Tag Archives: Newmarket

Friday Selections: August, 2nd 2019

Newmarket Rowley Mile after race

2.35 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 6f

A re chance to back a horse on the sand over the summer today: The Blues Master is a silly price. Sure, there is a Mark Prescott favourite who may well be hard to beat if the improvement so often seen in his horses comes to fruition. Though, his record on the All-Weather this year is significantly down compared to other years.

I think this favourite is for the taking at odds-on. Hence The Blues Master is pretty much a logic choice. He returned to the track after a long lay-off when finishing a strong runner-up at Newcastle at the end of June.

Only one pound higher today but a class lower, while stepping up in trip to a more suitable 1 mile & 6 furlongs, given he ran to a topspeed rating of 71 in the past, I feel he will be really competitive today.

Selection:
10pts win – The Blues Master @ 9.5/1 MB

……..

7.30 Newmarket: Class 4 Handicap, 7f

Los Camachos on his first run for the John Gallagher yard is an interesting runner in a race that has not too much quality in depth. The gelding was claimed and I would argue he ran pretty to form and current handicap in his last two runs in claiming company.

He appears to be slightly better on the All-Weather, but even on turf, despite a win yet, he’s been four out of six times in the money. He also ran to a topspeed rating of 78 last summer here at Newmarket, something he matched and bettered at the All-Weather.

Los Camachos also ran to TS 77 in a claimer three starts back, suggesting he is still pretty much in this range.

So, for a new yard with an excellent 5lb claimer in the saddle, with conditions to suit, at a track he performed well before, of a mark of 78, I feel this lad is well overpriced.

Selection:
10pts win – Los Camachos @ 17/1 MB

…………

7.50 Bath: Class 4 Handicap, 5 furlongs

As the The Daley Express is out, who’d I’ considered a major player for the victory in this race, it opens the door for Just Glamorous who drops into class 4 where he is three wins from four runs.

The six-year-old may not quite be the force of old but appears to handicapped to go close, nonetheless. He’s been running rather well in four of five starts this season, bar one to forget over in Ireland.

Now down to a mark of 83 again, the same he came an agonizingly close second at Goodwood in May of, when he also matched an 83 topspeed rating, Just Glamorous is weighted to win.

The ground may be a bit too fast to be considered optimum conditions, as he also has an engagement at Thirsk tomorrow, there is a ‘risk’ hell be a none-runner. But he has form on fast surfaces, and with first time cheek pieces fitted plus a pretty competent 7lb claimer in the saddle, I’d love to see him taking his chance this evening.

Selection:
10pts win – Just Glamorous @ 9/2 MB

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Friday Selections: July, 26th 2019

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5.35 Newmarket: Class 5 Handicap, 1 mile

Fleeting Freedom is an intriguing runner here: she drops down to a handy mark, racing in against opposition she is capable of beating by anything she has shown in the past, however, as she remains a maiden for quite some time now, you have question her attitude.

Nonetheless I’m prepared to back her in this race, that doesn’t look overly deep. I believe you can forgive her latest run when finishing last at Yarmouth which may have been down to the heavy ground. Before that, on her seasonal reappearance she came fourth only 1.5l beaten in a super hot contest that has worked out strongly ever since.

Three pounds lower than that day, Fleeting Freedom could be on a sexy handicap mark now. She has performed admirable of higher marks in similar conditions in the past, and having posted two topspeed performances of 75 already, I feel she is gearing up to take advantage of a career lowest mark now.

It’s a bonus that a good apprentice is on board, who claims 5lb and interestingly has only this single ride today.

Selection:
10pts win – Fleeting Freedom @ 15/1 MB

………..

7.15 Chepstow: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

A race for my taste: smallish field, little quality, pretty uncompetitive and an overvalued favourite. Lapidary is surely of interest on handicap debut after a fine novice win, but hardly set the world alight either and didn’t run particularly fast that would be in line with a stiff opening mark.

The other well fancied runners are hard to fancy at given prices. However, four-year-old Roman Spinner stands out in this field having pretty competitive form to her name already, having been placed against much hotter competition.

She had two fair runs after a break on the All-Weather in better class; albeit comfortably beaten, those runs are better than the bare form suggest. She drops down to class 5 now as well as another 2lb in her mark, leaving her 3lb lower than her last AW winning mark, though she was also only a neck beaten on turf of 2lb higher.

