Tag Archives: topspeed

All-Weather Eye-Catchers #1

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

Brazen Akoya
07/10/22 – 8.15 Newcastle:

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

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

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

Race Replay

Rose Bandit
07/10/22 – 8.15 Newcastle:

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

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

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

Race Replay

Iva Feeling
07/10/22 – 6.00 Dundalk:

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

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

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

Race Replay

Navagio
07/10/22 – 6.30 Dundalk:

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

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

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

Race Replay

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

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

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

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

Race Replay

Phoenix Beach
09/10/22 – 2.50 Southwell:

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

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

Race Replay

Adatorio
10/10/22 – 7.00 Wolverhampton:

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

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

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

Race Replay

Twistaline
10/10/22 – 7.30 Wolverhampton:

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

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

Race Replay

Silver Kitten
10/10/22 – 7.30 Wolverhampton:

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

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

Race Replay

Rocket Rod
11/10/22 – 6.35 Newcastle:

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

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

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

Race Replay

Pockley
11/10/22 – 8.05 Newcastle:

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

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

Race Replay

Yazaman
11/10/22 – 8.05 Newcastle:

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

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

Race Replay

Araifjan
12/10/22 – 3.50 Wolverhampton:

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

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

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

Race Replay

Havana Goldrush
12/10/22 – 4.57 Kempton:

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

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

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

Race Replay

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

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

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

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

Race Replay

Roman Dynasty
13/10/22 – 8.00 Chelmsford:

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

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

Race Replay

Mythical
14/10/22 – 4.45 Newcastle:

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

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

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

Race Replay

Hathlool
14/10/22 – 4.45 Newcastle:

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

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

Race Replay

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

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

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

Race Replay

Kraken Power
14/10/22 – 8.15 Newcastle:

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

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

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

Race Replay

Leabaland
14/10/22 – 7.00 Dundalk:

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

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

Race Replay

Amber Dew
15/10/22 – 6.00 Wolverhampton:

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

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

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

Race Replay

Privilige
15/10/22 – 7.00 Wolverhampton:

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

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

Race Replay

Wednesday Selections: 3rd August 2022

3.50 Pontefract: Class 4 Handicap, 1m

Twice now in his last three runs Tangled has seriously caught the eye as an unlucky loser. In truth, he doesn’t make life easy for himself when starting slowly, though.

Nonetheless, last time out at Ripon when he was at a disadvantage from his position travelling off the pace, he also didn’t get a clear run at a crucial stage and had to delay his challenge. He didn’t get the clearest of runs at Beverley back in June, either. He finished strongly in the manner of a horse ripe for victory on both occasions.

In between Tangled produced a disappointing performance at Carlisle when well fancied. A run too bad to be true, and I take confidence from his return to form a fortnight ago.

A mile on decent to fast ground looks perfect conditions. I have slight reservation about Pontefract as a suitable venue simple because coming from off the pace isn’t the easiest task here. However, he appears to be so well handicapped in a pretty uncompetitive race, with only one real danger to beat, that at the price I have to side with him here.

10pts win – Tangled @ 7/2

……..

5.20 Pontefract: Class 4 Handicap, 6f

Mobarhin should have a nice chance to get a handy position thanks to the #2 draw. He drops to 6 furlongs on turf for the first time after being gelded since last place finish at Linfield’s polytrack in June.

He seriously caught my eye two back at Newmarket, though. Then over 7 furlongs, he set suicidal fractions from the front and had the field off the bridle from three furlongs out. He tired and was headed 2 furlongs from home but it was noteworthy how well he continued to run to the line even then.

He showed promise earlier the year on the All-Weather, too: a 6f Handicap win over 6f off a 70 mark, he ran to topspeed 74 that day. He followed up with a nose beaten second over the same course and distance the next time.

Off a 73 mark over 6 furlongs on decent ground I feel he offers a bit of upside, especially at a track and a draw to suit.

10pts win – Mobarhin @ 17/2

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

…….

