Tag Archives: Leicester

Thursday Selections: August, 22nd 2019

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4.15 York: Listed Henry Cecil Galtres Stakes, 1m 4f

This is a wide open race and the betting tells you as much. What’s intriguing: the vast majority of horses in here have yet to run fast – at least judged by topspeed ratings. You could possibly forgive the lightly raced fillies a bit more, although the likes of Frosty or favourite Search For A Song had chances when running in pretty decent races.

Hence the standout chance in this contest appears to be Frankellina. This daughter of the almighty Frankel has pretty decent form in the book, running in some hot races, while she is the only one in this field running to a 90+ topspeed rating – which is something I want to see from any serious contender in this class.

It’s her career best, which looks rock solid as she also run to 89 before, which still would be the highest TS rating achieved by any filly in the field.

This is in line with her official rating of 105, the highest of any filly in the field. Granted, Frankellina has not quite lived up to possibly high expectations at the start of season. She had won on her debut in her single start as a juvenile, but remains without victory this year in four starts.

A runner-up effort in the Musidora – which is questionable form to be fair – followed by a promising 6th place effort in the Oaks, a 6th place in the Ribblesdale and a slightly disappointing 4th here at York in a listed contest last month.

I would argue, though, those last three pieces are pretty fair form, given this race looks much easier. Also Frankellina will profit from drying ground at York today – the quick surface should benefit her chances and hopes that she truly stays the 1m 4f trip.

Selection:
10pts win – Frankellina @ 11/2 MB

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4.50 York: Class 2 Handicap, 7f

I’m a little bit late to the party but still feel there is significant juice in the price of Whitefountainfairy. Albeit this is a big field, it is not as competitive a handicap as other races this week.

Whitefountainfairy should, if having a clear run, take all the beating here. Really. Saying that in a 20-runner strong field feels weird but I guess anyone who can read and has half-decent eyesight will have seen what handicap mark the filly is and what tremendous run she produced at Goodwood last time out.

Most importantly, Whitefountainfairy is down to a super dangerous mark. Down to 85, she ran to higher topspeed in the past, has been falling gradually, while remaining relatively low mileage, actually not all that much disappointing in her last runs either.

She was brutally eye-catching at Goodwood lately. Losing the race in the starting gate, hitting it in fact once the gates opened, she lost a good deal of ground, which is far from ideal over 7f. She settled at the rear, but then in the final two furlongs weaved her way through, finishing so strongly, that surely with a better start she would have gone very close.

I believe, despite a higher grade, this today is actually an easier race. She also runs against her own sex, and a simpler track will be a bonus, so will be the decent ground.

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

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8.00 Leicester: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

Mutabaahy is ripe for victory. He’s been running quite well this year without getting a deserved “1” credited to his name. This here will be his best chance. It really isn’t a good race and I feel this lad stands out.

He’s 2lb above his last winning mark, but 67 seems a more than fair mark for him. He has ran to 68 and 70 topspeed ratings in the past, in fact he ran to a career best when runner-up at Ripon.

One can argue Mutabaahy had chances of the same mark this season already. True, but he also run really well then in highly competitive races that have worked out strongly.

Track, trip and ground conditions will suit today. Back after a 4-wee-long break he’s hopefully fresh and ready to go. In saying that I am slightly worried by the drift in the betting – but it’s the risk I’m prepared to take.

Selection:
10pts win – Mutabaahy @ 9/1 MB

Wednesday Selections: July, 31st 2019

Leicester Racecourse

8.40 Leicester: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

A quick one for the lucky last at Leicester tonight: this looks an open, although pretty poor contest. I feel Smeaton offers the most upside with given conditions here, hence he looks still a shade overpriced.

The gelding remains searching for a maiden victory. However, he has already a supreme performance to his name – supreme in the context of this class and race:

On handicap debut back in May Smeaton finished a strong runner-up in a 9f race on soft ground that has worked out pretty well since then. He did that of a 64 opening mark, running to a topspeed rating of 65 that day.

