Tag Archives: Saturday

Saturday Selections: November, 10th 2018

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3.15 Doncaster: Class 2 Handicap, 1m 4f

The November Handicap, one final big one in the soon to be closed chapter that was the 2018 flat season.

It feels like nearly everything Charlie Appleby touches turns to gold these days. Can he wrap up this superb week for him with a success here? I certainly think so! His inmate Wolf Country comes here relatively fresh compared to most others after a recent pleasing return to the track.

That was last month at Goodwood in a competitive race – the form has already started to work out well. Wolf Country was a fine runner-up, leading for most parts of the race. It has to be said he was advantaged by the fact that a he wasn’t hampered by a fallen horse behind him. Most of the field was. So the performance is to be taken with a pinch of salt.

Still, he travelled well, set a good pace and looked comfortable in atrocious conditions, leaving his only other UK start in 2018 well behind, when he last of 15 at Newmarket in May.

His only other piece of form this year came at Meydan. A fine 4th place finish in a pretty strong handicap – he was leading until 300m out against Group class performers.

Things haven’t quite gone the way conditions would surely have hoped for Wolf Country. A Listed winner at three, a creditable and not far beaten 5th in the Dante – he is a talented lad and since being gelded those two of three runs have been very promising.

A mark off 98 gives him a fair chance here today – he could be a better than that. The soft ground conditions are certainly a positive. The wide draw not necessarily for a front-runner. Regardless, I have him down as the favourite here if he can improve from his recent comeback run.

Selection:
10pts win – Wolf Country @ 8.8/1 MB

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Preview: Dewhurst Stakes 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile tight finish

Odds-on favourite Too Darn Hot couldn’t have been more impressive in his three career starts. Winning the Champagne Stakes thanks to a deadly turn of foot without making it even remotely look hard work was quite something. He’s hard to oppose on that basis.

On the other hand, analyzing a a metric that I personally hold dearly – time speed ratings – the achievements of those lining up today turn this renewal of the Dewhurst into a more open race than one would have thought, if purely checking the betting market and assessing the left-hand column of the racecard.

Best TS Rating to date: 
Too Darn Hot – 106
Mohawk – 104
Anthony Van Dyck – 103
Advertise – 100

Obviously you can’t take this at face value. There is more to racing and performance. Particularly with these unexposed juveniles, performances can fluctuate, improvement can be sudden and unexpected, also TS ratings depend on circumstances.

Nonetheless, this is an interesting additional layer to interpret performance to date. Certainly what this shows is that TDH is likely to be the best horse in the race on what he’s achieved on the clock to date – but only by a slim margin.

For me the takeaway here is the urge to assess the two O’Brien horses, who ran to career best 103- and 104 TS rating last time out. Anthony Van Dyck’s National Stakes performance certainly rates highly. He’s expected to improve for it and he should make it a race for the favourite. He looks useful type who can progress into a top class individual next year.

In saying that, at given prices, his stable mate Mohawk clearly is a much more interesting individual. Five starts already, he didn’t look anywhere near top level when comprehensively beaten in the Futurity- and National Stakes subsequently.

However, this son of Galileo looked still raw and green to some extend those days. On the other hand, as a January foal, he should be rather forward by now. And he finally turned good last month at Newmarket in the Royal Lodge Stakes.

He looked bigger and better than ever. Granted, it was probably not the strongest of Group 2’s ever ran at HQ, it was still an impressive performance visually, as Mohawk quickened nicely in the closing stages to win a shade cozily. The fact that the visual impression is backed up by the TS rating gives me confidence that this lad has learned and improved, indeed.

The Royal Lodge was over a mile. Dropping back to 7 furlongs, a trip Mohawk was outran in Group company already, isn’t ideal. The rain is coming though, should take the fast out of the ground potentially, and may help to make this race more of a stamina test.

