Tag Archives: Thursday

Thursday Selections: 1st June 2023

Imperial Khan won his race in fine style at Beverley on Wednesday. A no-nonsense ride by Laura Coughlin this time gave the gelding a very first career win.

Soul Seeker, in contrast, emptied quickly and was pretty disappointing, he was also a drifter in the betting beforehand. And yet, if you would have put a gun to my head, he’d have been my NAP today.

No complaints: it was a positive ending to May, no matter what.

170pts profit, 8 winners, 32% ROI.

Third green months in a row. After a shaky start to the 2023 the P/L sheet shows a healthy profit: 470pts.

I changed tack slightly in May: going more aggressively after selections, backing in the work done through the eyecatchers and showing a little less restraint in always waiting for the absolute perfect conditions for the horses I want to back.

53 selections later and a green months means that has worked. Only on the surface, though. Ultimately, I relied on a big price to come in to save the day… or the month, so to speak.

Finding the right balance will decide over success and failure for the rest of the year. I have to reign it in a little bit, without going back to that ultra-conservative approach of the past, which worked, but didn’t capitalise on all the effort that goes into the eyecatchers in first place.

As always it’s a constant process of optimisation. Shaping and re-shaping the process. Learning from the experience of others and being open to new ideas.

The details on all selections can be found as always in the Betting P&L.


3.12 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 5f

Victors Dream was somewhat unfortunate a week ago at Wolverhampton and should be able to make amends off a similar mark here.

That day he had to overcome the widest draw and settled in rear, both a disadvantage in that race. He travelled strongly into the home straight, though had too much to do against front-running winner and also had give ground away all the time.

He finished much the best and achieved a strong 58 speed rating on what was his handicap debut. It was a significant improvement on everything he had done in three starts prior.

In any case, the gelding looks clearly ready to win off a 60 mark, especially with a low draw to attack the race from as he also drops into a slightly easier race.

10pts win – Victors Dream @ 3/1


5.00 Yarmouth: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

How often can a horse catch the eye before you have to conclude he’s just not a genuine type? Let’s find out because Flying Secret is one of those notorious horses that attracts the comment “Eyecatcher” frequently.

It’s fair to say it was another eye-catching run on his seasonal reappearance at Chelmsford last month. He clearly wasn’t there to win but showed plenty enough to suggest he’s in shape.

The only surprise was see him run over 7 furlongs there. It’s a trip I believe is going to prove his optimum when the handbrake is off. He tried a number of times over 6 furlongs last season, when he was sometimes caught out for speed, other times bumped into well-handicapped rivals.

Whether he’s here to try remains to be seen. The Yard has a poor spell and Charles Bishop even gets odds-on shots beaten at the moment.

But if he’s here to win then I think off 71 on fast ground in class 5 over 7f he’s at least a solid win ahead of the handicapper. This is easier than most races he ran so well in over the last twelve month also.

10pts win – Flying Secret @ 11/2

Thursday Selections: 25th May 2023

2.40 Catterick: Class 6 Handicap, 5f

Birdie Bowers finally gets his conditions and he should be capable of much better than the price suggest. On turf he clearly needs better ground to be seen to best effect, and he gets it here.

The majority of his last runs were quite good and noteworthy, especially those on turf in softish conditions, including this course and distance, when he also ran a solid speed rating.

He confirmed his well-being with a good effort in competitive Handicap at Newcastle where 6f and the stiff finish were stretching him too much after going a strong pace as well.

He continues to fall in the ratings, can race now off 2lb lower than his last winning mark, when he won at Beverley on decent ground last August off 51.

10pts win – Birdie Bowers @ 12/1


3.40 Catterick: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

Favourite Ghost Lights is obvious interest as one of my eyecatchers. However, I feel he is better over 7 furlongs and is short enough a price to take on, with that in mind.

Azaim is another one who caught the eye – last time out at Musselburgh: after a sluggish first furlong he pushed forward to lead at a seriously fast pace, certainly in the first half of the race, before he fell away rapidly from over 2f out.

