Tag Archives: Saturday

Saturday Selections: 3rd June 2023

Age Of Sail was a very easy winner on Friday. He always did enough in front, or perhaps only as much as needed, because the rest of the field was kept napping in behind, allowing him an easy lead.

The other two selections from Friday provided a set of mixed emotions: Azaim ran a huge race for 3rd place despite a drift to 28/1 SP. He ran well to the line, and I can take some joy from seeing him outrunning his price. In truth: he was not good enough to win, though.

Capofan was the disappointment of the day. I’d fancy him to go seriously close, despite double-figure odds. But he wasn’t the sharpest away from the gate was beaten at the halfway stage.

All in all, another green day regardless how small the profit. Two days, two winners for June. No complaints.


1.30 Epsom: Group 1 Derby, 1m 4f

A wide open Derby. A puzzle to solve without a “good thing” to back. The Derby this year lends itself for a big price to cause an upset, I feel.

It’s hard to have confidence in the long-time ante-post favourite Auguste Rodin. A classy juvenile, but his poor Guineas performance raises plenty of questions. Sure, he had some excuses that day. Valid ones. But it’s far from an ideal prep.

Military Order is a stronger choice, in my view. He’s got the credentials as a brother of Adayar and he was impressive when he kicked clear in the Derby Trial at Lingfield, albeit on the All-Weather.

But like many in this field today, lingering doubts hang over his suitability for fast ground. The same could be said about Arrest or Sprewell, two who I would find of great interest with any ease in the ground.

White Birch is one who has shown to handle fast ground at York. That forms ties in with The Foxes, the winner of the Dante. Both ran good speed ratings and are prime contenders, if they handle Epsom and the new trip.

The two I feel are severely overpriced in this wide open Derby have their own questions to answer: Waipiro for one – runner-up behind Military Order in the Derby Trial.

He fell away in the final half furlong, but I feel the fact he raced closer to the pace and did more in the fast half of the race could be a fair reason for that. He still ran a superb race.

That performance confirmed his strong Newmarket victory on his seasonal reappearance. He wasn’t expected that day and may have surprised connections, but travelled and kicked on like a colt of significant talent.

He ran to a 97 speed rating at Lingfield, which gives him a fair shot to run well in a Derby. obviously more is needed, and he seems to hit the ground hard as well, so I have questions over his suitability for fast ground.

Whether he stays the trip is another question. He’s a half-brother to one who finished 3rd in a Chester Plate over extended 2 miles. So there’s well grounded hope. In any case, he has talent and his form is good enough to give him a shot at outrunning his odds today.

The other one I’m intrigued about is Artistic Star. He won quite well on his racecourse debut last October. The attitude he showed to keep going all the way to the line was impressive. So was his debut speed rating of 87. Sings of a potentially smart colt.

The notion that is his a smart colt indeed received another boost when he returned at Sandown last month and won going away in the closing stages, answering every call and responding well to pressure. He improved on his debut speed rating also.

He looks like he would definitely enjoy the Derby trip and as a full-brother to two smart ones (both won Group 3) that won over the distance, he shouldn’ have a problem at all.

He’s another one who has doubts over his suitability for fast ground, though. His two career runs came on softish ground. Though, full-sister Forbearance won the Group 3 Royal Staked over 12f on fast ground. His action seems fluid and the knee action isn’t too pronounced.

Clearly he’s been incredibly progressive in his two career runs and deserves a chance to run in a Derby. He can progress again, and if he does act on the ground and track he should be a huge runer.

5pts win – Waipiro @ 37/1
5pts win – Artistic Star @ 18/1


1.50 Musselburgh: Class 3 Handicap, 7f

Gioia Cieca had a troubled run last time at York in a seriously hot Handicap. He didn’t seem to travel overly well and lost ground, before getting stuck behind horses in the home straight and impeded. He fell away rapidly in the last two furlongs.

There’s a danger that he hasn’t recovered from two big efforts in April as it looked like he found form again after a break, where he was gelded and underwent a wind operation.

I’m prepared to ignore the last effort as it simply didn’t seem to be his day at York. However, judged on the first two efforts this season, over this course and distance at Musselburgh, he should be seriously competitive off a lowered mark.

Back off his break in April Musselburgh, off for 235 days, he caught the eye for the way he finished after a less than ideal way the race developed for him from the start.

He was desperately unlucky next time over the same course and distance and that performances warranted an upgrade as the one before, especially as both runs came on softish ground.

No doubt Gioia Cieca is a better horse on decent ground. His two best career performances can on fast ground over 7 furlongs. Therefore the ground should be ideal here today, in what is a wide open contest

10pts win – Gioia Cieca @ 9/1


4.50 Musselburgh: Class 6 Handicap, 5f

Stay Smart could be quite well handicapped today in conditions to suit and a race that looks quite winnable.

He showed a clear return to form last time out at Ayr when he raced from the front and also achieved a good speed rating, the best in over 1.5 years.

That day he moved quickly forward and led the field at a good pace. He travelled well and found plenty for pressure from 2f out. Ultimately he was only beaten inside the final furlong by two ridden with more restraint.

Stay Smart had a tough time since losing his form in early 2022. He changed yards, tumbled down the weights and has been gelded and had a wind operation. He appears to be in good shape now, though, and is dangerous off his current rating.

