Tag Archives: eyecatcher

All-Weather Thursday Selections: 2nd March 2023

Painful. Two 2nd placed efforts, including one beaten on the line and one blatant non-trier. Frustrating day. Again. May Remain looked to have it with half a furlong to go but then tired rapidly to get pinged shortly before the line. Agonising to watch.

Big Bard was probably too far back, finished solid for second place, but ultimately was fair and square beaten, in truth.

Muy Muy Guapo drifted out to 14/1 SP today, the writing was on the wall. And so it happened, as ‘surprisingly’ the colt started slowly and didn’t get a ride that would have given him any chance to get close.

That’s okay. it’s the game I have chosen to play voluntarily. It’s just the little bit harder to take during such rotten spell as it is for the last three weeks.


5.50 Chelmsford: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

Give A Little Back? Probably not here. Up in class, around Chelmsford, this may be too sharp, the opposition too classy. I still hope to get my day with him another time.

The other one who is of serious interest is Letmelivemylife. He caught the eye in no uncertain terms last time. That was his debut for a new yard after a break since August.

He was held up after an alter enough start, travelled really strongly but gave ground away when turning widest. He wasn’t really asked for full effort until late and finished nicely, nonetheless.

You would hope he can improve for the outing. However, he wasn’t seen since then, now it’s four weeks later, that begs the question why? On the other hand, he seems a tricky sort given his lightly raced profile over the last two years.

He certainly has got a bit of talent as he won twice on the All-Weather as a juvenile and as a 3yo, both wins over 7 furlongs, including here at Chelmsford, when he also ran to a 76 speed rating.

We didn’t see much of him since, and after a bunch of poor showings, he has fallen down to a 74 handicap rating, from an 84 career-highest, only five runs back.

Clearly he showed a significant return to some form the last time, and that gives plenty of hope in this class 5 contest over a C&D he’s 3-1-1 from a good low draw.

10pts win – Letmelivemylife @ 13/2


6.25 Chelmsford: Classified Stakes, 7f

I am not totally sure whether Thomas Equinas truly stays 7 furlongs. But around Chelmsford in a race that may not be run at the furious gallop he should have a decent chance.

If he does get home he could have a class edge here given he ran extremely well of higher marks at this track over 6 furlongs than what will be required here on level weights where few rivals look legitimately better than the 50 limit.

There were good things in nearly all his last four runs, visually or on the numbers. At this venue in early December over 6 furlongs he was only 2½L beaten off a 57 mark, running to a 54 speed rating. He wasn’t disgraced the next few times, especially his January run here once again was eyecatching.

Last time out from a wide draw after a sluggish start he ran okay when taking into account that he went wide, given a lot of ground away, throughout the race.

Slight worry that he was twice in a row not the sharpest out of the gate. A better draw here and a less frantic early pace may help the cause.

10pts win – Thomas Equinas @ 7/2

All-Weather Wednesday: 1st March 2023

It’s not often that this small and completely irrelevant blog gets much attention. And why would it? However, the piece about my self-experiment with the ProCush whip seems to have hit a nerve within the racing bubble.

This site received in the last two days as much traffic as it normally would get in two-three full months! The original tweet was seen over 225k times, and messages came flying from all over the globe.

It was an even bigger surprise when doing the cooking on Monday night when I usually listen to the Betfair podcast to heat Kevin Blake highlighting the piece (58:36).

It’s been a crazy 24h, that’s for sure. I am only a racing fan who writes about the sport. Nothing special. It shows there is appetite for real info on the whip, though. Something to address by the governing bodies. For all they lack the will, obviously.

On the betting front Galileo Glass finished a super 2nd today, but didn’t get the gap when needed. He surely would have won otherwise. Big Impact ran too free, unfortunately.

Ends February on minus 10pts. After a super start to the month, I now haven’t backed a winner in nearly three weeks, 16 selections and counting, and also 45pts down on the year. It will be all updated here by tomorrow, as always.


2.30 Lingfield: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

Muy Muy Guapo was a huge eyecatcher when last seen at Kempton. He was a bit awkward away from the gate, settled in last, then travelled strongly into the home straight.

He was easily able to answer every acceleration from the front group, but didn’t get a clear passage, while not really asked for full effort at all.

That was his Handicap debut and first run for the Simon Dow yard off a 100 day break. He is very much expected to improve for the run.