Subsequently tried over further, he failed to produce the same sort of form, but the drop down to a mile with conditions seemingly to suit perfectly, as well as having dropped another 3lb in the mark to a career lowest 60 OR, offers Smeaton a superb opportunity to get off the mark.

Selection:
10pts win – Smeaton @ 4/1 MB

Tuesday Selections: May, 29th 2018

Leicester Racecourse

4.20 Leicester: Class 5 Handicap, 10f

Clive Cox’s Ghazan makes his handicap- and season debut today. He steps up to 10f for the first time as well. The colt showed a good deal of promise in three starts as a juvenile in the second half of last year.

Particular his final run, when 3rd in a Nottingham maiden looks particularly strong form. The race certainly worked out well.

With natural improvement likely to come for experience and the new trip, I feel a mark off 75 might underestimate him – granted Ghazan is ready to go today.

Selection:
10pts win – Ghazan @ 8/1 VC

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5.00 Redcar: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

Rickyroadboy is in superb form since the start of the turf season. He won two and been in the money the other two starts, most recently a good fortnight ago in a big Thirsk handicap.

He looks like the sort still capable of progressing a bit further. He has the benefit of the 1 draw today which ensure pole position, as long as he starts, well which he usually does.

The ground is the only slight question mark. His wins came with cut in the ground, although his recent runner-up performance came on fast ground. Either way, Rickyroadboy is a clear favourite in my book.

Selection:
10pts win – Rickyroadboy @ 7/2 WH

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6.20 Brighton: Class 4 Handicap, 7f

Artic Sea is the only colt in a competitive race dominated by geldings and a few fillies. The fact connections haven’t decided to go down the most drastic route, means they must see something at home that make them belief he could still improve.

Fact is he is down to a lowly mark, only a pound higher than winning over a mile at Chepstow last May. He’s ran over further on plenty of occasions subsequently, so the drop to 7f is a gamble.

Ground should suit, though, and first time blinkers may eke out a bit of improvement. Expect Artic Sea to go from the front and use his stamina to hold off any challengers. Interesting this is the only runner saddled for trainer Paul Cole and the only ride for Raul da Silva today.

The combination of interesting track/trip/ground conditions, a fair looking mark and a small field possibly to be dominated from the front for a jockey/trainer combo that has had quite a bit of success in the past, I feel Artic Sea is a worthy favourite in this race.

Selection:
10pts win – Arctic Sea @ 4/1 Skybet

Monday Selection: May, 21st 2018

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+8.00 Leicester: Class 5 Fillies’ Handicap, 7f

Big field, highly competitive – normally not a race I would be particularly drawn to. Says, Amanda Perrett’s filly Flirtare catches my eye in many different ways.

The Oasis Dream daughter tries the flush green turf for the first time after showing promise on the All-Weather in four starts.

She finished middle of the pack on handicap debut at Kempton last months, however she came across to challenge the lead from a wide draw early on and travelled always wide. The fact she actually led briefly over a furlong out is credit to her, I feel. She faded away eventually, but this was a promising run.

Two pounds off the mark, now on turf, this lightly raced filly is fitted with first time blinkers ad a hood as well. If that in combination can eke out a little bit of improvement then Flirtare is in with a more than decent shout.

Selection:
10pts win – Flirtare @ 20/1 PP

Classic Glory for Frankel

Classic glory for the almighty Frankel for the very first time – his daugther Soul Stirring landed the Japanese Oaks at Tokyo racecourse in fine style this morning under an excellent ride by French jockey Christophe Lemaire.

The tremendously well bred filly – she is out of 2009 French Oaks heroine Stacelita – was also the first Frankel progeny to win at the highest level when she claimed the Group 1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies at Hanshin Racecourse in December.

……

2.40 Redcar: Class 6 Handicap, 5 Furlongs

You’re better off long-term not to make too many excuses for horses if they didn’t live up to expectations multiple times on the bounce. That’s normally a clear sign that something is not right.

Nonetheless I make an exception in the case of the still lightly raced Backinanger. This three year gelding old has been disappointing the last two starts, but mostly on his turf Handicap debut four weeks ago. He was a bad drifter on the day, so there must have been a reason for his poor showing.