His best performances on speed ratings are mainly over 6 furlongs, but he won over the minimum trip as well, ideally on fast ground and a fast pace to chase over 5f. That should be the case here. The 3lb of Mark Winn are the cherry on the cake.

10pts win – Stay Smart @ 9/2


5.40 Doncaster: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

Madame Fenella is a filly in serious form. Her last three runs were strong and the way she finished indicated her day to shine is near.

She caught the eye at Bath on her seasonal debut when she finished best from the back of the field and wide draw. It was awkward start for her, as can be often the case, she also wore a hood to post; she’s tricky as the past tells.

Nonetheless, she travelled well and did seriously well to finish as close as she did from her wide draw. She didn’t have the speed over 5f at Wolverhampton the next time, though it was a fine performance, which she confirmed once more with an eyecatching run at Haydock the last time.

That run is the strongest indication for her wellbeing. It was a deep race, the winner well handicapped, and se didn’t get the clearest of runs, but she finished once again with zest.

The filly had limited opportunities on turf in handicap company. Her Ascot run from last September noteworthy. She’s intriguing as she drops down to class 6 on turf, especially on fast ground over 6 furlongs.

10pts win – Madame Fenella @ 11/2

Saturday Selections: 27th May 2023

Back-to-back winners: Ventura Express won his race at Pontefract quite comfortably. Everything worked to absolute perfection – that’s not always the case: superb ride, hugged the rail, saved ground, kicked on 2f out and game over.

He was well backed all day too, went off 7/2. So I got a great price, although a little lower than originally thought as I only realised in the morning my full stake wasn’t matched as initially thought it did. Topped up and ended up closer to 7s, which is still lovely.

On to Saturday: it’s Irish 2000 Guineas day. I love this day and will make may way down the N7 to the Curragh, of course. This is usually when Ireland is at its most beautiful – warm, and sunny, everything is blossoming. Plenty of hope is in the air right before the first Classic of the Irish flat season as well.

It’s also another Grade 1 day over in South Africa. One of the premier contests for 3-year-old middle-distance horses shapes as a cracker of a race (potential selection in the morning when there is a market for me to back, to be added here).

I also must say the amount of racing this Saturday – and quite frankly most of the days during the week as well – is simply overwhelming. I struggle to keep up and it takes a bit the joy out of it.

I love turf racing, but enjoy the somewhat quieter pace of the All-Weather season more, as sad as that sounds. The latest news from the reshaped fixture list in the UK doesn’t provide much hope that this is to change anytime soon.


2.12 Greyville: Grade 1 Daily News 2000, 1m 2f

A hot renewal of the key race for the middle-stance three-year-olds in South Africa. The right horses are here to the most part.

See It Again is a pretty short-priced favourite, and you can see why. He was a 40/1 shock winner in the Cape Derby and followed up nicely in the WSB Guineas earlier this month when he ran on well after getting badly outpaced over three furlongs out.

The step up to 2000m will surely suit and he’s clearly the one to beat, simply given the fact he beat Charles Dickens at Kenilworth, who’s the benchmark every three-year-old is measured against this year, and because he finished so strongly when last seen over a trip a bit on the sharp side.

But he’s a tricky horse as well. One who has to be ridden in a specific way. He wears blinkers for a reason and can race sluggishly. I wouldn’t want to trust him at short odds.

Without Question runs in the same colours and was a good third in the Derby, where he faltered late after pushing the pace. He went on to win a Grade 3 over a mile on his comeback run when last seen, doing so against older horses.

He’s clearly talented and may get the run of the race from close to the pace here.

Cousin Casey is probably the most interesting horse here. A son of 2013 Daily News winner Vercingetorix, he was a brilliant 2-year-old and has done well in his 3yo campaign as well, against seriously tough opposition.

After landing a Grade 2 over a mile on his seasonal reappearance he went on to ran a huge race as runner-up behind Charles Dickens in the Cape Guineas. That pushed him near the top of the market for South Africa’s Premier all-age open middle-distance Grade 1, the Met.

From a wide draw he was caught wide, was pulling hard without cover and eventually pulled his way to the front. He only went down late in the day behind the countries best horses, for a strong 5th place. A huge run.

He got a well-deserved break afterwards, before returning with a fine tune-up race at Greyville, before a solid 4th in the WSB Guineas behind Charles Dickens.

That day he made huge progress from the back of the field on the outside from 4f out. he clearly did too much there, going upside with Charles Dickens and fast finishing See It Again. He paid for those exertions, eventually.

Going up in trip isn’t a worry. He should stay the distance on pedigree and the Met run gives plenty of hope. However, he can pull hard as well, and that’s the main worry.

I believe he’s the best horse in the race, though, if he can get his act together. His Met run is clearly the strongest form in the race, this is his third run after a beak, the one he’s had as the target for a while, he should be at his peak now. With that in mind the odds are generous.

10pts win – Cousin Casey @ 4/1


3.05 Curragh: Listed Orby Stakes, 1m4f

Sionnach Eile looked last season like one very much capable of stepping up listed level when he won back-to-back Handicaps in July. He had a long break since then, and with that in mind the recent Cork comeback run can be ignored.

Nonetheless, he travelled pretty well for a long time before getting pretty tired eventually. You would hope he strips fitter here, and one would think connections have had this contest in mind for a while.

He moves up in trip, which is sure to suit, given he won over twice over 1m 4f+, including the hot Guinness Handicap at Galway when last seen off 94.

