Tag Archives: Saturday

Saturday Selections: 2nd July 2022

3.35 Sandown: Eclipse Stakes, 1m 2f

The race promised so much at the beginning of the week. It has significantly lost in excitement with the loss of some key horses that were expected to run and now go somewhere else for supposedly easier options.

It’s still a good race with six proper thoroughbreds going head to head. Let’s not forget only a few weeks ago Bay Bridge was thought to be the next coming of baby Jesus.

Today he’s a 7/2 shot. I was tempted for a moment when even bigger yesterday afternoon, but can’t get over the fact that his Sandown performance is simply overrated in my view, given the better horses that day weren’t fully tuned up most likely.

Even if taking the performance at face value he achieved a 102 topspeed rating – although it’s not unreasonable to assume he could have ran a bit faster – is far from the best on offer in this field today. He also had every chance at Ascot in my view and failed.

Mishriff is the highest rated horse in the race and a proper star. He’s only returning from a break, though. I doubt the test today, given how the race is likely to pan out, will suit.

Alenquer produced a career best at the Curragh. I rate that performance highly. He could be underestimated today again and probably doesn’t get the credit he deserves. I do wonder about a possibly slow pace for him, though. On fast ground it counts against him.

The two most likely to fight it out in my view are the three-year-olds. Superstar juvenile Native Trail has done little wrong this season . I don’t understand the perception that he is not as good a three-year-old as he was a juvenile when he clearly is. He simply meets stiffer competition this year.

He still impresses me, I must say. His Newmarket performance can be marked up for a variety of reason but he was the best horse in the race in my view and simply unlucky the way the race developed.

He put things right at the Curragh. It wasn’t a flashy performance but he did it in the upmost professional manner. He’s given enough indication to believe a step up in trip can work.

How is the fast ground to suit today? And what about the pace? He can take a bit of time to get going. Not ideal in what shapes like a muddling affair.

It’s the conundrum of the day: pace. Or a lack of it. Who is going to do the donkey work? Most if not all of these want to have something to chase after. This will be a sprint finish.

As unoriginally as it is, the fastest horse is French Derby winner Vadeni. His 109 topspeed rating from Chantilly rates even higher given he was nearly pulled up half a furlong from home.

He’s got a proper turn of foot, can quicken off a slowish pace, and looks a thoroughly uncomplicated ride. The fast ground is the one worry I have. It’s new to him. There’s a significant difference between French good ground (as connections called the PDJC ground) and Sandown fast.

But with the 3-year-old weight allowance in addition to the possibility of more improvement, I can’t look past him, especially at a price that should be probably a point shorter I think.

10pts win – Vadeni @ 9/4

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1.50 Sandown: Group 3 Coral Charge, 5f

Equilateral is the a clear top rated choice on any measure for me. The bounce factor is a question mark, however that is already more than reflected in the price. If he’s fine after a huge effort at Royal Ascot and gets a clear run I can’t see him getting beaten.

Equilateral returned from a long lay-off in the King’s Stand Stakes. He travelled beautifully through the race, tracked Nature Strip from over two furlongs out and naturally failed to match the superstar sprinter. He finished a highly credible 5th, though.

That performance was worth a 102 topspeed rating. Just another one in the list of 100+ performances he produced in this career. He looks still strong and fast on the basis of this run and is considerably overpriced.

10pts win – Equilateral @ 11/2

……….

2.25 Sandown: Class 2 Handicap, 1m

It pains me that I can’t back Checkandchallenge  because I was really keen on him after his eye-catching Guineas run that was much better than the bare form suggested. I absolutely loved his Newcastle victory too.

At 4/1 on properly fast ground I can’t have him off 108, though. He may be too good and can overcome it, but I have the impression the fast ground won’t be to his advantage.

There is one alternative I have been tracking the whole year already: Trais Fluors. Admittedly the latest Windsor performance has given me pause for thought and I am a little less excited to jump on board. He looked laboured that day. So a clear risk to back when backing him today: what’s his form?

However, the positives outweigh the risks in an open race where he’s certainly handicapped to go close if he finds back to the form previously shown in three runs this season.

He caught the eye on all three of those runs. Desperately unlucky at Thirsk, not a clear passage on his seasonal debut at Newbury before and he made a huge impression from off the pace dominated by those up or closer to it at Redcar, finishing the second half of the race the fastest.

Down to a mark of 85 he’s given a proper chance. He won last summer over course and distance on fast ground off 92. He ran to topspeed 91 that day.

