Tag Archives: Flat Racing

Thursday Selections – 17th August 2017

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Wolfcatcherjack was an impressive winner today, though it could have been a super day if Kryptos wouldn’t have been beaten by a head in a tight finish. Scoones and Regal Mirage were not quite good enough, though.

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4.50 Salisbury: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

Ryan Moore on board for the sole runner of father Gary at Salisbury – interesting. Grand Myla is also interesting because she made an okay seasonal reappearance at Bath last month and drops now to a career lowest- and more realistic mark.

Conditions should suit and she has a good draw. Stripping fitter for the latest run and potentially with a bit of improvement left given she was a late foal, I feel she is overpriced here.

Selection:
10pts win – Grand Myla @ 8/1 William Hill

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6.30 Yarmouth: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

Call Me Grumpy deserves another chance after he was disappointingly turned over odds-on the last two times, though the Carlisle effort was most disappointing. However he seemed not to enjoy that experience that day, and a simpler test at straight Yarmouth may suit better.

He drops in class but remains largely up against older horses with not too much to worry from the two other 3yo’s in the field. De Sousa gets the leg up which is a boost given his record for the stable and at this track plus he rode Call Me Grumpy to victory at Sandown on handicap debut.

Selection:
10pts win – Call Me Grumpy @ 4/1 Bet365

Monday Selections – 14/08/17

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4.45 Ayr: Class 3 Handicap, 1m 2f

Kentuckyconnection has won only once in fourteen attempts however showed promise when finally dropped to a more realistic mark the last two outings. He contested Group races earlier in his career and was fifth in the 2000 Guineas last season, a result that flattered him, as a consequence he had to race beyond his actual capabilities.

He can build on a strong runner-up performance at Newcastle in June, dropping in class while stepping up to 10f again. It’s his first realistic attempt over this distance and on pedigree looks possible. Cut in the ground, as long as it does not become bottomless, should be okay.

Graham Lee on board is in red hot form is a bonus. Kentuckyconnection has only to repeat his last two efforts to have a big say in the outcome of this race and as such is a big price.

Selection:
10pts win – Kentuckyconnection @ 11/1 Bet365

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7.10 Windsor: Class 3 Handicap, 1m 2f

Don’t Give Up looks rock solid and in this field very hard to beat. He’s lightly raced with a strong pedigree and won well on debut at Kempton’s All-Weather. He followed up with a strong Handicap debut when runner-up at Newmarket.

Stepping up in trip is sure to suit him and there is potentially plenty of improvement left in him-. Only one other 3yo to fear in the field, I expect Don’t Give Up to use his WFA allowance to full advantage.

Selection:
10pts win – Don’t Give Up @ 15/8 Bet365

Saturday Selections – 24th June 2017

1.35 Redcar: Novice Stakes, 6 furlongs

David O’Meara has generally a healthy record in these type of races. So Gabrial The Devil is interesting. Seemingly in need of the pipe opener at Chester a fortnight ago he should be sharper today dropping into an easier race as well. There is a bit of money arriving this morning, which looks a good sign.

His sire, albeit a small sample size, has a very fine record over this sort of trip and ground with offspring so I do expect improvement from Gabrial The Devil, which could see him go very close in an open contest.

Selection:
10pts win – Gabrial The Devil @ 16/1 bet365

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3.20 Newmarket: Class 4 Fillies’ Handicap, 1 mile

Top weight Fleeting Motion makes plenty of appeal in a weakish race. Ignore her last form at Newmarket in softish conditions which never suited and also came possibly too soon. She looked gutsy when landing a fair maiden at Doncaster and followed up with a nice 4th place in a good Conditions race at Ascot.

She came off a break that day and travelled like the winner just to get tired in the final furlong. A repeat of that performance should enough to be very competitive in this race.

Ground and trip will suit and a mark off 84 offers hope as there is potentially still a bit of improvement left in this daughter of Sepoy.

Selection: 
10pts win – Fleeting Motion @ 6/1 Coral

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3.40 Ascot: Hardwicke Stakes, Group 2 , 1m 4f

Dartmouth over 12f on fast ground? Possible, but not a 5/2 chance in a big and hot field like this. Most intriguing runner is Wings Of Desire for obvious reasons. Runner-up in the King George last year, hasn’t been seen since a subsequent off effort.

The solid horse who surely appreciates conditions and is very likely to be good enough and have trained on is Ballydoyle’s Idaho. This is his second start after a decent comeback run – this seems the ideal opportunity to land a top level prize.

He was 3rd in the Epsom Derby and close runner-up in the Irish Derby, subsequently scored in the Great Voltigeur Stakes last season. All rock solid form and as good as anything in this field.

I have slight concerns whether he’ll be ridden with too much patience but hope they are positive and use his stamina as otherwise he may get rolling too late. That worth a risk to take.

