Tag Archives: York

Saturday Selections: 11th June 2022

6.15 Leicester: Class 4 Handicap, 7f

Small field and interesting from a pace angle, this class 4 Handicap looks a weak race nonetheless. Most if not all of these could have a claim to grab the lead, or at the very least follow it closely. How will this pan out?

Two from my eyecatcher list are running, with Ex Gratia preferred in the market over Devilwala.

The filly caught my eye at Lingfield on the All-Weather and subsequently ran a good race when second on Lingfield’s turf course. Ultimately she didn’t have excuses the last time and off the same mark I don’t think she is anything better than handicapped to her best form. That can be good enough in this weak race today, but her temperamental issues are off putting too.

Devilwala is clearly the one I am most interested from a price perspective, though. Whether today is the day remains to be seen. The jockey booking isn’t inspiring. But there are a number of things I like that make be believe he’s got a better than one in ten chance to win today given he’s down to a really sexy handicap mark.

He came to my attention at Ripon in April when he ran a lot better than the bare result suggested, in my view. He clearly didn’t stay the mile and the opposition was too hot most likely, anyway.

The next three times he races against even hotter competition and stood no chance, although the last time at Chester I felt he didn’t get the best of runs and he could have finished closer.

If I believe this to be true then I must firmly believe he’s a proper chance today, given he drops in class off 5lb lower in the Official Rating running over what’s most likely his optimum trip.

Obviously Devilwala has fallen a long way from the previous heights of being rated 113 and finishing only 2¾ behind St. Mark’s Basilica in the Dewhurst. Obviously there is every chance that he’s gone. But I felt he showed enough this year to assume he still has some appetite for the game.

10pts win – Devilwala @ 10/1

……….

3.40 York: Class 2 Handicap, 6f

This is a ultra-competitive sprint Handicap and I can make the case for more than a handful to be in with a realistic shout. Plenty of potential improvers and loads of strong LTO form on offer.

Yet my eye is drawn to Vintage Clarets, one who’s not shown anything on paper this year so far. He’s far from a likely winner, nonetheless I feel you won’t find many days a better 22/1 shot.

If one looks what’s underpinning his 2022 form then he’s performed with more credit than those naked results would tell. For one he’s raced in hot races three times, the last time over course and distance against older horses. A seriously tough assignment. He was too keen early on and faded away in the closing stages but long time was right in the mix.

At Chester he ran actually quite a good race in unsuitable conditions, even clocking the fasted split for the penultimate furlong. He’s nine pounds lower in the mark than when he started the season at Newmarket – off 87 I think he’s dangerous given he showed enough the last two times to suggest there’s life.

Obviously as an early peaking juvenile last year, third in the Coventry, only 2 lengths down in the highly competitive Super Sprint, one has to take it with a pinch of salt as this often doesn’t translate to 3-year-old form.

But crucially Vintage Clarets will have his preferred fast ground today for the first time this year. He’s likely to have a pace to chase from his draw, which might help him to settle better and tow him into the closing stages with a shot.

Others may improve past him, have better form and he may simply be nowhere near as good an older horse as he was a juvenile. At 22s it’s low risk high reward given at this point in time he looks a horse capable of running to mark in the low 90s in ideal conditions.

10pts win – Vintage Clarets @ 22/1

………..

6.45 Leicester: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 4f

Beryl Burton is a very obvious choice in this and I have her about a 6/4 chance, rather than the generous odds on offer. The favourite Haven Lady is clearly progressing nicely on turf over this trip and may have more to offer, but simply hasn’t run overly fast yet, hence she’s vulnerable in my book.

Contrasting that with Beryl Burton who was seriously unlucky last time out over ten furlongs, she ran to topspeed 56 that day. For a neck beaten 2nd place she is up two pounds but should be well able to defy it with a clear run and for possible improvement over the additional distance.

She doesn’t have a sexy profile with one single victory in 13 lifetime starts, but she knocked on the door a number of times and her pedigree suggests 12 furlongs is well within range, a trip she’s completely unexposed.

Nine days ago at Redcar she was held up and travelled well, making excellent progress in the home straight, but ultimately didn’t get a run at a crucial stage, while the eventual winner, still well handicapped Rocket Dancer, got first run. She got out with a furlong to go and finished much the strongest.

The obvious question marks today aren’t whether she is good enough to win off 56 – she clearly is, and neither is it a mater of stamina, I believe. however she can have a tendency to be keen early on and that can be fatal over the additional distance.

I hope there’s enough pace on with the obvious leaders Haven Lady and Eagle One. It’s a small enough field, which at least should minimise any danger of meeting trouble.

10pts win – Beryl Burton @ 5/2

Eyecatchers #9 2022

A list of horses that caught my eye during the last seven days of racing. These individuals look ready to win a race sooner rather than later given the right conditions.

Brilliant Blue
20/05/22 – 1.35 Goodwood:

Awkward start but wasn’t help by the isolated #1 draw. Was about to move forward when badly hampered on the inside around the 6 furlong marker. Keen afterwards. Made excellent progress from three furlongs out. Looked like coming with big run before fading.

This was his seasonal reappearance. Possible lack of race fitness and mid-race keenness may have been the contributing factor to a lackluster finish.

Should be better than this. Showed promise as a juvenile in two races in Autumn – form worked out well as he finished around some higher rated individuals – before flopping on the All-Weather. The mile trip shouldn’t be an issue on pedigree.

Race Replay

Aeonian
20/05/22 – 3.40 Haydock:

Travelled toward the end of the small field, pretty keen early on, nearly bumped into rival. Slowly run race, eventual first and second – also lto winners – tracked the pace and quickened gradually from three furlongs out. He made good progress on outside once in the clear but couldn’t catch the leaders.

He was also quite heavily sweating on this seasonal reappearance. Given circumstances this was a fine performance against some good and experienced rivals.

Hasn’t been seen since August when winning hot Yarmouth Novice contest overcoming severe greenness. The form looks strong. he could be a smart prospect. May be prohibitive odds next time. Needs monitoring.

Race Replay

Glamorous Express
21/05/22 – 4.35 Goodwood:

Travelling very strongly in rear of the field. Was at a major disadvantage, though. Having to pass the entire field, still last two furlongs from home going well, eventually switched inside the final furlong and finishes easily the best.

Obviously needs step up in trip. Six furlongs should see him improve. Seven furlongs not out of question. Was still green and raw in most races last year. Hence wouldn’t be too harsh on judging his performances beyond the minimum distance in his juvenile campaign.

Won a Novice contest when last seen in 2021 at Bath, battling strongly. A mark of 80 looks fair for the moment, if he can improve for the trip and for race fitness.

Race Replay

Tomfre
21/05/22 – 1.40 York:

Led the field setting solid fractions. Started to come under pressure from over two furlongs out. Headed and eventually lost touch with those that finished in the placings. Stuck gutsily to the task regardless, didn’t fade away.

Strong performance, ran right to form and mark. Was runner-up of 105 OR last May at this track. Comes down to a more realistic marks now, currently 2lb below his last winning mark.

Looks in fine form, this performance confirmed as much. Ideally would love to see a few more pounds off. Needs certainly proper soft ground to be seen to best effect. He’s one to keep monitoring this season for the right circumstances.

Race Replay

Ey Up It’s Maggie
21/05/22 – 2.55 York:

Tracked the early pace, took over the lead halfway through and ran strongly to the line. Only headed and eventually beaten in the final 100 yards.

Really gutsy performance. Highly consistent filly. In the grip of the handicapper. Will always be vulnerable in this class off this mark. A few pounds off, drop in class and proper soft ground over the minimum trip will be really interesting. Wait for it.

