Tag Archives: Southwell

Saturday Selections: 7th May 2022

2.20 Ascot: Listed Buckhounds Stakes, 1m 4f

Can you trust Al Aasy? I can’t. No doubt he is – in theory – the best horse in the race. His official rating and 2021 form is testament to this fact. However, it’s undeniable that his sudden form loss toward the end of last season is a major concern.

Possibly dropping down to Listed level on his seasonal reappearance is an ideal pipe opener to build confidence thanks to a relatively easy assignment. If his enthusiasm is back he’ll win this race running backwards.

At the given prices I absolutely must take him on with all the justified doubts, though. In fairness, this field is light in terms real quality. Third Realm has some nice form in the book and ran multiple times to low topspeed ratings of low 90’s, but never beyond TS 92 and all his form comes with cut in the ground.

The only other one who has ran to topspeed ratings of note is Stowell. He’s an obvious choice at given prices. By no means a sexy individual, one who’s more a grinder than flashy accelerator, but one who offers still some upside as a 4-year-old.

Stowell has match fitness on his side after a solid seasonal reappearance at Newbury last month. He’s a course and distance winner and ran with a lot of credit when third in the Queen’s Vase as Royal Ascot. He ran to TS 94 that day, it’s the second best on offer in this field the favourite aside.

I think he’s fast enough for the 1m 4f trip, especially on Listed level against this sort of opposition – if the potential class act Al Aasy isn’t anywhere near as good as he used to be.

This lad strikes me as a rock solid horse and he’s a overpriced in this field today.

10pts win – Stowell @ 4/1

………..

5.15 Ascot: Class 4 Handicap, 6f

I said after his latest disappointing performance at Wolverhampton to keep faith for the day he returns to turf. – so I’ll stick to my word and continue to have financial interest in Chief Little Hawk.

The gelding messed up at Wolver three weeks ago, though, left the impression that he has more to give if things fall right – once again. But Wolverhampton was never going to be the right track for him. Straight 6 furlongs at Ascot on turf should suit a lot better.

Chief Little Hawk was a big eye-catcher for me at Southwell on his penultimate run. As mentioned then, the way he finished in the closing stages from the back of the field in a race dominated by the two pace setters wasn’t what you normally would see from a 40/1 shot.

He wasn’t even hard ridden in the final stages of the race, yet was the third fastest finisher from two furlongs out, according to sectionals – underlying the visual impression.

Since moving yards away from Aiden O’Brien over to Jamie Osborne Chief Little Hawk has rarely been fancied in the betting. He was long odds most of the time, and still managed to finish 4th, only 1.5 lengths beaten as a 50/1 outsider, in a class 2 Handicap at Newmarket of a mark of 94 last August.

He has fallen significantly in the ratings in the meantime. He is now down to an official rating of 80 and runs in a class 4 Handicap on turf for the first time. Given Chief Little Hawk ran to topspeed 83+ on three occasions in the past, I feel he could be really well handicapped.

Obviously this is a massive field, stall 20 is a question mark and the jockey form is poor. But he’s a price I am prepared to run the risk.

10pts win – Chief Little Hawk @ 9.5/1

Eye-Catchers #2 2022

A list of horses that caught my eye during the last seven days of racing. These individuals look ready to win a race sooner rather than later.

Makeen
02/04/22 – 4.25 Leicester:

He travelled well in rear of the field behind a wall of horses having to wait for the gap to open on the inside. He’s finally getting clear 2 furlongs from home. Although the acceleration isn’t blistering, he’s gathering momentum with every stride for potentially a winning move as he’s approaching the final furlong marker. (2nd last furlong more than half a second faster than the rest)

That’s the exact moment when Makeen finds himself short of room one more time – his chance is gone. He still manages to finish easily in 4th place.

The form looks rock solid with the first three home running to strong topspeed ratings. Makeen himself ran to TS 69 which enhances the validity of the visual performance given his current 72 handicap mark.

He won of a mark of 67 last summer and and ran to a 71 Topspeed rating in the past as well. The fast pace helped him here and with that in mind I feel a fast 7 furlongs is the optimum to his chances and may see him improve again a bit because he’s still quite unexposed over this special distance.