The fact all her wins came on the sand may be misleading, given Roman Spinner ran well on turf as well. Her best topspeed and RPR’s on turf and AW are not too far off each other: TS 82 last autumn achieved at Kempton, and 76 on the grass – with trip and ground conditions fine, she looks dangerously well handicapped today.

Selection:
10pts win – Roman Spinner @ 6/1 MB

Saturday Selections: July, 20th 2019

Newbury racecourse

3.00 Newbury: Group 3 Hackwood Stakes, 6f

Fantastic renewal – you can make a case for more than half in the field, predominantly I have high on my shortlist the well backed Donjuan Triumphant, who will enjoy conditions, as well as the two 3-year-old s Khadeem and Oxted. Plus, probably a fair favourite, The Tin Man.

He’s a short price and you can see why. With cut in the ground, he takes a significant drop in class and has a high strike rate. Is he still the force of old, though? Maybe. But this is a super deep race and I can easily oppose him.

On prices, the one I like most now is last years runner-up Projection. He hasn’t shown the same level of form in two runs this year, but I like the fact he comes here with low mileage this season and he ran better than the bare results suggest in the Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.

He also drops in grade and will love the underfoot conditions today. There is a slight question mark whether all is well with him, given he dropped out tamely the last two races. A tongue tie is applied now. That is concerning, at the same time intriguing.

If the tongue tie does have any positive impact, it is easy to see Projection making a 16/1 price tag look foolish in the closing stages. So, there is risk attached here, but at given odds I’m prepared to take it.

Selection:
10pts win – Projection @ 16/1 MB

…….

5.00 Newmarket: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 2f

I really like the look of both Durrell and Ironclad. Both met at Chelmsford recently and fought out first and second. Durrell had the upper hand that day and he is a fine prospect, though I wonder whether he will turn out to be a much better horse on the All-Weather.

Ironclad in contrast, who ran to a topspeed rating of 83 at Chemsford, has already proven his effectifness on turf, as he landed a minor race at Beverly in the meantime. That’s not form to shout about, and Ironclad still appeared plenty green enough, but it was probably a good learning experience.

This April foal is obviously well bred and through his pedigree offers plenty of upside, having every chance to be a better horse than an 81 rated handicapper. This imposing lad could be well handicapped of this opening mark I feel.

Selection:
10pts win – Ironclad @ 4/1 MB

……

5.15 Ripon: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

Two I’m keen on here from the lower end of the betting market: Alqaab stepping up to 6 furlongs for the first time is one of these. He’s a 4-year-old, so has to give weight away. But he’s a compelling horse over the new trip after a pretty decent effort over the minimum distance at Doncaster lately.

That was a super hot contest, and the fact he finished close enough, also posting a 61 topspeed rating, but has fallen to a 60 handicap mark now, is intriguing. He ran well in a couple of Novice races also, but now on a potentially good handicap mark, he can go well in this open contest.

The other one is the filly Sophia Maria in first time blinkers. She drops in trip, which should suit. She has some fine performances already in the book actually, finishing in the money on three occasions over 5- and 6 furlongs.

She also drops to a potentially tasty mark of 62 now, given she matched a 62 TS rating on her final start as juvenile already. There might be a bit more to come from her over this distance in handicap company I feel. Interesting jockey booking with Andrew Elliott, who has a superb record when having only one ride at Ripon in the Summer season!

Selections:
5pts win – Sophia Maria @ 21/1 MB
5pts win – Alqaab @ 17/1 WH

……

7.00 Haydock: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 2f

Quick turnaround for Indomeneo, who ran well here at Haydock only 24 hours ago. He looked a little bit awkward in a race where he tracked a hot pace over a mile.

Upped to 10 furlongs, which looks fine on drying ground, a trip, even though he has a poor strike rate, he posted a career best topspeed rating in the past, won’t be an issue I reckon.

Indomeneo as fallen down to a sexy mark, having ran well of around ten pounds higher last season and is now 9lb lower than his last winning mark.

An excellent 3lb claimer is in the saddle – significantly it is Connor Murtagh’s only ride today.

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

Friday Selections: July, 12th 2019

Twilight Son

4.45 Newmarket: Class 3 Handicap, 7f

Im very much interested in Jim Crowley’s mount La Maquina here. This lightly raced four-year-old only has his fourth start on turf and should still have a bit more to give, than what his current handicap mark has revealed.

