Tag Archives: Friday

Friday Selections: 2nd June 2023

Good start to June: Flying Secret got there just in time as he caught he long-time leader.

It was a confident, patient ride by Charlie Bishop, who didn’t panic when the leader established a healthy advantage. The on-screen sectionals said it was a red hot pace, so the front-runner was always going to tire badly, eventually.

The 8/1 SP was no good to me, as always. I felt 11/2 was big value if he is allowed to run on merit, and so it proved to be. Happy enough.

It could have been a super day. Victors Dream was only beaten in a photo. He didn’t have any excuses, though, and every chance to win. It’s always unfortunate to lose in a photo, but these things tend to even itself out over time.


2.50 Carlisle: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

Two I like here: Stormy Pearl is sure to do better in this easier race on fast ground. So should Capofan, who is too well-handicapped to leave unbacked as he drops in trip.

Hence she’s the one I go for, as Stormy Pearl may have another day in her when she’s better to catch.

Capofan was a serious eyecatcher three weeks ago Musselburgh where she took quite a grip for the majority of the race. She clearly did way too much, especially around the home bend.

Nonetheless she made a huge move from 4f out to get to the leaders challenge them in the home straight, before she fell away in the closing stages.

She’s still a maiden and not one to trust too much, as she didn’t achieve a good speed rating yet. However, she seems to cry out for a drop in trip and decent ground should suit as well.

I feel she’s dangerous off a career-lowest mark an may found the ideal opportunity to get off the mark.

10pts win – Capofan @ 10/1


3.25 Carlisle: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

I backed Azaim the last time which was an incredibly disappointing run when he was beaten before the race got hot. I’m prepared to forgive the performance because Catterick is a specialist track and the application of the hood seemed to backfire as well.

He gets another chance over 6 furlongs, though, which I think is ideal, especially based on his eyecatching run at Musselburgh last month where heshowed plenty of speed in the middle of the race but fell away rapidly from over 2f out.

He can be sluggish at the start, which he was last time but also at Musselburgh. With the difference at Musselburgh he was able to overcome it and then set a red hot pace, before he tired badly. At Catterick he never stood a chance, in contrast.

Musselburgh was also a hot race with first and second probably quite well-handicapped. Hence the performance warranted an upgrade.

He doesn’t stay 7 furlongs, and neither did he have a chance to get home in the majority of his recent races. Still lightly enough raced, he’s an intriguing runner over 6f, though, especially with new headgear to provide a spark, potentially.

10pts win Azaim @ 11/1


3.35 Chepstow: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4f

A poor contest and that’s the reason why Dundory appears to be the default favourite as the clear form horse. But all his best form comes with cut in the ground. Fast ground and Chepstow is different gravy.

The same could be argued for Age Of Sail, who ran well on the All-Weather when last seen and who has plenty of soft ground form in his pedigree.

However, at least we know for sure he does act on decent to fast ground as he was placed multiple times in these conditions last season, although never on quite as fast ground as expected here.

In any case, he’s one of my older Handicappers to follow this season and I waited patiently for his return to turf. I liked his two runs this year at Lingfield:

He was outpaced on his season reappearance in a sprint finish travelling off the pace, but he finished best in the final furlong, actually. Up to 1m 5f the next time with a visor applied, he tried to steel it from the front but tired badly in the closing stages for third place.

A slight drop back to 12 furlongs looks fine for this son of Frankel, although there is plenty of stamina present in his pedigree. The visor is retained and he may be able to dominate here once again. Off a 73 mark he looks potentially well-handicapped in this race back on turf. He caught the eye a few times last season already.

10pts win – Age Of Sail @ 7/2

Friday Selections: 26th May 2023

Lezardrieux was a nice winner today, despite a drift out to 7/1 SP. He was ridden with a lot of positivity and held on gamely.

I wish the other selections would have ridden with the same positivity. It wasn’t to be, and those horses were all bitterly disappointing. It’s quite an up and down this month.


