Tag Archives: Friday

Friday Selections: February, 14th 2020

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5.10 Southwell: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

Equidae has caught my in all of his last three starts. In my book he ran much better than the bare form of those races suggest. He didn’t receive hard rides in of those, while running well to the line, even if things weren’t in his favour on multiple occasions.

The two Newcastle runs over a mile a visually quite taking, although his latest run here at Southwell over the shorter 7 furlongs trip is equally compelling, as Equidae was mad keen early on, pulling loads of energy away  but still managed to finish a fair 4th.

Another couple of pounds off, he will race off 7lb less than when winning over this course and distance last May. Equidae also matched or battered his current mark on topspeed ratings multiple times.

Cheek-pieces on for the first time may help him to settle a bit better as he has the tendency to race freely.

Selection:
10pts win – Equidae @ 3.6/1 WH

………..

5.45 Southwell: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 3f

Earl Of Bunnacurry has probably the key piece of form with his 3rd over 1m 6f back in December – form that worked out tremendously well. The gelding made most likely too much early on and ultimately didn’t have anything left in the tank when it mattered most.

He changed yards, was largely disappointing in two starts for new connections since, particularly when send off 4/1 on stable debut.

However, back over a possibly suitable trip, at Southwell where he usually runs rather well, with two pounds off his mark and new headgear, I feel Earl Of Bunnacurry is an intriguing runner in a race where there is little to fear.

A return to that December form will see him having a massive chance to get his head in front again.

Selection:
10pts win – Earl Of Bunnacurry @ 8/1 MB

Friday Selections: January, 17th 2019

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4.45 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

Destroyer was a non-runner last week. Hopefully he takes his chance today as not much has changed in my interest in him, with this being a weak race once again:

Seven-year-old gelding Destroyer drops down to class 6 with another couple of pounds off his rating and appears certainly well-handicapped if finding some form again.

It’s his second run after a break, so he should strip fitter for the latest – arguably poor – showing over this course and distance last month.

Only four runs back though in September he still finished a fine third only a lengths down at Pontefract of a 67 handicap mark, also matching a 67 topspeed rating, suggesting there is life and enough class to be competitive in a low-grade handicap such as this.

True, Destroyer is without victory on the All-Weather but his career best speed rating was achieved at Kempton (79). He also acts on tapeta as proven when a 1¼ lengths beaten 4th over a mile here in November 2018 of a 13lb higher mark than today.

He may well have enough of racing, as he’s not getting any younger, and his last three efforts are concerning. If back in the same mood at Pontefract, though, he’d have a massive chance.

Selection:
10pts win – Destroyer @ 13/1 MB

Friday Selections: December, 20th 2019

Postulation

7.00 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 6f

Dragon Mountain steps up in trip here; he’s yet to prove his stamina beyond 12 furlongs fully, but after his latest excellent run over 1m 4f, staying strongly to the line, he is not without hope.

The gelding has also come down significantly in his handicap mark since his last victory dating back to September 2018 over 10 furlongs. Down to 63 now, having ran three times to higher tospeed ratings in the past, he appears to be weighted to go close, if he stays the additional two furlongs today.

He was a fine 3rd early this month at this course over 1m 4f, travelling strongly, just to be beaten by a well-handicapped winner. 2lb for that effort, with the visuals implying the longer trip can work, he’s clearly a prime candidate today.

On top of that fine jockey Callum Rodriguez comes here for this one ride only, which seems significant as trainer and jockey enjoy a 29% strike rate (59% place) at Wolverhampton!

Selection:
10pts win – Dragon Mountain @ 4/1 MB

……….

8.30 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 9.5f

Kirby on board in these type of races is a huge bonus his booking appears significant for the chances of promising Clem A. The 3-year-old stayed on well after a little break when returning to the track here at Wolverhampton over a bit shorter, suggesting the step up in distance isn’t impossible for him to enjoy, albeit on pedigree it is a slight question mark.

Down to a 63 handicap mark, Clem A is of obvious appeal, given he won off 62 on turf this season, running to TS 63 that day also. With more experience and the trip potentially bringing out a bit more improvement, he can win a rather poor contest.

Selection:
10pts win – Clem A @ 9/2 MB

……..

8.15 Dundalk: Handicap, 1m 2.5f

There are two potentially well handicapped individuals in this field in my view: Ragtime Red loves this CD and is on a good mark, but has a poor draw and will need luck from off the pace.

