Tag Archives: Newcastle

Thursday Selections: November 21st 2019

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

4.35 Newcastle: Novice Stakes, 5f

Normally not my cup of tee this type of contest, however I make an exception for the fact that Agent Shiftwell appears to be undervalued in the market.

The son of Equiano showed plenty of promise on debut at Windsor on less than ideal ground, coming in as a good runner-up in a fairly decent maiden contest under a sympathetic ride.

He should have learned plenty that day and looked also rather ready on the day already, bouncing out of the gate well and travelling strongly for long. Agent Shiftwell has the profile to improve rapidly, out of a listed placed dam who was a winner on the All-Weather as a juvenile also.

The colt should improve not only for the Windsor experience but also for the switch to Tapeta, given Equiano has quite a strong record on this surface with his juvenile offspring (albeit the jury is out on Newcastle).

Selection:
10pts win – Agent Shiftwell @ 7/1 WH

Friday Selections: November, 8th 2019

Iron Major Dundalk

6.35 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

Back after a little break, Lucky Violet appears a compelling alternative to the market principles in an open race that lacks standout chances.

The seven-year-old isn’t the force of the past, however arrives off a career lowest handicap mark on either turf or All-Weather. He is still searching for a maiden victory on the sand, though, only had eight starts, all of a higher marks and only three over his preferred mile trip.

Lucky Violet showed that there is still life when running well earlier this year on turf – a number of placed efforts at Ayr at Hamilton off 64 and 65 ratings in higher class.

Down in class 6 back on the All-Weather, his mark a lowly 49 rating, given he ran to much higher topspeed ratings in the past, in fact he did so in 2019, albeit on turf, but also a 51 TS performance last November at this venue, suggest he could go well today.

Selection:
10pts win – Lucky Violet @ 23/1 MB

………

6.45 Dundalk: 45-65 Handicap, 7 furlongs

If Crest Of A Wave can bounce back after a recent below part effort she is in with a big chance of her current mark. That is a substantial if, given she remains a maiden after twelve starts. Equally there is plenty to like about her chance today.

For one, she ran well in her other two Dundalk starts this autumn, when not beaten far and in fact finishing a good third place last month. She is two pounds lower today, which is a career lowest for her.

Crest Of A Wave showed promise on the All-Weather earlier this year already, when finishing runner-up and 4th on two subsequent occasions. She ran to topspeed ratings of 50 and 59 back then, suggesting there is opportunity for her today with a good draw and lowly 47 handicap mark to play with.

Selection:
10pts win – Crest Of A Wave @ 16/1 MB

Super Friday Preview

DSC_9811

Bold prediction: we’ll see the 2000 Guineas winner 2020 tonight. I know, I know….. I hear you shouting the name of the colt the boys in blue own. Fair shout. But…..

6.00 Newcastle: G1 Futurity Stakes, 1 mile

…. Kinross will be the better three-year-old.

Sure enough he still has to show up and run at Newcastle tonight. I have no doubt he’ll beat this field, albeit Kameka looks a fine rival. However, watch the Newmarket debut of Kinross again – this is something you won’t see all that often.

He missed the break, yet travelled supremely well soon after, cruised passed the leaders with ease and won the race effectively in a canter – running to a topspeed rating of 100 on the bridle, on his debut, despite botching the start AND all of that as a May foal.

“Are you kidding me?” That was my reaction when I saw this incredible debut performance.

If Kinross stays healthy and winters well he’ll be the one we’ll talk about as horse of the year in twelve months time. That’s another bold prediction.

As far as tonight goes: Kingman has a fine record on the All-Weather, on the Tapeta surface, with juveniles and over a mile. if Kinross is as good as I believe he is, the switch to Newcastle for the Futurity Stakes is a non-issue.

Hence for once I have backed a short price. Something I rarely do. But I do so today because I firmly belief he’s way too big a price to let go.

Selection:
10pts win – Kinross @ 1.65/1 MB

………..

7.30 Newcastle: Class 5 handicap, 7f

A few here that look handicapped to go close. The likes of Esprit De Corps and Valley of Fire in particular. But the one well-handicapped is Vive La Difference.