8.55 Pontefract: Class 4 Handicap, 5f

If allowed to run on merit Ventura Express simply wins this? I certainly think so. A course and distance winner, he drops down to his preferred trip, on ideal ground and a track he enjoys off a good mark.

He was a huge eyecatcher last time at Wolverhampton over 6 furlongs, when he was smartly away but soon restrained from his wide draw. He travelled strongly but was certainly not ridden in a way to obtain the best finish. He still ran on well once asked inside the final furlong.

This looked a horse clearly in strong form. He ran a career best speed rating only a few weeks earlier. He also won last summer off 80 at Beverley.

He’s not dramatically well handicapped off 79 right now but judged on speed ratings is the class act in the race given he meets ideal conditions here.

I have a small question mark over the fact that he hasn’t been since since the end of March and a possibly lack of pace. But this isn’t a strong race, he drops in grade as well and I simply hope he can drop his head tracking whoever is going to do the donkey work in the end. His low draw offers every possibility.

10pts win – Ventura Express @ 15/2

Friday Selections: 19th May 2023

Another winner on Thursday: Lord Rapscallion ran home strongly to win at a whopping 16/1 SP (26.5 BSP)!

Scratching my head why he went of this huge price because I felt he was a rather obviously well-handicapped horse in this field (saying it in hindsight is an easy as equally beautiful thing).

Obviously, the huge SP is totally meaningless for my personal P&L. Which is totally fine. 9/1 is a lovely price, and I can only evaluate the price on offer to me at the time of backing the horse.

Continuous ran a lovely race in the Dante. Money came right before the off. He was backed down to 6/1. Travelled strongly, made good progress and finished a good 3rd. More to come.

Friday looks ominous. It’s a rare occasion when I have four (most likely five – one to be added in the morning, couldn’t get matched what I wanted yet) bets on a single day. Especially two of those at odds below 3/1. It could be a brilliant day…. but it could be one that sees me hand some of that lovely profit right back.


4.55 Newbury: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 2f

Two eyecatchers run here, both unexposed: Cherryhawk possibly ran too well on handicap debut recently; although, there is more to come, especially on better ground and with race fitness now assured.

There’s plenty more unexposed form in this field, but even at skinny odds I think there is a better chance than the price suggests that Lady Rascal is better than her opening mark.

She’s one of my 3-year-old Handicappers to follow for the season and that hasn’t changed after her two runs this season. Those were qualifying runs and she was always expected to be better once she moves up in trip.

Whether 10 furlongs is quite long enough, given her full-brother stayed much further, remains to be seen. She has an entry for 1m 3.5f next week, so there is that option.

However, off 67 she could have too much in hand for this opposition over this trip. I liked her seasonal reappearance at Wolverhampton over 9.5f when she was probably in need of it. One can ignore her next run at Newmarket over a mile. She was never touched and that constituted a public gallop.

The better ground and step up in trip should suit, though. She has a nice draw as well. You never quite know how these unexposed types develop, but on the surface there is little to fear from her rivals.

Given she was a £270k yearling back in 2021 there’s every chance she could be seriously underestimated by the handicapper on her handicap debut here.

10pts win – Lady Rascal @ 11/4


4.45 York: Class 4 Handicap, 7f

Gioia Cieca has found back to form since a break in which he was gelded and underwent a wind operation. Prior to this he finished a long way beaten on five consecutive occasions after a strong runner-up effort last April.

Back last month at Musselburgh, off for 235 days, he caught the eye for the way he finished after a less than ideal way the race developed for him from the start.

He was desperately unlucky next time over the same course and distance and that performances warranted an upgrade as the one before, especially as both runs came on softish ground.

No doubt Gioia Cieca is a better horse on decent ground. His two best career performances can on fast ground over 7 furlongs. Therefore the ground should be ideal, as long as the rain forecast doesn’t result in a deluge.

10pts win – Gioia Cieca @ 8/1


6.15 Hamilton: Class 6 Handicap, 5f

Spanish Angel is so dramatically well handicapped, he really should win this…. if he can get up the hill at Hamilton. Mews House also looks dangerous off the same mark as his recent close 2nd place finish, but he may prefer a bit of rain.

