Tag Archives: Tapeta

Fighting Fifth Hurdle Preview

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2.05 Newcastle: Fighting Fifth Hurdle, 2m½f

Feels odds throwing my hat into the ring at a race at Newcastle that isn’t run on the sand…. as much as I love watching the spectacle that is jump racing, betting wise it’s no good to me – at least on a day to day basis.

Today isn’t an ordinary day, though. It’s the Fighting Fifth, the first huge Grade 1 of the season that gets the pulls raising. All the hot Champion Hurdle contenders are here – an early-season clash that’ll give us an indication if Samcro can justify the hype, after two runs that saw him a faller and then a beaten odds-on favourite.

I think, on that evidence, given the short price today again, I’m certainly inclined to take him on. Sure, the 6-year-old will come on for his recent run, but somehow that performance lacked the usual zest you would associate with Samcro, and looked more concerning to my eyes than simply being a pleasing pipe opener yielding in plenty of improvement. We shall see….

There is no doubt Buveur D’air is the one they all have to beat. He’s the defending champion in both the Champion- and the Fighting Fifth Hurdle. He’s the one who ran to the highest time speed rating of all of these, by a country mile.

Granted, this is an important early-season target, I bet Buveur D’air will not be fully wound up today. A Champion Hurdle hat-trick is the main objective. March is a long way from here.

I’ also intrigued by the “routine wind op” he has undergone during the summer. Is there really such thing as a “routine operation”? Possibly. I don’t know enough about it. Nonetheless, it puts enough doubts in my mind, compared with the bigger fish to fry for Buveur D’air later the season, to oppose him at short odds.

The obvious alternative is Summerville Boy. The reigning Supreme champ, also on his seasonal debut, obviously – with his own question marks. Around trip – too sharp? Ground – not soft enough? Talent – good enough?

He was an impressive winner at the Festival for obvious reasons, but the fact he seems to have issues with concentration, in a race that’ll likely be about speed and accurate jumping, whereas he strikes me more like a grinder, is a big question mark. Will he be ready for today? I bet so! If you want to gauge how Summerville Boy measures up against the top guns you got to be ready for the fight today.

Connections are pretty bullish. On the evidence on form and ratings he has plenty to find to Buveur D’air, but not a lot to Samcro – in fact his all-time best TS is a pound better than Samcro’s. Whether that’s of significance, is up for debate. Certainly, on evidence, the six-year-old has plenty scope for improvement, if he gets his act together in the later stages of the race.

Given my doubts about pretty much any of the main principles in the race, and not having a lot of confidence in the other two in the field, at given prices Summerville Boy looks a superb bet.

I feel this race is more important for him than for the favourite. I believe, at this stage, he’s likely as good as Samcro. There are plenty of positives vibes around him as well – so I allow myself a crack at this hugely exciting renewal of the Fighting Fifth Hurdle!

Selection:
10pts win – Summerville Boy @ 6/1 MB

……..

5.15 Wolverhampton: Novice Stakes, 5f

Vee Man Ten looks a decent colt after showing promise in two starts on turf earlier this year. He looked like winning on debut at Beverly but was squeezed out eventually to finish third while only ridden hands and heels – this form looks strong judged through the winner in particular, but also the runner-up.

He blasted out of the gates at Haydock less than two weeks later, setting a brutal pace that wasn’t sustainable, particularly over 6 furlongs. However, the early speed he showed was impressive.

Now the bit wiser, first time on the All-Weather and dropping to 5f, it could be third time lucky. On pedigree this should suit, his sire has a fine record on the sand over the minimum trip, particularly with juveniles.

Vee Man Ten has a hood fitted for the first time, which may not be a disadvantage, a good draw and jockey KT O’Neill making his way here for this one ride only – strong chance.

Selection:
10pts win – Vee Man Ten @ 4/1 Sky

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Wednesday Selections: November, 28th 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

6.45 Newcastle: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

Second start for new trainer Robert Cowell, Becker is an interesting candidate after a fair effort in what was also his first run after a summer break.

The son of Delegator ran pretty well earlier this year, winning twice on the All-Weather and backing up those performances with fair efforts subsequently. Despite that he drops down to a handy mark again as the handicapper gives him a chance, or so it seems.

Becker was a winner off 69 and 73 over 5f at Kempton and Chelmsford in the first half of the year, so having the opportunity to race off 71 now could be dangerous, even more so as those runs held up well form wise.

