Tag Archives: November

Saturday Selections: November, 2nd 2019

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Friday night started in the worst possible way: me looking like an idiot. Here I am backing a short priced favourite for the first time in ages, touting the horse as the proverbial “good thing” that will go on to win the 2000 Guineas. Yeah, that worked out well….

The winner of the Futurity Stakes is a good horse, make no mistake. He already ran twice to 99 topspeed ratings before last night, is an April foal and clearly is consistent on a high level as another 97 TS performance showed last night.

I continue to retain some faith in Kinross, nonetheless. He was pretty keen early on and once again starting issues made life tricky. Hopefully Ralph Beckett can sort this behaviour out over the winter as I firmly belief the time to shine for this colt is as a 3-year-old.

Before moving on to selections for Breeders Cup Saturday, let me say I’m properly grateful to Jose Ortiz: he gave Structor a superb tactical ride. I needed that winner badly. Particularly as Vive La Difference finished strongly once more but found trouble – obviously – at Newcastle earlier.

I have to admit in my head I was counting the money when I saw the splits and certainly when Sweet Melania turned for home in the Juvenile Fillies Turf…. shame she couldn’t quite hold on. Anyway, plenty on the menu on Super Saturday as well!

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7.30 Chelmsford: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

Big chance for Cashel to get back to winning ways: already a course and distance winner, he has fallen to a super sexy handicap mark, having won of allot higher in the past and having run to topspeed ratings of 59+ three times this year alone! So, now down to 58 he is rather obviously well handicapped.

In my view he clearly proved this point when last seen at Kempton. Cashel had a strange break, nearly lost the jockey and was always trailing the field which isn’t his ideal style. He ran on well to finish third in what was an unusually competitive contest with form that stands the test of time already.

The 1lb drop in his mark since is a nice little bonus in combination with the 3lb claim of Theodore Ladd in the saddle. First time CP will hopefully help early on the race – the draw is bad, and he’ll need to be quick out of the blocks.

If Cashel does he’ll be hard to beat tonight.

Selection:
10pts win – Cashel @ 9/2 MB

………

6.17 Santa Anita: G2 Twilight Derby, 1m 1f

Tricky affair and most market principles have raced each other without conclusive outcomes in the past. I think, however, one who still seems underappreciated is Tapit colt Kingly.

He remains pretty lightly raced and certainly unexposed on turf. On the other hand he showed plenty of promise in three starts on the lush green, much in line with his excellent pedigree.

He showed early promise in spring landing the Listed California Derby at Golden Gates polytrack but couldn’t bring his best to the dirt subsequently. Since the switch to turf he won a grade 3 at Del Mar, beating current favourite Neptune Storm. A 4th and 5th place finish subsequently look questionable but are exceptional pieces of form judged by circumstances.

He was lit up the next time in the Del Mar Derby, bumped right after start by the horse beside him in a bid to overcome the widest draw. He stormed to the lead soon after and that’s where the damage was done. He was less than two lengths beaten in the end.

Next time at Santa Anita, stepping up to open company, he led again, setting off way too fast, going hard all out and nearly led gate to wire in fact, only to be swept by late by the elder horses.

A wide draw doesn’t make things easy today, but there aren’t too many who are likely to compete hard for the lead, so I think he can overcome that.

If Mario Gutierrez can minimize the amount of fuel to be burned in this early phase of the race I think there is a massive chance Kingly will be hard to beg back as he stays the trip, will get a clear run, while some of the other market principles will have to hope for have to weave through traffic.

Selection:
10pts win – Kingly @ 6/1 BF

……….

8.54 Santa Anita: G1 BC Filly & Mare Turf, 1m 2f

It may look foolish to oppose Sistercharlie, given her incredible record. Even more so as I really struggle to fancy the Euro opposition. However, the one who seems to have come back to life and has run to a career best only recently, backing up other good performances from earlier this year is 2018 1000 Guineas winner Billesdon Brook.

She is completely unexposed over this sort of trip, bar one try in the Nassau last year, which was an odd race to some extend and the filly potentially not at her best anyway. Her pedigree however gives her quite a decent chance of staying the distance.

Particularly with conditions she’ll appreciate. I hope Sean Levey is not afraid to utilize the excellent draw and moves instead of settling off the pace, where Billesdon Brook would only find herself around a number of other European contenders who all will be compromising their respective chances.

