Tag Archives: Kempton

Wednesday Selections: January, 9th 2019

DSC_1062

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

Advertisements

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

DSC_0497

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

Friday Selections: January, 4th 2019

DSC_1062

2.45 Kempton: Class 5 Handicap, 1 mile

I feel there are question marks over a range of the more fancied individuals in this race, so I happily take a chance on top weight Six Strings to finally find back some sort of form.

The 5-year-old drops to a super tasty mark, judged on past form. He’s had a number of yard changes, though, and has seen his colours dramatically lowered from contesting competitively hot class 2 Handicaps of marks closer to 90, to falling into a first class 5 Handicap on the All-Weather, off 75 now.

It has to be said that Six Strings actually ran rather decent in his starts of 2018 – the only really bad one, in my book, was his latest one, at Lingfield over a mile.

A first time stretching out that far, he had to overcome a wide draw, travelled wide throughout and never was in with a shout, nor given a serious race. Considering that he ran okayish, finishing not badly, in fact, suggesting the trip is a possibility.

Now dropping in class, getting another few pounds off the mark and having a competent 3lb claimer on board as additional advantage and a low draw to play with, I feel Six Strings could run a huge race.

The hood is off, remains to be seen what impact it will have. Here’s hoping for positive tactics anyway.

Interesting that Jack Duern on board, since down to a 3lb claim, has still been rather successfully used in similar situations by this yard before: a 12-3-5 record for horses that the betting indicates are in with a chance, when Duern has only a single ride, when this one is for DK Ivory, plus the majority of positive results came on horses with big weights, like Six Strings has to carry here.

Selection:
10pts win – Six Strings @ 17/2 MB

…….

4.35 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4f

Was thinking a while about this one, but the fact that bar the favourite, who’s a pretty skinny price now for all he has shown, this poor race screams for an upset.

To say Epitaph is a temperamental sort is an understatement. The gelding often runs some strange races, and all the sort of headgear tried is an indication for the difficulty to get him right. An unconvincing 1-37 record tells a tale, also.

On the other hand, he has also been 13 times in the money. Mostly on Southwell fibresand. But interestingly, his performances at Wolverhampton have been promising as well.

I thought Epitaph ran a fine race when last seen at the end of December over course and distance – certainly better than the bare form would suggest, if watching the replay of the race a couple of times. Inexplicably he slowed dramatically down between four to three furlongs out, but then ran on again, finishing well enough, in fact.

Obviously this lad is a long-shot in its true meaning. But, given he won- and has consistently well of much higher handicap marks in the past, I feel with a good jockey on board there is a fair chance he can outrun he price tag this time.

Selection:
10pts win – Epitaph @ 18/1 PP

…….

6.15 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 7 furlongs

I feel Aljunood has been desperately unlucky a couple of times lately and now dropping down to a mark of 56 could be potentially seriously well handicapped on his first fair crack over the 7f trip.

In saying that, I disregard shamelessly the lasted effort at Southwell. It’s fibresand, he didn’t take to it. Enough said.

However the three starts before of falling marks at Wolverhampton are of great interest. The start was a 8.5f Handicap in October, where he got lit up early after the start, marched forward and wasn’t to be reigned in by the jockey. He ran his race approaching the 3f marker.

Next time, a particularly eye-catching performance, given he was bumped early on and was a bit too far off the pace, maybe the winner also simply too good on the day; regardless, Aljunood ran on strongly to finish second. The third of those interesting efforts came the next time when he was badly positioned again, had to fight for position and angle out to get only late into the clear.

Aljunood has finally found his level I believe, after an early career maiden success in Ireland resulted in an unrealistic opening mark and took a while to get down to something more realistic. He’s now in a position to win. Given he’s a son of Bated breath, the drop to 7f should suit.

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

Friday Selection: November, 23rd 2018

DSC_1062

8.45 Kempton: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4f

Rossa Ryan doesn’t have too many rides at the moment, nonetheless it looks significant the jockey comes to Kempton for this one ride of Richard Hannon’s Sotomayor: hockey and trainer enjoy quite a successful partnership over the last two years.

