Tag Archives: Pontefract

Wednesday Selections: 3rd August 2022

3.50 Pontefract: Class 4 Handicap, 1m

Twice now in his last three runs Tangled has seriously caught the eye as an unlucky loser. In truth, he doesn’t make life easy for himself when starting slowly, though.

Nonetheless, last time out at Ripon when he was at a disadvantage from his position travelling off the pace, he also didn’t get a clear run at a crucial stage and had to delay his challenge. He didn’t get the clearest of runs at Beverley back in June, either. He finished strongly in the manner of a horse ripe for victory on both occasions.

In between Tangled produced a disappointing performance at Carlisle when well fancied. A run too bad to be true, and I take confidence from his return to form a fortnight ago.

A mile on decent to fast ground looks perfect conditions. I have slight reservation about Pontefract as a suitable venue simple because coming from off the pace isn’t the easiest task here. However, he appears to be so well handicapped in a pretty uncompetitive race, with only one real danger to beat, that at the price I have to side with him here.

10pts win – Tangled @ 7/2

……..

5.20 Pontefract: Class 4 Handicap, 6f

Mobarhin should have a nice chance to get a handy position thanks to the #2 draw. He drops to 6 furlongs on turf for the first time after being gelded since last place finish at Linfield’s polytrack in June.

He seriously caught my eye two back at Newmarket, though. Then over 7 furlongs, he set suicidal fractions from the front and had the field off the bridle from three furlongs out. He tired and was headed 2 furlongs from home but it was noteworthy how well he continued to run to the line even then.

He showed promise earlier the year on the All-Weather, too: a 6f Handicap win over 6f off a 70 mark, he ran to topspeed 74 that day. He followed up with a nose beaten second over the same course and distance the next time.

Off a 73 mark over 6 furlongs on decent ground I feel he offers a bit of upside, especially at a track and a draw to suit.

10pts win – Mobarhin @ 17/2

Monday Selections: 27th June 2022

2.15 Pontefract: Class 4 Handicap, 5f

Lady Celia looks ready to roll. She ran a lot better the last two times than the bare form suggests. Two back at Ayr she finished the last three furlongs the fastest. That piece of form looks strong thanks to the winner having franked the form in no uncertain terms in the meantime.

She backed up over 6 furlongs at Hamilton eleven days ago when prominent, up with a strong pace and she just went down fighting in the closing stages in what was a hot contest.

The minimum trip is her preferred distance, though. Off bottom-weight with the added bonus of 5lb claimer Oisin McSweeney in the saddle she is a major chance given that all her wins came from the lower end of the weight scale.

I have some reservations about the fastish ground and hope the showers this morning can take a bit of sting out of it. In any case Ponti’s stiff finish should suit this mare and she looks overpriced given the favourite takes up a lot of space in the market.

Possibly rightly so, but another 6lb hike and a 10-3 weight is no easy task for Elegant Erin.

10pts win – Lady Celia @ 8.5

……..

8.00 Musselburgh: Class 6 Handicap, 5f

Chant For More ran really well over this course and distance in April, finishing much the strongest and was probably a bit unlucky not to get his head in front.

He’s got starting issues as on show the last two times. Although Catterick can be ignored given he also stumbled badly when it looked he may come with a run. He ran an interesting race at Redcar last time, doing a lot in the middle part, proving speed isn’t an issue, more the need for a solid start.

There is a clear danger he messes up at the break today. However, he will come from off the pace in any case. He’s on the same mark as in April, but meets Waverley Star who was 2nd that day , and won in the meantime, at 5lb better handicap terms.

In addition 5lb claimer Ryan Saxton takes the ride for a yard in form and will give Chant For Me every chance to win.

Some unexposed sorts are in the field. Most notably the O’Meara runner. While Hugh Taylor tipped Sheikh Maz Mahood here. There are dangers, ther are risks to Chant For More’s chances.

At the same time two competitive horses are already out. So all in all Chant For More is clearly well handicapped today I feel, and all it needs is first a half decent break and then a clear run.

10pts win – Chant For More @ 4/1

Monday Selections – 6th June 2022

6.15 Windsor: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

With the rain arriving at Windsor turning the going soft Firenze Rosa encounters ideal conditions over the minimum trip today. The handicapper has been kind enough to drop her mark to 53 since her latest – I felt – eye catching run over the same CD.

There she travelled pretty well until about the halfway stage. Was then stuck behind horses. Briefly tracking the initial winner but not getting through on the inside. The inexperienced jockey perhaps wasn’t quite brave enough to take a gap on the stands’ side until very late too.