> Race Replay

Global Effort
02/04/22 – 1.00 Leicester:

Eye-catching debut for this son of Gleneagles. He had the widest draw to overcome, far away from the “golden highway” that is the inside rail. He received a heavy bump soon after the start and as a consequence was lit up.

With those circumstances in mind it’s noteworthy how well Global Effort travelled for the majority of the race, looking really dangerous from his disadvantaged position.

He is clearly better than the bare result and doesn’t seem to lack speed given he’s out of an Equiano dam. I imagine 6 furlongs will be ideal. It’s one to monitor where he goes next and what the market says. He looks ready to win a race soon.

> Race Replay

Chief Little Hawk
01/04/22 – 7.10 Southwell:

This was a strange race with fierce fight for positions early on having a detrimental impact on the chances of a number of horses which probably helped the winner and runner-up who dominated the pace for the majority of the race .

Chief Little Hawk wasn’t really impacted by the early issues, but was awkwardly away from the gates himself and settling two to three wide in last position.

He had plenty to do turning for home while travelling well, with the entire field to pass and still last approaching the final furlong. He found an opening there and then and went through easily making nice progress in eye-catching fashion.

He certainly looked like having a much closer finish in him and wasn’t a true 40/1 shot. This former Ballydoyle charge is with Jamie Osborne since last summer. He’s rarely fancied in any run for the yard yet. Although a fine 4th in a class 3 Handicap in August showed there’s plenty of ability retained.

Th 4-year-old gelding is 10lb lower rated these days and this Southwell performance was perhaps the right signal that a fruitful turf campaign could loom on the horizon. Listed placed as a juvenile and having ran to topspeed ratings of 83+ three times, I feel he’s ripe for a big run back on turf over 6 furlongs.

> Race Replay

Red Lacewing
03/04/22 – 4.22 Cork:

Unruly pre-race when making her way out of the parade ring. Broke poorly and had ground to make up compared to the eventual winner who was always right there with the pace up.

She made good progress from 2 furlongs out on the stands side but saw her momentum stopped from a furlong to run by the winner who was hanging to his left. Red Lacewing had to switch and go again, which she did, but it was too late.

This was a fine comeback run. The form should be solid. She clearly has trained on and looked lovely from a physical perspective in the parade ring. She was also an eye-catcher in all three starts last year as a juvenile.

A listed sprint race could be the next target and she might be underestimated, given she has only one win from four runs. I wouldn’t back her in a Handicap, because she’s likely to go up another couple of pounds for this excellent runner-up performance and that would be an awful lot of weight to carry for the filly.

Fristel
04/04/22 – 1.40 Windsor:

Turf debut for Fristel who was bit awkward out of the gate and as a consequence in rear for most of the race, behind a wall of horses. He was still trailing approaching the final furlong as racing room came at a premium price. When switched inside the final 200 yards he found some space to run on quite well, but the race was long gone.

I believe he would have gone seriously close with a clear run. With that in mind he could be well handicapped. Perhaps a step up to 6 furlongs will see more improvement.

He was eye-catching when trying 6f for the first time on his second career run, too. That day at Wolverhampton he was clearly minded but travelled and finished eye-catchingly well.

On pedigree 7 furlongs isn’t out of question, although, he tried it once and pulled way too hard. He’s clearly ready to win, but I wouldn’t give him too many chances to prove it because none of his four siblings were able to win a race either.

> Race Replay

The Rain King
04/04/22 – 4.30 Windsor:

Travelled well enough for a long time yet had a bit to do from back of the field 3f out. Looked dangerous while searching for a gap that didn’t open, though; or when it opened briefly over 1 furlong out it closed soon again…. and again.

This was an encouraging reoccurrence for The Rain King after a wind operation last November. Whether breathing was the only reason for his loss of form ever since winning a Galway maiden and subsequently leaving Donnacha O’Brien and Ireland for the Alexandra Dunne yard is hard to know. But certainly he’s down to a much more realistic mark now and seems to be in improved form.

The Rain King was an expensive £250k yearling and clearly has ability. He’s a risky proposition, but still relatively low mileage for a 5-year-old and really one I am interested in over the mile trip next time out. Also a step up in trip looks not impossible.

