Tag Archives: Sprint

Oaks Friday Selections: 3rd June 2022

4.30: Group 1 Epsom Oaks, 1m 4f

On paper this years Oaks looks not a brilliant renewal, albeit a wide open one, with plenty of potential improvers for the Oaks distance. With that in mind I struggle to warm to short-priced favourite Emily Upjohn.

I understand why she’s well fancied today. Her Musidora victory was impressive. As a daughter of Sea The Stars she appears more than likely to stay the trip and it’s equally reasonable to assume she can improve for her fourth career run.

But she has to. The York performance was only worth a 95 topspeed rating. Solid but doesn’t scream 13/8 favourite. She may well take this crucial next step and can progress to the level the market generally assumes she’ll be capable of running to.

At the same time this can be said about a number of other fillies in this field full of likely improvers. Whether that’s Cheshire Oaks winner Thoughts Of June (quite appropriately named), stable mate Tuesday – a full-sister to 2016 Oaks heroine Minding, or Trial Stakes winner Nashwa. I could make a case for half the field.

But the two fillies that caught my eye more than anybody else – and I can’t split them – are Concert Hall and the only Godolphin entry With The Moonlight.

It’s no surprise that a full-sister to previous Oaks winner Was should feature highly on any short-list. Hence I am seriously surprised to see Concert Hall available at incredibly generous odds – I feel.

I was interested in her for the Irish 2000 Guineas, but it turned out the drop in trip didn’t really suit her. She didn’t posses the speed needed and got badly outpaced from over three furlongs out. But, crucially, she ran on strongly to finish 3rd eventually.

Perhaps it wasn’t the deepest Guineas field, nonetheless, the fact she was able to finish so strongly over an inadequate trip is noteworthy. Aiden O’Brien mentioned beforehand the filly thrives on racing and the Curragh outing would be a stepping stone towards Epsom.

In that light it’s even more significant that she won on her seasonal reappearance at Navan in the Listed Salsabil Stakes – form that looks rock solid. She gave the impression that she wouldn’t mind an additional couple of furlongs that day.

Therefore the Oaks trip looks a good match. Whether she handles the track is a different matter. She clearly has Oaks written all over and with a solid draw should be up there when it matters in my view.

With The Moonlight isn’t quite as clear-cut if it comes to stamina for the Oaks distance. Her pedigree points more towards middle-distance 10 furlongs. And yet, the way she finished at Newmarket was so impressive, giving the impression she could stretch out to 12 furlongs. And certainly giving the impression of a seriously talented filly.

I loved everything about that performance. It’s noteworthy also for the fact because that day she achieved the fasted topspeed rating on offer in the Oaks field.

Whether she can translate this speed to Epsom is the key question. As a full-sister to Group 1 winning Dream Castle she will certainly have the class. Her striding patterns, as far as available to me, give the indication that she has a fair chance to see out the trip, though.

Perhaps she will be ridden with a little bit more restraint today than at Newmarket. If she settles well, it should give William Buick plenty of options how to ride the race, given she possesses a lot of cruising speed, that is crucial at Epsom in my view.

Both fillies, With The Moonlight and Concert Hall appear seriously overpriced in the market in my book.

5pts win – With the Moonlight @ 14/1
5pts win – Concert Hall @ 13.5/1

……………

7.16 Doncaster: Class 4 Handicap, 6f

This looks like the ideal race I had in mind for Golden Apollo to get his head in front again. Since his eye catching run at Thirsk he ran another fine race at York in a big handicap over 7 furlongs where he got badly hampered.

He drops down to 6 furlongs, is three pounds lower in the mark than at Thirsk and runs in a wide open class 4 contest. The favourite may well be on the up and could be able to defy his increased mark – Golden Apollo is at this stage of his career vulnerable to any unexposed improving sort.

But at the same time he’s dangerously well handicapped in my view, given his wellbeing is confirmed.

The golden years are obviously behind the 8-year-old but he still performed of marks in the 80s last year and also ran to topspeed 84 when runner-up in a hot Redcar Handicap.