He showed promise as a juvenile and also last season, even though without getting his head in front. As an April foal he was always more likely to need a bit more time and finally at Goodwood back in May he got off the mark in a 7f Handicap.

He ran of 3lb lower than today but achieved a 82 topspeed rating, matching his revised handicap rating. He couldn’t follow up the net time at Kempton, however was badly hampered when making progress. So it’s a performance to ignore.

Ground and trip looks perfectly fine today. If La Maquina can find a bit of improvement, he’ll be a big runner in this, otherwise quite competitive race.

Selection:
10pts win – La Maquina @ 15/1 MB

…….

4.55 York: Class 4 Handicap, 5f

I’ll take a risk on Militia, having dropped 4lb below his last winning mark. This horse had issues, quite obviously. He’s been gelded and had a wind OP during a long seasonal break and was well beaten on his return last month.

That’s obvious concerns, but he possibly needed the run. The fact remains he is a 5f winner on fast ground, and also won of a 77 mark, running to a topspeed rating of 79 last July.

So, if he strips fitter today, can find some of last summer’s form back, with a god 3lb claimer in the saddle today, he certainly will outrun a massive price tag.

Selection:
10pts win – Militia @ 33/1 MB

Thursday Selections: July, 11th 2019

Newmarket July Course

2.25 Newmarket: Group 2 July Stakes, 6f

Exciting renewal with two potential stars in the lineup. Favourite Visinari certainly appeals as a top drawer in the making, having been so impressive on his debut when achieving a topspeed rating of 98!

However, at a short price, with a viable alternative top pitch against him, I’ll happily take him on with Coventry Stakes 3rd Guildsman. He also won pretty well on debut, running to TS 90, which is a sign of a top class horse, and proved that with an excellent performance at Royal Ascot, posting a 97 TS.

The ground is faster today than he has encountered yet, remains to be seen how he acts on it. So far Wootton Bassett offspring done well on fast ground and 6 furlongs, so concerns are more down to that we haven’t seen Guildsman racing on firm ground yet.

Selection:
10pts win – Guildsman @ 4/1 MB

………

5.10 Newmarket: Class 3 Handicap, 1 mile

Very few in this race appear to be well handicapped. That says Martineo could well be after a string of excellent performances, now stepping up to the 1 mile distance for the first time in quite a while.

He’s predominantly do his best over shorter distances – 6f and 7f in particular, on the All-Weather. I don’t think Martineo is less effective on turf, though, and the few times he ran over a mile he was competitive, also on pedigree the trip shouldn’t be an issue whatsoever.

He’ll need to settle, obviously, but this is only his sixth start on turf, having been in the money on four occasions. He’s ran to topspeed of 81 on the AW and 75 on turf in the past, so if there is any bit of improvement for the trip and surface, he could look a massive price this afternoon.

Selection:
10pts win – Martineo @ 17.5/1 MB

……..

7.15 Newbury: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 2f

Star Of War looks overpriced for a poor field for this class. The filly has shown some talent in the past, has been steadily improving and only was found out in tough competition at Royal Ascot lately. A steep drop in class will help today.

She showed fair form as a juvenile in three starts but really excelled at the beginning of this season, winning a Kempton maiden easily and following up with two nice runs in class 3 Handicaps over a mile.

The three-year-old steps up in trip to 10 furlongs for the first time. On pedigree she has a fair chance to get the distance. If that can eke out further improvement, than she’ll be well in here of a mark of 82, given she has ran to TS 83 already.

Selection:
10pts win – Star Of War @ 12.5/1 MB

Preview: Irish 2000 Guineas 2019

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Finally we get the race we wanted: Too Darn Hot vs. Magna Grecia: meant to happen at Newmarket, now taking place at the new Curragh. A match made in heaven?

Probably not. I’m firmly against the chances of Too Darn Hot. All the hype over the winter has evaporated after injuries forced him to miss his early assignments and a recent defeat in the Dante Stakes have connections revert back to a mile.

For a horse that had issues earlier this year, to go back-to-back so quickly, after stretching out to a trip beyond the comfort zone, now travelling over to Ireland, going back to a mile, right up into Group 1 class – there are a lot of arguments against Too Darn Hot.

Certainly at a short price, despite seeing him on the drift that still has him around a 40-45% chance, I can not have him at all.

The market has it spot on, Magna Grecia is the righteous favourite and I have him pretty much a slightly better than 50% chance – so current odds are more than fair.