Selection:
10pts win – Becker @ 11/1 MB 

Monday Selections: April, 30th 2018

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I got it wrong: Cracksman did that so easily in the Prix Ganay this afternoon. He certainly looked like the horse the betting suggested he is. On the other hand you have to hand it to Frankie Dettori. He gave Cracksman a peach of a ride. Tracking the pace, always in the right position.

That’s the difference between a good jockey who gets it often right and a top class jockey who is at the top of the game for decades who gets it very rarely wrong

Dettori’s judgement was stark contrast to the rather poor ride Cloth Of Stars received from Mikael Barzelona. The idea behind dropping the five year old in seemed sensible. However, you got to be flexible and be able to react to the fact that you can’t concede first run to Cracksman, or at least come from miles off the pace if you want to beat him over this trip is not rocked science (says the armchair jockey that I am).

Would a different ride have made any difference in terms of outcome of the race? Likely not. Though, we might have gotten a contest, at least.

……..

4.25 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Novice Stakes, 9.5f 

This is a really good field with the majority of these interesting moving forward this season. Clear preference is with recent Chelmsford scorer Mootasadir. He nicely bred and sets a good standard here.

He is a short price and gives weight away to some other promising individuals. Same goes for Well Suited, also a winner on the Chelmsford All-Weather. One with scope but also weight he’s conceding.

I am most interest in that context in the first son of wonderful Shirocco Star: Starcaster. He’s obviously incredibly well bred but also receives a good deal of weight from the market principles due to them already being off the mark. A further 3lb claimed by a fine apprentice in the saddle is a little bonus.

Starcaster caught the eye in his first two career starts towards the end of last season. He certainly was desperately unlucky not finish closer than a 1½ lengths beaten third at Goodwood.

Judged on those performances as well as collateral form, Starcaster, with the weight he gets, should be in with a big shout in this race. Whether he is fully wound up first time out this year remains to be seen.

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

 

6.50 Southwell: Class 5 Handicap, 1 mile

In an open contest I feel it’s worth siding with one who is likely to give his running: CD specialist Muqarred. He may well be in the grip of the handicapper, however, in a slightly less competitive contest than the ones he raced in over the winter months, given he has been eight out of eleven runs in the money over CD, even as top weight he appeals to me.

The main reason is that he has shown to be competitive of marks around his current rating off 77 – a run to this sort of mark will see him go close. The bonus that could Muqarred the edge is fine apprentice Ben Sanderson in the saddle.

The 7lb claimer has been striking a fine partnership with trainer Roger Fell lately, particularly at this venue. He is certainly worth his claim – taking that into account means Muqarred has a prime chance here.

Selection:
10pts win – Muqarred @ 6/1 PP

Monday Selections: April, 9th 2018

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8.45 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 8.5f

Despite having his season reappearance run, It’s How We Roll is an intriguing contender. Dropping down to a career lowest mark first time on Tapeta on his third run since being gelded, this son of Fastnet Rock could be hard to beat from a good draw.

I feel his performances at Chelmsford and subsequently Windsor, when not far beaten in fourth place off seven and nine pounds higher than his current rating, is form good enough to have a big say in this race.

It’s How We Roll also ran well off breaks in the past; first time Tapeta could eke out a bit of improvement actually, given Fastnet Rock has a pretty fine record with his offspring at Wolverhampton generally.

Low mark, job jockey Luke Morris in the saddle, fine draw and a trip and track likely to suit: It’s How We Roll should go really well.

Selection:
10pts win – It’s How We Roll @ 6/1 VC

Saturday Selections: March, 17th 2018

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The week-long Cheltenham Bonanza is over. Native River crowned as the new king. A thrilling finish up the legendary hill of Prestbury Park saw the eight year old edge out favourite Might Bite. While I enjoy the replay of this epic battle one more time, it’s back to bread and butter later on….

……..

8.45 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

A really poor race, even for this class. Given that I’ll side with Emigrated once more. I did so on two different occasions already this year.

Still a maiden after 13 career runs, there is little in his bare form to suggest he can win. However, closer examination suggests that with a tiny bit of improvement, particularly in a poor contest as this, he can go very close.

Actually, his last two starts on the All-Weather were a lot better than the naked result might tell. Last time out at Chelmsford he finished well among much higher rated horses. Three 60 rated horses only three lengths or less in front of him, a 68 rated individual a nose behind him.

