Tag Archives: York

Thursday Selections: August, 23rd 2018

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4.50 York: Class 2 Handicap, 7f

Ultra competitive and in-running luck will play its part here, though it can be argued Move Swiftly has a cracking chance if all goes smoothly given her progressive and at the same time impressive profile.

Further down the packing order seems Richard Fahey’s Clubbable who’s not expected to run well if the market is any useful guide. I feel this filly has a bit more to offer than credit is given to, though.

She’s won two races this year already, was visually incredibly impressive when landing a good Chelmsford class 2 Handicap in June when things didn’t go to plan but she found a superb turn of foot once in the clear.

She backed this up with another big performance in the Listed Eternal Stakes at Carlisle when a close runner-up behind 100 rated Dance Diva. A subsequent Newmarket run stepping up to a mile was disappointing, however once shouldn’t judge her too harshly on a subsequent 16th place finish at Ascot most recently.

She received a heavy bump right after the start by the horse to her left and found herself subsequently behind a wall of horses and on the disadvantaged far side.

She’s down to a mark off 92 which looks high enough but also offers room for a bit of improvement with the right conditions. She will need luck in-running given her often sluggish start, but if Clubbable gets the right breaks she’ll have a better chance than her current odds suggest.

Selection:
10pts win – Clubbable @ 29/1 MB

Preview: Juddmonte International 2018

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This is not a vintage renewal of the Juddmonte International… as so many other major flat races this year. It feels a bit like a flat flat season, so to speak. I seem not to be the only one who feels this way. On the other hand, the question could be asked: are we undervaluing the achievements of Poet’s Voice?

Possibly. Possibly not. Possibly because he’s a five-year old, around for a long time, and this sudden improvement which has seen the Stoute inmate landing two major Group 1 races on the bounce – the Prince of Wales and King George – hasn’t caused the same excitement as they would have if a sexy Ballydoyle three-year old would have done the same.

Possibly not, though, because the key rivals he’s beaten at Royal Ascot were clearly out of form and not quite up to the standard you’d usually see in a King George either.

I’m sitting on the fence here. I don’t rate the Royal Ascot success all that highly, although felt Poet’s Voice King George success was a stunning performance, if only visually. Coming from off the pace, to peg back a fine Ledger runner-up, who got first run – that was quite something.

That says, I do not think Poet’s Voice has suddenly found all this dramatic improvement over the last winter, that has resulted in him shooting up the ratings from a 119 rated individual to a world-class high 130.

In fact, I do firmly believe – while acknowledging he seems to improve with age – he is not dramatically better than his runner-up performance in the Irish Champion Stakes last year. A view that may not be shared by many.

What does this mean in the context of this race today? It means that the gap between Poet’s Voice and the leading three-year old’s going to post isn’t as high as the official ratings says. And if that is the assumption then both Roaring Lion and Saxon Warrior in particular must have cracking chances to overturn the favourite as they receive 7lb through weight for age.

While Benbatl and Irish Derby winner Latrobe can’t be underestimated, my view is that the Eclipse first and second are the main dangers to short priced favourite Poet’s Voice.

Personally I am more a fan of Roaring Lion but from a betting perspective I have to concede the price for Saxon Warrior is foolish. Let’s not forget there was only a neck between the pair at Sandown.

One could make cases for the Ballydoyle horses had the run of the race, or that Roaring Lion drifted to his right pushing Saxon Warrior toward the rails in the closing stages which may have cost him momentum.

Either way, there is clearly not a lot between these two. However the betting would suggest Roaring Lion is a couple of lengths better than the reigning 2000 Guineas winner. Not in my book.

The trip may be in favour of Roaring Lion, and also Poet’s Voice. Or is it? Saxon Warrior stays the trip as good as these two I believe. Given he had a good break now and comes here relatively fresh is a positive.

After all there is very little between three three market principles in my view.  Hence the 6/1 on offer for last years Racingpost Trophy winner is over the top.

Selection: 
10pts win – Saxon Warrior @ 6/1 PP

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