Race Replay

Bonus
21/05/22 – 7.15 Lingfield:

Crossed over toward the rails soon after the start and travelled at the end of the midfield group for the most part. Had a lot to do form this position over two furlongs out while the winner enjoyed the perfect run being up with the pace and was also well handicapped. Didn’t have the pace to challenge when gaps opened over a furlong from home but finished well under hands and heels.

He’s still a few pounds above his last winning mark but starts to get some assistance from the handicapper. I feel this run confirmed his wellbeing. Any additional drop in the ratings combined with racing over 7 furlongs on proper soft ground will spark my interest.

Race Replay

La Yakel
22/05/22 – 1.30 Nottingham:

Was away a bit slowly from the widest draw, settled eventually in rear. Still trailed over two furlongs out going very strongly. Didn’t get out for a clear run until about 1.5f from home. Quickened nicely and grabbed third place on the line having been tenderly handled.

This was his debut. He was gelded already back in March but must have some talent. Was a £28,000 foal but changed hands a year later for £120,000 to Shadwell. He will likely improve plenty fold for stepping up to 10 furlongs given his breeding.

The form could be quite useful. The odds-on winner had more experience and tasted success the last time. Given first and second where always prominent and La Yakel made such a good impression from the rear of the field suggest he could be closely matched with the winner. Needs monitoring for the next starts.

Race Replay

Kaasirr
22/05/22 – 3.05 Nottingham:

Travelled well enough in the final third of the field. Looked poised from three out, not clearest of runs from over two furlongs out, in a tight spot. Eventually fades.

I imagine this was a strong race for this class and will work out well in the long-run. He’s got a few solid pieces of form to this name, especially a close runner-up effort behind Al Nafir (who was 2nd behind Cash on debut) last year on his second career start.

His three-year old campaign has been rather disappointing so far. He was fancied in all three races, hang his chances away at Southwell and finished tamely the last two times. I feel a mile is the maximum of his stamina, though.

He comes down to a dangerous mark I reckon. Perhaps some different form of headgear could be interesting. A drop to a mile is key. I would also be interested in 7 furlongs with a bit of ease in the ground.

Race Replay

Orbaan
22/05/22 – 5.05 York:

Settled in rear of the field going well. Travelled much the strongest in the home straight, hard on the bridle, poised to be unleashed for a winning move. Couldn’t get out, though. Repeatedly short of room. No chance whatsoever.

Is an infrequent winner but has ran numerous times really well in defeat. Big run when 5th in last years Lincoln, placed in the summer off a mark off 94 twice.

Now down to a 87 OR, he looks seriously well handicapped if he gets his conditions: a mile at York or Doncaster or generally a relatively flat straight course. He also goes well over 7 furlongs with significant cut in the ground. He looks ready for a big win.

Race Replay

Arab Cinder
23/05/22 – 1.10 Wolverhampton:

Had to overcome the widest draw, outpaced early on and trailed the main body of the field by quite a margin. Made good progress from halfway, in touch turning for home and loomed dangerously. Couldn’t get a clear run, kept inside by rival the entire home straight until dramatic move toward the inside at the final furlong marker.

Would have gone really close with a clear run most likely. This was her Handicap debut and she showed significant improvement from her three qualifying runs.

As a full-sister to a 1m 6f winner who stayed 2 miles, she is likely to get better the further she goes. 7 furlongs is clearly too short therefore it’s noteworthy how well she ran here. The family isn’t overly successful on the ratings front but most win races.

With that in mind I don’t have massive confidence that she can repeat this performance over shorter than 10 furlongs. The pace was likely a big help for her staying on so well. If she moves up in trip I’ll be really interested. One to monitor.

Race Replay

Eddie The Beagle
23/05/22 – 2.20 Leicester:

Outpaced early on, possibly still green, had to be niggled in early parts of the race. Travelled okay into home straight and tried to make progress from back of the field having loads to do. Multiple times stopped and short of room. Ran on a bit late under easy ride.

Seasonal reappearance. Showed bit of progress on second last start last November. Dam won over 1m 4f for the same yard. Would expect this lad to be competitive if he steps up to that sort of distance.

Race Replay

Crownthorpe
24/05/22 – 7.00 Newcastle:

Travelled in rear initially, seemingly not going all that well. Moved into midfield and outpaced over 2 furlong out when the pace increased. Seemed to come with a late move inside the final furlong but badly hampered half a furlong from home. Winner was long gone at that stage though.

He was hampered and short of room on his seasonal reappearance at Redcar, too. Finished the race okayish from the back of the field. The form looks very strong.

Lost form toward the second half of last season. Has fallen significantly in his mark since two subsequent placed efforts in class 2 Hansicaps off 88 and 89 in May and June 2021.

Down to a 74 rating now, he should be really well handicapped in the right conditions. A mile with cut in the ground could be that. He requires a solid pace to be seen to best effect, I feel.

Race Replay

Reckon I’m Hot
24/05/22 – 5.40 Lingfield:

Caught wide from the #11 draw early on, travelled pretty well into the home straight, going better than most, couldn’t find instant acceleration when finding daylight over 1 furlong out. Perhaps ran out of gas too.

Seven furlongs is probably too far. She was quite unlucky not to win over the minimum trip at Lingfield back in February when she looked to have it won, only be caught late on the line.

Subsequently badly hampered at the start at Chelmsford, she ran better than the result suggested, while she bumped into a very well handicapped winner at Wolverhampton.

She looks capable of winning off her current mark. Would quite like to see her over 6 furlongs on turf.

Race Replay

Billy Wedge
24/05/22 – 8.05 Newcastle:

A bit slowly away, settled in rear, although seriously keen early on. Jockey had to take pulls multiple times. Steered from the middle toward the stands’ side and back again over 3f out. Seemed to travel extremely strongly approaching the 2f marker, still hard on the bridle, only then switched to the widest outside. Finished much the strongest.

Possibly unlucky not getting the clearest of runs but also seemingly a rather conservative ride given. Ran really well at Redcar in April on his comeback run after a near year long break.

Couldn’t repeat, although perhaps mitigating factors. This latest performance shows he is still very much capable of winning. On past form potentially well handicapped if the handicapper doesn’t react too harshly. Was Newcastle winner over 6f of a mark off 52, running to topspeed 55 in February 2021.

Best form on the All-Weather and over 7 furlongs. Rating wise not too far behind what he has achieved on turf, though; however, without winning. I don’t see turf as such a big negative with that in mind. But needs careful monitoring of market and jockey booking. Will require proper soft ground if to be considered on turf.

Race Replay

Thrave
25/05/22 – 3.10 Beverley:

Restrained early on and settled in last pace a few lengths off the main body of the field. Good progress from 4 furlongs out on the inside but headway stopped in home straight. Repeatedly short of room right to the end, while looking poised to win the race if a gap would open.

Ran better on two occasions this season since coming back from a break. Looks poised judged on this, though from a handicapping perspective loos matched with best form from last season.

As eyecatching as this performance was I want to see a couple pounds off the mark. Off 65 or lower at a track that doesn’t favour front runners. 7f-1m fine. The shorter distance not on fast ground. Monitor. Engaged this Friday at Pontefract.

Race Replay

Van Gerwen
25/05/22 – 6.25 Ripon:

Travelled in midfield in a compact field. Perhaps a little bit flat footed entering last three furlongs when pace increased. Found some momentum and looked ready for a challenge but was repeatedly short of room until nearly the very final moment of the race.

Probably ran right up to mark and best of his 2021 form. Won off the same mark last October and ran to topspeed 62, 65 and 67. With that in mind he has clearly proven his wellbeing – important for a 9-year-old.

