Tag Archives: Betting

Thursday Selections: November, 15th 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

That’s the way I like it – a much needed 20/1 winner in Iley Boy tonight. A superb ride by Joey Haynes, who certainly made his only ride on the card count!

His mount didn’t seem to travel overly well early on, particularly after being hampered soon after the the start. He was well off the pace turning for home but was cruising hard on the bridle then and found the gaps when needed. The question “Is today the day to let Iley Boy loose?” was firmly answered!

……

12.10 Southwell: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

This looks a rather competitive affair for this type of low grade race. That makes it difficult to assess. The same goes if it comes to get a clear grip on the horse I fancy quite a bit actually: Sooqaan.

Reasons why I like this lad allot are plenty; a simple reason why I’m wondering is: there is fair chance this isn’t the race to let the handbreak off. 

Sooqaan is handicapped to win on his best form. He won off 64 over course and distance earlier this year. However, he was on a roll at that time, completing a hat-trick, kicking it off wit a CD success of a mark of 54. So I can see why connections would want to lower his current rating a bit, still.

On the other hand Sooqaan could find an excellent chance to score, despite the competitive nature of the race. 

The fact that is: in class 6 over this course and distance he is 4 from 4! So, it looks significant that he drops down to this grade for the first time since he last win, coming back the his happy hunting ground all the while. If the mark should be run down further, surely a spin around Chelmsford or similar would do? 

Small bonus: Sooqaan has an excellent draw to attack the race. So weighing it all up, at given prices I am happy to roll the dice! 

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

……….

3.20 Southwell: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 4f

Always risky to punt a Southwell virgin – nonetheless, three-year-old Kabrit is an interesting contender here thanks to a featherweight I feel. He’s shown a bit of promise on turf this year when placed on three occasions in races that have had their form franked since then.

He comes here after a poor showing in his final turf start last month; however it was off a break and first time gelded. You’d hope he can come on for the run. 

Whether Kabrit truly stays the trip, particularly on the fibresand remains to be seen – Mr. Lee in the saddle seems a positive, given his excellent record when riding for Andre Balding.

Selection:
10pts win – Kabrit @ 9/1 PP

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Wednesday Selections: November, 14th 2018

8.00 Kempton: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 4f

Is today the day to let Iley Boy loose?

Well, we’ll find out in the few hours. If today is the day to take the handbreak off then Iley Boy must have a cracking chance to win. That is, if he can overcome the slight disadvantage of a wider than ideal draw.

On the positive side, over 12f at Kempton, if you have a bit of early speed, you can easily overcome this to settle in a good position. Let’s hope Joey Haynes, who comes here for this ride only, will move forward quickly. 

Iley Boy looks seriously well handicapped for this type of race, on this level. He’s been a two times course and distance winner earlier this year, including of a 2lb higher mark than the current 51 handicap mark.

Those forms aren’t anything to scream about, but they are solid enough and backed up by the clock. Iley Boy ran to TS ratings of 51 and 54  and RPR’s of 60 and 61 respectively. 

So, if he is back to this sort of form he’ll be a massive player tonight. Ever since those wins he hasn’t shown too much, however he was probably too high in the mark – after a summer holiday, he returned last month, was disappointing in two starts, but I give him that he needed them. 

Now fitter, with near perfect conditions, off an excellent handicap mark, Iley Boy looks seriously overpriced.

Selection:
10pts win – Iley Boy @ 16/1 PP

Tuesday Selections: November, 13th 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

6.45 Chelmsford: Class 7 Handicap, 1m 5½f

It could be a tip in itself that Kieran Shoemark comes here for only one ride on the card. He rides Rip Van Winkle son Lumen. The gelding hasn’t shown anything in four lifetime starts but off a super low weight and opening mark on handicap debut in this poor race he looks one of the more likely contenders.

Certainly there could be a bit of improvement, the dam has produced a solid half-brother already; a good draw will a big help in order to settle in a fine spot today also.

Interestingly Lumen has another entry on the weekend at Lingfield in better grade. I take this as a positive nod toward his chances today, as he may be able to run again under a penalty, if successful today.

Selection:
10pts win – Lumen @ 13/2 MB

Saturday Selections: November, 10th 2018

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3.15 Doncaster: Class 2 Handicap, 1m 4f

The November Handicap, one final big one in the soon to be closed chapter that was the 2018 flat season.

It feels like nearly everything Charlie Appleby touches turns to gold these days. Can he wrap up this superb week for him with a success here? I certainly think so! His inmate Wolf Country comes here relatively fresh compared to most others after a recent pleasing return to the track.

That was last month at Goodwood in a competitive race – the form has already started to work out well. Wolf Country was a fine runner-up, leading for most parts of the race. It has to be said he was advantaged by the fact that a he wasn’t hampered by a fallen horse behind him. Most of the field was. So the performance is to be taken with a pinch of salt.

