Tag Archives: Kempton

Wednesday Selections: January, 23rd 2019

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7.45 Kempton: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 4f

Still a maiden after 18 starts, but Caracas has shown a bit of life here and there, both on turf and the All-Weather. He drops in trip, a somewhat unfamiliar one, as only twice did he contest the 12f distance.

Form wise his 5th from last March over 2 miles at Chelmsford rates a pretty strong piece of form. He came agonizingly close a few months later at Nottingham when only a head beaten. Consistency, though, isn’t Caracas’s game.

Second up after a break today in a poor race, he has a highly successful 3lb claiming apprentice in the saddle – Joshua Bryan comes here for this one ride only today, which looks significant.

Of a mark of 52 Caracas looks rather well handicapped if he can put his best foot forward over this trip that on pedigree should suit.

Selection:
10pts win – Caracas @ 21/1 MB

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Friday Selections: January, 18th 2019

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3.05 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 5 furlongs

Second up after a wind OP, Fareeq looks set for a big run once more after a fine runner-up effort over course and distance at the end of last month.

He was a clear second in a race that looks fair form franked by the winner and third. He wasn’t beaten up that day, only ridden hands and heels. He remains on the same mark, which judged on past performances gives him a massive chance – if the wind OP does the trick.

The draw is a slight concern, so is the minimum trip if there wouldn’t be a lot of pace on. But this should be a pacey race, which will suit.

Selection:
10pts win – Fareeq @ 10/3 MB

……..

6.45 Kempton: Class 4 Handicap, 2 miles

Risking that today may not be the day as a price drift already suggests,  Champagne Champ is still a massive race in a very winnable race.

The 7-year-old was a long way beaten on his comeback run after a break and wind OP when punted into 5/1 second favourite last month over CD. That suggests he must have shown some positive signs at home, I believe.

He drops another couple of pounds in the handicap mark, which gives him on past form a superb chance. He doesn’t have be at his best today, but simply fit and healthy.

Rod Millman has an excellent record with long-shots in Handicaps, even more so at Kempton. So the price drift isn’t so much of a worry. A top jockey is on board – so at massive odds I give it a shot.

Selection:
10pts win – Champagne Champ @ 25/1 PP

…….

7.45 Kempton: Class 7 Handicap, 6 furlongs

Le Manege Enchante looks the obvious choice here. Too obvious, perhaps? He showed clear signs of returning to form lately, particularly earlier this month at Chelmsford when n unlucky second in a tight finish.

Only 1lb higher gives him still a good chance to win, even more so as he drops down to a class 7 Handicap. Track and trip will be fine, and a good draw is a bonus.

Jockey Raul Da Silva comes here only for this one ride. So this is an obvious chance at a good price.

Selection:
10pts win – Le Manege Enchante @ 10/3 MB

Wednesday Selections: January 16th 2019

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

6.00 Kempton: Class 5 Handicap, 6 furlongs

Another chance for Miracle Works after his recent third place finish at Newcastle over 5f. I was keen on him that day and that hasn’t change ever since, as he is stepping up to 6f again today.

The minimum trip was a bit too sharp as it turned out, nonetheless this imposing grey ran a fine race in a competitive race, finishing strongly to claim third.

Even though he continues to be a maiden, this is only his fourth Handicap start and the fact remains his handicap debut last year over course and distance off 2lb higher rates super form in this field.

Now the third time running after a break as well, after a pipe opener and the recent excellent performance, up to what appears to be his optimum trip off a mark he could still better – Miracle Works has a fine opportunity to get finally off the mark today.

Selection:
10pts win – Miracle Works @ 8/1 MB

Tuesday Selections: January, 15th 2019

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7.45 Kempton: Class 5 Handicap, 7 furlongs

Today is the day the handbreak comes off for Six Strings. I was already keen on the 5-year-old the last time here at Kempton, but as it turned out he was rather on pacemaker duties for a well-fancied stable mate that day, going from the front like a lunatic.