> Race Replay

Captain Claret
04/04/22 – 2.05 Redcar:

Pulled his way to the front soon after the start establishing a solid lead from 5 furlongs out, travelling well and having the field on a stretch. With 2 furlongs to go it looked like he could steal it from the front but eventually tired and relinquished the lead with half a furlong to go.

This was his comeback and first run for the Ruth Carr yard. With a strong performance – given the trip was on the sharp side and the ground too soft – Captain Claret proved his well being.

He is on my radar since last August when running at Windsor a better race than the bare form suggested. The next time at Kempton the start-stop nature of the race didn’t suit. That was the last time we saw him until this Tuesday race.

He comes down to a really good mark now and will be a strong chance over a mile on no worse than good to soft ground. I also would be intrigued to see a step up in trip.

Bronze River
06/04/22 – 5.00 Nottingham:

In a rather pedestrian affair he was keen for most of the race travelling on the inside rail and still pulled for his head 4 furlongs from home. Nonetheless, he travelled well with a big chance, if only he would have got a clear run.

Amongst a group of horses he was short of room and hampered multiple times, had to delay his challenge until about 1.5 furlongs out when some space opened up. As he’s capturing momentum some horses shifting over from the right and hamper him badly. He had absolutely no chance here.

Bronze River is certainly down to a super sexy handicap mark. One pound lower than when winning at Redcar last October overe softish 7 furlongs. He ran to topspeed 64 and proved he’s still going well during a winless but credible All-Weather campaign this winter when running often well given the circumstances.

He is a tricky horse to win with, though. He often messes up at the starting gate and tends to pull hard. With that in mind I envisage a fast paced mile (evaluate pace chart) or 7 furlongs on softish ground as ideal.

> Race Replay

Jungle Inthebungle
06/04/22 – 1.00 Catterick:

Was much closer to the pace early on than in most of his last runs, surprisingly showing solid early speed here. Looked outpaced three furlongs out and seemed to go backward. Even more Impressive how he kept going and ran on in the closing stages to finish 4th eventually.

He was completely unfancied here and one needs to watch the market if consider backing next time. But I reckon only a hose in form can finish as he did. In any case Jungle Inthebungle comes down to an interesting rating, considering that back in September he was a fine runner-up off a 55 mark at Thirsk.

This run confirmed his well-being and rates a big run also having in mind that soft ground doesn’t tend to bring the best out of him. So, with any further help from the handicapper or perhaps also a solid apprentice on board he’s one I feel will have a winning chance soon.

> Race Replay

Brazen Idol
06/04/22 – 2.25 Lingfield:

Was bit keen early on wanting to get on with things. Eventually settled prominently tracking the pace. Turning for home when attempting to unleash a challenge he was short of room. He had his run stopped again over a furlong from home.

How close he’d gone with a clear run is hard to gauge but given he encountered trouble twice I am willing to mark him up.

He also ran much better than expected given he was out of weights and showed nothing in three starts as a juvenile. This was his first start since October too.

In the meantime he has been gelded and changed yards. Taking into account how poorly the yard performed this year this was a promising comeback. I’d be interested to see him over the minimum trip next time. Most likely on the All-Weather, as the yard tends to have winners predominantly there.

> Race Replay

Friday Selections: February, 14th 2020

DSC_1062

5.10 Southwell: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

Equidae has caught my in all of his last three starts. In my book he ran much better than the bare form of those races suggest. He didn’t receive hard rides in of those, while running well to the line, even if things weren’t in his favour on multiple occasions.

The two Newcastle runs over a mile a visually quite taking, although his latest run here at Southwell over the shorter 7 furlongs trip is equally compelling, as Equidae was mad keen early on, pulling loads of energy away  but still managed to finish a fair 4th.

Another couple of pounds off, he will race off 7lb less than when winning over this course and distance last May. Equidae also matched or battered his current mark on topspeed ratings multiple times.

Cheek-pieces on for the first time may help him to settle a bit better as he has the tendency to race freely.

Selection:
10pts win – Equidae @ 3.6/1 WH

………..

5.45 Southwell: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 3f

Earl Of Bunnacurry has probably the key piece of form with his 3rd over 1m 6f back in December – form that worked out tremendously well. The gelding made most likely too much early on and ultimately didn’t have anything left in the tank when it mattered most.

