Tag Archives: Goodwood

Preview: York – Lonsdale Cup 2019

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2.25 York: Group 2 Lonsdale Cup, 2m 56y

There is precious little between the market principles on form and ratings – merely 2lb on official ratings, merely 2lb on career best RPR’s, in favour of odds-on favourite Stradivarius, and 3lb on highest topspeed, in favour of Dee Ex Bee.

Both horses are high class stayers, they met a couple of times already when Stradivarius had the upper in any case. The last time they met at Goodwood: Stradivarius victory that day, one could argue appeared with a bit in hand, although the eventual margin was tight.

He got a peach of a ride and had everything going for himself that day, with a fast pace to chase and no issues in finding cover until getting a crystal clear run to produce a strong finish.

You could argue Dee Ex Bee didn’t enjoy the same luxury that day. He saw plenty of daylight, was much closer to the fast pace and simply didn’t race s economical as Stradivarius did. Yet he dug deep, stayed strongly to the line and achieved the same topspeed rating as the winner.

Regardless, on the surface it appears he simply isn’t quite as good as Stradivarius. And that might well be true. But I feel the numbers don’t lie: if there is anything between these two, then it’s previous little.

So a 3lb swing in the weights today may turn the table on fast ground that will suit Dee Ex Bee down to the grounds, in a small field where the pace situation could pan out very differently than the last two times also.

You can’t discount Dermot Weld’s charge Falcon Eight. Lightly raced, progressive, he may well improve again. However, he would have to improve tons to be at the level of the market leaders.

For me the value choice in this race is undoubtedly Dee Ex Bee. When everything points to the fact that Stradivarius is a slightly better horse – having as little as 2lb in hand on official ratings – then it’s hard to fathom why one is a 4/9 chance and the tother a 7/2 chance.

Selection:
10pts win – Dee Ex Bee @ 7/2 MB

Saturday Selections: May, 4th 2019

Twilight Son

Read my 2000 Guineas Preview Here

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2.30 Thirsk: Class 4 Handicap, 6f

I was keen on Paddy Power the last time at Ripon; although he didn’t win, he ran with credit in a hot contest that looks rock solid form. He dropped another pound since then – not that this will make a huge difference, but it means he’s fallen below his lowest winning mark now.

Paddy Power’s form is showing a downward trend in general, no doubt; I still believe he retains enough ability to win of his current mark. Let’s not forget he won a competitive York handicap of a 6lb higher mark-  and was an excellent 4th in a hot class 2 Handicap subsequently last summer.

Selection:
10pts win – Paddy Power @ 15/2 MB

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2.40 Goodwood: Class 2 Handicap, 7f

This looks competitive in nature, though I find few of these with any secrets left for the handicapper. Slightly different story for the filly Whitefountainfairy, who we haven’t seen all that often in handicap company and who looks on a tasty mark, returning to the turf.

She looked a promising juvenile and continued to do so as 3-year-old, although on the surface she may have been a little bit disappointing as her rise in pattern company didn’t continue. However, Whitefountainfairy wasn’t disgraced in some hot races regardless, running well of high marks in ultra competitive handicaps.

She returned on the All-Weather in March from her winter break, and finishing strongly in superb 6f contest at Kempton, that has worked out incredibly well form wise. Well backed at Chelmsford the next time, she didn’t quite live up to the price tag.

Returning to turf and a course and distance Whitefountainfairy has achieved a career best as a juvenile, down to a mark of 87 with a good 3lb claimer on board who has only this one ride today – Whitefountainfairy should run a huge race.

Selection:
10pts win – Whitefountainfairy @ 9/1 MB

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3.40 Thirsk: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

I struggle to split Knowing Glance and Exchequer, and that’s not only because them being drawn so closely to each other or because of their respective odds being similar. So I don’t even attempt it. One of these two will win, if the wide draw doesn’t catch them out.

Big if, but both horses appear supremely well handicapped. Exchequer for a start hasn’t won on turf yet and appears to be a much better All-Weather horse. This notion is slightly skewed by efforts in unsuitable conditions.

Checking his record for fast ground, Exchequer’s record still doesn’t show a victory, but three excellent efforts, including to 3rd placed efforts, in hot class 3 handicaps. Those forms date back a few years – which means, he hasn’t been running on his most suitable turf conditions for a long time.

