Tag Archives: Thirsk

Saturday Selections: May, 4th 2019

Twilight Son

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2.30 Thirsk: Class 4 Handicap, 6f

I was keen on Paddy Power the last time at Ripon; although he didn’t win, he ran with credit in a hot contest that looks rock solid form. He dropped another pound since then – not that this will make a huge difference, but it means he’s fallen below his lowest winning mark now.

Paddy Power’s form is showing a downward trend in general, no doubt; I still believe he retains enough ability to win of his current mark. Let’s not forget he won a competitive York handicap of a 6lb higher mark-  and was an excellent 4th in a hot class 2 Handicap subsequently last summer.

Selection:
10pts win – Paddy Power @ 15/2 MB

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2.40 Goodwood: Class 2 Handicap, 7f

This looks competitive in nature, though I find few of these with any secrets left for the handicapper. Slightly different story for the filly Whitefountainfairy, who we haven’t seen all that often in handicap company and who looks on a tasty mark, returning to the turf.

She looked a promising juvenile and continued to do so as 3-year-old, although on the surface she may have been a little bit disappointing as her rise in pattern company didn’t continue. However, Whitefountainfairy wasn’t disgraced in some hot races regardless, running well of high marks in ultra competitive handicaps.

She returned on the All-Weather in March from her winter break, and finishing strongly in superb 6f contest at Kempton, that has worked out incredibly well form wise. Well backed at Chelmsford the next time, she didn’t quite live up to the price tag.

Returning to turf and a course and distance Whitefountainfairy has achieved a career best as a juvenile, down to a mark of 87 with a good 3lb claimer on board who has only this one ride today – Whitefountainfairy should run a huge race.

Selection:
10pts win – Whitefountainfairy @ 9/1 MB

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3.40 Thirsk: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

I struggle to split Knowing Glance and Exchequer, and that’s not only because them being drawn so closely to each other or because of their respective odds being similar. So I don’t even attempt it. One of these two will win, if the wide draw doesn’t catch them out.

Big if, but both horses appear supremely well handicapped. Exchequer for a start hasn’t won on turf yet and appears to be a much better All-Weather horse. This notion is slightly skewed by efforts in unsuitable conditions.

Checking his record for fast ground, Exchequer’s record still doesn’t show a victory, but three excellent efforts, including to 3rd placed efforts, in hot class 3 handicaps. Those forms date back a few years – which means, he hasn’t been running on his most suitable turf conditions for a long time.

Exchequer does today. Of a 20lb lower turf mark than his current All-Weather rating. He performed with plenty of credit of a 89 mark on the All-Weather throughout the winter. His claims are blindingly obvious today, even more so dropping down to class 5 as well.

They are pretty much as obvious for Richard Fahey’s Knowing Glance. He won on his seasonal reappearance a class 5 Handicap of his current mark last year, running to a 71 TS rating that day – the form has worked out well.

Knowing Glance remains relatively low mileage. He couldn’t quite kick on from his Carlisle success, but performed with credit in better class a couple of times in autumn.

Given he seems to run well fresh, drops down to class 5 again, with fast ground and trip sure to suit, down to his last winning mark, with a fine 5lb claimer on board, he looks sure to go well.

Selections:
5pts win – Knowing Glance @ 13/2 MB
5pts win – Exchequer @ 13/2 MB

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Monday Selections: April, 29th 2019

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I said in my preview my hope for Winklemann is that Miss Imogen Mathias won’t fall off. She didn’t. But she also couldn’t have given the poor horse a worse ride. Winklemann finished a close third in the end. So did Roaring Rory, who stayed on from a long way back in his race.

No complaint, though: I knew the dangers of backing a horse in an Amateur race. And maybe it wouldn’t have mattered if a different jockey would have steered Winklemann home. It’s easy to point out a seemingly weak ride while sitting comfortably in the chair myself, of course.

I was massively impressed with Pink Dogwood at Navan today. The ante-post favourite for the Epsom Oaks proved too strong for her rivals in the listed Salsabil Stakes over 10f. She showed a lovely attitude under a hands and heels ride and looks to have wintered well from a physical standpoint as well.

She’s been cut from 6/1 to 7/2 in the meantime. I’m not the man for ante-post wagers these days, so will not touch it. But I think she’ll be hard to beat if getting to Epsom healthy.

On to Monday – there’s plenty of flat action both on the All-Weather as well as on the green lush grass! Still, I’m a little bit surprised to have found nearly two hands full of selections…. whether that’s a good or a bad sign remains to be seen.

