Tag Archives: Scotland

Monday Selections: 18th July 2022

3.35 Ayr: Class 6 Handicap, 7f

This is a really poor contest despite the fact that I have three eyecatchers running in it. Far From A Ruby is one but I want to see her back on the All-Weather. Her presence is positive from a pace scenario though, as she will go forward and that should ensure a solid gallop.

Others are expected to press her or certainly want to be in prominent positions. This proves ideal on fast ground at Ayr lately, there’s no doubt about that. In that context I struggle to see the attractiveness of Biplane who is the recipient of a bit of money this morning.

I have this between the three-year-olds, Audit and Thunderhill. The former caught the eye when a slightly unlucky 3rd at Catterick when dropped to 7 furlongs. A repeat effort with a clear run will see him go really close off the same mark.

My feeling is that Thunderhill, albeit higher in the mark, offers more scope for additional improvement and that could mean he has possibly a few pounds in hand on only his second handicap run.

He came to my attention on his final maiden race in May in deep conditions at Carlisle when he travelled sweetly through the race for a long time.

On handicap debut four week ago at Redcar he was seriously keen early on and not the easiest to steer. He finished well with the main bunch nonetheless. Probably not the best form, but no recent form in this field is better and he will have learned from it.

Thee faster pace today and the fact he doesn’t need to make it but can track it should be a huge help to his chances. He probably stays further too, so if they go really hard it will be a bonus.

He’s related to some decent winners too, though possibly will turn out to be a miler and is one to keep an eye on regardless what happens today.

10pts win – Thunderhill @ 9/2

Thursday Selections: 14th July 2022

2.20 Hamilton: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

Ustath is so desperately ready to win a race…. if the ground stays fast. There is some rain on the way, possibly it won’t be enough to turn the ground to slower than the current good to fast, but Hamilton has watered – of course – so you never know.

I feel he clearly needs solid fast ground to be seen to best effect these days, but I take the risk. Ustath has caught the eye a number of times this year, certainly ran better than bare forms suggest even though his ever falling mark would contradict this notion too.

He’s down to a turf mark of 50 now. He’s ran to topspeeds of 50+ a whopping 18 times in his career on all surfaces, and ran to 50 and 58 on the All-Weather earlier this year, suggesting he’s clearly up- if not a good bit better than this revised Official Rating.

He was not best placed two weeks ago at Thirsk, ran with plenty of credit over the minimum trip at Ripon and was badly hampered at Catterick. The stiff Hamilton 6 furlongs should suit perfectly, especially on fast ground.

10pts win – Ustath @ 4/1

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7.20 Leopardstown: Group Meld Stakes, 9f

You could make a case for anyone and against anyone in this field. The one that I am prepared to give a chance is Boundless Ocean. He seems underappreciated, even though normally he wouldn’t be a bet for me either.

He’s yet to better an 83 topspeed rating in nine lifetime starts, but there are some mitigating factors, hence I am prepared to give him a pass. This Group 3 event over 9 furlongs looks an ideal test that hopefully sees him run a strong race.

He caught the eye a few times this season. I certainly liked his Derby run better than the 6/8 finish would reveal. He was held up in last position and settled better than in previous races, which is not to say he wasn’t keen at different stages throughout the race, regardless.

He had a lot to do from the back of the field turning for home given the race was won at the frontend. He then made a good looking move from three furlongs out until emptying in the closing stages. The trip as beyond him in any case.

He’s a difficult colt to ride it seems. Can miss the break and often pulls really hard for his head. But he clearly got some talent. I felt he was a bit unlucky in the Gallinule Stakes when short of room at a crucial stage and pulled way too hard over 12 furlongs when runner-up subsequently.

A drop to 9 furlongs seems a wise move especially in this lesser company against some beatable rivals. There are no excuses today. I would hope he’s good enough to book himself another opportunity in higher grade subsequently.

10pts win – Boundless Ocean @ 4/1

Sunday Selections: 3rd July 2022

Before talking about two selections for Ayr (a comprehensive preview of the German Derby is available here too) I have to talk about the result of the 2022 Durban July.

My selections didn’t ran badly, especially 30/1 shot Airways Law produced a huge performance from the back off the field finishing 6th against a slow pace.

