A thrilling contest that was finally decided when AP Racing dominated his rivals on Royal Ascot Saturday...
1st: AP RACING +43.33pts
2nd: MR C +16.60pts
3rd: THE PUTTERS PUNTER +12.66pts
THE FINAL – Saturday 19th June
So we should be looking for a horse that has had no more than 2 runs, was in the top 3 last time out, preferably ran over 6 furlongs last time out and is in stall 1 -8. They also should be 10/1 or lower in the betting. Following yesterday’s deluge at Ascot we should also be looking for a horse that has proven itself on soft ground. Although I fear the favourite of Aiden O,Briens, I am sticking to the trends and for that reason I am siding with Masekala. He won his only start on soft going beating a highly thought of horse of Charlie Appleby’s Fall of Rome by 2 ¼ lengths at Goodwood and is open to any amount of improvement.
Vadream - Ascot 3.05pm 1 point Each Way PLACED 28/1
This is traditionally a very strong trends race, but again I am a little cautious due to the change in the going. My problem is we don’t know if a number of the horses will go on softer than good going. I got it down to a short list of 3 based on the trends. Ace Aussie, Rhythm Master and Vadream. Of the 3 the one I like the most and think is open to the most improvement has to be Vadream. She won her maiden nicely as a 2 year old and then was pushed straight into Group Company in the Group 3 Fred Darling, beaten 2 ½ lengths by Alcohol Free. She then went to the 1,000 guineas at Newmarket over a mile and ran really well before clearly not quite getting the distance and fading into 6th,but was still only beaten 3 lengths. They earmarked the Jersey as the target immediately after the race and Charlie Fellowes has got Jamie Spencer onboard. Spencer is a great rider of Ascot and you can be sure that she will arrive late on the scene. She gets her 3lb allowance, which could make all the difference. The form has taken another big boost today as Alcohol Free won the Coronation Stakes with Mother Earth 3rd. The only question mark is the ground, but I am prepared to take the chance.
Albaflora- Ascot 3.40pm 2 points win 11/2
The trends are quite weak in this race, other than 12 of the last 13 were won by a 4 year old, which reduces the field considerably. I like Course and Distance winners in races like this, which takes us down to 3 horses. Hukam, Albaflora and Wonderful tonight. All 3 have won on soft ground and all 3 as I speak are lower than 16/1, so all fit the trends I have. I have looked to see if there is a draw bias in the race and just over half of the winners came from stall 2-5, but most of these winners came when the going had soft in the description. In the end I am going with my gut and although only finishing 4th at Epsom in the Coronation Cup, I thought it was a great first run in a Group 1 and we know from her previous run that she loves Ascot. I like the booking of James Doyle as Frankie is riding for his retainer. I think she has a good chance in a very tough race to call.
Art Power - Ascot 4.20pm 1 point Each Way 5/1 PLACED
Another race that I have had to re-think pretty quickly. I was all over Starman earlier in the week but cant have him on soft going (in fact it wouldn’t surprise me if he is taken out overnight). So the trends tell us that we need to be looking for a horse aged 3-5 that has won a listed or group race, has had its last win over 6F, has run well at Ascot before and is not drawn in stall 1. I have again added my own provision that the horse has had to have shown form on Soft going. The one that I have gone for is a particular favourite of mine. I watched Art Power win at Royal Ascot last year and was blown away with him. I said there and then that he would win a group 1. He didn’t quite live up to that for the rest of the season, but he was only 3 years old and when you look at his only other performance at Ascot in the Group 1 British Champions Sprint on soft going, he finished a length 4th behind Glen Shiel and had Oxted, Lope Y Fernadez, Dream of Dreams, Happy Power and Starman behind him. I personally wouldn’t be too worried about his first run back at York where he was only 6th and finished behind some of these because he clearly needed the run more than others and ran badly their in the Nunthorpe last year. On this going and with improvement expected from 3 to 4 I think he is a good each way bet today.
Ropey Guest - Ascot 5.00pm 1 point Each Way 16/1
Ok so the trends tell us that a win over 6F or 7F is a must, as is no more than 4 runs this season. A run in the last 42 days and being a 4 or 5 year old is also a big help. 10 of the last 11 winners were drawn in a double figure stall. 11 of the last 15 winners were carrying 9st 3lb or less and again I want to see that it has proven form on soft going. If we apply this we get a short list to work from but its still difficult. I have decided that I want a horse in this who will definitely get the 6F and stay on strongly. I think they will go a good clip in this and the going could play a big part in the race, leaving it for a finisher. Ropey Guest has been running over 7-8F in most of his races since 2019 and I think it is fascinating that they have switched him to 6F for this 2 days after running over 7f on Thursday. He once had an OR of 104 , but gets in today off 98. He has only won one race which was at Chelmsford on the all-weather over 7F, but all his form suggests he doesn’t quite get home. He has run in a number of Class 1 Listed races in the past and I think off 9st 1lb he could get amongst them today. The race on Thursday strikes as giving him a blow, ready for this . I hope I am right.
Seasett - Ascot 5.35pm 2 points win 9/2
This is only the second running of this Handicap so we have no trends to go on. I had been waiting patiently all morning to see if there was going to be a non-runner in this, as One of my horses to follow was sitting as the reserve, Luckily for me Seasett has got in. He loves soft ground having won at Nottingham by 4 ½ lengths. He then followed up in 2nd in Heavy going at Haydock on 22nd May. He didn’t have a clear run that day and was hampered 2 furlongs out. He kept on well and was 4 ½ lengths in front of the likes of Heights of Abraham and Nebulosa. I think he will be backed heavily on the day.
Falcon Eight - Ascot 6.10pm 2 points win 7/2
Falcon Eight is another horse I have always liked and is a full brother to Kyprios who I also fancied earlier in the week. Frankie Dettori has been booked for the ride and I cannot see anything beating it in the last, unless of course he hates the ground. His win in the Chester Cup was really impressive and he appeared to win with tons in hand. He looks like he really enjoys extreme distances. I half expected him to have an entry in the Ascot Gold Cup after the win at Chester and am delighted he has come here instead. He is a very confident selection.
First a quick word to say good luck to the other competitors and cheers for a great competition. All of my selections today are, as always, coming from my own ratings analysis, using previous form, pace, draw, going and trainer form as some of the variables. There are very few standouts from any races but there are some strong selections. The first of these being the Andrew Balding trained Masekela who comes off of a strong finishing debut win on soft ground at Goodwood. The strength of the finish bodes well for the step up in trip and the soft ground form is key in a race with little equivalent form to use. Stall one is not always a great one at Ascot, but I’d normally be looking low on the soft ground and the trainer-jockey combination is having a good week. The favourite is a big threat, but at the prices it is Masekela for me.
3.05 – Jersey : MEHMENTO (each way) 18/1
The Watson-Doyle combination features strongly in my selections today and here is a selection that I expect to be up with the pace which is preferred under the conditions. Winner over 7f in a class 1 race with a win in a small field race at Epsom last time. This form is as good as any other in the race and the trainer-jockey combination is over 20% in the last month. Ran well in the Greenham and I’m hoping that the strength and tactical awareness of Hollie Doyle will keep this one going right to the line.
3.40 – Hardwicke : HUKUM (win) 13/2
This one is tough and I think I have changed my mind a few times. However Hukum has very strong from last year’s St Ledger and a recent win in a listed contest at Goodwood. Conditions will suit and Hukum has wins on soft, at the course and over the distance, ticks all the boxes. Broome possibly has the best form, but the step up in distance may not be perfect on the soft ground and I’d prefer a guaranteed stayer in this one. The Johnston horse will guarantee a strong pace and I think Hukum will be well placed to pick up the pieces and finish strongly.
4.20 – Diamond Jubilee : GLEN SHIEL (win) 7/1
Watson- Doyle again here. The ground is the major factor in coming down on Glen Shiel here. He has form on soft and in all weather races and was the winner of the Champions Day sprint at the same course last October. It looks as though Starman will not run, which only helps Glen Shiel’s case and I think the Irish raider Sonaiyla may be the biggest danger – on my ratings he has the best valued form but I think he will sit off the pace and it may be difficult to win form the back so it’s the prominent runner with the solid form in the conditions for me.
5.00 – Wokingham : PUNCHBOWL FLYER (each way) 14/1
The ratings narrowed the field down to five here, then I looked at the race trends and conditions to arrive at the selection. Value at the prices is another factor in finally deciding on Punchbowl Flyer. Eve Johnson Houghton and Charles Bishop are a potent combination at the course with a 3/10 record in the last year and 8/32 over five years. Up five pounds since the last win at Haydock and seeking a hat-trick here. Another which I expect to lead from the front and, even though it might turn out that the low draw is preferred, I expect a positive showing and is worth an each way punt.
5.35 – Golden Gate : VISUALISATION (each way) 16/1
This one jumps out for me. Conditions, form quality and value all aligned. Has been running well in Irish handicaps with three wins and a second in his last four runs. Has gone up 21 pounds in that sequence but looks like a further improvement is possible. I would like any of the O’Brien’s to be going a little better, but with form on soft and heavy, I am hopeful that the step up in trip will bring the further improvement. King Frankel is an obvious danger, but he has tended to idle in races and I’m not sure whether this will suit on the ground.
6.10 – Queen Alexandra : STAG HORN (win) 9/2
And we return once more to Watson and Doyle. If they have a good day, I guess I probably will too. It is stamina all the way here and a return to the softer ground is sure to bring out the best in this one. His last run was behind Stradivarius on ground that was too quick and distance that was too short but here the conditions, and the price, are too good to pass on. In my ratings there are 7 or 8 horses very closely matched, but, with Falcon Eight the big danger, I think that Stag Horn can see off the competition and finish the day in style.
Once again, all eyes will be on AP O'Brien, Ryan Moore, and the very impressive Point Lonsdale. Point Lonsdale won in devastating fashion on debut at Curragh when pulling clear of the field by 6 lengths. O'Brien's a 5-time winner of this race so you can understand why this is favourite. Once again, the price is too short, so I'll be looking to take him on. Charlie Appleby is himself a former winner of this race and can't seem to do no wrong this season. He sends Yarmouth debut winner NEW SCIENCE. Like Point Lonsdale, I was very impressed with New Science victory beating one of today's rivals Reach For The Moon. The selection dictated the race from the front and quickened away smartly when asked and won eased down by 1 1/2 lengths. Conditions shouldn't be a problem, so see this as the best horse to take on the fave.
Ascot 3.05- Creative Force WON 5/1
CREATIVE FORCE is 4 wins from 5 starts (all over 6f), the loss coming here at Ascot. He tried to make all that day at a very strong pace, and it didn't work out, since then Hes been ridden held up and just off the pace, winning all 3 starts since, and you can always forgive 1 bad run. The selection has already beaten a couple of today's rivals last time out at Newbury (Spycatcher and Tactical) and I would expect similar tactics to that day given they're drawn together again. First time stepping up to 7 furlongs but judging on the Newbury run, that won't be a problem.
Ascot 3.40- Wonderful Tonight WON 5/1
This looks a very tricky contest with most of these beating each other at some stage or another, so form lines sort of gone out the window. I am taking a chance on WONDERFUL TONIGHT. Not been seen since winning over course and distance back in October. David Menuisier has a 23% SR with break returners in June, so I expect him to have the selection fit and ready for this. William Buick was the jockey on board when winning here last time out, so he knows how to handle her. She will love the testing conditions and on top she gets 3lbs from the boys.
Ascot 4.20- Glen Shiel WIN 7/1
GLEN SHIEL battled gamely to win over course and distance in the mud back in October, seeing off a host of today's rivals in the process, With many struggling with the pace and conditions. I can see the race unfolding in a similar way to that day with conditions the same. So, at the price its worth sticking with the selection.
Ascot 5.00- Rohaan WON 8/1
Kings Lynn (my hometown) heads the market and rightly so, having finished 7th (due to traffic) in a Group 1 race here on Tuesday. He would have gone very close had he had a clear run so warrants respect. Now stepping back up to 6 furlongs and a slog in the mud, how much would that race have taken out of him?. My selection is another horse dropping down from Group company in ROHAAN. Rohaan won a Group 2 race in the mud over distance beating Dragon Symbol. Dragon Symbol has come out yesterday and won a Group 1 race (overturned in the stewards room) pulling clear with the eventual winner to beat the rest of the field by 5 lengths! So, form given a massive boost. Rohaan is also a course and distance winner and will love the conditions.
Ascot 5.35- Fantastic Fox WIN 8/1
FANTASTIC FOX finished 3rd behind two very smart horses in Snow Lantern and Derab with under 2 lengths covering the 3 of them and finishing 9 lengths ahead of the rest of the field. Fantastic Fox then hacked up next time out suggesting the step up in trip will not be a problem. Snow Lantern and Derab have both gone on to run massive races respectively in Group 1 company, so, expecting a lot more to come from Fantastic Fox, and his opening mark of 94 looks lenient.
Ascot 6.10- The Grand Visir WIN 15/2
With question marks over distance for a lot of these, I have gone with a horse I know stays the trip, has won at the course, and won't mind the conditions. THE GRAND VISIR finished 2nd in this race last year and has been running well in defeat recently. Williams and Kingscote have a good record when teaming up. So hopefully have a chance at a price.
OUR THREE FINALISTS....
Weekly position: 220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.4
Weekly position: 126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.5
Weekly position: 220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.6
Weekly position: 126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.10.10.11.7.7
Weekly position: 184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.8
Weekly position: 22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.9
Weekly position: 184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.10
Weekly position: 10.15.3.3.22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.11
Weekly position: 188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.12
Weekly position: 18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.13
Weekly position: 188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.14
Week 13 – Saturday 12th June
Don’t you just hate it when you have to make three selections and you have a shortlist of four?! Still, I’m sticking to principles and trusting the rating system that I have used throughout the competition. Accordingly, The Wrekin is the top rated selection of the day for me. There are a number of Denise Foster runners over from Ireland at Hexham and they are tending to make the markets and push some other horses out to decent prices. And as much as I respect the “Foster” yard, a record of 0-43 in the last 14 days is something which would worry me and have me looking elsewhere. The Wrekin is a front runner who seems to keep on finding. I am a fan of strong finishing types who have proved their stamina on multiple occasions. This one seeks a hat-trick and has strong form and conditions to suit. He is versatile over distances and, even dropping down in trip, I expect a strong front-running race to test the stamina of the rest of the field.
2.35 York – QUEEN’S SARGENT (0.5 EW)
I rate this one as having the strongest form in the race and very much has conditions to suit. All his best form is on quicker ground and he has multiple wins over 7 furlongs. I expect him to run off the pace and pick them up in the last two furlongs. This is a very competitive race and at the current prices I think an each-way bet is the prudent approach. Last two runs have been on unsuitable soft ground and the Thirsk run in May was a bit of a worry, but the win at Catterick on Good-Firm ground in April was mightily impressive and I am hoping for a repeat performance here.
3.30 Hexham – SUNRISE RUBY
Well regarded in the Henderson yard and runs well on good ground which she will get here. The market is again made by a Foster horse and so, at the prices, I think this one is a bit of value. Stepping up in trip but the sire has very positive results over 3 miles and further and the last couple of runs have seemed to indicate that she was looking to be upped in distance as she finished strongly. Comfortably clear on my ratings and putting my faith in Henderson to finish the day with a winner.
REBEL AT DAWN ran a credible 3rd at Newmarket when just behind 95 rated Jumby over 6 furlongs. Rebel At Dawn then dropped back to 5 furlongs and won going away at the line. The selection is up 4 lbs for that win, but I still expect him to be too good for these today. Richard Kingscote also has a good record around Chester which is another positive.
Sandown 3.25- King Of Clubs WIN
KING OF CLUBS finished 2nd in a head bob to Sir Rumi in a novice race two runs back at Nottingham before running out an easy winner last time out over todays distance. Sir Rumi has since come out and won off a mark of 89, so King Of Clubs mark of 85 seems lenient. Ryan Moore takes the ride which is a big plus and Moore and Morrison combine for a 33% SR when teaming up.
Bath 3.45- Sarah's Verse WIN NR
SARAH'S VERSE has 3 career wins from 15 starts with all 3 coming over todays course and distance. The talented Laura Pearson was onboard for 2 of them wins so really knows how to get the best out of this horse and takes off a valuable 5lbs against some of her rivals. Perfect ground conditions today, so would expect the selection to have a great chance.
This handicap looks like throwing up some decent horses for the future. We are ideally looking for an OR between 87-97, won over 6F, raced in the last 28 days, Irish Bred and a single figure draw. Add to that the fact that the handicap run at Newmarket on 15th May has a great record in this race and you are left with a short list of 3. Of the 3 the one I am very interested in is First Folio. In the race at Newmarket he fell out of the stalls yet still finished well to finish a good 5th. His run prior to that was at Yarmouth where he bolted up on Good to Firm going and I think there is loads more to come from him. The form of the Newmarket race looks red hot with Perotto winning at Goodwood and Rebel at Dawn winning at Nottingham. I think this son of Dark Angel will take all the beating.
Temple Bruar– Bath 3.45pm 1 point win WON 13/8
Temple Bruar won quite nicely on his first start of the season at Doncaster over 6F on Good to firm going beating Tees Spirit by a head. However he followed up with what on first glance was a disappointing run at Ascot. When watching the race back, he was up with the pace well into the final furlong before fading when not having a chance to win. I put this down to 2 things. Firstly I don’t think he truly got the stiff Ascot 6F and secondly he didn’t like the soft ground that day. This 5 ½ furlong race on Good, Good to Firm going will be right up his street. Saffie Osborne is claiming a valuable 5lbs in this all female affair and Temple Bruar is Ed Walkers only runner on a busy Saturday. I think he may have been placed well by his Shrewd trainer
Lion Tower– York 4.50pm 1 point win
I was surprised to see Lion Tower has only gone up 2lb for his latest win at Ayr. He is now 2-2 since being gelded and looks like he only does enough to win. His trainer Grant Tuer is on fire at the moment and Lion Tower seems to have thrived since the switch from Mark Johnston. This is his toughest assignment yet but wont mind the firm going and still looks well handicapped to me. The 46 day rest will not worry him and hopefully will be a decent price, although I do expect there to be some money for him on the day.
Sarahs voice has a cracking record here at bath, with 3 C&D wins, and they have been quite convincing wins. This course seems to bring out the best in her. Laura Pearson has ridden her on two of these wins.
17:00 DOWNPATRICK DYNAMIC ALLEN E/W PLACED 13/2
Dynamic Allen won over course and distance last month beating Doldido by 1.75 lengths, and is now 6lb higher. Doldido doesnt win very often 2 from 24,so a chance is taken that run continues and Dynamic can confirm the run. The jockeys claim is a very handy 7lb
18:15 LEICESTER FRED E/W PLACED 5/2
Fred is in very good form winning three from the last six, all class 4 runs. The last run was in a class two race where he couldnt land a blow, but now back in a class 4 makes plenty of appeal. The Frankel and Deirdre gelding should go well.
Both Appleby and Jarvis tend to find great improvement from a horses first to second run with both over the 25% strike rate for second time out winners. No surprise then that both of these dominate the market but the Jarvis horse may have the most substance to his first run. Beaten a comfortable 9 length in that race but the winner has since come out and won. The second has since finished second again however this time it was finishing a never closer second to Adajar in a certain Epsom Derby last weekend so you would hope a repeat of its earlier form might be good enough for Candleford even without the improvement Jarvis tends to find.
4.50 York - Defence Treaty 0.5pt eway
Ran well on AW over winter and has been placed in 8 of 13 tries around this distance. Let 3 runs on turf read 2,2,1 with the ratings of those runs going 68,70,79 so is certainly improving and the switch back to turf might bring about another step forward. Is also ideally drawn with little pace on his immediate outside so should be able to get the perfect pitch early on.
3.40 York- Seven Brothers 0.5pt eway
Using 2 simple trends reduces the field significantly. Namely drawn low and being rated in the high 80s to mid 90s. Most of those left are well fancied so I’m going to go with the bigger priced horse of those but one who has won 3 of his 5 starts including a CD win as a 2yo.
Ridden by Richard Kingscote and trained by Tom Dascombe Lincoln Park has good placed form around Chester over 7 and 8 furlongs. He has also won twice over 6f at Southwell and Pontefract. usually races on softer ground than todays but with Richard firing him out in front from a reasonable draw he might just hold this lot off.
Chester 3.10 Military Two Step
Another opportunity for that superb judge of pace from the front Richard Kingscote to nick a race on the unexposed Mitlitary Two Step. Again the going is a bit of an unknown but being by Jukebox Jury should be no disadvantage in that respect.
York 5.25 I Am A Dreamer
Probably an apt name given the punts I am taking today, but a two time C & D winner back down to a winning mark with a good draw and the help of PJ Macdonald should see this one of Paul Midgley's close up at the business end.
Five of the last seven runnings were drawn one or two and six of the seven carried a minimum of 9-2 to victory. On those trends, I'm left with the selection whose trainer has a fifty percent place strike rate with his older runners at the track. With six of the seven winners priced at 9/1 or under the selection should give me a run in the competition even if backing handicaps on a Saturday is a little out of my comfort zone, but needs must.
KENDERGARTEN COP 1.35 SANDOWN
Surprisingly for a competitive handicap, the last nine runnings have produced four favourites obliging and 11/2 being the highest-priced winner. Seven of the winners carried between 9.0 and 9.5 which the selection fits into. Five of the nine were drawn either six or nine and although he falls down on the age trends I'm hoping he'll add to his tally of wins, his last three all coming at Brighton.
KINGS KNIGHT 2.50 SANDOWN
Six of the last eight runnings were won by four-year-olds and the last seven all carried 9.5 or more. The selection is the only one to fit into the weight range as well as being the right age. The highest-priced winner in the last six years was 5/1 with three favourites obliging. I hope anyone that read my scribblings took note of my mention of C Applebys three-year-olds at Epsom last week, of the day's runners, in the Derby he had the first and third and 40/1 was readily available about the winner. It's a pity I went with the wrong horse otherwise I would be top of the leaderboard but as they say, that's life. Good luck to the three final winners and thank you Gavin for all your hard work in running this competition which I have thoroughly enjoyed being involved in.
Dr Koukash owns 5 of the 14 runners in this 6 furlong handicap and I’ll go for this old boy at the bottom of the weights. Powerallied has run 25 times at Chester winning on 6 occasions and placing another 6. He has plenty of winning and placed form on good to firm ground and has won off far higher marks than his rating today off 66. It’s his first run of the season at Chester today and out of stall 8 he can be positioned just off the leaders by jockey Paddy Mathers and hopefully come with a storming run. Paddy has ridden the horse 7 times winning twice and placing another four.
1pt win, DELICATE KISS, 250 Sandown
A weak 0-100 Class 2 where the top-weight runs off 92. Delicate Kiss is off his last winning mark of 81 and has a Sandown record of 9 runs, 1 win and 6 places. On good ground at Sandown over a mile, he is 1 from 1 beating Sparkling Olly by a head last year. George Rooke takes off 5lbs and George has won on the nag 3 times. I thought back at a course where he was proven he was a sporting punt at the prices.
1pt win, PROTAGONST, 515 Limerick
Added this to my tracker following its race at the Naas (soft) on the 16 May, where he ran a very eye-catching 5th behind Pepperoni Pete. Always towards the rear that day but then made significant and stealthy headway 2f out, under what has to be said very little urging from jockey Shane Foley. He looks to be coming to the boil and is potentially well handicapped of an official rating of just 87. I sense they were protecting his mark that day and he's likely to enjoy the forecast better ground too. Not sure what the market will male of him but going 1point win as he ticks a lot of boxes.
An impressive winner over course and distance last season, this lightly raced type can get back on track here after a disappointing effort last time. There was something clearly amiss that day as he was given time off since that run in April and returns here sporting a first time tongue tie and blinkers. If showing his promise of last season, this son of Invincible Spirit is capable of a bold showing from stall 1 and could prove hard to peg back if grabbing the favoured rail.
SEVEN BROTHERS 3:40 York
This progressive sprinter can be forgiven for his below par effort last time and continue his upward curve here back on a track that should suit. He made it 3 wins from 4 starts with a game win on his reappearance, finding plenty off the bridle and really picking up in the final furlong. His next outing at Newmarket can be forgiven as he was repeatedly short of room once entering the dip and never had the chance to stay on as per his previous outing. Just 2lb higher here than his Doncaster win, Seven Brothers can continue the winning thread on this more conventional track.
IRV 4:50 York
Two time course winner who’s shaped well this season despite not having things go his way. Extremely unlucky on reappearance when travelling strongly and repeatedly denied a clear run. His next two outings were then on unfavourable soft ground but he still came a close 5th and 2nd, proving his well being and looking very well handicapped having won off higher marks. Today’s faster ground should suit and on a course that clearly suits, he should go close off what is effectively a flat 8 stone taking into account his riders claim.
Sameem was a Hamilton listed winner (11f) back in 2019 but was well below par in 3 starts last season. He’s now switched yards but so far it’s been a similar story despite a sliding mark this spring but if anyone can get this horse back to form it’s Tim Easterby.
3.05 York Roberto Escobar 1 point win WON 11/8
The William Haggas trained Roberto Escobar must have a great chance here. He’s low mileage with some decent form under his belt and is clearly improving. He will come on significantly for his seasonal debut at Ascot in May.
3.30 Hexham Gealach 1 point win
The five year old Gealach was out of form when last seen over hurdles at Ballinrobe last August but he's had a spin on the Flat recently and now finds himself in a weaker contest than he's used to in Ireland, so he takes preference over the in-form Dancing Doug and Story of Friends. There is no doubt he is a fairly useful hurdler and runners from this yard always demand respect.
Her front running style of flat out speed should suit here as well as here draw in stall 2, she should lead from the gates and on this faster surface and tight track should be able to hold on. In very good form at present not being out of the frame in her last 3 runnings, this does not look to competitive for the grade as nearly all are going up in grade or 2 from their previous runs, looks a good opportunity to get a win in this grade.
14.10 Chester 6f Handicap TURANGA LEELA 1pt Win
A CD winner previously who has run well consistently this season, 1lb lower than when he last won puts him on a nice mark here, I do like prominent or front runners from the mid stalls in the 6f races here usually drawn 5 to 8 they all run well and can hold their position, Turanga Leela drawn in 6 is well positioned and can sit up with the pace and make a bold bid for home from the turn in to the home straight, with Joe Fanning aboard and J Mackies horses running well has a good chance.
17.25 York 6f Handicap GEORGE BOWEN 1pt Win
After winning just 2 days ago at Hamilton, George Bowen looks one to keep on the right side of, only raised 2lbfor that win he is still well handicapped and running over a course and distance he does well at. He looked very fit on Thursday and it did not seem to take to much out of him as he seemed full of running at the end of that race and they are going in again while the hammer is still hot. One I have had in my tracker for a few weeks now it may pay to follow him while on a sequence.
This horse is supposedly known for being a better AW winner but it has won 3 times on the turf and only as recent as 2019. It seems very well treated at the moment with the weight it has to carry and I’m just hoping it’s last run was a bad day when it just didn’t fancy it?
Chester 2.10 Spirit of May
Drawn 14 at Chester in a 6f race isn’t the best staring point for tipping a horse but it can be overcome by a decent jockey and what I think is an under rated horse. It’s a tricky race and very open in my opinion but it’s weighted well and ticks a lot of boxes
York 3.40 Seven Brothers
Only had 5 previous runs and has won 3 of them but only up to class 3 and this is a class 2 but it’s a course and distance winner and was unlucky in its last run which was a class 2. Probably my last tip but it’s been fun Good luck everyone
Trained by Tim Easterby,who has had the third highest number of winners at this course in recent years. On board is the promising 5lbs claimer Ella McCain. She is in good current form with an 18% strike rate in the last couple of weeks. Finished a 4 length 5th of 20 in this race in 2019, & has had four attempts at this course and distance,running well in all of them. Winner of the Ayr Silver Cup two years ago off a similar mark . Disappointed on seasonal return last time out at Haydock,on unfavourable heavy ground. Usually needs a prep run to improve.
3.40 York. BLACKROD.
Trained by Michael Dods,who has a 17% strike rate at this course. Trainer has a good record with his runners in Class 2 Handicaps,and an even better record with his 3 year olds at this grade. Career record of one win and one place from four starts. That win was over this distance. Yet to race on good/firm ground. Connections obviously feel that he will act on the going. Needed the run when 7th of 11 on seasonal reappearance in a Handicap at Haydock. Will be fitter for that run.
5.25 York. COASE.
Four year old bay gelding by Zoffany. Trained by David O’Meara ,who has won this race twice in the last 6 years. Daniel Tudhope is in the saddle. He is in good current form,17% strike rate in the past 2 weeks. Does well for the yard in Handicaps at this time of year. Leading course jockey in terms of actual winners. Sixth on seasonal debut at Ripon on good to firm 10 days ago. Wasn’t asked too much of him that day. That was the first run for new connections. Won on debut at Carlisle in 2019,ran on strongly in the final furlong. Form from that race has worked out well. Only had one outing last year,finishing a decent third at Kempton in a Class 2 Handicap. Relatively lightly raced. Dropped in class for this race.
Orin Swift seems to have been massively overlooked here in favour of horses with more attractive profiles, namely Sulochana who has serious class doubts in this grade and General Zoff who may find the trip on the sharp side. The selection likes to race prominently which suits Sandown and is only 2lb higher than his impressive win on reappearance, the same mark as which he ran a very good second over C&D last year. The angle to Orin Swift is the ground. His progress has come once stepped up in trip on softer ground but I’m convinced that the trip is the key. I would go as far to say that I think the soft ground inconveniences him - based on the contrast between his reappearance run and last time, where he seemed to lack fluency in the softer ground. A strong travelling sort, he often quickens to the front only to be collared late on in soft ground and I can see him putting his turn of foot (relative to the others in here) to good use. There may well be nothing in this but Orin Swift often seems to run well for a new jockey and with Adam Kirby taking the ride for the first time, that’s another minor positive.
1650 York - La Trinidad (1pt win) WON 4/1
La Trinidad’s course form sticks out like a sore thumb. It reads 7th off this mark (83) which isn’t fantastic on the face of it but he was well backed in to 13/2 and the soft ground may have caught him out. The money signalled better was expected and it duly came next time out. He improved to finish third next time, seemingly lacking a turn of pace late on. The winner has improved 20lbs since, the second 5lb and with horses as far down as the 10th winning since it looks a hot piece of form. La Trinidad followed that up with another third, this time over C&D, running on well without quite catching the winners. The form has again worked out well. The penultimate York run screamed non stayer over 10f before running respectably in a much better race than this last time out. This race looks much easier back from a mark of 83 and with conditions to suit I think he’ll find this a much easier assignment. The jockey booking looks extremely positive with Jason Hart posting 57% rivals beaten when riding for the yard over the last year.
1725 York - Coase (1pt win)
Coase is the joint most lightly raced in this field but comes with more question marks than blindingly untapped potential, at least on the face of it. His juvenile form for Hugo Palmer reads very well and he shaped promisingly on his sole start as a 3yo. He didn’t get the clearest of passages that day but made up plenty of ground against a pace bias as though he had plenty of scope left in his handicap mark. Sold to David O’Meara’s yard since, he’s evidently had issues but showed all the promise on reappearance two weeks ago at Ripon, proving that he handles a faster surface. He travelled best of all that day before not being given a hard time once it was obvious that a gap wasn’t forthcoming. A 2lb drop in the weights for that looks particularly generous. There’s a good chance he can build on that run and could well prove a class above these rivals if putting a few runs together, whilst York’s expansive straight course should mean no hard luck stories this time around.
Week 12 – Saturday 5th June
Century Dream has won a group 3 race, won over a mile, won at Epsom before, raced 21 days ago, and has won on all sorts of going. The last time he ran in a Group 3 he won it, which was this race (run at Newbury last year). He has raced in 9 Group 1’s and 4 Group 2,s, so he really is the class angle in this race. His last outing was in the Lockinge, but he pulled like a barge that day and should hopefully settle better today with that run under his belt. I think he has at least 4lbs in hand, and is a confident selection.
