Tag Archives: King George

Saturday Selections: 23rd July 2022

It’s been a rather quiet week so far. But I have five selections for what I call a proper “Super Saturday” today. As we’re on the home stretch in July I could do with another winner to “ring fence” the profit for the month.

Please read my comprehensive preview for the King George here.

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2.25 Ascot: Group 3 Valient Stakes, 1m

I fully understand why Zanbaq is favourite in this contest, but the price is silly in my view. It’s a different proposition stepping up from a Handicap, albeit a strong one at Royal Ascot, to Group 3 level. The fact she can miss the break and likely will have to come from off the pace could turn out to be a significant disadvantage too.

The one seriously overpriced is German raider Novemba. She has to give weight away to the younger generation but she is a proven Stakes filly with a Classic victory to her name.

Her third place behind Real World last October is the standout form on offer in this race. She couldn’t match this form in two starts this season, but she needed the run at Baden-Baden and wasn’t disgraced at Royal Ascot in the Duke Of Cambridge.

The round track will suit her better today. She likes to be up with the pace. Being on the speed should be an advantage today, in my view, especially on fast ground.

Saying that, the ground is a concern. No question she prefers it softer. But she can act on a faster surface and I feel given she’s likely the best filly in the race and may enjoy a tactical advantage over key rivals, she is clearly overpried.

10pts win – Novemba @ 7/1

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3.35 Ascot: Group 1 King George, 1m 4f

10pt win – Mishriff @ 10/3

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5.20 Ascot: Class 2 Handicap, 5f

Jawaal was beaten by a combined margin of 23 lengths+ in four starts this year although he didn’t ran quite that badly in my view. He certainly caught the eye in his two starts in May, actually and also had sometimes more, sometimes less, valid excuses the last two times.

In any case, as a consequence of finishing down the field four times in a row, he has fallen dramatically in the official ratings. If he is indeed better than the bare forms suggest, as I believe, and he can find back to somewhere closer to last seasons form, he’d be a massive runner today.

He won twice in 2021, and ran to topspeed 98 at Haydock in September – arguably a career best – and also achieved 84 and 89 topspeeds earlier the year.

In truth, even with valid excuses, the way he finished his races this year doesn’t suggest he’s close to that. On the other hand he usually travelled quite smoothly, but found trouble in-running and didn’t produce any significant kick once in the clear.

That can be a sure sign for his waning ability now as a 7-year-old. Nonetheless, down to a mark of 89, with ideal fast ground conditions, at track he’s CD winner and potentially cheek-pieces to help in a wide open contest, I’ll give him a chance to find some form. If he does he’ll be hard to beat.

10pts win – Jawaal @ 9/1

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7.30 Salisbury: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

I quite like Delagate This Lord here who will probably enjoy ideal conditions stepping back up to 6 furlongs again. But I struggle to bring myself backing an 8-year-old, especially with an exciting alternative.

Perhaps even a blind man would have seen the eyecatching run Prophecy produced earlier this month at Ffos Las. He couldn’t get a clear run at all, yet finished supremely well on the bridle in the closing stages, matching the quickest final furlong. He looked like a horse well ahead of his mark.

That was his comeback run after a long break. He changed yards too. Still a maiden after 10 lifetime starts, though he showed a bit of promise on the All-Weather. Today is only his third run on turf. He looks pretty unexposed for the surface and there looks to be significant improvement to come, judged on the last run.

There are clear risks attached today, and that’s probably the reason why he’s as a big a price he is: the potential “bounce factor”, the firm ground may not be ideal, given his full-sister did her best running on softer, and he probably will improve markedly for a step up in trip.

And yet at given odds I can’t ignore him, too impressive was this recent run, too far ahead of his mark he appears to be.

10pts win – Prophecy @ 6/1

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8.40 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 7f

Sir Philip caught the eye on his handicap debut over the minimum trip at Wolverhampton earlier this month. Five furlongs are certainly too sharp as was evidence when he struggled badly at the back of the field. He finished nicely on the eye though, without being overly hard ridden in the closing stages.

Stepping up to 7 furlongs looks the right move on pedigree and visual evidence from all his races. He is still lightly raced and completely unexposed over this trip. Down to a mark of 59 he has opportunities I feel, especially in a weak race.

Drawn in stall 1 offers a way forward, I hope but is also a danger. If he misses the break he could be left in a poor position. He showed that he can start quickly on his second career run, incidentally the only one beyond fife furlongs to date.

10pts win – Sir Philip @ 13.5

King George Preview 2022

A small but certainly select field makes this edition of the King George an exciting renewal. Some of the very best older horses meet the leading lights of the 2022 Classic generation.

