Marselan should have a good chance to outrun his odds in this open contest. The wide draw is a real concern, given he isn’t a lightning fast starter. But he could be really well handicapped today and may benefit from a red hot pace with many of the rivals keen to be on the front foot.
The 4-year-old was a major eyecatcher last time out. That day he raced as part of a duo isolated on the stands’ side. The pair was lengths behind the main bunch and had plenty to do with two furlongs to go. Marselan found plenty to finish much the strongest to grab 2nd place. He also achieved a career best 60 topspeed rating.
This was the first time after a wind operation. The loss of form last year can most likely be attributed to those issues.
He won of 65 and 67 last summer over 7 furlongs. Now down to 62 he’s obviously well handicapped with the breathing issues rectified. 7furlongs on fast ground could be his optimum – so he’s a play for me today.
10pts win – Marselan @ 10/1
5.00 Beverley: Class 6 Handicap, 7.5f
Cobra Kai couldn’t have been unluckier at Musselburgh earlier this month when he got a horrible trip in the closing stages yet was only beaten in a photo eventually.
The handicapper was lenient and has added only 2lb to the mark for that massive effort that should have seen him win potentially with a bit in hand, which means he should still be a well handicapped today.
The race comes soon enough, which is a question mark. Otherwise I feel the favourite is worth taking on. The Covex Kid won well on the All-Weather and could improve, but this is a different test under a 6lb penalty today.
Cobra Kai been a somewhat unlucky horse in his career, still a maiden, catching the eye a few times. Before the huge lto run he caught my eye at Musselburgh in April over 7 furlongs when he was hampered early on, lit up as a result and still ran a fine race.
The fast ground poses no problems today, the #1 draw is fine and Buick booked is a major bonus given the poor decision making by Mullen was a key reason for Cobra Kai still being a maiden.
This could be the right opportunity for 9-year-old Secretfact to strike again. I have been waiting for the right conditions for the veteran sprinter ever since his interesting comeback run at Bath in April when he shaped a lot better than the 7/7 result.
He followed up with a number of solid performances, even though things didn’t always go his way, including in a strong front-running CD run last month off a 5lb higher mark than today.
His most recent 4th place finish at Bath has once again confirmed his wellbeing. On ground too slow he had to do all the donkey work from the front but only went down fighting in the final furlong.
He dropped another couple of pounds in his rating today. Clearly he’s on a dangerous mark, especially on fast ground. I hope the warm weather helps to make the ground even firmer come race day. The faster the better for him.
This is a competitive race. Others are dangerous too. I do have slight concerns that the ground won’t be quite fast enough eventually. it’s a risk to take given he’s a CD winner, proven wellbeing, ran well the last few weeks, has a top jockey on board and looks overpriced here.
10pts win – Secretfact @ 11/2
8.25 Haydock: Class 5 Handicap, 6f
Kraken Power is really well handicapped today if on a going day after dropping another couple of pounds in the ratings. He caught my eye at Ayr four weeks ago when he made a big move mid-race on the outside. He couldn’t sustain the effort but it was the sort of spark needed to imagine he can win a race again.
He ran better than the bare on his seasonal reappearance at Thirsk. You can discount the most recent Hamilton run. There was no pace early on, he got a bit bumped or at very least found himself in a tight spot on the rails soon after the start, was lit up and as a consequence too keen in soft conditions.
The drying good to soft ground today shouldn’t be an issue. He’s drawn wide but close to possible pace setters, which should give him an ideal scenario to launch his move in the closing stages.
William Buick booked for the ride is eyecatching too. He’s 3/3 for Jim Goldie in 2021/22. Kraken Power has talent – he was rated as high as 86, was placed in good races of 82 last season, as well as ran to topspeed 80. With that mind mind, he is seriously overpriced today.
Sense Of Security was a massive eyecatcher at Bath over a mile, although she pulled hard for the majority of the race, indicating she may enjoy a drop in trip. Hence I felt it was an odd choice to go up in distance the last time. She duely failed to get home over 9.5f at Wolverhampton, running way too freely.
She drops down to 7 furlongs today and that looks the right decision. With the rain coming this afternoon the jury is out whether she likes any sort of give in the ground. It’s a question mark. But that aside, she looks ready to romp home with a clear run.
I base this claim on her penultimate Bath performance over the mile trip, where she travelled keenly in midfield for the majority of the race. Yet she appeared to go strongly turning for home, the jockey taking a pull over 3 furlongs out seemingly with tons in hand. She was multiple times a clear run denied and no doubt with clear passage she’d have gone close.
