Tag Archives: January

Saturday Selections: January, 25th 2020

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It’s bad. Well and truly horrible, in fact. I’m in the midst of what only can be considered my worst losing run in the last three years. Whatever I touch turns to a solid piece of shit. This January so far has been tough on many fronts – betting is certainly one of them.

My selections are rotten. They either drift and finish last or they get backed and finish down the field regardless. It’s in these times that one can easily wonder: “did I lose it?”. The touch for making good decision, that is.

I hope not. Truth is, the majority of selections I made this month I’d do again. Trust the process….. I do, but a winner would really help the battered morale.

………

6.00 Kempton: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 2f

Even though still a maiden, Thunderoad has been knocking on the door a number of times, none more so than when last seen at Wolverhampton. Travelling always strongly, making nice progress and going much the best turning for home it was merely a matter of putting it to bed.

A move toward the inside rail by Shane Kelly turned out fatal, though, as the gap was rapidly closing and Thunderoad was badly hampered one furlong out, losing his momentum, while the eventual winner had clear passage and kept his momentum.

Thunderoad ran to a topspeed rating of 58, matching his current mark. He has been running to 71 in the past already, so clearly he is potentially better than this. However, now 0 for 17, the 4-year-old keeps finding ways to get beat.

That is a concern. So is the widest draw. Even though, that is less an issue, given he’d be ridden off the pace either way. I don’t like to see that on the All-Weather, usually. But Thunderoad appears to be going so well, second up here after a small break in a very winnable race that here’s hoping today is the day.

Selection:
10pts win – Thunderoad @ 13/2 MB

 

Wednesday Selections: January, 22nd 2020

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1.10 Lingfield: Class 5 Fillies’ Handicap, 7f

Even though she hasn’t been running badly, Chloellie has fallen 5lb below her last winning mark. Granted the majority of her victories came at Kempton, though I don’t see a reason why she shouldn’t perform at Lingfield as well.

The mare had a small break before returning in early January, performing with credit at Southwell. Now back on poly, and down to a 64 handicap mark against her own sex, she is a major player of a decent draw.

As recent as October she matched her current OR with a 64 topspeed rating, having ran to 67 in spring 2019 also.

Selection:
10pts win – Chloellie @ 7.2/1 MB

………..

3.55 Lingfield: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

Roundabout Magic looks vulnerable of his current mark. Surely a contender, but not one who’s desperately well-handicapped.

Warrior’s Valley in contrast drops to a tasty mark while back on polytrack with a good draw over the minimum trip should help see him find back to form.

The five-year-old gelding hasn’t been at his best at Southwell in his last two starts, though before that – particularly his final run in 2019 at Lingfield – were decent efforts.

He’s 2lb lower today than than the aforementioned Lingfield race. That’s six pounds lower than his last winning mark while he ran three times in 2019 to topspeed ratings of 68+, including twice over this course and distance where he also produced his career highest RPR.

Franny Norton on board today is another plus. In a race where the favourite is vulnerable and the rest of the field hardly frightning this appears to be a super opportunity for Warrior’s Valley to find back to the winning ways.

Selection:
10pts win – Warrior’s Valley @ 15/2 WH

Sunday Selections: January, 19th 2020

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

12.50 Lingfield: Class 6 Apprentice Handicap, 1m 6f

Favourite Wanaasah won under an enterprising ride in sensational style recently here at Wolverhampton over a few furlongs longer. She should go well again, albeit, under a 5lb penalty and with most likely not given an uncontested lead things will be more difficult.

I am interested in Mark Johnston’s Grenadier Guard. Clearly a talented individual; clearly one with quirks who’s gone wrong at the same time.

He is tried in a visor for the first time today. I am not pinning solely my hope on that piece of headgear, but it may well help the gelding to focus better. I am inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt that he needed his last two runs after a break potentially; certainly a first start at Southwell is always something to forgive.

He drops down to a mile and six furlongs, which looks a more suitable trip. At the same time Grenadier Guard continues to fall in the mark. He showed promise last summer on turf when running to some good level of form, winning at Haydock and following up with a fine 2nd in a competitive Novices race.

That day he also ran to a 85 topspeed rating which looks believable. Hence there is a bit of talent that is better than a January class 5 Handicap at Wolverhampton. I take the risk and give Grenadier Guard another chance to live somewhat up to last summers promise.

Selection:
10pts win – Grenadier Guard @ 10.5/1 MB

Saturday Selections: January, 18th 2020

Ascot Grand Stand, by Florian Christoph

12.30 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 4f

Presence Process makes a lot of appeal dropping further and further in his mark, now below 50. His latest effort over course and distance was positive, given there looked a spark there for first time headgear.

He probably got a little bit too much locked up in an early battle for the lead, subsequently was pulled back and then didn’t quite have the kick in the home straight, nonetheless finished well enough to see him winning again.

He loves this CD, has ran multiple times to higher speed ratings than his now lowly 49 rating and must have a prime chance in a poor contest.

The key will be the early parts of the race, though: drawn in 9 is a negative.

Selection:
10pts win – Presence Process @ 8/1 MB

……….