Still, he travelled well, set a good pace and looked comfortable in atrocious conditions, leaving his only other UK start in 2018 well behind, when he last of 15 at Newmarket in May.

His only other piece of form this year came at Meydan. A fine 4th place finish in a pretty strong handicap – he was leading until 300m out against Group class performers.

Things haven’t quite gone the way conditions would surely have hoped for Wolf Country. A Listed winner at three, a creditable and not far beaten 5th in the Dante – he is a talented lad and since being gelded those two of three runs have been very promising.

A mark off 98 gives him a fair chance here today – he could be a better than that. The soft ground conditions are certainly a positive. The wide draw not necessarily for a front-runner. Regardless, I have him down as the favourite here if he can improve from his recent comeback run.

Selection:
10pts win – Wolf Country @ 8.8/1 MB

Wednesday Selections: November, 7th 2018

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WOW! What more can you say??? Quite a bit, actually! So, a few more words on Tuesdays Melbourne Cup: a tremendous victory for Cross Counter. The three-year old came from last to first, producing a tremendous turn of foot at the end of a 3.200 meter long race!

I felt his chances were gone right after the start as Kerrin McEvoy steered his mount to the back of the field – which in hindsight seems a smart move, given the wide draw and the way things worked out as the gates crashed open didn’t really allow him to do anything else that wouldn’t have been even more detrimental to his chances; i.e. rushing forward.

In my race preview I hoped things would pan out slightly different regarding the early parts of the race. Regardless, I couldn’t have been happier with the eventual outcome of the race!

As for the second year running I’ve made a winning selection for the Melbourne Cup – granted, neither last year with Rekindling, nor this year with Cross Counter were those selections particularly thought-provoking.

Let’s be honest: a classy 3yo, with good chances to stay the trip, having ideal ground conditions and a low weight to carry…. the type of race the Melbourne Cup in essence is these days, it wasn’t exactly rocked science to select Cross Counter.

……

2.50 Nottingham: Class 4 Handicap, 5f

Bread and butter today: Show Palace is the one I want to be with. He has dropped to a tasty mark, having produced big performances off much higher ratings in the past, achieving consistently high time speed ratings as well.

Clearly he needs the right conditions: with rain falling, the going may not turn quite soft enough. Nonetheless, good to soft should be okay, even more so off his 74 handicap mark. Hes also in fine order, judged on his latest effort over CD.

He was not ideally positioned on the inside rail, far away from the pace. He finished best of his group, nonetheless – a 5th place that looks good given the form already works out well.

Selection:
10pts win – Show Palace @ 6/1 MB

Preview: 2018 Melbourne Cup

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A cocky headline: “Here’s Your Winner!” – that was it for the Melbourne Cup preview exactly twelve months ago. Oh how good that felt, when half a night of sleep later Rekindling landed the big pot at 14/1!

Now, up until then it had been a solid decade of failed attempts to find the winner in the race that stops a nation. So I can hardly claim of having magic power if it comes to making a winning selection. But sometimes you have this feeling of certainty. You simply know it…. the 6th November of 2017 it was exactly that.

Do I know this time as well? No. Plain and simple.

This year is incredibly competitive. There are a good seven or eight horses on my shortlist. Three from the list I fancy significantly more than the others. And two of them I’m most confident will be in the money, granted they get a run for it.

It certainly isn’t my cup of tea punting the favourite. Less so in the Melbourne Cup. Guess what? Yucatan is my selection. As he’s on the drift throughout the day already, his price finally reached a point where I have to conclude: too big!

I get why there is increased negativity around the once-Derby-fancy. Suddenly the commentary of “it’s been only a single good run” become much louder, as all the experts get their opinions out there with the race approaching ever so slowly. The wide draw has done the rest. Oh, and the ground. Rain is coming. How much? How will it impact the going conditions? Hard to say. This bit of uncertainty doesn’t help.

What is certain: Yucatan never lived up to the 12-1 quotes he received for the Epsom Derby more than a year ago. He never had the chance to do so, missing the big one, but also endured issue after issue ever since. Aiden O’Brien alluded as much in recent days:

“Yucatan was a horse we couldn’t really get 100 per cent right through the whole year.”

In honesty, judging him by this 2018 European form he’s not a Melbourne Cup favourite. A Group 3 success over 1m 2f and a Group 3 third place finish over 1m 4f behind smart Eziyra can be considered decent form, yet it’s far from exciting.

Nonetheless, Yucatan always remained a talented individual, who only would need to get a clear run of form and the right conditions – that what connections always felt. For some horses this day never comes. For Yucatan it did. And boy, it id!

