Tag Archives: Tapeta

All-Weather Eyecatchers #3

A list of horses that caught my eye during the recent weeks of racing on the All-Weather.

Foxy Rascal
31/10/22 – 6.30 Wolverhampton:

Bit slowly away, outpaced early on, had a lot to do turning for home, positioned well off the pace, maneuvered through the field to get into a challenging position on the outside entering the final furlong. Finished seriously strong, much the best over the last two furlongs.

First time off a break and wind operation. Looks ahead of her mark once she steps back up to 6 furlongs, if her breathing holds up over the additional furlong. She was a 6f winner at Newcastle as a juvenile.

Already ran to 78 and 79 speed ratings on turf, a solid return on speed figures here as well. If she can repeat this level of performance up in trip she is could be hard to beat. Starting issues need to be monitored, though. and can hamper chances on the sand significantly.

Ran on 11/11 in the meantime. Eye-catching progress from 4f to 2f out, something amiss in closing stages, reportedly bled from the nose.

Race Replay

Making Music
31/10/22 – 1.20 Kempton:

Quickly out of the gates, tracked leader, quite keen in first time blinkers for first half of the race. Travelled well into home straight. Made move from 2f out, tired inside final furlong, couldn’t sustain it, possibly paid for keenness.

Ran to a speedrating 63 in August at Wolverhampton, 7lb lower now. Still a maiden and two poor recent showings in the meantime, though the 8.5f are beyond her stamina I think, and she was a massive drifter in the betting the last time.

She is better than that and could prove to be seriously competitive off her current mark. I want to see her down to 7f in a race without much pace to fight against, though.

Race Replay

Inclement Weather
31/10/22 – 1.52 Kempton:

Settled in midfield letting the hot pace go. Big move at the top of the home straight to reel in the pace setter. Fell down a cliff in the final furlong.

Clearly in good form as she backed this performance up with another strong effort next time out as she ran well all year, and therefore only drops slowly down to an intiruiging handicap mark. Won off 59 in January, ran to 57 speed figure in summer, albeit over 7 furlongs.

I’ll be interested if she drops to 7 furlongs again – but need to watch her mark, whether it remains unchanged after these last two efforts. She may go up a few pounds now.

Race Replay

Lady Celia
01/11/22 – 7.15 Newcastle:

Slowly away but also bumped by horse out of neighbouring gate. Lit up and never seemed happy subsequently. Made bit of headway from 2 furlongs before fading.

She’s better than this and better than last forms. But: she is also one to put away for the winter and pull out for the 2023 turf season – I won’t back her on the All-Weather.

Her poor starts will always put her at a disadvantage on the All-Weather. On turf it can be less of an issue. “Thanks” to her poor form recently she will return with a lovely low mark to turf next year.

There are very specific conditions to keep an eye out: she needs a low weight – she is 0/21 if running off higher than 8-12. She clearly prefers smaller fields and will be best placed in a fillies races over 5 furlongs.

Race Replay

Bayraat
01/11/22 – 5.00 Southwell:

Slightly bumped after the start, quickly moved forward, led as part of duo, found plenty under pressure from 2 furlongs out. Caught late. Could be strong piece of form.

Late Handicap debut, high enough opening mark but clearly up to it. Also potentially well handicapped on penultimate Novice form when runner-up. Winner is 83 rated, third franked form off OR 66 in Handicap.

Unlikely to stay beyond 7 furlongs. Forgive nto (15/11) over 7 furlongs when also restraint and never in the race.

Race Replay

Expert Opinion
03/11/22 – 6.00 Chelmsford:

Bit outpaced and awkward early on when caught off the pace from his wider than ideal draw. Hang around the bend, ran home strongly in the home straight for 3rd place. Ran near identical race, although better travelling early on, two weeks later over same CD.

Quirky sort. But down to good mark. Ran to 64 and 63 speed ratings the last two times; similar sort of performances within the last twelve months multiple times off higher handicap marks, as well.

Change of headgear will be really interesting (blinkers) to try and focus him on the job. Normally well capable of travelling strongly tracking the pace over the minimum trip.

Race Replay

Going Underground
04/11/22 – 3.05 Newcastle:

Field crawled along for majority of the race, hence was at disadvantage travelling off pace. Made eye-catching progress from 3 furlongs out and looked to come with winning move, but didn’t get the gap until it was too late. Finished well.

Was equally unlucky next time out in the meantime, when denied at short odds once again in desperate circumstances.

Look still ahead of the mark, despite being 7lb higher than when winning nicely a few weeks ago. Is one who clearly can meet trouble in-running. Starting slowly doesn’t help. Not one I want to back at a really short price and if there is a lack of pace in the race.

Twistaline, who was mentioned in a recent edition, endured a sort of similar fate in this race and caught the eye. She’ll remain on my list.

Race Replay

Beattie is Back
04/11/22 – 5.45 Newcastle:

Travelled strongly in midfield, loomed large 2 furlongs out. Continuously a clear run denied, dropped to back of field before finishing strongly in final half furlong right to the line.

Lightly raced, huge run lto, strong form. Stays 7 furlongs too. Possibly needs the step up to be seen to best effect, but deserves another chance over 6 furlongs, too.

Clearly ready to win, but hold-up style not ideal, especially over the shorter trip. Didn’t get an ideal race next time out, too, then over 7 furlongs. Remains of interest, in any case.

Race Replay

Aljari
05/11/22 – 5.00 Chelmsford:

Wide draw in #9, quite keen early as pace wasn’t fast, then travelled seriously well into the home straight. Was mounting strong challenge but couldn’t move through on inside due to tiering rivals around. Got nicely going late when angled out.

