Tag Archives: Group Race

Saturday Selections: June, 8th 2019

Leicester Racecourse home straight

2.25 Haydock: Group 3 Pinnacle Stakes, 1m 4f

Odds-on favourite True Self is the right lady on top of the market but at the same time the confidence in her making the step up to group class overvalues what she has done so far. Her career best topspeed rating of 91 gives her a good chance, no doubt. But she is vulnerable to more talented individual.

There is only one other individual in this race likely to be more talented: Pilaster. A frustrating sort, on official ratings she has 6lb to find with True Self. However, she ran to topspeed ratings of 104 and 91 last season and is already a Group 2 winner.

The drop in trip with the slower ground in combination can suit. Her sire Nathanial has an excellent record with his offspring on soft ground. Whether she handles the heavy ground, though, remains to be seen.

I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt to find back to form here today in what looks a winnable race as long as she acts on the ground.

Selection:
10pts win – Pilaster @ 17/2 MB

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4.20 Beverley: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 2f

Judged on this years form he’s going to struggle, however the drop in grade coupled with a good draw and ground to suit may see Indomeneo find back to form.

The 4-year-old has been busy this year already and showed a bit of spark on his seasonal return, though didn’t follow-up. As a consequence he has dropped to a career lowest handicap mark, while also dropping into a class 5 handicap.

That should help Indomeneo to run better than he brought to the track in his recent starts. Taking last year into account, he certainly looks to have a major chance, as he won off 82 over 10 furlongs and was an excellent runner-up over this trip in October when also ran to a joint career highest top speed rating.

Given Indomeneo has ran multiple times to top speed ratings of 77 and higher, he is an obvious danger if he’s still got some appetite for the game. Drawn in 3 should be a big advantage to be in the right position right from the start here.

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

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8.30 Chepstow: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

The soft conditions will suit Union Rose perfectly and can ensure he’ll pull out a bit more than when seen finishing in the money three of the last four times of a similar mark.

The seven-year-old has a 100% place record at this course as well as distance, although is quite a few pounds above his last wining mark; but he’s won of much higher in the past and interestingly his highest rated performances came on genuinely soft ground – Union Rose didn’t have many chances to run in these type of conditions for quite some time now.

Given he acted well at Chepstow before, now with ideal conditions, he can find the needed improvement in order to get his head in front.

 Selection:
10pts win – Union Rose @ 13/2 MB

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9.00 Chepstow: Class 6 Handicap, 5f

It remains to be seen how much ability and speed is there over the minimum distance, however on slow ground, I feel Sovereign State could take advantage of a slipping mark and break his maiden tag.

He showed a bit of promise in a couple of starts, without ever getting close. This is a big lad, he may needed time, and looks likely to improve with age.

His best performance came over 5f on soft ground, though, which makes him an interesting candidate in a really poor race, where it wouldn’t surprise to see this low mileage lad improve enough to be competitive.

Selection:
10pts win – Sovereign State @ 8/1 WH

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Henry II Stakes Preview

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After a recent Sagaro Stakes success Dee Ex Bee is well fancied to go back to back today. It was his first try over two miles and he passed the test with flying colours. This could be more competitive today, though, so is my feeling.

Obviously his Derby run is the standout performance, however, he hasn’t ran anywhere near that form ever since, and judged on form and ratings what he has produced ever since, he is a good horse, but clearly not a top drawer and also his time wasn’t that impressive last time to suggest he’s dramatically better than the rest of the field here, particularly as he has to give weight away.

Strong cases can be made for the two Mark Johnston runners. My preference is for Austrian School simply on the fact he has more often produced high enough time speed ratings to suggest he is defiantly home in this grade, and probably a better horse than stable mate Making Miracles, who was so impressive in the Chester Cup, having the run of the race, on the other hand.

Austrian School was a long way beaten there as a favourite, but bottomless ground and the way the race turned out, are a fair excuse. He is better judged on his impressive Musselburgh win in April over 1m 6f.

A career best performance on TS and RPR, also backing up the strong runner-up performance of the Mallard Handicap at Doncaster from last autumn, confirming he is that good.

Austrian School deserves a crack at this level and will give the favourite a lot to think about in the closing stages I strongly believe.

Selection:
10pts win – Austrian School @ 11/2 MB

Tuesday Selections: Zhukova can win Cork feature

Cork Racecourse

Good win for Harlequin Rock yesterday. Feels always good to get things right, as it doesn’t happen too often! Mass Rally looked to come storming home on the outside but faded away eventually. He needs more help from the handicapper these days. Katimavik was NR.

7.35 Ripon: Class 3 Handicap, 5f

This could be an excellent opportunity for the old boy Noble Storm to get back on the score sheet. The nine year old hasn’t been exactly close to winning this year but more often than not wasn’t disgraced nor far beaten.

He drops to a very handy mark now which should see him competitive in this grade, particular today with ground conditions sure to suit well.

Noble Storm @ 16/1 Paddy Power – 5pts Win

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7.50 Chelmsford: Class 3 Handicap, 10f

The two fillies at the top of the market could be hard to beat here. Talawat of bottom weight will go very close if she gets the trip against this better opposition. Martlet makes more appeal as she is proven over track and trip.