This was also a hot race with first and second very well-handicapped, hence the performance warrants an upgrade.

He doesn’t stay 7 furlongs, and neither did he have a chance to get home in the majority of his recent races. Still lightly enough raced, he’s an intriguing runner as he drops down to 6f.

10pts win – Azaim @ 9/1


4.10 Catterick: Class 6 Handicap 6f

I’m interested in Captain Kirkup after his recent run but probably these aren’t his ideal conditions, so worth to wait for another day. However Lezardrieux showed great form the last two runs and has a strong chance here.

On his penultimate run at Newcastle he went really hard from the front, set a strong pace and travelled strongly. he was challenged from 2f out but remained in front until fading late.

It was a strong race with a good speed rating and it was noteworthy that he was able to follow up next time at Catterick with another strong run .

He was rather unfortunate as it was quite tight around the first bend and he was repeatedly short of room in the home straight, though.

This is a hot enough contest, but he’s got a good draw and is clearly in excellent form, ready to win.

10pts win – Lezardrieux @ 11/2


7.52 Chelmsford: Class 6 Handicap, 7f

Love Destiny has been running better in recent weeks than the bare form would tell. He caught the eye at Kempton in March the way he stayed on after being seemingly beaten and I thought he travelled seriously well last time over this CD before going backwards.

He dropped dramatically in the weights and finds himself in a race today that could be set up perfectly for him. There isn’t much pace to compete with, so Atzeni could move quickly forward to try and steel it.

With first-time blinkers applied over Love Destiny’s preferred course and distance – he’s two from three here – he looks seriously overpriced.

10pts win – Love Destiny @ 11/1

Thursday Selections: 18th May 2023

14 losers on the bounce. Then came Soul Sister. She romped home in the Musidora on Wednesday and made a mockery of the 21/1 odds on offer.

A winner I needed to get back into green for May, which looked rather dismal up until the moment Frankie Dettori pressed the button on the filly as she accelerated and dipped bellow 11 seconds to storm home.

Chinthurst ran a solid race at Bath to finish 4th. Ultimately he wasn’t good enough. Will need to review the race again before making a decision whether he’s one worth persisting with.


3.35 York. Group 2 Dante Stakes, 1m 2½f

This looks a hot edition of the Dante. I really like Epictetus and not just because he’s written one of my favourite books… the philosopher, not the horse, that is.

Epictetus is the only colt in the field with a 100+ speed rating to his name. Not sure he wants to much further than 10 furlongs. This additional half furlong may be too far, ultimately.

The experience and stamina of Flying Colours looks interesting, as long as he trained on, as he also ran to a 98 speed rating last year. Lightly-raced Passenger, Canberra Legend and recent Ballysax winner White Birch offer plenty of upside.

The one I’m incredibly keen to see for a while now is also finally making his belated seasonal reappearance: Continuous.

He’s one of my 3-year-olds to follow and certainly one of the more intriguing ones. And how could it be any different with his pedigree.

 A son of Japanese sire Heart’s Cry – who was a winner of the Sheema Classic in 2006 – out of Fluff, which was down to pure chance because the mare was supposed to be covered by Deep Impact, who sadly passed away right before she arrived in Japan.

Continues is the only son of Heart’s Cry actively racing in the UK and Ireland (possibly Europe) right now. His sire is well known for stamina in Japan, having sired Japan Cup winners and other multiple international top-class horses over middle-distance top-class .

He won well at the Curragh over 7 furlongs when he made all on his racecourse debut as he kicked on over 2 furlongs out to achieve an 80 speed rating as well, which confirmed he’s possibly a smart one.

Continuous went on to win a Group 3 at Saint-Cloud over a mile. A gutsy performance in a slowly run race that didn’t suit him. I loved the attitude he showed in those first two career runs.

There no doubt in my mind he’ll improve moving up in trip and with age. Therefore 10.5f won’t be an issue. Neither should be track. He strikes me as a relentless galloper, who should enjoy York.

