Tag Archives: December

Tuesday Selections: December, 31th 2019

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Last day of 2019! This year flew by – it’s been intense on many fronts, including the betting. A profitable year once more, the third successive one. Complete and transparent update on that another day, though.

Here’s hoping to finish the year with a bang: one or two winners at Lingfield please!

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12.00 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 5 furlongs

Roundabout Magic appears to be a fair favourite but is hard to trust particularly at a short price. He needs to have everything falling right hence I oppose him, even though is sure to go close, particularly if getting a clear run.

Two other interesting ones are rivals Roundabout Magic seemingly beat last time out: the filly Starchant is still searching for a maiden victory but has ran to speed ratings in the past that suggest she can win a race like this and clearly didn’t get the best of runs last time. However blinkers didn’t help alleviate her starting issues the last time so I oppose here.

It will not come as a surprise to readers of this blog that the only other viable alternative for me in this field can be Fareeq. I was on him the last time as well but he lost his chance at the start as well.

It’s a gamble to put faith in the 5-year-old to get it right this time, however the way he finished that latest race proved that my notion of him potentially being well handicapped isn’t necessarily wrong.

Despite encountering plenty of trouble in the home straight he finished the last two furlongs fastest – faster even than Roundabout Magic. He’s a pound lower today, so all that’s been said the last time is still valid – certainly his breathing seems fine judged by that effort, the 3rd start since the wind OP:

“As a course and distance winner earlier this year off 2lb higher than his revised 56 [now 55] handicap mark he makes plenty of appeal, given he also ran to a topspeed rating of 62 that day. He ran a close 3rd at Wolverhampton in August off 6lb higher than today also.”

Selection:
10pts win – Fareeq @ 8/1 MB

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1.05 Lingfield: Class 2 Handicap, 1 mile

As much as this looks a trappy affair as much it’s rather obvious that most in this field appear to be in the grip of the handicapper now. Favourite Kuwaiti Currency needs a significant career best, which looks not impossible given he is 3-year-old and was a May foal, but 17 starts to his name and recent performances don’t suggest he’s close to get there.

Another Touch looks rock solid and will run his race with confidence after a recent success. However he is certainly not well handicapped with little secrets for the handicapper.

Same can be said about the rest here as well, but I can make a strong case for Mr Scaramanga to be significantly overpriced in this race – granted the handbrake is off.

The 5-year-old should enjoy the drop in trip to a mile after two efforts over 10 furlongs in his last two starts. All his best career performances came over the mile trip and more significantly over this course and distance in fact.

The gelding ran to 99, 97 and 91 topspeed ratings over this CD in the past and also won of his current 87 handicap rating here back in January this year. He’s got a good draw to play with and should be primed after his two recent runs coming off a break to go close in a winnable contest.

Selection:
10pts win – Mr Scaramanga @ 7/1 MB

Thursday Selections: December 26th 2019

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

Merry Christmas to all readers of this site! Hope you are having a wonderful time surrounded by family and friends.

I am in the middle of my very own winter “break”, with overseas travel as well as spending Christmas at home in Germany. A busy year, an even busier few weeks…. but now it’s certainly time to sit back and relax for a few days at the very least.

Nonetheless, I can’t help but have a quick look at what’s going on in the world of racing. I have no real interest in the jump races today – not from a betting perspective at least. Thankfully the Tapeta track at Wolverhampton is open for business….

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4.25 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4f 

Favourite Renardeau looks to be too high in the mark now after his two victories on the bounce. A better case can be made for Dream Magic who was so impressive over course and distance when last seen, who also matched his revised handicap mark on topspeed that day.

However it was clearly a career best and you have to wonder if that one run should overshadow the evidence of a gelding who has been seen 30 times before and only once ran to anything remotely close to that level of form before. He can go close again, and one can argue at 7/1 is a fair price to find out, but I am more inclined to give the runner-up of aforementioned Wolverhampton contest a big chance here today.

Bottom weight Fayetta is still a maiden after 19 starts and was well beaten in second place at Wolverhampton behind Dream Magic. On the other hand there is a significant turnaround in the weights today, in favour of the filly. She ran at Southwell in the meantime, didn’t follow on from the good form shown at Wolverhampton, though.

Possibly down to the fibresand, now back on Tapeta will be more suitable. On this surface she has achieved topspeed ratings of 61 and 67 this year over the 12 furlong trip. So now down to a 61 official rating the case can be made for Fayetta having a prime chance taking advantage of a slipping mark.

Selection:
10pts win – Fayetta @ 10/1 MB

Saturday Selections: December, 21st 2019

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11.45 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 5 furlongs

Roundabout Magic is a fair favourite here, he clearly will go close. Is he a horse to put as much trust in as a 7/4 promises? Certainly not.

Fareeq is a superb alternative at multiple times the price. He had two runs since a wind OP. The jury is out whether this made any difference. With benefit of the doubt he should be race fit now for sure, at the very least.

