Tag Archives: Saturday

Saturday Selections: 6th August 2022

Saturday again, and I come up with the exact same selection as seven days ago! All-Weather, Lingfield…. again. Given it’s the height of the summer and supposedly the flat season this is remarkable. But this was a light week already, as I struggled to find compelling betting opportunities.

The same goes for today. The fast ground at the Curragh deprives me of one opportunity I’d have been excited about otherwise; Shergar Cup isn’t a betting proposition for me.

Saying that, tomorrow is German Oaks day. Really looking forward to the race; there’s oneafilly I can’t wait to see. But more on that later….

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5.00 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 1m

Richard P Smith was desperately only a week ago over course and distance when he was way too patiently ridden and never given a chance under a shocking ride by Rob Havlin. He finished strongly, seemingly the best horse in the race. 2lb up for that effort shouldn’t stop him today.

He showed to be most likely ahead of his mark earlier in June on his handicap debut too. There he ran a huge race at Chepstow as he was quite keen early on and was hanging ever so slightly too. He attempted to make all from the front, had the field on the stretch from three furlongs out and found under pressure. He was eventually beaten by a horse from off the pace.

That form looks quite strong already. This race today is a poor contest. He really should be winning this especially as I expect him to be ridden much more positive dropping down to a mile.

Concerns as I write this over the drift in the market. He’s available at bigger prices than what I got and deemed value already.

10pts win – Richard P Smith @ 9/4

Saturday Selections: 30th July 2022

Great win for German raider Rocchigiani at Goodwood today. He had to survive a stewards inquiry post race, but thankfully placings remained unaltered. He was clearly the best horse on the day, in any case, in my view.

That breaks my losing streak – 15 losers on the bounce. Now it stands at one. Because Scale Force missed the break at Southwell later on. He finished like a train but the damage was done before the race really started. Shame.

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7.45 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 2f

I’ve got 18 eyecatchers on this “Super Saturday”, yet end up with a single bet on Lingfield’s polytrack. In any case, it’s a strong selection. And that’s what matters most.

Richard P Smith ran a huge race at Chepstow when last seen. It was his Handicap debut and he was quite keen early on and was hanging ever so slightly too. He attempted to make all from the front, had the field on the stretch from three furlongs out and found under pressure. He was eventually beaten by a horse from off the pace.

The winner went on to frank the form in no uncertain terms: a neck beaten second and subsequent victory. the fifth placed horse also won two on the bounce in the meantime.

This is going to be only the second handicap start for Richard P Smith and the first time over 10 furlongs. The way he pulled at Chepstow is a concern but the way he ran on strongly suggested he wants the trip.

He remains unexposed and with enough potential upside, the 2lb additional pounds given be the handicapper aren’t a big deal I reckon. There won’t be a ton of pace on here, so I hope Robert Havlin will go forward from the #7 raw. If not, it will probably to the detriment of Richard P Smith’s chances, that’s for sure.

10pts win – Richard P Smith @ 5/1

Saturday Selections: 23rd July 2022

It’s been a rather quiet week so far. But I have five selections for what I call a proper “Super Saturday” today. As we’re on the home stretch in July I could do with another winner to “ring fence” the profit for the month.

Please read my comprehensive preview for the King George here.

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2.25 Ascot: Group 3 Valient Stakes, 1m

I fully understand why Zanbaq is favourite in this contest, but the price is silly in my view. It’s a different proposition stepping up from a Handicap, albeit a strong one at Royal Ascot, to Group 3 level. The fact she can miss the break and likely will have to come from off the pace could turn out to be a significant disadvantage too.

The one seriously overpriced is German raider Novemba. She has to give weight away to the younger generation but she is a proven Stakes filly with a Classic victory to her name.

Her third place behind Real World last October is the standout form on offer in this race. She couldn’t match this form in two starts this season, but she needed the run at Baden-Baden and wasn’t disgraced at Royal Ascot in the Duke Of Cambridge.

