Tag Archives: Ryan Moore

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.

Arc Day Selections: October, 6th 2019

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

Having enjoyed a little break in the sun over the last ten days far away from rainy Ireland today couldn’t be a better day to be back: it’s Arc day!

Enable goes for her historic third triumph in Europe’s premier race. The mare embodies everything I love about flat racing. She is all class, she is versatile and she has proven it time and time again, regardless of race track, country or continent.

There is no bet in the Arc for me today. I don’t need one. I’ll cheer as loud as possible for Enable. She’ll win. Zero doubts.

The rain is in her favour. Her best performances came with cut in the ground. She won an Arc on soft ground two years ago. She ran a 115 topspeed rating this season as well, proving she’s not slowing down whatsoever.

No other horse in this esteemed field comes close to her class. Enable will win. History will be made. Go girl!

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3.55 Longchamp: G1 Prix de l’Opera, 1m 2f

The appeal of Mehdaayih is obvious after her strong runner-up performance at Goodwood. She seems to continue an upward trend and may progress again. Make no mistake, she will have to find more, if she’s ever to win a proper Group 1 contest. So far the filly has yet to run beyond a 98 topspeed rating, which is pretty damn low for a true top class horse.

Her smart trainer has found an excellent opportunity to get a Group 1 on her CV, though, given she may never find a better one ever again. This is a rather weak field for a race of the highest order. In fact only one horse has run to a speed rating of 100 or higher: Pink Dogwood.

At given odds the Epsom Oaks runner-up is an obvious choice. True, she hasn’t exactly kicked on from that excellent effort, that saw her achieve a 101 TS rating. But the Oaks form is a rather strong piece of form, certainly rock solid, so is Pink Dogwood’s Navan win from April, as well as her Pretty Polly staked 3rd place in June.

Things didn’t work to plan the next two times, however it is a big positive that she drops down to 1m 2f again, which is her optimum trip, I reckon. The cut in the ground is another bonus, granted she has winning form on yielding to heavy ground.

So I’m backing Pink Dogwood with my money and Enable with all my heart for an almighty Arc day dominated by the ladies!

Selection:
10pts win – Pink Dogwood @ 16/1 WH

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1.50 Longchamp: G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere, 1m

I hardly ever venture into juvenile racing, but feel this contest offers value for the Aiden O’Brien trained Armory, who appears to be a rock solid individual, likely to give his running while also having fine form already in the book, which ultimately can be enough to win this contest.

Given what Victor Ludorum has done so far he is a skinny price. Sure, unexposed and open to plenty of improvement, that may well come to the fore today. On the other hand this is more than adequately reflected in the odds.

How much more improvement is to come from Armory? As a January foal with five starts under his belt he may be close to a finished article by now. That’s okay because what is is now can be good enough to win this race.

He won three on the trot between June and August, including the Group 2 Futurity Stakes, proving he’s certainly got talent, albeit those forms are nothing to get too excited about.

Armory found his master in superstar colt Pinatubo when last seen. No surprise, anyone else would have looked like a 50 rated class 6 handicapper that day. However, on the positive side, even though things seemed to move a little bit too quickly for him, he fought on gamely, beaten smart stablemate Arizona on the line.

Leaving the winner, who is in a league of his own, out of the equation, Armory ran a highly credible race, given Arizona is the reigning Coventry Stakes winner and has more strong form to his name.

Having ran to a career highest topspeed rating, progressing nicely from what he showed a few weeks earlier in the Futurity Stakes, plus the likelihood of cut in the ground unlikely to stop him, Armory is a strong chance today.

Selection:
10pts win – Armory @ 9/2 WH

Saturday Selections: September, 14th 2019

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3.40 Leopardstown: Group 3 Stakes, 1m 4f

I probably should know better: backing an Aiden O’Brien horse coming back from a lay-off. But by all accounts, if the rumblings are anywhere near true that Mount Everest was considered a proper Derby contender, and if judged by his entries for the rest of the season, he’ll need to show something significant today in order to go on those dates in a few weeks time.