Number One jockey Robert Winston is on board this timeand Six Strings has fallen another 3lb in the handicap mark for the latest effort – a mark he seems certain to be well handicapped of, judged on past form.

What applied on the 4th of January does aply very much today also:

Six Strings had a number of yard changes and has seen his colours dramatically lowered from contesting competitively hot class 2 Handicaps of marks closer to 90, to falling now down to class 5 Handicaps on the All-Weather, rated 72.

It has to be said that Six Strings actually ran rather decent in 2018 despite all of this – the only really bad runs, in my book at least, were the two most recent efforts, both over a mile.

He drops to 7f today, a trip that’s more what he wants, most likely. His only success came over 6f to date but the additional furlong looks a real possibility, particularly if there isn’t too much pace on and he can either set the temp himself or track a modest pace.

Selection:
10pts win – Six Strings @ 4/1 MB

Wednesday Selections: January, 9th 2019

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5.45 Kempton: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 3f

Distingo looks the dark horse, potentially well in here on his return to the All-Weather. But at given prices I’m even more interested in long-shot Gendarme.

Rossa Ryan, a good job jockey, has a fine record on Hannon runners, rides this lightly raced gelding for the first time on what is Gendarme’s second start after a break and gelding operation.

You can easily disregard his comeback run over too short 7f. He steps up to 1m 3f which will much more what he needs. The son of Lawman tries the AW for the second time in his career, a surface that should suit also.

On turf he ran well enough of his allotted marks; a 3¾ lengths beaten 5th in a hot 10f Leicester handicap on June is the pick of the form; he ran to TS 71 and a career high RPR of 78 – the forms holds up well.

Now down to a handicap mark of 69, the 4-year-old could be well handicapped with a good draw, track and trip likely to suit, so a big run is on the cards, and he could pay handsomely for it.

Selection:
10pts win – Gendarme @ 20/1 MB

…..

6.45 Kempton: Class 6 Handicap, 6 furlongs

Totally speculative but not without hope is Delagate The Lady here in a poor race. The filly hasn’t shown anything to the form book of note in five career runs. However, on her handicap debut over 7f at Lingfield recently she outran her 50/1 price tag significantly in my view.

She tracked the eventual winner and pace setter for most parts of the race – the winner wasn’t to catch, but she showed fair early speed crossing over from her 8 gate after the start and stretched the rest of the field by half a dozen lengths until turning home, still in front – bar the winner – entering the final furlong.

This daguther of Delegator drops to 6f which is a trip more to suit, her dam was an AW winner as well, and her mark is down to a lowly 48 now.

The draw isn’t ideal, but Kieren Fox makes the trip here for this only one ride. So hopefully that a good sign for the chances of Delagate The Lady today, on what is her second handicap start.

Selection:
10pts win – Delagate The Lady @ 23/1 MB

Opinion: Racing’s Problems bigger than ATR vs RTV

The TV landscape has changed and we’re now well within the first week of these new times.

Racing UK has taken over the rights to show Irish racing (as well as Chelmsford), while At The Races, the long-standing television partner of Irish racing, is gone from the scene there – they’ve bagged themselves the prestigious courses of Ascot and Chester in turn.

There is a rich history of why the rights have moved in first place – you can dig into all the wonderful details here.

I’m more interested in how this first week went and what it means or doesn’t mean for the future of racing.

From all what I could gather up until this Saturday it was a pretty unspectacular change. The horses still ran at Fairyhouse, Tramore and Dundalk – in fact the evening coverage of the County Louth track on Friday was fairly good with the likes of Gary O’Brien and Kevin O’Ryan providing insightful thoughts and analysis.

Today, the first Saturday of the new year, I had the chance to watch the now re-branded Racing TV throughout a complete day – a busy enough day, where they showed live racing from Kempton, Sandown, Wincanton and Cork.