She was 1lb out of the weights, too. Today is an easier race. She won of a mark of 56 in soft here at Windsor about a year ago and she finished the turf season in October with a really strong runner-up effort of a 57 mark running to a 57 TS rating that day.

The #10 draw will give her every chance to get a clear run on the outside I hope, Mollie Phillips claims valuable 5lb and knows the mare from previous rides.

10pts win – Firenze Rosa @ 14.5

…………

7.30 Pontefract: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

The top three in the market are all vulnerable from their current handicap mark, hence this looks a good opportunity for Van Gerwen to get his head in front as a value alternative.

He was far from disgraced ten days ago over course and distance in a stronger race where he didn’t get an ideal run, only two days after encountering trouble in the closing stages at Ripon that prevented him from potentially winning.

That day he seemed poised for a major move but was repeatedly short of room until nearly the very final moment of the race.

The gives him a real chance having dropped him to a mark of 66. He’s a pound below his latest winning mark with that. He also ran to topspeed 62, 65 and 67 last season. A highly consistent sort, wellbeing confirmed down to a good mark and down to a realistic class.

10pts win – Van Gerwen @ 8.6

Eyecatchers #10 2022

A list of horses that caught my eye during the last seven days of racing. These individuals look ready to win a race sooner rather than later given the right conditions.

Wooders Dream
27/05/22 – 1.35 Brighton:

Tracked the pace in a good position, started to move at the cutaway on the inside rail but was kept in by the front-running and eventual winning horse right to the end. Possibly would have won with a clear run.

Only the second handicap start. One can ignore the 7f performance earlier this month. 6 furlongs, ideally on fast ground, will see the best of her.

She ran to topspeed 59 here. Closely matched with her 61 official rating. Given she could have won with a clear run and additional improvement far from impossible she could possibly have a few pounds in hand. Nonetheless I wait until she drops below a 60 rating when she meets optimum conditions.

Race Replay

Igotatext
27/05/22 – 3.05 Chepstow:

Traveled at the back of the field, outpaced from three furlongs out, looked bit awkward in the final two furlongs, most likely didn’t enjoy this track but ran on quite well.

Trip too sharp. Needs 6 furlongs. Wouldn’t rule out that he gets 7 furlongs if they ever tried. Was an expensive £165,000 purchase in summer 2020 after an exciting debut win but has never fulfilled the promise. Changed hands for merely £11k earlier this year. This was the debut for the Adrian Wintle yard.

He won twice up until now, on the All-Weather and turf, running to topspeeds of 65, 68 and 69. I’d be interested when he goes back up in trip and ideally see a reduction of the mark below 68 plus a drop in grade. A return to All-Weather would be also interesting.

Race Replay

Sharrabang
27/05/22 – 2.20 Carlisle:

Was up with the pace early on, disputed lead as part of a trio. Started to lose position from 2 furlongs out as race heated up, but also got pushed inside by rival horse and squeezed. Bit short of room over 1f from home again, lost momentum and couldn’t find it again. This should be strong form for this grade.

The minimum trip on fast ground was never to suit entirely. He needs 6 furlongs, despite a win over 5f last year – but that came on soft ground – and stays up to 7f on fast ground too and acts well on the All-Weather.

Has fallen significantly in his mark but may recapture some form now. Ran well a number of times last season. Ran top topspeed 50 and 52, was competitive of marks in the low 50’s and could take advantage of a 46 rating with the right conditions now.

Race Replay

End Zone
27/05/22 – 6.30 Pontefract:

Prominent from good draw, chased the pace. In a good position turning for home but looked bit flat footed 1.5 furlongs from home. Short of room at the final furlong marker. Lost momentum. Impressive how he regained it to finish strongly in third.

Seemingly finding back some solid form. This was a strong performance I believe. He comes down again to a mark he can win from. Has ran to topspeed 71 on turf but best form comes on the All-Weather.

Would like to see him back on the sand, especially if his mark slips to 70 or lower. He ran topspeed 74 and 77 back in November and this most recent run suggests he is not far off that level right now. Ran at Thirsk in the meantime this week – 11/12 finish.

Race Replay

Tar Heel
27/05/22 – 9.00 Pontefract:

Never looked comfortable here at Ponti. Hang to the left badly on multiple occasions throughout the race, including in the home straight which meant he couldn’t land a blow.

Obviously had issues as his significant fall in the ratings demonstrate. However, he looked to be better than the bare form here.

Clearly needs a straight track and cut in the ground. Won in Ireland and produced solid runs over minimum trip and 6 furlongs in those conditions.

Massive performance last time out at Ayr off big weight in class 6 over 6 furlongs in soft conditions, getting a bump right after the start and racing inefficiently without cover on the outside away from the rail for the most part, finishing 2nd miles clear of the rest.

