Tag Archives: Rowley Mile

Saturday Night Thoughts

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A busy Saturday full of intriguing racing action is behind us. Some thoughts on the things that stood out me.

Kameko Wins 2000 Guineas

He appeared to be a rock solid chance beforehand but turned out to be the very best in a deep 2000 Guineas field: Kameko came late to the party with only the final furlong left to go when finally challenging for the lead. Eventually the son of Kitten’s Joy beat the Ballydoyle “money horse” Wichita… and he did it with a bit of authority.

I felt beforehand that Kameko should be a big player if he improves in a way one would hope he can as a three-year-old, given his consistent (particularly on the clock) and strong performances as a juvenile.

The fast pace surely suited him but that doesn’t mean he got it easy. In fact he had to fight for room and a clear passage. Over two furlongs out Oisin Murphy pulled Kameko out in what was quite a violent move, which in turn hampered Kinross rather significantly, who it seemed to my eyes, was just about to hit top gear and fighting to get through a gap himself.

Once in the clear, though, Kameko stayed on strongly, suggesting he will get further – which puts my suggestion that he has miler “written all over” him pretty much to shame.

What does hold true: he falls into the bracket of late foals that seemingly improve during the summer months exponentially, which rather nicely proves the point I made in my race preview that the later date of this years 2000 Guineas will have a profound impact on what type of horse it suits best.

A first British Classic success for Oisin Murphy – it was coming sooner rather than later. Derby next for Kameko? It would be a shame if not.

As for “my boy” Kinross: he raced a lot closer to a brisk pace – at least early on in the race – than I would have anticipated. He lost ground in the middle part, finding it all a bit too hot.

When it looked his race is over, Harry Bentley seemed to galvanize him once more which meant Kinross started to make progress and was about to be moving through an opening gap with about two furlongs to go.

It was then that the accelerating Kameko suddenly cut across and as a consequence hampered Kinross badly, who lost vital momentum. One could also argue Kameko was simply faster moving through the same gap Kinross wanted to get through too.

The drift in the betting to 20/1 SP was evidence that there was little confidence in his chances. So it looks he may not be quite as good as I have hoped. Nonetheless I still think he can become a top class horse. He finished 6th in a deep 2000 Guineas despite being badly hampered, though possibly need the step up to 10 furlongs to be seen to best effect. I retain hope.

Richard Hughes Calls Out Racingpost

If those from within the industry start to call you out it’s time to finally listen and step up. It’s clear that people are fed up with the substandard product the Racingpost is producing. What were usually disgruntled racing fans, now starts to spread to people from within the sport. That must be a real concern for the Racingpost.

I concluded as much last week that the paper is devoid of original content. If you charge £3.90/€4.20 for a daily paper that operates in a niche segment that is horse racing you better offer tremendous value – i.e. quality content – to justify such a steep price tag.

Tough Times for Ryan Moore

He’s one of the best, if not THE best jockey on the planet. But even Ryan Moore is a human being (seriously!). In fact he’s as human as any other jockey in that he can go through a bad run of form from time to time. Which is what he’s doing right now.

Racing is only back for less than a full week but Ryan Moore has clearly angered a lot punters judging by my Twitter feed.

The numbers look bleak: 21 rides, 1 winner. However, the reason for this may be as simple as he didn’t ride a lot of good horses. In fact, ten of his rides came on horses that went off 9/1 or bigger – some at much bigger odds even. Only one was a favourite: and won.

Hawwaam Is Back

I absolutely loved seeing the almighty South African superstar Hawwaam back (or close to) his best this afternoon. He won the Grade 1 Horse Chestnut Stakes at Turffontein in fine style where he was travelling strongly throughout and putting the race to bed rather easily in the end.

After two defeats in Cape Town where issues of travelling and settling in his new surroundings may have hindered him to show his very best, as trainer Mike De Kock suggested, the four-year-old clearly enjoyed his return to Turffontein, bagging a fifth Grade 1!

Rough Betting Days

Racing is back and been quite successful for me personally from a punting perspective. Three bigger priced winners from six bets before Friday. Brilliant!

Then came Friday. A bit of a shocker. Then came Saturday. Brutal. All bets lost. That in itself isn’t a problem. That’s what naturally happens if you back the big prices I do – 6 losing bets – isn’t the end of the world and doesn’t bother me. Normally.