The three-year old colt Sotomayor has his fair share of issues as the amount of headgear and a wind op shows. He’s second up from a break and the surgery, so he may be better for this most recent run over CD when – albeit in a hot race – well beaten.

Sotomayor is a distance winner off a pound higher than his current handicap mark – he also ran to some significant time speed ratings, including a 74 earlier this year.

Whether he can find back to this form and getting the wind done has any positive impact remains to be seen. It’s worth a nibble for me, with this jockey booking, anyway.

Selection:
10pts win – Sotomayor @ 25/1 PP

Thursday Selections: November, 15th 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

That’s the way I like it – a much needed 20/1 winner in Iley Boy tonight. A superb ride by Joey Haynes, who certainly made his only ride on the card count!

His mount didn’t seem to travel overly well early on, particularly after being hampered soon after the the start. He was well off the pace turning for home but was cruising hard on the bridle then and found the gaps when needed. The question “Is today the day to let Iley Boy loose?” was firmly answered!

……

12.10 Southwell: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

This looks a rather competitive affair for this type of low grade race. That makes it difficult to assess. The same goes if it comes to get a clear grip on the horse I fancy quite a bit actually: Sooqaan.

Reasons why I like this lad allot are plenty; a simple reason why I’m wondering is: there is fair chance this isn’t the race to let the handbreak off. 

Sooqaan is handicapped to win on his best form. He won off 64 over course and distance earlier this year. However, he was on a roll at that time, completing a hat-trick, kicking it off wit a CD success of a mark of 54. So I can see why connections would want to lower his current rating a bit, still.

On the other hand Sooqaan could find an excellent chance to score, despite the competitive nature of the race. 

The fact that is: in class 6 over this course and distance he is 4 from 4! So, it looks significant that he drops down to this grade for the first time since he last win, coming back the his happy hunting ground all the while. If the mark should be run down further, surely a spin around Chelmsford or similar would do? 

Small bonus: Sooqaan has an excellent draw to attack the race. So weighing it all up, at given prices I am happy to roll the dice! 

Selection:
10pts win – Sooqaan @ 8/1 PP

……….

3.20 Southwell: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 4f

Always risky to punt a Southwell virgin – nonetheless, three-year-old Kabrit is an interesting contender here thanks to a featherweight I feel. He’s shown a bit of promise on turf this year when placed on three occasions in races that have had their form franked since then.

He comes here after a poor showing in his final turf start last month; however it was off a break and first time gelded. You’d hope he can come on for the run. 

Whether Kabrit truly stays the trip, particularly on the fibresand remains to be seen – Mr. Lee in the saddle seems a positive, given his excellent record when riding for Andre Balding.

Selection:
10pts win – Kabrit @ 9/1 PP

Wednesday Selections: November, 14th 2018

8.00 Kempton: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 4f

Is today the day to let Iley Boy loose?

Well, we’ll find out in the few hours. If today is the day to take the handbreak off then Iley Boy must have a cracking chance to win. That is, if he can overcome the slight disadvantage of a wider than ideal draw.

On the positive side, over 12f at Kempton, if you have a bit of early speed, you can easily overcome this to settle in a good position. Let’s hope Joey Haynes, who comes here for this ride only, will move forward quickly. 

Iley Boy looks seriously well handicapped for this type of race, on this level. He’s been a two times course and distance winner earlier this year, including of a 2lb higher mark than the current 51 handicap mark.

Those forms aren’t anything to scream about, but they are solid enough and backed up by the clock. Iley Boy ran to TS ratings of 51 and 54  and RPR’s of 60 and 61 respectively. 

So, if he is back to this sort of form he’ll be a massive player tonight. Ever since those wins he hasn’t shown too much, however he was probably too high in the mark – after a summer holiday, he returned last month, was disappointing in two starts, but I give him that he needed them. 

Now fitter, with near perfect conditions, off an excellent handicap mark, Iley Boy looks seriously overpriced.

Selection:
10pts win – Iley Boy @ 16/1 PP