Tag Archives: Saturday

Saturday Selection: November, 9th 2019

Wet Dundalk Polytrack

6.40 Southwell: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

Dropping significantly in his handicap mark, with first time visor applied, Ower Fly is an intriguing contender. The 6 furlong trip is certainly no issue, questions are more about the fibresand and whether he still has the appetite to race.

I would argue having been dropped 4lb for the latest Newcastle effort, a fair 5th place where he dwelled yet moved soon to the front, travelled well for long enough and ran on gamely to the line, Ower Fly has been given a significant opportunity by the handicapper.

In act the six-year-old is down a whopping 25 pounds since the start of the year. Which shows he hasn’t been at his best in 2019, and a wind surgery didn’t seem to help either.

So there is significant risk attached to him. Further to this he didn’t seem to start quite as enthusiastically in his latest races, however wasn’t helped at the penultimate race when heavily bumped early on. On the other hand there were glimmers of hope, as the most recent performances showed as did a solid 5th place at Ascot in the summer.

Ower Fly has achieved a topspeed rating of 63+ on 14 occasions throughout his career, on both turf and the All-Weather. With that in mind there clearly is a fair chance that if rejuvinated by the switch to fibresand and visor, he can run a massive race in this poor field.

He can also be beaten soon after the start. A wider than ideal draw, if he dwells again and struggles to take to the surface, he’s gone after two furlongs. I’m prepared to take the risk.

Selection:
10pts win – Ower Fly @ 10/1 MB

Saturday Selections: November, 2nd 2019

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Friday night started in the worst possible way: me looking like an idiot. Here I am backing a short priced favourite for the first time in ages, touting the horse as the proverbial “good thing” that will go on to win the 2000 Guineas. Yeah, that worked out well….

The winner of the Futurity Stakes is a good horse, make no mistake. He already ran twice to 99 topspeed ratings before last night, is an April foal and clearly is consistent on a high level as another 97 TS performance showed last night.

I continue to retain some faith in Kinross, nonetheless. He was pretty keen early on and once again starting issues made life tricky. Hopefully Ralph Beckett can sort this behaviour out over the winter as I firmly belief the time to shine for this colt is as a 3-year-old.

Before moving on to selections for Breeders Cup Saturday, let me say I’m properly grateful to Jose Ortiz: he gave Structor a superb tactical ride. I needed that winner badly. Particularly as Vive La Difference finished strongly once more but found trouble – obviously – at Newcastle earlier.

I have to admit in my head I was counting the money when I saw the splits and certainly when Sweet Melania turned for home in the Juvenile Fillies Turf…. shame she couldn’t quite hold on. Anyway, plenty on the menu on Super Saturday as well!

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7.30 Chelmsford: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

Big chance for Cashel to get back to winning ways: already a course and distance winner, he has fallen to a super sexy handicap mark, having won of allot higher in the past and having run to topspeed ratings of 59+ three times this year alone! So, now down to 58 he is rather obviously well handicapped.

In my view he clearly proved this point when last seen at Kempton. Cashel had a strange break, nearly lost the jockey and was always trailing the field which isn’t his ideal style. He ran on well to finish third in what was an unusually competitive contest with form that stands the test of time already.

The 1lb drop in his mark since is a nice little bonus in combination with the 3lb claim of Theodore Ladd in the saddle. First time CP will hopefully help early on the race – the draw is bad, and he’ll need to be quick out of the blocks.

If Cashel does he’ll be hard to beat tonight.

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

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6.17 Santa Anita: G2 Twilight Derby, 1m 1f

Tricky affair and most market principles have raced each other without conclusive outcomes in the past. I think, however, one who still seems underappreciated is Tapit colt Kingly.

He remains pretty lightly raced and certainly unexposed on turf. On the other hand he showed plenty of promise in three starts on the lush green, much in line with his excellent pedigree.

He showed early promise in spring landing the Listed California Derby at Golden Gates polytrack but couldn’t bring his best to the dirt subsequently. Since the switch to turf he won a grade 3 at Del Mar, beating current favourite Neptune Storm. A 4th and 5th place finish subsequently look questionable but are exceptional pieces of form judged by circumstances.

He was lit up the next time in the Del Mar Derby, bumped right after start by the horse beside him in a bid to overcome the widest draw. He stormed to the lead soon after and that’s where the damage was done. He was less than two lengths beaten in the end.

Next time at Santa Anita, stepping up to open company, he led again, setting off way too fast, going hard all out and nearly led gate to wire in fact, only to be swept by late by the elder horses.

A wide draw doesn’t make things easy today, but there aren’t too many who are likely to compete hard for the lead, so I think he can overcome that.

If Mario Gutierrez can minimize the amount of fuel to be burned in this early phase of the race I think there is a massive chance Kingly will be hard to beg back as he stays the trip, will get a clear run, while some of the other market principles will have to hope for have to weave through traffic.