Aiden O’Brien has played down expectations. That’s only fair. And surely Mount Everest won’t be at 100% today. It’s a gamble and you never know how far in their preparation these horses are coming off a long injury break, and whether they ever come back to their best, and in this case whether this particular individual has trained on over the winter.

However, this Group 3 is such a lackluster contest that I am prepared to back the “potential” today. Very few in this field have achieved a topspeed rating over 90 to date. Those that have can be discounted for a variety of reason of trip or ground or legitimacy of that particular posting – in my book at least.

The favourit Buckhurst, despite having three career wins to his name, has never ran faster than 67. The main dangers I actually see in the race are Norway, who has proven to be a rock solid horse and has achieved a career best when last seen, plus long-shot and stable mate Blenheim Palace, who could easily outrun his massive price tag and is a compelling each-way candidate.

But at given odds, Mount Everest is clearly of major interest. When last seen twelve month ago in the Bresford Stakes, he finished second in a tight finish behind Japan, having Sovereign more than three lengths behind. That form looks incredibly strong in hindsight and a topspeed of 94 achieved that day is credible.

No doubt this is the strongest piece of form in this race. Given Mount Everest is a May foal, one would have expected him to be a much better 3-year-old, so it’s plausible that improvement is to come with Mount Everest maturing. How much of that he’ll show today is the question mark.

On the other hand, given a long break and injury to overcome he may never fulfill this potential. He may not be ready to go today either. AOB’s record with those returning isn’t all that strong either. I am prepared to take the game in this particular race, though.

Selection:
10pts win – Mount Everest @ 4/1 MB

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4.50 Leopardstown: G2 Boomerang Stakes, 1m

The 6/4 for Lancaster House can only be described as a silly price. Possibly my judgement looks silly in a few hours time, though? I’m puzzled, regardless, because I feel Richard Fahey’s Space Traveller should be a much shorter price than he is.

The 3-year-old colt will need to things to pan out right given his running style, that is a clear concern for me, given that it can prove difficult to peg prominent horses back at Leopardstown if the pace isn’t overly strong.

It’s a risk I take, simply because Space Traveller has overwhelmingly the strongest form in the book. His Royal Ascot success is a tremendous piece of form, given how the race has worked out ever since, and a 106 topspeed rating he achieved that day looks all the more real for it.

Space Traveller stayed 9 furlongs three weeks ago at Haydock, when less than a lengths beaten in a highly competitive of the Strensall Stakes.

Ground and trip will suit today. A good pace looks likely. Now it’s up to WJ Lee to time it right. If he does, Space Traveller should be the one they all see the back of at the finish line.

Selection:
10pts win – Space Traveller @ 11/2 MB

Preview: Epsom Derby 2019

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No overly dramatic talk is needed about how great a race the Epsom Derby is. We all know it remains the number one in the racing calendar – the one not to miss, the date marked red. Personally I’m more in love with other races but the Derby is the Derby for a simple reason: it’s history defining.

Horses can contest it only once in their life: a chance to write history and following in the footsteps of racing greats such as Shergar, Galileo or Sea The Stars comes once and never again. Derby winners are remembered. The runner-up never is.

As we’re about to find out which colt will make history this year I have to confess: I’m all over Sir Dragonet to be the one remembered! I was delighted when he was supplemented for the race; as if there was ever any doubt after what he did at Chester?

Let me be frank: you don’t see all that often a horse doing what Sir Dragonet did in the Chester Vase last month. It was only his second career start after debuting only a fortnight earlier in a Tipperary maiden.

This fact shows the general inexperience of this son of Camelot. He’s got only two starts to his name to date. He certainly looked in need of the experience at Chester. He better have learned plenty that day.

Another concern is the ground. He’s only proven with cut in the ground. Epsom will ride much faster. hence you also can question the merit of the Chester form.

Those two question marks aside. there is so much more to love about Sir Dragonet. He’s obviously supremely well bred for the job, given his daddy was a Derby winner himself plus he has the legendary Urban Sea in his pedigree as well.