I have been keen on the gelding before. At Ayr at the end of September I selected him off 2lb higher than today. He was desperately unlucky today. I didn’t deem circumstances right the next few times and sure enough he continued to make life difficult for himself. Yet here is hoping today is THE day.

Vive La Difference can start slowly and seems to always find ways to get into trouble in-running. He may do so again today. It’s a big field, he’ll need a “lucky” break. But at the same time the 5-year-old is handicapped to slaughter this field, if he finds a way through and doesn’t lose too much early on. What I said back in September still holds largely true today:

“The 5-year-old gelding has been struggling to find his best for a while, certainly starting slowly on pretty much every occasion doesn’t help. At the same time a few performances have been promising this year, when not far beaten in competitive races at Wetherby or Ripon earlier this season.

Vive La Difference has fallen quite a bit in his handicap mark, now 10lb lower than he started the season. He ran twice in his career to topspeed ratings of higher than 70, and a number of times around his current handicap mark of 68, including this year.”

What has changed is he’s now down to a handicap mark of 68 and this is a Tapeta surface and a 7 furlong trip. I don’t think either is a problem. He’s got form over this shorter trip already and being unexposed on the All-Weather may rather be a positive.

Selection:
10pts win – Vive La Difference @ 12/1 WH

………..

8.12 Santa Anita: G2 BC Juvenile Turf Sprint, 5f

This looks surprisingly uncompetitive in my eyes and even more surprisingly the advantage lies with the home team. The two with prime chances above everyone else are trained by Wesley Ward.

You really have to fear the speed of Four Wheel Drive and he looked still raw when winning the Futurity recently. Drawn in nine is on the edge of becoming a significant issue. His speed can see him getting out of jail. To the detriment of doing too much too soon?

Kimari is the one I side with. She is the favourite and a rock solid one who I’d price around 5/2. She is on the go for a while, was over in Europe came desperately close at Royal Ascot and has won a Listed- and Stakes contest in fine style in her last two starts.

Drawn in seven is fine. She should settle in midfield but hopefully not too far off the pace. She has speed in her own right, anyway. Kimari holds the upper hand over the European raiders given she is the only on the in the field having run to a significant topspeed rating so far (97 at RA).

I’m pretty sure there is more to come from her. The only risk is the long season she is having and the draw possibly seeing her too far back. I’ll take it because in my view she is hands and shoulders above the rest, particularly with the weight allowance.

Selection:
10pts win – Kimari @ 10/3 WH

………..

8.52 Santa Anita: G1 BC Juvenile Turf, 1 mile

Arizona is the standout individual in this race, without a shadow of a doubt. Posted 100+ topspeed ratings multiple times, underpinning his form lines in hot competition. If he can overcome the wide draw he’ll be hard to beat. For all that he is merely a fair price.

The good prices are snapped up for the one I fancy, but there is still a hint of juice left: Structor cost quite a bit of money and so far has proven his buyers right: he won a maiden race on debut in fine style and followed up on his second start with an excellent Grade 3 triumph.

Visually those performances weren’t all that sexy but I like the fact this lad is so simple – he does all the right things, bounces out of the gate, travelles and sticks to the task. With more improvement to come, a perfect draw and racing style he can go all the way today for an upset against AOB’s favourite.

Selection:
10pts win – Structor @ 13/2 WH

………

10.12 Santa Anita: BC G1 Juvenile Fillies Turf, 1 mile

I struggle to trust the Europeans in this contest for a variety of reasons: trip, ground or draw. However, if she takes to the trip, which is a possibility on this fast ground and with all the right visual clues, then Daahyeh is a hot chance. But I can’t quite leave her pedigree out of the equation and feel one of the US fillies has a stronger chance.

That’s Sweet Melania. She’s drawn wide, which isn’t ideal, obviously. However, she has plenty of early speed, connections already mentioned they’ll move forward, and given her experience I trust Ortiz to get the job done.

She’s another one who was quite an expensive yearling, given she is incredibly well bred, obviously. She has been nicely improving all season long and her latest Grade 2 gate to wire success was an impressive performance.

