Tag Archives: Frankel

Saturday Selections: Cesarewitch & more

Rowley Mile

3.40 Newmarket: Class 2 Cesarewitch Handicap, 2m 2f

The lottery that is the Cesarewitch stampede along the Rowley Mile – can’t remember I ever backed a horse that came even near the eventual winner. Could it be different today?

I have a sneaky feeling Mark Johnston’s tough colt Time To Study is undervalued in this contest. The only three year old in the race, despite a 4lb penalty for a gritty success at Doncaster last month, looks well in off his low weight thanks to WFA.

How much difference that can make in a 2m 2f contest is a fair question, however the lightly raced colt has been on the upward curve all year long and still had ‘only’ five starts this year – for a Mark Johnston horse that’s on the low end of the scale.

Time To Study is rather smallish in size, however is all heart as proven in the Mallard Handicap against some tough older opposition a good four weeks ago. Stamina is no issue, the ground, though, may be quick enough.

Tactically I would be surprised if jockey PJ McDonald doesn’t move forward to settle Time To Study close enough to the pace – that should ensure a fair run, if anything.

Selection:
10pts win – Time To Study @ 14/1 Bet365

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4.50 Newmarket: Listed Boadicea Stakes, 6f

A biggish field but not many in it appear to be any better than the grade. The one who is is clearly Queen Kindly. It’s true that she has to carry a 3lb penalty and also has been slightly disappointing all year.

However her latest effort a very creditable 5th in the Group 1 Abbaye at Longchamp is by far the best in this field. The step up to 6f will surely be a help while the drop down into Listed company means she is the one to beat.

Fast ground does not pose any problems for her – she won a Group 2 on quick ground as a juvenile. I feel she is overpriced judged on the extra weight she has to carry, which I do believe does not make that much of a difference, though.

Selection:
10pts win – Queen Kindly @ 5/1 Bet365

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10.30 Keeneland: Grade 1 QE II Challenge Cup Stakes, 1m 1f

Open contest but I feel La Coronel has plenty of upside on her third start back home after a decent outing at Royal Asccot where she was only a good five lengths beaten by Winter.

She needed her home reappearance, though was much better last month in the Sands Point, when narrowly denied in the closing staged by Uni. She was pulling quite hard early on and looked a bit awkward in the home straight – so I feel if things go more to plan, she can clearly turn the form with Uni today.

Belmont Oaks winner New Money Honey has an excellent turf record, and back on this surface she is a major player. Also German 1000 Guineas Unforgettable Lady can run a big race.

Selection:
10pts win – La Coronel @ 6/1 Skybet

Wednesday Selections – Juddmonte International 2017

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Big drift in the betting for Tuesday’s selection Alternate Route. So it was no surprise to see having a slow start to his race and as a consequence were never really in it.

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2.25 York: Group 3 Acomb Stakes, 7f

Dee Ex Bee was mightily impressive on debut at Goodwood. That looks rock solid form but it was more virtually plus on the clock what impressed me. He made all, going aggressively forward right from the start and found a lot when asked serious questions.

Granted the soft ground probably helped in terms of how far the rest of the field trailed him in the end and there will be different ground conditions here – however any rain will help, and with significant amounts of showers on their way he should be fine on ground that is likely not lightning fast.

He clocked a superb 89 TS on debut. With natural improvement and a top draw, this son of Farhh, who has had an excellent start with his first crop, should be very hard to beat.

Selection:
10pts win – Dee Ex Bee @ 9/4 bet365

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3.35 York: Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes, 1m 2f

Cracking renewal and five of the seven starters have strong credentials to land the big pot. Eclipse winner and King George runner-up Ulysses sets the standard in my mind. Drop in trip will suit after being outstayed at Ascot by star filly Enable.

He travelles strongly through his races and no more so at Sandown when wearing Barney Roy down. Slight concern is the rain coming. He obviously has fine form with cut in the ground in the book, however to my eye is clearly at his best when the ground is fast.

Whether Barney Roy truly wants 10 furlongs remains to be seen. Any rain will hinder his chances I believe and while he is certainly a top class colt I don’t think he should be the favourite.

2000 Guineas winner Churchill returns after being taken out at Goodwood and a lackluster performance at Royal Ascot. He is by Galileo so the step up to 10f may not be as big an issue as some commentators make it out to be. He also has form on slow ground in case the rain would have a big impact.

However how much more can he improve for the new trip? He’s already had 9 career starts and his target was clearly the Guineas.

Aiden O’Brien’s “second” string, Derby runner-up Cliffs Of Moher appears to be a more interesting contender. He probably was a bit unlucky in the Eclipse when he finished fourth, as he was badly hampered in the middle of the race and lost all momentum.

