Tag Archives: Sunday

Sunday Selections: November, 17th 2019

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1.15 Cheltenham: Cross County Chase, 3m 6f

Tricky affair that leaves the door wide open for a big price to win. Neither market leader appeals today: ground possibly against Kingswell Theatre and return from a break with bigger fish to fry later the season for French Urgent De Gregaine.

I find the other Emmanuel Clayeux runner Diesel D’Allier the most interesting one: A three times Cross-Country winner in France, still only a six-year-old with more to come potentially, particularly over this longer trip, he’ll love the ground and has potentially a nice weight to play with here.

His last two starts have been slightly disappointing, but he comes here fit at the very least to “test the waters”, according to Clayeux, with an eye on a return to Cheltenham later the season if he takes to the test.

Selection:
10pts win – Diesel D’Allier  @ 15/1 MB

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3.00 Cheltenham: Greatwood Handicap Hurdle, 2m½f

Quel Destin looks to be a potential Champion Hurdle candidate hence I feel, even though it’s a tough ask for a four-year-old to shoulder 11-12, his opening mark of 149 may not stop him.

He won a tough contest over course and distance last month – a career best – and clearly thrives over the old course at Cheltenham, also having no trouble with the soft underfoot conditions whatsoever.

he showed plenty of promise last season already, including multiple graded victories and a fine 5th in the Triumph Hurdle.

Selection:
10pts win – Quel Destin @ 7/1 MB

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1.40 Punchestown: Handicap Hurdle, 2m

After a number of poor performances Scheu Time drops to a tasty mark. The six-year-old likely needed his seasonal reappearance last months and was keen enough to forgive him.

He ended last season poorly, however. Although he showed promise before that, culminating in a strong performance at Aintree clocking a 124 topspeed rating, a career highest performance.

He drops down to a 117 rating now, which I believe gives Scheu Time a big chance to go close if in the mood today. Well riding 5lb claimer Kevin Brouder is booked for the ride.

Selection:
10pts win – Scheu Time @ 10.5/1 MB

Sunday Selections: October, 13th 2019

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3.15 Curragh: Listed Testimonial Stakes, 6f

There is little to expect from the 3-year-old individuals in this field, hence we can focus on the older horses right away, that makes it much less competitive race overall. Clear top of the list is obviously Make A Challenge, after his impressive 5f romp here at the Curragh.

Ground and tip won’t be a worry, but as he is going up in class he has to progress again…. or not. This is a weak listed contest, hence he is the right favourite and will be hard to beat.

But if one can beat him I feel it will be the undervalued Urban Beat. He was 4th and well beaten behind Make A Challenge in the aforementioned Curragh race, however, given circumstances ran a massive race.

He clearly was disadvantaged by the draw and pace, most importantly, but a clear best from the low drawn horses, therefore one can upgrade his run.

The soft ground today won’t be an issue – he’s won twice on heavy ground; but the step up to 6 furlongs is one that can bring him much closer to the favourite today as I feel that is his optimum trip. Drawn close to the pace Urban Beat should get the perfect race, and as one of only very few in this field he has already ran to a 90+ topspeed rating in the past – 2 times, in fact – which means he’s a huge price in this poor field, in my book.

Selection:
10pts win – Urban Beat @ 15/2 WH

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3.50 Curragh: Handicap, 6 furlongs

Medicine Jack looks handicapped to go really close today, after proving his well being at Navan over the minimum trip only four days ago, when he was probably unlucky to bump into a well-handicapped winner who got first run.

Stepping up to 6f will suit, so does the soft ground and the pace he’ll find around himself to track. The gelding has fallen a long way in his handicap mark, from a 101 at the beginning of the season to 80!

Despite this deep fall, Medicine Jack has a number of decent runs in the book this year; such as two over course and distance in big fields this summer.

This is a much easier contest than those handicaps, and given he has ran to 80 plus topspeed ratings in the past, I am hopeful that with preferred conditions today he can get his head in front again.