Back in January at the same venue he travelled very strongly and for a moment looked like to be in with a massive shout. He faltered late to finish 6th eventually. He clearly has an issue seeing out his races, so the slight step up to the 8.5f does not seem necessarily ideal. On the other hand, races at Wolverhampton over this trip in smallish fields can be run at a slow pace.

That, plus the appliance of the tongue-tie can help. Main question remains: if he can win with a tiny bit of improvement based on recent runs, where is the improvement coming from?

Surface. This is Emigrated’s first try on Tapeta. While Tapeta isn’t all that different from Polytrack, it still seems some horses tend to prefer one or the other. Emigrated is a son of Fastnet Rock. A key piece in this case I gonna make.

Fastnet Rock offspring has an excellent record on Tapeta, regardless whether it is Newcastle or Wolverhampton. A better one than at any other All-Weather surface. Compared to his overall AW record, Fastnet Rock actually produces profit and solid positive ROI on Tapeta.

So there is it: if Emigrated is ever going to win a race, today is his best chance. A poor field, he has solid enough form in the bock, track should suit and trip may not be an issue either.

Selection:
10pts win – Emigrated  16/1 VC

Wednesday Selections: February, 13th 2018

Wet Dundalk Polytrack

2.20 Lingfield: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

Fiery Breath won eighteen days ago over Course and Distance when I was sweet on him – and I expect a similar sort of outcome this time again. Same facts as brought forward the other day apply here:

this son of Bated Breath has a pedigree to do well on the All-Weather and the fact he is still not gelded after his juvenile season suggested there is some belief he could turn out slightly better than anything he has shown to date.

He was not disgraced in three starts in tough maidens last season where he usually travelled well but faded in the closing stages. Connections opted for a wind operation subsequently and that has worked in so far as Fiery Breath won on his seasonal debut, as mentioned before.

He travelled sweetly throughout, clearly suited by the fact pace. The imposing colt didn’t quite shake off hi rivals as easily as one would have hoped given he turn for home on the bridle.

However, first time up from a lay-off and the first run since the wind op, he was entitled find things not all that easy in the finish – he’s likely to improve for the run and the experience of knowing he can properly breath in the closing stages, though.

A 4lb hike of his handicap mark looks potentially undervaluing that performance. Fiery Breath is still very low mileage, it’ll be only his second Al-Weather- and Handicap start  and this looks not an overly strong race in general.

Selection:
10pts win – Fiery Breath @ 2/1 VC

…….

7.45 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 5f

A female dominated field but the cock of the walk Swissie has a good chance to follow-up on his fine Newcastle success over the minimum trip.

He met some of these that day and probably would have won with a bit more in hand than the bare result suggested, if not for an awkward start and finding himself sandwiched and subsequently squeezed out at a crucial stage of the race from 2f out.

Swissie had to find his stride quickly- and go full gear again once in the clear deep in the closing stages; he got up his head in front when it mattered most – quite an impressive finish he produced.

His handicap mark has been raised by 4lb, which looks certainly fair, however, on his only fifth career start with a perfect draw to start the race from, he should have every chance to make it two on the bounce here.

Selection:
10pts win  – Swissie @ 11/2 PP

Wednesday Selections, February, 7th February 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

6.25 Wolverhampton: Class 3 Handicap, 7f

Hot race, with plenty of established form on offer, even though many are well exposed, which leaves the door open for relatively low mileage gelding Mickey.

The five year old returned to the racetrack in December at Lingfield from a 15 months long absence. He was well backed in a tough handicap, however, bottled his chances at the start. He travelled well, though wasn’t really asked for a big effort turning wide and was looked after in the closing stages.

He drops 2lb for the effort, now second up after the long break, also the second run after being gelded, he might well be better for it. He’s got a decent draw which should ensure a good position in midfield with cover, as long as he starts better this time.

Mickey has only eight starts under his belt; he won quite impressively over course and distance as a three year old in maiden company, and followed up with two fine runner-up efforts the same year.

Off his current mark, Mickey could be well handicapped given he promised to be a bit better before his lay-off. Additional positive signs for his chance in this race: the Dascombe yard seems in rude health at the moment and sire Zoffany has a fine record on Wolverhampton’s Tapeta, particularly over the 7 furlong trip.

With all this in mind, I feel the price Geoff Banks offers at the moment is out of line, and offers tremendous value for this horse, taking int consideration the upside Mickey theoretically possesses.

Selection:
10pts win – Mickey @ 15/2 GB