First start in Lloyd Williams colours Down Under at Caulfield in the Herbert Power Stakes  last month: it seemed Yucatan is a different horse to what he was only a few weeks earlier in Europe. Was it the sun? The ground? The change of scenery? Maybe a bit of everything.

The dramatic mid-race-move from the back of the field, while always travelling three wide, to take it up from 3f out, leaving the rest of the field standing still, jockey James McDonald pulling him up with half a furlong to go….  visually this was one of the most stunning performances you’ll ever see in Group company.

The question is, of course, what is it worth? I’d argue it’s worth more than some people want to make us believe.

True, those in second and third are no world beaters. But the third, Prince Of Arran, was a 111 rated individual in the UK, who ran a massive race when runner-up in the Northumberland Plate earlier this year, and who followed up on his third behind Yucatan with a fine victory in a Group 3 at Flemington earlier this week! Dismissing this rival so easily rates as pretty significant in my book.

Significant also the comments by Aiden O’Brien – usually not the type of character who’d give a lot away beyond the “he’s well” mantra. For him it’s rather bullish stating:

“The way it fell, it looked like he was going to really suit the Melbourne Cup but he was too low in the weights, so we he had to win to get in, and we saw what happened. … He looks on a very good mark.”

He looks indeed! A nice weight, not a nice draw, though. Statistics say it’s near impossible to win from gate 23. This year might be different. Pace is drawn close to him and might give him a nice lead to follow early in the race. Obviously you don’t wanna burn too much fuel early on either, given we aren’t sure whether he truly stays the new trip. On the other hand, drifting back into the pack will mean he’d need all the luck in the world – something you surely don’t want to rely on if you’re on the best horse in the field.

In saying that, whether he’ll appreciate the extra furlongs is the main question mark for me. I never looked like he’s crying out for, to be honest. But he’s by Galileo. So there is always a fair chance he does get the distance. So, if his chances aren’t ruined after the start hen I’m fairly confident we will see Yucatan go extremely close in the 2018 Melbourne Cup.
I mentioned at the beginning of this preview that there are two horses I feel extremely positive about. Yucatan is one. Cross Counter is the other one. A lightly raced three-year-old finding his way into the race with the benefit of a featherweight. Where have we heard this story before? Yep, right – Rekindling!

It’d argue this lad is at least as good as last years winner. For a start, he’s achieved the second highest time speed rating of all in this field. Only Cliffs Of Moher bettered this – last year in the Derby. I’m not sure if I trust that particular figure, nor whether COM is able to reproduce anything like it ever again; however, Cross Counter has run to 106 and 107 subsequently in his last two starts. Surely this guy is on the up and still improving, if not already top class.

His Gordon Stakes success at Goodwood over the summer was scintillating; overturned as a short-priced favourite the next time in the Great Voltigeur Stakes, he was staying on strongly to be only beaten by a head eventually. Not a bad race either, given the third, Kew Gardens, followed up with an impressive success in the Doncaster St. Leger!

No doubt, Cross Counter was still learning his craft. He often looked a little bit raw; but he’s approaching his eight lifetime start now – he should have learned plenty.

Trip and draw are the main question marks. He’s also wider drawn than ideal. Hopefully, like with Yucatan, he can get a nice lead by the pace around him to tow him toward the front of the field. Trip wise, of course, you never find out until you run them – in saying that, the way he ran on in the closing stages at York are a positive indicator that the trip might be within his range.

Given his official rating of 114, he isn’t far off the best European raiders already, however his featherweight off eight stone should be a tremendous advantage.

 

So, there we have it: two selections for the race that stops a nation. I’m not as confident as last year. Simply because of the draw situation and because there are few others in the field you have to take quite serious: last years co-favourite Marmelo and Chester Cup hero Magic Circle are dangerous. The main threat, though, should be impressive Ebor winner Muntahaa. He’s top class and will run big if his temperament holds up.

Selection:
10pts win – Yucatan @ 6.2/1 MB
10pts win – Cross Counter @ 8.4/1 MB

Thursday Selections: November, 1st 2018

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8.45 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

The trip may not be ideal on paper, but in reality the majority of 6f starts for Lord Of The Glen to date can be discounted. I think, with given conditions today, he deserves another chance to stretch out over this trip.

The 3-year-old gelding drops nicely in his mark as well as quite significantly in grade, given only two starts back he was a fair 4th in a hot class 3 contest at Wolverhampton over the minimum trip.

To some extend it can be argued he followed up on that with another courageous display last time out at Newcastle. He was hampered right after the start, and was then on the wrong end of the field and pace, clearly in a disadvantaged position.

Lord Of The Glen still finished quite well, clocking the fastest sectional for the final furlong. He drops another pound in the mark, in combination with the lower grade and a perfect draw, he should run well tonight.

Selection:
10pts win – Lord Of The Glen @ 7/1 MB