Tag Archives: Turf

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 £165,000 purchase in summer 2020 after an exciting debut win but has never fulfilled the promise. Changed hands for merely £11k 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

Monday Selections: 23rd May 2022

After an excellent last week with three winners – the cherry on the cake was clearly backing Early Voting to win the Preakness Stakes – here’s hoping for the positive trend to continue. I’ve got two selections for today.

4.25 Leicester: Class 6 Handicap, 7f

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.

10pts win – The Rain King @ 11/1

Thursday Selections: 19th May 2022

3.50 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

A few look dangerously handicapped here but non more so than Jumira Bridge. He really caught the eye on his second run off a break over the minimum trip at this venue.

He was unlucky to be a clear run denied at a crucial stage of the race but he found his momentum again and finished much the strongest.

This was an excellent follow-up from a good comeback run in a seller over over the course and distance when he made eye-catching headway turning for home while carrying 10st.

He’s obviously a tricky customer, who can lose races at the gate and has fallen a long way down in the ratings. These last two performances suggest there is life in the 8-year-old, though.

Dropping down to class 6 and up to 6 furlongs he can race off bottom weight here from a good #2 draw. If he doesn’t totally mess up he hopefully finds himself in a decent position in midfield racing against the inside rail and then hopefully gets the gap when needed most.

The last time he ran at Wolverhampton over 6f in class 6 he won in impressive style, back in January 2021 of a 62 mark. He’s 12lb lower today – for a reason – but showed more enough lto to assume he will take a lot of beating if in the same form. I really feel he’s going to be cherry ripe.

10pts win – Jumira Bridge @ 5.2/1

…………

4.35 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

Arlecchino’s Gift was a major eyecatcher ten days ago at Wolverhampton over 6 furlongs. He was caught wide from his outside draw and only dropped in with about tree furlongs to go. Yet travelled much the best entering the home straight but had the entire field to pass.

He appeared to find a small gap over a furlong from home but got badly squeezed and hampered, losing crucial momentum. He was brave to pull through and got gong quickly again, finishing the fastest home straight sectionals despite the trouble and being eased in the final 100 yards.

Starting issues prevented him from a more fruitful juvenile campaign, although he showed some talent. A gelding operation over the winter helped and thanks to being more professional at the start he’s finally winning races. He’s been progressive this year, wining twice and running well a number of other times.

When winning of a mark of 55 at Wolverhampton he appeared to have a bit in hand, which was confirmed by a 59 topspeed rating. There were excuses at Chelmsford subsequently when he was badly bumped at the start and was overly keen in a slowly run race.

This most recent performance adds to the picture that Arlecchino’s Gift continues to improve. Of a mark of 60 he could still be well handicapped given he ran to TS 59 with relative ease and caught the eye so dramatically last time out.

Question mark is the turf. He hasn’t really fired apart from the All-Weather. However, he hasn’t been on turf since his gelding operation and the clear improvement he’s shown since then. Breeding wouldn’t suggest that there are any issues with turf.

10pt win – Arlecchino’s Gift @ 9/2

Saturday Selections: November, 2nd 2019

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Friday night started in the worst possible way: me looking like an idiot. Here I am backing a short priced favourite for the first time in ages, touting the horse as the proverbial “good thing” that will go on to win the 2000 Guineas. Yeah, that worked out well….

The winner of the Futurity Stakes is a good horse, make no mistake. He already ran twice to 99 topspeed ratings before last night, is an April foal and clearly is consistent on a high level as another 97 TS performance showed last night.

I continue to retain some faith in Kinross, nonetheless. He was pretty keen early on and once again starting issues made life tricky. Hopefully Ralph Beckett can sort this behaviour out over the winter as I firmly belief the time to shine for this colt is as a 3-year-old.

Before moving on to selections for Breeders Cup Saturday, let me say I’m properly grateful to Jose Ortiz: he gave Structor a superb tactical ride. I needed that winner badly. Particularly as Vive La Difference finished strongly once more but found trouble – obviously – at Newcastle earlier.

I have to admit in my head I was counting the money when I saw the splits and certainly when Sweet Melania turned for home in the Juvenile Fillies Turf…. shame she couldn’t quite hold on. Anyway, plenty on the menu on Super Saturday as well!

:::::::::::::

7.30 Chelmsford: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

Big chance for Cashel to get back to winning ways: already a course and distance winner, he has fallen to a super sexy handicap mark, having won of allot higher in the past and having run to topspeed ratings of 59+ three times this year alone! So, now down to 58 he is rather obviously well handicapped.

