Tag Archives: Monday

Monday Selections: 6th February 2023

It was lovely to continue the good start to the month of February when Mogok Valley ran away with his race at Kempton in the final furlong as his stamina kicked in.

I must say I was surprised to see him go off 11/1 BSP. I felt he was a more than solid 9/2 shot at the very least. Obviously, everything worked to perfection with a hot pace to aim at and MV finding a super spot just a few lengths off the pace.

Call it luck, that it went this exact way,… perhaps I was due some fortune, anyway.

New eyecatchers will likely drop Monday evening. The bank holiday weekend helps to clear the backlog of races to watch. Quite excited about the ones that caught the eye already. Now, all that’s needed is me being brave enough to back them. The amount of winners I missed out on in January isn’t funny.

That shows: finding the winners – in theory – is the easy bit. It’s the psychology of the game that’s the difficult part.

…….

5.30 Wolverhampton: Class H&H Handicap, 7f

I am dipping my toes into a type of race I normally avoid. Dark Design looks a strong chance, no doubt; however, if he gets the trip, then Big Impact could run away with this.

He ran an number of strong races lately, the last two especially are excellent form – he’s top-weight here for a good reason. This is much easier than all the rivals he encountered in the last while.

Two back he had the widest draw and was less than two lengths beaten behind two in-form horses. Last time out he caught my eye even more so, giving the impression he’s possibly ready to strike.

That day he reared in the stall, was bumped right after start, still moved forward quickly to grab solid spot tracking the pace. Held up behind the leaders, hew was slightly impeded as much as squeezed around the home turn, briefly losing some momentum as a consequence. Hi finished well enough against inside rail.

He’s a pound lower today, and has ran a number of times to speed ratings in the 50’s – his last seven since November read: 56, 51, 57, 11, 54, 56, 50. One lesser run, all other runs solid to strong.

Usually he is a solid starter and up with the pace, travelling well as much as one-paced and honest. Those seem ideal characteristics for a hands & heels race.

The trip is the question mark. He never tried to race beyond 6 furlongs. In his races, especially when he won, he tends to find in the closing stages, though.

His sire Lethal Force is all speed but his offspring gets 7f on the All-Weather just fine, especially if fancied. A god #3 should ensure Big Impact get’s it easy enough to find a good spot behind the pace setters. Obviously dropping in would the worst case scenario.

Trainer Robyn Brisland has a 30% strike rate (A/E 1.75) in Apprentice Handicaps over last year, while jockey Liam Wright rides well in hands & heels races. This feels worth the risk at given prices.

10pts win – Big Impact @ 17/2

Monday Selections: 23rd January 2023

Two lovely winners this week, yet it was a week filled with frustration, nonetheless. Put simply: all too often I was “riding” the wrong horse, or conversely: not riding the right horse.

Saturday epitomised this fact in no uncertain ways: Paddy K – well backed from 7/1 to 9/4 – finished a good runner-up… behind Ustath. Of course. It couldn’t have been any different. The same Ustath I backed 24h earlier, when he finished 2nd.

My mood wasn’t lifted when I saw that Eye Of The Water – another eyecatcher I have been monitoring for the right day for quite some time – won the Wolverhampton opener. Unbacked. Of course.

It’s always good to see work validated, the eyecatchers have been running sensationally well this winter so far. But their victories found their way into my P & L sheet not nearly as often. Decisions, decisions…

Anyway, the latest edition – with 16 largely new entries to the list – can be found here: All-Weather Eyecatchers.

On a different topic: we’re less than a week away from the Cape Met. South Africa’s most important Group 1 race over 10 furlongs. I am fairly sweet on recent G1 Paddock Stakes winner Make It Snappy.

Top-class fillies have a strong record in the race. Make It Snappy’s brave style of racing reminds me of one of my all-time favourite fillies: Igugu! She won the Met 11 years ago, against a backdrop of pre-race worries and during the race when she looked beaten only to come back for more.

Class, guts, all heart: Igugu.

…..

1.50 Kempton: Class 6 Handicap, 1m

Favourite Lordsbridge Girl hasn’t really impressed on speed ratings yet, hence I’m more than happy to take the filly on with a recent eyecatcher, that is 5-year-old gelding Wake Up Harry.