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

Tuesday Selections: 26th July 2022

4.10 Goodowood: Class 2 Handicap, 5f

Night On Earth really catches the eye here off 2lb lower than earlier this month when he ran a huge race at Newmarket. He was isolated on the near rail but looked dangerous for quite some time until fading in the final furlong. I felt that performance was noteworthy and clear proof the 4-year-old is in fine form.

He ran quite well a number of times this year already, whether that be on turf or the All-Weather, including two victories at Kempton and Lingfield and even more importantly in my view, a strong third place in April at Newmarket off a 95 mark while running to topspeed 94 that day.

He couldn’t quite match those heights in the following weeks and months but had mitigating factors more than once. As a consequence he’s now down to a rating of 89.

On the basis of those forms from earlier this season he’s seriously well-handicapped; in the light of his recent eye-catching run he’s almost certainly in with a huge shout in this race.

The cherry on the cake is the booking of Frederick Larson, who claims 5lb. There aren’t many negatives – if one, then there’s the draw that may prove tricky, depending how the pace plays out. On the other hand he usually starts well, can be ang up with the pace, and that can be an advantage at this speed favouring track.

Even though this is a typically competiive and hot sprint Handicap at Glorious Goodwood, not many appear overly well threated off their current marks. Night On Earth is one of very few who ticks most boxes. For me he is significantly overpriced here.

10pts win – Night On Earth @ 10.5

Wednesday Selections: 20th July 2022

7.08 Sandown: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

Autumn Festival is an obvious choice off the same mark as when going agonisingly close over half a furlong further last time out, hence is possibly the right favourite. But odds-on? No, that not.

Down to 7 furlongs on fastish ground doesn’t look ideal given he won over a mile on soft ground, while his career best topspeed rating doesn’t say he’s well handicapped at all.

I am really interested in the filly Sense Of Security – again. I backed her at Leicester in May off her current same mark when she came home strongly to finish 2nd. There were reasons to mark her up for that performance, and it confirmed the promise she showed earlier the year, especially at Bath when seriously catching the eye.

She didn’t enjoyed softish ground subsequently and when last seen lost a shoe and was reportedly heavily in season, so it’s another performance with legitimate excuses.

The handicapper doesn’t take a chance with her, nonetheless off 63 she looks still capable of winning a race like this. Her Bath and Leicester runs gave the impression she can be a bit better than this Official Rating.

If the ground stays fast she certainly must got a prime chance in this field. If the new combination of headgear helps her to focus a bit better she will almost certainly be better than the mark. The track should suit her running style.

10pts win – Sense Of Security @ 11/1

Saturday Selections: 9th July 2022

On a roll. A hat-trick of winners over the last three days. Flotus won the Group 3 Summer Stakes at York in lovely fashion.

It couldn’t have gone any better: the filly broke well, led the field, although others tried to go with her. Halfway through the race I thought she may have done too much too early. But she kept going all the way strongly to the line. She proved the best filly in the race. Class prevailed.

Hard to believe how rapidly and dramatically the tide can turn in this game as long as you make good decisions, believe in your method (IF it’s a solid and proven method) and show consistency in the effort put in day in day out and most importantly the quality of decisions made.

Already five winners in the first week of July, that’s one more than in the entire individual months of April or May. Right now things are flowing, so to speak. But the pendulum can swing as quickly the other way again, I know all too well.

So I’ll try to stick (not always easy) to the Golden Rules regarding emotions: never too high, never too low. Because three losers on Saturday and the world looks a little bit gloomier again.

3.35 Ascot: Group 2 Summer Mile, 1m

A close one: there isn’t much between the main principles in the field on official ratings, RPR’s or topspeed – the outcome will depend on the form on the day, on pace and possibly on who gets first run round the Ascot mile.

Modern News, My Oberon and Perotto met only a fortnight ago at Windsor in a tight finish with not more than ยพ of a lengths between them as My Oberon finished strongly to get up on the line.

I felt that day Perotto could be marked up for his front-running effort when he possibly over-raced a bit in the early stages. I was hugely impressed how he fought back so gamely once headed, even after being slightly hampered over half a furlong from home. He simply didn’t give up.

