Tag Archives: John Gosden

Friday Selections – 10th November 2017

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

6.45 Newcastle: Class 4 Fillies’ Handicap, 6f

A race very much for the taking and favourite Cashla Bay should be very hard to beat from a perfect draw. That is if she can regain form shown previously to a abysmal performance in her last start, when finishing down the field.

However all other three life time starts were quite excellent efforts in the context of the race and how the form has worked out in the long term.

Cashla Bay achieved a time speed rating of 81 on her debut back in October last year, which suggested she is potentially smart, and with natural improvement surely better than her current rating of 80.

A tongue strap is fitted for the first time. That might be the key to unlock improvement. Certainly one thing is for sure: there is no excuse today.

Selection:
10pts win – Cashla Bay @ 9/4 Bet365

Preview: ARC DE TRIOMPH 2017

cpri.jpg

“You are prone to bad luck at Chantilly; often the best horse gets beaten there” – John Gosden

Correct. John Gosden, trainer of wonder filly Enable is rightly concerned if it comes to external influences in today’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

The dual Oaks and King George champ is the red hot betting favourite for quite some time. Rightly so. There is little more she needs to do to prove her class. She IS all class.

However a long season, a big field of top class contenders, most of them the opposite sex, tough ground and a course that can throw up strange results – there is a lot to overcome today….

…. and a lot to like about Enable! 

On the positive side of things, Enable could have not get a better draw allotted in the lottery that can kill chances of any horse before the race is even run. She can start from stall 2 – it gives her flamboyant star jockey Frankie Dettori every chance to make a decision whereas other rivals have to take what’s left over.

Enable is an uncomplicated filly, she has no problem to race prominently. I’m sure Dettori will settle her close enough to the pace with every chance to get the clearest of runs. The track will be more of an issue for anyone behind her: no excuses.

So – put the mortgage on? 

If she is in the form she presented herself all year – yes, ’cause she’ll win. Plain and simple. Fillies and three year old fillies in particular have a superb record in the Arc.

But what if a season that started in a Conditions Stake at Newbury back in April has taken a toll? You couldn’t begrudge Enable to lose some percentage of her superb form that saw the three year old land spectacular victories throughout the summer.

Well – Autumn, soft ground and Chantilly can do strange things to horses. So at prices I have to take on Enable. As much as I would love the story of her winning the race, as much I feel ENABLEd to say: this is one too many for her this year.

Bigger odds, Bigger Value!

I like three individuals at much bigger odds: the German raider Dschingis Secret, the recent Leger hero Capri and the French Cloth Of Stars .

Why? The German horse has no issues on the soft ground and usually does his best at the back end of his races. The way he finds another gear in the closing stages, as seen in the Prix Foy and Großer Preis von Berlin, is a trait not too many horses posses.

The way he races does not look sexy. He can get sweaty, be a bit keen but also can appear to be off the bridle earlier than a high class individual should be. But that doesn’t matter. The apparent ease – once hitting top gear – he puts away classy contenders suggest that this lad is hitting top form when it matters most.

The draw isn’t ideal, ten is as wide as you want to be and he will need a bit of luck. But hey, this is horse racing. You’ll always need a bit of ” luck” on the big day. 16’s is a serious price for a serious horse.

But Capri? A Leger winner? Yep. The drop in trip won’t be an issue. He’s an Irish Derby winner with form over shorter too. He travells strongly through his races and simply has an exceptional attitude to keep on going, as seen at Doncaster a fortnight ago. Soft ground doesn’t bother him, in fact the true stamina test expected will rather suit him today.

He’s here’s soon enough with little time to recover plus faces the difficult task to break from stall 15. However that is reflected in the price, and I feel taken into account overly negative. Yes, he is not the likeliest winner of the race, but surely a dual Classic winner has a slightly better than 5% chance with conditions likely to suit him?!