Monsieur Piquer is the other one and clearly in with a big shout, if the handbrake is off: he finished an excellent runner-up over 1m 4f earlier this month here. He pulled hard for the first two furlongs, yet travelled strongly into the straight and led over a furlong out briefly.

The drop to this shorter distance should suit and a good draw will help to be in a position to challenge turning for home. Monsieur Piquer is still a maiden after 15 starts but now down to a 50 official mark and having shown enough speed to achieve a 56 topspeed rating suggests to me he’ll hardly find a better opportunity to get his head in front.

Selection:
10pts win – Monsieur Piquer @ 10/1 MB

Friday Selection: November, 29th 2019

Dundalk All-Weather

6.45 Dundalk: Handicap, 6 furlongs

Currently a reserve, so remains to be seen whether he actually gets in, Aloysius Lilius looks a highly competitive chance in this field if he would get a chance to run. Noteworthy he also got an entry for Lingfield on Saturday.

Aloysius Lilius dropped to a tasty handicap mark but can’t be really faulted given he ran some fine races this year on turf when going close on a couple of occasions over the minimum trip.

His first attempt to tackle the All-Weather was highly promising here at Dundalk a fortnight ago. A wide draw was a big disadvantage and receiving a heavy bump right after the start didn’t do him any favours. This was a wild race, he was at the back of the field and didn’t receive the clearest of runs, but finished strongly on the outside in the final furlong.

He stays on the same 66 OR. Interesting: Aloysius Lilius ran twice to 67+ topspeed in his career, including in his penultimate run. So with a much better draw here, and potentially enjoying the step up to 6 furlongs (he’s a half-brother to a 6f winner on the All-Weather) I feel there is a strong case for this 3-year-old having a major chance if getting in.

Otherwise, Lingfield one day later may well be another opportunity and you’ll read about it here.

Selection:
10pts win – Aloysius Lilius @ 28/1 MB

Friday Selection: November, 15th 2019

Postulation

8.45 Dundalk: Handicap, 6 furlongs

Quite an interesting contest and I like nearly a handful, in fact, though, most of them I decide to monitor today and hope the handicapper might be lenient so they become hot property next time.

The one I do fancy today to run really well is Comhghairdeas. The gelding has fallen to an Official Rating of 47 now, after starting year on a 24lb higher handicap mark. He was largely well beaten throughout the season, albeit showed a little bit of hope when 5th at Listowel in December and sixth here at Dundalk in his most recent start.

It is also noteworthy Comhghairdeas achieved a 51 topspeed rating at Limerick back in June, on what his second run after coming off a near year long break. Before that break he was highly competitive of marks in the 70’s up to winning off 80. And he ran eleven times to topspeed 51+ in his career.

So if any life is left in Comhghairdeas then he could be handicapped to go close today, particularly as he drops down to 6f, which is a more suitable distance than the 7f from last month.

That most recent performance is a much better one than the bare form suggests, though. Comhghairdeas  finished sixth, 5 lengths beaten in a competitive race – the form has been franked in the meantime. He travelled really well for long, didn’t quite get the clearest of runs in the closing stages but more likely also didn’t quite get home over the 7 furlong trip.

Now another 2lb lower, down to a more suitable trip, a fair 7lb claimer on board and decent draw to play with, I feel Comhghairdeas can outrun his price tag, that is already coming down significantly anyway.

Selection:
10pts win – Comhghairdeas @ 17/1 WH

 

Friday Selections: November, 8th 2019

Iron Major Dundalk

6.35 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

Back after a little break, Lucky Violet appears a compelling alternative to the market principles in an open race that lacks standout chances.

The seven-year-old isn’t the force of the past, however arrives off a career lowest handicap mark on either turf or All-Weather. He is still searching for a maiden victory on the sand, though, only had eight starts, all of a higher marks and only three over his preferred mile trip.

Lucky Violet showed that there is still life when running well earlier this year on turf – a number of placed efforts at Ayr at Hamilton off 64 and 65 ratings in higher class.

Down in class 6 back on the All-Weather, his mark a lowly 49 rating, given he ran to much higher topspeed ratings in the past, in fact he did so in 2019, albeit on turf, but also a 51 TS performance last November at this venue, suggest he could go well today.

Selection:
10pts win – Lucky Violet @ 23/1 MB

………

6.45 Dundalk: 45-65 Handicap, 7 furlongs

If Crest Of A Wave can bounce back after a recent below part effort she is in with a big chance of her current mark. That is a substantial if, given she remains a maiden after twelve starts. Equally there is plenty to like about her chance today.

