Tag Archives: Eye Catchers

Love is in the Air

Newmarket Rowley Mile

“She isn’t good enough.”

Well, I didn’t have much love for Love leading up to the 1000 Guineas and made that pretty clear in my preview when highlighting her lack of a top-class speed rating as well as the many opportunities she had to produce one. Concluding with the final assessment: “she isn’t good enough”. Some things don’t age well.

One had to love her willing attitude, though. Relentless galloping from the start, never too far off the pace, albeit drawn away from it and racing on the outside of the field wasn’t the most economical thing to do.

Ryan Moore kept it simple and that paid off for a filly bound to stay further. She was going away from her rivals in the final 100 yards, winning with authority in the end.

Albeit I maintain that this wasn’t a particularly good renewal. It’s one we’ll forget nearly as quickly as it took the fillies to finish the eight furlongs of the Rowley Mile.

Love showed little love for my selections. In fact she broke the heart of Cloak Of Spirits when finally passing her half a furlong from the finish. The big filly ran on for second place, but as I backed her win only at 17’s on the Exchanges, that was of no no help from a betting perspective. Raffle Prize was beaten halfway through the race.


Moving forward I won’t post selections on a (near-) daily cadence throughout the flat season as done over the last years here with relative success.

Time doesn’t allow for it as life is really busy and analysing the racing in the way I need to in order to continue making a profit is time consuming alone, plus the added strain of actually finding places to get a sizable stake on in the races that I tend to bet in.

I want to keep focusing more on quality content as (hopefully) seen over the last week already. In saying that here and there I’ll send out a selection if I have enough time and found one I really want to share with the wider world.


4.25 Haydock: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 2f

Hot race. Plenty of handicap debutants who also step up in trip. The majority have a fair chance to improve quite a bit for age and distance. You never know what you get in these races, who has trained on, who’s 100% ready and who’s truly well handicapped.

Yet I firmly believe Alargedram has a tremendous chance to land a first career victory. An opening mark of 72 could easily turn out to be lenient for this son of Lope De Vega who’s out of a mare who was listed placed over 1m 2f.

He caught my eye on two occasions last year in what appeared decent races. Particularly the Wolverhampton one looks solid, given those ahead of him that day are now rated in the 80’s and followed up with decent performances.

He ran on well under a light ride that day on the wide outside. I also thought he finished with plenty of credit on his final start at Windsor, when the going was pretty deep and he didn’t seem to enjoy that too much, yet finishing well enough. In all three starts he received rather sympathetic or educational rides in my view.

Alargedram looks a big boy with plenty of scope ready to improve rapidly now upped in trip. The fact connections paid 75k for him as 2-year-old after he was only a ten grand yearling shows he has improved quite a bit from what was originally thought of him.

That matches a comment the owners made some months ago, suggesting they think he’s going to be much better than his opening mark. I think so too. Ground will be fine, trip is good – only the wide draw is a slight concern, whether he will get a clear run in a field with twelve runners.

10pts win – Alargedram @ 6/1 VC/SP/MB

Racing is Back!


Racing is back! At least in the UK. We here in Ireland have to wait for another week.

Although it was only sand racing, having full fields at Newcastle this afternoon was certainly welcome… compared to none at all over the last while. Plus it’s only two more days until racing on green, lush turf returns as well.

It’s gonna be a packed schedule with top class racing over the next couple of weeks also. Those Classics are coming thick and fast right, left and center. France and Germany with their Guineas races today. Others will follow soon. Exciting times!

Looking back on the first day of the flat season 2020 I have mixed feelings, nonetheless. One the plus side I’ve also got an intriguing eye-catcher for the tracker for those readers who make it to end of my ramblings.

Racingpost is Poor Value

The sport I love is back: great! The print edition of the Racingpost is back: great! Not so great: one would have thought the editors had plenty of time to think about how to improve their product for when it returns to the shelves in a bid to entice prospective customers to buy a paper that comes with a whopping price tag of €4.20.

I’m afraid there was nothing in the “Bumper Edition” of the Racingpost that inspired me to pay such a steep price for something that would end in the recycle bin only half a day later.

Racing back in the UK. Top class races in France and Germany – there was plenty to cover. Yet the paper felt thin on actual, valuable content.