In contrast, Spanish Angel will hope the rain stays away and it rides as decent ground, which looks likely right now. That will see him improve a number of pounds on his recent strong performances.

He just failed in a three-way finish at Chelmsford last week, when runner-up behind a well-handicapped winner. Prior that he caught the eye thanks to a huge performance at Catterick on softish ground.

The widest draw was probably a disadvantage that day, nonetheless he made strong progress from 3f out against the stands’ rail and finished best of his group there.

He confirmed the strong AW form that he was in all winter. He seems to be on a lenient turf mark compared to his AW mark, because there’s no way that 10lb worse. He certainly isn’t, judged on judged on speed ratings.

10pts win – Spanish Angel @ 5/2


8.26 Hamilton: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

If this would be a furlong shorter I’d have supreme confidence that Basholo is going to win. The additional furlong and the stiff finish make me doubtful.

I have been weighing up the pros and cons all day and ultimately feel at given prices she is worth a bet in this race.

Not much else is hear to fear. Macho pride, the obvious one candidate to spoil the party, of course. Otherwise, Basholo herself is her biggest danger.

The filly has tons of speed and she showed it last time at Ayr. She burned through the first couple of furlongs and tired understandably. Nonetheless, I was impressed with her attitude to fight all the way to the line.

This is an easier race and she continues to race off a career-lowest mark. The likely decent ground is what she wants, and if Zak Wheatley can set slightly more conservative fractions early on she should have a decent chance to stay all the way to the line.

10pts win – Basholo @ 6/1

Friday Selections: 12th May 2023

8.25 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 9.5f

The more experienced horses, especially those lto winners, appear to have little scope to improve any further than their current ratings. Therefore this could represent an ideal opportunity for lightly raced Elterwater to open her account.

This is her seasonal reappearance but I expect her to be ready. There is no need to hold back anything and she steps up in trip in line with expectations of what should be her optimum trips.

She showed signs of improvement on Handicap debut when last seen in October when she was also quite well backed. She travelled nicely but didn’t have the pace to match in the closing stages over 7 furlongs.

Elterwater is a full-sister to a smart Aussie performer over 1m to 10f who improved nicely in her days as a 3yo. She looked quite big last year and is possibly one to be most interested in Spring. So her time should be now.

There is no doubt she is expected to improve as she moves up in trip as a daughter of Camelot. Her current 59 rating looks ready to be exploited, although how much she is in hand remains to be seen.

10pts win – Elterwater @ 7/1


8.40 Nottingham: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

Shark Two One is going to be 2lb lower when he races next time, and if things don’t work out here I’d be happy to back him then again. But he may rather be 4lb+ higher next time, in actual fact, because he looks cherry ripe for a big W.

He caught the eye for the first time at Newcastle at the end of last year when he pushed a seriously hot pace and only faded late. The form didn’t amount to much in general, but his individual performance in isolation was strong.

He’s 6lb lower today, back on turf, however, where he’s a better horse. Not only that, his most recent run a fortnight ago proved that the 5-year-old gelding is in superb form right now, and clearly well-handicapped off 63.

He wasn’t advantaged how the race panned out from his draw and caught too far back than ideal. He looked like coming with a proper challenge over 2 furlongs out but multiple avenues to kick on closed subsequently.

He finished better than the bare result suggests and he doesn’t need the additional 2lb help from the handicapper to win. Conditions as well as course and distance won’t be an issue.

10pts win – Shark Two One @ 13/2

Friday Selections: 5th May 2023

One from three, Totnes saved the day with a late charge to win ultimately with authority, though. The wide draw was a concern and he had to come from last to first on the wide outside. Thankfully he had too much in hand. He was well backed as well (6/4 SP).

Far From A Ruby was disappointing. However, I wouldn’t lose faith. Perhaps she was too keen, perhaps the ride was too aggressive, as the sectionals look fast, if they can be believed. She’ll have her day in the sun sooner rather than later.

Compere ran well but didn’t have any excuses. Perhaps the race was more competitive as I gave it credit. In any case, he wasn’t quite good enough.