For one, she ran well in her other two Dundalk starts this autumn, when not beaten far and in fact finishing a good third place last month. She is two pounds lower today, which is a career lowest for her.

Crest Of A Wave showed promise on the All-Weather earlier this year already, when finishing runner-up and 4th on two subsequent occasions. She ran to topspeed ratings of 50 and 59 back then, suggesting there is opportunity for her today with a good draw and lowly 47 handicap mark to play with.

Selection:
10pts win – Crest Of A Wave @ 16/1 MB

Super Friday Preview

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Bold prediction: we’ll see the 2000 Guineas winner 2020 tonight. I know, I know….. I hear you shouting the name of the colt the boys in blue own. Fair shout. But…..

6.00 Newcastle: G1 Futurity Stakes, 1 mile

…. Kinross will be the better three-year-old.

Sure enough he still has to show up and run at Newcastle tonight. I have no doubt he’ll beat this field, albeit Kameka looks a fine rival. However, watch the Newmarket debut of Kinross again – this is something you won’t see all that often.

He missed the break, yet travelled supremely well soon after, cruised passed the leaders with ease and won the race effectively in a canter – running to a topspeed rating of 100 on the bridle, on his debut, despite botching the start AND all of that as a May foal.

“Are you kidding me?” That was my reaction when I saw this incredible debut performance.

If Kinross stays healthy and winters well he’ll be the one we’ll talk about as horse of the year in twelve months time. That’s another bold prediction.

As far as tonight goes: Kingman has a fine record on the All-Weather, on the Tapeta surface, with juveniles and over a mile. if Kinross is as good as I believe he is, the switch to Newcastle for the Futurity Stakes is a non-issue.

Hence for once I have backed a short price. Something I rarely do. But I do so today because I firmly belief he’s way too big a price to let go.

Selection:
10pts win – Kinross @ 1.65/1 MB

………..

7.30 Newcastle: Class 5 handicap, 7f

A few here that look handicapped to go close. The likes of Esprit De Corps and Valley of Fire in particular. But the one well-handicapped is Vive La Difference.

I have been keen on the gelding before. At Ayr at the end of September I selected him off 2lb higher than today. He was desperately unlucky today. I didn’t deem circumstances right the next few times and sure enough he continued to make life difficult for himself. Yet here is hoping today is THE day.

Vive La Difference can start slowly and seems to always find ways to get into trouble in-running. He may do so again today. It’s a big field, he’ll need a “lucky” break. But at the same time the 5-year-old is handicapped to slaughter this field, if he finds a way through and doesn’t lose too much early on. What I said back in September still holds largely true today:

“The 5-year-old gelding has been struggling to find his best for a while, certainly starting slowly on pretty much every occasion doesn’t help. At the same time a few performances have been promising this year, when not far beaten in competitive races at Wetherby or Ripon earlier this season.

Vive La Difference has fallen quite a bit in his handicap mark, now 10lb lower than he started the season. He ran twice in his career to topspeed ratings of higher than 70, and a number of times around his current handicap mark of 68, including this year.”

What has changed is he’s now down to a handicap mark of 68 and this is a Tapeta surface and a 7 furlong trip. I don’t think either is a problem. He’s got form over this shorter trip already and being unexposed on the All-Weather may rather be a positive.

Selection:
10pts win – Vive La Difference @ 12/1 WH

………..

8.12 Santa Anita: G2 BC Juvenile Turf Sprint, 5f

This looks surprisingly uncompetitive in my eyes and even more surprisingly the advantage lies with the home team. The two with prime chances above everyone else are trained by Wesley Ward.

You really have to fear the speed of Four Wheel Drive and he looked still raw when winning the Futurity recently. Drawn in nine is on the edge of becoming a significant issue. His speed can see him getting out of jail. To the detriment of doing too much too soon?

Kimari is the one I side with. She is the favourite and a rock solid one who I’d price around 5/2. She is on the go for a while, was over in Europe came desperately close at Royal Ascot and has won a Listed- and Stakes contest in fine style in her last two starts.

Drawn in seven is fine. She should settle in midfield but hopefully not too far off the pace. She has speed in her own right, anyway. Kimari holds the upper hand over the European raiders given she is the only on the in the field having run to a significant topspeed rating so far (97 at RA).

I’m pretty sure there is more to come from her. The only risk is the long season she is having and the draw possibly seeing her too far back. I’ll take it because in my view she is hands and shoulders above the rest, particularly with the weight allowance.

Selection:
10pts win – Kimari @ 10/3 WH

………..