What does bother me is if I don’t follow my Golden Rules of betting on horses. When I let myself down making poor choices and decisions guided by emotions and “gut feeling” and not by hard facts. When I know full well the horse is unlikely to be well handicapped but still follow through to back the “fancy”. Memo to myself: make better decisions. No bet no problem.

Preview: 2000 Guineas 2020

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The Guineas meeting at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile is an unusual affair this year: it’s staged behind closed doors with no crowds allowed. But it also takes place much later than its usual date at the end of April/beginning of May.

A solid four weeks delay can have a rather profound impact in the world of horse racing, particularly for the classic generation of horses. The reason is that three-year-old colts mature at different rates generally, but start to catch up during their three-year-old campaign with their elders. An individual that was still a little bit behind in the early Spring days may have come on nicely under the sun in June.

The more precocious types can have an advantage early in the season – this certainly shows in facts such as that only few May born colts have tackled the 2000 Guineas in recent times (also notably less April foals).

For example over the last two decades the winners were predominantly born in either January (6), February (6) or March (5), whereas they fall significantly for April (2), while not a single winner was born in May. Obviously not as many born in the later months contested in first place. That in itself already illustrates that the Guineas tends to suit horses that are naturally ahead of younger three-year-old colts.

If we take this a step further then it becomes apparent that a month can make a big difference in the life of a classic horse: the picture changes if you look at those that have won the Derby over the last two decades, run in June.

Compared to the Guineas, Derby winners are significantly less born in January (2) or February (4) but we notice a massive spike in March (10) foals. Also April (3) and and particularly May born colts (4) perform much stronger now.

The Derby is a longer distance and attracts different horses, so this isn’t quite a scientific comparison. usually only few Guineas horses make it to the Derby. But isn’t that a clue in itself as well? Quite clearly the Guineas – in normal circumstances – is suited to those older three-year-olds while the younger ones catch up as the weeks progress.

You frequently hear punters and racing experts say late foals need time to develop therefore the Guineas comes too soon and therefore they can’t be backed – this notion isn’t wrong as illustrated above. At the same it doesn’t apply nearly as much to the the 2020 edition of the 2000 Guineas as it does in most other years.

Pinatubo:

The odds-on and ante-post favourite is right in the sweet spot if it comes to his date of birth. He is also the top rated horse in the field, has been incredibly impressive as a juvenile and posted superb speed figures.

Opposing the son of Shamardal may look extremely foolish come Saturday afternoon. On pedigree the step up to a mile shouldn’t be an issue. Given the fact he ran so strongly to the line at the Curragh in the National Stakes, which has a notable uphill finish, as well as in the Dewhurst in soft conditions at Newmarket, I have little doubt that an additional furlong, particularly on fast ground, will cause any trouble.

On facts and figures based on two-year-old form Pinatubo is nearly impossible to oppose and one can argue should even be a good deal shorter in the betting.

What speaks against him? For a start: his juvenile campaign started in May last year. Quite early, which also points to him being rather precocious which is enhanced by the fact he’s ran six times in 2019.

It’s unlikely he’ll need to improve as he ran to such a high level already. If he would be still as good as last year, and stays a mile, he’d win the 2000 Guineas in most years. Begs the question: can Pinatubo run to the same or at least close to the same level as a 3-year-old? His sire stats are no confidence booster.

Shamardal colts at the age of three over the mile trip have a poor strike-rate, effectively winning only half of as many races as they should (A/E), perform particularly poorly in June, and the drop in performance from two- to three-year-old is – on average – quite significant.

Pinatubo is odds-on right now. Backing him at this price one needs to have full confidence that he’s not one of those Shamardal sons that regress as they get older.

For me there are enough reasons to oppose Pinatubo. As much as I would love to see him being the next superstar. Yet, I feel this is quite a deep 2000 Guineas field and others in the race have a lot of potential to improve in a way that the gap to him can be closed.

Arizona:

Somewhat a similar profile to Pinatubo as he showed plenty f talent as a juvenile – as well as born in February – when he landed the Coventry Stakes. Arizona performed strongly on top level for the rest of the year, including a runner-up performance behind Pinatubo in the Dewhurst, and an unlucky effort at the Breeders Cup.