Selection:
10pts win – Kingly @ 6/1 BF

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8.54 Santa Anita: G1 BC Filly & Mare Turf, 1m 2f

It may look foolish to oppose Sistercharlie, given her incredible record. Even more so as I really struggle to fancy the Euro opposition. However, the one who seems to have come back to life and has run to a career best only recently, backing up other good performances from earlier this year is 2018 1000 Guineas winner Billesdon Brook.

She is completely unexposed over this sort of trip, bar one try in the Nassau last year, which was an odd race to some extend and the filly potentially not at her best anyway. Her pedigree however gives her quite a decent chance of staying the distance.

Particularly with conditions she’ll appreciate. I hope Sean Levey is not afraid to utilize the excellent draw and moves instead of settling off the pace, where Billesdon Brook would only find herself around a number of other European contenders who all will be compromising their respective chances.

After a number of disappointing efforts following her superb Newmarket success last spring somehow the 4-year-old found back to her best this summer, winning three times, runner-up another time, starting in Listed company getting confidence back seemingly, all the way up to landing the Sun Chariot – which was a career best judged by tospeed, as she ran to 103, bettering her Guineas best of 101 – she also ran weeks early to 96 in Oak Tree Stakes at Goodwood.

What this shows: Billesdon Brook is in the form of her life! Obvious question is whether she can hold it and bring it to Santa Anita. If she can she has a much better chance to go really close today than the big odds suggest. She also gets the added boost of running first time on lasix.

Selection:
10pts win – Billesdon Brook @ 14/1 MB

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8.20 Santa Anita: Grade 1 BC Mile Turf, 1 mile

I don’t think the fast ground and turns over this sharp mile will suit Circus Maximus. Two other Europeans I like a lot instead are Space Traveller for one – but the fact he usually settles off the pace plus the small issue of not racing on Lasix is enough to put me off.

The other one is Hey Gaman. This is a consistent horse, running to a high standards usually, if he gets his conditions. So throw the recent soft ground performances out of the window. Leaving those aside,  he won two contests in Listed and Group 3 company and was runner-up in two more hot Group 2 races, all over 7 furlongs.

He achieved topspeed ratings of 99, 100 and 105 in three subsequent races this season. That is quite a high standard I argue not many in this Breeders Cup Mile field have achieved. Furthermore he has the racing style you want for your horse at this track.

Add to that the fact he gets first time Lasix and you have a massive chance. Negative: the draw. However, maybe not as much a negative potentially as this race could turn into affair with little early pace to shout about. Hey Gaman usually breaks well so he should be able to make it over fairly quickly I feel.

The step up to a mile on this lightning fast ground is no issue either. There is enough stamina in pedigree, he is a full-brother to a winner over a mile and himself has some fair form over the trip too.

Selection:
10pts win – Hey Gaman @ 18/1 WH

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11.40 Santa Anita: G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf, 1m 4f

Bricks And Mortar and vulnerable over this trip. AVD has gone backwards since the Derby. Something else may spring a surprise from the front, but I feel eerily confident Old Persian will be able to cover all moves.

He’s not quite superstar status, however he certainly is a high class individual with comparatively low mileage this season, coming here potentially fresher than others.

He’s won the Northern Dancer comfortably when last seen, so had a perfect prep while having ran to topspeed ratings of 110 in the past plus to 104 at Meydan earlier this year, he looks to have the making of what should be the favourite in the race.

The draw isn’t ideal and is my main worry that Buick will “slot in” too far off the pace. I hope he is smart and brave enough to go forward, without being suicidal, and not let the pace go too far away.

If the pilot gets the tactics right then the horse will deliver with everything sure to suit: track, trip, ground.

Selection:
10pts win – Old Persian @ 4/1 PP

Saturday Selections: October, 26th 2019

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6.00 Chelmsford: Class 5 Handicap, 1 mile

A competitive race with a short prices favourite who ran a career best last time out. Can Bobby Biscuit follow up? It’s worth taking him on, I feel.

Particularly as there are two horses at double figure prices who appear handicapped to go close, and I can’t split them, hence I split my stake in half for them.

Creek Island: back on the All-Weather where has two placed efforts in three starts to his name. Bar a most recent poor showing, the colt ran with credit in his last handful of races.

The 3-year-old drops below the 70 rating barrier, though, which makes him a compelling shot today, given he has ran to a topspeed rating of 70 in May (albeit on turf on soft; won that day OR 67), and has the solid assistance ofa 5lb claimer today.

Al Reeh: potentially a Kempton specialist, however looks potentially well in if he can show his best at Chelmsford. Gone close off 3lb higher than current handicap mark last winter.

Ran four times in his career to a 72+ topspeed rating (3x on the All-Weather). Was fancied when coming off a small break last time out here at Chelmsford. Things didn’t quite pan out but it was a strong contest. 2lb lower today, big shout.

Selections:
5pts win – Al Reeh @ 11.5/1 MB
5pts win – Creek Island @ 12.5/1 MB

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6.30 Chelmsford: Class 5 Handicap, 1 mile

This is such a poor race that I can see a long-shot getting up to win. It looks unlikely by recent form, and possibly his days are over, nonetheless at given prices I’ll risk a bet on bottom weight Mr Minerals.