8.52 Santa Anita: G1 BC Juvenile Turf, 1 mile

Arizona is the standout individual in this race, without a shadow of a doubt. Posted 100+ topspeed ratings multiple times, underpinning his form lines in hot competition. If he can overcome the wide draw he’ll be hard to beat. For all that he is merely a fair price.

The good prices are snapped up for the one I fancy, but there is still a hint of juice left: Structor cost quite a bit of money and so far has proven his buyers right: he won a maiden race on debut in fine style and followed up on his second start with an excellent Grade 3 triumph.

Visually those performances weren’t all that sexy but I like the fact this lad is so simple – he does all the right things, bounces out of the gate, travelles and sticks to the task. With more improvement to come, a perfect draw and racing style he can go all the way today for an upset against AOB’s favourite.

Selection:
10pts win – Structor @ 13/2 WH

………

10.12 Santa Anita: BC G1 Juvenile Fillies Turf, 1 mile

I struggle to trust the Europeans in this contest for a variety of reasons: trip, ground or draw. However, if she takes to the trip, which is a possibility on this fast ground and with all the right visual clues, then Daahyeh is a hot chance. But I can’t quite leave her pedigree out of the equation and feel one of the US fillies has a stronger chance.

That’s Sweet Melania. She’s drawn wide, which isn’t ideal, obviously. However, she has plenty of early speed, connections already mentioned they’ll move forward, and given her experience I trust Ortiz to get the job done.

She’s another one who was quite an expensive yearling, given she is incredibly well bred, obviously. She has been nicely improving all season long and her latest Grade 2 gate to wire success was an impressive performance.

A repeat of that level of form, potentially a bit more improvement still to come, she should go very close today. I don’t mind that she was beaten two back by Christalle. Sweet Melania seems to have move forward since then and was only ran down late over further than today.

Selection:
10pts win – Sweet Melania @ 15/2 WH

Friday Selections: October, 18th 2019

Wet Dundalk Polytrack

7.35 Newcastle: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 

Two I find interesting here given their huge prices, which look way too big, but only if the handbrake is off today. I’m not sure about that one, but prepared to take the risk.

Elusive Heights hasn’t won for a long time, though has fallen to a career lowest handicap mark now, even though he caught my eye when last seen at Ayr. He made excellent progress from four furlongs out but didn’t really get a clear passage through when it mattered most.

That was his second run coming off a long break, before that last autumn Elusive Heights ran pretty well of marks in the 70’s over this course and distance. Hence, now down to a 68 rating, which he excelled on topspeed five times in his lifetime I feel he’s potential super well handicapped today, albeit his racing style is asking for trouble in big field like this.

The other one is the opposite, in terms of racing style: Destroyer went off like a lunatic over CD when last seen a week ago. He was never to last home but one could argue run well for as long as he did given the suicidal pace.

He#s down to an interesting handicap mark too, as he’s ran to higher topspeed numerous times before as well. Most interestingly, Destroyers penultimate run at Pontefract, a 3rd place finish, was a 67 TS effort in a race that looks strong form as the runner-up has franked the form since then.

Ideally you would like to see him drop another couple of pounds and drop down to class 6, then Destroyer would be tremendously well handicapped; hence I’m doubting today is “the” day. But as a bit of money is coming all day long, and I see him being certainly handicapped to go close if allowed to, I’ll take the risk.

Selections:
4pts win – Destroyer @ 20/1 MB
6pts win – Elusive Heights @ 22/1 MB

Friday Selections: October, 11th 2019

Newmarket Rowley Mile False Rail

3.35 Newmarket: G1 Bet365 Fillies’ Mile, 1m

Intriguing contest, but possibly a weak one without a real star? For all what the market principles have achieved form wise, they haven’t run particularly fast yet.

Neither Love nor Cayenne Pepper have come near at least a 90 topspeed rating, despite having ample opportunity. You may give recent 9 lengths winner Quadrilateral the benefit of the doubt, though.

Nonetheless, I feel Powerful Breeze is underestimated in this field. The filly was supplemented after kicking her career off with two impressive runs. A winning debut over 7f here at Newmarket, followed up with an excellent Group 3 success at Doncaster.

That day she ran to a 92 topspeed rating, which is by far the best of what any filly has achieved in this field. There is no reason to doubt its legitimacy, as it was a well run race and Powerful Breeze improved nicely from her debut 87 TS performance.

