Tag Archives: Newbury

Victoriously’s a colt with a bright future

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Normally this wouldn’t be the kind of race I have a bet in – but the Brian Meehan inmate Victoriously is very much overpriced here I feel. He improved massively from his debut run last summer when he finished a good third over 7.5f at Lingfield. He was very green throughout the race, most of the time without cover too but showed a bit of talent the way he made progress from 3f out.

He was put away after that, but he was always one who should improve with age given his pedigree. He’ll relish the mile trip as well I suspect. This colt is pretty nicely bred, out of a listed race winning mare and I would like to think that connections eye a maiden success to move on to bigger targets then.

This is a pretty competitive maiden, so nothing is given. But interestingly the Meehan yard is going really well right now and young Antonio Fresu comes here for this one ride only – he is riding strongly at the moment, despite not having many too many chances to show his skills. But if he sits on the horse, than he does so on a good one, more often than not it seems Meehan has provided a winner for this young jockey recently, which makes me believe he wouldn’t be booked if there isn’t something expected from Victoriously here.

5.10 Newbury: Maiden Stakes, 1 mile
Victoriously @ 20/1 Stan James – 5pts win

Preview – Fred Darling Stakes

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I loved Tiggy Wiggy last year – a real speedball! One has to wonder though: Can she still improve? And does she actually stay beyond six furlongs? On pedigree I’d say probably no, she won’t last further than 6f. The visual impression of her races also clearly indicates that she is all speed – The 7f trip however is where stamina starts to kick in. Says, I feel on her seasonal reappearance over this trip she is opposable.

But who is the filly to beat her? The Kempton winner Jellicle Ball was very impressive on her debut. She may well be up for. Trip is probably fine, but I don’t really like her pedigree. The one that caught my eye is Redstart, though. Sh was unlucky on debut not to win when she was probably a bit surprised when the eventual winner cam late staying on out of nowhere. This form has been franked subsequently, so is one to take seriously.

She made amends with a dominant performance at Kempton subsequently. Probably not a particularly strong maiden, but she looked good. Redstart is entitled to improve a good bit now as a three year old, and probably she’ll be better over further in time. Ground is fine today, however, and she deserves a fair crack here. For a tasty price, I think she is the one who could take advantage if the hot favourite fades late.

Redstart @ 14/1 Sportingbet – 5pts win

Preview – Greenham Stakes

Newbury Grand stand

No joy today – Jack Steel travelled well for a long time but managed only to finish 3rd in the end. He faded badly after jumping the last. He was quite a drifter in the betting (SP 10/1) before the off as well. I suspect he may need bit further and then it also depends bit on what the handicapper does next. But he’s clearly capable of winning a race. The other two selections didn’t go close at all!

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2.50 Newbury: Greenham Stakes (Group 3)

This is a spectacular renewal of the Greenham Stakes! So many promising individuals unified in this one race – it’s simply got the be spectacular. Does that mean there should be a 6/4 favourite? Certainly not! There’s certainly plenty to like about Ivawood, but the price is madness in my mind.

Ivawood was a top class sprinter as a juvenile, a winner of two Group 2’s over six furlongs and an excellent runner-up in the Middle Park Stakes when probably unsuited by the soft ground. With quick conditions to suit here and the step up to 7f possible to work on pedigree, he has a big chance to go really close. But so can a couple of others here too. And as long as he hasn’t tried the trip, you can’t be sure if he can stay and even improve for it.

Personally I’m not the biggest fan of Estidhkaar. He is fine horse and had a good last season, but I expect him to fall short against some really good rivals. There is Belardo for example, the champion two-year old. He won the Dewhurst, though has to prove his class on much quicker ground now. Flaming Spear was a very impressive maiden winner, there is likely more to come from this lightly raced Lope De Vega son.

Aiden O’Brien throws in the Phoenix Stakes winner Dick Whittington. This form has been franked earlier this week by Craven Stakes winner Kool Kompany, who was half a lengths beaten in second by Dick Whittington at the Curragh last August. More is likely to come from this Rip Van Winkle colt, though he failed to get the 7f trip at his only try last year. Toocoolforschool and Muhaarar are both Group 2 winners but looked more home over sprint trips than over seven furlongs when tried last season.

The horse I do really fancy to have a big season is Fanaan. He is part of my Horses To Follow List and I have to admit I’m somewhat baffled by the huge price available. I expected him to be much shorter. Why? Because he was ultra impressive in two starts last year. On his debut he got easily off the mark under hands and heels, but even better was his performance in a Conditions Stakes race at Newmarket. Only three runners that day, but the runner-up is a fair individual in his own right as he’s 104 rated, as well as won subsequently – but was easily beaten by a devastating turn of foot from Fanaan.