This was his comeback ran after break for new yard. Judged on this looked in serious form and confirmed this with another eye catching effort earlier this week, meeting trouble once again.

He’s clearly down to good mark and ready to win. Ran to speed rating 76 last October and 84 in 2020. Want to see him away from Chelmsford, though. Wouldn’t mind six furlongs.

Race Replay

War In Heaven
05/11/22 – 5.00 Chelmsford:

Keen after the start, stumbled badly soon after, jockey just managed to stay on. Very keen subsequently, dropped to rear of field. Finished well to the eye under an easy ride.

Second start for new yard after being gelded too. Didn’t handle Newmarket. Showed some talent earlier this year. Full-bother to useful French juvenile filly Bolivie, who is rated 89 if converted to a British handicap mark.

Ran on Friday. Was a huge drifter in the betting after noon. Bumped a rival soon after the start. Never travelled, before making some nice headway late. I am prepared to give him another chance.

If allowed to run on his merit, this gelding could likely be seriously well handicapped.

Race Replay

Lost In Time
09/11/22 – 6.30 Kempton:

Reared in stall and a consequence slowly away, settled in rear, loads to do from off the pace in a race where the pace wasn’t really on. Sliced his way through the field in impressive manner, without being hard ridden. Finished the last three furlongs fastest.

Second run off a break and for a new yard. Clearly in good nick and down to interesting mark. Ran well in the summer. Can forgive subsequent poor showing. Achieved three 77+ speed ratings, although these date back some time now.

Not sold on a mile, probably 7 furlongs will be ideal. But will keep an open mind, it’s going to be a judgement call. A race with lack of pace over a mile not out of question, given he tends to race prominently, normally.

Race Replay

All Are Mine
10/11/22 – 8.00 Chelmsford:

Widest draw and not quite so sharply away, but soon moved aggressively forward to join the leader, bit keen. Travelled well into the home straight. No match for winner but did well to hold on for second.

Was a serious eye-catcher on debut in May. Won a maiden at Windsor in the meantime. Will be really interesting once he moves up to 10 furlongs, given the pedigree, out of a solid German Diane Trial mare. Should be better than this mark then.

Race Replay

Sovereign Slipper
12/11/22 – 7.00 Wolverhampton:

Overcame wide draw to cross over quickly and track the pace. Bit too keen in the early stages, but then travelled really powerfully into the home straight. No match for winner who had it a bit easier.

Possibly points to the fact he’s got not much in hand right now. Was progressive last year. Comeback run lto can be discounted. Should enjoy step up to 7 furlongs on pedigree.

His tendency to race keenly is a concern. If he can settle, he could find some improvement over that trip, as he already ran to a good speed rating that could mean he’s then well handicapped – if the aforementioned conditions are met, that says.

Race Replay

Give A Little Back
12/11/22 – 7.00 Wolverhampton:

Slowly away from his wide draw trailing and outpaced halfway through, before making serious progress from over 3f out, finished clear second best, without being asked to fully extend.

Trip too sharp. Showed he can race more prominently over further in the past. Second start after small break and for new yard.

Showed bit of talent when fine 3rd in a Wolverhampton maiden over 7 furlongs in May; 1.5l behind first and second who are 81 and 83 rated these days.

Clearly must have had issues since then but is possibly a bit better than a mark of 68. Interesting up in trip and if the market shows a bit of love.

Race Replay

Fair and Square
14/11/22 – 7.00 Wolverhampton:

Had it pretty easy to get to the lead, although not uncontested. Travelled strongly to 1.5f out, then tired gradually, still held on for fine 2nd, couldn’t match momentum of winner from further back in the field.

Still a maiden. But often runs well, to give the handicapper not many reasons to drop him in a meaningful way, other than piecemeal one or two pounds here and there.

Ran 4x to speed ratings 59+ on all surfaces. I feel he needs a below par run to get a meaningful drop in the ratings. Once that happened, he’ll be seriously interesting.

Race Replay

Bin Hayyan
15/11/22 – 6.45 Newcastle:

Restrained in rear, huge disadvantage as the field crawled for the first half of the race. Eye-catching progress from three furlongs out, travelled strongly, but clear run denied until approaching final furlong when finishing much the best.

Was a big price, and unusual race tactics deployed. On a pretty good mark already. market will be guide to his chances. If on a proper going day, and ridden closer the pace again, could be well handicapped over 7 furlongs max.

Race Replay

Global Walk
16/11/22 – 4.38 Southwell:

Quickly overcame his wide draw to move forward and track the leader as first follower. Travelled well into the home straight but tired quite badly from 2f out.

Return after 13 months off the track. Won well when last seen, the form of that novice contest worked out well. Likely to be better than this and could have more to offer off OR 80, with this run under his belt and from a better draw.

Race Replay

Starter For Ten
16/11/22 – 8.30 Kempton:

Total nonsense ride. Call it dumb or deliberate…. in any case, price gave it away, he wasn’t expected to run well.

Ducked left from second widest draw, rushed forward on wide outside going after the seriously strong leader and eventual winner. Faded away soon.

Was pretty consistent this year, got desperately close at Southwell, ran to 60 speed rating there, other mid-50s since then, ties in well with previous best speed ratings produced.

Will be really interesting below mark of 60 again over 6 furlongs.

Race Replay

Dark Side Prince
17/11/22 – 7.30 Chelmsford:

In the middle of the pack in a wild first furlong, went wide around the home turn and gave a lot of ground away before fading in straight. Didn’t seem to enjoy the chaos of the first half of the race.

Since his return from a break the last two he hasn’t look as good and sharp as when winning three on the bounce last year. But these two runs can be upgraded for various reasons in my view.