At the same time he is not overly well handicapped right now. Merely handicapped to what he’s capable of running to. It’s worth waiting one or two more runs to see how his mark is going to be (hopefully) reduced. Is engaged Friday, 27th May at Pontefract.

Race Replay

Twice Adaay
25/05/22 – 8.30 Ripon:

Prominent early on, chased the pace in second line. Lost position when racing room became increasingly tight and was short of room at 2 furlongs from home. Had to delay challenge. Met interference at final furlong marker too. Switched toward the inside and moved nicely through a gap to finish well.

Sole win came over 5 furlongs in soft conditions last year of a mark off 54. Ran to topspeed 56 on turf and 58 on firesand. Ran quite well on a number occasions this year. Consistency means she’s in the grip of the handicapper right now.

If she falls below 65 again and over the minimum trip on proper soft ground she’ll be really interesting.

Race Replay

Lady Lavina
26/05/22 – 1.20 Ripon:

Travelled really strongly and like the potential winner for the most parts of the race. Tried to find a gap from over two furlongs out. Short of room until very late when finally space opens up and she finishes really strongly, even though runs into traffic close to the finish once again.

May filly on debut here seemed ready despite drifting out to 20/1. Most likely will benefit from step up in trip to 7 furlongs. One to see where connections go next. May be too obvious to back next time. Worth to keep an eye for when she moves beyond six furlongs.

Race Replay

Field Of Honour
26/05/22 – 3.50 Ripon:

Pulls really hard pretty for the majority of the race. A slow pace didn’t help. Received a good educational ride. As pace leading trio kicks on four from home he’s kept at the rear of the field behind horses. Pulled out 3f from home and makes eye catching progress to about the final furlong marker.

Debut run for this April foal. Quite well bred, likely to be seen to best effect if stepping up to 10 furlongs. needs to learn to settle. Looks to have a bit of talent given the way he travelled in the home straight and make nice progress.

Will not get involved before going handicapping unless stepping up to 10 furlongs. One to monitor for next entries.

Race Replay

Eyecatchers #8 2022

A list of horses that caught my eye during the last seven days of racing. These individuals look ready to win a race sooner rather than later given the right conditions.

Saulire Star
13/05/22 – 6.45 Hamilton:

Solid start from double-figure draw. Settled a few lengths off the pace setter, travelling strongly. Smooth headway into the home straight, heading the leader about two furlongs from home. Eventually had to pay tribute for chasing the hot pace when fading in the final furlong.

He did best of those up or close to the pace. The winner and runner-up both came from off the pace. He is unlucky to be a maiden after 16 career runs having been hampered/short of room the last two times at crucial stages of the race. Especially the lto performance is noteworthy for the way he finished the race.

Down to a mark of 48 and unlikely that the handicapper will be harsh after this run, he stays up to 10 furlongs, though, perhaps doesn’t want it genuinely soft over that trip. I believe he’s ready to win a race.

Race Replay

Scorpio
13/05/22 – 2.40 Newbury:

Bit slowly away, also drawn low no advantage given where the race developed. Travelled well enough in midfield but looked for an opening from over two furlongs out. No instant change of gear when gap opened with about a furlong to go but kept going nicely to finish well in 5th without being asked too many questions.

Fine debut run given circumstances as she lost her left fore shoe in the closing stages. This could be pretty solid form. She likely ends up as a miler. Will be interesting if going up in trip. Needs monitoring for the next starts. Should be one for handicaps.

Race Replay

Tammani + Ramiro
13/05/22 – 4.45 York:

Tammani settled in rear and had loads to do entering the home straight. Tried to move toward stands’ side over two furlongs out. Repeatedly short of room until late when he finishes incredibly well on the inside under hands and heels.

Even a blind man would have spotted this eyecatching run. He’s obviously down to a really good mark, having been a Listed winner at two and Group 3 placed at three. Could be too obvious for nto.

He’s not ran to a topspeed rating matching his current handicap mark but that is most likely because he used to race in France until last summer where TS is often not available.

He’s a tricky horse, nonetheless, and I am prepared to wait for ideal conditions. That is a mile on soft ground. I would also consider 7 furlongs with a stiff finish. Soft ground is non-negotiable, though.

Ramior was also an unlucky horse in the race. He was touch slowly away, but then appeared to be going strongly approaching the 2 furlong marker. Behind a wall of horses he had to delay his challenge and was severely short of room in a tight spot a furlong from home. He was eased and reportedly lost his action after the 1f incident.

This was his best run since moving to Brian Ellison. He won races of marks of 74 and 78 the last two seasons in Ireland. In that context I am not too bothered that his best topspeed rating is only 73.

Ease in the ground is key for him too. Another reduction of the mark and 7 furlongs with a bit of cut in the ground is the scenario I am looking for.

Race Replay

Mobarhin
13/05/22 – 1.40 Newmarket:

Had the perfect draw to grab the rail and did so right from the start. Moved forward and set a red hot pace having the entire field on the stretch 3 furlongs out. Headed eventually but kept going gutsily right to the line.

He looks capable of staying 7 furlongs with a more conservative ride but perhaps 6 furlongs is his optimum. Won in January over the trip on the All-Weather of a mark of 70, achieving a 74 topspeed rating.

I believe he has still a bit of scope on turf, especially over 6 furlongs on decent ground. Ideally he gets a bit assistance from the handicapper before backing him.

Race Replay

Gumdrop
14/05/22 – 4.05 Thirsk:

Travelled initially on the outside quite keenly, perhaps being quite fresh on his comeback run. Was going well enough, even though perhaps a little bit outpaced halfway through at the rear of the field. Not the clearest of runs from two furlongs out. Finished nicely under hands and heels late.

First run since September 2020. Gelded in the meantime. Promising return to the track. Drifted out 18/1 on the day. Won of a mark of 75 and ran to topspeed 81 as a juvenile at Chester. Still lightly raced and seems to retain ability.

Should enjoy a step up in trip on pedigree. There is plenty of stamina on the dam side, although the dam only won over 6 furlongs herself. Should be monitored next time in the betting.

Six furlongs perhaps with some ease in the ground can work but I wouldn’t mind the step up to 7f. Also need a bit help from the handicapper before I’m really interested.

Race Replay

Dusky Prince
16/05/22 – 4.25 Redcar:

Raced right in the middle of the pack, slightly niggled halfway through as pace was red hot but kept going and looked in with a big shout if only a gap would have opened. He couldn’t get a run right until the very end. Wasn’t needlessly knocked about even when some space opened up late.

The form book might suggest that he’s in the grip of the handicapper. But I feel he’s probably been quite an incredibly unlucky horse on the All-Weather in his last three runs.

He caught the eye on all those runs, especially at Newcastle (badly hampered when most likely coming with the winning move) in February and Lingfield when he got too far behind but was flying home with a sub 11 second final furlong.

Some of the bad luck is self-made, though. It is absolutely clear that he’s not quite speedy enough for the minimum trip and that is a reason why he meets trouble. Clearly he needs to move up to 6 furlongs.

The dam was a winner over 6 furlongs as well as twice a winner over 7 furlongs on the All-Weather. He tried 6 furlongs only twice before and that was in really hot company. So there is plenty of scope for better, both on turf or All-Weather. He’s absolutely ripe to win if he moves up in trip.

Race Replay

Gurkhali Girl
16/05/22 – 4.15 Carlisle:

Despite being quite keen in the early part of the race she travelled well into the home straight looking to have a big say in the outcome of the race. Bit inconvenienced by a horse crossing over from the right side around 2.5 furlongs from home. Tries hard to get going but runs completely out of energy in the end.

Was quite keen last time out in a maiden over a mile at Ayr on her first run since July 2021 but travelled notably well there. Didn’t get the clearest of runs on the inside either. Faded badly but was entitled after being off the track for such a long time.