That’s a lot of “could be” and “if’s” to hope for – in saying that, as I am trying to make a case for a 25/1 shot, that’s rather expected. The likely outcome is that Mohawk, with Wayne Lordan in the saddle – which isn’t exactly a vote of confidence – won’t be good enough.

Regardless, the price is too big in a race where we can not predict how these juveniles have progressed since we saw them the last time. Given Mohawk appears to be making significant steps in the right direction I feel he’s got a chance to be competitive today.

Selection:
10pts win – Mohawk @ 25/1 PP

Saturday Selections: October, 6th 2018

Wet Dundalk Polytrack

7.45 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 9.5f

When a long-standing maiden heads the market you know it got to be a poor race. This is, indeed, as poor as it gets. Perfect regarding conditions I’m looking for, as handicap debutant Boston Party ticks a lot of boxes to make him a decent chance to improve enough to be competitive compared to what he’s shown in three starts to date.

You can draw a line under those performances; it was handicapping for him all day long and he wasn’t beaten up in any of his races. However, stepping up in trip is interesting, particularly on his All-Weather debut – both look suitable on pedigree.

The opening mark is stiff enough, however from a top draw in a poor race as this he can overcome it. Sire Declaration Of War has an outstanding record with three-year-old colts on the sand to date, so this is clearly noteworthy.

Selection:
10pts win – Boston Party @ 6/1 PP

Saturday Selection: September, 15th 2018

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5.10 Chelmsford: Class 5 Handicap, 1M 5F 66Y

A risky shout out for long-shot Global Style here. He’s yet to win a race and didn’t exactly come close yet. However, he has a few half-decent performances to his name; most importantly his latest Windsor run.

That was a better race than this here today, he was pretty keen in first time blinkers and didn’t get the breaks when needed with a wall of horses in front, hampered slightly over 3f out and a bit more severely in the closing stages. Yet he galloped all the way to the line and wasn’t far beaten.

He doesn’t exactly cries out for a stamina test, but with first time tongue tie and the added benefit of the pedigree there is a fair chance he can last the 1M 5F 66Y trip today.

He’s only slowly coming down in the mark. It remains to be seen whether he can win off 71. But against lesser rivals there is a fair chance I reckon. Robert Havlin on board with a super record for Ed Dunlop in this type of races. Worth a nibble.

Selection:
10pts win – Global Style @ 22/1 PP

Saturday Selections: September, 7th 2018

Leicester Racecourse home straight

4.15 Haydock: Group 1 Sprint Cup, 6f

Hard to argue against red hot favourite Harry Angel…. if he’s top fit and back to his best. That’s a big if. He’s coming back from an injury here and can easily get fired up. With ground not ideal, I feel he is vulnerable.

That says, he’s the defending champion and won this race last year in similar conditions when quite a few things were staked against him. So he’s the one they all have to beat. What I’m saying is: Harry Angel is beatable here. Certainly at short odds not one to play for me.

Plenty of better options given the odds available here. I’m siding with Jim Crowley’s mount Eqtidaar. An excellent winner of the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot when getting home with a bit to spare despite hanging badly in the final furlong, he looks certainly overpriced here being harshly judged by one poor subsequent outing.

He was comprehensively beaten in the July Cup, so clearly needs to bounce back. But given he showed fine form in his two seasonal starts prior to Royal Ascot could mean Eqtidaar simply had a bad day in the office.

round conditions will be totally different to Ascot. In saying that he has shown to act with cut in the ground. A winner on good to soft and runner-up in the Group 3 Pavilion in Stakes on genuinely soft ground on his seasonal reappearance make me think Eqtidaar is going to be fine.

The draw may not be totally ideal as it may favour those wider drawn given how the race could pan out in these conditions, it’s also where the pace looks like to be. At 28/1 that’s a risk worth taking.

Selection:
10pts win – Eqtidaar @ 26/1 PP/MB

……….