Will need monitoring for his mark and conditions. Worth to wait for the right day.

Race Replay

Music Society
28/05/22 – 4.05 Haydock:

Tracked the fast pace, started move from 2.5 furlongs out, took lead and kicked on over 1.5 furlongs from home. Got a gap on the field but tired inside the final 100 yards and was caught by two runners finishing strongly from off the pace.

This was huge performance given the solid pace he tracked and the big move from about halfway onwards. proper sign of life after three poor showings this season.

Down to excellent mark again. Won off 79 last June, running to topspeed 83. Clearly close to that form. A slightly less aggressive ride will see him more than capable of winning. Has form on soft but ideally I like to see decent ground, 6 furlongs and a track where his usual more prominent racing style holds up well. Perhaps a drop in class can be beneficial too.

Race Replay

Key Look
28/05/22 – 3.39 Catterick:

One of the slower starters, settled in rear, travelling okay, but still only one rival behind turning for home. Made excellent progress on the inside in the home straight until short of room 15 furlongs from home: lost momentum, had to regain full effort. Finished nicely under hands and heels giving impression there was more left in the tank.

Ran well a number of times in defeat in recent weeks. Down to her last winning mark off 60 which came in her final start in 2021 after a season of fine progress.

Ran to topspeed 62 on the All-Weather and 59 on turf last year. Looks in fine form, but ideally will get some additional assistance from the handicapper before getting involved. 58 or lower and certainly a good draw if racing around a turn.

Race Replay

Libertus + Lord Gorgeous
30/05/22 – 4.30 Lingfield:

Libertus saw his path forward blocked early on, as a consequence boxed in on the inside. Travelled much the best but had to delay his move. Sharply switched to the middle of the track for a clear run, giving ground away to the eventual winner who had first run.

Handicap debut – probably wins another day. A mark off 67 looks potentially underestimating him; granted the handicapper doesn’t react harshly after this fine effort.

Full-brother to solid Lajatico. Probably best suited to decent or fast ground. A drop to the minimum trip wouldn’t be an issue I reckon.

Lord Gorgeous was awkwardly away as so often. He was caught wide without a lot of cover and away from the rail where the eventual winner who always travelled prominently came from. he travelled very strongly to 1.5 furlongs from home until fading in the closing stages.

The way he travelled here you’d have never guessed he was 80/1. He’s got obvious temperamental issues. However he has talent as he showed as a juvenile. Clearly lost his way and the switch of yards and to the UK hasn’t really helped yet.

However, there was a glimmer of hope form wise when 3rd at Wolverhampton in February. He’s one to monitor for market and jockey booking any time he races over the minimum trip. He’s capable of winning over 5 furlongs, on the All-Weather or on turf, possibly with a bit of ease in the ground.

Race Replay

Pure Dreamer
30/05/22 – 6.10 Windsor:

Quite badly hampered early on, nonetheless travelled smoothly. Had to wait for racing room, moved into the open approaching the final furlong and got upside the long-term leader. Eventually won it a shade cozily in my view.

This was his third win on the bounce. Still ran to topspeed 83 off a 80 mark here, despite not having a perfect race and despite the trip potentially on the sharp side. Has more to offer if moving up in trip. Would love to see him over a mile.

Looks a galloping type with a significant stride lengths. Would imagine he doesn’t want it any faster than good. Need to see what a the handicapper does after this but could be a mid-90 horse over a mile.

Race Replay

Raydoun
01/06/22 – 6.05 Ripon:

Slowly away, as a consequence trailed the field. Tried to make progress from over two furlongs out, having to pass the entire field. Didn’t find a clear run through, short of room on multiple occasions. Finished nicely under hands and heels.

Unlucky last time out too when bumped at the start and hampered in the middle of the race. Can find trouble due to his racing style. Tends to be slowly away from the gate.

Looks exposed on the surface of his form but clearly in form to win. Won off 66, excellent runner-up off 69 running to topspeed 67. Any assistance from the handicapper will be very welcome, though. Probably doesn’t want it fast. I’d be really intrigued on good to soft.

Race Replay

Nibras Again
01/06/22 – 8.10 Ripon:

Travelled strongly throughout, still on the bridle approaching the final furlong marker. Badly squeezed at that moment, continued to be short of room with little room to maneuver right to the end, and just as he tries to go through the tiniest of gaps in the last 100 yards the door shuts again.

Seasonal reappearance after a break since October. Ran well of marks in the 70s last season, was beaten a neck and shoulder off 73 and 75. Down to a mark of 69 now, he looks weighted to win.

