Tag Archives: Chelmsford

Sunday Selections: January, 21st 2018

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1.55 Chelmsford: Class 6 Handicap, 7f

Six year old Frozen Lake hasn’t exactly been firing for his new trainer yet, however, he has plenty going for himself today and could be hard to stop if he hasn’t went sour. Clearly, the son of Elusive Quality deserves his chance in this open, yet very winnable race.

Frozen drops down to a career lowest mark as well as for the first time into a class 6 Handicap. This is the easiest task he faced ever and while his latest forms aren’t reading well, still, his March 2017 run here at Chelmsford over a mile is a very strong piece of form on offer.

A return to anything near it will see him winning easily today, given this is an easier race, he’s 9lb lower and has the aid of a red hot 5lb claimer on board.

The gelding has one issue: the start. He often rears and is on the back foot right away. That can be a problem here at Chelmsford where the kickback can be severe in my opinion.

Nonetheless, he could have too much in hand to use his stamina to pick up one after another in the home straight and hopefully gets there when it matters most.

Selection:
10pts win – Frozen Lake @ 6/1 Bet365

Saturday Selections: January, 20th 2018

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8.15 Chelmsford: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

A quiet week so far, and here we go with a horse I’ve already been interested in a week ago, when he ran – and finished poorly, well beaten at Southwell.

Nonetheless, I’m prepared to give Emigrated another chance here, in this pretty poor contest that screams for an upset.

Reasons are pretty much the same as last week – however there is a slight bonus this time: Emigrated returns to a surface he probably likes a lot more, which he showed here in December when running his best race in a very long time over CD.

It was his second start for the Derek Shaw yard, after a promising initial display at Southwell coming off a break. At Chelmsford he backed it up with a fine 5th, only 2¾ beaten despite not having things going his way throughout – form that looks solid enough in the book, also.

Emigrated didn’t run well the last two times. There was little excuse last week other than a fluffed start at an unkind surface that can be hard to recover from a scenario like that – still a run to forget. The penultimate start at Chelmsford over 10f, a third run in quick succession, is easier to forgive when seen in the right context.

However, it has to be said, the five year old gelding did show eye-catching improvement in his first starts for his new trainer Derek Shaw.

 

Now, you don’t want to make too many excuses for a long standing maiden who hasn’t shown a lot his whole life. Nonetheless, those two forms in early December give him a fair shout in this race.

Interesting fact that Emigrated’s sire Fastnet Rock has quite an excellent record over this trip in Chelmsford Handicaps.

Selection:
10pts win – Emigrated @ 50/1 PP/VC/BF

Thursday Selections: January, 10th 2018

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Hitting the post with two second places on Monday hurt. Both selections run fine races and that is all I can ask for.  On the other hand, given the fact those were runner-up selections number four and five in this still relatively young month, I can’t help but from time to time think “what if”….

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6.30 Chelmsford: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

I backed hot favourite Arnarson myself the other day when he got off the mark in impressive style. A 6lb penalty might not be enough to stop him from a repeat effort. However, it was a slowly run affair, particularly early on, so he was potentially flattered by the winning margin. Given his patchy record overall, he can be opposed this time.

I do like, though, the Richard Guest runner Amazing Grazing here. He’s got very little mileage on the clock yet, and has, since getting off the mark, improved with each run.

He broke his maiden tag in a really poor Newcastle maiden in September hence his opening mark of 68 looked a bit extreme to my eyes. That says, back from a little break and for a new yard, he made his handicap debut here at Chelmsford over 7f in December and travelled very strongly, approaching the home straight like the winner.

He subsequently tired in the closing stages and hang badly to the left also, throwing his chances away.

Next time at Southwell, from a wide draw, he was very slowly away and had to do a lot to get back to the field, then travelling wide until switched to the inside around the home turn getting a mouthful of kickback.

Again he travelled strongly, nonetheless, even lead 2f out coming with a huge run, however had to pay for his bad start eventually, finishing a close third.

That was in my book a pretty good performance, taking everything into account, and back to a more familiar surface, over 7f, I feel he could potentially be well handicapped, given his mark has been left untouched so far.

From a good draw, with a yard in good nick, and a good jockey booked for the ride, I think Amazing Grazing can easily outrun his price tag in this field.

Selection:
10pts win: Amazing Grazing @ 9/1 Paddy Power

Minding’s back with a Bang!

No surprise in the first Group 1 of the new flat season: Evens favourite Cloth Of Stars delivered the goods for Godolphin, Andre Fabre and Mickael Barzelona in the Prix Ganay.

Ridden patiently, Barzelona waited for the right moment to make the decisive move. Once in the clear the Son of Sea The Stars powered home strongly. A first success at the highest level for Cloth Of Stars.

But should it have been a first taste of Group 1 success for last years French Derby runner-up Zarak? Probably. Soumillon in the saddle had to sit and suffer at a crucial stage of the race while Zarak finished like a train eventually – unlucky!

No problems for Minding at Naas. She did it as easily as it gets in the Group 2 Mooresbridge Stakes and she clearly has not lost anything over the winter.