How much better can Arizona be? His sire No Nay Never is inviting uncomfortable questions. His offspring doesn’t progress too well from two to three – albeit there is only a single season of evidence, to be fair – but there is a significant drop in performances for his 3-year-old colts. It looks particularly dire over a mile, even if we only allow for those that were fancied in the betting.

If I have these concerns about Arizona than it’s only right and fair to say Wichita has the the same sort of question marks to overcome. As an April foal with less mileage on the clock he has a better chance of improving. I don’t see that happening over the mile trip as the dam side is speedy enough.

Kameko:

He’s got a lovely profile. He stays the mile, has proven to deal sufficiently enough with fast ground and won the Futurity Stakes – albeit on the All-Weather – in fine style at the end of last year.

I am most impressed by the consistency of his efforts in four runs as a juvenile, because there is every chance he is going to be a better three-year-old. Kameko ran to topspeed ratings of 97 and 99 (2x) already, which is quite good, if not top class, but certainly a consistent level of strong form.

If he does improve as one would hope he does, the son of Kitten’s Joy is a major player, particularly as I feel he has miler written all over him. Saying that, Kameko will need to improve again in order to feature in this deep field.

Al Suhail:

There is a lot of stamina on the dam side, even though well bred, related to a couple of horses that showed their best definitely beyond a mile. For me that’s a real worry on fast ground, despite Al Suhail having form on it.

He ran a fast time when runner-up to Military March at the Rowley Mile when last seen. I rate that form. But it came on soft ground. I feel he’s more likely to be found out for speed here.

Military March:

He really impressed me in his two starts. Won the Autumn Stakes going away in the closing stages. Excellent topspeed rating awarded for that performance. One to keep an eye on this year.

On the other hand as a full-brother to Clongowes, who stayed two miles and needed well beyond a mile to win, I feel Military March will be outpaced when it matters most.

Royal Dornoch:

He was a surprise winner of the Royal Lodge Stakes. With that he has graded course and distance form to his name which is a big plus. He ran often as a juvenile but given he is an April foal things may simply took time to click. Is a dark horse in my view – if allowed to run on merit and not here on pacemaker duties.

Kenzai Warrior:

One to keep in mind for rainy days. He’ll appreciate the step up in trip, though may need even further to be seen to best effect. Most likely will appreciate significant cut in the ground. Will be taken off his feet on the likely fast ground.

Mums Tipple has sprinter written all over in my book but will be interesting to see what he can do given he posted that rather big 110 topspeed figure at York last summer. Juan Elcano is a solid prospect, likely over further than the mile. Shouldn’t bee good enough here, though.

Hard to see any of Cepheus, Persuasion, Starcat or New World Tapestry feature.

Kinross:

Seven month ago I was super bullish when stating Kinross will win the 2000 Guineas. Didn’t work out that well on that specific day in the Futurity Stakes where I backed him at short odds. Different story on Saturday?

When talking about Kinross one can’t forget this incredible Newmarket performance. Visually stunning. The turn of foot electric. You simply don’t see a newcomer all that often doing what he did that day.

The form looks good on the numbers too: the runner-up, Raaeb, was a 2nd in a Listed race earlier this year, then only behind subsequent, and rather unlucky Group 3 runner-up Malotru, and is now a 97 rated individual. Kinross beat him as easily as it gets by 8 lengths and could have won by more, if needed.

Not surprisingly but still remarkable – let’s not forget it was his very first official racecourse appearance – Kinross was awarded a topspeed rating of 100, which is extremely high for a debut performance.

He went to Newcastle as the hot favourite for the Futurity Stakes where he finished a 6¼ lengths beaten fifth. Disappointing. Big but: the surface probably didn’t suit, he was still seriously inexperienced which showed at the start and he received a huge bump mid-race which knocked him off his stride.

Kinross will have learned plenty that day. Besides, anything he did as a two-year-old was as bonus. He is a May foal and was always one with the next year in mind. The fact that the Guineas takes place in June as opposed to a month earlier can only be a positive for his chances.

Home reports are positive for what will be Ralph Beckett’s first 2000 Guineas runner! The likely fast ground, as well as the additional furlong, open further possibilities for more improvement. This is as exciting a prospect as I’ve seen in a long time.