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2.10 Southwell: Class 6 Handicap, 7f

Smashing Lass is the only winner in this field – a poor line-up with a few unexposed sorts, but generally one where the filly stands out. She won a seller last year and also was a decent runner-up at Newcastle twice.

A recent seasonal reappearance was surely nothing more than a pipe opener and big improvement is expected from that run. She has dropped to a 55 handicap mark, while she already ran to a TS rating of 59 and 54 in the past.

So improvement is possible, also as she was an April foal and may get better with age. First time Southwell is always a risk, but her sire has an excellent fibresand record. Interestingly, it’s Shane Gray’s only ride on the card.

Selection:
10pts win – Smashing Lass @ 9/1 PP

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2.20 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

The favourite is clearly opposable given his super skinny price. I’m keen on Rantan, even though the draw may not be an advantage with the pace more drawn toward the other side.

Nonetheless, I feel this lad has been campaigned with this race potentially in mind. He had two pipe openers over the minimum trip. Last time out here at Newcastle he finished quite nicely showing a bit of spark in the closing stages, while it was obvious he needs further.

He drops in class but is stepped up in trip. He slipped to an incredibly dangerous mark as well, judged by last seasons performances in particular.

Selection:
10pts win – Rantan @ 15/1 MB

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3.45 Southwell: Class 5 Handicap, 1 mile

Dropping in class here and further down in the ratings, Me Too Nagasaki may finally found a race to fulfill expectations. He was well backed since joining the Stuart Williams yard, and though running with credit most of the time, he never looked like winning.

Surely the now 5-year-old isn’t the force of the past, but down to a mark of 75 he looks very dangerous, particularly down in a class 5 Handicap. It’s his second time on the fibresand – even though well beaten in January, he looked like taking to it until falling away after travelling widest of all throughout in a hot class 3 Handicap coming off a long lay-off.

This here looks a very winnable race – if he can finish off his race. The way he dropped out lately is slightly concerning, in truth. But he’s the class act in this field, so I give Me Too Nagasaki the benefit of the doubt as he is potentially well handicapped.

Selection:
10pts win – Me Too Nagasaki @ 13/2 PP

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4.15 Southwell: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

This is an ultra-competitive race. Margins could be decisive, so being drawn wider than ideal is a negative. Nonetheless I feel Big Brave Bob has a tremendous chance first time out for a new yard if race fit.

It’s likely hell be race fit given Big Brave Bob returns to the place of his biggest- and sole success: the 6f at Southwell. He won here last year in taking style, even if the tight margin tells a different story. He clearly looked like an individual who’d strive on the fibresand.

He followed up with a number of good performances of higher marks in good races – particularly his follow-up effort at Bath is super strong form; but also all his last runs on the AW are solid.

He left the Hannon yard over the winter, and has also dropped down to a mark of 70. With a fair 5lb claimer in the saddle, back on the fibresand, I think there is a good chance Big Brave Bob has too much on his plate for the rest of this field.

Selection:
10pts win – Big Brave Bob @ 6/1 MB

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4.25 Newcastle: Class 3 Handicap, 1 mile

Ballard Down looks underappreciated in this race. Since changing yards he has ran well on two occasions, particularly an unlucky 3rd place finish behind Mr. Scaramanga rates a strong piece of form.

He’s clearly a tricky sort, but Newcastle’s straight mile suits him. Down to a 91 mark now, I feel he looks poised for a big performance, given there seems to be a good deal of pace in the race as well, to see him coming with a late charge to get his head in front again.

Selection:
10pts win – Ballard Down @ 16/1 PP

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4.55 Windsor: Class Handicap, 6f

Kwela was desperately unlucky not to get her head in front when being several times severely  impeded in the closing stages at Lingfield on her seasonal debut recently.

She’s a pound higher today but that won’t make a difference. Back on turf, with fast ground likely to suit well, she can attack from pole position riding the golden highway of Windsor.

Excellent Georgia Dobie keeps the ride; she’s well worth her 7lb claim and I predict we’ll hear a lot of her in the future.

Selection:
10pts win – Kwela @ 5/1 WH

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6.30 Windsor: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 2f

The favourite Just Brilliant is an intriguing runner here: a lightly raced colt for a good yard and race fit. But he’s a short price for all he has shown to date.

I put trust in Silvestre De Sousa’s mount Allegiant, who hopefully doesn’t lack for fitness either. The gelding is also low mileage, but already won a race: on handicap debut coming off a break at Epsom last autumn. He couldn’t follow on from there  when turned under a penalty soon after, but he seems to be a tricky individual and maybe the race came too soon.