2.25 Ascot: Grade 3 Handicap Hurdle, 2m3½f

It’s probably not the best of signs that he is on the drift with the high street, but I remain quietly hopeful at the very least that Pic D’orhy is a good deal better than his 146 rating and will show it today.

Connections have always said he’s a chaser in the making. Nonetheless, he showed plenty of promise in France over hurdles, in deep ground and I feel the trip and conditions today will suit him.

Granted it is a competitive field. 2m3½f fell the last time at Autil in Grade 1 company a long way from the finish. He made his Nicholls debut at Cheltenham in the Triumph Hurdle where he travelled strongly until a blunder at the second last that ended his chances.

He’s still a young horse, will little millage on the clock and more to come. If he’s a class horse for the future he will need to show something good today against this opposition. At given prices I am inclined to be on his side.

Selection:
10pts win – Pic D’orhy @ 13/2 MB

……….

4.25 Meydan: Handicap, 7 furlongs

One that caught my eye two weeks ago here at Meydan in a competitive mile handicap was Moqarrar. He started well but was soon pulled back and before hitting the turn switched to the widest outside of the field travelling five deep.

As a consequence Moqarrar lost a lot of ground and had to do more than others in order to stay in touch burning vital energy. The gelding fought on gamely though hitting top gear entering the home straight and looked in with a good shout for the placings but faded eventually.

That was a strong performance taking circumstances into considerations. He can race of 2lb lower today, although drops to 7 furlongs, which may not be a big deal as he won over this trip as a juvenile in the UK.

I imagine he’ll jump out of the gate to be much closer to the pace today in hands of Jim Crowley and if getting a clear run should have a strong chance to outrun his price at the very least.

Selection:
10pts win – Moqarrar @ 11/1 WH

Friday Selections: January, 17th 2019

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4.45 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

Destroyer was a non-runner last week. Hopefully he takes his chance today as not much has changed in my interest in him, with this being a weak race once again:

Seven-year-old gelding Destroyer drops down to class 6 with another couple of pounds off his rating and appears certainly well-handicapped if finding some form again.

It’s his second run after a break, so he should strip fitter for the latest – arguably poor – showing over this course and distance last month.

Only four runs back though in September he still finished a fine third only a lengths down at Pontefract of a 67 handicap mark, also matching a 67 topspeed rating, suggesting there is life and enough class to be competitive in a low-grade handicap such as this.

True, Destroyer is without victory on the All-Weather but his career best speed rating was achieved at Kempton (79). He also acts on tapeta as proven when a 1¼ lengths beaten 4th over a mile here in November 2018 of a 13lb higher mark than today.

He may well have enough of racing, as he’s not getting any younger, and his last three efforts are concerning. If back in the same mood at Pontefract, though, he’d have a massive chance.

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

Saturday Selections: January, 11th 2019

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12.15 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

Agent Of Fortune looks to have a solid chance following up with another victory here, however he’s close to his very best rated and has to deal with a wider than ideal draw.

My ideal of a value chance is Subliminal. He comes with clear risks attached given he’s not the easiest to win. Connections try new headgear – remains to be seen whether that has any positive impact.

On the positive side: there is in my mind clear evidence that Subliminal is better than his current 57 handicap mark if he puts it all together. His last three starts all at Lingfield are perfect illustrations for this. He’s been running into trouble multiple times, not helping himself when usually leaving the stalls a tick slowly.

I feel a fair case can be made that when 3rd in November over this course and distance that he came with a winning run down the stretch if not for being a clear run denied on the inside rail. His latest 10/10 finish behind Agent Of Fortune can be upgraded also due to the fact of the suicidal pace Subliminal set and still got as far as he did actually.

A smaller field, a decent draw and no other horse in this field seemingly well handicapped, this is the chance for Subliminal to shine. He’s ran to 60 and 62 topspeeds in 2019 on the All-Weather, so clearly any visual evidence is backed up by the numbers that he is a better horse than what his win record portrays.

Selection:
10pts win – Subliminal @ 7/1 MB

………..

1.30 Kempton: Class 3 Handicap Chase, 2m4½f

Dipping my toe into unusual territory at this time of the year. But I feel Paul Nicholls’ Sao is supremely well handicapped and should be hard to beat here – if the handbrake is off.

This lightly raced 6-year-old hasn’t won in Britain yet, although showed promise a few times already and looks ready for an interesting campaign. Evidence of his latest run prove a couple of things: Sao wintered well and doesn’t appear to have any breathing issues.

That last race here at Kempton over 2.5f shorter back in November was his first after a summer break and he travelled and jumped well throughout. However he also was hampered by fallers and lose horses twice in the middle of the race, seeing him trailing the field.

Sao made up nice ground and after a pretty light ride by Harry Cobden finished strongly and seemingly with plenty in the tank after jumping the last.

A 123 handicap mark appears certainly low given potential improvement rather likely to come from this half-brother of Frodon. The additional furlongs are unlikely to bother Sao, however he appeared plenty keen the last time over shorter. So there is a light risk as well as the ground which may not quite be soft enough.

Nonetheless Sao appears an outstanding chance in this field in my book if he puts everything together and gets a clear run.