Back at Sandown with De Sousa in the saddle he has a good chance to outrun his price. Whether that’s good enough to win in this hot contest remains to be seen. He needs a bit of “luck” from off the pace. I have him a better shot nonetheless to deliver today.

10pts win – Trais Fluors @ 10/1

……….

6.50 Carlisle: Class 6 Handicap, 5f

Twice Adaay has been knocking on the door a couple of times this season over 6 furlongs. She caught my eye in May at Ripon when she moved forward into a prominent position after slightly sluggish start. She lost her position before the two furlong marker as she got behind a wall of horses. She was short of room over one furlong from home again, but finished well enough and easy on the eye.

The drop to the minimum trip is sure to suit, especially with rain forecast. Her best performances came over five furlongs with cut in the ground, so conditions will be perfect.

She is down to a mark off 55, a single pound above her last (and only) winning mark when she took a 5 furlong contest at Beverley last July. She seems to give her best running also on these slightly tricky specialist tracks, as she possesses good balance and should enjoy Carlisle in the rain.

Having ran to topspeeds of 58 (on fibresand though), 56 and 54 on turf, she is reasonably well handicapped, with 5lb claiming Laura Coughlin offering additional assistance.

10pts win – Twice Adaay @ 8/1

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7.00 Nottingham: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

Lightly-raced Bibulous makes plenty of appeal here, even though I envision he might be even better over an additional furlong. I still believe even over 6 furlongs he can be better handicapped than the current mark, and his recent finish at Chepstow is a good indication for this notion.

The June race was his seasonal reappearance after a light campaign as a three-year-old with only three runs including an impressive victory at Kempton over 6 furlongs.

At Chepstow he travelled at the rear of the field after a restrained start. He looked to go pretty well, was eventually switched to the stands’ side over two furlongs out where he started his run home. He didn’t have an instant change of gear but it also appeared he didn’t quite enjoy the undulations and especially downhill portion of the course.

However once balanced he rattled home much the strongest suggesting that there’s more to come on a slightly more conventional straight sprint course. He remains on the same 68 handicap mark, which is more than fair I reckon. He already ran to a 67 topspeed last season. Any improvement will see him hard to beat.

10pts win – Bibulous @ 5/1

Saturday Selections: 25th June 2022

I am currently going through the worst slump of “form” in the last half a decade or so of my serious “betting career”. It starts to become farcical. Even though the first three months of my 2022 betting year (March, April, May) were all green, June wears me down.

It’s just not working. Or something of the process isn’t working. The initial stage of video analysis and identifying potential horses for future opportunities works extremely well. The eye-catchers perform as well as never before, actually. But I don’t back them. It seems right now I have lost the touch for making good decisions.

Some days I am too conservative, others not patient enough. There’s the odd winner here or there, but they don’t offset the losing days. Their prices are too low, or more the fact of the matter is I don’t get “value”.

I never had a high strike rate, often back bigger prices. It’s inevitable that you have dry spells. But if things go so badly wrong for an entire month as they do right now it’s not all down to “bad luck” or variance. It’s down to poor decisions too. Not sure how to rectify this at the moment.

Hopefully things will turn around. But hoping is fearing. And I somehow fear I lost it. I see this also reflected in how the prices I take compare to ISP and BSP. Doesn’t make for good reading. I used to beat them regularly with my selections in the past. Doesn’t happen at the moment.

That’s a little ramble I had to get off the chest. Well, it’s Irish Derby Derby. I am excited going down to the Curragh no matter what. The race looks a compelling edition. Although I stay away from it betting wise. Here’s hoping those betting decision I have made for Sturday will turn out to be good ones, though.

………

3.30 Newcastle: Class 2 Handicap, 2m

Bandinelli shaped a lot better at Ascot than the 6.5 lengths beaten performance suggested. He was clearly minded in the closing stages after it became obvious that he couldn’t win.

From a wide draw he moved across quickly to chase the pace but was caught wide around the first bend. He raced wide for the majority of the race. He made a good looking move into the home straight but wasn’t able to sustain it.

Back over two miles on the All-Weather he looks dangerous. Still rather unexposed over the trip, his excellent record on the sand gives him a better chance than the price if he can only find a tiny bit of improvement, which is far from impossible.

A good draw will ensure he can find a good early position somewhere behind the leaders, in fourth or fifth perhaps. I think he will run a massive race and is undervalued in the market.

10pts win- Bandinelli @ 22/1

………..