After a number of disappointing efforts following her superb Newmarket success last spring somehow the 4-year-old found back to her best this summer, winning three times, runner-up another time, starting in Listed company getting confidence back seemingly, all the way up to landing the Sun Chariot – which was a career best judged by tospeed, as she ran to 103, bettering her Guineas best of 101 – she also ran weeks early to 96 in Oak Tree Stakes at Goodwood.

What this shows: Billesdon Brook is in the form of her life! Obvious question is whether she can hold it and bring it to Santa Anita. If she can she has a much better chance to go really close today than the big odds suggest. She also gets the added boost of running first time on lasix.

Selection:
10pts win – Billesdon Brook @ 14/1 MB

……….

8.20 Santa Anita: Grade 1 BC Mile Turf, 1 mile

I don’t think the fast ground and turns over this sharp mile will suit Circus Maximus. Two other Europeans I like a lot instead are Space Traveller for one – but the fact he usually settles off the pace plus the small issue of not racing on Lasix is enough to put me off.

The other one is Hey Gaman. This is a consistent horse, running to a high standards usually, if he gets his conditions. So throw the recent soft ground performances out of the window. Leaving those aside,  he won two contests in Listed and Group 3 company and was runner-up in two more hot Group 2 races, all over 7 furlongs.

He achieved topspeed ratings of 99, 100 and 105 in three subsequent races this season. That is quite a high standard I argue not many in this Breeders Cup Mile field have achieved. Furthermore he has the racing style you want for your horse at this track.

Add to that the fact he gets first time Lasix and you have a massive chance. Negative: the draw. However, maybe not as much a negative potentially as this race could turn into affair with little early pace to shout about. Hey Gaman usually breaks well so he should be able to make it over fairly quickly I feel.

The step up to a mile on this lightning fast ground is no issue either. There is enough stamina in pedigree, he is a full-brother to a winner over a mile and himself has some fair form over the trip too.

Selection:
10pts win – Hey Gaman @ 18/1 WH

………

11.40 Santa Anita: G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf, 1m 4f

Bricks And Mortar and vulnerable over this trip. AVD has gone backwards since the Derby. Something else may spring a surprise from the front, but I feel eerily confident Old Persian will be able to cover all moves.

He’s not quite superstar status, however he certainly is a high class individual with comparatively low mileage this season, coming here potentially fresher than others.

He’s won the Northern Dancer comfortably when last seen, so had a perfect prep while having ran to topspeed ratings of 110 in the past plus to 104 at Meydan earlier this year, he looks to have the making of what should be the favourite in the race.

The draw isn’t ideal and is my main worry that Buick will “slot in” too far off the pace. I hope he is smart and brave enough to go forward, without being suicidal, and not let the pace go too far away.

If the pilot gets the tactics right then the horse will deliver with everything sure to suit: track, trip, ground.

Selection:
10pts win – Old Persian @ 4/1 PP

Super Friday Preview

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

6.00 Newcastle: G1 Futurity Stakes, 1 mile

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

………..

7.30 Newcastle: Class 5 handicap, 7f

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

………..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

………..

8.52 Santa Anita: G1 BC Juvenile Turf, 1 mile

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

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

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

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

………

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday Selections: November, 30th 2018

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11.20 Southwell: Class 6 Handicap, 5 furlongs

Less than a handful of horses appear to be in with a shout here – Decision Maker is one of them – if he is ready to go after a break and his breathing won’t prevent him from finishing strongly.

That clearly been an issue in the past, as tongue tie and wind surgeries suggest. He’s been off since June after a poor showing on turf. A 3l beaten 6th at Nottingham prior, though, looks pretty strong form, so do some of his placed efforts here at Southwell in early 2018.

Decision Maker drops to a handy mark, that should see him being potentially well handicapped. Blinkers first time fitted is interesting; a decent draw should help too.

Selection:
10pts win – Decision Maker @ 17/2 MB

…….

3.15 Southwell: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

A fortnight ago I wrote about Sooqaan as he was about to run in a similar type race:

“Reasons why I like this lad allot are plenty; a simple reason why I’m wondering is: there is fair chance this isn’t the race to let the handbreak off. 

Sooqaan is handicapped to win on his best form. He won off 64 over course and distance earlier this year. However, he was on a roll at that time, completing a hat-trick, kicking it off wit a CD success of a mark of 54. So I can see why connections would want to lower his current rating a bit, still.