In these two runs she caught my eye for the way she travelled strongly into the home straight. She cost £50k as a yearling and is quite well bred. I assume she needed the run these two times and soft ground accentuated her tired finish here at Carlisle.

The Iain Jardine yard is in poor form. it’s something to watch out for. A mile looks possibly an ideal trip on pedigree. The way she can be fresh and pull for her head is a concern. On the other hand she’s going to drop to an interesting mark now. The jury is out whether she can perform on soft ground as her sire did.

Race Replay

Corinthia Knight + Firenze Rosa
16/05/22 – 5.10 Windsor:

Corinthia Night was outpaced from an early stage, hampered over two furlongs out, wandering around behind a wall of horses in order to get a clear run. It only opens up inside the final furlong when he runs on well for a 5th place finish.

He’s fallen dramatically in the weights in the last months. It was only back in July 2021 when he won back to back, including of a mark of 92 running to a near career best topspeed rating of 92.

Ever since he’s hardly ever shown much. Now down to a 73 rating, this most recent performance was a first proper sign that there’s still some spark. In my mind he wants 6 furlongs these days, though. He acts on soft but I wouldn’t back him unless it’s reasonably fast ground.

Firenze Rosa travelled pretty well until about the halfway stage. Was then stuck behind horses. Briefly tracking the initial winner but not getting through on the inside. The inexperienced jockey perhaps also not quite brave enough to take a gap on the stands’ side until very late. Finishes well enough under an easy right suggesting there was more left in the tank.

She was 1lb out of the weights here, yet I hope the run motivates the handicapper to give here a bit leeway.

She won of a mark of 56 in soft here at Windsor and she finished the turf season in October with a really strong runner-up effort of a 57 mark running to a 57 TS rating that day.

If she drops below a mark of 55 over 5 furlongs on proper soft ground she should have a really good chance.

Race Replay

D Day Odette
16/05/22 – 7.40 Windsor:

Went left at the start, then settled in last trailing the field. Still last approaching three furlongs out. Eyecatching progress on the bridle when switched to the outside of the field challenging two furlongs from home. Possibly a bit tired in the closing stages after the big effort.

Second start. Seasonal reappearance. Frist time with a tongue tie. Changed yards in May. Purchased at breeze up for €58k. Should stay 10 furlongs on pedigree with relative certainty.

One to monitor next time. Most likely one for handicaps when moving up in trip.

Race Replay

Kelapa
17/05/22 – 1.30 Brighton:

Out of the #1 draw, bit keen early on travelling on the inside okay and looked in with a shout. Short of room 2f out, not getting a run, hampered at the final furlong marker. Gets some space late and finished nicely under an easy ride.

Handicap debut for the filly after three no-shows last year. 7 furlongs should be fine on pedigree. There is plenty of fast ground form in her line, so I reckon that will be ideal conditions. She may have enough speed for 6f too. Would prefer a stiff finish in that case, though.

Race Replay

Cabeza De Llave
17/05/22 – 1.20 Wolverhampton:

Appeared to be outpaced at stages in the first half of the race racing in midfield. Got back on the bridle and travelled well into the home straight. As the eventual winner kicked form he front he didn’t have the pace to challenge but kept to the task and wasn’t overly hard ridden. Finished well enough for 4th place on a day when it was certainly beneficial to be up with the pace.

Handicap debut and first outing in 2022. Expected to come on and learn from this. Certainly needs a step up to 6 furlongs. 7 furlongs looks possible on pedigree as well.

Race Replay

Shahnaz
17/05/22 – 3.50 Wolverhampton:

Awkward start and as a consequence at the backfoot right away, also outpaced early on. Flat footed from 4 furlongs out as pace increased again, turned wide and make impressive challenge on the outside of the field, finishing much the strongest visually and on the clock.

Interesting performance last time out at Nottingham too. Ran much better than result suggest in strong race. Had been handed tough assignment by handicapper with opening mark. Comes steadily down.

Last two performances suggest she can win. I like to see her up in trip to 10 furlongs again. Ideally the handicapper gives her an an opportunity.

Race Replay

Makyon
19/05/22 – 1.30 Wolverhampton:

He’s one who featured on the list last week. Ran in the meantime at Wolverhampton over an extended mile. That wasn’t interesting from a betting perspective. The trip is too far in my view.

He travelled very well at the back of the field, though, notably on the bridle right into the home straight. But not much got involved here, certainly not from the back of the field, and he certainly didn’t have a chance stuck behind tons of traffic.

Trainer has given a positive mentioning the last two times. He’s got another entry on the AW over 8.5 next week. I’ll maintain to wait for a drop to 6 to 7 furlongs on turf.

Race Replay

Lory
19/05/22 – 2.50 Wolverhampton:

Did a lot in the first half of the race racing around the first bend to dispute the lead on the outside. Travelled nicely until 3 furlongs out. Faded away in the closing stages but not asked a question either.

Former Andre Fabre and Godolphin horse, caught the eyes on two starts in France. Those races have worked out quite well. She hasn’t seen the whip in any of her three starts to date so it’s hard to gauge how much she would find if ever properly asked.

Seven furlongs seems to be as far as she would want it at this stage I reckon. Perhaps dropping down to six wouldn’t be an issue either. She’s going handicapping and is to monitor for her opening mark.

Freedom Flyer
19/05/22 – 3.50 Wolverhampton:

Wasn’t ideally positioned from his wide draw in rear of the field in a slowly run race. Eventual winner got a soft lead and everything caught napping in behind. FF travelled strongly into the home straight but locked behind horses only got really into the clear about a furlong from home which was to late. Finished well enough but not overly hard ridden, smart ride by jockey.

Continues to fall slowly in his mark. Comes down to a good rating. Went almightily close over CD in October of 64. Ran to topspeed 62 over CD before that, as well as TS 72 on turf.

Would be interesting to see him back on turf over 6 furlongs on decent ground of his current mark.

Bomb Squad
19/05/22 – 4.25 Wolverhampton:

Travelled in midfield, seemingly bit outpaced midway through, looking strong coming into the home straight, waiting for room to challenge. Consistently short of room, though, and badly hampered inside the final furlong, still finds momentum late to finish 2nd.

Runs consistently well on the All-weather and possibly in the grip of the handicapper on this surface. However will be really interesting back on turf on proper soft ground.

He has excellent form in those conditions over 6 furlongs. Given current wellbeing and strong form, he’ll be dangerous. Worth to wait for the right circumstances.

Eyecatchers #7 2022

A list of horses that caught my eye during the last seven days of racing. These individuals look ready to win a race sooner rather than later given the right conditions.

Dancing Tango
06/05/22 – 3.25 Ascot:

Bit slowly away from the gate, then travelled really well into the home straight on the bridle, made progress to 2 furlongs out when a bit short of room, pulled out and stayed on strongly. Solid topspeed 70 rated performance.

Clearly one to improve for going up in trip. Bred for 12 furlongs. Full-sister to good handicapper Dancing Approach. Possibly wants ease in the ground too. Soft 10f on a stamina demanding track may also be a possibility.

One to wait for going handicapping. Showed promise on debut run last month too. Have to monitor the opening mark. Will need on more run to qualify.

Race Replay

Zameka + Kindness
06/05/22 – 4.35 Ascot:

The two aren’t obvious eyecatchers from a pure visual point of view. Though, there is a lot to take from this race for their future chances.

Zameka was disadvantaged right away from the widest outside draw. Travelled okay to the two furlong marker then dropped away quickly. First time blinkers didn’t help much in terms of performance, although he looked a lot more settled and less awkward than in the past.

