Tag Archives: Saturday

Saturday Selections: 28th January 2023

12.33 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 1m

Obviously Wake Up Harry is here, who I was quite keen to back on Monday, before Kempton got cancelled.

I can’t back him here from the #10, though. As my week goes, he probably wins now. He’s good enough and has perhaps the pounds in hand to overcome it, but with a muddling pace scenario it’s not a price I am prepared to back.

Purely a value play with the pace scenario in mind is Adaayinourlife, instead. He won eleven month ago a CD Handicap of similar setup, although that day he had a much wider draw to overcome.

Today he’s got an ideal #2 draw to move forward and grab the lead. There is lack of pace here, and that will play into his cards to use his possibly superior speed, as otherwise the mile trip is right at his limit.

His comeback run at Kempton last month after having been off the track since April was quite pleasing. He found the 7f a bit sharp on the day but run nicely in the home straight.

If he can strip fitter and get the ideal pace scenario he’s seriously overprices; although, with this yard, you just never know whether they run on their merit.

10pts win – Adaayinourlife @ 20/1

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1.43 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

Solar Profit has ran much better the last two times than the bare form suggest. He didn’t stay last time out when fading badly, but it was positive to see him start sharply.

That wasn’t the case on his penultimate run over 6 furlongs at Southwell, when poorly away from the gate, left too far off the pace, caught wide and yet he made eye-catching progress from halfway through the race.

That form looks quite strong on paper, too. Therefore this slightly stronger race doesn’t worry me. He’s 3lb lower in his OR now and remains unexposed over this sprint trip.

From the perfect #4 draw, if he gets the start right, he should move forward and be right up with the pace in a race where not too many seem likely to compete for the lead.

This is his third start for the Boughey yard and since being gelded, he should be hitting peak readiness today, with blinkers back on and the apprentice of the minute on board.

10pts win – Solar Profit @ 4/1

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7.00 Kempton: Class 4 Handicap, 1m

Very few look interesting from a handicapping point of view in this field, and I suspect the way the race is likely to be run, will disadvantage the vast majority.

One who is likely to go forward and won’t have an issue from his wider than normally ideal draw is Counsel. He doesn’t appear overly well handicapped, and his strike rate is poor, but he warrants upgrading for his recent runs.

He runner-up performance behind Brains looks really solid, and he ran much better than the bare form last time out at Southwell as he did a lot to cross over from an #11 draw to lead.

He shouldn’t need to spend too much energy to get over today. There are not many here who have shown in the pace a consistent eagerness to lead.

Off a mark of 78 he has a bit to find in this class on speed ratings as his sole win a is 7f Novice race from last year at Lingfield. However, he appears to be a better horse on the All-Weather, and potentially on the polytrack surface.

His two Kempton runs can be forgiven. He was held up and not in the race back then. The trip shouldn’t be an issue at all, even though he is yet to win over a mile.

What is a clear positive is the jockey booking. Williams/O’Neill is a potent combo.

10pts win – Counsel @ 12/1

Saturday Selections: 21st January 2023

Two (betting) days in row a winner – Seesawing done it the hard way from the front, but had enough in hand to hold on.

The stiff 6 furlongs at Newcastle suited and his stamina for a bit further clearly helped as t looked a fast pace, especially as he wasn’t the sharpest out of the gate and run a race to the car park before the actual race on the polytrack!

Not quite the same story for Ustath, who led on the stands’ side but wasn’t able to hold on and finished 2nd eventually. A fair performance, but ultimately a bit disappointing that he wasn’t able to prevail in this poor contest as the top rated horse.

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3.45 Southwell: Classified Stakes, 6f

I said on Tuesday I wouldn’t give Paddy P another chance beyond the race that took place that evening…. well here we are. It’s truly the last chance my dear friend Paddy K.

He remains a maiden after 17 runs and call me stupid I still very strongly feel he is cherry ripe to win a race. Not much from what I said on Tuesday has changed; in fact, I feel only even stronger after a clearly unfortunate run that saw him finish a 1½ lengths beaten fifth.

It was an eye catching run – yet again – although one that was probably lost in the first furlong rather than in the penultimate one when Paddy P was badly short of room and saw his momentum stopped.

Despite a low draw, jockey PJ McDonald wasn’t decisive enough when the space in and around him tightened only moments after the gate opened. He didn’t push through the rapidly closing gap right in front of him, instead had to settle much further off pace than excepted and surely wanted.

Paddy K didn’t like it. He pulled for his head for the first half of the race. He travelled well into the home straight, though finding himself right beside the eventual winner approaching the two furlong marker.

Again a split-second decision went wrong, as Tathmeen, who went on to win the race, went to the outside while Paddy K stayed in the middle. One got a gap before it was too late, the other only when it was too late.

