Tag Archives: Turf

Wednesday Selections: 17th May 2023

3.35 York: Group 3 Musidora Stakes, 1m 2½f

A competitive renewal of the Musirora Stakes. Gather Ye Rosebuds looks potentially smart having run to a serious speed rating on her debut about three weeks ago.

But I’ll stick to Soul Sister, one of my Horses to Follow this year, despite a desperate seasonal reappearance, last month at Doncaster.

That run looks bad. But it can be totally ignored, in my view. The deep ground, 7 furlongs, her first run for the year. All came together and worked against her.

This daughter of Frankel should very much improve for better ground and as she moves up in trip.

Keeping that in mind, the more it looks impressive what she did on her sole run as a juvenile last year on soft ground over a mile at Doncaster.

That day she showed a superb attitude and staying qualities on her debut as she stayed on strongly to get up in the dying strides in a head-to-head battle.

She possesses a lot of stamina and will have no issues stepping to 10 furlongs, and possibly beyond. Her full-siblings have been pretty smart in their own right as well.

I am more than happy to give her ‘another’ chance, even though I had no interest to back her in the Fred Darling. I feel this is her first proper race this season and she is clearly overpriced.

10pts win – Soul Sister @ 21/1


8.10 Bath: Class 6 Handicap, 10f

Chinthurst is one of those handicappers I’m following this year as I believe he could have quite a bit in hand once he races over the right trip.

I was taken by his seasonal reappearance at Windsor last month in seriously deep ground. He travelled pretty well for a long time before he fell away badly to finish a long beaten 4th.

But this was a strong race, he may have needed it in any case, and there’s every chance he can improve from the outing and enjoy the better conditions today a bit more.

He also steps up in trip to 10 furlongs, which is most likely to suit. He’s a son of Nathanial out of a Dylan Thomas mare – you can be almost certain he’s going to improve as a 3-year-old and as he moves up in trip.

With that in mind, I felt what he did as a juvenile warrants respect and proved there is possibly more ability than his current lowly rating suggests.

After three unremarkable qualifying runs, he improved markedly on his Handicap debut and final run in 2022 at Brighton over 7 furlongs.

There he found himself multiple times outpaced but kept showing a positive attitude as he finished well up the hill and achieved a 53 speed rating.

The performance warrants an upgrade, as the form has worked out well in the meantime, and he’s rated only a pound higher today.

The wide draw and large field are a small concern. I also wouldn’t hope the ground dries out to anything beyond good. At given prices, and granted he’s been drifting, it’s worth taking the risk here.

10pts win – Chinthurst @ 7/1

Sunday Selections: 14th May 2023

Sergeant Tibbs  beaten on the line. He ran a huge race but got just caught. Could have done with this one. Eponina ran no race at all. She was in trouble from 4f out. Something looked amiss.

That’s 11 losing bets on the bounce. Struggling a bit lately. Memories of the good start to the month have faded. Most selections have ran poorly as well.

Although, bare one, I liked all those selections. Can’t be too critical there. It’s just one of those times again, I guess.


3.30 Longchamp: G1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches, 1m

Blue Rose Cen brings top-class form to the party and looked brilliant when she quickened nicely from near the front in the Prix de la Grotte, but I think the visual impression didn’t quite match the merit of the performance, given it was on deep ground and a slowly run race.

Aiden O’Brien saddles Never Ending Story and ever since she won the 1000 Guineas trial at Leopardstown I felt she is a high-class filly, a Group 1 winner in the making.

That day she was gutsy, stayed on strongly and proved that she has progressed after a somewhat underwhelming juvenile campaign.

She looked stronger, and ran a good 90 speed rating, as the form has ben given a significant boost in the meantime by the second and third.

I imagine she’s even better on decent ground. On the other hand, she clearly goes well on heavy ground, which will be key at Longchamp. She should enjoy stepping up to a mile once again, too.

She seems somewhat underappreciated in the betting. I see her a whole lot closer the favourite than current prices have it.

Never Ending Story @ 7/2


5.45 Hamilton: Class 3 Handicap, 5f

This handicap brings a wide range of horses together will all sorts of abilities. It is a class 3 in name only, though. The higher rated individuals may have the upper hand on paper, but neither looks well-handicapped.

No question, though, having been left untouched by the handicapper, Huddle Up must even as he moves up in class, and doing so significantly.

He ran a huge race on his comeback run after 11 months off the track at Thirsk about three weeks ago off a mark of 74, achieving a respectable 72 speed rating, with the performance also warranting an upgrade.

Huddle Up crossed over to the stands’ side soon after the start from his low draw. He tracked a good pace, made a strong move from over 2f out, and found himself in a head-to-head battle with the leader from 2f out all the way to the line. Eventually he was only beaten in the final 50 yards by a horse from off the pace.

It was his first opportunity to race in the UK with significant cut in the ground since he moved over last spring. That seems key to his chances. He ran to a 77 speed rating as a juvenile in heavy ground, and this most recent run suggests he may not be far off his very best.

The drop to 5f won’t be an issue, he has won over the minimum trip, and the stiff finish on softish ground will suit. There seems enough rain in the forecast to expect the ground not to dry out much beyond the current good to soft.

10pts win – Huddle Up @ 6/1

Saturday Selections: 13th May 2023

Disappointing Friday. Both horses were well-backed. But that didn’t mean anything once the gates opened.

Elterwater was off the bridle pretty early, and after it looked briefly as if she could get involved, she fell rapidly away in the closing stages.

Shark Two One ran solid for a third place, but never looked like winning. I think I’ll stick with him for now as his revised mark gives him a good chance next time, I believe.


4.55 Ascot: Class 4 Handicap, 6f

Sergeant Tibbs caught the eye a number of times in the last half year. He ran extremely well on the All-Weather in his last three runs at the end of 2022 before a break, without winning, though.

he made life difficult for himself on the sand, and in any case, is a better horse on turf.

He changed yards this spring, now trained by John Flint. He made his stable debut for the new yard at Windsor last month., which was also his seasonal reapperance and first run since December.

With that in mind, he finished a respectable 5th place, less than 4 lengths beaten, on heavy ground, having been closer ridden to a hot pace early on than the horses that finished ahead of him.

His next run at Goodwood can be marked up as well. He was probably found out for class, ultimately, but early keenness wasn’t any help. He still finished solid enough taking all that into account.