On the other hand Sooqaan could find an excellent chance to score, despite the competitive nature of the race. 

The fact that is: in class 6 over this course and distance he is 4 from 4! So, it looks significant that he drops down to this grade for the first time since he last win, coming back the his happy hunting ground all the while.” 

That still holds true. Sooqaan didn’t go close that day, but it was a fair enough performance. He’s now 3lb lighter, which is an added bonus, as surely that makes him a well handicapped horse today.

An additional 3lb claim by the competent apprentice in the saddle, in a less competitive race and a decent draw to start from – Sooqaan should have a massive chance today.

Selection: 
10pts win – Sooqaan @ 17/2 MB

Wednesday Selections: November, 28th 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

6.45 Newcastle: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

Second start for new trainer Robert Cowell, Becker is an interesting candidate after a fair effort in what was also his first run after a summer break.

The son of Delegator ran pretty well earlier this year, winning twice on the All-Weather and backing up those performances with fair efforts subsequently. Despite that he drops down to a handy mark again as the handicapper gives him a chance, or so it seems.

Becker was a winner off 69 and 73 over 5f at Kempton and Chelmsford in the first half of the year, so having the opportunity to race off 71 now could be dangerous, even more so as those runs held up well form wise.

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

Tuesday Selection: November, 27th 2018

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1.40 Southwell: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

Seven-year-old Coiste Bodhar appears to be a superbly well handicapped individual, if he could reclaim some of his better form. Dropping below 50, the last time he did that he was a winner at this very same venue.

In fact Coiste Bodhar loves the Southwell fibresand. A five-times course winner and a three-times course- and distance winner, he’s done so off marks ranging from 49 to 60. Now down to a mark off 48, with the added benefit of a solid 5lb claimer in the saddle, looks nearly too good to be true.

He was disappointing in his last two runs, most recently over CD, certainly. Though, still back in October he was a close third in a pretty decent Nottingham Handicap; so, it appears that on his day Coiste Bodhar can still run really well.

It’s interesting that he has an entry for Friday here as well – more often than not that suggests, particularly with these type of horses fallen so low, that good back-to-back efforts are hoped for by connections.

On the negative: Coiste Bodhar didn’t looked like a horse in splendid form a fortnight ago, but then, the 3lb drop in the mark, the eye-catching jockey booking and multiple entries – I’m happy to give this boy a big chance.

Selection:
10pts win – Coiste Bodhar @ 15/2 PP

Saturday Selections: November, 24th 2018

Wet Dundalk Polytrack

12.50 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 7f

Despite a winless record of 0 for 15, Jeopardy John dropps to an intriguing mark here. This is a competitive race, so a tough assignment on that front, but off 59, judged by past performances, this 3yo gelding has a shout.

He was placed off 69 in the past, and on turf off 71 earlier this year. He also ran to TS rating of 63 and 64 on turf and AW. A recent 3rd place finish at Kempton was a solid performance, suggesting he isn’t too far away from going really close.

Another pound off the mark today and a step up to 7f – a trip that should be close to his optimum on pedigree.

Selection:
10pts win – Jeopardy John @ 17/1 MB

…..

2.00 Lingfield: Novice Stakes, 6f

The odds-on favourite looks to have a lot going for herself: an impressive winner on debut, she will be hard to beat. However, time wise she didn’t do a lot that day and as we head into winter, fillies are generally vulnerable.

Newcomer No Nonsense is out of a juvenile A–Weather winner and has a good draw to play with on debut. Gerald Mosse is unlikely to come to Lingfield for a nice day out with the family on what is his sole ride.

Mosse and Elsworth have a 3 for 5 record on the All-Weather this season – so you bet the colt is ready to go on day on day.

Selection:
10pts win – No Nonsense @ 12/1 MB

Friday Selection: November, 23rd 2018

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8.45 Kempton: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4f

Rossa Ryan doesn’t have too many rides at the moment, nonetheless it looks significant the jockey comes to Kempton for this one ride of Richard Hannon’s Sotomayor: hockey and trainer enjoy quite a successful partnership over the last two years.

The three-year old colt Sotomayor has his fair share of issues as the amount of headgear and a wind op shows. He’s second up from a break and the surgery, so he may be better for this most recent run over CD when – albeit in a hot race – well beaten.

Sotomayor is a distance winner off a pound higher than his current handicap mark – he also ran to some significant time speed ratings, including a 74 earlier this year.