He should have a massive chance up in trip and significantly down in class (he drops from 0-75 into 0-65) after an excellent run over shorter 7 furlongs at Lingfield earlier this month.

That day he was restrained after a path forward was blocked early on, then travelling smoothly off the pace. He was still going well when turning for home, although perhaps turning wider than ideal, before unleashing a solid challenge in the home straight from to furlongs to the final furlong marker. He didn’t quite have the speed to get to leaders and came from too far back, and wasn’t able to sustain his effort in the closing stages.

Nonetheless, he appears to be hitting peak form. He didn’t race over the right trip the last two runs and one can forgive the comeback run after a long break.

He looks all set for being unleashed here tomorrow, though. A mile suits him really well, he’s got a 4-1-2 record but hasn’t ran over it since his final run before a gelding operation back in May 2021.

It’s clear that he was well too highly rated after a promising in maiden and novice races, but is down to a more than fair 65 handicap mark. John Egan comes here for this one ride only, which could be significant, too.

I usually don’t get involved in such a short price, but this gelding should be still quite a bit shorter, in my book.

10pts win – Wake Up Harry @ 11/4

Monday Selections: 16th January 2023

4.20 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 9.5f

Tricky opener to Wolverhampton’s Monday card: every horse in the field attempts a new trip or is going to make their handicap debut – it’s a somewhat muddy picture.

At the same time I believe there is about three horses with a prime chance: those are Densetsu, Marmara Star and Smooth Ryder.

The two fillies look bound to improve for the trip on handicap debut, so should the gelding, especially back on the All-Weather. If I can, though, I try to oppose fillies and mares during the winter, hence I am more interested in Smooth Ryder.

This US bred son of Smooth Daddy cost quite a bit of money as a yearling and looks clearly bred to excel over this sort of trip on the sand. He’s not fulfilled the promise of his price tag, and has been gelded in November. However, he showed some promise, at least for what’s required on this lowly level, in his first two starts especially, in my view.

Those came on the All-Weather, incidentally. He was green and raw on debut, but made some solid progress in the home straight, after a rough start to his life as a racehorse.

His second run over the same CD – 7 furlongs at Chelmsford – was quite eye-catching, as he jumped quickly and led the field, setting solid fractions and travelling well into the home straight, before fading.

Those horses ahead of him are all much higher rated today – the winner even as high as 98, other in the 80’s.

Given the trip was certainly on the sharp side, Smooth Ryder ran seriously well that day. When last seen on heavy ground he clearly didn’t enjoy the going, and it’s a form best to ignore.

An opening mark of 61 looks more than fair, judged on the Chelmsford performance, especially as he is back on the sand, and goes up to 9.5 furlongs. Franny Norton is in the saddle, for this one ride only today.

Given the gelding has shown alertness from the gate I expect him to move forward from the #1 draw. There aren’t too many concerns about the trip on pedigree, so a positive ride shouldn’t compromise his chances.

A concern is the drift in the betting. But I reckon not many will truly have a grasp on what we get from this bunch today and I happily back him at what looks potentially generous odds.

10pts win – Smooth Ryder @ 6/1

Monday Selections: 9th January 2023

5.30 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Apprentice Handicap, 7f

I’ve got three running from the latest Eyecatcher list. Not ideal. Thankfully I’ve got clear conditions set out for Jupiter Express and Desert Dream, and they aren’t met here.

They should still be fancied runners. In contrast, few in this field I regard as serious contenders. But knowing this race isn’t ideal for either Jupiter Express nor Desert Dream means they aren’t value for the win, in my view.

That leaves Healing Power. This looks a perfect opportunity for the 7-year-old gelding, in comparison. Let’s first review his most recent effort, that got him an entry on the eyecatchers:

Three weeks ago at Lingfield, he lead from the front, albeit pestered by a rival throughout. He set a good, even pace throughout. He was still leading at the final furlong marker, before headed over half a furlong from home by the eventual winner and runner-up, who came from off the pace. He managed to hold on for third eventually.

I believe this is strong form – on an individual level, because speed ratings confirmed an excellent figure of 59; form wise – because winner and second ran to higher than- or equal speed figures to their handicap mark. The winner went back-to-back and followed up with another strong 2nd place afterwards again.