Copper knight– Epsom 3.45pm 8/1 1 point win
This is a very competitive race, so I started by looking at the key trends to compile a short list. No win LTO, raced within 28 days, Age between 5-8, 9-1 or less in weight and stall 8 or higher. The other important trend is to have ran at Epsom before, preferably in this race. This provided a short list of 3. Of the 3 the most interesting by far is Copper Knight. He ran in this in 2019 finishing in 12th place. However they finished in a blanket that day and he got no room whatsoever inside the final furlong. I have checked the weight against horses that finished in front of him that day and the pull is quite interesting. He is 13lb well in with Ornate and 16lb well in with Blue Vega. I think he has a great chance at those weights. Due to his expected price, I am going to place a win bet
Mac Swiney– Epsom 4.30pm 13/2 1 point win
Bolshoi Ballet maybe a superstar and the fact he is Aiden O’Brien’s only representative definitely strengthens the belief. However I cannot back it at the odds. The trends are always interesting for the Derby and are very strong for Mac Swiney. The rain that has fallen at Epsom on Friday will help his chances as we know he travels through it well and good to firm going would not have suited.. He is a 2 time Group 1 winner who has proven his class. Yes Bolshoi Ballet beat him in the Derinstown but Mac Swiney scoped dirty after the race. The main issue with Mac Swiney is that he is un-predictable and looks like he requires regular racing to be seen at his best. If you look at his victories, they all appear to have come after relatively short breaks. 16 days, 20 days and 13 days. This is promising as he has only had a break of 14 days since winning the Irish 2,000 guineas. Fingers crossed he can serve it up to the favourite.
Ive looked at this race numerous times and everytime I look I like something different! This has the hallmarks of a classic renewal. I have gone for a bit of an overlooked horse who could score at big odds. He won the Derby trial at Lingfield on soft ground but had previously won on good to firm.
18:30 CHEPSTOW DAVIDS BEAUTY E/W 11/1
Davids Beauty has a cracking C&D record winning 5 and placing 4 times in 13 attempts. He is now 1lb lower than his last win over C&D. He hasnt ran well over last two visits here but last one was a come back run after 7 months off, he should be fresher now
15:45 EPSOM CASPIAN PRINCE E/W NR
A bit of a lottery - but I have a real soft spot for Caspian prince - he has won me lots of money over the years - and there has been many years! He is 12 now but doesnt show signs of letting up. He has a great C&D record 4 wins from 7 runs, I hope - really hope he can get into the winners enclosure.
Course and distance winner MUNTADAB has been running in harder contests then he finds himself in today. Now back down in grade, 10lbs below last winning mark, conditions to suit and Hollie Doyle on board, there really should not be any excuses today.
Epsom 3.10- Bell Rock WIN 9/2
This is a step up in class for BELL ROCK, the way he quickened up and started pulling away from the field in the win at Newmarket last time out suggests that wont be a problem. I expect similar tactics today with Marie's Diamond taking them along at a strong pace with Bell Rock sitting just behind Century Dream and Prince Eiji and picking them off come the finish.
Epsom 4.30- Youth Spirit EACH WAY 33/1
AP O'Brien is looking for his 9th Derby winner and all eyes will be on his sole runner Bolshoi Ballet. He has every reason to be confident given the way he destroyed the field in the Derrinstown Derby Trials, BUT the price is too short for me so I will be looking elsewhere for some each way value. YOUTH SPIRIT won going away in the Chester Stakes after being locked in a pocket when Marquand was eager to go, he had to be patient and wait for a gap to open, but once it did Youth Spirit showed a quick turn of foot and quickly started pulling clear for a comfortable victory. Youth Spirit has already won over distance unlike the majority of these and will handle the conditions today, so is worth an each way shout.
Following some of the main trends leaves us with 4 but I think the recent sunny spell can’t help but be a negative for Mac Swiney and Youth Spirit so that leaves us with 2. Bolshoi Ballet and Hurricane Lane. I think the boys should get the winner but there’s no end of good things turned over in this gruelling race for a youngster and the way hurricane lane has been outpaced in his races before staying on again it makes me think this step up to a mile and a half coupled with the climb to the line might just play to his strengths more than the others.
Epsom 3.45 - Yimou 0.5pt each way 16/1
Be ready to go on the B of Bang as a famous sprinter once said as they hurtle down one of the fastest 5f tracks around. Yimou has been placed in most of his races without getting his nose in front often. Pace of the race will be key as I don’t expect much to be finishing late to win with the downhill track helping the front runners. Most of the pace is on Yimous inside with just cooper knight and Sunday sovereign being prominent runners on his outside so with the speedballs of ornate and caspian Prince giving him a good tow into the race this is the day for Yimou to get himself into the spotlight.
Hexham 2.40 - Fitzroy 10/11
Only managed to get his head in-front once but his first try over fences promised more than his hurdles form. Beaten only 4L by a 144 rated NTD chaser is much better form than anything else has produced in the field. The fact he is a front runner at one of the quirkier pace bias jumps courses only adds to the fact he should be too good for any of these and justify the trip up to the most picturesque course in England.
Starting with a leap of faith but hoping for a big price here. I like the recent form but the good races have been in and out in recent months so it could be a blow out. However, at the prices, even with the rain that fell at the course on Friday, this one had a good run in him. Hannon has been a bit quiet recently but is due a course winner. Also, looking at the race trends to see what they threw up, this is the only survivor, so that reinforced my ratings analysis.
4.05 Worcester – JARVEY’S PLATE 7/2
Good winner off 2lbs lower at Newbury over three miles back in March. Winner of class 1 and 2 races in the past so the level here should not be beyond him. I am hoping that the rain hit Worcester at some point on Friday to keep the ground no quicker than good. Proven stayer with Liam Harrison taking off a useful 5lbs I hope that he makes it a proper run race to stretch some of the others and test the stamina. . The favourite is a big danger but at the prices Jarvey’s Plate is a value bet.
4.30 Epsom - HURRICANE LANE 7/1
The ratings analysis has changed somewhat after the Friday rain and the earlier belief that Mohaafeth was going to be the bet has given way to a horse with form and the pedigree to last the distance. The ratings and trends narrowed the field down to four but with Bolshoi Ballet being too short, MacSwiney having a few too many miles on the clock for me and One Ruler far from certain to stay 10 furlongs let alone 12, I am left with Hurricane Lane. Previous Group wins and the pedigree to stay is what I would look for ion a Derby winner. An unbeaten record is never a bad thing either. Again the favourite is a big danger but I’m not getting in the top three with a 6/4 shot!
This years Derby surely revolves around Bolshoi Ballet, A O’Brien sole runner, impressive in his last 2 runs and surely needing very inch of this trip, with no pacemaker in the field this could be run at a slow pace which will not suit him, somas an alternative one I like at a good EW price is the J Crowley ridden MOHAAFETH who has also impressed with his 3 runs this year, going up from Novice to Handicap then winning a Listed race at Newmarket so easy put him in the reckoning for a shot at this, but it was the way he won that impressed me and with their being no real pace he could have it run to suit and at the price is a viable alternative to the short price favourite.
14.00 Epsom WORLD POOL AT THE TOTE Handicap Class 21m2f17y GREATGADIAN 0.50pt EW 6/1
Greatgadian comes in to this race after 2 nice prep openers in class 3 events, but looks one to improve more for the better ground, he stayed on well in his last race so the trip shoukd be ideal bjt was beaten by 2 very good horses which time will tell, SDS should have the horse in a prominent position and this track will suit his style better.
15.10 EPSOM DIOMED STAKE 1m113y Group 3 BELL ROCK 0.50pt EW 9/2
Bell Rock steps up in to group company after beating Maydanny in a good class 2 handicap last time out, I don't think the step up in grade will be a problem, with many of his opponents running and beating each other in their last few races, Bell Rock comes in to this as the unknown contender and with the yard going so well at the moment it was the obvious progression.
Up in distance, I believe this 16 times raced maiden can finally get his head in front. Sir Charles Punch has been nothing but consistent in his races finishing third nine times out of those races. Cynics might argue that he’ll finish 3rd again but I believe this step up in distance will finally see him get off the mark. He’s had three hurdle races as well with one (you’ve guessed it) 3rdplace finish. Last time out at Carlisle he stayed on really well but just couldn’t close on the front two. Today, I hope, is the day!
1.30 Hexham Legal Beagle 1 point win 5/1
This Nicky Richards six-year-old gelding is quite lightly raced and after three maiden hurdle races and a bumper he enters handicap company for the first time and it is not too difficult to see him making the improvement needed to win here. He raced in midfield for the whole race and although making little impression when asked for an effort two out, it is hard to assess just how much pressure he was under. It is fair to say though that he has shown some promise and I’m certain he’ll improve here, beating off recent C/D winner Sputnik.
4.30 Epsom Third Realm 1 point win 14/1
I really fancy the chances of the Roger Varian trained Third Realm here. He has only raced twice on turf, winning on both occasions and last time out in the Lingfield Derby trial was pretty impressive. He was held up in the rear and made steady progress from 4 furlongs out before quickening away to win by 1 1/4 lengths without really being stretched. Of more significance perhaps was that the going was soft that day so the rain that has hit Epsom on Friday is certainly not going to inconvenience my selection. His sire, Sea The Stars won this race in 2009. Let’s hope his son can match him!
The key to The Dash is draw and pace, although on good ground higher draws are favoured I am gambling on the ground in 36 hours being closer to good to firm which brings the lower draws into play. There are several contenders, Recon Mission, Blue De Vega, Caspian Prince and Ornate drawn low. I am going with Recon Mission because he is closest to the rail in 2, he has Pettochside to his inner who does not contest the pace so should have the rail advantage. He is is in great form and won from draw 3 with Ray Dawson up lto.
4.30 Epsom - Hurricane Lane 7/1
Hurricane Lane seems to be a very tough customer, in two of his races he has led, been headed and come back again to win. Unbeaten over 8f and 10 f . He is by Frankel and his dam sire is Shirocco who was a true mile and a halfer, so no concerns over stamina. He should be able to sit in behind Bolshoi Ballet who may well make the pace and I hope he has the speed and stamina to overhaul BB in the run to the line.
5.50 Epsom - Ejtilaab 5/1
Taking a chance here that Ejtilaab can cope with the drop down to 6f and has the pace to hold the lead and make all. There is not much pace in the race other than the selection and Canagat who is drawn next door but seems out of form. Last time out over a mile at Chester he led at a good pace and was unlucky to have bumped into the improving Boardwalk. Some concern that David Egan has never ridden a winner at Epsom, but this should be point and shoot.
This Irish raider must have a solid chance dropped in grade here. She ran no race in the Irish 1000 Guineas last time but she probably hated the heavy going and didn’t stay the mile trip. The drop to 7F on this sharp track should be right up her street. Her 7F form before that Guineas run reads well - last season she won a listed race, then came 2nd to Poetic Flare next time out and has performed with credit in a couple of Group 3’s since. It’s very rare to see Jessie Harrington take one to Scotland (1 win from just 3 runs) and this looks a winnable race against some fillies who are purely there to nick black type.
JOHN LEEPER 4:30 Epsom 10/1
The favourite may be something special in this but at the forecasted prices he has to be taken on, and one that falls into the ‘could be anything’ category is John Leeper. This son of Frankel was an impressive winner on his reappearance at Newcastle, picking up and putting the race to bed with pure hands and heels. That was only a novice affair but he proved his class by taking a Listed contest last time out, still looking slightly green entering the Newmarket dip but getting the hang of things late on to record another win. He promises to improve from race to race and stepping up to 1m4f should be welcomed as he’s out of former Oaks winner Snow Fairy. Another positive is the booking of Frankie Dettori, who can do no wrong at present and with improvement to come, John Leeper can serve it up to the Irish runners and claim an emotional win for connections.
DESERT FRIEND 8:45 Lingfield 10/3
This 5 year old is lightly raced over staying trips and back up to 2 miles he can get back to winning ways here. He has showed improvement for the step up to 2 miles this season, staying on too late on his reappearance, before getting off the mark in April with a convincing win off 74. He was unable to land a blow last time out but that was a race not run to suit over 1m6f, which came in a higher grade with the winner now rated 87. Desert Friend now drops back to class 5 company and steps back up to 2 miles in what looks a winnable race. He’s only 2lb higher than his win back in April and has winning form on turf, so with conditions to suit he should go close.
This lad went very close last time out and looks to be improving to me, just beaten in the final strides by Selsey Sizzler at Chepstow on the 30th of April. The form of that race has been boosted since with Selsey Sizzler narrowly denied a follow-up at Catterick last week, She's All gold (3rd at Chepstow) ran well enough at Nottingham next time out (3rd) and the 4th that day at Chepstow Dynali won well at Chelmsford on the 31 May. It's a low grade affair but he's only got Idilico to beat in my eyes and it's a slight drop in trip which will favour Cogital; will go very close
0.5pts each-way, BLUE DE VEGA, 345 Epsom 16/1
This cavalry charge sees plenty of loveable sprinters reoppose and the vote goes to Robert Cowell’s charge. Cowell’s stable have hit a rich vein of form with 5 wins and 7 places from 20 runners in the last fortnight. Top-rated on Racing Post Ratings, Blue De Vega is drawn 3 and I’m hoping he can get a tow off Caspian Prince who is in stall 4. I can see plenty of jockeys trying to get to the nearside rail to get the better ground which could lead to scrimmaging and I’m hoping Ben Curtis can steer this lad around the outside with an uninterrupted run. In this race, Blue De Vega has run twice finishing 3rd in 2019 and 4th in 2020 and the softening ground looks to be in his favour. He has a win on heavy ground and 3 of his 5 highest RPRs have come on ground with cut in. His last win was off a mark of 100 in October last year on heavy ground and he is off 95 today.
1pt win, MAC SWINEY, 430 Epsom 13/2
What was evident from watching the races at Epsom yesterday was you needed something that can handle soft ground and get the trip. Mac Swiney did us a good turn when inching out stablemate Poetic Flare in the Irish 2000 Guineas two weeks ago making all and showing a willing attitude to get the job done in atrocious conditions. A double Group 1 winner, Mac Swiney’s on Soft/Heavy ground is 111 and his sire New Approach won the Derby for connections giving hope the trip won’t be a problem. Of course, Bolshoi Ballet who beat Mac Swiney by 6 ¾ lengths at Leopardstown is the one to beat but I cannot have the favourite at 6-4 and Bolshoi Ballet had a run under his belt that day compared to Mac Swiney who made his seasonal debut. Going and trip appear to be in Mac Swiney’s favour and if he gets involved in a dogfight in the last furlong has shown he has the guts to win.
Not a race for favourites, with none obliging in the last nine runnings of this race. R Hannon doesn't send many horses to this track, four in the last five years of which two have won for a healthy stakes profit. The selection is his only runner here today and has been running in better races than most of his opponents but hasn't helped his chances by ducking out and getting hampered, I'm hoping the stable has corrected this problem and by sending him up North they must fancy his chances.
HURRICANE LANE EW 4.30 EPSOM 7/1
It's a brave punter who opposes an AP O'Brien horse in this race, he has won six of the last nine runnings after all and this is his only runner. This isn't a great race for favourites with only three obliging in the last ten years. Bolshoi Ballet might well win but he's not good value and I'll take my chance with C Appleby's horse and W Buicks chosen mount. The trainer has an impressive eighty percent place strike rate and a thirty six percent win rate with his three-year-olds at the track in the last five years. The partnership won this race three years ago with Masar and I'm hopeful I'll get a good run for my money today.
BLUEBIRD DAY 8.30 CHEPSTOW 11/2
R Beckett has a thirty-seven percent strike rate with his three-year-olds at Chepstow with a healthy stakes profit to match. The filly ran down the field on her debut at Salisbury but hopefully, she will have come on for that run today to add to the trainers' good record here, especially as it's his only runner this evening at the track.
Another runner who has endless talent 3-3 beat parachute racecourse debut heavy over the mile class 2 event returning to action Newbury over 10f Duty free beat Maximal 1L always close up throughout ‘ shaken up entering the last keeping on well under Buick latest was another step forward when winning the Dante stakes G2 York getting himself outpaced before showing a good turn of foot between the final 2f rallying well and keeping on to record a comfortable victory ‘ type of runner who only does enough in his races which keeps punters guessing being out of top sire Frankel and theirs lots stamina in dams side being out of gale force a heavy ground winner for trainer James Fanshawe. -
5.15 Epsom - Soto sizzler ( win bet ) 4/1
2-3 at the track 2lbs higher than when r/up behind group one power over c/d on return to action on the turf,was conceding the winner 10lbs after having a pipe opener on the a.w Kempton park ( first run in almost 18 months ) disappointing LTO jockey reported ran freely and weakening over 14f didn’t seem to stay in my opinion ~ interesting see the booking Oisin Murphy as jockey blamed himself when aboard at goodwood behind Fayez good ground when trained by William knight & now in the capable hands David Menuisier,. Repeat LTO run here at the track should see the runner go close off the revised 2lbs -
5.50 Epsom - Aberama gold ( win bet ) 8/1
Handles underfoot conditions well LTO behind group performer Mr Lupton York 6f good soft ground, runner went into my notebook Doncaster last season listed event behind Dakota gold soft ground as a improving 3yr old ‘ since that effort been mainly racing on the a.w 2 efforts on turf Doncaster 6f BHA 102 r/up Lexington dash conceding 7lbs in the ratings & LTO behind group class Mr Lupton the yard of Keith Dalgleish has started picking up recently with the runner also defeating of the well regarded Andrew balding trained kings Lynn soft ground Doncaster level weights winner recently off 107 so the forms in the book on soft racing ground....
A 9 year old but looks to be running ok still. Has Holly on board which is always a plus in my opinion. Ran well in a class 3 last week at Beverley and this class 4 race looks a bit easier. His OR has been dropping and he won a class 3 over today’s distance and going at Epsom last July so due a win on conditions it’s proven on.
Ep 4.30 Mac Swiney 13/2
The way this year has been going, you just know the Irish are going to take this but I’m not so convinced it will be the favorite although it does look a good prospect. This Irish 2000 Guineas winner has a top jockey on and is proven so has a great chance in my humble opinion
Chep 6.00 Aquadabra 11/2
Course and distance record of a first, two seconds and a third in the six races it’s had here has attracted me to this one. It’s an open race to be fair to my reckoning but it has as good a chance as any. Bren ages since it’s won but it’s OR reflects that and I’m hoping it will take advantage
Sired by Sea The Stars. Trained by Roger. Arian and ridden by Andrea Atzeni. The trainer has a top record at this meeting. He has had 6 winners and 12 placed horses from 22 runners, for a healthy level stakes profit. Atzeni also has a good record at this Festival. Does especially well when riding for. Arian here. Five winners and 6 placers from 12 rides. Third Realm was a convincing winner of the Lingfield Derby trial,beating Adayer by one and a half lengths. Looks to be a rapidly improving horse who should comfortably handle this course.
Epsom 5.15. Group One Power..7/4
Four year old gelding by top sire Lope De Vega. Trainer Andrew Balding is 7 wins from 40 runners in the last two weeks. De Sousa is on board,and he has a 10 wins from 33 rides record in the last 14 days. He is the leading jockey at this meeting in recent years. Horse has a career record of 3 wins and 2 places from only 7 runs. Won at this course on seasonal reappearance,over 1 mile 4 furlongs on goos ground, in a Class 3 Handicap. Made all and kept on to win by 3/4 length. Last time out finished second at Ascot . Led until headed one furlong out. That race was run on unsuitable soft ground. Front running tactics will be well suited to this track.
Doncaster 2.30. Rodrigo Diaz. 11/8
Trained by David Simcock and ridden by the bang in form Jamie Spencer. Jockey has ridden eight winners in the past fortnight,and has ridden this horse four times,winning three times. Simcock is also in good form with a 23% strike rate of late. He has an excellent record with his runners in turf handicaps in June. Finished second on seasonal debut in a Newmarket Class 4 Handicap. Will have come on for that prep run and should be thereabouts in this .
You can’t help but be astounded with the manner in which Mohaafeth won the Listed race at Newmarket last time. He cruised for the entire 10f, granted in what looks a well run race, and demolished the opposition by 5 lengths without coming off the bit. The strong travelling nature should stand him in good stead to handle the twists and turns that the Derby poses, whilst the Frankel influence should impart more than sufficient stamina for this test. Some doubters will ask what he finds off the bridle but the answer is plenty as evidenced by his Lingfield win on reappearance this season. In a field of vast potential, Mohaafeth looks to have all the requisite attributes to shine here.
1545 E Sunday Sovereign (1pt win) 9/2
Traditionally a fiendishly high quality handicap, it looks a bit lacklustre this year with plenty of Class 3/4 performers running rather than the usual plethora of Listed class horses. To that end, I’m most interested in a runner with proven quality who likes to race prominently given the severe downhill nature of the track (one of the sharpest 5f’s in the UK). Sunday Sovereign ticks all the boxes for me and seems back on his steep upward curve evidenced when under the care of Paddy Twomey. He floundered for Roger Varian but the move to Tim Easterby seems to have rekindled his interest and showed marked progression last time. The faster ground is a slight worry but Sunday Sovereign has the most natural speed in the race (possibly bar Ornate) and can grab the near rail and lead them a merry dance from stall 18. A huge positive is the booking of Silvestre De Sousa who has a 22% strike rate at the track before racing this weekend. A great front running judge, on a great front running track all looks set for a big run. It also looks significant that he’s on the selection rather favourite at the time of writing, Stone Of Destiny.
1750 E Muscika (1pt win) 22/1
That man Silvestre De Sousa again. The booking really catches the eye and signals a strong intent to make the running rather on Muscika than the occasional hold up tactics employed over 6f. Muscika has the natural pace to win over a sharp 5 at York, but also the stamina to win over 6 at multiple venues. He was well backed in to 10/1 at York last time in a deeper when not given a hard race once headed implying that the yard are happy with his well-being and fitness. His overall profile shows a tendency to take a few runs to come to hand so today could be the day to catch him right. He is a remarkably consistent sort for a sprint handicapped with 7 wins and a further 9 seconds to his name from 50 runs on turf. Muscika’s early get speed should prove crucial in getting to the lead here, I expect him to prove very tough to catch under what could be optimal conditions.
If the rain hadn’t come then Mohaafeth would have been my strongest Derby fancy in years, as I think he is a very good horse. The ground might slightly blunt his chances, but I still hope he will show the world that he’s a star. Bolshoi Ballet is undoubtedly the danger but I’m hopeful.
200. Patient Dream 3/1
A typically tough 3 year old only handicap. Patient Dream is a simple form pick as although he’s up 6lbs up on his last win, the form has worked out incredibly well (2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th all won since!). Stall 1 isn’t ideal but it isn’t such a big disadvantage over 10f as it is over 12f.
235. Illykato NR
The ground makes this already tight group 3 even tighter. My preference is just about for the improving Mick Channon 3 year old filly, Illykato. She was a decent 2 year old, running in some good races and earning some black type. She started this season in the Fred Darling, where she was badly hampered before winning a nice race at Goodwood last time. She should come home with a wet sail and hopefully go close.
Week 11 – Saturday 29th May
I think Helvezia is very well handicapped in this race. She was also entered for the John of Gaunt stakes later in the afternoon, but they have decided to go the handicap route over 1 furlong less. The form of her 3rd behind Onasis and With Thanks is arguably the strongest on show here and I think the booking of Frankie Dettori is significant. I think she is totally unexposed and Ralph Beckett stable is in good form. She is a strong selection and I expect the money to come for her..
Boardman– Chester 2.40pm 5/2 1 point win
The trends are very strong in this race. You should be drawn 7 or lower, 8-13lb or less in weight, at least 5 years old, OR of 90-99, 9/1 or shorter in the betting and ran at York or Ascot LTO. Boardman is a horse who is improving at a fast rate of knots and I am sure is well in front of the handicapper. He was really slowly out of the stalls at York yet he still flew home to win very easily so the 10lb raise my not stop him. He fits all the trends I have mentioned above and has a very shrewd trainer looking after him. He is very closely handicapped with Ejtilaab, who is his main danger, but I think the ground will suit Boardman, where as it may hinder his chief rival.
Dreamweaver – Chester 3.50pm 7/2 1 point win
Ed Walker has been desperate to get a run into Dreamweaver over the past 2-3 weeks, holding a number of entries. For anyone who listened to his recent interview on TV, they will know that he wants to run him in the Northumberland Plate , which is his main season goal for him. In order to do that he has to raise his handicap mark, so would need to win this race well for this to happen. Its his first time over 1m 5F, so is an unknown, but the trainer seems to exude confidence whenever he talks about this horse and I expect him to win.
I watched a scintillating display from Boardman two weeks ago, who won with any amount in hand, this is tougher up in class but another good display should be on the cards. He has won on heavy and good in the last two runs so the ground shoulnt be an issue here either.
EL ASTRONAUTE 14:20 HAYDOCK 5/1
Im a big fan of El Astronaute and have backed him many times in the past. There are a few likely types in the line up but El should be right up there at the finish following a customary bolt out of the gates. He had an easy wwin last time where the 3/4 length flattered King Lynn.
SAFE VOYAGE 15:30 HAYDOCK 5/1
From the same combination as El Astonaute in the 14:40, Safe voyage loves it around here with 4 wins and a place from 5 Course and distance runs. Safe Voyage has also won first or second time out after a break in 6 of the past 7 times. His last run was a very tough ask and wasnt given a hard time.
With May being wetter than an otters pocket it brings into play one of the more interesting draw / pace biases in the country, the sprint course at Catterick. It plays to be drawn high and race up with the pace with horses who do this beating 76% of their rivals. Wrenthorpe ticks both of these boxes but also has the added bonus of having won on heavy ground a couple of times and also his worst performances have either been on quicker ground or when upped in class so today’s class and conditions should suit perfectly. Another thing to note is he has performed better on his 2nd run after a break before so his last run should have him cherry ripe for today.
Haydock 3.30 - With Thanks 11/2
William Haggas charge hasn’t been seen much for a 4 yr old but what we have seen tells us she performs well in knee deep conditions so Haydock today should suit perfectly. Tried in shallow waters her first few runs then stepped up to listed company at Goodwood at the backend of last season finishing second. Finished off the season in a Group 3 at Naas where once Chris Hayes pressed the button she stretched clear to win by 5 lengths, the 3rd has since finished second in a group 2 so there may still be plenty of improvement in her to land this. The only slight concern is the others being race fit.
Cartmel 3.55 - SirRobbie 5/1
With almost half the field having stamina concerns SirRobbie certainly ticks that box with all of his running recently done around the 3m distance. He may not have won much recently but has always been there or thereabouts and with surprisingly better ground in his favour at Cartmel I’m taking him to reverse placing with Dell Arca on their recent meeting where he was only collared late in the day in soft ground at Haydock.
HYPERFOCUS is a 3 time course and distance winner, with all 3 coming on ground soft or worse, which is great news for the selection as is it looks to be another muddy day. Hyperfocus is 3lbs below a mark on which he has already won on here. There seems to be no pace in this race, so would expect Hyperfocus to be given a soft lead, hes already proven how hard he is to past once that happens.
Beverley 2.35- Poet's Lady WIN 3/1
POET'S LADY ran a credible 3rd in a class 2 at Ascot last time out. Nothing went right for her that day, having missed the break, she travelled well into the race until Dreamloper (2nd) took up the gap Poet's Lady was heading for to cause a slight drop in momentum, she then picked up and stayed on well for a 3 length 3rd behind a couple smart horses rated in there 90's. This is a much easier contest now dropping back into a class 4 off the same mark and I expect Poet's Lady to be getting her head in front.
Haydock 3.30- With Thanks WIN 11/2
WITH THANKS is a lightly raced 4 year old who has never been out of the first 2 in her 5 starts. I was impressed with her win at Naas last time out, the selection travelled very strongly through the race until being asked 2 furlongs out, she then showed a quick turn of foot to pull away from the field for a comfortable 6 length victory. Theres still a lot more to come from this horse, add in the 5lbs she receives from Safe Voyage and conditions to suit, With Thanks should be in with a great chance.
Following 5f horses is often all about finding a reason that a horse will run to his best on the day – they can, as we know, all have off days. Aljady runs here with conditions to suit and a price which is a value one. The form of the last run in the Palace House Stakes looks decent and accordingly I have him as the top-rated horse on the race. There is pace on both sides of the draw so I don’t fear two groups if they should split. He has wins over 5 and 6 furlongs so a bit of drying ground is not a problem but I hope it doesn’t suddenly turn dryer than good. There are, as with many 5f races, a lot of possible winners, but I think Aljady is as solid as any.
2.55 Haydock – SALSADA 11/2
Three wins on the spin before a slightly disappointing run last September. However, the official rating is still going up and I think he may improve further here as he steps up in trip. The selection is very much driven by ratings and value and if the price holds up, I think this is the value bet of the day (currently 6/1). Previous course win and the trainer has a decent record at the track, even though the recent form is a little more worrying. Form is strong on soft and, even though I am expecting the ground to dry, I still think “soft” will be somewhere in the going.
3.55 Cartmel – SEBASTOPOL 4/1
Not always a lucky track for me and I did not expect to be picking a Cartmel runner in the three this week. However, this one jumps out at the prices and I think he is the strongest horse in the race. He has had three second places on the spin and has been chinned on the line by a fast finisher on two of those occasions. Up in trip today though, so maybe the finish can be run out of the other runners. The sire has a very good record in 3mile+ races and so the increased distance is not seen as a negative. The trainer is not a frequent visitor to the course, which may also be a positive sign.
Has had wind surgery since last years 4 runs which he won twice including over CD, down in grade for his return and in easier company William Buick could make use of his early pace to dominate this small field which seems to suit his running style, ground, trip and course all suit, so as long as the wind surgery has worked and their are no unforeseen problems should give us a good run.
13.35 Cartmel 2m1f46y Mares Handicap Hurdle Class 3 LASKADINE 1Pt Win Bet 9/2
One of my horses to follow for 2021/22 Season, Laskadine has a good chance of improving still even at 6yo, with the Haslam/McLernon combo going really well, this could be the day for her to get her head in front again, a winner in class 4 company regularly and back against her own sex in what looks a weaker class 3 she has a good chance of winning this.
19.30 Ffos Las 1m7f182y Handicap Hurdle Class 4 CLEMENTO 1Pt Win Bet 5/2
Caught the eye last time out when 2nd to a winner since staying on strongly from off the pace on his stable debut, only 1lb higher today and fit from that run after a year off, should see him spot on to get his first win for this inform yard. Everything looks in place as ground and class are ideal has won at the trip and likes small fields and with 3front runners in the field a strong pace is assured.
This 7yo sprinter shaped as if back in form on his reappearance and if building on that should go close in this contest. The selection stayed on strongly that day doing his best work late, despite being under minimum pressure from his jock. It was certainly an eye catching performance and he’s clearly well handicapped having won twice off today’s mark or higher. He struggled in higher grades last year but was victorious in his only class 3 contest and with Villiers’ handy 5lb claim he can gain his 7th career win in conditions that suit.
EL ASTRONAUTE 2:20 Haydock 5/1
The speedster looked as good as ever last time out at Chester and he can gain his 4th Listed win here. The selection beat Kings Lynn fair and square that day and wasn’t asked for his effort until the straight, showing blistering pace from the start. Aside from Moss Gill and Tarboosh, the rest of the field are a bunch of handicappers and John Quinn’s 8yo should be able to build up a decent lead here. From stall 12 he also has the option of bagging the near side rail if required but proven the in the conditions he should be able run his rivals ragged to make it 2 from 2 this season.
