Tag Archives: Newcastle

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…..

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Thursday Selections: August, 8th 2019

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2.00 Haydock: Class 5 Fillies’ Handicap, 1m

With Classic Charm out this appears a wide open race with barely anyone appearing to be well handicapped. The one who have more to offer is Sootability, though.

The 3-year-old hasn’t shown anything of note this yer yet, but as an April foal by Camelot she may still find some improvement with time. The fact she also ran to a topspeed rating of 68 on her final start in 2018 shows there is a least a bit of hope also.

After four poor showings in 2019 Sootability has dropped to a 65 rating now, she also drops down to class 5 for the first time and back to a slightly shorter trip, which in combination may well turn out to be a magical combination – at least in the context of this race.

Selection:
10pts win – Sootability @ 10/1 MB

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4.40 Brighton: Class 6 Handicap, 1m

If Admodum would find back to some sort of form he’ll be in with a massive shout. In fact, this looks like the ideal race: a poor field, he drops further in the mark down to 60 now, a good 5bl claimer in the saddle plus most importantly fast ground!

If appetite for the game is still there I’m pretty confident the ground conditions will make a massive difference. The last time Admodum raced on a fast surface he won.

Obviously on old form he is massively well handicapped. But it is a concern the poor efforts he showed for more than a year. Albeit over potentially trips stretching him or ground not quite as suitable. Second start off a break for the new yard today, while the market speaks favourably – big shout.

Selection:
10pts win – Admodum @ 13/2 MB

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7.35 Newcastle: Class 5 Fillies’ Handicap, 1m 4.5f

Soloist looks a possible improver for the switch to Tapeta as Camelot has quite a fine record on this surface, even more so with fillies. This 3-year-old also showed a bit of promise already when a good runner-up at Carlisle in June.

She ran to a topspeed rating 70 that day, so currently on 68 official rating, with potential to improve for the surface, as well a still being rather lightly raced, supports the notion that Soloist could be well handicapped today.

The drop in trip looks positive; only thing I worry about is the potential pace angle and that she may sit off the pace in a slowly run race. Otherwise there isn’t much to beat here and I suspect she is certainly better than a <70 mark.

Selection:
10pts win – Soloist @ 7/2 MB

Friday Selections: May, 3rd 2019

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1.45 Chepstow: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4f

This race presents the rare opportunity for me to back a lto winner. Kirkland Forever looks poised to follow up on his recent Windsor success. He appeared to win a shad cozily that day, and came from a position that isn’t the easiest to from at Windsor.

This lad is rather progressive, posting a 2-1-1-3 record before heading to a deserved winter break last autumn. Running to a TS rating of 68 on his seasonal comeback, he was obviously well handicapped that day.

A 4lb rise in the mark for Kirkland Forever may still underestimate him, and even though a bit more is required today, he should go well again in hands of talented Georgia Dobie.

Selection:
10pts win – Kirkland Forever @ 5/1 MB

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4.25 Chepstow: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

Justice Lady looks ready to rumble today on her return to turf off a 5lb lower mark than when last seen on the grass in 2018. She was a strong runner-up the last two times on the All-Weather, though, in higher grade.

While last season wasn’t quite as productive as 2017, where she won twice on decent ground over the minimum trip of 78 and 80 marks in higher class, she posted an All-Weather career-best back in February as she ran to a TS rating of 73, suggesting she still has an appetite for the game and is as good as ever.

Fast 5 furlongs in lower grade of a 2lb lower mark than her last winning one – Justice Lady will be hard to beat today.

Selection:
10pts win – Justice Lady @ 9/2 MB

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5.50 Newcastle: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 2f

Sea The Stars has a strong All-Weather record, even more so at Newcastle’s Tapeta surface. So, no surprise to see his two sons topping the market here. However, the question is to ask, whether there is that much between the two as the betting suggests?

Lightly raced Shareef Star was unlucky on his seasonal reapperance and is sure to go well, nonetheless he’s got to show it first, given he is a maiden who found trouble in his last two starts.

Celestial Force in contrast is already a course and distance winner and also has some excellent form to his name, including running to a TS rating of 81, which in turn should give him a good chance today of a current 80 handicap mark, if he improves from his recent comeback run.

Selection:
10pts win – Celestial Force @ 9/2 MB

Tuesday Selections: April, 30th 2019

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3.25 Brighton: Class 3 Handicap, 1m 2f

This is quite a poor race for the class is it. A class 3 only in name, in my book. Most of these will struggle in a proper contest of this nature.

CD scorer Double Reflection looks a sure thing to go well, Sweet Charity is an interesting contender.