Verdict:

Even though I make some hard calls on some of the runners, make no mistake: this is a really deep field. Quality colts who have proven to run fast as two-year-olds. Obviously we don’t know how they have trained on. There were no trials and even for trainers it’ll be hard to gauge how their horses measure up at this point in time.

Pinatubo is the right favourite. The best two-year old in a long time, he is a star and could confirm his status as the new superstar of the sport. But I have doubts that he can run to the same high level as he did last year. He’s short enough to take on.

The boys in blue have some interesting contenders, beside the obvious one already mentioned. None of team Ballydoyle excite me, on the other hand. Although, Royal Dornoch could outrun his price tag, if not on pacemaker duties and allowed to run on merit.

Futurity winner Kemko is a rock solid chance to run well and will be suited by the conditions.

My fate is tied to Kinross, naturally. I do feel he offers the greatest potential to make a gigantic step forward. He is a massive price, with the potential improvement not factored in at all.

I was at Newmarket when his sire Kingman was denied by Night Of Thunder (and also when he won the Irish Guineas subsequently). Here’s hoping his son Kinross can go one better.

Selection:
20200606nmk153507 10pts win – Kinross @ 14/1 VC Bet

Saturday Selections: October, 12th 2019

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5.20 Newmarket: G3 Darley Stakes, 1m 1f

I am an admirer of consistent Matterhorn but feel in these conditions he will not be able to show his best, which will be required to beat two others I also quite fancy for this particular contest.

The 3-year-old Feliciana De Vega is obviously the most exciting and intriguing individual here. Lightly raced, showed a lot as a juvenile posting strong figures, and hasn’t been without promise in two starts this season either, while also loving soft ground, he has the ability to improve again and take advantage of WFA.

However, the price has dropped below one I’m prepared to back him, given the potential improvement is well and truly reflected in the odds.

Also dropping in price, but still underestimated is 4-year-old gelding Indeed. Not quite as sexy in profile as the favourite, however, no less with the potential for potential improvement, I feel.

He also remains still generally low mileage, has shown preference for cut in the ground and improved nicely from two to three to four years of age – as you would hope to see from an April foal.

Indeed won twice this year already, including over a mile here at Newmarket (plus a 10f success on the All-Weather), posting a 101 career best topspeed rating. The form looks solid, and even though he couldn’t follow on from there next time out, he clearly had valid excuses at Goodwood.

A little break since then may have freshened him up, and hopefully the Goodwood run hasn’t left any marks on him; if it hasn’t he’ll be a massive player today, one I have much closer to Feliciana De Vega in my book than the bookies still have.

Selection:
10pts win – Indeed @ 6/1 MB

Friday Selections: October, 11th 2019

Newmarket Rowley Mile False Rail

3.35 Newmarket: G1 Bet365 Fillies’ Mile, 1m

Intriguing contest, but possibly a weak one without a real star? For all what the market principles have achieved form wise, they haven’t run particularly fast yet.

Neither Love nor Cayenne Pepper have come near at least a 90 topspeed rating, despite having ample opportunity. You may give recent 9 lengths winner Quadrilateral the benefit of the doubt, though.

Nonetheless, I feel Powerful Breeze is underestimated in this field. The filly was supplemented after kicking her career off with two impressive runs. A winning debut over 7f here at Newmarket, followed up with an excellent Group 3 success at Doncaster.

That day she ran to a 92 topspeed rating, which is by far the best of what any filly has achieved in this field. There is no reason to doubt its legitimacy, as it was a well run race and Powerful Breeze improved nicely from her debut 87 TS performance.

She looks a filly open to plenty more improvement, being well bred, a March filly and by Iffraay. She gets the trip well, the ground is a slight question mark, given she hasn’t met cut in the ground yet.

I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt on that front, given her dam acted on soft, and Iffraay’s offspring tends to perform well enough also. Certainly if she can run here to the same sort of level – possibly even a little bit better – than in the May Hill this filly has a much better chance than the odds suggest.

Selection:
10pts win – Powerful Breeze @ 7/1 MB

Sunday Selections: May, 5th 2019

Newmarket Rowley Mile False Rail

Read my 1000 Guineas Preview Here

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2.20 Newmarket: Group 2 Dahlia Stakes, 1m 1f

It’s a small field but it looks as wide open a race as some of those 16 runners + handicaps! Seriously, in my book Veracious is super skinny price. On ratings and form there is not much between ay of these, give and take two or three pounds, which can easily swing depending on how the race develops.