SAFE VOYAGE 3:30 Haydock 5/1
This 8yo has a tremendous record at this level and with conditions to suit he should take some beating here. His record over C&D reads an incredible 1-1-1-1-2 with all of those wins coming on soft conditions, which he experiences here today. The selection has struggled to land a blow in his last two Group 1 affairs but had excuses (firm ground in US and chased a strong pace in Lockinge) but dropped to Group 2 on his favoured ground over a C&D he relishes should see him return to his best and land another Group win.
Helvezia is having her second run in a handicap dropped to 6f for Ralph Beckett. Last year she won a 7f race at Chepstow on soft 3to and finished the season running a two and a quarter length 3rd in a Class 1 listed race at Goodwood. I think the booking of Frankie is a sign that she is coming here with serious intent and if he can get her closer to the pace from the off she should not be far away.
2.30 Catterick - Militia Win NR
In this 5f sprint at Catterick on good to soft, high draws have the best record. Milita has out and out pace on either side in Autumn flight and Wrenthorpe and should be able to travel comfortably behind them and as he has done on previous occasions pick the early pace up late on. Both trainer and jockey are in good form.
3.15 Chester - Cuban Breeze Win 9/2
Last time out over course and distance on good to soft Cuban Breeze led at a hell of a pace in a Class 2, finally giving way to the impressive Showalong. That was in a class 2, today in calmer waters he is down 2lbs in the ratings and should be able to account for his rivals from a good draw in 3.
A novice hurdle race but I am keen on the chances of Donald McCain’s Geronimo. Last time out at Sedgefield I felt he wasn’t at thetop of his game when finishing a well beaten 3rd but it was his winning run at Newcastle in March that caught my eye and if anywhere near that form today I expect him to bounce back to winning form.
1.35 Cartmel Voice Of Calm 1 point win 11/4
Emma Lavelle’s mare makes her handicap debut here and I fully expect it to be a winning one. Voice Of Calm has only had three races over hurdles winning her second at Warwick from Raffle Ticket by a neck. Her opening handicap mark is a decent one and with Tom Bellamy on board I am pretty confident she can oblige today.
2.00 Beverley Kodias Sangarius 1 point win 33/1
A big outsider here but certainly not without a chance. Although pulled up in her only race so far, at Nottingham, her breeding suggests she can do much better and I’m prepared to take a risk here and fully expect Kodias Sangarius to outrun her odds here. Richard Hannon would not have brought her so far just for a day out.
Seven of the eight runnings of this race have gone to horses priced 9/4 or under with five favourites and two-second favourites obliging. Trainer Noel Kelly doesn't have many winners, a three percent strike rate over the last five years but has traveled over from Ireland with the selection. He has at least won over the distance and his probable front running tactics will help on this track. James Bowen has made a very healthy profit to level stakes when riding hurdlers at this track over the last five years so the selection will not go short of assistance in the saddle.
AVETA 2.05 CHESTER 5/4
Both the favourites have won the previous runnings of this race. The selection won her last race very easily at Windsor and the trainer has broken even with the three-year-olds he has sent to Chester over the last five years. I'm hoping Rob Hornby will bag the rail and let this filly loose as I think she might be useful.
RIVER NYMPH EW 3.30 HAYDOCK 7/1
Oddly enough eight of the last nine winners were drawn two or three, the last three were drawn three. Eight of the ten previous winners were also priced at 6/1 or under and all carried 9.00. I'm happy to side with the selection who won over the distance at Ascot and fits all the trends. Clive Cox also shows a profit at the track with all his runners over the last five years.
William Buick teams up here with the Charlie appleby runner,.theirs every reason believe the current market has underestimated the horse ! Beat Labrisa breeze 0.5L safe voyage the current fav further 1L back in third place G2 soft ground under James Doyle always going well within and taking up the running at 1 pole ~ ridden out hands & heels BHA 108 ( Hungerford stakes ) selection beat the jolly level weights yet receives 5lbs here selections last win came the backend last season when readily accounting for final song 1L in a decent time, 2 efforts 2021 2L third land of legends 7f holding every chance before keeping on at the one pace,. Forth LTO when last seen behind space blues Riyadh when not getting the best of rides under James Doyle ~ expensive yearling costing connections a whopping 2.6m at the sales ‘ will love the underfoot conditions being out of Dubawi ~ days best bet.
3.50 Chester ~ Eastern sheriff ( 0.5 pt e/w ) 5/1
Solid staying pedigree being a full brother St Leger winner Harbor law ‘ ready winner racecourse debut novices event backend 2019 looked to be progressive before winning ayr over 13f BHA 86 beating Sociologist under Kevin Stott as usual the HC overreacts 8lbs rise and then we’ll beaten at York ‘ track don’t favor tactics of hold up horses ! Either way didn’t perform, better effort next time when contesting a.w race Newcastle behind indigo lake 12f under Paul Mulrennan ‘ gone well fresh in the past BHA 90 ? Shouldn’t pose a issue blinkers also go on for the first time replacing the visor worn LTO son of lawman who should thrive in the conditions ~ hopeful rather than confident.
2.35 Beverley ~ Fox power ( 1pt win bet ) 15/2
Richard Hannon trains this 5yr old dark angel gelding who was a listed class winner a.w BHA 95 Newcastle 2019,. Surprisingly enough 0-9 on turf although has ran in much better class of races since ‘ let’s not forget cost connections a hefty 450,000 guineas as a yearling and shows he handles underfoot conditions LTO was a step back in the right direction when finishing 3rd behind turntable holding every chance until not quicken inside the last ~ RPR 86 assessor dropped a further 1lbs in the ratings since that effort at Newmarket, prior that effort was 5th throne hall ~ form working out well & with Sean levy booked for the ride I’m anticipating a big run here tomorrow in this class 4 HC if matching 2020 turf form rivals won’t see which way the horse went as incredibly well HC here off just 82 whereas those impressive time speed figures came against much stronger opposition and off BHA marks in the high 90s last season, basically the horse has regressed over a stone ? Quietly confident and if I’m being honest I’d be disappointed if not at least placing add the fact trainer don’t run many at the track 5-21 24% SR
It probably seems a silly trend to consider but since this horse’ first win in July 2019, it’s had the following total of races between each win, 4,3,3 and now gone 5 since its last win so it’s due to pop in by my reckoning. It’s record at this track is 3118133 so 3 C:D wins and has won on the going and if it stays as G/S it will be a bonus as it hasn’t run on ground with soft in it since its last win.
C4.30 Finisk River 13/2
This horse has only won twice previously and they were both at this track so I’m hoping it has a particular liking for it here. Admittedly they were both class 4 races and this one is class 3 but it has come second in a class 3 race before only beaten a head so it should cope ok Good trainer and jockey so I’m quite hopeful
C3.50 Buriram 7/1
Both jockey and trainer look to be in good form which is a good start. As far as the horse is concerned, it ran a career best when it won here last September over 1 mile and 6f and this is just over a mile and 5f and although that was on good ground it has won on G/S at Windsor so the ground shouldn’t be a problem
Trained by Ian Williams and ridden by Richard Kingscote. Kingscote is the leading jockey at this track and when combining with this trainer they have a 23% strike rate. Has a good draw in Stall 1. Fifth of 10 runners last time out,three weeks ago,over course and distance. That was on similar ground and also in a Class 2 race. Possibly delivered his effort slightly too early. Form from that race is working out really well. Six other horses have run since,with four winning,all in Class 2 events. Finished third of 11 on seasonal debut at Musselburgh but that was on drier ground. Should go close in this .
1.45 Haydock. MUSICALITY. 10/1
4 year old Kyllachy gelding,set to carry 9 stone 3 lbs. Trained by the in form Roger Varian and has Andrea Atzeni in the saddle. Both handler and jockey have good course records. Atzeni has had the two rides on this horse,winning once and finishing in the places on the other. On seasonal return finished 9th at Ascot 3 weeks ago. Will strip fitter for that prep run. Won a 6 furlong Newmarket Handicap on good -soft going. Held up before running on strongly in the final furlong. Second and third from that race have won since. Has had four races in Class 3, winning once and also placing once. Improver.
3.30 Haydock. WITH THANKS 11/2
Four year old filly by Camacho. Trained by William Haggas and ridden by Tom Marquand. Trainer has a good record at Haydock,with 13 wins and 11 places from 45 runners. A lightly raced progressive filly,with a career record of three wins and two places from only 5 races. Goes well on softer ground with all three wins having come on similar going. Won on debut in November 2019 in a 7 furlongs Newmarket Class 4 race. Six different horses have come out of that race and won. Completed last years campaign with a comfortable success in a 7 furlongs Group 3 at Naas on heavy. Won the race by 5 lengths.
Cassy O was a huge improver switched to front running tactics last year, it looks a different story this time around on paper. However, he’s run well on ground possibly too fast on his return - a race that’s working out brilliantly with the top 3 all winning since. He followed that up at Wetherby when he couldn’t get to the lead from a poor draw, although that may have been a blessing given the pace they went. Nevertheless it was promising to see that he’s more versatile position wise than previously seemed the case. Cassy O’s latest run was in a really hot race at York where once again he suffered from a killer draw in 18. To make matters worse, he got a huge bump from the eventual winner which knocked him off balance and cost plenty of lengths, exaggerating the finishing margins. Drawn 10 today doesn’t look ideal on the face of it but there doesn’t look to be a lot of pace on so he may get his favoured lead. In addition, the runners may come stands side given the ground conditions which would mitigate the wide draw somewhat. All in all, conditions transpired against him in recent runs and has a more favourable set up here from what looks a workable mark for an in form stable.
1620 Beverley - Bit Of A Quirke (1pt win) 5/1
Bit Of A Quirke showed one of the most game performances I’ve ever witnessed in winning last time. He fought off challenger after challenger to essentially win 4 separate races to cross the line in front. 4lb higher for that win, he has a history of running up sequences once in the winning habit - racking up 4 on the bounce in 2018. He looks likely to get an easy lead here to suit his dominant tactics and there’s no other horse I’d rather have on my side in a battle than this.
1530 Haydock - Safe Voyage (1pt win) 5/1
Underrated at this level, run better than it looks last time when too close to the pace over a trip that stretches him and could dominate these. Broke track record and Epsom so ground no issue whatever happens and expect him to be very tough to beat.
This Irish raider looks over priced to me, he bolted up at Ascot last time he was sent over the Irish Sea beating a decent yard stick in Solid Stone over 1 mile at Ascot. He's had two runs in 2021, last time out finishing 3rd over 7f at Naas (lost 2nd near the finish). I sense Jessica Harrington was working this lad to peak fitness and now send him over to raid this Group 3. I think he could go well at rewarding odds and won't mind the ground/stiff finish.
0.5pts each-way, BYRON’S CHOICE, 345 Beverley 15/2
Has had his sights lowered here after contesting a Class 2 last time out at Thirsk; that will have blown away the cobwebs. He absolutely bolted up at Catterick in October last year and has admittedly been disappointing since but with Michael Dods in form I fancy connections have targeted this race as his record at Beverley reads well - beaten twice by less than half a length on each occasion. Track and trip suit and likes a bit of juice in the ground so I expect him to go well.
0.5pts each-way, HANDYTALK, 645 Salisbury 14/1
Rod Millman’s yard has hit a run of form with 5 winners in the last fortnight, including, at the time of writing, his last 3 runners. This 8 year old has won 5 times in his 43 turf starts, including a victory over course and distance in 2019 on soft ground off today’s mark of 75. The excellent Saffie Osborne is an eyecatching booking taking off a further 5lbs. Saffie has had 5 winners herself from 24 rides in the last fortnight. Handytalk had a decent enough seasonal debut when 4th at Windsor last time and looks a value play for a place at least.
Air Raid is a relatively inconsistent type, but is pretty deadly on his day. The going should suit him down to the ground tomorrow and stall 13 should work. Jedd O'Keefe usually has them ready to run first time out and I expect him to go well.
425 Chester - Point Lynas 18/1
Al Shibli sets the standard here with a decent third behind the progressive Dukebox, however his pedigree doesn't scream soft ground and he might find it hard work. Point Lynas travelled powerfully on debut before not getting home and looks the type to improve plenty for the run. He's not been drawn well but has the right man on board to deliver him late.
540 Salisbury - Amazonian Dream 5/2
Amazonian Dream has show good form in his two runs so far, finishing 2nd both times. Last time at Nottingham he went off 2/1 favourite and ran well behind a smart looking colt from the Dascombe yard called Flaming Rib. A repeat of either start should see him go close.
Not the best start to the season with a coupe of low keys runs, but today returns back to Haydock where he’s won and placed in his two runs here. Today races off 85 which is its LWM. All signs lead to an improved performance.
Alexander James - Chester 14:40 14/1
Won a listed race in france so has potential, although the form is 2021 hasn’t been great and as a result the selection has become well handicapped. I’m hoping the new yard/trainer will improves the selection performance and races to his ability, if he does, then he wins.
Gauntlet - Salisbury 20:15 14/1
I’ve been following this horse for while and think he we will win soon, so I’m hoping this is the day. New trip and headgear is a real positive and this combination should result in an improved run from LTO.
Week 10 – Saturday 22nd May
As always with the feature race there are lots of possibilities. I like quite a few of these but at the early prices Im going to take a chance with Seasett, a comfy winner last time out by 4 1/2 lengths, and sneaks into this off bottom weight. His last run was on heavy (his only win)
FFION 13:55 HAYDOCK 9/2
Fffion has a great record of 2 wins and a place from three runs, the second which was last time out was behind Boardman who won last week in emphatic style, she remains on the same mark and there is possibly a lot more to come from Ffion.
FAME AND FORTUNE 17:55 LINGFIELD 10/1
Fame And Fortune has a few questions to answer over the 8 of 9 finish last time but has great form at lingfield winning 4 and placing twice over 8 runs. The first time tongue strap will hopefully sharpen him up and see him notch a 5th lingfield win.
A devilish tricky little hcap where pretty much the whole field tick the right trends boxes so I’ve gone back to the good old for book to find the winner. A couple of some decent form in soft ground which it most certainly will be at Haydock, so much so even Bristol de Mai might fancy his chances. Nebulosa has form in soft having won over 7f at Newmarket in soft ground so should be able to handle today’s conditions, the time before that she finished 3rd over 7f at HQ and didn’t look to be stopping so the step up to a mile shouldn’t pose any problems added to that the winner that day was Saffron Beach who ran a blinder finishing second in the Guineas.
Goodwood 2.50 - sounds like thunder 0.5pt each way 14/1
The fav looks like a graded horse masquerading in a hcap however drawn 9 in a 7f race at Goodwood is far from ideal and will need some luck in running to justify short odds. On the flip side soundslikethunder ticks all the right boxes for this trip, running style and most importantly draw being a front runner drawn low. He has only ran over this specialist distance so that shouldn’t be a problem but stepping up in class is the only negative but at the prices represents the value in the field at the prices.
York 4.55 - Northern Express 3/1
In 5 runs only 1 can be put down as disappointing and that was over CD which doesn’t inspire confidence however despite being drawn 1 he was held up which is very much a no no over CD. Hopefully they have learnt their lesson and will at the very least be close to the pace from his plum draw. A good reappearance behind wobwobwob May look even better if he performs well in the silver bowl at Haydock (though obviously not too well).
On paper this week seemed to have a multitude of possible races to pick form , but having done the analysis of many, three selections fell into place. The first of these is Tomfre who is one of only two horses in the race with confirmed soft ground form. He has five wins over 7f and goes well when coming off a shortish layoff as he does here. No run at York but the style of track looks sure to suit. The big danger for me is Zip, but on the ratings, with the form rating high for me, and at the prices, Tomfre is the one for me.
2.40 York – MIGHTY BLUE 16/5
Runner in the Festival Mares’ Hurdle this year, with a very creditable 3rd place finish. However, since then she was mightily impressive at Gowran last time and comes over for a pop at this staying race with a great chance to double up. I am a fan of the sire (Authorized) and the trainer/jockey combination has been very strong recently. She is way ahead on my own ratings and I think she has clearly the best form coming into the race. One slight concern is an apparent lack of pace in the field. I hope the instructions will be to take up the running to avoid the race turning into a sprint. Nothing wrong with leading at York on soft ground.
3.00 Haydock – HEIGHTS OF ABRAHAM 11/2
There is next to no heavy ground form for anyone in this race so, with Haydock looking a real test, this is a bit of a lottery. He is riding under penalty following a facile win last time but looks a strong type at the finish of the race, as was shown as Doncaster in October and Ripon last time. The worry would be the race at Musselburgh in between the two wins when he spat the dummy and trailed last after a furlong. I’d like to see him closer to the front in this one. Ratings are strong and in an open race, the value is there.
Molls Memory needs plenty of rain to be seen at her best, and I think she will get it at Haydock over the next 24 hours. Ed Walker is in great form at the moment and the yard have a 25% record with their older horses at Haydock. Although she hasn’t won yet this season, I see that she is now down to 84 , which was her last winning mark at Newbury last October. I am expecting her to be backed due to the weather, so a win only bet.
Nebulosa– Haydock 3.00 pm 1 point win 6/1
The trends tells us to look for a horse that has won 1-3 times, has raced in the last 28 days, has won over at least 7F, has won last time out, carried 9-1 or less and is drawn 8 or lower. That leaves us with 4 progressive looking 3 year olds. The one I like the look of is Nebulosa. She has done well to win her last 2 races over 7F, as she looks to need further, which she gets today. She goes on soft ground, so wont mind if the rains come and will strip a lot fitter after her latest run coming off a 204 day break. Prior to her 2 wins she ran a very good third to Saffron Beach at Newmarket, which again looks like good form in the book. The owner is well known as a breeder and will be looking for her to progress to Group Company and it wouldn’t surprise me if they weren’t thinking of the Sandringham at Royal Ascot if she wins this. I am only expecting 6-7 runners, so advise a win bet.
Mac Swiney – Curragh 3.20pm 1 point win 6/1
I think it is worth taking a chance on this very talented, if somewhat erratic son of New Approach. We musn’t forget that he won the Futurity stakes at Doncaster last year and definitely seems to have a preference for soft ground. I am surprised he has come here, I thought he would go to the Derby after his defeat to Bolshoi Ballet in the Derrinstown. I am not worried that Kevin Manning is sticking with Poetic Flare having won the Guineas, but I think he needs proper fast ground to be seen at his best. The only thing Mac Swiney lacks is consistency. The promising news is he finished 5th first time out last year only to win next time out. I think he will get a lot of support on the day and due to that and the number of runners will back it to win.
Tom Collins on his first run for William Haggas was heavily supported in a class two at Thirsk on good to firm last time out. He has never even placed on good to firm. Today is much more like it, down to Class 3 on soft ground where he has a 40% strike rate and well drawn to boot.
2.25 Haydock - Vindolanda e/w 10/1
Having won two from 4 on the going and also a 12 furlong handicap on heavy at Haydock I can see the step up in class being within reach of Vindolanda if there is more rain. Not unknown in Manchester. Also the Hills Hanagan combo has a 33% strike rate in recent times, admittedly from a small sample.
3.00 Haydock - Teodolina 11/1
Like the other two picks, this one being by Kodiac should have no fear of worsening ground. She won on her seasonal debut like an improving filly, under a brilliantly timed run by Sean Levey. Her run style and draw position are good for this course and distance as well.
The old man of the field at 9yo looks to have a good opportunity to get his head back in front since 2019, top rated for this race and taking on younger horses he is 5lb below his winning marks and looks to be in an easier race today compared to some of the higher quality horse he normally encounters, its a small field and could be very tactical which he usually likes by waiting in behind and pouncing late, goes on any ground but this slower surface may suit more nowadays.
15.00 Haydock Silver Bowl Handicap Class 2 1m37y TEODOLINA 0.50pts EW 11/1
An intriguing 3yo handicap with many a chance to show top form and to prove their handicap marks are lower than estimated, usually this goes to an inform runner with a decent handicap mark and very much fancied. The favourite has an opening mark of 88 which could look lenient, but he has only won 2 Novice events, is in his first handicap and has jumped 3 levels which puts me off. TEODOLINA won a class 4 last time and has gone up 6lb for that which is normal but considering the time before she was 4th in a listed event behind a 95+ rated horses and was 2nd in a class 2 before that of just 3 lb lower she looks a good bet to go close here, also she has C&D form on soft ground 4 runs back.
15.35 Haydock Sandy Lane Stakes Group 2 6f DRAGON SYMBOL 1pt Win 10/3
The simple question here is can Dragon Symbol maintain his unbeaten run, win 5 on the trot and do it group company, my answer to that is YES. A horse of undoubted ability who has answered every question so far now puts his reputation on the line and I think he is up to the task, his 4 wins to date have been in competitive races against improving types, he has won with style a d comfort in all and has not yet stopped progressing, a worry may be the going but his runs on the AW on slower going indicates this won't be a worry and he is bred to stay further so it will not dampen his pure speed or ability to see out the trip in rain softened ground. Their are a few dangers but nothing I am worried about enough to put me off this NAP today.
With heavy forecast (again) overnight and into tomorrow, it should be another day for the mud lovers. That should suit TOMFRE down to the ground. Tomfre's last 4 runs have come on soft or worse, with 3 wins and a 2nd, since then there has several winners come out of them races since finishing behind Tomfre...(Persuasion, Grove Ferry, True Blue Moon, Kynren, Punchbowl Fyler and Asencsion which I nearly gave last week), so form line looks good. Ralph Beckett is also in great form of late too, with 28% win rate from 29 runs.
Haydock 2.25 Frankenstella WIN 7/1
FRANKENSTELLA looked the likely winner over distance at York last week, when travelling strongly and coming with a run to take it up, she was badly hampered by the leading pair and lost all momentum, she had no chance from then but picked back up and stayed on for a 5 lenght 4th. Today she runs off the same mark and has already won 3 times and placed over 2m+ and will handle any conditions. Sire has good course stats too 33% win rate (albeit from 60 runs) so should handle the course. A lot to like about this horse and should get a good run.
Haydock 3.00- Raadobarg WIN 10/3
In what looks a tricky contest, I have gone for RAADOBARG. Roger Varian is a former winner of this race and is in great form, with a 28% win rate from 36 runners. He saddles 2 in this and I've gone with the least exposed Raadobarg. Raadobarg impressed over trip at Thirsk on todays conditions, breaking well he took up just behind the leader, he then travelled strongly until given a little nudge to go on, he pulled away from the field without ever being asked for a comfortable 2 1/2 length win. Theres alot more to come from this horse and should have a great chance today.
The Tim Easterby trained Lampang is a pretty useful colt and certainly better than his form figures. He's been racing over five and six furlongs but now stepped up to seven, he should find this right up his street. There are obvious dangers to the selection but at a decent price I'm expecting my selection to oblige.
3.00 Haydock Headingly 8/1
A tough and typically difficult handicap to solve but I'm going with the Mark Johnston trained Headingly to do the business here. He was rather unlucky last time out when finishing 2nd at Goodwood. He hung badly left that day but anticipating progress from there I can see him leading all the way here, getting his head in front and giving us a nice winner.
6.10 Stratford Go Steady 13/8
I've not been having much luck with our jumpers recently and last week we were eight lengths clear at the last when falling. I'm expecting to improve on that here with the Skelton trained and ridden Go Steady. Successful last time out at Warwick he has a pretty good profile, having won two of his last four and finishing 3rd in the other two. He can win again!
G Boughey has a good record with his two-year-olds at Newmarket winning five from fifteen runners including two from three this year. In fact, if you'd backed all his two-year-olds on the turf for the last five years you would have made a profit. If you throw in Rossa Ryan's four wins from six for the stable the selection looks a fair bet.
HUKUM 3.25 GOODWOOD WON 5/6
Nine of the last ten winners of this race were priced at 7/2 or under and that includes six favourites winning. In my view, the favourite looks fairly solid here as four to six-year-olds have won all the last ten runnings which doesn't bode well for his main opponent Morando. His last run at Sandown might have been a little short for him but the previous fifth in the St Leger would be good enough for this race.
HEIGHTS OF ABRAHAM EW 3.00 HAYDOCK 11/2
Eight of the last ten winners were priced at 15/2 or lower but only two favourites obliged, so we're looking for a horse fairly well fancied in what is a very trick handicap. As ten of the last eleven winners had previously run in a handicap the favourite looks suspect in my view, a minor stat is the last three winners were drawn five six and seven and with my selection drawn six with straws in hand, I'm hoping for a decent run for my money.
The Silver Bowl has a smaller field than usual this year, which is probably due to the going but one runner proven is such conditions is this daughter of Archipenko. She was a convincing winner on soft last season and made a pleasing reappearance when getting up over 7F at Goodwood, doing her best work at the finish. Described as a potential ‘stakes’ filly by her trainer, she could be leniently treated off 86 here and the step up in trip should suit as she is bred to get 10+ furlongs. Looks the value bet with improvement to co
OMAN 1:20 Haydock 9/4
The Ralph Beckett team are in a rich vein of form and Oman can add to their recent success here. The selection got off the mark on his reappearance with a smart maiden win, however there are bits of form from last season that make him look well treated off this mark of 88. He ran behind some useful types that are now rated 90+, however his standout piece of form came on soft ground when running the now rated 110 Lone Eagle close (Listed winner yesterday). Oman could be allowed to stride on here, and with improvement to come and stamina assured, he should go close.
MOLLS MEMORY 1:55 Haydock 4/1
Ground is expected to be bottomless at Haydock come race time and one that will love such conditions is this 6yo mare. Her 4 career wins have come with cut in the ground, with two of those on heavy going and she clearly needs to get her toe in to perform to her best. The last of those wins came in October last year, off today’s rating of 84 on similar ground, and after shaping well on her latest run, everything points to a bold showing with the champion jockey in the saddle.
Well beaten Newmarket in the Guineas behind poetic flair ‘ beaten 18L legitimate excuse afterwards from the trainer ~ reporting the horse didn’t travel with his usual fluency suggesting the horse didn’t handle the downhill run on the quick ground and was heavily eased in the process,. Vet also reported no findings into the below run effort from the O’Brien trained runner, the winner has since been beaten in France when contesting the Guineas behind O’Brien trained St marks ~ that quick turnaround could just be enough to foil that ones chances / whereas the O’Brien runner will relish the soft/heavy ground selection ended last season r/up St marks beaten 0.75L soft ground G1 Dewhurst 7f finishing the race off well suggesting soft ground and 8f as the perfect trip on ground relishes “. Can never be confident after a underwhelming seasonal spin however taking into account many of the yards runners have tended to need their opening run and previous season form ~ makes me believe we will see Wembley in a much better light with Ryan Moore retaining the faith.
3.00 Hay ~ Nebulosa ( e/w bet ) 6/1
Silver bowl first run in 1988 which was won by Jamarj under mark birch for trainer Peter Easterby,. Looking through the stats theirs not much you can rely upon horses carrying 9-0 + have won 9 whilst those carrying under 9-0 have won the race 16 times,. draw favor those drawn middle to high,.selection drawn stall 8 for Andrew balding & Oisin Murphy partnership,. Standout piece of form when 5L adrift Guineas r/up saffron beach who ran a screamer behind Mother Earth,that piece of form looks a class above the opposition,. Only time the selection has encounter soft ground was when comfortably accounting for subtle beauty when making all under Oisin Murphy quickening up at the furlong and only having to push out hands & heels in a time 1m27sec which was reasonable for the ground conditions,. Return action was more workmanlike 0-90 HC beat Farasi lane conceding the r/up 5lbs ~ should come on plenty for that seasonal spin and with the yards horses in good order I’m hopeful of a big run..... -
4.50 Newmarket ~ Al Madhar ( win bet ) 5/1
Winner on racecourse debut here on the Rowley mile ‘ a race that has thrown up plenty of winners beating Al suhail neck with a further 1.25L back to the third placed runner first receiver ‘ thought good enough to contest the group 2 Dante behind thunderous only time Dane O’Neil ridden the horse ‘ usually partnered by Jim Crowley ‘ 2 efforts this season with the first behind golden pass and throne hall - form been well advertised with the latest coming Chester good/soft ground reduced BHA 89 behind the winner Baryshnikov beaten 2L in fourth place ~ small field should suit ‘ previous course winner who showed good battling qualities when winning maiden here ‘ clearly had a few issues along the way, however LTO gave me optimism to believe it won’t be long before returning back into the winners enclosure,.
A really open race and although this horse appears to prefer the AW tracks, I’m not convinced he’s totally against flat racing. It’s only won once on the flat but that was on soft going and it’s only had one go on the heavy before. 7f is definitely it’s preferred distance and it’s also won twice in class 2 races and this is a class 3. A left handed flat track looks ideal too.
H3.00 Teodolina 10/1
A C+D novice winner on the soft and has run once at Haydock previously and won there. Only ran once on the heavy and was unplaced but has won on the soft before. A mile is the right distance and the jockey has won twice out of 3 rides on this horse. A tricky race but in my opinion, this one seems to offer a bit of value.
L6.25 Donny Marlow 20/1
Only raced 7 times previously and has won 2 of those. Both of those were on the AW and I’m taking a chance on this one liking the going which it’s not ran on before, linked with some new untried headgear. It’s all very risky but has turned out ok for me before. It’s won at the same course and this distance before and twice in this grade. So it’s not all guess work.
Future Investment has repeatedly been very well backed from this sort of mark in much tougher handicaps, signalling that he’s expected to progress up the ranks further. Being sent off 4/1 in a 17 runner Old Borough Cup and 7/1 in a 16 runner Chester Cup from a horror draw really does speak volumes to what the yard expect from this horse. Whilst he’s yet to meet expectations, the prospect of a 2 mile slog in this easier race looks to be right up his street. The top two in the market have to step up markedly in grade off a higher mark and I’d rather side with the class angle here. The yard are flying (8/30 last 14 days, 69% runners beaten) and I’m surprised that the selection isn’t favourite for this race.
1500 Haydock - Headingley (1pt win) 8/1
In a race full of unexposed horses, a bit of speculation is needed to unearth some value. Whilst some will venture towards those proven on the ground, Headingley’s hugely exaggerated action suggests that it won’t be an issue for him. It was the aforementioned action that seemed to catch him out at Goodwood last time, hanging badly late on, but I’m happy to put that down to not handling the track. He finished that race full of running and would’ve run out an impressive winner if staying on a true line. Back to a flatter track, he can set a strong gallop from the front and grind his rivals in to submission in typical Mark Johnston fashion.
1550 York - Count D’Orsay (1pt win) 7/1
This race looks like a re-run of one over C&D last week with the market principles all re-opposing. Count D’Orsay has plenty to find on the bare form there but found trouble in running before finding full stride and wasn’t given a hard time thereafter. His starting price of 11/2f is a better indication of his ability versus those rivals. I was impressed with his penultimate run at Chester, typically finding plenty for pressure having been situated too far towards the rear. He travelled much sweeter at York before finding trouble which bodes well for such a game horse and I see no reason why he shouldn’t be at the head of the market here given he’s largely meeting the same rivals on better terms. The obvious exceptions to that comment are Pendleton and Hurricane Ivor, who may both find it all happening too quickly over a sharp 5f here. The fact David Allan let him coast home here last time looks a positive for his chances if anything, with others having to back up much harder races only a week ago.
Trained by dual purpose handler Adrian Keatley in a Malton. Adrian had plenty of success in Ireland before moving to England in 2019. On board will be the excellent Tom Marquand,who has been in good recent form. Has had 7 races on turf,winning three. Won last time out,10 days ago at York. That run was over 7 furlongs on good to soft. Led two furlongs out,went clear inside the final furlong. Eased inside the last 100 yards,winning readily by over 3 lengths. Such was the emphatic nature of that run that it looks like he will handle the longer trip. Finished third of 10 at Newmarket on only previous attempt at a mile,but that was on unsuitable good/firm ground.
3.35 Haydock. METHOD. Each way. 9/1
Trained by Martyn Meade who has an excellent record with his horse when fresh from a break of more than six months. Has a career record of two wins and a place from just four runs. Two wins from three races at this distance. Won on debut beating Fev Room who went on to run well in the 1,000 Guineas. Method won that race with ease. Won a Listed race at Newbury. Form of that race has worked out well with four different winners emerging from it. Only disappointing run was in the Middle Park,but the saddle slipped after only a couple of furlongs. Final outing was in the Cornwallis Stakes when backed into favourite. Finished well in final furlong,but definitely needed an extra furlong. Beaten by Winter Power who was impressive when winning recently at York.