He’s no star but a rock solid individual, who has sometimes lacked sharpness out of the gates but clearly responded well to front-running tactics the last time. Cheek-pieces added seem a logical move and hopefully help him to be sharp early. A prominent position on fast ground at the round course is an advantage in my book.

He acts well on fast ground, clearly stays a mile as seen when winning a strongly run Britannia last year and should go well. He’s not the likeliest winner, but certainly overpriced while better fancied horses are priced up according to reputation more so than substance, I feel.

Chindit in particular, who looks a wrong favourite. He hasn’t even cracked a 90 topspeed rating in his last six starts.

10pts win – Perotto @ 12/1

…….

4.45 Ascot: Class 3 Handicap, 1m

Washraa is clearly well handicapped on the basis of her seriously impressive Sandringham Stakes run. She travelled like a good thing, looked likely to come with a big challenge over two furlongs out, but clipped heels, stumbled badly and lost every chance, yet finished in impressive style, nonetheless.

Of course it’s hypothetical how much she would have found with a clear run. Though, I’m pretty certain she would have gone seriously close. She can race off the same mark here, which offers a great opportunity to resume the winning habit she showed in two starts before Royal Ascot.

She improved nicely since her seasonal reappearance, hinting talent already as a juvenile and should have too much talent for this slightly easier race than the rivals she encountered at Royal Ascot.

10pts win – Washraa @ 3/1

…….

5.20 Ascot: Class 4 Handicap, 7f

Out From Under is a strong favourite. Only a pound up for his recent very strong Newmarket effort is possibly lenient. At prices I must select the talented filly Tarrabb, though. I reckon she is better than her official rating of 80.

Whether she is already better now, after three career runs, is the key question. She looked raw and very much learning on the job in all her races, nonetheless won really well on debut, wasn’t disgraced when beaten as runner-up subsequently after pulling hard, and lost her race at the gates at Thirsk.

She still very much caught the eye that day in particular, making good progress from the back of the field but not getting a clear run. It’s reasonable to assume she is ahead of her mark. Straight Ascot seven looks an ideal, simple test for the filly.

10pts win – Tarrabb @ 8/1

Friday Selections: 8th July 2022

Two lovely winners at good prices the last two days – the ups and downs of the game…. funny how it all goes. Last night at Epsom Hector Loza went from the front and never really looked in danger once he kicked on. 13.5 was always a big price for a potentially seriously well handicapped horse if he was right.

He was. And he was a massive price for all the right reasons. Easy said in hindsight, of course. Often enough these type of horses finish bottom last (and i made a habit of backing them). But he clearly showed in his recent starts still some appetite for the game. No habit of starting slowly. Also a lovely, confident, positive ride by Jack Duern. His 3lb are highly valuable.

June started so badly with those 18 consecutive losers; July started in a rather pleasant way with four winners already. I wouldn’t mind this good spell of form to continue for a while.

……….

2.40 York: Group 3 Summer Stakes, 6f

If the effects of a tough race at Royal Ascot having left too many marks than Flotus should be hard to beat today. The filly looks still improving after a productive juvenile campaign, having ran seriously strong races in defeat the last two times this season.

Obviously her third place finish in the Commonwealth Cup rates the best piece of form in this race. She was bang up with the pace and raced pretty hard in the early stages. She couldn’t bring it quite home, but that’s no shame in such a quality Group 1 sprint.

Arguably even more impressive, in my eyes, was her desperately close runner-up effort at Haydock behind smart Sense Of Duty. The winner has franked the form in no uncertain terms and overall it looks an incredibly strong piece of form.

Flotus fought all the way to the line after attempting to lead wire to wire while Sense Of Duty was held up. I really loved how Flotus kicked on again at the final furlong marker after being heavily challenged. Great attitude!

Trip, ground and track are of no concern today. She poses the fastest speed rating in the field and has confirmed her form this season in excellent style.

There are a few dangers in the field, Gale Force Maya probably the biggest one if she could repeat her latest strong performance. She ran a fast topspeed, a clear career-best, but I wouldn’t trust her to do it again.