He’s been a shade unlucky a number times too in the meantime, including the last two; as a results his mark is reduced all the time. This looks an ideal opportunity to strike.

10pts win – Golden Apollo @ 9/1

……….

7.37 Goodwood: Class 3 Handicap, 6f

I was very taken with Kimngrace the last time at Sandown when she was seriously unlucky over the minimum trip. Today she steps up to 6 furlongs, which should be the perfect distance for this exciting and potentially well handicapped filly.

At Sandown after a steadied start she settled in rear of the field. She made some smooth progress from over three furlongs out but was stuck behind a bunch of horses and a clear passage denied until very late. She finished well when a bit of racing room opened up in the closing stages.

The winner made all from the front, the runner-up and third raced close to the pace too. Given these circumstances this was a big run on what was Kimngrace’s seasonal reappearance. The form is seriously strong as well.

She looks a filly open to considerable improvement, possibly more so now stepping up to 6 furlongs again. When last seen in 2021 she won a Maiden race at Haydock over 6f and looked at home over the trip. That particular form worked out well with the runner-up having ran a huge race in the Fred Darling Stakes this season.

10pts win – Kimngrace @ 10/3

………

7.51 Doncaster: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4f

Gibside has caught the eye a number of times this year. He’s certainly a tricky sort, can be temperamental, gets upset in the stall and looks a horse doing things in his own time.

There was good money all day for him last time out at Ripon when he stepped up to 12 furlongs for the first time – a trip that he should appreciate.

He ran really well over shorter 10 furlongs on two occasions at Beverley previously, when things didn’t go his way and he ran better than the bare result suggested.

The same can be said about this most recent Ripon run. Of course at some point you’re not unlucky but it’s more what you truly are. Nonetheless, I feel Gibside deserves another chance.

He was unruly in the starting gate, slowly away, trailed the field and raced generally highly inefficient with a move at the halfway stage costing vital energy and another huge move turning for home from 4 furlongs out on the wide outside.

He paid for it in the final three furlongs, yet finished in 3rd eventually. Coming from so far back was a huge disadvantage. The runner-up led the field, the winner raced in midfield.

I feel a more conventional, flat track like Doncaster will suit this big, rangy gelding much more than Beverley, or even Ripon. No excuses today. I must stress though he is on the drift this morning – at the same time it ensures a seriously good price, if he is in it to win it today.

10pts win – Gibside @ 6.8/1

……….

Added after initial post – 12.30:

3.10 Group 1 Coronation Cup, 1m 4f

High Definition has drifted into a serious price to the point I feel he’s so far overpriced I have to add him as a bet today. By no means is he’s a 11/2+ shot in this field.

No question that if on song Pyledriver is the one to beat. A consistent top-class horse, the defending champion which saw him achieve a career best here last year. He ran well at Meydan when last seen. If he’s close to the form he showed twelve months ago he’s probably hard to beat.

I can’t have Manobo around 2/1 at all. He is lightly raced and open to considerable improvement. On the other hand he’s clearly shown to need a trip to be seen to best effect. Dropping back to 1m 4f is a major question mark for me.

Hukum has only once in his career ran to a topspeed rating of 100. That dates back to 2020, or nine runs. It would need some of the others to misfire for him to win.

High Definition backs up quickly. That is my major concern. He has been a disappointing horse ever since showing so much promise as a juvenile. But the level of form he produced last time out at the Curragh in the Tattersalles Cup is right up there with the best of Pyledriver.

He got a superb ride that day, and clearly that has to be taken into account as a source of the improvement. Nonetheless, he made it a true test going from the front and was just beaten in the dying strides in a top-class field.

He ran to topspeed 108 at that day. I feel it’s a genuine performance. If he can show this level of form today he has a major chance.

At given prices he’s clearly overpriced with ground ad trip not really being a worry in my view.

10pts win – High Definition @ 5.8/1

Eyecatchers #9 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.