The round track will suit her better today. She likes to be up with the pace. Being on the speed should be an advantage today, in my view, especially on fast ground.

Saying that, the ground is a concern. No question she prefers it softer. But she can act on a faster surface and I feel given she’s likely the best filly in the race and may enjoy a tactical advantage over key rivals, she is clearly overpried.

10pts win – Novemba @ 7/1

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3.35 Ascot: Group 1 King George, 1m 4f

10pt win – Mishriff @ 10/3

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5.20 Ascot: Class 2 Handicap, 5f

Jawaal was beaten by a combined margin of 23 lengths+ in four starts this year although he didn’t ran quite that badly in my view. He certainly caught the eye in his two starts in May, actually and also had sometimes more, sometimes less, valid excuses the last two times.

In any case, as a consequence of finishing down the field four times in a row, he has fallen dramatically in the official ratings. If he is indeed better than the bare forms suggest, as I believe, and he can find back to somewhere closer to last seasons form, he’d be a massive runner today.

He won twice in 2021, and ran to topspeed 98 at Haydock in September – arguably a career best – and also achieved 84 and 89 topspeeds earlier the year.

In truth, even with valid excuses, the way he finished his races this year doesn’t suggest he’s close to that. On the other hand he usually travelled quite smoothly, but found trouble in-running and didn’t produce any significant kick once in the clear.

That can be a sure sign for his waning ability now as a 7-year-old. Nonetheless, down to a mark of 89, with ideal fast ground conditions, at track he’s CD winner and potentially cheek-pieces to help in a wide open contest, I’ll give him a chance to find some form. If he does he’ll be hard to beat.

10pts win – Jawaal @ 9/1

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7.30 Salisbury: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

I quite like Delagate This Lord here who will probably enjoy ideal conditions stepping back up to 6 furlongs again. But I struggle to bring myself backing an 8-year-old, especially with an exciting alternative.

Perhaps even a blind man would have seen the eyecatching run Prophecy produced earlier this month at Ffos Las. He couldn’t get a clear run at all, yet finished supremely well on the bridle in the closing stages, matching the quickest final furlong. He looked like a horse well ahead of his mark.

That was his comeback run after a long break. He changed yards too. Still a maiden after 10 lifetime starts, though he showed a bit of promise on the All-Weather. Today is only his third run on turf. He looks pretty unexposed for the surface and there looks to be significant improvement to come, judged on the last run.

There are clear risks attached today, and that’s probably the reason why he’s as a big a price he is: the potential “bounce factor”, the firm ground may not be ideal, given his full-sister did her best running on softer, and he probably will improve markedly for a step up in trip.

And yet at given odds I can’t ignore him, too impressive was this recent run, too far ahead of his mark he appears to be.

10pts win – Prophecy @ 6/1

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8.40 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 7f

Sir Philip caught the eye on his handicap debut over the minimum trip at Wolverhampton earlier this month. Five furlongs are certainly too sharp as was evidence when he struggled badly at the back of the field. He finished nicely on the eye though, without being overly hard ridden in the closing stages.

Stepping up to 7 furlongs looks the right move on pedigree and visual evidence from all his races. He is still lightly raced and completely unexposed over this trip. Down to a mark of 59 he has opportunities I feel, especially in a weak race.

Drawn in stall 1 offers a way forward, I hope but is also a danger. If he misses the break he could be left in a poor position. He showed that he can start quickly on his second career run, incidentally the only one beyond fife furlongs to date.

10pts win – Sir Philip @ 13.5

King George Preview 2022

A small but certainly select field makes this edition of the King George an exciting renewal. Some of the very best older horses meet the leading lights of the 2022 Classic generation.

All eyes are naturally drawn to Westover: an unlucky third in the English Derby and subsequent runaway winner of the Irish Derby. He’s been seriously progressive this season and today is about telling us whether there’s even more to come.

