Tag Archives: Ripon

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 #9 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.

Brilliant Blue
20/05/22 – 1.35 Goodwood:

Awkward start but wasn’t help by the isolated #1 draw. Was about to move forward when badly hampered on the inside around the 6 furlong marker. Keen afterwards. Made excellent progress from three furlongs out. Looked like coming with big run before fading.

This was his seasonal reappearance. Possible lack of race fitness and mid-race keenness may have been the contributing factor to a lackluster finish.

Should be better than this. Showed promise as a juvenile in two races in Autumn – form worked out well as he finished around some higher rated individuals – before flopping on the All-Weather. The mile trip shouldn’t be an issue on pedigree.

Race Replay

Aeonian
20/05/22 – 3.40 Haydock:

Travelled toward the end of the small field, pretty keen early on, nearly bumped into rival. Slowly run race, eventual first and second – also lto winners – tracked the pace and quickened gradually from three furlongs out. He made good progress on outside once in the clear but couldn’t catch the leaders.

He was also quite heavily sweating on this seasonal reappearance. Given circumstances this was a fine performance against some good and experienced rivals.

Hasn’t been seen since August when winning hot Yarmouth Novice contest overcoming severe greenness. The form looks strong. he could be a smart prospect. May be prohibitive odds next time. Needs monitoring.

Race Replay

Glamorous Express
21/05/22 – 4.35 Goodwood:

Travelling very strongly in rear of the field. Was at a major disadvantage, though. Having to pass the entire field, still last two furlongs from home going well, eventually switched inside the final furlong and finishes easily the best.

Obviously needs step up in trip. Six furlongs should see him improve. Seven furlongs not out of question. Was still green and raw in most races last year. Hence wouldn’t be too harsh on judging his performances beyond the minimum distance in his juvenile campaign.

Won a Novice contest when last seen in 2021 at Bath, battling strongly. A mark of 80 looks fair for the moment, if he can improve for the trip and for race fitness.

Race Replay

Tomfre
21/05/22 – 1.40 York:

Led the field setting solid fractions. Started to come under pressure from over two furlongs out. Headed and eventually lost touch with those that finished in the placings. Stuck gutsily to the task regardless, didn’t fade away.

Strong performance, ran right to form and mark. Was runner-up of 105 OR last May at this track. Comes down to a more realistic marks now, currently 2lb below his last winning mark.

Looks in fine form, this performance confirmed as much. Ideally would love to see a few more pounds off. Needs certainly proper soft ground to be seen to best effect. He’s one to keep monitoring this season for the right circumstances.

Race Replay

Ey Up It’s Maggie
21/05/22 – 2.55 York:

Tracked the early pace, took over the lead halfway through and ran strongly to the line. Only headed and eventually beaten in the final 100 yards.

Really gutsy performance. Highly consistent filly. In the grip of the handicapper. Will always be vulnerable in this class off this mark. A few pounds off, drop in class and proper soft ground over the minimum trip will be really interesting. Wait for it.

Race Replay

Bonus
21/05/22 – 7.15 Lingfield:

Crossed over toward the rails soon after the start and travelled at the end of the midfield group for the most part. Had a lot to do form this position over two furlongs out while the winner enjoyed the perfect run being up with the pace and was also well handicapped. Didn’t have the pace to challenge when gaps opened over a furlong from home but finished well under hands and heels.

He’s still a few pounds above his last winning mark but starts to get some assistance from the handicapper. I feel this run confirmed his wellbeing. Any additional drop in the ratings combined with racing over 7 furlongs on proper soft ground will spark my interest.

Race Replay

La Yakel
22/05/22 – 1.30 Nottingham:

Was away a bit slowly from the widest draw, settled eventually in rear. Still trailed over two furlongs out going very strongly. Didn’t get out for a clear run until about 1.5f from home. Quickened nicely and grabbed third place on the line having been tenderly handled.

This was his debut. He was gelded already back in March but must have some talent. Was a £28,000 foal but changed hands a year later for £120,000 to Shadwell. He will likely improve plenty fold for stepping up to 10 furlongs given his breeding.

The form could be quite useful. The odds-on winner had more experience and tasted success the last time. Given first and second where always prominent and La Yakel made such a good impression from the rear of the field suggest he could be closely matched with the winner. Needs monitoring for the next starts.

Race Replay

Kaasirr
22/05/22 – 3.05 Nottingham:

Travelled well enough in the final third of the field. Looked poised from three out, not clearest of runs from over two furlongs out, in a tight spot. Eventually fades.

I imagine this was a strong race for this class and will work out well in the long-run. He’s got a few solid pieces of form to this name, especially a close runner-up effort behind Al Nafir (who was 2nd behind Cash on debut) last year on his second career start.