6.40 Stratford. HOOPER win. 15/8
Trained by Nicky Henderson,who has his runners in good current form. Six winners in the last 14 days. In the saddle will be Mr.Ben French-Davis who claims 7 lbs. He is one win from one ride on the horse. Hooper is an improving type with 4 wins and 3 places from 8 career runs. One win from one run in Class 2 races. Won 38 days ago in a Cheltenham Handicap Hurdle. Battled on well on the run in. Second in that race has since won.
Seasett comes here having won nicely at Nottingham on his handicap debut. He’s gone up 9lbs for the win, but that looks well within his compass. He’s from a good family that tend to improve with age, such as The Grey Gatsby and Imperial Monarch. I expect him to keep improving and the conditions should be ideal.
455 York. Eclipse du lunar 8/1
Eclipse du Lunar disappointed on seasonal debut when well beaten at York over a mile and a half. The Tim Easterby yard rarely have them fit for their first start of the year and it was telling that even given Easterby’s style he was well punted. He ran really poorly and it looked like he didn’t stay and drops back 4f today. I expect him to run well at appealing odds.
350 York. Sunday Sovereign 16/1
Sunday Sovereign was a smart two year old in Ireland, before totally losing his way since being well beaten in the Norfolk when a short priced favourite. He has moved to the yard of Tim Easterby and showed enough on his stable debut to suggest he retains his talent. If he comes on for his first start for the stable he can go well
Very well handicapped and it looks ready to strike. Although it’s turf for isn’t great with only one win from 13 starts, however it’s AW form isn’t too bad. I think to slight ease in ground conditions amid maybe a different running style will really suit the selection. Trainer in ok form.
Dark Lion - Haydock 15:00 20/1
Last September came runner up in a group but since then hasn’t raced well. This means the selection has become very well handicapped. Today races off a mark off 95 which is two lower than when it raced well last year. I think the small field will help and the conditions will suit.
Dark Dexter - 15:50 York 22/1
2lb below its last winning mark and races here today on better term with a number of horses it’s has previously raced against. The conditions will suit the selections and trainer and jockey combination have a good strike rate. With a more attacking running style I feel Dark Dexter won’t be too far away.
If this wasn`t the `Nominated Race` I wouldn`t touch it with a barge pole ! Any of the 10 runners can have a case made for them and my selection could easily finish nearer last than first. The only one that is reasonably handicapped is RED LION but he carries top weight on forecast heavy ground. Nebulosa has a trainer still in form ( although not as hot as he was ) and a jockey that most trainers seem to rate ? The other reasons for my pick are, 1) The selections form with SAFFRON BEACH. 2) Unexposed. 3) Has won on Soft.
REDARNA - EW - 1-55 HAY 10/1
COLD STARE is the best handicapped horse in the race and has other positives, except the current price. REDARNA is reasonably handicapped and wasn`t given a hard time lto when his chance had gone due to being blocked when just about to make its move. The current price on offer is over 20/1 and forces my hand as a good ew selection. The jockey has won more than once on board and the trainer is a joint owner who could do with a winner. James Sullivan has won 4 times on the selection but goes to York for just 2 mounts.
POSSIBLE AMBITION - EW - 4-55 YORK 40/1
As mentioned above, James Sullivan ( an under rated jockey imo ) goes to York for just 2 mounts. Admittedly he has obviously gone for lto winner COPPER KNIGHT ( who may not appreciate the going but is still well handicapped ). Sullivans other mount seems a strange one. Would normally be ridden by Jason Hart, but he has LIBERTY BEACH elsewhere. This selection is unexposed and contested Cl2 races last two runs, where it was well backed lto. Now in a Cl4 and something tells me that if he handles the ground, he will outrun his forecast 20/1. Just like to say that if I am eliminated this week, I have enjoyed every minute and Good Luck to all remaining contestants.
Copper Knight won the Class 5f handicap over course and distance at the Dante meeting recently and a number of rivals he beat reoppose here. Copper Knight has been raised 5lbs for his half-length win but I thought he had a bit in hand and looks the one to beat considering he has won at York 5 times now, once off a mark off 106. He’s off 90 today. 5 ¾ lengths back in 10th was DAVE DEXTER and I think he can outrun his projected odds on his second start for Roger Fell. The run behind Copper Knight was Dave Dexter’s seasonal reappearance, he can strip fitter today, and he has a 7lb pull in the weights. A son of Pivotal, Dave Dexter’s four flat wins have all come with cut in the ground. The going at the time of writing is good to soft, and he is running off 84 today. He won a Chepstow soft ground handicap last year off a mark of 86. At the price I will have a tilt.
1pt win, MAC SWINEY, 320 Curragh WON 8/1
In a wide open Irish 2000 Guineas this lad appeals at the prices. A 10-1 shot for the Derby before the race, Mac Swiney was 4th to Bolshoi Ballet last time out at Leopardstown over 10 furlongs and drops back to a mile today. A Group 1 winner at 2 at Doncaster, winning the old Racing Post Trophy, beating One Ruler (ante-post 2,000 Guineas favourite), Mac Swiney's record on soft/heavy ground is 2 wins from 2 indicating conditions and trip won't be a problem.
1pt win, HEADINGLEY, 300 Haydock 8/1
Another difficult renewal of this handicap run this year on heavy ground and the vote goes to Mark Johnston's lad. He looked to be unlucky last time out appearing not to handle the Goodwood camber and lugging left-handed when finishing second recording a RPR of 91. He runs off 86 today. A winner over a mile at 2 left-handed at Chelmsford, I have little doubt Ben Curtis will attempt to ride him prominently and his action suggests he'll handle the ground. A sporting punt in a trappy contest.
The compulsory race has had me going back and forth between quite a few horses. Settled on Headingley over Nebulosa on a bit of a toss of a coin. Jockey good, trainer good, past results good. Raadobarg was another in the mix but i usually would have picked Nebulosa or Raadobarg and as i have been rubbish over the weeks, going for the 3rd pick in this case hoping for a turn of luck....
Hot Scoop - 6.25 Lingfield - Win 7/1
Horses that jump at me have not been great over the last few weeks but I will still try one out of three horses and see how this goes. Osborne has 25% around here, Saffie has had good results in the past, the horse is 12 pounds lower since its last win. Has good elements to hit the front. Win only is a risk but i need to get out of the bottom and each way might not do it...
Bright Apparition - 8.25 Lingfield - Each Way 22/1
If I go out today I might as well go out with what I usually do i.e. go for the big odds. It's been a strange few weeks/months picking horses, a bit unlucky and a bit rubbish somehow not making sense of stats... Oh well it has been interesting anyway. This one is picked because the Sire is well ranked for this type of races, Jamin is a good jockey, Burke and him have a good place / win ratio combo. Both are in 25% + at Lingfield, not amazing but if we can catch a place or better at good odds, can maybe live another day..
Week 9 – Saturday 15th May
This is a good quality race,and a few catch the eye, Bay bridge & tamborrada to name a couple, but Im going side with King Frankel in this one, he gets in on a mark of 82 the other tow mentions have to give him 8lb and 17lb respectively, The last race win was only a three runner affair but he ran to a very quick time. I expect him to go very close in this race.
SEVEN BROTHERS 15:15 NEWMARKET 0.5E/W
This is quite an open race and there seems to be a few with a good chance of taking the prize. SEVEN BROTHERS is one of those, winning 3 of his 4 races to date all over this distance on various goings (G/F to G/S), the only blip was when he tackled Grp 2 level. He is only 2 lb higher than his last win so looks to have a lively chance.
THE SOME DANCE KID 14:15 BANGOR-ON-DEE
On the face of it this looks quite a weak race. THE SOME DANCE KID likes it around here with a good course and distance record (2 from 2), the ground is also perfect for him with 4 wins and 2 places from 11 runs. His last winning mark is from 11 higher than he runs here albeit in 2019. He does look ready to get back into the winners enclosure.
Went into everybody’s notebook with an eye catching display at Newcastle. After spending the first 1/4 mile fighting with Hollie Doyle they readily picked off those who had first run in the straight to power away winning by 4 length under a hands and heels ride from Hollie. Bigger things no doubt expected after that and a step into listed company should be a minimum target based on that performance.
Thirsk 2.10 - Twisted Dream 0.5 each way
The only handicap that really caught my attention though I am fearful of 16 runners having the usual NR in the morning. The mile track at Thirsk is unique in that it goes against conventional wisdom and actually pays to be drawn wider around the turn. Of those that are drawn middle to wide theres only a handful who have shown any semblance of form and some of those have got poor form with any type of give in the ground so I’m taking a punt on Mulrennans mount. Finished plum last LTO but before that won twice and was placed in 4 consecutive runs granted they were on the AW so needs to show he can handle turf and a bit of give in the ground.
Newb 3.00 - Bay Bridge
Not much to choose between Bay Bridge and Highland Rocker on their 2yo meeting at Kempton but given Sir Michaels record with bringing on his charges slowly especially those with middle distance pedigree I’m sticking with Bay Bridge to improve more from 2 to 3. A form line with John Leeper will enhance Bay Bridges prospects if he obliges earlier in the day as the horse who finished last to him at Newcastle on his return then went on to finish 4th to John Leeper on his next run, beaten around 10 length on both occasions.
Time to go for the wins rather than the places! This week we’ll start with Happy Romance who comes out well clear of the rest of the field on ratings and I think is a value price at anything over 4/1. The form and the race conditions are both highly rated in my book and he was impressive winning a race at Chelmsford last time when everything seemed to go wrong in running. Hannon-Levy is a strong combination at Newbury and this one looks like an honest type so you will be sure to get a run for the money.
2.45 Thirsk – QUEEN’S SARGENT
Not the greatest run last time in a 15 runner field but winner over course and distance twice in the past. I rate the form highest in the race and the current price is likely to be based on the high draw. However in a field of this size I think there will be room to challenge late as he did in his last win at Catterick in April. I think that Young Fire is more likely to be a danger than the favourite but at the prices, Queen’s Sargent is the value bet.
3.00 Newbury – KING FRANKEL
The third selection today was originally going to be Fancy Man (2.05 Newmarket) but then I watched John Leeper’s last race again and it scared the life out of me. So I have switched to another Frankel offspring in the grandly named King Frankel. This is a bit of a hunch but I have a theory that the base form that this one has produced is a lot better than it might look on paper. So I have given it the equivalent of a “Timeform squiggle” in my ratings for this race. It did not have to beat much last time but looked mighty impressive in doing so. And the Mark Johnston factor is a big plus for me. Up in class and a bigger challenge than last time but I think this may be a dark horse who, at the weights and the prices is a value bet. There have been a decent number of subsequent winners from his previous races and I’m willing to give this one a go.
Azano is very interesting in this 7F handicap. He is now 5 years old and he is on his 3rd Trainer. Back in May 2019 he finished 11th in the 2,000 guineas when trained by John Gosden. He then went to France and won a Group 3 over a mile on Good to soft going. He was well beaten by Too darn hot over 7F in the Group 1 Prix Jean Pratt. He moved stables and went to F H Grafford in France where he finished 2nd in a Group 3 at Clairefontaine. He raced in a couple of other Group 3’s finishing down the field before moving to David O’Meara for this season, where he ran 7th in a Handicap at Goodwood. However he reared up that day and being a front runner, scuppered any chance he had. The soft going shouldn’t worry him and Cam Hardie rides
Bay Bridge– Newbury 3.00 pm 1 point win
The trends are very strong in this race. You are looking for a horse that is drawn in stall 8 or lower has finished in the first 3 last time out and has won 1-2 times. Ideally carried 8st-10lb or higher and rated 90 or lower. Step up Bay Bridge. Michael Stoute has won this race twice, as has Ryan Moore, so it’s encouraging that they have teamed up with this imposing looking fella. He was very impressive at Newcastle last time out and now heads for a Handicap for the first time. He handled soft ground on his first start at Yarmouth, so I don’t think it will matter what the weather does prior to the race.
McPherson -Navan 5.25pm 1 point win
McPherson is a horse that I have been waiting to come out since his 2nd at Gowran Park. He finished 4th to High Definition on his debut last season, which was a great performance and has a Derby Entry. I think the extra 2 furlongs is a big plus and I expect him to win this in good style before taking up his entry in one of the Derby’s. I read an article which indicated that Jessica Harrington rated him very highly.
Its been a good start for BOUNDLESS POWER since the switch to Mick Appleby, finishing 2nd on first run and following up with an impressive 2 lenght victory at Nottingham last week. The selection was pulling away from the field that day so the 7lb rise might not be enough to stop Boundless Power following up again if putting in another performance like that.
Newbury 4.45- King Ottokar WIN
KING OTTOKAR has 2 wins to his name, both coming at Newbury (2/2) and both coming on soft ground. The forecast is set for a heavy downpour this morning so should be another day in the mud which will suit King Ottokar. King Ottokar has dropped from 106 to a mark of 97 now and was due to run at York (good ground) this week but was made a Non Runner, maybe connections see this race as more winnable with conditions to suit.
Doncaster 8.05- Eye Of The Water EACH WAY
EYE OF THE WATER finished 2nd six times last season without getting his head in front. His current mark hasnt changed from all them near misses so theres not alot of room for margin of error. Eye Of The Water has no problem with the trip and loves the conditions, so with a bit of luck the selection should have a good each way chance.
A pick in the 26 runner 5f sprint at Navan where the last 5 runnings on good ground have resulted in 3 wins and 8 places. The highest drawn of these is Fool Proof (which may prove to be an apposite name). His trainer does not have the best course form but he is ridden by Kevin Manning who has partnered him the ;ast twice he has run and should be able to take full advantage of the draw. His best ever run was here at Navan 2nd of eleven.
3.50 Newmarket Arigato e/w
With a plum draw and course and distance wins on ground from good to firm to soft, both with Josephine Gordon up there is much to like about the chances of Arigato. Add to that the fact that William Jarvis has been operating at a win and place strike rate of 30 over the last month and it is hard not to see him going very close.
4.45 Newbury Overwrite ew
Overwrite was disqualified from 1st place last August when beating Tempus in a class two over the course and distance on good to soft. Today he is rated 4lbs lower and carries only 1lb more. He would not want it any softer but given his draw he should be able to get to the front very quickly and with luck it will be uncontested all the way home.
Now 12yo and taking on much younger talent, he still holds his form well and if the exertions from his run 5 days ago have not taken to much out of him he is in with a good chance today, the pace last time did not suit as it was slowly run and they quickened away from him, today with a lot of pace on the front their is much more of a chance of a collapse bringing him in to the race late on as he likes to run on through weakening horses, likes the track, trip ideal, ground OK and in a lower grade than he normally runs has a nice chance.
14.25 Newbury AL RAYYAN STAKES 1m4f LOGICIAN 1pt Win Bet
First time out winner every season so far, down in grade to group 3, and a prolific winner in his career this looks a good opening for Logician, Al Aasy will provide a worthy adversary but his class should be enough to see him off and start his 5yo campaign of well before moving on to bigger and better races, looks like the nice start for a big Dettori Double.
15.35 Newbury LOCKINGE STAKES 1m PALACE PIER 1pt Win Bet
Showed he still retains his ability last time out with an easy win. Back in to better class race now but still well ahead of these on ratings should take this race on his way to Royal Ascot, will be a short price but has to be the NAP of the day.
There appears to be nothing in this race capable of finishing in front of my selection. He was a very comfortable winner last time out at Stratford and has been in the first three seven times out of nine when chasing and that is the sort of consistency you are always looking for.
1.50 Newbury Tactical 1 point win
Andrew Balding’s colt has won three times from seven races and I fully expect him to oblige here. He won a month ag on good going over 7 furlongs but the drop back to six shouldn’t inconvenience him as he has won over this distance and clearly has the speed for it. In a couple of his races he has run into trouble and yet he has still won. I doubt we have seen the best of him.
2.45 Thirsk Flying Pursuit 1 point win
Tim Easterby’s 8-year-old gelding is quite a veteran these days having run 64 times already including last time out at Ripon which he won despite starting badly and ran on well. That was over six furlongs and I have no doubt he will be even better over a furlong further in this race. To be honest there seems little of note in the opposition with the likely favourite, Fox Duty Free, never having won on turf, being an all-weather specialist and I don’t expect that to change here.
The selection showed signs of a return to form last time out and with conditions to suit he can go close in what looks an open race. The last time he ran in this grade on turf, he was a ready winner at Ayr from today’s rating of 71. In fact, 3 of his 4 handicap victories have come off today’s mark or higher and he has soft ground form in the book. Last time he did well to come from rear staying on into 3rd, which was over 7f, so today’s step up should be welcomed and with Hanagan on board he can expected to be involved in the finish.
FUNDAMENTAL 2:40 Newmarket
Dropping in class, this son of Dark Angel can get back to winning ways before moving onto better things. The selection ran a decent race in an ever competitive Greenham last time out, coming 5th behind some much higher rated rivals. He seemed to find things happening a bit quick that day but that shouldn’t be the case in this weaker field on slower ground. Prior to that he was a good winner of a useful looking conditions stakes at Chelmsford, and he can continue the winning thread here in what looks a much easier affair than last time out.
KING FRANKEL 3:00 Newbury
Mark Johnston won this in 2018 with a runner at the bottom of the weights and he looks to have a similar type here in King Frankel. The selection was no match for Trawlerman on his reappearance however he improved on that by easily winning a three runner affair next time out. You could argue his rival underperformed that day but King Frankel recorded a top speed figure and looked impressive in the last two furlongs. He enters this affair from a lowly 8st2lb, getting lumps of weight from those at the head of the market, and with improvement expected (like many from this yard) he should go close from his rating of 82 which looks very workable.
The top of the market have serious doubts on the going, currently soft with the prospect of more rain to come. To that end, it looks a good race to have a go at something providing value a little lower down the betting. The selection for me is Rum Runner. He caught the eye last time over C&D running on strongly from the rear to take 4th when racing prominently was a huge advantage. That run, combined with his seasonal debut where he travelled like a well handicapped horse only fur the race to develop away from him, signal that he’s ready to go close again. Rum Runner’s record on ground softer than good isn’t jaw dropping but proves he handles the prevailing ground with a record of 4 places out of 7 runs. I expect to see him finishing off his race well out wide, with the leaders struggling against what can be a dead rail.
1550 Newmarket - Arigato (0.5pt ew)
Again the ground poses a question for those at the head of the market. Arigato has no such fears having won over C&D in soft and firm conditions, marking him out as a course specialist. The return to 7f here, where Arigato has a record of 101146, is a positive move given he is 1lb above his last winning mark and 4lb below the mark off which he ran a stormer in the Bunbury Cup last year. It’s easy to excuse subsequent runs and Arigato can go well here back off a break.
1645 Newbury - Alternative Fact (0.5pt ew)
Alternative Fact seems to be priced up solely on the back of his most recent run. In rear and wide at Chester is a recipe for disaster so put a line through that and you’ve got a horse that was competitive in much stronger handicaps last year. Beginning with a close up third in the Royal Hunt Cup consolation (any number of subsequent winners), he followed up with a cosy win at Haydock before finding only one too good there on two occasions since. His draw in the Balmoral ruined any chance; following that run and the aforementioned Chester effort, Alternative Fact is in here off a competitive mark and a generous price.
Won a group 3 race over C+D here last year and obviously had more to do at this level but although Is made about the going being soft enough for it but it’s won on G/S before and also won 3 times on good ground so I’m not too concerned about the ground personally. Other positive indicators are won 2 out of 3 times at the course, won 6 times at the distance and the jockey had won on it twice out of 3 rides. Also seems to like straight slightly undulating tracks. Clearly the favorite is very handy so a place might have to be the best we can hope for. But you never know.
Course and distance winner and a good 2nd here last month. Cheek pieces on for the first time and has Holly Doyle on board. Has never won on soft going but has been placed 6 times out of 7 races on it in the past so hoping it can go one better this time. Seems to favor. Straight flat track too so another plus hopefully
D8.05 Music Society
Trainer Tim Easterby going well at the moment. The horse has won on the expected going and at the 6f distance and also looks to like a straight track. The trainer is taking 3 horses to Doncaster today and my personal view is that this is his best chance of a winner
Days best bet ticking plenty of boxes along the way,already won group one Doncaster when comfortably accounting for Sir Ron Priestley 2.25L over a trip 14.5f good firm ground yet receives 3lbs from the current fav who to date has only won a group 3 Bahrain trophy 13f Newmarket good soft when beating dawn rising 1.75L seasonal return again group 3 winner ‘ beat without a fight 4.5L 12f good ground - form looks poor as those in behind have done very little for the form,.recording RPR 118 BHA 115 8lbs higher than seasonal spin against stronger opposition ‘ selection has the best form in the book and receives 3lbs from the jolly ~ selection 6-7 goes well fresh only disappointment was LTO run when last 4 under Martin Harley back under Frankie I’m expecting the runner to show his class by stamping his authority on his rivals here and returning back into the winners enclosure,.
4.45 Newbury ~ path of thunder win bet
Clearly has plenty of ability costing 375,000 guineas as a juvenile ‘ only made it onto the racetrack once last season when weakening entering the last over a mile soft ground ascot behind Khaloosy. Wintered well and returned to action meydan over 9f 3-16 eastern world under jockey Richard Mullen,repeat performance same BHA 93 would make the appleby runner of interest / receive 7lbs from blue mist and 15lbs from top weight accidental agent ‘ little miles on the clock and with the stable operating 33% SR around here 13-40 with Doyle holding 21% SR with his rides at the track with the likely danger coming in the shape of c/d winner blue mist who returns after a wind-op
3.15 Newmarket ~ Jumby win bet
Lightly raced colt from the Eve Johnson Houghton yard ‘ showed a decent level of form as a 2yr old and judging by seasonal return behind creative force showed the horse has trained on. Beaten a little over 2L after being squeezed up 2/3 times between the 2 and 1 pole ~ form already taken a boost with the 5th placed runner Rohan winning group 3 ascot beating St Lawrence 1.25L William Buick gets the leg up here replacing Charlie bishop who’s been aboard all 4 starts to date, booking of Buick looks eye catching on paper,. seasonal spin came after an absence 209 days and you would like to think with that effort under his belt the selection will be difficult to contain and rates a decent bet.
John Kirkup didn’t show a lot on his season debut over course and distance, but the key to him is the ground. When the going is soft or worse his record is 10 starts, 5 wins and 4 places. He’s won over 5f at Thirsk off 3lbs higher, so if can settle tomorrow over this longer trip he can go well at a decent price.
335 Newbury – Top Rank
Top Rank is lightly raced for his age, but is an impressive 6 wins from 8 starts. He has been slowly improving and posted a career best when winning the Doncaster Mile in decent style last time out. He certainly needs to improve to beat Palace Pier, but is thoroughly unexposed and could well make up to be a proper group 1 horse this year.
430 Thirsk – Effronte
Effronte hasn’t shown a lot on his 6 starts and he’ll be a big price as a result. I think he has shown enough to suggest his basement mark of 49 should be workable. He gets first time cheekpieces and his yard are known for having one pop up when you least expect it… Ideally he sees some money…
Has had just the three outings,and now runs in a Handicap for the first time. Finished 5th in a Newmarket Class 4 on debut last year. Led at three furlongs before being headed in the final furlong. Form from that race has worked out really well. Four winners have emerged from the race. On second run and seasonal reappearance kept on inside the final furlong only to get beaten by a neck. That was at Nottingham. Last time out won a 4 runner race at Ripon. Won the race comfortably by over 2 lengths. Progressive type trained by Roger Varian,who does well in Class 2 Handicaps.
3.35 Newbury. LOPE Y FERNANDEZ. Each way.
Bay colt by Lope De Vega. Trained by Aiden O’Brien who has a 24% strike rate in the last two weeks. Jockey booking is Ryan Moore. He has a 29% win record in the last 14 days. Won on seasonal reappearance at Leopardstown in a Class 1 Listed event. Travelled smoothly throughout,stayed on well and won easily. Has three wins and five places in 13 career runs. Two of those victories were in Class 1 company. All three wins came on similar ground to that forecasted for this race. Is entered for the Group One Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot. Looks the main threat to the odds on jolly Palace Pier.
4.10 Newbury. GLORIA MUNDI. Each way.
A Galileo filly,related to three winners. Trained by the Gosdens,who have won this race twice in the last few years. They have two runners in the race but jockey Frankie Dettori has chosen this one. Dettori is in fine form and the trainer/jockey combination has a 30% strike rate over the past 12 months. Won on debut over course and distance in April on good;soft ground. Frankie was on board for that victory. Ran on inside the final furlong. Nosed ahead in final strides. Has an entry for the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Won very well back in March in a C5 on the AW and has had two quitet runs since. Today races back in trip to 5f with the aid of blinkers. I would Think the selection will lead from the start and try make all. The trainer and jockey are in ok form and with conditions to suit this should gives the selection a good chance.
Fantasy Master - Newmarket 15:15
Came 2nd LTO over 5f and looked in need of an extra Furlong. Today trip is 6f and the selection looks to have his race conditions. I like the jockey booking and trainer is average form. All signs point to an improved performance.
Alternative Fact - Newbury 16:45
Didn’t race too well last week but did look like something was a miss. Today races off a very competitive mark and if fully recovered from last week then a better run is expected. The trainer and jockey are in good form and the condition of this race really suit the selection.
Having SDS on board is comparable to Tarzan being a contestant in `Get Me Out Of Here` ( see what I did there ? ). That just about sums up my reason for selecting Greystoke. Not well handicapped and is taking a BIG step up in class. I just love it when SDS takes the leg up on a Channon runner and the forecast 20/1 is too tempting. My previous tips are mostly running well next time out ( Concierge and Good Birthday just two examples ), I just hope one of todays comes in when tipped !
HAPPY POWER - EW - 3-35 Nby
Another BIG priced runner with SDS on board. The trainer is not one of De Sousas best supplier of winners, but is in blinding form. Happy Power shouldn`t win, but at current odds of above 50/1 he can place. The jockey is finally starting to fire, the trainer is Red Hot. The selection is 5th on RPR - 5th on TSR and 5th on OR ( I know what you`re thinking, he will be 5th, lol ) Finally, he is 1st in the RP predictor cartoon race ! Come On, you`ve all had a go on that. A place at 66/1 will do me.
VINTAGER - WIN - 4-45 Nby
Well handicapped, good Jockey / Trainer combination, no problem with the current ground conditions and has a good record at the distance. I am a little worried about KING OTTOKAR who is 2 from 2 at the course and KENZAI WARRIOR ( a NR when I tipped him recently ). Anyone taking notice of my tips this week will be aware that SDS is on board all three. More interestingly, he only has the three mounts and all for different trainers. This to win, hopefully at around 10/1 and any of the others to place will make my day and kick start a meteoric rise. COME ON SDS !
R Hannon has won three of the last four runnings of this race and strangely enough, R Moore has won the other two runnings but for different trainers. The selection won on his only start at Kempton, with the runner up that day winning his next race. The trainer and jockey have won three from six when teaming up with two-year-olds this season.
AL AASY 2.25 NEWBURY
Eight of the last nine runnings were won by horses priced 4/1 or under with four favourites obliging. On that basis, we're looking at the first two in the betting here. The selection won comfortably over course and distance last time in the John Porter. His main opponent has won six of his last seven races but blotted his copybook with a poor display at York last time. I'm not sure the stable is firing at the moment so I'm happy to take him on here.
BELLOSA 2.40 NEWMARKET
Eight of the last nine runnings were won by horses priced 5/1 or under, with the last four favourites obliging. The selection was an impressive winner over course and distance last month on her debut and although this is a rise in class she might just be a decent filly. Her nearest rival in the betting forecast ran down the field in the 2000 Guineas so it's an interesting race with also the fifth in the Greenham competing.
This one jumped at me straight from the page looking at the stats. When it happens it is often a good sign but as ever with horses they can also go the other way... If it was that simple... It has class results, form of horse/jockey/trainer. A triple 1 under its name and good odds. Pushing my luck with win only but I need to climb up this table... My only worry is the extra weight since it's last win, 8 pounds extra, still manageable hopefully.
Cloudbridge - 2.40 Newmarket - Win
Buick is a useful and often hitting the front jockey. Cloudbridge as a good sire suited here, Appleby is almost 30% here and generally good to back. It is a small field and 3 others could have a say but trusting the combo and horse lineage on this one. Crossed fingers...
The Some Dance Kid - 2.15 Bangor - Win
Every time i see this one on the course i remember the movie the name was adapted from. Good movie and good horse too which I often kick myself not to have backed. 75% on the distance for place and wins, good jockey on board. Massive weight off its back with a -16 since its last win. It should be in there. Hopefully the odds will stay worth something and not too many NR in already a small field...
This could be my last piece for Tip Idol and confidence isn’t helped with a very hard Saturday card. Michael Attwater and owners Dare To Dream Racing had a welcome winner at Newbury on Friday with Concierge and they team up with this 4 year old son of Invincible Spirit. Minhaaj has raced 11 times, posting 2 wins and 3 places with his last 2 attempts at 5 furlongs resulting in those wins. His re-appearance on paper looks pretty average, a 6 length 5th of 6 to Atalantas Boy in a Class 3 at Goodwood over 6 furlongs. Minhaaj looked very buzzy that day, pulling early doors, then taking the lead before being headed 2 furlongs out and running on one paced. Hopefully the run will have brought him on, he will strip fitter and, dropped back to Class 4 over the minimum trip with a stiff finish, I hope William Carson can get a lead on him which will see him repeat his Sandown win last August. Minhaaj ran off a mark of 80 that day (he runs off the same mark today) and hopefully can outrun his projected odds.
0.5pts each-way, OVERWRITE, 445 Newbury
It's a very interesting card at Newbury with lots of quality on show and the card finishes with this warm-looking Class 2 handicap. This lad is drawn in stall 2 so I am hoping Joe Fanning can bounce him out into the lead and seek to dictate matters from the front. Franny Norton employed those tactics when Overwrite won at Newmarket in April in a class 2 beating Oh This Is Us (won a Listed race at Ascot since). The 5th that day Mazram was second at York yesterday. Admittedly, Overwrite needs to bounce back from his last 2 performances, but he has been dropped a pound and is back on ground with a little bit of cut. He can go well at a double-figure price.
0.5pts each-way, ANOTHER BATT, 245 Thirsk
The card at Thirsk looks a bookies benefit, but I’m hopeful Another Batt can go close in this tight 7f handicap. Another Batt has had two starts this season, the first a never near last of 14 at Haydock but he showed up a lot better at Chester last time finishing a 5 ½ length 6th to Grove Ferry. Third that day was Another Batt’s stablemate Kynren who won at York this week giving hope the form looks OK and Another Batt has been dropped 2lbs from that race to a mark of 90 today. Another Batt has run only once at Thirsk and that was a win last year over Bossipop over 6 furlongs off a mark of 93. This six-time winner has winning form on good to soft ground and can make his presence felt here.
Week 8 – Saturday 8th May
Well, I was just about to resort to sticking a pin the Daily Mirror when I found a tenuous way into this race with the pace/draw angle. There seems to be a slight bias towards front/prominent runners from a high draw and SUNSET BREEZE fits the bill. Add to that the fact that M Prescott has a good record with returners after a layoff (SUNSET BREEZE won his first outing of 2020 after a 231 day break) and I have enough for a tentative bet. The main concern is that he hasn't won a 7f race in 3 attempts (came close a couple of times) hence the E/W bet.
16:15 Ascot FRONTISPIECE 8/1
Has a good turf record with 23.5% win and 59%e/w rates respectively. He's fine on the ground and has won in both class and distance. True, his last win was in 2019 but he's had a good couple of placed efforts more recently.He's had a run this year with a good 4th of 16 at Newbury and that will have opened the pipes to enable him to put on a show here.