Those last two performances suggest he’s in pretty good form. The handicapper has been lenient, dropped him another 2lb.

Here at Ascot he can race off 70, takes a drop in class, down into an even easier race than the one at Windsor. He’s a tricky character and the lack of pace could be an issue. Nonetheless, he remains still lightly raced on turf, having ran well enough i most of his turf starts, most of those with cut in the ground.

Including a Handicap win off 77 last May, when he also ran to an 82 speed rating. Therefore, he could be seriously well-handicapped in this field as soft ground isn’t a worry.

10pts win – Sergeant Tibbs @ 15/2


8.10 Leicester: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

Veteran Eponina looks to have found an ideal opportunity to score. She won this race twelve month ago off a 2lb lower mark, ran to a 66 speed rating that day, and followed up weeks later with a win and head beaten 2nd off 69 and 70 ratings.

She clearly is on a good mark, although, not one where she has tons in hand. But she is in super form, there’s no doubt. She was well-backed last week at Beverley, and ran really well.

Eponina grabbed the lead, although was closely followed all the time. She was a bit keen in the first half of the race and came under severe pressure entering the home straight. I was impressed how gutsy she was, answering the calls for effort and focus.

The drop to 7 furlongs on soft ground should be in her favour, as should be her return to Leicester.

Her experience will be an asset in this race against a bunch of inexperienced 3-year-olds. This is still the time when the elder should have a distinct advantage, regardless of WFA.

The favourite Albeseeingyer is on five-timer. She ran a good speed rating when she won the last time, and could still be progressive enough to overcome her revised mark. But this is better grade and Eponina certainly a tougher rival to beat.

Backing 9-year-old mares isn’t my cup of tea normally, but I feel she could prove too good for this field off her current mark, and represents sufficient value at current prices.

10pts win – Eponina @ 5/1

Friday Selections: 12th May 2023

8.25 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 9.5f

The more experienced horses, especially those lto winners, appear to have little scope to improve any further than their current ratings. Therefore this could represent an ideal opportunity for lightly raced Elterwater to open her account.

This is her seasonal reappearance but I expect her to be ready. There is no need to hold back anything and she steps up in trip in line with expectations of what should be her optimum trips.

She showed signs of improvement on Handicap debut when last seen in October when she was also quite well backed. She travelled nicely but didn’t have the pace to match in the closing stages over 7 furlongs.

Elterwater is a full-sister to a smart Aussie performer over 1m to 10f who improved nicely in her days as a 3yo. She looked quite big last year and is possibly one to be most interested in Spring. So her time should be now.

There is no doubt she is expected to improve as she moves up in trip as a daughter of Camelot. Her current 59 rating looks ready to be exploited, although how much she is in hand remains to be seen.

10pts win – Elterwater @ 7/1


8.40 Nottingham: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

Shark Two One is going to be 2lb lower when he races next time, and if things don’t work out here I’d be happy to back him then again. But he may rather be 4lb+ higher next time, in actual fact, because he looks cherry ripe for a big W.

He caught the eye for the first time at Newcastle at the end of last year when he pushed a seriously hot pace and only faded late. The form didn’t amount to much in general, but his individual performance in isolation was strong.

He’s 6lb lower today, back on turf, however, where he’s a better horse. Not only that, his most recent run a fortnight ago proved that the 5-year-old gelding is in superb form right now, and clearly well-handicapped off 63.

He wasn’t advantaged how the race panned out from his draw and caught too far back than ideal. He looked like coming with a proper challenge over 2 furlongs out but multiple avenues to kick on closed subsequently.

He finished better than the bare result suggests and he doesn’t need the additional 2lb help from the handicapper to win. Conditions as well as course and distance won’t be an issue.

10pts win – Shark Two One @ 13/2

Flat Eyecatchers 2023: #2

A list of horses that caught my eye during the recent weeks of racing. Find all previous lists here.

Serious Look
25/04/23 – 4.45 Epsom:

Moved forward quickly to lead travelling wide. Was going strongly approaching the home straight, though gradually tired and fell away in the last two furlongs.

Paid for early exertions, doing too much in deep ground, as those ahead of him in the end were ridden with more restraint.

Travelles well. May found 9f in heavy ground beyond his stamina. A mile in soft ground should be fine, though, so is 7f with plenty of cut in the ground. He seems to hit the ground quite hard.

Race Replay

I’m Mable
26/04/23 – 7.55 Lingfield:

Settled in rear of the field. Travelled strongly, on the bridle as he approached the home straight but went widest and lost ground. Really strong finish. Good form.

Unlucky lto when also a strong run, confirmed here that he’s absolutely ready to strike. Can make a mess at the gate, though.

Would be most intrigued over 5f on turf again. Ran good speed ratings last season, and another 2lb down now, most likely seriously well-handicapped.

Race Replay

Spanish Angel
26/04/23 – 1.50 Catterick:

Widest draw was probably a disadvantage as was travelling on the stands’ side. Made strong progress from 3f out against stands’ rail and finished best of that group.

Huge run in circumstances, confirmed strong AW form, also was a bit unlucky lto. Looks on a possibly lenient turf mark in the right conditions, compared to AW as he’s not 10lb worse judged on speed ratings.

He prefers better ground to be seen to best effect. Didn’t enjoyed these conditions this season yet. Does stay 6f but probably best over shorter.

Race Replay

Soul Seeker
27/04/23 – 2.20 Beverley:

Moved quickly forward and crossed over the the far rail. Led the field, but pressured all the way. battled solidly before fading badly in the final furlong.

Softish ground far from ideal. He’s a different horse on better ground, ideally fast. Ran twice to 78 speed rating off a 77 mark last summer.

Down to a super mark now and after two solid runs under his belt this year, should be a big runner in the right conditions soon.

Race Replay

Lord Rapscallion
27/04/23 – 6.15 Chelmsford:

Grabbed the lead, largely uncontested, was going well entering the home straight. Eventually beaten by those from off the pace. Decent run.

Can ignore next time in class 2. Tricky sort but clearly still with an appetite for the game. Slowly drops to fair mark again. Won off 80 back in December.

Ran twice to speed rating 84+ last year on turf over 7 furlongs. With decent ground should be interesting, especially if he could dominate.

