Tag Archives: Doncaster

Sunday Selections: March, 25th 2018

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4.45 Doncaster: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 2f

Despite being an eight year old, judged on last seasons form, Indian Chief looks one who could still run a bit better than his current mark suggests. a handicap rating of 84, based on RPR’s and TS, as well as visuals from the back end of last year, seem a good indicator that he’s a really interesting runner in this race.

I wouldn’t read too much into his poor comeback run. It was a pipe opener. However, his last good handful of runs in 2017 are predominantly fine form. I felt he was minded when last seen as he had too much too from the back in a tough class 3 Handicap at Nottingham at the end of October.

A week earlier same place Indian Chief was tanking a long but incredibly unlucky, not getting a run whatsoever. He’s on the same mark today, and a return to that sort of form will see him go very close.

Trip and ground hold absolutely no fear to him – in fact it enhances his chances.

Selection:
10pts win – Indian Chief @ 12/1 Matchbook

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4.50 Naas: Irish Lincoln Handicap, 1 mile

A massive field of twenty runners go to post in the traditional pipe opener of the Irish flat season. Heavy ground is awaiting them – it should be a slog.

Plenty of right boxes ticks Richard Fahey’s runner Third Time Lucky. He’s proved in the past that cut in the ground isn’t an issue, though, he hasn’t encountered this deep a ground since his maiden win.

However, Third Time Lucky is an experienced big-field handicapper and tends to run well in these type of races – as evidence his 2015 Cambridgeshire success which came off the same he’s racing of today.

He hasn’t won since February last year, which came on the All-Weather, off a 2lb higher mark, but subsequently raced in tough handicaps off big weights. He’s in good nick, however, as he shown most recently at Wolverhampton when finishing strongly in a hot class 2 contest.

I feel this trip with the slow ground and likely good pace could play right into his hands. He will need to get a bit of in-running luck given his hold-up style and a less than ideal draw. But with no obvious choices in this race, he looks one who has a better chance than his price tag suggests, in my mind.

Selection:
10pts win – Third Time Lucky @ 9/1 VC

Saturday Selections: The Flat is Back!

Newmarket Rowley Mile tight finish

Ended Cheltenham week last week with a bang: Emigrated ran out a readily winner at 16/1 at Wolverhampton! That was on the All-Weather, the surface so familiar to readers of this blog…. BUT I have to tell you: the flat is back! Well and truly – the holy turf, the smell of flush green grass in the air – it’s Lincoln Day!

Let’s not get carried away, though. It’s an incredibly difficult day betting wise at Doncaster. Huge- and ultra-competitive fields, soft ground and often little recent form in the book of those fancied in the market.

It also will take still some time until the flat moves into full swing. Hence the brown colour of Fibresand, Tapeta and Poly will continue to dominate for another while…. at least this blog. For a change, not today, though.

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2.25 Doncaster: Class 2 Handicap, 1 mile

Those at the head of the market should dominate naturally… yet in a big field that isn’t always the case eventually. However, the Spring Mile this year seems to have a bias toward favouring the high drawn numbers, as this is where most of the pace lies.

That means, bar the jolly Taqdeer, the likes of What’s The Story, Original Choice and Kynren should be thereabouts. However, I quite fancy a little flutter on long-shot Apex King.

There is little in his form to suggest that he will go close. His comeback at Chelmsford was dire. He’re hoping he simply needed that run. Last season was a massive disappointment, on the other hand. Apex King looked so promising during his juvenile campaign.

Nonetheless, he remains lightly raced. Only eight starts to date, he ran only three times last year, and he was a late April foal, so maybe he simply outran expectations as a two year old and needed last season to catch-up.

Another holiday under his belt, now fitted with blinkers for the first time – something that can have a significantly positive impact on sons of Kodiac – he remains of interest. Particularly on ground that can suit. He won on good to soft already, and his full-sister Miss Ellany managed the same.

Likely to be race fit, trip and ground potentially a good combination, with the potential improvement for blinkers fitted and a near perfect draw, gives Apex King at least a real chance to outrun his massive price tag.

