Tag Archives: Friday

Friday Selections: 16th September 2022

6.45 Kempton: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

Competition for the pace doesn’t look too hot, which brings Dion Baker right into the equation, who drops down to 7 furlongs on his polytrack debut.

He is still a maiden but ran with credit a number of times; in fact he was arguably unlucky not to win at either Catterick, or subsequently on his Handicap debut at Haydock.

On both occasions he hang his chances away, otherwise he’d have a W to his name, I reckon.

Dion Baker ran well enough three weeks ago at Newmarket in softish conditions over a mile, just fading entering the final furlong. Given his early gate speed he should have no issues getting to the lead from the #1 draw here.

As he drops in class, he should find this race a bit easier, and has shown he has the quality to win off a 72 mark. He has the early speed and potentially the bit of extra stamina to keep it up right to the line.

10pts win – Dion Baker @ 9.2

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8.15 Kempton: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 3f

Arab Cinder caught the eye a few times now and looks ripe to win a race, stepping another furlong on her second start for William Knight.

She did well over shorter trips for Roger Varian, seriously catching the eye at Wolverhampton over 7 furlongs in May. With a clear run she would have gone really close as she had to contend with the widest draw, and found herself severely hampered in her challenge in the home straight.

Her subsequent final start for the Varian yard at Goodwood was better than the bare for suggests. When last seen four weeks ago on her first start for new connections, Arab Cinder caught the eye when finishing well in the closing stages.

She has enough stamina for this new trip as a full-sister to 1m 6f winner on the All-Weather. Three pounds lower than her excellent Wolverhampton run and down in class she rates a major chance in this field from a good draw.

10pt win – Arab Cinder @ 9/2

Friday Selections: 29th July 2022

2.25 Goodwood: Group 3 Thoroughbred Stakes, 1m

Rocchigiani caught the eye twice this year. Now stepping up to a mile again he looks the one to beat in this contest in my eyes, hence I am delighted with the odds on offer.

The German raider always tracked the pace and travelled pretty well until 2.5 furlongs from home in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot. He couldn’t move forward with horses right in front of him but also appeared flat footed when gaps opened up. He ran on nicely in the closing stages for a solid 5th place finish, though.

He had to give about three pounds of weight away to the majority of the field that day. No easy task, even less so on fast ground and 7 furlongs. Clearly the test was too sharp, but equally clearly he came out with his reputation enhanced.

Earlier the season he would have been a runaway winner of the German 2000 Guineas, if not for the exciting Maljoom. Rocchigiani was always right on the speed and kicked on as soon as he entered the home straight. He had the entire field off the bridle; only the late finishing Maljoom got to him in the end.

The fast ground at Goodwood is a slight question mark. Although, it wasn’t slow at Cologone either, so I’m hopeful it won’t be too much of an issue for him here.

10pts win – Rocchigiani  @ 13/2

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6.30 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 5f

Scale Force finished a few weeks ago over the minimum trip at Wolverhampton in a manner that suggested he’s ready to win. He had a troubled run, which started with usual poor start, and was short of room over a furlong out at a crucial stage.

Down to a mark of 56 now, he’s possibly quite well handicapped, given he performed strongly off higher marks earlier this year, most notably off a 66 mark over 5 furlongs at Wolverhampton in February when he finished half a lengths beaten in third, and his topspeed matched his mark.

If he doesn’t mess up the start this time he should be a prime chance to win, especially with the valuable 5lb claim of Aiden Keeley in the saddle.

10pts win – Scale Force @ 12/1

Friday Selections: 15th July 2022

Boundless Ocean won the Group 3 contest at Leopardstown in fine fashion today. The faith paid off, he was too good for this field. The significant drop in class and distance helped. He was certainly less keen – by his standards – travelled like a dream and won in the manner of a horse with bigger targets on the horizon.

Ustath didn’t quite make it a perfect day. A solid 2nd place, beaten by half a lengths. Went off too fast I reckon and then got into trouble up the stiff Hamilton finish. He’s one to keep an eye on in terms of handicap mark. If the handicapper doesn’t react too harshly then he remains of interest over 6 furlongs on fast ground.