His debut performance at Tipperary was eye-catching. His Chester Vase was victory visually stunning. The way he moved through the early parts of the race, not quite comfortable, very much learning his craft, how he then made smooth progress on the outside from 4f out, turning for home hard on the bridle, and then pushed out a light under hands and heels ride to win by 8 lengths as easy as he liked.

This performance is highly rated on the clock as well. Sir Dragonet ran to a 106 Time Speed figure. Reminder: he did it on what was only his second ever career start and he did did it with ease. Insane.

More importantly: no other horse in this field ran faster so far – only stable mate Anthony Van Dyck ran to a TS rating of 100+ in this field – which he did as a juvenile over 7 furlongs.

That’s not to say the likes of Broome, Telecaster or Bangkok can’t improve for the Derby trip. The fact I merely state is that judged on time speed ratings – which I rate highly, even though they have their own flaws, of course – none of the other market principles has proven yet to be able to ran to anything that matches Sir Dragonet’s Chester run.

Whether he can reproduce such an impressive performance on different ground in a pressurised environment with loads of different sights and sounds is the main question. Of course that’s always the danger with an inexperienced individual as Sir Dragonet is.

Regardless; as unoriginal as it seems, given Sir Dragonet is heading the betting and is trained by Aiden O’Brien, he’s my clear choice for the 2019 Epsom Derby.

Selection:
10pts win – Sir Dragonet @ 3/1 PP

Betting Preview: Cheshire Oaks 2019

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I have some sort of “love/hate” relationship with Chester – certainly from a betting perspective. I rarely get it right. On the other hand I do love the visual spectacle of the ever turning track. It makes for exciting viewing.

As for finding winners, as rare as it is, if they come, they’re more often than not trained by Aiden O’Brien. At this Chester May Festival you can pretty much blindly back his horses in the Group contests and you’d turn a profit – at least that was the case in the past.

Aiden O’Brien has won five of the last ten runnings of the Cheshire Oaks as well – can he do it again?

Certainly this years renewal looks competitive on paper. A couple of exciting- and race-fit fillies for John Gosden as well as the unbeaten Ralph Beckett trained Manuela De Vega make thinks interesting. Aiden O’Brien, though, throws only one dart at this race, and that’s usually a good sign.

There’s little secret about Secret Thoughts. The War Front daughter was a classy juvenile but was always sure to improve with age and when upped in trip. A good seasonal reappearance in the Guineas Trial at Leopardstown over 7f should have put her right for Chester.

Under a sympathetic hands and heels ride she finished a decent 5th in a hot race that looks already incredibly strong form, judged through the winner Lady Kaya and the runner-up Happen.

Now stepping up dramatically in distance to 1m3½ furlongs, Secret Thoughts can improve again. The first foal we see on the racetrack of the wonderful former Irish Oaks winner Chicquita, the question won’t be so much about stamina, but more about whether she can settle, handles the track and will be able to show her best on soft ground.

There is plenty of rain on its way according to the weather forecast. I assume Secret Thoughts would prefer a sound surface. However, she has shown to act with cut in the ground as well. So that is encouraging. Possibly the fact she had enough speed to be competitive in 7 furlongs contests will be an advantage here as well, as she is wider drawn than it is ideal. Using early speed to move close to the pace is an advantage at Chester.

I’m slightly surprised by the odds on offer for Secret Thoughts. Given her trainers strong record and her excellent form, which is by far the strongest on offer in this field, odds around 7/2 appear overly generous – with or without rain.

Selection: 
10pts win – Secret Thoughts @ 7/2 MB

Friday Selections: August, 3rd 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

Three on the bounce! What rare joy to find a winner on three consecutive days – Land Force (7/2) clearly stayed the trip as hoped and won the Richmond Stakes in commanding style under a class ride by Ryan Moore.

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5.50 Newmarket: Class 5 Handicap, 12f

It was a disappointing handicap debut for Floria Tosca the other day after she showed a bit of promise in three maiden starts. I was keen on her the last time as I thought that judged by her second start at Chelmsford she could be well treated off her opening mark. That form worked out incredibly well and her subsequent performance at Bath looked more than decent too.