Selection:
10pts win – Apex King @ 33/1 VC

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3.35 Doncaster: Class 2 Lincoln Handicap, 1 mile

The race that gives the traditional start of the flat season its name – as ever an incredibly tricky puzzle to solve. I don’t dare to say I have the answer to it. However, I dare to say to have a value bet. Rather unoriginal, yet with proven track record: Gabrial.

The now nine-year old won this very race in 2015 and twelve months ago was only one lengths beaten in fourth off 4lb higher than today. His only other start at Doncaster, also over a mile, was a Listed success over a mile. Fair to say Gabrial loves it to thunder down the Doncaster straight.

He tried his luck on the All-Weather over the winter. He ran well enough in a couple of races, though his form tailed off a little bit when last seen. I wouldn’t worry too much – he proved to be nearly as good as ever when placed twice behind Arcanada at Lingfield.

Two win off 104 as a nine-year old, despite his proven record and potentially fair mark, judged on last year’s run, is still a big ask. Nonetheless, with conditions sure to suit, as soft ground does not hold any fears for Gabrial, he should run his race. Whether that is enough to win remains to be seen. At the given price he’s certainly one I’m rather siding with than not.

Selection:
10pts win: Gabrial @ 31/1 Matchbook

Saturday Selections: 2017 November Handicap

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2.40 Doncaster: Gillies Fillies’ Stakes (Listed), 1m 2f

The favourite, albeit most likely with the best form in the book, looks a reasonably short price compared to Time Chaser, currently trading as the second fav.

Both fillies remain lightly raced with potential upside, however I feel Time Chaser has more upside and is a better price at the same time.

She is a full-sister to the very smart Time Test, so taking that as an indicator, there is a good chance Time Chaser might still do a bit better than her current official rating of 91 suggests.

She won three on the bounce from debuting in April until stepping up into a class 2 Handicap in September at Haydock, after producing two fine performances to win at Sandown, over a mile and ten furlongs on fast to soft ground respectively.

Beaten in third a long way the last time in heavy conditions, I feel there are valid excused for this slightly disappointing showing. Time Chaser certainly did not receive an overly smart ride that day.

She probably did a bit too much right after the start and also in the middle part of the race, while racing wide without cover all the way. That is a deadly combination in heavy conditions. The impressive winner, in comparison, was tucked away at the end of the field until he made his winning move.

A decent draw and champion jockey Jim Crowley on board may help to see her ridden a bit more intelligently. It’s soft ground again. She probably likes it a bit better but has proven to act on it.

A step up to listed level seems fair judged on what she has done so far. She is not out of her depth here.

Selection:
10pts win – Time Chaser @ 7/2 Bet365

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3.15 Doncaster: November Handicap, 1m 4f

A full 23 runner strong field. It couldn’t be any more competitive. Nonetheless I feel bottom weight Al Destoor is a bit overpriced. True, he’s never won over 12f and his pedigree does not necessarily says he should, but he’s still been placed twice in three tries over the trip and has shown excellent form in softish conditions over trips up to 1m 2.5f.

Al Destoor also is an incredibly consistent animal. He rarely runs a bad race. So given the trip is not totally out of his reach, he loves the ground conditions and has a feather weight on his back, I think it is not out of this world to see him going close.

The 7 year old didn’t have a too hard season either and looked still in fine shape when runner-up at Chester back in September. The aid of excellent Franny Norton in the saddle is a bonus.

Selection:
10pts win – Al Destoor @ 25/1 Skybet

Saturday Selections: St. Leger Day 2017

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1.30 Chester: Class 4 Handicap, 5f

This type of race in this type of conditions won’t suit many in this field, but favourite Show Palace has a prime chance to bounce back to form. He already won three times this year and loves the mud plus looks still to have a bit more to offer with the right conditions.

Franny Norton in the saddle is another bonus, while the positive draw enhances his chances even further.

Selection: 
10pts win – Show Palace @ 3/1 Skybet

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2.40 Chester: Listed Stand Cup Stakes, 1m 4f 

Group 3 winning Duretto proves popular with punters though the well exposed and less sexy Soldier In Action is a better bet in my book. He thrives in tough conditions like the ones to expect at Chester today and stays all day long.