She made all from the front and the moment Ryan Moore gave her a little squeeze she stretched swiftly clear. Granted, she was shorts odds-on an clear on the ratings, but still on her return to win so easily is impressive.

Next stop on the agenda is the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Currag. The Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot are most likely the subsequent summer target.

Stable mate Johannes Vermeer finished last but got a very light ride with the future clearly in mind. I expect him to come on quite a bit for a run and would not lose hope in him yet.

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2.30 Brighton: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

I look forward to see Equiano son Otomo return to the track as a three year old now dropping to six furlongs for the first time. He showed promise as a juvenile, was twice narrowly beaten here at Brighton, although over 7f, and ended the season with two more decent performances.

In all his races he showed plenty of early pace but did not quite get home, so he looks ready-made for sprinting. An opening mark of 67 seems reasonable, and any age- plus trip related improvement should see him run a big race.

It’s noteworthy that the Hide yard is in good form, with a fantastic record at this track and with Liam Keniry in the saddle. Also Equaino offspring tends to perform incredibly well at Brighton.

Selection:
10pts win – Otomo @ 6/1 Bet365

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4.20 Nottingham: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 2f

Well bred Secret Soul was relatively well fancied in her three career outings so far but despite two decent performances she never came close to win. However it’s fair to assume she simply needed the experience and now going handicapping with a pipe opener already under her belt she could improve.

She is fitted with first time visor as a reaction to her most recent fourth place at Kempton where tried to make all from the front. It may keeps her focused on the job when it really matters.

Given what she has achieved an opening mark of 68 seems slightly on the stiff side. However she ran in and around that level on RPR’s the last two times and clocked fair speed ratings too, so potentially she could be well in, if the combination of experience, race fitness, suitable trip and headgear sees her putting the best foot forward.

Selection:
10pts win – Secret Soul @10/1 Bet365

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6.30 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4f

If anywhere near full race fitness Brimham Rocks should be able to exploit his potentially very lenient opening mark here. His three maiden runs last year have been nothing of note but they were more of educational nature, over partly wrong ground and trips too short anyway.

H’s been a very late foal who’s sure to improve as a three year old once stepping up in trip, given this well bred son of Fastnet Rock is out of an Oaks trial places mare. So the 1m 4f trip should suit hands down.

Also Brimham Rocks’ sire has a 43% strike rate with offspring at Wolverhampton over this distance. All points toward that this lad is certainly well handicap on his handicap debut.

Selection:
10pts win – Brimham Rocks @ 5/2 Skybet

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9.10 Chelmsford: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 6f

I feel Addicted To You has a pretty good chance to follow up on a recent maiden success over 12f. At Lingfield this Medicean colt made all from the front. He got a bit idle in the closing stage which meant a closer from behind got a bit too close for comfort eventually, but overall it was a convincing win.

Now of a 75 rating he could still be undervalued even more so as he steps up in trip which should suit more than it is a problem. He’s got the profile to improve with age and according to sire stats the 1m 6f trip, particular around Chelmsford, should suit.

Given Addicted To You’s two sisters both achieved RPR’s of 80+ it is fair to assume that he can still find a bit to get off the mark in handicap company now.

Selection:
10pts win – Addicted To You @ 7/2 Bet365

Bristol holds the Key

Here’s Aintree! The jumps are back! Wait, what? Wasn’t the flat just back? Well, yes…. and no. It’s one of those strange anomalies of the racing year where the start of the flat overlaps with the end of the jumps season.

It’s kinda strange, confuses me every year anew – the Lincon’s run, the first good flat horses are out, yet here we are gearing up for the Grand National?!

Whatever. Monday nights at Windsor are only four sleeps away. Until then we have one last hooray for hurdles and fences.

Admittedly, due to anomaly mentioned above, I clearly am not as excited about the Aintree Festival as I’ve been for Cheltenham. My gut feeling is I’m not the only one who shares the same sentiment.

I keep my betting to a bare minimum but as ever will try i vein to find the winner of the National Lottery….. that’s for Saturday though. Only one race I care about today at Aintree – that’s the “poor cousin’s Gold Cup” – the Bowl Chase.

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2.50 Aintree: Bowl Chase, 3m 1f

Cue Card greets from the top of the betting. The old boy still goes strongly as he proved this season. Question: what did yet another fall in the Cheltenham Gold Cup did to his psyche?

Empire Of Dirt flies the flag for Ireland. Slightly disappointing in the Rynair Chase, but he’ll love this trip and track and is my idea of the most likely winner.

He’s not my idea of a value bet, though. That’s at given prices clearly Bristol De Mai. Of course I have to say this, because I fancied this lad for the Gold Cup quite a bit too. He’s got some issues, jumping is sketchy, however he posses an abundance of ability and is still only a six year old.

The track will suit him, he did not have a n overly hard season and may be the one who has still something left at this stage of the year.

Selection:
5pts win – Bristol De Mai @ 6/1 Bet365

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6.45 Chelmsford: 1m Handicap, 3yo

Andrew Balding’s Drochaid jumps out here. He’s a big price – too big in my eyes. He is nicely bred and was progressive as a juvenile, won a good maiden at the fourth time of asking, with subsequent winners behind in second and third.