Selection:
10pts win – Medicine Jack @ 5/1 MB

Arc Day Selections: October, 6th 2019

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Having enjoyed a little break in the sun over the last ten days far away from rainy Ireland today couldn’t be a better day to be back: it’s Arc day!

Enable goes for her historic third triumph in Europe’s premier race. The mare embodies everything I love about flat racing. She is all class, she is versatile and she has proven it time and time again, regardless of race track, country or continent.

There is no bet in the Arc for me today. I don’t need one. I’ll cheer as loud as possible for Enable. She’ll win. Zero doubts.

The rain is in her favour. Her best performances came with cut in the ground. She won an Arc on soft ground two years ago. She ran a 115 topspeed rating this season as well, proving she’s not slowing down whatsoever.

No other horse in this esteemed field comes close to her class. Enable will win. History will be made. Go girl!

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3.55 Longchamp: G1 Prix de l’Opera, 1m 2f

The appeal of Mehdaayih is obvious after her strong runner-up performance at Goodwood. She seems to continue an upward trend and may progress again. Make no mistake, she will have to find more, if she’s ever to win a proper Group 1 contest. So far the filly has yet to run beyond a 98 topspeed rating, which is pretty damn low for a true top class horse.

Her smart trainer has found an excellent opportunity to get a Group 1 on her CV, though, given she may never find a better one ever again. This is a rather weak field for a race of the highest order. In fact only one horse has run to a speed rating of 100 or higher: Pink Dogwood.

At given odds the Epsom Oaks runner-up is an obvious choice. True, she hasn’t exactly kicked on from that excellent effort, that saw her achieve a 101 TS rating. But the Oaks form is a rather strong piece of form, certainly rock solid, so is Pink Dogwood’s Navan win from April, as well as her Pretty Polly staked 3rd place in June.

Things didn’t work to plan the next two times, however it is a big positive that she drops down to 1m 2f again, which is her optimum trip, I reckon. The cut in the ground is another bonus, granted she has winning form on yielding to heavy ground.

So I’m backing Pink Dogwood with my money and Enable with all my heart for an almighty Arc day dominated by the ladies!

Selection:
10pts win – Pink Dogwood @ 16/1 WH

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1.50 Longchamp: G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere, 1m

I hardly ever venture into juvenile racing, but feel this contest offers value for the Aiden O’Brien trained Armory, who appears to be a rock solid individual, likely to give his running while also having fine form already in the book, which ultimately can be enough to win this contest.

Given what Victor Ludorum has done so far he is a skinny price. Sure, unexposed and open to plenty of improvement, that may well come to the fore today. On the other hand this is more than adequately reflected in the odds.

How much more improvement is to come from Armory? As a January foal with five starts under his belt he may be close to a finished article by now. That’s okay because what is is now can be good enough to win this race.

He won three on the trot between June and August, including the Group 2 Futurity Stakes, proving he’s certainly got talent, albeit those forms are nothing to get too excited about.

Armory found his master in superstar colt Pinatubo when last seen. No surprise, anyone else would have looked like a 50 rated class 6 handicapper that day. However, on the positive side, even though things seemed to move a little bit too quickly for him, he fought on gamely, beaten smart stablemate Arizona on the line.

Leaving the winner, who is in a league of his own, out of the equation, Armory ran a highly credible race, given Arizona is the reigning Coventry Stakes winner and has more strong form to his name.

Having ran to a career highest topspeed rating, progressing nicely from what he showed a few weeks earlier in the Futurity Stakes, plus the likelihood of cut in the ground unlikely to stop him, Armory is a strong chance today.

Selection:
10pts win – Armory @ 9/2 WH

Sunday Selections: September, 22nd 2019

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2.00 Hamilton: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

JJ Feane may have found a superb opportunity for one of his horses across the pond once again. He’s got a 25% win- and 50% place record with his horses running in UK handicaps over the last number of years. This is poor race which looks a big chance for Fugacious to get his head in front.

The gelding is fitted with first time head-gear, which may bring out a bit of improvement. If it does then he should have too much on his plate for the locals, I reckon. As an April foal he was always likely to get better with time, but he already showed plenty of promise – for this lowly level – this summer.