19:20 Warwick FANTASTIC LADY 6/1
This race often goes to a hold-up horse but there doesn't seem to be too much pace on and that may not be the case this time. FANTASTIC LADY is a prominent runner and won LTO on good ground at Doncaster. Nicky Henderson has a good record with LTO winners and also with first-time handicappers and the horse seems to have a fair mark.
If last years big fields up the straight course are anything to go by then high is the place to be drawn at Ascot. On a Session is drawn second highest and also likes to race just off the pace which is ideal over this stiff 7f where the front runners will be coming back to them in the last furlong. A good 2nd at the galway festival over 7f in soft ground, the forecast rain should be well up his street and is expected to outrun his odds.
Ascot 4.50 - Album 0.5pt e/way 33/1
Signed off last season with a heavy ground win over 6f at Windsor rated 62. A fruitful campaign on the AW sees the grey run off 75 today but the forecast rain should again play to his strengths and with not much pace around him this prominent racer might get his own way in front of those drawn high and fend off any challengers if he can bag the rail.
Haydock 5.35 - Exelerator Express WON 3/1 20p R4
If tomorrows rain doesn't materialise Carol Kirkwood is off the xmas card list. Another selection who should love a bit of the wet stuff to fall. His last run in ground soft or worse saw him run out an easy 15l winner. The 2 races before that make more appeal when beaten by Venetia Williams Funambule Sivola who second time around was rated 112 and only beat Mulhollands horse by 5 length. Sivolas since gone on to find only a certain Shishkin too good in a grade 1 and is now approaching the 150 mark. If Exelerator Express displays that sort of form again in the hoped for Haydock mud he should be thrown in off 128.
Has a very consistent profile win 2 nd placing 3 times in his 5 runs hurdle runs, which were all over this distance. He is up 7lbs but looks like he is on the upgrade and can be there at the finish.
GOODNIGHT CHARLIE 19:50 WARWICK 9/2 NR
Has won at Warwick 3 times in better races than this - his last run at Cheltenham was encouraging, placing 3rd of 9, just running out of steam after a front running display., that was over 3 1/4miles the drop to this trip might see him in the winners enclosure.
RIVER NYMPH 15:40 ASCOT EW WON 12/1
A bit of a lottery and I have changed my mind a few times, but I have settles on River nymph. I had a bet on River in the lincoln but that didnt turn out all that well! Back in trip here could see him in a better light The high draw isnt too bad in fact I would say a positive. He has course and distance form and if the forecast rain comes has won on soft.
So how much rain is going to hit? I have assumed that the going at all tracks is likely to change and added that in as a factor to my ratings system. Isabella Giles has the necessary form on softer ground and brings some quality form to the table here. I am a particular fan of the Fred Darling form this year. Wins over the 7f trip are also a big factor here (and elsewhere this week). The profile is strong for the race over today’s conditions and she is well clear of the opposition on my ratings – form, speed and conditions all positives.
HARRISON POINT (each way) – 3,40 Ascot 33/1
So many uncertainties around this race. If the rain hits hard and the going turns soft I’d be looking more closely at the low draws. If is doesn’t then high would be favoured. So my choice ends up bang in the middle which may be the worst of both worlds – time will tell. What I do look for hers, apart from a ratings top five on my numbers, are wins over the 7f distance (which is a specialist distance for me) and at least one run this season. In Harrison Point we have a horse that ticks many boxes with four 7f wins and wins on G/S and soft. Up in class and best form on all weather are potential negatives, as is the track form of Archie Watson. However I trust Hollie Doyle to at least get him in the mix and I think is a bit of value at the likely prices.
EXELERATOR EXPRESS – 5.35 Haydock WON 3/1 20p R4
Progressive type who is rising through the weights – up 6lb from last win in April. However I rate the form as the best in the race and he has form on soft and heavy and if it rains at Haydock it can get to be hard work very quickly. Up in distance but looks a tough type so expect him to stay. Sam Twiston-Davies on board with two prior wins in the saddle to help him round. Well clear on the ratings and expect a strong showing here. I hope the price doesn’t get taken early and think at this evening’s prices he represents great value.
With a lot of rain forecast overnight, I would expect ground conditions to be soft for the start of racing, which would then leave question marks over a lot of these. One I do know will handle the soft conditions is CONSERVATOIRE. 2 wins from 5 starts both coming in the mud over 7f, Conservatoire was impressive at Doncaster on its win, having missed the break and encountering trouble in running, Conservatoire stayed on well to win comfortably, so the step up to a mile should not be a problem. The 4th that day (Paws For Thought) has since won impressively this week at chester to boost the form. Now lets just pray for that rain!
Ascot 3.40- Sunset Breeze Each Way 8/1
In what is a wide open big field handicap, I managed to narrow it down to a few I like the look of and settled on SUNSET BREEZE. Sunset Breeze has done all its winning over 6f, but has been very unlucky when stepping up to 7f finnishing 2nd on all 3 occasions, notably over course and distance back in September when beaten by a neck, the horse in front that day (Double Or Bubble) has since won a strong Class 2 at Newmarket and is now rated 101!, so maybe Sunset Breeze mark of 91 is still lenient. Sunset Breeze has a good record fresh and won on seasonal reappearance last year, so should have a strong Each Way chance.
Haydock 4.20- Presidential Each Way 12/1
Its been 13 runs since PRESIDENTIAL last won a race and so has now slipped back to a winnable mark. Presidential is a course winner and has no problem with ground conditions or distance, so looks a good each way bet at his price.
Sue Smith found a winning opportunity for Treshnish, last time out over course and distance and the 8-year-old must have an excellent chance of following up. Overall he has won two hurdle races and two chases at 2m on good and soft ground. He started at 12-1 in that chase over this course and distance (good) last month, beating First Revolution by 1/2l. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Itsnotyouitsme start as favourite which should give us a decent enough price for a horse that appears to be right back in form.
3.40 Ascot Jumaira Bay 0.5 points ew 10/1
This selection seems to fit all the trends and stats for the race and in my mind, only two things go against him. The first is that he wouldn’t want any more rain and the 2nd is that he hasn’t had a previous run this season. Jumaira Bay is a winner of the 7-furlong trip so that is no problem. He hasn’t been seen since October last year when 2nd to Molls Memory on heavy going at Newbury. He has loads of ability and winning a race like this is well within his capabilities. He has been gelded over the winter and that could also assist him. He’ll definitely win races this summer and I’m hoping he starts here!
7.05 Thirsk Chief Craftsman 1 point win 8/1
I’m very keen on the chances of this Tim Easterby trained 7 year-old, Chief Craftsman. The gelding has only won once and that is over course and distance but although he has been around a long time for a flat racer he has only had 12 races. There are positives to take from his last time out third at Musselburgh as well as he didn't get the best of runs and he has the advantage of that recent run as well, which was just over a week ago.
A very interesting mile event here at Haydock with the 7th from the 1000 Guineas taking on some up and coming winners. It looks like it will be a battle between the top 2 and preference is for the R Beckett trained Aleas who went in to my notebook after his first run last year, after that 2 very nice wins over this distance made him look like a horse with higher aspirations than Handicaps, but they start him off here in this class 3 handicap and if used correctly to dominate from the front could well boss these today before going up to pattern class.
14.50 Lingfield Park Derby Trial 1m3f 133y Lisred ADAYAR 1pt Win Bet 6/5
Was still very green and slow out the stalls at Sandown LTO in a Group 3 stayed on extremely well only going down by ½ L, this step up in trip is going to benefit his style and although needs to start better the extra distance will give him more time to settle and if he can I think Buick may try to dominate the pace from the front as he may ne the only guaranteed stayer and the form of the stable must give you more confidence.
15.40 Ascot Class 2 Victoria Cup 7f JUMEIRAH BAY 0.5pt EW Bet 10/1
One of the biggest and hardest 7f handicaps of the season and many runners to delve through. Firstly lets look at the draw, it is often best to be drawn middle to high very few low drawn horses get a run and most drawn low try to get prominent early which costs them at the end, so draw wise 10 or above is better, front runners have a poor record here but there does not seem to be any pace horses so it could be run at a slow pace which in theory should benefit those at the front but it does not seem to apply here. JUMEIRAH BAY looks primed for a good run, stabkes runners are always fit first time up and he always runs well after a break, I think this was their target after last years excellent season as a 3yo and the stable and jockey could not be in better form at present. Many dangers lurk and the 2 who could give us most trouble look to be Escobar and Karibana both drawn high.
Both trainer Beckett and jockey Hector Crouch are enjoying purple patches and on what looks a very tough day I am hoping to get off to a good start with Aleas. This gelding won over the mile at Newbury on heavy, so even if there's a lot of rain the ground should not inconvenience him.
2.20 Nottingham - Tynecastle Park e/w 10/1
Although Tynecastle Park has put in most of his best performances on the all weather at Southwell he has run respectably on turf on occasions. He stays 18f, the distance he won over lto in a class three, albit at Southwell. Here he drops to a class 5 over 4f shorter and in a race in which he appears to be able to get an easy lead.
3.40 Ascot - Escobar e/w PLACED 16/1
I was present at Newbury on Escobar's winning debut and took advantage of 16's. Subsequent investments on him have not been so successful. He is a quirky individual and seems to like a change of jockey. three of his five wins came with a new pilot and Danny Tudhope won on him on his second ride as did Adam Kirby in 2019 although he had ridden him in early 2018 as well. His only wins over 7f were his first two runs back in 2016. My hopes rest on him enjoying the return to 7f and meeting a new man on top in the shape of Richard Kingscote. He is a hold up merchant usually, but as there is not much pace on and the ground may be very soft he may be able to lie up closer and then descend like the wrath of god using his stamina and liking for the ground to beat up his rivals. Alternatively, he may well dog it out the back.
Albaflora is a very progressive filly, who was last seen running a close 2nd at the course over 1m6f. She finished just in front of Without a fight that day and I see no reason why she shouldn’t confirm that form in this. It is her first run of the season but I don’t think she will need the run and we know she will get the distance which we don’t know about some of the other fancied horses. She receives 5lb fillies allowance and is rated at 102. 12 of the last 15 winners were aged 4 or 5 years old and all of the last 12 winners came from stall 5 or lower. She is a 4 year old drawn 5 with previous Ascot experience.
Thistimenextyear– Haydock 3.10 pm 1/2 point each way 16/1
Trends are important in this race. You are looking for a horse no older than 7 who has won over hurdles at 2 miles, raced in the last 56 days and not a last time out winner. It also helps if you are 11-5 or less. That cuts the short list down to 5 horses. The race that could hold the key is the hurdle at Aintree a few weeks ago, where Rowland ward beat Camprond by ½ length. Coppeless was cruising when it fell at the 2nd last and Thistimenextyear finished back in 8th. The difference in the prices between the likes of Camprond, Copperless and Thistimenextyear is too big for me to ignore here. If Nicky Henderson trained this horse rather than Richard Spencer, he would be half the odds. He is getting a massive 12lb from Camprond and Copperless from Aintree. He was having his first run since June 2019 at Aintree and clearly needed the run. You must also take into consideration that it was an amateur race, so the rider can make a huge difference. He ran in this race in 2019 and was well in contention when badly hampered and brought to a standstill before 2 out. He was 10/1 that day but is likely to be bigger than that today. I think he has a sporting chance
Acquitted -Ascot 3.40pm 1 point win 13/2
Well I am hoping for 2nd time lucky. I put this up last week, only for it to be pulled out on the Saturday morning. I have had my eye on Acquitted ever since he was only just beaten by Palace Pier at Newcastle last year. The form of that race still looks very strong. For whatever reason he then appeared to flop twice last season before being put away for the winter on a very useful looking handicap mark. His reappearance at the Lincoln meeting was very pleasing, just beaten by Artistic Rifles, who then went onto to frank the form at Ripon two weeks ago. He is currently rated at 92 and I cant help thinking that he will end up rated in the 100’s. I think his price is a little skinny, but I think the stiff 7F trip will suit him and he has run well on heavy and Good ground, so it doesn’t worry me what the official going is on the day. This is a much tougher race to win than the race he was entered for last week, so the trainer must think a lot of him and he is drawn high which I think is very important. Due to his price I will be having a win bet only.
Escobar was a tip on his latest run but had no chance with how the race panned out. Much of the rationale still stands here. A strong pace, especially in the high draws, looks assured which will suit his hold up style with the stiff finish also ideal. The more rain the better for Escobar here and I’m expecting a big run with everything falling in his favour. His form at the track in winning the Balmoral from Lord North (since won multiple Group 1s) from 2lb higher looks as strong as anything on offer here. The return to a similar set up for the first time since can see a marked improvement.
1615 Ascot - Man Of The Night (0.5pt ew) 16/1
Like many Night Of Thunder progeny, Man Of The Night seems to need a softer surface to show his best. Racing on unseasonably quick ground so far this season, his mark has dropped 4lb back to the same level as coming second to Zabeel Champion at Newmarket. That run can be marked up for coming from the rear of the field, when Newmarket displayed a typical bias towards front runners. The winner is rated 101+ (due to be reassessed after latest win), having run off 83 that day. The trip is an unknown on the face of it here but the strong finishing effort on the Newmarket run, in addition to a winter of strengthening up gives more than enough reason to think he’ll cope. The ground is the key here and I expect to see him resume the upwardly mobile profile of his 3yo career with the yard in flying form.
1620 Haydock - King Of Tonga (1pt win) 4/1
Another horse who revels in soft underfoot conditions, King Of Tonga hasn’t had a suitable surface for his last 6 runs and finds himself a stone lower in the handicap. A strong showing last time, despite a sound surface, showed that his mark is within reach and it was interesting that he led for the first time on that occasion. The reapplication of cheekpieces here suggest similar tactics are in the offing and he looks like getting an easy lead. An easy lead over the 7f course at Haydock is gold dust and combined with the generous mark, King Of Tonga looks a very solid play.
Dreamloper is a course and distance winner and looks the type to keep improving. She was quite well fancied for the Victoria Cup, but goes to this fillies handicap instead. She will likely be held up for a late run but should be tough to beat. There is a slight question mark over lack of pace in the race but hopefully Perfect Inch will go on.
230 – Deja 10/3
Deja is extremely lightly raced for a 6 year old, with only 10 starts, which he has won 5 of including the Old Newton Cup at Haydock. He has shown a marked preference for soft ground, which he should get today. He had a good pipe-opener in a hot race at Newbury and should go well.
340 Ascot – Chiefofchiefs ew 12/1
Chiefofchiefs won the Silver Wokingham at the Royal meeting last year, coming from well back to win off 95. He goes off 4lbs higher in the Victoria Cup, which looks well within his compass. The extra furlong should help and he has the master of the straight course, Jamie Spencer, on his back. He will be held up for a late run.
Has won twice previously on good going which is expected today. Seems to like this time of year having won 2 out of 3 times in May previously. Has also won on a right handed flat track before so looks to have lots going for it and hoping for a decent run today.
Ascot 3.40 Karibana E/W 33/1
This horse has a lot of useful trends of previous winners and is proven at 7f and winning 2 out of 5 runs on straight slightly undulating tracks. Looks well drawn judged on previous runnings of this race and has a very handy apprentice on its back As good a chance as any in my opinion, fingers crossed.
Warwick 7.50 Goodnight Charlie 9/2 NR
Placed last month at Cheltenham in higher grade. Has won at this course 3 times before so clearly likes it here. Has also won on the forecasted G/S ground. Won at 3 miles and this is only 1/2f. further. Won 3 times at class 5 before and looks to like this time of the year having won 3 times in 4 races in May before. Bearing in mind all of these positives, I’m hoping for a good run tonight with any luck.
Conditions could be very testing come race time and one that will relish such ground will be Deja. This lightly raced 6yo showed improvement last season when comfortably landing the Old Newton Cup at Haydock, his third turf victory when racing on soft/heavy. He probably needed his reappearance run last month and better can be expected racing on his favoured conditions. The selection is top rated in this affair racing off level weights and everything points to a bold showing from this son of Youmzain.
ZIP 3:40 Ascot (each way) PLACED 20/1
As ever the Victoria Cup looks hugely competitive but this improving type looks to have a solid chance off a very low weight. The selection seems to relish soft conditions over 7 furlongs and proved capable of landing a big field handicap when landing a 19 runner event at Doncaster on his final appearance last year. He backed that up with a comfortable success on his reappearance at Newcastle and according to his trainer is still improving. If that’s the case then Zip should capable of going close off 88, especially when the 5lb claim of the capable Laura Pearson is taken into account. She should have options from stall 14 and be unaffected by any draw bias. With conditions to suit, Zip looks capable of reaching the frame at least.
LOUGANINI 4:15 Ascot 3/1 20p R4
This lightly raced 4yo should have optimum conditions come race time and is fancied to improve greatly from his reappearance effort last month. That run came on fast ground which clearly didn’t suit, finishing 5th of 5 and he shaped as if needing the outing. However that race has worked out very well with the winner taking a Group 3 since, plus the 3rd and 4th also winning next time out. Soft ground back over 1m4f should be more to Louganini’s liking, as he showed at Newmarket last season when running a mighty race to finish runner up in the Old Rowley Cup. That brought his record on soft ground to 1-1-2, and with the forecast rain at Ascot conditions should be perfect to make it three wins.
Four year old sired by Siyouni. Trained by Roger Varian, who has his runners in good Nick. Ten winners in last two weeks. Has a 22% strike rate at Ascot over the past 12 months. Jockey on board will be the 3 lb claimer Ray Dawson who is also in good recent form. Seven wins from 29 rides in the last couple of weeks. Won a Maiden at Chepstow over 7 furlongs before moving into handicaps,where he has been running consistently. Finished a good second in a 7 furlongs Newbury Handicap on final run of last season. One win and two placed efforts from 5 runs on softish ground. Looks to have a good each way chance in what looks a wide open event.
3.10 Haydock. HOOPER. each way. NR
A 5 year old gelding who is set to carry 10 stone 7 lbs. Jockey Ben French Davis is one win from one ride on the horse,and his 7 lb claim will prove decisive. Trained by Nicky Henderson who is in fine recent form. Eight winners in the last 14 days. He has trained the winner of this race on two occasions in recent years. Hooper has won all three races in 2021. Won last time out at Cheltenham, 24 days ago. Led at the last and ran on well to win by 3 lengths. The second in that race has since won. Two wins from three in Bumpers,and two wins and three places from 5 outings over hurdles. A rapidly improving type who looks weighted to win again.
3.25. Lingfield. PARENTS PRAYER. Each way. 11/1
A well bred 4 year old filly,being by Kingman. Won on final outing of last season with a success in a Listed race at Naas. Finished second on seasonal reappearance,at Naas in a Group 3 event. Will strip fitter for that prep run. Has run well in group company, two placed efforts from two runs in Group 3’s. Has a career record of 6 races, 2 wins and 3 places. Trained by Archie Watson,who has a 22% strike rate at Lingfield. The experienced Paul Mulrennan takes the ride. He has already won on board the filly. Mulrennan has 3 wins and 2 places from 5 rides for Watson,and has an all time record when riding for this yard of 9 wins and 6 places from 21 rides. A 42% win strike rate, and an almost 75 % place record. Won her Maiden at Ayr ,over 7 furlongs,running on well at the distance. Form from that race has worked out really well. Decent chance for this lightly raced filly.
2019 balmoral winner under jockey Adam Kirby off BHA rating 105 beating reliable yardstick Lord north heavy ground - winning by 2.25L held up towards the rear traveling well within himself,before quickening up smartly between the 2 and the one pole,for a comfortable success,only pushed out hands and heels inside the last. Trainer comments returned well after wintering out in the desert with couple warm up races - looked well in the parade ring latest,when partnered by Martin Harley good firm ground and not getting the best of passages through and with a clearer run would have finished closer selection 3-11 when the headgear left off 27% BHA here would suggest the O’Meara runner,reasonably well treated and especially with the amount of forecasted rain which has hit the track to make me believe the horse can play a leading role in proceedings,. Richard Kingscote booked which looks eye catching,HC mark slightly relented 8lbs below last seasons return to action ~ looks assured to give running from a favourable draw ~ sporting the first time tongue tie. -
1.55 Ascot ~ Lights on WON 3/1
Progressing along the right lines,250,000 Guineas filly out of Siyouni making racecourse debut behind the impressive stunning beauty,. Finished off well enough before breaking maiden a.w Newcastle second run BF Musselburgh over the mile on good ground fillies HC beaten neck Dawaaween pair clear again BF a.w behind river dawn,when lacking the pace again over the mile returned to action last month Nottingham when comfortably accounting for Crystal casque 2.75L off 85 looking well ahead of current BHA tomorrow’s revised 92 should not stop this progressive filly from recording back/back in a race that looks sure to be run to suit. -
2.15 Ling ~ Technique ( win bet Nap ) 7/2
Lightly raced filly costing just 40,000 Guineas by sire master craftsman, winning debut Wolverhampton over 9.5f beating new exceed 0.5L form been well franked with the third placed runner save a forest who has since recorded a couple of victories,. Selection took a considerable step up on second start when beaten in a photo behind the boys in blues Wirko since run well at Chester ~ that effort came in listed class ‘ trainer not adverse at getting smart sorts ‘ clearly well thought of individual BHA 97 looks fair when taking into account Nash Nasha rated 86 level weights * top rated and days best bet over what I believe is the perfect trip on evidence of 2 career starts to date,.
After hours of studying I almost tipped RIVER NYMPH, until I read the race result details of the Betfred Supports Jack Berry House Handicap at Ascot in July 2020. RIVER NYMPH beat WALHAAN in receipt of 13lb and is now giving the selection 9lb, a swing of 22lb ? Rain or no Rain, that is enough of an In for me. Both horses should be double figures and I am hoping for 20/1
LOVE DREAMS - WIN - 4-00 LINGFIELD 13/2
Banking on the rain here. I have a soft spot for this horse which goes back to 2017 when he beat Mountain Rescue in a decent race at Newmarket on soft ground off of 91. Admittedly, time has taken its toll and he is regressing slowly. Having said that, he is well handicapped and the rain should be more problematic for the other three runners. He wins small field races and will be around 7/1 with only 3 to beat.
CORMIER - EW - 3-10 HAYDOCK PLACED 20/1
A very interesting hurdle with fabulous prize money. In my opinion there are two well handicapped horses in this race, the selection and DIDTHEYLEAVEYOUOUTTOO. I came down on CROMIER because of 1) The Trainer - 2) Return of head gear ( hood ) and 3) Has won on soft, but is not reliant on it. A big step up in class which he hasn`t overcome previously, but the trainer is no fool and the price is very tempting, should be around 25/1
A 4 year old has won this race in the last 5 years and gelded for the first time, I’m hopeful this Roger Varian inmate can run a decent race today. Ray Dawson takes off a useful 3lbs and Varian is operating at a 26% strike rate over the last fortnight. Drawn in 11, Dawson can decide where to go on this lightly-raced son of Siyouni who finished a length second to Nugget at Doncaster last year. Nugget is now rated 101 while Jumaira Bay is rated 89. A win on soft ground at Chepstow and placed efforts on deeper ground suggest the going won’t be an issue.
1pt win, CRACKING FIND, 535 Haydock 4/1
It was a dreadful 2020-2021 season overall for the Sue Smith yard with very few highlights, the biggest of which was Vintage Clouds winning at Cheltenham. With 2 winners from the last 5 runners, the signs are hopeful things are turning for the Yorkshire yard who should have some well-handicapped horses. This lad appeared to benefit from a wind operation when beating Defi Sacre over 2m 4f at Newcastle last time on good ground with 13 lengths back to the third. Cracking Find has achieved a RPR peak of 139 in the past and runs off just 117 here and significantly has, twice in the past, followed up a win with another win. This interim trip of 2m 2f should suit him fine and the booking of Aidan Coleman looks positive.
0.5pts ew, WADES MAGIC, 835 Thirsk 6/1
Tim Easterby has had 8 winners in the last fortnight and I think this 4 year old son of Lethal Force can go well at a decent price in this Class 6 sprint. Off a mark of 62 Wade’s Magic has had a couple of sighters at Southwell and Beverley showing up OK before weakening in the last 2 furlongs. Back into a class 6 on a flat track, Wade’s Magic recorded 2 wins last year, the last being at Catterick on soft ground over 5 furlongs recording a RPR of 70. That was his last run in a Class 6 too, indeed his last 4 runs in class 6s have been 2121.
Not a race for favourites with only one winning in the last nine runnings and winners priced at up to 25/1. Four or five-year-olds have won the last six runnings with medium to high draw numbers fairing the best, you have to go back nine years to the last winner drawn in a single numbered stall. The selection ran a fine race to be just beaten a neck in the spring mile at Doncaster so hopefully, he can go one better today.
GRANGE ROAD 4.30 HEXHAM WON 85/40
P Nicholls makes a rare trip to Hexham with the selection, his last three runners over the years have all won. The gelding has been running over point-to-point courses in Ireland over further trips than this without winning. The trainer must be confident of a good run on this his maiden race in England to send him on his own all the way up here.
LOVING DREAM EW 2.15 LINGFIELD 5/1
Seven of the last ten runnings were won by horses priced 5/1 or under, so not a race for surprises. John Gosden has won three of the last four runnings with Frankie Dettori on two of them. They team up again here with the selection having been beaten by a decent sort at Wetherby last time but well clear of the third. This is a rise in class but the trainer knows what it takes to win this trial so I'm more than happy to go along with him.
Raising sand, Mottkhayyel and Greenside were with On a session the 4 that concentrated my research. Motthayyel might be good, has good numbers, very good jockey but it is heavy. On a sprint weight might be an issue. Greenside might have the speed and i almost picked it. Raising sand ticks a lot of boxes, ground, 60% places and wins, just wondering about the jockey, won in Ascot last week but I am not sure on a race with 27 racers... On a session then. Limited racing in the UK, did ok in Wolverhampton and a bit stuck in Thirsk but has weight advantage,a jockey that regularly places and Irish usually racing horses are often good surprise...
Jarveys Plate - 1.25 Haydock - EW NR
This one has the numbers on its side, jockey, trainer, horse, sire all looks fairly good. Lighter than the last win in Newbury a few weeks ago. Can place if not better and at good odds to do so. I cannot really see very high dangers from the rest of the field, need some win here...
Celestial Force - 3.10 Haydock - EW 20/1
This one might be the dark horse of the day but look who is on board, the one and only Bryony Frost who has proven to make the most of her rides. A bottom weight (almost), a horse that is 100% on place and wins on good to soft, probably soft with the rain in Ascot on Saturday, 50% on the distance and the course. A class jump but has the jockey to navigate it through the field and a place will be welcomed.
This one made a mockery of his handicap mark last time out, winning by 9 lengths of a mark of 123. The handicapper has not messed about, raising him 21lb for that win which will undoubtedly make today’s task much harder, but the manner of the performance suggested there could be much more to come, and there are already positive market signs going into this contest.
MOTAKHAYYAL 3:40 Ascot 18/1
Won on debut in 2018, 2019 & 2020 so his 2nd Place on seasonal reappearance last month could have been a little bit of a disappoint for his powerful connection, although he was giving 4lb to his successor and his record over 7f now stands at 12112. His form second time out stands at 21 with the win being recorded in the Bunbury Cup at Newmarket last summer, which was a very impressive performance. There is every confidence to believe he will be bang there at the business end and then move up in company.
DEYRANN DE CARJAC 4:55 Haydock 9/2 NR
This is one that I put into the tracker in late 2019 when he finished 3rd to Champ at Newbury. He had jumped well throughout the race and looked to be coming with every chance when a mistake put paid to his chances. He again went close on his next start at Cheltenham on 1st January 2020 finishing 3rd behind 150 rated Midnight Shadow and beaten just 2 lengths. Both of those were Class 1 races. He has only appeared twice since that day, both times in strong events and he returns tomorrow from 6 months off in a race that looks to give him a real chance of getting his head in front. He runs off a 4lb lower mark and should put up a big run here.
Week 7 – Saturday 1st May
The only runner to have a decent strike rate in the class the horse also has a 50% strike rate at the distance and a 33% strike rate at the course. The pace profile of the race suits a prominent runner and I expect Lazuli to be tucked behind the two known front runners to make a move at the end.
SKYACE E/W 15:20 Punchestown. 9/1
Has a 75% strike rate at the distance and has won over C&D. The Trainer/Jockey have a 30% strike rate over the last 30 days and the trainer has a 22% strike rate with LTO winners.The horse will have no problems with the going and the track configuration suits.
MASTER OF THE SEAS 15:40 Newmarket. 10/1
Ran 4th behind Wembley as a 2YO but that was over 7f at Curragh and he is 3 from 3 at this track.The trainer is going great guns at the moment and has a 32% win record with LTO winners. There should be plenty of pace with 3 confirmed front runners and I expect the selection to be waited with in midfield to run on late.
This is a very open renewal of the 2000 Guineas. I was torn between a few of these as there isnt much form to go on. But I think CHINDIT has a great chance and at a big price, winner of 4 of his 5 races with 3 of those on this going, I think this is a great value bet and could sneak into the winners enclosure.
FAG AN BEALACH 16:30 PUNCHESTOWN 0.5 E/W 9/1
Quite a large handicap to be betting on but FAG AN BEALACH has snuck in at the bottome weight having had an easy win last time. He stays this distance and likes the ground. D J O'Keeffe has also won on him - this looks like a good chance to get a decent prize.
SAVALAS 16:25 THIRSK 0.5 E/W 12/1 PLACED
Quite a speculative selection - but the course and distance form does bode well. All 5 of his wins have been over this distance with 2 course and distance wins and with 2 wins and 2 places in this class, it all points to a good run up there at the finish.
Finding it tricky to reduce the selections to three this week. Some strong chances like Judicial, Tom Collins and Aberama Gold have not made the cut. So the first selection is Maamora who led all the way in his last run in a Group 3 at Sandown last August. Goes well fresh and is a tough horse to pass. The form ratings in my book are well clear of the rest of the field and this one is a strong bet for me. I would have liked the trainer form to be a little more positive, but I’m sticking to my ratings.
SIR RON PRIESTLEY – 3.00 Newmarket 2/1 WON
The second runner today is Sir Ron Priestley who maybe running over a trip shorter than optimum, but I think has the class to overcome this against some promising horses. Mark Johnston is flying and has had success in this race before. The form ratings are strong and I can’t ignore what my own numbers are telling me. The horse is tough and ran well at Nottingham to win his first race back. He will be fitter today and will take all the beating.
MASTER OF THE SEAS (Each Way) – 3.40 Newmarket 10/1 2ND
To be honest I’ve changed my mind three times in this race and have decided to go for a slightly larger price each way. The Craven form has swung it for me and I have balanced my own ratings with the race trends to rule out a few, notably Lucky Vega who is a big danger if he stays. But Charlie Appleby is a particular favourite of mine and I’m backing him to outdo Ballydoyle. The important factors for me are that neither the ground not, more importantly, the distance are a concern. I’d be more concerned with the headstrong horse settling. The draw is maybe not ideal as I think they will tend to run down the middle and I think he will need some cover but, in a race where there are a lot of unanswered questions, I’m going for the recent form as a strong guide.
A wide open 2000 guineas to kick start the classic campaign but ive come to the conclusion this dawn approach colt along with wembley holds the key. Wembley looked to be the one to take out of the dewhurst but with another big field to contend with he may find a spot of bother coming off the pace again. Poetic flare on the other hand has plenty of form in the book along with a pipe opener in listed company at Leopardstown. He also keeps things simple in the races racing prominently so shouldn't find too much trouble and appears to be the value pick.
Newm 2.25 - Emaraaty Anna 0.5pt each way 15/2
Ive always thought the selection has been unlucky in plenty of races, granted i maybe talking through my pocket, getting collared a couple of times late on in his races. Hopefully the drop down to the minimum trip will see him keep his head in front this time. Get out infront and try and nab the rail would be my instructions to andrea.