2.35 Curragh: Listed Celebration Stakes, 1m

The arriving rain makes this interesting, otherwise this listed contest would be quite a dull and poor renewal. It is a near certainty – unless they absolutely crawl – that Straight Answer doesn’t stay a mile, certainly not up the stiff Curragh finish.

The two standout horses in the field are 4-year old Raadobarg on one side. The more rain the better for him. He’s clearly a rock solid miler at this level and especially dangerous with significant ease in the ground.

At this point in time it’s not quite clear how soft the going will turn out. There’s a status yellow rain warning live for then next 20 hours. It sounds more like some isolated showers are coming, that’s for sure.

The rain brings Irish 2000 Guineas 4th Wexford Native into the equation too. He’s probably best with some ease in the going too and still offers some upside with more improvement to come.

He could be the sort that thrives on racing, given he has improved nearly with each race this season. You can put a line through the Royal Ascot performance. His cause was lost after the first furlong.

After an impressive debut win in March, he was comprehensively beaten by Buckaroo in Listed company, although he ran on well, even after being short of room over 1f out.

In the 2000 Guineas he tracked the pace, got closer with each passing furlong and fought gamely, still challenging Native Trail entering the final furlong. He tired but fared much the best of those closer to the pace and that performance can be marked up in my view.

Wexford Native can be quite keen and fighting for his head. I hope that with experience and maturity he can settle better. He will probably be close to the pace again, given he doesn’t have a turn of foot and looks more a grinder. Probably ridden sooner than most rivals he should be able to grind his way to the line making it a proper test. He has enough class to win.

10pts win – Wexford Native @ 4/1

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4.20 Curragh: Group 3 International Stakes, 1m 2f

Mac Swiney can give Jim Bolger a double on the card. He drops significantly in class here. He was a long way beaten in the highly competitive Tattersalls Gold Cup but that was his comeback run and I would expect him to improve,

He won the Irish 2000 Guineas last year, was a credible 4th in the Epsom Derby, although perhaps not quite staying the trip, and finished a fine 3rd in the Champions Stakes. He’s a proven top level performer.

The rain will surely aid his chances. The more the better, of course. Even if doesn’t turn properly soft, he simply looks a class above the rest in this field.

10pts win – Mac Swiney @ 10/3

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7.15 Lingfield: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4f

Gold Charm took well to the step up in trip to 12 furlongs the last time at Thirsk. She finished the strongest after being briefly flat footed over 2 furlongs out

With that performance she confirmed the promise she showed in her Handicap debut at Lingfield a few weeks earlier. She caught my eye that day when she travelled stylishly into the home straight and finished much the best.

She has plenty of stamina in her pedigree, and matching that with the visual impression of her last two races it’s clear the 1m 4f trip doesn’t pose any problems. The return to the Lingfield polytrack is a positive and this in combination with the trip can unlock improvement.

10pts win – Gold Charm @ 9/2

Saturday Selections: 18th June 2022

5.35 Ascot: Class 2 Golden Gates Stakes, 1m 2f

I really like the two Gosden horses, but given the prices have to side with Aldous Huxley who I feel can defy top weight with the excellent assistance of 5lb claiming Benoit De La Sayette in the saddle.

Overcoming a mark of 101 in such a competitive Handicap isn’t an easy task. But I still feel Aldous Huxley has much more to offer than what he has shown to date; he should be a Group class horse in my view.

I’m a keen follower since his brilliant Kempton debut earlier this year when he overcame greenness and still ran to topspeed 90. Since then he was beaten behind New London, and a close runner-up in the Listed Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood most recently.

The drop back to 10 furlongs will suit. The #1 draw will provide every opportunity to go forward and be in a good position turning for home. He will stay, no question about that and I’m not too worried about the fast ground either.

10pts win – Aldous Huxley @ 10.5

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4.54 Ayr: Classified Stakes, 1m 2f

Highlight Reel was disappointing on Tuesday when he got going too late, although some of that had to do with how the race developed for him. This today looks easier, while the step up to 10 furlongs isn’t an issue.

His last win came over this sort of trip 12 months ago and those latest runs suggested it’s what’s possibly required these days. He ran with plenty of credit a number of times lately, proving wellbeing and form.

I felt he outran his price tag two back at Redcar over 10 furlongs in a pretty hot contest for the low grade, he also caught the eye at Wetherby.

Ideally the ground would dry out with no soft in the description. Not sure how likely that is. He acts on soft, but probably is best on faster surfaces. But I only see Oot Ma Way as a proper danger in this field.