Comes down to good mark again. Would want to see next time whether he shows a bit more sharpness, and ideally has another run that sees his mark drop to 65 or lower.

Race Replay

Mick’s Spirit
17/11/22 – 7.30 Chelmsford:

Went forward and set fast fractions, doing too much to get to that pole position. Looked like to get a bit of a break from 2f out, before going down late.

Really consistent front-runner. Therefore somewhat in the grip of the handicapper. One to keep an eye on for a poor run that could help to see the handicapper giving him a chance.

Race Replay

Motawaafeq
18/11/22 – 4.10 Kempton:

Aggressive run from the front, went too hard in the first half of the race and faded from 2f out on first run since April.

Won a seller when last seen prior to this comeback. Usually a front-runner. Can go over 7f and a mile; have no interest beyond that.

Ran twice to speed ratings 69+ on the All-Weather (1m, Kempton). Whether he’s still quite as good remains to be seen. Want to see a bit more help from the handicapper, then in the right conditions a compelling selection.

(Runs Saturday this afternoon. #10 draw over 8.5 doesn’t strike as ideal conditions)

Race Replay

Wadacre Grace
18/11/22 – 4.10 Kempton:

Better start than lto when completely missing it, albeit still not overly sharp, soon went forward to join the leader pushing a good pace, before dropping into second. Found plenty under pressure, especially staying on strongly in the final furlong for 2nd place.

Especially impressive after pushing the pace to finish so well. Ties in well with her eye-catching lto performance. She is clearly ripe to win, but starting issues are always a question mark.

Still lightly raced enough to find a couple pounds of improvement. She stays a mile and has initriguing entries against her own sex next week.

Race Replay

Solanna
18/11/22 – 4.10 Kempton:

Restrained from #10 draw. Trailed field. Started to make excellent progress from 3f out. Couldn’t quite sustain strong challenge in final furlong but also not the clearest of runs through.

Perhaps showed more than connections may have wanted. best performance when no worse than midfield, tracking pace. This run clearly indicates a horse in good form.

Caught the eye on penultimate run as well when way too aggressive from front. Will be really interesting down in class 6, ideally with a tiny bit of help from the handicapper, too.

Race Replay

Vitesse Du Son
18/11/22 Kempton – 8.15 Kempton:

Moved rapidly forward and set a fast pace. Started to slow markedly from over three furlongs out. Had to pay tribute to early exertions, before the cavalry came from behind and swallowed him up in earnest.

Good performance after small break. Ran a number of good races this season, but career best on sand. Want to see a couple pounds less, a mark of 48, over 7 furlongs will spark my financial interest.

Stays a mile, though and nearly stole it the next time over 8.5f at Wolverhampton. May run well next time and could be in the grip of the handicapper. I’m happy to wait for the right day, granted he still shows the same spark as he did over the last half year.

Race Replay

Surprise Picture
19/11/22 – 5.30 Wolverhampton:

Hurried up to move forward from the gates, bit awkward. Tracked pace, not an economical run. Short of room 1f from home when coming with a challenge. Strong piece of form.

Caught the eye early in November, too, when caught wide, and again received a seriously uneconomical ride.

Multiple times ran to speed ratings of 68+ this year. Clearly on a winnable mark. Can stay a mile but I don’t want to back him beyond 7 furlongs these days as his best performances this year come over the sprint distances and they are my reference.

(Runs Saturday: 8.5f at Wolverhampton)

Race Replay

May Remain
26/11/22 – 7.50 Wolverhampton:

Led from low draw, although pestered. Kicked on well, but ultimately no chance with impressive winner from off the pace. Did well to hold on for second. Clear second best, despite trip too far.

6 furlongs max. Interesting if down in trip and with any further reduction in his mark. Caught the eye on turf in June, too.

Race Replay

Dubai Immo
26/11/22 – 7.50 Wolverhampton:

Slowly away, rushed up to get to the top of the field after the first furlong, did way too much in the first three furlongs but only faded late in the home straight, hanging to the left, as well.

Clearly a colt with issues but also some talent as spring form showed. Would be really interesting once gelded, ideally over 7 furlongs (certainly not beyond a mile) at Wolverhampton or Chelmsford. His sire has a strong record in those circumstances, too.

Race Replay

Ooh Is It
28/11/22 – 6.25 Wolverhampton:

Started quickly and set the world alight in the first half of the race. No surprise to see him tire rather badly from 3f out, nonetheless, still held a 1 lengths advantage at the final furlong marker.

This is strong form. Good race. Winner was well handicapped and caught the eye recently. Ooh Is It ran to strong 73 speed rating as well – in comparison to his current mark intriguing, if left alone by the handicapper, he’s certainly ready to win.

He doesn’t truly stays 5 furlongs. A few slightly odd performances lately. Once he drops down to the minimum trip I reckon he’ll be ready to rock.

Race Replay

The Thin Blue Line
28/11/22 – 6.25 Wolverhampton:

Widest draw, wide early, then settled last. Loads to do from back of the field but started to make serious headway from 3f out, always under hands and heels, until progress stopped at the final furlong marker when short of room. Fasted from 4f to 1f out.

Can race much more prominently, and best over the minimum trip. Will be interesting down to 5f. Down to last win mark (turf). Would love to see another run and couple pounds off before him racing over 5f again. Need to watch.

Race Replay

Bernard Spierpoint
28/11/22 – 8.25 Wolverhampton

Keen early on when grabbing the lead, hard to see most of the race due to fog. Caught and headed over 1f out. Ran well for very long over trip most likely too far.

Probably stays 6 furlongs and looks potentially seriously well handicapped now, especially as the run confirms his wellbeing.