Hala Hala Athmani looks improving. Only her fourth start, she can do better. But drawn on the opposite from where most likely the pace will come is far from ideal.

Also on the up is Benefit, a recent Listed race winner. Zain Claudette may improve from her seasonal debut at Ascot. She was a Group 3 winner as a juvenile. But she’s got something to find even at her best with Flotus.

10pts win – Flotus @ 3/1

Wednesday Selections: 29th June 2022

Make that three days three winners on the bounce. Ideal Guest stormed his way up and down the Brighton 7 furlongs today. There was no pace on, nobody wanted to get on with things other than Ideal Guest. That was a concern, but it didn’t matter in the end.

Tom Queally is a good pilot and was an even better passenger here. He didn’t fight to be the boss. Ideal Guest was firmly in charge and had the field off the bridle approaching 3 furlongs from home going a thousand miles an hour. Any doubts that he may die up the final hill to the finish line were quickly put to bed.

7/1 was a huge price. In the preview I said Ideal Guest could have up to 10lb in hand and will win if he settles. He didn’t settle but had too much in hand with the fast conditions and the drop in trip doing wonders too. It’s good to get it right once in a while.

Back in healthy profit for June. I can’t fathom how quickly this game can turn. I must confess I gave it a good fist bump when Ideal Guest passed the line. Never too high, never too low should be the mantra of any aspiring punter who wants to make a long-term profit. It’s never about the now and always about the later.

However, sometimes it’s very much about the “now”. It’s only a few days ago that I was writing about experiencing one – if not the – worst slump of form in the last five years or so. Was it bad luck or were my methods broken? I wasn’t sure other than I knew something did go badly wrong. It started already in May. perhaps I gonna write another time in more detail on the lessens learned from these last four weeks. There was plenty learned. And that is always a good thing.

……..

7.50 Bath: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 3.5f

Small field but competitive field. Yet it looks significant that the Johnston team travels to Bath with Franny Norton in the saddle for this single race. They have a strong record here, even though not as many runners lately. Norton has been quite selective with his Bath rides, too, it seems.

That gives me added confidence that Cavendish is ready to strike. He looks to be running over the right trip and showed more than the bare form suggested the last couple of runs, especially as the form of those races looks pretty solid.

He fared best of the leaders at Yarmouth when setting a fast pace and I quite liked the way he kept going pretty much right to the end after being heavily challenged over three furlongs out. The runner-up has already won in the meantime, giving this form a good look.

Next time Cavendish was up in trip to what looked on paper ideal, but he raced wide and inefficient for the most part, and hadn’t much left in the home straight.

He dropped another 3lb in the meantime but is still pretty unexposed over these sort of distances. His dam was a smart handicapper and winner over 12f furlongs and 13 furlongs. So there’s every chance Cavendish can improve over the trip.

He ran to topspeed 49 at Yarmouth, that ties in well with his current mark. Any bit of improvement will see him go very close.

10pts win – Cavendish @ 4/1

Eyecatchers #10 2022

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 given the right conditions.

Wooders Dream
27/05/22 – 1.35 Brighton:

Tracked the pace in a good position, started to move at the cutaway on the inside rail but was kept in by the front-running and eventual winning horse right to the end. Possibly would have won with a clear run.

Only the second handicap start. One can ignore the 7f performance earlier this month. 6 furlongs, ideally on fast ground, will see the best of her.

She ran to topspeed 59 here. Closely matched with her 61 official rating. Given she could have won with a clear run and additional improvement far from impossible she could possibly have a few pounds in hand. Nonetheless I wait until she drops below a 60 rating when she meets optimum conditions.

Race Replay

Igotatext
27/05/22 – 3.05 Chepstow:

Traveled at the back of the field, outpaced from three furlongs out, looked bit awkward in the final two furlongs, most likely didn’t enjoy this track but ran on quite well.

Trip too sharp. Needs 6 furlongs. Wouldn’t rule out that he gets 7 furlongs if they ever tried. Was an expensive ยฃ165,000 purchase in summer 2020 after an exciting debut win but has never fulfilled the promise. Changed hands for merely ยฃ11k earlier this year. This was the debut for the Adrian Wintle yard.