His Curragh 4th in a highly competitive handicap over 6 furlongs – form that has worked out well since then – is the standout piece of form in this race. Off a 68 handicap mark he finished strongly, only 1¼ lengths beaten, running to a topspeed rating of 65, which is believable.

He followed up with another fine performance at Gowran Park stepping up an additional furlong, though a mile at competitive Galway and a drop to the minum distance didn’t quite saw him to best effect.

Fugacious should, however, enjoy the 6 furlongs with cut in the ground today. The 3lb claim of Harrison Shaw, who has already ridden a winner for this yard, is an additional bonus.

Selection:
10pts win – Fugacious @ 5.4/1 MB

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3.00 Hamilton: Class 6 Handicap, 5 furlongs

If David’s Beauty can find back to form she’ll be a big runner in this poor race. She has been going close twice this season already, most notably when beaten on the line at Chepstow in June.

That day she ran to a career best, in fact, achieving a 59 topspeed rating. Watching the race it’s easy to see why. On the widest outside away from pace she had a lot going against herself from that perspective, but the mare rallied strongly and only got beaten by a strongly finishing horse on the other side she couldn’t see in her blinkers while already for quite a bit in front.

She followed up with another strong performance a few weeks later at Carlisle with a half lengths beaten third. However, David’s Beauty’s last three runs were poor. As a consequence she has fallen in her handicap mark down to 55, which is a pound lower than that massive Chepstow run.

Given she has achieved seven times throughout her career topspeed ratings of 55 and higher, and ran to a career best earlier this year, it is believable that she can turn her form around again. If so she’s the one to beat here.

Selection:
10pts win – David’s Beauty @ 11.5/1 MB

Sunday Selections: September, 15th 2019

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3. 45 Ffos Las: Class 5 Handicap, 1m

This is quite a competitive little race, to be honest. However, it looks a hot mess pace wise and could be set up for a filly or mare who needs it fast to produce some sort of strong staying finish.

I feel this could finally be the day of Accomplice, who has been running really well this season, finishing in the money a number of times, without quite getting there. It’s not so much her ability alone as more the fact she really needs things to fall right, given her running style.

Her last two runs she already looked poised, having fallen to a seriously low handicap mark. Her runs were eye-catching, but she had too much to do both times. Last time out was the clearest of signs, though, that she is ready to win. She trailed the field, but stayed on strongly, weaving through the field, only beaten by three-year-olds in first and second eventually.

Accomplice is now down to an official mark of 54. That is seven pounds lower than she started the turf season and 12lb lower than she started the year, including All-Weather! She won last year a handicap off 66, and achieved seven times already a topspeed rating of 54 plus.

Ground and trip are fine today, the simple test of Ffos Las is sure to suit. A smaller field, likely with a good pace, going against her own sex of a career lowest mark – Accomplice has a prime chance.

Selection:
10pts win – Accomplice @ 8/1 MB

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3.55 Bath: Class 2 Handicap, 5.5f

Competitive only on the surface, and a race, due to ground and course configuration, that requires in-running luck, but I can easily strike out more than half the field on the simple question: well handicapped?

Big Lachie is one who needs all the luck in the world, given he is drawn low, has a habit of starting slowly and therefore will need gaps to open. But that is offset by the simple fact the 5-year-old is tremendously well handicapped.

He has no issues with the firm ground, which is an important factor on lighting fast bath turf today. He has the speed to win over the minimum trip but can stretch out for an additional furlong, no bother. He’s been in good form all year long and has won already of his current 71 handicap mark here at Bath over 5 furlongs earlier this year.

I feel the handicapper has overreacted a little bit in the mean time and has given Big Lachie a massive chance, dropping him down to 71 again – we’ll take it, of course!

He has won last year twice off 75 and has ran nine times in his career to topspeed ratings of 71 plus. He ran this year to TS 75 when he won here back in June, in fact!

He may lose the race right at the start or won’t get the breaks needed – but if he does, he’ll likely be hard to beat. And if no today, there’ll be a tomorrow, certainly.

