Tag Archives: Windsor

Monday Selections: July, 9th 2018

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Made To Conquer did as his name promised: conquering the Durban July! Turned out pace wise and how the race could turn out tactically went as analysed in my race preview. What wasn’t forecasted, though, that stable mate Do It Again would come sweeping past my selection with half a furlong to go.

The pair came miles clear of the rest of the field. But no doubt, Do It Again was well on top in the end and a deserved winner of South Africa’s most prestigious race. There was no pace in the early stages whatsoever so jockey Grant Van Niekerk decided to go for a dramatic move  when maneuvering race favourite African Night Sky from the back of the field to the lead halfway through the race.

Didn’t end well. The 3/1 chance faded into insignificance in the closing stages. No fairytale ending for Jeff Lloyd either. The retiring veteran jockey hit the post, but remains luckless in a bid to win the July.

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2.00 Ayr: Class 5 Novice Stakes, 6f

You can pick big holes into the three market leaders so it might be worth siding with the man who knows how to win these type of races: Mark Johnston. His charge Royal Big Night was well supported on his debut nine days ago but appeared plenty green enough when jumping left at the start and seemed clueless in the closing stages.

The way he faded in the final two furlongs is slightly worrying, but the positive early speed he showed soon after the start is enough for me to believe this lad can do much better with the run under his belt.

This colt is related to some nice dirt winners in the US, so the rattling fast ground will certainly to his liking. He has to improve from his first run, however dropping two classes from a class 3 York Novice race into this here seems on paper at least a bit easier.

He also gets a good deal of weight from those with winning form in the book. That’s an added bonus.

Selection:
10pts win – Royal Big Night @9/2 Sky

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5.55 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4f

I find it noteworthy that jockey Kieren O’Neill makes the journey to Wolverhampton for his only ride on the entire day at the peak of the British flat season. That enhances the already strong case I feel able to be making for bottom weight Trinitas.

A tree-times raced maiden on his handicap debut, he did achieve little on pure merit of his results and ran according to his SP’s: without a chance. However, further analysis of his last two starts provide a different answer.

The Nathaniel colt did more than he should in the parts of both races burning a lot of fuel in what turned out be two pretty hot maiden contests. Though, he wasn’t there to win, only to gain experience. He should have plenty of it now plus showed glimpses of ability too.

A step up in trip to 12f is likely what he needs. So with that in mind, an opening mark off 64 could underestimate the ability ready to be unlocked in Trinitas. Going from pole position in stall 1 with he has every chance to make this a winning handicap debut.

Selection:
10pts win – Trinitas @ 9/1 Coral

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7.00 Ripon: Class 5 Handicap, 1m

Ripon and a biggish field over a mile – you got to need a bit of luck if you aren’t up with the pace. Hence my selection Al Ozzdi is risky. However, he is the only three year old in the race and can make his weight advantage count – the Simon Crisford charge is certainly handicapped to win.

Last time out at Windsor was a slight disappointment, given Al Ozzdi showed an awful lot of potential when finishing third in a hot Yarmouth maiden on his penultimate outing. Only 5th in the end, well beaten – not good. But there were reasons.

Windsor can be a tricky track for hold up horses and Al Ozzdi wasn’t the fastest out of the blocks to be closer to the pace than trailing. You got to get the breaks here and he didn’t. A wall of horses in front, when finally angled out and in the clear the bird was flown.

This still quite lightly raced lad has found an ideal opportunity to score. The long home straight should help jockey Paul Hanagan to move out in time this time.

Selection:
10pts win – Al Ozzdi @ 9.5/1 PP/VC

Saturday Selections: June, 30th 2018

Newmarket July Course

3.30 Newmarket: Class 3 Handicap, 1m 4f

Lightly raced Gather gives the impression of a filly with plenty more to offer. As an April foal she is likely to come into her own right now, and after showing excellent promise as juvenile in her final start in 2017 when 3rd in a red hot Kempton maiden, she followed on from there on her seasonal debut when running out a gutsy win over 10f at Goodwood.

That looks a fair performance, albeit more is required today, no doubt. She steps up to 12f for the first time which looks possible on pedigree. The quick surface is an unknown.

With an opening mark off 81 Gather could be undervalued judged on her last two performances. Wit that in mind, in this wide open contest I have her closer to the market leader.

Selection:
10pts win – Gather @ 7/2 VC

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3.35 Windsor: Class 3 Handicap, 1M 3F 99Y

An open and incredibly competitive little handicap, though few appear to be well handicapped. A fair case can be made for relatively lightly raced favourite Humble Rock. But he is short enough in the betting.

I can entertain the thought of Majeed to return to form, though. Anything close to what he ran to on his seasonal reappearance at Newmarket in a similar contest when runner-up should see him in with a big shout.