He didn’t land a blow in the Ebor, however won a tough handicap the same month of a mark off 106. So he’s clearly a smart operator. Rated within three pounds of Duretto, match fitness might prove and advantage for Mark Johnston’s inmate, I believe.

Selection:
10ts win – Soldier In Action @ 11/4 Paddy Power

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3.35 Doncaster: Group 1 St. Leger, 1m 6.5f

This years St. Leger shapes as an intriguing contest with five, six horses closely matched on ratings. No doubt, Irish Derby winner Capri warrants plenty of respect, though the ever improving Crystal Ocean, Stradivarius, Defoe and the filly Coronet all real chances to improve again with a big shout over the Leger trip.

However is the forgotten horse in the race another Ballydoyle runner? Venice Beach doesn’t get any love leading up to the race, even though he has some excellent form in the book too.

Sure, he looks short of top class over a mile and a quarter, however he shapes like a grinder who’s crying out for the trip. Watch back the Grand Prix de Paris, where he looked outpaced and beaten in the home straight. Yet he fought back gamely, found more and more and finished an excellent third.

At York in the Voltigeur he wasn’t a match for Cracksman. But he finished a clear second of some decent individuals. It might turn out that he simply is not a Group 1 animal, that says the trip and ground in combination make him a big danger to anyone in this field, I feel.

Selection:
10pts win – Venice Beach @ 14/1 Bet365

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5.15 Musselburgh: Class 3 Handicap, 1m 6f

I’ve been keen on Dominating the last time at York in the Melrose Handicap, though he flopped that day. We can draw a line through that I feel, though, given it was a very hot race. This is easier and it remains the fact that Irish St. Leger winner Jukebox Jury has an outstanding record with his first crop of three year old’s in Britain.

Contributing towards this has been the Mark Johnston trained Dominating himself, as he has won already three times this year, including over the 1m 6f trip and at Musselburgh.

I don’t think conditions will be an issue for him, in case the rain arrives. He didn’t perform the one time he raced on soft ground, but on pedigree it looks fine and he’s a different horse now, I believe.

Selection:
10pts win – Dominating @ 9/2 Bet365

Sunday Selections – 20th August 2017

2000 Guineas Field going to post

Brilliant Saturday, two winners from five selections paid off handsomely! Impressive 7/1 Ripon winner Sole Mission was the highlight, but Alfarris drifting out to 4/1 and still landing the hot 4.45 Handicap at Doncaster was also quite enjoyable to watch. It’s been really a super week! Hopefully it can be concluded with a final winner today!

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4.35 Pontefract: Class 3 Handicap, 1m

Eagle Creek has to be trusted to have fully recovered from his injury that led to a dismal performance at Newmarket and it remains unclear how good he really is. A mark of 95 could still underestimate him but for what we know about him at this point in time looks plenty stiff enough.

A smarter choice given prices is Lomu in my book. Unbeaten on turf and the one time beaten in his four career starts on the AW he still ran well in quite a hot race.

He is improving all the time, won cosily at Ayr when seen last – a performance better than the bare form suggests. He was extremely keen early on, didn’t have quite a clear passage in the home straight and still won going away.

Stepping up in trip to 1m is not a concern on pedigree. He’s certainly every chance to get it, no doubt. I’m more concerned about his keenness. He may have run his race before it really starts. Also his hold-up style at track that favours strong front-runners with the main rival being one of those potentially is dangerous.

Nonetheless it is worth a crack as Lomu appears to be open to any amount of improvement tackling the new trip. He gets a bit more mature as well as hopefully with experience settles better.

Selection:
10pts win – Lomu @ 11/4 Bet365

Saturday Selections – 19th August 2017

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Great Sound made my Friday. Superb win, different class in his race. Shame that Dreaming Time faded badly in the home straight when seemingly travelling well for most of the time. Owen The Law was a non-runner.

Big weekend ahead – I may shove my ass down to the Curragh on Sunday in fact – however Saturday looms large with a tremendous amount of great racing. Winx already kicked us off with a special performance in the Warwick Stakes this morning over in Australia, Arrogate will follow tonight, whereas there are some compelling Stakes races on offer in the UK and Ireland.

However I set my sights, as so often, on the slightly lower end of the class scale. Here we go!