A fortnight ago the race then didn’t quite worked out the way as hoped. They were crawling for most parts, Floria Tosca was left flat footed over 4f out but then made quite a bit of stylish progress to lead briefly over 2f out. She didn’t see it out eventually and that becomes a bit of a habit now, which is a concern.

Hopefully it is more greenness than anything else. She is bred for the job so upped to 12f may suit. There should be a fair pace on the cards today and it is very winnable race. Dropped 3lb to a mark off 70 plus interesting young apprentice Marco Ghiani in the saddle who claims another 7lb means the filly must enter calculations here.

Selection:
10pts win – Floria Tosca @ 11/1 PP

Friday Selections: July, 6th 2018

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4.40 Sandown: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 6f

This looks an ideal opportunity for handicap debutant Saroog to follow on from his excellent maiden win at Goodwood last month. He travelled strongly into the race and finished off a rival he had to give plenty of weight to who is a subsequent winner.

Saroog has fine form in his book with a couple of placed efforts earlier this year. A close runner-up behind Count Octave in April, who subsequently wasn’t disgraced in pattern races, showed there is potential.

An opening mark off 85 appears more than fair and leaves room for improvement. The trip and ground seems to suit. This lightly raced son of Nathanial could easily develop into a nice staying prospect.

Selection:
10pts win – Saroog @ 10/3 WH

Friday Selection: 18th August 2017

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No luck on Thursday. Beaten in second but certainly fair and square by a better horse was Call Me Grumpy, whereas Grand Myla never got a chance from her position and was hardly touched by Ryan Moore and looked more like a ride where winning was not necessarily the main thing on his mind.

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1.20 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Nursery, 5f

Poor race that is open for an upset. Owen The Law is an interesting All-Weather debutante, who has the pedigree to improve a good bit for the switch to this surface being a half-brother to a fair AW performer in Bazguy and his sire Equianio boosting a strong record with juveniles over the minimum trip at Wolverhampton.

First time visored, also dropping in trip, class and mark, with his latest form looking slightly better than the bare results suggests given it has been franked multiple times by horses around Owen The Law, I believe he can run a big race for a big price.

Selection:
10pts win – Owen The Law @ 18/1 Bet365

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3.10 Newbury: Class 3 Handicap, 1m 5f

Great Sound is one of two three year olds in this field but certainly the more promising one of the two. He is still very lightly raced and showed plenty of greenness in his two career starts to date.

He made a habit of breaking badly, which might be less a problem in the race today, stepping up another couple of furlongs which on pedigree does not look unlikely to suit.

He won on debut when giving his rider a hard time but eventually motored home in impressive style. He followed up with a third place albeit a good way beaten on handicap debut what looked a hot race with the impressive winner franking the form subsequently.

Great Sounds looks one who has still much more to give on his only third career start, he remains on the same mark which appears fair and the new trip can work in his favour.

Selection: 
10pts win – Great Sound @ 3/1 Bet365

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4.30 Wolverhampton, Class 5 Handicap, 9.5f

James Tate usually does incredibly well with his starters at Wolverhampton during this time of the year. So it looks significant that he pitches new recruit Dreaming Time into this wide open looking Handicap.

The filly is now in his care after leaving Hugo Palmer for whom she won a maiden at Lingfield but result wise disappointed on handicap debut at Chelmsford. However things didn’t go her way that day and it was a very hot race.

Back after a break for the new trainer she drops 4lb as well as two classes. So this should be much easier and the step up in trip to 9.5f seems a smart move. If she is race fit she must have a better chance than her price suggests to go close here.

Selection:
10pts win – Dreaming Time @ 10/1 Bet365

Thursday Selections – 17th August 2017

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Wolfcatcherjack was an impressive winner today, though it could have been a super day if Kryptos wouldn’t have been beaten by a head in a tight finish. Scoones and Regal Mirage were not quite good enough, though.