Apparently there was a bit of moaning going on after Racing TV’s New Year’s Day coverage, which was equally a busy day, where it all was put to the test for the first time. And I can see why, as today was probably not a different experience to the one RTV viewers were treated to last Tuesday.

It was race after race after race. Bang, bang, bang. A little bit of analysis squeezed in before and after some of the races, mainly around Sandown, to a lesser extend Wincanton, where commendable Lydia Hislop did her magic with the little time she had – as she usually does!

In truth, this sort of experience isn’t anything new, compared to the busy days on the flat throughout the summer. What is different now: Irish racing. It has to be squeezed in as well.

And that is a bit of a problem. Simply because there was little to no time to squeeze any sort of meaningful analysis of the Cork races in. Certainly not before their respective off. At least afterwards we got to enjoy a few words from the guys in the studio.

But what can you really analyse if you’ve got the maximum lengths of four of five sentences to say before it’s off to somewhere else, because the next race is waiting in line?

It’s a tough spot for RTV on days like this, so I wouldn’t knock them for the coverage. They tried their absolute best. Ultimately we were able to watch all the races. At least that!

In saying that: you do not need a proper TV channel (an expensive pay-TV one that is) for a glorified live stream of all the races. The expectations on a TV channel, particularly a specialist channel like Racing TV, is one that does provide expert commentary, meaningful insights and proper analysis to all the races it shows.

I wouldn’t say that’s always what you got on At The Races in the past. But of course Irish racing was a premium product for ATR, so they gave it ample airtime – even during the busier days.

This is where Irish racing and Irish racing fans do miss out, if the setup remains as it is right now: i.e. all on one channel. I don’t think as negatively about the fact that RTV is behind a paywall, though – I did so in the past; not anymore.

Yes, ATR is much easier accessible as it comes with your standard TV bundle in most cases. But that doesn’t mean its audience figures are anything to shout about.

Anywhere between an average of 40-70.000 people turn in for ATR’s most viewed weekly shows with a paltry average viewing time of 1 minute (weekly, per person) according to BARB figures. Racing UK in contrast has about 50.000 subscribers.

So the notion that there’ll be much less eye-balls on the Irish product may not be totally wrong, but is probably exaggerated at the same time.

Least we forget that, at least in Ireland, the biggest race days and Festivals are shown on RTE. That’s not to say the “accessibility” issue is a non-issue. It’s real and in truth makes it more difficult for someone to discover racing zapping through the channels.

I would argue the problems of the sport of horse racing in general and Irish racing in particular are bigger than that, though. Because in earnest, those who already have an interested in the sport will find a way to watch the races regardless. Either subscribing to RTV, or by watching the ‘free streams” bookies offer if you have a bet in a race.

In fact, I have a few friends who live outside of the UK and Ireland and therefore have zero access to either channel on TV. Guess what? They still find ways to watch the races they care about as well as ATR and RUK. It’s not that difficult if you want it.

In my view the currently (still) ongoing discussion doesn’t tackle the real problems at all. The situation with the TV channels appears to be simply a ‘nice’ distraction. Something to talk about that anyone can have an opinion on even though in reality it isn’t really changing all that much that radically and certainly won’t impact the sport in such a negative way as some commentators want to make us belief.

There are issues, though, that do have a very real impact on the sport in the long run:
race day experience for race goers and owners or the changing public perception against racing horses – accompanied by a lack of public knowledge/education on things like the whip – which is directly in line with the most fundamental questions:

How to attract a younger audience?
How to create a steady flow of (new) racing fans moving forward?
How to create a better betting product?
Which in turn is also about this point: the availability of more data for punters and racing fans. Sectional times, as one example.

These are real issues. Or at least question marks. The problem of the future isn’t whether Barry in Newbridge can watch the 6.45 from Dundalk on his TV for ‘free’. Because he’s watching it on his mobile in the DART on his commute home anyway.

Now, coming back to Irish racing on Racing TV – I actually do trust RTV to figure out how to give Irish racing proper airtime, even on busier days. Maybe a second channel? Potentially a digital one?