Brilliant Blue
20/05/22 – 1.35 Goodwood:

Awkward start but wasn’t help by the isolated #1 draw. Was about to move forward when badly hampered on the inside around the 6 furlong marker. Keen afterwards. Made excellent progress from three furlongs out. Looked like coming with big run before fading.

This was his seasonal reappearance. Possible lack of race fitness and mid-race keenness may have been the contributing factor to a lackluster finish.

Should be better than this. Showed promise as a juvenile in two races in Autumn – form worked out well as he finished around some higher rated individuals – before flopping on the All-Weather. The mile trip shouldn’t be an issue on pedigree.

Race Replay

Aeonian
20/05/22 – 3.40 Haydock:

Travelled toward the end of the small field, pretty keen early on, nearly bumped into rival. Slowly run race, eventual first and second – also lto winners – tracked the pace and quickened gradually from three furlongs out. He made good progress on outside once in the clear but couldn’t catch the leaders.

He was also quite heavily sweating on this seasonal reappearance. Given circumstances this was a fine performance against some good and experienced rivals.

Hasn’t been seen since August when winning hot Yarmouth Novice contest overcoming severe greenness. The form looks strong. he could be a smart prospect. May be prohibitive odds next time. Needs monitoring.

Race Replay

Glamorous Express
21/05/22 – 4.35 Goodwood:

Travelling very strongly in rear of the field. Was at a major disadvantage, though. Having to pass the entire field, still last two furlongs from home going well, eventually switched inside the final furlong and finishes easily the best.

Obviously needs step up in trip. Six furlongs should see him improve. Seven furlongs not out of question. Was still green and raw in most races last year. Hence wouldn’t be too harsh on judging his performances beyond the minimum distance in his juvenile campaign.

Won a Novice contest when last seen in 2021 at Bath, battling strongly. A mark of 80 looks fair for the moment, if he can improve for the trip and for race fitness.

Race Replay

Tomfre
21/05/22 – 1.40 York:

Led the field setting solid fractions. Started to come under pressure from over two furlongs out. Headed and eventually lost touch with those that finished in the placings. Stuck gutsily to the task regardless, didn’t fade away.

Strong performance, ran right to form and mark. Was runner-up of 105 OR last May at this track. Comes down to a more realistic marks now, currently 2lb below his last winning mark.

Looks in fine form, this performance confirmed as much. Ideally would love to see a few more pounds off. Needs certainly proper soft ground to be seen to best effect. He’s one to keep monitoring this season for the right circumstances.

Race Replay

Ey Up It’s Maggie
21/05/22 – 2.55 York:

Tracked the early pace, took over the lead halfway through and ran strongly to the line. Only headed and eventually beaten in the final 100 yards.

Really gutsy performance. Highly consistent filly. In the grip of the handicapper. Will always be vulnerable in this class off this mark. A few pounds off, drop in class and proper soft ground over the minimum trip will be really interesting. Wait for it.

Race Replay

Bonus
21/05/22 – 7.15 Lingfield:

Crossed over toward the rails soon after the start and travelled at the end of the midfield group for the most part. Had a lot to do form this position over two furlongs out while the winner enjoyed the perfect run being up with the pace and was also well handicapped. Didn’t have the pace to challenge when gaps opened over a furlong from home but finished well under hands and heels.

He’s still a few pounds above his last winning mark but starts to get some assistance from the handicapper. I feel this run confirmed his wellbeing. Any additional drop in the ratings combined with racing over 7 furlongs on proper soft ground will spark my interest.

Race Replay

La Yakel
22/05/22 – 1.30 Nottingham:

Was away a bit slowly from the widest draw, settled eventually in rear. Still trailed over two furlongs out going very strongly. Didn’t get out for a clear run until about 1.5f from home. Quickened nicely and grabbed third place on the line having been tenderly handled.

This was his debut. He was gelded already back in March but must have some talent. Was a £28,000 foal but changed hands a year later for £120,000 to Shadwell. He will likely improve plenty fold for stepping up to 10 furlongs given his breeding.