Thirsk 4.40 - Hartswood 0.5pt each way 11/1
A highish draw is often key over this trip at Thirsk and racing prominently is also a positive. As theres not much pace on in the high numbers im hoping hanagan can be the man again and get first run on the rest with his main rival being drawn right alongside in stall 11 to keep a close eye on. A win and 2nd in 3 races over a mile with the other run in heavy ground should see him see out the trip well.
A very good win LTO after over 1m6f beating Ocean Wind by just over 1L, Ocean Wind has since run within a length of Stradivarius so the form looks solid, the step back to 1m4f won't be a problem as he likes to front run and can use his stamina to good use and really stretch these out from a long way out.
15.20 Punchestown Mares Champion Hurdle 2m4f
CONCERTISTA 1Pt Win Bet 10/11
Beaten by a head at Cheltenham after making some mistakes, should be more suited to this flatter right turning track, looks to make amends and looks the best in this field with most of these needing to step up to beat her.
15.40 Newmarket 2000 Guineas Group 1 over 1m MUTASAABEQ 1Pt Win Bet NAP 9/2
Was very impressed with the performance first time up this season here at Newmarket over 7f, quickening up well to go clear and win by 6L in a very good time, showed that he has trained on from 2yo to 3yo and the way Jim Crowley has spoken about the horse, he seems very confident he will easily stay the extra furlong and the ground looks very much in his favour as he seemed to bounce of it last time so quicker ground won't be a problem.
Aidan O’Brien has dominated this race over recent years so it makes sense to focus on his runners. Wembley, being by Galileo, is the only one sure to have improved as a 3yo and whilst the others look as though they will physically it remains to be seen. Wembley looks a perennial bridesmaid but the trainer has admitted that most of his 2yo’s were messed around last year. In addition to that, he was extremely unlucky in running in behind the National Stakes and ran very well against the draw / pace in the Dewhurst. Those runs in Group 1 company, despite adversity show that he was improving from start to start and I expect the pattern to continue here. Better ground and the step up to a mile are further catalysts for improvement, even though none are needed on my reading of the form. Drawn middle to high looks key and granted a clear run Wembley can be coming home strongest.
1410 Thirsk - Copper And Five (1pt win) 10/3
Ruth Carr’s stable had a poor 2020, leading to many of her horses being well handicapped now. Despite the poor form, Copper And Five displayed some really solid form for such an inexperienced horse. This season he was immensely eye catching at Pontefract on his first start, travelling extremely keenly towards the rear but still finished his race off well despite the stiff finish. That run signalled that he is well treated which was confirmed by the subsequent solid run in a much better race at Nottingham. Back down in class here, the big field and strong pace should suit this strong traveller who can come fast and late to pick them all off.
1440 Thirsk - Hortzadar (0.5pt ew) 20/1
Hortzadar’s Lincoln run from stall 1, getting little cover but travelling brilliantly in to a race that is traditionally extremely strong. The form is yet to be tested but the Spring Mile over the same C&D looks strong with the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 8th and 9th having won or placed since and was run at a slower pace at every sectional. The two form lines cross here with Acquitted representing 2nd in the Spring Mile, but given the price discrepancy and more substantial performance from Hortzadar in a direct comparison I’m happy to take a chance. Hortzadar had no chance at Newmarket given his run style and the emergence of the pace highway against the rails so you can write that run off, he appears slightly overlooked as a result. Al Erayg is the only pace angle but might need further so I don’t expect him to dawdle, hopefully setting a reasonable pace here for Hortzadar to aim at. Regardless of the final pace, the draw in 15 means that Tudhope won’t be hostage to fortune and can slot in where he sees best.
Maamora hasn’t been seen since winning the Group 3 Atalanta Stakes at Sandown last summer. That was a smart performance for a filly that has generally shown a decent level of form in her career. Dubawi’s tend to keep improving with age and her stable are in good form. She should go well.
400 Punchestown. Zanahiyr 7/2
The form of the Triumph Hurdle and the Fred Winter (Boodles) gets tested in this with the majority of the field having run at the Cheltenham festival. Zanahiyr has to turn the form around with Haut En Couleurs and Quilixios, but the Triumph was a very slowly run affair and Zanahiyr wasn’t seen to best effect that day. Earlier in the season he had posted some serious figures and I expect him to turn the form around.
340 Newmarket. Wembley 9/2
A typically competitive renewal of the 2000 Guineas. Wembley doesn’t have the profile of a typical Guineas winner, having only won 1 of his 6 starts, but he’s run to a very high level of form and given his pedigree (by Galileo out of prolific mare Inca Princess), there is a very good chance he will have improved over the winter. If he has improved he should go close.
With both Frankie and Saaid Bin Suroor in flying form I am hoping that they can combine to take advantage of Dubai Legacy's previous course success and good form on good to firm going. He ran third in a valuable handicap in Meydan in February and although up in distance is bred to get 9 furlongs.
3.35 UTTOXETER - SOLOMON GREY Win 9/1
Relying here to some extent on the Skelton's phenomenal success at Uttoxeter, although their hurdle form is better than chase form a 17.67 chase strike rate and 28% course strike rate is not to be sneezed at. In addition to this Solomon Grey has an immaculate 3/3 wins on his visits here. There is a fly in the ointment which is that this is only his 2nd try at 3m. The first go was in a listed chase so down in class on his preferred going, he looks worth a try.
3.40 NEWMARKET - ONE RULER Win 11/1
In what looks like a very open race the combination of James Doyle and Charlie Appleby looks appealing. Although Buick would appear to be on the stables first selection, I think the draw advantage lies with the Doyler. Main dangers appear to be drawn right by him in Van Gogh and Wembley.
BELL ROCK is a 2 time course winner and also finished 3rd in a big field handicap over course and distance back in September. Today the selection has 5lb claimer William Carver on board so will be 5lbs below the mark for that day is back off his last winning mark.
Newmarket 2.25- Judicial Each Way 13/2
The veteran of the field JUDICIAL still poses a massive threat to these youngsters, 10 wins and several places off the back of a break for a 14% S/R, a couple of 2nds here in this race on reappearance and course and distance form figures of 2712 ( the win coming in a 2 runner race), Judicial has no problem with the track or todays ground. 2lbs lower from last win, I think the selection has a great each way chance.
Newmarket 3.40- Master Of The Seas Each Way 10/1 PLACED
AP O'brien is looking for his 11th win in this race and has a strong hand with 3 live chances. Wembley looks to be the pick of the 3 with Moore taking the ride, but is too short a price for me so I will be looking elsewhere for some each way value. Charlie Appleby has a 23% S/R over course and distance and an impressive 28% S/R from 775 rides when teamed up with William Buick. Buick has chosen course and distance winner MASTER OF THE SEAS from Appleby's 3. Winner of the Craven 2 weeks ago, he travelled strongly and then found himself behind a wall of horses, having to switch from the rail he eventually found a gap 5 wide and quickened up nicely to power to the front, staying on well to gamely fend off stable mate La Barrosa.
Aidan O’Brien has a tremendous record in the 2000 Guineas and Wembley can make it 6 wins in the last 10 renewals of the classic. The selection had a productive 2 year old campaign and looks every inch a miler, having won over 7.5f and staying on strongly to grab 2nd in the Dewhurst last October. That Newmarket course experience should stand him in good stead and having apparently wintered very well, he should be spot on for this, so with plenty in his favour Moore can hopefully steer him home to land another Guineas for the Ballydoyle team.
LONGLAI 5:25 Newmarket 11/2
An impressive winner on his recent reappearance, Longlai can follow up here off top weight. The selection showed improvement last term for the step to a mile and something was clearly amiss on his handicap debut when finishing lame. Following a gelding operation, he reappeared at Beverley over 7.5F where he was a convincing winner, always travelling well and running away from the field towards the finish. The step back up to a mile here should suit and having won with plenty in hand last time out, he should be capable of defying the 7lb rise under De Sousa.
CHAIRMAN POWER 4:55 Thirsk 5/2
It’s rare to see one of Stoute’s runners rated as low as 68 but that should change here as Chairman Power looks to have found a golden opportunity to get off the mark. The selection showed his best form to date over the this trip two runs ago, when finishing a close runner up behind the now rated 85 Dazzling Rock. He disappointed on his reappearance over 12f when perhaps needing the run (as many from this yard tend to) however that wasn’t a bad race considering the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 6th have all won since. Today’s event looks a very weak contest and back over 1m6f, it’ll be hugely disappointing if Chairman Power can’t get off the mark against a bunch of highly exposed types.
This superb 5 year old came back as good as ever after a year and a half out beating the progressive Ocean Wind convincingly and that one franked the form this week running a stormer against Stradivarius at Ascot. If you can remember the 2019 St Leger you will note how well he ran against Logician only going down 2 lengths. Pyledriver is a false favourite and will only make the price better for Ron. I would follow this chap until he is beaten but i cannot envisage defeat for him today. A mega confident 1 point win.
Master Of The Seas 3.40 Newmarket 10/1
I always look for a selection to have had a prep race before taking in a guineas and in Master Of The Seas you have a colt who has 2 runs under his saddle already . He came out at the end of February running at Meydan and just got beat by Naval Crown . That seemed a slight shock-that he had been beaten but he improved off that initial run storming home here at HQ winning The Craven Stakes with authority. Buick keeps the ride today and i really do think this one is a bullet proof each way bet at around 11/1 . Avail yourself and enjoy. 1/2 point each way.
Saint Sam 4pm Punchestown 10/1
Saint Sam has decent form with the main protagonists in Zanahiyr and Quilixios but as-well seems to be improving with each race run this season especially at Cheltenham last time where he only got beat two lengths by Jeff Kidder giving him a stone . Off levels this improving gelding has nothing to fear from Jeff and is a sporting selection to go all the way today at a great price. The front two aren't that far clear of him and i feel could be great each way bet running in this. Lets cheer this Willie Mullins outsider on to a rare victory . 1/2 point each way.
3yr colt out of champion Galileo who himself was champion 3yr old winning the Epsom derby,Irish derby,and king George top class pedigree, the O’Brien runner,held form well throughout 2yr campaign improving with racing ~ form figures 322122 would suggest the Aidan O’Brien runner was slightly backward in coming forward’ breaking maiden tag third career start ‘ beat sword zorro who’s since been shipped off to America ...... beaten 1.5L G1 national stakes behind thunder moon with stablemate St marks basilica further back,coming off an official rating 92 given a huge hike in the ratings 112 ending the campaign when r/up St marks basilica LTO beaten 0.75L both the winner & r/up both doing their best work at the finish & both should relish the Guineas distance of a mile ‘ both turned around form previous with thunder moon ~ ground description currently described as good racing ground ‘ although theirs been rain forecasted in the region between Wednesday and the Saturday making me believe the official going come race day will be good racing ground, st marks basilica form has been with underfoot conditions yet has struggled with the going when described on the good side of good, therefor I’m quietly confident Wembley will improve on the better ground. hopefully will prove a champion 3yr old like his sire ~ strong e/w claims sadly the price has collapsed since taking the 6s last weekend into around 4s with bet365 because of this and further support in the market it would be foolish tipping a probable 3/1 shot come race time ‘ bookmakers running scared ~ therefor I’ve been left with little option at this stage of proceedings in anything other than advising the win.
4.25 Thirsk ~ Eeh Bah gum e/w bet. 15/2
Very well weighted runner from the Tim Easterby yard ‘ booking of Daniel Tudhope looks eye catching on paper ‘ handles quick ground well ~ although has tendered to need the opening run, theirs no doubting HC mark 75 workable,.lowest mark since 2018 ‘ stable has had a few seasonal returnees winning and if fit enough on seasonal spin could well outrun current odds, showed handles the track and when last appearing here wasn't far behind stablemate autumn flight good to soft over 5f towards rear, before noted making strong late gains before weakening close home,beaten little over a length whilst trying to conceded stablemate 4lbs in the weights ~ at the weights looks a live e/w contender.
4.00 punch ~ Quilixios win bet 2/1
Unbeaten over hurdles recording personal best with each race latest coming off RPR 149 Cheltenham when comfortably accounting for Adagio from the David pipe yard selection raced a tad keen throughout before coming back onto the bridal 2 out and once given the office by Rachel Blackmore drew clear inside the final 1/2f prior to that beat Saint Sam 5.5L when again quickening up in the manner of a progressing sort 5-5 over hurdles with the latest two both coming in grade one races, revised mark 150 10lbs below champion hurdle form } lightly raced 4yr old gelding and victory here will certainly have trainer and jockey dreaming of champion hurdles further down the line
Trained by Charlie Appleby and ridden by William Buick. This combination has a healthy 30% strike rate. Trainer has a good record at this course, 27% strike rate. He has three runners in this race . Appleby is in top current form,with 6 winners and 3 places from 12 runners in the last two weeks. Won the Craven Stakes over course and distance last month,displaying a great turn of foot. Has a career record of 3 wins and a place from only 5 runs. All three successes came at this track. Only below par run was in the National Stakes at the Curragh in September. Finished fourth of 10, after taking a keen hold early on. Looks the main threat to the Irish raiders.
2.15. Punchestown. STAND UP AND FIGHT win. NR
Bred for chasing ,being by Flemensfirth. Finished third on Thursday in the La Touché Cup,when backed into 13/8 favourite. Ran well for the vast majority of the race before making a mistake which possibly cost him the race. Drops back in trip for this race,which should prove suitable. Prior to last run was beaten a neck after having led up until the run in. Trainer Enda Bolger is an expert in these types of race,and has top amateur Mr.Derek O’Connor on board. Winner at Fairyhouse in November,and has a past success at this track.
5.25 Newmarket. TORNADIC win. 12/1
Trained by Eve Johnston Houghton. She has a good course record,and has her runners in fine recent form,with three winners in recent days. Finished fifth at Musselburgh on seasonal reappearance. Will have come on for that prep race. Winner of that race has won again since. Two wins and a place from four runs on turf. Distance winner,and has also a win on similar ground. Won at Lingfield over 7 furlongs on debut,and then again at Salisbury over a mile. Ran on well in both of those races. Races off a handicap mark of 90,which shouldn’t prove an inconvenience.
The selection didn’t race too well last time out but is extremely well handicapped on its AW form. With the field size being smaller and conditions to suit, I feel the selection will run a better race and at the prices offers great value. The trainer and jockey are in form, all signs lead to an improved performance.
On a Session e.w - Thirsk 14:40 14/1
The selections previous run was on the all-weather and I would imagine a prep race for this. This is its 2nd start for the yard and looks to be well handicapped on its past Irish form. On a session will be up with the pace and not far away come the end. The trainer is ok form and I like the jockey booking.
Lucky Vega e.w - Newmarket 3:40 12/1 PLACED
This step up in trip should really suit Lucky Vega after some really promising form over 6f & 7f. The selections goes on the ground, so with conditions to suit I can really see a big run at big prices for the selection. Jessica Harrington & the jockey are in ok form.
Right, the 2000 Guineas ! Obviously not a handicap and usually won by the Big Boys. I think that MASTER OF THE SEAS will run a big race and could win at double figure odds. Why not tip him then ? Well, I would not back the Jockey with your money and I certainly wont be tipping him on here. He once rode a nice horse ( rated in the 90s ) which I had a small share in and was more interested in the female attention that he was getting in the parade ring than talking to the owners ( not entertained him since ). So, I have been drawn to an unlikely couple that are both being snubbed in the betting. At the moment they are both three figure prices and it was a tough decision which to pick. I have come down on the side of DEVILWALA ( because of the trainers form ) ahead of MYSTERY SMILES, even though the latter finished in front of my selection in the Craven. They finished 3rd & 4th behind MASTER OF THE SEAS in the Craven, where DEVILWALA lost a front shoe. Master Of The Seas is currently 18s and these two are 100/1 and bigger in places ? I will be backing both EW ( already have ) and hope that they are still there a furlong out, so that I can shout them home.
MINELLA CELEBRATION - WIN - 3-35 Utt 5/1
This was my selection for the Grand National and was making smooth headway before stumbling well after landing and the jockey took the easy way out with a very comfortable UR. He is not as well handicapped as I would like but is obviously in form and I believe on a bit of a recovery mission. He loves it here at Uttoxeter 3 from 3, as does SOLOMON GREY also 3/3 ( but not proven at the distance ). At time of writing MINELLA is 11/1 but I believe will be backed in to around 7/1, so WIN it is.
WHISPERINTHEBREEZE - EW - 4-30 Punch 20/1
Newmarket may be the headline meeting this side of the Irish sea, with the 2000 Gns the obvious highlight. Watch out for decent Jockeys that have gone elsewhere ( Ben Curtis for example should have 2/3 winners at Don ) and could have more. Having said that, they are all ( bar one ) low priced runners. Back to my point though, JOCKEYS, specifically R POWER ! I was contemplating RESERVE TANK at Utt and wondered why B POWELL was on board ? Looked for Robby, low and behold he has just the one mount at the BIG meeting taking place on the other side of the said sea, Punchestown, on a horse that needs a leap of faith to side with. BUT, a horse that has beaten LIVELOVELAUGH in 2019, taking a 68k prize whilst doing so. Yes he needs to show that he retains some ability, but if he does, watch out Statman ! No early prices available but I expect at least 66/1 or bigger !
Mascat looked to be unlucky last time out at Ripon on the 15th April and caught my eye when watching this race back. He still finished a good 2nd to Zabeel Champion (who has won again since). I think Mascat would have beaten Zabeel Champion there but was caught short of room (boxed-in) about 2 furlongs out. He had to be pulled out by Laura Pearson and was running on strongly towards the finish; he looked to have plenty left in the tank but didn't get the chance to get motoring. I think this race may have always been the plan and this lad has a decent record at Newmarket too (1 win, 1 place) from 3 runs. Top amateur Laura Pearson retains the ride (claiming a handy 5). I fancy the Ripon race was a 'get-to-know' scouting mission for this race. Shrewd Ralph Beckett is in flying form (31% strike rate in the last 14 days). I expect a big run and at least a place.
1pt win, THUNDER MOON, 2,000 Guineas 9/2
In an open looking contest I actually strongly fancy Thunder Moon for Joseph O'Brien. I'm going against his father's domination of the race but the fact that Aidan runs so many suggests he doesn't have a real superstar. If you forgive this lad his Dewhurst run (soft ground) I think he'd be a 2-1 fav for this race. It was clear he didn't like the ground that day at Newmarket, he travelled well into the race but couldn't quicken. Prior to that in the National Stakes at the Curragh (good ground,) he showed a devastating turn of foot, storming through to win and putting Wembley, St Mark's Basilica and Master of the Seas to the sword. It's all about the ground for me and I think he's worth forgiving. One other note to add Joseph was unusually 'bullish' in an early April stable preview.
1pt win – NUGGET, 240 Thirsk 10/3
An apt selection with the Snooker currently taking place at The Crucible Theatre and The Spring Cup at Newbury won by Nugget 13 days ago feels like it was a warm handicap with the front 3 in the market occupying the top 3 positions and the 9th that day Oh This Is Us won a Listed race at Ascot this week. The time was 0.54 seconds above standard on good ground. What struck me was the ease with which Nugget travelled that day in a decently run event and he put the race to bed emphatically 2 furlongs out. The Racing Post gave him a RPR of 106 for the performance (he runs off 97 today) suggesting he has a bit in hand of the handicapper. The last 12 winners of the Thirsk Hunt Cup were aged 4-6 with a SP of 16-1 or less. That rules a few out and to me the biggest danger is Astro King. The pair met at Nottingham where Sir Michael Stoute’s charge beat Finest Sound (winner since) by a short-head with Nugget 1 ¾ lengths back in third. Nugget is 1lb better off today so technically Astro King should beat him again today. I think the result will be reversed on two grounds. Firstly, Nugget was penned in by Finest Sound trying to make a challenge 2 furlongs out. Rossa Ryan switched to the inside and he was hampered inside the final furlong. The second is the draw. Astro King is drawn wide in 11 and may have to use valuable energy to get prominent. Nugget has a kinder draw being out of stall 4. I can see Nugget’s jockey Sean Levey getting an early position on the rail, getting a tow from the leaders and kicking on to win 2 furlongs out. It sounds easy on paper!
A brave punter takes on AP OBrien in this race, he has after all won five of the last nine runnings. Ten of the last twelve winners had won last time out which I think is an important stat, something that doesn't apply to a few of the fancied runners in this race. Over fifty percent of C Applebys three years olds have been placed at Newmarket over the last five years and a profit would have ensued if you'd backed them all. With my favourite jockey on board, W Buick, I'm hopeful of a good run for my money.
LILAC ROAD 2.05 GOODWOOD 2/1
W Haggis has a one in four strike rate with his three year olds at the track and a decent return if you backed them all in the last five years. The stable is in good form at present as well. The selection won over this trip at Kempton last time out comfortably beating a long odds on shot of J and T Gosdens, I think this could be a decent filly.
NASHVILLE NIPPER 2.30 UTTOXETER 13/8
This race invariably goes to a well fancied horse, in fact seven favs have won in the last ten runnings.The highest-priced winner during this period was only 5/1. The selection was third to a subsequent winner last time out and I hope improvement will follow.
A really open race in my opinion and every type of trend I look at seems to be shared by many of the horses competing this race so I have plumped for one that clearly loves the ground and is proven in the top class of race and has great turn of foot when it’s called upon.
P 5.40 Rebel Early 18/1
A K Burke horse, a trainer I have always been an admirer of and this is the only horse he has taken to the Irish meeting. The horse is a distance winner and has won on a right handed undulating track before and was entered into a race too far for it last time out.
Hexham 7.55 Trumps Benefit WON 12/1
The trainer has sent this horse 272 miles to rave here so I’m hoping it’s for a positive reason? Placed LTO a few weeks ago when short of room, badly hampered in the race previous to that, fell when 6 lengths clear in the previous race to that. I just think it’s due some luck and due a win in a race a class lower than what’s it’s won in before.
The trainer has kept nothing hidden in letting anyone who will listen know how highly he regards this horse. Before her last start, he confidently stated she would win, and she did just that, beating Willie Mullins’ Gauloise, who has boosted that form by winning earlier this week. This will be by no means an easy task, up against Concertista amongst others but she is overpriced here.
Master Of The Seas 3:40 Newmarket 10/1
Godolphin usually have a lively contender for these races and this one has got the nod over One Ruler, as William Buick had first pick of their pair. Currently the market says this one is the lesser fancied runner of their pair. However I will take Buick’s lead and support his mount, as he will know far better than most. Again, it is of course a tough race, and the O’Brien’s have some serious quality here too, but picking between there’s is a puzzle all of its own. Godolphin had 3rd and 4th last year, including Pinatubo, so have no doubts in Buick’s decision making among Godolphin’s best.
The Shunter 5:05 Punchestown 6/1
A bit of a household name now after his big win in the Paddy Power Plate at the Cheltenham Festival. Having won at Kelso previously that brought up a £100,000 bonus prize, and he has since been purchased by J P McManus. He finished 2nd in a Grade 1 Chase LTO behind Protektorat, but returns to hurdles here off a 10lb lower mark and in a Grade 2 contest, so should have a very strong chance of getting his nose back in front again.
A really impressive winner over C/D 16 days ago and in all honesty there appears to be nothing in this small field to stop Creative Force winning again. Bickerstaffe will have his supporters but he has achieved little in comparison but should help us get a workable price here. The good to firm going will suit him and I expect a comfortable success here.
2.10 Thirsk Delgrey Boy 0.5 points ew 28/1 WON
With a run behind him this season already, Delgrey Boy should strip a lot fitter for this contest than when coming last at Pontefract, last time out. Trainer Tim Easterby has the knack of being able to place his horses very successfully and surely the owners wouldn’t have kept this 4-y-o in training if they didn’t anticipate some success. Starting here?
3.40 Newmarket Thunder Moon 1 point win 9/2
I really like the look of Joseph O’Briens Thunder Moon here. He was 3rd in the Dewhirst last October but I believe the soft going was against him that day. He has a blistering turn of foot and I expect him to tuck in behind the leaders before hitting the front inside the final furlong and going on to win. He’s an each way price but I’m so confident in this selection that I’ll go WIN only. Wembley is the favourite but he was well beaten by my selection last September and I’ll be surprised if he finishes in front of Thunder Moon.
Looked potentially high-class when overcoming trouble to beat Wembley in National Stakes last September. Possible excuses when behind that rival in Dewhurst and could reverse that form here on better ground
Alloftheginjoints (335 Uttoxeter) 13/2
Fairly useful hurdler who improved to make second chase start a winning one at Exeter (3m) in November. Struggled at Grade 2 level but more like it when fifth behind Happygolucky at Aintree a race where he was checked in running and could have finished much closer. Worth another try here.
Golden Town (725 Hexham) 12/1
Returned to form back from a break when runner-up at Perth 10 days ago, boosting an already solid record at that track. Ran into a well treated sort that day and is worth another try from the same mark
A toss up between 2 or three horses. I prefer this one to Battleground and thunder moon as it has had very good results at Newmarket previously winning on many occasions, course and distance with a top jobkey on board. what could go wrong. 100% at Newmarket should get us at list a place to climb the board...
Dubai Legacy - 1.50 Newmarket - EW 12/1 PLACED
Bright melody may look better but is heavy. Dubai Legacy has class results, is one out of two at newmarket in terms of wins, now paired up with Dettori who on his day can do great things. Dubai Legacy is back from Meydan and hopefully not too disturbed by the different ground and has had results on various types of going so hopefully....
Dick Datchery - 3.50 Thirsk - EW 12/1 PLACED
This one has been slightly disappointed over the last few races but it has good numbers and should be hitting the front and at least the places. Hopefully Tudhope can make it find the little extra to finish well. Just ran in the last 4 days and still warm and with 30% on place and wins on the distance and less weight than previously I hope for a good result.
I have had my eye on Acquitted ever since he was only just beaten by Palace Pier at Newcastle last year. The form of that race still looks very strong. For whatever reason he then appeared to flop twice last season before being put away for the winter with a very useful looking handicap mark. His reappearance at the Lincoln meeting was very pleasing, just beaten by Artistic Rifles, who then went onto win at Ripon last Saturday. He is currently rated at 92 and I cant help thinking that he will end up rated in the 100’s. Callum Shepherd takes the ride and will know the horse well. I am expecting him to run a big race.
Poetic Flare– Newmarket 3.40 pm 1 point win 16/1 WON
This is the most open 2,000 guineas I can remember for quite a while and it doesn’t help when 4 of the top 6 in the betting are having their first outing of the season. If you look from a pure trends prospective then you are left with Battleground, Chindit and One Ruler, but I am not convinced with any of the 3. Ryan Moore isn’t riding Battleground and he would have been given first choice and likewise Buick has gone for Master of the Seas, which indicates to me both trainers think the best form of last year was the National stakes and the Dewhurst. The two races were run on different ground but had the same 1st 3 home. Based on those races I would expect Thunder Moon to finish in front of Wembley and Master of the Seas on better ground and Chindit had every chance but didn’t appear to get up the dip and I would be worried for that reason this Saturday. The one I took from the Dewhurst that day was Poetic Flare, who was having only his 2nd run and was put in at the deep end by his trainer. He clearly didn’t like the going that day and I have been very interested to see that Mr Bolger has ran him twice since, winning both. The trainer has only ever run 4 in the 2,000 guineas so he must think a lot of him, and he is bred to win a Guineas by Dawn Approach out of a mare that was sired by Rock Of Gibralter. I have backed him at big odds earlier in the month when it was confirmed that this was the target. It’s a minefield, but I can see that there is quite a bit of money around for Poetic Flare from some shroud judges and he will do for me.
Gabynako– Punchestown 5.05pm 1 point win 9/1
At first glance this looks a really tricky and competitive handicap, but I have been patiently sitting waiting for this horse to come out since March. My biggest disappointment at the Festival was when Gabynako unseated at the first hurdle in the Martin Pipe Hurdle. I was all over him that day and couldn’t believe my luck. Gabynako has been running with credit all season against some of the top Novice hurdlers. He was a close 2nd to Fakiera and a close up 3rd to Ashdale Bob, before catching the eye finishing 3rd to Bob Ollinger in Lawlor of Nass. The Martin Pipe was always his big target, but he has been put away and freshened up with this race in mind, is rated 3lb lower than at Cheltenham and he has a 3lb claimer on board. I am very hopeful that this is his day.
Week 6 – Saturday 24th April
Won narrowly at Ascot LTO on his handicap bow. Both career wins have come under today's jockey with the most impressive being a 3.1/2 length victory over the useful Green Book. Hasn't run at the course before but has won at similar venues and I feel is overpriced at time of writing.
MARSHALL DAN 14:50 Haydock 8/1
An old warrior who was narrowly beaten LTO at Musselborough coming back after a 112 day layoff. Had a good 2020 with 3 wins on going from good to soft. One of only 2 runners with course form, the other being Duesenberg who looks outclassed here. I also quite fancy Dreamsloper but at the current shortish price I wouldn't want to back her.
SPIRIT OF ROWDOWN 18:15 Wolverhampton 7/2
I've been following this horse for a while and indeed was on when it won LTO at this course in class 6 company. Up in class here but that form was solid with 3 wins and 5 places coming from subsequent runners. Is 4 from 10 on the AW and there should be enough pace in the race to suit his usual hold up style and enable him to go in again.
Sometimes there is a lot of value in a horse with an unfashionable trainer and this is one of those situations. I think this one scores highly on recent form and under the likely conditions tomorrow. Going and distance are strong and even the Trainer-Jockey combination has a 15% strike rate. I am hopeful that Gobi Sunset goes off hard and gives the selection one to aim at in a race where there is a likely split of the field.
FAIRNET – 4.50 Sandown 13/2
Another where I rate the recent form better than any other runner in the race. I also think this one may get a soft lead under a jockey that is second to none in pace judgement as far as I am concerned. Unusual maybe for Venetia Williams to be running horses on the quicker ground but if he lines up I think this one is a value bet in an open race.
FLOATING ROCK – 5.25 Sandown 6/1
Winner off the same mark six days ago so making the most of the timings here. Has proved better after short layoffs and the going and distance are perfect. Scores well in my rating system (as all of my selections do!) and hope that the jumps season can sign off with a winner here.
I backed Artistic Rifles for the Lincoln, before it was cut - but rebacked it to win the spring mile which it won with some authority. It has won 4 of the 6 runs over this distance placing on another one of those runs, and like the word firm in the going having won 5 out of 10 runs. It may be favourite but for a good reason.
STAXTON 16:25 RIPON 0.5 E/W 10/1
Staxton doesn't have an amazing overall record but seems to love this track especially course and distance with 5 runs 2 wins and 2 places, the ground is no problem at all. D Fentiman has ridden him for the last three of his wins, which all seems to point to a good result.
ROCKSTAR RONNIE 13:55 SANDOWN 0.5E/W 12/1
Has a good overall record over jumps with 2 wins and 2 places in 4 runs, Hehas the champion Jockey elect on board. He has been fav for all 4 runs so far but this is a lot tougher assignment, but is on the upgrade and can take this prize.
Widaad is trained by George Boughey who is in hot form 28% win 50% place in the last 30 days. Apprentice jockey Mark Crehan is also having a good run and I am hoping that this combined with the drop to 7f and a class 6 race can bring about the necessary improvement to get her head in front.
5.40 HAYDOCK - USTATH Win 7/1
Ustath has won back to back races before and looks to be in good form. He won at Thirsk on good to firm just 7 days ago and Roger Fell has a good record with quick turnarounds 31/172 18%. He is up to class five today on only his third try at 6f on turf but the first two tries have resulted in a win and a place.
7.30 DONCASTER - EPONINA E/W 25/1
Eponina needs a return to form and the flat track at Doncaster and good to firm going should do the trick. Theodore Ladd takes has ridden her to victory three times, takes off 3lbs and clearly gets on well with the mare. She should be able to tow the field along and her proven stamina over 8f might enable her to cling on.
Yet to win on turf, but has won on the AW over 6f & 7f. Fit from running on the All Weather this season and being well drawn in stall 3, he looks to be the only front runner in here and If they let him off on the lead he could be hard to peg back, also having one of the best jockeys on board will help.