His best all over the minimum trip. Want to see him down to 5f again. Will be very well handicapped then, if mark doesn’t creep up before.

Race Replay

Satin Snake
28/11/22 – 2.45 Kempton

Widest draw, trailed and still in last position 2f out, when outpaced from 3f out as pace increased. Excellent progress in the last two furlongs, finishing exceptionally well, especially against the pace bias in a slowly run race.

Second run for new yard. Stays 7 furlongs, also acts over 6 furlongs. Looks on good mark and ready to win a race.

Race Replay

Paddy K
28/11/22 – 3.15 Kempton:

Ducked left out of the gate (tends to do that), then moved rapidly forward to lead the field. Challenged from 2f out, hang twice from over 1f out, just tired inside the final half furlong. Speed rating matched his mark.

Not sure he truly stays 7 furlongs. Perhaps if uncontested setting easy fractions could get him to stay the trip. Otherwise 6f with good pace certainly preferred. Tricky horse. Can pull, can hang, can mess up at the gate, but clearly on a good mark now.

Caught the eye a few times lately, especially when last time over 6f at Newcastle: he rallied strongly, after showing early signs of keenness and bumping a rival. Also seriously strong on last turf start.

Doesn’t have tons in hand. Want to see mark untouched and ideal conditions either over 6 or 7 furlongs.

Race Replay

Boom The Groom
29/11/22 – 3.20 Lingfield:

Quick start from gate #9. On the lead but pestered and kept honest, formed pace setting duo until turning for home when travelling sweetly. Not beaten far. Ran solid speed rating here, in line with current mark.

Limed runs on the All-Weather in last while. Down to good mark already. Still acts over 5 furlongs and stays 6 furlongs if not too much other pace around.

Ideally finds a way to get his mark reduced to 60 and drops into 0-60. Will be seriously well handicapped then. Need perfect pace scenario to become interested otherwise. Probably rated just about right to his current level now.

Race Replay

Spacer
29/11/22 – 5.50 Wolverhampton:

Good start, right up with pace setters early on before settling in 3rd. Under pressure from 3f out, seemingly came back to it entering the home straight before short of room and effort effort petered out.

Too high in the mark and class too hot. Caught the eye on turf in July and strong reference performance in October at Wolverhampton over 7 furlongs.

Doesn’t stay a mile. Needs a few pounds off. Want to see him over 7 furlongs and dropping into 0-75 class. It’s a wait and see with him over the next weeks.

Race Replay

Waverley Star
30/11/22 – 3.25 Lingfield:

Fast start, led the field for home, kicked on from 3f out out, still going well turning into the home straight. Headed with half a furlong to go.

He looks a pure 5f sprinter and will have options with a further reduction of his mark. Ran a few times really well, including a win, earlier this year, doing so off lower weights.

With a good draw and not much competition for the lead he’ll always have a chance off his current rating to go close over the minimum trip.

Race Replay

Haseef
30/11/22 – 5.15 Kempton:

Bounced out of the gate and set solid early fractions. Good lead turning for home, but couldn’t really kick on 2f out and tired in the closing stages quite badly.

Doesn’t stay the trip, despite an eye-catching penultimate effort over the same CD. Would be interesting to see him race over 7 furlongs on the All-Weather again. Has proven form over 6 furlongs, too.

Ran twice to speed ratings 59+ this summer over sprint distances. Still a maiden after 15 runs but certainly not without hope.

Race Replay

Tricky Business
02/12/12 – 3.05 Newcastle:

Rapidly moved forward to grab uncontested lead, setting pretty good fractions. Beaten 2f out and fell completely away in the closing stages. Nothing that ran close to the pace was able to sustain an effort, though; everything came from off the pace here.

First start for new yard. No hope to stay a mile. Even 7 furlongs most likely a stretch. 6f is his trip. Buried the last runs without intend to do much.

In that context he caught the the eye here: he’s still all enthusiasm. Once in the right race, will be interesting.

Race Replay

Seesawing
02/12/22 – 5.15 Newcastle:

Led toward stands’ side, somewhat isolated. Travelled well, before hanging toward the middle of the track from 2f out; tiering late and losing a few places.

Entitled to tire, was 330 days off. Changed yards in November too. On a solid mark that offers opportunities. 7 furlongs with a turn could be really interesting – was placed at Kempton and Lingfield over 7f last year, ran to 63 speed rating as well.

There could well be a bit more to come after only eight career runs for this 5-year-old gelding.

Race Replay

Friday Selections: 4th November 2022

It was two on the bounce on Tuesday when Captain Vallo won at Southwell with a bit of authority in the closing stages. A rare sight over the last weeks… well, even months: not only one winner, but two, on the same day!

It helps seriously with the P/L sheet that looked brutal after the recent losing run. Although, what always helps is also putting it all into a historical context. My betting records tells a story: every year I struggle massively in autumn, October is always red, September often too. Perhaps something to review for the future.

That future is about ten months down the line. The immediate future sees the return of the Breeders’ Cup. I wouldn’t say I am a massive fan. Not really of the Friday card, and certainly not of the dirt races. But the turf races on Saturday are usually quite intriguing.

Currently I’ll probably have only one bet in mind for this Saturday. I’ve got a bit more work to do on the races, though. Prior to top-class action at Keeneland, it’s all about more mundane things, like sand racing at Newcastle. Selections as follows below.

I don’t want to leave unmentioned the queen of the mile, Goldikova, when talking about the Breeders’ Cup. The mighty mare was so good over there in 2009, when she the landed the Turf Mile. A wide draw, sitting far off the pace, second last turning for home… no bother. One of my favourite BC moments. What a star she was.

…………….