He changed yards, was largely disappointing in two starts for new connections since, particularly when send off 4/1 on stable debut.

However, back over a possibly suitable trip, at Southwell where he usually runs rather well, with two pounds off his mark and new headgear, I feel Earl Of Bunnacurry is an intriguing runner in a race where there is little to fear.

A return to that December form will see him having a massive chance to get his head in front again.

Selection:
10pts win – Earl Of Bunnacurry @ 8/1 MB

Sunday Selections: January, 5th 2029

DSC_1062

2.30 Southwell: Class 5 Handicap, 6 furlongs

This is a highly competitive event, despite the small field. This could be called a minefield from a betting perspective – certainly a race to take plenty of interest in for future races.

Nonetheless there is value on offer because the current favourite is too short in the betting.

Al Suil Eile posted a fibe course debut confirmed by an excellent top speed rating. The drop to 6f may suit. However he has to show it first given the raise in his handicap mark doesn’t make him an obviously well-handicapped horse.

Our Charlie Brown is one for the tracker. Once back over 7 furlongs he’ll be of high interest I reckon thanks to a falling handicap mark. In the past he ran much faster than his current mark suggest on turf the unique 7 furlong distance and shown positive signs on the All-Weather too. Today won’t be his day, though.

It boils down to a battle between Liamba and Global Melody. Both meet again three weeks after Liamba got the better of the two over this course and distance. Liamba ran to topspeed 70 that day but his mark has only been raised by two pounds He is of obvious interest and will surely go close again.

However Global Melody is a much bigger price – slightly drifting, which is a negative (has an engagement early next week, keep an eye on him) – bigger than it should be, given it was a close call the other day and a 2lb turnaround and better circumstances in-running can change the scenario.

Global Melody didn’t get into the best of positions following the start that day, had to eat fibresand for the first four furlongs and also didn’t get a clear run entering the home straight. His tendency to hang to his right doesn’t help either, yet he finished strongly (posted fast split for final furlong), resulting in 2nd place and a 67 topspeed rating.

He ran to TS 64 over CD weeks earlier and looked like the winner in his next race over 7 furlongs on the fibresand only to throw it away hanging badly in the final furlong. There is a little concern after his latest lackluster showing at Wolverhampton. Though, hopefully only an off day and he returns to form on the fibresand today.

Selection:
10pts win – Global Melody @ 8/1 MB

Wednesday Selections: January, 1st 2020

DSC_1062

3.40 Southwell: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

Only two that appeal: Zapper Cass has potentially more to offer on this surface and has backed up twice in 2019 that he is capable of running fast enough to win off his now lowered handicap mark. Recent form isn’t on his side, though, and he is short enough in the market.

Warrior’s Valley is fine alternative. He also has shown a few times that he is potentially faster than his current rating suggests, having equaled or exceeded a 67 topspeed rating on three occasions in 2019.

He enjoys the minimum trip on the fibresand having run his best races over this CD in the past. A 67 handicap mark gives him a fair shout as the gelding also seems to hit form after a decent effort at Lingfield when last seen.

The draw could be lower in an ideal world, but I hope he jumps as well as he usually does, gets to the front and draws the field to his tail where he’s then tough to catch once in front.

Selection:
10pts win – Warrior’s Valley @ 6/1 MB

Thursday Selection: December, 5th 2019

DSC_1062

7.00 Southwell: Class 6 Handicap, 5f

Honey Gg is quite obviously the horse to beat and with little else really appealing from a handicapping perspective she appears overpriced.

She was probably unlucky last time out over course and distance when going clear of the majority of the field in higher grade, but bumping into a really well handicapped winner eventually. I don’t see this danger today as she also drops down to class 6.

Only a pound up for the runner-up effort, Honey Gg is closely rated to her best, given she ran to TS 63 when winning here earlier this year, however she also posted a 67 career best topspeed over this CD later on spring. So off OR 63 she offers still a bit of value.

Having David Nolan on board again is a bonus as he rides the minim trip on the fibresand really well.

Selection:
10pts win – Honey Gg @ 7/2 MB