The form could be quite useful. The odds-on winner had more experience and tasted success the last time. Given first and second where always prominent and La Yakel made such a good impression from the rear of the field suggest he could be closely matched with the winner. Needs monitoring for the next starts.

Race Replay

Kaasirr
22/05/22 – 3.05 Nottingham:

Travelled well enough in the final third of the field. Looked poised from three out, not clearest of runs from over two furlongs out, in a tight spot. Eventually fades.

I imagine this was a strong race for this class and will work out well in the long-run. He’s got a few solid pieces of form to this name, especially a close runner-up effort behind Al Nafir (who was 2nd behind Cash on debut) last year on his second career start.

His three-year old campaign has been rather disappointing so far. He was fancied in all three races, hang his chances away at Southwell and finished tamely the last two times. I feel a mile is the maximum of his stamina, though.

He comes down to a dangerous mark I reckon. Perhaps some different form of headgear could be interesting. A drop to a mile is key. I would also be interested in 7 furlongs with a bit of ease in the ground.

Race Replay

Orbaan
22/05/22 – 5.05 York:

Settled in rear of the field going well. Travelled much the strongest in the home straight, hard on the bridle, poised to be unleashed for a winning move. Couldn’t get out, though. Repeatedly short of room. No chance whatsoever.

Is an infrequent winner but has ran numerous times really well in defeat. Big run when 5th in last years Lincoln, placed in the summer off a mark off 94 twice.

Now down to a 87 OR, he looks seriously well handicapped if he gets his conditions: a mile at York or Doncaster or generally a relatively flat straight course. He also goes well over 7 furlongs with significant cut in the ground. He looks ready for a big win.

Race Replay

Arab Cinder
23/05/22 – 1.10 Wolverhampton:

Had to overcome the widest draw, outpaced early on and trailed the main body of the field by quite a margin. Made good progress from halfway, in touch turning for home and loomed dangerously. Couldn’t get a clear run, kept inside by rival the entire home straight until dramatic move toward the inside at the final furlong marker.

Would have gone really close with a clear run most likely. This was her Handicap debut and she showed significant improvement from her three qualifying runs.

As a full-sister to a 1m 6f winner who stayed 2 miles, she is likely to get better the further she goes. 7 furlongs is clearly too short therefore it’s noteworthy how well she ran here. The family isn’t overly successful on the ratings front but most win races.

With that in mind I don’t have massive confidence that she can repeat this performance over shorter than 10 furlongs. The pace was likely a big help for her staying on so well. If she moves up in trip I’ll be really interested. One to monitor.

Race Replay

Eddie The Beagle
23/05/22 – 2.20 Leicester:

Outpaced early on, possibly still green, had to be niggled in early parts of the race. Travelled okay into home straight and tried to make progress from back of the field having loads to do. Multiple times stopped and short of room. Ran on a bit late under easy ride.

Seasonal reappearance. Showed bit of progress on second last start last November. Dam won over 1m 4f for the same yard. Would expect this lad to be competitive if he steps up to that sort of distance.

Race Replay

Crownthorpe
24/05/22 – 7.00 Newcastle:

Travelled in rear initially, seemingly not going all that well. Moved into midfield and outpaced over 2 furlong out when the pace increased. Seemed to come with a late move inside the final furlong but badly hampered half a furlong from home. Winner was long gone at that stage though.

He was hampered and short of room on his seasonal reappearance at Redcar, too. Finished the race okayish from the back of the field. The form looks very strong.

Lost form toward the second half of last season. Has fallen significantly in his mark since two subsequent placed efforts in class 2 Hansicaps off 88 and 89 in May and June 2021.

Down to a 74 rating now, he should be really well handicapped in the right conditions. A mile with cut in the ground could be that. He requires a solid pace to be seen to best effect, I feel.

Race Replay

Reckon I’m Hot
24/05/22 – 5.40 Lingfield:

Caught wide from the #11 draw early on, travelled pretty well into the home straight, going better than most, couldn’t find instant acceleration when finding daylight over 1 furlong out. Perhaps ran out of gas too.