She looks a filly open to plenty more improvement, being well bred, a March filly and by Iffraay. She gets the trip well, the ground is a slight question mark, given she hasn’t met cut in the ground yet.

I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt on that front, given her dam acted on soft, and Iffraay’s offspring tends to perform well enough also. Certainly if she can run here to the same sort of level – possibly even a little bit better – than in the May Hill this filly has a much better chance than the odds suggest.

Selection:
10pts win – Powerful Breeze @ 7/1 MB

Friday Selections: September, 20th 2019

Postulation

7.20 Newcastle: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

Decent race for this class, and favourite Chaplin Bay, who’d made me a happy boy a number of times in the past, is a strong favourite. But it’s Mostahel who really makes strong appeal on his return to Tapeta.

His career has certainly not developed as one would have envisioned when he demolished a field of maidens at Wolverhampton back in spring 2017, even though he followed up with a strong handicap performance at Newmarket, ever since then the now 5-year-old gelding has been falling down off a cliff.

Clearly this lad has had his fair share of issues, endured twice long absences from racing and has changed yards but on the plus side is potentially on a sexy handicap mark and may not yet be finished, given he’s been rather lightly raced for his age.

There was clear signs of a return to some sort of form when Mostahel finished a strong third – albeit in a messy race – at Redcar two starts back. He pulled pretty hard early on over the 7f trip and then didn’t get a run until finally in the clear over a furlong out. He finished strongly, suggesting victory is imminent.

Mostahel didn’t kick on the next time, dropped to 6 furlongs when upped in class, though that was a hot contest and he ran okay, I felt.

Now back over 7 furlongs, with a strong pace likely, only his second ever start on the All-Weather, the sole one was the demolition job at Wolverhampton, he makes plenty of appeal of a mark of 68, given as a juvenile he ran to topspeed ratings of 79 on turf and 86 on the Wolverhampton Tapeta. He’s not that good these days, obviously. But doesn’t have to be to land this contest.

Selection:
10pts win – Mostahel @ 11/2 MB

……….

8.20 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

Fard is a fair favourite but nothing more. The case of Groupie is much more intriguing for her return to the All-Weather, after a number of respectable efforts this year, all the while she keeps falling in the official ratings.

Clearly the mare is now on a dangerous handicap mark, given she has ran nine times in her career to topspeed ratings of 52 and higher, plus did so this season already and caught the eye when last seen on the All-Weather at Wolverhampton in August.

That form is a key piece I feel. Even though over an additional furlong, it was a stronger race than this today, Groupie travelled really well but didn’t get a run until entering the home straight when the bird was flown with first and second, in fact also the third, all enjoying first run.

She finished a fair 4th nonetheless, best of those from the ones off the pace. She did so off a 59 handicap mark. One can clearly see how she’d gone much closer with a clear run and 8lb less on the back.

The drop to 6 furlongs isn’t an issue. The fair straight at Newcastle should suit. Big run expected.

Selection:
10pts win – Groupie @ 10.5/1 MB

………

6.00 Dundalk: Handicap, 1 mile

Speculative and unlikely to happen, but should Masalai get in here as third reserve he’d have a big chance to go pretty close of a big price. Otherwise he’s one to stick into the tracker for another day.

Masalai is a course and distance specialist who has won of a 63 handicap mark earlier this year, while also having ran four times to topspeed 57+ over CD. Therefore it is rather obvious that currently down to a 56 handicap mark the 5-year-old is potentially well in here.

He hasn’t excelled during the turf season in three starts, so a lightly campaign in the last few months should ensure he’s fresh and ready for a big run.

Selection:
10pts win – Masalai @ 12/1 MB / Edit: ***NR***

……..

6.30 Dundak: Handicap, 1 mile

The draw is a big negative, but Dubai Rainbow appears to be so well handicapped today that I take the risk. It also helps knowing the filly usually breaks smartly.

Despite strong performance at Bellwestown when last seen in July, the handicapper has dropped her 3lb. She was a beaten favourite that day but it was a messy finish, not unusual for that track, and a good 3rd place finish was rather encouraging, proving her fallen mark will see her get her head in front soon.

Dubai Rainbow returns to the All-Weather now, where her career best performances came in two starts – a win in a claimer, and a strong 3rd place in Handicap company last autumn. That day she raced off a 70 handicap mark and ran to a 70 topspeed rating.

With excellent Oisin Orr on board today I’m hopeful she can break well and overcome the wide draw. If that’s the case she’ll go close of a mark of 59.

Selection:
10pts win – Dubai Rainbow @ 9/2 MB