Ran really well at Lingfield on his seasonal debut in a hot handicap when he hang his chances away in the closing stage but finished well given the circumstances.

He was two times placed and won well on his final start in 2021. Therefore he’s certainly better than this most recent poor showing. He was a $170k yearling, a full-brother to 95 rated Eagle Song, who won twice over 7 furlongs on the All-Weather.

With that in mind, as well as the pedigree, there is plenty of potential upside if Zameka goes back up in trip to 7 furlongs. He’s already won over the trip. The shorter sprint distances are too sharp. Perhaps a return to the All-Weather could be interesting too.

Kindness was drawn the total opposite in the #1 gate. She raced without cover and faded rapidly from two furlongs out, eventually finished last.

This was her seasonal reappearance. My impression is the trip is too short. That’s despite her winning over 5.5 as a juvenile. Back then in September she was quite badly outpaced at the back of the field but stayed on strongly as the leaders went too hard.

On pedigree she should enjoy a step up to 7 furlongs. With a reduced mark and tackling that additional distance she’ll be really interesting.

Race Replay

Mick McHugh
06/05/22 – 5.45 Ripon:

The run itself was not much on the eye. He was outpaced from 3f out, kept up to work for a while but was eventually eased. However, this was a solid comeback run after a 100 day break that should put him spot on.

He showed talent in January on the All-Weather over 5 furlongs, especially when placed at Lingfield finding plenty under pressure despite the minimum trip certainly being an inadequate one.

His breeding clearly points to a mile. that context I feel these three runs are noteworthy and perhaps he didn’t show too much the handicapper. An opening mark of 72 is workable if he steps up in trip to 7 furlongs or a mile.

Race Replay

Shallow Hal
06/05/22 – 6.45 Ripon:

Outpaced at the rear of the field 3 furlongs out, looked poised and dangerous two furlongs from home, travelling behind horses while searching for a gap. Didn’t get a clear run until late, finished strongly with the fastest final furlong split.

Jockey was 1lb overweight here, perhaps the ground not quite soft enough to see Shallow Hal to best effect. Strong run in circumstances. Not for the first time over the last weeks; he’s ran with plenty of credit and not always the best of luck in his races, mostly running to form and mark.

This consistency means he’s in the grip of the handicapper. However, this most recent run shows that he has options of a mark of 73 – he could be really dangerous with a claimer on board, especially with cut in the ground.

Ideally he drops to below 73 before I back him. Ground conditions are non-negotiable for me; I might be tempted on softish ground with a strong apprentice of his current mark, if the price is right.

Race Replay

Makyon
06/05/22 – 6.26 Wolverhampton:

Got a bump early and travelled keenly throughout. Had a lot to do from the back of the field and was rather tenderly handled. Finished in impressive style weaving through the field under hands and heels, posting the fastest last two furlongs.

He has lost his way completely, which is the reason why he has fallen to a basement mark. But he showed the flame is still burning lately. This recent performance is the best to date.

Would be very interesting back on turf over 6 or 7 furlongs, ideally with cut in the ground.

Race Replay

Late Arrival
06/05/22 – 5.35 Nottingham:

Chased early pace, got shuffled back from 3 furlongs out as he didn’t quite possessed the speed to stay close to the early pace. Stuck behind horses and short of room from two furlongs out, while sticking nicely to the task. Gets out late and finishes strongly with second fasted final furlong split.

Best on All-Weather but has ran well on turf last season too, without winning, though. Down to a solid mark. Wouldn’t mind another couple of pounds off. Handicapper would give him a real chance then.

Needs to go back to 7 furlongs, either on the All-Weather, or on turf with cut in the ground.

Race Replay

Wet Wind Blows
06/05/22 – 6.10 Nottingham:

Went out hard in the early part of the race setting some fast fractions. Slowed it down in the middle and kicked on impressively in the home straight to win by 5 lengths.

He defied a penalty for winning on debut at Newcastle but the weight was no issue here, despite meeting some solid opposition. His Newcastle performance was also noteworthy as he overcame greenness and not having the clearest of runs, finishing very strongly.

He’s a quirky sort, still learning on the job, but clearly talented, having ran to topspeed 90 here. Ten furlongs looks fine as a trip. Moving up in distance isn’t out of question. He looks pattern class and will be interesting where he goes next.

Race Replay

One Ruler
07/05/22 – 4.05 Ascot:

Travelled in midfield on the stands’ side really well until about two furlongs from home when he starts to lose his position as a combination of being slightly outpaced over this 7 furlongs distance as well as being stuck behind a wall of horses.

Finds himself about to be relegated to last approaching the final furlong. Switches to the inside rail and finishes under easy hands and heels the joint fasted final furlong split. Impressive.

Seven furlongs and fastish ground racing off near top weight was an incredibly tough assignment. To run so well in these circumstances is especially noteworthy.

Back up to a mile he’ll be a big chance, particularly with ease in the ground.

Race Replay

Ribtide + Eldeyaar
07/05/22 – 7.05 Thirsk:

Ribtide has to content with an outside draw, travels at the rear of the main group really strongly, hard on the bridle all the way to the final furlong marker behind a wall of horses with no way through.

Clearly better than this result and better than the odds of his first four career runs suggested. An opening mark of 67 looks stiff enough for what he achieved so far, although his runner-up performance in March behind Fly To Glory, who is now 83 rated and finished a solid third subsequently behind another 83 rated individual could indicate he’s got a bit more to offer.

This was his handicap debut. He was a 50/1 shot. And the way he travelled looked nowhere near like a no-hoper. Six furlongs looks to be his trip. I’ll be really interested wherever he goes next. He was a January foal and should win races soon. But the market has to be monitored.

Eldeyaar was another hard luck story. He got a heavy bump right after the start. Travelled at the rear end of a small group on the stands’ side. As the groups merged and the race got hot from two furlongs out he appeared slightly outpaced, but kept going nicely.

He had a bunch of horses in front, couldn’t quite quicken fast enough whenever a gap opened for a brief moment. Eventually things opened up late and he ran home strongly.

Clearly a better run than his 50/1 price suggested. This was his handicap debut. He looks to be potentially better than this opening 58 mark. His three qualifying runs where also better than the bare form.

Pedigree matches my visual impression that he wants an additional furlong. He should be a big runner if he steps up in trip. He may be well handicapped enough over 6 furlongs for now – but only with cut in the ground.

Race Replay

Elzaal
0705/22 – 7.35 Thirsk:

Travelled well as part of the smaller of two groups toward the stands’ side. Looked poised for a big challenge over two furlongs out as the groups merged. Was in a tight spot and badly hampered over one furlong out. Had to regain momentum. Impressive how he did it.

The form should be strong thanks to the winner who was still well handicapped.

There are obvious issues and risks with him. He’s a maiden after 20 runs. He’s got close a number of times. Down to a 49 mark at the moment, the right race is there for him to win.

Ideally 5 furlongs on soft ground as otherwise I’m sure he’ll be found out for speed. I would also be curious to see him attempting 6 furlongs again. He tried the distance only once. His pedigree gives him every chance to stay the trip.

Race Replay

Marselan
07/05/22 – 8.35 Thirsk:

Raced as part of a duo isolated on the stand’s side. Pair was lengths behind main bunch and had plenty to do with two furlongs to go. Marselan found plenty to finish much the strongest to grab 2nd place. He also achieved a career best 60 topspeed rating.

This was the first time after a wind operation – he was never going to be a 66/1 shot if his breathing would be fixed. The loss of form last year can most likely be attributed to those issues.

He won of 65 and 67 last summer over 7 furlongs. Now down to 62 he’s obviously well handicapped with the breathing issues rectified. I think 6 furlongs with cut in the ground can work as seen here but the additional furlong and decent ground may well be his optimum.