On the other hand the ground is a question mark. His juvenile form came on deep ground and he seems to hit the ground hard enough. It’s also a concern that he makes a belated seasonal reappearance. He was supposed to start much earlier, but Aiden O’Brien is on the record that he needed time.

How fit is Continuous here? I reckon they wouldn’t bother travelling over, as well as him as the sole entry for the Dante, if he wouldn’t be ready to go.

He’s doesn’t have an entry for the Derby, though. It’s Ascot and the Irish Derby as well as the Eclipse. That worries me less. Because he’ll have to run well enough to take up those entries.

Ryan Moore didn’t sound too excited about this lad for the Dante when asked. So there are enough negatives to leave him alone. On the other hand, the price is silly, as there’s enough to believe he can outrun these odds easily given his pedigree, the talent he showed as a juvenile.

10pts win – Continuous @ 11/1


6.55 Newmarket: Class 4 Handicap, 7f

This could be the opportunity connections have been waiting for with Lord Rapscallion. It looks a perfect race for a number of reasons.

For one, his latest effort in a hot class 2 Handicap over this course and distance doesn’t read too well on the surface; however, one can easily argue he ran well, and perhaps even outperformed market expectations given he was only 4¼ lengths beaten as a 22/1 shot.

He travelled well for a long time and didn’t fade too badly in the final furlong, either. This is clearly a horse in good form. He was, though, outclassed.

This here is much, much easier. From 0-105 down to 0-80 level. Prior to this he showed a clear uptick in form at Chelmsford last month as well. it was a good run there, one that was an improvement on anything he showed since winning back to back in December.

He won off 76 and 80 then, and it’s looks significant that he dropped town to his last winning mark now again. He’s probably a little bit better on turf, though. He ran twice to speed rating 84+ last year on turf over 7 furlongs, which means he’s got a bit in hand, possibly.

Lord Rapscallion may prefer the July course over the Rowley Mile, but as mentioned earlier, he looked solid over this CD recently, and with the drying ground expected, shouldn’t have an issue to act here.

The race may develop in an ideal way for him as well. There is plenty of pace on. He is at his best when he can closely follow a good pace. That’s scenario is given here and he sees out the trip strongly, even can win over a mile.

10pts win – Lord Rapscallion @ 9/1

Thursday Selections: 27th April 2023

2.20 Beverley: Class 4 Handicap, 5f

Pretty quick turnaround for Ventura Flame, who ran about a week ago over this course and distance.

It was huge performance, and that’s a question mark whether he can back it up so quickly. On the other hand, it’s only his second run this year and he looks in great form.

When last seen he tracked the pace early on before taking up the lead over 2f out. Still ahead entering the final furlong before he was beaten by a strong finisher from off the pace half a furlong from home.

He’s down to last winning mark from spring 2022, since then ran twice 74 speed rating plus, including near career-best 77 last year and drops into an easier grade here.

There doesn’t seem too much other pace to compete against, hence the #7 won’t be an issue. That aside, there doesn’t seem to be any real danger in this field either. He should be too good off a his74 mark.

10pts win Ventura Flame @ 3/1


4.00 Beverley: Class 4 Handicap, 8.5f

This looks a wide open contest but without a clear and obvious favourite. Even though I would prefer a slightly longer trip for him, I still think it’s worth to back Pillar Of Hope in this field.

For a 5-year-old he’s quite lightly raced and the reason for that might be what appears to be his rather light frame. Perhaps that’s the reason why he performed well upon his return off a break in the past.

Indeed, in early March, after 110 days away from the track, he ran pretty well when 5th at Newcastle in a pretty strong race.

He was alertly away, disputed the lead, until he came under pressure from 2 furlongs out. He was quickly going backwards, but eventually kept on rather strongly up the stiff finish.

Beverley isn’t that stiff. but the slightly longer trip, up the hill to the line, on possibly rain softened ground with solid pace expected, should make this enough a test of stamina.

He achieve a career-best last September at Redcar, when he ran to 86 speed rating and winning off 82. Now 2lb lower, he could have enough in hand against this opposition even over this trip.