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3.18 Newbury: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 4f

Vaynor goes for a hat-trick and I back him to be able to win his third race in a row. The penny has dropped and the gelding looks vastly improved from run to run ever since returning to turf this year.

He won a poor class 6 Handicap over 1m 6f at Bath in early June, although in fine fashion and running to a 4lb better topspeed than his mark then. He followed up in better grade next time at Newmarket, although dropping in trip. He won going away and with a bit in hand, also finishing much the fastest on sectionals over the last three furlongs.

He ran to a 67 topspeed rating off a 67 handicap mark and that looks pretty good given how commanding the performance was. His revised mark of 73 is more than fair and potentially on the lenient side. He could easily have more to offer and can improve again given he was also a May foal and needed time to mature.

Pace seems crucial to him. There should be enough in the race to make it a solid test. But he’s versatile enough to make his own race too. Even though he races against better rivals, there isn’t really another well handicapped individual in the field.

10pts win – Vaynor @ 7/2

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7.10 Newmarket: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 4f

Pub Crawl is a horse I am monitoring since the start of the season. His seasonal reappearance at Leicester was eyecatching but it was his subsequent Epsom Handicap debut that got me seriously interested in the 3-year-old gelding.

That day plenty of things went wrong but he finished incredibly strongly once out in the clear giving the impression of potentially being ahead of his mark, especially if going up in trip.

He’s clearly a tricky sort as sluggish starts are his “trademark” and he can find trouble during races as well. He put all those bad traits on show the next two times.

Although he looks regressive and hasn’t gotten any help from the handicapper, he wasn’t disgraced in his last two runs in my view. Those were competitive affairs over ten furlongs and things didn’t go his way.

He now steps up to 12 furlongs. A trip he’s not certain to stay. On the other hand things happen a whole lot slower here and that will suit. It’s not impossible on pedigree and he can run on strongly in the closing stages, which suggests he stays.

Interestingly Pub Crawl has been noted in the Weekender paper Newmarket Gallops section to have worked really well on two occasions since his Sandown flop. He’s got the assistance of excellent 5lb claiming Benoit De La Sayette in the saddle. This is also a wide open contest. He must have a strong chance to get his head in front if he stays.

10pts win – Pub Crawl @ 5/1

Friday Selections: 8th July 2022

Two lovely winners at good prices the last two days – the ups and downs of the game…. funny how it all goes. Last night at Epsom Hector Loza went from the front and never really looked in danger once he kicked on. 13.5 was always a big price for a potentially seriously well handicapped horse if he was right.

He was. And he was a massive price for all the right reasons. Easy said in hindsight, of course. Often enough these type of horses finish bottom last (and i made a habit of backing them). But he clearly showed in his recent starts still some appetite for the game. No habit of starting slowly. Also a lovely, confident, positive ride by Jack Duern. His 3lb are highly valuable.

June started so badly with those 18 consecutive losers; July started in a rather pleasant way with four winners already. I wouldn’t mind this good spell of form to continue for a while.

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2.40 York: Group 3 Summer Stakes, 6f

If the effects of a tough race at Royal Ascot having left too many marks than Flotus should be hard to beat today. The filly looks still improving after a productive juvenile campaign, having ran seriously strong races in defeat the last two times this season.

Obviously her third place finish in the Commonwealth Cup rates the best piece of form in this race. She was bang up with the pace and raced pretty hard in the early stages. She couldn’t bring it quite home, but that’s no shame in such a quality Group 1 sprint.

Arguably even more impressive, in my eyes, was her desperately close runner-up effort at Haydock behind smart Sense Of Duty. The winner has franked the form in no uncertain terms and overall it looks an incredibly strong piece of form.

Flotus fought all the way to the line after attempting to lead wire to wire while Sense Of Duty was held up. I really loved how Flotus kicked on again at the final furlong marker after being heavily challenged. Great attitude!

