Tag Archives: spring

Eyecatchers #10 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 given the right conditions.

Wooders Dream
27/05/22 – 1.35 Brighton:

Tracked the pace in a good position, started to move at the cutaway on the inside rail but was kept in by the front-running and eventual winning horse right to the end. Possibly would have won with a clear run.

Only the second handicap start. One can ignore the 7f performance earlier this month. 6 furlongs, ideally on fast ground, will see the best of her.

She ran to topspeed 59 here. Closely matched with her 61 official rating. Given she could have won with a clear run and additional improvement far from impossible she could possibly have a few pounds in hand. Nonetheless I wait until she drops below a 60 rating when she meets optimum conditions.

Race Replay

Igotatext
27/05/22 – 3.05 Chepstow:

Traveled at the back of the field, outpaced from three furlongs out, looked bit awkward in the final two furlongs, most likely didn’t enjoy this track but ran on quite well.

Trip too sharp. Needs 6 furlongs. Wouldn’t rule out that he gets 7 furlongs if they ever tried. Was an expensive £165,000 purchase in summer 2020 after an exciting debut win but has never fulfilled the promise. Changed hands for merely £11k earlier this year. This was the debut for the Adrian Wintle yard.

He won twice up until now, on the All-Weather and turf, running to topspeeds of 65, 68 and 69. I’d be interested when he goes back up in trip and ideally see a reduction of the mark below 68 plus a drop in grade. A return to All-Weather would be also interesting.

Race Replay

Sharrabang
27/05/22 – 2.20 Carlisle:

Was up with the pace early on, disputed lead as part of a trio. Started to lose position from 2 furlongs out as race heated up, but also got pushed inside by rival horse and squeezed. Bit short of room over 1f from home again, lost momentum and couldn’t find it again. This should be strong form for this grade.

The minimum trip on fast ground was never to suit entirely. He needs 6 furlongs, despite a win over 5f last year – but that came on soft ground – and stays up to 7f on fast ground too and acts well on the All-Weather.

Has fallen significantly in his mark but may recapture some form now. Ran well a number of times last season. Ran top topspeed 50 and 52, was competitive of marks in the low 50’s and could take advantage of a 46 rating with the right conditions now.

Race Replay

End Zone
27/05/22 – 6.30 Pontefract:

Prominent from good draw, chased the pace. In a good position turning for home but looked bit flat footed 1.5 furlongs from home. Short of room at the final furlong marker. Lost momentum. Impressive how he regained it to finish strongly in third.

Seemingly finding back some solid form. This was a strong performance I believe. He comes down again to a mark he can win from. Has ran to topspeed 71 on turf but best form comes on the All-Weather.

Would like to see him back on the sand, especially if his mark slips to 70 or lower. He ran topspeed 74 and 77 back in November and this most recent run suggests he is not far off that level right now. Ran at Thirsk in the meantime this week – 11/12 finish.

Race Replay

Tar Heel
27/05/22 – 9.00 Pontefract:

Never looked comfortable here at Ponti. Hang to the left badly on multiple occasions throughout the race, including in the home straight which meant he couldn’t land a blow.

Obviously had issues as his significant fall in the ratings demonstrate. However, he looked to be better than the bare form here.

Clearly needs a straight track and cut in the ground. Won in Ireland and produced solid runs over minimum trip and 6 furlongs in those conditions.

Massive performance last time out at Ayr off big weight in class 6 over 6 furlongs in soft conditions, getting a bump right after the start and racing inefficiently without cover on the outside away from the rail for the most part, finishing 2nd miles clear of the rest.

Will need monitoring for his mark and conditions. Worth to wait for the right day.

Race Replay

Music Society
28/05/22 – 4.05 Haydock:

Tracked the fast pace, started move from 2.5 furlongs out, took lead and kicked on over 1.5 furlongs from home. Got a gap on the field but tired inside the final 100 yards and was caught by two runners finishing strongly from off the pace.

This was huge performance given the solid pace he tracked and the big move from about halfway onwards. proper sign of life after three poor showings this season.