A repeat of that level of form, potentially a bit more improvement still to come, she should go very close today. I don’t mind that she was beaten two back by Christalle. Sweet Melania seems to have move forward since then and was only ran down late over further than today.

Selection:
10pts win – Sweet Melania @ 15/2 WH

Friday Selections: October, 18th 2019

Wet Dundalk Polytrack

7.35 Newcastle: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 

Two I find interesting here given their huge prices, which look way too big, but only if the handbrake is off today. I’m not sure about that one, but prepared to take the risk.

Elusive Heights hasn’t won for a long time, though has fallen to a career lowest handicap mark now, even though he caught my eye when last seen at Ayr. He made excellent progress from four furlongs out but didn’t really get a clear passage through when it mattered most.

That was his second run coming off a long break, before that last autumn Elusive Heights ran pretty well of marks in the 70’s over this course and distance. Hence, now down to a 68 rating, which he excelled on topspeed five times in his lifetime I feel he’s potential super well handicapped today, albeit his racing style is asking for trouble in big field like this.

The other one is the opposite, in terms of racing style: Destroyer went off like a lunatic over CD when last seen a week ago. He was never to last home but one could argue run well for as long as he did given the suicidal pace.

He#s down to an interesting handicap mark too, as he’s ran to higher topspeed numerous times before as well. Most interestingly, Destroyers penultimate run at Pontefract, a 3rd place finish, was a 67 TS effort in a race that looks strong form as the runner-up has franked the form since then.

Ideally you would like to see him drop another couple of pounds and drop down to class 6, then Destroyer would be tremendously well handicapped; hence I’m doubting today is “the” day. But as a bit of money is coming all day long, and I see him being certainly handicapped to go close if allowed to, I’ll take the risk.

Selections:
4pts win – Destroyer @ 20/1 MB
6pts win – Elusive Heights @ 22/1 MB

Friday Selections: September, 20th 2019

Postulation

7.20 Newcastle: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

Decent race for this class, and favourite Chaplin Bay, who’d made me a happy boy a number of times in the past, is a strong favourite. But it’s Mostahel who really makes strong appeal on his return to Tapeta.

His career has certainly not developed as one would have envisioned when he demolished a field of maidens at Wolverhampton back in spring 2017, even though he followed up with a strong handicap performance at Newmarket, ever since then the now 5-year-old gelding has been falling down off a cliff.

Clearly this lad has had his fair share of issues, endured twice long absences from racing and has changed yards but on the plus side is potentially on a sexy handicap mark and may not yet be finished, given he’s been rather lightly raced for his age.

There was clear signs of a return to some sort of form when Mostahel finished a strong third – albeit in a messy race – at Redcar two starts back. He pulled pretty hard early on over the 7f trip and then didn’t get a run until finally in the clear over a furlong out. He finished strongly, suggesting victory is imminent.

Mostahel didn’t kick on the next time, dropped to 6 furlongs when upped in class, though that was a hot contest and he ran okay, I felt.

Now back over 7 furlongs, with a strong pace likely, only his second ever start on the All-Weather, the sole one was the demolition job at Wolverhampton, he makes plenty of appeal of a mark of 68, given as a juvenile he ran to topspeed ratings of 79 on turf and 86 on the Wolverhampton Tapeta. He’s not that good these days, obviously. But doesn’t have to be to land this contest.

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

……….

8.20 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

Fard is a fair favourite but nothing more. The case of Groupie is much more intriguing for her return to the All-Weather, after a number of respectable efforts this year, all the while she keeps falling in the official ratings.

Clearly the mare is now on a dangerous handicap mark, given she has ran nine times in her career to topspeed ratings of 52 and higher, plus did so this season already and caught the eye when last seen on the All-Weather at Wolverhampton in August.

That form is a key piece I feel. Even though over an additional furlong, it was a stronger race than this today, Groupie travelled really well but didn’t get a run until entering the home straight when the bird was flown with first and second, in fact also the third, all enjoying first run.