He won twice up until now, on the All-Weather and turf, running to topspeeds of 65, 68 and 69. I’d be interested when he goes back up in trip and ideally see a reduction of the mark below 68 plus a drop in grade. A return to All-Weather would be also interesting.

Race Replay

Sharrabang
27/05/22 – 2.20 Carlisle:

Was up with the pace early on, disputed lead as part of a trio. Started to lose position from 2 furlongs out as race heated up, but also got pushed inside by rival horse and squeezed. Bit short of room over 1f from home again, lost momentum and couldn’t find it again. This should be strong form for this grade.

The minimum trip on fast ground was never to suit entirely. He needs 6 furlongs, despite a win over 5f last year – but that came on soft ground – and stays up to 7f on fast ground too and acts well on the All-Weather.

Has fallen significantly in his mark but may recapture some form now. Ran well a number of times last season. Ran top topspeed 50 and 52, was competitive of marks in the low 50’s and could take advantage of a 46 rating with the right conditions now.

Race Replay

End Zone
27/05/22 – 6.30 Pontefract:

Prominent from good draw, chased the pace. In a good position turning for home but looked bit flat footed 1.5 furlongs from home. Short of room at the final furlong marker. Lost momentum. Impressive how he regained it to finish strongly in third.

Seemingly finding back some solid form. This was a strong performance I believe. He comes down again to a mark he can win from. Has ran to topspeed 71 on turf but best form comes on the All-Weather.

Would like to see him back on the sand, especially if his mark slips to 70 or lower. He ran topspeed 74 and 77 back in November and this most recent run suggests he is not far off that level right now. Ran at Thirsk in the meantime this week – 11/12 finish.

Race Replay

Tar Heel
27/05/22 – 9.00 Pontefract:

Never looked comfortable here at Ponti. Hang to the left badly on multiple occasions throughout the race, including in the home straight which meant he couldn’t land a blow.

Obviously had issues as his significant fall in the ratings demonstrate. However, he looked to be better than the bare form here.

Clearly needs a straight track and cut in the ground. Won in Ireland and produced solid runs over minimum trip and 6 furlongs in those conditions.

Massive performance last time out at Ayr off big weight in class 6 over 6 furlongs in soft conditions, getting a bump right after the start and racing inefficiently without cover on the outside away from the rail for the most part, finishing 2nd miles clear of the rest.

Will need monitoring for his mark and conditions. Worth to wait for the right day.

Race Replay

Music Society
28/05/22 – 4.05 Haydock:

Tracked the fast pace, started move from 2.5 furlongs out, took lead and kicked on over 1.5 furlongs from home. Got a gap on the field but tired inside the final 100 yards and was caught by two runners finishing strongly from off the pace.

This was huge performance given the solid pace he tracked and the big move from about halfway onwards. proper sign of life after three poor showings this season.

Down to excellent mark again. Won off 79 last June, running to topspeed 83. Clearly close to that form. A slightly less aggressive ride will see him more than capable of winning. Has form on soft but ideally I like to see decent ground, 6 furlongs and a track where his usual more prominent racing style holds up well. Perhaps a drop in class can be beneficial too.

Race Replay

Key Look
28/05/22 – 3.39 Catterick:

One of the slower starters, settled in rear, travelling okay, but still only one rival behind turning for home. Made excellent progress on the inside in the home straight until short of room 15 furlongs from home: lost momentum, had to regain full effort. Finished nicely under hands and heels giving impression there was more left in the tank.

Ran well a number of times in defeat in recent weeks. Down to her last winning mark off 60 which came in her final start in 2021 after a season of fine progress.

Ran to topspeed 62 on the All-Weather and 59 on turf last year. Looks in fine form, but ideally will get some additional assistance from the handicapper before getting involved. 58 or lower and certainly a good draw if racing around a turn.