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4.50 Salisbury: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

Ryan Moore on board for the sole runner of father Gary at Salisbury – interesting. Grand Myla is also interesting because she made an okay seasonal reappearance at Bath last month and drops now to a career lowest- and more realistic mark.

Conditions should suit and she has a good draw. Stripping fitter for the latest run and potentially with a bit of improvement left given she was a late foal, I feel she is overpriced here.

Selection:
10pts win – Grand Myla @ 8/1 William Hill

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6.30 Yarmouth: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

Call Me Grumpy deserves another chance after he was disappointingly turned over odds-on the last two times, though the Carlisle effort was most disappointing. However he seemed not to enjoy that experience that day, and a simpler test at straight Yarmouth may suit better.

He drops in class but remains largely up against older horses with not too much to worry from the two other 3yo’s in the field. De Sousa gets the leg up which is a boost given his record for the stable and at this track plus he rode Call Me Grumpy to victory at Sandown on handicap debut.

Selection:
10pts win – Call Me Grumpy @ 4/1 Bet365

The Big Race: 2016 Coral Eclipse

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ONLY seven go to post, the Derby winner isn’t here, the 2000 Guineas winner isn’t here, yet only two individuals can boast Group 1 success in their CV…. this years Coral Eclipse is a slightly underwhelming affair, I have to say.

But the good thing is: potential superstar The Gurkha lines up in an attempt to make amends for what has to be regarded as a wasted chance when he was beaten in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot roughly a fortnight ago.

The Gurkha went off odds-on in the Group 1 contest, though endured not the best of luck in-running and maybe, only maybe Ryan Moore didn’t have his brightest moment either.

Whatever, it’s the past – the here is now. Aiden O’Brien’s inmate, a son of Galileo (how could it be any different?!) stormed last month to global attention in the Poule D’Essai Poulains – the French 2000 Guineas – where he blew his rivals away with a turn of foot that looked out of this world. Can he do the same today?

Absolutely! This lad is massive talent! Stepping up to 1m 2f should not be a problem at all, if not even bring out further improvement, and the softish ground is no trouble either. As a three year old he receives some handy amount of weight in a race without a clear danger from the brigade of older horses. Right?

Probably. Though the top rated horse is the four year old My Dream Boat. On official ratings The Gurkha has to find two pounds with the winner of the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes. Trained by Clive Cox, My Dream Boat clearly ran to a career best at Royal Ascot, helped by the soft ground that day. He’s a real mud lover, without a shadow of a doubt and will hope Sandown retains as much rain in the turf as possible.

In my view he is clearly the biggest threat to The Gurkha from the older horses, though whether he can give the weight away against a rival most likely to improve another couple of pounds – I find it hard to see.

Widely regarded as the biggest threat in the public opinion is Roger Charlton’s Time Test. What’s in his favour is the relative freshness. He only had one start this season – a successful one, here at Sandown in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes, a Group 3 event. It’s fair to say he may come on for the run and remains with potential to improve a bit for age, now as a four year old.

That says, he’s yet to prove himself on the highest level and probably is better suited to a fast surface. Yes, he does handle cut in the ground, but given a career best is required today, the ground is a worry.

Godolphin’s Hawkbill was a fine winner of the Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot. He’s unbeaten in his last five starts, so obviously on the up and could still have more to offer. He relishes today’s conditions and his prominent racing style should see him in a good position when it matters most.

We can’t completely rule out Western Hymn. The “senior” in the race, he’s ultra consistent and usually puts his best foot forward here at Sandown. So it would not be a surprise to see him finish in the money. Still, something dramatic would have to happen for him to win.

Verdict: Whenever I side with a hot odds-on favourite, it usually is the kiss of death for the well fancied horse. Nonetheless I can’t look past The Gurkha today and find it surprising to been able to snap up evens odds. He’s more like a 4/6 chance in my book.

Prediction:
1. The Gurkha
2. Hawkbill
3: My Dream Boat

Photo: thoroughbreddailynews.com