Rain is forecasted for late afternoon. The earlier arrives the better, to ensure there remains some of that good to soft before off time. Also the fact that he had ample time to recover from the recent outing gives hope.

10pts win – Pillar Of Hope @ 5/1

Thursday Selections: 13th April 2023

7.30 Chelmsford: Class 6 Handicap, 7f

Love Destination and Global Tycoon are two intriguing eyecatchers here. Previously flagged Tomas Equinas is also in the race and remains of interest back in handicap company off a 50 OR.

Nonetheless, Global Tycoon is the one I am most interested in. This pretty lightly raced gelding drops down to the 7f trip, which should suit as it will help him to settle and relax a bit better than he did over a mile .

I quite liked his recent comeback run at Southwell over a mile having returned from 274 days off the track, though. He quickly moved forward to grab the lead, not uncontested for the most part, though.

He was keen in the first half of the race but then travelled well enough turning for home, before he hung over 1f out, which was also when he finally relinquished the lead for good.

Perhaps he needed the run and that was a reason why dropped out badly in the final 200 yards but I’m neither sold on Global Tycoon truly staying a mile.

He won well at Kempton over 7f on handicap debut last autumn off a mark of 53, doing so quite comfortably, suggesting he was certainly ahead of his mark that day, even though the form didn’t amount to much, in truth.

He remains still lightly raced. This here is going to be only his seventh career run, his fourth handicap start and second time over 7 furlongs.

He’ll makes tons of appeal off his reassessed 56 mark, especially with a solid 5lb claiming apprentice in the saddle.

Cheek-pieces are an interesting addition that may address any tendencies to hang in the closing stages. It’s not quite clear how the pace will unfold here but I reckon Global Tycoon won’t be too far away and can lead, if required.

10pts win – Global Tycoon @ 6/1

All-Weather Thursday Selections: 16th March 2023

6.10 Southwell: Class 6 Handicap, 7f

I loved the return off 139 days from Saisons D’Or at Newcastle two weeks ago. He travelled well for a long time and seemed the one going best with less than 1.5 furlongs to go, ready to win the race. He fell away in the final furlong, though.

He ran to a good 59 speed rating, not too far off his current handicap mark. There is every reason to believe he can improve for the run. His spring form is usually really strong, he tends to run really well in the first two-three runs after a winter break.

Now an eight-year-old he isn’t getting any younger, but he’s fallen to a really good mark as he also has dropped into class 6.

This doesn’t look a strong race, hence I think the #7 draw may not be too much an issue to overcome. The yard tends to avoid this track with fancied runners at all, though. That’s a concern.

10pts win – Saisons D’Or @ 11.5/1


8.00 Chelmsford: Class 4 Handicap, 1m

Plenty of unknowns here but one wo is most likely to improve significantly from his three starts as a juvenile is Get Stuck In.

He caught my eye in his final two runs last year; at Kempton and then Newmarket, he ran with tons of credit in pretty hot contests. What I loved most was the attitude he showed on those occasions.

Not only did he look straightforward enough, but also went forward, and tried really hard when challenged heavily in the closing stages.

Going up in trip to a mile can only be a positive, given his pedigree. He’s been gelded, which in itself may bring out additional improvement.

What gives me plenty of hope that this lad is ready to roll is the fact Mark/Charlie Johnston’s 4-year-olds have an excellent record on their reappearance off a break on the All-Weather.

Further to this, the pace in this race could be a muddy. But he likes to go forward, most likely, and could enjoy an uncontested lead. He may be hard to peg back.

10pts win – Get Stuck In @ 7/2


8.20 Dundalk: 47-70 Handicap, 1m

Leabaland must be one of the unluckiest horses on Dundalk circuit given this winter. He’s often ran a lot better than bare form would read; one who definitely seems to find the trouble more often than not, has also been unfortunate with wide draws.

Each of his last five runs since he entered my radar in mid-October produced their own drama, and it wasn’t different when last seen in February over this course and distance as he just couldn’t get that the clear run, from entering the home straight until it was game over.

