Tag Archives: Saturday

Saturday Selections: July, 21st 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

2.25 Newbury: Class 2 Handicap, 16.5f

Bottom weight Almoghared drops down into this right from an excellent performance in the Group 2 Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot – form that has been franked by the superb winner subsequently.

Almoghared didn’t have a chance but until the final furlong marker was still right in the game. He probably isn’t quite up to that standard and doesn’t look a fast horse. So the step up to this marathon trip on handicap debut looks a good move.

The jury is out, however. His maiden win at Chepstow is worth nothing, though he was incredibly green that day and today marks only his fourth career start. Given Almoghared is superbly well bred there is every chance he can pull out more against older horses now, leveraging a handy WFA allowance.

Selection:
10pts win – Almoghared @ 6/1 PP

…….

5.50 Ripon: Class 5 Maiden Handicap, 6f

Cobalty Isle must have a cracking chance if he can find back to anything close of his best form. He’s dropped dramatically in the mark after a string of bad performances, though noteworthy he was an excellent 4th in a red hot Wolverhampton Handicap back in March of a 9lb higher mark than today.

He showed promise as as a juvenile, ran to a TS rating of 61 on debut and poses a top RPR of 78. He must go close here with conditions to suit.

That is if there isn’t anything totally wrong with him. Cheek-pieces and tongue tie applied the last time are a concern. The same headgear is on today. Nonetheless at given prices he is a cracking value bet in my book – if he can find back some form.

Selection:
10pts win – Cobalty Isle @ 16/1 VC

……

6.30 Haydock: Novice Stakes, 7f

Line Of Duty is the obvious one here, but he is a super short price. Also an expensive yearling is Massam, though, who equally was not quite the luckiest one as Line Of Duty was on their respective debuts.

Massam showed allot of greenness at Chelmsford earlier this month after getting tied up in a battle for the early speed right after the start. He didn’t get the clearest of runs turning for home either and was hanging toward the far rail in the home straight too.

He should have learned plenty that day and has allot of scope to improve dramatically for that experience. Whether he is quite good enough to be beat the favourite remains to be seen.

Selection:
10pts win – Massam @ 6/1 MB

……

7.30 Haydock: Class 5 Handicap, 10f

Things have slowed down a bit for excellent apprentice Ger O’Neill but it looks significant that he has this one ride today on veteran Save The Bees who has dropped to a tasty mark after a rather poor campaign this year so far.

However, down to a mark of 72, with conditions to suit and a visor r-fitted to sharpen him up, Save The Bees looks dangerous if he can find a bit of form. The 5lb claimed by O’Neill are worth every single pound, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the ten year old gelding in the shake up tonight.

Selection:
10pts win – Save The Bees @ 14/1 PP

……

7.45 Lingfield: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

Competitive race where a case can be made for pretty much all of these. I feel Ralf Beckett’s gelding Raskolnikov is overpriced, though on the back of one poor effort when he had excuses last time.

Judged by his first two career starts at Bath beforehand, on the other hand, his form does not look too different from what the market leaders have achieved to date.

This son of Excelebration has nicely improved from a physical point of view since his debut and his fourth and fifth place finishes in April and May where quite good form given how those races have worked out since then.

An opening mark of 67 could underestimate his true merit now stepping up to more suitable 6f also.

Selection:
10pts win – Raskolnikov @ 6/1 PP

………

8.30 Haydock: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

Sitar hasn’t been firing in a light campaign to date, however she drops to a dangerous mark 3lb lower than her last winning mark. Conditions are unlikely to pose an issue, despite her two career wins achieved with a bit of cut in the ground.

She has the assistance of red hot Ben Curtis and offers much better value than odds-on favourite Boundary Lane.

Selection:
10pts win – Sitar @ 6/1 PP

Saturday Selections: July, 14th 2018

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1.40 Newmarket: Class 2 Handicap, 7f

Tough race to break down, but I feel, despite the big price, there is a good case to be made for the only three year old in the race – Cardsharp.

A runner-up in the Middle Park Stakes last year, he has trained on as he won a good listed race last month and subsequently wasn’t totally disgraced in hotter company.

This here ain’t much easier, given he has a massive handicap mark to carry around. But WFA allowance lessens the burden a bit. He also has ran to a 100+ time speed rating in the past, which is a sign of high class horse.

Given he brings proven Group class form into this race, enjoys fast ground and has fair recent form. The step up to 7f is a question mark as he’s not proven yet to be able to bring his 6f form over the longer trip.

But, in fairness, he ran in hot races over 7f and on pedigree he actually should be excel this sort of distance. The likely fast will surely be a help today to see him to best effect, so at a big price I give Cardsharp a decent chance to be in the shake up when it matters.

Selection:
10pts win – Cardsharp @ 20/1 PP

……..

7.30 Hamilton: Class 4 Handicap, 12f

Killdeer should progress nicely and with the WFA advantage is clearly the one to beat. Nonetheless it’s not a given, and with proven force Mutadaffeq in the race, I side with the experience here.