14.30 Sandown Grade 2 Oakley Chase 2m6f164y FRODON 1 Pt WIN 8/11
He will be a short price here today but back in grade 2 company and back in trip with a small field to dominate should be spot on for FRODON, he looks a class above these and on these terms should not have much trouble seeing these off.
15.05 Sandown Grade 1 Celebration Chase 1m7f119y ALTIOR 1 Pt Win 9/4
This could be his swansong and on ratings he should win this with a bit in hand, he could be a real nice price today so is definitely worth a go in my opinion, he has not been at his best but is still never been out of the first 2 in all his races (2 out of his last 3). Their will be plenty of pace on here with 3 front runners in the field and could set the race up nicely for his big powerful finish, WIN or not it will be a glorious moment watching him over these fences again where he is unbeaten.
Staying events look made for evan williams charge. Stepped up to 3m 6f last time he still needed every yard to get there. The same happened over hurdles when although he didnt win when he was stepped up to 3m he finished just a few length behind potters corner a cpl weeks before he won the welsh national with the promising novice remastered just ahead. Gets in off bottom weight and thr last big staying chase of the season cojld be right up his street to follow in williams other big stayimg chasers. footsteps this season.
Sandown 5.25 - cascova 4/1
This one fits the trends of a good recent run and rated 130+. On top of this hes ran some decent races in softer geound through the winter but whenever hes ran on good ground hes improved considerably whether that be over hurdles or in bumpers (ran in champion bumper 2 years back) and hes taken to finish off the season for seven barrows in grand style.
Leicester 2.10 - Pogo 5/4
Unfortunately the fav is a non runner which obviously shortens the price but is hard to ignore stepping down into listed company after being placed in group 1 and group 2 company last season. Last time in listed comoany he hammered a former group 1 winner by some 6 lengths. As long as hes pretty well wound up it will take something to stop him and charlie hills horses are currentlu running at 72% rtf so not expecting him to be short on form.
A fascinating renewal with the reigning Champion Chaser, Put The Kettle On, facing off against some smart types including the former multiple champion, Altior. Put The Kettle On feels like one to take on as she is perhaps not as effective away from Cheltenham and the Champion Chase was a really messy race this year. Sceau Royal was nearly brought down coming around the bend in the Champion Chase and did well to finish as close as he did. He has his ideal conditions and should go really well.
340 Sandown. El Presente ew 10/1
16 runners have been declared for this, so we have to hope they all go to post. El Presente has clearly been laid out for this since his last ditch win in the Badger Ales Trophy in November – form that has worked out consistently well since. The main danger is likely to come from Ireland in the shape of Plan of Attack, but he needs to bounce back from a heavy fall in the Kim Muir and doesn’t look that well handicapped for a horse so short.
415 Sandown Pic D’Orhy 5/1
A tight heat with only a few lbs between the top few in the market on official ratings. Younevercall won this last year, jumping extremely well and has gone on to have a good season this year. This doesn’t look a stronger renewal, but Pic D’Orhy is extremely interesting from a yard that have won this twice in recent years. He’s had a wind op and a very good run since on ground he would have hated. He can be keen so the trip is a slight question mark, but if he settles he is the one to beat.
As the Arsenal song goes “onto victory all together now” this improving 7 year old looks to win again to make his record 3 out of his last 4. Alan King has really got his jumping sorted in recent races and i think this is a super each way bet in a very competitive race. Its a great time to strike on handicap debut. I follow these duel purpose sorts over the proverbial cliff as they combine the stamina they have with the class they bring from the flat. Its a potent combination. A fairly bullet proof 1/2 point each way.
Put The Kettle On 3.05 Sandown 11/4
Altior you are finished please retire after this race. Do not back Altior. Now in my opinion Put The Kettle On is a superstar and is not given the star credit deserved for the win record she has. Absolutely superb at Cheltenham she was ducked by most of us judges again but hosed up and seems to still be improving which makes her a rock solid selection today. Ask yourself who can possibly beat her. Sceau Royal was nearly 4 lengths behind at Cheltenham so surely cant reverse it with her. Get on and stay loyal to her. She wont let you down. 1 point win.
Not That Fuisse 4.50 Sandown 9/2
I do hope Harry Skelton wins the jockeys championship and this 8 year old gelding looks to be another winner for him. Looked a certainty last time out where he unfortunately got chinned on the line. Harry will look to come very late on him and i think the hill will be ideal where he can bury the horse in the pack and use his finishing kick to ultimate advantage. The early odds have this as a 4/1 the field race but i think he should be around 5/2 myself.Take the 4/1 sit back and enjoy. 1 point win.
Arrives here after a break and should be fresh. I would imagine this has been the target for Young Master and I like the jokey booking in Kevin Brogan who has a very handy 5lb claim. With proven track from and conditions to suit the selection won’t be too far away at the end.
Ashutor e.w - Sandown 16:50 16/1
Arrives here on a very handy Mark and the jockey takes off a further 3lb. The ground will suit and this step up in trip will hopefully bring about further improvement. The first time cheekpieces are a positive and I wouldn’t be surprised the selection out runs it’s odds. All signs lead to an improved performance which make this selection great value at the prices.
Mahlervous e.w - Sandown 17:25 33/1
Below par both runs this season but finally has conditions to suit here. The selection is 2lb below its last winning mark and looks ready to strike with Heskin taking over the reins. I would imagine an improved performance and at the prices and given the competition in the field, I can only see the selection out running it’s odds.
Champion Chase winner PUT THE KETTLE ON has already beaten a couple of her nearest market rivals (Greaneteen) and (Sceau Royal), Altior is a legend and loves it here at Sandown, but with his age and recent problems I have to go against him and I dont see anything to suggest the other two reversing the form. She jumps well, battles gamely from the front and proves very hard to pass. Aiden Coleman keeps the ride and is 4/4 on this tough mare, and the 7lbs difference should prove to be vital once again.
Haydock 4.35- Finest Sound WIN 5/6
Simon and Ed Crisford have an impressive record so far together here at Haydock with 5 winners and 6 places from 16 runners for a 31% SR, I know its a small sample size but that stat cant be overlooked. They send 1 runner today which is course and distance winner FINEST SOUND. 2nd by a neck last time out in a decent looking Class 3, the 3rd place that day (Nugget) has come out and won a strong Class 2, so a massive boost to the form, and with an eye catching booking in William Buick, theres a lot to like about this horse.
Wolves 6.45- Helian WIN 9/2
HELIAN was 2nd over course and distance last time out, after breaking well from a horrible stall (8), Helian was then dropped in at the back of the field and ended having to go 10 wide coming off the bend, Helian finished strongly and only lost by a neck, a better stall draw this time (3), hopefully Harry Burns can get a better position this time coming off the bend and should give Helian a much better chance come the finish.
This 5yo mare has a good strike rate at this level of 7 wins from 31 runs and retuned to turf she can get back to winning ways. Following a break, she’s had a few runs on the AW to find her form and looked to be on her way back last time out. Returning to this straight track on quick ground should suit her hold up style (as shown when winning at Yarmouth last season) and remains well handicapped having won three times off higher marks than today’s 66. Shepherd is back on board having been so on her last two wins and everything points towards a big run here.
EPIC EXPRESS 4:10 Doncaster 28/1
Chris Dwyer has been in tremendous form since returning to training and one of key factors to that success has been the change of trip for a lot of his runners which has worked the oracle. The same applies here to Epic Express, who drops from a mile to sprinting and having showed speed in his short career to date, you can see why. The selection is down in grade here on his second handicap start and the useful claimer takes a handy 5lb off. With Dwyer’s record with such types, Epic Express should go well at double figure odds.
COVIGLIA 8:00 Doncaster 4/1
The majority of the amateur jockeys in this contest are vastly inexperienced however Serena Brotherton isn’t and she can bring home Coviglia to victory here having ridden 28 winners for this yard. The selection looked back to form last time out when staying on for a close 3rd having raced quite wide throughout and is clearly well handicapped having won twice off higher marks. Interestingly, 3 of his 4 career wins have come in double figure fields and conditions look spot on for a big run under one of the top amateur jockeys around.
The money was down on this lad last time going off 7-4 in a juvenile handicap hurdle at Ascot. I think the Ascot race (28th March) holds the key to this. Royaume Uni was just touched off by Herbiers and faces that rival again but gets a 2 pound pull today. Both are hold up horses and I expect there will be lots of pace on (Flic Ou Voyou, Rockstar Ronnie, Pasvolsky, Gylo, and others) all like to go forward and there may well be a pace collapse which will favour Royaume Uni, Herbiers and On To Victory. I'm hoping we're on the right one here as On To Victory likes some cut. Herbiers will undoubtedly be the danger but I'm hoping the Moore's lightly raced ex-flat performer will get the better of that fight today. He's already been well supported and I suspect the Moore's think he's 'well-in'. Big Chance.
1pt win – ALTIOR, 305 Sandown 9/4
Yes, sentiment may be playing a part here, but I cannot believe the apple of Nicky Henderson’s eye would be appearing if the stable did not believe he was ready for a massive run. Altior has run 5 times at Sandown winning every race including this particular race twice. Yes, he was beaten last time by Nube Negra at Kempton giving him 6lbs on horrible ground but the winner franked the form running a screamer when a half-length 2nd to Put The Kettle On in the Champion Chase. Put The Kettle On of course sets the standard but the reigning 2 mile champion has lost her last 3 races away from Cheltenham and I thought she had a hard race at Prestbury Park that day. She did have the slightly unlucky in running Sceau Royal behind in 5th place. Altior thumped Sceau Royal in the Game Spirit Chase last year and I cannot see Alan King’s charge winning this. The cheekpieces are put on Altior for the first time in an attempt I’d think to sharpen his concentration and the cards are in place I think for a big run.
0.5pts each-way, CHECKITOUT, 340 Sandown 25/1
Three 7yos have won this in the last 6 years and I did like the look of this gelding at a massive price! This lightly raced lad looks unexposed (unlike most of the field) and if you forgive him that last run at Haydock, which could easily have come too soon (came only 9 days after his win at Ludlow), he would be much shorter in the betting. Connections stated at Haydock the reason behind his poor effort was the quick appearance from Ludlow so it is rather eye-catching he appears here which suggests, to me, he is ready to go. He was good that day at Ludlow beating King or Realms, El Presente and Capeland and looked like a staying chaser in the making. Prior to that he was victorious at Southwell (3 mile chase) where Trincomalee (3rd); Realm Keeper (4th); Manofthemoment (5th) have all won since. Having made just 7 chase starts with 2 wins, he has plenty of scope for improvement and now looks ready for this stiffer test at a track that looks sure to suit.
Had more setbacks than a secondhand car dealer this season ‘frustrating for all those involved ~ looked sure to make the festival ‘ some just believe Henderson was tilting at windmills and his stable star is in decline, yard won the last 4 runnings of this race, with the selection winning 2017 2018 2019 no race 2020 ~ hopeful still retains plenty ability unbeaten over hurdles 5-5 winning 14-15 over fences “, beaten seasonal spin behind Nube negra from the Skelton yard who believe he’s every inch a grade one performer and will be out this weekend himself in Ireland trying to justify those ambitions ~ Nicky Henderson stable star has won 9 grade ones over fences and people still discredit the horse ‘ believe the markets have got this horribly wrong as when making my own book had pencilled in nearer a 7/4 chance, beaten 3.5L seasonal spin after absence 10 months , prior to Cheltenham was pleasing the trainer in his workouts, ticks all the boxes for me course form also important around here and I’m hopeful that unbeaten record will remain in tact
2.50 Hay ~ Persuasion e/w 7/1
220,000 Guineas yearling and a full brother Qeyaadah and crystal fizz with the later listed class 2yr winner ‘ selection looked useful on debut class 2 maiden when beating Celtic art 0.5L great ambassador & Berkshire Rocco ~ form been well advertised before ending 2019 campaign r/up Wichita Newmarket G3. 3 efforts last season with the best culminating Leicester 7f heavy behind Tomfre with ascension back in third keeping on well under William Buick who returns for seasonal spin BHA 93 looks well within this ones capabilities also being out of acclamation you would like to think he will improve with age as most of this ones progeny have, leading claims on official figures however with the yards runners still a little hit and miss I've instead played the safer option in backing e/w.
4.35 Hay ~ Finest sound win bet 5/6
Lightly raced 4yr gelding ‘ solid enough debut when 3rd beaten 3.75L palace pier august 2019 2 further efforts followed before being put away for the winter ‘ trainer comments big backward baby who will improve with racing ‘ wind operation march 2020 followed by gelding op may 2020 returning to action over course & distance good / soft after an absence 247 days when comfortably accounting for silver samurai 5.5L basically never coming out of second gear 0-85 HC BHA 82 in the first time tongue tie r/up Britannia stakes behind Khaloosy now rated 109 pair clear sparky trail, that was followed with decent effort Newmarket before slightly disappointing behind brunch 229 day absence followed before returning to action in early April when just beaten in a photo Astro king ‘ selection raced keenly & free throughout ~ 2lbs rise in the weights shouldn’t stop this exceed and excel gelding from collecting - trainer 31% SR 5-16 jockey 21% SR 12-57 days best bet
Fox Champion lost his way slightly for Richard Hannon last year but has seen his mark fall from a high of 110 to his current mark of 95. He’s been gelded ahead of his first run for Ralph Beckett who’s lethal with horses first time out from other yards (7/11 in last year). In his 3yo career he thrived under front running tactics on good to firm ground over 7f to 1m and a return to those tactics from a plum draw in stall 1 can see him take advantage of a lenient mark based on known ability. The rest of the pace in the race is drawn wide which is a big disadvantage given the proximity of the stalls to the bend which should give Fox Champion an advantage. I expect Fox Champion to lead along the rail and be hard to pass up the straight.
1540 Sandown - Potterman (1pt win) 12/1
The ground looks like being on the fast side, even considering it’s late April, and that’s a question mark for a few of these towards the head of the market. In addition, the stiff fences could result in some of the hold up horses (Kitty’s Light most obviously given his sketchy jumping) becoming detached and struggling to make up the ground. Not for Potterman, however, who thrives on the expected going and is likely to sit prominently. Potterman’s form this season is rock solid, beating El Presente by 10 lengths at Market Rasen giving him 4lbs. El Presente has since reversed the form in the Badger Beers but the feeling is that Potterman was mugged on that occasion and the price discrepancy is wrong with them meeting on the same terms here. The selection was also well backed in to 11/1 for the Ladbrokes Trophy, which looks a much stronger race than this, before uncharacteristically unseating. It looks significant that he’s been saved for this race since given the possibility of more improvement to come (form this year 02122U), with Alan King winning the most recent renewal with Talkischeap.
1635 Haydock - Escobar (1pt win) 14/1
Escobar looks an obvious selection here, dropped back to a UK handicap for the first time since winning the Balmoral from Lord North (since won multiple Group 1s) from 2lb higher. The slight concern is there doesn’t look to be a strong pace on here which may prove negative for Escobar who likes to be held up but he has the tactical speed to win over 7f which combined with the long straight can see him overcome it. Finest Sound is the short favourite but has class to prove off a career high mark, whilst Ascension shaped like a non stayer over the trip last time. Amaysmont and Shelir have ground doubts so it’s a race that looks more winnable than might it may seem from first glance
A horse who has won on the going and at this distance and in this class. The trainer is also having a good time of it so far on the flat. Hoping she can continue her good run and is primed up ready for her first run of the season
Ripon 5.00 Eagle Court to win 11/1
Won fresh last year so hoping for a repeat this year. A horse who seems to have liked an undulating track after one previous running where it won. It’s also won on the going and at this distance Trainer not in the best if form but had three 2nds in the last 16 races so not completely out of form. Maybe just needs a bit more luck?
Wolv 6.15 Spirit of Rowdon to win 7/2
Racing post states horse has form figures of 113241 in handicaps at this track, so it clearly likes it here. The distance is about a furlong more than what it normally runs/wins at but hopefully it shouldn’t be a problem Today’s jockey the only jockey to have won on this horse
Seven of the last eight winners were priced at 7/2 or under so this race normally goes to a fancied runner. With six of the last eight winners also aged four I'm leaning towards R Varians representative here, he's won this race twice before and the selection holds an engagement in the Lockinge at Newbury next month so this could be a stepping stone to better things.
PUT THE KETTLE ON 3.05 SANDOWN 11/4
The favourite has won this race for the last six years with Altior having won it for the last three runnings. Altior was beaten by Nube Negra at Kempton on Boxing Day who went on to be a runner up to the selection in the Queen Mothers Chase at Cheltenham. The selections trainer won this before N Hendersons last four wins and though I'd like to see Altior prevail I think the mare has youth on her side and anything coming from Ireland at the moment has to be respected.
POSSIBLE MAN 3.55 LEICESTER 9/4
The selection won his last race at Lingfield on the all-weather, the second and third have both won since. M Stoute has won the last two runnings of this race and even though he carries a penalty I think he might be useful. As a matter of interest five of the six three-year-olds, M Stoute ran at the track last year finished first or second so I'm hoping the trip up from Newmarket will be rewarded.
Five year old gelding,sired by Kodiac. Winner of the German 2,000 Guineas and third in a French Group 1 as a 3 year old when trained by Richard Hannon. Has since moved to the R.Beckett yard and has his first run for new connections in this race. Beckett has been in good recent form and has a good course record. On board will be Hector Crouch. He is in great current form with 5 wins from last 10 rides,and has 3 wins from 5 for this yard. Dropped in class for this stable debut.
1.55 Sandown. HERBIERS. Each way. 11/1
Trained in Cheshire by Oliver Greenall. Has the experienced Paddy Brennan in the saddle. Paddy has ridden the horse on two previous occasions,winning both times. Winner of a Bumper in France prior to moving to current handler. Ultra consistent over hurdles. Won two and placed twice in 4 hurdles runs. Won a Maiden Hurdle at Hereford,staying on well. Won last time out at Ascot three weeks ago. That was a Class 2 Handicap Hurdle. The fourth in that race has gone on to win since.
5.25 Sandown. CASCOVA. Each way. 4/1
Six year old gelding trained by Nicky Henderson who has a 23% strike rate at this course. Nico de Boinville takes the ride. Formerly trained by Martin Meade. Impressive winner of a Novice Hurdle at Ascot last time out in March. The third placed horse in that race has won since. Looks well in for Handicap debut . The bigger field for this race should prove suitable for the horse.
I have been very impressed with this horse on its last few runs and I think at this price the horse is been very much underrated in the market. I backed him at 14/1 on his last run and he ran a cracker to finish second behind Fakir D’oudaries, and might have done even better if not for being denied a clear run and squeezed for room a few furlongs out! He drops back half a mile here to a trip he has won over before. Given last run I wouldn’t have necessarily thought he needed the drop back in trip but he still rates a better selection than the odds suggest for me.
Bard Of Brittany 5:25 Sandown 12/1
A bit of a revelation at the moment, winning his last two hurdles starts by 9.5 lengths and 7 lengths off marks of 109 and 116. Given how well he handle the 7lb rise last time out, it give me confidence he can still find further improvement off today’s 11lb higher mark (now rated 127). This race is another step up in class for him so he certainly won’t have it all his own way, but he looks to have a little more still in hand based on his last win.
Clog Na Fola 8:15 Wolverhampton 6/1
It was a 0-55 handicap Clog Na Fola won at Bath earlier this month and she turns up in another 0-55 contest here tonight. She has previously ran well at Wolverhampton in recent times and she strikes me as one who is still well weighted off 5lb higher. A couple of the contests she has taken in recently (namely 1st March and 6th April) have included a number of well weighted horses and as such she may be able to defy this higher mark here tonight.
A really difficult one to start the day but I do like the look of the Chris Gordon horse, Pasvolsky, at a double-figure price. Last time out at Kempton, without being too fluent at his hurdles he ran on well after the last and is a real gutsy horse. Sam Twiston-Davies takes the ride and I expect him to be up there for most of the race before taking it up between the last two and running on after the last.
2.30 Sandown Mister Fisher 1 point win 7/4
Frodon will be all the rage here but I’m banking on Nicky Henderson’s horse, Mister Fisher, to bounce back. He has had some jumping issues but on a much better surface, I think he will be fine and think he is a big threat to the favourite. There only four runners and I think you can discount two of them. I expect Mister Fisher to stalk the favourite and take it up late on and doing the job.
3.05 Sandown Altior 1 point win 9/4
I can’t seriously believe that Altior is odds against and not even favourite. Yes, Put The Kettle On is a decent mare and will put up a brave fight but is she in the same class as Altior? Well, we’re going to find out but there’s only one winner for me.
Ran into a fairly well treated sort last time out dropping back to 6f and is well worth another try here from just a 1lb higher mark. The winner that day has come out and won again since under a 6lb penalty which makes this one look to be on a fair mark.
730 Doncaster Red poppy 5/2
Looked sure to get much closer last time out when 7th of 18 over CD had she not been denied a clear run and is worthy of another chance here from the same mark. That return to turf was a much needed one and a good run can be expected
510 Wolverhampton Busby EW 40/1
Significantly back up in trip in what looks a wide open race. Will need to bounce back from what has been a poor period but now goes some 14lb lower than his last win which came over this longer trip. 7lb claimer in the saddle makes this one too hard to resist
On paper this ticks a few boxes, trainer and jockey as well as Sire, in OK numbers. Trying to look at the other contender I am wondering about Plan of attack with the dangerous combo trainer / jockey on only 2 rides of the day... Enrilo won on its only outing at Sandown 500 days ago in class 1 as well. Let's hope it likes the trip...
Perfect Times - 4.30 Leicester - EW 8/1
There was a time when betting on almost any horse Silvester de Sousa was on gave you at least a place and often a win. Good odds on that one and Johnston as a trainer has plenty of good results with a good horse as well in this calls with 2 wins out of 3 races. Sire looks ok as well. Ticks all my boxes of interest
Lochnaver - 6.15 Wolverhampton - Win only 6/1
A busy field with Spirit of rowdown appearing high in the stats but I hope that Lochnaver from the Frankel dinasty can pip it at the post. Haggas has good results and I like Tom Marquand to get the best of horses. It has a bit quite a thinking process to find a fanciable 3rd horse to pick today with too many short priced ones for my liking. Hopefully not missed on the obvious over 20/1....
Change Tactics ? I don`t think so ! No short prices for me. This selection has everything going for it ( including the price ) except for one thing. That is the fact that it usually needs a run or three before striking. BUT, a 20% strike rate on turf - a 31% strike rate on GF going - 2 C/D wins and the fact that he is returning on a mark of 83 compared to 88 & 89 gives him every chance of causing an upset. Mr Lupton is the danger and would be my win selection if it was a better price. Come On The Major !
ESCOBAR - EW - HAYDOCK 4-35 14/1
Again a selection who has a few important things going for it. A four time winner on GF - 2lb below its last winning mark - A course & Distance winner - A 40% place strike rate on turf The latter shows a horse that does not give up when passed / challenged. He has been plying his trade in Meydan recently and hopefully the return to the UK and a jockey that I rate will prove positive. There were 8 runners when I studied the race but Ouzo has been withdrawn so 1st / 2nd required !
CAMACHESS - EW - HAYDOCK 5-40 15/2
By now I guess you have gathered that the ability to win on the forecast GF ground is important to me. I believe any horse can win on Gd - G/S and even soft, but GF and Hy are a different story. Horses either love or hate these extremes. So CAMACHESS is another selection that has won on the ground and is 2lb & 4lb below its winning marks on such going. To top it all, the jockey has been on board for its last two victories. She has only tried Haydock once previously but the ground was against her. As I type the price is an EW one of 9s but I fear the horse will be backed. Sticking with EW though as I am in a precarious position
Clondaw Caitlin has only ran twice this season. Her 3rd to Galvin in October over fences now looks really good form, as Galvin won at the festival. Her victory in December 2019 over Rayna world also looked good when the 2nd came runner up to Concertista at the 2020 festival. There is no doubting she has some really strong form. Her reappearance at Newcastle on March 30th was adequate but she didn’t seem to not appreciate the extra long run in that day, due to omitting the 2nd last hurdle. To my eyes she has been prepared for a crack at this race for sometime and if returning to the form of last year, she could take some stopping. As there are only 7 in the race I am going to have a win only bet.
Ceravo Mix – Sandown 5.25 ½ point e way 16/1
The Bet 365 Handicap Hurdle over 2 ½ miles, has some very strong Trends. The last 5 winners of this had an OR of between 131 and 137 and also carried between 11st-2lbs and 11st 7lbs. The only runner in the race to have both of these is Ceravo Mix (trained by Oliver Sherwood and ridden by Gavin Sheehan). This very lightly raced 7 year old is open to all kinds of improvement and hasn’t been seen out since September. All of its best form is on Good going and I feel strongly that they wouldn’t be running it on the last day of the season if they didn’t have stable confidence behind it. Im hoping it starts at double figure odds and therefore going to back it each way.
Global Exceed– Doncaster 8pm ½ pt E way 20/1
There is a very interesting Amateur race at Doncaster on Saturday evening. Normally with these races the horses at the top of the market are based on the jockey bookings and you can sometimes get some very good value elsewhere. Global Exceed is such a case. Global exceed won at Redcar in a straight mile off 55 in June 2020 and was raised to 58. It’s now comes back down to 55 for the first time since and is back to a straight mile. Miss Amy Collier does not have that many rides but shrewd trainer Karen Tutty seems to like to use her, with her 5lb allowance. Amy has had 5 winners, and all of them are when riding for Karen. I think they think this has a better chance than the odds are likely to reflect and I am happy to go each way in what is a sporting bet.
Had been running with credit on the AW without getting his head in front this winter and ran well on turf from a poor draw at Windsor last week. Highly tried on turf last season but this is a much easier target and can get off the mark today at the 12th attempt.
BARD OF BRITTANY - 5:25 SANDOWN 11/1
Has had 2 AW runs since winning comfortably over C&D last month when patiently ridden before asserting after the last to win by 7l. A spell on the Flat beckons but he can notch up the hattrick today over hurdles despite a significant handicap hike (form of latest win franked - Stormy Flight and Commanche Red won their next races).
PRODUCTION - 5:40 HAYDOCK 5/2
Failed to deliver the goods when sent off favourite on his last 2 AW starts following a couple of good placed efforts last September. Probably needed the run on his latest start (had been off for 158 days) and is 3lb lower than his last turf effort at Pontefract (finished 3rd that day having been denied a clear run). Connections will be keen to recoup recent losses and he should get a good tow into the race with 3 confirmed front runners in opposition.
Week 5 – Saturday 17th April
Has an impressive record in handicap hurdles and is dropping in class from his LTO win at Huntingdon. Ran an impressive 2nd at Wetherby in March with that form being franked by 3 subsequent winners from the race. Although carrying top weight the drop in class should compensate and the trainer/jockey are firing on all cylinders at the moment.
DICK DATCHERY 13:10 Thirsk 0.5 PT E/W 17/2
Both career wins have come at Ayr but a straight 6 f is a straight 6 f. Is dropping 2 classes from his last disappointing run at Doncaster and should be more at home in this company. Trainer and jockey are both going great guns at the moment and this 2nd run after wind surgery is a good omen.
LANCASTER HOUSE 14:35 Curragh 4/1
Likes it here and Mr O'Brien has a great record at the track. (Hasn't he everywhere?) Is 1 from 1 on the going and 1 from 2 at the distance. Coming back froma layoff but that doesn't seem to have been a problem before. There appears to be plenty of pace in the race which should suit, although he needs to overcome a statistically less than ideal draw.
Another typical Scottish National but I've done the work for you all and am confident i have a selection guaranteed to run a decent race. Aye Right is still improving at the age of 8 and has some super strong form under the saddle including a solid second to Cloth Cap and also at Cheltenham last time coming third to the super Vintage Clouds.The Vintage Clouds form is rock solid with the second Happygolucky hosing in at Aintree last week. Aye Right always runs well at Ayr and looks a bomb proof each way selection. 1/2 point eachway.
Missing Matron 2.00 Curragh Sat 6/4
This Bolger entry looks for a double over course and distance. This two year old certainly new the job and came through to win with complete authority. The paper favourite Cadamosto won nicely first time out but that was on the all weather and this is a completely different test. I see this one being totally overbet and at around 2/1 i think Missing Matron to be a great bit of value to get another win for the evergreen trainer Jim Bolger. One point win and a comfident selection.
Know It All 2.35 Curragh Sat 10/3
This decent race required me to find a selection for you that is course and distance winner , shown strong form in group one race class and of-course is trained by a Trainer in good form. Put all that into the mix and i came up with Know It All trained by the superb Johnny Murtagh. This 4 year old filly did not stop improving last season culminating being placed twice in group one races. Ideally the filly wants another furlong but will be finishing two for one and should swoop past the leaders one out to score convincingly. Lancaster House is another horse that is always over-bet for Obrien and chucks it in if challenged early for the lead. Forget that one and go for Know It All . One point win.
R Hannon has his string in good order and S Levy is riding exceptionally well at the moment. Seems to have his 2yo string well ahead at the moment and has had a couple of nice winners early on, this looks another precocious early type in a race that may not take much winning, looks a nice sort on breeding and could go on to Royal Ascot if it shows its best here as expected.
18.15 Nottingham JEAN BAPTISTE 5/1
G Boughey looks to have found a nice race for Jean Baptiste here, his 2nd to Mars Landing was a good effort and their does not seem anything of his quality in here, he looks to be coming to hand after 2 runs already and with a nice bit of pace on here can sit handily and come home on the snapple, could be a well backed horse today this one.
18.30 Brighton FRED 9/4
Back down in grade and trip could really suit Fred here, he can get out early a dominate this field from the front making his own fractions then increasing the pace from 2 out and using his stamina to see of any late charge from behind, this is definitely more his grade and most of the competition do not look up to winning in this grade against a better quality opponent.
7 runners but a competitive handicap. The favourite is the quirky Shamshon, who is admirable but finds it very hard to win. Wiley Post was rated in the 80s not that long ago and goes off 70, at a track that he has a couple of wins to his name off higher marks. He does need to bounce back tomorrow from some relatively indifferent form, but he ran ok last time and perhaps the conditions tomorrow might kick start a revival.
Sunday – 135 Newbury – Al Aasy 11/8
On official ratings Al Aasy has a few pounds to find with Deja, however he has always looked to be a horse with proper stakes quality, as shown by his impressive win in the Group 3 Bahrain Trophy on the July Course last year. He disappointed at Goodwood in July, but he likely didn’t handle the unique track and hasn’t been seen since, so they’ve given him plenty of time. The trips looks ideal and he should be tough to beat.
Sunday – 150 Ayr – Pilbara 4/1
Pilbara comes from the yard of The Shunter and Cape Gentleman, who have both brought back pots from the UK to Ireland in the current season. Emmet Mullins is a master trainer of handicappers and it’s fair to say the Irish have a massive edge over the English at the moment. His Irish mark of 118 is extremely fair and he gets 7lbs from the English handicapper and I doubt that’ll stop him.
Allmankind sets the standard but I cant help thinking his trailblazing style will catch him out more times than it will work. Racing over and extra half mile than hes gone before, the petrol tank will surely be reaching empty leaving him vulnerable to Paul Nicholls improver. He looked to relish the step up in trip when readily accounting for another trailblazer in Ga Law at Kempton and expect similar tactics to work here.
Ayr 2.25 Sun - Thyme White 13/2
Another nicholls runner but this one with a potential stamina issue. On paper stepping up from grade 3 to grade 2 company but those two grade 3s were the most competitive hcap hurdles in the diary where no prisoners are taking. I cant get out of my head how he came there swinging on the bridle 2 out in the betfair before not seeing out the relentless gallop and fading into 9th. He never really got into it in the county hurdle but still wasn't that far behind milkwood. With only voix de reve (ran friday so probably a non runner) a confirmed front runner im hoping a more sedate gallop will help him see out the race this time round.
