Tag Archives: York

Saturday Selections: Cesarewitch & more

Rowley Mile

3.40 Newmarket: Class 2 Cesarewitch Handicap, 2m 2f

The lottery that is the Cesarewitch stampede along the Rowley Mile – can’t remember I ever backed a horse that came even near the eventual winner. Could it be different today?

I have a sneaky feeling Mark Johnston’s tough colt Time To Study is undervalued in this contest. The only three year old in the race, despite a 4lb penalty for a gritty success at Doncaster last month, looks well in off his low weight thanks to WFA.

How much difference that can make in a 2m 2f contest is a fair question, however the lightly raced colt has been on the upward curve all year long and still had ‘only’ five starts this year – for a Mark Johnston horse that’s on the low end of the scale.

Time To Study is rather smallish in size, however is all heart as proven in the Mallard Handicap against some tough older opposition a good four weeks ago. Stamina is no issue, the ground, though, may be quick enough.

Tactically I would be surprised if jockey PJ McDonald doesn’t move forward to settle Time To Study close enough to the pace – that should ensure a fair run, if anything.

Selection:
10pts win – Time To Study @ 14/1 Bet365

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4.50 Newmarket: Listed Boadicea Stakes, 6f

A biggish field but not many in it appear to be any better than the grade. The one who is is clearly Queen Kindly. It’s true that she has to carry a 3lb penalty and also has been slightly disappointing all year.

However her latest effort a very creditable 5th in the Group 1 Abbaye at Longchamp is by far the best in this field. The step up to 6f will surely be a help while the drop down into Listed company means she is the one to beat.

Fast ground does not pose any problems for her – she won a Group 2 on quick ground as a juvenile. I feel she is overpriced judged on the extra weight she has to carry, which I do believe does not make that much of a difference, though.

Selection:
10pts win – Queen Kindly @ 5/1 Bet365

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10.30 Keeneland: Grade 1 QE II Challenge Cup Stakes, 1m 1f

Open contest but I feel La Coronel has plenty of upside on her third start back home after a decent outing at Royal Asccot where she was only a good five lengths beaten by Winter.

She needed her home reappearance, though was much better last month in the Sands Point, when narrowly denied in the closing staged by Uni. She was pulling quite hard early on and looked a bit awkward in the home straight – so I feel if things go more to plan, she can clearly turn the form with Uni today.

Belmont Oaks winner New Money Honey has an excellent turf record, and back on this surface she is a major player. Also German 1000 Guineas Unforgettable Lady can run a big race.

Selection:
10pts win – La Coronel @ 6/1 Skybet

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

Friday Selections: 25th August 2017

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That was special, wasn’t it? Yet again. Enable keeps giving and giving and giving. What a star filly once more in the care of John Gosden. Sure, she was entitled to win and to win with something to spare. Still, to demolish her high class rivals in the way she did – you simply have to be impressed.

All systems go for the Arc now. She is a short favourite to land the biggest of them all. If she turns up in top form she will take plenty of beating. That says we know the Arc is a unique race in its own right and in a big field the draw can alienate chances in the blink of an eye.

Anyways; that’s for another day. For now, sit back and enjoy racing at its best:

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6.20 Salisbury: Class 5 Nursery, 1m

27 alerts in my tracker this morning – yet only one single selection remains after a long morning of intense study. This week has not been a lucky one so far. Can a Richard Hannon trained colt turn the table?

Galactic is his name and he is quite a well bred son of Roderic O’connor. Three obligatory starts in maidens, now first time in a Nursery and upped to a more suitable 1 mile trip – off a pretty handy opening mark, I reckon Galatctic can go really well in this very winnable race.

Selection:
10pts win – Galactic @ 11/2 Bet365

 

Thursday Selections: 24th August 2017

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Not often you see a horse strongly travelling, in fact cantering all over his rivals until nearly the final furlong marker in a premier Group 1 race. If it happens it must rate as a special performance. So it was. Take a bow Ulysses. That was spectacular!

I made him the favourite in my book, however felt the rain might count slightly against him. How wrong I was. I was also wrong doubting Churchill’s staying ability. How dare I doubt a son of Galileo?! He wasn’t quite good enough in the end, but confirmed that he is all class.

But sometimes you bump into a better one. This one was Ulysses today. Another late bloomer so speak in the care of brilliant Sir Michael.

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3.00 York: Class 2 Handicap, 1m

Big Baz is a big prize and hasn’t shown too much this season to warrant a awful lot of respect. Still, it would be foolish to rule him out completely in a race that takes a bit of luck to win anyways.

