Tag Archives: Thursday

Thursday Selections: 28th July 2022

1.50 Goodwood: Class 2 Handicap, 1m 2f

A seriously competitive Handicap. I can make a case for a number of horses here. And that’s why I’d rather not get involved in these type of races – usually. But I am too excited about Migdam not to get involved after all.

He is short enough in the betting but I reckon could look like a generous price post race if he turns out to be anywhere near as good as I think he can be.

Leaving his debut firmly behind in when winning his second and third career run last year, he started this season at Doncaster last month. It was his handicap debut as well and he proved to be well ahead of his opening mark.

He travelled well, he was brave, he overcame some bumps and trouble during the race and then kicked away in impressive fasion in the final furlong to leave some decent opposition standing – including next time out winner Adjourn.

This here is much harder and he’s 5lb higher in the mark: he’s yet to run especially fast judged on topspeed. But he looks to have tons of upside, possibly as a stakes horse and should be capable of better than a 95 Official Rating. He was also noted to have been working really well at home too, which gives me additional confidence.

10pts win – Migdam @ 7/2

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7.30 Epsom: Class 4 Handicap, 7f

Falesia Beach on decent ground over 7 furlongs off a 71 mar? Sounds like the ideal scenario I envisioned when she ran into my notebook at Newmarket six weeks ago.

Back then over 6 furlongs, she was outpaced at various stages of the race but fought really gamely all the way to the line to finish third only half a lengths beaten.

Clearly she needs an additional furlong, as does her pedigree suggest given the stamina on the dam side, plus previous performances indicating that too.

She is still lightly raced enough to see some improvement, certainly over 7 furlongs on decent to fast ground, which, judged by the Newmarket performance, could be what she wants.

She ran to topspeed 71 that day too. So if she can improve for the additional furlong on this type of ground then there is every chance she will be well-handicapped.

10pts win – Falesia Beach @ 7/2

Thursday Selections: 14th July 2022

2.20 Hamilton: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

Ustath is so desperately ready to win a race…. if the ground stays fast. There is some rain on the way, possibly it won’t be enough to turn the ground to slower than the current good to fast, but Hamilton has watered – of course – so you never know.

I feel he clearly needs solid fast ground to be seen to best effect these days, but I take the risk. Ustath has caught the eye a number of times this year, certainly ran better than bare forms suggest even though his ever falling mark would contradict this notion too.

He’s down to a turf mark of 50 now. He’s ran to topspeeds of 50+ a whopping 18 times in his career on all surfaces, and ran to 50 and 58 on the All-Weather earlier this year, suggesting he’s clearly up- if not a good bit better than this revised Official Rating.

He was not best placed two weeks ago at Thirsk, ran with plenty of credit over the minimum trip at Ripon and was badly hampered at Catterick. The stiff Hamilton 6 furlongs should suit perfectly, especially on fast ground.

10pts win – Ustath @ 4/1

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7.20 Leopardstown: Group Meld Stakes, 9f

You could make a case for anyone and against anyone in this field. The one that I am prepared to give a chance is Boundless Ocean. He seems underappreciated, even though normally he wouldn’t be a bet for me either.

He’s yet to better an 83 topspeed rating in nine lifetime starts, but there are some mitigating factors, hence I am prepared to give him a pass. This Group 3 event over 9 furlongs looks an ideal test that hopefully sees him run a strong race.

He caught the eye a few times this season. I certainly liked his Derby run better than the 6/8 finish would reveal. He was held up in last position and settled better than in previous races, which is not to say he wasn’t keen at different stages throughout the race, regardless.

He had a lot to do from the back of the field turning for home given the race was won at the frontend. He then made a good looking move from three furlongs out until emptying in the closing stages. The trip as beyond him in any case.

He’s a difficult colt to ride it seems. Can miss the break and often pulls really hard for his head. But he clearly got some talent. I felt he was a bit unlucky in the Gallinule Stakes when short of room at a crucial stage and pulled way too hard over 12 furlongs when runner-up subsequently.

A drop to 9 furlongs seems a wise move especially in this lesser company against some beatable rivals. There are no excuses today. I would hope he’s good enough to book himself another opportunity in higher grade subsequently.

10pts win – Boundless Ocean @ 4/1

Thursday Selections: 7th July 2022

Third winner for the month last night with Liberty Breeze winning at Catterick in really nice fashion. It couldn’t have been going any better from start to finish. Once she hit the front she put it to bed nicely. Back in green for July, but the month is still fresh.

Mr Marvlos ran a shocker at Kempton after a poor start. My record on the All-Weather over the last twelve months is quite appalling. It’s something I need to be more selective and only back a certain type of horse.

The same goes for class 6 Handicaps. Even though Liberty Breeze was a winner in the lowest grade yesterday, my record is negative over this year and also if looking further back, even if only accounting for turf races. This might be down to the nature of these low-grade races where you never can be sure who’s there to run on merit or who’s on a going day.

I don’t find the same issues even if only one grade higher, in class 5. You would think the difference in class is marginal but it’s not. You regularly see some talented horses run in this lowly grade that can then go on to move up the “food chain”.

