Tag Archives: Friday

Friday Selections: July, 19th 2019

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5.00 Nottingham: Class 6 Handicap, 8.5f

Compelling race for such a low grade: Baashiq and Admodum are high on my list, and the betting reflects it. But the lightly raced – on turf at least – Duchess Of Avon is an even more intriguing candidate.

He’s had only three starts on turf to date, of those he was close runner-up last season, achieving a career best effort with a neck beaten effort of a mark of 65 and running to a topspeed of 66. He probably needed his comeback run at Brighton in May after a 3 months long break, when he looked dangerous until fading in the final furlong.

He appeared in much better shape last time out at Brighton again, over a mile, winning a shade cozily, taking advantage of a career lowest handicap rating. That form looks rock solid.

With that in mind, the 4lb hike in the mark and slightly better race today may not stop Duchess Of Avon to be highly competitive once more, given he may still have a bit more to offer on this surface. Any rain wouldn’t be an issue judged on pedigree.

Selection:
10pts win – Duchess Of Avon @ 6/1 MB

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9.05 Pontefract: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

His latest run is a little bit concerning, of a lowered mark I am hopeful that Mr Orange can regain some of his last seasons form, back here at Pontefract with favoured conditions in a race he has already won twice in the past.

It’s this CD that brings the best out of Mr Orange – he has won of a career highest 78 handicap mark in class 3 last July, so now down to 72, a mark he has also won off last year, he could be quite competitive.

To be fair, bar that latest poor performance, Mr Orange ran with plenty of credit in competitive sprints this season. Never too far away, he may simply need to get a little help from the handicapper and find an easier race. All of which seems to be the case today.

Selection:
10pts win – Mr Orange @ 11/1 MB

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Friday Selections: July, 12th 2019

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4.45 Newmarket: Class 3 Handicap, 7f

Im very much interested in Jim Crowley’s mount La Maquina here. This lightly raced four-year-old only has his fourth start on turf and should still have a bit more to give, than what his current handicap mark has revealed.

He showed promise as a juvenile and also last season, even though without getting his head in front. As an April foal he was always more likely to need a bit more time and finally at Goodwood back in May he got off the mark in a 7f Handicap.

He ran of 3lb lower than today but achieved a 82 topspeed rating, matching his revised handicap rating. He couldn’t follow up the net time at Kempton, however was badly hampered when making progress. So it’s a performance to ignore.

Ground and trip looks perfectly fine today. If La Maquina can find a bit of improvement, he’ll be a big runner in this, otherwise quite competitive race.

Selection:
10pts win – La Maquina @ 15/1 MB

…….

4.55 York: Class 4 Handicap, 5f

I’ll take a risk on Militia, having dropped 4lb below his last winning mark. This horse had issues, quite obviously. He’s been gelded and had a wind OP during a long seasonal break and was well beaten on his return last month.

That’s obvious concerns, but he possibly needed the run. The fact remains he is a 5f winner on fast ground, and also won of a 77 mark, running to a topspeed rating of 79 last July.

So, if he strips fitter today, can find some of last summer’s form back, with a god 3lb claimer in the saddle today, he certainly will outrun a massive price tag.

Selection:
10pts win – Militia @ 33/1 MB

Friday Selections: July, 5th 2019

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2.00 Doncaster: Class 4 Handicap, 5f

Society Queen is a risky proposition given she tends to mess up at the beginning of a race, but this is not a particularly competitive race in nature, certainly an easier one than she encountered this year so far, the good ground is a big bonus and she has has dropped to a sexy mark.

The 3-year-old did well as a juvenile winning twice, having ran to a topspeed rating of 80 already, and showed promise earlier this season as well, despite her starting problems.

Now down to a class 4 race, back down to the minimum trip as well, in hands of Tony Hamilton who already won on her, I feel she’s overpriced in this contest.

Selection:
10pts win – Society Queen @ 6/1 MB

……….

6.40 Beverley: Fillies’ Novice Stakes, 5f

Odds-on favourite Mighty Spirit has experience and ran well at Royal Ascot, but I believe is vulnerable to improvers, as a topspeed rating of 84 is decent, but nothing more than that.

Much more of interest at prices are Living In The Past and Aryaaf, who both made their debut in the same Ripon maiden last month and both bottled the start and showed plenty of inexperience. Both finished well and offer plenty of upside.

I’ll go with the daughter of Kodiac, Aryaaf, though, as she will have learned plenty from a tough first day in school, racing on the outside far away from the rail, with plenty of daylight, unsure what do, after missing the break, pulling hard, wandering around a bit….

She should improve plenty from that, also for the much better ground and as a daughter of Kodiac should relish Beverley – her daddy has a superb record here with his two-year-old offspring.