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3.15 Ripon: Class 2 Handicap, 6f

Big and wide open sprint handicap, I feel Right Touch with Franny Norton on board is a massive price to give a bit of a chance here. He is down to his last winning mark, and while ideally the ground would be a bit softer, he does run well on genuine good ground.

He’s been not setting the world alight this season yet, mostly campaigned over 7f. The drop down to 6f should suit him, though, and given he is a also a course winner means at 25’s it is worth a nibble.

Selection:
10pts win – Right Touch @ 25/1 Bet365

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4.05 Newbury: Maiden Stakes , 1m 4f

Those with experience haven’t achieved an awful lot I feel, so to give a newcomer a chance isn’t that big a deal. John Gosden’s Gns750k yearling with the slightly unflattering name Erdogan, is a super interesting newcomer, one we have waited a long time to see.

A son of Frankel out of the superb Dar Re Mi who already has produced noticeable stakes performers no less so with So Mi Dar, Erdogan boosts the most magnificent pedigree.

Whether he is ready to go we will find out today, but given we’re midway through the season with some big targets on the horizon, one would think he has to run well today in order to have a chance to compete in the big stake races in autumn.

Selection:
10pts win – Erdogan @ 7/2 Coral

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4.40 Newbury: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 2f

Black Bolt bolted up on his second career start in a Kempton maiden back in December. Not seen since fitness is taken on trust.

However he has the pedigree to do well as a three year old and should enjoy the step up in trip to 10f. His sire Cape Cross has a significant record in softish conditions at this track too.

An opening mark of 82 in a race where the main rivals are seemingly older horses could be lenient.

Selection:
10pts win – Black Bolt @ 13/2 William Hill

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4.45 Doncaster: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 2f

Bidding for a hat-trick, Barwell can easily find still a bit more and is very dangerous here, however I’m firmly in the Alfarris camp. The Shamardal son is still lightly raced and has improved with each run after landing an All-Weather maiden earlier this year.

His runner-up performance at Chelmsford in May rates strongly with the form book and his subsequent run at Ascot in a hot class 2 Handicap is equally a strong performance. He was carried to the left by the eventual winner over 2f out but more importantly looked disorganized which meant he could not finish closer than 4th.

Head-gear applied for the first time should help in this case, he also drops back to suitable 10f and quite a bit in class. He could have too much on his plate for this lot I feel.

Selection:
10pts win – Alfarris @ 10/3 Bet365

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5.35 Ripon: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4f

Chocolate Box looks ready to strike and may regret betting against him, however Sole Mission is equally a sporting chance, however a better price and has already proven he can get his head in front.

So he did at Carlisle on his penultimate start in excellent fashion. Things did not quite work out the next time however we can probably draw a line through that run and give him another chance.

He has been improving this season which one would expect from a very late May foal. Being a hold up horse is something i usually feel not totally comfortable betting on, however his sire Sea The Stars boots a tremendous record at this track.

Selection: 
10pts win – Sole Mission @ 7/1 Bet365

Saturday Preview: Lockinge Stakes Day

What a finish in the Yorkshire Cup (Group 2) yesterday – nearly four in line going down to the wire with the Queen’s horse Dartmouth getting the better of 2015 St. Ledger heroine Simple Verse – just!

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3.30 Newbury: Group 1 Lockinge Stakes, 1 Mile

The first big clash of the best older milers this season. And what a mouth-watering race in prospect this is. Three 120/+ individuals  head to head – this could go down to the wire!

Or not? All three main contenders – Ribchester, Galileo Gold and Lightning Spear – have to overcome the slight doubts of full race fitness on their seasonal reappearance.

Could that play into the hands of the master that is Aiden O’Brien? Shrewdly he has placed Somehow – a quality filly in her own right – here in the Lockinge. With her sex allowance and fitness assured, she could certainly cause an upset.

Somewhow won twelve days ago a Group 2 at Newmarket – a fifth career success in ten starts – though the jury is still out whether she is a top-notcher.

Dropping down to a mile in soft conditions I can see a scenario unfold where she cruises closely behind Ribchester’s pacemaker, and then from over 3f out takes over with a big move that puts all behind in trouble. With fitness and stamina a given, she could stay on to lead the field all the way over the line.