We’re in May, a couple of days away from the first Classic of the season. Yet, here I am having another three selections for Newcastle on Friday after those two runners at Chelmsford on Thursday.


7.55 Newcastle: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

Intriguing contest largely due to some unexposed horses that could improve for experience and their handicap debut.

More exposed than most here but still open to improvement off her current mark is Bella Kopella. She caught the eye the last time over 7 furlongs here at Newcastle:

She was early up with the pace, before tracking the leader who set a solid pace. She made stylish progress from over 2f out as she moved forward and travelled like the winner. Perhaps she did too much in the middle part of the race as she tired badly in the final furlong.

The form of the race is up for debate, however, she won really well four weeks earlier over the same CD, also travelling powerfully in the middle of the race.

Nonetheless, she finished not particularly strongly that day either. Both times off a hot pace, though. She has shown good cruising speed, hence the drop to 6 furlongs looks possibly ideal, especially here at Newcastle.

Bella Kopella was progressive as a juvenile, is clearly an experienced filly at this stage, but looks still open to more improvement, as she ran to a 59 speed rating lto when she won in March, in a race that worked out really well in the meantime.

10pt win – Bella Kopella @ 15/2


8.25 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

Macho Pride is a standout in this field. He looks seriously well handicapped on his second run for the Ruth Carr yard.

He ran with plenty of credit on the All-Weather during the winter months and showed positive signs the last two runs as well. Soft ground was never to suit when last seen, but there as well as prior over this CD he showed excellent early speed and enthusiasm for the game.

Especially two back, his 8th place finish was a much better run than the bare form may suggest. It was strong race, and as a reference performance for his form it’s really promising.

He drops into a much easier race here on the sand now and showed also on the clock some solid performances in the not too distance past. Last season when he ran three times to speed ratings of 57+, in December he ran to 56 and February 54, both times over 6 furlongs at Newcastle.

It’s pretty obvious that he is seriously well weighted off 54 now, if in peak form, which I imagine his last two runs have helped to get him ready for.

10pts win – Macho Pride @ 9/1


9.00 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 5f

Beneficiary looks so ready and has found the perfect race, I firmly believe. He ran a massive race in February over 6 furlongs at Newcastle, when he came to my attention, and he should really benefit from the drop to the minimum trip.

Back then he moved forward, pushed a good pace as part of a duo initially, before he grabbed the lead 2f out, still ahead approaching final furlong but then tired rapidly.

It was a strong performance in a very strong race and he followed up with another strong run from the front when last seen. He tends to be keen and go off to hard over 6 furlongs, hence the drop to 5f will be helpful.

He drops into a much easier race here and has been given additional help from the handicapper as well. He ran to a 63 speed rating in January, so a mark off 60 offers a great chance.

The fact there is plenty of pace here should be a bonus. He doesn’t have to lead, but rather can follow the front-runners and wait for the right moment to kick on as he has stamina for an additional furlong.

10pts win – Beneficiary @ 7/2

Friday Selections: 21st April 2023

Another pretty quiet week so far, but one that has been hugely successful: two winners on Tuesday, The Toff and later in the evening it was Papa Cocktail especially who ran out gutsy wins to land a rare 2 from 2 on the day.


4.18 Cork: Conditions Race, 1m 2f

It’s always tricky to know how these 3-year-old horses have wintered and how fit they are on their fist run in the new season. This contest at Cork looks particularly trappy as four of the five runners have legitimate claims to develop into proper pattern class horses this year.

Nonetheless, Bertinelli appears somewhat underappreciated here. I would have expected him to be a bit shorter, given how highly I rate him. but can see why he’s not.

He is one of my Horses to Follow, and I firmly believe he’s got the potential to be a seriously good colt this year. In saying that, one may underestimate him if purely judged on the lack of perceived impressiveness of his sole victory as a juvenile.

That was his second and final start asa juvenile, when he battled hard to land a Dundalk maiden. He won by a neck, but the performance warrants an upgrade because the jockey reported that the colt got struck into behind and that had a major impact on how he ran.

