Tag Archives: Wednesday

Wednesday Selections: 29th June 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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7.50 Bath: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 3.5f

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

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

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

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

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

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

10pts win – Cavendish @ 4/1

Wednesday Selections: 22nd June 2022

2.25 Carlisle: Class 4 Handicap, 1m

Tangled looks cherry ripe. He was quite unlucky at Doncaster earlier this month when repeatedly a clear run denied. He just failed last week at Beverley when finishing the last three and four furlongs the fastest running to topspeed 75.

His poor starting habits can make life difficult, but the fact he can run off the same 73 mark as at Beverley before going up marginally is a bonus, so is the slight drop back to a mile as well as his return to Carlisle.

Even though he moves back up in class, this class 4 Handicap doesn’t look much stronger than the Beverley class 5 race last week. In fact, if not for 80 rated 3yo War Of Words this would be a worse race judged by official ratings.

Regardless of class, Tangled can add another Carlisle victory to his name. He won back to back over course and distance last summer off 76 and 78, is ground independent and has the added advantage of Laura Coughlan in the saddle claiming 5 valuable pounds on her sole ride.

If he gets a clean run to the line and doesn’t mess up completely at the start I can’t see him getting beaten; he’ simply so well handicapped. He certainly is overpriced in my book, taking everything into account.

10pts win – 7/2 Tangled

Royal Ascot Selections – 15th June 2022

3.40: Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, 1m 2f

This is going to be the coronation of Bay Bridge, right? It feels like it, reading all the previews and various opinion pieces this morning – the Sir Michael Stoute trained colt only has to turn up, do a lap of honour in the pre-parade ring and Group 1 glory is his.

Now, who am I to dare and say I know better than fabulous experts like Simon Rowlands who is quite strong about Bay Bridge in his piece. No question about it, Bay Bridge is a potential superstar.

His Brigadier Gerard victory by five lengths easy as you like – awarded a 102 topspeed rating; he could have ran faster that day, if he would been asked to do so. These are the signs of potential superstar. No denying.

But from a betting perspective I have to be cynical and try to see if there are any holes to be found in the odds-on shot. And there certainly are.

For one: Bay Bridge steps up to Group 1 company for the first time. He hasn’t been to Ascot before, certainly not encountered a unique atmosphere as the Royal Ascot meeting provides, and whether he truly can be at his very best on proper fast ground remains to be seen.

These are only small question marks. And I am pushing it hard to find faults. Nonetheless, this edition of the POW – albeit small in field size – is highly competitive. And I feel there is value in the market behind Bay Bridge.

The Japanese Derby- and Sheema Classic winner Shahryar is proven top-class. Perhaps more so over the 1m 4f trip, which makes him vulnerable on fast ground in small field, potentially. Regardless, he’s one to respect.

The only filly in the race, Grand Glory, looked strong in two starts this spring. Fast ground is a question mark, but she clearly performs really well over 10 furlongs.

Lord North ran a fine race in defeat at the Curragh recently. The Tattersalls Gold Cup was an ultra-competitive affair and he ran to topspeed 104, not too far off a 107 rated performance when winning the Dubai Turf in March, or a 104 when runner-up in the Winter Derby, and also not far off his career best 110, suggesting he’s still running close to his best form at the age of six.

Undoubtedly the main rival for Bay Bridge I see in Joseph O’Brien’s State Of Rest, though. He’s had a number of tough races this year already, and that’s a question mark. Most recently at the Curragh when finishing one better than Lord North. But connections say the colt thrives on racing and is a hardy sort. He clearly must be, if you read through his form.

In my view he enhanced his reputation with the third place effort in the Tattersalls Gold Cup. He travelled much the best approaching the home straight, perhaps was asked a little bit too late for full effort, though. That gave the eventual winner Alenquer an advantage. State Of Rest finished the last three furlongs fastest and on another day wins the race, I believe.

The 4-year-old seriously impressed me on different occasions. His Saratoga Derby victory last year, doing it in a canter, despite having to overcome some trouble; his gusty Cox Plate success. The brilliant win at Longchamp in the Prix Ganay six weeks ago.