4.50 Haydock: Class 2 Handicap, 5f

Largely consistent top weight Gracious John hasn’t been good in his most recent race but showed multiple times this year already that he is still very competitive in this class and off this type of mark.

He’s been running to higher TS ratings than his current mark in the past and achieved twice this year alone a 93 and 95 TS rating, suggesting he’s as good as ever. Returning to sharp 5f and most importantly with cut in the ground will be a big help for this course and distance winner.

Gracious John has a 40% strike rate in 5f Handicaps, won already two times this year, including a 5f Handicap of a mark off 98 in good to soft conditions. For one who can go forward his draw looks perfect also.

Selection:
10pts win – Gracious John @ 15/2 PP

Saturday Selection: September, 1st 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

1.50 Sandown: Class 3 Handicap, 5f

New trainer and only his third run this year, Global Applause has plenty to prove today. Particularly as he has top weight to shoulder as well.

On the other hand, he drops in class into a race that may well be as competitive in nature as most of the others he ran in the past but arguably an easier one. Down to a mark of 97 it remains to be seen if he is up to it these days.

On past form, having run to a career highest time speed rating of 98 and 90+ on more occasions, Global Applause has surely got a fine chance. He was a smart juvenile, lightly raced as a three year old and certainly no disgraced when a less than two lengths beaten 5th in a red hot Doncaster Handicap of a mark off 98 in his final run in 2017.

This year has seen him back to form on his seasonal reappearance when runner-up at Newbury, though it is his most recent run at that very same venue back in May that has left big questions to answer.

Drop in class, drop in trip and back at Sandown with a bit of juice in the ground is hopefully enough to see Global Applause find back to his best.

Selection:
10pts win – Global Applause @ 11/1 MB

……

Saturday Selections: August, 16th 2018

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1.45 Doncaster: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

Musharrif had a super busy campaign over the last few weeks. Eventually this will catch up with him. He’s been running consistently well, nonetheless. He came close to win a couple of times too. He dropped to a handy 68 mark regardless.

He is clearly capable of winning off this type of mark. He did it in the past on three occasions and ran 13 times over his career to time speed ratings of 86 and higher.

The interesting fact is the step up to 7f. He solely raced over the minimum trip lately. However, he’s a distance winner, in fact, was placed another time and ran well in a third 7f contest also. So he should be fine to stay the trip, particularly fast ground.

Selection:
10pts win – Musharrif @ 9/2 MB

……..

5.35 Newmarket: Class 4 Handicap, 7f

Not that his comeback run has set the world alight but Thechildren’strust is the obvious choice in a race of rather exposed types as he is the handicap debutant with only three starts to his name also stepping up in trip.

He ran pretty well in two starts last season, winning first time out at Goodwood and finishing third subsequently in another fair race. Both forms looks competitive and judged by what the horse around him did since then his opening mark off 81 looks fair.

Thechildren’strust seasonal reappearance dampens the the euphoria, though. Third at Salisbury last month in what looks an ordinary contest, he never looked comfortable and the form hasn’t been franked whatsoever yet.

However, it might have been the firm ground that was unsuitable. It won’t be quick as lightning quick today. The step up to 7f should suit on pedigree. All together he’s the one who has potential to find a bit of improvement today on Hector Crouch’s only ride of the day.

Selection:
10pts win – Thechildren’strust @ 11/2 Sky

…….

7.40 Chepstow: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4f

As big the field is as poor the race is. That’s a tremendous chance for top weight Desert Cross to continue his fine run of form. He’s won two of his three starts this year and ran well in defeat the other day at Bath.

His winning forms work out rather well. So does already the third place at Bath from last months as the runner-up won next time out. Desert Cross was simply not well positioned and couldn’t peg back the two leaders on lightning quick ground.

This is a career highest mark today to defy. I feel in the context of the race he’s a good chance to to do so. Jonjo O’Neill has a sublime record with his flat handicappers at Chepstow also.

Selection:
10pts win – Desert Cross @ 7/1 MB