But I feel bottom weight Ashazuri has massive chance here. With 8st 2lb only to carry, on suitable fast ground, off a handy mark, the only worry is race fitness, given we haven’t seen her this year yet.

Still, this looks a clever bit of race planning if she’s ready to go. She isn’t a mare you’d normally expect to compete in class 3 handicaps. But off a mark of 68, given she has ran to TS ratings of 68 and 72 in the past, she appears potentially handicapped to win.

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

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3.55 Brighton: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

With blinkers back on Kafeel looks interesting as he’s also returning to turf for the first time in a year. His record is 6-3-2 with blinkers on, so now down to a mark of 56, a full 12lb lower than twelve months ago here at Brigthon as well, he may be a good thing.

Kafeel appeared revived in first time visor last month at Lingfield over the slightly shorter 7f trip. He travelled supremely well but didn’t get a run until very late.

Judged on past performances and TS ratings he could be handicapped to win today, even though it remains to be seen whether he truly appreciates the uniqueness of Brighton.

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

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4.25 Brighton: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

Power son The British Lion had little chance to show his besto n turf yet, though on the All-Weather he won a couple of races already, including a 7f handicap back in January. He’s 3lb lower than when winning that day, where he also ran to a TS rating of 71.

As this is only hith 5th start on turf, and the times before he raced over different trips and higher marks, I feel there could be still a bit of improvement to come. If not that, then certainly he has shown to be a bit better than that – if only on AW for now.

Interestingly, his sire has a tremendous record over 7f, as well as on fast ground and also here at Brighton. In a race where not much jumps out, he should have a good chance to get his head in front.

Selection:
10pts win – The British Lion @ 9/2 MB

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5.20 Newcastle: Class 4 Handicap, 7 furlongs

I feel the short priced favourite has a bit to do to overcome a career highest mark. There are far more interesting horses in the field. Such as lightly raced Algaffaal, consistent Chosen World or course specialist Chaplin Bay.

At given prices he’s my choice today. A good year ago he won a similar race off his current mark. In fact he won twice over course and distance of 74, and was placed in two more races of higher ratings later last year.

Chaplin Bay ran well on his seasonal reappearance in a hot race nearly two weeks ago – a fair 3rd place finish off a pound higher should see him stripping fitter now.

Selection:
10pts win – Chaplin Bay @ 6/1 PP

Monday Selections: April, 29th 2019

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I said in my preview my hope for Winklemann is that Miss Imogen Mathias won’t fall off. She didn’t. But she also couldn’t have given the poor horse a worse ride. Winklemann finished a close third in the end. So did Roaring Rory, who stayed on from a long way back in his race.

No complaint, though: I knew the dangers of backing a horse in an Amateur race. And maybe it wouldn’t have mattered if a different jockey would have steered Winklemann home. It’s easy to point out a seemingly weak ride while sitting comfortably in the chair myself, of course.

I was massively impressed with Pink Dogwood at Navan today. The ante-post favourite for the Epsom Oaks proved too strong for her rivals in the listed Salsabil Stakes over 10f. She showed a lovely attitude under a hands and heels ride and looks to have wintered well from a physical standpoint as well.

She’s been cut from 6/1 to 7/2 in the meantime. I’m not the man for ante-post wagers these days, so will not touch it. But I think she’ll be hard to beat if getting to Epsom healthy.

On to Monday – there’s plenty of flat action both on the All-Weather as well as on the green lush grass! Still, I’m a little bit surprised to have found nearly two hands full of selections…. whether that’s a good or a bad sign remains to be seen.

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2.10 Southwell: Class 6 Handicap, 7f

Smashing Lass is the only winner in this field – a poor line-up with a few unexposed sorts, but generally one where the filly stands out. She won a seller last year and also was a decent runner-up at Newcastle twice.

A recent seasonal reappearance was surely nothing more than a pipe opener and big improvement is expected from that run. She has dropped to a 55 handicap mark, while she already ran to a TS rating of 59 and 54 in the past.

So improvement is possible, also as she was an April foal and may get better with age. First time Southwell is always a risk, but her sire has an excellent fibresand record. Interestingly, it’s Shane Gray’s only ride on the card.

Selection:
10pts win – Smashing Lass @ 9/1 PP

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2.20 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

The favourite is clearly opposable given his super skinny price. I’m keen on Rantan, even though the draw may not be an advantage with the pace more drawn toward the other side.

Nonetheless, I feel this lad has been campaigned with this race potentially in mind. He had two pipe openers over the minimum trip. Last time out here at Newcastle he finished quite nicely showing a bit of spark in the closing stages, while it was obvious he needs further.

