Tag Archives: Windsor

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

Tuesday Selections – 15/08/2017

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Nice winner on Monday with Don’t Give Up who indeed didn’t give up when it came down to the tough end of the race. Kentuckyconnection was a non-runner at Ayr.

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2.15 Ffos Las: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

Incentive hasn’t been able to get her head in front in nice starts, though she got mightily close at Bath back in May over 5.5f in soft conditions. That form looks rock solid with the horses around her that day franking it.

She hasn’t been able to reproduce this effort since, however a good fortnight ago at Salisbury she made an awful lot early on in softish conditions and was hampered in the closing stages. Seeing it in that context means it wasn’t as bad a performance as the 5th place suggested.

The three year old filly will enjoy a career lowest mark at Ffos Las on Tuesday. Cut in the ground and simple, straight 6f should suit her well.

Selection:
10pts win – Incentive @ 12/1 Bet365

Monday Selections – 14/08/17

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4.45 Ayr: Class 3 Handicap, 1m 2f

Kentuckyconnection has won only once in fourteen attempts however showed promise when finally dropped to a more realistic mark the last two outings. He contested Group races earlier in his career and was fifth in the 2000 Guineas last season, a result that flattered him, as a consequence he had to race beyond his actual capabilities.

He can build on a strong runner-up performance at Newcastle in June, dropping in class while stepping up to 10f again. It’s his first realistic attempt over this distance and on pedigree looks possible. Cut in the ground, as long as it does not become bottomless, should be okay.

Graham Lee on board is in red hot form is a bonus. Kentuckyconnection has only to repeat his last two efforts to have a big say in the outcome of this race and as such is a big price.

Selection:
10pts win – Kentuckyconnection @ 11/1 Bet365

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7.10 Windsor: Class 3 Handicap, 1m 2f

Don’t Give Up looks rock solid and in this field very hard to beat. He’s lightly raced with a strong pedigree and won well on debut at Kempton’s All-Weather. He followed up with a strong Handicap debut when runner-up at Newmarket.

Stepping up in trip is sure to suit him and there is potentially plenty of improvement left in him-. Only one other 3yo to fear in the field, I expect Don’t Give Up to use his WFA allowance to full advantage.

Selection:
10pts win – Don’t Give Up @ 15/8 Bet365

Windsor’s Watering Disaster

Another winner today – Crowned Eagle (advised @ 2/1) won at Windsor despite never really looking overly comfortable. He certainly seemed not a straightforward ride, yet class got him over the line in a race that had a profound impact on the meeting.

In the grand scheme of things in the world of racing this Windsor Handicap was only a footnote. Though for the raceday itself it was the beginning of the end:

Comrade Conrad, ridden by Harry Bentley, slipped badly on the bend before turning for home which cost him every chance to win the race but ultimately could have resulted in a bad injury to horse and rider.

After the next race a delegation of jockey, trainers and course staff went out to inspect the track and subsequently decided it was not safe to continue.

Remarkably: this is the second year running that this exact meeting – which features a Listed contest – had to be called off halfway through the card for this very same reason!

No coincidence! In fact it is down to the shambolic watering policy of the track which is a common problem. Sure, it’s not easy for the clerks, I’ve all the sympathy in the world for them. However it is their job to provide safe ground. Fair enough, they have to make decisions and sometimes can get it wrong but over-watering happens way too often.

And that was the issue here at Windsor tonight: why watering a track that is good to form the evening before – so perfectly acceptable conditions –  with rain forecast the next day? It’s from my perspective – my armchair perspective that is – plain stupid.

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Anyway, on to nicer things: the excellent Beyond The Game TV uploaded a nice little film on the living racing legends in Australia – some of the most popular thoroughbreds of Aussie racing enjoy retirement at the Living Legends facility near Melbourne.