Trip, ground and track are of no concern today. She poses the fastest speed rating in the field and has confirmed her form this season in excellent style.

There are a few dangers in the field, Gale Force Maya probably the biggest one if she could repeat her latest strong performance. She ran a fast topspeed, a clear career-best, but I wouldn’t trust her to do it again.

Hala Hala Athmani looks improving. Only her fourth start, she can do better. But drawn on the opposite from where most likely the pace will come is far from ideal.

Also on the up is Benefit, a recent Listed race winner. Zain Claudette may improve from her seasonal debut at Ascot. She was a Group 3 winner as a juvenile. But she’s got something to find even at her best with Flotus.

10pts win – Flotus @ 3/1

Friday Selections: 24th June 2022

2.10 Doncaster: Class 5 Handicap, 1m

Thrave shaped really well a number of times ever since being rather unlucky at Beverley in May. He ran well on three subsequent occasions, and his most recent run at this track over the shorter 7 furlongs suggested he’s ready to win.

That day he found himself in a tight spot and squeezed out soon after the start, then relegated to the rear of the field. He weaved his way through as the only one truly coming from off the pace, and finished much the strongest.

He’s clearly well capable of winning off 65 over a mile, particularly in this slightly easier race. He goes really well over this course and distance, having gone close off 3lb higher last September, running to topspeed 67 too then.

10pts win – Thrave @ 9/1

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3.55 Doncaster: 1m 6.5f

Interesting little race that should be a solid stamina test given the pace chart. I think that will really suit handicap debutant Havaila who ran really well earlier this month in a strong maiden over 12 furlongs.

He was quite green in his first two career runs but showed more professionalism at Salisbury. He’s not one who does things quickly, though. Nonetheless he stuck to the task nicely behind two solid horses in first and second.

He ran to topspeed 75 that day, so his opening mark of 76 provides a good opportunity if he can progress for experience and distance.

The step up to this new trip will surely suit. The visuals are backed up by the pedigree as he’s out of Waila who was a smart mare over 12-14 furlongs.

10pts win – Havaila @ 3/1

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8.20 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 7f

By Your Side could still be well handicapped after recent turf exploits now back on the All-Weather, but the drop to 7 furlongs is a concern. Hence a proper alternative is Key Look who shaped the last time at Catterick like a winner in the making.

That day Key Look was one of the slower starters, settled in rear, travelled pretty okay, but had still only one rival behind turning for home.

She made excellent progress on the inside in the home straight until short of room about 1.5 furlongs from home. As a consequence she lost momentum, had to regain full effort, which she didn’t quite manage, but also wasn’t ask to do so. Yet finished nicely under hands and heels giving impression there was more left in the tank.

She ran well a number of times in defeat in recent weeks. Now a pound below her last winning mark she makes plenty of appeal, especially as her last victory came over the Newcastle CD. Having a solid 5lb claimer in the saddle is an added bonus.

10pts win – Key Look @ 11/2

Friday Selections: 17th June 2022

8.15 Goodwood: Class 4 Handicap, 1m

Those at the top of the market have to defy career-highest marks while bottom-weight Brilliant Blue has been dropped 2lb since his eye-catching run over course and distance a few weeks ago.

That day he had an awkward start but wasn’t help by the isolated #1 draw. He was about to move forward when hampered on the inside around the 6 furlong marker and subsequently quite keen.

I thought he made excellent progress from three furlongs out and looked like he’d have a big say in the finish, until fading away. That was his seasonal reappearance. Possible lack of race fitness and mid-race keenness may have been the contributing factor to a lackluster finish.

There is a solid chance he’s better than that run and has a bit to offer off a 76 mark. He showed promise as a juvenile in two races in Autumn – the form worked out well as he finished around some higher rated individuals – before flopping on the All-Weather.

The mile trip shouldn’t be an issue on pedigree. Tongue tie is on for the first time. A combination of that with added race fitness and potentially the better ground helpful too can see him go close.

10pts win – Brilliant Blue @ 9/1