Tag Archives: Nottingham

Tuesday Racing – May 24th 2017

With a laughing and a smiling eye news were perceived of the retirement of the well beloved grey gelding Sollow today. He hasn’t been seen on a racecourse for over a year now after sustaining a leg injury in spring 2016.

It appears that since his recovery he did not fully find back to his brilliant best in training and therefore the decision was made to send him off to a well deserved retirement.

Pierre-Yves Bureau, Racing Manager for the Wertheimer Brothers said today:

“The horse is well but is not quite at 100 per cent and we don’t want to take the slightest risk with him, so we have decided the prudent thing to do is to retire him.”

My personal highlight of Sollow’s career is his Dubai Turf win – his very first victory on the highest level. What a massive performance it was, beating reigning Irish Champions Stakes winner The Grey Gatsby effortlessly.

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2.50 Brighton: Class 6 Handicap, 7 Furlongs

It might be wise not to judge Sixties Habana too harshly on what he has done on the All-Weather in recent months, though his last run at Kempton actually was eye-catching as the performance was better than the bare form would suggest.

A return to turf will definitely suit here, however. In three runs on turf he has been a 1.5l beaten third on debut where he achieved a RPR of 66 and followed up with a similarly good performance over 7f at Yarmouth when he got a first career win under his belt at the second time of asking

He was out of his depth the next time at Epsom in a big Handicap and then didn’t achieve anything of particular note on the All-Weather over the winter.

As a result his mark has dropped significantly now down to 55 and that makes him dangerously well handicapped on his return to the green grass over a trip, track and ground conditions very likely to suit.

The Phelan/Egan combo also has been quite successful in the last two seasons with a near 20% strike rate despite an average SP of their runners of 19/1!

Selection: 
10pts win – Sixties Habana @ 14/1 Bet365

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3.00 Nottingham: Class 5 Handicap, 2 Miles

Evens favourite Coeur de Lion is clearly the sexy horse in this race and there is a very fair chance that the four year old is well handicapped judged on his hurdle form in a race that looks for the taking.

That says I feel he is overvalued due his decent Triumph Hurdle run and fellow hurdler Dan Emmett is a better choice. He’s three years older, with more form in the book and may hold not as many secrets to the handicapper, however we have not seen him on the flat often in the last number of seasons.

Fact is his recent effort at Pontefract is one to draw a line through. The ground was unsuitably fast and the trip probably a bit too far. Return to 2m with cut in the ground will suit undoubtedly.

In flat races where the word soft appeared in the going description he’s achieved a win (off OR 60 by 12l) and two highly credible placed efforts in four starts. The three times in the money he ran to RPR’s of 79,75 and 76 respectively.

Given we haven’t seen allot of Dan Emmett on the flat lately it’s is a question mark whether he can run to this sort of form as also his last hurdle form looks questionable, however dropped to 66 in his flat rating he appears to have a very real chance to be well handicapped.

There is the added bonus of trainer and jockey going well at this track individually as well as together (limited sample size but 75% place strike rate).

Selection:
10pts win Dan Emmett @ 7/1 Bet365

Minding’s back with a Bang!

No surprise in the first Group 1 of the new flat season: Evens favourite Cloth Of Stars delivered the goods for Godolphin, Andre Fabre and Mickael Barzelona in the Prix Ganay.

Ridden patiently, Barzelona waited for the right moment to make the decisive move. Once in the clear the Son of Sea The Stars powered home strongly. A first success at the highest level for Cloth Of Stars.

But should it have been a first taste of Group 1 success for last years French Derby runner-up Zarak? Probably. Soumillon in the saddle had to sit and suffer at a crucial stage of the race while Zarak finished like a train eventually – unlucky!

No problems for Minding at Naas. She did it as easily as it gets in the Group 2 Mooresbridge Stakes and she clearly has not lost anything over the winter.

She made all from the front and the moment Ryan Moore gave her a little squeeze she stretched swiftly clear. Granted, she was shorts odds-on an clear on the ratings, but still on her return to win so easily is impressive.

Next stop on the agenda is the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Currag. The Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot are most likely the subsequent summer target.

Stable mate Johannes Vermeer finished last but got a very light ride with the future clearly in mind. I expect him to come on quite a bit for a run and would not lose hope in him yet.

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2.30 Brighton: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

I look forward to see Equiano son Otomo return to the track as a three year old now dropping to six furlongs for the first time. He showed promise as a juvenile, was twice narrowly beaten here at Brighton, although over 7f, and ended the season with two more decent performances.

In all his races he showed plenty of early pace but did not quite get home, so he looks ready-made for sprinting. An opening mark of 67 seems reasonable, and any age- plus trip related improvement should see him run a big race.