Seven furlongs is probably too far. She was quite unlucky not to win over the minimum trip at Lingfield back in February when she looked to have it won, only be caught late on the line.

Subsequently badly hampered at the start at Chelmsford, she ran better than the result suggested, while she bumped into a very well handicapped winner at Wolverhampton.

She looks capable of winning off her current mark. Would quite like to see her over 6 furlongs on turf.

Race Replay

Billy Wedge
24/05/22 – 8.05 Newcastle:

A bit slowly away, settled in rear, although seriously keen early on. Jockey had to take pulls multiple times. Steered from the middle toward the stands’ side and back again over 3f out. Seemed to travel extremely strongly approaching the 2f marker, still hard on the bridle, only then switched to the widest outside. Finished much the strongest.

Possibly unlucky not getting the clearest of runs but also seemingly a rather conservative ride given. Ran really well at Redcar in April on his comeback run after a near year long break.

Couldn’t repeat, although perhaps mitigating factors. This latest performance shows he is still very much capable of winning. On past form potentially well handicapped if the handicapper doesn’t react too harshly. Was Newcastle winner over 6f of a mark off 52, running to topspeed 55 in February 2021.

Best form on the All-Weather and over 7 furlongs. Rating wise not too far behind what he has achieved on turf, though; however, without winning. I don’t see turf as such a big negative with that in mind. But needs careful monitoring of market and jockey booking. Will require proper soft ground if to be considered on turf.

Race Replay

Thrave
25/05/22 – 3.10 Beverley:

Restrained early on and settled in last pace a few lengths off the main body of the field. Good progress from 4 furlongs out on the inside but headway stopped in home straight. Repeatedly short of room right to the end, while looking poised to win the race if a gap would open.

Ran better on two occasions this season since coming back from a break. Looks poised judged on this, though from a handicapping perspective loos matched with best form from last season.

As eyecatching as this performance was I want to see a couple pounds off the mark. Off 65 or lower at a track that doesn’t favour front runners. 7f-1m fine. The shorter distance not on fast ground. Monitor. Engaged this Friday at Pontefract.

Race Replay

Van Gerwen
25/05/22 – 6.25 Ripon:

Travelled in midfield in a compact field. Perhaps a little bit flat footed entering last three furlongs when pace increased. Found some momentum and looked ready for a challenge but was repeatedly short of room until nearly the very final moment of the race.

Probably ran right up to mark and best of his 2021 form. Won off the same mark last October and ran to topspeed 62, 65 and 67. With that in mind he has clearly proven his wellbeing – important for a 9-year-old.

At the same time he is not overly well handicapped right now. Merely handicapped to what he’s capable of running to. It’s worth waiting one or two more runs to see how his mark is going to be (hopefully) reduced. Is engaged Friday, 27th May at Pontefract.

Race Replay

Twice Adaay
25/05/22 – 8.30 Ripon:

Prominent early on, chased the pace in second line. Lost position when racing room became increasingly tight and was short of room at 2 furlongs from home. Had to delay challenge. Met interference at final furlong marker too. Switched toward the inside and moved nicely through a gap to finish well.

Sole win came over 5 furlongs in soft conditions last year of a mark off 54. Ran to topspeed 56 on turf and 58 on firesand. Ran quite well on a number occasions this year. Consistency means she’s in the grip of the handicapper right now.

If she falls below 65 again and over the minimum trip on proper soft ground she’ll be really interesting.

Race Replay

Lady Lavina
26/05/22 – 1.20 Ripon:

Travelled really strongly and like the potential winner for the most parts of the race. Tried to find a gap from over two furlongs out. Short of room until very late when finally space opens up and she finishes really strongly, even though runs into traffic close to the finish once again.

May filly on debut here seemed ready despite drifting out to 20/1. Most likely will benefit from step up in trip to 7 furlongs. One to see where connections go next. May be too obvious to back next time. Worth to keep an eye for when she moves beyond six furlongs.