He looks clearly capable of his slightly revised mark of 60. Especially this time he enjoys a low draw, which will be a huge advantage. He’s a solid starter, and can just move forward, see how things fall, but in any case should be in a position to get a clear run this time.

There shouldn’t be any excuses this time. If he’s good enough this time is the day…. I think he’s good enough; added bonus having Seamie Heffernan in the saddle, who rode Leabaland to his last victory, ten month ago.

Hence I think these current prices are total bonkers. Of course, if things look too good to be true, often they aren’t true. We’ll find out tomorrow night.

10pts win – Leabaland @ 17/2

All-Weather Thursday Selections: 9th March 2023

1.15 Southwell: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

It was an odd race and even odder ride Primo’s Comet received at Newcastle last month when last seen. It also was quite impressive how the veteran gelding finished his race there.

He was restrained early on, seemingly impeded around 4f out as pace wasn’t rapid and it got tight amongst those held up. He switched eventually to get a run against the inside rail but didn’t find space until late, while the jockey in the saddle wasn’t all that bothered, it seemed.

In any case, the way the 8-year-old finished suggests he must be hitting some serious form. That comprises with his rapidly falling handicap mark.

Nonetheless, he still managed to run to 61 and 63 speed rating in October and November, therefore looks handicapped to go close on that evidence alone, now rated 63.

He’s got a favourable low draw here and should enjoy the chaotic and frantic pace to be expected in this race to be delivered in the closing stages for a turn of foot.

10pts win – Primo’s Comet @ 11/2


7.45 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 7f

The wider than ideal #9 draw is a concern, but that aside there’s an awful lot to like about Fanzone here in a winnable contest.

This is going to be his second run after a break. That most recent comeback run nine days ago was seriously eye catching, suggesting the 6-year-old gelding is in fine form and very much ready to win.

Nine days ago he wasn’t quite the sharpest out of a wider than ideal draw and looked a bit keen, as he settled in midfield. He travelled really well for a long time but had to wait to be angled out to the stands’ side rail for a clear run.

Once in the clear he found plenty for pressure. In fact he finished fastest for the last two furlongs.

It was an excellent comeback run after 188 days off. He also caught the eye a number of times last year on the flat.

Yet, racing off a career lowest mark he makes a lot of appeal as he drops in grade as well, into 0-55 level, with in-form Oisin Murphy in the saddle.

10pts win – Fanzone @ 7/1

All-Weather Thursday Selections: 2nd March 2023

Painful. Two 2nd placed efforts, including one beaten on the line and one blatant non-trier. Frustrating day. Again. May Remain looked to have it with half a furlong to go but then tired rapidly to get pinged shortly before the line. Agonising to watch.

Big Bard was probably too far back, finished solid for second place, but ultimately was fair and square beaten, in truth.

Muy Muy Guapo drifted out to 14/1 SP today, the writing was on the wall. And so it happened, as ‘surprisingly’ the colt started slowly and didn’t get a ride that would have given him any chance to get close.

That’s okay. it’s the game I have chosen to play voluntarily. It’s just the little bit harder to take during such rotten spell as it is for the last three weeks.


5.50 Chelmsford: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

Give A Little Back? Probably not here. Up in class, around Chelmsford, this may be too sharp, the opposition too classy. I still hope to get my day with him another time.

The other one who is of serious interest is Letmelivemylife. He caught the eye in no uncertain terms last time. That was his debut for a new yard after a break since August.

He was held up after an alter enough start, travelled really strongly but gave ground away when turning widest. He wasn’t really asked for full effort until late and finished nicely, nonetheless.

You would hope he can improve for the outing. However, he wasn’t seen since then, now it’s four weeks later, that begs the question why? On the other hand, he seems a tricky sort given his lightly raced profile over the last two years.

He certainly has got a bit of talent as he won twice on the All-Weather as a juvenile and as a 3yo, both wins over 7 furlongs, including here at Chelmsford, when he also ran to a 76 speed rating.

We didn’t see much of him since, and after a bunch of poor showings, he has fallen down to a 74 handicap rating, from an 84 career-highest, only five runs back.