That was a clear career-best effort as he achieved a superb 97 speed rating, which gives him an excellent chance in this type of race here, if he could run to the same level of form.

The pace could be muddling, but no bother, Sionnach Eile can move forward and could be hard to catch if allowed to stride on.

10pts win – Sionnach Eile @ 5/1


3.40 Curragh: Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas, 1m

A sub-standard edition of the first Classic of the Irish Flat season. This seems to evolve around the British raiders for once because Aiden O’Brien’s horses are a surprisingly poor bunch, certainly judged on what they have done up until now.

Proud And Regal is the one exception, as he’s a Group 1 winner from his juvenile season. However, a mile on decent ground is a completely different test to a mile on heavy going in France at the end of a 2-year-old campaign.

Paddington is Ryan Moore’s choice. He won a Listed trial at Leopardstown after winning a hot Handicap on his seasonal comeback. He’s got potential, though, given he hasn’t run any significant speed rating yet, does appear to be well below Group 1 standard.

It’s fair to say Royal Scotsman enhanced his credentials in no uncertain terms in the English 2000 Guineas earlier this month. He ran on well for 3rd place despite showing early keenness, which can’t have helped.

He’s got a huge engine, as we knew from his excellent juvenile campaign as well. No doubt he does stay the trip and the slight uphill finish at the Curragh will be to his advantage.

For all that, he’s a short price, perhaps fairly so, but his tendency to pull hard is a question mark in a race where the pace may not be red hot.

The obvious for me, although I’m certainly biased as well, is Hi Royal. He was one of those 3-year-old colts I flagged in my 3yo to follow piece before the start of the season.

He certainly confirmed the promise shown as a juvenile when he finished a brilliant runner-up at Newmarket in the English 2000 Guineas. For the most part he even looked like the winner, until hanging a potential Classic success in the final furlong away.

Hi Royal has an engine, a turn of foot and does stay beyond a mile probably. He should enjoy the galloping Curragh and the uphill finish to the line.

Somewhat of a question mark is the likely fastish ground, though. The Guineas was on officially soft ground. His sole career victory came with plenty of cut in the ground.

What gives hope is his debut run, when an excellent third in a hot maiden on fast ground. However, he seems to hit the ground hard and the fact he is probably at his best once he moves up to 10 furlongs is a concern.

Nonetheless, he’s the most solid choice and slightly overpriced, given he has proven his class already, settled well, travelles well and has plenty of upside.

10pts win – Hi Royal @ 11/2


4.10 Haydock: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

This is a wide open contest on paper, but I feel Big R is potentially hard to beat if he acts on the fast ground.

He was a huge eyecatcher on his seasonal reappearance and handicap debut last time at Salisbury, and despite the massive effort, he has been eased by a pound in the meantime. That won’t make too much of a difference as he’s already extremely well-handicapped off 70, most likely.

At Salisbury he was at a disadvantage from the #8 gate right away. He was caught wide and without cover early on, before settling at the back of the field. hen then made rapid progress on outside from the halfway stage to challenge the leaders over 1f out, before getting tired and beaten by those with better draws and closer to the pace.

It rates a huge performance against the pace and track bias. He showed good early speed last year as well, suggesting sprinting is his game. He may stay 7f on pedigree, but 6f appears to be ideal.

Big R was a cheap yearling, so is not one who has tons of scope, probably. Nonetheless, judged on this most recent run he looks clearly better than a 69 Official Rating.

10pts win – Big R @ 4/1


4.55 Goodwood: Class 4 Handicap, 5f

Huberts Dream looks dramatically overpriced if he’s good to go here. He’s got a good draw to attack the rail and stretch the field, while he may well enjoy the better ground which he didn’t get in those turf starts when expected to run well.

Certainly one can ignore the recent Chester run in deep ground from a #10 draw and he also lost a shoe. He ran with plenty of credit at Lingfield prior in a seriously competitive Handicap.

To continue to run over the minimum trip seems a good idea. He showed signs of severe keenness over 6 furlongs in the past, but at the same time showed that early speed is his biggest asset.

He won well on the All-Weather during the winter notching up a hat-trick of wins achieving multiple speed ratings in the 70s. He’s dangerous here if allowed to run on merit.

10pts win – Huberts Dream @ 22.5/1


Saturday Selections: 20th May 2023

Friday was frustrating: having a handful of bets (as today again…) is rare and makes me feel nervy, simply because I feel it’s difficult to find value in that many races on a single day.

That proved to be a correct assertion. I backed some poor value. But I also left some great value unbacked. Two eyecatchers I left unbacked won comprehensively (Aurora Dawn & Mostabshir), while the ones I backed were to some extend unfortunate, but also sometimes simply not good bets. Hindsight…

To back short odds there needs to be good reason for me. There were some good reasons, but equally enough against it: I wanted Lady Rascal too much, and ultimately she struggled in a sprint finish over a trip possibly still a bit short of her optimum. Poor selection.

Basholo was a poor choice as well. He was never going to get home over the trip at Hamilton. It’s poor decisions that eat profit. Those you make and those you don’t make.

Gioia Cieca had a troubled passage. Didn’t seem to travel particularly well either. Spanish Angel ran a fine race. If drawn closer to the rail he probably wins it. Shows, though, he didn’t have as much in hand as I thought he has, also.

After two subsequent days with big winners this week I’m certainly back in reality. It must have rattled me so much I forgot to press the “Publish” button for this post last night….