He’s still only had five runs and can still improve. 10f on any sort of ground will suit and interestingly he is the only one who already matched a 112 top speed rating that otherwise only Ulysses has been able to achieve.

The filly Shutter Speed beat Enable earlier the year and that sort of performance gives her a chance. Nonetheless she has a bit to find with the boys I feel. It’s a tough task for her, though interesting to see a tongue tie applied for the first time.

You can’t fully discount Tattersalls Gold Cup winner Decorative Knight. He was well held in the Eclipse Stakes after clipping heels midterm. Could run well for a big price.

Selection:
10pts win – Cliffs Of Moher @ 11/2 Paddy Power

Classic Glory for Frankel

Classic glory for the almighty Frankel for the very first time – his daugther Soul Stirring landed the Japanese Oaks at Tokyo racecourse in fine style this morning under an excellent ride by French jockey Christophe Lemaire.

The tremendously well bred filly – she is out of 2009 French Oaks heroine Stacelita – was also the first Frankel progeny to win at the highest level when she claimed the Group 1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies at Hanshin Racecourse in December.

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2.40 Redcar: Class 6 Handicap, 5 Furlongs

You’re better off long-term not to make too many excuses for horses if they didn’t live up to expectations multiple times on the bounce. That’s normally a clear sign that something is not right.

Nonetheless I make an exception in the case of the still lightly raced Backinanger. This three year gelding old has been disappointing the last two starts, but mostly on his turf Handicap debut four weeks ago. He was a bad drifter on the day, so there must have been a reason for his poor showing.

Unfortunately I backed him that day when first time cheek-pieces  didn’t work at all for Backinangger. He was never in the race – to my surprise because if you go back and watch his previous starts you’ll see a horse that shows a bit of early speed, but also quite a bit of keenness.

In fact his performances on the All-Weather over the winter were noteworthy as more often than not he caught the eye and ran better than the bare result would suggest.

This son of Royal Applause was a late foal which explains why he often looked raw and unfinished business. Theoretically there should be improvement to come from him with age and experience. He also should enjoy fast conditions.

That’s the reason why I give him one more chance – blinkers are fitted and he drops to the minimum trip, which in combination of the ground and the relive of another couple of pounds could work wonders.

Selection:
10pts win – Backinanger @ 10/1 Bet365

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5.25 Carlisle: Class 5 Handicap, 7 Furlongs

Less than a handful of realistic contenders to land the race in this field in my mind and LTO winner Africa Blessing is the one in this group who is overpriced.

He won over this trip at Doncaster last month – a first time over 7f for him – and he was good for a bit more than the tight winning margin I felt. He might be able to pull out a bit more over this trip, also the uphill finish could suit this Mount Nelson son.

Africa Blessing has been raised a mere 4lb for the latest success, one that looks solid form wise and awarded him an RPR of 76. Provided he doesn’t miss the kick, drawn in four close to the pace can only be an advantage.

Selection:
10 pts win – Africa Blessing @ 4/1 Bet365

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7.35 Leicester: Class 4 Handicap, 10 furlongs

Swaheen shaped well on his seasonal reappearance last month and is expected to strip fitter today. He’s fallen significantly in his handicap mark compared what he raced of mostly last year and that makes him an attractive proposition in this race.

He’s won off 2lb higher, albeit all his major form comes over 12f+, so the drop in trip is a question mark. It might well suit, however, as very soft conditions are likely to be encountered at Leicester.

Swaheen has strong form to offer with cut in the ground despite limited opportunities on this type of ground. Though in genuine soft underfoot conditions he has won of a mark off 84 in the past – so down to 80 with a decent 5lb claimer in the saddle he has a top chance as I feel the emphasis on stamina in this 10f contest will suit him.

Selection:
10pts win – Swaheen @ 11/2 Coral

Thursday Racing

Not all Frankel offspring can be classy. Seven Heavens certainly isn’t. I felt he deserved his chance dropping in trip in the Pavilion Stakes at Ascot yesterday afternoon. However he finished weak. No excuses this time.

However this proved to be the perfect test for Blue Point. Trained by Charlie Appleby, the Dewhurst third enjoyed the return to sprinting and looks an exciting prospect for this division this season. You’d have to think the Commonwealth Cup is the ideal target for him.

Mill Reef Stakes winner Harry Angel ran a big race in second, pulling hard. If he learns to settle there is a lot of upside for this Dark Angel colt.

In the meantime the declarations for the 2000 Guineas are in. It’ll be the smallest field since 1988 – with only ten horses going to post! Churchill remains the overwhelming favourite. He’s a general 6/4 chance.

I’m still happy with my selection, though. Al Wukair has been my ante-post fancy ever since he romped home in the Prix Djebel, and I remain confident that he’ll give me a big run for my money.