Sense Of Security has shown promise as a juvenile last last year, as she was placed over 5.5f at Bath in an eye-catching performance. She was a good third at Kempton on her seasonal reappearance last month where she ran to topspeed 61.
Racing off 63 today with a strong jockey booking I feel she has a major chance, even though this is a hot little contest for a class 6 on a Monday afternoon. Either way she’s seriously overpriced.
10pts win – Sense Of Security @ 9.5/1
7.40 Windsor: Class 5 Handicap, 1m
I was interested in The Rain King the last time when he finished down the field at Lingfield eventually. He was a big drifter in the betting on the day. In a race with little early pace he was caught out without cover way too soon as well.
He returns today to Windsor where he seriously caught the eye on his penultimate run. He was an unlucky horse not to win, or at the very least got much closer than a 1.5 lengths beaten 3rd place. He outran a 22/1 price tag that day, first up after a break and wind operation. The form looks solid and he returns to the same CD today.
The Rain King was an expensive £250k yearling and clearly has ability. He was a strong 3rd on debut in a hot maiden when trained in Ireland. Obviously he hasn’t fulfilled the early promise, moved over to Alexandra Dunne and didn’t show much for her until this recent Windsor run on the back of the wind op.
Obviously he needs to take another step forward now, confirm the promise from that penultimate run and prove that he still got the appetite for the game. He’s yet to run beyond topspeed 65, although I feel there are mitigating factors, as outlined before.
He’s drawn in #11 today, which isn’t ideal. But at least he should get a clear run on the outside presumably. If he’s as well handicapped as I feel he possibly is, then he should have enough in hand to win from there.
An uncompetitive race that screams longshot. The favourite Aquamas goes for a hat-trick and may have found a great opportunity but I don’t think he’s overly well handicapped of his revised mark.
From the bottom of the weights – in fact one pound out off the weights – The Retriever makes appeal to me. There are clear risks attached to his chances – his turf form in particular is concerning – but there is a case to be made for him.
The 7-year-old has is on a good stretch of form on the All-Weather. He got almightily close over 7f at Wolverhampton last time out and was only caught late in March over the same CD as well. The form of those two races worked out quite well in the meantime. Especially last month when he grabbed the lead from the widest draw and got only caught on the line rates a big performance
As for his poor turf form: I look for some hope to his penultimate turf run at Catterick back in June 2021 when he was caught wide, always travelling on the outside of the field, but some late headway to finish in 4th place.
I feel conditions today will be just about right at a track that favours the speed horses. He’s got to overcome the widest draw, which is a negative given there is also competition for the lead.
Nonetheless, off a basement mark with the additional assistance of excellent 7lb claimer Aiden Brookes in the saddle The Retriever looks a whole lot more dangerous than the price suggests – granted he’s here to run on merit.
Can you trust Al Aasy? I can’t. No doubt he is – in theory – the best horse in the race. His official rating and 2021 form is testament to this fact. However, it’s undeniable that his sudden form loss toward the end of last season is a major concern.
Possibly dropping down to Listed level on his seasonal reappearance is an ideal pipe opener to build confidence thanks to a relatively easy assignment. If his enthusiasm is back he’ll win this race running backwards.
At the given prices I absolutely must take him on with all the justified doubts, though. In fairness, this field is light in terms real quality. Third Realm has some nice form in the book and ran multiple times to low topspeed ratings of low 90’s, but never beyond TS 92 and all his form comes with cut in the ground.
The only other one who has ran to topspeed ratings of note is Stowell. He’s an obvious choice at given prices. By no means a sexy individual, one who’s more a grinder than flashy accelerator, but one who offers still some upside as a 4-year-old.
Stowell has match fitness on his side after a solid seasonal reappearance at Newbury last month. He’s a course and distance winner and ran with a lot of credit when third in the Queen’s Vase as Royal Ascot. He ran to TS 94 that day, it’s the second best on offer in this field the favourite aside.
I think he’s fast enough for the 1m 4f trip, especially on Listed level against this sort of opposition – if the potential class act Al Aasy isn’t anywhere near as good as he used to be.
This lad strikes me as a rock solid horse and he’s a overpriced in this field today.
10pts win – Stowell @ 4/1
5.15 Ascot: Class 4 Handicap, 6f
I said after his latest disappointing performance at Wolverhampton to keep faith for the day he returns to turf. – so I’ll stick to my word and continue to have financial interest in Chief Little Hawk.
