Tag Archives: Preview

Preview: Kentucky Derby 2018 – A Spring Night’s Dream?

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After contemplating the whole week whether it’s a smart or not so smart decision, yet after listing to some beautiful Mendelssohn on this balmy spring Saturday, I decided the time has come: at 5/1 I’m IN!

A lot has been said about the UAE Derby winner’s performance at Meydan by people who are far more knowledgeable than I am: quite a few experts are of the opinion Mendelssohn was riding the “golden highway” on the inside rail and what did he beat anyways after Rayya bombed out in the Kentucky Oaks last night.

There is certainly merit to it. Figures based on that UAE Derby performance have to be taken with a pinch of salt. Nonetheless, what remains with me at least is the fact Mendelssohn not only won that day, but he annihilated a half-decent field with incredible ease (18½ to the runner-up Rayya) while doing so in a record winning time.

But there is more to like about him than only this one freakish performance: Mendelssohn won the Breeder’s Cup turf at the end of his two-year old campaign at Del Mar.

Given he was  a late May foal, he achieved far more as a juvenile than one could usually expected, as he also ran out a fine 2nd in the Dewhurst.

In summary: Mendelssohn has proven to travel well internally (so the slight issues around his arrivel may not be a big deal at all), he acts on any sort of surface and his best is (probably) yet to come.

Coolmore also seems rather bullish about his chances, Ryan Moore makes the trip across the pond, missing out on the 2000 Guineas, and while Mendelssohn’s wide draw could theoretically spell trouble it’s in practice no problem – as long as he breaks well (which he would need from any stall anyway).

So, c’mon Mendelssoh, make it A Spring Night’s Dream!

Selection:
10pts win – Mendelssohn @ 5/1 Matchbook

Preview – Musselburgh Gold Cup

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An intriguing contest which should turn into a real stamina test. Progressive stayer Handiwork looks to have a big shout with Joe Fanning on board. His ability to handle soft ground and to stay two miles are a key combination today. I feel further improvement is already very much reflected in the short odds, though. Top weight Lady Kashaan goes well with cut in the ground, but the trip stretches her stamina and with a very big weight to overcome, she may struggle here. Usually in attacking mode, Be Perfect must have a serious chance if he handles the ground. But despite drying ground, it remains very much on the slow side, and that is a concern.

Streets Of Newyork was in good nick over hurdles this year already and now back on the flat off a fair mark, he should have a good chance, though his best performances on the flat came over shorter trips. The lightly races Royal Signaller could easily have still more to offer. The trip and ground are slight worries. If he handles both, he’ll  be a big runner. Same applies to Braes Of Lochalsh. First start in handicaps & feather weight are an interesting combination, but he’s completely unproven on ground and trip and could be anything.

From a betting perspective I feel Richard Guest’s runner Precision Strike is a very big price. It remains to be seen if the track plays to his strengths, but the five year old clearly handles ground and trip. He was a really progressive stayer last season, culminating back in October in an excellent success in a 2m Handicap at Haydock. He probably needed his recent outing at Wolverhampton and while he was a long way beaten, one would expect him to be much more competitive today. If he can make enough progress entering the home straight to be not too far of the pace, he will have a big shout in this I feel.

3.25 Musselburgh: Musselburgh Gold Cup
Precision Strike @ 22/1 Bet365 – 5pts win

Dream Child Can Make Amends Today

Godolphin’s progressive Dream Child is turned out quickly after failing by the narrowest of margins to get his head in front four days ago over 9.5f here at Wolverhampton. He got hampered that day over 1f out at a crucial stage of the race and as a result had to re-organize himself pretty quickly – which can be a difficult task for an inexperienced horse. He quickened nicely nonetheless and almost got there on the line. He travelled strongly throughout and followed up nicely on a hugely impressive success over 12f at Wolverhampton back in January.

Dream Child is still lightly raced and the fact that he can race off the same mark today as four days ago, makes him a huge chance here. The step up in trip poses no problem whatsoever. He proved his stamina before. Judged on this latest performance, he should be a couple pounds higher rated and potentially goes all the way into pattern class after this in my mind. No doubt Dream Child is the most talented runner in this field.

The main dangers are Noble Gift who’s holding his form well and he should run a good race once more. Luv You Whatever has excellent form and was able to translate his Southwell forms to the tapeta last time out. But has to overcome another hike in the mark, which means a career best is required. I’m usually not for the short favourites, but think in this case that Noble Child should be a good deal shorter. With Adam Kirby booked for the ride I hope he won’t meet trouble in-running this time and then he should simply have too much on the plate for the rest.