There is clearly a lot of talent, certainly compared to the opposition here. He’s still a colt and cost £115k as a yearling. Horses in this grade don’t often travel that well and can answer every pace acceleration that easily as Muy Muy Guapo did last time out.

He was even rewarded with a pound off his mark for that pretty spectacular effort. He looks tremendously well-handicapped.

10pts win – Muy Muy Guapo @ 5/1


3.00 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

Big Bard ran better than the bare suggests the last two times. He came on my radar thanks a brave front-running performance on the last day of the old year. That form looks quite strong on paper.

He ran with credit next time out over 7 furlongs too, after things got rough in the early parts of the race, which meant he was set alight and pulling hard. He still travelled really well for a very long time.

The drop in trip to 6 furlongs is sure to suit here. He also has been dropped another 2lb, now rated 58. He looks handicapped to go close.

He ran to speed ratings 59 and 60 since September, although on turf, but his career best speed rating on All-Weather is 59, which he achieved twice, albeit at Chelmsford.

The race could be set up for him from the #2 draw with not much pace to compete with, if Hector Crouch wants to move forward.

10pts win – Big Bard @ 9/1


8.30 Kempton: Classified Stakes, 6f

Good things come in threes, once again? I certainly hope so. I have given up on Paddy K after his recent gallant, but ultimately unfortunate runner-up performance at Southwell. He remains a maiden.

Instead, I go back to my trusted source of despair, that is May Remain. The 8-year-old ran a massive race last time out, when he moved rapidly forward from the widest draw and set the world alight from the front.

No surprise to see him finish a very tired horse. Still, he managed to finish 3rd, and that form doesn’t look bad in the context of this field.

He has the benefit of a #2 draw here, which is absolutely ideal. This course and distance favours front-runners and low draws. He won’t have his own way up front and there is danger that he does too much early on.

But the latest form, as well as a number of previous runs this winter, gave the impression that he is simply excellent form, and possibly better than the vast majority in this field.

10pts win – May Remain @ 5/1

Monday Selections: 27th February 2023

7.30 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

Competitive race that should be fast and furious as many are keen to go forward. I also have three eyecatchers running here. I still want to get involved.

Favourite Glorious Charmer is one of those who will look to get some of that early pace. Bidding for a hat-trick, the #5 draw may not be an issue, but he must overcome a new handicap mark of 56. He hasn’t run beyond a speed rating of 52 in the last two years. Looks poor value.

Bang On The Bell down in trip after a recent comeback run makes a lot of appeal. He may be able to come with a strong finish thanks to the fast pace. But a #9 draw is a disadvantage and has a poor record over this C&D.

Of course I have to like the chances of Proclivity, and to a lesser extend Prince Of Rome. The former ran a huge race last time out. He should run his race, though possibly showed too much of his hand lto to be considered well handicapped in this field and pace scenario.

Prince Of Rome won’t have his own way up front. I felt there were not too many excuses last time. 2lb lower than lto is intriguing but the fact he hasn’t run speed ratings that match or better his current mark in a long time tell the tale. Not giving up quite yet on him, but it has to be another day.

Veteran Astrophysics was an excellent winner over course and distance two weeks ago. This is tougher but he could get a nice lead into the home straight from the #3 draw.

No question, though, the one I want to be on here is the filly Sharron Macready. I am more than happy to give her another chance after last weeks poor effort at Southwell.

She finally dropped to the minimum trip there but after an awkward start was once again mad keen. She just went off too hard and burned out quickly.

There is no doubt she is better than that. She was often overly keen in many of her races over 6 furlongs. But ran well, often better than the bare form. The September performance here Wolverhampton over 6f was especially noteworthy. I also liked her Kempton run two starts ago when she kept answering the challenges.

This will only be her second ever opportunity over the minimum trip. She is still lightly enough raced to remain open to improvement, especially if she can settle better.

The expected fast pace can only help her I believe here. So does the #1 draw. She can move forward, using her early speed to get to the front, while others have to do more to get to their preferred position.

Tongue tie and hood are fitted. That could help her to settle better. If it does indeed then I am more than hopeful she proves better than her current 64 handicap mark.

I also take it as an encouraging sign that connections run her so quickly back to back with the new headgear. Strike while the iron is hot – she seems ripe to win, if she can relax a bit better.