Down to excellent mark again. Won off 79 last June, running to topspeed 83. Clearly close to that form. A slightly less aggressive ride will see him more than capable of winning. Has form on soft but ideally I like to see decent ground, 6 furlongs and a track where his usual more prominent racing style holds up well. Perhaps a drop in class can be beneficial too.

Race Replay

Key Look
28/05/22 – 3.39 Catterick:

One of the slower starters, settled in rear, travelling okay, but still only one rival behind turning for home. Made excellent progress on the inside in the home straight until short of room 15 furlongs from home: lost momentum, had to regain full effort. Finished nicely under hands and heels giving impression there was more left in the tank.

Ran well a number of times in defeat in recent weeks. Down to her last winning mark off 60 which came in her final start in 2021 after a season of fine progress.

Ran to topspeed 62 on the All-Weather and 59 on turf last year. Looks in fine form, but ideally will get some additional assistance from the handicapper before getting involved. 58 or lower and certainly a good draw if racing around a turn.

Race Replay

Libertus + Lord Gorgeous
30/05/22 – 4.30 Lingfield:

Libertus saw his path forward blocked early on, as a consequence boxed in on the inside. Travelled much the best but had to delay his move. Sharply switched to the middle of the track for a clear run, giving ground away to the eventual winner who had first run.

Handicap debut – probably wins another day. A mark off 67 looks potentially underestimating him; granted the handicapper doesn’t react harshly after this fine effort.

Full-brother to solid Lajatico. Probably best suited to decent or fast ground. A drop to the minimum trip wouldn’t be an issue I reckon.

Lord Gorgeous was awkwardly away as so often. He was caught wide without a lot of cover and away from the rail where the eventual winner who always travelled prominently came from. he travelled very strongly to 1.5 furlongs from home until fading in the closing stages.

The way he travelled here you’d have never guessed he was 80/1. He’s got obvious temperamental issues. However he has talent as he showed as a juvenile. Clearly lost his way and the switch of yards and to the UK hasn’t really helped yet.

However, there was a glimmer of hope form wise when 3rd at Wolverhampton in February. He’s one to monitor for market and jockey booking any time he races over the minimum trip. He’s capable of winning over 5 furlongs, on the All-Weather or on turf, possibly with a bit of ease in the ground.

Race Replay

Pure Dreamer
30/05/22 – 6.10 Windsor:

Quite badly hampered early on, nonetheless travelled smoothly. Had to wait for racing room, moved into the open approaching the final furlong and got upside the long-term leader. Eventually won it a shade cozily in my view.

This was his third win on the bounce. Still ran to topspeed 83 off a 80 mark here, despite not having a perfect race and despite the trip potentially on the sharp side. Has more to offer if moving up in trip. Would love to see him over a mile.

Looks a galloping type with a significant stride lengths. Would imagine he doesn’t want it any faster than good. Need to see what a the handicapper does after this but could be a mid-90 horse over a mile.

Race Replay

Raydoun
01/06/22 – 6.05 Ripon:

Slowly away, as a consequence trailed the field. Tried to make progress from over two furlongs out, having to pass the entire field. Didn’t find a clear run through, short of room on multiple occasions. Finished nicely under hands and heels.

Unlucky last time out too when bumped at the start and hampered in the middle of the race. Can find trouble due to his racing style. Tends to be slowly away from the gate.

Looks exposed on the surface of his form but clearly in form to win. Won off 66, excellent runner-up off 69 running to topspeed 67. Any assistance from the handicapper will be very welcome, though. Probably doesn’t want it fast. I’d be really intrigued on good to soft.

Race Replay

Nibras Again
01/06/22 – 8.10 Ripon:

Travelled strongly throughout, still on the bridle approaching the final furlong marker. Badly squeezed at that moment, continued to be short of room with little room to maneuver right to the end, and just as he tries to go through the tiniest of gaps in the last 100 yards the door shuts again.

Seasonal reappearance after a break since October. Ran well of marks in the 70s last season, was beaten a neck and shoulder off 73 and 75. Down to a mark of 69 now, he looks weighted to win.