Mutadaffeq has dropped to a sexy mark despite running relatively well in recent weeks. It’s true he looked in the grip of the handicapper but that solely because of consistency. He’s down a pound on his last winning mark, even though on soft ground, he also has winning form on a fast surface.

The fact Mutadaffeq has ran to time speed rating of 85 in the past suggests he’s due for a big performance today over a distance he’s a 23% strike rate.

Selection:
10pts win – Mutadaffeq @ 4/1 MB

Big Race Preview: Durban July 2018

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South Africa’s most prestigious race intrigues year after year with a a massive field size including at least two handful of runners you can all see playing their part in the outcome of the race. A tricky contest to work out and one where favourites have a hard time.

The winner paid 17/1 or bigger the last three editions alone, and the last two years no single figure priced horses even made it into the money. Tactics pay an important part but the pace angle is one that used to gather little traction in the discussions leading up to the big race in the past, I feel.

Different this time. It’s the discussion topic number one. A muddling affair is feared. That will make life tough for those who come from behind naturally or those who end up in rear due to their wide draw.

It also poses a difficult decision for those jockey sitting on horses who need a proper stamina test but who are drawn wide or who wouldn’t naturally like to be too close to the pace.

Either way, the hot favourite African Night Sky from the powerful Justin Snaith yard may well be the most talented individual in the race but is clearly a price to forget. He stays the trip and had an excellent preparation, however his tendency to miss the break on occasions plus the need to be dropped in will make life incredibly tough for the four-year old gelding.

My eyes are firmly set on his stable mate Made To Conquer, instead. What can go wrong with a name like that?! In seriousness, this supremely talented son of Dynasty has been coming through the ranks, improving bit by bit while showing excellent desire combined with the ability to change gear.

Made To Conquer has been winning four on the trot. Albeit largely in much lower grade. The progressive gelding took his time, though since September last year he won six of his seven starts and showed a step up in class to graded company isn’t a problem when landing the Grade 3 Stirrup Cup off a big weight. Officially only a head between himself and multiple Stakes winner Strathdon, Made To Conquer held the stable mate under a hands and heels ride rather easily.

A step up to the highest level is only the right consequence. Made To Conquer is a staying type. He already won over 2.500 meters. So, dropping down to the 2.200 meters in the July is a slight question mark, particularly in the light of the predicted pace.

That says, despite a wider than ideal draw, it is likely that Jeff Lloyd will make plenty of use of the featherweight and the stamina his mount possesses and march forward early on to be close enough to the pace and take it up if needed. This is as much as he said himself: he ain’t gonna sit around.

If he holds true to this then Made To Conquer will surely be in the right position – which nearly always in the July is closer to the pace than too far off. Lloyd can send him on his way hitting top gear entering the home straight confidently knowing the gelding will stay all day long and clearly relishes having a fight on hands too.

For Jeff Lloyd it would bring an incredibly career in the saddle to a fairytaile ending. The 56 year old has never won the July despite being a six-times South African champion jockey. It’s going to be one last hurray before retirement beckons right after.

Selection:
10pts win – Made To Conquer @ 9/1 Sky

Saturday Selections: July, 7th 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

Another nice winner today – Saroog did that impressively at Sandown this afternoon, following on from Archimedes’s excellent win on Wednesday. A bit on a roll at the moment…. long may it last after some desperate weeks preceding it.

Eclipse tomorrow. No Masar, but quick turnaround for Saxon Warrior. I think I fancy stable mate Happily, who was desperately unlucky in the Diane. However, only a race to watch at given prices and no bet.

It’s also Durban July day. I’ll have a proper look tomorrow morning. Possibly putting up a selection for South Africa’s most prestigious race later on Saturday. Also to look forward to is the return of Mendelssohn at Belmont in the evening.

……..

2.45 Sandown: Class 3 Handicap, 7f

Open contest that is at the mercy of a progressive horse. Manthoor fits the bill. Still generally lightly raced, he showed promise as a juvenile. Particularly his Kempton runner-up performance in September behind now 90 rated (and NTO winner) Corrosive is excellent form.

He returned last month after having undergone a wind OP over the winter. In a poor maiden he didn’t have trouble winning. That was expected. The manner he did, though, was exciting. Travelling well throughout, quickening nicely on the fast ground and holding his pursuers hands and heels in the closing stages.

The form is franked through subsequent handicap placings by the second and third. An opening mark of 84 isn’t easy task but could underestimate the improvement left in Manthoor who may be able to exert himself even better second up from a break and wind surgery.

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

Saturday Selections: June, 16th 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

3.45 Chester: Class 4 Handicap, 5f

Stall 2 at Chester over the minimum trip often leads to the golden highway. So it is a significant boost for Dahik to have start from the top draw. The gelding never lived up to the promise he showed when winning a Novice contest at Bath last year and has moved yards in the meantime.

You can’t say Dahik set the world alight in two starts for new trainer Michael Easterby, although it was at least a fair comeback run on his seasonal debut at Nottingham in early May.

Last time in a hot class 2 handicap he was out of his depth. Dropping back into class 4 while also relieved of a few more pounds off his handicap mark could help him to be competitive here in this race, though.