In my view he clearly proved this point when last seen at Kempton. Cashel had a strange break, nearly lost the jockey and was always trailing the field which isn’t his ideal style. He ran on well to finish third in what was an unusually competitive contest with form that stands the test of time already.

The 1lb drop in his mark since is a nice little bonus in combination with the 3lb claim of Theodore Ladd in the saddle. First time CP will hopefully help early on the race – the draw is bad, and he’ll need to be quick out of the blocks.

If Cashel does he’ll be hard to beat tonight.

Selection:
10pts win – Cashel @ 9/2 MB

………

6.17 Santa Anita: G2 Twilight Derby, 1m 1f

Tricky affair and most market principles have raced each other without conclusive outcomes in the past. I think, however, one who still seems underappreciated is Tapit colt Kingly.

He remains pretty lightly raced and certainly unexposed on turf. On the other hand he showed plenty of promise in three starts on the lush green, much in line with his excellent pedigree.

He showed early promise in spring landing the Listed California Derby at Golden Gates polytrack but couldn’t bring his best to the dirt subsequently. Since the switch to turf he won a grade 3 at Del Mar, beating current favourite Neptune Storm. A 4th and 5th place finish subsequently look questionable but are exceptional pieces of form judged by circumstances.

He was lit up the next time in the Del Mar Derby, bumped right after start by the horse beside him in a bid to overcome the widest draw. He stormed to the lead soon after and that’s where the damage was done. He was less than two lengths beaten in the end.

Next time at Santa Anita, stepping up to open company, he led again, setting off way too fast, going hard all out and nearly led gate to wire in fact, only to be swept by late by the elder horses.

A wide draw doesn’t make things easy today, but there aren’t too many who are likely to compete hard for the lead, so I think he can overcome that.

If Mario Gutierrez can minimize the amount of fuel to be burned in this early phase of the race I think there is a massive chance Kingly will be hard to beg back as he stays the trip, will get a clear run, while some of the other market principles will have to hope for have to weave through traffic.

Selection:
10pts win – Kingly @ 6/1 BF

……….

8.54 Santa Anita: G1 BC Filly & Mare Turf, 1m 2f

It may look foolish to oppose Sistercharlie, given her incredible record. Even more so as I really struggle to fancy the Euro opposition. However, the one who seems to have come back to life and has run to a career best only recently, backing up other good performances from earlier this year is 2018 1000 Guineas winner Billesdon Brook.

She is completely unexposed over this sort of trip, bar one try in the Nassau last year, which was an odd race to some extend and the filly potentially not at her best anyway. Her pedigree however gives her quite a decent chance of staying the distance.

Particularly with conditions she’ll appreciate. I hope Sean Levey is not afraid to utilize the excellent draw and moves instead of settling off the pace, where Billesdon Brook would only find herself around a number of other European contenders who all will be compromising their respective chances.

After a number of disappointing efforts following her superb Newmarket success last spring somehow the 4-year-old found back to her best this summer, winning three times, runner-up another time, starting in Listed company getting confidence back seemingly, all the way up to landing the Sun Chariot – which was a career best judged by tospeed, as she ran to 103, bettering her Guineas best of 101 – she also ran weeks early to 96 in Oak Tree Stakes at Goodwood.

What this shows: Billesdon Brook is in the form of her life! Obvious question is whether she can hold it and bring it to Santa Anita. If she can she has a much better chance to go really close today than the big odds suggest. She also gets the added boost of running first time on lasix.

Selection:
10pts win – Billesdon Brook @ 14/1 MB

……….

8.20 Santa Anita: Grade 1 BC Mile Turf, 1 mile

I don’t think the fast ground and turns over this sharp mile will suit Circus Maximus. Two other Europeans I like a lot instead are Space Traveller for one – but the fact he usually settles off the pace plus the small issue of not racing on Lasix is enough to put me off.

The other one is Hey Gaman. This is a consistent horse, running to a high standards usually, if he gets his conditions. So throw the recent soft ground performances out of the window. Leaving those aside,  he won two contests in Listed and Group 3 company and was runner-up in two more hot Group 2 races, all over 7 furlongs.

He achieved topspeed ratings of 99, 100 and 105 in three subsequent races this season. That is quite a high standard I argue not many in this Breeders Cup Mile field have achieved. Furthermore he has the racing style you want for your horse at this track.

Add to that the fact he gets first time Lasix and you have a massive chance. Negative: the draw. However, maybe not as much a negative potentially as this race could turn into affair with little early pace to shout about. Hey Gaman usually breaks well so he should be able to make it over fairly quickly I feel.