His very best comes on proper fast ground over the minimum trip. Even though e’s an eight-year old now, he clearly retains an appetite for sprinting.

Race Replay

Stone Circle
31/05/22 – 5.29 Yarmouth:

Travelled very strongly approaching the two furlong marker. Lacked an instant kick and tired gradually, finishing 3rd. Possibly disappointing after it looked he’d come with a winning move.

Seven furlongs with ease in the ground perhaps stretches his stamina. Plus he possibly did too much in the early sections of the race. This was nonetheless a clear return to form after he fell a long way in the mark over the last year, having ran to topspeed 57 here.

He’s rated 60 now, a long way below his best and certainly better than that if on song. Showed glimpses last season still; should be highly competitive if dropping down to 6 furlongs again with a bit of cut in the ground. I definitely want to see the word “soft” in the going description.

Race Replay

Special Times
02/06/22 – 2.45 Leicester:

Chased the pace for most of the race. Outpaced from three furlongs out but stuck to the task. Was one paced when a bit tight around half a furlong out, finished solid enough where those from back of the field dominated the placings.

Showed a bit of ability in maiden races and caught the eye the way she travelled lto, but clearly trips were too short and was saved for Handicaps. Should improve for a step up in trip to 10 furlongs. The Dam won over 11.5 furlongs in Germany.

Race Replay

Wednesday Selections: 1st June 2022

80 points profit in May, 4 winners and about 16% ROI – the first two months of the flat season have been green. The real ‘war’ starts now in June. Here’s hoping to kick it off with a bang…. on the Kempton polytrack.

7.30 Kempton: Class 4 Handicap, 7f

Zameka is really interesting today returning to 7 furlongs. The shorter sprint distances are too sharp while he’s already a winner over this trip.

I am not judging him harshly on his last run on turf at Ascot in a seriously hot Handicap over 6 furlongs. The overall form looks strong, but he was disadvantaged right away from the widest outside draw. He travelled okay to the two furlong marker then dropped away quickly. First time blinkers didn’t help much in terms of performance, although he looked a lot more settled and less awkward than in the past in general.

He is clearly a quirky sort as on show in the past. He ran really well at Lingfield on his seasonal debut in a good handicap when he hang his chances away in the closing stage but finished well given the circumstances. Visually I got the impression with a straight run he’d have won that day.

As a juvenile Zameka was two times placed – including when a close second to Tiber Flow – and won well on his final start in 2021. Those performances came on the All-Weather over 7 furlongs. Therefore he’s certainly better than this most recent poor showing, I feel.

He was a $170k yearling, a full-brother to 95 rated Eagle Song, who won twice over 7 furlongs on the All-Weather, so his current rating offers hope that there is still more to come.

As for this race I don’t worry too much over the draw. He has shown early speed before, from what is effectively the #8 draw he should be able to move forward to pick up a position just behind the pace.

This is a competitive race, though. Botanist looks the obvious danger if he stays 7 furlongs, which is more likely than not, and especially if he shows better temperament today. Morning favourite Skittlebombz was unlucky last time out and has more to offer, although the trip is a question mark and he may be close to his ceiling from a handicapping point of view.

10pts win – Zameka @ 11/2

………….

May 2022 Statistics:

Friday Selections: 27th May 2022

2.30 Chepstow: Class 6 Handicap, 5f

This could be the right opportunity for 9-year-old Secretfact to strike again. I have been waiting for the right conditions for the veteran sprinter ever since his interesting comeback run at Bath in April when he shaped a lot better than the 7/7 result.

He followed up with a number of solid performances, even though things didn’t always go his way, including in a strong front-running CD run last month off a 5lb higher mark than today.

His most recent 4th place finish at Bath has once again confirmed his wellbeing. On ground too slow he had to do all the donkey work from the front but only went down fighting in the final furlong.

He dropped another couple of pounds in his rating today. Clearly he’s on a dangerous mark, especially on fast ground. I hope the warm weather helps to make the ground even firmer come race day. The faster the better for him.