Eventually, a furlong from home, Paddy K got an opening, and it’s credit to him that he got going again. He didn’t have all that much left in the tank, after the early exertions, though.

He caught the eye a few times in the last weeks and months. Obviously a tricky sort, who needs things to fall his way. However, Tuesday represented only his second opportunity over 6 furlongs on the All-Weather – I feel it’s the ideal scenario for him; so over the same CD here in an even weaker race from a super draw with a favourable pace scenario he is a massive chance.

Ustath is here too. I do like him a little bit more over 6 furlongs these days. He’s a top chance from his low draw and not much competition for the lead. But he’s a short price and the fact he wasn’t able to win on Friday is probably a reflection of the fact that he is not much better than his current mark.

In this poor Classified Stakes race, running to that sort of rating may be good enough. I simply think Paddy K has a bit more scope over this CD and is a much better price. That says I do hope he moves forward to track Ustath. No excuse this time.

10pts win – Paddy K @ 7/1

Saturday Selections: 7th January 2023

Sense Of Security ran a lovely race to finish 3rd, about a lengths beaten; ultimately she was way too keen in the early stages. That cost her when it mattered most.

I will leave her alone now, as I believe she will struggle over 6 furlongs to win, and if she doesn’t settle better, will not be much better handicapped than her current mark over 7 furlongs either.

Ustath didn’t have the sharpest of starts, then moved quickly forward and set a pretty fast pace. He was cocked 2 furlongs from home.

I probably would have done better to wait for him to drop a couple of pounds more. In hindsight it’s fair to assume he wasn’t desperately well handicapped off 63 in this race today. The only thing I got right (but can’t buy any bred for) is that the two hot market principles got beaten, as suggested in the preview that they are worth taking on.

Onwards and upwards… we move on to Saturday. And I’m seriously excited. An outstanding day of top-class action awaits at Kenilworth in South Africa: two seriously competitive Grade 2’s and two Grade 1 races, including the mouthwatering King’s Plate, and a certain Christophe Soumillon is also going to be around.

The crème de la crème of South Africa’s older horses is present, as undefeated 3-year-old colt Charles Dickens tries to enhance his status as one, if not the very best colt in a very long time – perhaps, ever? More on that in a seperate post, later.

For now, I’ll focus on the bread and butter on the All-Weather. Not high hopes or expectations, being honest. However, both horses are well capable of outrunning their price tag, if on a going day.

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3.30 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 10f

It looks like there could be quite a bit of pace here. In a race where not all of those up there are certain to stay the trip, and very few appear anywhere near well handicapped, it’s set it up for a closer, potentially.

I hope this could be Dashing To You. The gelding seriously caught the eye the last two times, in nearly the same fashion. That’s not entirely positive, because on both occasions he was he slowly away, travelled in rear and had to make up a lot of ground. Which he did in no uncertain terms, meaning he finished best and second best over the last three furlongs in those races.

The step up to 10 furlongs here looks a positive, in my mind. The jury is out whether he truly gets the trip – he is yet to win over this distance. But the pedigree gives hope, and the way he sees out his races, too.

Even though the pace might be hot – for a 10 furlong race – it may still be a bit more comfortable than in the recent races over a mile. He also was much more prominently positioned when racing over 10 furlongs in the past. That’s unlikely to happen here from the #12 gate. He will be ridden for luck, I assume.

In any case, Dashing To You to is clearly well handicapped. This most recent Lingfield effort saw him run to a 56 speed rating. Kindly enough the handicapper dropped him another pound, though. He already has ran 3 times to speed ratings higher than his current mark now.

There are clear question marks and concerns, namely draw, pace and stamina. But there are clear positives too, namely handicap mark, potential improvement for the trip and a slightly slower race as well as lesser opposition she has to face. Worth the risk.

10pts win – Dashing To You @ 15/1

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8.30 Kempton: Class 6 Handicap, 1m3f

I am tracking bottom weight Special Times since her eyecatching effort at Leicester in June last year and hope to catch her on the right day for a big effort.

Back in the summer she impressed with a solid speed rating over a trip most likely too sharp. There were additional circumstances that made this run worthy of an upgrade.

The pace was on and she was tracking it closely for most of the race. It became all a bit too hot from three furlongs out but she stuck to the task. She was quite one paced in the closing stages, clearly tired too, when it got tight inside the final furlong as well, but she continued bravely to finish the race in a good manner.

She showed some ability in maiden races before as well, especially catching the the eye the way she travelled at Windsor in May.

Special Times was always likely to be more at home over trips beyond a mile. She is out of a German dam who won over 11.5 furlongs in Germany, sire Time Test with a stamina index of 9f has shown to get horses that stay as far as 1m 4f – so plenty of stamina there to believe she can be competitive up in trip.