He drops in class but is stepped up in trip. He slipped to an incredibly dangerous mark as well, judged by last seasons performances in particular.

Selection:
10pts win – Rantan @ 15/1 MB

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3.45 Southwell: Class 5 Handicap, 1 mile

Dropping in class here and further down in the ratings, Me Too Nagasaki may finally found a race to fulfill expectations. He was well backed since joining the Stuart Williams yard, and though running with credit most of the time, he never looked like winning.

Surely the now 5-year-old isn’t the force of the past, but down to a mark of 75 he looks very dangerous, particularly down in a class 5 Handicap. It’s his second time on the fibresand – even though well beaten in January, he looked like taking to it until falling away after travelling widest of all throughout in a hot class 3 Handicap coming off a long lay-off.

This here looks a very winnable race – if he can finish off his race. The way he dropped out lately is slightly concerning, in truth. But he’s the class act in this field, so I give Me Too Nagasaki the benefit of the doubt as he is potentially well handicapped.

Selection:
10pts win – Me Too Nagasaki @ 13/2 PP

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4.15 Southwell: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

This is an ultra-competitive race. Margins could be decisive, so being drawn wider than ideal is a negative. Nonetheless I feel Big Brave Bob has a tremendous chance first time out for a new yard if race fit.

It’s likely hell be race fit given Big Brave Bob returns to the place of his biggest- and sole success: the 6f at Southwell. He won here last year in taking style, even if the tight margin tells a different story. He clearly looked like an individual who’d strive on the fibresand.

He followed up with a number of good performances of higher marks in good races – particularly his follow-up effort at Bath is super strong form; but also all his last runs on the AW are solid.

He left the Hannon yard over the winter, and has also dropped down to a mark of 70. With a fair 5lb claimer in the saddle, back on the fibresand, I think there is a good chance Big Brave Bob has too much on his plate for the rest of this field.

Selection:
10pts win – Big Brave Bob @ 6/1 MB

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4.25 Newcastle: Class 3 Handicap, 1 mile

Ballard Down looks underappreciated in this race. Since changing yards he has ran well on two occasions, particularly an unlucky 3rd place finish behind Mr. Scaramanga rates a strong piece of form.

He’s clearly a tricky sort, but Newcastle’s straight mile suits him. Down to a 91 mark now, I feel he looks poised for a big performance, given there seems to be a good deal of pace in the race as well, to see him coming with a late charge to get his head in front again.

Selection:
10pts win – Ballard Down @ 16/1 PP

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4.55 Windsor: Class Handicap, 6f

Kwela was desperately unlucky not to get her head in front when being several times severely  impeded in the closing stages at Lingfield on her seasonal debut recently.

She’s a pound higher today but that won’t make a difference. Back on turf, with fast ground likely to suit well, she can attack from pole position riding the golden highway of Windsor.

Excellent Georgia Dobie keeps the ride; she’s well worth her 7lb claim and I predict we’ll hear a lot of her in the future.

Selection:
10pts win – Kwela @ 5/1 WH

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6.30 Windsor: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 2f

The favourite Just Brilliant is an intriguing runner here: a lightly raced colt for a good yard and race fit. But he’s a short price for all he has shown to date.

I put trust in Silvestre De Sousa’s mount Allegiant, who hopefully doesn’t lack for fitness either. The gelding is also low mileage, but already won a race: on handicap debut coming off a break at Epsom last autumn. He couldn’t follow on from there  when turned under a penalty soon after, but he seems to be a tricky individual and maybe the race came too soon.

He’s 7lb higher in the mark today, but ran to a TS rating of 69 at Epsom – so, if he can find any bit of improvement for age and the new trip, he could well be a good thing.

Allegiant certainly looks the part. A big, strong gelding with scope. On pedigree the 10f looks a fair possibility, and even though fast ground was cited as a potential reason for his under-performance when last seen, I think it could, in fact should suit.

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

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7.30 Windsor: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 3.5f

Couple of weeks ago I was keen on New Show…. and desperately disappointed with his run. However, it’s too early to give up on him. What applied back then still applies today as reason why he remains an interesting individual:

New Show ran an almighty race in a hot handicap when last seen in 2018. Inexperience cost him dearly that day but to be in it for as long as he was was impressive. That Goodwood race has worked out tremendously well, so, if he can improve as a 4-year-old with age and experience, he could be on a nice mark.

As a late April foal, with low mileage, you do hope there is more to come. H steps up in trip again and tries blinkers for the first time. At the same time, dropping in grade should help as well.