Who knows. Times are changing. TV isn’t everything these days. Sport goes digital as well. In a few years, Terrestrial TV won’t have anywhere near the importance it still has at this moment in time.

One thing that Racing TV and all the relevant stakeholders involved have been rightly criticized for this week: the replay shambles!

Come on, you guys had months and months time to sort this out! It shows a general disregard for racing fans. The fact historic (prior to 1st January 2019) replays of Irish racing + Chelmsford are gone right now is not acceptable in this day and age. In any other industry heads would roll for this type of stuff.

At least, so it seems, light is at the end of the tunnel and a temporarily solution has been found.

With that, I am moving downstairs again to enjoy the rest of the Kempton card. A rather sedated experience with only one race every half an hour to prepare for, compared to the frantic pace of the early Saturday afternoon.

 

Saturday Selections: January, 5th 2019

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1.45 Lingfield: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 4f

Only three horses that realistically appear to be handicapped to go close here in my book: the short priced favourite, only his second AW start could defy the slight rise in the weights for his winning debut in autumn with a first tongue tie applied this time.

Trallee Hills is dropping down to a rather manageable mark if he could translate his turf form to the sand. Certainly Nylon Speed is the more interesting individual, but no value at given prices.

Really the most compelling case can be made for top weight Dutch Uncle. He changed yards over the summer after a pretty decent – albeit winless – winter campaign, mostly at Lingfield over 10f, finishing 3 out of 6 times in the money in much more competitive races than this one here.

A run to blow the cobwebs away on his Olly Murphy Debut, was followed by a much improved display in an Apprentice Seller at the end of last month. Obviously he was well entitled to win that one.

He did it in style, hard on the bridle. Judged through the runner-up this form looks good and proves Dutch Uncle is as good as ever, certainly on nearly the same level of form as last winter.

That is good, because he stays over 12f at Lingfield, a trip he’s not been racing often over, but he’s got a 2:1-2 record over. The most recent outing wasn’t the fastest race, but the way he saw it out incredibly strongly, accelerating easily without breaking sweat in the final two furlongs suggesting this could be his ideal trip round Lingfield, a place he always performs well at.

Dutch Uncle doesn’t need to improve to win this, he simply needs to run to his mark – which, he is well capable of seemingly.

Selection:
10pts win – Dutch Uncle @ 7/1 VC

…….

5.15 Kempton: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

More often than not I get it wrong when saying it – of course, this is horse racing, it’s hard to be overly confident – but I’m excited as heck because I feel Blue Harmony could be supremely well handicapped in this race!

The equation is a simple one: the filly has been dropped dramatically in her handicap mark, mainly on the basis of a string of poor showings which – in my view – came on the back of marks too high as a result of her maiden win and a couple of subsequent decent handicap efforts. It took a while to get the weight down.

But now, second third for a new yard after a bit of a break, she drops to a more realistic distance plus got another few pounds off thanks her most recent 7th place finish at Wolverhampton.

Looking back at race, for the first time of a rather realistic mark, but probably a trip still too far, things didn’t go to plan early on when the inexperienced apprentice jockey removed the hood way too late, the filly bumped into a couple of horses and was lit up.

She dropped over the next furlongs back in the field, finding herself turning wider than ideal for home and when attempting to make a run, she lost her footing, stumbling, losing all momentum.

She still managed to finish 7th in quite a hot contest – the form has worked out rather well for that type of low grade race.

Now down to a mark of 53, one has to remember Blue Harmony has been running to a TS 69 rating in the past and to RPR’s over 53 on on six out of nine occasions on the All-Weather.

Even more significantly she gets the assistance of competent 5lb claimer Megan Nicholls and has the additional aid of a good draw. The price on offer is way over the top I feel given how well this filly could be handicapped.

Selection:
10pts win – Blue Harmoney @ 15/1 VC/PP