Tag Archives: Selection

Monday Selections: June, 18th 2018

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3.05 Ayr: Class 6 Handicap, 5f

13 year old Secret Asset has dropped to a very dangerous mark and finds himself in a pretty poor low grade contest despite showing here and there glimpses of retaining some sort of competitive form.

He clearly isn’t the force of the past, however now down a mark off 46 he looks ready to land a race with conditions in his favour. Four of his six career turf wins came on fast ground.

So, the fact he finds a fast surface today is a bonus. The jockey/trainer combo doesn’t look strong, nonetheless 5lb claim on top of the low mark may mean Secret Asset can outrun his price tag.

Selection:
10pts win – Secret Asset @ 15/1 MB

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4.45 Ayr: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 5f

He’s on the drift and that might be a sign in itself, still I fancy top weight An Fear Ciuin and put a speculative bet on him to shorten later on again. He really looks ready for a big one today.

Back on the flat, dropping into class 5 Handicap – the last time he found himself in this lowly class he won (over 2m) – and also down to his last winning mark.

He should be fit from hurdling after two fair efforts over two miles. The ground might be a bit faster than ideal, and this could well be a race to bring the mark further down. So be it…. An Fear Ciuin is way too big a price.

Selection:
10pts win – An Fear Ciuin @ 25/1 PP

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8.30 Windsor: Class 5 handicap, 1m 2f

Wide open Handicap for three year olds. Another rather speculative one for me here with handicap debutant Vlannon.

Three starts in maiden company in quick succession. He final one over 7f at Lingfield was the best of the lot. He battled hard in a fair race but clearly needs further.

His pedigree, at least on the dam side supports this. Vlannon is a half-brother to a couple of individuals who did there best over further and later over hurdles. His opening mark is fair, gives him a good chance to win a race as improvement is likely to come for the new trip.

Selection:
10pts win – Vlannon @ 13/1 MB

Saturday Selections: June, 16th 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

3.45 Chester: Class 4 Handicap, 5f

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

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

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

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

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

PREVIEW: Belmont Stakes – Justify a Triple Crown Winner?

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An almighty task on hand, the chance to become an equine legend beckons at the end of it – Justify has to defy history one more time to land the Triple Crown!

Still unbeaten, the Scat Daddy colt only started his racing career in February this year. He’s come a long way since then. Memorable victories in the Santa Anita Derby, the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes bring him here to this day, the day where it’s all on the line.

We all want to see a Triple Crown winner. And we may do so today. It’s so difficult to achieve, such a tremendous ask for a three year old colt who’s still learning his trade. Three grueling races within four weeks; different trips, tracks, underfoot conditions, going against some fresh and not so fresh, inexperienced and race hardened rivals.

If history tells us how difficult it is to win the Triple Crown then we must saviour the opportunity to witness the second one of these historical achievements within three years. Amercian Pharoah broke through this barrier that latest decades. Who’d have thought we might see one again so soon after?

So, the question everyone is asking: can he do it???

No. He can’t. My heart wants it. My head disagrees.

There are a few much smarter brains than I am out there who brought compelling arguments forward for and against. What sticks out for me personally is Simon Rowlands take on the race as he uses striding analysis to understand how Justify’s performances to this date compare to other notable Triple Crown winners.

His comparison and the facts uncovered are comprehensive. They tend to agree with my less so analytical thoughts: Justify is all speed. Or mostly speed. His pedigree doesn’t scream “I want a trip” either.

Don’t get me wrong, he impressed me in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, no doubt. The way he looks, the way he moves, the way he goes about his business.

Today is an entirely different race, though. Different conditions. An additional two furlongs. Against opposition that didn’t have to compete in all three Triple Crown races. Some of these may have a bit more left in the locker plus a few of the rivals Justify will meet today are likely to appreciate this marathon trip quite a bit more than he likely does.

Lest to forget: Justify needed to go all out for a while now – on the go since February – each month one important race for him to contest and be at his best. That must take its toll.

if it doesn’t- and if Justify can overcome all of these hurdles then he truly is a special horse, one that warrants to be mentioned in line with the best – make no mistake about that.

Okay so, if not Justify, who’s then going to win the Belmont?

Well, I take a punt. He’s not the most obvious one, he may not be good enough after all. Regardless, I do sense that Free Drop Billy is overpriced. He hasn’t won a race this year and only managed to get places in a couple of Grade 2- and 3 contests. He ran in the Kentucky Derby like his price suggested: rotten.

BUT there is a big but: Free Drop Billy is a Grade 1 winner already, nonetheless. He landed the Breeders’ Futurity Stakes at Keeneland as a juvenile. He also was a fair runner-up at this seasonal reappearance this year in February behind Derby third Audible. He clearly has class.

That says he very much looks like a grinder. One who’s always going to get beaten for speed. He’s also one who is likely to get into his own in the second half of the year – so now! Free Drop Billy is May foal; normally these individuals need a bit more time.