Exchequer does today. Of a 20lb lower turf mark than his current All-Weather rating. He performed with plenty of credit of a 89 mark on the All-Weather throughout the winter. His claims are blindingly obvious today, even more so dropping down to class 5 as well.

They are pretty much as obvious for Richard Fahey’s Knowing Glance. He won on his seasonal reappearance a class 5 Handicap of his current mark last year, running to a 71 TS rating that day – the form has worked out well.

Knowing Glance remains relatively low mileage. He couldn’t quite kick on from his Carlisle success, but performed with credit in better class a couple of times in autumn.

Given he seems to run well fresh, drops down to class 5 again, with fast ground and trip sure to suit, down to his last winning mark, with a fine 5lb claimer on board, he looks sure to go well.

Selections:
5pts win – Knowing Glance @ 13/2 MB
5pts win – Exchequer @ 13/2 MB

Sunday Selections: October, 14th, 2018

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4.55 Goodwood: Class 3 Handicap, 6f

The Daley Express is already a course and distance winner and will enjoy any bit of additional rain falling between now and off time. He’s won well earlier this year off a similar handicap mark at Bath over 5.5f, granted not a race that looks particularly strong judged by subsequent form.

Nonetheless, the four year old gelding ran well in defeat on numerous occasions in the aftermath – without troubling the judges, it has to be said, though.

However, slowly he drops down to a decent mark now. Franny Norton is in the saddle; he’s boosting a 26.3% strike rate when riding for trainer Ronald Harris.

In a race where little stands out, The Daley Express looks one of the more likely sorts to put his nose in front today. With conditions to suit a big run is expected.

Selection:
10pts win – The Daley Express @ 14/1 PP

Sunday Selections: September, 30th 2018

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4.10 Epsom: Class 4 Handicap, 7f

A competitive 7f handicap as you would expect it that leaves it open for an upset. Nonetheless I feel top weight and fancied Dourada could have all the right answers today.

The colt is a two times course and distance winner, who ran well in defeat in a number of races this year. That says his last two efforts – both came over CD – were below par, although he had some fair excuses four weeks ago.

Now down to a mark off 80 again – a rating he came as close as a neck and was arguably a bit unlucky due to his positioning and the way the race was run when runner-up at Goodwood back in May – Dourada will encounter ideal conditions today.

This race also looks slightly easier in terms of rivals encountered compared to most of the other handicaps he contested this season. There is the added bonus of an excellent 3lb claimer on board to steer the four-year-old home today.

Selection:
10pts win – Dourada @ 5/1 PP

Sunday Selections: August, 26th 2018

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3.15 Beverley: Class 3 Nursery, 5f

The short priced favourite is a foolish price in this rather competitive nursery in my mind. Most importantly, that leaves my selection Snazzy seemingly undervalued in the market.

This filly won – arguably a not overly strong race, granted – very impressively on debut earlier this year at Newcastle overcoming all sorts of trouble. Subsequently placed in Listed company, she was found out for class stepping up to Group 2 class at Royal Ascot.

But, despite not coming too close to win, Snazzy ran extremely well in defeat in two subsequent starts when things didn’t quite went her way in highly competitive events that have worked out well form wise in the meantime.

A drop to the minimum trip should work in her favour and with first time visor applied from a good draw I would expect her to go forward here.

Selection:
10pts win – Snazzy @ 10/3 PP

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4.25 Beverley: Class 4 Handicap, 8.5f 

I was keen on Ghazan on handicap debut back in May after the colt showed plenty of promise in three juvenile starts, particularly the final run in 2017 looked excellent form.

From a wide draw he had a lot to do at Leicester on what was his seasonal reappearance and always travelling wide as a consequence didn’t make it an easy task. After coming briefly off the bridle over 4f out a shake of the reign saw Ghazan travelling notably strongest of all until nearly 2f out when he then tired and wasn’t given a hard time.

That form has worked out quite well in the meantime, so the fact Ghazan was able to travell all over that sort of field is encouraging as I felt beforehand he might have been underestimated by an opening 75 mark.