Race Replay

Platinum Girl
28/04/23 – 5.35 Doncaster:

Travelled supremely well from the front and had entire field well on the stretch from 3f out. Tired badly in the final furlong and eventually reeled in by two from off the pace.

Huge seasonal reappearance. Was placed off similar mark last year. Quite experienced and unlikely to have much scope. May find it tough to back up this effort if turned out quickly.

Race Replay

Lotus Rose
29/04/23 – 5.40 Doncaster:

Superb front-running effort. Kicked on from over 2f out and looked the winner until swamped late in the day. Ran to 69 speed rating here, strong form.

Ran multiple times to mid-60 speed ratings and higher. Improved nicely from seasonal debut. Probably best over minimum trip with cut in the ground but 6f on better ground no issue either. Versatile.

Race Replay

Glorious Rio
29/04/23 – 2.05 Haydock:

Badly bumped and squeezed out of the gate by two rivals, trailed as a consequence. Wall of horses in front and had to switch wide to the far side, giving ground and momentum away. Came through well from over 1f out.

Strong run in circumstances. Ran with credit on the All-Weather this year before. Comes down to solid mark. Not tons in hand but ran to 68, 69 and 71 speed ratings since August last year.

Any additional help from the handicapper will bue valuable. He’s better over the minimum trip, and prefers decent ground. Not disgraced at Newcastle on Tuesday off 69.

Race Replay

Dream Together
29/04/23 – 2.05 Haydock:

Travelled quite well on stands’ side, which was potentially not ideal being high drawn in this race, as was away from where the pace developed. Travelled strongly to 2f out before effort petered out.

Reportedly made a respiratory noise afterwards, that may explain the tame finish, although he wasn’t advantaged by the way the race developed in any way.

Small risk whether all is fine with him, but in any case another 2lb down and well-handicapped now. Ran solid on the All-Weather before, somewhat unfortunate. Achieved speed ratings last season that will give him a huge chance wherever he goes, if healthy.

Race Replay

Forward Flight
30/04/23 – 3.35 Wetherby:

Moved forward from #9 draw to closely follow the pace. Pressed the leader from 3f out and couple of lengths ahead before swamped. Accepted challenge and stuck strongly to the task to hold on for 2nd place.

Strong run and speed rating only 2lb shy of current mark, which was left untouched. Given great opportunity if he can find a handicap over a mile in proper soft ground as still somewhat unexposed in these conditions which seemingly bring out the best in him.

Can ignore hurdle and All-Weather form; he looks potentially well-handicapped off 70 in the right conditions.

Race Replay

30/04/23 – 3.45 Musselburgh:

Fell out of the gate. Overcame his highly awkward start quickly, as moved forward rapidly to lead after the first furlong even. Did way too much to get there but only fell away from from over a furlong out.

Strong run in circumstances and clearly better than result. Won when last seen in 2022. Full-brother to Group 3 winning miler. Should have no issues going up in trip.

Opening mark no giveaway, but could have a couple of pounds ahead if he moves up to 6 furlongs.

Race Replay

01/05/23 – 4.03 Beverley:

Grabbed the lead, although closely followed all the time. Keen in the first half of the race. Under severe pressure entering the home straight. Gutsy, still fought back when beaten over 1f out.

Clearly in good form. Ran well last two times as well. If ground stays soft drop to 7f possibly ideal. Chester entry on Wednesday interesting.

Closely enough rated to more recent best speed ratings, but any help from handicapper will see her having something in hand in the right race.

Race Replay

Master Sully
01/05/23 – 3.33 Bath:

First bumped, then squeezed out soon after the start. Stumbled after the first furlong. Got going again but ultimately never stood a chance. Better than this as he caught the eye at Lingfield before as well when turning very wide but finished well enough.

Not much scope but chance off 47, especially on turf, 5f on decent ground. Some strong performances last year, especially when out of the handicap off 51 at Ffos Las.

Ran twice to 48 speed rating, latest in January. Looks like he’s in the same sort of form as his best from 2022, hence should have a few pounds ahead now.

Race Replay

Sir Titan
02/05/23 – 1.50 Brighton:

Bounced out of the gate from wide draw to grab the lead and set strong gallop. Started to tire from 3 furlongs out, though ran solid to the line.

Not disgraced the last two. Veteran who still enjoys the game. Simply not the old force any more and will benefit from further drop in the ratings and down into class 6.

Race Replay

Mount Mogan
03/05/23 – 6.10 Brighton:

Led, although closely tracked. Still ahead at the final furlong marker, but heavily under pressure. Only faded from half a furlong out. Probably solid form, winner possibly still ahead of his mark.

Comes down to good mark. Ran well on the All-Weather (unlucky 03/03) against good opposition. Will benefit from drop to class 6 again and could be dangerous now, over 6-7f.

Possibly a bit better on the sand, but intriguing on turf off 63 if the ground decent, especially over 6 furlongs.

Race Replay

Hardy Angel
03/05/23 – 4.00 Pontefract:

Overcame widest draw quickly to dispute lead all the way while travelling wide, giving ground away. Hit the front just about with 1.5f to go before getting swallowed for good by two ridden with more restraint. Saddle slipped late, too.

Lightly raced. May enjoy better ground. Good run and interesting off current mark over 6f on decent ground, probably does also enjoy galloping track more than tight ones.

Race Replay

Fiscal Policy
03/05/23 – 9.00 Kempton:

Seriously keen throughout the race, but strongly travelling into the home straight. Tremendous visual impression when let go as he moved forward stylishly from 2.5f out to hit the front in an instant. Markedly tired from over 1f out and caught late.

Often keen over 6f. Ran well number of times before. Achieved 62 speed rating here, hence likely to be ahead of mark, and should be if not too harshly treated by the handicapper after this. Has 5f entries next week. Intriguing over the minimum trip.

Race Replay

04/05/23 – 2.00 Ayr:

Awkward start. In rear, going okay until outpaced from 2f out. Kept going strongly to the line and finished best of all. Ran to strong 61 speed rating, 3lb below current mark.

Fast conditions over the minimum trip not ideal. Notably how well he ran. Clearly ready in right conditions. Prefers cut in the ground and stays 6f.

Ran to 68 speed rating at Dundalk in January. Changed yards. Tricky customer. Worth to wait for the right conditions. Perhaps ran too good to be dropped another pound our two here, though.

