isn’t your typical 17-race maiden with attitude issues.

Going back to August, on turf, at Redcar, he finished a strong third. That day over 6 furlongs, he got badly hampered in the closing stages and a clear run denied. He probably wins it if he gets a clear passage. He showed a lovely attitude that day, in my view

His more recent performances were obviously really poor runs on paper. But I believe there is enough to see a horses with sufficient appetite for the game.

In any case, Lucky Lucky Lucky is down to a mark of 49 now. Dropped another 3lb since the last Newcastle run. Although I was really curious to see him over 6 furlongs, there is not too much concern that he can’t stay stay further on pedigree as a full-brother to a listed placed Dundalk mare (1m).

Speed ratings suggest he could (should) be well handicapped now. First time blinkers are tried. It may help to sharpen him up. The jockey booking is a slight concern. Alex Jary simply doesn’t ride many winners. Nonetheless, he looks solid in the saddle visually, but largely sits on horses with no hope.

It’s different here. Lucky Lucky Lucky has plenty of hope. The additional 7lb claim, which looks good value, make the 3-year-old gelding an great chance on handicapping terms.

10pts win – Lucky Lucky Lucky @ 15/1

……….

8.15Kempton: Class 6 Handicap, 7f

Sense Of Security has been in tremendous form in her last starts. Although I tend to avoid fillies and mares during the winter as all data points to them underperforming during this period on the All-Weather, this filly ran to near career best speed ratings in her last two runs.

She caught the eye during the flat campaign earlier this year, and entered my list in October when she returned from a wind operation at Kempton over 6 furlongs.

That day she was badly bumped and squeezed right after the start, was keen in the early parts of the race, possibly as a consequence. She made good progress from 3 furlongs out, kicks well in the home straight and found plenty. The winner from the front was not for catching, and well on top, though.

She followed up a fortnight ago at Chelmsford with another huge run, finishing strongly, against the pace bias.

She ran to speed ratings 57 and 58 in those two runs, which means off her 57 handicap mark she is handicapped to go seriously close. The bonus is the step up to 7 furlongs. I believe she always struggles over the shorter trip when the pace is hot.

Obviously as a maiden after 15 runs you never can be quite sure. But I firmly believe that if her wind is okay, she will really enjoy this trip

Should be handicapped to win. Probably more so over 7 furlongs. 6 furlongs isn’t impossible, because she really kicked hard here – I really rate this performance. Class could see her through an easier race over the shorter trip off a career lowest mark.

10pts win – Sense Of Security @ 6/1

Tuesday Selections: 13th December 2022

2:13: Southwell: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

Ooh Is It is back over the minimum trip and has been left untouched by the handicapper after his latest eye catching front-running performance over 6 furlongs.

That day he started quickly and set the world alight in the first half of the race. No surprise to see him tire rather badly from 3f out. Nonetheless, he still held a 1 lengths advantage at the final furlong marker.

This is strong form, a good race in my view. The winner was well handicapped and caught the eye before. Ooh Is It ran to strong 71 speed rating as well – in comparison to his current mark that’s seriously intriguing, as he’s currently on a mark of 68.

The fact he ran so well over 6 furlongs, a trip I believe is too far, means he should be in excellent form right now. Clearly he’s rated to win. He ran three times to speed ratings 70+, all his best performances over 5 furlongs, nine pounds below his last winning mark from January this year.

The #3 draw here is a positive. Even though it’s a straight five, a low draw has proven favourable over this CD. The question mark is whether he’ll be drawn into a pace battle. There is plenty of it in this race.

He’s got an entry on Saturday at Lingfield over 5 furlongs again, perhaps another prime chance, in case this one doesn’t go to plan. In any case, Ooh Is It is ready to rock.

10pts win – Ooh Is It 5/1

Sunday Selections: 11th December 2022

2.43 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

This race is odds-on to be in the top 3 of the worst races I have looked into this year. This is really not a good race. At all.

It suits my selection, though. It may come to bite me, but I am quite bullish: if this lad is allowed to run on merit, i.e. the handbrake is off, and he’s trained to be fit, then he’ll run away with this.

Granted, on the surface it requires a little bit of imagination, when checking the form of Lucky Lucky Lucky. It’s clearly there to see, though – in my eyes, at least.

For one: while not an eye-catching performance at first glance, his most recent run over 7 furlongs at this venue was noteworthy. For the simple fact that the gelding broke well and travelled enthusiastically, with his ears pricked, up with a solid pace early on. This isn’t your typical 17-race maiden with attitude issues.

Going back to August, on turf, at Redcar, he finished a strong third. That day over 6 furlongs, he got badly hampered in the closing stages and a clear run denied. He probably wins it if he gets a clear passage. He showed a lovely attitude that day-

His more recent performances were obviously really poor runs on paper. But I believe there is enough to see a horses with sufficient appetite for the game.