Not that it means much, perhaps, but the early prices have quickly vanished as well, but I am more than delighted having snapped up across the night an overall price that is possibly quite a number of points too big as it gives the risk of the filly not settling too much weight, in my view.

She is probably the second best horse in the race with the likelihood of an ideal trip she has no excuses and every chance to outrun the price tag.

10pts win – Sharron Macready @ 7/1

Friday Selections: 24th February 2023

Another desperately disappoint effort from my selection last night. Gowanbuster one of the top negative market movers ran exactly like that. Last bunch of selections all beaten before it mattered… makes for grim reading.

I am the first to be critical of my decisions and work, but in hindsight I must say to feel totally comfortable with each and every selection. It’s hopefully just one of those times, a wild downswing.

It’s been a long week in any case. I was so tired last night I forgot to press the “Publish” button for this post as well as to even check whether the entire stake got matched. It didn’t. Thankfully, prices haven’t changed too dramatically for my Dundalk selection with 10s finally matched.

A winner would do me wonders, perhaps…. that says, Saturday is one to be excited about in any case, and I can’t wait for it: Cape Derby in South Africa with the return of Charles Dickens!


6.00 Dundalk: 47-65 Handicap, 7f

Despite the slightly wider than ideal draw, Royal Tribute makes tons of appeal on the basis of his most recent course and distance run earlier this month.

That day he travelled incredibly well, made his challenge toward the inside rail and pocked his head in front 2 furlongs from home. He wasn’t a match for the eventual winner who came with a strong finish on the stands’ side.

But he ran on for second place, having the measure of two subsequent winners in third and fourth place. The form looks strong, therefore, and a better race than this one.

In my view Royal Tribute wasn’t disgraced last time out when dropped to 6 furlongs. He travelled well once again but didn’t have the pace to challenge and fell away in the closing stages.

Back over 7 furlongs, as a course and distance winner off the same mark he looks one of the likelier sorts to run his race. He clearly continues to be in good form and has the added bonus of Colin Keane in the saddle.

CTK was riding two runs back as well, so he is familiar with the horse, who can be a tricky starter. navigating the #9 draw will be a fine balancing act.

Hope the pace will play out isn’t entirely clear, with some f those potentially eager to move forward drawn wide as well. I hope Keane gets him off to a solid start and can settle no worse than midfield without being caught wide, which leaves every option entering the home straight.

Challenging wide toward the stands’ worked well often in the last weeks in general, so the #9 draw may force Keane’s hands to go down that route, which wouldn’t be a disadvantage per se.

Dangerous opposition in form and well handicapped is scare in the field. One can argue Royal Tribute is rated close enough to his current merit. However, given he was left on the same mark after the huge recent CD performance, gives him in this poor field a strong chance.

10pts win – Royal Tribute @ 10/1

Thursday Selections: 23rd February 2023

Unfortunately the scenario where He’s So Brazen goes off hard and doesn’t get home over the stiff 7 furlongs at Newcastle materialised today. Worse: old ‘friend’ Lucky Lucky Lucky got home to win nicely…. clearly not going too well lately.


8.00 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 5f

Gowanbuster has been knocking on the door lately, as he showed plenty of good signs in all his last three runs since his comeback after a wind operation during last summer. He clearly is in superb form and a winner in the making.

He ran to a 59 speed rating last time out; his best in three years. He was ridden with more patience than usual, and came strongly in the second half of the race the challenge for victory, just to beaten by the even stronger finishing and evidently well-handicapped Tathmeen, who won subsequently again.

That was a huge performance and tied in nicely with his two prior runs that were eye catching in their own right.

He drops to the minimum trip again, which I feel is ideal, given the way he faded late after racing much more prominently than the last times. His C&D record is only 9-1-1 but this race looks perfectly set up for his usual racing style.

He should be able to move forward to grab a relatively uncontested lead, which is an advantage over this course and distance. He has the added benefit of staying further, so should be able to keep the challengers at bay in the closing stages.

10pts win – Gowanbuster @ 4/1

Wednesday Selections: 22nd February 2023

5.05 Newcastle: Classified Stakes, 7f

The drop in trip looks possibly ideal for How Bizarre, who ran a massive race last time out at Newcastle over a mile. But ultimately his profile, as an 8-year-old, on the All-Weather, is totally exposed. Hence I readjust my interest toward He’s So Brazen, who looks also suited by the drop to 7 furlongs.