And he looks still improving. Topspeed 102 at Longchamp, 107 at the Curragh. Yes, this isn’t always a totally accurate reflection of performance, but it’s one I do trust to the most part.

With that in mind State Of Rest sets a high standard that Bay Bridge first has to run to. Not to forget that State Of Rest is probably at his best on fast ground. Exactly what he encounters today.

Therefore at given prices I can’t miss out on backing the proper Group 1 horse against a favourite where all potential improvement is more than factored into the price already – before we have truly seen it delivered on the race course.

10pts win – State Of Rest @ 8.4

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4.20: Group 2 Duke Of Cambridge Stakes, 1m

It was impossible not be totally in awe with the way Bashkirova won at Ascot. She didn’t have the perfect race but found a way to win. Despite hanging a bit she kicked clear in the closing stages in impressive style, running to a 108 topspeed rating.

She improved nicely from an excellent seasonal reappearance at Goodwood, when a close runner-up after a fine juvenile campaign that saw her win three of four starts. She look still improving and I reckon might enjoy this more conventional track even more so than Epsom.

Backing up so quickly is always a concern, but if she runs to the same level of form she’s hard to beat today, I firmly believe. Thanks to that Epsom performance she owns the fastest topspeed in the field, by quite a bit. The competition in this Group 2 contest today is solid but not frightening.

Saffron Beach carries a penalty and never ran to anything better than topspeed 90. She’s a Group 1 winner and ran with credit at Meydan. I don’t see the appeal at current odds, though.

Mother Earth is hard to trust these days. Primo Bacio hasn’t won since impressing at York last May, but never looked able to bring that sport of form to the next level subsequently.

German raider Novemba has obvious claims judged by her Coronation Cup performance from last year. Her runner-up effort behind Real World last October is also noteworthy. She was desperately disappointing on her return three weeks ago though. Sibila Spain perhaps wants a longer trip, especially on fast ground.

Everything brings me back to Bashkirova. Perhaps beside the quick turnaround, the wide draw is another slight concern as well as potentially a lack of pace, unless Novema and Saffron Beach do the donkey work. Nonetheless, she looks a cut above these.

10pts win – Bashkirova @ 3/1

Wednesday Selections: 1st June 2022

80 points profit in May, 4 winners and about 16% ROI – the first two months of the flat season have been green. The real ‘war’ starts now in June. Here’s hoping to kick it off with a bang…. on the Kempton polytrack.

7.30 Kempton: Class 4 Handicap, 7f

Zameka is really interesting today returning to 7 furlongs. The shorter sprint distances are too sharp while he’s already a winner over this trip.

I am not judging him harshly on his last run on turf at Ascot in a seriously hot Handicap over 6 furlongs. The overall form looks strong, but he was disadvantaged right away from the widest outside draw. He travelled okay to the two furlong marker then dropped away quickly. First time blinkers didn’t help much in terms of performance, although he looked a lot more settled and less awkward than in the past in general.

He is clearly a quirky sort as on show in the past. He ran really well at Lingfield on his seasonal debut in a good handicap when he hang his chances away in the closing stage but finished well given the circumstances. Visually I got the impression with a straight run he’d have won that day.

As a juvenile Zameka was two times placed – including when a close second to Tiber Flow – and won well on his final start in 2021. Those performances came on the All-Weather over 7 furlongs. Therefore he’s certainly better than this most recent poor showing, I feel.

He was a $170k yearling, a full-brother to 95 rated Eagle Song, who won twice over 7 furlongs on the All-Weather, so his current rating offers hope that there is still more to come.

As for this race I don’t worry too much over the draw. He has shown early speed before, from what is effectively the #8 draw he should be able to move forward to pick up a position just behind the pace.

This is a competitive race, though. Botanist looks the obvious danger if he stays 7 furlongs, which is more likely than not, and especially if he shows better temperament today. Morning favourite Skittlebombz was unlucky last time out and has more to offer, although the trip is a question mark and he may be close to his ceiling from a handicapping point of view.

10pts win – Zameka @ 11/2

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May 2022 Statistics:

Cheltenham Festival 2020 – Wednesday Preview

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A winner?! A feeling I forget exist: enjoying one of my selections crossing the line in first.