3.00 Newbury: Class 2 Handicap, 1m 2f

This isn’t your typical handicap – multiple horses have claims to be quite a bitt better than that. Exoplanet, Royal Rhyme and Desert Hero look exciting prospects.

I have to stick with Bertinelli, though. He seems somewhat underappreciated here. Possibly because he got beaten on his seasonal reappearance. However, that looks decent form given he was beaten by a subsequent Dee Stakes runner-up.

He is one of my Horses to Follow, and I firmly believe he’s got the potential to be a quite a decent colt this year, although perhaps, not the Derby contender, as envisioned.

In saying that, one may underestimate him if purely judged on the lack of perceived impressiveness of his sole victory as a juvenile or his seasonal reappearance last month.

His maiden victory came on his second and final start as a juvenile, when he battled hard to land a Dundalk maiden. He won by a neck, but the performance warrants an upgrade because the jockey reported that the colt got struck into behind and that had a major impact on how he ran.

With that in mind the Dundalk run was a fine follow-up on his eye-catching debut that came at Leopardstown where finished an excellent second place behind smart winner Peking Opera, while he didn’t enjoy quite a clear run from 2f out. He also achieved a promising 74 speed rating.

Bertinelli was also reported to be rather weak and had a lot of growing to do last year, which puts these two performances into even better perspective.

Apparently he had wintered really well and had been working nicely before hitting a slight setback suffering from a stone bruise. That may also be a reason why he wasn’t able to sustain his effort at Cork on his seasonal reappearance.

You would hope he could improve having that run under his belt. If he does, there is a fair case to be made that he’s better than a 99 official Rating. Though, others have similar claims. He could have something in hand and still get beaten. At the prices I’m happy to find it it.

10pts win – Bertinelli @ 13/2


4.10 Newbury: Class 2 Handicap, 1m

Wanees is one I have been quite keen on before the season and he may have found a good opportunity to score, despite the nature of the race.

Very few are well-handicapped in this field. Wanees, on the other hand, could easily be ahead of his mark as a potential group horse in the making.

He was a seriously progressive three-year-old in 2022. It was especially impressive the way he won his final race at Haydock last year. He pulled hard early on, yet won with authority in the end.

That was his second victory in 2022, after he won in spring another hot class 2 Handicap. He ran a great race at Royal Ascot subsequently, with his only poor showing coming at Goodwood, where he had valid excuses, though.

Same can be said for his seasonal reappearance in the Lincoln last month. The heavy ground didn’t suit and he was eased as soon as it became apparent that he wouldn’t be able to land a blow.

Off a 96 mark I feel he has got the potential to win with more improvement likely as he becomes more mature with age. He should have options to move up in trip if he settles better, also.

10pts win – Wanees @ 13/2


4.52 Thirsk: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

The nature of the race screams “wide open”, for obvious reasons. The two I’m most interested in a drawn at the opposite ends: Yazaman and and Gullane One.

Both ran in the same race last time out and warranted an upgrade of their respective performances. Yazaman most likely will need a lot of luck, while Gullane One could enjoy the run of the race. Hence he’s the one I’m prepared to back in this large field.

Last time he led his group on the far side and set a good pace. He ran strongly to the line and was only beaten by one from off the pace and the leader of the stands’ side. I believe that’s quite strong form through winner and the runner-up.

Running against the stands side this time, from the #20 gate, he should have the rail to guide him all the way to the line. He can jump and shouldn’t be too far off the pace, most likely tracking closely Two Summers from #18.

This step up to 6f should suit, so should the decent ground. He ran some solid speed ratings within the last year, as he won off 55 and ran to a 57 speed rating. This most recent run suggests he’s probably not far off that form now.

10pts win – Gullane One @ 11/2


5.25 Thirsk: Class 5 Handicap, 1m

It’s been a while that Mobashr caught my eye when he finished a good third in a hot class 4 Handicap at Wolverhampton in December when he ran to an excellent 80 speed rating.

Since then he ran well in a competitive class 3 Handicap at Chelmsford off a break and then showed his worst side as he missed the break badly at Kempton.

He’s a tricky sort but looks well-in as he drops in class and returns to turf. Mobashr remains lightly raced on turf and has won over a mile on decent already.

He’s got to carry a big weight off 77 here, though, and can be keen over this trip. The hood is back on to give him every chance to settle, and hopefully he doesn’t miss the break. Usually if he starts well he’s up with the pace, which can be ideal from the #1 draw here at this track as well.

This isn’t the strongest class 5 Handicaps, either. If in the mood, and allowed to run on merit, he must have a much better chance to win than current prices.

10pts win – Mobashr @ 13.5/1

Saturday Selections: 13th May 2023

Disappointing Friday. Both horses were well-backed. But that didn’t mean anything once the gates opened.

Elterwater was off the bridle pretty early, and after it looked briefly as if she could get involved, she fell rapidly away in the closing stages.

Shark Two One ran solid for a third place, but never looked like winning. I think I’ll stick with him for now as his revised mark gives him a good chance next time, I believe.


4.55 Ascot: Class 4 Handicap, 6f

Sergeant Tibbs caught the eye a number of times in the last half year. He ran extremely well on the All-Weather in his last three runs at the end of 2022 before a break, without winning, though.

he made life difficult for himself on the sand, and in any case, is a better horse on turf.