On time-speed ratings it’s the undervalued Nyaleti who comes out on top. Obviously, whether she’ll ever again run to 102 remains to be seen, but fact remains only Billesdon Brook is the other filly in the race having run to 100+, while the favourite’s best rating reads 95. Same goes for RPR’s where there is little between the market principles.

I’m firmly in the Nyaleti camp here, hoping she is ready to go. I feel the additional furlong will be beneficial to her. Form wise she is right up there. Runner-up when last seen in an Italian Group 1, placed in the Grade 1 QEII – when badly hampered turning for home – at Keeneland – the winner followed up with another Grade 1 since then as well – while having won the German 1000 Guineas last season.

Nyaleti has a big chance to land another pattern race today, with conditions no issue and a small field where I bank on Joe Fanning to get the pace right to suit his mount most.

Selection:
10pts win – Nyaleti @ 7/1 MB

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5.35 Gowran Park: 45-65 Handicap, 1 mile

All The Mollies has been knocking on the door lately, having ran like a horse handicapped to win if things only go a nudge more her way. Her two recent efforts at Dundalk can be upgraded to due to circumstances, while her mark has been left unchanged, which in turn gives her a big chance today returning to the turf.

The mare made an eye-catching reappearance on the All-Weather last months – clearly a tricky customer, she didn’t start to well and found herself squeezed for room halfway through the race, losing momentum for a second or so. Once in the clear she ran on well.

Improved with a run under her belt, All The Mollies set the early pace the next time, probably doing too much too early subsequently chasing the pace maker. The fact she fought on in gutsy style to go down only half a lengths beaten in the end rates highly in my book.

All The Mollies has been running to TS ratings of 56 twice in her career already, and returns to turf with a 9lb lower mark then she started last season, when she ran out a fine 4th place, only 2¼ lengths beaten in a Roscommon handicap of a 59 rating.

Her best efforts come with cut in the ground, so the softish going at Gowran Park today will suit.

Selection:
10pts win – All The Mollies @ 11/2 MB

Preview: 1000 Guineas 2019

Gleneagles

Year after year the 1000 Guineas appears to be a tricky puzzle to solve. In truth, I never have been able to connect all the pieces in a successful way. It’s one of those classics I’ll always get wrong.

I guess it simply turns out to be pretty tricky to predict the progress these fillies make over the winter and when – if – how much improvement they can find. Hence I take a swing at a bigger price today once more.

The filly I do quite like is Hermosa. She seems quite far down the pecking order, judged by jockey bookings and odds. Wayne Lordan is a fine jockey but clearly not one who’s riding the best of Aiden O’Brien’s string. 1 for 42 rides in the UK, an average SP of 25/1. The odds are clearly against this to change today.

Obviously I have zero insight in to what the filly shows at home. However, I hope, the fact Ballydoyle even brings Hermosa over to Newmarket counts as a vote of confidence that she has wintered well.

She comes here without a prep run. That doesn’t have to be an issue, as Saturday’s 2000 Guineas proved once more. Judged purely by juvenile form, Hermosa is not far behind the market principles, though, which in turns means her current price tag is well over the top.

This daughter of Galileo was a late May foal, so you would hope for improvement with age and time. Regardless, she proved a smart 2-year-old already:

3rd in the Moyglare Stud Stakes, she went on to win a Naas Group 3 in nice style, was then a good runner-up behind Idriessa – a leading fancy today – in the bet365 Mile here at Nemwarket, and finished 2018 with a superb runner-up effort in the Criterium International over 7 furlongs, racing the boys. 

Her career best time speed rating (93) and RPR (110) do not leave her with a lot to find to the leading fancies in the 1000 Guineas – any improvement on that will see her go close, if she is ready to run.

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

Preview: 2000 Guineas 2019

Newmarket Rowley Mile tight finish

Let’s get this out of the way right away: Ten Sovereigns will not stay. He’ll be a super exciting sprinter for the season to come, though.

Now that we’re clear on this rather important piece of the 2019 2000 Guineas puzzle, let’s focus on finding the winner of the race. I’ve three horses on my short-list.

The second Aiden O’Brien trained colt isn’t on the list: Magna Grecia is rock solid, mind. But I give him a pass at 7/2, as with fast conditions expected at the Rowley Mile today, I feel he’ll likely appreciate an additional couple of furlongs.