His very best comes on proper fast ground over the minimum trip. Even though e’s an eight-year old now, he clearly retains an appetite for sprinting.

Race Replay

Stone Circle
31/05/22 – 5.29 Yarmouth:

Travelled very strongly approaching the two furlong marker. Lacked an instant kick and tired gradually, finishing 3rd. Possibly disappointing after it looked he’d come with a winning move.

Seven furlongs with ease in the ground perhaps stretches his stamina. Plus he possibly did too much in the early sections of the race. This was nonetheless a clear return to form after he fell a long way in the mark over the last year, having ran to topspeed 57 here.

He’s rated 60 now, a long way below his best and certainly better than that if on song. Showed glimpses last season still; should be highly competitive if dropping down to 6 furlongs again with a bit of cut in the ground. I definitely want to see the word “soft” in the going description.

Race Replay

Special Times
02/06/22 – 2.45 Leicester:

Chased the pace for most of the race. Outpaced from three furlongs out but stuck to the task. Was one paced when a bit tight around half a furlong out, finished solid enough where those from back of the field dominated the placings.

Showed a bit of ability in maiden races and caught the eye the way she travelled lto, but clearly trips were too short and was saved for Handicaps. Should improve for a step up in trip to 10 furlongs. The Dam won over 11.5 furlongs in Germany.

Race Replay

Eyecatchers #5 2022

A list of horses that caught my eye during the last seven days of racing. These individuals look ready to win a race sooner rather than later.

Kimngrace
22/04/22: 1.20 Sandown:

After a steadied start she settled in rear of the field. She made some smooth progress from over three furlongs out but was stuck behind a bunch of horses and a clear passage denied until very late. She finished well when a bit of racing room opened up in the closing stages.

The winner made all from the front, the runner-up and third raced close to the pace too. Given these circumstances this was a big run on what was Kimngrace’s seasonal reappearance.

She looks a filly open to improvement, possibly more so if stepping up to 6 furlongs again, or perhaps a really stiff five. When last seen in 2021 she won a Maiden race at Haydock over 6f and looked at home over the trip. That particular form worked out well with the runner-up having ran a huge race in the Fred Darling Stakes recently.

It will be interesting to see what the handicapper does. I feel he can’t raise her mark too much . Of her current 78 rating she looks potentially really well handicapped, though.

Race Replay

Devilwala
23/04/22 – 1.20 Ripon:

I admit this requires a bit of imagination and context. Devilwala travelled okayish, always close to the pace, and attempted to make a move from 3 furlongs out as the pace increased. He looked one of the more dangerous horses at this moment in time, was still there for a good finish with a furlong to go, but ran out of gas eventually.

Not unexpectedly. Devilwala doesn’t stay the mile trip. He was 4th in a 2000 Guineas, and overall highly tried in his first two seasons, but his best came over 6f and 7f, like a strong 4th, less than three lengths beaten in the Dewhurst behind St. Mark’s Basilica.

Those days are long gone. He changed yards twice and has been gelded. He’s fallen from a career highest 114 OR to a modest 84 right now. I suspect he’ll be dropped another couple of pounds soon.

That’s the context to this 4th place finish at Ripon. A solid run over a distance that stretched his stamina. It should bring him on for the moment he drops in trip.

I want to see a few more pounds off the mark plus a drop in class to be seriously interested. This day will come in the not too distinct future.

Race Replay

Buckshaw Village
23/04/22 – 5.10 Ripon:

Travelled in midfield initially, then relegated to the rear and switched to the inside, possibly for more cover. Was behind a wall of horses and stuck to the task to stay in touch and looked poised for a challenge. Didn’t get a run through, slightly impeded 1 furlong out. Finished really well under hands and heels.

This was only the second handicap start for the colt and second run after a lackluster but excusable comeback run at Pontefract. He showed promise last season as a juvenile with three placed efforts in maiden & novice company.

This was a great run though, given circumstances, also over the minimum trip. I feel, given the pedigree, and the way he finished here, he’ll absolutely enjoy going back up to 6 furlongs again, or perhaps even attempting 7 furlongs.

He comes down to a workable mark, particularly if he can improve for experience and trip. Buckshaw Village is ready to win. He certainly wants decent ground, though, and wouldn’t be of interest to me if he stays over the minimum trip.

Race Replay

Billian
23/04/22 – 1.30 Haydock:

Breaking slowly put him at a disadvantage right away. He trailed the field but travelled well enough with good progress. Dramatic move to be switched to the wide outside in order to get a clear run. He looked dangerous there but had too much too do and tired in the closing stages.

Still managed to finish the 2nd fastest combined splits for the final three furlongs, just behind the well handicapped After John (3rd place). This form looks really strong and his performance a definite return to form.