Race Replay

Gullane One
04/05/23 – 4.30 Redcar:

Led his group on the far side. Good pace. Ran strongly to the line but beaten by one from off the pace. Strong form through winner and 2nd.

Better over 6f and pretty ground independent, though may not want the extreme end of either side of the going stick. Ran good speed ratings within last twelve month and this a clear return to form.

Race Replay

Big R
04/05/23 – 2.10 Salisbury:

At disadvantage from the #8 gate. Caught wide and without cover early on, before settling at the back of the field. Good progress on outside from halfway stage. Nearly upside leaders over 1f out, before getting tired.

Comeback run and handicap debut. Huge performance against pace and track bias. Showed good early speed last year. May stay 7f on pedigree but 6f possibly ideal.

Was a cheap yearling but looks clearly better than opening 70 mark.

Race Replay

Michaels Choice
04/05/23 – 2.45 Salisbury:

Had the widest draw to overcome. Huge disadvantage. Raced widest without cover. Good progress from over 2f out, just tired late.

Strong run on seasonal reappearance. Ran to 66 speed rating. Clearly as good as ever. Won off 70 multiple times in the past. Ran to 70 speed rating twice last year.

Loves it at Salisbury. Interesting next time out but in an ideal world he finds a way to drop a couple of pounds to become seriously well-handicapped.

Race Replay

With Respect
04/05/23 – 2.45 Salisbury:

Awkward start, travelled strongly against the inside rail at the end of the field. Good progress but full effort delayed until he got out late to finish strongly.

Ran 70 speed rating equal to current mark. Caught the eye on the All-Weather before. Seems to be still improving and capable of winning, especially if not harshly assessed for this run by the handicapper.

Most likely prefers a bit of give in the ground, certainly no fast ground. Can be a bit tricky out of the gate but usually a strong traveller.

Race Replay

05/05/23 4.25 Musselburgh:

Raced about 5 lengths off the pace, quite keen, took a grip. Overraced especially around the home bend and huge move from 4f out to go upside with leaders. Fell away in the closing stages.

Still a maiden and not one to trust too much, didn’t run a good speed rating yet. However this is probably solid form and a drop to 6f will be interesting off revised career-lowest mark.

Race Replay

B Associates
05/05/23 4.25 Musselburgh:

Travelled off the pace, outpaced halfway through, before good progress. held up behind leaders from 2f out, looked bit awkward, possibly hung. Ran on strongly.

Caught the eye lto over the minimum trip at Newcastle as well. Clearly in strong form but a difficult sort. A step up to 1m interesting. Maybe one tough to catch given it’s Goldie.

Race Replay

05/05/23 – 5.20 Newmarket:

Made the most of the standing start. Led, set strong pace, had the field on the stretch from 3 furlongs out and ran home better than most, bar a strong winner. Strong 92 speed rating.

Clearly up to win and confirmed level of form shown last year. If untouched by the handicapper interesting in similar race, especially in a smaller field.

Race Replay

Island Star
05/05/23 – 4.20 Goodwood:

Tracked an honest pace, always going well. Not a clear run from 3f out when horses led across him and hindered him to move out for his effort. Accelerated well once in the clear, especially after he was close to the pace all the time, before getting tired and not given a hard time in the final furlong.

Won well lto. Looks progressive and could still be handicapped to win off 77, after running to 73 speed rating here in not ideal circumstances.

Race Replay

05/05/23 – 4.20 Goodwood:

Tracked the pace early on, pretty keen through the race. Not a clear run in the home straight and had to delay full effort multiple times, also hung. Finished nicely under and easy ride in the final furlong.

Comeback run and gelded during his break. First try over a mile. Should get the trip easily if he can settle better. A drop to 7f shouldn’t be an issue, either. Should be competitive off a revised mark.

Race Replay

Straits Of Moyle
06/05/23 – 2.00 Thirsk:

Right up with the pace, never far off, always racing in prominent position. Was going notably well 2f out, found plenty for pressure and only went down behind two well handicapped horses.

Strong form. Clearly in good nick. Ran career best speed rating on All-Weather earlier this year, although much better on turf.

Ran 74+ speed ratings twice, including a career-best 79 last summer. Handicapped to win off 72 as left untouched by handicapper.

Race Replay

06/05/23 – 1.35 Naas:

Prominent on the far side, travelled strongly, possibly going best. Got up late for 2nd place on his side, but no chance with winner on stands’ side, who was probably advantaged by racing on that side.

Up 2lb, more than fair. Ran to 70 speed rating here and 81 on AW last year. This form should be strong, every chance can progress and win next time. If not for racing from a wide draw lto at Dundalk her record could read even better.

Race Replay

Monday Selections: 8th May 2023

Frustrating Sunday. Frustrating weekend… would, could, should. Al Husn and Up And Under solid 2nd place efforts. Although, it was a poor ride by Mikey Sheehy in the Derby Trial.

The pace wasn’t hot and he gave the colt way too much to do. Al Husn ran well but had no chance with the winner. I think she should be capable of winning a Group 3 over 10 furlongs, though, and remains on my list.

Remarquee never seemed to travel and was beaten before the 1000 Guineas approached the halfway mark. Mawj, who I mentioned in the preview as “a danger I seriously rate”, won in a thrilling finish. Of course I left her unbacked.

Sir Benedict was the “cherry on the cake”. Not. Yes. I’m talking through my pocket, and of course the horse is one who finds trouble consistently. But there were ways to avoid it here. Callum Rodriguez made every effort to ensure he finds the trouble today. Disappointing.

Well, it could have a been a sensational weekend. It wasn’t. The winner on Saturday helps to even things out, to the most part. On to Monday….


7.15 Windsor. Class 5 Handicap, 5f

I am prepared to give Concierge another chance after his solid but ultimately uncompetitive effort at Yarmouth last month. I backed him that day, despite some reservations given the surface and trip.

He moves up in grade but drops down in trip. I don’ think this race is overly competitive, so I’m not concerned about the class. However, I do fancy him over the minimum trip, especially with cut in the ground.

He’s a course and distance winner as well and has dropped another pound, down to a mark of 65. That’s only a pound off the 64 speed rating he achieved back in March at Kempton – although that was on the sand.

Nonetheless, that run clearly showed he’s still well capable to run to a competitive level in these lower grade.

