Tag Archives: April

Preview: Irish Grand National 2019

Katie Walsh and Thunder And Roses, winner of the Irish Grand National

The money is pouring in for Willie Mullins to crack another milestone as Burrows Saint, the choice of Ruby Walsh as well, is now a 6/1 favourite to land the Irish Grand National, and give his trainer a first success in the big race.

A recent winner of a Grade 3 Novice Chase, which was a career best for the 6-year-old, Burrows Saint is turned out under a penalty today, which leaves him still well handicapped potentially, after connections decided to miss a seemingly excellent Grade 1 opportunity yesterday, and instead run here.

As much as I like the look of Burrows Saint, 6/1 is not a price to back him. He ain’t no Tiger Roll!

The two I fancy are further down the pecking order according to the betting. No surprise, I am sweet on the mate Shattered Love again. I fancied her for the Gold Cup – wasn’t to be, though she ran with plenty of credit that day, in my mind.

True, she may prefer it softer, but her record on fast ground isn’t too shabby either. Shattered Love strikes as one who’ll enjoy the test of stamina. Let’s not forget she’s a classy individual, good enough to win at the Cheltenham Festival and one of very few in this contest who ran to a time speed rating of 130+ in their careers.

The other one I quite like is 9-year-old Auvergnat. He gets the excellent assistance of 5lb claiming Miss O’Connor, which is probably needed due to his career highest handicap mark, thanks to his excellent victory in the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival.

He was below par in the Cross-County Chase at Cheltenham subsequently, though that may be a form to discount. However, Auvergnat clearly acts well on decent ground, is likely to stay the trip and had a quieter 2019 than many others in this field – so should be rather fresh with plenty left in the tank.

Selections:
5pts win – Shattered Love @ 20/1 MB
5pts win – Auvergnat @ 27/1 MB

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Monday Selections: April, 2nd 2019

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2.30 Redcar: Class 5 Handicap, 6 furlongs

Can a 9-year-old be viable betting option? In the context of this contest it sure can: Ninjago, despite his age, has shown enough last year to suggest he can win off his current handicap mark.

He’s on a long losing run, yes, but finished at least in the top four eight out of 12 turf starts last season. Despite that Ninjago has dropped to a handy mark, having last won off 78, but also having been placed of 71 to 76 last season; currently allowed to race off 65, I feel he could be well handicapped.

That is because Ninjago also ran four times to TS ratings of 65+ last season – so if anywhere near that same form, he’ll be a big runner today. He finished last of five in a messy seller in February at Wolverhampton; I don’t pay too much attention to that run.

More so to the fact Ninjago usually runs pretty well off a break, judged by the past. So, if on a going day, with conditions sure to suit here, he’s a viable betting option indeed.

Selection:
10pts win – Ninjago @ 8/1 PP

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5.25 Redcar: Class 6 Handicap, 2 miles

A brutal race that screams for an upset. Highway Robber is the one I’m looking at to do this job. Obviously not one to trust, but one who’s proven in the past to have the ability to be better than a current mark off 45.

he#s ran three times in his career to TS ratings of 45+, has won off 49 and is currently a pound below his last winning mark.

Hard to know what to get today coming back from a break, as Highway Robber’s performances on the Al-Weather during the winter were poor. after a rather productive summer/autumn, where he was twice a runner-up plus a victory at Newcastle.

The 2m trip stretches him, though he’s placed three from six efforts. I don’t expect them to go too hard in this small field, so if Highway Robber is in the mood today, he’s got to be a danger to everyone.

Selection:
10pts win – Highway Robber @ 20/1 PP

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6.00 Redcar: Class 6 Handicap, 6 furlongs

Lightly raced Joey Boy appeals on his turf handicap debut today in a wide open contest. The gelding has caught the eye on the last two occasions on the All-Weather, picking up strongly in the closing stages over 5f at Newcastle and subsequently at Kempton over 6f where things didn’t quite pan out for him.

At Newcastle a TS 59 rating matched his current handicap mark; given Joey Boy is an April foal, you would hope he can improve with age and experience. An eight career start today, with conditions likely to suit, he looks good value for money here.