What will the ground be like? There is no further rain expected, or at least not a lot, temperatures are balmy, so it might be good to soft, good in places by race time I reckon. That’s fair enough. Big Baz has form on softish ground but also on quicker surfaces, so that side of the equation won’t be an issue I think. Trip suits fine, no problem.

His Newbury Cup performance off 7lb higher back in April gives him a shot at this with the ease in the mark surely a help. The draw isn’t ideal, though, and Big Baz is not a confident selection, but is a value price in my book, nonetheless.

Selection:
10pts win – Big Baz @ 66/1 Paddy Power

Wednesday Selections – Juddmonte International 2017

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Big drift in the betting for Tuesday’s selection Alternate Route. So it was no surprise to see having a slow start to his race and as a consequence were never really in it.

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2.25 York: Group 3 Acomb Stakes, 7f

Dee Ex Bee was mightily impressive on debut at Goodwood. That looks rock solid form but it was more virtually plus on the clock what impressed me. He made all, going aggressively forward right from the start and found a lot when asked serious questions.

Granted the soft ground probably helped in terms of how far the rest of the field trailed him in the end and there will be different ground conditions here – however any rain will help, and with significant amounts of showers on their way he should be fine on ground that is likely not lightning fast.

He clocked a superb 89 TS on debut. With natural improvement and a top draw, this son of Farhh, who has had an excellent start with his first crop, should be very hard to beat.

Selection:
10pts win – Dee Ex Bee @ 9/4 bet365

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3.35 York: Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes, 1m 2f

Cracking renewal and five of the seven starters have strong credentials to land the big pot. Eclipse winner and King George runner-up Ulysses sets the standard in my mind. Drop in trip will suit after being outstayed at Ascot by star filly Enable.

He travelles strongly through his races and no more so at Sandown when wearing Barney Roy down. Slight concern is the rain coming. He obviously has fine form with cut in the ground in the book, however to my eye is clearly at his best when the ground is fast.

Whether Barney Roy truly wants 10 furlongs remains to be seen. Any rain will hinder his chances I believe and while he is certainly a top class colt I don’t think he should be the favourite.

2000 Guineas winner Churchill returns after being taken out at Goodwood and a lackluster performance at Royal Ascot. He is by Galileo so the step up to 10f may not be as big an issue as some commentators make it out to be. He also has form on slow ground in case the rain would have a big impact.

However how much more can he improve for the new trip? He’s already had 9 career starts and his target was clearly the Guineas.

Aiden O’Brien’s “second” string, Derby runner-up Cliffs Of Moher appears to be a more interesting contender. He probably was a bit unlucky in the Eclipse when he finished fourth, as he was badly hampered in the middle of the race and lost all momentum.

He’s still only had five runs and can still improve. 10f on any sort of ground will suit and interestingly he is the only one who already matched a 112 top speed rating that otherwise only Ulysses has been able to achieve.

The filly Shutter Speed beat Enable earlier the year and that sort of performance gives her a chance. Nonetheless she has a bit to find with the boys I feel. It’s a tough task for her, though interesting to see a tongue tie applied for the first time.

You can’t fully discount Tattersalls Gold Cup winner Decorative Knight. He was well held in the Eclipse Stakes after clipping heels midterm. Could run well for a big price.

Selection:
10pts win – Cliffs Of Moher @ 11/2 Paddy Power

Preview: Dante Stakes Day

The rain duly arrived today. The ground turned to soft. Desperate conditions, even more so moving forward. Staying with the recent past for now: circumstances made the result of the Musidora Stakes one to take with a pinch of salt, I guess.

Nonetheless Shutter Speed couldn’t do more than what she did: win well and put things to bed in the final furlong, confirming that she is a smart horse – how smart? Another day will tell. The French Oaks that is, most likely.

Eyes turn to Thursday. Dante Day. The warm-up before the big race isn’t shabby. In the Group 2 Middelton Stakes we see the return of last years Musidora heroine So Mi Dar.

She is well fancied to land the odds but first she has to dispatch two higher rated fillies: Breeders’ Cup Filly And Mare Turf winner Queen’s Trust , who returns to the track after a well deserved winter break – though the soft ground is likely against her.

And there is the South African superstar Smart Call. The sensational 2016 J&B Met winner – a day when she beat South Africa’s highest rated horse in training, Legal Eagle, who subsequently went on to land four major Grade 1’s – has been off since early last year due to quarantine and injuries.