As a course and distance winner earlier this year off 2lb higher than his revised 56 handicap mark he makes plenty of appeal, given he also ran to a topspeed rating of 62 that day. He ran a close 3rd at Wolverhampton in August off 6lb higher than today also.

Therefore, if his breathing is fine, with a good draw to play with, Fareeq should be a major player today.

Selection:
10pts win – Fareeq @ 6/1 MB

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3.10 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 4f

Accessor could have done with a better draw but he proved the last time that it doesn’t have to be a hindrance to a strong performance so I am hopeful he can overcome it here with a good start today.

He has clearly fallen a long way in the mark and nearly took advantage of it last time at Newcastle over the same trip. First time in headgear and off a small break he travelled strongly and rallied impressively in the final furlong to nearly catch the eventual winner, who ran to a 3lb faster TS rating than his official mark that day and followed up under a penalty with a neck beaten runner-up performance.

That days Accessor himself ran to a 52 topspeed rating that day, so off a 51 mark he looks potentially weighted to go close again, as a one pound hike for this latest effort seems lenient. He also ran four times to 52+ TS ratings throughout his career, so a second victory is only a matter of time now.

Selection:
10pts win – Accessor @ 6/1 MB

Friday Selections: December, 20th 2019

Postulation

7.00 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 6f

Dragon Mountain steps up in trip here; he’s yet to prove his stamina beyond 12 furlongs fully, but after his latest excellent run over 1m 4f, staying strongly to the line, he is not without hope.

The gelding has also come down significantly in his handicap mark since his last victory dating back to September 2018 over 10 furlongs. Down to 63 now, having ran three times to higher tospeed ratings in the past, he appears to be weighted to go close, if he stays the additional two furlongs today.

He was a fine 3rd early this month at this course over 1m 4f, travelling strongly, just to be beaten by a well-handicapped winner. 2lb for that effort, with the visuals implying the longer trip can work, he’s clearly a prime candidate today.

On top of that fine jockey Callum Rodriguez comes here for this one ride only, which seems significant as trainer and jockey enjoy a 29% strike rate (59% place) at Wolverhampton!

Selection:
10pts win – Dragon Mountain @ 4/1 MB

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8.30 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 9.5f

Kirby on board in these type of races is a huge bonus his booking appears significant for the chances of promising Clem A. The 3-year-old stayed on well after a little break when returning to the track here at Wolverhampton over a bit shorter, suggesting the step up in distance isn’t impossible for him to enjoy, albeit on pedigree it is a slight question mark.

Down to a 63 handicap mark, Clem A is of obvious appeal, given he won off 62 on turf this season, running to TS 63 that day also. With more experience and the trip potentially bringing out a bit more improvement, he can win a rather poor contest.

Selection:
10pts win – Clem A @ 9/2 MB

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8.15 Dundalk: Handicap, 1m 2.5f

There are two potentially well handicapped individuals in this field in my view: Ragtime Red loves this CD and is on a good mark, but has a poor draw and will need luck from off the pace.

Monsieur Piquer is the other one and clearly in with a big shout, if the handbrake is off: he finished an excellent runner-up over 1m 4f earlier this month here. He pulled hard for the first two furlongs, yet travelled strongly into the straight and led over a furlong out briefly.

The drop to this shorter distance should suit and a good draw will help to be in a position to challenge turning for home. Monsieur Piquer is still a maiden after 15 starts but now down to a 50 official mark and having shown enough speed to achieve a 56 topspeed rating suggests to me he’ll hardly find a better opportunity to get his head in front.

Selection:
10pts win – Monsieur Piquer @ 10/1 MB

Thursday Selection: December, 5th 2019

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7.00 Southwell: Class 6 Handicap, 5f

Honey Gg is quite obviously the horse to beat and with little else really appealing from a handicapping perspective she appears overpriced.

She was probably unlucky last time out over course and distance when going clear of the majority of the field in higher grade, but bumping into a really well handicapped winner eventually. I don’t see this danger today as she also drops down to class 6.

Only a pound up for the runner-up effort, Honey Gg is closely rated to her best, given she ran to TS 63 when winning here earlier this year, however she also posted a 67 career best topspeed over this CD later on spring. So off OR 63 she offers still a bit of value.

Having David Nolan on board again is a bonus as he rides the minim trip on the fibresand really well.

Selection:
10pts win – Honey Gg @ 7/2 MB

This Is Turf Paradise

I am over in Phoenix, Arizona right now, so I took the opportunity to pay the local race track – Turf Paradise – a visit!

Now, this is the fourth track I have been able to see here in the United States: Aqueduct, Golden Gate Fields and Los Alamitos the others. In comparison with those three, Turf Parade is small. In fact, much smaller. Why? No casino!

Turf Parade is quite a compact race track, located on the outskirts of Phoenix, easy to get to because of its proximity to Interstate Highway 17.

In saying that, at the other tracks I felt lost… and the day became dull after the first few races. Well, mid-week racing, few people are keen to come racing on a Wednesday – it can be lonely onsite. Casino-race-tracks are often huge places: wide and open spaces add to the feeling of emptiness.