7.45 Wolverhampton: Class 2 Handicap, 12 furlongs
Dream Child @ 11/10 Coral – 10pts win

Preview: Ladbrokes Handicap Lingfield


The progressive Shyron looks a very worthy favourite and is chasing a hat-trick today. He won with a bit in hand the last time. But while he’s renewing rivalry with a couple of runners today, and on this last performance looks likely to be up to his revised mark, it also has to be stated that he got the run of the race and bumped into two rivals, which meet him on better terms this time. He looks the likeliest winner, but is a very short price in this strong handicap.

One would expect that Grey Mirage will perform with credit once more, though he may need some assistance from the handicapper to be able to win in this class again. Related didn’t quite get a clear run in the home straight the last time and may get closer to Shyron with a clear passage. Another one who was interfered in the very same race was Brigliadoro. He still finished well enough in the end and run with credit over a mile the next time in a hot race that threw up a nice winner subsequently. Dropping back to 7f again, he may be able to outrun his price tag today.

Money Team is still trying to win a race on the All-Weather but came very close the last time when he stayed on nicely. He goes 2lb up in the mark and tries 7f for the first time. The way he finishes his races suggests that it’s worth a try, also on pedigree it looks not unlikely that he gets the trip. The apprentice on board is well worth his 3lb claim and that should give Money Term every chance to run big today.

Brigliadoro @ 14/1 Coral – 5pts win
Money Team @ 16/1 Coral – 5pts win

Preview: Winter Derby Trial Stakes

Grandeur is a class act, has done well in hot Graded races over in the US last summer and won this very same race last year off a break. No reason why he shouldn’t go well once more today.

Grendisa won back in December a Listed race over course and distance, is a proven All-Weather warrior over variety of trips while giving weight away today however.

Afonso De Sousa makes his first start for a new yard after break. Won as fresh horse before and usually performed well on Dundalk All-Weather in the past.

Ansaab has done really well at Lingfield over CD last two starts, when beaten by a neck and won by a neck in class 3 Handicaps. More required here but deserves his chance.

Cloudscape hasn’t been seen since 1.5l fourth in Group 3 over 12f at Goodwood. Drop in trip should suit if fit on reappearance. Won fresh last year and on debut on Kempton AW.

Maverick Wave has a 100% record over course and distance, won last month good class 2 Handicap. Fom pick in this field with more improvement likely.

What About Carlo is back off a break, won as fresh horse in the past and over 10f. All-Weather debut. Hard to know what to expect today.

Lamar proved himself an AW specialist. Won the last two in conditions races. Has to prove stamina today though.

Verdict: This is an ultra competitive contest and I’m surprised to see such a huge difference in prices. Yes, Grandeur is a fair favourite for obvious reasons. He’s here to defend his crown and no doubt will be the one to beat. But there are a couple of progressive rivals in the line-up that can be dangerous to underestimate. So I’m happily oppose him today.

I believe John Gosden has a very strong hand in this race. Cloudscape is a very interesting contender for obvious reasons. Still rather lightly raced, he shaped with loads of promise last season and has some excellent form to his name. If he is fit and well and has wintered well, he is a big runner. His price doesn’t really offer value in my mind though. Which looks different for Gosden’s second horse, Maverick Wave. An all the time improving colt, he is unbeaten at Lingfield over 10f and may have a tactical advantage if let loose in front. He deserves a shot on this and the weight he receives from the more fancied rivals, he is in with a big chance as on the ratings he hasn’t to find all that much.

Grendisar is a strong travelling horse, who will need a strong pace and all the luck in the world here. he is a classy individual but I feel the race may not be run to suit him. Afonso De Sousa also wouldn’t like it to be a crawl with all his wins on the All-Weather came over 11f. He is an interesting runner nonetheless on his debut for David O’Meara. Improving handicapper Ansaab deserves a shot at this too, but potentially he is not good enough.

I’m intrigued by bottom weight Lamar. He is really progressive on the All-Weather, won two conditions races over shorter last month and finished a strong fourth over 7f in a very competitive listed race at Deauville. I believe he has more to give and looks extremely overpriced. Question mark is the trip. However it’s only his second try over 10f and he didn’t seem to stop over 9.5f at Wolverhampton, also on pedigree there is a fair chance that he can get thus far. He may be tracking the leader, and if this won’t won’t be run at a mad pace, it could play very much in his hands.