However I feel Taaqah is overpriced here. She went close over a mile at Chelmsford earlier this year, when runner-up behind Boonga Roogeta. She hasn’t been seen to best effect in her last two starts but the return to the All-Weather may help. She steps up in trip and that is the factor which may see her improving a bit again.

On pedigree she has every chance to do so as a son of Arch out of a Gone West mare who has a stake in multiple St. Leger winner Leading Light.

Taaqah has only one maiden win to her name yet, and that over 6f. It’s is not given that she appreciates the new trip. But it’s possible. There aren’t too many in this field with a realistic chance on handicapping terms and therefore I believe she is a rather big price here.

Taaqah @ 16/1 Ladbrokes – 5pts Win

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8.00 Cork: Give Thanks Stakes (Fillies’ Group 3), 1m 4f

This two times races filly Zhukova progressed nicely from her debut run when she landed a Navan maiden in fine style back in June. Trainer Dermot Weld was quite happy and was hoping she would make into a nice Stakes filly over further. Today is the chance.

She lacks experience in this field but is extremely well bred and should appreciate the step up in trip. With natural progression she can go close.

Zhukova @ 14/1 Ladbrokes – 5pts Win

Preview: Athasi Stakes

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Bank holiday Monday in the UK and Ireland. Some good racing on offer and the sun is out here in Dublin – could be the make-up of a really nice day. So let’s try to find some winners, shall we? I’m intrigued particularly by the Curragh card, where Found, the long-term 1.000 Guineas favourite, is going to start her three year old campaign while missing the assignment in the big race yesterday.

There is also a hot little Listed race on offer, with favourite Endless Drama one of my Horses To Follow. That says with heavy conditions at HQ, I leave him alone as he is short enough in the betting. These kind of conditions can throw up funny results from time…..

3.15 Curragh: Athasi Stakes (Group 3; 7f)

Highly regarded Ballydoyle inmate Found was a top class juvenile last season. She progressed nicely from winning a maiden, to finish a fine third in the Moyglare Stud Stakes, ending the year eventually on the highest possible note with a commanding success in the Group 1 Marcel Boussac at Longchamp.

Without the shadow of a doubt Found is the class act in this field today. However, she has had problems during her preparations for the Newmarket 1.000 Guineas, reportedly hasn’t been well, missed work and missed subsequently the big race. Started off in this somewhat lesser event now, she is entitled to win if fully wound up.

On the other side the drop down to 7f isn’t sure to suit entirely, and the heavy ground is something completely new to her. I believe that today is more like a prep race for her – Give her a good day out, if she wins it’s a bonus, but it is more important to get a run in. Bigger targets looming large on the horizon.

Dermot Weld’s debutant winner Shahzeena is thought to be her most feared rival. She won well a maiden in heavy conditions at Leopardstown, so is ground proven. But she needed every inch of the 1m trip and could be found out for speed over the shorter distance here, despite the slow ground conditions.

Alive Alive Oh has never fulfilled what she promised to be earlier in her career. Nonetheless the drop in trip plus blinkers fitted is interesting today. Says she has had so many chances, it’s more likely that she falls short once again. Lightly raced Stellar Glow is an interesting runner. She should improve as a three year old but probably needs further to be seen to best effect.

I used to be a fan of Avenue Gabrial last year. She was a fine maiden winner at the Curragh and was a fair fourth in the Irish 1.000 Guineas. Her 3rd place in the Guineas Trial on heavy ground entitles her to be considered today. Though I’ve to admit she always looked more like a miler to my eyes.

However she should come on for her seasonal reappearance, where she was a big disappointment. However she handles the ground conditions, has form over the trip and I imagine connections revert her back to more positive tactics today. At 14/1, Avenue Gabrial seems overpriced.

Lightly raced three year old Off Limits ran pretty well on her seasonal reappearance in a hot little Conditions Race at Cork last month. This looks a strong piece of form given that the winner went on to win the Group 3 Ballysax Stakes, while the runner-up won subsequently a really good race at Dundalk.

So, a 2½ lengths defeat in third place doesn’t look too shabby, given the fact that she got a very light ride that day. Off Limits travelled actually all over them until the 2f marker and initially quickened nicely on heavy ground but just got a bit tired in the end. The drop to 7f looks fine on that evidence and she clearly handles soft conditions.

As a juvenile she raced twice. She started off with a fine fourth place in a pretty good maiden and followed up to get off the mark at Leopardstown, where she produced a nice turn of foot from off the pace. Both forms came with cut in the ground.

Obviously Off Limits has plenty to find on ratings. She will need to take another step forward to be in with a shout here. But everything is pointing towards her being able to do exactly that. Not to forget that trainer David Wachman is usually doing really well with fillies (not only because of yesterday’s 1.000 Guineas success). All in all I believe Off Limits can be a big runner today.

Summery: If Found is fully fit and well and handles the ground, she won’t be beaten. But it’s worth to take her on. The Weld filly has the potential to progress. But the two overpriced individuals in this field Avenue Gabrial and Off Limits. In a seven runner-race, with a short favourite rather easily to oppose, those two individuals make plenty of appeal as 14/1 and 20/1 shots.

Off Limits @ 20/1 Bet35 – 5pts Win
Avenue Gabrial @ 14/1 Sportingbet – 5pts win

Photos – Gladness Stakes

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All Photos: Credit Florian Christoph