Selection:
10pts win – New Show @ 11/2 Coral

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7.40 Thirsk: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 4f

It’s fair to say Star Ascending is a better horse on the All-Weather than on turf, an on the synthetics he wasn’t particularly good lately either. On the other hand, back in January he won seemingly with a bit in hand a class 5 handicap over 12f in fine style.

He can race off a 6lb lower mark than he did that day at Wolverhampton. Judged by the past that may not mean all that much, as Star Ascending had plenty of chances on turf and has only one win to his name in 17 attempts.

However, over 12f and on decent ground he had very few opportunities to run, the last one eleven months ago at Doncaster where he finished 5th, albeit a good deal beaten. He ran off 69 that day, and in the context of the form of that particular race, it was probably quite a good performance.

So 5lb lower than when last seen on turf now, a fair 5lb claimer in the saddle as well – even though he’s totally inexperienced at Thirsk, so hopefully this isn’t just a race to gain vital experience, as also trainer Candish hasn’t an overly fruitful record with apprentices.

That’s the clear risk. But if Star Ascending can find back some form and doesn’t miss the kick most importantly, as he sometimes does, he may be able to utilize a good draw (high draws over 12f at Thirsk an advantage) there is a fair chance he can outrun his price tag.

Selection:
10pts win – Star Ascending @ 16/1 MB

Saturday Selections: April, 20th 2019

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Good Friday could have been a great Friday if Landing Night wouldn’t have been beaten in a tight finish in the ‘unlucky last’ at Newcastle. Thankfully Matterhorn got me out of jail (7/1) what would have been otherwise a painful day.

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4.45 Brighton: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

This is a competitive race; I can make good cases for half of them, so backing the favourite doesn’t seem wise. Still, already a course and distance winner off 3lb higher in similarly fast conditions last year, could be supremely well handicapped.

The 4-year-old, despite a poor overall record, ran to a TS rating of 70 when winning here last year; the form looks solid enough to believe it was a true running. He had a good seasonal comeback run an the All-Weather lately, so fitness is assured.

Interesting jockey booking with young Cieren Fallon on board, who’s worth every pound of his 7lb claim as he proved with worthiness on the All-Weather this year already.

Selection:
10pts win – Swissal @ 7/2 MB

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7.50 Brighton: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

Twice a course and distance scorer, Junoesque returns to her happy hunting ground. Those were her only victories to date, they came here last season on fast ground as well. She’s pretty much the same mark, give or take a pound, and proved in the past to be capable of running to a bit higher than that.

In fact Junoesque ran to a TS rating of 58 on both occasions when winning here at Brighton, as well as to 54 in another race – suggesting, if conditions are right, she as good, if not even a little bit better than her current 55 rating.

Fitness has to be trusted on her seasonal reappearance. But this looks an ideal opportunity to get another win on the board.

Selection:
10pts win – Junoesque @ 5/1 MB

Good Friday Selections – April, 19th 2019

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As the sun shows up more often these days, the garden becomes a more frequented place to spend time in and the general mood lifts, one could get easily overexcited. I am quite excited, in fact!

It’s not often I do fancy so many horses in a single day; having a handful of bets bears the danger of possibly given in to emotion rather than rationality. Fancying someone doesn’t equal loving someone. So, not every fancy is a quality bet.

I hope I used my head to identify some quality selections for this ‘Super Friday’, regardless. Could be a massive day, could be a brutal day…. we shall see. It’s the long-term that matters, of course. There’re days when it still would be nice to get a reward for the shift put in.

Either way, let’s enjoy the superb ‘Good Friday’ racing!

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3.20 Newcastle: Listed Burradon Stakes, 1m

Before I went to bed last night I was all over Daarik. I loved his last two runs, the sudden turn of foot he produced, his classy pedigree and Jim Crowley’s Newcastle record in spring time – but I was sleepy, so deferred decision.

Good decision! I’m now all over Magic J. Hence I discarded Daarik. The doubts I had over him became too big to punt him at around 7/2:

Physically he doesn’t seem to have improved much over the winter, the fact he started his juvenile season rather early – which makes sense as a February foal – suggests he was potentially precocious last year, though injury prevented him from running during the good months of the year. And he’s done nothing on the clock, despite those two visually impressive victories.

Magic J in contrast – same as Darrik, also with an entry for the 2000 Guineas (both Newmarket & Curragh) – looked physically strong, open for plenty of improvement in his only start last year. He won a poor maiden over 6f at Yarmouth but did that in excellent style.

