Tag Archives: Nottingham

Thursday Selections: June, 14th 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

5.30 Nottingham: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 2f

Top Beak has dropped dramatically in his handicap mark over the last twelve months – for good reason. He still managed to finish 3rd of o a mark off 90 in April 2017 but his form deteriorated ever since.

He’s also a very infrequent winner, to say the least. Nonetheless there’s hope. I have been encouraged by Top Beak’s last two highly credible runs at Lingfield and Sandown. He ran well enough from the rear of the field to suggest with a little bit more help from the handicapper and the right conditions he can be bang there.

Today he finally gets fast ground again which looks ideal. He also dropped further, now on 62, with the additional bonus of 5lb claimed by excellent apprentice Paddy Bradley.

It’s a big field and he needs a bit of luck in these, but if Bradley can nurse Top Beak through it and deliver the gelding at the right time he has a big chance to finally get his head in front again.

Selection:
10pts win – Top Beak @ 9/1 Sky

Sunday Selections: June, 10th 2018

justify-triple-crown-mike-smith-belmont

Oh I was so wrong! How glad I am to be SO wrong! Justify justified all the hype to become the 13th Triple Crown champion!

He did it and he did it well. This was – in my eyes – his best performance by a country mile. Put simply: the task on hand, as outlined in my preview, seemed an incredibly steep climb beforehand.

But this wonder colt he made it look easy. Mike Smith made it look easy too. “Big Money Mike” – he’s got the nickname for a reason.

For some reason this Triple Crown touched me more from an emotional side of things than American Pharoah’s. Maybe because the whole campaign felt more humble, more authentic than all that surrounded Pharoah’s campaign.

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4.05 Nottingham: Class 3 Handicap, 5f

A return to form at Redcar last months brings Justanotherbottle right into the picture here. He was going away at the end picking up the pieces off a strong gallop.

The now four year old ran extremely well in some big handicaps in the second half of 2017 while also being incredibly progressive, winning twice throughout the year and improving his handicap mark by 21 pounds!

After his last success a career highest is needed today. I feel with ever improving apprentice Ger O’Neill who’s worth every single pound of his 5lb claim this is possible to achieve in this race.

He’s a CD scorer already, the fastish ground won’t pose any problems and he is one who looks still on the up with a an assignment at higher level on the cards fairly soon. I have him closer to the top of the market than his current price, that is for sure.

Selection:
10pts win – Justanotherbottle @ 9/2 PP

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Photo Credit: CBC

Wednesday Selections: May, 2nd 2018

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Back in the winner’s circle after two rotten days: Slunovrat (3/1) went on to win at Nottingham in a thriller.

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4.30 Pontefract: Class 4 Handicap, 6f

Top weight Dandy Highwayman looks potentially overpriced dropping into a slightly easier race than when 10th at Ripon recently. That day he didn’t have things to go for himself with a wall of horses in front of him either.

However, Dandy Highwayman showed last season that he is capable to run to forms warranting his current rating off 82. He’s 2lb higher than his last winning mark but was really consistent last season where most of his races that he ran well in worked out quite well also.

The soft ground is a slight question mark – he has form with cut in the ground, so might be okay, though, ground as deep as today he only encountered once, which was the race a fortnight ago at Ripon.

A wider than ideal draw will make things not easy today. There is no doubt that a career best is required to win. Nonetheless, given he is capable to run to this sort of level, was consistent last year and is in a grade he can win in, I feel he is quite a massive price.

Selection:
10pts win – Dandy Highwayman @ 25/1 VC / ***Non-Runner***

Tuesday Selections: May, 1st 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

4.35 Nottingham: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 6f

Slunovrat makes plenty of appeal on his seasonal reappearance. He runs very well as a fresh horse, though he did not have a lot of racing last season. He was a long way beaten in his last two starts, however those came in really hot contests.

On his seasonal reappearance last year he finished a strong 2nd at Sandown over 1m 6f. That form works out quite well and off a same handicap mark today, in what looks an easier contest, I feel Slunovrat has a prime chance.

The soft conditions hold no fears to him. His record with cut in the ground is excellent. Jim Crowley in the saddle is a big bonus for this yard and at this track.

Selection:
10pts win – Slunovrat @ 3/1 Matchbook

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