Race Replay

Field Of Honour
26/05/22 – 3.50 Ripon:

Pulls really hard pretty for the majority of the race. A slow pace didn’t help. Received a good educational ride. As pace leading trio kicks on four from home he’s kept at the rear of the field behind horses. Pulled out 3f from home and makes eye catching progress to about the final furlong marker.

Debut run for this April foal. Quite well bred, likely to be seen to best effect if stepping up to 10 furlongs. needs to learn to settle. Looks to have a bit of talent given the way he travelled in the home straight and make nice progress.

Will not get involved before going handicapping unless stepping up to 10 furlongs. One to monitor for next entries.

Race Replay

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

Monday Selections: 16th May 2022

4.25 Redcar: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

Competitive race but Dandy Dinmont looks potentially the one with the biggest upside. This is a slightly easier race than the one he caught my eye in last time at Beverley.

That day he made good progress throughout travelling notably well for the majority of the race, even though he looked a little bit keen in the first furlong. He had to delay his challenge but eventually made strong progress from 2 furlongs out. It got a bit tight in the final furlong on the inside and he wasn’t knocked about when the race was gone. He also was the only one making a significant impression from off the pace.

It was clear improvement from his seasonal reappearance which was better than the bare form suggest too. He showed a bit of progress as a juvenile but got injured in August and only returned at Doncaster last month after 267 days off the track.

He’s still lightly enough raced and an April foal to think he will progress with time and experience. He should be 100% fit today, is a pound lower than the last time, in an easier race – big chance.

If.… that is a big if: he acts on rain softened ground. With the rain expected to come, the currently fast ground may turn soft. Not sure it’s what he wants. Risk and reward. At given prices I am prepared to run the risk.

10pts win – Dandy Dinmont @ 6/1

Saturday Selections: 23rd April 2022

Two selections for a busy Saturday of compelling flat racing that I am keen to watch for future eye-catchers. Having a winner would be nice too.

1.30 Haydock: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

After John was a massive eye-catcher earlier this month when he nearly overcame tons of trouble at Thirsk to thunder home much the fasted in the closing stages, clocking in the last three furlongs at least a full second faster than the rest.

But that was only good enough for second place on the day. He’s up a pound for the run, which could or possibly should be more. He clearly is going really well for his new yard and judged on past performances is potentially well handicapped having won of 71.

He was competitive – if a bit unlucky – last year of slightly higher marks than the current one once it slipped to a manageable rating. Particularly his 4th place finish at Ayr in September rates a strong piece of form.

He has ran four times to topspeed ratings of 65+, while his most recent performance awarded him a 63 rating, suggesting he is in great shape.

Obviously it’s a big field and in-running luck is required. I think pace won’t be an issue with a number of horses happy to lead but the chart is all over the place and could be a bit messy. I hope he ends up following the right line.

10pts win – After John @ 5/1

3.15 Haydock: Class 5 Handicap, 1m

Cloch Nua looks to have a massive chance here if in a mediocre race – IF the hood helps the hot gelding to settle. He’s got his issues and that’s the reason why he didn’t get off the mark yet.

Beaten last time out a short priced favourite at Southwell was certainly disappointing. But the run itself was better than the bare form suggest. The pace was slow, he was travelling off the pace, pulling really hard really long for his head. What looked liked a serious challenge two furlongs appeared to fiddle out rapidly.

Yet, looking at the sectionals, he still finished the race quite nicely, given the position he came from., actually. Which gives me hope he retains the good form he showed earlier this year.

I took serious note of him after his penultimate run, a 7f Novice contest at Southwell, where he travelled like a horse with some talent and finished pretty easily despite hanging badly, leaving the impression there was plenty left in the tank.

This will be only his second handicap start. A mark of 67 could be on the lenient side if he puts it all together. What makes this an outstanding chance for me is the jockey booking. Benoit De La Sayette is an excellent apprentice who is taking invaluable 7lb off the weight.