All eyes are naturally drawn to Westover: an unlucky third in the English Derby and subsequent runaway winner of the Irish Derby. He’s been seriously progressive this season and today is about telling us whether there’s even more to come.

Of course the rematch with Desert Crown was highly anticipated but won’t be happening for quite some time, it seems likely now. That doesn’t distract from the intrigue that surrounds Ralph Beckett’s colt.

The son of Frankel is hard to fault. A progressive sort, he created visually a strong impression at the Curragh when landing the Irish Derby where he also ran to topspeed 100 as easy as you like. He confirmed his strong Derby performance that saw him run to topspeed 106 despite the well documented trouble he encountered in the home straight.

What the Curragh form is worth remains to be seen. And another question mark remains: how does he cope with proper fast ground? Could he be found out for speed on this ground in a race with a possibly muddling pace? He’s a short enough price to find out.

The other three-year-old in the field is English Oaks runner-up Emily Upjohn.

Many will argue she was quite unlucky that day at Epsom. Perhaps she lost the race at the start, although, that is my view, she had every opportunity to win in any case, given the winner Tuesday didn’t enjoy the smoothest of runs either.

Prior to the Oaks the John Gosden trained filly was a runaway winner of Musidora Stakes and won in even more impressive style on her seasonal reappearance at Sandown. If not for the neck beaten effort at Epsom she’d be unbeaten in four career runs.

Yet, in my view she appears to be seriously vulnerable. The fact of the matter is the figures are against her. She ran to topspeeds 95 at York and 97 at Epsom. Circumstances play a role in these figures, yet they tell a story at the same time and Emily Upjohn had opportunities to prove she is top-class on speed ratings as well.

She may well do so today. In fairness, she looks progressing all the time. But she has to take another big step forward today.

Mishriff was certainly an unlucky horse in the Coral Eclipse earlier this month. Short of room at a crucial stage, he finished much the best and was only a neck beaten by brilliant 3-year-old Vadeni. Another day he wins the race.

He is top-rated in this field, up to 5lb clear on official ratings There’s good reason for it. A runner-up in the 2021 edition of the King George, just beaten by excellent Derby winner Adayar, he went on to land the Juddmonte International in great style a few weeks later.

He ran to topspeed 116 and 118 in those two races. He ran 108 at Sandown. there is a slight question mark whether he truly is in love with the 1m 4f trip. Most likely the race today will turn out a test of speed more than pure stamina, so it’s unlikely to be an issue.

Mishriff is the class-act in the field and if he can improve just a tiny bit from Sandown – not impossible, given he came off a break – he’s going to be hard to beat, I reckon.

I love to see Torquator Tasso here. It’s brave by trainer Marcel Weiss to take a chance on ground most likely too fast for last years Arc hero. Weiss also has been quite open in admitting Torquator Tasso won’t be 100% today. Defending his crown in Paris is the ultimate goal.

There are questions marks over the validity of his Arc victory because of the heavy ground that day. He was a shock winner. Nonetheless, he’s a multiple Group 1 winner regardless. Clearly top-class, he deserved to be in this field. As much as I would love to see him do the “Danedream Double” it’s difficult to see.

The two long-shots Pyledriver and Broome are given little chance in the betting. The latter is clearly the more interesting one, in my view. An excellent winner of the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot, he ran to topspeed 108 that day – that level of form entitles him to have a fair shot, today, especially on fast ground and his ability to go from the front.

Selection:

The market is tight but still underestimates Mishriff, who is clearly the best horse in the race. If he can run to the level of form he produced last summer in this very race and subsequently at York – and the Eclipse indicates he can – then he is simply too good for the rest in this field.

He has to give weight away to some smart younger horses, but he looks well capable of doing that in my book. On topspeed nothing in this field gets even close to him. I have him around a 5/2 chance as fair price. So there’s still a bit of juice left, albeit not that much.

10pts win – Mishriff @ 10/3

King George 2021

The 2021 edition of the King George has something special in store for us racing fans. The best of the older horses versus a strong classic generation.

Naturally all eyes are on Derby winner Adayar. He romped home at Epsom in stunning fashion. Was that a real performance? The form has been franked through third placed Hurricane Lane, who won races of the highest order in the meantime.

It was a strange race, nonetheless. The aforementioned Hurricane Lane lost a shoe, the favourite Bolshoi Ballet completely misfired and the runner-up was a maiden who was subsequently trounced in the Irish Derby.

Lone Eagle, second in the Irish Derby, is the other 3-year-old in the field. He got first run on his rivals at the Curragh and with two furlongs to go looked like to have won the race. Only in the dying strides was he caught by a fast finishing Hurricane Lane.