3.05 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 1m

The right conditions are present for Twistaline, who caught the eye at Wolverhampton in no uncertain terms the last time. That day she travelled in rear, seemed to struggle from 4f out before running home in quite sensational style, finishing the last three furlongs much the fastest, without being asked for everything.

Granted that was a poor race, but this Newcastle content is even worse. She drops into a 0-55 Handicap, her mark down to 54 as she lost another 2lb in the meantime, and she steps up to the straight mile which will be an ideal scenario for her on the All-Weather.

I don’t really like to back horses that have to come from off the pace on the sand, least a filly. But over a mile at Newcastle hold-up horses perform strongly. This will suit her, and her patchy starting habits won’t matter nearly as much as it is a clear disadvantage at sharp Wolverhampton.

Twistaline showed quite solid form on this modest level on the All-Weather earlier this year. She ran to consistent speed ratings of 50, 51 and 53.

She is clearly in that sort of form, perhaps even better, given the way she finished last time out.

I was initially worried about the jockey booking. Jason Watson isn’t riding any winners of late. But he’s been sitting on 20/1 shots on average. If further examined for his record with trainer Appleby, things look much brighter.

10pts win – Twistaline @ 11/2

………

5.45 Newcastle: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

I must give Pockley another chance. He was unlucky not to finish closer than 3rd last time over this CD and that form has worked out seriously well in the meantime.

That day he travelled in midfield, but was quite keen for the first part of the race. He didn’t get a clear passage at a crucial stage when the pace increased and the eventual winner got first run. He kicked on well from 2 furlongs out, but was reportedly hanging soon after.

Surprisingly, the handicapper has dropped him another pound. Down to a career lowest mark, even though he caught the eye on turf this year too, he moves up slightly in class – this is an 0-75 vs 0-70 the last time; as a consequence he’s got a low weight with the additional of 5lb claiming Mark Winn again. I feel there are only two or three other properly competitive horses in the field, so it’s not a strong race.

This could be well set up for him too: he’s got pace around him to follow right from his #5 draw. That should in theory tow him nicely into it, if he doesn’t miss the break, which he can, and which is the only real risk attached in my view.

The other question mark is the form of the Linda Perratt yard – 2/50, 0/12 over the last four weeks. But I rate Pockley’s chance so highly that I (stupidly?) ignore this.

10pts win – Pockley @ 4/1

Thursday Selections: 20th October 2022

Right now it feels like I might never back a winner again. It’s quite absurd what’s happening at the moment. Obviously I have been here before, back in the early summer…. and what followed was the most dramatic turnaround.

Last night, once again everything went wrong that could have gone wrong for my selection. Spring Is Sprung was so desperately keen he was done by the time the field approached the home straight.

Of course, the other horse I fancied on the day – but didn’t back – won 30 minutes later handsomely. It’s just the way it is at the moment. I can’t get it right, no matter what I do.

In any case, here’s hoping for the turnaround sooner rather than later….

………

2.30 Southwell: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

This could be quite a fast race that ends in a war of attrition. That may suit the first time blinkered Chief Of Staff. I’m not sure he is all that well handicapped over this trip, though.

One I feel is overpriced is Ben Macdui. He ran better than the form suggest on a number of occasions this year, including last time out.

He’s another 5lb down, now 12lb below his last win, a 6f Handicap success at Newcastle in March. He’s never been in the same form again since then – although, his last two runs give some hope.

He’s got a good draw here to make sure he is bang up with the pace and remains pretty unexposed on the All-Weather, actually. Three strong speed ratings, that indicate he’s got a higher ability than his current rating add to the possibility that Ben Macdui could outrun this price.

The yard is in poor form. 0-30 over the last fortnight. However, closer inspection shows the majority of runners were really big prices with about a third having outrun their price, in fact.

In all likelihood Ben Macdui will fade from 2f out and finish second last. He’s overpriced in my book, though; and if he can find some form again, he could land a big surprise here.

10pts win – Ben Macdui @ 50

……

7.15 Wolverhampton: Class 2 Handicap, 6f

Not many horses in this field make a great deal of appeal to me. Obviously, if freshly gelded Hierarchy could run to level of form he showed earlier this year, he would be hard the one to beat. It’s a big if and he’s got a lot to do off a 102 mark.

Dubai Station really interests me in this race, though. He’s the one on speed ratings they all have to get to, given he’s 2lb lower than winning at Chelmsford in May when running to a 91 TS rating.

He ran to strong levels of form subsequently – at Chelmsford in July and even more so Ascot in September. 3lb lower than when 3rd off 96 in a hot Handicap there last month, he wasn’t seen to best effect the last two times back on the All-Weather.

He messed up at the gates at Chelmsford, also wasn’t all that sharp here at Wolverhampton when last seen; although, that was a strange race how it panned out and I felt he ran better than the 3.5 lengths margin behind the winner suggested.

He’s got a slid draw today, and if he starts well, as he normally does, bar the last two races, he should have a hot pace to aim at sitting somewhere around midfield.

At the same time if he doesn’t get off to a solid start he will have to play catch-up and will likely have too much to do. Nonetheless, he’s got the speed and the class to feature, hence looks a big price.

10pts win – Dubai Station @ 17/2

All-Weather Eye-Catchers #1

A list of horses that caught my eye during the recent days and weeks of racing.

Brazen Akoya
07/10/22 – 8.15 Newcastle:

Squeezed at the start, never travelled too well throughout the race. Outpaced from 3f out, kept on solid enough right to the line, not given too hard a ride.

Off a 94 day break, this was a step in the right direction after two poor showings. Ran well on the All-Weather last winter/spring, a bit unlucky at Wolverhampton in May racing off 62 when runner-up.