It’s been eight years since Sea The Stars became a legend in this very race. His son Cloth Of Stars is one who has the tools to emulate his almighty daddy. He’s got a good draw, a fair prep run under the belt off a four months long break when runner-up in the Foy behind Dschingis Secret and was unbeaten in 2017 before that.

Stamina is a question mark. He is yet to win over 1m 4f. On the plus side he loves the ground and deserves another crack at this distance after only two tries and with some improvement still possible.

Anything else to say?

Don’t count out Ulysses, either. He will love the track, he’s been a revelation this season and acts on softish ground. That says ground and trip in combination should not play to his strengths, I feel.

There is loads of money coming for Order Of St. George. He’s a sexy contender, I admit. He looked SO good in the Irish Ledger. Ground and trip is fine. A stayer with a turn of foot, Arc 3rd twelve months ago. Yeah, he’s a serious chance, Ballydoyle’s best, no doubt.

I say that because it’s only the 1st October and Winter is not coming – not today. The superstar filly has done it all this season, but this is a step too far. Sure, as a daughter of Galileo all is seemingly possible – but a long year, tough ground, a trip as far as she’s never gone before – too much.

The point is….

….. this is a wide open Arc! Much more open than the betting suggests. We have a star filly in Enable who is likely to take plenty of beating if all goes right for her. But this is the Arc, it’s autumn, it’s Chantilly, it’s tough ground, it’s a high class field…. there is plenty of room for things to pan out in a completely different way. Let’s hope it goes my way.

Selections:
10pts win – Dschingis Secret @ 16/1 Bet365
10pts win – Capri @ 20/1 Bet365
5pts win – Cloth To Stars @ 28/1 Bet365

Saturday Selections: St. Leger Day 2017

atzeni

1.30 Chester: Class 4 Handicap, 5f

This type of race in this type of conditions won’t suit many in this field, but favourite Show Palace has a prime chance to bounce back to form. He already won three times this year and loves the mud plus looks still to have a bit more to offer with the right conditions.

Franny Norton in the saddle is another bonus, while the positive draw enhances his chances even further.

Selection: 
10pts win – Show Palace @ 3/1 Skybet

……

2.40 Chester: Listed Stand Cup Stakes, 1m 4f 

Group 3 winning Duretto proves popular with punters though the well exposed and less sexy Soldier In Action is a better bet in my book. He thrives in tough conditions like the ones to expect at Chester today and stays all day long.

He didn’t land a blow in the Ebor, however won a tough handicap the same month of a mark off 106. So he’s clearly a smart operator. Rated within three pounds of Duretto, match fitness might prove and advantage for Mark Johnston’s inmate, I believe.

Selection:
10ts win – Soldier In Action @ 11/4 Paddy Power

……

3.35 Doncaster: Group 1 St. Leger, 1m 6.5f

This years St. Leger shapes as an intriguing contest with five, six horses closely matched on ratings. No doubt, Irish Derby winner Capri warrants plenty of respect, though the ever improving Crystal Ocean, Stradivarius, Defoe and the filly Coronet all real chances to improve again with a big shout over the Leger trip.

However is the forgotten horse in the race another Ballydoyle runner? Venice Beach doesn’t get any love leading up to the race, even though he has some excellent form in the book too.

Sure, he looks short of top class over a mile and a quarter, however he shapes like a grinder who’s crying out for the trip. Watch back the Grand Prix de Paris, where he looked outpaced and beaten in the home straight. Yet he fought back gamely, found more and more and finished an excellent third.

At York in the Voltigeur he wasn’t a match for Cracksman. But he finished a clear second of some decent individuals. It might turn out that he simply is not a Group 1 animal, that says the trip and ground in combination make him a big danger to anyone in this field, I feel.

Selection:
10pts win – Venice Beach @ 14/1 Bet365

……

5.15 Musselburgh: Class 3 Handicap, 1m 6f

I’ve been keen on Dominating the last time at York in the Melrose Handicap, though he flopped that day. We can draw a line through that I feel, though, given it was a very hot race. This is easier and it remains the fact that Irish St. Leger winner Jukebox Jury has an outstanding record with his first crop of three year old’s in Britain.