The interesting part is that Fanaan, who is obviously very well bred, did all his racing with at least a bit of cut in the ground. However on pedigree he should actually be better on a sound surface. That says he’ll appreciate the quick ground at Newbury and the trip won’t be an issue at all. I believe his chances are underestimated here and he can have a big season.

Fanaan @ 11/1 William Hill – 5pts win

Boom The Groom Back With A Bang On Turf?

Newbury racecourse

Okay, I know one shouldn’t do this, but hey, I’m only human, right? I have to admit 1f out I was counting my cash as Greatest Journey loomed large on the outside in the Tattersalls Millions and I would have thought he will easily outstay Cape Clear Island….. I was wrong. A close 2nd was all he got in the end.

Moheet’s bubble burst. Quite badly in the Craven Stakes. Backed off the boards beforehand but didn’t show anything that would have warranted the hype (which I wanted to believe as well). Hail The Hero didn’t quite get a clear run on the inside, though is not up to this standard. Says off his current mark of 87 I’d think he could be still well in if back in Handicap company….

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3.55 Newbury: Dubai Duty Free Handicap (Class 2)

A very tight Sprint Handicap without the one obvious candidate. It’s all to play for here and I feel that the first two in the betting are definitely skinny prices and therefore to take on. No doubt, Lucky Beggar is a fine sprinter and dropping down into Handicap company after a fair, though not sparkling effort in a very hot Listed contest over 6f at Doncaster, gives him a chance to be competitive. Though he also drops in trip, and this combination of minimum distance plus quick ground looks not quite ideal.

Robot Boy was a creditable third in the Borderlescott Sprint Trophy two weeks ago and should strip fitter. Ground and trip is fine and he has some good form to his name, though his last win came five starts ago off 11lb lower. Seven year old Steps has to give plenty of weight away and may be better suited with a bit of cut in the ground. Normal Equilibrium has to follow-up his recent Chelmsford success under a penalty. His win record doesn’t inspire too much confidence.

As a juvenile Group 2 winner, but now a four year old, Green Door hasn’t won since his big day in autumn 2013. With a dropping mark it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him going close, but hard to know what to expect. Veteran Noble Storm is hard to fancy these days off a high enough mark.

Leaves us with Boom The Groom. He was a fine juvenile in Ireland but has really taken off since moving to the UK. He really excelled on the All-Weather and has won three races in the last four month. Not to forget he has been placed a dozen of times in good races. He won a Handicap off 97 and was a fine 3rd in a hot Listed race subsequently.

He wasn’t disgraced in the AW Championships Sprint either, given that he finished behind some higher rated individuals. Back on turf now, the quick ground should suit, so does the trip. His mark looks fair and he deserves his chance in this race. He may well improve again and looks the value in this race.

Boom The Groom @ 10/1 PP – 5pts win

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6.10 Bath: Lansdown Fillies’ Stakes (Listed)

I feel this five furlong sprint evolves around the two top rated older horses. I tend to believe that it is not easy for three year olds to compete with seasoned older horses in sprint races, particularly not at this stage of the season. As for the other older horses: They have an awful lot to find on the ratings.

The consistent Demora is the favourite to land this race and her record as well as top rating means she has a top chance here. She is ground independent and has strong form on a quick surface, which is what is expected at Bath. Her record fresh is excellent and while she hasn’t won in her last five starts, she ran more often than not strong races.

She is entitled to go really close, but considering her short price, I feel there isn’t much between her and most feared rival Milly’s Gift, who makes more appeal from a betting perspective.

The five year old mare Milly’s Gift has been progressive over the last two season. She won two races last year in fine style, and particularly on her most recent success, which was her penultimate start last season, she looked to have still a bit in hand. That says she didn’t enjoy the run of the race subsequently at Ascot but finished a fine third, which makes me believe she is clearly up to her current rating, if not even a bit better, and that makes her a closely matched rival with Demora.

She was a bit unlucky in a couple of big Handicaps at Ascot last year, where she also shares form with Demora and actually beat her. She probably should have won most certainly the Class 2 Herritage Handicap at Ascot in July.

On balance she may have a bit to find with the favourite on the ratings, but effectively looks as good as Demora and has done well as a fresh horse in the past. Milly’s Gift has also winning form at Bath. In my mind she looks overpriced.