Whether he can find back to this form and getting the wind done has any positive impact remains to be seen. It’s worth a nibble for me, with this jockey booking, anyway.

Selection:
10pts win – Sotomayor @ 25/1 PP

Wednesday Selection: November, 21st 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

7.20 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 9.5 furlongs

This is a poor looking race, hard to fancy anything with confidence. It screams for an upset – this could be the Rae Guest trained filly Woosh.

The four-year-old hasn’t shown anything in three maiden starts. She looks like a late bloomer, given her June birth date. Now stepping up significantly in trip to something that should be more comfortable for the first time in a handicap I can see how she’d be one to upset the odds.

Her daddy Nathanial has produced a fair share of winners on the All-Weather, particularly with older fillies over longer trips. Woosh fits the profile. Her wide draw is a concern, but then she has the added bonus of Martin Harley in the saddle. He enjoys tremendous success on Rae Guest horses, especially in handicaps.

Selection:
10pts win – Woosh @ 17/1 PP/MB

Thursday Selections: November, 15th 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

That’s the way I like it – a much needed 20/1 winner in Iley Boy tonight. A superb ride by Joey Haynes, who certainly made his only ride on the card count!

His mount didn’t seem to travel overly well early on, particularly after being hampered soon after the the start. He was well off the pace turning for home but was cruising hard on the bridle then and found the gaps when needed. The question “Is today the day to let Iley Boy loose?” was firmly answered!

……

12.10 Southwell: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

This looks a rather competitive affair for this type of low grade race. That makes it difficult to assess. The same goes if it comes to get a clear grip on the horse I fancy quite a bit actually: Sooqaan.

Reasons why I like this lad allot are plenty; a simple reason why I’m wondering is: there is fair chance this isn’t the race to let the handbreak off. 

Sooqaan is handicapped to win on his best form. He won off 64 over course and distance earlier this year. However, he was on a roll at that time, completing a hat-trick, kicking it off wit a CD success of a mark of 54. So I can see why connections would want to lower his current rating a bit, still.

On the other hand Sooqaan could find an excellent chance to score, despite the competitive nature of the race. 

The fact that is: in class 6 over this course and distance he is 4 from 4! So, it looks significant that he drops down to this grade for the first time since he last win, coming back the his happy hunting ground all the while. If the mark should be run down further, surely a spin around Chelmsford or similar would do? 

Small bonus: Sooqaan has an excellent draw to attack the race. So weighing it all up, at given prices I am happy to roll the dice! 

Selection:
10pts win – Sooqaan @ 8/1 PP

……….

3.20 Southwell: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 4f

Always risky to punt a Southwell virgin – nonetheless, three-year-old Kabrit is an interesting contender here thanks to a featherweight I feel. He’s shown a bit of promise on turf this year when placed on three occasions in races that have had their form franked since then.

He comes here after a poor showing in his final turf start last month; however it was off a break and first time gelded. You’d hope he can come on for the run. 

Whether Kabrit truly stays the trip, particularly on the fibresand remains to be seen – Mr. Lee in the saddle seems a positive, given his excellent record when riding for Andre Balding.

Selection:
10pts win – Kabrit @ 9/1 PP

Wednesday Selections: November, 14th 2018

8.00 Kempton: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 4f

Is today the day to let Iley Boy loose?

Well, we’ll find out in the few hours. If today is the day to take the handbreak off then Iley Boy must have a cracking chance to win. That is, if he can overcome the slight disadvantage of a wider than ideal draw.

On the positive side, over 12f at Kempton, if you have a bit of early speed, you can easily overcome this to settle in a good position. Let’s hope Joey Haynes, who comes here for this ride only, will move forward quickly. 

Iley Boy looks seriously well handicapped for this type of race, on this level. He’s been a two times course and distance winner earlier this year, including of a 2lb higher mark than the current 51 handicap mark.

Those forms aren’t anything to scream about, but they are solid enough and backed up by the clock. Iley Boy ran to TS ratings of 51 and 54  and RPR’s of 60 and 61 respectively. 

So, if he is back to this sort of form he’ll be a massive player tonight. Ever since those wins he hasn’t shown too much, however he was probably too high in the mark – after a summer holiday, he returned last month, was disappointing in two starts, but I give him that he needed them. 

Now fitter, with near perfect conditions, off an excellent handicap mark, Iley Boy looks seriously overpriced.

Selection:
10pts win – Iley Boy @ 16/1 PP