Tag Archives: Polytrack

Tuesday Selections: 6th December 2022

4.50 Southwell: Class 3 Handicap, 1m

A class 3 Handicap in the name only – without the fresh French recruit of Rae Guest, this would be a borderline 0-75 contest.

Ranes is an unknown quantity but could be potentially well handicapped, especially in this field against her own sex. Her French handicap mark has been translated 1:1 to a BHA mark, and this one could underestimate her, given her most recent success on the Deauville polytrack looks strong where she beat higher rated rivals.

However, she has to carry a lot more weight in real terms here: from 8-0st to 9-12. People have their different views on weight, but in my view this is a significant increase and a major question mark.

In any case there is a filly in this race I am fairly sure is a better than her current mark, if she finally gets her act together. That is Wadacre Grace, who significantly caught the eye the last two times.

The 3-year-old filly showed a strong level of form in four of her five runs since successfully returning from a 5 months long break in September.

She kicked it all off with victory on handicap debut at Newcastle over 7 furlongs, despite showing some inexperience, she finished incredibly strongly to get up on the line. It’s been her trademark ever since to find plenty under pressure in the closing stages (with the exception of a subsequent poor run, which she has left behind the next three runs, though).

I love that attitude, less so the way she can start her races. She can be sluggish out of the gate, and quite keen in the early stages of the race. I reckon that cost her victory at Chelmsford, when less pronounced but clearly played a part why she ‘only managed’ third place.

She completely missed the break the next time at Kempton. She benefited from a slow early pace to quickly get back to the field but nonetheless had to spend significantly more energy than everyone else and found herself in the worst position possible, too. She finished like a train, eventually.

She had a better – if not ideal – start last time out. She went forward to join the leader pushing a good pace, before dropping into second. Once again, when headed, she found plenty under pressure, especially staying on strongly in the final furlong for 2nd place. That was especially impressive after pushing the pace to finish so well. 

She has only ran to a 64 speed rating to date, although that came in her Newcastle victory in September. I’ve got no doubts that she has more to offer. Clearly there is more talent under the hood than a lowly 69 rating would suggest. Not to forget this is only her sixth career handicap start as well. There’s more to come.

I don’t mind the wide draw tomorrow. It’s not a big deal over a mile at Southwell. If she starts slowly then it doesn’t matter from where, anyway. It doesn’t look like there is going to be mad competition for the lead. I hope that helps her to get to a prominent position without too much fuss, and provides Franny Norton with the options to stride forward, if needed.

This filly wants to gallop. So let her get on with things. She stays every inch of the trip (no surprise, the dam was a 12 furlong winner at Southwell), so let her do her thing and she will run away with it.

10pts win – Wadacre Grace @ 9/2

Wednesday Selections: 26th October 2022

6.30 Kempton: Class 5 Handicap, 1m

The pace in this race shapes as nothing more than modest and this will greatly play into the hands of those racing in a prominent position.

From the #1 draw, one who likes to be tracking the pace, who can sit behind the leader or make it all, if needed, is Asdaa. He got too far behind the last time at Wolverhampton as he tends to be not an overly sharp starter, but I would hope for things to play out differently today.

There isn’t as much competition for a prominent position this time and from his low draw he should get to a good early position without much hassle.

This is a seriously weak race, too. Asdaa, while far from a consistent horse, and neither in flying form, won at Pontefract in the summer over a mile three starts back and ran to a 70 speed rating that day – that’s rock solid form in my book, and the best on offer, only matched by Bin Hayyan in this field, who is an intriguing runner after gelding operation, if he can stretch out over the mile, but is drifting in the market, suggesting he’s not really expected today.

He wasn’t in the same form since, but a return to the All-Weather will surely suit over the mile trip. He’s only a pound higher than at Pontefract, but is arguably a better horse on the sand.

He ran 8 times to speed ratings 69+ (i.e. matching or higher than current OR), six of those on the All-Weather., including three times at Kempton, and the top three efforts over a mile as well.

Not many hoses in this field can offer the same level of consistent speed ratings on this level, and as a consequence few, if any, appear well-handicapped.