Selection:
10pts win – Joey Boy @ 12/1 MB

Sunday Selections: April, 21st 2019

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

Junoesque (5/1) was punted of the boards last night at Brighton – thankfully she emerged as the winner of the final race on the card – this time, unlike on Friday, it was the ‘lucky last’! That’s been two nice winners this week – all in for a hat-trick?

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5.15 Southwell: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

Without a win in 17 starts, Captain Dion may finally found the ideal opportunity to get his head in front again. The grey changed yards earlier this year and ran with plenty of promise on his two starts since returning to the track.

A pipe opener at Newcastle over 7f, followed by a strong 3rd place finish in a competitive Handicap here over course and distance – that piece of form looks particularly strong as it has worked really well already.

It was a first run on Southwell’s fibresand that day, Captain Dion didn’t seem to mind it at all, in fact looks a sort likely to be pretty effective. The handicapper has been lenient, Captain Dion dropped another pound, down to 59. He’s also dropping down in class today.

There may a be a bit of improvement to come for Captain Dion’s second run on fibresand – his sire has quite an excellent record here. The jockey/trainer combo of 3lb laiming Gabriele Malune and Ivan Furtado is a strong one – it’s also Malune’s only ride today.

Selection:
10pts win – Captain Dion @ 6/1 MB

Saturday Selections: April, 20th 2019

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Good Friday could have been a great Friday if Landing Night wouldn’t have been beaten in a tight finish in the ‘unlucky last’ at Newcastle. Thankfully Matterhorn got me out of jail (7/1) what would have been otherwise a painful day.

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4.45 Brighton: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

This is a competitive race; I can make good cases for half of them, so backing the favourite doesn’t seem wise. Still, already a course and distance winner off 3lb higher in similarly fast conditions last year, could be supremely well handicapped.

The 4-year-old, despite a poor overall record, ran to a TS rating of 70 when winning here last year; the form looks solid enough to believe it was a true running. He had a good seasonal comeback run an the All-Weather lately, so fitness is assured.

Interesting jockey booking with young Cieren Fallon on board, who’s worth every pound of his 7lb claim as he proved with worthiness on the All-Weather this year already.

Selection:
10pts win – Swissal @ 7/2 MB

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7.50 Brighton: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

Twice a course and distance scorer, Junoesque returns to her happy hunting ground. Those were her only victories to date, they came here last season on fast ground as well. She’s pretty much the same mark, give or take a pound, and proved in the past to be capable of running to a bit higher than that.

In fact Junoesque ran to a TS rating of 58 on both occasions when winning here at Brighton, as well as to 54 in another race – suggesting, if conditions are right, she as good, if not even a little bit better than her current 55 rating.

Fitness has to be trusted on her seasonal reappearance. But this looks an ideal opportunity to get another win on the board.

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

Thursday Selections: April,18th 2019

Second Step

Besides having a runaway winner in Kylie Rules (10/1) at Beverley yesterday, I absolutely loved the debut win of UAE Jewel in the Wood Ditton. You take note if they back a newcomer in an early-season maiden at HQ as if  defeat is out of question – and boy, defeat was out of question!

Judged purely on the visuals the TV screen is giving away, this son of Dubawi looks physically impressive. The way he lengthened away so easily from the field in the final furlong left me with my mouth a little wider open than usual, as well.

UAE Jewel is an April foal, so you would think age is on his side and he can only improve with any passion week. He certainly looks an exciting prospect and I can’t wait to see him next time out, most likely at Newmarket again, in the Newmarket Stakes on Guineas weekend, then over 10 furlongs.

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2.50 Ripon: Class 5 Handicap, 6 furlongs

This looks like an ultra-competitive race for a low-grade handicap on a random Thursday in Spring. You can make cases for a number of these, and as a result some are heavily overpriced in my book.

The most compelling case can be made for recent Irish recruit Dancing Mountain. If she’s in here to take her chances and not to run the mark down (drifting in the market) – which she may not need to I feel as she looks a strong contender already – then, from a good draw, she can outrun his massive price tag.