Unfortunately I backed him that day when first time cheek-pieces  didn’t work at all for Backinangger. He was never in the race – to my surprise because if you go back and watch his previous starts you’ll see a horse that shows a bit of early speed, but also quite a bit of keenness.

In fact his performances on the All-Weather over the winter were noteworthy as more often than not he caught the eye and ran better than the bare result would suggest.

This son of Royal Applause was a late foal which explains why he often looked raw and unfinished business. Theoretically there should be improvement to come from him with age and experience. He also should enjoy fast conditions.

That’s the reason why I give him one more chance – blinkers are fitted and he drops to the minimum trip, which in combination of the ground and the relive of another couple of pounds could work wonders.

Selection:
10pts win – Backinanger @ 10/1 Bet365

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5.25 Carlisle: Class 5 Handicap, 7 Furlongs

Less than a handful of realistic contenders to land the race in this field in my mind and LTO winner Africa Blessing is the one in this group who is overpriced.

He won over this trip at Doncaster last month – a first time over 7f for him – and he was good for a bit more than the tight winning margin I felt. He might be able to pull out a bit more over this trip, also the uphill finish could suit this Mount Nelson son.

Africa Blessing has been raised a mere 4lb for the latest success, one that looks solid form wise and awarded him an RPR of 76. Provided he doesn’t miss the kick, drawn in four close to the pace can only be an advantage.

Selection:
10 pts win – Africa Blessing @ 4/1 Bet365

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7.35 Leicester: Class 4 Handicap, 10 furlongs

Swaheen shaped well on his seasonal reappearance last month and is expected to strip fitter today. He’s fallen significantly in his handicap mark compared what he raced of mostly last year and that makes him an attractive proposition in this race.

He’s won off 2lb higher, albeit all his major form comes over 12f+, so the drop in trip is a question mark. It might well suit, however, as very soft conditions are likely to be encountered at Leicester.

Swaheen has strong form to offer with cut in the ground despite limited opportunities on this type of ground. Though in genuine soft underfoot conditions he has won of a mark off 84 in the past – so down to 80 with a decent 5lb claimer in the saddle he has a top chance as I feel the emphasis on stamina in this 10f contest will suit him.

Selection:
10pts win – Swaheen @ 11/2 Coral

Saturday Tips

4.40 Leicester: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

I was quite keen on Favourite Royal ten days ago at Wolverhampton but felt she might need the run, so didn’t back her then. Her fast finishing runner-up performance was incredibly eye-catching that day, though, indicating this filly has wintered well and is well able to win a race of her current mark.

She was a very green and raw filly as a juvenile, with a bit of learning and filling of her frame to do. Now as a three year old you would hope that she can still improve a bit and I feel the 2lb added to her rating on the back of the last run might not stop her in a race that should suit.

The bounce factor is a question mark but given she has not a lot of running under her belt yet, this lightly raced filly seems likely to be well handicapped.

Selection:
10pts win – Favourite Royal @ 11/2 PP

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6.50 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 9.5f

Drago seemingly enjoys this track and the unique trip given he has quite a good record around Wolverhampton. He looks improved since fitted with a hood: his last four performances when wearing it were all very decent enough, and he’s only 3lb higher than when winning over course and distance back in November last year.

He already has a run under his belt this season; arguably a pipe opener in a seller. I feel there is a genuine chance that he can still improve a bit over this CD and having a decent 7lb claimer in the saddle should be an advantage.

Selection:
10pts win – Drago @ 9/1 Bet365

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7.05 Doncaster: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4f

Top weight Mr Davies seems to have a tough task assigned on his handicap debut with 9st 9lb to carry, however this completely unexposed gelding could be on a lenient opening mark either.

He got two runs in quick succession as a juvenile, was then put away and reappeared four weeks ago four weeks ago here at Doncaster over 10.5f in a maiden. From the widest draw he pushed forward, travelled well throughout but was entitled to get tired in the final furlong.