Maverick Wave @ 13/2 VC – 5pts win
Lamar @ 20/1 VC – 5pts win

Meydan Preview

Do you feel excited? I certainly do. Why? We have some fantastic racing at Meydan today! There is the interesting looking Listed contest with recently rejuvenated & multiple Group 1 winner Hunter’s Light leading the pack. And there is the hightlight of the night, the Group 2 Balachine Stakes. But don’t dismiss the competitive Handicaps. There usually offer some great drama!

Surely, Cladocera is the star of the day! The French filly is a short price to land the Balachine after a very impressive Meydan debut last month. There is potential so much more to come from her, given her lightly raced profile. She is bound improve and it is hard – if not impossible – to look past her in the Balachine. Only slight worry could be the additional furlong today. She is a very speedy filly, and her stamina will surly be tested. But could someone threaten her if she finds her natural limits approaching the one mile post?

Well, the Turkish filly Suzi Gold is a Group 1 winner in her native Turkey and she is expected to do very well today. With form over further, one would think that stamina won’t be an issue for her. However her local Group success translates “only” into Listed class actually. Means she has a bit to find on form. But she may well do so. Her Turkish jockey Ozcan Yildirim is flying over for only this one race. So there is clearly some confidence that she has what it takes to feature prominently today.

What about the Dubai Millennium Stakes? Hunter’s Light is the odds-on favourite to land this Listed race and as a multiple Group 1 winner there is every reason to believe that he has too much on the plate for his rivals. Most of them are progressive handicappers, at best. The four year old colt Mr Pommeroy looks to me the one who could be leading the chasing pack. He wasn’t disgraced in A Group 2 last month, though more is required her today, and Hunter’s Light should be able to build on his recent Handicap success.

In the very same race the Norwegian trainer Niels Petersen has two runners. They are big prices and hard to see them going close, but it is still great to have races with truly international flair here at Meydan! The bravery of Petersen is respectable and one can only hope that it pays of at some point.

Betting wise, I find all those races not particularly attractive. I find it hard to challenge the short favourites in the big races, while most of the Handicaps are minefields, particularly the ones on the dirt. Fair play if anyone can make them pay. I struggle to distinguish the runners unfortunately. That says there is one race that really intrigues me. It the final race on the card, a big Turf Handicap over 7f:

18.15 Meydan: District One – Class 1 Handicap

This is an ultra competitive looking handicap, and nothing else is expected. The two at head of the market have obvious credentials to take this. Both Eastern Rules and Anaerobio proved themselves in Group class in the past and their return to Meydan in the Group 2 Al Fahidi was promising as well, with Eastern Rules chasing home Safety Check as the runner-up, while Anaerobio was quite unlucky not getting a clear passage, but finished very strongly. These two are very closely matched on previous form, but I would believe Anaerobio with a weight advantage this time could turn around the form. That says, I feel both are fair prices, but not really too big, so I look elsewhere.

You could make a case for plenty in this field, though two horses are stand-out prices in my mind. Music Theory is one of them, even though the big odds are diminishing fast. This lightly raced Godolphin gelding has caught my eye on two occasions now. He usually travelles extremely well and certainly did so on his seasonal reappearance when he finished 3rd behind subsequent Group 2 winner Safety Check. He got an absolute horror run that day though but finished like a train when in the clear. It’s been a different picture two weeks ago, when he stepped up to 1m. He was right up with the pace and travelled like the winner for a very long time. However he faded pretty badly inside the final furlong. That is no surprise to me. He looks like a 7f specialist and the drop to this trip will certainly help him today. An additional pound off his handicap mark won’t do any harm either. One has to keep in mind that Music Theory was a very promising juvenile when he finished once less than three lengths behind Kingman in the Solario Stakes. Talent is there, and there could be still more to come from him.

The second horse I believe has a much better chance than his big price tag, is the experienced Professor. His mark is dropping down to something that could see him go really close today. He returned to track two weeks ago in a hot mile handicap, which potentially stretches his stamina a bit. But he was also pretty badly hampered in the home straight when he was about to make a big move. He still ran on well I felt and that outing could bring him nicely along for today. It has to be said he didn’t have quite as a productive last season as one would have hoped, however a very strong runner-up at Royal Ascot in the big Wokingham Handicap and some decent performances on Group level, proved that he is a very genuine individual. With a clear run today, he could be very dangerous dropping down to the ideal 7f trip.

Music Theory @ 8/1 Coral – 5pts win
Professor @ 33/1 Coral – 5pts win

Meydan Preview


There is some pretty good racing at Meydan today. Couple of Group races on the Dirt track, most notably the 2.000 Guineas which looks a real cracker! The Handicaps seem intriguing puzzles to solve – nothing less is expected, though. But that makes it interesting, right? There is clearly some value to find on this card today and analysing todays races, I’ve come up with three selections. All decent prices. If only ones gets in, it’ll be a good day.