An interview with Lester Piggott on his remarkable career. That’s alright – I’ve got all respect for the man and his story – though, it’s hardly anything original these days. You can find plenty of similar interviews and articles with him for free (in fact RP published some under the “PR Classics” banner only recently).

A stable tour of Richard Hannon’s. Plus the usual tipsters and some race previews. Add racecards. That’s it.

In the day of online and mobile where everything is a swipe away all the time, publishers face an uphill battle, particularly with a niche print product such as the Racingpost. If you produce a paper that in essence has not changed in two decades and offers little real incentive to buy because of a lack of original content then you’ll struggle even more so.

I really wanted to buy the Racingpost this morning. Really wanted it. But a hefty €4.20 for what you get is simply no value for money. I’m not saying there is no value. Of course there is. For some people more than for others. But is it worth the price? I don’t think so. And that’s a shame.

More Data Please

I have thoroughly enjoyed dipping my toes into Hong Kong racing over the last weeks. Doing so, what becomes blatantly obvious – now that racing returns to more familiar places – what sets their product apart from ours here.

Hong Kong racing is all about providing relevant information, a myriad on data and a level of transparency with the aim of improving customer experience. Data that is freely available and easily accessible to all punters and racing fans alike for them to analyse- and better understand what- and why certain things happen in a race.

Free replays in excellent quality with different angles to chose from. Sectional times as well as every little detail on all the horses – be it their racing weight, injury history, or track work. Heck, even rather accurate Speed maps are produced.

Given the importance of racing for Hong Kong as the HKJC is the largest taxpayer there, this makes perfect sense, of course: if you want punters to come racing and gambling you need to provide an enticing product that people can believe in due to its transparent nature.

Granted there are only two tracks in Hong Kong, a small horse population and fewer variables. That makes it a lot easier to track all these things. It’s unrealistic to copy everything Hong Kong does and bring it over to the UK or Ireland. Still, more can be done and lessons can be learned from Hong Kong if racing over here wants to appeal to new and younger generations.

People these days are much more familiar with looking at- and using data. Many of us do it for work in some form or another. Not only for work, though. In a betting environment think about sports like football, hockey, basketball and so on that offer tons of data – from simple to “advanced stats”. Often available for free, easily accessible. Quite like it’s the case in Hong Kong for their racing product.

For UK and Irish racing data is expensive to get hands on (Flatstats, Proform….) and racing media tends to speak in plain and banal language anyway, as if the general punter would be too stupid to understand anything that goes beyond the numbers associated with naked form.

Baby steps are being made, though. Sectionals and stride data start to become more readily available for certain tracks. This really provides great insights into how races are run and why horses finished a certain way. This has to become a universal thing, though. It’s 2020 not 1985.

Newcastle Eye-Catcher

Ghadbbaan – Race 1 – 7th place: One could easily overlook this well beaten 4-year-old gelding. However this was a fairly decent seasonal reappearance, given he was drawn in gate one, which can be a negative for horses who already have starting issues. So it was no surprise to Ghadbbaan walking out of the gate. Hoe was then firmly driven forward to chase the lead.

He surly did much more than ideal in those early stages of the race and tired over two furlongs out to finish side by side with the pre-race favourite. That’s not the whole story, though.

He switched yards over the winter and was gelded, after two low-key efforts as a juvenile. He didn’t fulfill the hopes connections once had when in care of Michael Stoute.

However, Ghadbbaan is quite nicely bred, although clearly looks to have a future beyond a mile. He is a full-brother to smart 103 rated Listed 1m 2f winner Sound Of Cannons out of a Listed placed- and 1m2f winning mare  and by French Derby winner Intello.

Today was only his first handicap start. A fair pipe opener. Once Ghadbbaan steps up in trip he should improve readily and be able to exploit his current 64 Official Rating.

Chemlsford: Flighty will enjoy new trip

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

2.00 Chelmsford: Class 4 Fillies’ Handicap, 1m 5f

This looks an open contest with more than half of the field in with realistic chances. However High And Flighty went into my notebook back in November when an excellent runner-up at Wolverhampton over 12f, as she was the only one from those up with the pace able to sustain a real effort to the line, while I thought back then a step up in trip could be interesting for this filly.

She tries this slightly further distance for the first time now after a disappointing run at Lingfield in the meantime, although in a hot little race.