The other well fancied Irish runner Madhmoon is intriguing. You could argue it’s a tip in itself Kevin Prendergast sends his star colt over to Newmarket. He’s not doing it very often. His record in the UK is dismal, but one can be forgiving because the average SP’s of his UK runners tell its own story of outcome vs. expectations.

Madhmoon will surely improve for the better ground today. He’ll improve having a run under his belt. He’ll improve stepping up in trip again. Yet I’m not fully on board ad don’t quite feel excited about his chances.

In truth, he probably didn’t beat all that much in the Champions Juvenile Stakes last August. He also ran, despite looking imperious that day, only to a TS rating of 78. As a key piece of form, this isn’t enough for me to invest.

I’ll do happily invest – and could be called a hypocrite calling Madhmoon form average – in Skardu. Recency bias? Am I still “wowed” by his incredible (visually at least) seasonal reappearance in the Craven Stakes? Possibly.

Nonetheless, I do like a multiple course and distance winner, who looked scintillating on return over the Guineas CD, who has clearly proven to have trained on over the winter.

Skardu’s turn of foot is a thing of beauty. He produced a superb debut performance over 7f at Newmarket last September, leaving a subsequent UAE Derby winner standing still. You would hope there is much, much more to come. Only two runs on the clock, an April foal who’s shown an appreciation for fast ground also. I’m hugely excited!

The only thing I am slightly worried is whether he’ll get a clear run and gets going soon enough, if this would turn into something of a sprint finish, given his racing style.

I’ve got a small saver on a massive long-shot: Emaraaty Ana. The betting says there’s no hope. And the market could be right. But could also underestimate this lad. He was a late May foal, but showed sparkle as a juvenile regardless, landing the Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes, a Group 2, at Newbury last August.

That was over 6 furlongs. a trip rather on the sharp side one would think given his pedigree. It was no surprise to see him taken off his feat in the Middle Park Stakes subsequently.

Emaraaty Ana is bred to stay a mile, in fact to improve for the step up in trip. He is related to a couple of winners over the 1 mile trip. He’s proven to act on fast ground and ran a career best TS rating not dissimilar to what most other leading contenders in this field have achieved to date. Age is on his side, I feel – one way or another he’ll be ‘one to follow’ this year.

Selections:
9tps win – Skardu @ 9/1 MB
1pts win – Emaraaty Ana @ 139/1 MB

Wednesday Selections: April, 17th 2019

Balty Boys

Craven Stakes Day. Excellent racing at HQ today, as was the case yesterday as well. Qabala was impressive the way she won the Nell Qwyn Stakes. She looks like a horse ready-made for the Rowley Mile.

But the biggest lasting impressing was created in the opening maiden that saw Maqsad and Twist’n Shake fight out a dramatic battle to the line, as well as finishing a long way before the rest. Both fillies look exciting prospects for the season ahead.

Betting wise, I’m not really interested in Newmarket today. But Beverly offers an intriguing card, if not quite the same quality. The handicaps are interesting puzzles to solve for those who are into that sort of thing.

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4.00 Beverly: Class 4 Handicap, 7.5f

This is a pretty competitive and open race but I feel my selection Jackamundo can have a big say if in it to win it. He’s a big drifter this morning which is a concern, though there are plenty of positives as well.

Jackamundo looks the type to improve as a 3-year-old after a fair juvenile campaign, culminating in victory on handicap debut. Visually it was quite an impressive performance when he showed adversity to find a way through the field and get his head in front late, but early enough to win by a quarter of a lengths.

Gelded over the winter, his seasonal comeback run at Musselburgh was fair when the market expected him to run really well, though excuses can be made for a 6th place finish in a race where things didn’t quite pan out for him.

The slightly further trip today is sure to suit, the fast ground appears ideal as well, though the draw isn’t ideal and whether his racing style suits Beverly remains to be seen. A mark off 72 is realistic and offers opportunity, on the other hand.

Selection:
10pts win – Jackamundo @ 18/1 MB

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5.10 Beverly: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4f

It still pains me thinking back to the 22nd February when Gendarme as my 25/1 selection was beaten by a nose on the line. Can he make amends as an equally whopping price today?