This is a competitive race. Others are dangerous too. I do have slight concerns that the ground won’t be quite fast enough eventually. it’s a risk to take given he’s a CD winner, proven wellbeing, ran well the last few weeks, has a top jockey on board and looks overpriced here.

10pts win – Secretfact @ 11/2

……..

8.25 Haydock: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

Kraken Power is really well handicapped today if on a going day after dropping another couple of pounds in the ratings. He caught my eye at Ayr four weeks ago when he made a big move mid-race on the outside. He couldn’t sustain the effort but it was the sort of spark needed to imagine he can win a race again.

He ran better than the bare on his seasonal reappearance at Thirsk. You can discount the most recent Hamilton run. There was no pace early on, he got a bit bumped or at very least found himself in a tight spot on the rails soon after the start, was lit up and as a consequence too keen in soft conditions.

The drying good to soft ground today shouldn’t be an issue. He’s drawn wide but close to possible pace setters, which should give him an ideal scenario to launch his move in the closing stages.

William Buick booked for the ride is eyecatching too. He’s 3/3 for Jim Goldie in 2021/22. Kraken Power has talent – he was rated as high as 86, was placed in good races of 82 last season, as well as ran to topspeed 80. With that mind mind, he is seriously overpriced today.

10pts win – Kraken Power @ 10/1

Monday Selections: 23rd May 2022

After an excellent last week with three winners – the cherry on the cake was clearly backing Early Voting to win the Preakness Stakes – here’s hoping for the positive trend to continue. I’ve got two selections for today.

4.25 Leicester: Class 6 Handicap, 7f

Sense Of Security was a massive eyecatcher at Bath over a mile, although she pulled hard for the majority of the race, indicating she may enjoy a drop in trip. Hence I felt it was an odd choice to go up in distance the last time. She duely failed to get home over 9.5f at Wolverhampton, running way too freely.

She drops down to 7 furlongs today and that looks the right decision. With the rain coming this afternoon the jury is out whether she likes any sort of give in the ground. It’s a question mark. But that aside, she looks ready to romp home with a clear run.

I base this claim on her penultimate Bath performance over the mile trip, where she travelled keenly in midfield for the majority of the race. Yet she appeared to go strongly turning for home, the jockey taking a pull over 3 furlongs out seemingly with tons in hand. She was multiple times a clear run denied and no doubt with clear passage she’d have gone close.

Sense Of Security has shown promise as a juvenile last last year, as she was placed over 5.5f at Bath in an eye-catching performance. She was a good third at Kempton on her seasonal reappearance last month where she ran to topspeed 61.

Racing off 63 today with a strong jockey booking I feel she has a major chance, even though this is a hot little contest for a class 6 on a Monday afternoon. Either way she’s seriously overpriced.

10pts win – Sense Of Security @ 9.5/1

………

7.40 Windsor: Class 5 Handicap, 1m

I was interested in The Rain King the last time when he finished down the field at Lingfield eventually. He was a big drifter in the betting on the day. In a race with little early pace he was caught out without cover way too soon as well.

He returns today to Windsor where he seriously caught the eye on his penultimate run. He was an unlucky horse not to win, or at the very least got much closer than a 1.5 lengths beaten 3rd place. He outran a 22/1 price tag that day, first up after a break and wind operation. The form looks solid and he returns to the same CD today.

The Rain King was an expensive £250k yearling and clearly has ability. He was a strong 3rd on debut in a hot maiden when trained in Ireland. Obviously he hasn’t fulfilled the early promise, moved over to Alexandra Dunne and didn’t show much for her until this recent Windsor run on the back of the wind op.

Obviously he needs to take another step forward now, confirm the promise from that penultimate run and prove that he still got the appetite for the game. He’s yet to run beyond topspeed 65, although I feel there are mitigating factors, as outlined before.

He’s drawn in #11 today, which isn’t ideal. But at least he should get a clear run on the outside presumably. If he’s as well handicapped as I feel he possibly is, then he should have enough in hand to win from there.