Ran to topspeed 59, 57, 54 and 52, all on AW over 5 furlongs. Possibly would enjoy step up to 6 furlongs. Down to OR 55, becomes intriguing and can race in a prominent position.

Race Replay

Rose Bandit
07/10/22 – 8.15 Newcastle:

Travelled okay tracking the pace, came off the bridle over 2 furlongs from home, didn’t find enough to challenge and appeared to lack the pace over the minimum trip.

Still pretty unexposed on the All-Weather, but strong performance in May over 6 furlongs at Newcastle. Was badly hampered and unlucky lto at Hamilton. Can race off 56, 7lb lower than last (turf) winning mark.

Ran 4x to higher topspeeds in his career – career-bests back in 2021, over 6 furlongs. I want to see him back over that trip.

Race Replay

Iva Feeling
07/10/22 – 6.00 Dundalk:

Missed the break from the widest draw, right away at massive disadvantage. Travelled in rear widest, but made excellent progress gradually entering home straight to finish best from those off the pace.

Lightly raced mare, gradually comes down in her ratings. Looked solid at the Curragh; caught the eye at Dundalk and Leopardstown in spring.

Better draw and back over a mile interesting. Risks attached as can miss the break, but usually settles no worse than midfield if she breaks well.

Race Replay

Navagio
07/10/22 – 6.30 Dundalk:

Grabbed the lead and led the field into the home straight. Looked a bit too enthusiastic early on though, and did too much. Faded.

Better than this. Money came in the morning. Still lightly raced enough. Should stay a mile but can be a tricky customer. Any reduction in his mark will see him potentially well handicapped. Trainer was quite bullish earlier this year after a maiden win.

Ideally want him over a mile but not ruling out 7 furlongs either. Depends on the race and draw.

Race Replay

Sicilian Vito
08/10/22 – 6:30 Chelmsford:

Moved forward from a wide draw to make the pace as part of a duo. Still led approaching the final furlong, then tired rapidly, although less so than his pace setting partner.

Caught the eye one week later at Wolverhampton too (seriously well backed), when again having to overcome a wide draw, was aggressively pushed forward to make all and paid for it.

Still a maiden, but showed some ability earlier this year on the All-Weather. He’s dropping in the ratings and will be interesting with any further reduction, especially with a good draw over a mile, perhaps a drop to 7 furlongs is also worth a try.

Race Replay

Phoenix Beach
09/10/22 – 2.50 Southwell:

Made most of a low draw and grabbed the lead. Travelled extremely well into home straight, still on the bridle approaching 2 furlong marker. Dropped out quickly.

Was found to have lost a shoe. How much that made a difference is hard to know. First handicap start after winning comfortably over this CD. Opening mark wasn’t a giveaway. Deserves another chance, given how well he travelled, and remains unexposed in handicaps.

Race Replay

Adatorio
10/10/22 – 7.00 Wolverhampton:

Settled in rear, travelling strongly. Hard on the bridle approaching home straight, made progress on inside but had to delay full effort until the final furlong marker. Finished fastest.

Still a maiden, but ran a number of times quite well, catching the eye when things not going his way over 7 furlongs up to a mile races, especially on the All-Weather. Can be ridden closer to the pace, too.

Ran to 57 topspeed already, down to a rating of 56 now. Was ridden with confidence here and should be really competitive wherever he goes next.

Race Replay

Twistaline
10/10/22 – 7.30 Wolverhampton:

Settled in rear, had a lot to do when turning for home in last position. Finished very much the fastest over the last three furlongs and slowed the least in final furlong.

Has issues at gate. Will need a bit of luck. But will be seriously of interest once mark drops below 54 and she can race against 0-55 opposition again. Proved to be capable of strong performances on that level off those sort of ratings.

Race Replay

Silver Kitten
10/10/22 – 7.30 Wolverhampton:

Rushed forward from widest draw to grab the lead. Did way too much in the first half of the race, setting good pace. Kicked on from 4f out, had field on the stretch but emptied quickly.

Too high in the ratings and always struggles under big weights. Once below a mark of 62, ideally not carrying more than 9-3, she can be a strong front-runner.

Race Replay

Rocket Rod
11/10/22 – 6.35 Newcastle:

Slowly away, travelled really well in rear, jockey appeared overly patient, avoided getting a clear run on the outside, instead stuck behind horses. Rocket Rod still hard on the bridle approaching final furlong until finally let go and finished in serious fashion.

Somewhat similar story last time out over same CD. Clearly still very well in form after reaching new heights on the All-Weather this season.

Might be really popular in the betting next time. Has an entry this upcoming Friday, albeit over 7 furlongs. I’d be happy to sit that out and wait for a reappearance over a mile.

Race Replay

Pockley
11/10/22 – 8.05 Newcastle:

Way too keen in first half of the race as pace wasn’t quick. Travelled in midfield but ultimately too far off pace as eventual winner was always tracking it and got first run eventually. Finished fast and could have won in different circumstances.

Serious performance that confirmed he’s back in form. Especially the strong finish was encouraging. Was eye-catcher earlier the year on turf. Dangerous off same mark next time again.

Race Replay

Yazaman
11/10/22 – 8.05 Newcastle:

Travelled off pace, which wasn’t ideal due to the slow early fractions. Plenty to do over 2 furlongs out. Made huge impression once pulled out to the outside to finish much the strongest over the last three furlongs.

Has his issues, will need some luck as comes from off the pace due to often slow starts. Clearly has talent and seems to has retained some of it. A repeat of this run should see him go close wherever he goes next if the pace is better.

Race Replay

Araifjan
12/10/22 – 3.50 Wolverhampton:

Tracked the pace but under pressure from three furlongs out, seemingly going backwards but kept finding under pressure and ran well to the line. Similar performance to solid lto run.