It was a thrilling finish and Lone Eagle didn’t lose anything in defeat. In fact, he achieved a 113 topspeed rating, which isn’t far behind the 116 rating Adayar received for his Derby victory. Topspeed-wise those are the two highest ratings on offer in the King George field.

The older generation is clearly lead by Love. The winner of the 1000 Guineas, English Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks last year, and the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes on her seasonal reappearance last month, she’s also joint top-rated, together with Mishriff.

Love won’t mind the the step up to the 1m 4f trip. In fact, her career -best performance was the 2020 Oaks success. Mishriff on the other hand, although a winner of the Sheema Classic earlier this year, may be at his best over shorter distances.

He has to give weight away too. However, Mishriff ran with plenty of credit in the Coral Eclipse where he was third behind brilliant St Mark’s Basilica coming off a break. He should be in perfect shape today.

The ground won’t turn soft enough to provide the sort of deep conditions Wonderful Tonight prefers. She is a multiple Group 1 winner though, and looked in excellent form when landing the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot last month, so can’t be taken lightly, regardless.

Broome was second behind Wonderful Tonight at Ascot. He has since won the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud. He enjoyed the run of the race, though, and I think over 1m 4f he has plenty to find with the market principles.

Conclusion:
I strongly fancy the classic generation to get the better of their elders. That says I’m not fully sure if If trust Adayar’s Derby performance. However, Lone Eagle’s Irish Derby performance appears rock solid. He should be right up with the pace once more and could be able to hold on this time. Hence at prices around 6/1 I’ll go with Loyal Eagle to win it for Frankie and Martyn Meade.

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3:15 York: York Stakes, Group 2

The best form on paper belongs to Armory. The four-year-old drops in class after a fine effort at Royal Ascot when third behind stablemate Love in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes. He is unbeaten in Group races below top level and has been placed in multiple Group 1’s.

His Royal Ascot performance can possibly be marked up due to the way the race developed, which wasn’t quite ideal for Armory. Consequently, he achieved a career-highest 119 Racingpost Rating. He won really well at Chester on his season reappearance back in May as well.

That means, however, Armory has to give weight away to his rivals. No less than 12lb to exciting 3-year-old Mohaafeth.

This son of Frankel is unbeaten in 2021, having progressed with each and every run. From, winning a Novice contest to a first Handicap, to landing the Listed Newmarket Stakes to bag a Group 3 at Royal Ascot.

His Newmarket victories were visually really impressive. In fact Mohaafeth won the Newmarket Stakes in such taking fashion that he was catapulted near the top of the Epsom Derby market.

The ground turning soft that day ended his Derby dream, but he made up for it weeks later at Royal Ascot. He had to start racing earlier than ideal and hang to the right in the closing stages.

He ran to a101 topspeed rating then, the highest any horse has achieved in the York Stakes field. In anticipation of more improvement to come and the weight he receives from his rivals, Mohaafeth looks certainly the one to beat.

Although, Juan Elcano shouldn’t be entirely dismissed. He has found back to the winning ways having responded to wind op. On the other hand it’s hard to see Montatham – likely employed as Mohaafeth’s pacemaker – or the other outsider Bangkok getting involved.

Conclusion:
As long as there isn’t any sufficient amount of rain it’s hard to look past the progressive Mohaafeth. He has things in his favour and looks the sort to improve again.

Cheltenham 2020: Friday Preview

Winner!

Oh Melon…. right before the line and after the line in front but not on the line – where it mattered. Tough to take. This year really tests my mental strengths. It’s the second tight finish this week (Abacadabras) that went against my horse. Kilfilum Cross was another runner-up, albeit fair and square beaten.

Final day of the Festival. Even though it went decent enough so far, I really could do with a big winner. On a different note: how Cheltenham can go on while every other sporting event worldwide is cancelled due to COVID-19 is hard to understand.

I mean don’t get me wrong: I’m home bound, so happy it’s on. But from a pure risk management perspective this looks wrong.

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1.30 Triumph Hurdle, 2m 1f

This is a wide open race as the betting suggests. The completely unexposed Solo is probably the one most likely to be a superstar. If he finds this a bit too much, though, there is anything up for grabs.

The one that looks completely overpriced is the JP owned Cerberus. If not for idling when seemingly having won the Spring Juvenile Hurdle, he’d be a Grade 1 winner and much shorter today.

He’s jumping generally fine and economically, has run as fast on the ratings front to suggest he belongs here and is much closer matched to Allmankind that the bare Chepstow form would suggest.