Selection:
10pts win – Aryaaf @ 6/1 MB

Friday Selections: May, 31st 2019

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It’s been some incredibly busy days lately. Little time to catch up on racing, least to actually study form, analysis the markets and come up with some proper bets. So, even on a massive day as this is today – Oaks Day – I’ll got to keep it short.

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4.30 Epsom: Group 1 Epsom Oaks, 1m 4f

An intriguing renewal which lacks a standout favourite which in turn could lead to a big price landing the odds…. a bit what happened in the 1000 Guineas a few weeks ago? Well, maybe. But unlikely. The winner will come from the top third of the market – I am pretty sure of that.

Obviously the ‘sexy’ individual is John Gosden’s Mehdaayih. What she did at Chester in the Cheshire Oaks was visually stunning. The way she quickened away from the field in the home straight remains a lasting memory.

The Frankel filly clearly followed up on what was an equally impressive victory – on the eye at least – at Chelmsford on the All-Weather back in April. Still only five starts to her name, Mehdaayih is progressive, has proven class and will no doubt stay the trip.

What speaks against her: you got to question the merit of the Chester form. The race was run on much slower ground than what’s likely to be encountered today. Neither has Mehdaayih yet to clock a high enough time speed rating that would put her in the category of a legitimate Oaks favourite.

In my view there is zero juice in the price, even though she clearly has the potential to improve again and I’m not doubting her competitiveness in the context of the race. She’s likely to run well. I simply find too much against her given her current price tag.

Anapurna is the other John Gosden runner, has Frankie Dettori in the saddle, was also pretty impressive at Chester – from a visual point of view, at least. There is more improvement to come, but the stark contrast in ground encountered today versus Chester is a major concern for me.

Progressive Maqsad is well liked by quite a number of smart people, reading through my Twitter timeline this morning. Progressive, looks sure to stay the trip, lightly raced – I can see why. On the other hand, I can not have her. She only won at Newmarket so far and hasn’t encountered anything remotely close to what Epsom offers.

It brings me back to Aiden ‘Brien once more. A few weeks ago, after Pink Dogwood landed the Salsabil Stakes at Naas, I was concluding:

“I think she [Pink Dogwood] will be hard to beat if she remains healthy until Epsom.”

And that remains to be the case. She’s here and she’s healthy. Other prominent stable mates who could have lined up aren’t lining up. A vote of confidence by team Ballydoyle? I think so.

Yes, she only won a Listed race to date and was beaten the only time she stepped into Group 1 class. But the Oaks was always the intended target. She didn’t ran badly in a bunched finish over over a mile – a trip way too short – in the Marcel Boussac back last October.

But she looked so much improved on her seasonal reappearance at Naas, stepping up to 1m 2f for the first time. It was a Listed race in name, however the form looks strong and has already worked out rather well.

The fact Pink Dogwood travelled hard on the bridle 2 furlongs out and then put the race to bed under hands and heels does offset the close winning margin in my mind. She looked well on top that day.

No doubt, as a sister to Irish Derby winner Latrobe, she’ll relish the step up to the Oaks distance. There is so much more to come I reckon – frankly there has to be, because she didn’t run particularly fast yet,  judged on TS ratings.

I bank on the fact she can run fast if needed, though. I expect plenty of improvement, and while there are a few question marks, like the ground (too fast?), on all evidence and given prices I am a Pink Dogwood backer, certainly not a layer.

Selection:
10pts win – Pink Dogwood @ 3/1 PP

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2.50 Carlisle: Class 3 Handicap, 6f

In tough ground conditions there is little with appeal in this race, but clearly the market speaks in favour, and it makes perfect sense: Across The Sea should have an outstanding chance.

The Dubawi filly steps up in grade after a good effort on her seasonal reappearance earlier this month when 4th of 20 in a hot race against the boys over 6f that has already been franked.

She has won over 5f in softish conditions- and was runner-up on heavy ground last year, while also running to a career best TS rating of 74 that day at Haydock. She remains unexposed over 6 furlongs, but the trip shouldn’t be an issue, given on pedigree she s supposed to stay further and as a sister to useful Big Tour, who stayed up to 1m 2f, with tough ground this trip can bring out more improvement, I feel.

Certainly a mark of 75 with these conditions leaves room for progress, even more so as Dubawi offspring tend to over perform on soft/heavy ground.

Selection:
10pts win – Across The Sea @ 4.2/1 MB

Friday Selections: May, 10th 2019

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First winner of the week with Lincoln Park (11/2) yesterday. It was a peach of a ride by Silvestre De Sousa, utilizing the good draw in the best possible way; Lincolm Park lead pretty much start to finish, even though he was hard pressed for a while. It looked like some of his rivals were travelling stronger turning for home, but the 3-year-old kept finding.

The listed Dee Stakes were an intriguing contest. The favourite Circus Maximus won it as he was entitled to do. He had the run of the race, in truth. Moving forward I’m much more keen on stable mate Mohawk, the runner-up. I was looking forward to his return this year, and was pleased with this performance.