This colt cost nearly a million US$ as a yearling, which is logical, given his incredibly sexy pedigree. Connections stated he’s been working well at home, see him still as a potential Guineas horse, though the mile is the question mark as he shows plenty of speed.

Pedigree wise the mile looks more than only a possibility. The All-Weather looks also rather certain to suit. This isn’t on the surface a particularly deep Listed race in my mind also.

The one thing against him, beside stamina and fitness questions, is the draw. He may not be ideally drawn on the outside. But Magic J is as good as I believe he could be, he’ll overcome it no bother.

Selection:
10pts win – Magic J @ 9/2 MB

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 3.30 Bath: Class 2 Handicap, 1 mile

Not sure whether today is the day, but if he’s given a fair chance I can see Sea Fox outrunning a massive price-tag. The 5-year-old has dropped to a wonderful mark and will act on fast ground as well as stays a mile.

His mark has fallen, and he such a massive long-shot today, because recent performances weren’t up to scratch – on paper at least. One shouldn’t forget he won three times last year of marks of 85 and 89 twice. So, now down to 84, given he also ran to TS ratings of 84 and 86 in the past, suggests he can be weighted to go close.

I rate some of his more recent AW performances higher than credit seems to be given. Even though he finished last and seemed a bit lackluster when last seen at Lingfield, on the clock he finished as good as anyone in the race, and in none of his last five runs was he beaten by more than 3¼.

It’s a long-shot, yes, but if Sea Fix can find back some sort of form, now back on turf, off a handy mark, he’ll be a danger to everyone in this race.

Selection:
10pts win – Sea Fox @ 55/1 MB/PP/Sky

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3.40 Lingfield: 3 Year Old AW Championships, 6f

First time blinkered and the aid of a perfect draw, this test looks tailor made for Quiet Endeavour, who was running well lately, even though the form book doesn’t quite tell the story how well.

The gelding won four on the track last season and was quite precocious, so there is always a question how that translates into a 3yo season. A disappointing seasonal reappearance aside, his last two runs were excellent.

He attempted to make all on both occasions, but found 7f at Lingfield clearly too far as, while leading the field to the final furlong marker, he ran completely out of gas. He went to France for the Montenica Stakes over 6.5f.

Quiet Endeavour was hurried up early on in order to overcome a wide draw and before the first turn he got the lead. He travelled well, but again, was passed in the final furlong running empty.

The drop to sharp 6f at a speedy track as Lingfield is, will surely help. The blinkers should keep him focused in the closing stages hopefully.

Selection:
10pts win – Quiet Endeavour @ 12/1 Coral

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4.15 Lingfield: AW Middle Distance Champs, 1m 2f 

Taking on the 1/3 favourite doesn’t seem wise but I do it nonetheless. It’s an easy decision as I feel there isn’t as much between Wissahickon and second favourite Matterhorn.

True, Wissahickon couldn’t have been more impressive on the AW this year, matching, at least visually, the impressive Cambridgeshire performance at the end of last season. A 10-8-1 record speaks for itself, anyway.

Matterhorn was nearly equally impressive, posting a 9-6-2 record and five of his last six starts. Excuses can be made for a recent below par effort at Kempton, when he got locked up in a battle for the lead and made way too much too early.

The comparision on the numbers between Matterhorn and Wissahickon is interesting. The later ones best TS rating is 94, with a top RPR of 119 (on the AW), whereas Matterhorn posted a top TS rating of 100 and RPR of 118. Sure, the numbers have to be seen in the right context and there is always the question how relevant career best performances are for the “now”.

However, both horses are still rather low mileage, hence could also improve. Matterhorn, though, had one career run less and also was a late April foal (Wissahickon (February).

That all may not make any difference, but it’s reason enough for me to conclude that the horse I fancy should be shorter in the betting and the short odds-on favourite a little bit bigger than he is right now.

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

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4.55 Newcastle: Class 4 Handicap, 5 furlongs

Landing Night may not have won since having a wind surgery in autumn, but he ran consistently well in more than a handful of starts – in fact he was beaten at most by 3¼ lengths in his last seven starts.

Despite some excellent efforts in defeat, Landing Night  has fallen to a mark of 72, which is 5lb below his last AW winning mark. He also ran to a TS rating of 74, a second highest (career high 79) in November – so not too long ago, suggesting he’s well capable of running to- if not a bit better of his current rating.

The now 7-year-old isn’t getting any younger, and he isn’t a frequent winner anyway, so everything needs to fall right. If he can to the form he showed in early winter, though, he’s supremely well handicapped today.

Selection:
10pts win – Landing Night @ 9/1 PP