With that in mind the Dundalk run was a fine follow-up on his eye-catching debut that came at Leopardwown where finished an excellent second place behind smart winner Peking Opera, while he didn’t enjoy quite a clear run from 2f out. He also achieved a promising 74 speed rating.

Bertinelli was also reported to be rather weak and had a lot of growing to do last year, which puts these two performances into even better perspective.

Apparently he has wintered really well and had been working nicely since being back in training before hitting a slight setback suffering from a stone bruise.

That’s a concern, but the fact he’s running today, still maintains all his fancy entries, and Ryan Moore coming to Cork, looks positive, as is the step up to 10 furlongs, which is an absolute must.

I’ve no doubts that he stays the Derby distance, and that, if all goes well, we’ll see him in one of the English or Irish Derby this year. But he looks speedy enough for 10 furlongs, and has already shown to handle slightly better ground, while his other rivals, with pedigrees have won in deep ground and look to need a trip on pedigree.

This is as low a price I ever back, but I’m more than hopeful Bertinelli can justify these odds to get his 3-year-old campaign off to the flyer.

10pts win – Bertinelli @ 9/4

Friday Selections: 7th April 2023

First winner for the month on Wednesday: Bang On The Bell (9/2; 4/1 SP) won his race at Wolverhampton. Although, not quite in the manner I had anticipated as he blew the start and had do it the hard way. Thankfully, he held on and showed grit in the final furlong.

Dog Fox was withdrawn, unfortunately; after misbehaving in the stalls; there’ll be another day.

Sharon Macready refused to settle as they tried to drop her in. I could have seen that coming. She’s done it before. Like…. always. Even over the minimum trip. Backing her over 6 furlongs was simply a poor decision.


3.15 Lingfield: Class 3 Handicap, 6f

The “All-Weather Vase Sprint Handicap” looks one of those uncompetitive-competitive handicaps. Plenty of runners, more or less similar ability, plenty of chances without any real standout and very few well-handicapped ones, if any.

Hence I’m prepared to give Emperor Spirit a solid shout at this, who seems overpriced in this field, for a myriad of reasons.

For one, it’s only two runs back that he seriously caught the eye at Newcastle:

He grabbed the lead promptly, set a red hot pace, but was pestered by a rival throughout, yet travelled strongly, before drifting across the track as he got really tired in the closing stages and was eventually overpowered by two horses from off the pace to finish third.

That was a strong performance and rock solid form, and his subsequent and most recent run doesn’t distract from it in my view – he was well beaten when last seen but that was a hot 5 furlong sprint on his debut for a new yard. No doubt the minimum trip is too sharp.

He ran pretty well all winter, though; especially over this course and distance in early December off 5lb higher than he’s currently rated, going off the 15/8 favourite, only beaten late in the day – doing so with cheek pieces fitted, which are on here again after an absence recently.

Subsequent form did suggest he ran not far below that level of form; although he’s a horse who finds it tough to get his head in front, hence he has fallen ever so slightly down to a 85 mark now.

He ran to higher speed ratings in the past, so there is an argument to be made that he’s weighted to win.

The race may develop to his advantage: he could establish an easy lead and good early rhythm and subsequently tough to peg back for a third career victory. He’s got the benefit of the #1 draw and there’s not too much pace pressure especially as other prominent horses are wider drawn.

10pts win – Emperor Spirit @ 11/1


3.25 Bath: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 3.5f

On the basis of ground, trip and handicap mark one can rule out more than half the field. Gastronomy seems the default favourite given his unexposed profile for strong connections, but is clearly poor value given the short price with questions to answers on ground and trip.

Nonetheless, the one I have an eye on is the 5-yeaer-old mare Reach, who could be quite well handicapped here.

She’s one I flagged in the Handicappers To Follow piece, although I didn’t expect to find such an ideal opportunity so soon after publishing the list.

Reach is very lightly raced for her age. She created a strong impression on her first two starts before winning in emphatic fashion at Pontefract in autumn, when upped to 12 furlongs.