The English 2000 Guineas champ has – at least in my mind – stamped his authority firmly on the mile division with the Newmarket victory. The much talked about draw bias was more like a pace bias. After all, Magna Grecia won well in the end, and it appeared to me that in any circumstance he would have been the best horse in the race. 

It was his first start in 2019 and he can only improve going forward, is my reckoning. He ran to a time speed rating of 105 that day, in line with previously achieved 102 and 107.

The Newmarket third Skardu remains of high interest. I was sweet on his chances back then. I still like the colt. However he has to find more improvement, which isn’t unlikely given his lightly raced profile, but running subsequently to TS ratings of 90 and 92 is, even though progressive, not quite what’s required here today, I feel.

At around 7/1 he is a fair chance, but nothing more, hence not a bet for me. As I try to refrain from backing below 3/1 usually, I’ll also swerve the notion of “buying money” with Magna Grecia.

The next in line in this Irish 2000 Guineas field are all minority chances. So, anything else with a realistic chance of going close?

Well, the one that I am intrigued by, and always been since his juvenile season, and am delighted to see him here as I would have been interested if he would have lined up at Newmarket, is at a whopping price the other Ballydoyle runner Mohwak.

He’s one that was thought to be a Derby horse. And you could argue that still holds true as he needed a mile to win as a juvenile and ran on well at Chester in the Dee Stakes recently, which is a fine Derby trial in its own right.

Still, in mind stuck is the vision of how he won the Royal Lodge Stakes in rather cozily fashion last season – over a mile on fast ground. He achieved a TS rating of 104 that day – which is close enough to those ratings the two market principles have achieved.

Mohawk seasonal reappearance at Chester earlier this month, when second behind a stable mate who enjoyed the run of the race, in desperate conditions, was an excellent performance, given the circumstances.

I feel, though, the return to a sound surface will see him improve leaps an bounds. And also now fit from his first run in 2019, I can see this son of the almighty Galileo show much more than anything we’ve seen to date.

The mile trip look sharp enough, most likely. The stiff uphill finish of the Curragh can suit, on the other hand.

Whether he is good enough over this trip to battle it out with Magna Grecia remains to be seen. At prices I firmly believe Mohawk is massively undervalued in both win and place market.

Selection:
4pts win – Mohawk @ 27/1 MB
6pts place – Mohawk @ 4/1 MB

A Weekend To Remember

What a roller-coaster week. Culminating in an emotional and dramatic weekend that included a 16/1 winning selection for the 1000 Guineas as well as a winner in the Kentucky Derby that was no winner half an hour later and a superstar on the other side of the globe far too few people have heard of yet!

Throw in a couple of unlucky 2nd places and a 2000 Guineas result that left me wonder “what if” and you’ve certainly got a few days to remember!

2000 Guineas: What Draw Bias?!

Horses loading for the first Classic of the 2019 flat season, a last few words from Johnny Murtagh on ITV: he’s now leaning toward Magna Grecia based on his observation of the existence of a draw bias in favour of the stands-side.

A few minutes later Twitter was running hot as Magna Grecia passed the line in front of everyone else, indeed. The colt trained by Aiden O’Brien – of course – won the battle of his small group on the stand-side, far away from the rest of the field, comfortably. And because his side was always ahead throughout the race he won the 2000 Guineas rather comfortably in the end.

My selection Skardu ran a massive race and finished 3rd, winning the race in his much larger group. I guess, ideally we wouldn’t have this discussion now and instead we’d have seen a “fair” race. But this is racing. Happened in the past. Will happen again.

Whether there was a draw bias I am not so sure. Most likely there was a pace bias, though. And this had the most profound impact on the outcome of the race. This is certainly something that occurs any given day. If you’re drawn close to the pace and you follow it you always have a better chance of winning than not.

Smarter people will be able to explain all the exact reasons behind it in greater detail than I can or want right now. But that is a racing fact.

On balance I believe – at least over 1 mile – there is little between Magna Grecia and Skardu, and possibly Madhmoon. Will we see a re-match at the Curragh in a few weeks time? Magna Grecia is bound for the first Irish Classic. Wouldn’t it be nice to see these three meet there again? I’d love to see that!

Derby Delight Turns Sour

I live for these big races. The anticipation building over the whole day leading up to the moment when the gates crash open – pure excitement!

Normally I’m neither too high nor too low watching bred and butter racing, regardless of betting, the winning or the losing. Big races get my blood flowing, though.