Asdaa, though, off a 69 mark is handicapped one win off a correct Official Rating (in my assessment), hence he should have an excellent chance to score with circumstances firmly in his favour.

Kingscote/Johnston enjoy a fruitful partnership on the All-Weather: 6/20 this season, with more than half of the runners placed.

Taking everything into consideration you’d really hope for a big run tonight. Of course, you can’t put too much trust into an inconsistent class 5 handicapper. Yet, Asdaa appears quite a bit overpriced in this field.

10pts win – Asdaa @ 5/1

Wednesday Selections: 19th October 2022

8.00 Kempton: Class 4 Handicap, 6f

I feel this is a pretty uncompetitive race for its class and field size. The one that stands out as certainly overpriced in my book is the 3-year-old Michael Bell trained gelding Spring Is Sprung.

He is one who usually goes forward to track the pace and will sit handy, or even can lead, as seen at Royal Ascot. The #1 draw won’t pose an issue for him, given his gate speed, to get that early advantageous prominent position. As we know, Kempton, over this trip, clearly favours those up with the pace.

Spring Is Sprung drops back to 6 furlongs, after an unsuccessful attempt over 7 furlongs at Lingfield when last seen in August. It was s still a credible performance, as he received an early bump out of the gates, and was keen early on, denying himself of the best opportunity to stay the trip. He still ran to topspeed 78 which gives this performance solid merit.

He’s also down to a good mark again, down from a seasonal high of 87, that saw him finish 3rd at Southwell over 6 furlongs in a Class 3 Handicap.

Weeks earlier he won on his seasonal reappearance over the same CD in taking style, off a mark of 81, beating subsequent Listed place Fearless Angel. He looked poised for better that day, but was possibly found out for class against better opposition the next few runs, in truth.

He attempted to make all at Royal Ascot when dropped to the minimum trip. He ran well enough finishing 13th of 27 starters; a subsequent 3rd place finish of three, only a lengths beaten, though, at Newmarket, and then his first really disappointing effort this year, when the application of a visor backfired.

A return to the All-Weather, 6 furlongs and down to 82 OR after a small break looks a perfect scenario. He’s still unexposed on the sand, only 1lb higher than his impressive Southwell win, achieved solid speed ratings before, and could be hard to beat if he can run to that sort of level this evening.

10pts win – Spring Is Sprung @ 7/1

All-Weather Eye-Catchers #1

A list of horses that caught my eye during the recent days and weeks of racing.

Brazen Akoya
07/10/22 – 8.15 Newcastle:

Squeezed at the start, never travelled too well throughout the race. Outpaced from 3f out, kept on solid enough right to the line, not given too hard a ride.

Off a 94 day break, this was a step in the right direction after two poor showings. Ran well on the All-Weather last winter/spring, a bit unlucky at Wolverhampton in May racing off 62 when runner-up.

Ran to topspeed 59, 57, 54 and 52, all on AW over 5 furlongs. Possibly would enjoy step up to 6 furlongs. Down to OR 55, becomes intriguing and can race in a prominent position.

Race Replay

Rose Bandit
07/10/22 – 8.15 Newcastle:

Travelled okay tracking the pace, came off the bridle over 2 furlongs from home, didn’t find enough to challenge and appeared to lack the pace over the minimum trip.

Still pretty unexposed on the All-Weather, but strong performance in May over 6 furlongs at Newcastle. Was badly hampered and unlucky lto at Hamilton. Can race off 56, 7lb lower than last (turf) winning mark.

Ran 4x to higher topspeeds in his career – career-bests back in 2021, over 6 furlongs. I want to see him back over that trip.

Race Replay

Iva Feeling
07/10/22 – 6.00 Dundalk:

Missed the break from the widest draw, right away at massive disadvantage. Travelled in rear widest, but made excellent progress gradually entering home straight to finish best from those off the pace.

Lightly raced mare, gradually comes down in her ratings. Looked solid at the Curragh; caught the eye at Dundalk and Leopardstown in spring.

Better draw and back over a mile interesting. Risks attached as can miss the break, but usually settles no worse than midfield if she breaks well.

Race Replay

Navagio
07/10/22 – 6.30 Dundalk:

Grabbed the lead and led the field into the home straight. Looked a bit too enthusiastic early on though, and did too much. Faded.