His three-year old campaign has been rather disappointing so far. He was fancied in all three races, hang his chances away at Southwell and finished tamely the last two times. I feel a mile is the maximum of his stamina, though.

He comes down to a dangerous mark I reckon. Perhaps some different form of headgear could be interesting. A drop to a mile is key. I would also be interested in 7 furlongs with a bit of ease in the ground.

Race Replay

Orbaan
22/05/22 – 5.05 York:

Settled in rear of the field going well. Travelled much the strongest in the home straight, hard on the bridle, poised to be unleashed for a winning move. Couldn’t get out, though. Repeatedly short of room. No chance whatsoever.

Is an infrequent winner but has ran numerous times really well in defeat. Big run when 5th in last years Lincoln, placed in the summer off a mark off 94 twice.

Now down to a 87 OR, he looks seriously well handicapped if he gets his conditions: a mile at York or Doncaster or generally a relatively flat straight course. He also goes well over 7 furlongs with significant cut in the ground. He looks ready for a big win.

Race Replay

Arab Cinder
23/05/22 – 1.10 Wolverhampton:

Had to overcome the widest draw, outpaced early on and trailed the main body of the field by quite a margin. Made good progress from halfway, in touch turning for home and loomed dangerously. Couldn’t get a clear run, kept inside by rival the entire home straight until dramatic move toward the inside at the final furlong marker.

Would have gone really close with a clear run most likely. This was her Handicap debut and she showed significant improvement from her three qualifying runs.

As a full-sister to a 1m 6f winner who stayed 2 miles, she is likely to get better the further she goes. 7 furlongs is clearly too short therefore it’s noteworthy how well she ran here. The family isn’t overly successful on the ratings front but most win races.

With that in mind I don’t have massive confidence that she can repeat this performance over shorter than 10 furlongs. The pace was likely a big help for her staying on so well. If she moves up in trip I’ll be really interested. One to monitor.

Race Replay

Eddie The Beagle
23/05/22 – 2.20 Leicester:

Outpaced early on, possibly still green, had to be niggled in early parts of the race. Travelled okay into home straight and tried to make progress from back of the field having loads to do. Multiple times stopped and short of room. Ran on a bit late under easy ride.

Seasonal reappearance. Showed bit of progress on second last start last November. Dam won over 1m 4f for the same yard. Would expect this lad to be competitive if he steps up to that sort of distance.

Race Replay

Crownthorpe
24/05/22 – 7.00 Newcastle:

Travelled in rear initially, seemingly not going all that well. Moved into midfield and outpaced over 2 furlong out when the pace increased. Seemed to come with a late move inside the final furlong but badly hampered half a furlong from home. Winner was long gone at that stage though.

He was hampered and short of room on his seasonal reappearance at Redcar, too. Finished the race okayish from the back of the field. The form looks very strong.

Lost form toward the second half of last season. Has fallen significantly in his mark since two subsequent placed efforts in class 2 Hansicaps off 88 and 89 in May and June 2021.

Down to a 74 rating now, he should be really well handicapped in the right conditions. A mile with cut in the ground could be that. He requires a solid pace to be seen to best effect, I feel.

Race Replay

Reckon I’m Hot
24/05/22 – 5.40 Lingfield:

Caught wide from the #11 draw early on, travelled pretty well into the home straight, going better than most, couldn’t find instant acceleration when finding daylight over 1 furlong out. Perhaps ran out of gas too.

Seven furlongs is probably too far. She was quite unlucky not to win over the minimum trip at Lingfield back in February when she looked to have it won, only be caught late on the line.

Subsequently badly hampered at the start at Chelmsford, she ran better than the result suggested, while she bumped into a very well handicapped winner at Wolverhampton.

She looks capable of winning off her current mark. Would quite like to see her over 6 furlongs on turf.

Race Replay

Billy Wedge
24/05/22 – 8.05 Newcastle:

A bit slowly away, settled in rear, although seriously keen early on. Jockey had to take pulls multiple times. Steered from the middle toward the stands’ side and back again over 3f out. Seemed to travel extremely strongly approaching the 2f marker, still hard on the bridle, only then switched to the widest outside. Finished much the strongest.

Possibly unlucky not getting the clearest of runs but also seemingly a rather conservative ride given. Ran really well at Redcar in April on his comeback run after a near year long break.

Couldn’t repeat, although perhaps mitigating factors. This latest performance shows he is still very much capable of winning. On past form potentially well handicapped if the handicapper doesn’t react too harshly. Was Newcastle winner over 6f of a mark off 52, running to topspeed 55 in February 2021.

Best form on the All-Weather and over 7 furlongs. Rating wise not too far behind what he has achieved on turf, though; however, without winning. I don’t see turf as such a big negative with that in mind. But needs careful monitoring of market and jockey booking. Will require proper soft ground if to be considered on turf.