It’s noteworthy that the Hide yard is in good form, with a fantastic record at this track and with Liam Keniry in the saddle. Also Equaino offspring tends to perform incredibly well at Brighton.

Selection:
10pts win – Otomo @ 6/1 Bet365

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4.20 Nottingham: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 2f

Well bred Secret Soul was relatively well fancied in her three career outings so far but despite two decent performances she never came close to win. However it’s fair to assume she simply needed the experience and now going handicapping with a pipe opener already under her belt she could improve.

She is fitted with first time visor as a reaction to her most recent fourth place at Kempton where tried to make all from the front. It may keeps her focused on the job when it really matters.

Given what she has achieved an opening mark of 68 seems slightly on the stiff side. However she ran in and around that level on RPR’s the last two times and clocked fair speed ratings too, so potentially she could be well in, if the combination of experience, race fitness, suitable trip and headgear sees her putting the best foot forward.

Selection:
10pts win – Secret Soul @10/1 Bet365

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6.30 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4f

If anywhere near full race fitness Brimham Rocks should be able to exploit his potentially very lenient opening mark here. His three maiden runs last year have been nothing of note but they were more of educational nature, over partly wrong ground and trips too short anyway.

H’s been a very late foal who’s sure to improve as a three year old once stepping up in trip, given this well bred son of Fastnet Rock is out of an Oaks trial places mare. So the 1m 4f trip should suit hands down.

Also Brimham Rocks’ sire has a 43% strike rate with offspring at Wolverhampton over this distance. All points toward that this lad is certainly well handicap on his handicap debut.

Selection:
10pts win – Brimham Rocks @ 5/2 Skybet

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9.10 Chelmsford: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 6f

I feel Addicted To You has a pretty good chance to follow up on a recent maiden success over 12f. At Lingfield this Medicean colt made all from the front. He got a bit idle in the closing stage which meant a closer from behind got a bit too close for comfort eventually, but overall it was a convincing win.

Now of a 75 rating he could still be undervalued even more so as he steps up in trip which should suit more than it is a problem. He’s got the profile to improve with age and according to sire stats the 1m 6f trip, particular around Chelmsford, should suit.

Given Addicted To You’s two sisters both achieved RPR’s of 80+ it is fair to assume that he can still find a bit to get off the mark in handicap company now.

Selection:
10pts win – Addicted To You @ 7/2 Bet365

Crystal Ocean – a Derby contender?

It’s been quite an excellent week – another one, I dare to say – as Dakota Gold went in at 12/1 and did so in fine fashion. Enjoy as long as it lasts…. desperate times may be around the corner at any given point as the past has taught.

Betting aside, it’s bee a huge day for racing. The jumps still feature big time, despite May only days away. The Scottish National was on the cards today, and one I fancied allot for Aintree, who then fell at the very first fence, made amends here and made it back to back victories in the Scottish equivalent: Vicente!

At Newbury we saw a potential 2000 Guineas contender – a serious one, most likely. Barney Rot looks a brute of a horse and overcame inexperience to score readily in the Greenham Stakes for his daddy Exelebration who himself was runner-up in this race who then went on to win the German Guineas subsequently.

Bareny Rot, though, will run at Newmarket and must be a serious contender if he turns up healthy. He’s now a mere 6/1 chance and should be ready for a step up to the 1 mile trip. That says I remain firmly in the Al Wukair camp, of course!

We may saw a different Classics contender at Nottingham: in the 6.30 Maiden the well fancied Sea The Stars colt Crystal Ocean impressed me with an easy victory in what appeared not a bad race at all. But he did it so nicely, all hands and heels. A bright future lies ahead?

Possibly. He is certainly bred to be a really good horse. Crystal Ocean is closely related to the excellent Crystal Capella and the Derby trial might be next on the agenda now that’ll give us a better idea of how good he really is.

It’s noteworthy that Crystal Ocean is trained by shrewd Sir Michael Stoute who certainly knows how to get one ready for the big day. With a muddy Derby picture at this point in time I’ll do have a small nibble at 40’s – he may not run, but if he does, this price could easily look incredibly big.

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4.55 Navan: Class 1 Handicap, 1m 2f

Prendergast’s Althiba is one who looks ready to step up and take advantage of a fair looking mark after a fine placed effort on her seasonal debut. However I feel the top weight Massif Central could easily do the same but offers much better value at a huge price.

Massif Central ran pretty well in maiden company, achieving mid-80 RPR’s that make his handicap mark appear fair. However on handicap debut which was also his seasonal comeback he started awkwardly and was soon relegated to the back of the field. He didn’t really look comfortable throughout and turning widest didn’t help either.