The 4-year-old gelding looks hopeless judged by an 11-0-1 record. But as mentioned back then, it still applies very much today:

the majority of his runs on the All-Weather over the winter were quite promising, as he wasn’t too far beaten on most occasions, and those forms, to large extend have worked out well.

The most recent run at Lingfield, when attempting to follow up from his runner-up performance, albeit only finishing 7th and nearly seven lengths beaten, he was right there for a long time, setting a good pace from the front against hot opposition – for that class.

Given Gendarme he has ran to consistent RPR’s around his current mark and achieved a significantly higher career highest TS rating less than a year ago on turf, a return to this surface could bring out some improvement also. I feel there is a win just around the corner – hopefully today is the day.

Selection:
10pts win – Gendarme @ 21/1 MB

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6.10 Beverly: Class 5 Handicap, 8.5 furlongs

Still a maiden, though, Kylie Rules is one of the more unlucky ones. The filly has changed yards recently and goes to post first time for Ruth Carr today which is also her seasonal return.

The filly has dropped to a really handy mark if fit and ready to go today. She’s ran well fresh in the past, so that isn’t necessarily a worry. Kylie Rules also achieved a TS rating of 72 and RPR of 72 last season, suggesting a mark of 60 is well within her realms.

Her career-best came over the 8.5f trip last season at Hamilton – albeit on soft ground, though she ran perfectly fine on much fast ground as well. This looks like an ideal opportunity today to finally get off the mark.

Selection:
10pts win – Kylie Rules @ 10/1 PP

One more chance for Seven Heavens

Uh, this was quite decent day… two winners and both did the job very nicely. Brimham Rocks (5/2) never really travelled but he did have, as expected – or at least hoped – plenty in hand when it really mattered. Whereas Otomo (6/1) clearly enjoyed the drop in trip and made all from the front in fine style.

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3.45 Ascot: Pavilion Stakes – Group 3, 6 furlongs

I was quite keen on Frankel son Seven Heavens in the European Free Handicap two weeks ago when he returned from his winter break. Unfortunately the three year old pulled his chances away in the early stages of the race. He was far too keen to last home the full seven furlongs distance at the Rowley Mile.

This a recurring theme with this exuberant colt who shares quite some similarities – not only in terms of looks – with his prominent daddy.

Hope is not lost, though. Fast ground over six furlong on a galloping track like Ascot may suit allot better, so the drop in trip must not be a negative. Much the appositive. His pace and exuberance might be an advantage here.

So can be race fitness over the majority of the field where no less nine of twelve horses are returning from a seasonal break.

I believe this is an ideal chance for Seven Heavens to show us that he can be a pattern horse. The jury is still out, it’s not clear how good he is, given his two wins from last season are nothing to shout about form wise at least.

However he has the pedigree, the looks  and appeared to be having talent. There won’t be any excuse for a below par showing this time, that’s for sure.

Selection:
10pts win – Seven Heavens @ 8/1 Bet365

 

Guineas Weekend Review

The flat season is well and truly alive! Not only that, but time moves quickly and we now have also the first Classic of the new season behind us! So let’s quickly recap on what happened over the last weekend….

Gleneagles’s a proper miler…..

Isn’t he? You couldn’t say anything else after an impressive display over the Rowley Mile on Saturday. Yes, he had pretty much everything going for himself. Perfect draw, ground to suit and gaps opened when you would have wanted them to open for him.

Says he got an inch perfect ride from Ryan Moore and had the class to take advantage of the gaps when it was most needed. He romped home, stayed strongly the new trip and the 2¼ lengths winning margin is a fair reflection of how much better he is than the rest. For the moment at least.

Gleneagles


No excuses for…..

Estidhkaar! Yes, it probably was an advantage to be in the stand side group, but no, that isn’t an excuse for his flat performance. Hanagan hard at work from over three furlongs out – Estidhkaar was simply not good enough.

My assumption proved right that the Greenham result was a rather freakish one, and I find it amusing that connections now try to blame the quick Newmarket ground on his poor Guineas performance, when he performed so well in blistering quick conditions at Newbury before.


Ivawood and The Brave One….

Ivawood - 2000 Guineas

There were plenty of horses a bit unlucky of not getting the best of runs in the 2.000 Guineas. But two individuals do stand out for me in terms of proving a point:

Ivawood clearly stayed the trip and his third place is a very strong result given the fact that he didn’t have the benefit of travelling in the favoured stand side group. Only two horses from single figure stalls finished in the top eight eventually – he was the best of them.