He changed yards this spring, now trained by John Flint. He made his stable debut for the new yard at Windsor last month., which was also his seasonal reapperance and first run since December.

With that in mind, he finished a respectable 5th place, less than 4 lengths beaten, on heavy ground, having been closer ridden to a hot pace early on than the horses that finished ahead of him.

His next run at Goodwood can be marked up as well. He was probably found out for class, ultimately, but early keenness wasn’t any help. He still finished solid enough taking all that into account.

Those last two performances suggest he’s in pretty good form. The handicapper has been lenient, dropped him another 2lb.

Here at Ascot he can race off 70, takes a drop in class, down into an even easier race than the one at Windsor. He’s a tricky character and the lack of pace could be an issue. Nonetheless, he remains still lightly raced on turf, having ran well enough i most of his turf starts, most of those with cut in the ground.

Including a Handicap win off 77 last May, when he also ran to an 82 speed rating. Therefore, he could be seriously well-handicapped in this field as soft ground isn’t a worry.

10pts win – Sergeant Tibbs @ 15/2


8.10 Leicester: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

Veteran Eponina looks to have found an ideal opportunity to score. She won this race twelve month ago off a 2lb lower mark, ran to a 66 speed rating that day, and followed up weeks later with a win and head beaten 2nd off 69 and 70 ratings.

She clearly is on a good mark, although, not one where she has tons in hand. But she is in super form, there’s no doubt. She was well-backed last week at Beverley, and ran really well.

Eponina grabbed the lead, although was closely followed all the time. She was a bit keen in the first half of the race and came under severe pressure entering the home straight. I was impressed how gutsy she was, answering the calls for effort and focus.

The drop to 7 furlongs on soft ground should be in her favour, as should be her return to Leicester.

Her experience will be an asset in this race against a bunch of inexperienced 3-year-olds. This is still the time when the elder should have a distinct advantage, regardless of WFA.

The favourite Albeseeingyer is on five-timer. She ran a good speed rating when she won the last time, and could still be progressive enough to overcome her revised mark. But this is better grade and Eponina certainly a tougher rival to beat.

Backing 9-year-old mares isn’t my cup of tea normally, but I feel she could prove too good for this field off her current mark, and represents sufficient value at current prices.

10pts win – Eponina @ 5/1

Saturday Selections: 6th May 2023

4.40 Newmarket: Group 1, 2000 Guineas, 1m

If you’re prepared to oppose 6/4 favourite (at the time of writing) Auguste Rodin then the first Classic of the 2023 flat season appears to be a wide open affair.

In my view, including the favourite, there are serious question marks looming over all of the better fancied horses here, though. That adds to the intrigue but also difficulty to untangle the puzzle.

That may not be unusual, given it’s only May, and half the field didn’t have a run as 3-year-old colts yet. But it feels there are more profound question marks many have to answer this time than in preceding years.

Auguste Rodin has been hailed as a potential Triple Crown winner. You can see why. Three wins from four runs last year, he finished the season with a Group 1 triumph in the Futurity.

He’s expected to improve massively as a three-year-old, especially once he moves up in trip. Any rain would be a huge help to his chances as well.

On the other hand, the fact he hasn’t achieved overly impressive speed ratings yet – although, perhaps not helped having to run on heavy ground the last two times, as well as that he always stayed on strongly more so than having a blistering turn of foot – has me questioning his speed on better ground against proper milers.

Trained by Aiden O’Brien, who knows better than most what it takes to win the Guineas; nonetheless, the price is skinny and he appears beatable.

Stable mate Little Big Bear was crowned Europe’s Champion Juvenile after a demolition job in the Phoenix Park Stakes at the Curragh back in August. That was over 6 furlongs and he wasn’t seen again last year.

He looks a sprinter to me, even though the dam side gives some hope. Yet, he showed so much precocious speed as a juvenile, I have clear doubts that he stays a mile at Newmarket in a hot 2000 Guineas.

Chaldean progressed with each run last year, winning twice in Group class before his season culminated in a superb Dewhurst success. He achieved a 106 speed rating, which is “best in class” in this Guineas field.

He has his quirks, though, as evident at Newmarket when he started slowly, and also on his seasonal reappearance in the Greenham where he wore a hood to post, before becoming distracted by a rival starting right beside him, jinked to his left as a consequence, and unseated Frankie Dettori.

I have reservations on that basis, as well as over his stamina. He kept on well enough over 7 furlongs, but how much more is there to give over an additional furlong? The dam has produced largely speedier types.

Royal Scotsman was a superb juvenile. He ran on well for a close 2nd behind Chaldean in the Dewhurst. He got the trip, seemingly. Not sure how much scope he has to improve, given he started his career in early May last year.

A mile doesn’t look impossible on pedigree, but Sakheer is another one who may prove best over over shorter distances. He didn’t ran particularly fast on speed ratings either. Craven Stakes winner Indestructible can’t be easily discounted, given he has that CD record. But he may not be classy enough for a Guineas and it’s a quick turnaround after that big run only a fortnight ago.

Even though he is only 1/5, I quite like the look of Holloway Boy as one outrun his price tag and possibly finish in the placings. He can be upgraded for some of those placed efforts last year and is sure to progress as a 3-year-old, given he’s a son of Ulysses.

Charlie Appleby saddles two: Gimcrack winner Noble Style hasn’t been seen since August. I have major doubts over his stamina. You wouldn’t have any worries about stamina with stable mate Silver Knott, though.