Well worth to watch the film (below) and of course visit these champions if you ever have the chance – I’m going to be “Down Under” next month and have this trip firmly on my agenda:

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2.00 Beverley: Novice Stakes, 5 furlongs

Mark Johnston’s Kodiac colt Go Now Go Now looks an overpriced individual in this race. The colt was very green on his debut last week at Ayr where was sluggish at the start while then very keen during the race and disorganised when it mattered most.

However under a clearly educational ride he finished the race nicely and responded quite well to a tender flick with the whip.

He ended fourth in what appears to be a half-decent maiden against more experienced rivals and should have learned plenty. He’s entitled to improve from that run, particularly for the switch to Beverley where his sire Kodiac enjoys a very good success rate.

Selection:
10pts win – Go Now Go Now @ 11/1 Bet365

Weekend Review

A happy ending to the week thanks to two whopping winners on Saturday – Best Solution (12/1) was a runaway winner in the Lingfield Derby Trial. He clearly was better than the form he showed on Dirt and this success puts him right into the frame for the Epsom showdown.

Though it has to be said this race is not a good predictor for subsequent Derby glory, given since 1998 no winner of the Lingfield trial actually went on to win the big race in June.

In other Derby related news it seems that the world has finally realised that Sir Michael could have a little gem in his yard as the Racingpost headline reads Derby gamble gathers pace on Stoute’s Crystal Ocean – thankfully I jumped on the bandwagon right after his impressive Nottingham victory and got a bit of the 40/1 that was available back then.

Bainne (9/1 SP) made it two winners from four selections on Saturday, when she got her head in front late yet when it really mattered in the Apprentice Handicap at the Curragh – at the same providing young Seán Kirrane a first ever winner under rules.

As far as Classics go, the French 1000 and 2000 Guineas took place at Deauville this weekend. The Poule d’Essai des Poulains went Jean-Claude Rouget’s way with exciting Brametot. The son of Rajsaman fought gamely to get up in a thriller. He looked beaten but somehow had the guts to come back and win the race on the line.

 

The fillies equivalent, the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches, was won by long-shot Precieuse with an ultra-cool Olivier Peslier in the saddle who stayed calm in what appeared to be a slowly run race

 

Acapulco got her first win since moving to Aiden O’Brien under her belt. The big filly took a while to hit top gear and achieve separation from the pack but she managed to win by half a lengths in the listed Sprint Stakes.

She’s entitled to improve and we’ll likely see her in the big sprint races this season, though I have the feeling she might find it tough to win against the best, now that she is a four year old.

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3.25 Wetherby: Class 4 Handicap, 7 furlongs

Dutch Artist ran a big race in defeat on his seasonal return at Catterick last month. He didn’t enjoy the run of the race and wasn’t ideally positioned, which makes all the difference at this track. So his 3rd place is probably better than the bare form.

Only one win to his name so far, but he remains still low mileage for a five year old and ran a handful of stormers last season, suggesting his turn could come soon. He’s dropped another pound in the mark, which sees him racing of a career lowest mark off 76 now.

Conditions tomorrow should work be fine though the draw is wider than ideal. However with a early pace that he possesses, he should plenty of options.

Selection:
10pts win – Dutch Artist @ 11/2 William Hill

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5.50 Windsor: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 2f

Top connections, top entries, to form: Crowned Eagle should be way too good for the opposition in this race. Of course fitness has to be trusted and there is always a question mark whether these young horses have wintered well.

However, I waited for the return of this lad for a while and would have expected him to be odds-on in a race like this, so I’m happy to to take the risk.

Crowned Eagle was third behind Barney Roy on debut – strong form, given that we do know how smart this Barney Roy turned out to be. He got off the mark at the third time of asking at Kempton. A nice piece of form too: the runner-up won subsequently and was thought good enough for a spin around Meydan, is now a 90 rated individual.

With further progression assumed for experience, age and the step up in trip, the current mark of 85 looks potentially well below what Crowned Eagle is capable of. Only slight concern is the fast ground.

Selection:
10pts win – Crowned Eagle @ 2/1 Skybet