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6.53 Epsom: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

This is quite a competitive little heat, the favourite Otago certainly a fair one given his course and distance record. Most rivals can’t be discounted, though, hence I feel Otago takes too much space in this market.

The one that interests me most is Hector Loza: for a new yard with a reduced mark, a solid 3lb claimer on board, a good draw to attack the race in his usual front-running style and a track that can favour those with the speed over this trip on fast ground.

There are obvious question marks. His recent performances were poor. A change of scenery needs to sweeten him up. I have also question marks on the fast ground given his best is on the All-Weather and he wore bandages the last time out.

But at the same time Hector Loza is still rather unexposed on turf and has shown in his limited runs on the green grass that he acts on it. His career-best came in a Group 3 on fast ground over 7 furlongs a few years ago.

He stays the trip and ran eight times in his career to topspeeds of 54 plus. The last time matching this when a credible third at Wolverhampton in December when doing way too much in front.

He’s 10lb lower in the ratings today. There are reasons for that but any return to some kind of form, and if he takes well to the fast ground around Epsom, he could be hard to peg back once in front.

10pts win – Hector Loza @ 13.5

Thursday Selections: 30th June 2022

3.00 Haydock: Class 3 Handicap, 7f

A field full of question marks. None more so than behind Monsieur Jumbo after his recent seemingly disappointing effort at Beverley. However, if you can forgive him that particular run you see a pretty consistent horse that ran quite a bit better than bare form suggests.

I think there is good reason to show leniency and forgive the Beverley performance. Beside his customary poor start, he simply didn’t seem to enjoy the sharp, turning track in combination with the fastish ground. He didn’t get the best of runs home, either, and didn’t seem to stay the 8.5 furlongs in its entirety.

Even though the jury is still out whether he really gets home over a mile or slightly above, given on pedigree that looks possible; though at Nottingham before, even though seemingly staying on, he simply slowed a little bit less than some very tired horses in front of him.

In any case 7 furlongs is fine and I imagine ease in the ground may help as well to slow things down just a little bit. Haydock is an easier track and should suit, given Monsieur Jumbo ran really well at similar type of tracks, including once here as a juvenile.

He was only a neck beaten on proper soft ground over 6 furlongs at Ayr in his final start last year. He came back and won quite well over 7 furlongs at Newcastle. He ran with credit in all subsequent races – bar the latest Beverly performance. And was seriously eye-catching at Wolverhampton in May when third coming from behind in a race dominated by the front-runners.

The handicapper hasn’t been lenient at all. Dropped him only a single pound since Beverley. But the Wolverhampton runs suggests he could be better than this mark, especially if he can find a bit of improvement for the trip in these conditions with cheek-pieces on again. It’s Tom Eaves only ride on the day, which may or may not bear any significance too.

It’s obviously a massive price, which doesn’t make any sense from a form perspective. He’s got form that ties in with Skittlebombz, who’s a 11/2 at the time of writing.

He’s got an entry days later. I have an inclination for what might be going on and that may mean I won’t get a run for my money. But this is a silly price for a horse clearly with a much better chance if allowed to run on merit.

10pts win – Monsieur Jumbo @ 20/1

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3.30 Haydock: Class 4 Handicap, 7f

Any additional drop of rain will be of benefit to Cold Stare. The 7-year-old is more than ready to win, especially as he now gets suitable ground conditions and drops down to class 4 where. The last two times he raced in this grade (last season) he won both times off 85 and 87 marks, including over course and distance and ran to topspeeds 88 and 91.

He’s now down to 85 again, after meeting better opposition lately and not rarely having softish ground conditions. He caught the eye last month over this CD, too, when there was a tiny bit of ease in the ground as he made significant progress from the back of the field in a hot contest before tiering late.

He was a massive eyecatcher at Doncaster on his seasonal reappearance as well when multiple times hampered and short of room in the closing stages. Six pounds lower today than at the start of the season it’s clear Cold Stare is handicapped to win, especially over this CD on softish ground.

He’s got to carry a big weight but that shouldn’t stop him, given he’s the class act in this field and ran incredibly well off heavy weights in the past.

10pts win – Cold Stare @ 11/2

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7.11 Epsom: Class 3 Handicap, 6f

Papa Cocktail makes tons of appeal dropping down to 6 furlongs in first-time blinkers. He caught the eye a number of times lately, but gave the indication he wouldn’t mind this drop in trip.

It should be a pretty fast race but stamina more than speed may be the decisive factor in the end. Bowman and Dubai Hope will probably go out hard. All this should suit Papa Cocktail who often travels quite well but was found out over a mile and a bit unlucky last time at Newmarket when short of room at a crucial stage. I reckon that particular piece of form is really strong.

Off a mark off 78 he offers a bit of upside I feel. He ran to topspeed 75 the last time, to 79 in April. He’s still quite unexposed over 6 furlongs. Two runs, both better than the bare form suggests.

Blinkers should help him to focus especially towards the end of the race. Given he stays further but has enough speed for the trip looks an ideal combination for this race.