Ground should suit – his best performances cam on a fast surface. A low weight, a lowly mark off 76 and an eye-catching jockey booking as Phillip Makin rides Chester incredibly well in combination with the excellent draw might be enough to see Dahik run a massive race.

Selection: 
10pts win – Dahik @ 14/1 Sky

Saturday Selections: June, 9th 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

3.30 Catterick: Class 3 Handicap, 7f

His best is behind him, however the handicapper has given 8-year-old Rene Mathis a massive chance of a mark off 87. The gelding hasn’t been firing lately but proved still competitive last season off a good deal higher ratings.

Rene Mathis won a strong Conditions Stakes at Thirsk on fast ground in April 2017, edging out subsequent Group 3 scorer Custom Cut. He also ran out a highly respectable 5th place finish in a hot class 2 Handicap at Leicester subsequently off a 10lb higher mark than his current one.

A good 5lb claimer is on board, plus the advantage of a low draw should ensure Rene Mathis has a cracking chance to win his first race in over a year.

Selection:
10pts win – Rene Mathis @ 12/1 VC

Derby Day Selections: June, 1st 2018

Gleneagles

4.30: Group 1, Epsom Derby, 1m 4f

Guineas winner Saxon Warrior looks rock solid judged on anything he has done so far. I love his physique, the way he goes through his races… everything, really. But from draw 1, which comes with so many complications, at odds-on it’s not a bet for me.

I stick to AOB, though. The forgotten one, it seems, The Pentagon, is drifting out to a massive price this morning. It’s fair to say he hasn’t lived up to reputation of his sensational pedigree yet, and by any means he isn’t flashy if you see him racing.

The Pentagon was a workmanlike winner of a poor Group 3 last season, enhanced his credentials massively with an excellent 3rd place in the Racingpost Trophy eventually, though. The race wasn’t run to his advantage, he was badly positioned and clearly didn’t have the tactical speed when it was paramount to have. Yet he stayed on eye-catchingly.

This season he’s been disappointing given lofty expectations in two starts: a 3rd place in the Derrinstown at Leopardstown was underwhelming to many. Nonetheless, it was a fair effort in a race that was more about speed than stamina.

Fact is, The Pentagon is all about stamina, nothing about speed. He lacks gears and is a grinder.

He’s high class, I believe, regardless. He needs the right test to show his best. The step up in trip and the usually frantic pace of the Derby might be what he needs to be at his very best. From a good draw he is likely to go forward, he might even be tasked with pacemaker duties.

I don’t mind that at all. In fact it should be to his advantage. The cut in the ground won’t be a problem. It might even help. I can see a scenario where he tracks a fast pace and Wayne Lordan pushes the red button turning for home. It’s a long way home from there but this lad stays all day long….

At 50/1 this looks a cracking each-way bet. The better fancied horses might catch him eventually, but he could stay to the line for some fine place money.

Selection:
5pts Each/Way – The Pentagon @ 50/1 WH

…….

2.35 Epsom: Group 3 Princess Elizabeth Stakes, 8.5f

The 1000 Guineas form has worked out really well already, so seventh placed finisher Anna Nerium should find the drop in grade a big help. Already a Group 3 scorer, she has trained on, proving it when winnig the Free Handicap on her seasonal reappearance in great style.

The Guineas was probably a bit too hot, however in lesser grade she remains a big gun given she is a full sister to smart Piping Rock. First time going against older horses, now is the time when the WFA allowance starts to swing into an advantage for the three year old’s, I feel.

Epsom is a different test and it remains to be seen whether she likes it or not. Ground isn’t an issue, on the other hand. On the plus side: her sire Dubawi has a tremendous CD record here.

Selection:
10pts win – Anna Nerium @ 9/2 PP

…..

3.45: Class 2 Handicap, 5 furlongs

The ‘dash’ is often a bit of a lottery. In-running luck plays a big part. So there is always a chance for something big to finish in the money. I feel I can enhance my ‘luck’ by selecting a horse that has potential to outrun his price tag.

Storm Over is the one: he won a soft ground 5f handicap at Catterick in his final race of 2017. A massive performance, running to a 4lb higher time speed rating than his then handicap mark. He’s raised for that effort by only five pounds.

He ran with credit on his seasonal debut in April. He should come on for a sixth placed finish in a race that has worked out tremendously well in the meantime.

Cut in the ground works for him. Question will be the track and in-running luck. If both goes his way I anticipate a massive run by this still pretty lightly raced four year old colt.

Selection:
10pts win – Storm Over @ 22/1 PP

……

5.25 Doncaster + 6.10 Lingfield

Sam Gold for Roger Varian ran well in defeat on his seasonal return in a first handicap. The form looks strong with the winner performing with credit in the Guineas. He drops in class and should be hard to beat.

Sir Mark Prescott has identified an easy target for rapidly improving filly Midnight Blue at Lingfield. She won a minor event at Wolverhampton but should be hard to beat under a penalty with the step up in trip a big plus. From a plum draw she’s likely to be up with the pace.

Selection:
10pts win double – Sam Gold + Midnight Blue @ 3.72/1 VC