Tag Archives: Richard Hannon

Race Preview: 2019 Melbourne Cup

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The race that stops a nation…. or the race that stops me sleep. Every year the same procedure: Melbourne Cup Tuesday is nearing and I am excited as a little child on the eve before Christmas. I LOVE the Melbourne Cup, it’s my favourite race.

It helps having backed the winner of the last two editions at rather generous odds, of course. While I love the spectacle of watching the race on TV at half past three in the morning with a blanket and a warm cuppa in my hands, it’s certainly has been financially rewarding as much as it’s emotionally warming – backing a winner or not.

But backing a winner is even more fun. So Let’s do three in a row?

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This year appears to be a highly compelling renewal – certainly on paper. The field includes Cross Counter, the defending champion; the exciting Japanese rider and Caulfield Cup winner Mer De Glace; the Ebor Handicap winner Mustajeer; last years Irish Derby hero Latrobe; plus a highly competitive home team.

On the other hand, I feel this race is much easier to dissect than in years past. Sure, luck can play its part in the race. A massive field will always produce a hard-luck story…. or two, or three of those stories. Regardless, I can see only a handful of realistic contenders, to be perfectly honest.

You can cross a line through half the field easily on the grounds of the softish going, distance, weight or racing style. The ones I can’t dismiss so easily and who made it on to my shortlist are as follows:

Il Paradiso: fits the trend of recent winners. Still relatively low mileage, some classy form in the book, looks to have the right sort of relaxed attitude, appears to stay and will be fine on any softness left in the ground. His tendency to break slowly is a major negative from draw 17, though. Blinkers may help but the “may” is already reflected in the price, I’m afraid.

Constantinople: you couldn’t watch the Caulfield Cup and not be impressed how he finished despite the fact he came from well off the pace and was significantly hampered at a crucial stage. Ran twice to a 108 topspeed ratings year. Most talented horse in the race?

His racing style is not and advantage. His tendency to sweat and exert energy in the preliminaries neither. Not easy to get things right on him. Needs everything to fall right, which it may well do, but I’m happy enough to let it go for single figure odds.

Vow And Declare: Strong chance for the home team if there wouldn’t be the draw. Classy stayer, form in the book, hits peak at the right time as excellent runner-up performance in Caulfield Cup suggested. Drawn in 21 will make life tough.

Dawndraft: Quite a bit of racing under the belt yet still improving. Good performances in Ireland this summer, including career best Listed success (101 TS) albeit below standard required here.

But two good runs since arriving Down Under. Visually compelling latest victory. But that performance came only 3 days ago which is a major concern.

Mustajeer: Excellent winner of the Ebor. Has improved again this season, ran well in Group races before having the perfect race at York. From the draw to the way the race developed to a clear run: everything worked to perfection.

He is a strong galloping sort who I feel will be suited perfectly by the Melbourne Cup. Had a fine prep in the Caulfield Cup and won’t fear the ground.

But that is the point: everything went to perfection at York. Will it today? He’s uncomplicated, that’s a big plus. I think he will go close. Still, it’s going to be the Ebor 4th Raymond Tusk that my money is riding with on Tuesday morning, 4am Irish time.

Raymond Tusk: On a different day he’d have been the brilliant winner of the 2019 Ebor and would be much shorter in the betting than he is now. Drawn in the car park he was trailing the field still turning for home, a wall of horses in front, yet travelling much the best. He had to weave his way through for a clear run and the bird was flown when he finally did.

Still finished a strong 4th, not far beaten, and running to a career best 107 topspeed rating. He’s 4lb better off with Mustajeer here and has a much better draw to play with.

I have one fear that is Jamie Spencer: we know he likes to come from off the pace with his mounts. I hope the good draw will help to settle on a positive racing strategy. Interviews I heard have given me hope indeed.

Still with low enough mileage, Raymond Tusk is an improving individual, who comes here fresh, which seems to bring the best of him usually. Cut in the ground is a question mark. His best results cam on fast ground. However he didn’t have a lot of chances to race on soft. And he did win a maiden over 1 mile on good to soft. Another pointer to give hope.

Selection: 
10pts win – Raymond Tusk @ 23/1 MB

Friday Selections: 25th August 2017

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That was special, wasn’t it? Yet again. Enable keeps giving and giving and giving. What a star filly once more in the care of John Gosden. Sure, she was entitled to win and to win with something to spare. Still, to demolish her high class rivals in the way she did – you simply have to be impressed.

All systems go for the Arc now. She is a short favourite to land the biggest of them all. If she turns up in top form she will take plenty of beating. That says we know the Arc is a unique race in its own right and in a big field the draw can alienate chances in the blink of an eye.