He caught my attention in early December at Wolverhampton for the first time. That day He’s So Brazen was was seriously keen throughout the race, but especially between 5 to 4 furlongs out. It was impressive, all the more when he loomed large seemingly ready for a big challenge as he entered the home straight. He fell away eventually, showed a high head-carriage, looked awkward, was wandering, and ran into trouble over one furlong out.

He also caught the eye on his next and most recent run, then at Southwell, over a mile. He led the field in first time blinkers, again showing signs of keenness, as he set a solid tempo, especially early on. I was impressed that he was able to kick on again three furlongs out, before falling away, proving awkward once again.

He has clearly issues and is a tricky customer. But he clearly got enough ability to win a race of this desperately low level, and remains somewhat lightly raced, certainly in the context of this race.

He doesn’t stay a mile and the jury is out whether he even gets home over 7 furlongs. A demanding, stiff 7 furlongs at Newcastle could be right at his limit, I reckon. But what gives hope is the stamina on the dam side through the dam sire and the fact his sire’s record over this C&D is surprisingly positive.

In any case the drop to 7 furlongs is a major bonus, given that he should settle better, at the very least. Second time blinkers fitted should help him to be sharp out of the gate and he may be a bit better used to them now.

It’s only his second try over the trip – the first one came on turf as a 66/1 chance. Therefore he’s open to improvement. If he does settle and gets home over this trip he has a huge chance to outrun his big price tag.

10pts win – He’s So Brazen @ 13/1

All-Weather Eyecatchers #8

A list of horses that caught my eye during the recent weeks of racing on the All-Weather. Find all previous lists here.

07/02/23 – 7.00 Wolverhampton:

Seriously keen from wide draw, jockey tried to restrain him, before rushing forward on the widest outside to grab lead entering the home turn, having done way too much up to that point. Fell away in the final two furlongs.

Some interesting tactics have been deployed on this horse lately. Caught the eye last time as well. He’s possibly a few pounds too high in the mark. Strong run last month when runner-up at Chelmsford off 76.

Drop to 7f could be interesting, although no doubt he stays a mile. Needs a bit more help from the handicapper and one to watch out for when the market signals are positive.

Race Replay

First Company
08/02/23 – 6.30 Kempton:

Crossed quickly over from #11 draw to the inside, seriously keen, especially tough to control up on entering the bend. Travelled strongly into home straight, not quite the clearest of runs but impressive change of gear as he weaves through the field from 1.5f out, before getting tiered.

Probably doesn’t stay the trip, but also finds it tough to get home over 7f due to racing too freely. Sole win over minimum trip. Still unexposed on the All-Weather over shorter sprint trips.

Yet to be expected to run well on the sand. Comes down to intriguing mark. Drop in trip and good draw could do wonders. Ran six times to 70+ speed ratings on turf over 5 furlongs.

Race Replay

08/02/23 – 7.00 Kempton:

Moved forward to lead, was about three lengths ahead soon, reduced lead entering the home straight and headed 2f out, kept answering the challenge and rallied strongly. Eventually tiered, finished third with winner from well off the pace and on back to back wins.

Showed great attitude and continues his excellent recent form. Would be really interesting down in trip over 7f. Even though he won over a mile, he probably doesn’t see out a strongly run race, but has the pedigree and pace to dominate over the short trip.

Race Replay

Far From A Ruby
09/02/23 – 5.10 Newcastle:

Moved quickly forward from #1 draw, early on isolated on her side; pushing a hot pace. Rapidly faded away from 2 furlongs out.

First run in 135 days, dropped away like one who was badly in need of the run. Lovely pipe opener, though. Trip too short and she was able to go the pace early on.

Will be interesting once up in trip again, 7-8f. Showed in Autumn to be still capable of performances that could see her well-handicapped off her current mark, running to a 58 speed rating at Ayr, a career-best on turf. She is better on the sand.

Race Replay

09/02/23 – 5.10 Newcastle:

Moved forward quickly and set red hot pace – they were faster over the first half than the C4 5f Handicap on the same card. Continued to lead until deep inside the final furlong. Huge run. Career-best speed rating.

Still a maiden, but has the penny dropped? Off same mark really interesting for drop to 5f once more, or 6f around a turn. Ran to 58 in the past and now 59 speed rating.

Race Replay

Papa Cocktail
10/02/23 – 5.35 Southwell:

Awkward away, travelled in rear, loads to do turning for home, seemingly going well; no clear run; finished seriously strongly in the final furlong.