Better than this. Money came in the morning. Still lightly raced enough. Should stay a mile but can be a tricky customer. Any reduction in his mark will see him potentially well handicapped. Trainer was quite bullish earlier this year after a maiden win.

Ideally want him over a mile but not ruling out 7 furlongs either. Depends on the race and draw.

Race Replay

Sicilian Vito
08/10/22 – 6:30 Chelmsford:

Moved forward from a wide draw to make the pace as part of a duo. Still led approaching the final furlong, then tired rapidly, although less so than his pace setting partner.

Caught the eye one week later at Wolverhampton too (seriously well backed), when again having to overcome a wide draw, was aggressively pushed forward to make all and paid for it.

Still a maiden, but showed some ability earlier this year on the All-Weather. He’s dropping in the ratings and will be interesting with any further reduction, especially with a good draw over a mile, perhaps a drop to 7 furlongs is also worth a try.

Race Replay

Phoenix Beach
09/10/22 – 2.50 Southwell:

Made most of a low draw and grabbed the lead. Travelled extremely well into home straight, still on the bridle approaching 2 furlong marker. Dropped out quickly.

Was found to have lost a shoe. How much that made a difference is hard to know. First handicap start after winning comfortably over this CD. Opening mark wasn’t a giveaway. Deserves another chance, given how well he travelled, and remains unexposed in handicaps.

Race Replay

Adatorio
10/10/22 – 7.00 Wolverhampton:

Settled in rear, travelling strongly. Hard on the bridle approaching home straight, made progress on inside but had to delay full effort until the final furlong marker. Finished fastest.

Still a maiden, but ran a number of times quite well, catching the eye when things not going his way over 7 furlongs up to a mile races, especially on the All-Weather. Can be ridden closer to the pace, too.

Ran to 57 topspeed already, down to a rating of 56 now. Was ridden with confidence here and should be really competitive wherever he goes next.

Race Replay

Twistaline
10/10/22 – 7.30 Wolverhampton:

Settled in rear, had a lot to do when turning for home in last position. Finished very much the fastest over the last three furlongs and slowed the least in final furlong.

Has issues at gate. Will need a bit of luck. But will be seriously of interest once mark drops below 54 and she can race against 0-55 opposition again. Proved to be capable of strong performances on that level off those sort of ratings.

Race Replay

Silver Kitten
10/10/22 – 7.30 Wolverhampton:

Rushed forward from widest draw to grab the lead. Did way too much in the first half of the race, setting good pace. Kicked on from 4f out, had field on the stretch but emptied quickly.

Too high in the ratings and always struggles under big weights. Once below a mark of 62, ideally not carrying more than 9-3, she can be a strong front-runner.

Race Replay

Rocket Rod
11/10/22 – 6.35 Newcastle:

Slowly away, travelled really well in rear, jockey appeared overly patient, avoided getting a clear run on the outside, instead stuck behind horses. Rocket Rod still hard on the bridle approaching final furlong until finally let go and finished in serious fashion.

Somewhat similar story last time out over same CD. Clearly still very well in form after reaching new heights on the All-Weather this season.

Might be really popular in the betting next time. Has an entry this upcoming Friday, albeit over 7 furlongs. I’d be happy to sit that out and wait for a reappearance over a mile.

Race Replay

Pockley
11/10/22 – 8.05 Newcastle:

Way too keen in first half of the race as pace wasn’t quick. Travelled in midfield but ultimately too far off pace as eventual winner was always tracking it and got first run eventually. Finished fast and could have won in different circumstances.

Serious performance that confirmed he’s back in form. Especially the strong finish was encouraging. Was eye-catcher earlier the year on turf. Dangerous off same mark next time again.

Race Replay

Yazaman
11/10/22 – 8.05 Newcastle:

Travelled off pace, which wasn’t ideal due to the slow early fractions. Plenty to do over 2 furlongs out. Made huge impression once pulled out to the outside to finish much the strongest over the last three furlongs.

Has his issues, will need some luck as comes from off the pace due to often slow starts. Clearly has talent and seems to has retained some of it. A repeat of this run should see him go close wherever he goes next if the pace is better.