He’s on 74 today, drops a bit in trip. That in combination with the rain arriving should suit him well. Hanagan is in the saddle, a bonus. Question remains why the absence since May. If he’s fit and well then Ghazan should have a big chance today.

Selection:
10pts win – Ghazan @ 11/2 PP

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5.20 Goodwood: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

A pretty consistent runner. albeit on the go for a long time, Roundabout Magic is one who more often than not gives you a good run for your money. He is also one who finds trouble on a regular basis.

So happened a week ago at Windsor. He travelled strongly and seemed to come with a big run when badly hampered 2f out.

He’s already won this year and was multiple times placed plus ran a career high time speed rating of 67. This small field should suit, if the pace is on.

Selection:
10pts win – Roundabout Magic @ 6/1 VC

Friday Selections: August, 3rd 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

Three on the bounce! What rare joy to find a winner on three consecutive days – Land Force (7/2) clearly stayed the trip as hoped and won the Richmond Stakes in commanding style under a class ride by Ryan Moore.

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5.50 Newmarket: Class 5 Handicap, 12f

It was a disappointing handicap debut for Floria Tosca the other day after she showed a bit of promise in three maiden starts. I was keen on her the last time as I thought that judged by her second start at Chelmsford she could be well treated off her opening mark. That form worked out incredibly well and her subsequent performance at Bath looked more than decent too.

A fortnight ago the race then didn’t quite worked out the way as hoped. They were crawling for most parts, Floria Tosca was left flat footed over 4f out but then made quite a bit of stylish progress to lead briefly over 2f out. She didn’t see it out eventually and that becomes a bit of a habit now, which is a concern.

Hopefully it is more greenness than anything else. She is bred for the job so upped to 12f may suit. There should be a fair pace on the cards today and it is very winnable race. Dropped 3lb to a mark off 70 plus interesting young apprentice Marco Ghiani in the saddle who claims another 7lb means the filly must enter calculations here.

Selection:
10pts win – Floria Tosca @ 11/1 PP

Thursday Selections: August, 2nd 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

He’s finally done it! Lightning Spear after more than two handful of attempts finally broke through the barrier to land a Group 1! And how he did it – beautifully timed and produced with patience and poise by Osisin Murphy, the seven year old colt stormed to success in the Sussex Stakes. A great price he was all the same (selection @ 12.5/1)!

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3.00 Goodwood: Group 1 Richmond Stakes, 6f

Ballydoyle isn’t going quite as strong as one would usually see this time of the year. There were issues in the yard reportedly. Nonetheless Land Force looks a supreme candidate to land the Richmond Stakes today.

He’s been a February foal so no surprise to see him having quite a bit of racing already in his legs as he also appears to be a good looking and imposing individual. He took the step up to graded class in his stride when finishing a strong 3rd in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot. Arguably a race he wasn’t advantaged due to his positioning toward the stand side for most parts of the race.

He finished very strongly, indicating a step up to 6f will be beneficial. He remained over the minimum trip next time out in a Listed contest at Tipperary. Not the strongest of contests, but he only needed to be pushed under under hands and heels to win cozily.

Today’s test looks ideal for this speedy individual. The additional furlong won’t be a problem, neither is the ground.

Selection:
10pts win – Land Force @ 7/2 PP

Wednesday Selections: August, 1st 2018

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3.35 Goodwood: Group 1 Sussex Stakes, 1m

On the face of it this is not a vintage renewal of the Sussex Stakes. As always the three year old’s hold an advantage thanks to WFA and that’s not different this time. But you can pick big holes into their form today. After all there is little between the top four or five in the betting market, in my mind.

Given that I can discount both Without Parole and Expert Eye purely for price reasons. The latter one returning to a mile seems not ideal despite a recent impressive success over 7f. Without Parole is clearly a fair favourite, however hasn’t beaten allot to this day, if we’re honest. Andre Fabre always needs to be respected but Orbaan has a lot to find. Gustav Klimt isn’t good enough on this level.

Leaves me with a decision who of the older horses is the best bet. Beat The Bank leads the way. Unlucky in the Queen Anne, he ran into trouble in the Summer Mile at the same venue weeks later again, though found a way to get his head in front.

Lord Glitter is closely matched but I feel he had every chance the other day at Ascot, so even at a big price he’s not one I fancy. While I fancy Beat The Bank to do damage today, at prices I think he’s close to what he should be.