The handicapper has been surprisingly friendly, having dropped Healing Power by 2lb for this strong performance, that at very least was very much in line with his then current rating, actually.

Off 62, in the right race, Healing Power will be handicapped to win in my view. He ran to 64 and 65 speed ratings within the last half year over 7 furlongs on the All-Weather, and this lto effort confirms his excellent current form.

Is this the right race? Yes and no. It’s not because this is Wolverhampton, Tapeta. His best sand performances all came at either Lingfield or Chelmsford on the polytrack. He also has to overcome a wider than ideal draw in #7. The Furtado yard has a poor spell right now, is 0/16 in the last fortnight.

But the positives outweigh all the negatives. He only raced three times on the Tapeta, was placed once in a hot class 5 contest, with the other two runs came over 6 furlongs and a mile, neither an ideal trip, off higher marks as well.

In class 6 over 7 furlongs he’s 1/5 and placed in 3 more, all those runs with Elle-May Croot in the saddle, who is on board here once again, and who maintains her 7lb claim even in this Apprentice race – with that she has a positive weight advantage to some other apprentices in this field, if they would meet in an ordinary Handicap, in fact.

The draw isn’t ideal, yes; thankfully Healing Power is a quick starter and there isn’t too many horses who are likely to charge forward in this field. The only one is Jupiter Express, who is likely to pull for his head over this trip, but at the same time will give Healing Express a nice focus point, something like a lead horse, who will be setting a fast pace that will suit him help to settle, as otherwise he’s known to pull early, as well.

The yard ran a bit better than the bare form suggest. In the last week 3/6 were placed, while the average SP was in the range of 23/1 for all runners in the last 14 days. Context is key, hence, if talking about the form of a yard.

In summary, Healing Power should have a cracking chance and perhaps should be considered the favourite to win the race, in my view.

The prices on the exchanges are total bonkers for the moment (and you can get on a proper stake; there is even bigger available, but I got the price I got). Of course, you never know in these races. There might be a reason for that. But the price doesn’t put me off at all; I doubt at this stage anybody knows who’s going to be on a going day here.

10pts win – Healing Power @ 10/1

Monday Selections: 19th December 2022

Before talking about more mundane things, such as a 0-70 Handicap at Kempton, I must mention the sublime: Charles Dickens!

South Africa has a new superstar – perhaps the most exciting colt for a long time, indeed. When someone like Mike de Kock says this, you must take note:

 “….the best I’ve seen since our own Horse Chestnut won the Guineas 23 years ago”

I’ve been following the progress of this son of Trippi for a while, and certainly felt ever since his Grade 3 Cape Classic victory he could be something special.

Of course, you hope, but you never can be totally sure whether such bonkers performances are real or simply down to some freak conditions on the day. Well, Charles Dickens followed up in similar style, before going into the Grade 1 Cape Guineas as the heavy odds-on favourite on Saturday.

He delivered in the most incredible way possible, in a strong renewal of the Cape Guineas, left his rivals standing still as he changed gear over two furlongs from home. You won’t see many easier winners in a Grade 1.

Spectacular, sublime, unreal, brilliant, outrageous… take your pick. I struggle to find actual words to properly describe this performance!

………….

2.50 Kempton: Class 5 Handicap, 1m

This is a rather competitive race for a modest Monday card at Kempton. You can make more or less solid cases for probably half the field. The pace scenario is certainly intriguing. Hard to call what’s going to happen.

Favourite Brains is handicapped to win, no doubt: the handbrake was off last time out, when he wasn’t quite the luckiest, though; same mark today, 9lb lower than his last winning mark and a solid 3lb claimer on board.

Obvious chances, however, quite a short price, one I wouldn’t want to trust with my money in a hot race as this, I must say.

There is solid opposition in Covert Mission, who may be a touch too high in the ratings now, but he loves this course and distance and has the form in the book to go close.

Buick on board of Exciting News, on her All-Weather Handicap debut. She will enjoy this additional furlong today and is dangerous off her rating, but ultimately difficult to gauge.

Lost In Time caught the eye two races back – if this is a muddling affair he’s not out of it; although I prefer to see him over 7 furlongs.

No question, though, the one I am really interested in from a betting point of view is Havana Goldrush. A massive eyecatcher when last seen, he confirmed his excellent form, as I felt the two preceding runs deserved to be upgraded for various reasons.