She returned after 193 days off the track at Wolverhampton last month over 9.5 furlongs. She ran well for a long time but faded badly in the closing stages, entitled to come on for the run.

Going up to 11 furlongs now, with the run under her belt, in this pretty poor race, I think she must have a big chance if allowed to run on merit.

The Cox yard isn’t going too well, but the application of blinkers is interesting, as she didn’t always look the sharpest, certainly not out of the gate on her comeback run, and seemed to lose focus in the closing stages in other races before, too.

10pts win – Special Times @ 15.5/1

Saturday Selections: 31st December 2022

Last day of the soon to be old year. One final chance to find a winner and end an eventual, yet ultimately successful and profitable year on a positive note.

A proper review of the year with stats and key learnings will follow in the coming days – for now, here’s one final selection in the year that is and then was 2022.

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2.40 Lingfield: Class 3 Handicap, 1m

Wadacre Grace looks a standout chance in this field, as she’s one of few who’s more than happy to move forward. Simply from a pace scenario she may enjoy the perfect race, but also from a handicapping perspective she makes plenty of appeal.

That may surprise, given I said after backing her last time out, that back then she was beaten fair and square in second place and I was wondering whether I had been too optimistic about the amount of pounds she could be ahead of the handicapper.

However, after analysing the recent Southwell race in more detail, I can only conclude that the initial assessment, that lead to the bet, still holds up strongly today; that is: over a mile against her own sex she is probably well handicapped off a 69 mark, especially with little competition for the lead.

The Southwell performance was strong. From her wider than ideal draw she made swift progress, travelling wide, to grab the lead and head for home going strongly approaching the home straight.

She only went down late in the final furlong, beaten by a filly who tracked the pace in third place throughout. Wadacre Grace, though, albeit slowing markedly from two furlongs out, still slowed the least bar the winner.

The handicapper has been surprisingly lenient, allowing her to race off the same 69 mark. It means she goes off bottom weight here, in a race that looks stronger on paper than last time out, but in reality contains very few rivals that appear anywhere close to be considered well handicapped.

In saying that, all the positive arguments brought forward the last time, remain valid today:

She caught the eye significantly the last two times prior to the Southwell run, in that light the lto performance is highly credible. It also means the 3-year-old filly showed a strong level of form in five of her six runs since successfully returning from a 5 months long break in September.

She kicked it all off with victory on handicap debut at Newcastle over 7 furlongs, despite showing some inexperience, she finished incredibly strongly to get up on the line. It’s been her trademark ever since to find plenty under pressure in the closing stages (with the exception of a subsequent poor run, which she has left behind the next three runs, though).

I love that attitude, less so the way she can start her races. She can be sluggish out of the gate, and quite keen in the early stages of the race. I reckon that cost her victory at Chelmsford, when less pronounced but clearly played a part why she ‘only managed’ third place.

She completely missed the break the next time at Kempton. She benefited from a slow early pace to quickly get back to the field but nonetheless had to spend significantly more energy than everyone else and found herself in the worst position possible, too. She finished like a train, eventually.

She had a better – if not ideal – start the next time She went forward to join the leader pushing a good pace, before dropping into second. Once again, when headed, she found plenty under pressure, especially staying on strongly in the final furlong for 2nd place. That was especially impressive after pushing the pace to finish so well. 

She has only ran to a 64 speed rating to date, although that came in her Newcastle victory in September. I still feel she is better than her current mark, in any case. She remains open for improvement on her tenth career run – as long as she doesn’t mess up at the start.

10pts win – Wadacre Grace @ 9/2

Saturday Selections: 10th December 2022

Waverley Star was a lovely winner on Friday, the first in December, although I had only five selections prior to today, with two solid placings, although that counts for little if you back win only, which is what I do.

In any case, Waverley Star was a whopping 9/1 shot (my price; even more generous was available until noon, though; well backed into SP 5/1) and certainly helps to bring the month right back into the solid green.

The 3-year-old gelding did fulfill the hopes outlined in the preview: he went forward, grabbed the lead halfway through and was never to be seen again by the rest of the field.

It’s the one thing that consistently proving the best results on basically all All-Weather tracks over sprint trips: grab the lead and hold on to it…. and still you see people backing hold-up horses over these trips on the sand.

Yet, as you will see soon, I’ll do this as well, from time to time, at least. Can’t be dogmatic, is my view. A value bet is a value bet and simply reflects track bias in the price and evaluation of the chance.

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4.30 Newcastle: Class 4 Handicap, 7f

A competitive class 4 Handicap, with a seemingly progressive handicap newcomer as the favourite; all but one horse are rated 80 plus.