The plan was to run her at the Breeders Cup and on the way there give her a spin around Newmarket in October. Unfortunately things did not go to plan and here she is, now in hands of Sir Michael.

Soft ground is a question mark so is the long absence. Personally I hope she runs well and has retained most of her ability, so she has a real chance of improving for the run and be the old force we know she can be.

A good half an hour later it’s time for some serious Derby contenders in the Dante Stakes. Trial winner Cracksman tries to give his Epsom form some substance. Derby “gamble” Crystal Ocean has to live up to all the bookies hype of the last couple of days.

Obviously with my ante-post wager on him here’s hoping he’ll prove his worthiness. That says I highly doubt the reportedly huge gamble is anything more than a handful of 50 quid wagers (like the one I put on at 40’s) which these days can – as we know only too well – mean bookies cut prices shamelessly and talk up horses even where no substantial sums have actually  been placed.

The Irish come over with Rekindling in particular. Young Joseph’s classic contender has the best form in the book, given the Ballysax does not look a bad race in hindsight.

I find it hard to fancy Aiden O’Brien’s Exemplar. And that’s probably the reason why this lad will bolt up…. Godolphin throws four darts. Craven Stakes third Benbatl the best of the lot.

No bet for me in the race – just sit back and hope for Sire Michael’s guy to do the business to be then in with a real chance on Derby day.

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8.00 Newmarket: Class 5 Fillies’ Handicap, 1 mile

You have to take note whenever Charlie Appleby and William Buck arrive with lightly raced individuals to the party. The yard is going very well at the moment and they look to have another big chance with Pure Shores here in this big field though not overly competitive race.

Pure Shores makes her Handicap debut after three relatively decent performances in maiden company. Particularly the two starts this year over 10f where eye-catching in my view.

Both times she pulled very hard in the early parts of the race. Despite this keenness she travelled like the winner on both occasions, though same story in the finish: the did not get home.

That might be more down to the energy wasted early on than the trip as on pedigree that looks fine. Still the drop to 1m in a big field with better pace should suit down to the ground. Softish ground – on pedigree at least – seems no problem.

Her opening mark of 76 could easily undervalue her true talent given this will only be her second start on turf and she ran much better than the bare form suggests at Sandown last month when sixth behind winner Serenada, who to some extend gave this form some substance in the Musidora Stakes on Wednesday afternoon.

Selection:
10pts win – Pure Shores @ 6/1 Bet365

Wednesday Tips – Musidora Stakes

4.05 York: Musidora Stakes (Fillies’ Group 3), 1m 2f

On paper it is hard to oppose exciting Shutter Speed on the back of a very impressive performance at York last month. Form that also worked out extremely well with the 3rd Enable winning the Cheshire Oaks subsequently.

However with the ground easing and further rain on its way it might be a little bit more an open contest than the odds-on price tag for John Gosden’s filly suggests, mainly because Jim Bolger brings an intriguing contender in the name of Vociferous Marina over.

This girl has put the “wow look” already twice on my face in her  young career. That was last year at the Curragh when she cantered all over the field to produce a stunning turn of foot to win a 7f maiden.

And that was at Navan in the listes Salsabil Stakes last month when she looked still a bit green and raw but once in the clear power home in tremendous style from the back of the field which in turn earned her a higher speed rating than the one Shutter Speed – albeit eased down in the final 100y – in her last outing.

Vociferous Marina clearly responded for the step up in trip after she bombed out on her seasonal debut run, though she was a big drifter on that day and things went clearly not her way.

She has shown in the past that cut in the ground is not a problem, so the soft conditions won’t bother her I suspect. She clearly is a big danger to Shutter Speed in my book as the turn of foot she has shown on two occasions now looks quite special.

Selection:
10pts win – Vociferous Marina @ 5/1 Bet365

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5.25 Yarmouth: Class 6 Handicap, 6 Furlongs

The jockey booking is eye-catching for handicap debutante Frank’s Legacy. De Sousa in the saddle for trainer Ivan Furtado yielded in significant success in the past – this is in line with a very intriguing runner in this race.

This Aqlaam gelding didn’t show allot in three maiden starts, however stepping up in trip to 6f on his handicap debut should suit allot. His opening mark does not look overly harsh and gives him every chance.

The draw is potentially not ideal, however if Frank’s Legacy is as well handicapped as I would believe then it does not matter. He certainly has scope to improve, given Aqlaam offspring tends to progress significantly with age and experience.

Selection:
10pts win – Frank’s Legacy @ 5/1 Skybet