Last time out at Kempton, then over 7 furlongs, he had to overcome the widest draw, was bumped by a rival as the gates opened, was pushed to the outside as a consequence, and had to regain momentum. He found his stride swiftly, and then travelled strongly in the middle of the field.

Seemingly going best in the home straight, when looming large 2 furlongs from home, he failed to put the race to bed, apparently hanging in the closing stages and possibly paying for the trouble at the beginning of the race.

As touched on, his two runs prior to this most recent October race were noteworthy as well: a strong 3rd place in September at Chelmsford over a mile, when he attempted to make all, and possibly was doing too much too soon. A few weeks earlier he finished third over the same CD, when badly hampered at crucial times of the race.

Those performances indicate Havana Goldrush is holding his form quite well, and is ready to strike, when he gets a clear run.

It’s a slightly easier race today, and get the assistance of apprentice Taylor Fisher, who’s value for his 5lb claim. The downside is a wider than ideal draw, although perhaps less of an issue with only seven other rivals in the race.

Havana Goldrush tends to hang in finishes, he’s clearly a tricky sort. Nonetheless, I feel, even in this competitive Handicap, if he gets a clear run, he’s going to be difficult to beat today.

10pts win – Havana Goldrush @5/1

Monday Selections: 28th November 2022

One of those times again: not quite happening for me. Three of the last five selections placed. And then there was the the ‘killer’ on Saturday: Milbanke. Backed him a week ago with confidence, when he ran huge for third place, but then let him go unbacked on Saturday, when of course, he won. Autsch.

It’s a frustrating year, in that sense. Too many of those stories. It looks likely to be a losing year now – the first in over five years.

It was also frustrating to see my Summer Cup selection Safe Passage beaten in 2nd place at Turffontein on Saturday; he ran a cracker, but was probably doing too much too soon, going forward from the #10 draw, while the winner, gutsy Puerto Manzano, got a much more quiet ride, always sitting off the pace.

Later that evening Making Music ran a shocker; the drift to 20/1+ gave it away beforehand. I could really do with a nice winner today….

………

3.15 Kempton: Class 6 Handicap, 7f

I can’t avoid backing Thrave today. Somewhat a ghost I am chasing all season long. Is today the day?

If the handbrake is off Thrave will go close. No question about that. He’s racing over 7 furlongs, down t a mark off 61 – I couldn’t have dreamed up a better opportunity for the seven-year-old gelding.

Last time out the handbrake was clearly on. Even a blind man would have seen that. That run aside, perhaps the Newcastle performance prior was surprisingly poor. Especially because Thrave showed consistency this season, ran well and caught the eye a number of times all year long.

He ran four times to speed ratings of 62+ on turf, although it can be argued he’s a better horse on the All-Weather. In any case, he’s down to a career lowest mark, races over the right trip, with a good draw in a race where he shouldn’t have an issue to be right up with the pace.

Even though age may start to catch up with him, Thrave is better than those last two poor showings. This isn’t a strong field and if allowed to run on merit, is clearly overpriced.

10pts win – Thrave @ 13/1

Monday Selections: 24th October 2022

Thank The Lord: on Saturday the wait was finally over – after 30 consecutive losers, it was the appropriately named Thank The Lord who gave me the first winner in ages. The 3-year-old gelding won the 5 furlong handicap quite handsomely under the Chelmsford floodlights.

Even better, the 13/2 from the morning looked really big in the evening, given the fact he went off 3/1 fav in the end. I needed that. Badly.

Until this incredibly rotten spell – where it felt like I would even struggle to pick my nose if I’d ever tried (I didn’t; too afraid) – the flat season went quite well, actually. No more. I burned through all the profit. That hurts.

This was the worst losing run I have ever experienced; certainly since betting with some seriousness. The thing is, if I look back at it: the majority of selections I’d do again. Whether that’s a good or a bad thing? The future will tell.

………

4.10 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 2f

Oscar Doodle looks ready to romp home here off bottom weight after a surprisingly lenient treatment by the handicapper after his recent course and distance win.

He looked to get home a shade cozily, I felt, after always travelling well while tracking the pace. He was entitled to win off a basement mark of 45 after showing clear signs of improvement for a change to the 10 furlong trip with cheekpieces applied.