10pts win – Highlight Reel @ 10.5

……….

5.18 Lingfield: Class 6 Classified Stakes, 1m

Surrey Territories is one I am interested in since his strong Kempton third place at the end of March. e was the only one able to finish from off the pace. He’s clearly capable of winning a race but need things to fall right.

He wasn’t disgraced in his next two starts; perhaps a shade unlucky at Wolverhampton, although the trip maybe stretching his stamina, too. Last time out he had a tough assignment on the weights in a Claimer.

This Classified Stakes is easier and quite a poor race. Less than a handful of horses give the impression of serious contenders. With a fine 7lb claimer on board and his 3yo weight allowance Surrey Territories looks to have a major shout.

The concern is the fact he will have to come from off the pace. If there is no pace on, which is far from impossible, he’ll struggle. It’s a risk I’m prepared to take because I also can see him flying home late to win.

10pts win – Surrey Territories @ 5/1

Saturday Selections: 11th June 2022

6.15 Leicester: Class 4 Handicap, 7f

Small field and interesting from a pace angle, this class 4 Handicap looks a weak race nonetheless. Most if not all of these could have a claim to grab the lead, or at the very least follow it closely. How will this pan out?

Two from my eyecatcher list are running, with Ex Gratia preferred in the market over Devilwala.

The filly caught my eye at Lingfield on the All-Weather and subsequently ran a good race when second on Lingfield’s turf course. Ultimately she didn’t have excuses the last time and off the same mark I don’t think she is anything better than handicapped to her best form. That can be good enough in this weak race today, but her temperamental issues are off putting too.

Devilwala is clearly the one I am most interested from a price perspective, though. Whether today is the day remains to be seen. The jockey booking isn’t inspiring. But there are a number of things I like that make be believe he’s got a better than one in ten chance to win today given he’s down to a really sexy handicap mark.

He came to my attention at Ripon in April when he ran a lot better than the bare result suggested, in my view. He clearly didn’t stay the mile and the opposition was too hot most likely, anyway.

The next three times he races against even hotter competition and stood no chance, although the last time at Chester I felt he didn’t get the best of runs and he could have finished closer.

If I believe this to be true then I must firmly believe he’s a proper chance today, given he drops in class off 5lb lower in the Official Rating running over what’s most likely his optimum trip.

Obviously Devilwala has fallen a long way from the previous heights of being rated 113 and finishing only 2¾ behind St. Mark’s Basilica in the Dewhurst. Obviously there is every chance that he’s gone. But I felt he showed enough this year to assume he still has some appetite for the game.

10pts win – Devilwala @ 10/1

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3.40 York: Class 2 Handicap, 6f

This is a ultra-competitive sprint Handicap and I can make the case for more than a handful to be in with a realistic shout. Plenty of potential improvers and loads of strong LTO form on offer.

Yet my eye is drawn to Vintage Clarets, one who’s not shown anything on paper this year so far. He’s far from a likely winner, nonetheless I feel you won’t find many days a better 22/1 shot.

If one looks what’s underpinning his 2022 form then he’s performed with more credit than those naked results would tell. For one he’s raced in hot races three times, the last time over course and distance against older horses. A seriously tough assignment. He was too keen early on and faded away in the closing stages but long time was right in the mix.

At Chester he ran actually quite a good race in unsuitable conditions, even clocking the fasted split for the penultimate furlong. He’s nine pounds lower in the mark than when he started the season at Newmarket – off 87 I think he’s dangerous given he showed enough the last two times to suggest there’s life.

Obviously as an early peaking juvenile last year, third in the Coventry, only 2 lengths down in the highly competitive Super Sprint, one has to take it with a pinch of salt as this often doesn’t translate to 3-year-old form.

But crucially Vintage Clarets will have his preferred fast ground today for the first time this year. He’s likely to have a pace to chase from his draw, which might help him to settle better and tow him into the closing stages with a shot.

Others may improve past him, have better form and he may simply be nowhere near as good an older horse as he was a juvenile. At 22s it’s low risk high reward given at this point in time he looks a horse capable of running to mark in the low 90s in ideal conditions.

10pts win – Vintage Clarets @ 22/1

………..

6.45 Leicester: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 4f

Beryl Burton is a very obvious choice in this and I have her about a 6/4 chance, rather than the generous odds on offer. The favourite Haven Lady is clearly progressing nicely on turf over this trip and may have more to offer, but simply hasn’t run overly fast yet, hence she’s vulnerable in my book.

