Tag Archives: Saturday

Saturday Selections: May 11th, 2019

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2.20 Nottingham: Class 4 Handicap, 5f

Two really interesting horses here in a field where I find those two at the top of the market remarkably easy to oppose: Hawaam over this CD of his current mark can be a huge runner if cheek-pieces have a positive effect.

The fact he was well fancied the other day and bombed out, plus this new headgear as well as his poor overall strike rate suggest he’s a tricky customer nonetheless, hence I leave him alone – though I’d not be surprised to see him run away with it now.

But a ‘safer bet’ to run his race – and give me a run for my money more importantly – is the smartly named Major Pusey. He’s down to a good mark judged on past performances, given he won of higher ratings on three occasions in his career and ran five times to a TS rating of 79+, posting a 80 TS rating only back in September last season.

He returned over 6f at Windsor recently, wasn’t fancied in the betting and ran quite well up until tiring in the closing stages. The drop to 5f will suit with soft ground ideal, plus dropping down in to class 4 is a major boost to his chances as all but one of his career successes came here.

Selection:
10pts win – Major Pusey @ 8/1

………

2.30 Lingfield: Listed Derby Trial, 1m3½f

No surprise, the Derby trial is quite a poor trial for the race it’s intended to be a trial. None of these will go close in the Derby. Will any of these even line up? Anthony Van Dyck certainly won’t. He’s the class act in this race, mind, but he’ll struggle over this trip in this ground.

The most intriguing of the lot is Cap Francais, who didn’t do himself any favour at Epsom the last time, but stayed on in promising style. Even though, he still only managed runner-up behind a Ballydoyle horse that’ll have no hope in the Derby and is miles down the pecking order.

I think the step up in trip and flatter track will be a huge help and expect him to win, but at 4/1 I’m in n hurry to back him to continue to progress, though.

The one I’m most interested in is the gelding in the field: Ranch Hand. Connections probably didn’t anticipate this lad to turn up in a Derby Trial, but he showed a lot of good signs in his first two starts at Southwell on the fibresand.

Particularly his second run, when he galloped his opposition into the ground is impressive particularly on the clock it looks strong. He also achieved a TS rating of 84. He did that in a lowly novice contest, on only his second career run on the fibresand – no other horse in this field run to such a high TS rating on either of their first career runs.

He has to translate this to turf and to much better class. The pedigree gives hope with the dam having been a fine stayer in her own right. At a massive price Ranch Hand looks a longs-hot with a fair chance to upset the market.

Selection:
10pts win – Ranch Hand @ 30/1 MB

……

3.30 Nottingham: Listed Kilvington Stakes, 6f

On ratings the standout for me is Rock On Baileys who’s ran to career best TS rating of 89 and RPR of 106 which none of her rivals in this field have achieved so far. Whether she can replicate this level of form on her second start for the new yard on soft ground remains to be seen.

On the surface Rock On Baileys seems to be a better All-Weather horse. Certainly her win record says so. But the ratings mentioned above where achieved on turf, they’re generally higher than on the AW in fact.

She ran in hot races on turf, often in handicaps of big weights and did do herself justice on a number of occasions, as when 4th in a hot handicap at Newmarket in October last year; she also won at Chester in the summer over 6f, overcoming trouble.

Her seasonal return at Chelmsford last month looks poor on paper. It needs context, though, as she didn’t get the best of starts and was pushed forward quite hard subsequently to take the lead.

I’d expect Rock On Baileys to come on for the run under her belt and feel the soft ground, albeit that soft an unknown, is intriguing. The times she races with bit of cut in the ground she ran well, and certainly on the dam side is hope for her to take to the ground.

Selection:
10pts win – Rock On Baileys @ 16.5/1 MB

……..

4.40 Nottingham: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 2f

The handicapper gives Music Seeker a real chance to get his head in front for a third career win today. The 5-year-old ran well at Haydock last time in tough conditions, finishing third in better class.

He remains on the same mark, a career-lowest – he’s never ran of anything as low as 73 in a class 5 Handicap before, so that is of obvious interest given Music Seeker ran twice already to TS ratings of 70+ and six times to RPR’s of 80+.