Race Replay

Arlecchino’s Gift + Salta Resta
09/05/22 – 1.40 Wolverhampton:

Arlecchino’s Gift was caught wide from his wide draw and only dropped in over three furlongs out around the home bend. Travelled much the best entering the home straight but had the entire field to pass.

Appeared to find a small gap over a furlong from home but got badly squeezed eventually. He pulled through but lost momentum. Got quickly going again and finished well – despite the trouble and being eased in the final 100 yards he ran the fasted home straight sectionals.

Starting issues prevented him from a more fruitful juvenile campaign, although he showed some talent. A gelding operation over the winter helped and thanks to being more professional at the start he’s finally winning races. He’s been progressive this year, wining twice and running well a number of other times.

When winning of a mark of 55 at Wolverhampton he appeared to have a bit in hand, which was confirmed by a 59 topspeed rating. There were excuses at Chelmsford subsequently when he was badly bumped at the start and was overly keen in a slowly run race.

This most recent performance adds to the picture that Arlecchino’s Gift continues to improve. Of a mark of 60 he could still be well handicapped given he ran to TS 59 with relative ease and caught the eye so dramatically here.

Salta Resta raced at the back of the field and was quite keen throughout but travelled strongly entering the home straight. Had to delay her effort to wait for space to open on the inside. She finished strongly, despite not having a clear run in the closing stages once again, not being knocked about either, with the second fastest home straight sectionals.

She’s been better than the latest results suggest. Currently only 2lb above her last winning mark from Southwell in January when she also achieved a 56 topspeed rating and beat Arlecchino’s Gift.

I feel anything below 6 furlongs will be too sharp. A step up to 7 furlongs looks possible given the dam side. But she’s always quite keen, so perhaps a fast 6 furlongs with a pace to run at should see her capable of winning another race.

Race Replay

Jumira Bridge
09/05/22 – 2.40 Wolverhampton:

After his usual awkward start he travelled well at the back of the main bunch. Looked poised turning for home but got stuck amongst horses. Had to switch to the inside in a harsh move over a furlong out and finished much the best, although the winner was long gone. Raced 1lb out of the weights.

Excellent follow-up from a good performance in a seller over course and distance when he made eye-catching headway turning for home carrying 10st.

Obviously a tricky customer, who can lose races at the gate and has fallen a long way down in the ratings. These last two performances suggest there is life in the 8-year-old, though.

If he drops down to class 6 he’ll be a big chance sooner rather than later I reckon. All-Weather or fast ground on turf both should work.

Race Replay

Monsieur Jumbo
09/05/22 – 3.40 Wolverhampton:

He lost the race at the gate. Not for the first time. Had to play catch up from early on. Appeared a bit outpaced around the home bend, kept up to work and stuck gutsily to it in the home straight, rattled home once switched to the middle of the track in impressive fashion, very much the strongest visually and also backed up by last 2 furlongs splits. Doing this despite losing his right-fore shoe.

No doubt he was the best horse in the race. He ran much better than the form suggested at Redcar before. After missing the break, he travelled powerfully through the middle part of the race, just got tired in the end doing too much before it really mattered.

He should stay the mile given the stamina on the dam side. I think it’s worth another try as things happen a little slower there. Ideally we see some headgear applied too.

He was a £85,000 as a yearling and has shown at the track he’s got some talent to match the price. He’s yet to run to a TS rating that matches his current mark, but I firmly believe he’s well capable.

Race Replay

Ustath
09/05/22 – 3.30 Catterick:

Grabbed the lead but didn’t find immediate change of gear entering the home straight. Got pressured left and right and badly hampered repeatedly from 2 furlongs out and never had a change to unleash a challenge. Whether he would have found enough to truly challenge is hard to answer.

Catterick as a track wouldn’t totally suit him. He’s best on flat tracks or the All-Weather. He’s down to a good mark having ran with consistency to a higher level last year. He won off 65 and was placed three times of a similar mark on turf and fibresand, and ran five times to topspeed ratings of 58 or higher (3x 61+).

Even though he has fallen down to a 56 rating at the moment, he was already twice placed this year and ran to a 58 TS rating at Newcastle.

Back on 6 furlongs on fast ground he’ll be ripe to win.

Race Replay

Port Noir + Hope Probe
10/05/22 – 2.20 Chepstow:

Port Noir travelled on the outside from a wide draw away from where the pace and race would develop. Going well making fine progress two furlongs out, then bit short of room and in tight spots a couple of times. Runs well to the line under hands and heels.

Fine performance given the circumstances. She is better on the All-Weather but a few pounds too high for my liking. One to monitor for a few more runs.

She won of a mark of 64 last September at Wolverhampton over 7 furlongs. That performances matches her career best 64 topspeed rating. Wait for her to drop down to that mark in those circumstances.

Hope Probe was at a disadvantage from her low draw much like Port Noire. Moved right over to the stands’ side rail but now behind a wall of horses. Switched back to the middle of the track from 3f out and eventually further to the outside in a dramatic move, making rapid progress.

Received two slight bumps in the last two furlongs but continued to finish well to grab 3rd place on the line.

He must have had issues having dropped 15lbs in a year and changed yards twice. He won of 55 over 7 furlongs last April ( 58 TS) and was multiple times placed of higher ratings subsequently.

This was a clear and obvious return to form. He could be well handicapped if stepping back up to 7 furlongs again.

Race Replay

Silver Diva
10/05/22 – 3.20 Chepstow:

Travelled strongly on the inside behind horses, kept up nicely to the task while having to bide time. Some space opened up late in the final furlong and she moved through easily to finish strongly under hands and heels.

She is still a maiden after 17 attempts, but there are mitigating factors. She also showed promise of higher marks last summer, especially with cut in the ground when she finished 3rd at Salisbury and Windsor.

Down to a basement mark at the moment, she has improved nicely with each run since her seasonal reappearance. The fact she ran so well on fast ground over the minimum trip here is noteworthy.

On proper soft ground she’ll be quite interesting over 5f with a stiff finish or otherwise over 6 furlongs, taking also into context her dam was a soft ground horse too.

Race Replay

Kylie Rules
10/05/22 – 3.40 Beverley:

Travelled very strongly approaching the two furlong marker. Had to wait for racing room, switched toward the inside rail but had to keep fighting for space. The race was gone as she reached the final furlong, although she didn’t find much either in the closing stages.

This was a hot race with some well handicapped individuals here, including the strong winner. She ran a big race last time out here at Beverley over 7.5 furlongs, finishing much the strongest visually and on sectionals, confirming the promise of her seasonal reappearance at Redcar.

No question, she is a frustrating mare these days. She hasn’t won for years, often enough caught the eye, none more so last June when an unlucky 4th at Thirsk of a mark of 67 while running to TS 66.

She is down to a 49 mark now. There is still some spark. But she will need ideal conditions: a bit of cut in the ground. Too often she raced on fastish ground, ran well, but I feel she needs a bit of ease in the ground these days. If that’s given over 7-8 furlongs she’ll win soon.

Race Replay

Gibside
10/05/22 – 4.10 Beverley:

Sluggish start, settled in rear, looked not quite to enjoy the sharp track and still seemed green. Bit short of room 3f out, switched widest for challenge and hang in the home straight a bit to his right. Better than the result, finished well on the sections.

Strong follow-up from last time out when he ran a big race as runner-up. That day he made his move too early that day and a more conservative ride would have seen him gone much closer. Ran to topspeed 54 the last two times now.