Clearly tries and is possibly running to his current level, but clearly not as good as in the past and struggles in this grade on 0-70 level.

He’s genuine and usually up with the pace. Will become really interesting once he drops to OR <60 and into 0-60 company.

Race Replay

Havana Goldrush
12/10/22 – 4.57 Kempton:

Widest draw, bumped by rival as gates opened, pushed to the outside but found quickly his stride and cut to the inside travelling strongly in the middle of the field. Seemingly going best in the home straight, he failed to put the race to bed, apparently hanging in the closing stages.

His two runs prior to this race were noteworthy too. A fine 3rd when attempting to make all lto and unlucky when hampered at a crucial time at Chelmsford.

Tends to hang in finishes. Tricky sort. But clearly in excellent form and ready to strike.

Race Replay

Sense Of Security
12/10/22 – 7.30 Kempton:

Badly bumped and squeezed right after the start, keen in the early parts of the race, possibly as a consequence. Good progress from 3 furlongs out, kicks well in the home straight and finds plenty. But winner from the front not for catching, and well on top.

Excellent comeback run after a wind operation. Topspeed awarded matches current mark (pending handicapper review). Caught the eye a number of times in the summer on turf.

Should be handicapped to win. Probably more so over 7 furlongs. 6 furlongs isn’t impossible, because she really kicked hard here – I really rate this performance. Class could see her through an easier race over the shorter trip.

Race Replay

Roman Dynasty
13/10/22 – 8.00 Chelmsford:

This was an odd ride, to say it diplomatically. From a good draw, restrained early and then always travelling in rear, made solid progress from 3f out. Stuck in traffic but also not helped by some of the jockeys decisions. Some late headway.

Better than this, no doubt. Ran well earlier this year a number of times. Especially his Brighton 3rd place; ran to topspeed 72 then. If using this as guide in combination with his best AW efforts, he will be become intriguing to watch out for, once he drops below a mark of 72.

Race Replay

Mythical
14/10/22 – 4.45 Newcastle:

Moved forward from the widest draw to dispute the lead until entering the home straight when opinions diverged and he went to the stand’s side. Quickly faded.

Fell over 20lb since start of the year that coincided with move to a new yard. Never fancied since, though not too bad at Ripon two runs back; lto Chester run can be upgraded. Had wide draws to overcome in his recent starts as well.

It’s one to wait for, once the money is down. Clearly has more to offer on the right day. Can move forward, has no starting issues.

Race Replay

Hathlool
14/10/22 – 4.45 Newcastle:

Back over 10 furlongs, settled off pace from wide draw, travelled strongly, but short of room in home straight. Bird was flown when he really got going, but ran on well.

Have been tracking the horse all year, missed when he won; too high in the mark now. Ideally want him about 5lb lower and over 10 furlongs. It might take a few more runs for that to materialize.

Race Replay

Saisons D’Or
14/10/22 – 5.45 Newcastle:

Led the field, made a good move from 4 furlongs out, was cooked by 2 furlongs from home. Faded.

Big price, too high in the mark right now. Won twice this year on All-Weather and turf. Ran to good speed ratings. Will become of interest down to a mark around 66 over 7 furlongs on AW.

Race Replay

Kraken Power
14/10/22 – 8.15 Newcastle:

Travelled in rear of field strongly, had to delay run as not clear run. Smooth progress but never got the chance to be fully unleashed.

Looks ahead of mark. Was of interest earlier this season during the summer off much higher marks. Needs to be ridden in a specific way, though.

May be too short to back next time. But clearly of interest when he reappears.

Race Replay

Leabaland
14/10/22 – 7.00 Dundalk:

Broke well from double-figure draw and travelled well in midfield. In touch with lead entering home straight. Looked awkward in closing stages, carried over by rival and short of room. Seemed to have more left in the tank. Jockey said his whip became caught in his reins, too.

Really interesting back over a mile and with a good draw ideally. Likes to go forward too. If handicapper isn’t too harsh in his assessment, he could be well handicapped in those circumstances.

Race Replay

Amber Dew
15/10/22 – 6.00 Wolverhampton:

Grabbed the early lead and tried to go wire to wire. Gradually kicked on from 4f out and got a bit of a break approaching the home straight. Just tired in the final furlong, but not far beaten.

Caught the eye last time out as well, when slowing the least in the closing stages, despite overcoming a slow start. Can miss the break but if not then usually up with the pace. Ran well a number of times this season.

Will be interesting in easier race and down to a 70 mark; ran to topspeed 71 over 6f in February. This was an 0-85 and she was found out in the closing stages by classier individuals.

Race Replay

Privilige
15/10/22 – 7.00 Wolverhampton:

Awkwardly away from the gates, not ideal having to content with a wide draw. Moved quickly forward, though. Disputed lead and did well to hold on for third.

Backed up strong and somewhat similar lto effort when led from wide draw and just beaten late. Two strong efforts at big prices now. Could be big chance over 6 furlongs.

Race Replay

Racing is Back!

rp0620x

Racing is back! At least in the UK. We here in Ireland have to wait for another week.

Although it was only sand racing, having full fields at Newcastle this afternoon was certainly welcome… compared to none at all over the last while. Plus it’s only two more days until racing on green, lush turf returns as well.

It’s gonna be a packed schedule with top class racing over the next couple of weeks also. Those Classics are coming thick and fast right, left and center. France and Germany with their Guineas races today. Others will follow soon. Exciting times!

Looking back on the first day of the flat season 2020 I have mixed feelings, nonetheless. One the plus side I’ve also got an intriguing eye-catcher for the tracker for those readers who make it to end of my ramblings.