He’s 7lb higher in the mark today, but ran to a TS rating of 69 at Epsom – so, if he can find any bit of improvement for age and the new trip, he could well be a good thing.

Allegiant certainly looks the part. A big, strong gelding with scope. On pedigree the 10f looks a fair possibility, and even though fast ground was cited as a potential reason for his under-performance when last seen, I think it could, in fact should suit.

Selection:
10pts win – Allegiant @ 6/1 MB

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7.30 Windsor: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 3.5f

Couple of weeks ago I was keen on New Show…. and desperately disappointed with his run. However, it’s too early to give up on him. What applied back then still applies today as reason why he remains an interesting individual:

New Show ran an almighty race in a hot handicap when last seen in 2018. Inexperience cost him dearly that day but to be in it for as long as he was was impressive. That Goodwood race has worked out tremendously well, so, if he can improve as a 4-year-old with age and experience, he could be on a nice mark.

As a late April foal, with low mileage, you do hope there is more to come. H steps up in trip again and tries blinkers for the first time. At the same time, dropping in grade should help as well.

Selection:
10pts win – New Show @ 11/2 Coral

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7.40 Thirsk: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 4f

It’s fair to say Star Ascending is a better horse on the All-Weather than on turf, an on the synthetics he wasn’t particularly good lately either. On the other hand, back in January he won seemingly with a bit in hand a class 5 handicap over 12f in fine style.

He can race off a 6lb lower mark than he did that day at Wolverhampton. Judged by the past that may not mean all that much, as Star Ascending had plenty of chances on turf and has only one win to his name in 17 attempts.

However, over 12f and on decent ground he had very few opportunities to run, the last one eleven months ago at Doncaster where he finished 5th, albeit a good deal beaten. He ran off 69 that day, and in the context of the form of that particular race, it was probably quite a good performance.

So 5lb lower than when last seen on turf now, a fair 5lb claimer in the saddle as well – even though he’s totally inexperienced at Thirsk, so hopefully this isn’t just a race to gain vital experience, as also trainer Candish hasn’t an overly fruitful record with apprentices.

That’s the clear risk. But if Star Ascending can find back some form and doesn’t miss the kick most importantly, as he sometimes does, he may be able to utilize a good draw (high draws over 12f at Thirsk an advantage) there is a fair chance he can outrun his price tag.

Selection:
10pts win – Star Ascending @ 16/1 MB

Saturday Selections: April, 13th 2019

Newbury racecourse

3.05 Thirsk: Class 5 Handicap, 6 furlongs

Obviously a wide open contest but I can make a reasonably strong case for Prestbury Park, who has left the Johnston yard and wouldn’t be first one to improve for a change of scenery.

Now with Paul Midgley, Prestbury Park also has undergone a wind surgery lately, which may well be of further help to the not talentless 4-year-old gelding.

He lost his form in the latter half of last season, after finishing a strong runner-up in July at Epsom, he’s now a full ten pounds lower in his handicap, but it’s noteworthy he was able to finish second off 90 back in October 2017.

Prestbury Park is yet to win in Handicap company, though, he ran five times to TS ratings above 72 throughout his career, a lifetime high of 82, suggesting if he’s somehow got back into the mood for the game, he’ll be potentially well in here.

The wide draw isn’t ideal, particularly with loads of pace drawn in lower numbers. It’s a risk worth taking given the big price tag. It’s noteworthy also that Midgley and jockey Kevin Scott have an excellent record when teaming up.

Selection:
10pts win – Prestbury Park @ 16/1 PP

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5.00 Newbury: Maiden Stakes, 1m 3f

John Gosden’s Planissimo looks a strong contender, as the odds suggest – he ran to a TS rating of 71 on debut at Chelmsford, which is quite decent. However, newcomer Space Walk is the one I’m keen on here.

Always a risk with horses you’ve never seen. However, Space Walk is supremely well bred – all his relatives has won, in fact he is a full-brother to stakes winners Recorder and Call To Mind.

Space Walk has a Derby entry as well, and the fact he’s started over 1m 3f suggests he’s here not only for the education, but also to get things rolling on a more serious note.

Galileo offspring have a tremendous record here at Newbury generally, even more so over this sort of trip.

Selection:
10pts win – Space Walk @ 3/1

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5.35 Newbury: Class 3 Handicap, 1m 2f

New Show ran an almighty race in a hot handicap when last seen in 2018. Inexperience cost him dearly that day but to be in it for as long as he was, not finishing too badly, was impressive.

