Tag Archives: Rowley Mile

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

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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….

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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

Marma’s Boy can exploit lenient opening mark

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Intriguing Handicap for three year old’s. I feel there is a wrong favourite at the top of the market, or at least the favourite is way too short compared to the rest.

That says Muqtaser done really well to finish a close 3rd over course and distance last month here. He is proven in these conditions and is sure to give a good account. But on that exact performance he doesn’t appear to be particularly well handicapped off a 1lb higher mark. He had the run of the race that day compared to some others and still wasn’t capable of winning. This here doesn’t look much easier. He’s opposable at short odds.

Godolphin’s Global Force looks more like a good price. He won a CD maiden last month and gave the impression to be a smart individual. I like him and he may well up to pattern class, but he has to be if he wants to overcome a pretty high opening mark of 94. The handicapper has allotted him a pretty tough assignment for a start. He may well be good enough, but not sure if I really want to find that out with my money with better alternatives from a handicapping perspective.

The only positive for Mustard is the jockey booking of Ryan Moore. Otherwise he looks too slow and on a high enough mark considering his handicap debut at Leicester in a lesser race. The step up in trip doesn’t seem to suit Azraff on pedigree. He is a good price but I find it hard to fancy him here off a big mark. Lostock Hall has to prove that he really wants 10f.

The two most intriguing runners are certainly the two bottom weights. Brotherly Company stepped up to 1m 2f in a Redcar maiden last month and won easily on quick ground. He defies his pedigree and that is something I’m slightly worried about. It was not a particularly strong race, he had it all from the front – this is tougher. But off 81 he is one that could be better than the mark if he truly gets the trip.

Without a question Marma’s Boy is overpriced. Yes, he didn’t beat much at Wolverhampton last month when he got off the mark in a 10f maiden on his seasonal reappearance. But he couldn’t have been more impressively. It was only his fourth start, his first over 10f and there is more to come with the trip surely to suit and the switch to turf and quick ground seemingly not an issue judged and last years maiden form. It remains to be seen if he is up to this class, but an opening mark off 79 could be lenient.

5.25 Newmarket: Class 3 Handicap, 1m 2f
Marma’s Boy @ 9/1 Coral – 5pts win