She travelled strongly on Handicap debut subsequently, but faded badly over the shorter 10 furlongs; perhaps she paid for having three runs in rather quick succession.

The mare looks all stamina and should have more to offer off 74 going up in trip again, especially with cut in the ground.

I’ve got little doubts about her race fitness. I expect her to be ready to go. Connections couldn’t have hoped for a better race to kick-off the season.

10pts win – Reach @ 15/2

Friday Selections: 10th March 2023

1.40 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 5f

A really poor 0-52 Handicap of the lowest grade. This could be an excellent opportunity for veteran Dapper Man to enjoy a perfect race from the #1 draw.

He seemed to hit some good form lately, especially when last seen over the straight five at Southwell.

There he tracked the pace and the eventual winner early on, got outpaced halfway through, before he had to switch due to traffic problems. He got going again and ran on really well against the unfavourable stands’ side rail.

In my view he was far from disgraced in his last four runs since return to the All-Weather. That is backed up by speed ratings as he ran to 50 last time out and 52 four runs back, suggesting he is at a level that should give him a good chance in this field.

I feel he may enjoy the return to race around a bend over the minimum trip, especially this course and distance where has a 2-1-1 record.

From the #1 draw he should get to the lead without an issue, and has then the option to either go for it or taking the lead of the potential pace pressure that will have to do a lot from outside draws to get there, though.

10pts win – Dapper Man @ 9/2


6.00 Kempton: Class 4 Handicap, 6f

It’s interesting that Gobi Sunset drops back in trip to 6 furlongs. Even though possibly more thought of as a 7 furlongs specialist, two of his three career wins came over this trip for a 7-2-2 record.

Gobi Sunset’s career-best speed rating also was achieved over 6 furlongs on the All-Weather. So the drop in trip is as intriguing as it makes sense.

He will find this class easier as well. There is a chance that 0-95 and 0-85 level is a little bit too hot form him. Nonetheless, he ran with a lot of credit in the three runs since returning from a 260 day break.

He only tired late after attempting to make all on his reappearance at Wolverhampton, and I was really impressed how easily he finished last time out, posting the fastest final furlong split.

The inexperienced 7lb claimer is a question mark. On the other hand, Archie Young looked pretty solid in the sole ride he had recently.

The low draw suits to move forward if reverted back to attacking tactics. He was perhaps a little slow away, but not helped by a rival either, and perhaps it was also somewhat by design, when restrained in rear last time out.

There is plenty of pace here. I feel this can suit. If this is a test of stamina his extra bit of 7 furlongs stamina will be an asset late in the race.

10pts win – Gobi Sunset @ 7/1


8.30 Kempton: Class 6 Handicap, 7f

I loved Eastern Star’s gutsy performance at this venue last week. The idiosyncrasies of the British handicapping system have her race off 2lb lower here over a better trip, despite finishing a fine runner-up.

Last week she grabbed the lead and set seriously hot pace early on. As a consequence she had the field on the stretch, still going well turning for home. From 2 furlongs out she came severely under pressure but it was impressive how she pulled out more and fought back gamely.

A mile clearly stretches her. She also hasn’t won on the All-Weather or 7 furlongs yet in her long career, but I think she stays 7 furlongs, and has two placed efforts from two tries over this course and distance, including her career-best speed rating of 56, which came exactly 12 days ago to this day in exactly the same type of race over this C&D.

Her most recent effort clearly shows she is in serious form as well. Having the opportunity to race off 46 this one time, 2lb lower than lto, and where her mark is going back to again after this, in a very winnable contest, she looks to have a prime chance for a first victory on the sand.

10pts win – Eastern Star @ 9/2

Friday Selections: 24th February 2023

Another desperately disappoint effort from my selection last night. Gowanbuster one of the top negative market movers ran exactly like that. Last bunch of selections all beaten before it mattered… makes for grim reading.

I am the first to be critical of my decisions and work, but in hindsight I must say to feel totally comfortable with each and every selection. It’s hopefully just one of those times, a wild downswing.