Race Replay

Araifjan
12/10/22 – 3.50 Wolverhampton:

Tracked the pace but under pressure from three furlongs out, seemingly going backwards but kept finding under pressure and ran well to the line. Similar performance to solid lto run.

Clearly tries and is possibly running to his current level, but clearly not as good as in the past and struggles in this grade on 0-70 level.

He’s genuine and usually up with the pace. Will become really interesting once he drops to OR <60 and into 0-60 company.

Race Replay

Havana Goldrush
12/10/22 – 4.57 Kempton:

Widest draw, bumped by rival as gates opened, pushed to the outside but found quickly his stride and cut to the inside travelling strongly in the middle of the field. Seemingly going best in the home straight, he failed to put the race to bed, apparently hanging in the closing stages.

His two runs prior to this race were noteworthy too. A fine 3rd when attempting to make all lto and unlucky when hampered at a crucial time at Chelmsford.

Tends to hang in finishes. Tricky sort. But clearly in excellent form and ready to strike.

Race Replay

Sense Of Security
12/10/22 – 7.30 Kempton:

Badly bumped and squeezed right after the start, keen in the early parts of the race, possibly as a consequence. Good progress from 3 furlongs out, kicks well in the home straight and finds plenty. But winner from the front not for catching, and well on top.

Excellent comeback run after a wind operation. Topspeed awarded matches current mark (pending handicapper review). Caught the eye a number of times in the summer on turf.

Should be handicapped to win. Probably more so over 7 furlongs. 6 furlongs isn’t impossible, because she really kicked hard here – I really rate this performance. Class could see her through an easier race over the shorter trip.

Race Replay

Roman Dynasty
13/10/22 – 8.00 Chelmsford:

This was an odd ride, to say it diplomatically. From a good draw, restrained early and then always travelling in rear, made solid progress from 3f out. Stuck in traffic but also not helped by some of the jockeys decisions. Some late headway.

Better than this, no doubt. Ran well earlier this year a number of times. Especially his Brighton 3rd place; ran to topspeed 72 then. If using this as guide in combination with his best AW efforts, he will be become intriguing to watch out for, once he drops below a mark of 72.

Race Replay

Mythical
14/10/22 – 4.45 Newcastle:

Moved forward from the widest draw to dispute the lead until entering the home straight when opinions diverged and he went to the stand’s side. Quickly faded.

Fell over 20lb since start of the year that coincided with move to a new yard. Never fancied since, though not too bad at Ripon two runs back; lto Chester run can be upgraded. Had wide draws to overcome in his recent starts as well.

It’s one to wait for, once the money is down. Clearly has more to offer on the right day. Can move forward, has no starting issues.

Race Replay

Hathlool
14/10/22 – 4.45 Newcastle:

Back over 10 furlongs, settled off pace from wide draw, travelled strongly, but short of room in home straight. Bird was flown when he really got going, but ran on well.

Have been tracking the horse all year, missed when he won; too high in the mark now. Ideally want him about 5lb lower and over 10 furlongs. It might take a few more runs for that to materialize.

Race Replay

Saisons D’Or
14/10/22 – 5.45 Newcastle:

Led the field, made a good move from 4 furlongs out, was cooked by 2 furlongs from home. Faded.

Big price, too high in the mark right now. Won twice this year on All-Weather and turf. Ran to good speed ratings. Will become of interest down to a mark around 66 over 7 furlongs on AW.

Race Replay

Kraken Power
14/10/22 – 8.15 Newcastle:

Travelled in rear of field strongly, had to delay run as not clear run. Smooth progress but never got the chance to be fully unleashed.

Looks ahead of mark. Was of interest earlier this season during the summer off much higher marks. Needs to be ridden in a specific way, though.

May be too short to back next time. But clearly of interest when he reappears.

Race Replay

Leabaland
14/10/22 – 7.00 Dundalk:

Broke well from double-figure draw and travelled well in midfield. In touch with lead entering home straight. Looked awkward in closing stages, carried over by rival and short of room. Seemed to have more left in the tank. Jockey said his whip became caught in his reins, too.