Of course the rematch with Desert Crown was highly anticipated but won’t be happening for quite some time, it seems likely now. That doesn’t distract from the intrigue that surrounds Ralph Beckett’s colt.

The son of Frankel is hard to fault. A progressive sort, he created visually a strong impression at the Curragh when landing the Irish Derby where he also ran to topspeed 100 as easy as you like. He confirmed his strong Derby performance that saw him run to topspeed 106 despite the well documented trouble he encountered in the home straight.

What the Curragh form is worth remains to be seen. And another question mark remains: how does he cope with proper fast ground? Could he be found out for speed on this ground in a race with a possibly muddling pace? He’s a short enough price to find out.

The other three-year-old in the field is English Oaks runner-up Emily Upjohn.

Many will argue she was quite unlucky that day at Epsom. Perhaps she lost the race at the start, although, that is my view, she had every opportunity to win in any case, given the winner Tuesday didn’t enjoy the smoothest of runs either.

Prior to the Oaks the John Gosden trained filly was a runaway winner of Musidora Stakes and won in even more impressive style on her seasonal reappearance at Sandown. If not for the neck beaten effort at Epsom she’d be unbeaten in four career runs.

Yet, in my view she appears to be seriously vulnerable. The fact of the matter is the figures are against her. She ran to topspeeds 95 at York and 97 at Epsom. Circumstances play a role in these figures, yet they tell a story at the same time and Emily Upjohn had opportunities to prove she is top-class on speed ratings as well.

She may well do so today. In fairness, she looks progressing all the time. But she has to take another big step forward today.

Mishriff was certainly an unlucky horse in the Coral Eclipse earlier this month. Short of room at a crucial stage, he finished much the best and was only a neck beaten by brilliant 3-year-old Vadeni. Another day he wins the race.

He is top-rated in this field, up to 5lb clear on official ratings There’s good reason for it. A runner-up in the 2021 edition of the King George, just beaten by excellent Derby winner Adayar, he went on to land the Juddmonte International in great style a few weeks later.

He ran to topspeed 116 and 118 in those two races. He ran 108 at Sandown. there is a slight question mark whether he truly is in love with the 1m 4f trip. Most likely the race today will turn out a test of speed more than pure stamina, so it’s unlikely to be an issue.

Mishriff is the class-act in the field and if he can improve just a tiny bit from Sandown – not impossible, given he came off a break – he’s going to be hard to beat, I reckon.

I love to see Torquator Tasso here. It’s brave by trainer Marcel Weiss to take a chance on ground most likely too fast for last years Arc hero. Weiss also has been quite open in admitting Torquator Tasso won’t be 100% today. Defending his crown in Paris is the ultimate goal.

There are questions marks over the validity of his Arc victory because of the heavy ground that day. He was a shock winner. Nonetheless, he’s a multiple Group 1 winner regardless. Clearly top-class, he deserved to be in this field. As much as I would love to see him do the “Danedream Double” it’s difficult to see.

The two long-shots Pyledriver and Broome are given little chance in the betting. The latter is clearly the more interesting one, in my view. An excellent winner of the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot, he ran to topspeed 108 that day – that level of form entitles him to have a fair shot, today, especially on fast ground and his ability to go from the front.

Selection:

The market is tight but still underestimates Mishriff, who is clearly the best horse in the race. If he can run to the level of form he produced last summer in this very race and subsequently at York – and the Eclipse indicates he can – then he is simply too good for the rest in this field.

He has to give weight away to some smart younger horses, but he looks well capable of doing that in my book. On topspeed nothing in this field gets even close to him. I have him around a 5/2 chance as fair price. So there’s still a bit of juice left, albeit not that much.

10pts win – Mishriff @ 10/3

Saturday Selections: 16th July 2022

2.56 Newbury: Group 3 Hackwood Stakes, 6f

Highly competitive affair. Pace will decide the outcome. My conclusion is the race will likely develop towards the lower drawn horses and that means some of the better fancied runners drawn high would need career-best performances to win.