Dancing Mountain will have her second start in the UK since moving from Johnny Murtagh to the Roger Fell yard. Her debut run off a break at Newcastle wasn’t anything the shout about; if anything it served as a pipe opener.

However, now down to a handicap mark of 60, judged by juvenile form in Ireland, and the fact she’s an April foal, I think there is potential upside. She won a competitive Naas handicap over 5.5f last autumn, running to a TS rating of 61 that day.

Subsequent performances are rated well in my book, as Dancing Mountain’s 5th and 4th in her next two starts at Fairyhouse and Cork look pretty decent form, given she is now rated 8lb lower as well.

Selection:
10pts win – Dancing Mountain @ 28/1 MB

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3.25 Ripon: Class 4 Handicap, 6 furlongs

The draw isn’t ideal, nonetheless Paddy Power looks supremely well handicapped on past form. He will not even at his best to be highly competitive, given the 6-year-old is now down a mark of 75, which was the lowest mark he’s won off throughout his career.

The gelding won a competitive York handicap off 5lb higher last summer and was an excellent 4th in a hot class 2 Handicap over course and distance when having to overcome a less than ideal draw also.

I like the fact Paddy Power already has a run under his belt this season, albeit on the All-Weather. He should strip fit and ready for a big run today, and has shown in the past to have sufficient gate speed to find himself in a good spot.

Selection:
10pts win – Paddy Power @ 5/1 Coral

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5.45 Ripon: Class 4 Apprentice Handicap, 5f

Ideal conditions for front-running Bowson Fred who also has a good draw to content with most likely. He’s also dropped to a dangerous mark – even though not quite the force of the past – last season the 7-year-old still managed to run to a TS rating of 86, backing it up with another 78 performance later the year.

A recent runner-up performance on the All-Weather, followed by a wind OP, should set Bowson Fred up for a big run today. He’s got a valuable 3lb claimer on board as well – an advantage that Josh Quinn has already ridden the gelding in the last handful of starts.

Selection:
10pts win – Bowson Fred @ 6/1 MB

Wednesday Selections: April, 17th 2019

Balty Boys

Craven Stakes Day. Excellent racing at HQ today, as was the case yesterday as well. Qabala was impressive the way she won the Nell Qwyn Stakes. She looks like a horse ready-made for the Rowley Mile.

But the biggest lasting impressing was created in the opening maiden that saw Maqsad and Twist’n Shake fight out a dramatic battle to the line, as well as finishing a long way before the rest. Both fillies look exciting prospects for the season ahead.

Betting wise, I’m not really interested in Newmarket today. But Beverly offers an intriguing card, if not quite the same quality. The handicaps are interesting puzzles to solve for those who are into that sort of thing.

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4.00 Beverly: Class 4 Handicap, 7.5f

This is a pretty competitive and open race but I feel my selection Jackamundo can have a big say if in it to win it. He’s a big drifter this morning which is a concern, though there are plenty of positives as well.

Jackamundo looks the type to improve as a 3-year-old after a fair juvenile campaign, culminating in victory on handicap debut. Visually it was quite an impressive performance when he showed adversity to find a way through the field and get his head in front late, but early enough to win by a quarter of a lengths.

Gelded over the winter, his seasonal comeback run at Musselburgh was fair when the market expected him to run really well, though excuses can be made for a 6th place finish in a race where things didn’t quite pan out for him.

The slightly further trip today is sure to suit, the fast ground appears ideal as well, though the draw isn’t ideal and whether his racing style suits Beverly remains to be seen. A mark off 72 is realistic and offers opportunity, on the other hand.

Selection:
10pts win – Jackamundo @ 18/1 MB

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5.10 Beverly: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4f

It still pains me thinking back to the 22nd February when Gendarme as my 25/1 selection was beaten by a nose on the line. Can he make amends as an equally whopping price today?

The 4-year-old gelding looks hopeless judged by an 11-0-1 record. But as mentioned back then, it still applies very much today:

the majority of his runs on the All-Weather over the winter were quite promising, as he wasn’t too far beaten on most occasions, and those forms, to large extend have worked out well.