He’s also 3lb lower than his last winning mark, which came last summer in a 10f Handicap at Wetherby, albeit on fast ground. But cut in the ground is no problem as he won a maiden over a mile and did well last time out in desperate conditions.

The slightly better ground (soft – good to soft in places right now) and half a furlong less to go should be in his favour as well. A competent 7lb claimer – the same as in all his last races since a wind op over the winter –  in the saddle is a bonus.

Selection:
10pts win – Music Seeker @ 6/1 MB

…….

5.10 Ascot: Class 4 Handicap, 6f

Ignoring the latest Southwell performance, which can be forgiven because it was a very time at Southwell, Ballyquin is a progressive individual who’ll race of a highly competitive mark today, I feel.

He’s had a light campaign until this winter, surely down to issues, but has been progressive on the All-Weather, winning twice, achieving a career best TS rating of 79 at Chelmsford on his penultimate start.

A return to turf is intriguing. His two runs came with cut in the ground in highly competitive maiden races where he finished an excellent 4th on both occasions.

So, there is a fair assumption to be made he can find more improvement for the return to turf, while already having shown on the All-Weather to be able to run to something close- if not even better than his current handicap mark.

Selection:
10pts win – Ballyquin @ 10/1 MB

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Saturday Selections II: April, 27th 2019

Online Alexander & Jamie Spencer

I’ve got a bit more work done after the second coffee was downed, so here’s a little add-on to my initial selections for this wonderful Saturday’s racing:

4.20 Haydock: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 2f

Sands Chorus looks like he’s finding back some form as he’s dropping down the weights and now also drops further in class. He was 3rd at Newbury recently, making all from the front – not many got into it, but the winner came from off the pace, suggesting Sands Chorus went off a little bit too hard.

This is an easier contest. He’s lost his way completely last year and changed yards. But off 78 now, with a good 5lb claimer in the saddle – it’s Theodore Ladd’s only ride on the card as well, I feel Sands Chorus looks capable of running to a higher rating still.

Selection:
10pts win – Sands Chorus @ 17/2 MB

…….

5.25 Haydock: Class 5 Handicap, 1 mile

A wide open contest where you can make a case for a number of these potentially being well in if they return to form. I do quite like one who doesn’t have to return to form but who could still be well in: Ascot Week.

His comeback run at Pontefract earlier this month was quite eye-catching as he had a wide draw to overcome, didn’t get the clearest of passages in the closing stages but travelled supremely well until 2f out and finished the race strongly also.

Although his overall record is patchy, and outright poor outside class 6, since Ascot Week has been fitted with headgear he’s been a different horse. He won three races in the second half of 2019 as a consequence.

The mile trip will be fine today, only the rain arriving is a bit of a question mark. Form and handicap mark wise I feel he belongs right here and could have a bit more to offer as he also has surpassed his current handicap mark of 65 twice on the TS ratings.

Selection:
10pts win – Ascot Week @ 16/1 MB

…….

7.45 Doncaster: Class 4 Handicap, 7 furlongs

Dance Teacher returns to the track for the first time in 2019 and looks primed for a big run with SDS on board. De Sousa is 2/2 with the mare, and also rode her the last time she got her head in front, at Epsom last August.

She won off 81 – the same mark as today. She’s ra to a TS rating of 84 that day, and also won off 80 on the All-Weather. So, on that evidence, Dance Teacher looks ripe for another success.

Ground conditions will be fine, she showed to go well fresh in the past and dropping back into class 4 where she holds a 10-4-2 record is another bonus.

Selection:
10pts win – Dance Teacher @ 11/2 PP

 

Saturday Selections: April, 27th 2019

Leicester Racecourse

2.05 Haydock: Class 2 Handicap, 7 furlongs

I’m very much attracted to the Great Prospector here. A pipe opener in the Lincoln was a better run than the bare form suggests, but certainly dropping down to 7f will suit, and so does the drop in mark.

Down to a 94 rating now, this looks sexy on the basis of his juvenile performances, but even more so on the strong piece of form that is his 3rd place finish in the Guisborough Stakes last October. Also he’s been running to a TS rating of 94 in the past, as well as multiple 100+ RPR’s – he’s a classy individual.