I have the feeling the class dropping top weights will struggle to make an impact off 9-11 here, given some other rivals make far greater appeal on weight and handicapping terms.

Dicoles Of Rome ran some fine races the last two times and is one on my list; he should find this easier, but at the same time he appears to me still a bit too high in the mark to be considered a bet.

Favourite Brewing could be anything. Judged through the form of his two wins an opening mark of 83 isn’t a giveaway. Also, those weren’t lightning fast races; his best speed rating of 45 is meaningless in this much hotter class.

The 7/4 price has already backed some massive improvement, which may or may not come. Certainly he’s a favourite that has to be taken on.

Tothenines is the proverbial consistent sort. Possibly in the grip of the handicapper, but these tough, consistent horses do well at this time of the year. He’s a real danger.

Naturally I am drawn to Beattie Is Back. An eye-catcher multiple times lately. He’s also one who finds the trouble.

He did so last time at Wolverhampton, as early as he got out of the gates. That run can be thoroughly forgiven, he was clearly minded in the home straight, although excellent progress in the middle part of the race still showed possibly in serious form.

Before that, here at Newcastle, then over 6 furlongs, he was an even bigger eye-catcher, as he travelled strongly in midfield, loomed large 2 furlongs out but was continuously a clear run denied, as a result dropped to the back of the field before finishing strongly in the final half furlong all the way to the line.

Similar upgrades can be given to his two performances prior to this, too. Beattie Is Back is also a course and distance winner already, although it was a Novice race in spring this year. Judged through that form he’s on a fair mark. However, I believe, if judged by his last efforts, he clearly has shown to be at least a good win better than 70.

He is still relatively lightly raced and I am glad he tries 7 furlongs again, especially at this track, as it gives his racing style the best chance on the All-Weather. In these circumstances there’s possibly more to come, in any case.

Even though I am not sure he’s a proper class 4 horse – he’s yet to run to a speed rating that I’d like to see – I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. This low weight looks intriguing against opposition possibly not well handicapped.

I also really like the likely pace scenario. Drawn in #3 he’s right beside the most likely pace setter, Larado, and may get a nice lead into the closing stages to produce a turn of foot with hopefully little trouble to meet in-running, in this field of only seven runners.

If this doesn’t work out on Saturday, Beattie Is Back has got a Class 5 (0-70) entry next week and could be interesting there, although this is at Wolverhampton.

10pts win – Beattie Is Back @ 8/1

Saturday Selections: 12th November 2022

Oh the weekend feeling…. it would have been all the more jolly if Rose Bandit would have got a clear run last night at Wolverhampton. She would have won, I’m pretty adamant, if not for the most horrible trip.

It’s been a few light days over the last week in any case, but those selections I made ran great races; despite not getting a winner, I’m pretty satisfied with the work.

Beside the aforementioned Rose Bandit, who couldn’t have done better in the given circumstances, Pockley was also quite unlucky last Friday when deemed 2nd in what appeared, at least to the naked eye, a dead-heat (and it looked like he was possibly ahead before and after the line).

Stone Age ran a massive race to finish second in the BC Turf, and outperformed his odds by a wide margin. Even Twistaline ran really well but had simply too much to do from the back – with that in mind, is perhaps the one I may want to have back, because I knew this scenario would play out exactly this way and yet I fell into the trap of ignoring the pace bias.

That’s racing. That’s betting on horses. It’s not easy and one can only try to make good decisions, find quality bets, and the rest will take care of itself.

There’s one that caught my eye today – on what is actually quite a busy day on the All-Weather with some fine fields at Lingfield in particular. I’ll try to stick to the bi-weekly schedule and will be posting a new edition of eye catchers tomorrow.

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3.45 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 2m

A compelling races for stayers that may evolve around the pace. There won’t be many who are overly keen to get to soon to the front, and I imagine this won’t be run at a mad gallop.

If this turns out to be the case, then the ne who’s sure to move forward is Mark Johnston’s Wadacre Tir, and he could find himself in a prime spot when turning for home.

This is his second run after being gelded and he was far from disgraced over a similar trip at Southwell a fortnight ago. Whether he truly stays 2 miles remains to be seen, but first time blinkers should certainly help with sharpness.

If this isn’t an overly fast race, he may not even have to be fully tested for his staying qualities. In any case, though, Wadacre Tir should be in the right position when it matters most.

He’s a pound lower than when last seen, is still potentially open to some improvement after only seven career runs, especially now gelded, and could be seriously well weighted here off 8-13.

Interesting to see Clifford Lee booked for the ride. He’s one I quite like over longer distances. That ties in well with mark Johnston’s generally strong record at Lingfield over these marathon trips.

10pts win – Wadacre Tir @ 6/1

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