Now an eight year he isn’t the force of old, however of a mark off 94 he is dangerous in a contest like this. The fast ground is fine, the trip ideal and the fact he ran 14 times in 32 career starts to RPR’s higher than 94 means he is well capable of living up to his current mark.

Selection:
10pts win – Majeed @ 16/1 PP

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7.45 Lingfield: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

The only colt in the race Roundabout Magic has an excellent chance to continue his superb run of form. His latest run at Brighton was a slight disappointment compared to how well he performed in weeks before, however after pulling incredibly hard for half of the race his jockey didn’t beat him up in the closing stages. He still was less than 3 lengths beaten.

He was a bit unlucky twice before, at Lingfield on the AW in a hot class 4 contest when finishing super strongly after having his momentum coming to an abrupt end by a slowing horse in front.

Arguably a career best performance came on Lingfield’s 5f turf track five days earlier when again running into a bit of trouble but finishing with a burst of speed on the inside. He ran to a career best speed rating and RPR that day, which came on the back of a fine win at Brighton a fortnight ago.

Roundabout Magic is in superb form, he may hold little secrets from the handicapper, but judged by the last efforts, he may still overcome a career highest mark in a race that looks not too strong on paper.

Selection:
10pts win – Roundabout Magic @ 7/2 MB

Monday Selections: June, 18th 2018

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3.05 Ayr: Class 6 Handicap, 5f

13 year old Secret Asset has dropped to a very dangerous mark and finds himself in a pretty poor low grade contest despite showing here and there glimpses of retaining some sort of competitive form.

He clearly isn’t the force of the past, however now down a mark off 46 he looks ready to land a race with conditions in his favour. Four of his six career turf wins came on fast ground.

So, the fact he finds a fast surface today is a bonus. The jockey/trainer combo doesn’t look strong, nonetheless 5lb claim on top of the low mark may mean Secret Asset can outrun his price tag.

Selection:
10pts win – Secret Asset @ 15/1 MB

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4.45 Ayr: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 5f

He’s on the drift and that might be a sign in itself, still I fancy top weight An Fear Ciuin and put a speculative bet on him to shorten later on again. He really looks ready for a big one today.

Back on the flat, dropping into class 5 Handicap – the last time he found himself in this lowly class he won (over 2m) – and also down to his last winning mark.

He should be fit from hurdling after two fair efforts over two miles. The ground might be a bit faster than ideal, and this could well be a race to bring the mark further down. So be it…. An Fear Ciuin is way too big a price.

Selection:
10pts win – An Fear Ciuin @ 25/1 PP

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8.30 Windsor: Class 5 handicap, 1m 2f

Wide open Handicap for three year olds. Another rather speculative one for me here with handicap debutant Vlannon.

Three starts in maiden company in quick succession. He final one over 7f at Lingfield was the best of the lot. He battled hard in a fair race but clearly needs further.

His pedigree, at least on the dam side supports this. Vlannon is a half-brother to a couple of individuals who did there best over further and later over hurdles. His opening mark is fair, gives him a good chance to win a race as improvement is likely to come for the new trip.

Selection:
10pts win – Vlannon @ 13/1 MB

Monday Selections: June, 4th June 2018

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A first Derby win for Godolphin. It’s been in the making for far too long, the ultimate dream finally achieved, however. 41 years it took, then Sheikh Mohammed could see his home bred Masar scoot home to land the world’s most prestigious flat race.

A whopping 16/1 chance. How could so many miss the credentials the 2000 Guineas third had, including myself?! My own selecting The Pentagon only proved one thing: not good enough.

Derby Day could have been a super day, regardless. Ana Nerium ran the race of her life in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes if she wouldn’t have had had too much to do from the rear of the field, unfortunately.

The consolation in the evening, at least. The double of Sam Gold and Midnight Blue landed. Off to the winning ways in June…

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6.15 Windsor: Class 4 Novice Stakes, 5f

Hugh Taylor’s selection Queen of Bermuda is backed as if there isn’t a tomorrow. And sure she was super impressive at Thirsk recently. She is well entitled to follow-up here, though all the money coming for here leaves others in the field at tasty value prices.

First and foremost the ride of Derby winning jockey William Buick. Only one ride on Windor’s evening card, he comes over to sit on well bred Leading Spirit.

The colt ran pretty green on debut at Yarmouth in a hot class 3 contest last month. The winner looked incredibly smart there, Leading Spirit faded away in the closing stages to finish a well beaten 3rd in the end.

That form should work out really well, I suspect. Leading Spirit drops to the minimum trip. That’ll suit, he looked sharp out of the gate. His sire has an excellent record here at Windsor as well as in general over 5f plus on fast ground. He’s bound to improve quite a bit and that should see him go close to the favourite, I hope.