That Goodwood race has worked out tremendously well and judged by that a mark of 87 could well underestimate New Show, if he can improve as a 4-year-old with age and experience. As a late April foal, with low mileage, you do hope there is more to come.

He’s been gelded in the meantime, has Jamie Spencer on board and connections seem to have found a nice opportunity to kick things off in 2019. Of course it’s a competitive race with 19 starters, but I feel the 11 draw will give Spencer every chance to keep things simple and to find a clear passage – which is that’s needed.

Selection:
10pts win – New Show @  8/1 MB

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6.30 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

Ideally there’d be an additional furlong to go today, still Cappananty Con is exquisitely weighted and can be able to get a win over the minimum trip under his belt.

He’s been placed over CD twice before this winter – he ran to a TS rating of 68 and RPR of 80 at Wolverhampton in January – and has kept his form quite well ever since. Nonetheless he’s been dropped 5lb in the handicap mark, down to a 70 rating now.

The additional 3lb claim of Joshua Bryan should prove handy as well. The draw may be wider than ideal, on the other hand.

Selection:
10pts win – Cappananty Con @ 8/1 MB

Saturday Selections: August, 4th 2018

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3.25 Thirsk: Class 3 Handicap, 1 mile

A big field that screams competitiveness. However, judged purely by TS ratings, there are very few in it who appear to be well handicapped, actually. Most of these older horses are capable of running to some sort of form close to their current rating – but better than that?

Usually this isn’t my cup of tea, a race like this, neither the horse I fancy – particularly at a price as short as it is. Nonetheless there is still a bit of juice in the price of Richard Fahey’s Borodin, I feel.

For a start: he’s the only 3 year old in the race thanks to WFA racing off bottom weight while his actual rating should see him rather toward the top third of the weights. This is going to be his handicap debut and there is an obvious question mark in first place whether Borodin is as good as a lofty 86 handicap mark.

The answer is emphatically “yes” judged by the form of his last two starts that also came here at Thirsk. He appeared to be still pretty green on both occasions, which makes sense as it was only lifetime start two and three.

He disposed an experienced runner-up over 7f on his second outing easily. This runner-up – Kawasir – was subsequently a good deal beaten but not disgraced when finishing within 6 lengths of an individual that’s now rated 95.

Borodin then stepped up to a mile. Still quite green and keen to get on with things he was swept by late by a promising horse in New Show who ran well in a hot class 2 Handicap subsequently. Also the third,  History Writer, 2¼ behind Borodin, won a decent Sandown Handicap on his next start racing off 85.

In summary: judged by this form, an opening mark of 86 doesn’t look harsh. In fact, if Borodin has learned from his three starts he should improve quite a bit and can be a few pounds better than that.

The fact that he has been here at Thirsk before and ran well, also is one who is likely be up with the pace, which is an advantage at this track, means this rather smallish gelding shouldn’t be too intimidated by the big field. That says he’ll need a good break from a less than ideal draw in 10.

Selection:
10pts win – Borodin @ 11/2 Sky

Monday Selections: 21/08/2017

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Disappointment with Lomu at Ponti today. Pulled his race away early on as was my main fear. Drop to 7f with pace should suit and this lad has still something to offer.

Still a brilliant week, with 6 winners from 16 selections for a 190.63pts profit. No complaints as the general positive form from spring has clearly translated into summer and hopefully well into autumn, the season I traditionally have struggled in the past.

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2.45 Thirsk: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

This appears to be an open contest with a good handful on seemingly handy marks, however the standard is set by Perfect Symphony I feel, who does not get enough credit in the betting for his last two performances.

He showed promise as a juvenile last year and continued this trend in two of three starts this year since returning to the track as a gelding. The last two at Pontefract, probably not quite getting the breaks when needed.

I loved Perfect Symphony’s most recent run a good month ago there over 6f, when travelling well but conceding first run by the eventual winner while he had to wait for the gap to open and show some elbows to go through, yet he found plenty once in the clear.

Step up to 7f for the first time should suit on pedigree, his sire has a really good record over this trip and the dam raced over further. He seems to settle well in his races so over-exuberance shouldn’t be an issue here.

Selection:
10pts win –  Perfect Symphony @ 8/1 Bet365

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4.15 Thirsk: Maiden Stakes, 7f

Naaeebb looks a wrong price. Yes, the form looks great, but he finished a long way down the field so hard to say he’s anywhere near as good as those promising individuals ahead of him.