10pts win – The Rain King @ 11/1

Thursday Selections: 19th May 2022

3.50 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

A few look dangerously handicapped here but non more so than Jumira Bridge. He really caught the eye on his second run off a break over the minimum trip at this venue.

He was unlucky to be a clear run denied at a crucial stage of the race but he found his momentum again and finished much the strongest.

This was an excellent follow-up from a good comeback run in a seller over over the course and distance when he made eye-catching headway turning for home while carrying 10st.

He’s obviously a tricky customer, who can lose races at the gate and has fallen a long way down in the ratings. These last two performances suggest there is life in the 8-year-old, though.

Dropping down to class 6 and up to 6 furlongs he can race off bottom weight here from a good #2 draw. If he doesn’t totally mess up he hopefully finds himself in a decent position in midfield racing against the inside rail and then hopefully gets the gap when needed most.

The last time he ran at Wolverhampton over 6f in class 6 he won in impressive style, back in January 2021 of a 62 mark. He’s 12lb lower today – for a reason – but showed more enough lto to assume he will take a lot of beating if in the same form. I really feel he’s going to be cherry ripe.

10pts win – Jumira Bridge @ 5.2/1

…………

4.35 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

Arlecchino’s Gift was a major eyecatcher ten days ago at Wolverhampton over 6 furlongs. He was caught wide from his outside draw and only dropped in with about tree furlongs to go. Yet travelled much the best entering the home straight but had the entire field to pass.

He appeared to find a small gap over a furlong from home but got badly squeezed and hampered, losing crucial momentum. He was brave to pull through and got gong quickly again, finishing the fastest home straight sectionals despite the trouble and being eased in the final 100 yards.

Starting issues prevented him from a more fruitful juvenile campaign, although he showed some talent. A gelding operation over the winter helped and thanks to being more professional at the start he’s finally winning races. He’s been progressive this year, wining twice and running well a number of other times.

When winning of a mark of 55 at Wolverhampton he appeared to have a bit in hand, which was confirmed by a 59 topspeed rating. There were excuses at Chelmsford subsequently when he was badly bumped at the start and was overly keen in a slowly run race.

This most recent performance adds to the picture that Arlecchino’s Gift continues to improve. Of a mark of 60 he could still be well handicapped given he ran to TS 59 with relative ease and caught the eye so dramatically last time out.

Question mark is the turf. He hasn’t really fired apart from the All-Weather. However, he hasn’t been on turf since his gelding operation and the clear improvement he’s shown since then. Breeding wouldn’t suggest that there are any issues with turf.

10pt win – Arlecchino’s Gift @ 9/2

Tuesday Selections: 17th May 2022

2.50 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

Two eyecatchers run here: Port Noir is back on the All-Weather with an excellent 7lb claimer in the saddle and has every chance to go close. However, He’s never won beyond a mark of 64 and hasn’t run to a higher topspeed rating than 64 either. Hence, as mentioned in Eyecatchers #7 I keep monitoring and wait for him to come down in the ratings.

The other one is Northbound who was a massive eyecatcher at Thirsk last month on his first outing in 2022. He travelled smoothly on the inside, still hard on the bridle approaching the final furlong but never got a run. He finished eye-catchingly well in one of the fasted final furlong splits despite being hard held.

He hasn’t won since his juvenile days, but has been competitive and placed numerous times last season without winning. He was placed of 65 and ran to Topspeed 58, 59 and 61 last year. He also has a career best 71 TS rating, albeit over the minimum trip.

His mark has fallen another 2lb in the meantime, now down to 58. He looks rather well handicapped, potentially with further scope on the All-Weather, having ran only twice on the sand. The dam won at Dundalk and the sire produces some fine All-Weather horses too.

The draw is a negative. He’s drawn too wide for my likening. The jockey isn’t the most positive booking either. But Northbound may have those additional pounds in hand to overcome it and make full use of bottom weight.

10pts win – Northbound @ 11.5/1

(Note: I wrote this piece last night and took the price in pieces throughout. Money is coming this morning, which is a positive sign. 10s still available in places which I’d personally still regard a great price.)