The step up to a mile on this lightning fast ground is no issue either. There is enough stamina in pedigree, he is a full-brother to a winner over a mile and himself has some fair form over the trip too.

Selection:
10pts win – Hey Gaman @ 18/1 WH

………

11.40 Santa Anita: G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf, 1m 4f

Bricks And Mortar and vulnerable over this trip. AVD has gone backwards since the Derby. Something else may spring a surprise from the front, but I feel eerily confident Old Persian will be able to cover all moves.

He’s not quite superstar status, however he certainly is a high class individual with comparatively low mileage this season, coming here potentially fresher than others.

He’s won the Northern Dancer comfortably when last seen, so had a perfect prep while having ran to topspeed ratings of 110 in the past plus to 104 at Meydan earlier this year, he looks to have the making of what should be the favourite in the race.

The draw isn’t ideal and is my main worry that Buick will “slot in” too far off the pace. I hope he is smart and brave enough to go forward, without being suicidal, and not let the pace go too far away.

If the pilot gets the tactics right then the horse will deliver with everything sure to suit: track, trip, ground.

Selection:
10pts win – Old Persian @ 4/1 PP

Monday Selections: September, 23rd 2019

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4.45 Hamilton: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

It was impossible to get on the early prices but I believe Rickyroadboy is still a superb bet in this race.

With the ground coming up soft it should be perfect over the minimum trip for Rickyroadboy, who’s fitted with a visor for the first time and can be expected to go hard from the front here, which we have seen on Sunday certainly wasn’t a disadvantage over the sprint trips at Hamilton.

That aside, Rickyroadboy is superbly well-handicapped. He started the season of a 13lb higher mark and has sharply fallen after three consequentially poor efforts. That is the nagging doubt, of course, that he showed nothing at all in the last number of weeks. However, earlier this season, he performed rather well.

Certainly in the context of this race and his current handicap rating of 55, given he is 4lb lower than his last winning mark but also ran two times this season to 55+ topspeed ratings (plus an RPR of 70).

With conditions likely to suit, new headgear, potentially a tactical advantage, a field where nothing else really stands out and a lowly handicap mark, Rickyroadboy looks ready for a big run.

Selection:
10pts win – Rickyroadboy @ 17/2 MB

 

Sunday Selections: September, 22nd 2019

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2.00 Hamilton: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

JJ Feane may have found a superb opportunity for one of his horses across the pond once again. He’s got a 25% win- and 50% place record with his horses running in UK handicaps over the last number of years. This is poor race which looks a big chance for Fugacious to get his head in front.

The gelding is fitted with first time head-gear, which may bring out a bit of improvement. If it does then he should have too much on his plate for the locals, I reckon. As an April foal he was always likely to get better with time, but he already showed plenty of promise – for this lowly level – this summer.

His Curragh 4th in a highly competitive handicap over 6 furlongs – form that has worked out well since then – is the standout piece of form in this race. Off a 68 handicap mark he finished strongly, only 1¼ lengths beaten, running to a topspeed rating of 65, which is believable.

He followed up with another fine performance at Gowran Park stepping up an additional furlong, though a mile at competitive Galway and a drop to the minum distance didn’t quite saw him to best effect.

Fugacious should, however, enjoy the 6 furlongs with cut in the ground today. The 3lb claim of Harrison Shaw, who has already ridden a winner for this yard, is an additional bonus.

Selection:
10pts win – Fugacious @ 5.4/1 MB

……..

3.00 Hamilton: Class 6 Handicap, 5 furlongs

If David’s Beauty can find back to form she’ll be a big runner in this poor race. She has been going close twice this season already, most notably when beaten on the line at Chepstow in June.

That day she ran to a career best, in fact, achieving a 59 topspeed rating. Watching the race it’s easy to see why. On the widest outside away from pace she had a lot going against herself from that perspective, but the mare rallied strongly and only got beaten by a strongly finishing horse on the other side she couldn’t see in her blinkers while already for quite a bit in front.

She followed up with another strong performance a few weeks later at Carlisle with a half lengths beaten third. However, David’s Beauty’s last three runs were poor. As a consequence she has fallen in her handicap mark down to 55, which is a pound lower than that massive Chepstow run.

Given she has achieved seven times throughout her career topspeed ratings of 55 and higher, and ran to a career best earlier this year, it is believable that she can turn her form around again. If so she’s the one to beat here.

Selection:
10pts win – David’s Beauty @ 11.5/1 MB