3.20 Meydan: Jaguar F Type Trophy (Handicap)

This big handicap looks wide open and usually a bit of luck plays its part. There are a couple of the better fancied horses here who have some doubts about the trip in my mind and I feel this could easily go to a longshot. That says Pilote is one I do really fancy to go close if he gets a clear run from off the pace. He is clearly on a mark he can win off. The same applies to Tha’ir. He can go well too and a big run is expected.

However for a huge price I take a chance on Sennockian Star. He didn’t perform to his best in two starts here at Meydan in recent weeks, however he slipped another 3lb in the mark and that can make a difference. He is one who likes to be up with the pace, and while he isn’t drawn super close to the rail, his draw in seven gives him every chance to waste not too much energy to take up a prominent position. Officially he is one pound above his last winning mark (in a Handicap) when he won a big one at Goodwood last summer. He followed up with a fair second in Listed company. All over 10f, which is his ideal trip these days. I feel he is worth a punt today to outrun his big price tag.

Sennockian Star @ 20/1 Coral – 5pts win

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3.55 Meydan: UAE 2.000 Guineas (Group 3)

Two big favourites in the Guineas with Godolphins Maftool and De Kock’s Mubtaahij heading the market. Both have strong form to share from last month’ Guineas trial over 7f. Mubtaahij won that day in pretty emphatic fashion. He had the perfect race from the start, and drew clear in the closing stages, clearly benefiting from match fitness through a run he had before. He’s still lightly raced and there could be much more to come. Clearly an exciting prospect. Maftool in contract had his first start in over three month, was first time tried on the Dirt, and had to overcome a completely messed up start. The way he finished the race was very impressive, and he must be a big danger to Mubtaahij today. Albeit very talented, question mark is about his attitude, as he looks a difficult horse to ride, though.

De Kock has a second runner in this field with Ajwad. Already a four year old, formerly trained in Argentina. Ajwad is bred for dirt and one would belief can improve a good deal for his first run here at Meydan, when he finished a fair third behind Mubtaahij. He clearly needed the run, the way he finished as a tired horse, and he did allot in the early parts of the race. He should benefit from the step up to 1m as that is what is clearly in his pedigree. I expect him to improve a good deal and he’ll finish much closer to his stable mate today. He has to give loads of weight to the three year olds though, and they have in turn potential to improve themselves of course. So it remains to be seen if he is good enough after all. But that says he has the right profile to go really close and he looks a nice alternative to the short priced favourites.

Ajwad @ 11/2 PP – 5pts win

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18.15 Meydan: Range Rover Sport Trophy (Handicap, Class 1)

This is a premier handicap and some really good horses are lined up here. Former Group winners all around, and that makes it a pretty interesting race over 9 furlongs. Consistent Mushreq is top of the market and ran already pretty well in two starts this year here at Meydan. He’s bound for another good performance. De Kock’s other hope Zahee has been places over 9.5f on the tapeta track in the past, but best forms came over shorter and he may struggle to get home. Ocean Tempest flies the flag for the UK, ran well lto and I’m sure he does well today too, but this trip seems to be slightly beyond his stamina as he usually is best over 1m. In general this looks a wide open race and a case can be made for most runners. I’m most interested in Vancouverite and Mujaarib though, as they seem overpriced in my eyes.

Mujaarib is the third De Kock runner here. He didn’t land a blow on his seasonal debut in Group 2 company lto, when fifth behind word class stablemate Vercingetorix. But it was a decent run nonetheless I thought, and if he can come on a bit for that, he must be in with a fair chance today. Nine furlongs seems to be his ideal trip, he won a big Group 2 at Meydan last year, beating Mushreq. Reportedly he is a pretty lazy horse, so no surprise to see blinkers on again, which may sharpen him up. He has done well with them fitted in South Africa, so they should help him to focus and 16/1 looks way too big for his chance, despite the fact that he has to overcome top weight.

Talented Vancouverite is trading as high as 6/1 an in my eyes that is very generous for a horse that has been beaten less than two lengths to Vercingetorix in the G1 Jebel Hatta last season. He was in subsequent starts not quite as good as expected, with a second place Listed contest at Haydock (albeit a good one) the highlight. He’s done well as a fresh horse in the past however, so chances are there that he goes well today again.

Vancouverite @ 6/1 Coral – 5pts win
Mujaarib @ 16/1 William Hill – 5pts win