That day Concierge was a serious eyecatcher as he travelled at the back of the field. Made really good progress on the inside and showed multiple accelerations from mid-race right onward to finish the fastest from 4f out.

He couldn’t follow-up at Chelmsford, but travelling wide throughout, chasing the pace, was the reason why he dropped out badly in the closing stages.

As mentioned before I do forgive him the Yarmouth run, too. Deep ground and 6 furlongs – it was an error of judgement on my part. This test here will suit perfectly.

10pts win – Concierge @ 8/1


8.45 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

A competitive race on the sand for this class with many chances, but that helps to drive the price for Bayraat to a point where it’s impossible to ignore him.

He drops down to 0-65 level here after he ran with tons of credit on his seasonal reappearance at Southwell in a slightly tougher race over 7 furlongs five weeks ago.

He crossed over from the #8 draw to lead the field early, before following closely the leader, doing so a little bit too keenly. He hung in the closing stages, but ran on nicely at the same time.

That performance was in line with the one that caught my eye for the first time back in November last year at Newcastle over 6f when he was lightly bumped after the start, quickly moved forward and found plenty under pressure from 2 furlongs out. That form looks solid.

You can easily forgive him a subsequent poor showing (15/11) over 7 furlongs as he was restraint at the back of the field and never in the race.

He only made his belated handicap debut at Southwell and appears off potentially well handicapped now off 65 as he drops into an easier race as well as moving down in trip.

6 furlongs with a stiff finish such as here at Newcastle may well be an ideal scenario. On his only course and distance run he was a strong runner-up. The winner that day ran well in class 3 company off 83 subsequently, whereas third and fourth placed horses have won in the meantime.

10pts win – Bayraat @ 8.5/1

Sunday Selections: 7th May 2023

Saturday was wild. Harry’s Hill won, despite drifting out to 15/2 SP. He won like a ‘good thing’, though. I was stuck with 9/2 in any case, so the drift was no good to me. But I had him a good point shorter in my book, anyway. So, happy days.

Not so much a “happy ending” in the 2000 Guineas. Silver Knott was never going to win once the rain arrived. And there was a lot of rain! So much so it turned the ground to proper soft.

I’m upset with my eagerness to back him early, instead of having waited until Saturday to make a much better informed decision. Poor decision making is what eats profit.

And then there was Hi Royal. A huge price, could have been backed at 150s in the morning. Surely a small each-way bet would have been on the cards, especially as he was one of my 3-year-olds to follow and I wrote about him:

“Could be somewhat of a “dark horse” for the Guineas… given the speed he showed in his first two career starts. Clearly he’s seriously talented”.

Well, he ran a huge race to finish 2nd, looked like the winner even, before hanging badly. A missed opportunity. Sometimes I just don’t trust my own judgement enough.


It wasn’t a bet but I was nonetheless incredibly delighted, simply as a racing fan: everyone who follows this blog probably knows I love South African racing, and have grown particularly fond of 3-year-old colt Charles Dickens.

He was back today, down to a mile against his own age group. He won with authority, produced his usual stunning turn of foot and it was simply great to see him back to somewhere near his brilliant best.

It was a super ride by Aldo Domeyer, who made progress at the right time before it was too late as the pace wasn’t all that hot, and then trusted the acceleration of Charles Dickens, that was instant, to move through the gap on the inside.

The Durban July has been ruled out. Which is rather obvious, given the colt didn’t get home over 10 furlongs. But another crack over a mile against older horses would be seriously intriguing. The Gold Challenge at Greyville next month has been mentioned as a potential target, indeed.


3.00 Newmarket: Dahlia Stakes, 9f

The ground throws this race wide open and I feel progressive filly Al Husn is possibly underestimated. She’s one of the horses I gonna follow keenly this season. Moving up to Group 2 level is asking plenty of her, but I believe she showed enough last year to think she could have a solid chance to be in the mix.

It may turn out that she isn’t quite good enough, but the filly loves it at Newmarket and is likely to enjoy the soft underfoot conditions, given she won impressively on good to soft when last seen and seems to hit the ground quite hard, too.

I loved her win over a mile in a class 3 Handicap here back in September, when she ran home strongly to win a shade cozily. She was even more impressive, I thought, when she moved up in class and trip to win a hot class 2 Handicap a few weeks later over 10 furlongs at the Rowley Mile.

She became a bit disorganised in a rough finish from 3f out before she hit top gear and sprinted home strongly to win with authority once again.

Dropping down to 9 furlongs in proper soft conditions shouldn’t be a problem. She showed plenty of cruising speed in her races and has the pedigree to stay, possibly even beyond 10 furlongs.

I’d be surprised if she isn’t ready for her reappearance. Roger Varian wouldn’t throw her into the deep end, otherwise. Yes, she has a bit to find on ratings, including speed ratings, but she has an opportunity to show that she belongs here. She looks the value in this contest.

10pts win – Al Husn @ 10/1


3.25 Leopardstown: Group 3 Derby Trial Stakes, 10f

Up And Under was an unlucky runner-up in a photo in the Ballysax Stakes on his seasonal reappearance. He travelled much the best, made smooth progress on the outside of the field until he got tight for room and badly bumped 2 furlongs from home.

It was impressive how he gathered momentum following the collision as rapidly as he did to fight it out in a battle with potentially smart White Birch. If he wouldn’t have been hampered, could he have won? I think he might have and then would be a shorter price.

He clearly acts on soft ground, as he also ran a lovely race on debut on heavy ground in his sole start as a juvenile last October.

He looks a lovely prospect for middle-distance races this year, and could also step up to 12 furlongs.

For now, this presents a good opportunity to score in Group company because favourite Proud And Regal may well be the default favourite but the Donnacha O’Brien trained colt’s Group 1 win at the end of last season doesn’t look overly strong form.

The price is just about getting quite skinny now and I would not go below 11/4, to be honest.

10pts win – Up And Under @ 11/4


3.40 Newmarket: Group 1, 1000 Guineas, 1m

Favourite Tahiyra is all class. The way she won the Moyglare last season was incredibly impressive. It’s the standout piece of form and she ran a good 99 speed rating as well, without having to go all out.

The vibes from the Weld yard were somewhat mixed leading up to the Guineas. However, it’d be hard to believe such an experienced handler would send her over if she wouldn’t be ready to go.