Selection:
10pts win – Leading Spirit @ 11/2 VC

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8.30 Ayr: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 7f

An incredibly open race screaming for a long-shot to get his head in front. I do like the chance of In Focus here, despite him seemingly loosing his form and still looking for a first win beyond a mile.

That says, there are fair reasons for his last three forms that read so badly: he was entitled for his seasonal debut run at Wetherby last month and didn’t take to hurdling in his final run in 2017. A combination of very soft ground and potentially a little bit too much racing at the back end of last year may was the combination that saw him fading badly at Catterick on his penultimate run.

Judge on his best performances in 2017 over marathon trips, when twice runner-up in 14f handicaps, suggest he can get the trip and is competitive from his current handicap mark.

I feel the fast ground today could be real deal breaker in a positive sense. He hasn’t encountered anything like it for quite some time. He did win on fast ground twice in the past, however.

 Selection:
10pts win – In Focus @ 14/1 VC

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FYI: If interested, keep an eye on this blog because if the ground dries further at Windsor, I may identify another selection for the evening card there. 

Monday Selections: May, 7th 2018

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That was as rough as it gets! In brutal conditions on a muddy Churchill Downs oval Justify justified the favourite tag to land the 144th Kentucky Derby. The colt overcame the so called “Apollo curse” as for a mere 136 years no horse unraced at two was able to win the Derby!

My boy Mendelssohn lost every chance before it really began. The writing was on the wall when the heaven opened its gates as the more rain fell the less likely Mendelssohn was to enjoy the experience he was due to encounter.

As if that wasn’t enough already staked against him, right after the start Mendelssohn was nearly taken out by the cavalry of horses charging across from the wider gates. He didn’t break badly, yet he didn’t break quite fast enough either in order avoid it.

I found it interesting to read Aiden O’Brien’s comments afterwards. They were surprisingly insightful as even he seemed puzzled by the whole experience – he who’s seen so much already!

“There were nearly 160,000 people there, all wet, all screaming, the rain coming from everywhere. Everyone was jammed in and everyone had these plastic things [ponchos] on them.  Mendelssohn was just mind-blown by the whole thing. I’ve never experienced something like yesterday. It was just mad. That many people, that’s two cup final crowds together.”

Ballydoyle, though, haven’t lost faith in Mendelssohn to deliver the goods on US dirt. A bid for Breeder’s Cup Classic crown is firmly on the agenda for the colt later this year.

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3.25 Bath: Class 6 Handicap, 5.5f

Top weight Chicago School has been disappointing since his return to the UK, though he had some valid excuses those last starts as he completely missed the break at Wolverhampton three weeks ago and was carried out to the widest outside turning for home at Lingfield before that.

In truth, those performances are in line with his last few starts at Dundalk, though, back in December he was still able to win a super competitive handicap at the county Louth track.

The interesting bit today is: Chicago School back on turf. Not since October 2015 have we seen the now five year old gelding on the green grass. The last time he was a a 74 rated individual, a mark back then he proved to be worthy of when finishing an fair third at Musselburgh.

Plenty of non-runners today at Bath due to the fast going. This could be an advantage for Chicago School. In his six career turf starts, in five of those the word “firm” appeared in some shape or form in the going description and three times he finished in the money.

So it is fair to assume his best is likely to come on firmish ground. His turf handicap mark off 58 could really underestimate his chances today, given he ran to much higher time speed ratings and RPR’s on turf in the past.

Jockey George Downing comes to Bath for this one ride and his record over the 5.5f trip here is excellent. That says, the latest forms Chicago School produced are slightly concerning as twice he missed the break. Let’s hope this does not become a habit and the return to turf rejuvenates him.

Selection:
10pts win – Chicago School @ 14/1 VC

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6.05 Windsor: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

Bottom weight Haveoneyerself looks poised for a big run with conditions he likes off a career lowest weight. The winter on the All-Weather didn’t really work out for him and on his seasonal turf debut over CD last month the heavy ground certainly annihilated his chances.

Judged on juvenile turf form, though, he could have a big shout today: he placed a couple of times in Novice races on fast going at the beginning of his career and eventually landed a nursery of a mark off 70 at Bath in August.

That is not a particularly strong piece of form, nonetheless, Haveoneyerself has dropped to 62 now which may underestimate him given he has ran to TS 66 already.

Selection:
10pts win – Haveoneyerself @ 7/1 Sky

Monday Selections – 16th October 2017

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2.40 Yarmouth: Class 5 Nursery, 7f

Owen Burrows’ Mutafarrid appears to be potentially well handicap on his nursery debut. The Dark Angel colt ran well in his last two races in maiden company – in his second career start he used allot of energy from a wide draw to be up with the pace, yet he finished a good fourth in a hot race that worked out well.

Last time at Wolverhampton he missed the break, got bumped into right after and never settled over too sharp 6f. Still he finished with credit in fifth and this athletic type should enjoy the simpler experience that is 7f at Yarmouth.