The obvious choice, drawn in #2 is Rohaan, after his tremendous Royal Ascot performance. He has the form, the topspeed and the draw. He may be able to benefit from trailing a fast pace to be unleashed late with a turn of foot. Not sure whether the scenario today will really suit him, though at this track. Those in front may not stop so quickly. He looks a fair price but nothing better.

Chil Chil is really intriguing. Has top form on the book and ran to topspeed 103 two times in a row when last seen in even hotter class. If close to that form after a long break she’s the one to beat, but it’s exactly the long break that put me off.

Happy Romance is in fine form. She’s been running well all year long. Only 2 lengths beaten in the Jubilee Stakes, she couldn’t follow up at Newmarket, but had the worst draw to overcome that day. #10 today isn’t ideal either; no juice left in the price.

I can’t quite trust Minzaal after two solid but not exciting showings this year, especially with his best form coming on slower ground. Man Of Promise needs to step up significantly to feature. Not impossible but do I want to back a 5-year-old sprinter in the hope he suddenly finds 5-10lb on speed ratings? No.

The one I like against the grain is Saint Lawrence. He caught my eye earlier this year on his seasonal return at Newmarket over the minimum trip after a wind operation during his lay-off.

He finished really nicely that day in a race that looks pretty solid form, even though 5 furlongs is clearly way too hot for him. He stayed over this trip the next two times, neither disgraced at Chantilly and certainly not in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.

It was seriously impressive how Saint Lawrence stuck to the task in the final furlong, posting the second fastest final furlong split, even though he looked going backwards from over two furlongs out, given things happened simply too quickly for him.

Fast ground is what he wants and no doubt he’s in top form. Moving up to 6 furlongs is only a positive. I reckon he’s actually best over 7 furlongs, but given his #4 draw, the pace scenario here and good Newbury record I am happy to back him at a big price to outrun the odds.

10pts win – Saint Lawrence @ 17/1

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3.10 Curragh: Group 2 Sapphire Stakes, 5f

The top two in the market should fight this out. Mooneista and Equilateral are the clear stand out horses in the field in my view, even though official ratings would make you believe Castle Star and Cadamosto have equal or better chances to feature.

Castle Star certainly has every right to go close after a strong runner-up performance behind Perfect Power at Royal Ascot. But 5 furlongs could be plenty sharp enough, especially on fast ground after a long break, and after seven career starts his highest topspeed ratings stands at 99. Nothing too exciting.

Cadamosto was 4th in the Commonwealth Cup, had no chance in the July Cup and has an inflated Official Rating in my view. His best topspeed is 88. He could take a step forward, of course. It has to be giant one to land a blow here against the well fancied older sprinters.

Mooneista is a class act. Highly consistent, ran multiple times really well this season already, without getting her head in front. This is easier than at Royal Ascot but her poor strike rate doesn’t make me want to back her at a tight price.

As many others I was fuming on front of the telly when Equilateral got the most horrible run at Sandown a fortnight ago. He’s obviously in excellent form, having ran really well in the King’s Stand Stakes on his seasonal reappearance.

He’s the one to beat today. Ground, track and trip will probably suit. He’s short enough a price given I am not sure whether he’s gonna be held up or tracking the pace today. I feel you are going to struggle coming from off the pace today.

The prices tracks into a direction that says “no hope” but it simply is a silly price on offer for New York City. On any measure he isn’t that far away from the market principles.

He was disappointing as 6/5 favourite in a Group 3 at Naas latest. He didn’t travel overly well, looked perhaps a bit distracted too. He won really well at Navan before that though and ran to topspeed 100 that day.

Blinkers on an drop to the minimum trip on fast ground at the Curragh with the stiff finish should suit perfectly. Wayne Lordan on board is not so much a negative given he’s riding plenty of winners at the moment.