Contrasting that with Beryl Burton who was seriously unlucky last time out over ten furlongs, she ran to topspeed 56 that day. For a neck beaten 2nd place she is up two pounds but should be well able to defy it with a clear run and for possible improvement over the additional distance.

She doesn’t have a sexy profile with one single victory in 13 lifetime starts, but she knocked on the door a number of times and her pedigree suggests 12 furlongs is well within range, a trip she’s completely unexposed.

Nine days ago at Redcar she was held up and travelled well, making excellent progress in the home straight, but ultimately didn’t get a run at a crucial stage, while the eventual winner, still well handicapped Rocket Dancer, got first run. She got out with a furlong to go and finished much the strongest.

The obvious question marks today aren’t whether she is good enough to win off 56 – she clearly is, and neither is it a mater of stamina, I believe. however she can have a tendency to be keen early on and that can be fatal over the additional distance.

I hope there’s enough pace on with the obvious leaders Haven Lady and Eagle One. It’s a small enough field, which at least should minimise any danger of meeting trouble.

10pts win – Beryl Burton @ 5/2

Saturday Selections: 28th May 2022

3.39 Catterick: Class 6 Handicap, 7f

Marselan should have a good chance to outrun his odds in this open contest. The wide draw is a real concern, given he isn’t a lightning fast starter. But he could be really well handicapped today and may benefit from a red hot pace with many of the rivals keen to be on the front foot.

The 4-year-old was a major eyecatcher last time out. That day he raced as part of a duo isolated on the stands’ side. The pair was lengths behind the main bunch and had plenty to do with two furlongs to go. Marselan found plenty to finish much the strongest to grab 2nd place. He also achieved a career best 60 topspeed rating.

This was the first time after a wind operation. The loss of form last year can most likely be attributed to those issues.

He won of 65 and 67 last summer over 7 furlongs. Now down to 62 he’s obviously well handicapped with the breathing issues rectified. 7furlongs on fast ground could be his optimum – so he’s a play for me today.

10pts win – Marselan @ 10/1

…………..

5.00 Beverley: Class 6 Handicap, 7.5f

Cobra Kai couldn’t have been unluckier at Musselburgh earlier this month when he got a horrible trip in the closing stages yet was only beaten in a photo eventually.

The handicapper was lenient and has added only 2lb to the mark for that massive effort that should have seen him win potentially with a bit in hand, which means he should still be a well handicapped today.

The race comes soon enough, which is a question mark. Otherwise I feel the favourite is worth taking on. The Covex Kid won well on the All-Weather and could improve, but this is a different test under a 6lb penalty today.

Cobra Kai been a somewhat unlucky horse in his career, still a maiden, catching the eye a few times. Before the huge lto run he caught my eye at Musselburgh in April over 7 furlongs when he was hampered early on, lit up as a result and still ran a fine race.

The fast ground poses no problems today, the #1 draw is fine and Buick booked is a major bonus given the poor decision making by Mullen was a key reason for Cobra Kai still being a maiden.

10pts win – Cobra Kai @ 4.8/1

Saturday Selections: 21st May 2022

4.48 Musselburgh: Class 6 Handicap, 7f

An uncompetitive race that screams longshot. The favourite Aquamas goes for a hat-trick and may have found a great opportunity but I don’t think he’s overly well handicapped of his revised mark.

From the bottom of the weights – in fact one pound out off the weights – The Retriever makes appeal to me. There are clear risks attached to his chances – his turf form in particular is concerning – but there is a case to be made for him.

The 7-year-old has is on a good stretch of form on the All-Weather. He got almightily close over 7f at Wolverhampton last time out and was only caught late in March over the same CD as well. The form of those two races worked out quite well in the meantime. Especially last month when he grabbed the lead from the widest draw and got only caught on the line rates a big performance

As for his poor turf form: I look for some hope to his penultimate turf run at Catterick back in June 2021 when he was caught wide, always travelling on the outside of the field, but some late headway to finish in 4th place.

I feel conditions today will be just about right at a track that favours the speed horses. He’s got to overcome the widest draw, which is a negative given there is also competition for the lead.

Nonetheless, off a basement mark with the additional assistance of excellent 7lb claimer Aiden Brookes in the saddle The Retriever looks a whole lot more dangerous than the price suggests – granted he’s here to run on merit.

10pts win – The Retriever @ 14.5/1