He has fallen 17lb in the mark in the last year, and clearly lost his enthusiasm for racing. Breaking poorly has become a habit and he was never once fancied in 2021.

Nonetheless, he’s coming down to a sexy handicap mark now, possibly with even further assistance from the handicapper after this run. Billian has ran six times to topspeed ratings of 60 and higher throughout his career which gives plenty of hope that he can win soon.

One caveat: I have to account for the slow starts and think they are easier to make up in smaller fields. Plus while he appears ground independent I believe his best comes out on decent ground. Only in those circumstances I will be interested in him.

Race Replay

Strawman
23/04/22 – 7.05 Doncaster:

He completely messed up the start and lost a number of lengths early on (have to monitor whether this becomes a habit). Trailed until turning for home when making rapid progress highlighted by blistering sectionals to move into a challenging position. Pays for the effort in the closing stages but also entitled to tire on his first run in 223 days.

This was Strawman’s first “poor” run in a year. He won three races and finished another one second of his four starts last season. And this most recent one is a much stronger performance than the 7 lengths beaten 5/5 result suggests.

In fact this run suggests the handicapper may still not have caught up with him and he can win again as long as it’s 9-10 furlongs on decent ground.

Race Replay

Secretfact
24/04/22 – 2.40 Bath:

Was very alertly out of the gate, travelled strongly in midfield to the 2 furlong marker. Had nowhere to go from there, though, trying different routes. Eventually pushed toward the inside when he runs out of fuel.

The 9-year-old was entitled to get tired on his first start in 2022, but clearly ran much better than the result and price suggested. He has still a lot of enthusiasm for racing.

Down to a mark of 65, which is probably a fairer reflection of his class these days, but a little bit of additional assistance from the handicapper will mean he’s got to be well handicapped over the minimum trip on lightning fast ground.

Side note: He ran at Chepstow on Thursday in the meantime. Same mark, same trip. Fine performance, leading from the front, just to tire in the closing stages and drop to 4th late. He should be ready for a big run next time if conditions suit (5f, fast going).

Race Replay

Sense Of Security
24/04/22 – 4.55 Bath:

Was well away from the gates and travelled in midfield for the majority of the race. She was quite keen too, pulling hard from midway through. Yet she appeared to go easily and strongly turning for home, the jockey taking a pull over 3 furlongs out.

She seemed to travel like the winner, with the only problem how to get a run for home. It didn’t happen until very late when the race was over. She is obviously much better than this result.

Sense Of Security has shown promise last year, was placed over 5.5f at this track in an eye-catching performance. She was a good third at Kempton earlier this month too, having ran to topspeed 61.

With experience she should improve. I feel a drop to 7f wouldn’t be an issue, neither would be a step up in trip out of question given the pedigree. Though, given her tendency to pull hard, a mile is probably the maximum right now.

Race Replay

Dream Composer
24/04/22 – 4.05 Wetherby:

Travelled in last position for most of the race, until turning for home when he attempted to make progress on the wide outside. Wasn’t helped by moving horses in front but also struggled with top-end speed on this fast surface.

Was brave in the final furlong to move through a gap and finished well. Clear improvement on recent poor Pontefract showing, which was a first run after a break, though. Performance is notable for the fact he ran so well here on fast ground even though he’s a much better horse with cut in the ground.

Comes down to a really nice mark having won of 1lb higher last summer and having ran a massive race in a big Ayr Handicap of 7lb higher. Interesting next time whenever on soft ground.

Race Replay

Hodler
25/04/22 – 4.55 Windsor:

Travelled strongly in rear, hard on the bridle approaching the last two furlongs. Stuck behind a wall of horses he’s switched to the inside but that doesn’t make the situation any better. Short of room there until very late when switched even wider.

I really liked how Hodler travelled here. He spotted a hood for the first time. Still pretty lightly raced it’s clear racing him over sprint trips is far from ideal given his pedigree. But potentially required to bring the mark down from what was a stiff opening mark (78).

He will clearly benefit moving up in distance. 10 furlongs looks possible. The fact he has been keen in the past is the obvious question mark for that sort of project. Nonetheless worth waiting for it to happen before backing him.

Race Replay

Homemade Andrea
25/04/22 – 7.55 Windsor:

Settled in rear of the field and travelled much the strongest to the 2 furlong marker, although had to delay her challenge. Once things opened up she dropped away tamely.

The mile trip could be too far for her. The filly’s best is over 7 furlongs which looks more in line with her sire and dam’s sire stamina index too. I imagine she might be best with a bit of cut in the ground as well.