Really interesting back over a mile and with a good draw ideally. Likes to go forward too. If handicapper isn’t too harsh in his assessment, he could be well handicapped in those circumstances.

Race Replay

Amber Dew
15/10/22 – 6.00 Wolverhampton:

Grabbed the early lead and tried to go wire to wire. Gradually kicked on from 4f out and got a bit of a break approaching the home straight. Just tired in the final furlong, but not far beaten.

Caught the eye last time out as well, when slowing the least in the closing stages, despite overcoming a slow start. Can miss the break but if not then usually up with the pace. Ran well a number of times this season.

Will be interesting in easier race and down to a 70 mark; ran to topspeed 71 over 6f in February. This was an 0-85 and she was found out in the closing stages by classier individuals.

Race Replay

Privilige
15/10/22 – 7.00 Wolverhampton:

Awkwardly away from the gates, not ideal having to content with a wide draw. Moved quickly forward, though. Disputed lead and did well to hold on for third.

Backed up strong and somewhat similar lto effort when led from wide draw and just beaten late. Two strong efforts at big prices now. Could be big chance over 6 furlongs.

Race Replay

Wednesday Selections: 1st June 2022

80 points profit in May, 4 winners and about 16% ROI – the first two months of the flat season have been green. The real ‘war’ starts now in June. Here’s hoping to kick it off with a bang…. on the Kempton polytrack.

7.30 Kempton: Class 4 Handicap, 7f

Zameka is really interesting today returning to 7 furlongs. The shorter sprint distances are too sharp while he’s already a winner over this trip.

I am not judging him harshly on his last run on turf at Ascot in a seriously hot Handicap over 6 furlongs. The overall form looks strong, but he was disadvantaged right away from the widest outside draw. He travelled okay to the two furlong marker then dropped away quickly. First time blinkers didn’t help much in terms of performance, although he looked a lot more settled and less awkward than in the past in general.

He is clearly a quirky sort as on show in the past. He ran really well at Lingfield on his seasonal debut in a good handicap when he hang his chances away in the closing stage but finished well given the circumstances. Visually I got the impression with a straight run he’d have won that day.

As a juvenile Zameka was two times placed – including when a close second to Tiber Flow – and won well on his final start in 2021. Those performances came on the All-Weather over 7 furlongs. Therefore he’s certainly better than this most recent poor showing, I feel.

He was a $170k yearling, a full-brother to 95 rated Eagle Song, who won twice over 7 furlongs on the All-Weather, so his current rating offers hope that there is still more to come.

As for this race I don’t worry too much over the draw. He has shown early speed before, from what is effectively the #8 draw he should be able to move forward to pick up a position just behind the pace.

This is a competitive race, though. Botanist looks the obvious danger if he stays 7 furlongs, which is more likely than not, and especially if he shows better temperament today. Morning favourite Skittlebombz was unlucky last time out and has more to offer, although the trip is a question mark and he may be close to his ceiling from a handicapping point of view.

10pts win – Zameka @ 11/2

………….

May 2022 Statistics:

Saturday Selection: February, 1st 2020

DSC_1062

4.45 Kempton: Class 7 Handicap, 1 mile

Mrs Benson caught the eye on her return a eight days ago at Lingfield. Off for 141 days she had to overcome the widest draw and as a consequence travelled widest for most of the race and had to do more than most to be in a decent position turning for home, as sectionals clearly show.

Sectionals clearly show also that this was quite a good performance taking everything into account and she was for that plus the fact that this was her first run in half a year entitled to tire in the final furlong.

Dropping another pound as well as in class, with a much better draw today, she must have a massive chance if she can follow-up. That isn’t a given, as Mrs Benson is inconsistent and remains a maiden after 18 starts.

On the other hand she ran four times to 55+ tospeed ratings, including Kempton as well as twelve month ago over a mile at Lingfield, achieving a 61 TS.

Only three starts back, in summer on the flat, she was a fair third in a Salisbury handicap – the form looks rock solid – she did it of OR 53 that day and there isn’t an indication she isn’t as effective on the All-Weather as on turf. With that in mind, she could be well handicapped today.

Selection:
10pts win – Mrs Benson @ 12/1 MB