I think Beverley looks too sharp for him as a track and fast ground possibly not quite ideal. He looks like one who doesn’t want it any faster than good. He’s a poor starter. Can see him move up to 12 furlongs. That should unlock additional improvement. 1m 2f distance isn’t out of question but want to see him on a less sharp course and with cut in the ground in that instance.

Race Replay

Lailah
10/05/22 – 5.20 Beverley:

Settled well in rear and travelled solidly into the home straight, looking potentially poised for a challenge. Kept in a pocket and not clear run from 3f out, eased to finish second last in the end. Was a big drifter in the betting on the day.

Clearly one for handicaps. Inexperienced, only the second career run for the filly, who was an April foal too. She’ll improve with racing and certainly if going up in trip. She’s a sister to solid handicapper Knowing, a 10f winner who stays 12 furlongs.

I suspect Lailah needs to move beyond 10 furlongs to be seen to best effect. That will happen. Give her time, monitor for the next few starts, also with an eye on the opening mark – she’s one for later this season.

Race Replay

Rose Camira + Adjourn
10/05/22 – 7.00 Newcastle:

Rosa Camira travelled nicely in midfield for a long time, made a bit of progress entering the home straight, but not helped by a shifting rival carrying them toward the far side. Eased after not finding much in the closing stages

Lovely return to the track for the filly on her second career start. She didn’t show much on debut over inadequate 7 furlongs. I reckon this piece of form here will work out quite well, though. Certainly she will have learned quite a bit.

She’ll be interesting once qualified for a mark and if stepping up in trip. There’s an awful lot of stamina in the pedigree. She’s a full-sister 1m 4f winning Lady of Shalott and Lady Morgana who was only 1¼ lengths behind Group 1 winning Eshaada in her sole run.

It’s unlikely that this filly will be a star, but she could be underestimated given the naked form doesn’t read too well yet; hence she’s one to wait for later this year when she goes up in trip and hopefully hasn’t shown too much to the handicapper too early to get a nice opening mark.

Adjourn quickly crossed over from his wide draw to be right up with the pace. He clearly made way too much in the first half of the race.He still looked in with a chance entering the home straight but in reality was gradually weakening and fading away.

This was his first run since September, having been gelded in the meantime. When last seen in 2021 he was an excellent 5th, only 2.5l beaten, behind smart Subastar at Newmarket.

He stepped up to 10 furlongs for the first time here at Newcastle. The jury is out whether he truly stays it. The pedigree is not fully conclusive on that question. The reason why he didn’t get home in this race was simply down to pacing, so worth another chance over the distance.

Otherwise a mile with some ease in the ground could be interesting too. That says one has to monitor the opening mark. As mentioned before I feel this was a strong maiden. And his juvenile form may push his mark beyond an acceptable level. He was a £135,000 purchase, though, and should have talent.

Race Replay

All Are Mine
10/05/22 – 8.00 Newcastle:

Was slowly away and clearly inexperienced. Pulling also really hard for the majority of the race in what was a field crawling for the most part. Didn’t get a clear run of things from 2 furlongs out as pace increased, perhaps also a little bit outpaced shortly after, but very impressive how he changed gears inside the final furlong when finding racing room to fly home.

Highly impressive debut despite drifting out to 25/1 from single figure odds in the morning. Fetched €162k at a breeze up sale last year.

Should improve for a trip given his pedigree. Ten furlongs looks no issue on that front. Will be really interesting to see where he goes next and what the market says. Exciting prospect.

Race Replay

Gold Charm
10/05/22 – 7.45 Lingfield:

Perhaps a tiny bit slow out of the gates, she travelled stylishly into the home straight. Didn’t have an immediate change of gear but wasn’t help by a rival hanging into her, pushing her toward the inside. Eventually with some space in front of her, she finished much the best, especially from half a furlong out.

This was her handicap debut after a really solid pipe opener in quite a hot Newbury maiden last month. An opening mark of 73 isn’t a giveaway from the handicapper; however, this run and particularly the way she finished the race is encouraging.

She has plenty of stamina in her pedigree, and matching that with the visual impression here I reckon she can unlock more potential if she moves up in trip. Winning over 12 furlongs of her mark looks realistic.

Race Replay

Wobwobwob
11/05/22 – 2.25 York:

Drawn in stall #1 on the far side, tried to go with the pace early on but soon flat footed and under pressure. Things happened too quickly here. Still found something under pressure and finished okay, isolated on that far rail.

Six furlongs on decent ground is probably too sharp, especially in this class. Ran a number of good races last year, including when winning at York twelve months ago over 7 furlongs. Continued to improve without winning. A third place at Ayr in a highly competitive Handicap of a mark of 88 running to topspeed 86 counts as a career best.

His seasonal reappearance at Thirsk last month was excellent. Both runs this year now confirmed he’s as good as ever. An 85 OR gives opportunities. Any drop in the mark in combination with a step up to 7 furlongs, ideally with a bit of cut in the ground, will be really interesting.

Race Replay

Life’s A Beach + Mr Freedom
11/05/22 – 8.30 Bath:

Life’s A Beach settled in rear after a slightly sluggish start. Was trailing the entire field turning for home. Had to wait for room, which opened up late inside the final furlong when switched to the inside where he finished really well with seemingly a lot in the tank.

This was his seasonal reappearance having been off since disappointing as short priced favourite at Kempton on Handicap debut. The way he travelled and finished from the back of the field suggests he’s certainly well handicapped.

It’s reasonable to expect he can improve with age and experience given he’s an April foal. He can be a slow starter and wasn’t able to quicken when it mattered at Kempton, so I’d be warry of dropping to 7 furlongs and want to see him over a mile.

Mr Freedom also travelled toward the end of the field. Still third last entering the home straight, he was stuck amongst horses, tried different avenues to get out and hang a bit over one furlong out when switched toward the inside again.

This was his first outing this year and first handicap start after showing nothing as a juvenile. He was surprisingly well backed from an early morning 20’s into 10’s SP.

He’s obviously light on experience and also one you definitely would hope to improve with time. There’s also a good deal of stamina that make me believe his future will more likely be over 10 furlongs.

Race Replay

Flying Secret
12/05/22 – 4.18 Salisbury:

Travelled strongly in rear on the inside, having plenty to do with two furlongs to go. Not finding much racing room until finally in the clear approaching the final furlong. Doesn’t have an instant acceleration but eventually stays on well to land 3rd place.

He’s got his issues in the starting gate and looks in the grip of the handicapper. At least over 6 furlongs. He needs the step up in trip, possibly 7 furlongs will suffice, but a mile should work too. Ideally he gets a couple of pounds off his mark too.

Will monitor for the next starts where they go with him. I wouldn’t back him over 6 furlongs.

Race Replay

Jawwaal
12/05/22 – 1.50 York:

Not the best of starts but that’s normal for him these days. Travelled powerfully behind a wall of horses, looming large, whenever he could get a gap to run through. No gap appeared, switched over 1 furlong out but the race was gone by then. Was eventually eased.

Really nice first outing for the year. Should improve from this. Travelled so well to assume he’s in fine nick. Proved to be prolific last season winning twice and achieve a career best 98 topspeed rating.

Currently rated 98. Would like to see a couple of pounds less before I’m seriously interested, which may already be achieved after this run if the handicapper is lenient. 5 furlongs in smaller field at Doncaster or Ascot on fast ground would be the ideal scenario.

Race Replay

Juddmonte International Stakes 2021

I feel like saying this about nearly all the major races this season, but seriously: the Juddmonte International probably is the race of the year!

Seven runners – one could say “only” seven runners – although, this is a select group of top-class equine athletes: not a single horse is rated lower than 110.