I can’t quite remember the last time this happened – it’s been a while – even though it looked like coming when Abacadabras traveled like a dream through the Supreme, despite a slightly awkward start, and getting hampered by a faller, he looked like the winner turning for home…. only to be denied on the line. Of course!

Thankfully Honeysuckle ended my incredibly brutal losing run, beating Benie Des Dieux in a brilliant finish. It was a superb ride by Rachel Blackmore, who continues to prove female jockeys certainly can be at the very top of the game.

I could do a with a few more winners now. Have a lot of catching up to do in order to get 2020 back into the green. The second day of the Festival is a tasty one, although again a tricky puzzle to solve as usual. All selections are big prices which increased the chance for a blank day on the winners front.

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1.30 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, 2m 5f

On paper Envoy Allen looks the banker of the day. He may well be. If he can continue to improve he’s hard to beat. Will he, though?

You can argue he didn’t have to be pushed to the limits in his last two starts. There is a good chance he can pull out more. At the same time, at least on the rating front, Envoy Allen is good but not overwhelmingly brilliant. RPR’s and TS ratings are to be taken with a pinch of salt in jump racing, yet have some merit.

On that front, second favourite Sporting John is a highly intriguing rival. All the time improving, his Kempton performance was simply stunning and looks excellent on the rating front too. Unfortunately I am too late to the party: the juice is out of the price. Factoring in his general inexperience, having never raced on these terms, I have to leave him alone.

Brings to my selection: a rare each-way one: Easywork appears to be a massive price. I believe he’s harshly judged by his runner-up effort – albeit a long way beaten – behind Asterion Forlonge, who didn’t run too badly in a super competitive Supreme today btw..

Relativally decent ground over two miles was clearly against Easywork that day. Stepping up to 2m 4f with plenty of juice in the ground is much more to his liking. He showed his talent already this season winning three on the bounce, in pretty good style, all of these victories came on soft or heavy going.

Selection:
5pts e/w – Easywork @ 22/1 WH

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2.10 RSA Chase, 3m½f

What a competitive renewal: the betting says it all with four horses heading the market with less than two points between them. I personally think there a few behind them that can’t be discounted either. Certainly form wise the first five, six in the market are rather closely matched anyway.

Certainy overpriced is Battleoverdoyen. He probably would right in the mix at the top of the market if not for an usually poor showing in Flogas at Leopardstown. He was effectively beaten before falling at the last.

That’s a big question mark obviously. He was apparently pretty sore and 50/50 running at the Festival, only a fortnight ago. That’s a reflection of his price tag.

Nonetheless, even taking that into account, he remains an exciting prospect. Battleoverdoyen was classy hurdler, although twelve month ago was disappointingly pulled up in the Ballymore.

The big, rangy gelding was always a chaser in the making. And he took well to fences, winning three on the trot, including a small-field Grade 1 over Christmas.

Three miles om soft ground won’t be a problem. The fact Battleoverdoyen usually travels strongly and is a good jumper will count for a lot in what could well turn out to be a war of attrition. That sort of race could easily put Copperhead at an advantage, who has been quite impressive as well, and would be my most likely winner.

At given odds, even with the risk of the recent fall attached, Battleoverdoyen is clearly one who’s much bigger than he should be.

Selection:
10pts win – Battleoverdoyen @ 14.5/1 MB

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2.50 Coral Cup, 2m 5f

In a tricky affair where in-running luck will play a role Protektorat stands out to me. His style of running, and the fact he can b a quirky sort, adds to the risk of needing things to fall right. On the other hand he ticks a lot of boxes which outweigh the risk given the price.

The five-year-old is an improving individual, having ran well here at Cheltenham already, will enjoy the ground and will stay the trip. He ran with plenty of credit finishing third under a penalty when last seen here, following from a Listed victory at this venue, if not for a demotion post race.

A mark of 144 gives him a really nice weight in this contest where few make appeal on that front. French bred with speed – and Protektorat has shown to have a bit of speed as well as staying ability – tend to do well in this race.