Re-watch the race and you’ll see the field gifted the eventual winner an easy lead, and while Cerberus made nice progress at the latter stages, Robby Power was taking a bit pull before approaching the last, which meant the ground made up was lost in an instant. He was pretty kind on the gelding in the finish, is fair to say.

The 5 place offer with William Hill looks attractive. I firmly believe he’ll be in the money. But the win odds on the exchange are much bigger and even better value.

Selection:
10pts win – Cerberus @ 24/1 MB

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2.10 County Hurdle, 2m 1f

Oakley ticks a lot of boxes trend wise but also form wise. I really liked his most recent effort in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury when pretty much all went against him that could.

Good ground was certainly not what he wants, a standing start didn’t help with finding a good position early on, and then being hampered by fallers at the last was still not enough to see him finishing strongly, resulting in an eye-catching performance that also looks good rating wise.

He’s one of few in the field who has already proven to be able to run as fast as his handicap mark warrants. Oakley has performed with plenty of credit this season, including course form, including a neck beaten runner-up effort over this CD.

Selection:
10pts win – Oakley @ 29/1 MB

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2.50 Albert Bartlett, 3 miles

Experience can count for a lot here, so does stamina. With that in mind Ramses De Teillee should have a tremendous chance to be in the shake-up at the very least.

He’s reverted back to hurdling, although he was quite a good staying chaser, actually. A runner-up in the Welsh Grand National, he also achieved a topspeed rating of 149, which is the highest in this field and manifests his status as a graded horse.

Ramses De Teillee has won his last two starts, so comes here in fine form and is sure to stay every inch of the uphill finish to the line.

Selection:
10pts win – Ramses De Teillee @ 14/1 MB

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3.30 Gold Cup, 3m2½f

After landing the big pot twelve months ago as a 22/1 longshot (and I backed him!), Al Boum Photo holds a special place in my heart. Emotions aside, he looks the type capable of doing the seemingly impossible: defending his crown!

Part of the reason why I believe he has quite a decent chance is simply down to the opposition. Make no mistake this is a good and deep Gold Cup field – but without any true superstar to beat, other than ABP himself. That may change post race; as of now Al Boum Photo looks the clear favourite in my book.

The other reason to believe he can do it is the ideal preparation the 8-year-old enjoyed. He went down the same route as last year, he comes here fresh on the back of a fine effort at Tramore. Since Cheltenham he only ran twice: the aforementioned January race and a fair runner-up effort behind Kemboy at Punchestown.

ABP is still relatively low mileage and even though he may not improve any further, he doesn’t have to: an effort as good as twelve months ago will see him probably hard to beat.

The one thing that does potentially speak against him is the fact that last year he got pretty much a dream run through the race. Everything worked to perfection. That may not be the case this time.

Nonetheless it’s reasonable to attest that 10/3 is at the very least a fair price – potentially even too big. Still, I feel there is better value in the field for the fact that I do want to have an improving horse on my side.

I don’t think Delta Work is good enough. He’s a contender but a silly price for all what he has done so far. Particularly if leaving naked form aside – which can mislead – and look what’s under the hood, it becomes clear he simply hasn’t ran particularly fast yet. He may well be capable of doing so, but fact remains in 17 starts over fences or hurdles he never bettered a 132 topspeed rating. That’s not up to scratch for a proper Gold Cup horse.

Granted these ratings are to be taken with a pinch of salt and Al Boum Photo didn’t achieve that either before his Gold Cup victory. He had, though, less chances to do so and you could make a reasonable case to believe why he might be able to step up to the required form, plus he was a much bigger price, than Delta Work is today. Not to forget ABP ran to a 177 TS rating in the Gold Cup eventually.

Kemboy has been disappointing this season. His jumping makes him vulnerable. If he gets his act together he is a live chance, nonetheless, and a far better one than Delta Work.

Presenting Percy had enough opportunities to prove he is a top class staying chaser. He hasn’t quite delivered the goods as many would have hoped he would at this stage last year. He has place claims if at his best.

As impressive as Clan Des Obeaux is at Kempton, he will likely struggle here once more. Bristol De Mai can run his race and could be an interesting each-way candidate at massive odds.

That leaves the two potential improvers. Santini and Lostintranslation.

Santini has been touted a Gold Cup horse for a while and to his credit he has answered the calls when landing the Cotswold Chase this season. A breathing operation has clearly helped. He has the right profile and looks to have talent in abundance, with more to come.

The same can be said about Lostintranslation. However his star has faded a little bit since the King George where was pulled up. He had a wind OP in the meantime, though.

You have to believe that procedure has helped to rectify the issues he clearly had in December. If it has and you ignore the King George, you see a progressive staying chaser who was a fine winner of the Haydock Betfair Chase, which made him a short price for the King George in first place.