Selection:
10pts win – Sao @ 9/2 MB

Thursday Selections: January, 9th 2020

Wet Dundalk Polytrack

12.45 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

The favourite Double Martini has to be respected for the step up in trip that looks sure to suit, a fair handicap mark and a top jockey booking. I feel the potential improvement is already reflected in the price, though.

There isn’t too much else to fear in this race, which enhances the chances of Double Martini having found an ideal opportunity. Although 7-year-old gelding Destroyer drops down to class 6 with another couple of pounds off his rating and appears certainly well-handicapped if finding some form again.

It’s his second run after a break, so he should strip fitter for the latest – arguably poor – showing over this course and distance last month.

Only four runs back though in September he still finished a fine third only a lengths down at Pontefract of a 67 handicap mark, also matching a 67 topspeed rating, suggesting there is life and enough class to be competitive in a low-grade handicap such as this.

True, Destroyer is without victory on the All-Weather but his career best speed rating was achieved at Kempton (79). He also acts on tapeta as proven when a 1¼ lengths beaten 4th over a mile here in November 2018 of a 13lb higher mark than today.

He may well have enough of racing, as he’s not getting any younger, and his last three efforts are concerning. If back in the same mood at Pontefract, though, he’d have a massive chance.

*Edit: Non-runner!*

Selection:
10pts win – Destroyer @ 15/2 MB

Sunday Selections: January, 5th 2029

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2.30 Southwell: Class 5 Handicap, 6 furlongs

This is a highly competitive event, despite the small field. This could be called a minefield from a betting perspective – certainly a race to take plenty of interest in for future races.

Nonetheless there is value on offer because the current favourite is too short in the betting.

Al Suil Eile posted a fibe course debut confirmed by an excellent top speed rating. The drop to 6f may suit. However he has to show it first given the raise in his handicap mark doesn’t make him an obviously well-handicapped horse.

Our Charlie Brown is one for the tracker. Once back over 7 furlongs he’ll be of high interest I reckon thanks to a falling handicap mark. In the past he ran much faster than his current mark suggest on turf the unique 7 furlong distance and shown positive signs on the All-Weather too. Today won’t be his day, though.

It boils down to a battle between Liamba and Global Melody. Both meet again three weeks after Liamba got the better of the two over this course and distance. Liamba ran to topspeed 70 that day but his mark has only been raised by two pounds He is of obvious interest and will surely go close again.

However Global Melody is a much bigger price – slightly drifting, which is a negative (has an engagement early next week, keep an eye on him) – bigger than it should be, given it was a close call the other day and a 2lb turnaround and better circumstances in-running can change the scenario.

Global Melody didn’t get into the best of positions following the start that day, had to eat fibresand for the first four furlongs and also didn’t get a clear run entering the home straight. His tendency to hang to his right doesn’t help either, yet he finished strongly (posted fast split for final furlong), resulting in 2nd place and a 67 topspeed rating.

He ran to TS 64 over CD weeks earlier and looked like the winner in his next race over 7 furlongs on the fibresand only to throw it away hanging badly in the final furlong. There is a little concern after his latest lackluster showing at Wolverhampton. Though, hopefully only an off day and he returns to form on the fibresand today.

Selection:
10pts win – Global Melody @ 8/1 MB

Wednesday Selections: January, 1st 2020

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3.40 Southwell: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

Only two that appeal: Zapper Cass has potentially more to offer on this surface and has backed up twice in 2019 that he is capable of running fast enough to win off his now lowered handicap mark. Recent form isn’t on his side, though, and he is short enough in the market.

Warrior’s Valley is fine alternative. He also has shown a few times that he is potentially faster than his current rating suggests, having equaled or exceeded a 67 topspeed rating on three occasions in 2019.

He enjoys the minimum trip on the fibresand having run his best races over this CD in the past. A 67 handicap mark gives him a fair shout as the gelding also seems to hit form after a decent effort at Lingfield when last seen.

The draw could be lower in an ideal world, but I hope he jumps as well as he usually does, gets to the front and draws the field to his tail where he’s then tough to catch once in front.

Selection:
10pts win – Warrior’s Valley @ 6/1 MB

Thursday Selections: January, 31st 2019

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A 50/1 second yesterday, yet what does it matter – at the moment they simply don’t get their head in front. What a rotten run. Tough start to the year, now the final day of the month, what started out as a fine January, has turned into a nightmare. But then, it’s the game of patience and cool heads….

…….

4.05 Newcastle: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4.5f 

Lopes Dancer dropping down to his preferred trip as well as down in to class 5 should see him having a tremendous chance getting back to the winning ways. He was a CD winner of a mark of 75 in higher grade in the past, so down to a 72 rating now offers an opportunity.

Key piece of form in mind is his December runner-up effort over course and distance in higher grade. An excellent performance up with a fast pace, he fend off everyone, bar the late charging Loud And Clear, who went on to win another race subsequently.

Lopes Dancer did that of 71, so given on most other days he is the winner of that race, the one additional pound today doesn’t make a difference as this is also an easier race.

Selection:
10pts win – Lopes Dancer @ 9/2 MB