Race Replay

Libertus + Lord Gorgeous
30/05/22 – 4.30 Lingfield:

Libertus saw his path forward blocked early on, as a consequence boxed in on the inside. Travelled much the best but had to delay his move. Sharply switched to the middle of the track for a clear run, giving ground away to the eventual winner who had first run.

Handicap debut – probably wins another day. A mark off 67 looks potentially underestimating him; granted the handicapper doesn’t react harshly after this fine effort.

Full-brother to solid Lajatico. Probably best suited to decent or fast ground. A drop to the minimum trip wouldn’t be an issue I reckon.

Lord Gorgeous was awkwardly away as so often. He was caught wide without a lot of cover and away from the rail where the eventual winner who always travelled prominently came from. he travelled very strongly to 1.5 furlongs from home until fading in the closing stages.

The way he travelled here you’d have never guessed he was 80/1. He’s got obvious temperamental issues. However he has talent as he showed as a juvenile. Clearly lost his way and the switch of yards and to the UK hasn’t really helped yet.

However, there was a glimmer of hope form wise when 3rd at Wolverhampton in February. He’s one to monitor for market and jockey booking any time he races over the minimum trip. He’s capable of winning over 5 furlongs, on the All-Weather or on turf, possibly with a bit of ease in the ground.

Race Replay

Pure Dreamer
30/05/22 – 6.10 Windsor:

Quite badly hampered early on, nonetheless travelled smoothly. Had to wait for racing room, moved into the open approaching the final furlong and got upside the long-term leader. Eventually won it a shade cozily in my view.

This was his third win on the bounce. Still ran to topspeed 83 off a 80 mark here, despite not having a perfect race and despite the trip potentially on the sharp side. Has more to offer if moving up in trip. Would love to see him over a mile.

Looks a galloping type with a significant stride lengths. Would imagine he doesn’t want it any faster than good. Need to see what a the handicapper does after this but could be a mid-90 horse over a mile.

Race Replay

Raydoun
01/06/22 – 6.05 Ripon:

Slowly away, as a consequence trailed the field. Tried to make progress from over two furlongs out, having to pass the entire field. Didn’t find a clear run through, short of room on multiple occasions. Finished nicely under hands and heels.

Unlucky last time out too when bumped at the start and hampered in the middle of the race. Can find trouble due to his racing style. Tends to be slowly away from the gate.

Looks exposed on the surface of his form but clearly in form to win. Won off 66, excellent runner-up off 69 running to topspeed 67. Any assistance from the handicapper will be very welcome, though. Probably doesn’t want it fast. I’d be really intrigued on good to soft.

Race Replay

Nibras Again
01/06/22 – 8.10 Ripon:

Travelled strongly throughout, still on the bridle approaching the final furlong marker. Badly squeezed at that moment, continued to be short of room with little room to maneuver right to the end, and just as he tries to go through the tiniest of gaps in the last 100 yards the door shuts again.

Seasonal reappearance after a break since October. Ran well of marks in the 70s last season, was beaten a neck and shoulder off 73 and 75. Down to a mark of 69 now, he looks weighted to win.

His very best comes on proper fast ground over the minimum trip. Even though e’s an eight-year old now, he clearly retains an appetite for sprinting.

Race Replay

Stone Circle
31/05/22 – 5.29 Yarmouth:

Travelled very strongly approaching the two furlong marker. Lacked an instant kick and tired gradually, finishing 3rd. Possibly disappointing after it looked he’d come with a winning move.

Seven furlongs with ease in the ground perhaps stretches his stamina. Plus he possibly did too much in the early sections of the race. This was nonetheless a clear return to form after he fell a long way in the mark over the last year, having ran to topspeed 57 here.

He’s rated 60 now, a long way below his best and certainly better than that if on song. Showed glimpses last season still; should be highly competitive if dropping down to 6 furlongs again with a bit of cut in the ground. I definitely want to see the word “soft” in the going description.

Race Replay

Special Times
02/06/22 – 2.45 Leicester:

Chased the pace for most of the race. Outpaced from three furlongs out but stuck to the task. Was one paced when a bit tight around half a furlong out, finished solid enough where those from back of the field dominated the placings.