She beat Meditate at the Curragh in the most impressive style. Hard on the bridle with two furlongs to go, she never saw the whip, yet produced a sensational turn of foot.

I think she’s not a bad price at all, even. Certainly the one to beat on paper.

Meditate, runner-up in the Moyglare went on to win at Breeders’ Cup subsequently. The Aiden O’Brien trained filly should rate a key danger once again.

She ran to a 104 speed rating when runner-up behind speedy Lezoo in the Cheveley Park Stakes. Therefore, she possesses plenty of speed and looks well capable to stretch out to a mile as evident at Keeneland. But that was on firm ground. The soft going is a a bit of a question mark.

Aforementioned Lezoo would be seriously dangerous if she could stay a mile. She looks a sprinter to me, though. Somewhat similar doubts hang over recent Nell Gwyn Stakes winner Gammas Girl. The Guineas is a much deeper race, but it’s far from a given that she can get home over the additional furlong.

Dreams Of Love and Mawj bring solid form from Meydan. Is that form good enough? Maybe. Mawj ran excellent speed ratings and has experience on her side. She’s a danger I seriously rate.

But there is absolutely no doubt in mind that they all have to beat Remarquee, including the filly herself. What I mean is: she is obviously a tricky filly, can be raw, awkward and looks seriously green in her first two career runs.

At the same time she created a huge impression on debut last year at Salisbury when she finished like a train, and no less so at Newbury in the Fred Darling two weeks ago.

That day she didn’t have the clearest of runs, before she accelerated really well from two furlongs out. She looked far from straight forward, carried her head awkwardly, yet won with tons in hand, nearly on the bridle, eventually.

Obviously I’m biased because I flagged her as a 3-year-old to follow. But it’s difficult not be impressed by what she has done so far, exactly because she was so green.

That recent experience can only help. So should the step up to a mile and the soft ground, which is going to suit her more than many here. I must back her at current prices.

10pts win – Remarquee @ 7/1


4.58 Hamilton: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

Sir Benedict ran too poorly to be true at Catterick when last seen less than two weeks ago. His rider relinquished an advantageous draw and steered away from the far rail, which was no help at all.

But I do remain faithful to him, even though, one could ask: is there ever going to be another day for him to shine? He’s probably one of the most unfortunate horses without a “W” to his name this year.

He’s a tricky sort and there’s a reason why he’s yet to win in 2023, despite knocking on the door a number of times and having dropped another two pounds lower than. At the same time, I maintain that he looks cherry ripe.

To go up and run over 6 furlongs again is a risk, though. He can pull hard when there’s no pace to run at. You never know how the race is going to develop, though, it looks likely that they good a decent clip here.

He caught my eye a number of times over the last weeks and months. Especially three runs ago at Newcastle, stuck behind a wall of horses, he finished best, doing so nearly on hard held.

And prior to that also at Wolverhampton, again not enjoying a clear run, he dipped below 11s in the penultimate furlong and finished like a train.

The soft ground at Hamilton should be to his advantage, as well as that he’s a course and distance winner, who won here off 60 and ran to a 64 speed rating last June looks.

However, on proper soft ground the stiff finish may stretch him, especially if he shows any signs of keenness early on. That’s a the risk. He’s irresistibly well-handicapped, though, I’d follow him over the cliff another time again, given he ran to a 54 speed rating easily last month and 3x to 59 plus within the last twelve months.

10pts win – Sire Benedict @ 7/1

Thursday Selections: 4th May 2023

One third of 2023 is over. It went fast. Thankfully, after a rough start, with losing months in January and February, March and April got me back on track.

April finished with another winner last Thursday – I watched Pillar Of Hope on my small mobile screen while boarding for a plane to Germany to stay on strongly to win his Beverly race. He got home in the nick of time, literally.

He made it winner #7 for April. 235 points profit, from 23 selections in April. Only last November was a more profitable month in the last three years.

Annual P/L makes it 300pts up for the year now from 101 selections.

A more extensive overview of all selections can be found as always here (Betting Stats & P/L tab in menu).


1.30 Ayr: Class 6 Handicap, 1m

Far From A Ruby has been nicely progressing with each run since her return in early February where she entered the list of eyecatchers.

That day over 6 furlongs, a trip too sharp, she showed good early speed and enthusiasm, which was exactly what I hoped to see. She followed up with another solid run subsequently, although still seemingly short of full fitness.

She’s approaching peak soon as evident three weeks ago at Southwell when she tracked the pace and was right there until fading back to 4th place, 2 lengths beaten.

She now appears to be seriously well-handicapped in this type of low-level apprentice handicap as she goes up in trip. Turf and fast ground won’t be an issue.

Though, down to a mark of 54 offers a huge opportunity. She ran to a 58 speed rating at Ayr over 7 furlongs back in September. She ran to a 50 speed rating when last seen, when not fully tuned up.

I have full faith that she’s still as good as last autumn, and won’t have an issue making up the pounds needed to reach the same level of performance. She stays a mile, has a 3-1-2 record over this course and distance and hasn’t much to fear in this poor field.

10pts win – Far From A Ruby @ 3/1


5.00 Lingfield: Class 5 Handicap, 1m

Plenty of unexposed horses and you never quite know what you get. However, I’m quite hopeful Totnes can be better than her current 71 rating now that she moves up in trip.

Last time out, given she was an odds-on shot, she was probably disappointing the way she finished in 5th, especially as she travelled very strongly in rear of the field, made good progress from 3f out and loomed large entering the home straight.

Her challenge petered out from over 1f out as she hang badly to her left, which is a concern, as well as that she can be keen in the early stages.

I’m prepared to excuse the run because she was ultra-impressive weeks earlier over the same C&D, winning in the manner of a talented filly on only her second career run. Something must have bothered her a few weeks ago – whatever it was, I hope it’s fixed now.

Her pedigree points to stamina and a good chance that there’s more improvement to come as she moved beyond 7 furlongs. Ideally i would love to see her at a stiffer track, but the fact she travelles well and could have a class edge against this opposition makes me cautiously confident.

I don’t think many of her rivals have a lot of scope, while she offers plenty of upside. Totnes looks like a filly capable to progress beyond marks in the 70s.