It’s true that the Great Prospector hasn’t quite followed on from a strong 2-year-old campaign, though he’s been racing in hot competition mostly last year, and judged by his performances in autumn, he surely has still the appetite for racing and could be really dangerous today.

He will not mind the rain today and looks one of the more likely, if not even one of the very few in this contest potentially well handicapped.

Selection:
10pts win – Great Prospector @ 9.5/1 MB

……..

2.40 Haydock: Class 5 handicap, 1 mile

Frankadore is related to a couple of winners that all did well over this trip and usally won as three-year-olds of similar handicap marks. Given he’s a son of Frankel, who has quite an outstanding record with offspring at Haydock, also over a mile, there is good evidence this lad can be a big runner on handicap debut.

As a late April foal you would expect him to come on for the winter break. He started his juvenile campaign late, but showed plenty of promise on debut in a hot contest that worked out well.

In two subsequent starts Frankadore disappointed, but now older, also gelded, I do expect improvement. An opening mark of 73 looks fair, and could potentially underestimate him, if he can find back to the sort of form he produced on debut.

Selection:
10pts win – Frankadore @ 14/1 MB

………

7.15 Doncaster: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4f

Rowland Ward is quite good looking colt, well bred out of an Oaks Trial winner, with the appearance of an individual with scope. He was a disappointing beaten odds-on favourite on his seasonal return at Pontefrace in a 3-runner-race.

But I give the colt the benefit of the doubt: he probably needed the run, didn’t look totally happy at bumpy Pontefract, was beaten by a race fit winner and he also dwelt. Starting issues seem to become a habit and is a concern.

Nonetheless, I feel his opening mark on handicap debut today looks potentially underestimating him, given he also tries the 12f only for the second time, which on pedigree should suit perfectly, and he also drops in class here.

Selection:
10pts win – Rowland Ward @ 9/2 MB

Saturday Selections: April, 20th 2019

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Good Friday could have been a great Friday if Landing Night wouldn’t have been beaten in a tight finish in the ‘unlucky last’ at Newcastle. Thankfully Matterhorn got me out of jail (7/1) what would have been otherwise a painful day.

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4.45 Brighton: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

This is a competitive race; I can make good cases for half of them, so backing the favourite doesn’t seem wise. Still, already a course and distance winner off 3lb higher in similarly fast conditions last year, could be supremely well handicapped.

The 4-year-old, despite a poor overall record, ran to a TS rating of 70 when winning here last year; the form looks solid enough to believe it was a true running. He had a good seasonal comeback run an the All-Weather lately, so fitness is assured.

Interesting jockey booking with young Cieren Fallon on board, who’s worth every pound of his 7lb claim as he proved with worthiness on the All-Weather this year already.

Selection:
10pts win – Swissal @ 7/2 MB

……..

7.50 Brighton: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

Twice a course and distance scorer, Junoesque returns to her happy hunting ground. Those were her only victories to date, they came here last season on fast ground as well. She’s pretty much the same mark, give or take a pound, and proved in the past to be capable of running to a bit higher than that.

In fact Junoesque ran to a TS rating of 58 on both occasions when winning here at Brighton, as well as to 54 in another race – suggesting, if conditions are right, she as good, if not even a little bit better than her current 55 rating.

Fitness has to be trusted on her seasonal reappearance. But this looks an ideal opportunity to get another win on the board.

Selection:
10pts win – Junoesque @ 5/1 MB

Saturday Selections: April, 13th 2019

Newbury racecourse

3.05 Thirsk: Class 5 Handicap, 6 furlongs

Obviously a wide open contest but I can make a reasonably strong case for Prestbury Park, who has left the Johnston yard and wouldn’t be first one to improve for a change of scenery.

Now with Paul Midgley, Prestbury Park also has undergone a wind surgery lately, which may well be of further help to the not talentless 4-year-old gelding.

He lost his form in the latter half of last season, after finishing a strong runner-up in July at Epsom, he’s now a full ten pounds lower in his handicap, but it’s noteworthy he was able to finish second off 90 back in October 2017.

Prestbury Park is yet to win in Handicap company, though, he ran five times to TS ratings above 72 throughout his career, a lifetime high of 82, suggesting if he’s somehow got back into the mood for the game, he’ll be potentially well in here.