Showed a bit of ability in maiden races and caught the eye the way she travelled lto, but clearly trips were too short and was saved for Handicaps. Should improve for a step up in trip to 10 furlongs. The Dam won over 11.5 furlongs in Germany.

Race Replay

Oaks Friday Selections: 3rd June 2022

4.30: Group 1 Epsom Oaks, 1m 4f

On paper this years Oaks looks not a brilliant renewal, albeit a wide open one, with plenty of potential improvers for the Oaks distance. With that in mind I struggle to warm to short-priced favourite Emily Upjohn.

I understand why she’s well fancied today. Her Musidora victory was impressive. As a daughter of Sea The Stars she appears more than likely to stay the trip and it’s equally reasonable to assume she can improve for her fourth career run.

But she has to. The York performance was only worth a 95 topspeed rating. Solid but doesn’t scream 13/8 favourite. She may well take this crucial next step and can progress to the level the market generally assumes she’ll be capable of running to.

At the same time this can be said about a number of other fillies in this field full of likely improvers. Whether that’s Cheshire Oaks winner Thoughts Of June (quite appropriately named), stable mate Tuesday – a full-sister to 2016 Oaks heroine Minding, or Trial Stakes winner Nashwa. I could make a case for half the field.

But the two fillies that caught my eye more than anybody else – and I can’t split them – are Concert Hall and the only Godolphin entry With The Moonlight.

It’s no surprise that a full-sister to previous Oaks winner Was should feature highly on any short-list. Hence I am seriously surprised to see Concert Hall available at incredibly generous odds – I feel.

I was interested in her for the Irish 2000 Guineas, but it turned out the drop in trip didn’t really suit her. She didn’t posses the speed needed and got badly outpaced from over three furlongs out. But, crucially, she ran on strongly to finish 3rd eventually.

Perhaps it wasn’t the deepest Guineas field, nonetheless, the fact she was able to finish so strongly over an inadequate trip is noteworthy. Aiden O’Brien mentioned beforehand the filly thrives on racing and the Curragh outing would be a stepping stone towards Epsom.

In that light it’s even more significant that she won on her seasonal reappearance at Navan in the Listed Salsabil Stakes – form that looks rock solid. She gave the impression that she wouldn’t mind an additional couple of furlongs that day.

Therefore the Oaks trip looks a good match. Whether she handles the track is a different matter. She clearly has Oaks written all over and with a solid draw should be up there when it matters in my view.

With The Moonlight isn’t quite as clear-cut if it comes to stamina for the Oaks distance. Her pedigree points more towards middle-distance 10 furlongs. And yet, the way she finished at Newmarket was so impressive, giving the impression she could stretch out to 12 furlongs. And certainly giving the impression of a seriously talented filly.

I loved everything about that performance. It’s noteworthy also for the fact because that day she achieved the fasted topspeed rating on offer in the Oaks field.

Whether she can translate this speed to Epsom is the key question. As a full-sister to Group 1 winning Dream Castle she will certainly have the class. Her striding patterns, as far as available to me, give the indication that she has a fair chance to see out the trip, though.

Perhaps she will be ridden with a little bit more restraint today than at Newmarket. If she settles well, it should give William Buick plenty of options how to ride the race, given she possesses a lot of cruising speed, that is crucial at Epsom in my view.

Both fillies, With The Moonlight and Concert Hall appear seriously overpriced in the market in my book.

5pts win – With the Moonlight @ 14/1
5pts win – Concert Hall @ 13.5/1

……………

7.16 Doncaster: Class 4 Handicap, 6f

This looks like the ideal race I had in mind for Golden Apollo to get his head in front again. Since his eye catching run at Thirsk he ran another fine race at York in a big handicap over 7 furlongs where he got badly hampered.

He drops down to 6 furlongs, is three pounds lower in the mark than at Thirsk and runs in a wide open class 4 contest. The favourite may well be on the up and could be able to defy his increased mark – Golden Apollo is at this stage of his career vulnerable to any unexposed improving sort.

But at the same time he’s dangerously well handicapped in my view, given his wellbeing is confirmed.

