Tag Archives: Wolverhampton

Fighting Fifth Hurdle Preview

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2.05 Newcastle: Fighting Fifth Hurdle, 2m½f

Feels odds throwing my hat into the ring at a race at Newcastle that isn’t run on the sand…. as much as I love watching the spectacle that is jump racing, betting wise it’s no good to me – at least on a day to day basis.

Today isn’t an ordinary day, though. It’s the Fighting Fifth, the first huge Grade 1 of the season that gets the pulls raising. All the hot Champion Hurdle contenders are here – an early-season clash that’ll give us an indication if Samcro can justify the hype, after two runs that saw him a faller and then a beaten odds-on favourite.

I think, on that evidence, given the short price today again, I’m certainly inclined to take him on. Sure, the 6-year-old will come on for his recent run, but somehow that performance lacked the usual zest you would associate with Samcro, and looked more concerning to my eyes than simply being a pleasing pipe opener yielding in plenty of improvement. We shall see….

There is no doubt Buveur D’air is the one they all have to beat. He’s the defending champion in both the Champion- and the Fighting Fifth Hurdle. He’s the one who ran to the highest time speed rating of all of these, by a country mile.

Granted, this is an important early-season target, I bet Buveur D’air will not be fully wound up today. A Champion Hurdle hat-trick is the main objective. March is a long way from here.

I’ also intrigued by the “routine wind op” he has undergone during the summer. Is there really such thing as a “routine operation”? Possibly. I don’t know enough about it. Nonetheless, it puts enough doubts in my mind, compared with the bigger fish to fry for Buveur D’air later the season, to oppose him at short odds.

The obvious alternative is Summerville Boy. The reigning Supreme champ, also on his seasonal debut, obviously – with his own question marks. Around trip – too sharp? Ground – not soft enough? Talent – good enough?

He was an impressive winner at the Festival for obvious reasons, but the fact he seems to have issues with concentration, in a race that’ll likely be about speed and accurate jumping, whereas he strikes me more like a grinder, is a big question mark. Will he be ready for today? I bet so! If you want to gauge how Summerville Boy measures up against the top guns you got to be ready for the fight today.

Connections are pretty bullish. On the evidence on form and ratings he has plenty to find to Buveur D’air, but not a lot to Samcro – in fact his all-time best TS is a pound better than Samcro’s. Whether that’s of significance, is up for debate. Certainly, on evidence, the six-year-old has plenty scope for improvement, if he gets his act together in the later stages of the race.

Given my doubts about pretty much any of the main principles in the race, and not having a lot of confidence in the other two in the field, at given prices Summerville Boy looks a superb bet.

I feel this race is more important for him than for the favourite. I believe, at this stage, he’s likely as good as Samcro. There are plenty of positives vibes around him as well – so I allow myself a crack at this hugely exciting renewal of the Fighting Fifth Hurdle!

Selection:
10pts win – Summerville Boy @ 6/1 MB

……..

5.15 Wolverhampton: Novice Stakes, 5f

Vee Man Ten looks a decent colt after showing promise in two starts on turf earlier this year. He looked like winning on debut at Beverly but was squeezed out eventually to finish third while only ridden hands and heels – this form looks strong judged through the winner in particular, but also the runner-up.

He blasted out of the gates at Haydock less than two weeks later, setting a brutal pace that wasn’t sustainable, particularly over 6 furlongs. However, the early speed he showed was impressive.

Now the bit wiser, first time on the All-Weather and dropping to 5f, it could be third time lucky. On pedigree this should suit, his sire has a fine record on the sand over the minimum trip, particularly with juveniles.

Vee Man Ten has a hood fitted for the first time, which may not be a disadvantage, a good draw and jockey KT O’Neill making his way here for this one ride only – strong chance.

Selection:
10pts win – Vee Man Ten @ 4/1 Sky

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Wednesday Selection: November, 21st 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

7.20 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 9.5 furlongs

This is a poor looking race, hard to fancy anything with confidence. It screams for an upset – this could be the Rae Guest trained filly Woosh.

The four-year-old hasn’t shown anything in three maiden starts. She looks like a late bloomer, given her June birth date. Now stepping up significantly in trip to something that should be more comfortable for the first time in a handicap I can see how she’d be one to upset the odds.