She finished a fair 4th nonetheless, best of those from the ones off the pace. She did so off a 59 handicap mark. One can clearly see how she’d gone much closer with a clear run and 8lb less on the back.

The drop to 6 furlongs isn’t an issue. The fair straight at Newcastle should suit. Big run expected.

Selection:
10pts win – Groupie @ 10.5/1 MB

………

6.00 Dundalk: Handicap, 1 mile

Speculative and unlikely to happen, but should Masalai get in here as third reserve he’d have a big chance to go pretty close of a big price. Otherwise he’s one to stick into the tracker for another day.

Masalai is a course and distance specialist who has won of a 63 handicap mark earlier this year, while also having ran four times to topspeed 57+ over CD. Therefore it is rather obvious that currently down to a 56 handicap mark the 5-year-old is potentially well in here.

He hasn’t excelled during the turf season in three starts, so a lightly campaign in the last few months should ensure he’s fresh and ready for a big run.

Selection:
10pts win – Masalai @ 12/1 MB / Edit: ***NR***

……..

6.30 Dundak: Handicap, 1 mile

The draw is a big negative, but Dubai Rainbow appears to be so well handicapped today that I take the risk. It also helps knowing the filly usually breaks smartly.

Despite strong performance at Bellwestown when last seen in July, the handicapper has dropped her 3lb. She was a beaten favourite that day but it was a messy finish, not unusual for that track, and a good 3rd place finish was rather encouraging, proving her fallen mark will see her get her head in front soon.

Dubai Rainbow returns to the All-Weather now, where her career best performances came in two starts – a win in a claimer, and a strong 3rd place in Handicap company last autumn. That day she raced off a 70 handicap mark and ran to a 70 topspeed rating.

With excellent Oisin Orr on board today I’m hopeful she can break well and overcome the wide draw. If that’s the case she’ll go close of a mark of 59.

Selection:
10pts win – Dubai Rainbow @ 9/2 MB

Friday Selections: September, 6th 2019

Online Alexander & Jamie Spencer

2.55 Haydock: Class 2 Handicap, 6f

Muddling affair. Hardly anythings stands out. Does anyone can back the 8-year-old favourite with any sort of confidence? I doubt it. There is value in the market and it lies – in my mind – quite clearly with Youkan.

The 4-year-old is on a fair handicap mark, having proven himself to be competitive of this rating in this type of contest in the past. He’s a Haydock winner, albeit over the minimum trip and has a clear preference for cut in the ground.

I don’t really mind the absence of a 6f victory to date. Youkan is still pretty lightly raced, certainly compared to most in this race and there is a fair chance that with preferred conditions he can pull out a little bit more, if not at least running to his mark, which in turn can well be enough to be in for the win.

Youkan has ran twice already to a 83 topspeed rating, most recently in June at Goodwood over 6 furlongs.

Selection: 
10pts win – Youkan @ 22/1 MB

……..

4.55 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 7f

This race looks like a lottery and I’m drawn to bet #10 will go in here. Gunmaker that is, the five-year-old gelding has a poor strike rate but runs well on many occasions, particularly on the All-Weather and over this trip.

He’s fallen to a really low handicap mark now, on the back of a poor effort at Leicester, however here at Newcastle over 7f he ran pretty well in a similar type contest off 3lb higher than today.

In spring this year Gunmaker was placed on three subsequent occasions over 6- and 7 furlongs on the All-Weather of official ratings of 67 and 68, while running to topspeed ratings of 61 and 66. In fact, he has ran on six occasions on the sand to topspeed ratings of 54+.

A young 7lb claimer is in the saddle, pretty inexperienced. We’ll see how that goes. But it is undeniable with an ultra light weight today Gunmaker has a tremendous chance to run big today.

Selection:
10pts win – Gunmaker @ 11/1 MB

Friday Selections: August, 9th 2019

Wet Dundalk Polytrack

Is it winter yet? A nice winner on Newcastle’s’s tapeta last night + the majority of my selections for today come from the Chelmsford polytrack! Who needs grass, anyway? Let’s rip the turf off the tracks and have a lovely fibresand surface everywhere…… alright, now I’m day dreaming, so let’s talk horses…..