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

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4.40 Newmarket. Class 2 Handicap, 5 furlongs

Favourite Jumira Bridge could easily have too much on his plate in this race. He landed the odds as expected in a Brighton maiden when dropped to the minimum trip and followed up with a strong win at Sandown in a hot Cl2 Handicap.

Things did not go his way at the start yet he was authoritive eventually. When last seen in a Listed event at York he was clearly not suited by the softish conditions, however fast 5f today will likely see him to his best.

He looks still capable of better and both speed- and RP ratings back this up. It’s only his seventh run, the fourth over 5f, two of those he won – he’s a good thing today.

Selection:
10pts win – Jumira Bridge @ 13/8 Bet365

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9.05 Haydock: Class 5 Maiden, 1 mile

Race fit Najashee sets a good standard and will improve from his experience, however Godolphin’s Big Tour makes more appeal to me in a race that shapes as one between the two market leaders.

This expensive purchase is obviously well bred and should be reasonably talented judged on a fine debut run at Kempton last season. It’s fair to assume he is ready to go today with the yard having a strong record in maiden races this year and Bin Suroor enjoying a near 40% strike rate in Haydock maiden races over the years.

The step up to a mile will suit this Dubawi son quite a bit, so should be the decent ground. It’s a bit of a gamble sometimes on these type of Godolphin runners, however at 15/8 I feel there is a bit too much juice in the price.

Selection:
10pts win – Big Tour @ 15/8 Bet365

Saturday Tips

4.40 Leicester: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

I was quite keen on Favourite Royal ten days ago at Wolverhampton but felt she might need the run, so didn’t back her then. Her fast finishing runner-up performance was incredibly eye-catching that day, though, indicating this filly has wintered well and is well able to win a race of her current mark.

She was a very green and raw filly as a juvenile, with a bit of learning and filling of her frame to do. Now as a three year old you would hope that she can still improve a bit and I feel the 2lb added to her rating on the back of the last run might not stop her in a race that should suit.

The bounce factor is a question mark but given she has not a lot of running under her belt yet, this lightly raced filly seems likely to be well handicapped.

Selection:
10pts win – Favourite Royal @ 11/2 PP

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6.50 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 9.5f

Drago seemingly enjoys this track and the unique trip given he has quite a good record around Wolverhampton. He looks improved since fitted with a hood: his last four performances when wearing it were all very decent enough, and he’s only 3lb higher than when winning over course and distance back in November last year.

He already has a run under his belt this season; arguably a pipe opener in a seller. I feel there is a genuine chance that he can still improve a bit over this CD and having a decent 7lb claimer in the saddle should be an advantage.

Selection:
10pts win – Drago @ 9/1 Bet365

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7.05 Doncaster: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4f

Top weight Mr Davies seems to have a tough task assigned on his handicap debut with 9st 9lb to carry, however this completely unexposed gelding could be on a lenient opening mark either.

He got two runs in quick succession as a juvenile, was then put away and reappeared four weeks ago four weeks ago here at Doncaster over 10.5f in a maiden. From the widest draw he pushed forward, travelled well throughout but was entitled to get tired in the final furlong.

Despite never finishing in the money in three maiden runs his RPR suggest those performances are close to in line with his opening mark. It is reasonable to imagine that this big, scopey gelding can improve for his pipe opener and the step up to 12f for the first time.

Selection:
10pts win – Mr Davies @ 11/2 PP

Tuesday Tips

4.25 Yarmouth: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

Favourite Wurood looks a skinny price and certainly one to take on at the top of the weights against the boys at the back of a visually fine looking maiden win at Wolverhampton, where, however, she was most likely flattered given she had the run of the race from the front.

I’m much more keen on the equally lightly raced Derek Duval. This son of Lope De Vega was a very late fool and should be open to a good deal of improvement now as a three year old, even more so stepping up to 7 furlongs for the first time.

On his seasonal reappearance at Wolverhampton over 6f last month he got off the mark which was only his second career start. He stayed on nicely to win by a close margin, though he was good for more.

On handicap debut a fortnight later he pulled hard in the early stages of the race and was subsequently disadvantaged by his position at the back of the field where he was also forced to race wide. Still he came with a storming run on the outside to finish a close third in the end.

It’s seems obvious that an additional furlong can only be a positive and a 2lb rise in the mark with further natural improvement to come might underestimate Derek Duval, as long as he acts on fast ground turf.

Selection:
10pts win – Derek Duval @ 7/1 Bet365

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6.30 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 1f 103y

Top weight London Master is a full-brother to relatively smart Irish filly Booker good sire by Mastercraftsman. This lightly raced, though winless maiden, has a pretty good chance to can improve this season as a three year old.