Race Replay

Thrave
25/05/22 – 3.10 Beverley:

Restrained early on and settled in last pace a few lengths off the main body of the field. Good progress from 4 furlongs out on the inside but headway stopped in home straight. Repeatedly short of room right to the end, while looking poised to win the race if a gap would open.

Ran better on two occasions this season since coming back from a break. Looks poised judged on this, though from a handicapping perspective loos matched with best form from last season.

As eyecatching as this performance was I want to see a couple pounds off the mark. Off 65 or lower at a track that doesn’t favour front runners. 7f-1m fine. The shorter distance not on fast ground. Monitor. Engaged this Friday at Pontefract.

Race Replay

Van Gerwen
25/05/22 – 6.25 Ripon:

Travelled in midfield in a compact field. Perhaps a little bit flat footed entering last three furlongs when pace increased. Found some momentum and looked ready for a challenge but was repeatedly short of room until nearly the very final moment of the race.

Probably ran right up to mark and best of his 2021 form. Won off the same mark last October and ran to topspeed 62, 65 and 67. With that in mind he has clearly proven his wellbeing – important for a 9-year-old.

At the same time he is not overly well handicapped right now. Merely handicapped to what he’s capable of running to. It’s worth waiting one or two more runs to see how his mark is going to be (hopefully) reduced. Is engaged Friday, 27th May at Pontefract.

Race Replay

Twice Adaay
25/05/22 – 8.30 Ripon:

Prominent early on, chased the pace in second line. Lost position when racing room became increasingly tight and was short of room at 2 furlongs from home. Had to delay challenge. Met interference at final furlong marker too. Switched toward the inside and moved nicely through a gap to finish well.

Sole win came over 5 furlongs in soft conditions last year of a mark off 54. Ran to topspeed 56 on turf and 58 on firesand. Ran quite well on a number occasions this year. Consistency means she’s in the grip of the handicapper right now.

If she falls below 65 again and over the minimum trip on proper soft ground she’ll be really interesting.

Race Replay

Lady Lavina
26/05/22 – 1.20 Ripon:

Travelled really strongly and like the potential winner for the most parts of the race. Tried to find a gap from over two furlongs out. Short of room until very late when finally space opens up and she finishes really strongly, even though runs into traffic close to the finish once again.

May filly on debut here seemed ready despite drifting out to 20/1. Most likely will benefit from step up in trip to 7 furlongs. One to see where connections go next. May be too obvious to back next time. Worth to keep an eye for when she moves beyond six furlongs.

Race Replay

Field Of Honour
26/05/22 – 3.50 Ripon:

Pulls really hard pretty for the majority of the race. A slow pace didn’t help. Received a good educational ride. As pace leading trio kicks on four from home he’s kept at the rear of the field behind horses. Pulled out 3f from home and makes eye catching progress to about the final furlong marker.

Debut run for this April foal. Quite well bred, likely to be seen to best effect if stepping up to 10 furlongs. needs to learn to settle. Looks to have a bit of talent given the way he travelled in the home straight and make nice progress.

Will not get involved before going handicapping unless stepping up to 10 furlongs. One to monitor for next entries.

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

Monday Selections: August, 5th 2019

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4.00 Ripon: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 2f

having dropped to a dangerously low handicap mark, the first time visored Delph Crescent looks to have found an ideal opportunity to get his name on the scoreboard again.

The 4-year-old ran well of much higher marks earlier this year already, but now down to an official rating of 72 offers a unique opportunity in a race that is wide open and is set to be run in conditions to suit.

Delph Crescent won three times last year, latest successes came off 73 and 78 and he also achieved topspeed rating

won of 73 and 78 3lb claim good form earlier this year visor of 78 and 71 back then. With a fair 3lb claimer in the saddle today he looks rather obviously well handicapped.

Selection:
10pts win – Delph Crescent @ 14/1 MB

………

8.30 Windsor: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

Look Surprised won this twelve months ago and the mare looks in with an excellent shout this evening again. It’s a poor field she tackles here, while dropping to a very tasty mark, now 2lb lower than when winning it last year.

Her latest showing at Bath is slightly concerning as she was expected to run well, however her other three starts on turf this season where respectable, albeit not particularly good either.

One has to hope a return to Windor, a track Look Surprised has a 50% strike rate, can revive her best form. Certainly she has ran her to career best topspeed ratings of 68 and 64 the last two years.

Selection:
10pts win – Look Surprised @ 6/1 MB

Saturday Selections: July, 20th 2019

Newbury racecourse

3.00 Newbury: Group 3 Hackwood Stakes, 6f

Fantastic renewal – you can make a case for more than half in the field, predominantly I have high on my shortlist the well backed Donjuan Triumphant, who will enjoy conditions, as well as the two 3-year-old s Khadeem and Oxted. Plus, probably a fair favourite, The Tin Man.