Connections clearly felt that way after the Derby. They gave him time off. He bypassed the Preakness and comes here fresher than most. And there is the fact that he is a son of Union Rags – himself a Belmont Stakes winner – while also being a half-brother to multiple 1m 4f Stakes scorer Hawkbill.

Dare I say that Free Drop Billy looked excellent in his work this week leading up to the big race? I start to believe….

In saying all of this, Free Drop Billy needs to improve, needs to step up a good deal to be in with a shout. I feel there is a better chance for him to do exactly that than the betting suggests. I believe he is a lively place chance, at the very least.

Selection:
5pts Each/Way (3 places, 1/5) – Free Drop Billy @ 66/1 VC

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Photo: nytimes.com

Saturday Selections: June, 9th 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

3.30 Catterick: Class 3 Handicap, 7f

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

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

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

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

Friday Selections: June, 8th 2018

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3.40 Brighton: Class 6 Handicap, 10f

Top weight Palawan hasn’t fired in most of his last runs, ever since a strong runner-up performance in June of mark off 84 in a strong class 3 Handicap at Bath things didn’t work out for him. the winter. As a consequence he slipped dramatically in the mark.

A brief hint of return to form in February at Kempton, when coming agonizingly close a break a 2.5-year winless streak. Three poor runs later he moves yards, now going to post in the care of Jonathan Portman for the very first time.

One needs to put faith in the change of scenery helping Palawan to be revitalized. He also tries the 10f trip for only the second time in his career. Not unlikely on pedigree, particularly on fast ground.

On his best Palawan is obviously a main danger off 67, whether he still wants it remains to be seen. It’s a poor enough contest where I feel it’s worth a punt.

Selection:
10pts win – Palawan @ 11/1 PP

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4.50 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Novice Stakes, 8.5f

I don’t see why – with all we know at this point in time – there should be such a big difference in the betting between Move Swiftly and Elegiac. My preference is for the latter one.

A highly promising colt, who ran well on debut over 10f in a good race, followed-up at Newcastle dropping to a mile in excellent style.

This son of Farhh is open to plenty of progress and with Franny Norton retaining the ride with a good draw to go forward from, despite carrying a penalty, I feel Elegiac is a massive runner today.

Selection:
10pts win – Elegiac @ 9/2 PP

Thursday Selections: June, 7th 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

5.20 Yarmouth: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

The 3 year old’s add spice to this open contest. Macho Guest is the one I prefer from the lot.

The son of Camacho did show little in three maiden starts, but with a run this season already under his belt he should strip race fit. Now stepping up to 1 mile for the first time off a very low opening mark Macho Guest looks dangerous.

Apprentice Jane Elliott claims valuable 5lb and has a strong record for trainer George Margarson.

Selection:
10pts win – Macho Guest @ 12/1 Sky

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6.25 Sandown: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 6f

Very competitive race where pace and positioning may become key. That worries me about my selection Manor Park, who was raw, green and to some extend clueless when winning a Windsor Handicap over 11.5f on handicap- & seasonal debut last month.

However, the way he was grinding it out regardless was impressive. He matched his opening mark with the time speed rating achieved that day. Stepping up in trip looks sure to suit with fast ground no issue whatsoever.

His revised handicap mark could easily underestimate him given the new trip and experience gained.

Selection:
10pts win Manor Park @ 7/1 VC

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2.10 Ripon: Class 5 Novice Stakes, 6f

I believe the odds-on favourite is bad value while Mark Johnston’s runner is a tasty price. MJ has a superb record with juveniles in Novice company, particularly if they drop in class.

Yellow Fire does drop significantly in class after a promising debut at Bath where he ran green and made too much early on. This form looks strong through the third who is a fair benchmark with a place behind a subsequent Listed winner.

Despite being a May foal, Yellow Fire looks big, strong and scopy. This easier 6f trip should suit him, though the draw away from the rails is a slight concern, in fairness.

Selection:
10pts win – Yellow Fire @ 4/1 WH

Wednesday Selection: June, 6th 2018

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4.30 Hamilton: Class 4 Handicap, 6f

Off 2lb lower than his last winning mark, Inexes, who also won this very same race two years on the bounce, has a good chance to complete the hat-trick.

However, I feel he had things very much going for himself the last two years and with Start Time there is really strong opponent to beat, which may prove too much this time.

Start Time used to be a Group 3 placed individual in Godolphin colours years ago, but ever since then things haven’t gone well for him. It took him a while to fire for his new yard after missing more than a whole year and it took him a while to get going last season.

He ended 2017 with two promising efforts. A fine third in a Notthingham Handicap over the minimum trip, followed up by a 3 lengths beaten eight at Newcastle’s All-Weather that was better than the bare form suggests.

On seasonal return in April, Start Time ran out a strong third in a 6f Thirsk Handicap. The handicapper has left him alone for this strong effort and off the same mark, 4lb lower than when third at Nottingham last November, he looks ready for a massive run today.

The drying ground shouldn’t be an issue, however, a perfect draw in six should ensure a perfect spot on the stand side rail tracking the pace.

Selection:
10pts win – Start Time @ 3/1 VC