The most recent run at Lingfield, when attempting to follow up from his runner-up performance, albeit only finishing 7th and nearly seven lengths beaten, he was right there for a long time, setting a good pace from the front against hot opposition – for that class.

Given Gendarme he has ran to consistent RPR’s around his current mark and achieved a significantly higher career highest TS rating less than a year ago on turf, a return to this surface could bring out some improvement also. I feel there is a win just around the corner – hopefully today is the day.

Selection:
10pts win – Gendarme @ 21/1 MB

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6.10 Beverly: Class 5 Handicap, 8.5 furlongs

Still a maiden, though, Kylie Rules is one of the more unlucky ones. The filly has changed yards recently and goes to post first time for Ruth Carr today which is also her seasonal return.

The filly has dropped to a really handy mark if fit and ready to go today. She’s ran well fresh in the past, so that isn’t necessarily a worry. Kylie Rules also achieved a TS rating of 72 and RPR of 72 last season, suggesting a mark of 60 is well within her realms.

Her career-best came over the 8.5f trip last season at Hamilton – albeit on soft ground, though she ran perfectly fine on much fast ground as well. This looks like an ideal opportunity today to finally get off the mark.

Selection:
10pts win – Kylie Rules @ 10/1 PP

Sunday Selections: April, 14th 2019

Iron Major Dundalk

Finally a winning selection! Cappananty Con (8/1) did a nice job to land the spoils at Wolverhampton, albeit in a desperately tight finish. Betting wise I needed that, as it was not a good week and some of my decisions were poor.

Memo to myself: stop backing newcomers, regardless how “sexy” they look on paper. It’s not a viable long-term investment!

It’s a bleak Sunday for racing. Little there to excite. Certainly on the domestic front. All the negative talk about Dundalk’s surface, it seemingly shows to impact field sizes today. At least over in France, the return of Persian King is something to look forward to!

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4.15 Dundalk: Handicap, 1m 4f

This looks a poor race on paper and that leaves the door wide open for top weight Construct making a winning debut for his new yard. He was a rather expensive purchase out of Ralph Beckett’s, formerly running in the famous Juddmonte colours.

Construct comes here fresh off a break, in the meantime having been gelded as well, a first time tongue tie spotted is interesting as a bit of money seems to be arriving in the market also.

Form wise he’s the one to beat in my mind. He was well on top winning a minor 3-runner-handicap last summer at Pontefract, but followed up on the All-Weather in two hot contests, finishing creditable runner-up at Chelmsford and Kempton respectively – the form as been upgraded significantly in the meantime.

A mark off 78 doesn’t leave a lot of wriggle room, to be perfectly honest, nonetheless. Construct may still have a bit of improvement left, though – if change of scenery and the gelding has had any positive effect.

Selection:
10pts win – Construct @ 8/1 Coral

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5.20 Dundalk: Handicap, 1m2½f

Quite Subunctious is a frustrating sort to follow as, despite looking dangerous on a number of occasions and showing a little bit of promise – his 2.5l sixth-place-finish at Galway off a 59 handicap mark for example – he can’t get his head in front. He came desperately close at Wolverhampton in February, only swooped late to lose the race on the line.

Even though it was a poor race, this performance of a mark off 48 handed him a TS rating of 47, which looks not too far off the mark judged how the race has worked out since then (winner and third have followed up with fair performances next time out).

The 4-year-old gelding hasn’t looked the same in his subsequent starts, however his Newcastle run can be upgraded in my mind. Quite Subunctious made way too much, leading the field by half a dozen lengths turning for home; as the last time, two miles were simply too far.

The drop in trip should suit, given Quite Subunctious showed his best form in and around a mile in the past, even though showing a couple of additional furlongs aren’t an issue.

He’s got the assistance of a 7lb claimer who hasn’t won a race in quite some time; nonetheless, if on a going day, this weight allowance can be quite handy.

I’m under no illusion Quite Subunctious may never win a race, but in this poor contest, I can make a good argument for him being overpriced, judged on above facts.

Selection:
10pts win – Quite Subunctious @ 34/1 MB