In any case, Lucky Lucky Lucky is down to a mark of 49 now. Dropped another 3lb since the last Newcastle run. He drops to 6 furlongs as well. Trip wise this is what I hoped to see. He should stay further on pedigree. And is a full-brother to a listed placed Dundalk mare (1m).

But the way he moves through his races, and the fact his career-best run came over this trip, suggests 6 furlongs could be ideal. Although I wouldn’t rule out backing him over 7 furlongs in the future (note: has entry next week over 7f)

Speed ratings suggest he could (should) be well handicapped now. First time blinkers are tried. It may help to sharpen him up. The jockey booking is a slight concern. Alex Jary simply doesn’t ride many winners. Nonetheless, he looks solid in the saddle visually, but largely sits on horses with no hope.

It’s different here. Lucky Lucky Lucky has plenty of hope. The additional 7lb claim, which looks good value, make the 3-year-old gelding an outstanding chance on handicapping terms. Add to this that his sire has a super record over this CD plus a yard that’s two from four over the last 28 days and you may start to buy in to my enthusiasm for this horse.

Now all we need is Newcastle to go ahead on Sunday. Inspection is called for 7:30. Fingers crossed.

I am writing this on Saturday night. With these type of horses, in these type of races, you never can be sure when it’s “D-day”. If he is on the drift to solid double figure prices it’s going to be a clear sign that we have to wait for another day.

10pts win – Lucky Lucky Lucky @ 17/2

Saturday Selections: 10th December 2022

Waverley Star was a lovely winner on Friday, the first in December, although I had only five selections prior to today, with two solid placings, although that counts for little if you back win only, which is what I do.

In any case, Waverley Star was a whopping 9/1 shot (my price; even more generous was available until noon, though; well backed into SP 5/1) and certainly helps to bring the month right back into the solid green.

The 3-year-old gelding did fulfill the hopes outlined in the preview: he went forward, grabbed the lead halfway through and was never to be seen again by the rest of the field.

It’s the one thing that consistently proving the best results on basically all All-Weather tracks over sprint trips: grab the lead and hold on to it…. and still you see people backing hold-up horses over these trips on the sand.

Yet, as you will see soon, I’ll do this as well, from time to time, at least. Can’t be dogmatic, is my view. A value bet is a value bet and simply reflects track bias in the price and evaluation of the chance.

……….

4.30 Newcastle: Class 4 Handicap, 7f

A competitive class 4 Handicap, with a seemingly progressive handicap newcomer as the favourite; all but one horse are rated 80 plus.

I have the feeling the class dropping top weights will struggle to make an impact off 9-11 here, given some other rivals make far greater appeal on weight and handicapping terms.

Dicoles Of Rome ran some fine races the last two times and is one on my list; he should find this easier, but at the same time he appears to me still a bit too high in the mark to be considered a bet.

Favourite Brewing could be anything. Judged through the form of his two wins an opening mark of 83 isn’t a giveaway. Also, those weren’t lightning fast races; his best speed rating of 45 is meaningless in this much hotter class.

The 7/4 price has already backed some massive improvement, which may or may not come. Certainly he’s a favourite that has to be taken on.

Tothenines is the proverbial consistent sort. Possibly in the grip of the handicapper, but these tough, consistent horses do well at this time of the year. He’s a real danger.

Naturally I am drawn to Beattie Is Back. An eye-catcher multiple times lately. He’s also one who finds the trouble.

He did so last time at Wolverhampton, as early as he got out of the gates. That run can be thoroughly forgiven, he was clearly minded in the home straight, although excellent progress in the middle part of the race still showed possibly in serious form.

Before that, here at Newcastle, then over 6 furlongs, he was an even bigger eye-catcher, as he travelled strongly in midfield, loomed large 2 furlongs out but was continuously a clear run denied, as a result dropped to the back of the field before finishing strongly in the final half furlong all the way to the line.

Similar upgrades can be given to his two performances prior to this, too. Beattie Is Back is also a course and distance winner already, although it was a Novice race in spring this year. Judged through that form he’s on a fair mark. However, I believe, if judged by his last efforts, he clearly has shown to be at least a good win better than 70.

He is still relatively lightly raced and I am glad he tries 7 furlongs again, especially at this track, as it gives his racing style the best chance on the All-Weather. In these circumstances there’s possibly more to come, in any case.

Even though I am not sure he’s a proper class 4 horse – he’s yet to run to a speed rating that I’d like to see – I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. This low weight looks intriguing against opposition possibly not well handicapped.

I also really like the likely pace scenario. Drawn in #3 he’s right beside the most likely pace setter, Larado, and may get a nice lead into the closing stages to produce a turn of foot with hopefully little trouble to meet in-running, in this field of only seven runners.