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Turf Paradise is different: smaller, compact, short ways from parade ring to betting to food, drink and good viewing options. I was greeted by a super relaxed, serene and friendly atmosphere on the day.

Sure, splendid sunshine always helps; nonetheless, this place has loads of charme: you’re close to the action, entry is free and fair food & drink prices make it a truly wonderful day out.

There were only a few hundred or so people attending this mid-week race day. But as this is such a compact place, it didn’t feel lonely as it did at bigger tracks I’ve been to.

The racing was nothing to shout about. Low-grade claimers and maiden races. In saying that, most horses turned out looked fantastically well presented. Nice in their coat, clean and fit!

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Unlike recent controversy accompanying the Breeders Cup and a certain French jockey (and something I certainly notice turning in for a bit of US racing in the evening on At The Races), there was no excessive whip use to be seen here – in fact, I felt the whip was used pretty sparingly and a lot of hands and heels riding was going on – to my surprise.

Unlike Aqueduct, Golden Gate Fields and Los Alamitos, If I ever have the chance again I’ll definitely go racing at Turf Paradise – I absolutely loved the day, where a card packed with 8 raced didn’t feel dull at any moment!

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Fighting Fifth Hurdle Preview

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2.05 Newcastle: Fighting Fifth Hurdle, 2m½f

Feels odds throwing my hat into the ring at a race at Newcastle that isn’t run on the sand…. as much as I love watching the spectacle that is jump racing, betting wise it’s no good to me – at least on a day to day basis.

Today isn’t an ordinary day, though. It’s the Fighting Fifth, the first huge Grade 1 of the season that gets the pulls raising. All the hot Champion Hurdle contenders are here – an early-season clash that’ll give us an indication if Samcro can justify the hype, after two runs that saw him a faller and then a beaten odds-on favourite.

I think, on that evidence, given the short price today again, I’m certainly inclined to take him on. Sure, the 6-year-old will come on for his recent run, but somehow that performance lacked the usual zest you would associate with Samcro, and looked more concerning to my eyes than simply being a pleasing pipe opener yielding in plenty of improvement. We shall see….

There is no doubt Buveur D’air is the one they all have to beat. He’s the defending champion in both the Champion- and the Fighting Fifth Hurdle. He’s the one who ran to the highest time speed rating of all of these, by a country mile.

Granted, this is an important early-season target, I bet Buveur D’air will not be fully wound up today. A Champion Hurdle hat-trick is the main objective. March is a long way from here.

I’ also intrigued by the “routine wind op” he has undergone during the summer. Is there really such thing as a “routine operation”? Possibly. I don’t know enough about it. Nonetheless, it puts enough doubts in my mind, compared with the bigger fish to fry for Buveur D’air later the season, to oppose him at short odds.

The obvious alternative is Summerville Boy. The reigning Supreme champ, also on his seasonal debut, obviously – with his own question marks. Around trip – too sharp? Ground – not soft enough? Talent – good enough?

He was an impressive winner at the Festival for obvious reasons, but the fact he seems to have issues with concentration, in a race that’ll likely be about speed and accurate jumping, whereas he strikes me more like a grinder, is a big question mark. Will he be ready for today? I bet so! If you want to gauge how Summerville Boy measures up against the top guns you got to be ready for the fight today.

Connections are pretty bullish. On the evidence on form and ratings he has plenty to find to Buveur D’air, but not a lot to Samcro – in fact his all-time best TS is a pound better than Samcro’s. Whether that’s of significance, is up for debate. Certainly, on evidence, the six-year-old has plenty scope for improvement, if he gets his act together in the later stages of the race.

Given my doubts about pretty much any of the main principles in the race, and not having a lot of confidence in the other two in the field, at given prices Summerville Boy looks a superb bet.

I feel this race is more important for him than for the favourite. I believe, at this stage, he’s likely as good as Samcro. There are plenty of positives vibes around him as well – so I allow myself a crack at this hugely exciting renewal of the Fighting Fifth Hurdle!

Selection:
10pts win – Summerville Boy @ 6/1 MB

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5.15 Wolverhampton: Novice Stakes, 5f

Vee Man Ten looks a decent colt after showing promise in two starts on turf earlier this year. He looked like winning on debut at Beverly but was squeezed out eventually to finish third while only ridden hands and heels – this form looks strong judged through the winner in particular, but also the runner-up.

He blasted out of the gates at Haydock less than two weeks later, setting a brutal pace that wasn’t sustainable, particularly over 6 furlongs. However, the early speed he showed was impressive.

Now the bit wiser, first time on the All-Weather and dropping to 5f, it could be third time lucky. On pedigree this should suit, his sire has a fine record on the sand over the minimum trip, particularly with juveniles.

Vee Man Ten has a hood fitted for the first time, which may not be a disadvantage, a good draw and jockey KT O’Neill making his way here for this one ride only – strong chance.

Selection:
10pts win – Vee Man Ten @ 4/1 Sky