But nobody in the race stood a chance against super filly Sparkling Water. Largely, that must be said, because all other jockeys were outridden by brilliant S’manga Khumalo, who maximised the chance of his mount by doing absolutely everything right.

Obviously he’s got a bit of history in the race. Khumalo is a legitimate word-class jockey. He must have studied the pace scenario really well and had a match plan that was executed to perfection. A slow pace was always likely to happen and that would significantly hamper the chances of those at the back of the field.

Sparkling Water was drawn in #12. Not ideal but not a big problem either. Khumalo pushed the filly out of the gates and crossed over towards the inside rail in an instant. The race was only a few seconds old but the winning move was already done.

From there on Sparkling Water travelled smoothly, always handy, with a clear passage, and Khumalo, knowing the filly stays all day and night, committed as soon as they reached the home straight. Two furlongs from home he called on everything and the filly responded. Once she hit the front she wasn’t for catching. It was beautiful to watch.

The master that is Mike De Kock was sweet on Sparkling Water’s chances all week. He told everyone who dared to ask. Quite how she could go off 16/1 is a mystery. She was more than half the price only a few days earlier.

I didn’t spot this large drift either. But I also didn’t rate her chances. In my mind she was a stayer. Too slow in this field of top-class 10 furlong horses in a race that was sure to be run at a pedestrian pace. I didn’t account for the magic S’manga Khumalo produced in the saddle on the day.

Safe Passage didn’t have the best of trips. He’s better than that but also tired late and probably doesn’t want to go beyond 10 furlongs ideally. Jet Dark ran a massive race in 2nd. Ridden like a non-stayer, he saw it out strong from off the pace.

Two-times champion Do It Again ran his usual strong race. Last years winner Kommetdieding also finished with plenty of credit in 5th place off a big weight. Under WFA terms, wherever he goes next, he’ll be once again the horse to beat.

Linebacker encountered a miserable trip. Heavily bumped early on, he got hampered turning for home again. Pomp And Power was backed into favouritism, pulled his chances away as expected.

In summary: I didn’t back the winner but hugely enjoyed the build-up to the July and it was an entertaining race as well. The Durban July is one of my favourite races of the entire year. it proved it all again in 2022.

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4.37 Ayr: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 2f

This looks like a matchup between Lituus and and Acoustic on paper. The Grant Tuer horse may improve for the trip after an encouraging recent effort, but doesn’t appear generously handicapped on balance.

Acoustic in contract off 49 may well be. He’s yet to run particularly fast, a best topspeed of 46 is nothing to shout about. But he looks sure to improve for the additional furlong, having nearly gotten back to the eventual winner over the slightly shorter 9 furlongs at Hamilton the last time.

He was right up with the pace from the start, came under pressure from over three furlongs out, but kept going. Headed 1.5 furlongs from home, you would have expected him to fade away, but instead he rallied back strongly in the final furlong.

Acoustic clearly has every chance to stay 10 furlongs anyway, given he is out of a Singspiel mare. He also appears to be in fine shape, having been an eyecatcher two back at Weatherby when completely messing up at the start in first time blinkers.

10pts win – Acoustic @ 5/1

……..

5.12 Ayr: Classified Stakes, 1m

I like both Bankawi and Hello Power. Both caught my eye the last times, although Hello Power on more occasions. The WFA weight swing tips the balance to the filly, who has drifted a bit to a price that’s too big now.

The three-year-old is still quite unexposed on turf but show clear signs of acting on the surface when impressing in the middle section of her recent Doncaster run. She faded into third but only because she was asked way too much too early.

This significant change of gear she showed there hints a bit of talent, though, at least on this modest level. I quite liked her gutsy Southwell victory earlier in the year and thought she was a bit unlucky not finish closer last time out at Wolverhampton.

The fact she got going again after hampered over 1 furlong out proves her nice attitude.

The question mark is whether she can stretch out over a mile. Her pedigree gives her a chance. The way she finishes her races too. I doubt there’ll be a mad pace on, which will help. Although I hope they won’t drop her in and race settle in midfield not too far off the pace.

10pts win Hello Power @ 7/2