The gelding messed up at Wolver three weeks ago, though, left the impression that he has more to give if things fall right – once again. But Wolverhampton was never going to be the right track for him. Straight 6 furlongs at Ascot on turf should suit a lot better.
Chief Little Hawk was a big eye-catcher for me at Southwell on his penultimate run. As mentioned then, the way he finished in the closing stages from the back of the field in a race dominated by the two pace setters wasn’t what you normally would see from a 40/1 shot.
He wasn’t even hard ridden in the final stages of the race, yet was the third fastest finisher from two furlongs out, according to sectionals – underlying the visual impression.
Since moving yards away from Aiden O’Brien over to Jamie Osborne Chief Little Hawk has rarely been fancied in the betting. He was long odds most of the time, and still managed to finish 4th, only 1.5 lengths beaten as a 50/1 outsider, in a class 2 Handicap at Newmarket of a mark of 94 last August.
He has fallen significantly in the ratings in the meantime. He is now down to an official rating of 80 and runs in a class 4 Handicap on turf for the first time. Given Chief Little Hawk ran to topspeed 83+ on three occasions in the past, I feel he could be really well handicapped.
Obviously this is a massive field, stall 20 is a question mark and the jockey form is poor. But he’s a price I am prepared to run the risk.
A list of horses that caught my eye during the last seven days of racing. These individuals look ready to win a race sooner rather than later.
Main Target 29/04/22 – 7.55 Newcastle:
A touch slow out of the gates, pulled hard in the early stages of the race. Made impressive headway on the outside from 4 furlongs out posting fast sectionals. Contested lead two furlongs from home, then tired in the closing stages and not knocked about.
The way he travelled through the middle part of the race here is evidence that he’s better than the result. It was his first run since being gelded and he dropped down to 6 furlongs as well.
He continues to fall in the ratings, perhaps will do so further. He’s a lovely bred gelding. Even though he’s yet to run fast topspeed ratings I still feel a mark of somewhere around 70 could underestimate him if he can put it all together.
He is still lightly raced enough to hope for better, especially if he steps up in trip. A mile looks highly possible on pedigree. He needs to settle better, though. Headgear would be interesting.
Squeezed right after the start, possibly lit up from the early bump, was keen in phases. Still travelled well enough into the race, albeit away from the pace on the far side where – in my view – it was an advantage to race. In a pocket from three furlongs out, short of room 2 furlongs out. Eased afterwards.
He wasted too much energy early on and raced inefficiently, and wasn’t helped by how the race developed. He is a better colt than this 14/15 finish suggest.
He won the Burradon Stakes at Newcastle in really impressive style on only his second lifetime start after overcoming greenness on debut back in November at Wolverhampton.
Whether he is absolute top-class remains to be seen, but he can win some good races. Perhaps a step up to 10 furlongs would be beneficial, but another try over a mile would be worth a go for the moment, too.
Trais Fluors 30/04/22 – 2.05 Thirsk:
Had to overcome a wide draw and settled in rear after a good start. Travelled well into the home straight behind a wall of horses. Tried to switch to the outside for a clear run from 3 furlongs out but got boxed in. Switched back inside but still no luck. Finished easily on the bridle with seemingly plenty left in the tank.
Was eye-catching last time out at Newbury on his seasonal reappearance when he finished strongly with the fastest final furlong split despite not being overly hard ridden.
The 8-year-old is obviously well in himself and ready for a big run. He’s down to a 87 handicap mark but was able to win of 92 last summer, running to a 91 topspeed rating, which isn’t too far of his best form.
Made good progress throughout travelling notably well for the majority of the race, even though he looked a little bit keen in the first furlong. Was locked behind the leading horses, switched to the inside over one furlong out and finished well despite things being tight. Was the only one making a significant impression from off the pace.
Clear improvement from his seasonal reappearance which was better than the bare form suggest too. He starts to drop toward more realistic handicap marks especially with a claimer in the saddle.
He showed a bit of progress as a juvenile but got injured in August and only returned at Doncaster last month after 267 days off the track. I imagine 5 furlongs will be his optimum. Perhaps the All-Weather could be interesting as he’s a full brother to a Wolverhampton winner over the minimum trip.
Ideally I would love to see a couple pounds off the mark before taking a betting interest in him. A drop in trip and/or switch of surface may also be desired. Regardless, he’s still lightly raced, an April foal and looks one who can still improve.
