The market principles with form on their side haven’t achieved an awful lot. Twice a runner-up, Cosmic Love sets a fair standard but looks vulnerable enough to be opposed.
The look of Godolphin newcomer Duchess Of Berry appeals to me. She is very well bred, related to some smart individuals and given she was a February foal should be – in theory – forward enough at this stage of the season.
The Appleby yard tends to have their newcomers ready for the first day at school. The record, particularly in spring, is excellent. So it’s easy to take a chance on this filly in a winnable race.
10pts win – Duchess Of Berry @ 11/2 Matchbook
Slunovrat makes plenty of appeal on his seasonal reappearance. He runs very well as a fresh horse, though he did not have a lot of racing last season. He was a long way beaten in his last two starts, however those came in really hot contests.
On his seasonal reappearance last year he finished a strong 2nd at Sandown over 1m 6f. That form works out quite well and off a same handicap mark today, in what looks an easier contest, I feel Slunovrat has a prime chance.
The soft conditions hold no fears to him. His record with cut in the ground is excellent. Jim Crowley in the saddle is a big bonus for this yard and at this track.
I do fancy Camelot son Candidate here. Interesting to see him stepping up markedly in trip on his seasonal reappearance. This late May foal showed promise as a juvenile on his second career start when a two lengths beaten fourth at Windsor. He was down the field in his to other runs, then in hot company, though.
This represents a drop in class and easier assignment on handicap debut. An opening mark off 75 on the other hand looks slightly on the stiff side.
However, Candidate should enjoy the soft ground and has every chance to stay the trip. So, he appears to be an individual with plenty of scope hence may turn out better than this mark.
Kirby booked for this yard is generally a big plus, even more so as Hughie Morrison’s only runner today.
Favourite Tony Curtis looks rock solid. He certainly is up to his current rating and may not mind the ground conditions. However he isn’t well handicapped by any means, and this deep going with a first run of the season in combination is a tough assignment. I pass at given prices.
More interesting is Sir Roderic. He tumbled down the weights to a tremendously dangerous mark. He was able to be placed in hot races off 90 and 93 last season and has winning form on deep ground as encountered here at Bath today.
The question mark is obviously his breathing. He had a wind op, as that seemed the issue last year when he didn’t finish his races and subsequently fell dramatically in the ratings.
He reappeared at Doncaster in the Spring Mile last week. He dropped out tamely from 3f out and was eventually a long way beaten. But so were the majority of the field. Hence, I’m inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt today, the second run since he got his wind done.
If the OP had a positive effect, then today he should shine with conditions totally to his liking and a mark a full 9lb lower than his last winning one.
10pts win – Sir Roderic @ 5/1 Skybet
5.05 Bath: Class 4 Handicap, 5 furlongs
Tough going at Bath so this will likely be a slow motion finish despite racing over the minimum trip. You never quite know how horses act until they tried this deep, so siding with September Issue is a little gamble.
That says he won over course and distance in September on good to soft outstaying a fine rival who went on to perform quite well subsequently – this looks excellent form and on pedigree it looks not unlikely that softer will be a big issue for him.
September Issue needs a career best today. On the other hand, judged on TS and RPR’s he has ever chance to still find a little bit more; he also ran well off marks around his current 79 in the past. So with right conditions he should be thereabouts for sure.
De Sousa is booked for the ride, which seems a bonus. The draw doesn’t concern me, it’s more a ground question, which hopefully September Issue answers in the best possible way.
The juggernaut that is the Breeders Cup is nearly upon us! In fact it’s only a couple of hours away. The pinnacle of the US racing season also brings down 2017 for many of the European equine superstars too.
Del Mar it is this year – a change from Santa Anita for once, though with that we do stay in California. Racing starts on Friday with ten races on the card. Historically I haven’t done overly well from a pure betting point of view, though I immensely enjoy watching the event on NBC. The TV coverage is all class.
I keep my bets to a minimum this time. Three selections – that is all!
Friday 9.25: Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, 1m
Without the shadow of the doubt Aiden O’Brien’s Happily is the form horse in the field. She won two major Group 1’s on the bounce, including the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere when beating the boys.
Granted, she had a long season with six starts and coming here at the end of the year isn’t easy – if she reproduces anything close to her recent form, she is hard to beat, though. On paper that is.
Question marks are over her pace in the early stages of the race. She has got a perfect draw but will Happily be able to utilize it? Ryan Moore will want to have her settling close to the speed in an ideal world.