Judged on collateral form the opening mark of 69 is more than fair and he should be a bit better than that, I reckon.

Selection:
10pts win – Mutafarrid @ 5/1 Bet365

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2.50 Musselburgh: Class 2 Handicap, 7f

Big Tour is a progressive three year old colt with few miles on the clock. He won the last two in good fashion, though looked really home over 7f with a good pace on softish ground at Yarmouth last month.

He appears to be progressive and can easily have more to offer. A 6lb hike is reasonable but may not be enough to stop him.

The slight concern is the wide draw for a horse that likes to be close to the speed at a course where your chances rise and fall with track position. At the price I’m siding with him, nonetheless.

Selection:
10pts win – Big Tour @ 7/2 Skybet

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4.10 Yarmouth: Class 6 Handicap, 10f

Very weak contest and that opens the door for a surprise package. That could be handicap debutante My Name Is Jeff. He didn’t show an awful lot in three maiden starts, as you would expect. However he bumped into some decent horses along the way too.

This is way easier and ground and trip could suit perfectly. The dam was a sprinter but there is a bit stamina down the lines plus sire Mount Nelson has a fine track record over this trip with his offspring.

A lowly opening mark gives My Name Is Jeff a fair chance to improve dramatically from anything he has shown to date.

Selection: 
10pts win – My Name Is Jeff @ 12/1 Bet365

Saturday Selections – Ebor Day 2017

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Still searching for the elusive first winner of the week. Another rather disappointing run from my selection Galactic at Salisbury yesterday. Let’s not dwell on it. Huge day today. Ebor day!

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2.25 York: Class 2 Handicap, 1m 6f

Irish St. Leger winner Jukebox Jury has an outstanding record with his first three year old’s in Britain. Contributing towards this has been the Mark Johnston trained Dominating, who ha won already three times this year.

In fact in his last five starts Dominating has either won or finished second. The handicapper starts to catch up and going up significantly in class doesn’t make things easier.

Still, at a big price and off a very low weight, with conditions likely to suit, he can run a big race and cause an upset I feel.

Selection: 
10pts win – Dominating @ 33/1 Paddy Power

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3.35 York: Class 2 Ebor Handicap, 1m 6f 

Normally it is not my style punting the favourite in a big Handicap as the Ebor undoubtedly is, however there is so much to like about Flymetothestars that I can’t ignore the facts and feel despite being plenty short enough for a race like this there is still juice in the price.

Why? Well, you can try and read what you want into his form this season, whether a third in the Northumberland Plate was a slight disappointment or not, but fact is this lad is the least exposed in the field, who tackles turf for the first time from the lower end of the weight scale.

There is very chance for further improvement to come. He is a well bred son of Sea The Stars, so ground and trip aren’t an issue at all and his older sons are progressing.

The draw is an issue so is the fact Flymetothestars can be very keen early on. Also does missing the kick become a habit? Nonetheless if the stars fall right then he is very hard to beat indeed.

Selection:
10pts win – Flymetothestars @ 8/1 Bet365

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3.50 Newmarket: Class 2 Handicap, 1m 6f

The three year old Hochfeld has a prime chance here returning to the most suitable 1m 6f trip. His runner-up performance behind Tor at Hamilton is a very strong piece of form. A return to that will see him hard to beat here.

He is still progressing after a busy juvenile campaign won twice at the beginning of the year and followed up with the strong mentioned performance at Hamilton. A slightly disappointing run at Goodwood the last time, though conditions may have been against him.

Selection:
10pts win – Hochfeld @ 4/1 Bet365

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4.15 Chester: Class 3 Handicap, 7.5f 

This today is arguably the toughest test of his long career, yet Echo Of Lightning appears still improving at the grand age of 7 as he has won already three times this year and has been impressively consistent over the last 12 months.

He has to defy a career highest mark and an impressive display at Pontefract earlier this month, though he might have been helped by the rain and small field.

Nonetheless the numbers tell he improved in each of his last five runs and with a decent draw, a bit of cut in the ground and a sort of specialist trip at a specialist track, he can run big I feel.

Selection:
10pts win – Echo Of Lightning @ 15/2 Skybet

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7.55 Redcar: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

At 16’s I’m happy to take a punt on Majestic Stone who lost his race at the start when seen last and has to bounce back from that. He’s never been the best starter, so that is an obvious concern, however the return to quick ground is a big plus.

His best performance to date came on good to firm at Thirsk in April. He was unlucky the day and the form has been franked. Up four pounce from there he has confirmed he is up to that sort of mark the next time, however with cut in the ground.

Slight change of gear today, better ground and hopefully a better start may him see go close at a big price.

Selection:
10pts win – Majestic Stone @ 16/1 Bet365