He was unlucky the first three attempts over 1o furlongs. The saddle slipped on his first attempt over this CD and blunted a better finish. But from there on he ran three huge races in a row: first at Beverley, and then even more so when desperately unlucky back at Newcastle.

No hard lucky story when last seen, and I reckon he’s got more left in the locker. He can pull hard, as shown in the past, and still was able to finish well. He seemed to settle much better last time out, though – has the penny dropped?

The pace looks solid enough here, he won’t have a problem to find a good posi from #8 draw either.

I am normally not a huge fan of Luke Morris in the saddle, but him taking the ride is a major advantage, especially as he goes down to 8st 5lb to take the ride. His record when doing these low weights on fancied horses is excellent, and he hasn’t ridden so low for weeks.

This is a solid race, not uncompetitive, but Oscar Doodle could still be quite well handicapped and should be able to follow up on his recent maiden victory off this weight.

10pts win – Oscar Doodle @ 9/2

………….

4.50 Redcar: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

This looks a competitive Apprentice handicap for this class. Half the field is in with a shot. That says Stallone appears to be a silly price, even more so if the ground doesn’t dry out too much until late afternoon.

Over the 6 furlong trip he needs give in the ground to be seen to best affect. Currently it’s still proper soft ground and I hope it doesn’t get much quicker.

Even though Stallone’s very best form comes over 7 furlongs, he is also a winner over the shorter 6 furlongs. He’ s also highly consistent, especially if the word “soft” appears in the going description (9 of those 13 races on proper soft he finished in the money).

He also acts on a faster surface, though, as seen when finishing a strong third place at Pontefract two races back in June this year.

That piece of form worked out incredibly well, and Stallone ran a huge race, confirmed by a 62 speed rating matching his handicap mark on the day. He ran to 56 and 57 speed ratings this season as well, proving consistency.

He couldn’t follow up from Pontefract when finishing eight of ten nine days later at Hamilton. Most like the race came too soon after that big Ponti run. He’s been off since then.

That specific form on fast ground gives me plenty of hope that even if it dries out to good to soft, he can be a seriously competitive runner in this field. Down to a mark off 61 he’s certainly handicapped to go close, having run six times to speed rating of 61+.

Also: Stallone never had the opportunity to race off such low mark on softish ground over 6 furlongs. So, while his win record looks poor over the trip, seen in the context of this, I’ll give him a better chance than the market does.

The elephant in the room is the jockey booking, though. This is an apprentice race and Paige Hopper is the least experienced rider in the field. From I have seen she looks solid enough in the saddle, and her 7lb claim can prove really valuable.

I might be completely wrong, of course, but I feel Stallone could be quite well handicapped, that with the additional weight allowance could mean Paige Hopper just has to make sure to stay in the saddle and not fall off.

That is if he’s fit. Not see since June is a question mark. But the yard is in good form, outperforming expectations. And this will likely be his final race this year. There is no need to hold back or run for a better handicap mark Therefore I am hopeful Stallone is allowed to run on merit.

10ps win – Stalone @ 14/1

Monday Selections: 12th September 2022

3.50 Thirsk: Class 4 Novice Stakes, 5f

I have been waiting for Lory to run in a suitable race ever since her move to the UK. In my view she ran better than the two forms suggest since switching from Andre Fabre to Julie Camacho back in May.

She showed good early speed on both occasions, albeit racing way too freely over 7 furlongs and subsequently 6 furlongs as well. Nonetheless, the Wolverhampton run looks quite good on form terms and the way she travelled for a long time after a long break was encouraging.

Obviously, she didn’t fulfill expectations in France. Fancied on her first two career starts as a juvenile in the famous blue Godolphin colours, she caught the eye on both occasions, though. Things didn’t quite go to plan both times but it looked obvious there is some talent.

A drop to the minimum trip on soft ground could certainly suit here. The wind operation suggests not all was right lately. With that in mind there is every chance she can improve quite a bit with those issues hopefully put to bed and race conditions possibly to her advantage. Certainly she could be good enough to win a race as poor as this.

In saying that, Proclivity also caught the eye a few starts back and find ideal conditions here. She’s the main danger. I go with Lory for the reason that I believe she offers more upside.