In 2016 he had three obligatory maiden runs without setting the world alight –  he was clearly ridden with the future in mind, nonetheless his RPR’s were quite in line with the opening handicap he received for those performances.

And that might ensure he’s potentially well handicapped now moving into Handicap company for the very first time. That is because this colt is quite good looking, with a big, scopey frame to fill, and he step ups in trip which should very much suit given his mother was a winner over 10 furlongs.

He was a January fool, so at this stage as a three year old, also taking the visual impression from last season into account, he should be definitely ready to use his strengths (and hopefully class) to exploit a rating of 60.

Interestingly Jockey Adam Beschizza makes the journey to Wolverhampton for this one ride – probably not for a leisure spin around the track.

Selection:
10pts win: London Master @ 11/2 Bet365

Exciting Eagle Creek one for the Future

Nice to see confidence justified – at last! I said it last night, the opening maiden of today’s Lingfield card unleash a potentially smart colt in the making. And so it was.

Favourite Eagle Creek (SP 9/4) didn’t make any mistake on his seasonal reappearance. He grabbed the lead soon after the start and never gave it away. He won with ease by six lengths, never touched.

Jockey Andrea Atzeni, who made the journey to Lingfield Park for this sole ride, was delighted afterwards:

“He enjoyed himself in front and picked up really well. He was always going to be a better horse as a three-year-old.”

The future looks bright for Eagle Creek now. How bright remains to be seen. But he looked physically improved, gave the impression of a strong and scopey colt. It clearly helps that he hails from a good family by Raven’s Pass out of listed placed Blue Angel and a half-brother to listed race- and multiple Meydan winner Viren’s Army.

What’s next? I’d say they step him up in class rapidly to find out how good he really is. He does not look like a handicapper but more like an individual with a future in some nice pattern races. Certainly one for the tracker, one way or the other.

Race Video – 2.00 Lingfield

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4.30 Catterick: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

It’s always difficult to make a decision if you fancy two horses in the same race, so do I here with Coquine, who seemingly finds her first real opportunity on turf after a fruitful winter. She could potentially remain well handicapped with blinkers fitted.

But tentatively I side with Lackaday who won this very race off 8lb higher last year. He was no chance given by the handicapper subsequently but has finally dropped down to a very handy mark again.

He changed yards in the meantime and ran extremely well on his reappearance over sharp 5f at Newcastle last month. He finished an excellent 3rd that day – a performance that suggests he finds back to his best form.

Selection:
10pts win – Lackaday @ 6/1 Betfair SB

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2.20 Nottingham: Class 4 Handicap, 5f

It’s only the second start for the filly Blitz since moving to the UK from Ireland where she showed plenty of promise as a juvenile. She finished a close second on her seasonal reappearance at Wolverhampton in February which was also her UK debut.

That day she tried to make all and set a good pace from the front but just got a bit tired in the end it seemed while also still showing signs of greenness at the start and turning around the final bend.

This form looks rock solid and a return to turf on a straight track with fast ground could see her putting her best foot forward. In similar conditions she went only half a lengths down in a Curragh maiden behind a subsequent Group 3 scorer last year.

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

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5.20 Nottingham: Class 5 Handicap, 10f

Outcrop, the son of Rock Of Gibraltar makes plenty of appeal on his Handicap debut over a trip more suitable than what he raced over in three maidens as a juvenile.

His opening mark looks potentially lenient given he already ran to a similar RPR on his final start last season over a trip likely to short. He looks one who’s sure to improve with age and experience too.

Lightly raced sons of ROG tend to improve dramatically over the 1m 2f trip and if that isn’t enough then trainer Hughie Morrison has a fine record at this course over the last number of years.

Selection:
10pts win – Outcrop @ 7/1 Betfair SB

Racing Weekend Review

A weekend of superlatives – nothing less you can call it. The main dish certainly delivered. Aintree the only place you wanted to be on Saturday quarter past five. But summer racing isn’t far away. Leopardstown staged Guineas trials and Naas saw the return of proper Group 1 stars. Here’s a review of the weekend’s action.

Grand National Delivered the Goods

Touted as one of the widest open National fields in a long time, the biggest horse race on the planet didn’t disappoint. It had it all: great build-up, excellent TV coverage on ITV’s National maiden gig, sunshine weather and a dramatic finish to the race. What more can you ask for?

It was 14/1 chance One For Arthur who eventually stayed on incredibly strongly after a voyage through the whole field in the hands of ultra cool Derek Fox. This big, powerful horse, ready made for the war of attrition the Grand National is. A triumph for Scotland they said, a triumph for Irish breeding it is.

One For Arthur was born and raised on the green island. In fact here it was where he also tasted first racing success.  In an Irish point to point that was, where he – what a nice coincidence that is – beat yesterday’s fourth Blacklion.