Clearly he showed a significant return to some form the last time, and that gives plenty of hope in this class 5 contest over a C&D he’s 3-1-1 from a good low draw.

10pts win – Letmelivemylife @ 13/2


6.25 Chelmsford: Classified Stakes, 7f

I am not totally sure whether Thomas Equinas truly stays 7 furlongs. But around Chelmsford in a race that may not be run at the furious gallop he should have a decent chance.

If he does get home he could have a class edge here given he ran extremely well of higher marks at this track over 6 furlongs than what will be required here on level weights where few rivals look legitimately better than the 50 limit.

There were good things in nearly all his last four runs, visually or on the numbers. At this venue in early December over 6 furlongs he was only 2½L beaten off a 57 mark, running to a 54 speed rating. He wasn’t disgraced the next few times, especially his January run here once again was eyecatching.

Last time out from a wide draw after a sluggish start he ran okay when taking into account that he went wide, given a lot of ground away, throughout the race.

Slight worry that he was twice in a row not the sharpest out of the gate. A better draw here and a less frantic early pace may help the cause.

10pts win – Thomas Equinas @ 7/2

Thursday Selections: 23rd February 2023

Unfortunately the scenario where He’s So Brazen goes off hard and doesn’t get home over the stiff 7 furlongs at Newcastle materialised today. Worse: old ‘friend’ Lucky Lucky Lucky got home to win nicely…. clearly not going too well lately.


8.00 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 5f

Gowanbuster has been knocking on the door lately, as he showed plenty of good signs in all his last three runs since his comeback after a wind operation during last summer. He clearly is in superb form and a winner in the making.

He ran to a 59 speed rating last time out; his best in three years. He was ridden with more patience than usual, and came strongly in the second half of the race the challenge for victory, just to beaten by the even stronger finishing and evidently well-handicapped Tathmeen, who won subsequently again.

That was a huge performance and tied in nicely with his two prior runs that were eye catching in their own right.

He drops to the minimum trip again, which I feel is ideal, given the way he faded late after racing much more prominently than the last times. His C&D record is only 9-1-1 but this race looks perfectly set up for his usual racing style.

He should be able to move forward to grab a relatively uncontested lead, which is an advantage over this course and distance. He has the added benefit of staying further, so should be able to keep the challengers at bay in the closing stages.

10pts win – Gowanbuster @ 4/1

Thursday Selections: 2nd February 2023

January ended somewhat in a disaster. Some was down to luck, some was down to poor decision making. I backed poor value and missed out on some huge opportunities at the other end of the spectrum. Minus 35pts to start the year…..

The second half of January was costly. I made nine selections, four were placed (and beaten in somewhat “unlucky circumstances” in some of those) with one winner. If the photo goes Kommetdieding’s way in the Met it’s a handy profit… tight margins.

Due to some small health issues I didn’t have much time to watch a lot of racing lately. Therefore there won’t be a new eyecatchers list at the end of this week (I try to maintain a bi-weekly rhythm if possible).


1.20 Southwell: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

The draw may not look ideal on paper, but I back With Respect to overcome it in this field where not many want to move forward. Also these low to higher draws in 12-runners Handicaps over this CD haven’t been such a dramatic disadvantage as one would normally think they are.

With Respect comes here after two eye-catching runs at Lingfield. started awkwardly on both occasions, which is the key concern today, especially with the #9 draw.

He travelled really well for a long time on both occasions, but fell away in the closing stages. It’s fair to assume he was found out for class and speed in a hot contest the last time. His previous run can be upgraded when he did a lot to get to the front and that piece of form has worked out really well.

He drops down in class. This should be a lot easier. He was smart as a juvenile on his debut running to a 90 speed rating. There must have been issues subsequently, he never reached the same heights subsequently, was gelded and off the track for two years.

It’s fair to hope he’s much fitter now with three solid runs under his belt. Down to a mark of 64 he could be quite well handicapped, as long as he gets it right at the start.

10pts win – With Respect @ 6/1