Caught the eye a number of times on turf last year. Tricky horse, seems to have developed issues at the start. However, not expected since August, so somewhat mitigating factors for seemingly poor form.

Up in trip over 7f, if any support in the market he’s going to be serious runner, if he can get well away from the gate. The could have quite a bit in hand before the handicapper one the handbrake is off for good.

Race Replay

10/02/23 – 6.30 Dundalk:

Travelled really strongly into the home straight. Squeezed upon entering the straight, and multiple times a clear run denied subsequently. No chance to unleash a challenge.

One who seems to find trouble. Not always the clearest of passage the last two runs either. Caught the eye back in October too. Didn’t have a lot of luck with a low draw ever since.

Remains of interest over a mile, ideally with a good draw. He looks in fine form, ready to strike.

Race Replay

Race Replay

10/02/23 – 7.30 Dundalk:

Moved quickly forward to grab the lead and set solid fractions from the front. Still ahead by a couple of lengths entering the home straight before fading rapidly.

Changed hands for £3k in December. Three poor runs since, although this one looked more positive given the enthusiasm he travelled with.

Ran to 73 speed rating last summer on the AW. Market will dictate when on a going day. Ideally gets more help from the handicapper before I am getting involved. 7f with a good draw possibly the ideal scenario.

Race Replay

Gobi Sunset
11/02/23 – 7.30 Wolverhampton:

Bumped right after the start, pushed forward to lead, setting a healthy gallop. Still ahead entering the final furlong before swamped. Followed up with solid effort at Newcastle.

Off a long break. Usually does well fresh, but was a drifter on the day and perhaps not quite as ready as in previous years. Not too well-handicapped right now but good chance in a similar race over 6 or 7 furlongs with any from the handicapper.

Race Replay

Ri Na Farraige
13/02/23 – 8.00 Wolverhampton:

A bit keen early on, then travelled really strongly. going well and making progress from 3f out, challenge on the wide outside, a bit hanging over 1f out, couldn’t catch winner. Strong form and race

Only second handicap run, achieved 64 speed rating, in line with current mark. Any improvement for second run off break will see him ripe to win.

10f entry next week interesting. Stamina isn’t assured, and he must settle; but worth a go as he kept running well to the line here.

Race Replay

Turbo Tiger
14/02/23 – 7.30 Newcastle:

Moved quickly and keenly forward, probably wasting quite a bit of energy. Swamped over 1f out, bit flat footed, before coming back for more late, which was impressive.

Freshly gelded. Comes to more realistic official rating after a harsh opening mark. Will be interesting for drop to class 6 and possibly a 55 mark as then much more realistic to see him being competitive.

Full-brother to a decent sprinter who does his best over 6f, hence goin up in trip possible as well.

Race Replay

Bridge Water
15/02/23 – 5.00 Kempton:

Widest draw, restrained and trailing the field, nicely settled. Travelled strongly and made strong progress from 3f out. Finished much the best. Just been poorly positioned.

Unlikely to be strong form. But her run prior warranted an upgrade too. Probably needs a step up to 7f. Can improve then off a low mark.

Race Replay

Rogue Force
15/02/23 – 7.30 Kempton:

Good start, up wit the pace early, bit keen, before then settled in a position tracking the pace. Travelled the best to the 2 furlong marker but didn’t find much off the bridle.

Didn’t see out his races too well the last two times. Looks in need of a drop to 7f, unless previous wind issues are back . Won over 7f off 75 in the past.

Looks one who needs frequent breaks, usually best on second start. In right conditions certainly of interest given mark will continue to fall.

Race Replay

Royal Tribute
15/02/23 – 2.20 Dundalk:

Tracked pace in midfield three deep, travelled well, but looked awkward and hanging in the home straight. Solid follow-up from excellent runner-up performance in early February.

That day over 7f furlongs he made good use of low draw and tracked pace. Travelled really strongly into the home straight, on the bridle approaching 2f out, ran on for strong second. Form franked subsequently.

Becomes interesting if back over 7f and with any help from the handicapper with a good draw. Appears to be in fine form and not far off the excellent form shown on turf last summer.

Race Replay

17/02/23 – 1.50 Lingfield:

Travelled on the inside well off the pace, going strongly, notably on the bridle entering the home straight with plenty to do. Not clear run until the final furlong marker; ran on easily.