A winner of three of his six starts last year, he progressed nicely through the season from a 4th place beaten behind Chaldean on debut, to winning the Group 3 Autumn Stakes at the Rowley Mile.

I can forgive him a poor showing in the Champagne Stakes when he finished a disappointing last of five. The ground got him beat. He definitely prefers better ground.

He showed a lot of class at Newmarket in September, though, when he beat smart Epictetus. The way he found another gear from two furlongs out, and then always just doing enough, impressed me, as he also ran to a 105 speed rating.

Silver Knott finished the year with a desperately unlucky runner-up performance at the Breeders Cup. He wasn’t the sharpest out of the gate, appeared plenty keen enough throughout, and got stuck behind rivals at a crucial stage. And yet, he only got beaten in a photo.

No doubt, he’s likely to be seen to best effect once he steps up to 10 furlongs – granted he has trained on, which we will have to see. He’s got solid stamina in his pedigree.

At the same time, he looked speedy enough as a juvenile, and showed a nice change of gear a number of times. The ground as it stands should be a huge bonus to his chances.

However, the rain forecast is a serious concern. How much is going to fall between now and then? The clerk watered the ground which is just bizarre given the forecast.

We’ll have to find out. I gamble on the fact that there isn’t enough precipitation to turn the currently as good to firm classified going to anything worse than good to soft.

Anything worse than good to soft would be a problem. But I can’t see that happening. Therefore, at the given prices, Silver Knott looms as a major value bet in my book.

10pts win – Silver Knott @ 12.5/1


1.35 Naas: Handicap, 5f

An Irish Handicap with 21 runners? I couldn’t think of anything less appealing as a betting proposition.

And yet I find myself incredibly bullish about the chances of Harry’s Hill. He was an eyecatcher on his last two runs against much stronger rivals. Yet, despite those two excellent performance he has been dropped a whopping 4lb (whopping by Irish standards) for those runs.

He came to my attention for the first on his seasonal reappearance at the Curragh at the end of March:

He was somewhat awkwardly away from the gate, but then showed blistering early speed to lead the field. He was going well for a long time before falling away in the final furlong.

To some extend it was a similar story last time at Cork. However, that time he also had to overcome a draw disadvantage, and was racing as part of a small group on the far side. He won on his side, and once again travelled very strongly for a long time.

On both occasions he was up against it on class terms. Both runs warrant additional upgrading because they came on extremely deep ground.

His record on ground not worse than yielding over 5 furlongs – it looks fair to assume the ground continues to dry as it’s quite warm, sunny and breezy here in Naas with no further rain of any significance expected – is excellent: 7-2-3.

This is an easier race, on his preferred ground and trip. The stiff finish is the only slight concern I have. Though, he won at the Curragh which also has an uphill finish, so perhaps it’s no big deal.

On speed ratings he looks also competitive off his current 73 mark, which is 3lb higher than his career best from last year, when he seemed to take his form to a new level.

He ran to a 71 speed last season, rating but I have well founded hopes that he could improve by another couple of pounds in ideal conditions once again.

10pts win – Harry’s Hill @ 9/2

There’s one more I quite like but have to decide in the morning, if there’s some positive vibes in the betting, and will update the post accordingly.

Saturday Selections: 22nd April 2023

3.45 Thirsk: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

This looks a thoroughly uncompetitive affair, despite a field of 13 runners. That should give Phoenix Beach an excellent chance to get his first win on turf, after he got off the mark on sand last summer.

He was only seen one more time last year, over the same course and distance as his maiden victory. That’s where he caught my eye for the way he travelled through the race from the front, before he suddenly tired rapidly.

He travelled so supremely well there, in line with his impressive first career victory a few month earlier, that something must have been amiss for him to drop out so tamely.

Thankfully it turned out that he lost a shoe and was found lame afterwards, indeed.

He returned last month at Doncaster over 5 furlongs in desperate conditions. He didn’t travelled particularly well but stuck to the task well enough before getting tired in the final furlong. A rock solid comeback run.

You’d hope he can improve from there and as generally lightly raced individual it’s far from impossible that he can find more for natural improvement as well. Off a 72 mark he offers upside.

10pts win – Phoenix Beach @ 6/1


5.25 Nottingham: Class 6 Handicap, 5f

I’m really excited to see Captain Corcoran returning so quickly after his latest Catterick run. I believe this lad is in super form and ready to strike.

He caught the eye on his seasonal reappearance last month, where after an awkward start he was held up in rear and finished seriously well under and easy hands and heels ride after not getting a clear run until late.

He was clearly ridden with intend not to show all of his cards there and appeared on a lovely mark next time at Catterick, but he faced an uphill battle from the #4 draw.

The jockey seemed to try too hard (by design?) to overcompensate for this significant disadvantage over that course and distance and used a lot of energy but also giving ground away moving all the way across to the stands’ side.

Captain Corcoran looked threatening for a brief moment over 2 furlongs out but eventually faded.

As a result he dropped another two pounds. Now down to 52 he appears pretty well-handicapped with soft conditions likely to suit. The more rain that falls and is excepted tomorrow, the better for his chances.

10pts win – Captain Corcoran @ 6/1

Saturday Selections: 15th April 2023

Grand National day. My preview of the big race can be read here. On the flat racing front things remain quiet this week and also this weekend, to the most part.