Despite never finishing in the money in three maiden runs his RPR suggest those performances are close to in line with his opening mark. It is reasonable to imagine that this big, scopey gelding can improve for his pipe opener and the step up to 12f for the first time.

Selection:
10pts win – Mr Davies @ 11/2 PP

Tuesday’s Racing Talk

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SLOW burning day, but no surprise given the Ebor Festival is looming large. Not much caught my eye today with the exception of the story that Jamie Spencer lost the ride on The Grey Gatsby in the Juddmonte International.

“The horse needs a fresh pair of hands” says trainer Kevin Ryan. So Danny Tudhope gets the nod. Tudhope is a bit the man of the hour after his sensational ride in the Arlington Million last Saturday.

Question is: does this jockey change make actually any difference in the big race tomorrow? Probably not. Jamie Spencer, regarded as villain number one of every armchair jockey, has done little wrong when riding The Grey Gatsby.

But you know how it is: changing things for the sake of it can sometimes make you feel better, though how often does it lead to something good? Well, just think about how often football teams change their manager and how often this leads to sustained success…..

Stat of the Day:

35 – James Tate’s win percentage in Handicaps at Wolverhampton in the summer! Delivers an ROI of 94%, and he’s been even better over the last two summers posing an ultra impressive 62.5% place strike rate at this venue!

Interestingly his success rate drops significantly for the rest of the year, so it seems Tate exploits those often less competitive races on the Wolverhampton All-Weather, knowing how to target particularly the low grade handicaps.

His top contender today is filly Mayasa – her chances are boosted by her pedigree, given Iffraaj offspring acts extremely well at the Wolverhampon tapeta.

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Tuesday Selections:

6.30 Wolverhampton: Suffragette City @ 3/1 WH
7.30 Wolverhampton: Mayasa @ 9/4 Ladbrokes
7.40 Leicester: Alnashama @ 5/2 Ladbrokes
9.00 Wolverhampton: Sharp Jack @ 18/1 Coral

AiR Force Blue Redemption Day

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Not often you see a horse cruising hard on the bridle entering the final furlong in a Grade 1 on the dirt, particularly if they flew around the track right from the start – yet Frosted did!

He posted one of the most impressive performances of the season, following on from an equally ultra impressive victory in Metropolitan Handicap back in June.

If you didn’t see the race, staged last night at beautiful Saratoga, here’s a chance to catch up:


Hayley Turner you beauty! The multiple Group 1 winning formerly leading female rider in the UK looked healthy and happy at yesterday’s Shergar Cup – which in itself was great to see; no doubt her ride in the Shergar Cup Mile was THE highlight of the day.

Super cool, with (virtual) balls of steel, did she rode Early Morning to victory – and given she hasn’t ridden much since her retirement, she looked still quite strong in the saddle. Well done!

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4.05 Phoenix Stakes: Air Force Blue @ 11/8 Skybet

Yes, you got to be a brave man to put any amount of faith in fallen Ballydoyle star Air Force Blue. BUT he wins this – hands down!

Why? Well, it’s obvious that everything he showed as a three year old is so far below anything he showed as a juvenile – therefore it might be fair to assume he simply didn’t train on. On the other hand to my eyes it seemed more like he had some issues bugging him him early on the year plus it becomes clear he doesn’t last the mile trip.

On the positive side of things: when dropped to 6 furlongs in the July Cup you could see a glimpse of last seasons class. “What???” Some will say now. Air Force Blue beaten by feckin’ seven lengths that day!

That’s right, though look closely, as he travelled like a dream for a very long time albeit didn’t get the breaks he needed when it really mattered….. I know I’m making excuses plenty will think… but….

…..Air Force Blue drops down to Group 3 level today right in to a field he simply HAS to dominate, particularly with good ground sure to suit. He’s by far the highest rated individual in this race. Combined with his weight for age allowance he is virtually unbeatable.

So, no excuses today. None! If he fades badly today then we get an answer the question whether there is an underlying problem… potentially breathing (*think loud*). Until then I give him the benefit of the doubt and say 11/8 is monster value!