Trip too short. Big price, wasn’t expected. Flat maiden but unexposed on the flat. Three strong performances prior over 1m to 11f. Will be interesting up in trip again, especially with any help from the handicapper.

Race Replay

17/02/23 – 5.15 Southwell:

Crossed over from widest draw quickly to track the leader closely before taking up the front from over 2f out. Gutsy and answering the challenges until getting tired inside the final furlong.

Will be intriguing once he drops below a 55 mark, ideally also down in trip to 7 furlongs. Should be strong runner in those circumstances.

Race Replay

Lady Nagin
17/02/23 – 6.15 Southwell:

Pulled her way to the front right before entering the bend. Wasted a lot of energy. Impressive attitude in the home straight when heavily challenged as she only went down fighting late in the final furlong.

Obviously has stamina for the trip and possibly beyond but keenness is an issue. Won well over CD lto, but I would be intrigued to see her dropping down to 5f, especially at at stiff finish like Newcastle.

Race Replay

Sunset Nova
17/02/23 – 5.30 Dundalk:

Settled well off the pace, travelled smoothly into the home straight wit ha wall of horses in front. Angled out to the stands’ side, as consequence relegated to last. Ran on a bit under pretty light ride.

Was seriously well backed in the morning from 33’s. 3rd run since gelding. Drops down to increasingly sexy mark. Any further help from the handicapper will be a intriguing. Probably 7f ideal at this stage but won over anything 6-8f.

Race Replay

My Little Tip
17/02/23 – 5.30 Dundalk:

Dwelt, lost a number of lengths at the start, then rapidly moved forward to track the pace on the inside. Was going well entering the home straight, answered the challenges before getting tired inside the final furlong.

Tricky sort, lost his way in the last year. Was rated 92 twelve months ago. Changed hands for £12,000 in August. Continued to perform poorly and fell down in the ratings.

Clear return to form. Off a 67 mark over 7 furlongs he looks dangerous if allowed to run on merit and if in the right mood. Dangerous sort, nonetheless.

Race Replay

Monday Selections: 20th February 2023

7.00 Newcastle: Classified Stakes, 1m

This is a seriously poor race but Otto Oyl looks to have a clear edge in this contest, especially with an eye catching jockey booking after an eye catching recent run.

Hence I am prepared to get involved at a price that I still think is at least a point too big. I rarely back horses at prices this short. But I feel as confident as can be that the short odds still represent value, for a variety of reasons.

Current favourite Odd Socks Havana, who won this very race last year, comes here in solid form, as he won last time out. Nonetheless, I don’t think he should be close to the same price as Otto Oyl. He’s clearly an inferior horse, I believe.

In 34 career runs Odd Socks Havana posted a career best 45 speed rating. That’s even in the context of this poor contest desperately low.

No Diggity looks the main danger. He also won last time out. His last two efforts suggest he’s in fine form, having ran pretty close to his career best speed rating – not that it would set an incredibly high standard, though.

Otto Oyl, in contrast, looks clearly a level above his opposition, if he can follow up from his eye catching effort produced last week at Wolverhampton.

That day he moved forward from the widest draw to grab the lead just before entering the first turn. He gave ground away throughout as he went wide round every turn, seemingly difficult to steer.

The lady Amateur jockey on book clearly had issues controlling the gelding. Nonetheless, he travelled notably well for long enough, still going okay entering the home straight, before getting badly tired.

He came off a small break there and can be upgraded for the run. On speed ratings Otto Oyl has a clear edge in this field and with Oisin Murphy booked he must have a cracking chance over a trip and its stiff finish likely to suit. He looks hard to beat.

10pts win – Otto Oyl @ 5/2

Saturday Selections: 18th February 2023

2.13 Lingfield: Classified Stakes, 7f

The short price favourite Daphne Bay has strong form thanks to his recent win in a similar contest over a mile where he also ran a fast speed rating. But he’s one who can find trouble at the gate and being far back in this race that may end up in a sprint finish will be a major disadvantage.

I am prepared to give much lower rated longshot Smarden Flyer a chance here, even though he’s already been pushed out further in the betting since I backed him. I don’t take too much notice of that because I feel there are good reasons to believe he will run on merit, and if does he has a top chance to go close.

Rob Havlin in the saddle and and the Jewell yard have a strong record in this type of race, also with bigger prices. Hence I don’t see it as too much of a negative.