The wide draw isn’t ideal, particularly with loads of pace drawn in lower numbers. It’s a risk worth taking given the big price tag. It’s noteworthy also that Midgley and jockey Kevin Scott have an excellent record when teaming up.

Selection:
10pts win – Prestbury Park @ 16/1 PP

………

5.00 Newbury: Maiden Stakes, 1m 3f

John Gosden’s Planissimo looks a strong contender, as the odds suggest – he ran to a TS rating of 71 on debut at Chelmsford, which is quite decent. However, newcomer Space Walk is the one I’m keen on here.

Always a risk with horses you’ve never seen. However, Space Walk is supremely well bred – all his relatives has won, in fact he is a full-brother to stakes winners Recorder and Call To Mind.

Space Walk has a Derby entry as well, and the fact he’s started over 1m 3f suggests he’s here not only for the education, but also to get things rolling on a more serious note.

Galileo offspring have a tremendous record here at Newbury generally, even more so over this sort of trip.

Selection:
10pts win – Space Walk @ 3/1

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5.35 Newbury: Class 3 Handicap, 1m 2f

New Show ran an almighty race in a hot handicap when last seen in 2018. Inexperience cost him dearly that day but to be in it for as long as he was, not finishing too badly, was impressive.

That Goodwood race has worked out tremendously well and judged by that a mark of 87 could well underestimate New Show, if he can improve as a 4-year-old with age and experience. As a late April foal, with low mileage, you do hope there is more to come.

He’s been gelded in the meantime, has Jamie Spencer on board and connections seem to have found a nice opportunity to kick things off in 2019. Of course it’s a competitive race with 19 starters, but I feel the 11 draw will give Spencer every chance to keep things simple and to find a clear passage – which is that’s needed.

Selection:
10pts win – New Show @  8/1 MB

……..

6.30 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

Ideally there’d be an additional furlong to go today, still Cappananty Con is exquisitely weighted and can be able to get a win over the minimum trip under his belt.

He’s been placed over CD twice before this winter – he ran to a TS rating of 68 and RPR of 80 at Wolverhampton in January – and has kept his form quite well ever since. Nonetheless he’s been dropped 5lb in the handicap mark, down to a 70 rating now.

The additional 3lb claim of Joshua Bryan should prove handy as well. The draw may be wider than ideal, on the other hand.

Selection:
10pts win – Cappananty Con @ 8/1 MB

Saturday Selections: April, 6th 2019

Aintree parade ring

Preview for the Grand National: Read Here

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3.40 Aintree: Grade 1 Stayers Hurdle, 3m½f

It’s unusual for me to get involved in a hot favourite. The times I do it? It usually backfires. So this should be the kiss of death for Apple’s Jade today.

Nonetheless, I simply can not let the 6/4 odds on offer go, for this supreme mare in a race that’s at her mercy, as long as she turns up back in form – in my book she’s a much bigger favourite and I would expected her touching odds-on.

She probably would be a long odds-on favourite if not for her ‘flop’ in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham. Recency bias is a funny thing: only a few weeks ago Apple’s Jade was deemed nearly unbeatable – that was the opinion of some smart racing experts.

Today, in a weaker contest, she’s deemed merely a 40% chance. Seriously? I’m puzzled. True: the seven-year-old was disappointing at Cheltenham. On the other hand she had fair excuses for an uncharacteristic performance, as we found out afterwards. Right from the start the mare didn’t travel and it was obvious she wasn’t right on the day.

You’d bet connections wouldn’t let the superstar mare run today if she wouldn’t have shown to be back on song at home. So, trusting she’s fine from a physical standpoint today, she’s the best horse in this race by a country mile.

Further to this: personally I had my doubts whether Cheltenham as a track could see Apple’s Jade to best effect. We still don’t know, but suspicion remains it may not. Hence a return to a flatter track, like Aintree, will be to her advantage. In fact she is a course winner already.

The step up in trip, on what looks fair ground today, is no issue. She’s won over 3 miles this season – in fact she is 2 from 2 over 3 miles – the additional distance will not bother her either, I believe.

So, if back to the form Apple’s Jade showed all season long, bar the most recent run, she is hard to oppose today and should convert this penalty kick.