If this doesn’t work out on Saturday, Beattie Is Back has got a Class 5 (0-70) entry next week and could be interesting there, although this is at Wolverhampton.

10pts win – Beattie Is Back @ 8/1

Friday Selections: 9th December 2022

4.10 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 5f

Waverley Star Fast caught the eye with a pretty solid front-running performance recently, which represented a clear return to form, coinciding with a drop down to the minimum trip on the All-Weather.

He started quickly, led the field for home, kicked on from 3f out out, still going well turning into the home straight before he was eventually headed with half a furlong to go, having slowed dramatically.

That was his first proper, “well-rounded” performance since being gelded in the summer. He’s always been a somewhat tricky customer, and remains to be one even after the gelding operation.

In any case, he looks a pure 5 furlongs sprinter, though, and one can ignore any attempts over further, in my view. Over the minimum trip he ran a number of times well this year, both on turf and the All-Weather.

Most notably when a strong finishing 4th over this course and distance in March on a day where everything went wrong. He also ran to a 51 speed rating then, which means, in theory, he’s got a really good chance to be seriously competitive off his current handicap mark, in this class, if in the right mood.

He’s 4lb lower today than that day, has been dropped another pound since his recent Lingfield run, on a mark of 50, down from a career highest 59 in summer.

With additional 3lb taken off by excellent apprentice Ryan Sexton Waverley Star makes plenty of appeal on the handicapping side of things. He’s got a good, low draw today, and there is likely to be little pace to compete against.

Granted he gets a solid start, there is every chance he can get an easy lead. An ideal scenario for the 3-year-old gelding, who does his best work from the front.

10pts win – Waverley Star @ 9/1

Wednesday Selections: 7th December 2022

Good run by Wadacre Grace yesterday at Southwell. It wasn’t quite good enough, though: 2nd place.

I have no complaints, there were no excuses. She got a lovely ride and found one too good. In that sense I was perhaps too optimistic in believing she she was more than only a couple of pounds ahead of her mark.

………

1.25 Lingfield: Class 3 Handicap, 6f

This is a competitive sprint. Tyger Bay is obviously one I am interested in and he should run well, but may find this ultimately a bit too hot off his current mark that is no more than fair in these circumstances.

Flying Secret is another one who caught the eye, although that was as far back as May, on turf. He steps up significantly in class now back in Handicap company. However, as the bottom weight in this field he makes a ton of appeal for various reasons.

For one: I loved his return at Kempton last month after half a year off the track. He was a bit too keen in the early parts of the race, perhaps too fresh, but the slow pace didn’t help either.

He kicked nicely from 3 furlongs out and held his effort pretty well to the line, despite being entitle to tire. He will be fitter today, most likely, and the pace should work in his favour.

The 3-year-old gelding should be ahead of his mark stepping back into handicap competition, and I have no worries in this class. His Salisbury run in May was seriously strong, as he finished much the best for 3rd place, not getting the clearest of runs.

This form is strong. The winner is 18lb higher rated today, the runner-up won subsequently, too. He ran to a 70 speed raring, not fully ridden out, even. His current mark 0f 73 may underestimate the true potential.

I don’t like the #7 draw and wonder whether he may be too far off the pace today, though. But I hope a strong pace will bring the leaders back, and this lad has the ability to kick and finish strongly.

10pts win – Flying Secret @ 4/1

……..

8.00 Kempton: Class 2 Handicap, 2m

If the Lingfield race is competitive, then this final of the stayers’ series is ultra competitive. Usually this isn’t my type of race to get involved, given I largely specialise in shorter races and certainly not in these hot long-distance contests.

But Bandinelli is one I have on the list for a while and he did nothing but enhance his claims in the Northumberland Plate in my view: always travelling well, coming with a big challenge in the home straight, before short of room 3f out, having his momentum stopped, getting going again, and eventually tiering into 6th place.

This is a really good stayer, and he’s 2lb lower than at Newcastle, only a pound above his mark when landing a good Handicap over 2 miles here at Kempton.

It would be harsh to judge him on his comeeback run over this CD three weeks ago. He clearly needed the run and will be better today. If back to his best form from earlier this year, he’s the one to beat. I have no doubt he can turn the form around with Rainbow Dreamer and Island Brave.

He’s got a fine draw to get to a prepared prominent position with much fuss – the race should be set up perfectly for him to make his move from over 2 furlongs out at the cutaway.

The Appleby yard looks solid form. No indication that there is anything to worry about. Bandinelli is two from three over this course and distance and this being only his 6th run over the trip, it’s not impossible that he can find one or two pounds of improvement.

10pts win – Bandinelli @ 9/2