Anyways; that’s for another day. For now, sit back and enjoy racing at its best:

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6.20 Salisbury: Class 5 Nursery, 1m

27 alerts in my tracker this morning – yet only one single selection remains after a long morning of intense study. This week has not been a lucky one so far. Can a Richard Hannon trained colt turn the table?

Galactic is his name and he is quite a well bred son of Roderic O’connor. Three obligatory starts in maidens, now first time in a Nursery and upped to a more suitable 1 mile trip – off a pretty handy opening mark, I reckon Galatctic can go really well in this very winnable race.

Selection:
10pts win – Galactic @ 11/2 Bet365

 

Lazy Dissolution can score hat-trick

Newbury Grand stand

3.10 Newbury: Class 2 Handicap, 1m 2f

Open enough race, which is probably not quite as good as its class promises. The three highest rated individuals are easily to discount. While a couple others may not be as good as their marks do tell.

Last month Newmarket winner Dissolution was one of the first off the bridle that day but fought on gamely to get up on the line. Only 2lb higher today in his rating, he may well improve again. He has to carry actually less weight today, as this is a better class, but as pointed out, it looks only on paper a better race, as in reality it isn’t.

Dissolution looks a lazy type, therefore a visor is back on. He got off the mark in a maiden with this headgear fitted. I believe he must have a huge change to follow-up and make it a hat-trick of wins.

Hugely underestimated looks the Richard Hannon trained Gibeon. He ran a big race in the final race on Newmarket’s 2000 Guineas card, when he finished second in a photo-finish but was later demoted. The winner and third are smart individuals and this form sticks out by a mile in terms of 2015 form on offer in this race. He’s 4lb up but also goes up in trip which should very much suit him on pedigree.

From the rest, the lightly raced Time Test could be anything. He could be a big runner if he has trained on and takes to the new trip. Lightweight Dutch Uncle can’t be easily discounted on form, while Plymouth Sound is one I would expect to do better over this new trip.

Dissolution @ 9/2 Betfred – 5pts Win
Gibeon @ 16/1 Betfred – 5pts Win

Preview – 1.000 Guineas

Rowley Mile

The ground for Sunday remains quick at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile – perfect conditions for an exciting renewal of the 1.000 Guineas. The field may lack an obvious superstar at this stage, but  maybe there’s a new one born as soon as the horses have been crossing the winning post? We will see. It certainly looks a wide open affair.

The Favourite:

Godolphin’s Lucida is currently at the head of the market. She replaced long-time favourite Found in that particular position. The Ballydoyle filly is out, though, and her abscense has ripped a big hole into the betting market. Lucida is currently trading a 6/1 chance – not exactly a favourite in the true meaning of the word, is it?

The Shamardal filly hasn’t done too much wrong in her career. She was a progressive juvenile, finishing a close second behind Cursory Glance in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes, while following up with an impressive success in the Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket. Subsequently stepped up to 1m on her final start in 2014, she finished only fourth but the soft ground was probably against her.

One would think that on pedigree the 1m trip is ideal, so is the quick ground. Question mark is – did she train on? We haven’t seen her this season yet and have to find out this afternoon. She is a pretty good chance on her two year old form, though.

The Challengers:

Fadhayyil, currently a 7/1 chance, finished a good runner-up behind Lucida at Newmarket last year in the Rockfel. She has only had three starts to date and won only a maiden, but the step up to 1m looks sure to suit. If she can improve a bit for experience and distance, she is fairly closely matched with Lucida. We haven’t seen her this year either, though.

Lightly raced Jellicle Ball only won a Kempton maiden to date but clearly stepped up to pattern class when she repapered last month in the Fred Darling Stakes over seven furlongs. She is well bred and talented. With the recent run under her belt she’s bound to come on a good deal for an excellent runner-up effort that day. She is supposed to be better over further, so 1m looks a perfect trip for the moment. She is a big runner and money is coming for her.

David Wachman’s exciting Legatissimo won a Listed event over 9.5 furlongs last week. She loves the quick ground and is clearly very talented, but the drop in trip isn’t sure to suit her. However she is the choice of Ryan Moore and has to be respected for that simple reason.

Royal Ascot winner Osaila proved that she trained on thanks to a gutsy success in the Group 3 Nell Gwyn Stakes over 7f last month. She has good form over 1m from her only start over this trip when she ran out a fine 3rd at the Breeders Cup. She will need to improve a good deal, though, in order to be competitive today, I feel.

The Raven’s Pass filly Malabar proved her class in hot Group 1 races last year. Good performances in the Prix Marcel Boussac and Moyglare Stud Stakes give her a fair form chance if she has trained on. Recent Fred Darling scorer Redstart is not out of this either. She won well but has to improve for the new trip here again and one would think that runner-up Jellicle Bell is a better prospect, given that Redstart had everything going for herself from the front, which might not be the case here today.