It’s been a long week in any case. I was so tired last night I forgot to press the “Publish” button for this post as well as to even check whether the entire stake got matched. It didn’t. Thankfully, prices haven’t changed too dramatically for my Dundalk selection with 10s finally matched.

A winner would do me wonders, perhaps…. that says, Saturday is one to be excited about in any case, and I can’t wait for it: Cape Derby in South Africa with the return of Charles Dickens!


6.00 Dundalk: 47-65 Handicap, 7f

Despite the slightly wider than ideal draw, Royal Tribute makes tons of appeal on the basis of his most recent course and distance run earlier this month.

That day he travelled incredibly well, made his challenge toward the inside rail and pocked his head in front 2 furlongs from home. He wasn’t a match for the eventual winner who came with a strong finish on the stands’ side.

But he ran on for second place, having the measure of two subsequent winners in third and fourth place. The form looks strong, therefore, and a better race than this one.

In my view Royal Tribute wasn’t disgraced last time out when dropped to 6 furlongs. He travelled well once again but didn’t have the pace to challenge and fell away in the closing stages.

Back over 7 furlongs, as a course and distance winner off the same mark he looks one of the likelier sorts to run his race. He clearly continues to be in good form and has the added bonus of Colin Keane in the saddle.

CTK was riding two runs back as well, so he is familiar with the horse, who can be a tricky starter. navigating the #9 draw will be a fine balancing act.

Hope the pace will play out isn’t entirely clear, with some f those potentially eager to move forward drawn wide as well. I hope Keane gets him off to a solid start and can settle no worse than midfield without being caught wide, which leaves every option entering the home straight.

Challenging wide toward the stands’ worked well often in the last weeks in general, so the #9 draw may force Keane’s hands to go down that route, which wouldn’t be a disadvantage per se.

Dangerous opposition in form and well handicapped is scare in the field. One can argue Royal Tribute is rated close enough to his current merit. However, given he was left on the same mark after the huge recent CD performance, gives him in this poor field a strong chance.

10pts win – Royal Tribute @ 10/1

Friday Selections: 17th February 2023

A quiet week so far. Prince Of Rome on Monday the only selection to date, ran his race from the front; no excuses, he would have won if good enough.

Thankfully, my conservatism didn’t bite me too hard this week… yet. Not too many of my eyecatchers ran, and I didn’t miss a winner. Although, this may change today?

Some off the list I somewhat fancy but don’t feel it’s going to be their day. Nobody ever made the game pay by backing “fancies”. Nonetheless, there’s one horse too tempting, weighing up all the arguments.


1.50 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 7f

I have been thinking about Dutugamunu for a while and couldn’t make up my mind. I have come around to give him the chance on pure handicapping terms after that recent run where he travelled so well and seeing some money this morning is the signal I needed.

That performance tied in nicely with the prior run as well, where he ran much better than bare form would suggest. There are obvious risks attached, though.

The yard barely has a winner on the All-Weather over the last two years, the #8 draw is a question mark, so is the potential lack of pace and the application of a first-time visor.

But these can be seen in a positive light as well. This could be the day for Dutugamunu to go for it properly. The #8 draw has a pretty solid record over the 7f trip at Lingfield, actually. The visor could help the gelding to start more sharply and get into a nice position where he’s tracking the pace.

Key to me is the fact he looks absolutely ripe on visual evidence as well as on ratings. Two runs back he ran to a 52 speed rating, while many things went wrong during the race. Last time out he travelled notably well into the home straight. Those runs confirm that he’s still as good as before his break, as in the summer he ran on three subsequent occasions to speed ratings 51, 52 and 53.

The drop to 7f could suit. He is 0/7 over the distance but most came in in the early days of his career and can be safely ignored. He already has produced a strong speed rating over 7f, though.

No doubt off a 52 mark he is extremely well handicapped now, given the speed ratings produced recently and last season. If he can overcome without issues the draw and track the pace without pulling too hard – that is a risk in this race without a designated front-runner – he must have a cracking chance to win.

10pt win – Dutugamunu @ 17/2