Hard to make a case for him by what he showed in recent times. However, only back in February he finished 3rd and 4th in stronger races at Newcastle, off 12lb higher than his current rating, and ran to 68 topspeed also.

In fact, five times Mr Minerals achieved a TS rating of 67 plus, the majority on the All-Weather. So there is something there, that if he could find some spark for the drop to a more realistic trip, he may outrun his massive price tag today.

Selection:
10pts win – Mr Minerals @ 50/1 WH

 

Saturday Selections: October, 19th 2019

Ascot Grand Stand, by Florian Christoph

I’m short in time today, hence for now only focus on British Champions Day – Wolverhampton selections maybe later on today. Saying that, still looking for a first winner in October. Tough times…. and as my two selections are massive prices I can’t realistically hope that it’ll change anytime soon!

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2.45:  G1 Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes, 1m3½f 

Looks a coin toss on form and ratings between four fillies, namely favourite Star Catcher, Oaks winner Anapurna and the Aiden O’Brien duo Fleeting and Delphina.

You can make solid cases for either of these, but the forgotten horse in this quartet is Delphina. Yes, she is yet to win on the highest level, and only three starts back was beaten in a Group 3 at Cork. The drop in trip may not be totally ideal, but then I think over this course with soft underfoot conditions it might well be.

For a start Delphina is drawn well, so she should be able to settle close enough to the pace which I feel is an advantage here. She will not have to work hard for that, unlike, for example at Longchamp when last seen where was drawn widest.

That performance in the Prix de Royallieu was an excellent performance, given she ran into plenty of trouble in the closing stages. It was also a nice progression from her excellent runner-up performance at Doncaster in the Hill Stakes.

That particular performance is interesting as Delphina ran to a 105 topspeed rating, which is the highest in this field. Granted it came on fast ground, but she proved in France that soft ground is no issue.

Given she has yet to win beyond maiden company she has a little bit to find with the market principles. However on official ratings that is a mere one or two pounds. If she still has something to give after a busy second half of the season I see her going really close today.

Selection:
10pts win – Delphina @ 24/1 MB

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3.20: G1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, 1m

With the tough going likely to slow down things significantly and the ground potentially suitable – well, certainly a change – I’m quite intrigued by Phoenix Of Spain today, given he also has a new jockey on board.

He was so impressive in the Irish 2000 Guineas, though hasn’t kicked on from there, although you couldn’t say he’s been running poorly, given he contested top class opposition on the highest level, and despite not coming close to win clocked 93 and 94 tospeed ratings in his last three runs.

That is far off the whopping 105 achieved at the Curragh, or the 101 at last years Futurity Trophy (on softish conditions!), but shows Phoenix Of Spain hasn’t gone dramatically backwards.

On the plus side also he might be a little bit fresher than some of the more fancied runners here. I hope he can overcome the wider than ideal draw and settle up with the pace. If so it wouldn’t surprise me to see him outrunning his price tag.

Selection:
10pts win – Phoenix Of Spain @ 25/1 MB

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

Saturday Selections II: September, 21st 2019

Wet Dundalk Polytrack

6.20 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

I might rue my decision in the end, because I strongly feel that Consequences is most likely a well-handicapped individual. He’s ran to higher topspeed than his current mark, he did so, in fact, when last seen at Chelmsford when nothing more could have gone wrong for him. Untouched by the handicapper, he has a massive chance if things fall right for him.

However, he is an individual who seems to draw misfortune. Hence at prices I go with the other I fancy nearly as strongly, who also appears to be potentially “well in”: Tathmeen.

Whether 6 furlongs is truly his trip is still kind of a question to be answered. Given he is 1 from 8 over the trip (the one win is incredibly poor form) and has won more races over the minimum trip. But on the other hand his career best speed ratings came over 6 furlongs.

Down to a mark of 72 now, Tathmeen has ran to TS 76 on the AW and 79 on turf in the past. A career best on the All-Weather was achieved back in February at this track, albeit over 5 furlongs, when he ran out a strong victory, form that is highly credible and he did so of his current 72 OR.

Fine 3 lb claimer William Cox is on board. With a few horses already out, the draw that looked pretty bad initially doesn’t look quite as challenging any more.

Selection:
10pts win – Tathmeen @ 11/1 MB

 

Saturday Selections: September, 21st 2019

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I may add more selections later on for Newmarket and Wolverhampton, but with this race I am keen on approaching fast, here on short notice the first selection of the day:

3.00 Catterick: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 6f

This is a prime opportunity for Mister Chiang who stays the trip, having won on fast ground over 1m 6f at Bath earlier this season and having performed with plenty of credit in a good All-Weather handicap over this trip when last season.

His success at Bath is key form: fast ground, as today, he ran off 1lb lower than today but crucially achieved a 78 topspeed.

With a good draw he should be able to be where it matters most at this track and this type of race, and as little else makes any appeal here, Mister Chiang looks hard to beat if he runs to form.

Selection:
10pts win – Mister Chiang @ 10/3 MB