Tag Archives: Wolverhampton

Wednesday Selections: January, 30th 2019

DSC_1062

7.45 Wolverhampton: Class 7 Handicap, 8.5 furlongs

As my rotten run continues I don’t have high hopes to change that today. How can you when backing a 50/1 shot?! I’ve been incredibly keen on Blue Harmony the last time she ran at Kempton, though – before finishing a 27 lengths beaten eleventh.

As a consequence the handicapper has dropped her another 5lb. down to 48 now and the filly will contest in the lowest grade for a first time. There is a plot thickening here and it could well be the case Blue Harmony is “gone”.

Nonetheless, for this time, pretty much all I liked about her chance the other day applies today also – with the added benefit of a lower grade and lower mark! So let’s pull out the arguments from the 5th of January again:

“I’m excited as heck because I feel Blue Harmony could be supremely well handicapped in this race!

The equation is a simple one: the filly has been dropped dramatically in her handicap mark, mainly on the basis of a string of poor showings which – in my view – came on the back of marks too high as a result of her maiden win and a couple of subsequent decent handicap efforts. It took a while to get the weight down.

But now, third start for a new yard after a bit of a break, she drops to a more realistic distance plus got another few pounds off thanks her most recent 7th place finish at Wolverhampton.

Looking back at that race, for the first time of a rather realistic mark, but probably a trip still too far, things didn’t go to plan early on when the inexperienced apprentice jockey removed the hood way too late, the filly bumped into a couple of horses and was lit up.

She dropped over the next furlongs back in the field, finding herself turning wider than ideal for home and when attempting to make a run, she lost her footing, stumbling, losing all momentum.

She still managed to finish 7th in quite a hot contest – the form has worked out rather well for that type of low grade race.

Now down to a mark of 53, one has to remember Blue Harmony has been running to a TS 69 rating in the past and to RPR’s over 53 on on six out of nine occasions on the All-Weather.

Even more significantly she gets the assistance of competent 5lb claimer Megan Nicholls and has the additional aid of a good draw. The price on offer is way over the top I feel given how well this filly could be handicapped.”

So, the same 5lb claiming apprentice is on board, but the handicap mark is 5lb lower and the race an easier one. I feel I rarely had a better 50/1 shot.

Selection:
10pts win – Blue Harmoney @ 50/1 MB

 

Advertisements

Tuesday Selections: January, 29th 2019

DSC_1062

6.15 Wolverhampton, Class 5 Handicap, 6f 

At given prices I feel it’s worth siding with Kirby mount Big Time Maybe. The 4yo races second from a break and wind OP and is significantly below his last winning mark. He won of 5,- 11,- and 12 pounds higher in the past – albeit over 5f.

He’ll need to stretch out over this additional furlong, but there is reason to believe he can. His comeback run gives certainly hope he’ll improve from it. A fair race and effort, the winner, travelling at the back of the field, won subsequently. Big Time Maybe set a fair pace and only faded late.

He’s got a good draw today, so should be able to be up there, may even dominate and set a pace that suits him most. With fitness assured and the breathing fine, hopefully, he may be able to take advantage of a slipping mark.

Selection:
10pts win – Big Time Maybe @ 12/1 MB

Monday Selections: January, 21st 2019

DSC_1062

6.55 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4f

Top weight Smiley Bagel drops in class back into a class 5 Handicap – the last time he ran in a similar contest he won off 2lb lower a shade cozily. This will be his third start after long break also.

Draw a line through his comeback run, however next time at Lingfield he was far from disgraced in a hot race that looks solid form franked through the runner-up, behind a well handicapped winner.

While Smiley Bagel may be better suited to Lingfield, the gelding is also a CD winner. He’s handicapped to go close, but it seems significant that a good 7lb claimer takes the ride who comes here for this one ride only.

Oliver Stammers has ridden Ed Walker mounts five times so far, having been placed four times (plus one winner). He looks good value for his claim and gives Smiley Bagel a good chance, as long as he gets a run, as the draw isn’t ideal.

Selection:
10pts win – Smiley Bagel @ 12/1 PP

Saturday Selections: January, 19th 2019

20150411_113220

1.25 Lingfield: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 2f

Super competitive race; there is the unknown quantity of Irish recruit Sheberghan. Hard to know what to get from him. Short favourite Forbidden Planet looks ready to defy a 9lb penalty after an impressive DC win when last seen.

And yet, conditions today pointing toward Emenem, who’s somewhat underappreciated in the market here.

The 5 year old comes from a break, but runs well fresh, usually. He also returns to the scene of his best efforts. He’s 4-2-2 over course and distance and achieved his two highest RPR’s – 99 – over the 10f trip at Lingfield.

The most recent of those, nearly a year ago in a hot class 3 Handicap, when runner-up of a mark off 93, is arguably the best piece of form in this field in my book. Emenem is down to 84 now after a string of underwhelming performances.

Underwhelming only by this high standard set. So, he looks potentially well in here – he will most likely enjoy this small field as his record proves, which he may be able to dominate or at least sit tight behind the pace. Emenem should be in the perfect spot to challenge when it matters most.

Selection:
10pts win – Emenem @ 9/1 MB

…….

3.40 Lingfield: Class 5 Handicap, 6 furlongs

The market leaders appear strong but are beatable all the same. I am happy to take them on with Big Time Maybe who’s fresh off a wind OP and drops to a sexy mark.

Fitness is a question mark after the break and whether the wind issue has been rectified. The way he dropped out of races showed he had a problem there obviously. If the OP has done any good, then Big Time Maybe could be supremely well handicapped here judged on past performance.

He’s ran a handful of times to much higher time speed ratings than his current handicap mark and achieved many times much higher RPR’s too. Mostly over 5f, however he ran only 3x over 6f on the AW when odds suggested he wasn’t there to win.