He still ran better than the bare form suggests, though this looked more like a pipe opener than anything else. On the other hand he seems physically improved. A fine, biggish, scopey colt, who now steps up to 10f for the first time.

Not a given that he stays the trip, but there is a fair chance he does and if that turns out to be true than it is not unreasonable to believe he can improve for his second seasonal run too. If same happens then he could be a bit better than his current rating. Also this is an easier race than the other day plus the better ground should suit.

With a top jockey in the saddle I feel connections expect a big run from this Arcano son – at 12’s he seems quite a bit overpriced in an open race.

Selection:
10pts win – Massif Central @ 12/1 Paddy Power

Saturday Tips

4.05 Thirsk: Class 3 Handicap, 5f

I’m quite keen on Dakota Gold here who ran four times as a juvenile and showed plenty of promise when winning a pretty decent maiden at Hamilton following up with a really good fifth in a valuable sales race at Newmarket in his final start in 2016.

Given the three year old Equiano son was a late April foal you would expect him to progress as a three year old He drops in trip today, first time over 5f and that could be exactly what he wants. He has a super draw and might use the bit extra stamina to his advantage with a canny front-running performance?

Interestingly his sire has an excellent record with three year old’s dropping down to the minimum trip. Also on the ratings front he is set up for progress. He already ran to an RPR of 81, so if natural improvement kicks in and he is ready to go on his seasonal debut then a mark of 79 could easily underestimate him.

Selection:
10pts win – Dakota Gold @ 12/1 Bet365

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6.30 Nottingham: Maiden Stakes, 10f

The Sea The Stars colt Crystal Ocean at the top of the market looks really exciting and could be too good for the rest in this field, but the equally very well bred Godolphin runner Forever Song might well be in the same category.

Forever Song is by Dubawi and a full-brother to the very useful Whispering Gallery, a Group 3 winner and rated a 112 on the flat. He was also a very sharp on his debut, winning first time out and subsequently two good handicaps.

This lad has a Derby entry so there is a chance that this debut race is more like an educational run, but I am be rather confident in his sharpness and race fitness given that William Buck heading over from Newbury in the afternoon for this single ride.

Selection: 
10pts win – Forever Song @ 7/1 Bet365

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8.00 Nottingham: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

Competitive little race but bottom weight The Big Short could easily exploit a possibly lenient mark here. He showed that he is not useless in a couple of races last season, finishing in the money without winning.

He was, however, a mid-March foal and looked often sluggish with a huge frame to fill that would need a bit of time. He appears scopey and one that will improve as a three year old, no doubt.

There are slight worries about the fast ground and the widest draw, but that aside Franny Norton makes the journey here on his sole ride at Nottingham and he has an impressive strike rate in this scenario.

Selection:
10pts win – The big Short @ 7/1 Bet 365

Exciting Eagle Creek one for the Future

Nice to see confidence justified – at last! I said it last night, the opening maiden of today’s Lingfield card unleash a potentially smart colt in the making. And so it was.

Favourite Eagle Creek (SP 9/4) didn’t make any mistake on his seasonal reappearance. He grabbed the lead soon after the start and never gave it away. He won with ease by six lengths, never touched.

Jockey Andrea Atzeni, who made the journey to Lingfield Park for this sole ride, was delighted afterwards:

“He enjoyed himself in front and picked up really well. He was always going to be a better horse as a three-year-old.”

The future looks bright for Eagle Creek now. How bright remains to be seen. But he looked physically improved, gave the impression of a strong and scopey colt. It clearly helps that he hails from a good family by Raven’s Pass out of listed placed Blue Angel and a half-brother to listed race- and multiple Meydan winner Viren’s Army.

What’s next? I’d say they step him up in class rapidly to find out how good he really is. He does not look like a handicapper but more like an individual with a future in some nice pattern races. Certainly one for the tracker, one way or the other.

Race Video – 2.00 Lingfield

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4.30 Catterick: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

It’s always difficult to make a decision if you fancy two horses in the same race, so do I here with Coquine, who seemingly finds her first real opportunity on turf after a fruitful winter. She could potentially remain well handicapped with blinkers fitted.

But tentatively I side with Lackaday who won this very race off 8lb higher last year. He was no chance given by the handicapper subsequently but has finally dropped down to a very handy mark again.

He changed yards in the meantime and ran extremely well on his reappearance over sharp 5f at Newcastle last month. He finished an excellent 3rd that day – a performance that suggests he finds back to his best form.

Selection:
10pts win – Lackaday @ 6/1 Betfair SB

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2.20 Nottingham: Class 4 Handicap, 5f

It’s only the second start for the filly Blitz since moving to the UK from Ireland where she showed plenty of promise as a juvenile. She finished a close second on her seasonal reappearance at Wolverhampton in February which was also her UK debut.