There is also a nice article on Al Wukair on the Racingpost website for further reading.

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4.00 Redcar, Class 5 Handicap, 1m 1f

Some interesting horses in this race. Favourite Teodoro could improve big time for the trip on handicap debut while Ronnie The Rooster looks the form choice.

However bottom weight Turning Gold is the most attractive price. He had three maiden runs in quick succession last year, totally unfancied SP’s ranging from 50/1 to 200/1.

However given connections, this Prescott runner is bound improve. The handicapper thinks the same and has allotted a rather biggish mark of 58 – where did he get that from, given the shocking maiden form?

Doesn’t matter, because it could still be not enough to stop this Pivotal son on handicap debut. He steps up to 9f which looks within range on pedigree. Turning Gold was also a very late foal, born in May, so he’s likely to be better with age and experience.

It seems significant that Luke Morris is in the saddle who rides plenty of winners for Mark Prescott and has only this one ride today.

Selection:
10pts win – Turning Gold @ 10/1 Bet365

One more chance for Seven Heavens

Uh, this was quite decent day… two winners and both did the job very nicely. Brimham Rocks (5/2) never really travelled but he did have, as expected – or at least hoped – plenty in hand when it really mattered. Whereas Otomo (6/1) clearly enjoyed the drop in trip and made all from the front in fine style.

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3.45 Ascot: Pavilion Stakes – Group 3, 6 furlongs

I was quite keen on Frankel son Seven Heavens in the European Free Handicap two weeks ago when he returned from his winter break. Unfortunately the three year old pulled his chances away in the early stages of the race. He was far too keen to last home the full seven furlongs distance at the Rowley Mile.

This a recurring theme with this exuberant colt who shares quite some similarities – not only in terms of looks – with his prominent daddy.

Hope is not lost, though. Fast ground over six furlong on a galloping track like Ascot may suit allot better, so the drop in trip must not be a negative. Much the appositive. His pace and exuberance might be an advantage here.

So can be race fitness over the majority of the field where no less nine of twelve horses are returning from a seasonal break.

I believe this is an ideal chance for Seven Heavens to show us that he can be a pattern horse. The jury is still out, it’s not clear how good he is, given his two wins from last season are nothing to shout about form wise at least.

However he has the pedigree, the looks  and appeared to be having talent. There won’t be any excuse for a below par showing this time, that’s for sure.

Selection:
10pts win – Seven Heavens @ 8/1 Bet365

 

The War Front Debate

Another winner today – though not the one I expected most: Make On Madam landed the odds in the lucky last at Beverly in great style. Compare that to Seven Heavens who finished a slightly underwhelming third in the European Free Handicap.

The Frankel son was taken to post early, looked warm in the preliminaries of the race and then pulled his way through the first couple of furlongs. Given all the hype before the off in all the usual racing outlets as well as on social media, it was a bit disappointing to see him finish with zero left in the tank.

Seven Heavens looks still raw, green and like a schoolboy in first grade who finally has to face the realities of school life. It’ll be interesting to see if John Gosden can get this lad to settle – if he does, then Seven Heavens can still be an exciting prospect for the future.

The winner of the race, though, Aiden O’Brien’s Whitecliffsofdover, already looks a fine prospect. The 2000 Guineas on the radar now? Surely, after this commanding experience. A first time tongue-tie saw him finish the race strongly. He was striding clear in the closing stages, thoroughly enjoying the demanding task the Rowley Mile is.

This son of War Front looks not only quite big and scopey  but has also clearly trained on. Which is nice to see because in the past we often heard something along the lines “War Front’s don’t train on”. Not an unreasonable shout. There is undeniably some truth to it.

Declaration of War, the one example brought up over and over again to demonstrate that War Front can produce excellent older horses indeed, is certainly a valid one, but there is also a fact that – solely looking at UK runners here – performance does drop off dramatically from two to three year old offspring – 26.9% strike rate (55.8% placed) for 2 year old’s versus 11.3% (24.6% placed) for 3 year old’s.

And for the one incredibly impressive winner we saw today, there were two fancied War Front daughters that bombed out in the Nell Gwyn Stakes.

This is a persisting trend year after year and therefore can’t be denied. However there is also the mare that has a role to play and we have seen with The Factor or the mentioned Declaration Of War can be top class beyond their juvenile season.

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4.40 Lingfeld: Class 6 Handicap, 1m

An open and rather competitive race for this grade, though the short favourite could improve yet again after a couple of big performances and therefore might have too much on his plate for this lot.

Nonetheless I’m more interested in potential improver Caledonian Gold. The four year old mare is still without a win, however is totally unexposed over the one mile trip and has dropped to a career lowest rating, despite running to solid form the last handful of starts over shorter trips.