Fair favourite should be the relatively consistent Dance Teacher. However she finds it hard to get her head in front and may find one better yet again.

I do not often go with an unraced newcomer and usually get burned, but given their is a clear lack of depth in this maiden race I feel Kevin Ryan’s expensive yearling Sacred Way is worth a nibble.

Fetched gns 115k as a yearling and makes a belated debut, already gelded. So things clearly didn’t go to plan. Nonetheless he is related so some fine individuals and if he can overcome inexperience and a less than ideal draw can win.

There is an interesting fact he has on his side: sire stats. Oasis Dream has a tremendous record at Thirsk with his 3yo offspring. So at 14’s I’m happy to back his son in this contest.

Selection:
10pts win – Sacred Way @ 14/1 Skybet

Saturday Tips

4.05 Thirsk: Class 3 Handicap, 5f

I’m quite keen on Dakota Gold here who ran four times as a juvenile and showed plenty of promise when winning a pretty decent maiden at Hamilton following up with a really good fifth in a valuable sales race at Newmarket in his final start in 2016.

Given the three year old Equiano son was a late April foal you would expect him to progress as a three year old He drops in trip today, first time over 5f and that could be exactly what he wants. He has a super draw and might use the bit extra stamina to his advantage with a canny front-running performance?

Interestingly his sire has an excellent record with three year old’s dropping down to the minimum trip. Also on the ratings front he is set up for progress. He already ran to an RPR of 81, so if natural improvement kicks in and he is ready to go on his seasonal debut then a mark of 79 could easily underestimate him.

Selection:
10pts win – Dakota Gold @ 12/1 Bet365

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6.30 Nottingham: Maiden Stakes, 10f

The Sea The Stars colt Crystal Ocean at the top of the market looks really exciting and could be too good for the rest in this field, but the equally very well bred Godolphin runner Forever Song might well be in the same category.

Forever Song is by Dubawi and a full-brother to the very useful Whispering Gallery, a Group 3 winner and rated a 112 on the flat. He was also a very sharp on his debut, winning first time out and subsequently two good handicaps.

This lad has a Derby entry so there is a chance that this debut race is more like an educational run, but I am be rather confident in his sharpness and race fitness given that William Buck heading over from Newbury in the afternoon for this single ride.

Selection: 
10pts win – Forever Song @ 7/1 Bet365

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8.00 Nottingham: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

Competitive little race but bottom weight The Big Short could easily exploit a possibly lenient mark here. He showed that he is not useless in a couple of races last season, finishing in the money without winning.

He was, however, a mid-March foal and looked often sluggish with a huge frame to fill that would need a bit of time. He appears scopey and one that will improve as a three year old, no doubt.

There are slight worries about the fast ground and the widest draw, but that aside Franny Norton makes the journey here on his sole ride at Nottingham and he has an impressive strike rate in this scenario.

Selection:
10pts win – The big Short @ 7/1 Bet 365

Monday’s Racing Talk

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Always a great feeling to get it right, particularly if it yields in a 12/1 winner. I spotted yesterday that Dandy Man juveniles perform exceptionally well in maidens at Pontefract – albeit a small sample size, a 100% place record seemed significant enough.

Sky Gypsy enhanced the record to three winners from six starters (6/6 placed) and while this could be all just pure chance and luck, I feel there is more to it, given Pontefract is quite a special track.

Overall ten from 18 runners have been placed for Dandy Man at Pontefract, which is a good indicator that this is a legit trend – but his offspring generally tends to do best in their juvenile season.

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So there is no surprise to see his two year old’s fare so well in maidens here at Ponti. Certainly a trend to monitor.

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Protectionist an Arc Contender? 

I’d say so! The 2014 Melbourne Cup winner never seemed happy at ‘Down Under’ after landing the big race, so it was a wise decision from connections to send him back home to Germany.

Here he’s finally back to his best, as seen at Berlin Hoppegarten on Sunday where he won the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Berlin in emphatic style!

Protectionist obviously possesses an abundance of stamina, though he is not only a world class stayer, but equally a top class middle distance horse in my view.

In fact he looks perfectly suited to a test like the Arc in October. He thrives in big fields, he doesn’t mind cut in the ground and he has a bit of a turn of foot.

Protectionist is now three from three this season and if he comes through his next test, which will be the Grosser Preis von Baden, then he’s definitly Arc bound in a bid to emulate the last German winner of the big race: Danedream.

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Monday Selections:

2.45 Thirsk: Humbert @ 9/2 Skybet
4.15 Thirsk: New Signal @ 6/1 Coral