10pts win Cloch Nua @ 10/1

Tuesday Selections: 19th April 2022

After a disappointing run for Chief Little Hawk at Wolverhampton on Monday it’s back to the green grass on Tuesday with a confident selection in the Epsom opener.

Before we look what’s on the menu there let’s take step back and see what happened on Easter Monday in the Irish Grand National. Willie Mullins was sending out exciting Novice Gaillard Du Mesnil, who went off the 11/2 favourite on the late evening as Fairyhouse was basking in sunshine.

The 6-year-old gelding travelled well for most of the race in the hands of Paul Townend, although he was a bit tight for room two fences from home. This didn’t have any impact on the result, though. Because the winner travelled equally well, only to find more than anyone else in the closing stages.

Lord Lariat, a 7-year-old gelding won the Irish Grand National as a 40/1 shot, outrunning those odds in some style. Remarkably he’s done it for the same trainer and jockey as twelve months ago when Freewheelin Dylan claimed an amazing 150-1 triumph for local trainer Dermot McLoughlin and 7lb claiming jockey Paddy O’Hanlon.

For one of the smaller yards this is a near unbelievable achievement. Especially as neither Lord Lariat nor Freewheelin Dylan were supported by the public in the betting at all.

All questions whether Lord Lariat would stay the 3m 5f trip where comprehensively mastered and clearly horse was well managed through the season by McLoughlin. He won like a good thing.

………..

1.50 Epsom: Class 3 Handicap, 5f

This will be fast and furious as races over the minimum distance down the Epsom straight tend to be. Progressive Electric Love is of interest, so is Recon Mission of a reduced mark. Thegreatestshowman appears a touch overpriced back on turf.

But the one I am really keen on is Mokaatil. No surprise, he was on a recent eye-catcher list for his season opening run at Doncaster. That day I felt he looked full of enthusiasm late in the race despite the trip being not quite his optimum.

He ran with credit at Lingfield in a hot Handicap since then but wasn’t fancied and neither was I interested in him that day. It’s a different story over five furlongs at Epsom.

Mokaatil is down another couple of pounds in his rating, drops back into class 3 and down to the minimum trip. He is the reigning Epsom Dash winner from exactly the same 82 handicap mark, followed up at Musselburgh to win of 86 and run to 85 and 80 topspeed ratings in those races.

In combination with the well-being confirmed in the referenced recent races he’s an obvious shout the marked doesn’t miss. Yet, having a highly capable apprentice on board claiming additional 7lb – and looking good value for the weight allowance – Mokaatil is a big chance and still underestimated in the betting.

10pts win – Mokaatil @ 7/2

……….

Chief Little Hawk was a big disappointment today. He missed the break and the race was basically gone from there. He made bit of late progress without ever challenging.

I’ll keep the faith for another day. Ideally on turf. There is a race in him to win, for all the reasons mentioned in the preview.

Sunday Selections: January, 5th 2029

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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

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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

Monday Selections: September, 23rd 2019

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4.45 Hamilton: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

It was impossible to get on the early prices but I believe Rickyroadboy is still a superb bet in this race.

With the ground coming up soft it should be perfect over the minimum trip for Rickyroadboy, who’s fitted with a visor for the first time and can be expected to go hard from the front here, which we have seen on Sunday certainly wasn’t a disadvantage over the sprint trips at Hamilton.

That aside, Rickyroadboy is superbly well-handicapped. He started the season of a 13lb higher mark and has sharply fallen after three consequentially poor efforts. That is the nagging doubt, of course, that he showed nothing at all in the last number of weeks. However, earlier this season, he performed rather well.

Certainly in the context of this race and his current handicap rating of 55, given he is 4lb lower than his last winning mark but also ran two times this season to 55+ topspeed ratings (plus an RPR of 70).

With conditions likely to suit, new headgear, potentially a tactical advantage, a field where nothing else really stands out and a lowly handicap mark, Rickyroadboy looks ready for a big run.

Selection:
10pts win – Rickyroadboy @ 17/2 MB