He’s bound to improve as a three year old and returns to the track after a seasonal break. He drops into a class 4 Handicap on his AW debut with a mark that might underestimate him.

Mastercraftsman offspring tend to perform well at Chelmsford and the Balding yard is flying high in the last handful of weeks. It has to be said Drochaid encounters a strong favourite with Hannon’s Mustarrid here and this might be only a pipe opener, but at 16’s I’m inclined to have a small bet.

Selection:
5pts win – Drochaid @ 16/1 Skybet

California Chrome romps home in Pacific Classic

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Touted as “the best  ever”, the Pacific Classic didn’t turn into the thrilling three-way-battle everyone was hoping for. A let-down?

Nope. Certainly not! Well, at least not if you love to see great horses doing great things!

It wasn’t the supposed thriller because California Chrome demolished his classy rivals –  brilliant mare Beholder and gutsy Dortmund – in quite sensational style. In fact Chrome fans were able to count their chickens early –  the race was basically done and dusted already after the first couple of furlongs.

Why? Because the one big thing that could spell trouble for the reigning Dubai World Cup champion was pushed out of the way with ease. Drawn in barrier one can be tricky. But it doesn’t have to be.

From the inside gate, jockey Espinoza pressed on right from the moment the gates crashed open. Without much hassle he manoeuvred Chrome into the lead and let thimp settle into a nice rhythm.

And that was that. Case closed. No rival wanted to take him on for the lead; Chrome was allowed to dawdle along in front to set fractions that would suit him perfectly. Then from four furlongs out Espinoza started to go through the gears.

He was winding it up without any signs of trouble whatsoever. After an easy lead for the entire race, Chrome had still plenty in the tank and finished strongly despite being hand held, whereas his main rivals faded away.

What was thought to be a highly competitive race turned into a procession by a tactically smart rider and a classy equine superstar – which California Chrome undoubtedly is.

I’m not surprised and speculated beforehand that the draw would not be as big a deal as some made out of it. I also said California Chrome should be considered an odds-on chance in this field, despite all the hype around the depth of the field in “best ever Pacific Classic”.

Yes, it would have been interesting to see if either Dortmund or Beholder would have at least tried to make a race of it, if one would have pressed Chrome for the lead or would have made at least a big move at some point to apply some heat.

But then the five year old is simply in a different league to Beholder and Dortmund. He’s a battle hardened horse but more importantly a multiple Grade 1 winner on different surfaces at different continents. Breeders Cup Classic next?

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Sunday Selections:

3.10 Chelmsford: Acclio @ 10/1 Bet365
3.40 Chelmsford: Gentlemen @ 4/1 Bet365
4.40 Chelmsford: Always Summer @ 7/2 Bet365

Photo: AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi

AiR Force Blue Redemption Day

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Not often you see a horse cruising hard on the bridle entering the final furlong in a Grade 1 on the dirt, particularly if they flew around the track right from the start – yet Frosted did!

He posted one of the most impressive performances of the season, following on from an equally ultra impressive victory in Metropolitan Handicap back in June.

If you didn’t see the race, staged last night at beautiful Saratoga, here’s a chance to catch up:


Hayley Turner you beauty! The multiple Group 1 winning formerly leading female rider in the UK looked healthy and happy at yesterday’s Shergar Cup – which in itself was great to see; no doubt her ride in the Shergar Cup Mile was THE highlight of the day.

Super cool, with (virtual) balls of steel, did she rode Early Morning to victory – and given she hasn’t ridden much since her retirement, she looked still quite strong in the saddle. Well done!

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4.05 Phoenix Stakes: Air Force Blue @ 11/8 Skybet

Yes, you got to be a brave man to put any amount of faith in fallen Ballydoyle star Air Force Blue. BUT he wins this – hands down!

Why? Well, it’s obvious that everything he showed as a three year old is so far below anything he showed as a juvenile – therefore it might be fair to assume he simply didn’t train on. On the other hand to my eyes it seemed more like he had some issues bugging him him early on the year plus it becomes clear he doesn’t last the mile trip.

On the positive side of things: when dropped to 6 furlongs in the July Cup you could see a glimpse of last seasons class. “What???” Some will say now. Air Force Blue beaten by feckin’ seven lengths that day!

That’s right, though look closely, as he travelled like a dream for a very long time albeit didn’t get the breaks he needed when it really mattered….. I know I’m making excuses plenty will think… but….

…..Air Force Blue drops down to Group 3 level today right in to a field he simply HAS to dominate, particularly with good ground sure to suit. He’s by far the highest rated individual in this race. Combined with his weight for age allowance he is virtually unbeatable.

So, no excuses today. None! If he fades badly today then we get an answer the question whether there is an underlying problem… potentially breathing (*think loud*). Until then I give him the benefit of the doubt and say 11/8 is monster value!

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The Best from the Rest:

2.20 Chelmsford: Migan Lily @ 3/1 Skybet
2.30 Leicester: Zeinhom @ 10/3 Skybet
4.50 Chelmsford: Stamford Raffles @ 15/2 WH
5.20 Chelmsford: Not Your Call @ 2/1 VC