He caught the eye two runs back at this course, although over a mile. That day he moved forward and pushed the pace early in the race. He was slightly impeded over 4f out, had to take a pull, and that’s never ideal for the horses of lesser talent. He travelled well enough on the outside subsequently, attempting to challenge from over 3f out, before he finished a tiered 4th.

He ran to a 52 speed rating there, which is excellent as far as recent form goes compared to the majority of opposition here. He couldn’t follow up the next time at Kempton. To be fair the 11f trip looked beyond his stamina.

He had an entry in a similar race last week but was taken out on the day. It may or may have not been only a coincidence that he had the widest draw allocated that day.

However, I believe from the #2 draw with the visor Smarden Flyer will move forward and potentially gets an easy lead as there is not much other pace to compete against.

His career best performance came over this trip back in May last year at Kempton; so 7 furlongs looks potentially an ideal distance especially if he can unwind from the front. he stays a bit further, so if he can establish a lead going into the home straight he could be hard to peg back.

10pts win – Smarden Flyer @ 16.5/1


5.30 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 1m

It’s totally worth taking on Magicdollar who hasn’t run a fast speed rating yet and could be outstayed by only viable alternative, that is handicap debutant Lady Bianca.

The filly left a huge impression when she stayed on strongly last month at Wolverhampton over 7 furlongs. She clearly is still raw and learning, but she started much better than previously, and was very honest in her performance.

Even though clearly finding it hard to keep up as the pace increased from four furlongs out, she was tough and game to get back into it and eventually chase home the winner for a strong runner-up finish with the fastest splits over the last thee furlongs.

She clearly wants a greater test of stamina, which is no surprise given the pedigree. She will get it here, moving up in trip over a mile with the stiff finish at Newcastle sure to suit.

This class 6 contest looks an ideal opportunity to get off the mark. The only concern is the weight. The filly, born in April, has to should 9-10, which is quite a bit more than she had in all her three starts to day, and simply judged in video, she doesn’t look to have the biggest frame.

I simply hope class will see her get through this. The lto run behind Born Ruler is by far the strongest piece of form, given he was only 1½L beaten prior behind a horse now rated 87. So an opening mark off 66, albeit not a giveaway, could underestimate her now racing over a more favourable distance.

10pts win – Lady Bianca @ 4/1

Friday Selections: 17th February 2023

A quiet week so far. Prince Of Rome on Monday the only selection to date, ran his race from the front; no excuses, he would have won if good enough.

Thankfully, my conservatism didn’t bite me too hard this week… yet. Not too many of my eyecatchers ran, and I didn’t miss a winner. Although, this may change today?

Some off the list I somewhat fancy but don’t feel it’s going to be their day. Nobody ever made the game pay by backing “fancies”. Nonetheless, there’s one horse too tempting, weighing up all the arguments.


1.50 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 7f

I have been thinking about Dutugamunu for a while and couldn’t make up my mind. I have come around to give him the chance on pure handicapping terms after that recent run where he travelled so well and seeing some money this morning is the signal I needed.

That performance tied in nicely with the prior run as well, where he ran much better than bare form would suggest. There are obvious risks attached, though.

The yard barely has a winner on the All-Weather over the last two years, the #8 draw is a question mark, so is the potential lack of pace and the application of a first-time visor.

But these can be seen in a positive light as well. This could be the day for Dutugamunu to go for it properly. The #8 draw has a pretty solid record over the 7f trip at Lingfield, actually. The visor could help the gelding to start more sharply and get into a nice position where he’s tracking the pace.

Key to me is the fact he looks absolutely ripe on visual evidence as well as on ratings. Two runs back he ran to a 52 speed rating, while many things went wrong during the race. Last time out he travelled notably well into the home straight. Those runs confirm that he’s still as good as before his break, as in the summer he ran on three subsequent occasions to speed ratings 51, 52 and 53.

The drop to 7f could suit. He is 0/7 over the distance but most came in in the early days of his career and can be safely ignored. He already has produced a strong speed rating over 7f, though.

No doubt off a 52 mark he is extremely well handicapped now, given the speed ratings produced recently and last season. If he can overcome without issues the draw and track the pace without pulling too hard – that is a risk in this race without a designated front-runner – he must have a cracking chance to win.

10pt win – Dutugamunu @ 17/2