New York City is not a superstar and unlikely to develop into a proper Group 1 sprinter. But this is a wide open race if the two market principles don’t fire.

10pts win – New York City @ 18.5

Saturday Selections: 9th July 2022

On a roll. A hat-trick of winners over the last three days. Flotus won the Group 3 Summer Stakes at York in lovely fashion.

It couldn’t have gone any better: the filly broke well, led the field, although others tried to go with her. Halfway through the race I thought she may have done too much too early. But she kept going all the way strongly to the line. She proved the best filly in the race. Class prevailed.

Hard to believe how rapidly and dramatically the tide can turn in this game as long as you make good decisions, believe in your method (IF it’s a solid and proven method) and show consistency in the effort put in day in day out and most importantly the quality of decisions made.

Already five winners in the first week of July, that’s one more than in the entire individual months of April or May. Right now things are flowing, so to speak. But the pendulum can swing as quickly the other way again, I know all too well.

So I’ll try to stick (not always easy) to the Golden Rules regarding emotions: never too high, never too low. Because three losers on Saturday and the world looks a little bit gloomier again.

3.35 Ascot: Group 2 Summer Mile, 1m

A close one: there isn’t much between the main principles in the field on official ratings, RPR’s or topspeed – the outcome will depend on the form on the day, on pace and possibly on who gets first run round the Ascot mile.

Modern News, My Oberon and Perotto met only a fortnight ago at Windsor in a tight finish with not more than ยพ of a lengths between them as My Oberon finished strongly to get up on the line.

I felt that day Perotto could be marked up for his front-running effort when he possibly over-raced a bit in the early stages. I was hugely impressed how he fought back so gamely once headed, even after being slightly hampered over half a furlong from home. He simply didn’t give up.

He’s no star but a rock solid individual, who has sometimes lacked sharpness out of the gates but clearly responded well to front-running tactics the last time. Cheek-pieces added seem a logical move and hopefully help him to be sharp early. A prominent position on fast ground at the round course is an advantage in my book.

He acts well on fast ground, clearly stays a mile as seen when winning a strongly run Britannia last year and should go well. He’s not the likeliest winner, but certainly overpriced while better fancied horses are priced up according to reputation more so than substance, I feel.

Chindit in particular, who looks a wrong favourite. He hasn’t even cracked a 90 topspeed rating in his last six starts.

10pts win – Perotto @ 12/1

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4.45 Ascot: Class 3 Handicap, 1m

Washraa is clearly well handicapped on the basis of her seriously impressive Sandringham Stakes run. She travelled like a good thing, looked likely to come with a big challenge over two furlongs out, but clipped heels, stumbled badly and lost every chance, yet finished in impressive style, nonetheless.

Of course it’s hypothetical how much she would have found with a clear run. Though, I’m pretty certain she would have gone seriously close. She can race off the same mark here, which offers a great opportunity to resume the winning habit she showed in two starts before Royal Ascot.

She improved nicely since her seasonal reappearance, hinting talent already as a juvenile and should have too much talent for this slightly easier race than the rivals she encountered at Royal Ascot.

10pts win – Washraa @ 3/1

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5.20 Ascot: Class 4 Handicap, 7f

Out From Under is a strong favourite. Only a pound up for his recent very strong Newmarket effort is possibly lenient. At prices I must select the talented filly Tarrabb, though. I reckon she is better than her official rating of 80.

Whether she is already better now, after three career runs, is the key question. She looked raw and very much learning on the job in all her races, nonetheless won really well on debut, wasn’t disgraced when beaten as runner-up subsequently after pulling hard, and lost her race at the gates at Thirsk.

She still very much caught the eye that day in particular, making good progress from the back of the field but not getting a clear run. It’s reasonable to assume she is ahead of her mark. Straight Ascot seven looks an ideal, simple test for the filly.

10pts win – Tarrabb @ 8/1