He’s a short price and you can see why. With cut in the ground, he takes a significant drop in class and has a high strike rate. Is he still the force of old, though? Maybe. But this is a super deep race and I can easily oppose him.

On prices, the one I like most now is last years runner-up Projection. He hasn’t shown the same level of form in two runs this year, but I like the fact he comes here with low mileage this season and he ran better than the bare results suggest in the Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.

He also drops in grade and will love the underfoot conditions today. There is a slight question mark whether all is well with him, given he dropped out tamely the last two races. A tongue tie is applied now. That is concerning, at the same time intriguing.

If the tongue tie does have any positive impact, it is easy to see Projection making a 16/1 price tag look foolish in the closing stages. So, there is risk attached here, but at given odds I’m prepared to take it.

Selection:
10pts win – Projection @ 16/1 MB

…….

5.00 Newmarket: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 2f

I really like the look of both Durrell and Ironclad. Both met at Chelmsford recently and fought out first and second. Durrell had the upper hand that day and he is a fine prospect, though I wonder whether he will turn out to be a much better horse on the All-Weather.

Ironclad in contrast, who ran to a topspeed rating of 83 at Chemsford, has already proven his effectifness on turf, as he landed a minor race at Beverly in the meantime. That’s not form to shout about, and Ironclad still appeared plenty green enough, but it was probably a good learning experience.

This April foal is obviously well bred and through his pedigree offers plenty of upside, having every chance to be a better horse than an 81 rated handicapper. This imposing lad could be well handicapped of this opening mark I feel.

Selection:
10pts win – Ironclad @ 4/1 MB

……

5.15 Ripon: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

Two I’m keen on here from the lower end of the betting market: Alqaab stepping up to 6 furlongs for the first time is one of these. He’s a 4-year-old, so has to give weight away. But he’s a compelling horse over the new trip after a pretty decent effort over the minimum distance at Doncaster lately.

That was a super hot contest, and the fact he finished close enough, also posting a 61 topspeed rating, but has fallen to a 60 handicap mark now, is intriguing. He ran well in a couple of Novice races also, but now on a potentially good handicap mark, he can go well in this open contest.

The other one is the filly Sophia Maria in first time blinkers. She drops in trip, which should suit. She has some fine performances already in the book actually, finishing in the money on three occasions over 5- and 6 furlongs.

She also drops to a potentially tasty mark of 62 now, given she matched a 62 TS rating on her final start as juvenile already. There might be a bit more to come from her over this distance in handicap company I feel. Interesting jockey booking with Andrew Elliott, who has a superb record when having only one ride at Ripon in the Summer season!

Selections:
5pts win – Sophia Maria @ 21/1 MB
5pts win – Alqaab @ 17/1 WH

……

7.00 Haydock: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 2f

Quick turnaround for Indomeneo, who ran well here at Haydock only 24 hours ago. He looked a little bit awkward in a race where he tracked a hot pace over a mile.

Upped to 10 furlongs, which looks fine on drying ground, a trip, even though he has a poor strike rate, he posted a career best topspeed rating in the past, won’t be an issue I reckon.

Indomeneo as fallen down to a sexy mark, having ran well of around ten pounds higher last season and is now 9lb lower than his last winning mark.

An excellent 3lb claimer is in the saddle – significantly it is Connor Murtagh’s only ride today.

Selection:
10pts win – Indomeneo @ 11/2 MB

Monday Selections: July, 8th 2019

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7.10 Ripon: Class 5 Handicap, 1m

He looks not the likeliest on recent form, however a wind surgery might do the trick for 3-year-old Fume. A son of Frankel, and a half-brother to solid Mesquite, now down to a rating of 69 in a rather poor contest offers a big opportunity to get off the mark, if the wind OP has helped.

Fume showed promise as a juvenile, particularly on the All-Weather, having beaten only by a neck twice last November of 69 and 72 ratings, also running a topspeed rating of 69.

A fair 3rd place effort in April this year also showed he’s trained on, so the breathing may indeed have been the problem the last twice.

Selection:
10pts win – Fume @ 14/1 MB

……

8.50 Windsor: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 3.5f

Small and competitive field but the most upside is with Fearless Warrior I believe. He’s a tricky sort now fitted with blinkers for the first time after three rather disappointing efforts this season.

He should be a sort that’s improving with age as a son of Sea The Stars born in April, so’ll happily give him another chance.

Fearless Warrior is down to a mark of 80 now, but finished last season with a strong runner-up effort at Newmarket running to a topspeed rating of 83. If there is still a bit more to come and the blinkers help to focus, then he should run a huge race today.

Selection:
10pts win – Fearless Warrior @ 7/2 MB