What I appreciate most about Lostintranslation: he is not a pure stayer but has proven speed. He has both: speed and stamina. That is the magic combination for a true Gold Cup contender.

Therefore, at given prices I have to side with him. He ticks nearly all the right boxes. Only the King George and recent wind operation are question marks; hence he isn’t 3/1 but rather 11/1, which is over the top and the fair price is probably somewhere in the middle.

Selection:
10pt win – Lostintranslation @ 11/1 WH

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4.10 Foxhunter Hunters’ Chase, 3m2½f

The drift is a worry, but at this price, particularly each/way, too good to let go. Alcala has ran well to qualify for this race with two efforts within two weeks last month. That may have left a mark and possibly is a reason for the drift.

Hard to know. If he is fine, and one hopes he is if allowed to run, then Alcala must have a better chance to make the frame than 50/1 would suggest.

He’s a decent chaser who has won over this trip in the past and he’ll enjoy the drying ground. In an open contest he can outrun his price tag.

Selection:
5pts e/w (5pl) – Alcala @ 50/1 Bet365

Tuesday Selections: December 26th 2017

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

It was a nice little Christmas present on Saturday when Crystal Deauville ran home strongly to land the seller at Lingfield (4/1 advised). Short-priced favourite Yogi’s Girl didn’t even finish in the money, in the end.

The King George looms large today, a cracking renewal on hand – can Thistecrack find back to his best and defend the crown he grabbed so impressively with both hands twelve months ago? Or are the new kids on the block the ones who triumph?

Well, we find out soon. My eyes, nonetheless, crave more for a betting opportunity on Wolverhampton’s tapeta:

3.25 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 7f 

Top weight Mr. Christopher blew his chances the other day over CD when he made too much too early from a wide draw. He raced keenly throughout and had nothing left in the tank when it mattered.

However he ran an almighty race at Southwell weeks earlier when an agonizingly close runner-up, proving that on his day he can be a force to reckon.

Mr. Christopher drops in class today and runs from only 3lb above his last winning mark – he enjoys this course and distance, is a 3x CD winner with a 50% place rate and with a decent draw to start from today he has every chance to run a big race.

Selection: 
10pts win – Mr. Christopher @ 10/1 VC

Preview – King George VI

Ascot Grand Stand, by Florian Christoph

Will Golden Horn run? We don’t know yet. The ground is soft, and despite the fact that the sun is out, it won’t help to dry quickly enough. I suspect that the hot favourite won’t take up his chance here. But regardless of whether he is in or not, it should be an intriguing affair as not too many are suited by the conditions.

Well, Clever Cookie surely is. He’ll love every drop of rain in the ground. He is in top form, won two on the bounce and should have things the way he likes it. I think he is potentially overpriced, but also feel he may be tactically disadvantaged with his usual running style – he simply might get going too late. It could be difficult to peg back some others who are attempting more aggressive tactics.

I believe Snow Sky is a major runner here today, with or without Golden Horn. He stays further than 12 furlongs and might be actually better over two additional furlongs, but he proved his class in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot over this trip when he was very impressive to land it from the front.

He may not get the lead this time, but will surely be prominent nonetheless. That will enable him to kick on 3f out, turning for home. He has a bit of a change of gear, so may be able to put some lengths into the rest of the field at this stage. And one thing is assured – he’ll stay.

This Nayef son is a typical Sir Michael improver, he’s blooming this year. The ground of course is a question mark. His best performances came on a quick surface. However he used to win his maiden on bottomless ground with ease, so he is probably fine.

There aren’t too many others who appeal to me. Flintshire is a quality runner, but he’ll hate the ground. Eagle Top isn’t sure to enjoy it either. While Postponed remains one with potential but has never encountered these conditions before. Romsdal has yet to win on turf, though the filly Madame Chiang has course and distance form on soft ground as she was victorious at British Champions Day last year.

She is an intriguing contender. Track, trip and ground will suit. Her seasonal comeback run over shorter 10f in the Middleton Stakes wasn’t all that bad, however she hasn’t been seen since, which is a concern.

And what about Golden Horn – if he runs? Of course he’s the one to beat. His record speaks for itself and he has the vital weight for age allowance on his side. But the ground is a major worry. Yes, he won his maiden on good to soft, but he looked so exceptional on a fast surface – I’m worried.

Verdict: I’m prepared to take on Golden Horn in these conditions ans believe Snow Sky has a major chance. He shouldn’t mind the ground and tactically the race could pan out to perfection for him. He’s a big price.

Snow Sky @ 15/2 Betfred – 5pts Win