In this small field the race could be run to suit him the most. Master Kirby is in the saddle. So well worth the risk that is undoubtedly attached with Big Time Maybe, who on the other hand could also have way too much in hand for this lot.

 Selection:
10pts win – Big Time Maybe @ 6/1 MB

…….

7.45 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 4f

Iley Boy has been running well lately. He took advantage of a slipping mark at Kempton but couldn’t follow up subsequently. However, I felt his last two runs were better than the bare form suggests.

It is probably true he’s a better horse at Kempton, still he travelled pretty well over CD the last two times here; particularly the most recent effort when 4th behind Apex Predator is a strong piece of form where his performance has to be upgraded due to the fact he didn’t quite get the best of runs.

A mark of 56 leaves little wriggle room most likely, but he’s handicapped to go close. He’s got an excellent draw tonight and Joey Haynes, who rode Iley Boy to victory at Kempton also, comes here for this one ride only.

Selection:
10pts win – Iley Boy @ 11/1 MB

Friday Selections: January, 11th 2019

DSC_1062

Finally a winner again after hitting the post a handful of times lately – The Right Choice (11/1) was the right choice indeed! He drew clear in the closing stages to land the 6f sprint after a hectic race that saw him under pressure at the back of the field right from the start.

……

6.45 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 2m ½f

Thresholdofadream looks certainly well in here of a rating of 55 after two highly promising efforts in October and November, her first tries on the All-Weather as well stepping up significantly in trip.

She was arguably unlucky not finish closer over 14f here at Wolverhampton and subsequently she should have won at Lingfield the way she finished, if not for her poor positioning way too far off the pace.

This race is in fact even weaker, so given Thresholdofadream remains unexposed on the AW and the trip as well as being still lightly raced, there is every chance for more natural improvement.

The only issue is the wide draw and her running style, which caused her to get into trouble the last two times. Drawn in 11 may see her confronted with the same sort of scenario. Thankfully top man Joe Fanning is on board.

Selection:
10pts win – Thresholdofadream @ 7/2 MB

Friday Selections: January, 4th 2019

DSC_1062

2.45 Kempton: Class 5 Handicap, 1 mile

I feel there are question marks over a range of the more fancied individuals in this race, so I happily take a chance on top weight Six Strings to finally find back some sort of form.

The 5-year-old drops to a super tasty mark, judged on past form. He’s had a number of yard changes, though, and has seen his colours dramatically lowered from contesting competitively hot class 2 Handicaps of marks closer to 90, to falling into a first class 5 Handicap on the All-Weather, off 75 now.

It has to be said that Six Strings actually ran rather decent in his starts of 2018 – the only really bad one, in my book, was his latest one, at Lingfield over a mile.

A first time stretching out that far, he had to overcome a wide draw, travelled wide throughout and never was in with a shout, nor given a serious race. Considering that he ran okayish, finishing not badly, in fact, suggesting the trip is a possibility.

Now dropping in class, getting another few pounds off the mark and having a competent 3lb claimer on board as additional advantage and a low draw to play with, I feel Six Strings could run a huge race.

The hood is off, remains to be seen what impact it will have. Here’s hoping for positive tactics anyway.

Interesting that Jack Duern on board, since down to a 3lb claim, has still been rather successfully used in similar situations by this yard before: a 12-3-5 record for horses that the betting indicates are in with a chance, when Duern has only a single ride, when this one is for DK Ivory, plus the majority of positive results came on horses with big weights, like Six Strings has to carry here.

Selection:
10pts win – Six Strings @ 17/2 MB

…….

4.35 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4f

Was thinking a while about this one, but the fact that bar the favourite, who’s a pretty skinny price now for all he has shown, this poor race screams for an upset.

To say Epitaph is a temperamental sort is an understatement. The gelding often runs some strange races, and all the sort of headgear tried is an indication for the difficulty to get him right. An unconvincing 1-37 record tells a tale, also.

On the other hand, he has also been 13 times in the money. Mostly on Southwell fibresand. But interestingly, his performances at Wolverhampton have been promising as well.

I thought Epitaph ran a fine race when last seen at the end of December over course and distance – certainly better than the bare form would suggest, if watching the replay of the race a couple of times. Inexplicably he slowed dramatically down between four to three furlongs out, but then ran on again, finishing well enough, in fact.

Obviously this lad is a long-shot in its true meaning. But, given he won- and has consistently well of much higher handicap marks in the past, I feel with a good jockey on board there is a fair chance he can outrun he price tag this time.

Selection:
10pts win – Epitaph @ 18/1 PP

…….

6.15 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 7 furlongs

I feel Aljunood has been desperately unlucky a couple of times lately and now dropping down to a mark of 56 could be potentially seriously well handicapped on his first fair crack over the 7f trip.

In saying that, I disregard shamelessly the lasted effort at Southwell. It’s fibresand, he didn’t take to it. Enough said.

However the three starts before of falling marks at Wolverhampton are of great interest. The start was a 8.5f Handicap in October, where he got lit up early after the start, marched forward and wasn’t to be reigned in by the jockey. He ran his race approaching the 3f marker.

Next time, a particularly eye-catching performance, given he was bumped early on and was a bit too far off the pace, maybe the winner also simply too good on the day; regardless, Aljunood ran on strongly to finish second. The third of those interesting efforts came the next time when he was badly positioned again, had to fight for position and angle out to get only late into the clear.

Aljunood has finally found his level I believe, after an early career maiden success in Ireland resulted in an unrealistic opening mark and took a while to get down to something more realistic. He’s now in a position to win. Given he’s a son of Bated breath, the drop to 7f should suit.

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

Fighting Fifth Hurdle Preview

DSC_6419

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