Unlike veteran Lightning Spear. Now a seven year but as good as ever, he’s chasing the elusive first Group 1 victory. Today could be the day. He is as good as ever as proven in his two starts this year when a tight runner-up in the Lockinge Stakes and an excellent third in the Queen Anne.

He is an uncomplicated type who is a CD scorerm multiple Stakes winner and seven times placed on the highest level. Lightning Spear is the ultimate pro who will run his race which might be enough to finally get his head in front.

Selection:
10pts win – Lightning Spear @ 12.5/1 MB

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3.55 Redcar: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 2f

Lightly raced Nathanial colt Global Style drops back to 10f here as well as down in a class 5 Handicap. He didn’t look exactly like a truly well handicapped horse the last couple of starts, however had ran well enough all the same and in my eyes those performances looked slightly better than the bare form.

He clearly has a race in him, particularly one like this here, a rather uncompetitive affair, that is for the taking.

He’s not a speedy horse by any means. So pace will be key. You’d be hopeful there is a bit here today. That should allow Global Style to grind his way to the front when it matters.

He clearly is up to his current mark, and potentially a tad better. His third in a good class 3 contest over 12f at Thirsk, behind two good horses, proved it. A fair runner-up over CD back in June saw him only beaten for a turn of foot in the closing stages. Given he’s also an April foal means he may simply needed a bit of time to find his way also.

Selection:
10pts win – Global Style @ 5/1 MB

Tuesday Selections: July, 31st 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

1.50 Goodwood: Class 2 Handicap, 1m 2f

Still to some extend unexposed and open to further improvement is Jim Crowley’s mount Alfarris. A progressive sort, he won on seasonal reappearance a hot class 3 Handicap at Chelmsford in commanding style.

Returning two weeks later at Sandown stepping up in class he travelled supremely well even though the race with its start-stop gallop wasn’t set up to see him to best effect. Ultimately the pace setter pulled out more in the closing stages.

That was a clear career best performance by Alfarris resulting in a 93 TS rating. He’s upped 2lb for the effort but in the context of the race here he has a really nice weight and a good draw too.

Selection:
10pts win – Alfarris @ 7/1 PP

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3.35 Goodwood: Group 1 Goodwood Cup, 2m

Defending champion Stradivarius is the obvious one and hard to beat after two excellent wins this year. But at given prices I have a go with Call To Mind who remains unexposed over the 2m trip and also looks to get better with time.

He won a 1m 6f Listed contest here at Goodwood last year and has backed this up with some big performances in graded company. He was also third in this years Yorkshire Cup behind Stradivarius – a fair margin beaten, though.

A subsequent Grade 2 success in the Belmont Gold Cup in June when attempting the full 2 miles for the first time set him up nicely for a big performance today, I feel where he can chase home the hot favourite.

Selection:
10pts win – Call To Mind @ 16/1 PP

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4.45 Goodwood: Class 2 Handicap, 5f

Tricky race where I give Just Glamorous a chance to find back some form after two rather below-par efforts this year. A real speed-ball who should enjoy exactly this type of test, he drops to a more likely mark as well as down from Graded company.

Just Glamorous has shown in the past to be able to to this sort of mark and time speed figures back this up. The question is whether he still got it as the drop off between what he showed at the back end of last season to the two efforts this year are stark.

Selection:
10pts win – Just Glamorous @ 27/1 MB

Guineas Weekend Preview

Guineas weekend has firmly arrived – the first Classics of the new flat season nearly upon us…. time is flying – studying the four miler at Cheltenham feels like yesterday!

But it’s great. I love flat racing. I love Newmarket, I love Guineas weekend. It’s when dreams are still dreamed, when the summer starts to make its presence felt and the mind gets fully focused on the flat and all those good looking, fast horses that now emerge on a near daily basis.

My allegiance in the 2000 Guineas is not a secret. I shouted it from the roof for weeks: Al Wukair will give hot favourite Churchill plenty to think about. I stick to my guns and nothing has changed my opinion – I’d be surprised if the French horse doesn’t go close.