Still, only one horse can win the big prize. The two least likely in my view are Juan Elcano and Alenquer. The latter clearly is a classy individual with potential upside now dropped to what should be his optimum trip. But he’s only posted a career-best 96 topspeed rating so far, seems to rely on cut in the ground and is the lowest rated individual here – for a good reason, I firmly believe.

Juan Elcano’s performance in the York Stakes over course and distance, when a close runner-up in a thrilling finish behind Bangkok, is certainly not to be taken lightly. However, I feel he was slightly flattered due to the slow pace and his prominent racing position throughout. With that in mind, he’s not quite Group 1 standard and hard to fancy.

Irish 2000 Guineas winner Mac Swiney is an interesting horse. His career-highest topspeed rating is not good enough to feature here, but the brilliant juvenile he was, he has proven to have trained on as a three-year-old and the Juddmonte trip could turn out be the ideal test for him. He has to bounce back, though, which isn’t impossible given the magician trainer Jim Bolger is.

The three-year-old filly Alcohol Free has been sensational this year. She has improved dramatically. Her latest victory, a dominant win in the Sussex Stakes, has only enhanced her reputation. At Royal Ascot in the Coronation Stakes she ran to a 106 topspeed rating, which gives her a prime chance today….. if she stays the trip.

It’s a big “if”, I think. To my eyes the mile looks the maximum for her. Add to that the small question mark around the faster ground and I struggle to see her getting home as strongly as she did over a mile on soft going.

The most intriguing contender today is Mohaafeth. He appeared to be potentially high-class on a number of occasions earlier this year. Connections took their time with him, increasing the difficulty of the test step by step.

Mohaafeth passed his assignments with flying colours, but stumbled for the first time in the York Stakes when upped to Group 2 level three weeks ago. This was perhaps less so his fault than that of race tactics as his pace maker completely failed to do his job. The race turned into a muddling affair which saw Mohaafeth at a major disadvantage given his retrained racing position.

It was hugely impressive, though, the way he made up ground rapidly in the home straight when it was most costly to buy it. A furlong out he seemed to fly home for a breathtaking victory, just to pay for subsequent sub 11 second furlongs in the end. for a half a lengths beaten third place behind Bangkok. In my view Mohaafeth’s credentials have only been enhanced by that performance, nonetheless.

The “super filly” Love drops down in trip after a gutsy third place in the King George, where things didn’t quite work out for her, although in any case, the winner Adayar was too good. Nonetheless, that was a top class race and Love ran to a 109 tospeed rating that day, close enough to her career-highest 110 TS rating, which suggests she is as good as ever.

That was her first defeat in five starts but she lost little in defeat. The Juddmonte trip could be perfect for her, with ground and track no worries whatsoever. She will be a key player today.

The same goes for top-rated Mishriff. Runner-up in the King George, which was a career-best performance, he improved nicely from a fine comeback run in the Coral Eclipse earlier this year.

He’s the favourite today, and has been consistent in the high level of his performances over the last two seasons. Ground and trip are no worries, though I feel, perhaps the Juddmonte trip with a little bit of juice in the ground would be the perfect scenario as opposed to the expected faster surface today. Nonetheless, the strengths and depth of his performances franked by form and ratings gives him a prime chance to land a third Group 1 victory.

In Conclusion:
Mishriff is the right and fair favourite. Top rated and top form in the book, His price is drifting this morning toward odds that could turn tasty. He’s the one beat. Love will run her usual strong race and she represents a safe bet around 10/3 to get as good a run for the money as it gets.

The “X-Factor” is Mohaafeth. He has plenty to find on the ratings but has shown serious talent this year and can improve again – which he has to, though. He’d be a much shorter price today if he’d had won the York Stakes, hence, given credible excuses for not getting over the line there, I feel he is a strong price at 7/1.

King George 2021

The 2021 edition of the King George has something special in store for us racing fans. The best of the older horses versus a strong classic generation.

Naturally all eyes are on Derby winner Adayar. He romped home at Epsom in stunning fashion. Was that a real performance? The form has been franked through third placed Hurricane Lane, who won races of the highest order in the meantime.

It was a strange race, nonetheless. The aforementioned Hurricane Lane lost a shoe, the favourite Bolshoi Ballet completely misfired and the runner-up was a maiden who was subsequently trounced in the Irish Derby.

Lone Eagle, second in the Irish Derby, is the other 3-year-old in the field. He got first run on his rivals at the Curragh and with two furlongs to go looked like to have won the race. Only in the dying strides was he caught by a fast finishing Hurricane Lane.

It was a thrilling finish and Lone Eagle didn’t lose anything in defeat. In fact, he achieved a 113 topspeed rating, which isn’t far behind the 116 rating Adayar received for his Derby victory. Topspeed-wise those are the two highest ratings on offer in the King George field.

The older generation is clearly lead by Love. The winner of the 1000 Guineas, English Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks last year, and the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes on her seasonal reappearance last month, she’s also joint top-rated, together with Mishriff.

Love won’t mind the the step up to the 1m 4f trip. In fact, her career -best performance was the 2020 Oaks success. Mishriff on the other hand, although a winner of the Sheema Classic earlier this year, may be at his best over shorter distances.

He has to give weight away too. However, Mishriff ran with plenty of credit in the Coral Eclipse where he was third behind brilliant St Mark’s Basilica coming off a break. He should be in perfect shape today.

The ground won’t turn soft enough to provide the sort of deep conditions Wonderful Tonight prefers. She is a multiple Group 1 winner though, and looked in excellent form when landing the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot last month, so can’t be taken lightly, regardless.

Broome was second behind Wonderful Tonight at Ascot. He has since won the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud. He enjoyed the run of the race, though, and I think over 1m 4f he has plenty to find with the market principles.

Conclusion:
I strongly fancy the classic generation to get the better of their elders. That says I’m not fully sure if If trust Adayar’s Derby performance. However, Lone Eagle’s Irish Derby performance appears rock solid. He should be right up with the pace once more and could be able to hold on this time. Hence at prices around 6/1 I’ll go with Loyal Eagle to win it for Frankie and Martyn Meade.

…………

3:15 York: York Stakes, Group 2

The best form on paper belongs to Armory. The four-year-old drops in class after a fine effort at Royal Ascot when third behind stablemate Love in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes. He is unbeaten in Group races below top level and has been placed in multiple Group 1’s.

His Royal Ascot performance can possibly be marked up due to the way the race developed, which wasn’t quite ideal for Armory. Consequently, he achieved a career-highest 119 Racingpost Rating. He won really well at Chester on his season reappearance back in May as well.

That means, however, Armory has to give weight away to his rivals. No less than 12lb to exciting 3-year-old Mohaafeth.

This son of Frankel is unbeaten in 2021, having progressed with each and every run. From, winning a Novice contest to a first Handicap, to landing the Listed Newmarket Stakes to bag a Group 3 at Royal Ascot.

His Newmarket victories were visually really impressive. In fact Mohaafeth won the Newmarket Stakes in such taking fashion that he was catapulted near the top of the Epsom Derby market.

The ground turning soft that day ended his Derby dream, but he made up for it weeks later at Royal Ascot. He had to start racing earlier than ideal and hang to the right in the closing stages.

He ran to a101 topspeed rating then, the highest any horse has achieved in the York Stakes field. In anticipation of more improvement to come and the weight he receives from his rivals, Mohaafeth looks certainly the one to beat.

Although, Juan Elcano shouldn’t be entirely dismissed. He has found back to the winning ways having responded to wind op. On the other hand it’s hard to see Montatham – likely employed as Mohaafeth’s pacemaker – or the other outsider Bangkok getting involved.

Conclusion:
As long as there isn’t any sufficient amount of rain it’s hard to look past the progressive Mohaafeth. He has things in his favour and looks the sort to improve again.