The golden years are obviously behind the 8-year-old but he still performed of marks in the 80s last year and also ran to topspeed 84 when runner-up in a hot Redcar Handicap.

Heโ€™s been a shade unlucky a number times too in the meantime, including the last two; as a results his mark is reduced all the time. This looks an ideal opportunity to strike.

10pts win – Golden Apollo @ 9/1

……….

7.37 Goodwood: Class 3 Handicap, 6f

I was very taken with Kimngrace the last time at Sandown when she was seriously unlucky over the minimum trip. Today she steps up to 6 furlongs, which should be the perfect distance for this exciting and potentially well handicapped filly.

At Sandown after a steadied start she settled in rear of the field. She made some smooth progress from over three furlongs out but was stuck behind a bunch of horses and a clear passage denied until very late. She finished well when a bit of racing room opened up in the closing stages.

The winner made all from the front, the runner-up and third raced close to the pace too. Given these circumstances this was a big run on what was Kimngraceโ€™s seasonal reappearance. The form is seriously strong as well.

She looks a filly open to considerable improvement, possibly more so now stepping up to 6 furlongs again. When last seen in 2021 she won a Maiden race at Haydock over 6f and looked at home over the trip. That particular form worked out well with the runner-up having ran a huge race in the Fred Darling Stakes this season.

10pts win – Kimngrace @ 10/3

………

7.51 Doncaster: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4f

Gibside has caught the eye a number of times this year. He’s certainly a tricky sort, can be temperamental, gets upset in the stall and looks a horse doing things in his own time.

There was good money all day for him last time out at Ripon when he stepped up to 12 furlongs for the first time – a trip that he should appreciate.

He ran really well over shorter 10 furlongs on two occasions at Beverley previously, when things didn’t go his way and he ran better than the bare result suggested.

The same can be said about this most recent Ripon run. Of course at some point you’re not unlucky but it’s more what you truly are. Nonetheless, I feel Gibside deserves another chance.

He was unruly in the starting gate, slowly away, trailed the field and raced generally highly inefficient with a move at the halfway stage costing vital energy and another huge move turning for home from 4 furlongs out on the wide outside.

He paid for it in the final three furlongs, yet finished in 3rd eventually. Coming from so far back was a huge disadvantage. The runner-up led the field, the winner raced in midfield.

I feel a more conventional, flat track like Doncaster will suit this big, rangy gelding much more than Beverley, or even Ripon. No excuses today. I must stress though he is on the drift this morning – at the same time it ensures a seriously good price, if he is in it to win it today.

10pts win – Gibside @ 6.8/1

……….

Added after initial post – 12.30:

3.10 Group 1 Coronation Cup, 1m 4f

High Definition has drifted into a serious price to the point I feel he’s so far overpriced I have to add him as a bet today. By no means is he’s a 11/2+ shot in this field.

No question that if on song Pyledriver is the one to beat. A consistent top-class horse, the defending champion which saw him achieve a career best here last year. He ran well at Meydan when last seen. If he’s close to the form he showed twelve months ago he’s probably hard to beat.

I can’t have Manobo around 2/1 at all. He is lightly raced and open to considerable improvement. On the other hand he’s clearly shown to need a trip to be seen to best effect. Dropping back to 1m 4f is a major question mark for me.

Hukum has only once in his career ran to a topspeed rating of 100. That dates back to 2020, or nine runs. It would need some of the others to misfire for him to win.

High Definition backs up quickly. That is my major concern. He has been a disappointing horse ever since showing so much promise as a juvenile. But the level of form he produced last time out at the Curragh in the Tattersalles Cup is right up there with the best of Pyledriver.

He got a superb ride that day, and clearly that has to be taken into account as a source of the improvement. Nonetheless, he made it a true test going from the front and was just beaten in the dying strides in a top-class field.

He ran to topspeed 108 at that day. I feel it’s a genuine performance. If he can show this level of form today he has a major chance.

At given prices he’s clearly overpriced with ground ad trip not really being a worry in my view.

10pts win – High Definition @ 5.8/1