Selection:
10pts win – Apple’s Jade @ 6/4 WH

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3.50 Leopardstown: Group 3 Ballysax Stakes, 1m 2f

Another rare occurrence: a bet on an Irish race. Over the last 14 months I’ve had only five bets, despite calling this little island my home. Betting wise it’s a tough place for me, though. Can fortunes change today?

Obviously the Ballysax is a wide open race, with little recent form on offer and you have to go by juvenile form, without knowing how it truly translates to this new season with a winter in between.

That says I figure Sydney Opera House looksover priced here. He’s a small drift in the market, to a handy price, I feel. He’s the one who ran to the highest time speed rating and joint highest RPR last season. And that despite conditions not always favouring him.

The son of Australia is obviously supremely well bred, a half-brother to a Melbourne Cup winner and Irish Derby second. He showed a lot of promise in a handful of starts as a juvenile, including a close runner-up effort in the Criterium De Saint Cloud when last seen.

Sydney Opera House looks bound to improve as a 3-year-old, even more so when stepping up in trip. But I also have the feeling a softer surface will see him to much better effect.

So, if ready today, he should run a big race on the rain softned Leopardstown ground. And in doing so, he could put himself firmly into the Derby pciture.

Selection:
10pts win – Sydney Opera House @ 7/2 MB

Preview: Grand National 2019

Aintree Racecourse

Can Tiger Roll become the first multiple winner in 40 years since Red Rum? It’s the question on everyone’s lips and you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who’s not wishing the little horse the very best of luck to achieve the status of a living legend.

For many Tiger Roll is already a legend. A multiple Cheltenham Festival winner, one who’s been around forever – or so it seems – the nine-year-old holding on to win the National twelve months ago; looks even better than ever this season!

He kicked proceedings off with a Grade 2 hurdle success on his way to the Festival where he then slaughtered his rivals in the Cross-Country Chase. A performance which in turn has catapulted him firmly to the front of the market in the 2019 Grand National, more so to one of the shortest priced National favourites of all time.

Given this is the Grand National with 40 runners, where luck or the lack of it, can play a huge role in getting a clear run round the course, Tiger Roll, currently priced at 4/1, is a laughable price.

Or not? The 9 pound hike in the weights does appear to be rather fair, particularly after his Cheltenham demolition job. He’s a good jumper, a classy horse with speed and guts, let’s not forget he’s a previous Triumph Hurdle winner also.

So, if you run this race four times, will Tiger Roll win it at least once?

Possibly. I still struggle to see value in the price, even though I’d absolutely love to see him winning. But I’ve got to look at bigger prices here – thankfully there’re three much bigger prices I’m incredibly excited about.

History tells its own story: a 7-year-old hasn’t won the National for quite a long time. Hence the task on hand for Ramses De Teillee looks a daunting one. Nonetheless, for his age he’s got plenty of experience already – ten runs over fences, including a runner-up performance in the Walsh National and fine 2nd place in the Haydock Grand National Trail when last seen.

Ramses De Teillee is officially 5lb well-in; so, on the weights front he looks a sexy contender. He does that also on both RPR- and TS ratings, given he has improved in each of his last two runs, suggesting the profile of a horse with more to come.

The ground won’t hold any fears, the trip should suit, only his jumping is a slight question mark – but he may get a little wiser with age and experience now.

Ever since romping home in the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown at the end of last season the Grand National seemed the target for Step Back. The 9-year-old has relatively few miles on the clock, therefore is clearly another one who could improve quite a bit for this unique test.

He hasn’t done a lot in two starts this season, clearly being minded and connections believing his current handicap mark warrants protection. He certainly stays, acts in soft conditions and despite having only six starts over fences, has strong form in big handicaps as well.

Walk In The Mill is a rare National course winner in the field. He ran away with the Beacher Handicap Chase here last December, so undoubtedly possesses plenty of stamina, given the 3m 2f event was run in deep ground -which was also a career best effort.

A progressive handicapper over the last years, Walk In The Mill has been minded ever since the Beacher run; two fair hurdle efforts brought him along nicely for a big run.

Selections:
3.33pts win – Ramses De Teillee @ 30/1 MB
3.33pts win – Walk In The Mill @ 31/1 MB
3.33pts win – Step Back @ 31/1 MB