10pts win – Lory @ 11/2

………

8.30 Kempton: Class 3 Handicap, 1m 3f

Bottom-weight Picual looks potentially well-handicapped in this field. The lightly raced filly seriously caught the eye on her first two runs in Handicap company.

She thundered home in impressive style when she got off the mark at Nottingham – she won only by a neck but with much more authority than the winning margin would tell.

Next time at Sandown she was desperately unlucky. She trailed the field, the eventual winner went from the front and got first run; she endured a troubled passage and only got out late to finish second.

The handicapper hasn’t been harsh, thankfully. She is only 2lb up for the effort, and only 6lb altogether since Nottingham – form that has worked out really well.

Picual looked still learning on the job in all her runs. She is prone to miss the start, which is a concern. In this small field it may not be too much of an issue, though. The additional furlong looks sure to suit.

10pts win – Picual @ 5/2

Monday Selections: 1st August 2022

I have one selection on this (Irish) bank holiday Monday. But first I’ve got to take a quick lock back at what was a wonderful and pretty profitable month of racing.

July 2022:
46 bets, 9 winners = 162.5pts profit & 35% ROI

It was a fine, fine month from a betting perspective. And possibly even more important to me personally: every month this season was in profit. It’s not always been easy.

The second half of July proved once again how contrasting the good and bad times can be in this game. You have to stay levelheaded and put the emotions aside to succeed. Easier said than done, I must admit.

Clearly my highlight was backing Victor Loza at 12.5/1 to win comfortably from the front at Epsom. I was watching the race in a pub with some friends which made it even more enjoyable.

Betting aside July was a wonderful month purely as a racing fan with top-class action all over the world: Durban July, German Derby, Eclipse…. absolutely loved it.

……….

7.15 Carlisle: Class 6 Handicap, 5f

A speculative choice at this time of the day given the chances will be significantly enhanced if the rain arrives in time for Gorgeous General.

His turf form reads awful on the surface, but he didn’t have many opportunities to run with ease in the ground, even though he produced a career best on turf judged on speed ratings over this CD on good to soft ground only four weeks ago.

Rain is expected to arrive from late afternoon on at Carlisle, and a significant portion of it. That might be enough to turn the going to good to soft come 7.15pm.

Gorgeous General caught the eye a number of times this year already. Certainly over the CD run last month, when not getting a clear run. Also a strong finish last time out from off the pace in a race dominated by the front-runner was another clear sign that he’s in excellent form.

Yet the handicapper has “rewarded” those fine performances with dropping him in the ratings. This is an open race, he may struggle to get into it from off the pace with space probably coming at a premium. But I feel he’s so well handicapped that at the price it’s worth a go.

10pts win – Gorgeous General @ 8/1

Monday Selections: 18th July 2022

3.35 Ayr: Class 6 Handicap, 7f

This is a really poor contest despite the fact that I have three eyecatchers running in it. Far From A Ruby is one but I want to see her back on the All-Weather. Her presence is positive from a pace scenario though, as she will go forward and that should ensure a solid gallop.

Others are expected to press her or certainly want to be in prominent positions. This proves ideal on fast ground at Ayr lately, there’s no doubt about that. In that context I struggle to see the attractiveness of Biplane who is the recipient of a bit of money this morning.

I have this between the three-year-olds, Audit and Thunderhill. The former caught the eye when a slightly unlucky 3rd at Catterick when dropped to 7 furlongs. A repeat effort with a clear run will see him go really close off the same mark.

My feeling is that Thunderhill, albeit higher in the mark, offers more scope for additional improvement and that could mean he has possibly a few pounds in hand on only his second handicap run.

He came to my attention on his final maiden race in May in deep conditions at Carlisle when he travelled sweetly through the race for a long time.

On handicap debut four week ago at Redcar he was seriously keen early on and not the easiest to steer. He finished well with the main bunch nonetheless. Probably not the best form, but no recent form in this field is better and he will have learned from it.

Thee faster pace today and the fact he doesn’t need to make it but can track it should be a huge help to his chances. He probably stays further too, so if they go really hard it will be a bonus.

He’s related to some decent winners too, though possibly will turn out to be a miler and is one to keep an eye on regardless what happens today.

10pts win – Thunderhill @ 9/2