Clearly 13 runs and 1 single win isn’t an overly sexy profile. But she managed to win of a mark of 50 as a juvenile and was a good runner-up of 2lb higher at Lingfield in January, when also running to a 50 topspeed rating, validating this form.

She’s likely to fall another couple of pounds for this run. If dropping back to 7 furlongs she’ll be interesting with a bit of cut in the ground I reckon.

Race Replay

Golden Apollo
25/04/22 – 7.05 Thirsk:

Didn’t have a good start and as a consequence settled in the final third of the field. Travelled okay and looked in with a shot if getting a clear run. He was kept up to the task the entire race but didn’t find a gap. Finished easily and seemingly with something left in the tank.

The golden years are obviously behind the 8-year-old but he still performed of marks in the 80s last year and also ran to topspeed 84 when runner-up in a hot Redcar Handicap.

He’s been a shade unlucky a number times too in the meantime, as a results his mark is reduced all the time. He’s down to a good mark already, but any additional help from the handicapper will be welcome. A 6f race of a 75 rating in class 4 could be an optimal scenario.

Race Replay

Northbound
25/04/22 – 20.05 Thirsk:

Keen at different stages of the race, nonetheless travelling smoothly on the inside. Still hard on the bridle over a furlong out, although absolutely no chance to get a run. Gently switched to the middle of the track very late and finished eye-catchingly well in one of the fasted final furlong splits despite being hard held.

He hasn’t won since his juvenile days, but has been competitive and placed numerous times last season, without winning though, and sometimes unlucky.

His mark continues to fall and is down to what makes him a well handicapped individual now. He was placed of 65 and ran to Topspeed 58, 59 and 61 last year. He also has a career best 71 TS rating. 7f fast ground may be ideal.

Race Replay

Golden Melody
26/04/22 – 3.30 Nottingham:

This was a really slow race for the most part resulting in a sprint finish. Golden Melody was disadvantaged by her racing position but made eye-catching progress on the inside from 4 furlongs out against a rapidly increasing pace.

The leaders where not for catching holding all the aces due to the nature of how the race developed, but Golden Melody finished the last four furlongs still much the fastest. It’s speculative but she was probably the best horse in the race on handicapping terms and would have won in different circumstances.

The 4-year-old filly looks quite exposed on paper, given 23 lifetime starts already. However, she was still progressive in a busy campaign last year. Particularly from summer on this March filly was prolific: three wins and a number of quality efforts.

She’s up to a 73 mark now and hasn’t matched that with topspeed yet. However she came close enough with a 69 TS effort in a hot class 2 York Handicap last year. She can improve again as this most recent run suggests. Anything between 9-10 furlongs is probably ideal with relative ground independence.

Race Replay

Kraken Power
26/04/22 – 6.15 Ayr:

Got a bump right after the start and was quite keen in the aftermath. Yet travelled much the best and made a big effort from 3f out to contest the lead on the outside of the field approaching the final furlong marker. Tired in the closing stages.

He possibly paid for a big effort from three to one furlongs out. Despite fading away late, he finished the last three furlongs fast and wasn’t knocked about in the closing stages. This performance is a clear return to form and build nicely on a solid comeback run at Thirsk earlier this month.

He changed yards late last year after obviously losing his way. He hasn’t exactly fired in the first two starts for Jim Goldie but was better than the bare form suggested at Thirsk and really caught my eye here too.

Kraken Power has talent. He was rated as high as 86, was placed in good races of 82 last season, as well as ran to topspeed 82. He’s now down to 70. If this upward trend continues he’ll be a massive chance next time. Both minimum trip and 6 furlongs are fine, although fast ground 6f may be the ideal scenario.

Race Replay

Hathlool
27/04/22 – 1.50 Ascot:

Awkward start, settled in rear travelling notably well. Made eye-catching progress from midway through the race, switching toward the inside looking for a clear run, although there’s also a noticeable lack of urgency from the jockey . He’s short of room one furlong out again and finishes easily under hands and heels.

This was an eye-catching run for a number of reasons and the stewards thought so too, holding an inquiry into the ride. Whatever the lack of in-running luck, in my view the jockey didn’t really try to obtain the best possible position in the race.

Hathlool has been quite progressive over the last half year on both turf and All-Weather, winning three times and running better than the bare form suggested the last two times on turf.

His mark is probably high enough now as he’s not yet run to a topspeed above 58. But I feel once he goes up to 9-10 furlongs again, and drops to 75 or lower he’ll be really interesting.

Perhaps that’s exactly the idea of connections to get him into that type of scenario. He’s got an entry for Beverley over 8.5f on Monday. With his sketchy starting habits and the trip perhaps slightly below his preferred optimum, I can see him not running too well there. That could bring him down to the rating I want to see.