The 7/1 odds scream value if you believe in the merit of this scenario. I do. But I also have concerns about the fact that Somehow already had three tough races – two in very tough conditions – in the last five weeks. Plus she has to find a bit with the three big guns if ratings are believed.

On ratings there is not a lot between Ribchester, Galileo Gold and Lightning Spear, though. I would still discount David Simcock’s six year old on the basis of the ground that probably does suit him the least. His very best in the past came on fast ground. Plus Lightning Spear is still searching for the elusive first Group 1 victory.

That is different for Ribchester and Galileo Gold. Both have won on the highest level – Galileo Gold even twice. And both have excellent form with cut in the ground.

The score’s equal between the two. On ratings there’s a single pound between them, yet the market has Ribchester a clear 6/4 favourite. Probably on the basis that the son of Iffraaj has still a bit of improvement left.

He might have but he might not. In fact there is only a single career run betwen Ribchester and Galileo Gold.

On balance I would agree that Ribchester is likely to be the better prospect for the season. He looks the type to do better with age and experience, whereas Galileo Gold appears more likely to regress. However at this point in time it is also Galileo Gold’s best chance to win a big race this year, I feel.

Connections will certainly be aware of this. He should be fully wound up, his record as a fresh horse is fine and of all horses in the field he has the best record on soft ground. So given the prices I have to side with Galileo Gold who I would have more like a 5/2 chance in my book.

Selection:
10pts win – Galileo Gold @ 9/2 Bet365

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4.05 Newbury: Class 2 Conditions Stakes, 6 Furlongs

All about Richard Hannon’s Denaar here. He was an easy winner under hands and heels in a Chelmsford maiden on debut a mere twelve days ago over the minimum trip. The step up to 6f should suit very well and the change in conditions – at least on pedigree – is no problem; in fact can be beneficial.

The form of his maiden success looks rock solid through the experienced runner-up who on his penultimate start ran well in a race that threw up a handful of winners as well as a subsequent listed placed individual.

Selection:
10pts win – Denaar @ 15/8 Paddy Power

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5.10 Newbury: Class 2 Handicap, 1 Mile

Big field and an open contest, so at a price I give Grand Inquisitor a chance to find back to some sort of form, now returning to turf with cut in the ground off a dangerous mark.

He moved yards during the winter and hasn’t excelled for new connections on the All-Weather the last two starts over seven furlongs, but it might not be wise to judge him too harshly on those efforts.

Back over the slightly longer trip with conditions he’s proven to handle and only 2lb above his last winning mark I see a fair chance for him returning to form Not to forget he ran some massive races off much higher marks last season and knocked on the door in tough Handicaps of marks around 95.

Selection:
10pts win – Grand Inquisitor @ 18/1 Bet365

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5.35 Newmarket: Class 4 Handicap, 5 Furlongs

Richard Fahey’s Paddy Power slipped dramatically in the handicap mark compared to what the four year old ran of last season. Now down to 75 with the benefit of a fine pipe opener on Newcastle’s All-Weather, the gelding seems well handicapped on return to turf.

His win record is dismal, but he raced of up to 10lb higher in good Handicaps last year has performed more often than with credit – in fact on RPR’s he ran 11 times to ratings above his current mark of 75.

Softish conditions should be no problem, he has some okay form on this type of surface. His sire performs decent enough too, and the dam is a Listed winner on soft ground. Added 3lb apprentice allowance is a little icing on the cake.

Selection:
10pts win – Paddy Power @ 4/1 Bet365

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8.50 Doncaster: Class 4 Handicap, 6 Furlongs

I give handicap debutante Manshood a good chance to outrun his price tag. He’s had five starts in maiden company so far, placed three times, the two times he ran over today’s trip he was in the money running to RPR’s of 72 and 73.

He’s got a fine pipe opener under his belt last month, that should set him up nicely and didn’t sacrifice his potentially lenient opening mark.

Potentially lenient if he improves for his first handicap start in new conditions. Soft ground, though, should suit quite well on pedigree.  Martin Lane was the other day in the saddle, so got to know Manshood, and has the ride today too. Could be an advantage.

Selection: 
10pts win – Manshood @ 14/1 Paddy Power