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The Best from the Rest:

2.20 Chelmsford: Migan Lily @ 3/1 Skybet
2.30 Leicester: Zeinhom @ 10/3 Skybet
4.50 Chelmsford: Stamford Raffles @ 15/2 WH
5.20 Chelmsford: Not Your Call @ 2/1 VC

Betting: Monday Selections

Leicester Racecourse

A really nice performance by Sound Investment at Aintree yesterday afternoon brought the week down – finally a positive one, betting wise. Sound Investment jumped well, travelled well and out battled his rivals in the closing stages, powering home in the final furlong. Some sight, for me in particular, given that my selections haven’t done that all too often in recent weeks.

1.50 Leicester: Class 2 Handicap, 1m

An open looking affair here at Leicester in the mud today, with most of these having no issue with this type of ground whatsoever. Least the favourite who looks well handicapped on old form and will be difficult to peg back should he enjoy an easy lead up on front. So Robert The Painter is certainly the one to beat, but a rather shortish price in this strong field…

Top of the weights Educate has been disappointing since finishing second in a Listed event back in May. He drops to a handy mark though. Question mark is whether he has the form to take advantage of it. Marcret in contrast certainly has been in good form lately and another good run is on the cards, he isn’t all that well handicapped, on the other side.

Veteran Pintura finds the mile trip his limit stamina wise usually, but he’ll enjoy the conditions today. He showed plenty when close runner-up at the Galway festival in an ultra competitive affair back in August and was a shade unlucky not to win at Ayr one month earlier. He’ll be competitive if the sparkle is back.

Not harshly treated by the handicapper has been Jack’s Revenge after a good runner-up effort at Chester recently. His poor strike is a concern, however. Athletic may find this trip a tick too far in soft ground conditions, but has place claims, at least.

Polar Forest is only 2lb above his last winning mark, although has found life difficult whenever he stepped up in class. He loves these conditions, so can’t be ruled out, still. And the same goes for Spirit Of Law, how might prefer it a bit further generally, but will enjoy the slow conditions. Hard to know what to get from Storm Rock today, but he is still lightly raced, so may have more to offer.

Summary: You can’t rule out any of the nine runners, although some have better credentials than others. I really like Robert The Painter but not his price tag. I take a chance on Pintura instead. He hasn’t been in good form lately, but if he finds back some sparkle he can be dangerous. He’ll be competitive off his current mark, given he finished a head beaten second at the Galway Festival. He’s the overpriced runner in this field in my mind.

Pintura @ 25/1 Paddy Power – 5pts Win

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3.55 Ayr: Novice Handicap Chase (Clas 3), 2m 4f 110y

I feel the favourite Jack Steel is quite a skinny price. I can see why, to an extend: lightly raced and potential for big improvement. But does he look like a chaser? I’m not sure. He is a full-brother to two horses who have achieved zero – I’m prepared to take him on.

I really like the look of the grey Un Noble instead. He is a big, scopey chaser in the making, equally lightly raced. He won a Handicap Hurdle earlier this year in nice style over this sort of trip and any cut in the ground won’t inconvenience him. Un Noble is the type of horse sure to improve for the switch to fences and therefore represents better value than the favourite.

Have to call out Dr Moloney as well, who is likely to benefit from the drop in rip . However I have reservations about the ground and he might be one to keep an eye on for the future.

Un Noble @ 9/2 Paddy Power – 5pts Win

Leicester: Mezzotint hard to beat

Leicester Racecourse

7.55 Leicester: Class 4 Handicap, 7f

You have to be wary of the three year olds in this race, one of them might be able to step up his or her game, but it’s practically impossible to look beyond top weight Mezzotint.

He didn’t have things going right on a couple of occasions lately, but judged on his Newmarket performance last month when only 3l behind Athletic in a hot Handicap, despite having been badly hampered that day, proved he is still up to his mark.

He’s been dropped to a career lowest mark off 78 now while still capable of running up to something in the mid 80’s – he’s also dropped into a much easier race here today. With conditions very much to suit and a CD success to his name, he’s a handful for anyone in this race.

Mezzotint @ 4/1 Betfred – 5pts Win