Selection:
10pts win – Big Lachie @ 15/2 MB

Sunday Selections: August, 18th 2019

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3.30 Pontefract: Listed Fillies’ Stakes, 6f

Intriguing contest for the reasons of the strange track Pontefract is, with blurry ground conditions (good to soft, but a balmy day forecast) and certainly no standout performer in the field.

The 4/1 favourite Perfection isn’t quite as perfect as the name may suggest. A visor fitted for the first time shows she filly needs a little help to find some extra. She drops down to 6 furlongs, which shouldn’t be too much of an issue, and given she ran really well in higher class the last two times, she is well respected and sets a fair standard.

However, her best always came on faster ground, certainly judged on topspeed, and 6f at Ponti from a wide draw appears to be quite a tough test, while she also has to give weight away to her younger rivals today.

Shades Of Blue is an interesting alternative, if she can put her best foot forward over 6 furlongs. A wide draw makes life difficult, with a bit of cut in the ground also not sure to suit over this distance.

I reckon the progressive Princes Des Sables is a viable alternative at double figure prices. There are questions over the merit of her runaway victory at Haydock ten days ago. Which came after two disappointing efforts in June and July at this very venue when had a belated start to the season.

I think you can take that potentially as an excuse, that she needed the outings. Her Haydock performance produced a 90 topspeed rating, which is a believable improvement for age and experience on her previous 86 best, plus an RPR of 101. Judged on that she will have to improve again  a little bit to be fighting it out for the win today, but who says she can’t?

Still generally on the lightly raced side, only three starts this season, she gets perfect conditions with a bit of cut in the ground, 6f sure to suit, the track, despite her previous poor showings here, should suit, she has a perfect draw to attack which suits her usually aggressive racing style.

Her sire Monsieur Bond has a superb record at Pontefract, particularly over 6f, and the jockey/trainer combo is highly successful as well. Plenty to like about Princes Des Sables in this contest.

Selection:
10pts win – Princes Des Sables @ 11/1 MB

Sunday Selections: August, 4th 2019

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2.00 Chester: Class 4 Nursery, 5f

Rarely do I get involved with juveniles, but I feel this race is for the taking, given the favourite has to deal with a stiff opening mark given by what he has shown in three starts so far, and the second favourite is certainly not well handicapped.

But the filly Shammah appears to be massively underestimated based on two below part efforts lately, however on unsuitably fast ground.

She looked potentially smart winning a novice contest at Windsor in June, though. Which is pretty strong form judged through the 3rd placed horse Hubert, who subsequently was only half a lengths beaten behind smart Homespin.

Shammah’s Windsor performance earned her a topspeed 79 rating, which came on good to soft. She’s dropped below that mark in handicapping terms, now on an official rating of 78. So from that perspective, given she also has a top draw today, finds conditions she likely enjoys, there is potentially more to come and she can easily be well in.

It’s important to note that more rain is on its way to Chester and Shammah’s dam has shown her best certainly with cut in the ground. Despite plenty of stamina in the pedigree, Shammah appears to break sharply, so she ma well be able to utilize the plum draw and her superior stamina, in a bid to go hard from the front today.

Selection:
10pts win – Shammah @ 5/1 MB

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3.55 Galway: Premier Handicap, 7f

another rarity: a bet on Irish flat racing! But, again, I feel pretty strong about a horse today, even though it’s the madness of Galway. Quickly turned out again, albeit slightly different circumstances, Rufus King looks sure to outrun his price.

He was a fine 4th on Tuesday here but ran out of gas in the closing stages over a trip stretching him as well as from a wider than ideal draw, which meant he had to do a little bit more than he’d want to have done in the early part of the race.

Today Rufus King drops down to 7 furlongs, is drawn in stall four and remains on a tasty handicap mark. He’s hasn’t won of this or similar ratings lately, however ran with plenty of credit, not only at Galway, but also of a pound higher in an ultra competitive handicap at Ripon last month.

Certainly he is on a handicap mark he’s sure to have a good chance of winning, granted he ran to higher topspeed ratings in the past a few times as well.

Selection:
10pts win – Rufus King @ 13/2 MB