10pts win – Totnes @ 5/2


8.15 Chelmsford: Class 6 Handicap, 1m

Compere looks to have found a nice chance to score. Even though 13 go to post, not many seem to be here to win. Hence I’m not worried about the #6 draw at all, which is good enough to get easily to the front in a race with not much pace to compete against.

The gelding is still pretty lightly raced but took his form to the next level when last seen over this course and distance at Chelmsford over a mile.

He endured an awkward start, heavily bumped a rival before then finding himself in front, overcoming the issues out of the gate, eventually settled in third.

He kicked on nicely against inside rail approaching the home straight; hit the front 1f out, and kept going strongly. But he had no chance with winner from off the pace, eventually.

This is strong form. The winner was back-to-back winner; the third won last time out and finished third subsequently. The 4th won next time out.

Compere was a 50/1 shot, so clearly outran his price tag there. He now drops in class, down to 0-55, and the fact that solid but ultimately exposed Thomas Equinas heads the betting says all about the strengths in depth of this field.

The handicapper was kind to Compere, as he left him on the same 56 rating. Even though. I imagine the gelding will eventually prove better over 10 furlongs, he’s shown enough speed for the mile and should find this easier, in order to run out a strong maiden victory.

10pts win – Compere @ 6/1

Wednesday Selections: 26th April 2023

Dog Fox done the job on Tuesday. We knew he’s a tricky sort and irrespective of the hood he pulled hard in the early stages; no problem, though – he was too well handicapped on his debut, as hoped.

He was well backed, went off 3/1 (backed at 5s). The 6th winner in April. It’s unlikely I’ll break my “career-best” of nine winners in a single months. Still, from only 20 selections, a 30% strike rate, that’s unusually high for me…. so, waiting for it come crashing down.

Bridge Water was disappointing, but they ran so slow, she never stood a real chance. Dark Design was friendless in the market and never landed a blow.


1.50 Catterick: Class 6 Handicap, 5f

I can see how Golden Gal turns out to become the gamble of the race here with her return fresh from a wind op, having strong course and distance form.

But I do like my recent form, and as such, one of the most unfortunate horses without a “W” to his name this year is Sir Benedict. This lad is SO ready, I can see a scenario where he just runs way with this in the final furlong.

But I also can clearly envision a scenario where he runs on late for 4th place. Because he’s a tricky sort and there’s a reason why he’s yet to win in 2023, despite knocking on the door and having dropped to a rating that is more than realistic.

In saying that, the drop to the minimum trip should suit in theory, as long as it doesn’t dry out completely, and he doesn’t mess up at the gate, as he can do.

Ignore his latest run. 6f, a muddling pace and no cover never gave him any chance. He pulled like a train, and in that context he still caught the eye the way he travelled to challenge for the lead from three furlongs out, before running out off steam.

Look no further than the two runs prior, though. Two back at Newcastle, stuck behind a wall of horses, he finished best, doing so nearly on hard held.

And prior to this at Wolverhampton, again not enjoying a clear run, he dipped below 11s in the penultimate furlong and finished like a train.

What gives me plenty of hope is: 1) a low draw – in theory he should be able to track the pace; 2) the hot pace, which is to suit him, especially if he can use the inside lane, safe ground and use the extra bit of stamina he possesses.

The cut in the ground is to his advantage as well, and now down to a mark of 59 he’s simply looks irresistibly well-handicapped, given he ran to a 54 speed rating easily last month and 3x to 59 plus within the last twelve months.

10pts win – Sire Benedict @ 5/1

Flat Eyecatchers 2023: #1

A list of horses that caught my eye during the recent weeks of racing. Find all previous lists here.

With the flat season under way, it’s time to shift the focus away from the sand finally for good. Hence this is the start of the new series for the2023 flat season.

There can still be a few horses on the list that caught the eye on the sand, given All-Weather racing never sleeps. But the majority will come from turf from now on. Good times!


10/04/23 – 4.01 Redcar:

Bit awkward away from the gate. Swiftly moved over to the far side, travelled strongly as part of the group there, still on the bridle 2f out. Had to sit and suffer, before finally out 1f out and ran on really well to finished best.

Lovely return off a break. Down to a mark of 80 now. Won off similar mark last year (also ran career best 84 speed rating). Enjoys cut in the ground and looks ready to run a big race once again in those conditions over 7f.

Race Replay

Stormy Pearl
10/04/23 – 5.46 Redcar:

Swiftly moved over to join the pace full of enthusiasm, a bit too keenly, doing too much. Nonetheless, travelled the best approaching the 2f marker, everyone else off the bridle. Tired rapidly inside the final furlong.

Strong return, especially on soft ground. Raced a lot for a May foal last year and may not have much scope for improvement. But down to realistic 55 mark again, won off similar plus speed rating last year.

Best form on decent ground. Worth to wait for those conditions, given she doesn’t have tons in hand, but is one who could strike on the right day in these early days of the season.

Race Replay

Wen Moon
11/04/23 – 4.00 Pontefract:

Disadvantaged by widest draw, settled in rear. Turned widest for home while going best, smooth progress to hit the front at final furlong marker but hang badly to his left. Won well with plenty in hand I believe.

Impressive how he won on this ground against the pace bias. Almost certainly better on decent ground. Only 3lb up. Lightly raced, gelded during winter. There’s more to come.

Race Replay

Foreseeable Future
12/04/23 – 2.10 Catterick:

Not ideal low draw in soft conditions here, moved quickly toward the centre, that was costly; going okay for a long time before tiering in the final furlong.

Comeback run can be upgraded. Down to good mark. Ran to higher speed ratings last year and won off current mark. Much better on decent to fast ground over the minimum trip and dangerous in those conditions.

Race Replay

Thornaby Beauty
12/04/23 – 5.20 Catterick:

Settled wide in drear from second widest draw. Looked poised over 2f out and tried to make progress through a gap that suddenly got tight and she got bumped several times by rivals. Kept going well to the line.

Superb run in circumstances. Lightly raced. Ran solid speed rating on the sand in line with her current mark, but possibly even more so open to progress on turf.

Should have a chance to stretch out over 7 furlongs on decent ground, but 6f with cut may prove the ideal trip.

Race Replay

13/04/23 – 5.05 Newcastle:

Went forward and made most after an initial pedestrian first furlong set a strong pace. Under pressure from over 2f out when headed by strongly travelling rival, but kept going gutsily and finished second best in final furlong behind winner from off the pace.