Her daddy Nathanial has produced a fair share of winners on the All-Weather, particularly with older fillies over longer trips. Woosh fits the profile. Her wide draw is a concern, but then she has the added bonus of Martin Harley in the saddle. He enjoys tremendous success on Rae Guest horses, especially in handicaps.

Selection:
10pts win – Woosh @ 17/1 PP/MB

Thursday Selections: November, 1st 2018

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8.45 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

The trip may not be ideal on paper, but in reality the majority of 6f starts for Lord Of The Glen to date can be discounted. I think, with given conditions today, he deserves another chance to stretch out over this trip.

The 3-year-old gelding drops nicely in his mark as well as quite significantly in grade, given only two starts back he was a fair 4th in a hot class 3 contest at Wolverhampton over the minimum trip.

To some extend it can be argued he followed up on that with another courageous display last time out at Newcastle. He was hampered right after the start, and was then on the wrong end of the field and pace, clearly in a disadvantaged position.

Lord Of The Glen still finished quite well, clocking the fastest sectional for the final furlong. He drops another pound in the mark, in combination with the lower grade and a perfect draw, he should run well tonight.

Selection:
10pts win – Lord Of The Glen @ 7/1 MB

Saturday Selections: October, 6th 2018

Wet Dundalk Polytrack

7.45 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 9.5f

When a long-standing maiden heads the market you know it got to be a poor race. This is, indeed, as poor as it gets. Perfect regarding conditions I’m looking for, as handicap debutant Boston Party ticks a lot of boxes to make him a decent chance to improve enough to be competitive compared to what he’s shown in three starts to date.

You can draw a line under those performances; it was handicapping for him all day long and he wasn’t beaten up in any of his races. However, stepping up in trip is interesting, particularly on his All-Weather debut – both look suitable on pedigree.

The opening mark is stiff enough, however from a top draw in a poor race as this he can overcome it. Sire Declaration Of War has an outstanding record with three-year-old colts on the sand to date, so this is clearly noteworthy.

Selection:
10pts win – Boston Party @ 6/1 PP

Thursday Selections: August, 16th 2018

Wet Dundalk Polytrack

3.20 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 6f

Open contest and relatively competitive for this class. I’m siding with top weight Folies Bergeres as the filly looks well handicapped judged by her early season All-Weather form.

The trip is a question mark. She didn’t always give the impression to be crying out for a marathon, neither is her pedigree conclusive. On the other hand, her best form came in April in a decent class 5 Kempton Handicap over 1m 4f when she finished a fine 3rd and ran all the way to the line.

This race as well has her previous run at Kempton in March give her a big chance today if she can reproduce that sort of form now down to a handicap mark off 62. She hasn’t fired on turf at all in three subsequent starts, so the return to the sand needs to spark a revival.

That is obviously reflected in the price. But given she ran so well on the All-Weather before, has dropped to a handy mark and has the assistance of a good 5lb claiming apprentice, I rate her a better chance here.

Selection:
10pts win – Folies Bergeres @ 10/1 PP

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.

……

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

Friday Selections: June, 8th 2018

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3.40 Brighton: Class 6 Handicap, 10f

Top weight Palawan hasn’t fired in most of his last runs, ever since a strong runner-up performance in June of mark off 84 in a strong class 3 Handicap at Bath things didn’t work out for him. the winter. As a consequence he slipped dramatically in the mark.

A brief hint of return to form in February at Kempton, when coming agonizingly close a break a 2.5-year winless streak. Three poor runs later he moves yards, now going to post in the care of Jonathan Portman for the very first time.

One needs to put faith in the change of scenery helping Palawan to be revitalized. He also tries the 10f trip for only the second time in his career. Not unlikely on pedigree, particularly on fast ground.

On his best Palawan is obviously a main danger off 67, whether he still wants it remains to be seen. It’s a poor enough contest where I feel it’s worth a punt.

Selection:
10pts win – Palawan @ 11/1 PP

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4.50 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Novice Stakes, 8.5f

I don’t see why – with all we know at this point in time – there should be such a big difference in the betting between Move Swiftly and Elegiac. My preference is for the latter one.

A highly promising colt, who ran well on debut over 10f in a good race, followed-up at Newcastle dropping to a mile in excellent style.

This son of Farhh is open to plenty of progress and with Franny Norton retaining the ride with a good draw to go forward from, despite carrying a penalty, I feel Elegiac is a massive runner today.

Selection:
10pts win – Elegiac @ 9/2 PP