There is also Derek Fox, the young rider, who now only 24 years of age instantly became a legend of our game. The Sligo man who kept his nerves throughout, who didn’t panic when he still had a lot of ground to make up two out. Did anyone ever check: he must have balls of steel surely?

Safety First, Spectacle Second

The Grand National the way we know it these days may not hold the same fascination for traditionalists due to the modifications of the fences in recent years. It’s something heard often in the days leading up to the race. It would not be as special anymore. It’s not as much of a test as it used to be. It’s just another staying chase.

Well, to some extend that could well be true. But no one can deny the fact that The Grand National is as safe a race for horses as it ever was. And that can only be a good thing. In fact this was already the fifth year since the most drastic changes have been made and it’s no coincidence that it is also the fifth year running without a fatality. That is not by chance, that#s because of wise decisions made in the last number of years.

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It’s great. I love it. I feel so much more passionate about the race knowing it’s so much safer. And honestly, is it really so much less of a spectacle? Not at all if you ask me. Those fences are still huge! I’ve been there, two years ago, stood in front of them – believe me when I say they are huge! They still warrant plenty of respect and they still provide a true test of jumping ability.

And that’s why it is still a unique race. One that captivates us racing fans but also many people who aren’t big time into the sport. And that is great. It’s great because we as fans can comfortably talk to our non-racing friends about the race, where they are equally as fascinated by the spectacle – and be it only for this one day a year – but where the talk afterwards is not about animal cruelty but about sport.

Big Performances all round 

A massive performance it was by Cause Of Causes who finished runner-up. He didn’t get the smoothest of runs but last month’s Cross-Country Chase hero at the Cheltenham Festival battled his way through under yet another excellent ride by the “Coddfather”.

If there’s anything like moral winners than Blaklion must go down as one. He was heavily backed into 8/1 favouritism before the off and travelled through the race most powerfully! In fact I’d say he probably travelled to well!

Blaklion pulled his way too the front with quite a bit to go and suddenly lead the field by a couple of lengths with still a good mile to go or so. It was inevitable that he would not get home. In the end he finished fourth, around eight lengths beaten. The same margin he was beaten nearly four years ago in an Irish point to point by One For Arthur…. in the aftermath it all looks so obvious.

The Flat Gains Momentum

Guineas trials took place at Leopardstown on Saturday. Aiden O’Brien took first and second in both the Classic trials for the boys and the girls. Most noteworthy was Orderofthegarter’s success who followed up with another impressive performance on his Naas romp a fortnight ago. He seems to be Ballydoyle’s Nr.1 for the Irish 2000 Guineas  – and after these two highly impressive performances he must have a prime chance.

The one to take out is runner-up Taj Mahal, though. First time tongue tied, he found the pace a bit too hot and didn’t get quite a clear run entering the home straight, but once manoeuvred into open space he stayed on very nicely.

He’s has quite allot of experience already, yet only won a Dundalk handicap of a mark of 86 so far, then finished the year on a positive note with a decent fifth only three lengths beaten in the Group 1 Criterium De Saint-Cloud. He looks physically improved over the winter and the tongue tie seems to help. He might be able to win a nice race this year.

Naas on Sunday saw the highly anticipated return of Alice Springs and US Army Ranger. All looks good with the filly. She ran a nice race in second place behind late sweeping Diamond Fields.

The Ranger is a different cattle of fish and I’m still not entirely sure what to make of him. This race doesn’t help. He appears to be hugely talented but after his excellent runner-up effort in last years Derby things have not gone to plan. Is it attitude, did he turn sour because of being rushed to the Derby, or is he simply not as good as previously thought?

He travelled well enough today but was a bit short of room at a crucial point of the race. So you can make an excuse. He did find not as much as hoped once in the clear though. And while that could be down to lack of fitness the fact that he was more than three lenghts beaten by a Group 3 animal is slightly concerning.

Now that the National is behind us the flat finally kicks in. Monday sees the return of the traditional Windsor meeting while Redcar is on offer too. Regular flat racing is back – oh how I missed it!

That says the jumps make a return to our thoughts once or twice again: The Irish Grand National on Easter Monday is here to mention – I’ll be going if work doesn’t prevent it. And then Punchestown of course is not too far down the road either. Great times to be a racing!

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One interesting selection for Monday – 5.25 Redcar: The top weight Livella Fella makes plenty of appeal dropping back into class five on her turf reappearance. She didn’t ran badly on the All-Weather over the winter but is clearly much better on the green grass and I suspect she’ll enjoy the conditions here.

A fair pipe opener after a break at Newcastle last month means she should be ready to go over a trip she loves. She has form at Redcar too and judged on past form appears to be on a pretty fair mark.

Livella Fella @ 10/1 bet365