Nice reappearance, first time expected to run well. Still lightly raced and open to progress over 7f, perhaps also on turf on decent ground.

Race Replay

Bella Kopella
13/04/23 – 5.05 Newcastle:

Early up with pace, before tracking the leader who set a solid pace. Stylish progress from over 2f out to head the leader and move ahead. Travelled like the winner but did a lot in the middle part of the race. Tired badly in the final furlong.

Progressive as a juvenile, and won well over this CD upon seasonal return last month. Looks still open to more improvement, ran to 59 speed rating lto and travelled like a “good thing” here.

The way he fell away in the final furlong was a bit concerning but they went hard and he did a lot to push the pace as well.

Race Replay

Indian Creek
17/04/23 – 3.45 Windsor:

Tracked pace early on before putting more pressure on the pace setter. Did too much in the first half of the race in desperate conditions. Most that finished better races more restrained. Tired from 2f out.

Solid comeback. Prefers better ground. Course and distance specialist. Won off 85 and multiple times off in and around 80, including running to 80 speed rating last season.

Dangerous if he drops below 80 now on better going, ideally at Windsor, but also ran well at Goodwood and Newbury.

Race Replay

Cuban Breeze
17/04/23 – 3.45 Windsor:

Set the early pace, showed excellent early speed. Did way too much in desperate conditions and fell away rapidly from over two furlongs out. Still really positive the early speed he showed.

Ran well lto at Kempton clocking a good speed rating. Clearly in solid form. NTO can be ignored in hot company.

Prefers better ground. Ran well last season of mid 80 marks, including 3x 80+ speed ratings. Mark should be revised and becomes really interesting in right conditions. Has speed for minimum trip and stays 6f.

Race Replay

Aurora Dawn
18/04/23 – 2.00 Lingfield:

Bumped a rival as she hot out of the gate. Quickly relegated to the rear of the field. Going okay turning for home, but not quite a clear run in the home straight until gap opens up properly at the final furlong marker. Finished much the best.

Handicap debut, looks like she wants further, and pedigree says a mile could see her improve. Opening mark wasn’t a giveaway and jury is out whether she is ahead even if she steps up to a mile.

But she ran here to 61 speed rating in less than ideal circumstances. With natural improvement there is every chance she can make up the gap and be better than 68.

Race Replay

Swinging Eddie
18/04/23 – 7.30 Southwell:

Overcame his #9 draw quickly to come across and grab the lead. Travelled well enough for a long time, only headed over 1f out and tired late.

Fine seasonal reappearance. Good form. Down to dangerous mark. Ran well off higher last year, including a 62 speed rating. Flexible ground wise on turf over 7f.

Race Replay

Ventura Flame
19/04/23 – 2.50 Beverley:

Tracked the pace early on before taking up the lead over 2f out. Still ahead entering the final furlong before beaten by strong finisher from off the pace half a furlong from home.

Excellent seasonal reappearance. Down to last winning mark from spring 2022, ran twice 74 speed rating plus, including near career-best 77 last year.

Looks in good form. Not a huge margin for error but dangerous if allowed to dominate.

Race Replay

20/04/23 – 7.30 Chelmsford:

Went forward really hard to get the lead no matter what. Raced wide as a consequence for most of the race, finally in front as the field turns for home, but tired badly as a consequence of early exertions.

Bumped into a few well-handicapped ones lately. Still ran huge races. Somewhat in the grip of the handicapper but looks capable to win off 59 in race with less pace to compete.

Return to turf would be interesting for possible improvement. Won over 5f on soft in France.

Race Replay

Nogo’s Dream
20/04/23 – 5.15 Newmarket:

Travelled strongly, smooth progress from 3f out, on the bridle, went on to press the lead approaching the final furlong but tired badly.

Perhaps didn’t get home over the stiff 7f. Still lightly raced. Won a maiden over 5f prior. Opportunities off current 67 rating over easier 7f or drop to 6f looks no issue.

Race Replay

20/04/23 – 3.20 Ripon:

Raced in midfield and made excellent progress to grab the lead from over 2f out in his group. Did well to win the near side group from the wide draw#. ( other 6f race on the card also won decisively by far side)

Fine comeback run. Down to excellent 80 mark now. Won off 80 and last year. Ran to 82 speed rating as well. Ripon specialist.

Race Replay

Jax Edge
21/04/23 – 5.20 Bath:

Travelled well when tracking the pace, but stuck in a pocked from 3f out. Looked dangerous if a gap would ever open. No clear run until late when getting tired.

Good comeback run. This should be solid form for this low grade. She won her final race as a juvenile on handicap debut over 6f, which is strong form.

A 61 mark offers opportunities over sprint trips for the filly. She was arguably unlucky not to finish better here but also should come on for the run.

Race Replay

The Defiant
22/04/23 – 4.40 Brighton:

Keen to get on in the early part but restrained to track fast pace a few lengths off. Got rolling from 3f out, big move, pressed leader from 2f out. Established good lead but eventually caught half a furlong out by winner who was ridden more patiently in the middle part.

Excellent comeback. 1lb above last winning mark but ran three times to speed ratings 70+ last year. Clearly ready to go, ideally over 5f. Can run well downhill. Ascot entry next week intriguing.

Race Replay

Huddle Up
22/04/23 – 3.45 Thirsk:

Crossed over soon after the start from his low draw to the stands’ side rail. Tracked good pace, move from over 2f out, in a head-to-head battle with the leader from 2f out all the way to the line. Just beaten in final 50 yards by horse from off the pace.

Strong comeback run after over 300 days off. First proper performance since moving to the UK but also first time on soft ground.

Cut in the ground seems key. Fall to sexy mark. Has speed for minimum trip and stays 6f.

Race Replay

22/04/23 – 4.15 Thirsk:

Off to an okay start, travelled well enough, but repeatedly a clear run denied from 3f out. Tried to get through an opening inside the final furlong just to be squeezed out again.

Would have gone close. Comeback run. Plenty of issues at the start in the past. Hood seemed to help here. Fallen a long way down in the ratings. Seriously dangerous.

Best over 7 furlongs, but 6 furlongs on proper soft off current low mark a possibility. Looks in superb form judged on this run.

Race Replay