Contributing towards this has been the Mark Johnston trained Dominating himself, as he has won already three times this year, including over the 1m 6f trip and at Musselburgh.

I don’t think conditions will be an issue for him, in case the rain arrives. He didn’t perform the one time he raced on soft ground, but on pedigree it looks fine and he’s a different horse now, I believe.

Selection:
10pts win – Dominating @ 9/2 Bet365

Seven Heavens: Make Frankel Proud

A son of Frankel that looks identical to his prominent daddy? Yep, that’s right. Seven Heavens, a three times raced colt by the wonder horse looks quite like his father and even seems to have inherited some of his traits, like being a bit overly keen and a habit for pulling hard.

That doesn’t make Seven Heavens a less exciting prospect to look forward to when he goes to post on Wednesday in the European Free Handicap over  7 furlongs at Newmarket – the place of Frankel’s arguably most “WOW” like performance.

While Seven Heavens is not the favourite in the race, he is the least exposed in the field. How good he is remains to be seen, of course, but he certainly created  a big impression on debut putting away subsequent National Stakes third Lockheed.

We didn’t learn allot about him in his next two starts: at Goodwood in a 2-runner race he made clearly no mistake against a rival now rated in the 70’s, while in the Racing Post Trophy he pulled his chances away, so that form is one to excuse I suggest.

There is a fair chance that Seven Heavens will be a much better three year old given he was a very late foal, nonetheless looked  strong and scopey as a juvenile. His trainer concluded on that matter:

“He did well to race three times as a youngster as he was a late foal.”

And there is Frankel, the father, who has made a tremendous start to the year with his first three year old’s hitting the race course – albeit only on the All-Weather so far.

But that could be a key indicator: last season not a single of his two year offspring got even placed on the sand, whereas this season an eye popping 50% of 14 starters ran into the money for an impressive 36% win rate. Interestingly the overall SP’s stayed basically the same, so his sons and daughters were not simply better fancied than last season.

I suspect this Listed contest might only be a stepping stone for Seven Heavens. He’s from an excellent family non only on the sire but also the dam side suggesting he and can step up in trip.

But I’ve no worries in terms of race fitness here, though. John Gosden said this race was the early season target for quite some time. And that makes sense. This is a real test against fine opposition.

Selection:
10pts win – Seven Heavens @ 7/2 Bet365

…….

5.45 Beverley: Class 4 Handicap, 7.5f

Plenty unexposed individuals lining up here. Fahey’s Areen Heart could be too good if improved over the winter while the Shamadal filly Salamah deserves another chance, particularly at this course where her daddy has a tremendous record.

However I take a chance with race fit Lualiwa. This lad progressed nicely as a juvenile and his 2l beaten fourth in a hot Doncaster nursery on Handicap debut looks particularly strong form given the winner is now a 101 rated horse.

Lualiwa returned at Chelmsford last month in a rather poor maiden. He did no make a mistake, though. Storming out of the gates to make all from the front, travelling super strongly and putting the race to bed easily.

His current mark of 79 could underestimate him taking into account his juvenile form and strong visual impression last month. He’s expected to improve as a three year old and is a nice scopey type.

Selection:
10pts win – Lualiwa @ 6/1 Paddy Power

……

6.20 Beverley: Class 5 Handicap, 8.5f

Bottom weight Make On Madam must have a tremendous chance to get up in this race. Her win record isn’t all that impressive and her record over this sort of trip isn’t either. However she’s going really well at this track, runs consistently well off higher marks here and won of 1lb higher last season a 7.5f Handicap at Beverley

On fast ground – which is fine for her – she has probably a pretty decent chance to stay the trip from a good draw, even more so in a slightly easier race, here against her own sex.

She had an excellent pipe opener last month at Newcastle over 7f too, finishing third, when staying on strongly in the end. With age she simply might have a bit more stamina than before.