…….

5.35 Haydock: Class 6 Handicap, 5f

Who’s the least bad horse in this race? Tough question. One thing is certain: Springwood Drive is a silly price. I may eat my words in half an hour, saying that, but seriously, even though she has good form in the book, she also has work to do to show she is better than what she has shown so far.

Same goes for Sarasota Bay, dropping down to 5f, she at least has match her current OR in terms of TS, but the sharper trip is a worry for me.

Intriguing is the 4-year-old Red Allure. She has work to do against her younger rivals, but there is clear indication she is knocking heavily on the door now. This filly has been a little bit unlucky so to speak. She was heavily bumped at Doncaster when seemingly finding her second wind earlier this season plus a few issues in the starting gates didn’t make life easier.

However, her latest effort in better class is a clear standout piece of form. She showed pace despite having a few issues at the start again, and she showed a lovely attitude battling hard to the line. It seems cut in the ground is what she needs and she gets it today over same course and distance once more.

Red Allure ran to a 51 topspeed rating that day too. So now of an official rating of 50 with a 7lb claimer in the saddle she should go well today.

Selections:
10pts win – Red Allure @ 8/1 MB

……

7.30 Chelmsford: Class 3 Handicap, 5f

Tomily won three races in quick succession in July, until bombing out in soft ground in a very hot York handicap only three days after winning at Catterick. I think that is a piece of form to forgive.

Now back on the All-Weather and racing over the minimum trip, I feel Tomily remains of high interest and could potentially be well handicapped, in fact. That is down to the fact that he is down to his lowest All-Weather mark for quite some time. He may not quite be as good as he once was, but recent form suggests he remains a good horse, with appetite for the game.

Given Tomily  has ran to topspeed ratings of 87+ on six occasions on all surfaces throughout his career, most recently last months, it’s fair to assume, now down to an official rating of 87, he could have a bit in hand, if not enough to run to hid current mark will already be enough to win a race where little else appears to be well handicapped.

Having the added bonus of Jim Crowley in the saddle plus a good draw to operate from I feel he is overpriced in this field.

Selection:
10pts win – Tomily @ 6/1 MB

………

8.35 Curragh: Handicap, 1 Mile

With rain and wind lashing against the windows for the last few hours now with not let up to be expected any time soon, the ground at Curragh will be pretty soft come race time.

There aren’t that many really suited by conditions, nor appear many well handicapped. But this years Irish Lincoln runner-up Trading Point could fall into both categories. He’s has form on fast ground but crucially his career best came at Naas with plenty of cut in the ground this March.

He finished an excellent second in a race that has provided twelve winning performances subsequently. Trading Point hasn’t been able to kick on since then, but has raced in hot contests and was not disgraced when 5 lengths beaten at Galway most recently.

Down to a 87 mark, 2lb lower than in the Lincoln, plus he has already ran to a topspeed rating of 87 this year, now with top man Colin Keane in the saddle, there could be a big performance on the cards today.

Selection: 
10pts win- Trading Point @ 7/1 MB

………

9.10 Chelmsford: Class 6 Handicap, 2m

The worst for the last or the lucky last? This a shocking race. But that’s okay with me. I love them all equally. This one is intriguing to some extend though. Barca and Beau Night meet again after a recent tussle over the shorter 1m 6f trip. Barca should be the one who gets the better of the two this time round.

However, both will need to settle for minor placings because it’s the five-year-old gelding Lazarus who has a major shout tonight.

He’s been a winner at this track in the past, albeit over 10 furlongs. He has fallen steadily in his handicap rating, now below 50 which looks significant for his chances. Lazarus has been running to higher topspeed ratings in the past and his most recent effort at Nottingham over 1m 6f was a clear revival. He stayed on quite strongly, suggesting a step up to 2 miles will suit.

Given this longer trip and the switch to the All-Weather, a surface he tends to prefer a little bit more with his lowly mark, I feel Lazarus has a cracking chance to win this race.

Selection:
10pts win – Lazarus @ 14/1 MB