Milly’s Gift @ 5/1 Coral – 5pts win

Saturday Highlights

It’s been a busy Saturday racing wise. Top class National Hunt in the UK, rounded up by excellent Graded action over in the US during the night – can a racing fan ask for more? Well, I don’t think so! But hey, let’s quickly reflect on the key points from yesterday…

Coneygree could win a Gold Cup – sooner or later!

You will have seen my preview of the Denman Chase (I hope!) – a really exciting renewal of this Grade 1 at Newbury yesterday. It shaped to be a cracker beforehand, and it turned out to be quite a noteworthy race in the end, indeed! However, none could have foreseen what really happened.

As I stated in my preview, I was extremely sweet on the chance of Novice Coneygree. Lightly raced, a smart hurdler, taking extremely well to fences. An exciting prospect, that is was he was and after yesterday certainly is. He was so impressive at Kempton, such a good, relentless galloper with big potential, when winning the Kauto Star Novice Chase. But yesterday, he brought it to another level. Taking on some really talented, tough & experienced chasers, he jumped off in front and literally ran them into the ground. Turning for home he had the whole bunch sitting in his neck. They were all poised to take him on. Waiting for him to tire and fade. It was the ultimate real test for his class. What would he have left to offer in the home straight? Well, an awful lot, it turned out! He prevailed. Easily. Jumping well, not slowing down, just galloping strongly to the line. It was a demolition job and resulted in a breathtaking seven lengths success in the end. Coneygree has the “WOW factor”! So question is now: Arkle or Gold Cup – what’s next?

Grugy’s return a jumping error

Staying with jump racing for the moment: Saturday was the day we saw last years Champion Chaser Sire De Grugy back after his long injury absence. He clearly didn’t look his old best unfortunately, his jumping wasn’t good, he blundered badly at the fourth last and jumped the third last even worse, eventually unseating jockey Jamie Moore. That says the Champion Chase is up for grabs now. Grugy disappointed, so did Sprinter Sacre on his respective seasonal debut. Will both improve towards Cheltenham? Sure, they will. Will they be ever as good and dominant as they used to be in the past? Unlikely.  Un De Sceaux. it’s all yours – if you want…

Dortmund plays it well in California

Over to the US and a brilliant card at Santa Anita. Usually at this time of the year, we have to start talking about the Derby – the Kentucky Derby I mean! And I do really wonder: Have we seen the Derby winner at Santa Anita yesterday? Because there is this extremely good looking colt, called Dortmund (how appropriately named, knowing how poorly the once famous German football club of the same named town is playing in the Bundesliga at the moment), who started into his classic season the same way as he ended the last year: with a gutsy performance, landing the Robert B. Lewis Stakes with a late surge! This should be a stepping stone for him towards the Derby. Admittedly, I was already mightily impressed with his attitude, presence and long stride when getting up late in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Futurity Stakes in December. A son of Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown, he should have the right pedigree and the way he races suggests the Derby trip will suit. He’s currently trading as the 10/1 ante-post favourite….

Not quite #TheRematch

Shared Belief made it look easy in the end, when effectively eased down before crossing the line as the clear winner of what was branded as ‪#‎TheRematch‬. He beat California Chrome by 1 1/2 lengths in the San Antonio Invitational. Shared Belief got a perfect start this time – unlike in the Breeders Cup Classic – tracked Chrome’s every move, and Mike Smith was probably rubbing his hands when Espinoza let Chrome lose – a bit too early I thought actually. That played into the hands of Shared Belief, who, once looming alongside Chrome in the home straight, went easily past him. Bob Baffert’s Hoppertunity ran a fine 3rd, but was never really able to challenge the two big guns. Reflecting on this race, I believe both, Shared Belief and California Chrome will come on for this run. Chrome is going to Dubai and will do well there. He has a chance to win the Dubai World Cup. But only if Shared Belief doesn’t go down the same route. Chrome could then be heading for Europe and some of the good turf races in England. Surly it would be interesting to see how he fares over here.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner

Oh before I forget: It’s nice to have a bit of punting success lately again. Coneygree went off a 15/8 favourite. If you followed me, you would have got 7/2, which turned out to be a huge price, as we know now. Also Shared Belief went off the evens favourite, I got him at 7/4 as advised. It wasn’t quite 3/3 yesterday. Ballista ran a cracker at Lingfield, made all, and would the winning post come a couple of yards earlier, he would have won. A narrowly denied third is what he ended up.

What’s on the tab today

Well, I could write a long essay about what all the great racing today. But I believe, sometimes an image can speak for thousand words. So just look at this below – I don’t think I need to say more!

hennessy