She appeared a bit outpaced early on in France the other day, and had trouble catching up with the leaders in the home straight. She grinded it out, more than anything. Fast ground at Del Mar will be not forgiving, if she does not gets quickly out of the blocks.
That says, on pedigree the ground should suit. She’s got more experience now and you would think that Ran Moore, given the clear disadvantage settling off the pace, will be a bit more vigorous pushing her forward, if needed.
Happily should not lack stamina, so once moving, she will keep moving for as long as it’s needed.
There is juice in the price in my mind. I expected her to be good deal shorter, given the opposition in the field is not as good as what she faced in her last two starts.
10pts win – Happily @ 4/1 PP
Saturday 11.37: Breeders’ Cup Turf, 1m 4f
One last hooray for Highland Reel. He’ll go to stud after this – a race he won last year. Or shall we say stole? He got away under a perfect ride by Jamie Heffernan that day.
The globetrotter had another productive season in 2017. Winner of the Coronation- and Prince of Wales’s Stakes. When he gets his preferred conditions Highland Reel is clearly tough to beat.
I feel that’ll be the day here. Trip is perfect, fast ground is what he loves, a perfect draw will enable him to be up with the pace, if not even attempting to make all. The tight, turning track poses no problem to him either.
Main threat is obviously the superb Ulysses. Though the trip is probably slightly on the far side for him and the track configuration may not play to his strengths either.
Best chance for the home team is multiple grade 1 winner Beach Patrol. A wide draw isn’t ideal as Highland Reel, once in front, is unlikely to stop.
10pts win – Highland Reel@ 9/4 Bet365
Sunday 00.25: Breeders’ Cup Classic, 1m 2f
It’s already past midnight when they’re off in the Classic! The question many ask: can Arrogate find back to his best? Since his return from Dubai in two subsequent starts he never looked the same horse that was crowned best in the world in 2016.
Can Gun Runner outgun him? Well, he’s been bloody impressive in his last three wins and deserves the favourite tag. However he never won over the 10f trip and was comprehensively outstayed by Arrogate in the Dubai World Cup.
The answer must lie somewhere else: West Coast? Maybe. Won two Grade 1’s on the bounce. Landed the Travers. Not much wrong with that. He stays the trip, has the right form in the book and is an interesting price.
You can, if you want, knock the form, though. None of those beaten behind him would be fancied to go close in Classic at all. In fact, Travers runner-up Gunnevera is considered a 50/1 shot!
Improving Collected won the Pacific Classic, beat Arrogate that day. So he stays the trip and is still a progressive sort. The wide draw is a concern but he should be thereabouts.
Aiden O’Brien tries his luck once more. He throws Churchill into the ring. It’s unlikely the dual Guineas winner will enjoy this test on dirt I suspect, but I can see why “the lads” do it.
If he runs well if will enhance his commercial value as a stallion. If he doesn’t perform it won’t devalue anything he did the last two seasons.
The seemingly second string is War Decree. A much more interesting case, I feel. From a pedigree perspective he is bred to act on dirt and is a half-brother to Declaration Of War who came quite close to win the BCC some years ago.
Nonetheless the immense test this race is may still come as a shock to the system. Until he runs we don’t know whether he really acts on the dirt or not. It’s more likely he won’t. However I love a couple of facts if it comes to War Decree:
He’s still lightly raced and had a significantly lighter season than most in the field. He demolished a fair field in a Dundalk Group 3 when last season, travelling like a really good horse. Of course he meets different class and a different surface here – still War Decree looks in tip top form.
Taking it all in, he’s no 50/1 chance in a Breeders’ Cup Classic field that is wide open in my mind. With the places paying at 1/4 odds, this looks a tremendous bet.
10pts win e/w – War Decree @ 50/1 Bet365
This is a good opportunity for Cruise Tothelimit to score. He goes well on rain softened ground and has been in fine form this year. A strong runner-up in a class 2 Chester Handicap earlier this season is clearly the top form on offer here. He drops down to a very handy mark and has an excellent 3lb claimer in the saddle. A bold bid is expected.
Cruise Tothelimit @ 7/1 Betfred – 5pts Win
5.40 Ffos Las: Class 5 Handicap, 7f
If Poyle Jessica acts on the heavy ground, she must have a prime chance here, but I feel Port Lairge is certainly overpriced. This gelding has been nothing else but improving on turf this year, predominantly at Brighton. He clearly thrives on soft ground as he proved in the past and doesn’t mind heavy going either. He has a habit of starting slowly and that certainly didn’t help him the last time when he finished runner-up behind a progressive 80 rated animal. No such horse in this race – he’ll go close and is overpriced in the context of the race.