But looking at the tracker for next week things are going to get hot. There are no less than 21 eyecatchers scheduled to run only from Monday to Wednesday alone The flat is back!


4.30 Yarmouth: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

Not a particularly competitive race. El Royale saw some money this morning, and some of that may well be the “Billy factor” more than anything.

The horses drops down in trip and is unexposed, but strikes me as a weak favourite, nonetheless.

Phoenix Star and Concierge are the obvious interests for me, having caught the eye in their last runs. In saying that, the #8 draw isn’t ideal for Phoenix Star, who’s also one of the more popular horses in the market this morning.

High draws have a poor record over this course and distance. That aside, he strikes me as best over the minimum trip, perhaps with some cut in the ground. He’s yet to win over 6f on turf, hence Concierge is the more interesting horse today.

His record over 6 furlongs isn’t brilliant, either. However, he is a distance winner, even on good to soft in the past, has been able to stretch out to 7 furlongs, and has clearly the speed for the minimum trip (which may be his optimum).

In any case, I was impressed by his comeback run last month at Kempton, where he was a serious eyecatcher:

Concierge travelled at the back of the field. Made really good progress on the inside, showed multiple accelerations from mid-race right onward to finish the fastest from 4f out.

He couldn’t follow-up at Chelmsford, but travelling wide throughout, chasing the pace, was the reason why he dropped out badly in the closing stages.

As a consequence he’s down another couple of pounds, a new career-lowest. He ran to a 64 speed rating at Kempton, though, suggesting there’s enough there to believe he can win.

Whether he is still as good as last season remains to be seen, now that he’s back on turf. Last year he ran well a number of times, including when achieving a 73 speed rating run at Newmarket over 6 furlongs.

He drops down to class 6 today – obviously he’s not the force of old, but this is much easier than anything he’s encountered even in the more recent past.

Even though I’m not totally sold on credentials over 6f on turf, I feel he’s still got too much class for these rivals. He definitely won’t mind the ground, looks to be in fine form, and if on a going day (i.e. allowed to run on merit) he could be hard to beat.

10pts win – Concierge @ 6/1

Saturday Selections: 1st April 2023

After a small break on a sunny island in the Atlantic Ocean I’m (nearly) back for the start of the flat season!

March was finally a green month again, having produced a 110pts profit; 4 winners and seven placed selections…. something positive at the end of a tough winter on the sand.

Thankfully, the grind of the All-Weather is over (well, probably not really, for another couple of weeks) and the grind of the flat beings here once again.


3.00 Doncaster: Listed Cammidge Trophy Stakes, 6f

Intriguing contest. A handful could have a proper go in this listed contest, but the ground should be key to narrow down the real contenders.

Current favourite Asjad definitely stays the trip and beyond in deep ground as shown in his last three fine runs in autumn 2022, including over this course and distance. He goes well fresh, but has failed to convince on speed ratings in 12 career runs so far.

El Caballo remains a sprinter with plenty of upside. If he’s ready from a long lay-off he should be the one to beat. A Grade 2 winner last May at Haydock, he wasn’t seen since Royal Ascot.

That’s a question mark, as well as the unknown whether he can show the same level of ability to show on deep ground.

Fast Response should enjoy the soft ground as he proved winning a Listed contest over this course and distance when last seen in November. Again he’s one who looks up against it on speed ratings – if the main principles fire.

Commanche Falls is pretty ground independent. He’s got a fine record fresh, and looks a key player if in the same form as last season; however, he’s yet to win outside Handicap company and his very best came on no less than good to soft.

Ehraz remains progressive and has been gelded during is off-season. He’d be seriously interesting on better ground. In soft conditions he may struggle, though, today.

Having said that, King’s Lynn is the one I’m siding with at given prices. He looks clearly overpriced, if fit on his seasonal reappearance.

The fact he ran quite well coming off a break in the past is promising. He’s the finished article by now, so if he can run to last seasons form, he should have a major say in the outcome of this race.

This is easier than his final assignment in 2022, when well beaten in the Champions Sprint. He competed predominantly in hot water last year, but was highly competitive in lesser grades, including when winning the Grade 2 Temple Stakes.

He runs consistently to a good level on speed ratings; his career-best effort over this Doncaster course and distance that came in the Listed Wentworth Stakes in November 2021 makes him a prime contender today, in theory.

Possibly the minimum trip is his optimum, but he obviously stays 6 furlongs, no bother, and loves soft ground. With that in mind he seems seriously overpriced at current exchange prices (8s readily available) although the scenario of a weak pace would count against him, truth told.

10pts win – King’s Lynn @ 8/1

All-Weather Saturday Selections: 11th March 2023

12.55 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 5f

Lady Nagin drops down to class 6 again after a seriously impressive effort at Southwell over 6 furlongs three weeks ago. She also tries the minimum trip for only the second time in her career on what will be her 2cond handicap run also.

When last seen she pulled her way to the front right before entering the bend and as a consequence wasted a lot of energy, as she never really settled properly, too.

Yet she showed a really impressive attitude in the home straight when heavily challenged as she only went down fighting late in the final furlong.

It’s hard to know where her ceiling is. She won two back a maiden over 6 furlongs at Southwell in really nice style from the front. Having showed plenty of early speed in her races, I doubt the minimum trip will pose any real issue.

from a low draw she should be able to move forward and track the likely front-runners closely in third or fourth place. They should go a good clip which may help her to settle better, and if they go too hard, she clearly has the stamina for further as well.