Selection:
10pts win – Make On Madam @ 13/2 PP

……

Another nice winner today. Bushel got up at 13/2 advised. It was a real thriller but thankfully Bushel found enough in the closing stages to get his head in front when it really mattered: on the line!

It didn’t quite end that way for Majestic Hero, who was headed in the dying strides of the race, denying us the double at tasty odds of 12/1.

Big Race Preview: Juddmonte International

Wings-of-desire

It shouldn’t feel easy to oppose a horse with an ultra impressive record reading something like 11-111 for the last five starts. Even more when those wins came in either Group 1 or 2 company. It shouldn’t be easy…..

But it is! Postponed, red hot favourite to land the Juddmonte International today, developed into a serious world-class horse, no doubt. He’s going to be a prime contender to win an Arc this year,should connections opt to go down this route.

That’s the future – but what about today? Well, I’m leaning wide out of the window – potentially making a fool of myself – nonetheless I have to say Postponed should not be clear cut favourite today. He really shouldn’t!

See it this way: except for a maiden success, Postponed has actually never won below 11 furlongs – in fact all his wins on Group level came over one mile and half a furlong!

He’s not a slow horse. And yes, given his impressive performances lately, it appears that he could well have enough pace to be competitive over 1m 2f – yet he simply hasn’t shown it in the past – or at least it was never good enough to get his head in front.

Now, he looked super impressive in the Coronation Cup at Epsom. Naturally that form should give him a major chance. One the other hand I feel the drop down to 10 furlongs at flat York on fast ground is an entirely different test. He’s meeting some speedier sorts and I suspect he’s get rolling way too late.

So if not Postponed, who then? Well, Globetrotter Highland Reel must play a big role. He is not a flashy superstar by all means, but developed into a consistent top level performer.

He’s excelled over 12 furlongs lately, though I believe he has enough pace to ensure a drop in trip is no big deal. Let’s not forget Highland Reel won the Goodwood Vintage Stakes over seven furlongs as a juvenile, where he produced a stunning turn of foot.

However the most likely winner of the race is Godolphin’s Hawkbill. His Coral Eclipse success, subsequently franked by The Gurkha in the Sussex Stakes, is the strongest piece of form on offer in this field over the 10 furlongs trip.

As a three year old with weight for age advantage he must have a tremendous chance – as long as he acts on fast ground. As a son of Kitten’s Joy you would think he’s got no issues with that.

However looking closer, Kitten’s Joy offspring actually has not been all that successful on fast ground in the UK over the years. Only 9.6% of his daughters and sons won races and even less of those won on fast ground over 10 furlongs.

John Gosden’s Wings of Desire gets another chance today to prove he is a proper Group 1 horse. The Dante Stakes winner and Derby fourth was far from disgraced in second place behind Highland Reel at Royal Ascot but seemed not to get home over 12 furlongs – so dropping him back in trip is a positive.

I feel this is his best chance to win a Group 1 to date. In fact today he really has to show what he’s made of. No excuses. He has to improve a bit, of course, but with conditions very likely to suit, he has every chance to find the bit of improvement needed to challenge hard.

Interesting side note: Wings Of Desire is a son of Pivotal, whose offspring performs incredibly well over this trip and ground at York – a small sample size it is, but a 60% win- and 100% place strike rate in pattern races seems significant.

Anyone else with a chance? Well, you can’t rule out Mutakayyef. He won two on the bounce and tries to bring this form to the highest level now. Dariyan has been disappointing lately, but on his best, could finish in the money.

That says at the prices, I think Wings of Desire is the most compelling bet in the race. I really do expect him to run a huge race.

