Tag Archives: Mile

Preview: Woodbine Mile

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11.34 Woodbine: Grade 1 Woodbine Mile, 1m

A quick one for the night’s racing in Canada – after contemplating over it the whole day I finally came to the conclusion that Lancaster Bomber is a “good thing” in the Woodbine Mile.

If you draw a line through his Sussex Stakes run on unsuitable soft ground, you see a horse that has performed really well on quick surface this season in particular. An excellent 4th in the Guineas, when less than two lengths beaten by star miler Churchill and a runner-up effort in the St. James’s Palace Stakes qualifies as top class form.

Lancaster Bomber already has proven he does travel well too, as he was a fine 2nd in last years Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.

With lightning quick ground a given at Woodbine today, he surly meet his optimum conditions. Slight concerns over the wide draw and the likelihood of rider Wayne Lordan putting up a couple of pounds overweight, as the lowest he has ridden in the last 12 months has been 8st 4lb.

That probably will erode some of the weight advantage, as Lancaster Bomber would otherwise receive up to 12lb by World Approval. Nonetheless, he still will have less to carry than any other individual in the field while potentially being the smartest horse in the race.

Selection: 
10pts win – Lancaster Bomber @ 4/1 William Hill

Preview – Sandown Mile

Bow Creek

I love milers. Why? It’s simple: 1 mile races are the perfect combination of speed and stamina. Now, what does this say? I’m feeling quite excited about the Sandown Mile on Friday afternoon. My all-time favourite miler Paco Boy won this race twice during his illustrious career. So this race really has a special place in my heart.

That says we have a cracking renewal on our hands! Some smart, progressive milers are going to post. There might be bigger targets on their radar further down the line, but this is a good starting point. A real pointer in fact!

The jury is out on Shifting Power in my mind. He ran a cracker in last years 2.000 Guineas and backed it up with a fine second in the Irish equivalent behind Kingman. He ran another cracker in defeat in the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat that summer. But was subsequently a huge disappointment n lesser grade when last season in 2014.

His trainer feels he’s a Group 1 winner in the making. The form tells so, to an extend. I always thought he lacks the extra bit of speed required at the highest level, though. Now, the Sandown Mile is a Group 2 and Shifting Power entitled to be favourite. Particularly since he is in receive of weight from other main rivals. But his price is nothing more than fair. At 11/4 there are better alternatives.

The Irish trained Custom Cut really made gigantic progress last year. He won a couple of races, including the Group 2 Joel Stakes at Newmarket. I expect him to be ready for the race and a bold bid is expected. I’m just slightly worried that he certainly needs the lead to be seen at his best. However he may be challenged here, or at least won’t have it all that easy from the front with horses chasing him.

Here Comes When won two Group 2’s toward the end of last season. He’s been clearly progressive and an exciting prospect. However the quick ground certainly counts against him at Sandown. He seems sure to be seen to best effect with cut in the ground. For that simple reason he looks opposable to me.

By far the most exciting individual in this field is Bow Creek. Now trained by Charlie Appleby, he was a two times Group 2 winner last season for Mark Johnston. He landed the Celebration Mile at Goodwood from the front, despite hanging badly in the closing stages. He followed up with a gutsy success on Irish Champions Weekend.

Cheek-pieces fitted for the first time should help him to stay focused in the closing stages, as sometimes things seem to distract him and he can hang. No doubt he has bigger targets this year and will come on for the run, but he’ll love the fast ground and the track should suit as well. He looks a big price to me.

The rest of the field has allot to find against the main contenders. Baltic Knight went close to beat Custom Cut in a Listed event last year, but hasn’t been in any sort of form similar to that when seen recently. Fast conditions may not be quite suitable for Breton Rock and Master Carpenter. Top Notch Tonto would not be out of it if he could run to something like his performance in the Group 2 Boomerang Mile. But it’s not easy to see to be honest.

Verdict: A cracking renewal with some rally exciting horses in the line-up… you can’t ask for more. That says the penalties for last seasons successes make it an even more intriguing contest, in that sense that Shifting Power has no excuses receiving 5lb from his main rivals. However betting wise I’m sweet on Bow Creek. He has tons of potential plus track, trip, ground will suit perfectly.

2.30 Sandown: Bet365 Mile (Group 2)
Bow Creek @ 4/1 Paddy Power – 5pts Win

Preview: Meydan – Zabeel Mile (Group 1)

After his latest two impressive wins over seven furlongs, Safety Check is a hot favourite to make it three in a row. He always looked a classy individual and it is good to see him fulfilling his potential. His most recent Group 2 success in the Al Fahidi is the stand out form and for that reason alone he warrants an awful lot of respect. Is he a sure thing in this field, though? I’m not so sure about it. It’s now his third race in rather quick succession, and he has shown his very best over seven furlongs, which could point to him being a specialist for that particular trip. He has to bring all this now to a mile today, and will have to give three pounds away. He has previous form over the distance, but he encounters some classy rivals today.

On of those rivals comes from his own stable. Outstrip returns to turf after a rather disastrous try on the dirt. This should suit much better for obvious reasons. His Breeders Cup Grade 1 success is the form that is the best in this field by a country mile. Since then things didn’t go to plan in his classic season last year. He went straight into the Guineas after his seasonal break and finished tailed off. A very much improved performance saw him finding back to form in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot when he finished third behind Kingman and Night Of Thunder. The small field in the Sussex Stakes and a slowly run race didn’t suit him at all subsequently and it didn’t get better in the Joel Stakes either, which ended his season. After this recent outing on the dirt, it is hard to know what to expect of Outstrip today. He is the highest rated individual in this field, though probably flattered by a mark of 118. I believe he deserved another chance. No excuses today. Ground and trip are sure to suit.

Progressive Dark Emerald was impressive in Handicaps this winter and his latest triumph was very taking indeed. Not impossible that he can improve further, but he’ll have to lift his game to another level today. De Kock has a strong hand in the race with Anaerobio, who, if he could find to last seasons form, would be in with a good chance to go close, though age may be catching up with him and his best came over 7f. Darwin is an interesting runner. Thought to be a potential superstar when brought over from the US to Aiden O’Brien, he couldn’t quite live up to the early promise, but a third in the Sussex Stakes must rate strong form, however he had the run of the race back then and he’ll need to bounce back after a poor effort on the dirt. Johann Strauss is another former O’Brien horse now in De Kock’s care. Hard to know what to expect from him today.

Hugo Palmer’s Short Squeeze deserves a shot in this race today. He is a very fair performer in hot handicaps and Listed level. Perception is that he needs to find a bit to be really competitive here today. That says, on balance, I feel Outstrip is overpriced. One has to trust him to find back to something of his old best. No excuses for him today, though. It one last chance he deserves. All is set for a big run. It’s on Outstrip to show if he is good enough these days. A performance like at Royal Ascot last year, would be good enough to win this I suspect, and with fitness on his side after the last outing, he’s the one I side with here.

5.40 Meydan: Zabeel Mile, 1m 
Outstrip @ 13/2 Coral – 5pts win