Ivawood was gutsy and showed loads of talent, while not having quite a smooth ride as he had to angle out and fight for his gap. The Irish 2.000 Guineas is next on the agenda for him where he’s going to take on Gleneagles again. He may be able to finish closer then.

Home Of The Brave is an unlikely eye-catcher but in fact he was a strong one for me. He set a true pace for the stand side group and was there till the final furlong marker but didn’t quite see out the trip in the end.

He still finished a good sixth for all of that and he may can win a less demanding pattern race over a mile with an easy lead, or probably preferably, would be dropped back to 7f. He clearly confirmed that his fine victory in the Free Handicap (Listed) was no fluke.


Telescope finds a way to get beaten… again!

Telescope

He was the short priced favourite in a four runner affair and looked certain to win the Jockey Club Stakes. But he got beaten – once again. Probably Ryan Moore let him loose a bit too early, yet he should have been good enough to fend off Second Step.

In his last seven starts Telescope was either short favourite or joint favourite. He won only one of these and becomes an expensive commodity to follow. Bookies on the other hand are likely to erect a statue for him.


Twilight Son is Pattern Class….

DSC_0362

It was only a Handicap, but it’s also been only his third career start. Twilight Express was impressive to win the 6f sprint for three year old’s. Particularly in the way he did it.

This race resulted in the fastest finish on the card and Twilight Son ran just 12.18s for the concluding uphill furlong.  There is clearly much more to come from this Kyllachy son.


Legatissimo a legitimate Oaks favourite!

David Wachman’s filly stormed home to land the 1.000 Guineas in some style. Though this may be a slightly disappointing result for the fillies’ mile division – as she is clearly not a miler but very much a middle-distance horse.

Many of the better fancied fillies didn’t handle ground or trip or track or all of that combined. But you can’t make excuses for everything and personally I’m slightly disappointed with the race. Lucida is potentially the one to take out of it, though. She got hampered at the start and ran out a nice second place.

Legatissimo on the other hand came into this race on the back of a Listed success over 9.5 furlongs. So to see her romping home in the way she did, dropping back to a mile, was impressive and says allot about her individual class, but also about the lack of class of most of her rivals in the field.

Anyway, she is obviously a very legitimate Oaks favourite now. On pedigree she is entitled to stay thus far, no problem. Out of a Montjeu mare, you would hope that there is more to come once she steps up in trip again.


False Rail is a positive move….

Newmarket Rowley Mile False Rail

Admittedly, the newly introduced false rail didn’t prevent the field from splitting into two groups in the 2.000 Guineas, nonetheless it is a positive move and I would hope this experiment will continue. More tracks should follow suit.

Why? Because it helps to prevent horses from finding themselves short of room on the inside rail when coming from off the pace. It works at Dundalk rather well for example, where this was a huge problem for many years before the introduction of a false rail.

It also works well in other racing jurisdictions. I In this context I always like to point to South Africa where false rails are a common theme at every track. It makes for fair and exciting racing more often than not. There is no reason why it shouldn’t be in place over here as well.


Tiggy Wiggy….

Impressed me in the 1000 Guineas. She performed much better than I would have thought. Positive tactics and fast ground helped her to get home rather well over a trip that stretches her stamina to a maximum.

She’ll be reverted back to sprinting now and will be a force in that particular division this season I’d reckon.


Personal Experience….

National Stud

It’s been the second year running that I went over to Newmarket to witness the 2.000 Guineas. Becomes a bit of a tradition now?! I really like the Rowley Mile. It’s a nice track, good facilities, good viewing (if binoculars on hand) and despite a huge crowd on Saturday, it never felt uncomfortable at all. Perfect!

Took in this time also some proper sightseeing as I already arrived on Friday. Walking up the legendary Warren Hill was quite an experience. Knew this place only from the comfort of my couch and TV. It’s really steep, isn’t it?!

Next stop was the National Stud. Said hello to Toronado and Dick Turpin and rounded up the day with a beautiful walk along the July Course and the Rowley Mile in splendid sunshine. Saturday followed the Guineas – it’s been fantastic I have to say.

Click Images to view in full size
All Photos Credit: Florian Christoph