From her position in midfield toward the far side rail she had to negotiate a lot of traffic from 3 furlongs out, travelling behind a wall of horses. She stuck nicely to the task behind a wall of horses, moved around bravely through tight spaces and finished well giving the impression there as still quite a bit left in the tank.
This was only her second career start as well as her seasonal reappearance after she won on debut last autumn over course and distance. That form was franked by the runner-up Boundless Ocean, who ran last week in the 2000 Guineas.
The filly has been given time and didn’t turn into a Guineas filly as Jessica Harrington hoped she might do, but this highly compelling reappearance over 7 furlongs – a trip possibly a little on the sharp side now – was a great pipe opener and suggested she could be than her opening mark, especially if stepping up to a mile.
Up with the pace early on and seriously keen particularly around the first bend when nearly running away with his jockey having to take a big pull. Comes under pressure from three furlongs out but is a clear run denied to move forward and as a consequence loses his position. Finishes visually well while tenderly handled in the final furlong.
He won last year of a mark of 56 over 7 furlongs, was subsequently placed of 9lb higher. Starts to drop down in the ratings to what could soon be a really good mark.
Especially if he can find a little bit improvement for going up in trip. A mile looks quite possible on pedigree. I’ll be interested if he drops below 60 in the rating and tackles the mile for the first time, ideally not on fast ground, though.
He travelled in rear off the pace where the race would eventually develop thanks to slow early fractions. As the pace increased entering the home straight he got outpaced and looked bound for finishing last. Found another gear late to finish much the strongest visually and backed up by sectionals.
This was a clear return to form after a number of rather poor showings. He performed still quite strongly last year, won of a mark of 67, was placed of 72 and ran to topspeed 73.
Slowly comes down to a fair mark again. All his best form is over 6 furlongs, hence recent runs over 7f have to be seen in that context. It may take one or two more runs, but if he drops to a mark of 67 or lower again, over 6f, and ideally with a bit of cut in the ground, he’ll be of high interest.
Swerved right off the gates, settled in final third but didn’t seem to travel overly well early on in a tight field. Got squeezed and hampered from 3f out an, as many did in a finish that had more to do with bumper car racing than horse racing.
Eventually found a way out with less than two furlongs to go, having to take the scenic route around the entire field on the outside. He still encountered trouble all the way to the line. The fact he finished so well in fourth despite all the trouble is noteworthy.
He was out of the weights here which shows how far he’s fallen as a result of poor form this year. However, there are mitigating factors as he’s never done much on the All-Weather and sprint trips are too sharp these days.
He won of a mark of 47 over 10 furlongs last year, running to topspeed 50. I would argue this most recent performance suggests he’s capable to run to a similar level of form. I wouldn’t be interested in him over shorter than a mile. Anything up to 10f, ideally on fast ground and perhaps a good apprentice on board will be intriguing.
He didn’t look entirely straightforward throughout, perhaps not quite enjoying the track, but also showed keenness in the early stages. Travelled well enough in the middle part but was locked on the inside in a disadvantaged position.
Racing room only opened up late in the home straight. Finished well eventually without being beaten up. He was chanceless with the winner but a lot can be attested to his racing position I feel.
He was a busy enough juvenile showing promise over 6 furlongs, although I feel he can improve going up in trip. The way he finished here in soft conditions supports the idea. He’s got to improve, though, if he wants to be competitive in Handicap company of his current mark or perhaps Listed level.
Cut in the ground seems key to him. Goin up in trip – I envision a mile to be ideal – will make him interesting for me, but his tendency to pull is a concern. Not one I’d be keen to back at short prices.
Bumped heavily right after the start. As a consequence possibly lit up. Never travelled overly well in rear on the inside then, also looked still green, raw and unsure of his job.
Hang around the home turn and hit a flat spot over 2 furlongs out. Once in the clear and asked for full effort the penny dropped and he ran home much the strongest with the fastest last 2 furlong splits without being fully pushed out in the final half furlong.
He’s obviously got a bit of talent but appears to be a tricky customer as well who has still plenty to learn. First-time visor seemed to help in the closing stages. This was his first handicap start and try over 7 furlongs, also second up from a break and gelding operation.
He cost some decent money as a yearling and fetched €115k at a breeze up, likely down to his excellent breeding and being a full-brother to Group 1 placed Rhythm Dancer.
As much as it seems obvious that he is better than a 59 rating, he’s also clearly not a pattern performer. Nonetheless, with experience he should improve significantly. He finished well enough to suggest stamina for 7 furlongs isn’t an issue.