High And Flighty has still not too many miles on the clock and looks capable off her current mark. Now going against her own sex she could be really competitive in a race like this here.

 High And Flighty @ 8/1 VC – 5pts Win

Monday Betting: All-Weather


2.30 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Nursery, 1m 141y

Favourite Ripoll could still be on the up, but at a much bigger price Monday Club is an intriguing contender as he finished only one place behind Ripoll when the two met the last time here at Wolverhampton – form that looks very strong and is franked through Ripoll, who was subsequently a runaway winner at Kempton.

Monday Club had the widest draw to overcome in that race, travelled well but was briefly off the bridle over 4f when trying to close the gap to the leading pack, which seemingly slipped away. He came back on the bridle, travelling strongly into the home straight, though seemed to hang a bit to his left then and wasn’t helped by shifting horses who prevented him from a clear run.

He probably was a tired horse at that stage anyway, so the slight drop in trip should suit perfectly. He gets 2lb off his mark and has a decent 3lb claimer on board today. From a handicapping perspective he must have strong claims in my mind.

Working against him will the unkind draw – again widest of all. He will have to get all the brakes and need to be well in to overcome in a race like this, but at a huge price is certainly worth the gamble.

Monday Club @ 25/1 Coral – 5pts Win


5.20 Kempton: Class 4 Handicap, 7f

I firmly have my eyes on Loyalty who seems underestimated here. His last run in much better class 4lb out of the handicap at Chelmsford wasn’t a bad one, but I thought he was most eye-catching over course and distance on his return when he made all from a wide draw and just tired in the final furlong, probably in the need of a run.

He’s got a decent draw and is on a fair mark at the moment, although the trip could be on the sharp side. However he has won over 7f in the past and loves Kempton. Given he’ll make this a stamina test from the front again he could be primed for a big run today.

Loyalty @ 18/1 William Hill – 5pts Win

Chelmsford: Jassur deserves another chance

Gordon Lord Byron

6.10 Chelmsford: Class 6 Nursery, 1m 2f

Competitive affair and more open than the market suggests in my mind. The favourite has a big shout of an unchanged mark after an excellent performance lto but looks a skinny price nonetheless.

Goldenfield and Jassur both ran eye-catchingly in the same race last month, which looks strong form in my mind.

Goldenfield fared better, tracking the pace and just came up short. A 2lb hike in the mark is fair and he may improve again.

Jassur is more interesting though, given his big price tag. He set a suicidal pace the last time but was still there in the home straight; it was no surprise to see him fade badly eventually. The merit of the performance looks better than the bare result suggests

He won at Chelmsford over 10f before by a street and could easily have more to offer off his current mark, particularly with a different ride.

Jassur @ 10/1 Paddy Power – 5pts Win

Southwell: Schottische has a big shout


Winner and a third today – we clearly make some progress here. Even though I would have much preferred Dynamo Walt to win than Natural Nine – but hey, I don’t wanna complain.

12.10 Southwell: Class 6 Amateur Handicap, 1m

Two horses caught my eye on the Southwell sand recently. One is Roger Thorpe who was unlucky to bump into a seriously well handicapped horse the other day. He has a big shout today, though the jockey and the draw are slight concerns.

For a much bigger price I feel Schottische is interesting. She was quite unlucky two starts back here at Southwell when she travelled strongly but got badly hampered approaching the home turn when coming with a huge run, only to get checked moments later yet again.

It was impressive how she stuck to the task and finished as close as did. I didn’t pay attention when she popped up at Lingfield subsequently. 10f is too far form her. Back at Southwell now she’s really interesting, back over 1m and 2lb below her last winning mark which came over course and distance earlier this year.

Schottische @ 16/1 bet365 – 5pts Win

Eye-Catchers: Kempton on Monday


3.35 Chelmsford: Class 2 Handicap, 5f

Seven year old Dynamo Walt is probably high enough in the mark here but ran with plenty of credit the last two starts, following on from his half a lengths success over course and distance.

The draw hasn’t been kind those last two times, it is much more in his favour here. It was eye-catching how he overcame the widest draw at Kempton lto, burning allot of energy in the first two furlongs to get across and take the lead.

He tired eventually in the final furlong, but the merit of this performance is better than the bare result. The form starts to work out well too in the meantime.