Sunday – 1000 Guineas:

Not until last night I made up my mind up on the fillies’ equivalent. Because let’s face it, this is quite an open contest. Yes, another Aiden O’Brien inmate says ‘HI’ from the top of the betting, but  you got to be a brave man to back Rhododendron for what seems quite a skinny price.

With fillies you never know whether they have trained on, whether they are still in love with the game or whether they have set their mind on other things in life. That aside, we haven’t seen Rhododendron since last season, whereas we have seen a number of other intriguing contenders already racing in the last weeks, proving they have trained on.

Also even if you do believe strongly in her juvenile form, it’s probably fair to say that it does tie in with a handful of other runners in the field, and it’s not like that she ran all of them down in the manner of a far superior individual.

Nonetheless it appears that the Irish have a very strong hand in the 1000 Guineas on Sunday, Aiden O’Brien in particular – not only because of Rhododendron.

Big market mover in recent days was stable mate Winter, and you can easily see why. It was a huge run in the 1000 Guineas trial at Leopardstown from her. She had a wider than ideal trip throughout, yet nearly beat stable mate Hydrangea who in contrast had the run of the race from the front.

They grey has plenty of scope and is clearly talented. However the good prices are long gone. Is Hydrangea better value, given she won the trial? Yes, possibly. A good filly, a willing partner for whoever jockey sits atop, a filly that has a fair chance, though she is far from flashy and you wonder whether she can improve from Leopardstown.

The Leopardstown form has been franked in no uncertain terms by third placed Rehana in the meantime – that enhances the chances of Winter and Hydrangea, no doubt. Rehana has been impressive in the Group 3 Athasi Stakes at Naas last weekend.

IMO this piece of form, the Leopardstown Trial, is therefore key in determining the winner of the 1000 Guineas. In saying that the filly that came fourth that day is clearly the one of most interest to me.

Intricately providing young Joseph his first Classic winner? What a story that would be. She is still a whopping price, which puzzles me, particularly because the vibes from the yard seem positive.

Anyway, Leopardstown was clearly an occasion where  the main aim was to get a run under her belt. Still she ran a perfectly fine race. She raced off the pace which wasn’t ideal in this particular contest, but she travelled well enough through the race and eventually finished less than 2 lengths beaten, without getting a hard ride at all.

It should put her right for when it really matters. Lest we forget, Intricately already is a Group 1 winner! She beat Hydrangea in a tight finish in the Moyglare last season – Rhododendron was nearly two lengths back in third.

The one mile trip won’t be an issue for her. Yes, she was disappointing at Santa Anita, but that was right at the end of the season. You could draw from that performance that quick ground is a slight concern, though. However in terms of stamina, I don’t worry too much. She looks a filly that cries out for an extra furlong.

In summary, Intricately looks a big price – too big. She has the right profile, is well bred for the job, has race fitness on her side and is clearly classy given she is a Group 1 winner – so Intricately @ 18/1 is my selection for the 1000 Guineas.

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5.00 Goodwood: Class 5 Handicap, 10f

Duchess Of Fife looks an intriguing contender for a red hot yard. The filly was pretty raw with plenty to learn in all her three maiden runs last season, however as an April foal she should have scope to improve this season. She has quite a big frame to fill too, so a winter may have done her the world of good.

A hood is applied for the first time, so she does try the 10f trip. Her maiden form looks solid rating wise, giving her every chance of an opening mark of 65. She will need to find improvement for the distance, headgear and maturity, but if she does make a step forward she should go very close here.

Selection:
10pts win – Duchess Of Fife @ 9/1 Bet365

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6.50 Doncaster: Class 2 Handicap, 7f

Bottom weight Aardwolf is a very interesting contender after an excellent comeback run on the back of a gelding op during the winter. With his WFA allowance and prominent racing style he could steel the race.

Nonetheless a safer pick is Gallipoli who looks certain to progress after a classy victory at Leicester last moth. The four year old is still quite lightly raced and had only three starts over this 7f trip, with legitimate excuses the first two starts over this trip where didn’t quite perform too well.

Gallipoli has course form – he got off the mark on debut here over 5f on fast ground. So conditions are sure to suit him. Hopefully there will be enough pace, as it seems not too many want to go forward. However he showed in the past to be able to track the pace and change gear.

Selection:
10pts win – Gallipoli @ 10/3 William Hill