10pts win – Lady Nagin @ 7/1


8.00 Chelmsford: Class 6 Handicap, 5f

Sir Rodneyredblood is a course and distance specialist with a 7-3-2 record who caught the eye last time out on his first run after a small break.

He showed excellent early speed, even though was also helped by a low draw, led the field for home by setting a strong pace in the 6 furlongs contest. He tried hard but eventually faded from 1f out.

Five or six furlongs doesn’t make too much of a difference to him, but the minimum trip at this track is clearly his preferred course and distance.

He drops ever so slightly in grade as he does in trip, and this will be easier. He has to overcome the #6 draw, though should be able to do so given the pace map for the race.

With that in mind, he could potentially dominate this contest from the front, which will be an advantage over this C & D. I have no doubt he will come on for the lto run and can bring his form back to the level shown in autumn.

The level of form he ran to then is at a different level to the majority of rivals in this field. He ran to solid speed ratings then, and was only a neck beaten off a 65 mark in a better race.

He obviously had a lot of racing under his belt but still shows enough enthusiasm and early speed to think off 62 against 0-60 opposition over his preferred course and distance he must be a huge runner.

Obviously, Proclivity and Mustaffiz have been eyecatchers in the past, too. There are both with a chance here, though, I have come to the conclusion that their limitations have been exposed off their current ratings.

10pts win – Sir Rodneyredblood @ 11/2

Saturday Selections: 25th February 2023

It’s not really happening for me right now. Even though – and that’s all I can ask for – it was a massive run by Royal Tribute last night at Dundalk. But was only good enough for a 4th place finish in the end.

It was odd to see him held up in last after an excellent start. He made a huge move from 3 furlongs out to lead at the final furlong marker, but he mad that move right into the hottest part of the race, so no surprise to see him fade late.

I’ll try to maintain positivity. Especially in light of a superb day of racing today. Kenilworth, South Africa is the place to be. 2.15 is the time to remember: Cape Derby time – Charles Dickens goes off the hot favourite and let’s just hope he can show something spectacular.


1.40 Kenilworth: Listed Jet Master Stakes, 8f

A wide open contest, that sees top rated Al Muthana return to his preferred distance. he was the shock winner of the King’s Plate, but couldn’t follow up in the Met over 10 furlongs, which wasn’t a surprise to see.

Obviously, if he would run to the level of form shown over this course and distance in January, when beating Charles Dickens, he’s the one to beat.

Two issues he may encounter, though: he’s got overcome 62kg on his back. And the low draw, albeit generally a positive, may mean he has to challenge against the inside rail, if he doesn’t want to lose a lot of ground to angle out toward the preferred stands’ side. The market sees it the same, and has a fair 6/1 chance.

Favourite Silvano Dasher won two hot handicaps on the bounce. He’s got to prove his stamina over this trip, though. From his wide draw he’ll be ridden for a turn of foot I assume. Makes little appeal at current odds.

Lightweight Imilenzeyokududuma looks attractive. He is progressive, loves this course and distance and should enjoy the perfect race tracking the pace from his #4 draw.

At the prices I simply have to back classy Warrior, though. He ran really lately, in hot races, often having to overcome wide draws. His stamina was stretched in the Met when last seen, but his run was huge against the very best opposition.

He also was a fast finishing 3rd in the Grade 2 Anthonij Rupert Wyne Premier Trophy prior, when he had to overcome a wide #13 draw, then over 9 furlongs.

The drop to 1.600m looks absolute key today. His record is 7-4-2 over this course and distance and he’s got the added bonus of Richard Fourie in the saddle.

The #7 is possibly ideal. Fourie will have every option to chose his race tactics, but I assume he’ll settle somewhere 4-5 lengths off the pace, with the aim to angle out wide for an early challenge from 500 metres out against the stands’ side.

Warrior is a class act in this field and certainly over his preferred trip. He didn’t have many opportunities to run over this C&D since winning the Cape Mile back in November 2021.

10pts win – Warrior @ 6/1


2.40 Lingfield: Class 2 Handicap, 1m

I was seriously impressed with Diderot’s comeback run last month. 203 days off, he returned at Southwell in a competitive class 3 Handicap. No surprise on his first run in such a long time to see some signs of keenness early on, before he happily took the lead of the front-runners.

As he tracked the pace he travelled sweetly throughout, hard on the bridle as he approached two furlongs from home and hit the front. Ultimately the winner came flying from off the pace to catch Diderot inside the final furlong.

It was still impressive to see him being able to keep up strongly all the way to the line, which only horse in near peak form could do.

He ran to a strong 88 speed rating on the day, not too far off his best. Today is a hotter race on paper, but judged on performances over the last twelve months his best is best in this field, in fact.

About a year ago he was only a neck beaten over this course and distance off a 94 mark, running to a 94 speed rating. He followed up with more excellent performances on the All-Weather.

He’s not obviously well-handicapped off 95 today. But he’s very likely to be top form, likely to run to his best, and that could be good in a race where there are question marks to answer for many of his rivals.

The pace will be intriguing. There should be a quite a bit of early speed that will likely suit Diderot to slot in behind the leaders, drop his head then and come with a strong finish in the final furlong to hopefully win the race.

10pts win – Diderot @ 7/2