She has tried this sort of trip only once last season when she failed miserably, which was more down to her pulling way too hard in the early stages of the race. She looked one paced over 7f in all her races though, still always running to the line at least, suggesting that now where she is potentially wiser and more mature that she really wants an extra furlong.

The very fact that the dam won a race over 10 furlongs on the Lingfield All-Weather gives enough confidence to suggest that this step up in distance can help. And if it does edge out a bit of improvement then Caledonian Gold could easily take advantage of her falling mark.

The yard seems to expect a performance as the jockey booking of Robert Winston looks significant. A “job jockey” I would call it, he has only two rides on the card, the next one after this race nearly two hours later, and he has a very healthy strike rate for this yard either, suggesting he’s not making the trip in the afternoon just for fun.

Selection:
10pts win – Caledonian Gold @ 15/2 Bet365

Seven Heavens: Make Frankel Proud

A son of Frankel that looks identical to his prominent daddy? Yep, that’s right. Seven Heavens, a three times raced colt by the wonder horse looks quite like his father and even seems to have inherited some of his traits, like being a bit overly keen and a habit for pulling hard.

That doesn’t make Seven Heavens a less exciting prospect to look forward to when he goes to post on Wednesday in the European Free Handicap over  7 furlongs at Newmarket – the place of Frankel’s arguably most “WOW” like performance.

While Seven Heavens is not the favourite in the race, he is the least exposed in the field. How good he is remains to be seen, of course, but he certainly created  a big impression on debut putting away subsequent National Stakes third Lockheed.

We didn’t learn allot about him in his next two starts: at Goodwood in a 2-runner race he made clearly no mistake against a rival now rated in the 70’s, while in the Racing Post Trophy he pulled his chances away, so that form is one to excuse I suggest.

There is a fair chance that Seven Heavens will be a much better three year old given he was a very late foal, nonetheless looked  strong and scopey as a juvenile. His trainer concluded on that matter:

“He did well to race three times as a youngster as he was a late foal.”

And there is Frankel, the father, who has made a tremendous start to the year with his first three year old’s hitting the race course – albeit only on the All-Weather so far.

But that could be a key indicator: last season not a single of his two year offspring got even placed on the sand, whereas this season an eye popping 50% of 14 starters ran into the money for an impressive 36% win rate. Interestingly the overall SP’s stayed basically the same, so his sons and daughters were not simply better fancied than last season.

I suspect this Listed contest might only be a stepping stone for Seven Heavens. He’s from an excellent family non only on the sire but also the dam side suggesting he and can step up in trip.

But I’ve no worries in terms of race fitness here, though. John Gosden said this race was the early season target for quite some time. And that makes sense. This is a real test against fine opposition.

Selection:
10pts win – Seven Heavens @ 7/2 Bet365

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5.45 Beverley: Class 4 Handicap, 7.5f

Plenty unexposed individuals lining up here. Fahey’s Areen Heart could be too good if improved over the winter while the Shamadal filly Salamah deserves another chance, particularly at this course where her daddy has a tremendous record.

However I take a chance with race fit Lualiwa. This lad progressed nicely as a juvenile and his 2l beaten fourth in a hot Doncaster nursery on Handicap debut looks particularly strong form given the winner is now a 101 rated horse.

Lualiwa returned at Chelmsford last month in a rather poor maiden. He did no make a mistake, though. Storming out of the gates to make all from the front, travelling super strongly and putting the race to bed easily.

His current mark of 79 could underestimate him taking into account his juvenile form and strong visual impression last month. He’s expected to improve as a three year old and is a nice scopey type.

Selection:
10pts win – Lualiwa @ 6/1 Paddy Power

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6.20 Beverley: Class 5 Handicap, 8.5f

Bottom weight Make On Madam must have a tremendous chance to get up in this race. Her win record isn’t all that impressive and her record over this sort of trip isn’t either. However she’s going really well at this track, runs consistently well off higher marks here and won of 1lb higher last season a 7.5f Handicap at Beverley

On fast ground – which is fine for her – she has probably a pretty decent chance to stay the trip from a good draw, even more so in a slightly easier race, here against her own sex.

She had an excellent pipe opener last month at Newcastle over 7f too, finishing third, when staying on strongly in the end. With age she simply might have a bit more stamina than before.

Selection:
10pts win – Make On Madam @ 13/2 PP

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Another nice winner today. Bushel got up at 13/2 advised. It was a real thriller but thankfully Bushel found enough in the closing stages to get his head in front when it really mattered: on the line!

It didn’t quite end that way for Majestic Hero, who was headed in the dying strides of the race, denying us the double at tasty odds of 12/1.