Getting up at 3am in the morning for the Melbourne Cup? No bother. I can’t sleep anyway because of all the butterflies in my stomach!

The Kentucky Derby is one of my favourite races of the entire year. The occasion, build-up and atmosphere transported thanks to the outstanding NBC coverage is simply stunning.

No different this Saturday night. I was cheering home my selection Maximum Security with passion – surely the neighbours enjoyed it too – pumping the first in the air as the colt crossed the line ahead of everyone else. And who wouldn’t? A 9/1 winner in the Kentucky Derby is something to shout about!

Then the dreaded words: “objection lodged…. hold on to your tickets”. What follows are replay after replay dissecting ever aspect of the final three furlongs of the 145 Kentucky Derby. It was obvious Maximum Security was the best horse in the race. The runner-up Country House had no right to be upset with the result. He wasn’t impeded at all!

But it was also obvious Maximum Security impeded other horses when shifting around when turning home. It could resulted in a pretty bad situation on a different day.

Taking that into consideration I can understand the disqualification. And given the strict US rules it probably was the right call in the end.

On the other hand, whether it is truly a fair call to take the race away from the horse that was quite clearly the best one in the race, because of shifting around in an incredibly tight situation, racing on the limit at the end of a tough contest, doing so on a sloppy surface….

After all these are animals, not robots who run straight on rails as if they’d be pre-programmed machines.

It all happens so fast, there are 150.000 people screaming, horses and riders fighting for space, whips flying around…. it’s racing, not chess. These things happen in the sport and the question that needs to be raised in these type of situations is: did the winner got an unfair advantage and did the runner-up lost because of this situation?

The answer is unequivocal NO in this instance.

Ultimately I feel Maximum Security should have kept the race. What a fairytale it would have been. A horse thought to be so bad he started his career in a $16k claimer, going to win the Kentucky Derby…..

The Best Ever? 

South Africa as produced a lot of fantastic race horses over the years. The likes of Variety Club or Igugu come to my mind, in particular. But there is a new kid on the block and he could be the best there ever was in South Africa – some already suggest!

Well, one thing is for sure: Hawwaam is an incredibly exciting colt, with a turn of foot you rarely see produced in such stunning manner. How he races away from his rivals in the closing stages, like it’s the easiest thing in the world, is nothing short of breathtaking.

I took note for the first time – and was immensely impressed –  when Hawwaam stepped into Grade 1 company for the first time in the SA Classic earlier this year as he arguably exploded in the final furlong putting a handful of lengths between himself and the rest in a matter of strides.

He followed up on Saturday in the Grade 1 Champions Challenge when stepping up to the 10 furlongs distance and he couldn’t have been more impressive. How often do you see a horse in a top-level contest travelling hard on the bridle approaching the final furlong and then shooting clear under hands and heels? This horse is special:

On to the Durban July now? He surly will go off a warm favourite. And only luck or the lack of can stop him there I reckon.

How great would it be to see this superstar travel the world?! And what a shame that it remains so difficult for South African horses to travel. In turn it means far too few people get to know these classy horses that race on the other side of the globe.

Wayne Lordan Defies the Stats

He was 1 for 42 rides in the UK for Aiden O’Brien and his mounts went off a 25/1 average SP – Wayne Lordan couldn’t have been an unlikelier hero in the 1000 Guineas today – at least judged by the numbers.

Riding the least fancied of the Ballydoyle string once more, Hermosa was a largely ignored runner coming into the race. You could back her at 20/1+ this morning.

I missed those massive prices, but still got 16s with only a few hours to go to the race when making her my sole selection for the 1000 Guineas.

All credit to Wayne Lordan, though. What superb ride: incredibly brave, at the same time keeping it simple, bouncing the filly out of the stalls sending her straight to the lead, knowing Hermosa would likely stay all day and night long.

And she did! She was gutsy, stuck to her guns when challenged and won well in the end. A supremely well bred filly, adds another big race success to her superstar family, given she is a full-sister to Group 1 winners Hydrangea and The United States.

It brings a hectic week to an end. I had 30 bets. Way too many. I go carried away on Monday in particular but was bailed out by New Show at Windsor, thankfully. 4 winners & 120pts profit this week – the highlight obviously Hermosa.

A week of what would have been. 10 placed horses, multiple of those beaten in tight finishes on the line. A winner in the Kentucky Derby that was taken away half an hour later.

Well…. onwards and upwards.