Selection: Wings Of Desire @ 12/1 Ladbrokes

———-

Best of the Rest:

2.20 Chepstow: Island In The Sky @ 7/4 Skybet
2.30 York: Courage Under Fire @ 7/1 Bet365
2.45 Carlisle: Senator @ 5/6 Skybet
2.55 Chepstow: Hidden Stash @ 11/4 Bet365
3.30 Chepstow: Curriculum @ 11/8 Coral
4.55 York: Kamra @ 16/1 Bet365
7.40 Kempton: Certified @ 9/1 Bet365
8.40 Kempton: Saborido @ 14/1 Bet365

Photo: Britishchampionseries.com/Racingfotos.com

Lingfield Preview – Churchill Stakes

Wet Dundalk Polytrack

3.10 Lingfield: Churchill Stakes (Listed)

An ultra competitive race with plenty of pace – it should suit lightly raced favourite Let’s Go down to the grounds. He was only beaten by the best All-Weather horse in the country when last seen and should enjoy the new trip.

That says he is a very short price in a very hot race. There is better value to find. I like a couple but for pure price reasons find it impossible to ignore John Gosden’s Tempus Temporis. He’s made a name for himself as a really good horse on the synthetics last winter, winning two and being placed in a super-competitive All-Weather Championship Finale.

He wasn’t disgraced when last seen at Newmarket when third behind two smart horses either. Off since then it’s hard to know what to expect today from him as a fresh horse. However Gosden has his string is excellent order so one would assume Tempus Temporis will have a fair shot at this.

He tried the 10f trip for the second time. The jury is out whether he truly stays it. From a pedigree perspective he’s got every chance. With a top jockey in the saddle I feel this lad is massively overpriced.

Tempus Temporis @ 20/1 Paddy Power – 5pts Win

Arc Review: Golden Horn spoils the party

Golden Horn

That’s not the result we all wanted. Record bidding wonder mare Treve beaten. A rather disappointing fourth place – it ends the career of the two-times Arc champion on a slightly sour note – given the immense hype in the build-up to the race. Her scintillating turn of foot – not there. Instead she looked a tricky ride and Thierry Jarnet never comfortable.

The French jockey has been slated in some corners for this ride on Sunday afternoon. Rightly so, to an extend at least. He wasn’t aware of the pace scenario and the fact that the quick ground can make all the difference to bring back classy contenders who are up with the speed.

On the other hand he rode Treve exactly the same way as he did when she was so utterly impressive in the 2013 Arc. With the difference that this time she didn’t make ground on the outside in the same impressive way as she did back then. She looked a tricky ride for Jarnet in the closing stages too. He could never get her organised for a big finish.

Maybe she peaked a couple of weeks too early? Remember her stunning performance in the Prix Vermeille weeks before. Maybe it was the ground though. On the quick side of good, which seemed to inconvenience her in the past, seemingly didn’t suit on Sunday yet again.

But: she remains a two time Arc winner. A fantastic mare, one we’ll remember for a long time. An all-time great? Who knows. Let’s put away with this rubbish of comparing horses from different generations with the purpose to establish who is great and who isn’t. Treve has been a brilliant race horse. That is what matters and that is the way we shall remember her.

What a brilliant ride by Frankie, wasn’t it? He may not be quite as strong in the saddle as he used to be 15 years ago, but his brain works as well as ever. It was pure genius to mitigate the obvious disadvantages of Golden Horn’s wide draw; moving forward right away, on the far outside of the field. He avoided any hassle, kept the colt relaxed, got right to the top of the field without any problems and only seconds after the race started Golden Horn was suddenly in the best possible position.

The fast ground clearly helped him to float over the grass easily and effortless. The pace was good, kept him at ease, interested, but wasn’t too quick either. We know Golden Horn stays, and after the first quarter of the race I said to myself: he’ll be hard to peg back once he kicks on in the home straight. That’s exactly what happened.

The conditions clearly helped Golden Horn but it also helps if you’re the best horse in the race, I guess.

Credit where credit is due: John Gosden has done a phenomenal job with Golden Horn. He kept him well and fit throughout the season, campaigned him bravely and didn’t duck away from challenges. Now a Derby, Eclipse, Irish Champion Stakes and Arc winner – Golden Horn deserves the tag of a superstar. Next stop Breeders Cup?