Wherever he goes next, granted he gets decent ground, he could be value and underestimated I feel, given his profile and achievements to date aren’t quite as sexy as some of his stablemates.

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6.50 Nottingham: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 2f

You need to have ultimate confidence in favourite Group Stage at short odds to find a hell of improvement on handicap debut now as a 3yo. Not impossible, but hard to say 3/1 is a good price.

The one I’m interested on is Michael Stoute’s handicap debutatn El Picador. He’s got a phenomenal record in these type of situations and we know his horses usually improve with time.

El Picador is clearly down the packing order in the yard, although an opening handicap mark of 72 could underestimate him quite a fair bit. He didn’t show a lot in three starts as a juvenile in the second half last year. And his seasonal debut at Wolverhampton last month was also rather poor.

However, he was an 18/1 shot that day, and travelled like an inexperienced horse, who was found out for speed in the home straight, while also looking a bit awkward as his rivals quickened away.

First time blinkered today is interesting, to keep El Picador possibly focused on the job. Stepping up in trip that will suit well on pedigree should also help to see him in much better light today.

That in combination offers enough potential to see this well bred son of Dansili improve enough to overcome a 72 handicap mark, I believe.

Selection:
10pts win – El Picador @ 8/1 PP

Friday Selections: May, 3rd 2019

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1.45 Chepstow: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4f

This race presents the rare opportunity for me to back a lto winner. Kirkland Forever looks poised to follow up on his recent Windsor success. He appeared to win a shad cozily that day, and came from a position that isn’t the easiest to from at Windsor.

This lad is rather progressive, posting a 2-1-1-3 record before heading to a deserved winter break last autumn. Running to a TS rating of 68 on his seasonal comeback, he was obviously well handicapped that day.

A 4lb rise in the mark for Kirkland Forever may still underestimate him, and even though a bit more is required today, he should go well again in hands of talented Georgia Dobie.

Selection:
10pts win – Kirkland Forever @ 5/1 MB

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4.25 Chepstow: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

Justice Lady looks ready to rumble today on her return to turf off a 5lb lower mark than when last seen on the grass in 2018. She was a strong runner-up the last two times on the All-Weather, though, in higher grade.

While last season wasn’t quite as productive as 2017, where she won twice on decent ground over the minimum trip of 78 and 80 marks in higher class, she posted an All-Weather career-best back in February as she ran to a TS rating of 73, suggesting she still has an appetite for the game and is as good as ever.

Fast 5 furlongs in lower grade of a 2lb lower mark than her last winning one – Justice Lady will be hard to beat today.

Selection:
10pts win – Justice Lady @ 9/2 MB

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5.50 Newcastle: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 2f

Sea The Stars has a strong All-Weather record, even more so at Newcastle’s Tapeta surface. So, no surprise to see his two sons topping the market here. However, the question is to ask, whether there is that much between the two as the betting suggests?

Lightly raced Shareef Star was unlucky on his seasonal reapperance and is sure to go well, nonetheless he’s got to show it first, given he is a maiden who found trouble in his last two starts.

Celestial Force in contrast is already a course and distance winner and also has some excellent form to his name, including running to a TS rating of 81, which in turn should give him a good chance today of a current 80 handicap mark, if he improves from his recent comeback run.

Selection:
10pts win – Celestial Force @ 9/2 MB

Saturday Selections: April, 20th 2019

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Good Friday could have been a great Friday if Landing Night wouldn’t have been beaten in a tight finish in the ‘unlucky last’ at Newcastle. Thankfully Matterhorn got me out of jail (7/1) what would have been otherwise a painful day.

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4.45 Brighton: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

This is a competitive race; I can make good cases for half of them, so backing the favourite doesn’t seem wise. Still, already a course and distance winner off 3lb higher in similarly fast conditions last year, could be supremely well handicapped.

The 4-year-old, despite a poor overall record, ran to a TS rating of 70 when winning here last year; the form looks solid enough to believe it was a true running. He had a good seasonal comeback run an the All-Weather lately, so fitness is assured.

Interesting jockey booking with young Cieren Fallon on board, who’s worth every pound of his 7lb claim as he proved with worthiness on the All-Weather this year already.

Selection:
10pts win – Swissal @ 7/2 MB

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7.50 Brighton: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

Twice a course and distance scorer, Junoesque returns to her happy hunting ground. Those were her only victories to date, they came here last season on fast ground as well. She’s pretty much the same mark, give or take a pound, and proved in the past to be capable of running to a bit higher than that.

In fact Junoesque ran to a TS rating of 58 on both occasions when winning here at Brighton, as well as to 54 in another race – suggesting, if conditions are right, she as good, if not even a little bit better than her current 55 rating.

Fitness has to be trusted on her seasonal reappearance. But this looks an ideal opportunity to get another win on the board.

Selection:
10pts win – Junoesque @ 5/1 MB