Dynamo Walt @ 18/1 Bet365 – 5pts Win


4.05 Chelmsford: Class 4 Handicap, 7f

Lightly raced three year old Natural Nine drops down to 7f and has a big chance to follow-up on two strong recent performances. He found the mile trip too far two starts back here at Chelmsford, coming off a break after winning a Beverly maiden in June.

He really caught my eye the last time at Kempton, though. Changed tactics saw him held up; he travelled very strongly and made excellent progress in the home straight, though got hampered at a crucial stage around the final furlong marker by a shifting horse.

He didn’t quite seem to see out the trip anyway, so it’s questionable how much that really cost him. But he came a long way clear of the rest of the field and was only 3 lengths behind smart, well handicapped & subsequent scorer Afjaan.

With conditions sure to suit, I feel Natural Nine could have still a bit more to offer from his current mark off 79.

Natural Nine @ 4/1 Coral – 5pts Winner

Wolverhampton: Clockmaker Can go Close

Laytown 3

20.15 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

Despite his age, nine year old veteran Clockmaker makes plenty of appeal in this race from his good draw. He is certainly down a good mark, given he’s a couple of pounds below rated below his last (turf) winning mark and has won off his current rating on the All-Weather before.

His most recent performance here at Wolverhampton over the 7f trip in a better race was most eye-catching given that he ran off like a lunatic, leading the field by several lengths, even when approaching the home straight. It wasn’t a surprise to see him tire soon after, yet he led the field into the final furlong and finished a good 4th in the end.

With a slightly better judged race he can go very close given the handicapper left his mark unchanged.

Clockmaker @ 14/1 Paddy Power – 5pts Win

Kempton: Menelik a prime chance with Coackley booked

Dundalk All-Weather

7.10 Chelmsford: Class 6 Handicap, 1m

My attention is drawn to three horses here in this low grade Handicap. Favourite Bridge Of Sighs won a poor class 7 race the last time, however on his first try over 1m. His lightly raced profile, modest rise in the mark and 3lb claimer on board gives him a decent chance to follow-up.

Two form horses but at the same time with eye-catching runs the last time are Thermal Column and Menelik. The former on is clearly very consistent since changing yards.

Three starts in the last weeks resulted in a placed effort, a hard fought win and an eye-catching runner-up effort most recently. Off an unchanged mark he is a serious contender, although a poor draw makes life difficult.

Menelik is down to a very handy mark at the moment and has been placed the last two of his current rating off 60. He caught the eye the last time at Wolverhampton when he overcame a wide draw and engaged in a fierce fight for the lead early on.

He made allot in those first two furlongs of the race but eventually settled in fourth, tracking a mad pace. He travelled strongly around the home turn approaching the straight leading the pack but was soon headed by the eventual winner and worn down by him as well as the runner-up in the final furlong.

He still came clear a long way of the rest and wasn’t beaten fast. Given that first and second came from way off the pace while he committed allot this rates as a very strong performance.

The slight drop back to 1m will help here, so will the kind draw. Most interestingly is the jockey booking. A good Irish 5lb claimer is over to ride this one race at Chelmsford. His allowance gives Menelik a prime chance in this field.

Menelik @ 8/1 Bet465 – 5pts Win

Ripoll can progress from nursery debut

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

6.40 Kempton: Class 6 Nursery, 1m

Despite the widest draw, which is hardly an advantage, lightly raced Ripoll makes appeal at quite a big price, given that I would have expected him much shorter after an excellent Nursery debut at Wolverhampton eight days ago. The form of that particular race looks quite strong if seen in the right context, as I felt quite a number of those finishing behind the winner ran promising that day.

Ripoll doesn’t stand out pedigree wise, though he should theoretically appreciate the drop in trip. The 9.5f at Wolverhampton stretched his stamina, though he ran on well after being hampered over 1f out. Before that he travelled wide through but up with a cracking pace and must have done plenty before turning for home. So it was encouraging the positive way he saw out the race.

Off an unchanged mark I feel he has a prime chance to win this uncompetitive contest where good form is scarce and therefore his latest piece of form certainly the strongest one on offer. If he can progress slightly for the experience, he should be able to overcome the draw and land the odds.

Ripoll @ 15/2 Paddy Power – 5pts Win