Racingpost is Poor Value

The sport I love is back: great! The print edition of the Racingpost is back: great! Not so great: one would have thought the editors had plenty of time to think about how to improve their product for when it returns to the shelves in a bid to entice prospective customers to buy a paper that comes with a whopping price tag of €4.20.

I’m afraid there was nothing in the “Bumper Edition” of the Racingpost that inspired me to pay such a steep price for something that would end in the recycle bin only half a day later.

Racing back in the UK. Top class races in France and Germany – there was plenty to cover. Yet the paper felt thin on actual, valuable content.

An interview with Lester Piggott on his remarkable career. That’s alright – I’ve got all respect for the man and his story – though, it’s hardly anything original these days. You can find plenty of similar interviews and articles with him for free (in fact RP published some under the “PR Classics” banner only recently).

A stable tour of Richard Hannon’s. Plus the usual tipsters and some race previews. Add racecards. That’s it.

In the day of online and mobile where everything is a swipe away all the time, publishers face an uphill battle, particularly with a niche print product such as the Racingpost. If you produce a paper that in essence has not changed in two decades and offers little real incentive to buy because of a lack of original content then you’ll struggle even more so.

I really wanted to buy the Racingpost this morning. Really wanted it. But a hefty €4.20 for what you get is simply no value for money. I’m not saying there is no value. Of course there is. For some people more than for others. But is it worth the price? I don’t think so. And that’s a shame.

More Data Please

I have thoroughly enjoyed dipping my toes into Hong Kong racing over the last weeks. Doing so, what becomes blatantly obvious – now that racing returns to more familiar places – what sets their product apart from ours here.

Hong Kong racing is all about providing relevant information, a myriad on data and a level of transparency with the aim of improving customer experience. Data that is freely available and easily accessible to all punters and racing fans alike for them to analyse- and better understand what- and why certain things happen in a race.

Free replays in excellent quality with different angles to chose from. Sectional times as well as every little detail on all the horses – be it their racing weight, injury history, or track work. Heck, even rather accurate Speed maps are produced.

Given the importance of racing for Hong Kong as the HKJC is the largest taxpayer there, this makes perfect sense, of course: if you want punters to come racing and gambling you need to provide an enticing product that people can believe in due to its transparent nature.

Granted there are only two tracks in Hong Kong, a small horse population and fewer variables. That makes it a lot easier to track all these things. It’s unrealistic to copy everything Hong Kong does and bring it over to the UK or Ireland. Still, more can be done and lessons can be learned from Hong Kong if racing over here wants to appeal to new and younger generations.

People these days are much more familiar with looking at- and using data. Many of us do it for work in some form or another. Not only for work, though. In a betting environment think about sports like football, hockey, basketball and so on that offer tons of data – from simple to “advanced stats”. Often available for free, easily accessible. Quite like it’s the case in Hong Kong for their racing product.

For UK and Irish racing data is expensive to get hands on (Flatstats, Proform….) and racing media tends to speak in plain and banal language anyway, as if the general punter would be too stupid to understand anything that goes beyond the numbers associated with naked form.

Baby steps are being made, though. Sectionals and stride data start to become more readily available for certain tracks. This really provides great insights into how races are run and why horses finished a certain way. This has to become a universal thing, though. It’s 2020 not 1985.

Newcastle Eye-Catcher

Ghadbbaan – Race 1 – 7th place: One could easily overlook this well beaten 4-year-old gelding. However this was a fairly decent seasonal reappearance, given he was drawn in gate one, which can be a negative for horses who already have starting issues. So it was no surprise to Ghadbbaan walking out of the gate. Hoe was then firmly driven forward to chase the lead.

He surly did much more than ideal in those early stages of the race and tired over two furlongs out to finish side by side with the pre-race favourite. That’s not the whole story, though.

He switched yards over the winter and was gelded, after two low-key efforts as a juvenile. He didn’t fulfill the hopes connections once had when in care of Michael Stoute.

However, Ghadbbaan is quite nicely bred, although clearly looks to have a future beyond a mile. He is a full-brother to smart 103 rated Listed 1m 2f winner Sound Of Cannons out of a Listed placed- and 1m2f winning mare  and by French Derby winner Intello.

Today was only his first handicap start. A fair pipe opener. Once Ghadbbaan steps up in trip he should improve readily and be able to exploit his current 64 Official Rating.

Thursday Selections: January, 9th 2020

Wet Dundalk Polytrack

12.45 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

The favourite Double Martini has to be respected for the step up in trip that looks sure to suit, a fair handicap mark and a top jockey booking. I feel the potential improvement is already reflected in the price, though.

There isn’t too much else to fear in this race, which enhances the chances of Double Martini having found an ideal opportunity. Although 7-year-old gelding Destroyer drops down to class 6 with another couple of pounds off his rating and appears certainly well-handicapped if finding some form again.

It’s his second run after a break, so he should strip fitter for the latest – arguably poor – showing over this course and distance last month.

Only four runs back though in September he still finished a fine third only a lengths down at Pontefract of a 67 handicap mark, also matching a 67 topspeed rating, suggesting there is life and enough class to be competitive in a low-grade handicap such as this.

True, Destroyer is without victory on the All-Weather but his career best speed rating was achieved at Kempton (79). He also acts on tapeta as proven when a 1¼ lengths beaten 4th over a mile here in November 2018 of a 13lb higher mark than today.

He may well have enough of racing, as he’s not getting any younger, and his last three efforts are concerning. If back in the same mood at Pontefract, though, he’d have a massive chance.

*Edit: Non-runner!*

Selection:
10pts win – Destroyer @ 15/2 MB