Race Replay

Rocket Dancer
27/04/22 – 5.30 Pontefract:

Had a wide draw to overcome and as a consequence settled in rear, which was a huge disadvantage in a race dominated by those up or close to the pace.

Cut the corner turning for home and then made significant progress against the inside rail to finish 4th, staying on as one of very few from the back of the field.

Clear sign of life for a horse that lost form in the second half of last season. He was still a fine runner-up over this course and distance twelve months earlier of a mark of 62, won subsequently of 64 on the All-Weather. Was well beaten in all other runs then.

Down to a 52 rating now he appears to be supremely well handicapped on past form. This performance gives me the impression he is ready to win soon.

Race Replay

Chant For More
27/04/22 – 7.55 Musselburgh:

The gelding travelled nicely enough on the inside rail behind the leading trio but had to wait for a gap to open. It only really opened up for him very late, over half a furlong from home, he went through bravely and ran on strongly for 3rd place in a tight finish.

This was a significant improvement on his juvenile form. A recent wind operation must have done the trick here. He was a cheap vendor foal but offers some upside as a 3-year-old I feel, given he was an April foal and has scope to get better with experience, now that his wind is okay.

A step up to 6 furlongs would be really interesting in a low-grade race next time.

Race Replay

Perfect Symphony + San Juan
28/04/22 – 4.05 Lingfield:

Despite a solid break from the gates Perfect Symphony got behind soon, perhaps also got a bit tight amongst horses around the first bend (hard to see). Was pushed along from 4 furlongs out and turned home in last position. Thundered home in impressive fashion to finish runner-up eventually.

The 8-year-old has still something to give as evidence by his latest performances. He ran well on a number of occasions over the last weeks and months on the All-Weather. At his age he’s a bit quirky and needs things to fall right, though.

Saying that, a small field sprint over the minimum distance on the All-Weather is certainly a possibility for him to win, particularly of such a low mark he’s fallen to. He was fancied in the betting for the first time in a while here, so I’ll want to monitor the market before backing him.

San Juan had to contend with the widest draw which wasn’t ideal given he has starting issues. Consequently he was slowly away, lost ground early on and played catch-up. Made rapid progress over three furlongs out but turned a bit awkward and wide. Took time to get organised, then rattled home to finish 3rd.

Given the circumstances this was a massive performance. The first furlong aside hampered by the start, he ran incredible sectionals. He was unlucky last time out not getting a clear run 2f out and also losing a shoe.

He’s obviously a horse with issues and one has to account for his habit of starting slowly. Now down to a mark of 48 though, he looks supremely well handicapped even taking those issues into account. He clearly acts well on the All-Weather, but I would love to see him on turf, perhaps with a bit of cut in the ground.

Race Replay

Cobra Kai
28/04/22 – 4.35 Musselburgh

A big keen to get on with the job early on, but totally lit up once hampered over five furlongs out. Was stuck on the inside in a pocket behind the long-term leader and eventual winner, always kept up to work and stuck nicely to the task. Finished well in the closing stages given the circumstances.

He was well fancied here as the favourite after a highly promising seasonal reappearance at Newcastle in March. That day he finished strongly and in contrast to what one would have expected given the price tag.

Still a maiden after eight lifetime starts now, but he looks well capable of winning of his current mark. Ideally runs over 7 furlongs or over a mile, which looks realistic on pedigree. He needs to learn to settle, that’s key, though.

If he does, perhaps with the application of some headgear, he’ll make a mockery of a 49 handicap mark I feel.

Race Replay

Eye-Catchers #3 2022

A list of horses that have caught my eye during the last seven days of racing. These individuals look ready to win a race sooner rather than later.

After John
09/04/22 – 2.05 Thirsk:

Travelled in rear of the field. until making excellent progress from three to 2 furlongs from home. Confronted with a wall of horses to pass he has to switch wide, taking the “scenic route” in order to get a clear run.

This move cost time and momentum and by the final furlong marker it’s too late to catch the eventual winner who always travelled isolated away from the field.

It’s fair to assume on a different day After John finishes a whole lot closer to the winner. He’s certainly responded to the change of scenery having moved yards on this first run for Ian Jardine.

He’s down to a handicap mark of 64 and on past form he’s well handicapped, no question. He ran four times to topspeed ratings of 65 or higher and performed well of a mark of 67 in 6f Handicaps last season.

I am hoping the handicapper won’t bee too harsh after this run and leaves him on 64. If that’s the case I reckon After John will be a big runner over 6 furlongs wherever he pops up next.