10pts win – Papa Cocktail @ 9/2

Thursday Selections: 23rd June 2022

2.00 Newmarket: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4f

Vaynor was quite impressive winning at Bath when stepping up to 14 furlongs for the first time. The improvement wasn’t down to the trip in isolation I feel, but probably was a combination of distance and surface/going.

The surface stays the same, the ground should be fast here at Newmarket, while the drop to 12 furlongs doesn’t worry me. He showed plenty of tactical speed a Bath in what looks solid form, given those behind him ran well in the meantime.

The way he accelerated in the home straight and kicked clear suggested he has enough speed for the shorter trip.

Possibly the penny has dropped too. He was fancied a number of times, although never justified the support in the betting in three starts on the All-Weather this year.

He ran to topspeed 65 at Bath, can race off 67 today, but will go up another two pounds in the future. Given there is potentially more to come in these circumstances he a highly compelling proposition from a handicapping perspective.

10pts win – Vaynor @ 7/2

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4.40 Nottingham: H&H Apprentice Handicap, 1m 6f

This type of race wouldn’t be my cup of tea normally but Master Grey looks to have a good chance to outrun his price here. Form wise he must be in with a big shout and he certainly gets the trip.

He’s one who can catch the eye often when staying on late without winning. He made another of those noteworthy efforts earlier this month when he came from a long way back to finish 5th at Bath.

He’s got the same apprentice rider on board here, who’s pretty solid and looks value for his 5lb claim in this sort of race.

Master Grey strikes me as the horse you can ride hands and heels and he’ll just stay on and on and on. Which looks a good match for this race with potentially a lot of early speed and many inexperienced riders who may judge things wrong.

My hope is Oliver Searle will judge things right, have Master Grey in a position where he’s not have to travel home from as far as another galaxy and then pick them off in the home straight.

10pts win – Master Grey @ 10.5

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6.15 Leicester: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 2f

Going against a well fancied Haggas handicap debutant isn’t often a smart thing to do but I think bottom-weight Malcolm has nearly as good a chance to win in this rather uncompetitive affair.

Malcolm wasn’t fancied at all on his turf- and handicap debut earlier this month after showing nothing in three starts before. He returned from a break and gelding operation too.

He travelled well in the rear of the field, made a nice move from over 4 furlongs out on the outside getting alongside the actual winner, who eventually quickens a bit better. Malcolm isn’t helped by a rival to his side bumping and pushing him toward the inside at a crucial stage. He still manages to finish 3rd in the end.

This was probably quite a good race for this class that should work out well. With a clearer run Malcolm would have finished even closer and wouldn’t have been allowed to race off the same mark today. With a strong claimer in the saddle he looks weighted for a massive run.

10pts win – Malcolm @ 6.2

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7.15 Leicester: Class 5 Handicap. 6f

The key question for Tyson is obviously how he handles the start and the early phase of the race. He’s a temperamental sort but clearly talented.

He showed some promise as a juvenile, entering his 3-year-old season potentially a bit exposed already. He’s yet to go close in three starts this year, but showed more than the bare form suggests I firmly believe.

Especially last time at Kempton when heavily bumped out of the gates, consequently lit up and way too keen he showed a nice change of gear in the home straight, but ultimately paid for racing way to inefficiently.

He drops another 3lb in his mark and looks certainly dangerous off 75 in this field.

10pts win – Tyson @ 9.2

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9.00 Hamilton: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

Macho Pride ran well the last two times; he finished a solid fifth in a strong contest at Pontefract after a narrow runner-up performance in a hot Haydock sprint, when he had make a highly inefficient move to the outside of the field to get a run which possibly cost him victory.

He drops down to class 6 today, on the same mark as back in April, 8 pounds lower than his last winning mark.

He clearly is in pretty good form; perhaps not quite as good when a 1.5 lengths beaten fifth in class 4 at Haydock in September off a mark off 80, running to topspeed 75. But down to a 67 rating, with a useful 3lb claimer in the saddle he must have a strong chance to add a third career success.

10pts win – Macho Pride @ 4.6

Thursday Selections: 2nd June 2022

3.46 Hamilton: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 5f

This isn’t a competitive race as you would expect over this extended trip in this class. You can make a case for the short-priced favourite Haven Lady, but she looks quite high in the ratings now and is opposable.

Ghostly comes down to a good mark again but handicap newcomer Aighear is clearly the most interesting. Off bottom weight she looks ready to strike moving up in trip.

She caught my eye in her last run at Carlisle when finishing at the back of the field, never put into a position to challenge, but travelled quite well through the race over an inadequate 7 furlongs trip.

It’s fair to say she has been buried in her first three starts on the flat after a promising debut in a bumper in March. That particular form looks quite strong thanks to the winner who franked the form significantly. Even that day, possibly not surprisingly on her a debut, Aighear got an education ride and only late was called on to ride for a proper finish.

Her dam was a solid staying handicapper, so stamina is assured, if any further evidence was needed after the debut over 1m 7.5f in a bumper. Any rain will be welcome today. That is the one concern I have that things will still happen too fast today.

But at the same time I’m quite confident that t she is better than a 44 or 46 mark over this sort of trip. The fact she steps up in distance so sharply suggests there is no hiding place today – it’s “D-Day” for her.

10pts win – Aighear @ 4/1