The Outsiders:

There is plenty of money coming for Tiggy Wiggy. She is now into 10’s which is madness in my eyes. Apologies for the harsh words – but I have to be honest here. Maybe I eat my words afterwards, but that’s fine. I simply can’t see her stay. She is all speed on pedigree. She is all speed on visual impression. And she has been a precocious two year old sprinter, who doesn’t look to have grown allot over the winter. Others make simply much more appeal.

UAE Guineas and Derby winner Local Time is an interesting runner. She won at Newmarket over 7f last season but has particularly excelled on the Dirt this year at Meydan. if she can translate this form to turf now, she is not out of it. That says more is required here and others may have more scope.

Aiden O’Brien’s sole runner is Weld Park Stakes winner Qualify. She was a good two year old but has to step up a good deal here, as well as has to overcome a trip that looks like stretching her stamina. Irish Rookie won a Listed race over course and distance last November. Much more is needed today and the ground is a question mark too. Kodiac filly Terror looks up against it over this new trip.

Leaves me with the biggest outsider of them all – Queen Nefertiti. This Galileo filly, trained my David Wachman appears to be pretty overpriced in my eyes. A 33/1 shot at the moment, you can get 1/4 odds and 4 places with Paddy Power – this looks big value. Why? Well, this filly won on her debut last year a good maiden in pretty taking style and was ever since thought to be a Guineas horse.

She made her seasonal reappearance at Dundalk recently, the day when I was there and to be honest I really liked what I saw. She looked excellent in the parade ring, clearly has trained on and finished a nice third in a hot little race while only beaten in a very tight finish. She travelled strongly throughout, but gave the impression of greenness in the closing stages when she seemed to be a bit intimidated by the other horses beside her. She was literally sandwiched in the final half furlong, and didn’t stick her neck out as a consequence.

I would expect Queen Nefertiti to come on a good bit for the run. She should have learned plenty as well and with trip and ground very likely to suit, this extremely well bred filly could be able to outrun her big price tag. She is my selection against the field, in a wide open renewal, where I probably most like the Gosden filly – but can’t see 7/1 as a particularly appealing price.

1.000 Guineas – Newmarket; 1m, Group 1
Queen Nefertiti @ 33/1 Paddy Power – 0.5pts e/w

Who Dares Wins’s The Value In Epsom Finale

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The last race one on the card at Epsom today is quite an interesting Handicap for three year olds with potentially some fair individuals in the line-up. That says there could be one or another horse underestimated on a rather low mark. If that is the short priced favourite American Artist, well I’m not so sure. He won a maiden well last year, but nothing came really out of that and the step up in trip isn’t entirely sure to suit. Let’s take him on.

There are plenty of interesting alternatives. The Godolphin gelding New Strategy for example. There could be more to come over this 9f trip. Lear’s Rock is on a hat-trick and may well be able to overcome a penalty. Lightly raced Deerfield also can’t be discounted.

However I do like most the Hannon trained Jeremy colt Who Dares Wins. He improved for his second start last season and run eye-catchingly on his seasonal reappearance at Wolverhampton earlier this month. The 7f trip was maybe a bit too sharp that day and he was poorly positioned when the leaders kicked on. Though he travelled well for a long time and looked almost a non-trier entering the home straight while running out an easy third in the end.

You would imagine that he will come on for the run and has a bit more to offer on his Handicap debut, which is only his fourth start, off a low opening mark. The trip should be fine on quick ground to suit and as the bottom weight he may well be able to exploit a lenient looking mark. The fact that Sean Levey is coming here for this one ride only, is interesting too.

5.05 Epsom: Class 4 Handicap, 9f, 3yo 
Who Dares Wins @ 9/1 Sportingbet – 5pts win

Brighton conditions in favour of Jet Setting

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It must be a tip in itself that Irish raider Taexali comes over to Brighton to try to get off the mark in a maiden with jockey Shane Foley booked to ride. This Raven’s Pass colt showed nice early speed on debut in a very hot Curragh maiden that works out well form-wise. He faded late and was certainly not disgraced.

Worries are the much different ground today in my mind. It’s fast as it often is at Brighton. The track with its emphasis on stamina may help, but he’s a very short favourite and may be worth to take on in these conditions.

With the Richard Hannon trained filly Jet Setting, there is potentially a dangerous rival. The Fast Company daughter started slowly and looked green on debut earlier this month, but finished fast. She’ll be much better suited to the fast ground today than the softish conditions at Leicester the last time.

She’ll get further in time, no doubt, but the track may well suit perfectly today. Her five pounds sex allowance are certainly a bonus and Sean Leavey booked on his only ride on the day could well be a tip in itself too. This filly could be a big danger against the short favourite and makes appeal at 2/1 in a field where nothing else looks to have a realistic shout to win.

4.40 Brighton: Maiden Stakes, 5f
Jet Setting @ 2/1 Bet365 – 10pts win