Race Replay

Andromedas Kingdom + No Patience + Breach + We’re On The Way
10/04/22 – 5.20 Curragh:

This was a wild race with as many hard-luck stories as you want to pick out. I could make the case for more than a handful of horses that ran better than the bare result suggested. But “only” four individuals find their way into the tracker.

Andromedas Kingdom travelled well on the heels of the main bunch on the stands’ side. Having to pass everyone with nowhere to go she was switched to the middle of the track in the hope for greener grass. She made dramatic progress from 2 furlongs out and finished well under hands and heels.

This was her first run in Handicap company also also her comeback run coming off a 251 day break, while having changed yards in the meantime. She is a half-sister to 100 rated sprinter Boundless Power, but I imagine she will improve going up in trip. A mile looks highly possible on pedigree. With more improvement to come a mark of 55 could easily underestimate her.

No Patience raced in midfield of the main pack on the stands’ side for the majority of the race. He was boxed in and couldn’t improve his position until about half a furlong from home when he ran on strongly under an easy ride.

He’s an experienced individual and we know all about him. However, given 6 furlongs is likely on the sharp side these days, I do rate this run as a strong performance.

He’s down to a sexy mark (turf and All-Weather), given he won off 65 over 7 furlongs at Dundalk last April, ran a good race in a hot Leopardstown Handicap last September from 10lb higher than he’s rated today, and achieved a 71 topspeed rating in the past. He looks rejuvenated for having changed yards and is ripe to win back up in trip.

Breach travelled in rear of the main bunch and is another one who had nowhere to go. She also got badly hampered over two furlongs out when running into the back of a horse. She’s switched moments later and finishes easy as you like in eye-catching fashion.

This filly has been hidden. She has raced over wrong trips since her move to Ireland. She almost certainly stays a good deal further. The dam was a 10 furlong winner. Watch out for when she moves up in trip. Her day will come.

We’re On The Way was yet another significant hard-luck story. He had no chance, was multiple times hampered and had any momentum stopped from over two furlongs out. Given a bit of reign in the final furlong he picked up seriously well, though.

He also is one you would think has no business to run over 6 furlongs. He will stay further and should improve going up in trip. Watch out for that. This was his seasonal comeback run which enhances the performance as he was not fancied at all on the day.

Race Replay

Secret Eagle
11/04/22 – 5.50 Pontefract:

He made perfect use of a low draw to chase the early pace and be in a good spot given the nature of the track. He continued to drive forward from three furlongs out and attempted to steal the race from the front turning for home while the fellow pace setter faded away.

He was finally caught with one furlong to go but continued to rally impressively to keep the 3rd spot.

This was a clear return to form and evidence that a recent wind operation has worked. Secret Eagle is down to a solid mark, having ran to topspeed 71 as a juvenile and having been placed of 3lb higher last August (a strong piece of form).

He acts over 5 furlongs as well as 6 furlongs, on softish as well as decent ground. Though, I suspect he’ll need a bit of cut in the ground for the minimum trip.

Race Replay

Ebtsama
12/04/22 – 7.45 Wolverhampton:

This filly was already on the #1 2022 list. She caught the eye here once again in a hot race. As mentioned earlier this month I want to see her stepping up in trip before backing her, so I let her run without my money.

Perhaps in that context it was disheartening to see how much she pulled in this 6f contest. Nonetheless, with more experience and a solid pace I maintain that 7 furlongs will be ideal.

Turning for home she was following the eventual winner who kicked on 2 furlongs from home. Ebtsama didn’t quite seem to have the instant change of gear to follow but also found herself boxed in, denied an opportunity to unleash her own challenge.

This could be a blessing in disguise because she may be dropped a couple of pounds by the handicapper for finishing last. She appears seriously well handicapped once stepping up in trip – and if she can relax. Perhaps head gear in some form is an option.

The form of the race looks strong on topspeed ratings. Most horses have ran to their handicap mark too – always a good sign in my book.

Race Replay

Harry Three
13/04/22 – 1.50 Newmarket:

He travelled in rear for the first half of the race. Made his move from 3 furlongs out, but crucially toward the far side, away from where the actual race would eventually develop.

He quickened in impressive style – backed up by strong sectionals. But he had to do it all on his own in the closing stages. In the end he was just beaten by two horses on the stands’ side.

He looks like a colt who is progressing as a 3-year-old after showing a lot of promise toward the end of last season as a juvenile. He is lightly enough raced to imagine he can improve again.

He didn’t always got the best of runs the last two starts he was beaten before coming here to Newmarket. All in all, over the 6 furlongs trip he clearly can win off his current handicap mark – granted the handicapper won’t treat him harshly for this effort.

Race Replay