Selection:
10pts win – Protektorat @ 16.5/1 MB

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3.30 Champion Chase, 2m

With absence of Altior this race is wide open, despite two seemingly clear horses leading the market. There is little in the betting between Defi Du Seuil and Chacun Pour Soi, even though personally the potential improvement that can still come from Willie Mullins’s charge would sway me to believe he is the one to beat today.

Nonetheless this race is wide open for the fact that both these star names have actually never ran to speed figures that are mind blowing. Not yet at least. That is in contrast to Altior or other top class Champion Chasers of the past. Defi Du Seuil and Chacun Pour Soi may still be the best of the rest today and for that reason land a Champion Chase, but I firmly believe they are not as much clear of the other four runners.

The two I think have a chance to get much closer than there odds suggest are the runner-up and third of the 2019 Champion Chase.

Look back at the reply of what as hugely exciting race, that produced strong ratings and see how both Politologue and Sceau Royal had the almighty Altior off the bridle and hard working two from home. In fact Sceau Royal traveled much the best!

This was a career best performance for both horses. However, they have proven in the past – at leas on ratings – to be on par with the two market principles. Both are proven in Championship races.

Sceau Royal was beaten by DDS this season, however that was on his seasonal reappearance. In his next two starts he has shown himself in good nick, including a fine second behind Altior in the Game Spirit Chase. He’s likely to run his race today, and if he does run to form then he’s a much better chance than 25/1.

Politologue has already been beaten twice by DDS this season. He was a close enough runner-up on his comeback run but bitterly disappointing in the Tingle Creek. That wasn’t his true showing.

He will need to bounce back and there is risk attached to a 9-year-old with so much racing under his belt already.If he can bounce back he’s in it with a fair shout, having run well at Cheltenham in the past.

Selection:
5pts win – Politologue @ 19/1 MB
5pts win – Sceau Royal @ 26/1 MB

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5.30 Champion Bumper, 2m½f

Willie Mullins could have another winner in this one with Appreciate It who is a rock solid favourite in my book. Nonetheless he is a short enough price to look what’s further down the market in what appears otherwise an open race.

Ask A Honey Bee is one that catches the eye with his three bumper wins, particularly as he defied a double-penalty when last seen! I also appreciate the fact the six-year-old has plenty of experience, as beside those 3 NHF races, he also has ample point-to-point experience.

Further to this Ask A Honey Bee clocked a solid topspeed figure on his penultimate run, which can’t be said for many in this field. He is a fine each/way shout.

Selection:
5pts e/w – Ask A Honey Bee @ 44/1 WH

Wednesday Selections: January, 22nd 2020

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1.10 Lingfield: Class 5 Fillies’ Handicap, 7f

Even though she hasn’t been running badly, Chloellie has fallen 5lb below her last winning mark. Granted the majority of her victories came at Kempton, though I don’t see a reason why she shouldn’t perform at Lingfield as well.

The mare had a small break before returning in early January, performing with credit at Southwell. Now back on poly, and down to a 64 handicap mark against her own sex, she is a major player of a decent draw.

As recent as October she matched her current OR with a 64 topspeed rating, having ran to 67 in spring 2019 also.

Selection:
10pts win – Chloellie @ 7.2/1 MB

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3.55 Lingfield: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

Roundabout Magic looks vulnerable of his current mark. Surely a contender, but not one who’s desperately well-handicapped.

Warrior’s Valley in contrast drops to a tasty mark while back on polytrack with a good draw over the minimum trip should help see him find back to form.

The five-year-old gelding hasn’t been at his best at Southwell in his last two starts, though before that – particularly his final run in 2019 at Lingfield – were decent efforts.

He’s 2lb lower today than than the aforementioned Lingfield race. That’s six pounds lower than his last winning mark while he ran three times in 2019 to topspeed ratings of 68+, including twice over this course and distance where he also produced his career highest RPR.

Franny Norton on board today is another plus. In a race where the favourite is vulnerable and the rest of the field hardly frightning this appears to be a super opportunity for Warrior’s Valley to find back to the winning ways.

Selection:
10pts win – Warrior’s Valley @ 15/2 WH