That day she tried to make all and set a good pace from the front but just got a bit tired in the end it seemed while also still showing signs of greenness at the start and turning around the final bend.

This form looks rock solid and a return to turf on a straight track with fast ground could see her putting her best foot forward. In similar conditions she went only half a lengths down in a Curragh maiden behind a subsequent Group 3 scorer last year.

Selection:
10pts win – Blitz @ 9/2 Bet365

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5.20 Nottingham: Class 5 Handicap, 10f

Outcrop, the son of Rock Of Gibraltar makes plenty of appeal on his Handicap debut over a trip more suitable than what he raced over in three maidens as a juvenile.

His opening mark looks potentially lenient given he already ran to a similar RPR on his final start last season over a trip likely to short. He looks one who’s sure to improve with age and experience too.

Lightly raced sons of ROG tend to improve dramatically over the 1m 2f trip and if that isn’t enough then trainer Hughie Morrison has a fine record at this course over the last number of years.

Selection:
10pts win – Outcrop @ 7/1 Betfair SB

Tuesday Selections

Jamie Spencer

A day of seconds and thirds… let’s not dwell on it. Much more fun is to watch he ATR “Ride of the Month”! As always the At The Races team  selected a number of spectacular rides seen at tracks they show racing from.

I honestly find it hard to get excited about jumpers at this time of the year, so to see those type of rides appearing on my screen…. It feels odd, regardless of how spectacular they are.

Nonetheless, I want to give Ruby Walsh an honourable mention for the heroics he had to perform to get Penhill over the line at Galway. Any other month it might be the ride of the month….

But it’s the flat season, so for me the three top rides were:

  1. Jamie Spencer – Deavuille
  2. Pat Smullen – Xsquared
  3. Josephine Gordon – Dltripleseven

Of course Pat Smullen on a slipping saddle was horsemanship at its best, but I got to give it to Jamie Spencer.

Usually at the receiving end of stick of an army of armchair jockeys (predominantly on social media), he gave Deauville a peach of a ride from an impossible draw in the Belmont Derby, and miraculously had the horse in a prime sport turning for home, while saving enough fuel for when it really mattered. Well done!

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Tuesday Selections:

6.00 Nottingham: Champion Harbour @ 7/1 Bet365
6.15 Lingfield: Great Expectations @ 13/2 Bet365
7.00 Nottingham: Atlan @ 11/4 Skybet
7.45 Lingfield: Kristjano @ 7/1 Bet365

Rita’s Boy can take it all!

Twilight Son

Thursday was a day with mixed feelings – Hans Holbein finished the job nicely. He has enhanced his Derby credentials to an extend, is now a general 25/1 chance for the big race. Nonetheless he would have to improve a lot to be a real contender.

His victory meant the day finished in profit, though. Which is always positive. Says all other three selections ran really badly. None did even go close or was in contention when the field turned for home. Disappointing.

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3.45 Chester: Class 2 Handicap, 5f

This race is as open as it gets. The two horses on top of the betting are fair individuals with decent chances to go close, without instilling any confidence and they look short into. Godolphin’s Wanting has to prove that he can act on soft ground, while Snap Shots seems to be on a high enough mark for the moment. Anonymous John has performed really during the winnter on the All-Weather but went up in the mark to 95 without winning in his last six starts. He looks vulnerable off top weight.

The one that looks a tick overpriced in this field is Rita’s Boy. The mount of Franny Norton has ran well on his last two turf starts, finishing runner-up on both occasions behind good winners who followed on from that in good style. He’s been certainly unlucky not to finish closer lto, when he didn’t get a clear run until the final furlong marker, and even wasn’t beaten up. He surely could have finished closer.

He was hampered and knocked out of his rhythm on his penultimate start soon after the start, he also hang a bit in the closing stages but was just beaten by a tight margin by a well handicapped individual. who scored subsequently again.

He went up in the mark for these last two performances but could still be better than his current mark off 82 judged on those runs. He will need to bring his A-game though. He acts on soft ground though and the only slight concern today is the draw which would ideally a bit closer to the rail. Nonetheless I feel he has a cracking chance in this field.

Rita’s Boy @ 11/2 Paddy Power – 5pts win

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8.25 Nottingham: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 2f

The Michael Appleby runner Philba is an interesting contender in this race. He should improve from his seasonal reappearance six days ago but most importantly has been gelded since then. His sire poses some impressive starts for first time geldings, so it may be worth to have a punt on this three year old Cockney Rebel son.

He is also first time blinkered and is probably bound to make all from the front in a race that lacks strengths in depth. He has actually some pretty fair maiden form to his name, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him going strongly today with blinkers fitted now as a gelding.

Philba @ 14/1 William Hill – 5pts win