Ayr 3.35 sun - the ferry master 0.5pt e/way 18/1
Normally if your backing a sandy thompson horse its simply look to see what hes picked up from bigger yards. Dingo dollar fits that profile but i think his other runner has gone under the radar. Campaigned with this race in mind. Hes ran ik a cpl of races shorter than ideal and also in goimg that doesnt appear to suit. However in 2 runs around 3 mile in good ground hes won both times. He also fits the trends around age, weight and recent run so im happy to take my chance on him in what is a very tricky contest but thats where we usually get the good prices.
A second time out two year old filly for Jim Bolger, owned by his wife. I watched her circling at the start on the first day of the flat in Ireland and she stood out as a strapping filly amongst colts and duly to my delight ran out an all the way winner. Here she appears to only have one significant rival; A O'Brien's Cadamosto a Nay No Never colt who won easily enough on debut at Dundalk on the all weather. Due to connections he is almost bound to be odds on, allowing a value price for the selection. Bolger started Dawn Approach in the same race!
4.15 CURRAGH - AGITARE E/W 22/1
Another Bolger - Manning selection in this £11k handicap. Agitare last ran in the £47k Irish Lincoln run on soft to heavy. He travelled well for 7f and then was not given a hard time drifting back over the last furlong to finish 8l twelfth of twenty four. All his best form has been on good ground and with the drying conditions, mostly less taxing rivals, a couple re-oppose here who finished in front of him in the Lincoln, and the run under his belt, I am hoping he can improve enough to place at least at a working man's price.
1.10 THIRSK - FREEDOM FLYER E/W 12/1
An Invincible Spirit gelding with one bit of decent front running form at Wolverhampton for the Crisfords as a 2yo. Now with Ruth Carr, this will be his 2nd start of the season so some of the freshness that led to him running out of steam in the last furlong at Wolves 21 days agoshould have dissipated. The key might be, that with luck he will get an uncontested lead and be able to hold on to the line. The main danger to him getting that lead is Flavius Titus who has led in the past and with crafty old Graham Lee up might be taken forward, Ghathanfar can also lead but up 6lbs to a career high mark and never having won 2 in a row reassures me that the selection has the right pace credentials.
The return to fast ground is expected to help a return to the form shown at Goodwood last year for Toro Strike. The favourite is feared but hopefully Paul Hanagan can sit off the pace and finish strong to take this race. Most of these are making their seasonal debut so there is a certain amount of trust but the ratings and the value are strong for the selection with the strongest form on my ratings.
KING D’ARGENT – 1.15 Ayr (Sunday) 6/4
Looks like being the favourite but still hoping for a decent price in this competitive race. The Skeltons are likely to pull one winner out of the card and I am hopeful that this will be the one. I expect it to lead and use his pace to burn off the rest of the field and as long as he settles, I think he will take some catching on the fast ground at a track where leading is often the best running style.
MIGHTY THUNDER [Each Way] – 3.35 Ayr (Sunday) 10/1
After a near miss in the English version I couldn’t resist a stab at the Scottish National this week. I think the Scudamore family will have a big hand in the race on the ratings and hopefully Tom the jockey rather than Michael the trainer, will have the upper hand. Mighty Thunder is one of the most versatile horses on training with wins on almost any ground and at all distances between 2 miles and 4 miles. The field size is a bit of a concern and I hope he can settle in a prominent position in the big field but the trends and the ratings have aligned for this one.
In what looks quite an open race there maybe value in backing Lady Nectar. Her Turf form of 9 runs 2 wins and 3 places isnt anything special but when combined with distance 4 runs 2 wins and 1 place and CD form of 1 run 1 win. The ground is also fine with 7 runs 2 wins and 2 places.
WILEY POST 16:20 BRIGHTON 5/2
Wiley Post boasts a good record here having won 2 and placing in the three visits, his turf mark is 5lb lower which could mean all the difference.
DE VEGAS KID 18:30 BRIGHTON 11/4
De Vegas Kid obviously likes it at brighton with 4 course wins from 7 visits, compared to his 25 turf runs with 7 wins. David Probert was on board for his last win, and is a positive. He was quite unlucky on his last run at kempton where he was slightly hampered when making headway. All this points to being right up there at the finish.
With a lot of these not having run in the last 6 months, there will be question marks over their race fitness. REBEL AT DAWN finished a close 3rd behind a couple of smart horses on seasonal reappearance, he broke poorly and was a little out paced but stayed on well at the finish and should strip fitter for the run and I expect RAD to be bang there again.
SAT Brighton 4.20- Shamson Win 5/2
Stuart Williams has a good record over course and distance at Brighton 12/48 for a 25% SR and has been in good form of late with 4/15 winners. He sends course and distance winner SHAMSON here in what looks a very weak contest. Back down to a nice mark on turf and Marco Ghiani claiming 3lbs, I think that could prove to be the difference between him and the danger Willey Post.
SAT Brighton 7.30- Pour La Victoire EW 13/2
POUR LA VICTOIRE has a great record here at Brighton with 9 wins and 7 places from 26 runs, 3 wins coming over course and distance. PLV was running of a mark in the 70's last season and is now back down to a mark of 60 today, so would expect every chance of PLV adding to the course wins.
Although now a 10 year old, Highland Acclaim shaped as if back in form on his recent reappearance and if building on that should go close here off a career low mark. Racing keenly initially, he seemed to be travelling best of all turning in for home but didn’t get the clearest of runs before running on for 5th. He certainly shaped as if back to his best and he should be more at home back on turf, where 9 of his 11 career wins have come. The Carr yard always tend to start the year well and if building on that run, Highland Acclaim should be capable of going close in what looks a winnable race.
SHACKABOOAH 12:40 Thirsk 4/1
This 4 year old has been unlucky not to get off the mark so far and looks worth a try on turf which may suit his style better than the tight turns of the All-Weather tracks. The selection has found trouble in running on more than one occasion, most notably last time out at Lingfield, when travelling best of all but having to wait for a run, before thundering home to finish a close 2nd. A fast run 6F on turf may suit as opposed to a slowly run 7F on the AW (has proven form over sprint trips from last year), and with relatively low milage he can expected to take advantage of this mark of 57 in a race that won’t take much winning.
SPIRIT DANCER 5:05 Newbury 13/2
The lightly raced son of Frankel can continue his progression as a 4 year old with plenty of potential from his current mark of 85. After a comfortable maiden success last year, he put together two solid runs in fiercely competitive Class 2 handicaps – coming a close 2nd at Ayr, followed by a solid 5th at York. He was just a 3 year old in those affairs running against older battled hardened types, and with another winter on his back better can be expected this season. He drops to Class 4 on this reappearance and with the Fahey yard making a solid enough start to the season, Spirit Dancer should go close before moving back into higher graded affairs throughout the season.
Was not a cheap purchase finishing r/up all 3 starts on the flat a.w for trainer Simon Crisford back in 2018 ~ selection also 1/2 brother Teofilo who was successful over 14f actually started last season over hurdles off BHA rating 101 ~ runs here tomorrow off a much reduced mark of just 86. Blinkers applied LTO when leading and always up with the pace behind tactical manoeuvre before being ridden and weakening 2 out over a trip 3 miles, believe tomorrow’s trip 2m4f will certainly suit the Tom George runner and rates a value e/w play. When raced on the flat, trainer stated was a big backward type who will hopefully improve with time & experience / 0-100 class 5 HC hurdle off 86 under Jonathan Burke with the retained blinkers makes the horse of interest.
3.10 curragh ... King of comedy e/w 18/1
Theirs one piece of form that would see the selection win and that’s the form shown behind Japan champion stakes on good ground when beaten a little under 2L previously trained by Johnny G before moving Ireland and joining the Harrington yard, making stable debut in a soft ground listed event over 10f behind Broome beaten 18L 246 day absence ? Forecasted ground good here tomorrow and all of the selections best efforts have all come under tomorrow’s ground conditions whereas Broome best form come with cut underfoot - may well have needed that opening run ‘ gone well fresh in the past if putting a line through last effort then a good case can be made ‘ will certainly be their or thereabouts if returning to anything like best ~ also last season when making season return behind century dream would see in the mix & after looking through the form & odds I’m convinced this runner overpriced in the current markets and represent decent e/w value.
Scottish national Sunday ..... Aye right 1pt win 17/2
Undefeated around here although these wins came over hurdles good ground also soft achieved BHA mark 146 hurdles 5-12 surpassed that over fences in terms of ratings although record 1-8 don’t tell the true story ~ weighted to reverse form of LTO effort festival ultima chase when beaten 7.75L on 7lbs better terms ~ didn’t jump with usual fluency at the festival when clouting a few of the fences on the way round ‘ making up good ground over the final couple of fences behind winner vintage clouds / stables runners 2-5 at the track 40% SR also bodes well, form already taken a boost with the r/up Happygolucky going one better, when winning at aintree beating reliable yardstick Johnbb off revised mark 149 assessor reacted with further 8lbs rise in the ratings with new BHA a lofty 157 whereas the Harriet Graham runner stays 154 Callum Bewley returns after being partnered by Richard Johnson which also reads well, weekends best bet on favoured good ground,.....
This looks a really weak race for the grade and Highland Acclaim may be getting on in years, but he has plenty of back class to go with it (rated 90+ at his peak). He switched from David O’Meara to Ruth Carr at the start of last season and quickly registered a win before racing was suspended. Upon resumption, the yard had a poor season which has seen lots of their runners return to the track from generous marks and result in much better showings. Highland Acclaim really caught the eye on his latest start, keen in rear in a race that paid to be prominent, he made lots of ground late on under a tender enough ride. Down 2lb here, I expect him to go close.
1930 Brighton - Rhyme Scheme (1pt win) 9/2
Rhyme Scheme is a well treated front runner, with the prime draw in still 1 to take advantage of the sharp track. She ran with great credit at Pontefract recently and the drop down to this grade, combined with very positive booking of Hollie Doyle can see her being hard to pass.
1425 Ayr - Thyme White (0.5pt ew) 13/2
Thyme White is strictly held on form at Cheltenham by a few of these but he was too far back that day and never got in to the race. Previously, he’d shaped extremely encouragingly off a break in the Betfair Hurdle before giving way to fitness late on. He receives a 4lb swing with the current fav Milkwood from that run at Newbury (Thyme White finished 3 lengths ahead) and appears overlooked as a result of the most recent run.
R Hannon and S Levey have won the last two runnings of this race. Temple of Heaven, his latest winner is now racing in Sha Tin where he landed an 83K race a few months back, and with some decent future engagements in the calendar, I'm hoping this 36k purchase could be a decent horse.
MUSKATEER THREE 4.55 BRIGHTON 7/4
John Butlers only sent one two-year-old to Brighton, which won, in the last five years. The selection was a running on beaten short head last time out at Bath but had shown a lot of improvement from his Brocklesbury fifth when he turned around the form with the runner-up M Channons Wonderful World.
TAMAROC DU MATHAN SUNDAY 3.00 AYR 13/8
If the last eight runnings of this race are a guide then the winner will be priced at 4/1 or less, as seven of them were. On the other hand, the favourite has only obliged twice so I think it is worth taking him on with the selection trained by P Nicholls who has won this race three times within the same period. Both will no doubt be glad Shiskin isn't racing as they've both seen his back, albeit from afar, this season.
One of the top rated in this field and boasts a cracking strike rate with 4 wins from 7 starts, which include beating today’s likely favourite Alcohol Free over 6f at Salisbury last September. That horse did turn the tables next time in a Group One at Newmarket next time out, but there should still be more to come from Happy Romance who is entered in the English and Irish 1000 Guineas.
Nando Perrando 2:45 Newbury 13/2
A massive shock winner of the Coventry Stakes at Ascot last year, taking the spoils at 150/1 but he proved that to be no fluke, barely putting a foot wrong since beaten into 2nd Place in a pair of Group 1’s in France. As such this race represents a drop in class and he looks sure to be there at the business end.
Danyah 3:20 Newbury 7/2
A cracking effort to finish in 4th place in The Lincoln at Doncaster on his return, behind a well handicapped winner. He wasn’t far away and is sure to make a Mark this season. He can run from the same handicap mark as that day and has the benefit of Jim Crowley in the saddle today. He proved himself over this distance at the end of of last years campaign and he is definitely one to keep an eye on this year.
I’m a great fan of Tim Easterby and watch for his horses when they run over distances that they’ve won over before which is certainly the case here with the three year old Showalong. Two wins from four races last season was good form and the only doubt I have is whether the horse will be fit enough to do himself justice on his seasonal debut. Because of that and because he is a reasonable price, I’ve played safe by going each way.
11.55 Bangor Kitty Hall 0.5 points ew 8/1
I think it’s quite interesting that trainer Nicky Richards moves this horse up to 2.5 miles today. On her only previous run over this trip, Kitty Hall faded late on but it’s her jumping she really needs to improve on and if the work has been put in to do this then I think she has an excellent chance here. This is only her second time in a handicap, but she has shown some reasonable form despite jumping errors and the first time blinkers should help her settle. She is lightly raced and I’m hoping to see her get her head in front here.
12.25 Bangor Discko Des Plages 1 point win 11/4
The Skelton horse, Crooks Peak, is going to be all the rage here but I like the look of Richard Hobson’s Discko Des Plages who steps back in trip and will surely benefit from that. A win and four places from eight races over fences is pretty consistent form. The gelding has faded late on over longer distances and should really enjoy this shorter trip.
A 6 year old gelding by Court Cave. Trained by Fergal O’Brien,who has an excellent record in these type of races. Good track record,with 5 wins and 2 places from 14 runners. He has his string in great current form,and has a 7 wins from 26 runners record over the past two weeks. Jockey on board is 7lbs claimer Liam Harrison,who has two wins from only two rides at the track. First run for this stable after moving from the MC Griffin yard in Ireland. Had a couple of runs in point to points,including a 3 length second of 16 on latest run. Fitted for the first time with a tongue tie and should go close.
1.40 Thirsk. JEREMIAH win. 8/1
Six year old gelding by Kheleyf. Trained by Charlie Fellowes who has his runners in fine current form. Has a 27% strike rate in the last 14 days. Does well at the course,5 winners and 5 places from 18 runners. On board is Daniel Tudhope,who has a 30% win rate at the course in the last 12 months. The trainer/jockey combination has 3 wins from 8 rides. Horse is one win from one run over course and distance. Both of the horses victories have been at 1mike 4 furlongs. Finished 5th of 9 last time out in a Listed event at Kempton in December. Possibly needed that race to be run at a faster pace,and with The Trader in this race should get a stronger gallop.
5.15 Nottingham. MAWKEB. each way 5/1
Three year old Kittens Joy colt. Cost 250,000 dollars as a yearling before being re sold for 700,000 dollars. Trained by Owen Burrows who has a 36% strike rate at Nottingham. Has had just the one race,finishing 5th of 14 in a Maiden at Kempton over 7 furlongs in November 2020. Kept on well inside the final furlong. Will appreciate the step up in distance to 10 furlongs. The form from that race has worked out really well with four horses going on to win since.
This lightly-raced 7 year old got us up and running when winning at Haydock two weeks ago when, having just his fourth start over fences, he made short work of beating Niven by 5 ½ lengths recording in the process a RPR of 136 with the feeling there was more to come hence why we go in again. Wins at Wincanton and Sandown preceded that, demonstrating Five Star Getaway is equally at home left handed as he is right and his win at Wincanton demonstrated good ground is not an issue while his wins at Haydock and Wincanton show flat tracks aren’t an issue neither. Jack Tudor takes off 3lbs meaning the selection runs off an OR of 132 and he steps up half a mile in trip in a competitive looking race. The selection was disqualified from first place in a soft ground 15 runner point to point in 2019 giving confidence the trip should be within his means and this excellent jumper and smooth traveller looks sure to give us a good run for our money.
1pt win – MILKWOOD, Sunday, 225 Ayr 11/4
At first glance this running of the Scottish Champion Hurdle doesn’t look that strong and the selection is an obvious pick after his excellent 3rd in the County Hurdle giving the winner Belfast Banter 11lbs. Belfast Banter has franked the from in impressive fashion winning a Grade 1 novice hurdle at Aintree, and while Milkwood recorded a RPR of 144 that day (he runs off an OR of 142 today), his performance to me can be marked up on two counts. The first being he was reported as losing his left hind shoe, the second I thought Robbie Dunne went for home too early after he took it up coming into the home straight going very well. Sam Twiston-Davies takes over in the saddle today. Sam’s record for trainer Neil Mulholland is an 18% strike rate in the last 5 years with a profit of £44.46. I’m hoping Sam can get a tow into the race and use this 7 year old’s turn of foot over the last to snare this decent prize.
0.5pts each-way – SOLDIER OF LOVE, Sunday, 335 Ayr 15/2
The Scottish Grand National is high on quantity but I’m unsure on the level of the quality and I am expecting a big run from this 8 year son of Yeats. Champion trainer elect Paul Nicholls (who has landed the race 3 times) is represented solely by this lad who has been off for 154 days since he was pulled up behind The Big Breakaway at Cheltenham. It was reported the gelding was unsuited by the soft ground that day. Soldier Of Love brings a chase profile of 4 wins, 1 place from 8 starts with all 4 of his chase wins coming on good ground and 3 were over 3m 2f, the furthest he has run over. He has recorded 2 RPRs of 152 (runs off 144 today) meaning there may be some juice in his current handicap mark. The first was a 2 ¼ length beating of Coole Cody at Newton Abbot (Paddy Power Gold Cup winner), the second was a 7 length 2nd to Galvin at Cheltenham (Galvin won the National Hunt Chase at the Festival and now has an OR of 154, a RPR of 159). The icing on the cake is the record of owner Malcolm Denmark this jumps season. His record with Paul Nicholls this season is 11 winners from 21 runners (52% strike rate) with another 3 placed resulting in a profit of £16.88. This lad could well add to those impressive stats.
A winner on debut last term and not disgraced when stepped up into group company in what looked an above average renewal of the Lowther. Plenty of form has come out of that race and she followed that up with another decent run over 6f at Newmarket when 7th of 27. Drops back to 5F here and if ready to go again this year could well steal this from the front for last years winning trainer.
13:10 Thirsk Dick Datchery 1pt win only 17/2
Can be forgiven his latest run when making his reappearance following a 142 day lay off and wind surgery in much better company and better can be expected here. Only 1lb above his last winning mark and with improvement a possibility we have to take a chance here.
18:00 Brighton De Little Engine 1pt win only 12/1
2 wins and 2 placed efforts from 6 runs over CD and goes here some 12lb below the latest of those victories which came in this race back in 2019. Will be fit from the AW and has to be worth a try from this mark back at what looks to be a bit of a favourable track. Wide draw to contend with but more than capable on a going day
First saw this horse last August on its first run and noted it due to the way it ran on at the finish. It never threatened the winner but impressed me for its first run. Not done anything in its 5 runs since but it’s dropping nicely in the weights and its back on the turf over a bit longer so it may just appreciate the change and get its head in front?
Bangor 1.55 Lies About Milan 5/1
Looks a 2 horse race to me and the odds on fav could fly home in front but doesn’t look a sure thing to me so I’m pinning my hopes on LAM hauling him in on ground that he’s not had before carrying a bit less weight than previously
Nott 6.45 Prospect 4/1
A horse who’s knocked on the door for most of its 9 runs so far but still not won! Never beaten far and its all about if the blinkers applied first time do the trick or not? Top trainer and jockey pitting their wits against some good horses so I think it’ll all be about who gets a good clear run and I’m just hoping it’s this one.
Won at 22/1 here back in January over 2m1f on Heavy ground, today races over further and on better ground. The selection hasn’t been racing well of late but is now only 2lb above its LWM, I’m hoping the new trip and back at same place as it’s last win will spark a revival.
Agitate (e/w) curragh 16:15 22/1
Finished 12th in the Irish Lincoln and put in a solid enough performance on first start of the season. Today’s condition will suit and I expect a much better run here on better ground. The stable jockey has chosen this one over the other horse in this field. All signs lead to a better run.
Doonard Prince (e/w) Curragh 17:25 20/1
The selection is extremely well handicaped and has the aid of a 10lb claimer on Board. Today’s conditions will suit and runs well when fresh. The selection is 12 yrs old, but this is a very ordinary contest and at the prices, this makes the selection a value bet. A good run is expected.
This is a very interesting handicap where the focus will be on the big fashionable stable of Joseph O Brien, who runs several. One that sneaks under the radar for me is “He Knows No Fear”. He ran well a couple of times last year , including a victory over “Agitare”, who he is now 7lbs better off with. He ran very encouragingly in the Irish Lincolnshire in March on ground that was too soft before blowing up and should strip a lot fitter this time out. He needs the going to be on the good side for him to show his best form, which he should get and I think he has a sporting chance and is selected each way.
Gin Palace – Newbury Sunday 3.20 ½ pt E way 20/1
The spring cup is always a competitive race and this years running is no different. We should be looking for a horse 6 or younger, rated between 85-98 and has previous Newbury form. Having gone through the race a couple of times, I particularly like the look of Gin Palace. He is 2-2 at Newbury, both at this distance and has Georgia Dobie claiming a valuable 5lbs. I am not worried about this being his first run of the season as he won first time out last year. As long as the course doesn’t turn too soft, I believe it has a great e way chance.
Notachance – Ayr Sunday 3.35 ½ pt E way 11/1
The Scottish National looks very competitive this year and there doesn’t seem to be a standout favourite. Although normally a follower of trends, I sometimes go with what I can see in front of me and forgive a horse if it isn’t a perfect trends pick. This is such a time. Although it didn’t finish in the top 6 LTO and is GB bred, I like “Notachance”. Alan King always targets this meeting and this horse reminds me of his other recent winner here (Godsmejudge). It is true that 15 of the last 17 winners have been 8 or older, but the two 7year olds that won were both carrying 11-3lb’s indicating they were above average for their age. “Notachance” is 7 years old and carrying 11-3lbs. Finally I think you can put a line through its run at Haydock as it was reported he spread a plate and was lame on his return to the stables. If it wasn’t for that run, his 2 runs prior to that would probably have made him favourite and I give him a really good e way chance in this.
The Skelton family and horses are always worth a look and this one is a good one to check out. No places in the last few races but has good stats which should mean it is meant to be up there at the front. Tempted to make it win only but Rukwa is a worry... oh let's be crazy...
His dream - 12.55 Bangor - EW 16/1
A bit of a risk on this one with a horse not seen for a few years but with places and wins when it was around. It was rather good in this class before with close to 70% place and wins and it is a matter of seeing and hoping at good odds to help us shoot up...
It must be faith - 7.15 Nottingham - EW 11/1
The oldest horse by quite a few years on this race but has been a reliable placer at least in the 40%, same with the jockey and with claiming 7 pounds could hope that it would help go towards the front. A short distance and younger horses might be more energetic but it can beat the favourite which has been off for half a year.
What a race ! There are 3 big priced horses in this that I would have liked to put up ew. Unfortunately the rules don`t allow that, so I have come down on Colfer Me, ahead of Luke Comers pair. The selection needs a leap of faith, but I have plenty of that in such selections. Let me take you back to the last time this horse ran over this distance on ground that he should get tomorrow. It was the Paddy Power Irish Lincolnshire on 12th June 2020 where Colfer Me finished 2nd at 66/1. The winner is now rated 106, the 3rd is 101, the 4th is 110 and the 5th is 97...... Colfer Me has been running on either the wrong ground or going since that excellent effort and runs off 78 tomorrow and if the going is anywhere near Good to Firm he has an ew squeak at what should be a massive price.
GIN PALACE - EW - 3-20 Newbury Sun 20/1
I normally tip well handicapped horses, unless there are strong positives that outweigh the horses mark. This selection is an example, having ran twice at the course and winning both times, has shown its best form on Good / Good to Firm, which he should get on Sunday and finally a great strike rate on turf of 33%. To top it off, the jockey has won on the selection previously and takes a valuable 5lb off. I expect a double figure price so ew it is !
GOOD BIRTHDAY - Win - 5-05 Newbury Sun 17/2
SDS has just one mount on Saturday and I tried to make a case for it, unfortunately I think Michael Stouts other runner will win it. So to Sunday an a very well handicapped horse that returns to a track that he has won at ( albeit over a different distance ). GOOD BIRTHDAY has been campaignsed in Class 2s & 3s and now returns to a class 4. He has always run well after a break ( winning twice and being placed once after the only 3 considerable breaks he has had ). I haven`t got a clue what price he will be, but probably too small for an ew tip, so Win it is !
Gained reward for some promising AW efforts earlier this year when winning over today's trip at Redcar 12 days ago. Has a 6lb rise in the handicap to contend with today but the form of that latest win was franked twice on Thursday this week (by Mutanaaseq & Athollbair Boy). His stable remains in good early season form & there is much to like about his chances of following up today.
DUBLIN FOUR - EW - 1:50 AYR (SUN) 8/1
Appreciated the better ground when winning comfortably at Newbury last month over 2f shorter than today's trip. Was given a fine waiting ride by Kielan Woods that day and won with any amount in hand and despite being raised 9lb for that performance the way he finished suggested there is more to come before the season ends.
GATEWAY TO EUROPE - 1:05 WINCANTON (SUN) 9/2
A late non runner due to the sticky ground at Chepstow last weekend (had been well backed prior to that withdrawal). Has had 4 months off but goes well fresh and has dropped to a very workable handicap mark (has won off 5lb higher back in 2019). Largely consistent and should go close in a race that lacks strength in depth.
Week 4 – Saturday 10th April
Looking for a five-timer the horse is versatile as far as the ground is concerned. Indeed, he is versatile as far as distance is concerned having run at everything from 7f to 2m6f in the past! A handicap hurdler who moved into novice Grade 2 company LTO and won going away. He's won twice at this weight and is ridden today by Denis O'Reagan who took him to impressive victory last time.
PAISLEY PARK 15:35 Aintree Win 4/1
Won a 3 mile Grade 1 around here last year. Has won 7 from 11 at the distance and has Aiden Coleman on board who knows how to get a tune out of the horse. There should be a bit of pace on in the race so his favoured hold up style could take advantage of some tired legs come the finish.
ANNIBALE FLY 17:15 Aintree 0.5pt E/W 28/1
This is the one race where my normal form tools get chucked in the bin and I go on race trends.The trands left me with half a dozen horses including the current favourite Cloth Cap. But a 9/2 favourite in this race is not for me, especially one which has not jumped National style fences before.. Instead I am siding with the selection who finished 5th in the race in 2019 and has been lokked after presumably with this race in mind. The Irish connections are also a plus.
Taking the easy way out here. The one fear is that he is either too keen up front or gets into a battle for the lead early on. However his performance in the Scottish National and subsequently in the Ladbrokes Trophy both on good ground together with being well in suggest that there are precious few holes to be picked in his chances. Hoping he will drift.
1.00 CHEPSTOW WAIKIKI WAVES Win 15/8
He is 4/4 on good ground over distances from 18 to 23f. I will be hoping that as on other occasions Jamie Moore can have him in a prominent position behind the frontrunning Nightline and he can take this. The biggest danger are the fences as he has had a tendency to belt one or two but that tends to be on softer ground.
3.35 AINTREE LISNAGAR OSCAR E/W 12/1
I had been circling this one for a while but seeing Rachel Blackmore get the leg up has convinced me. He has won over 3m at Haydock on good ground so the flat left handed track should hold no fears. I also think that Paisley Park might prefer it softer and Thyme Hill's trainer Philip Hobbs strike rate 3/73 in the last 30 days is so bad as to suggest that his yard must have some sort of bug.
Pretty much everything to like about this one. He’s a stone well in, ran a good 3rd in the Scottish equivalent two years ago, since cheek pieces were fitted he’s won easily on both occasions and enjoys this kind of ground. He’ll be out of the way of any incidents in behind as he likes to be front rank. He wouldn’t want to race as enthusiastically as before but with a couple of other front runners he can be settled nicely in 3rd or 4th, he looks the most likely winner even though he is a short price for such a race.
15.40 Newcastle 2m46y Handicap Hurdle Orkan Win NR
His last race behind The Shunter at Kelso was a leap to far and a drop back to a more suitable grade could see him back in the winners enclosure, prefers these small field races, winner on this going and a C&D winner who also stays a little further, also prefers going left handed and still looks capable of this mark.
17.30 Newcastle 2m4f Handicap Hurdle Bravantina EW Bet 9/2
Does not look an obvious choice at first glance but with the Walford stable going well things could change for this horse now, has not shown much since going hurdling but as some good times in the races he has contested and its a bit of a leap of faith here but I do think he is better than he has showed so far.
The Skeltons are flying right now and this looks another winner for the combination. My Drogo is improving at a rate of knots and looks to have enough class to put this field to bed. He cruised home last time out at Kelso to a 9 length victory and Aintree flatter track will better play to his strengths . I see him winning this easily down the straight . In Skeltons we trust. 1 point win.
Roksana 3.35 Aintree 11/2
Another confident Skeltons selection. I love this mare and if she was a piece of seaside rock she would have the word Class printed right through her. The flatter track will play to her strengths unlike Cheltenham last time where she still ran a solid race in difficult circumstances. I see Harry taking a pull two out then cruising to the front one out and romping home. This is a 1 point win selection and a double for the Skeltons.
Kimberlite Candy 5.15 Aintree 16/1
Well if you have your pin ready and your Partner is eagerly awaiting your random selection do not bother as I am here to assist you. First things first. Do not back Cloth Cap who is totally overrated and a joke price at around 5/1. I think to win a National apart from a lot of luck in running you absolutely need a horse with course experience. Kimberlite Candy has this and has come second both times over these unique fences. I believe the Trainer has plotted this horse for todays race over a 2 seasons period and is ready to bring home the bacon. Candy stays so well and has positive experiences over the fences. It all looks good to me. This is a 1/2 point each way selection.
"so what’s ye tip for the National”. Words every punter dreads in early April. Granted as one of the only people with a racing interest at High School Mr Frisk and Party Politics won me a few friends and it’s still a race that can get you a few free beers (if only eh.) As with a good few staying races in recent years the trends seem to be reversing in the age category and whereas you’ll find plenty people telling you to back an old timer around here I’m sticking to the newer trend of finding the right young horse and you won’t find a better one than Burrows Saint. Already an Irish National winner at 6, so stamina assured. Yet to Fall or unseat in 20 outings so a safe jumper and even better than those 2 snippets has ran 3 times on ground between Good and Yielding and has won all 3 times. I just can’t see Burrows Saint being out of the first 4 and with a bit of luck getting its head in front where it matters. The fact he likes to race up with the pace is also a positive as you’ll see few coming from too far off the pace in this race Oh and after Cheltenham it’s clear that the Irish horses (both graded and handicappers) are just better than the home contingent.
Aintree 4.15 – Hold the Note 0.5pt E/Way 14/1
A 15 runner Handicap. Every each way punters nightmare. However some decent trends help cut the field right down in this particular trappy contest, namely weight carrying, having a recent run and Age. Which left me with a shortlist of 4 or 5. Scratch the surface of the form and Mick Channon’s inmate has been unlucky to run into some pretty decent animals in the last year or so, all of which are rated much higher than what they were when they met on the track. The rollcall of horses he’s finished in behind includes Mount Ida, Next Destination, Imperial Aura, Shan Blue and HappyGoLucky who he re-opposes here from a meeting earlier in the year. The fact he’s been placed in half of his attempts over 3m+ then I’ll give him another go to at least make the frame again here like he did at Cheltenham in the Kim Muir, where he might have been a bit closer if not for a mistake 4 out just as the temp was being lifted.
Aintree 6.20 – The Gossiper 11/4
Thankfully for the home team no sign of any Elliot / Foster / De Bromhead / Mullins bumper horses venturing over the Irish sea. However there is one raider and they may only need the one. Emmitt Mullins sends the The Gossiper who would have been close on both point to point starts but for falling late on. Interestingly both winners of those races have since won under rules for Messrs De Bromhead and Tizzard so the form of those P2P races may well turn out to be half decent. Fast forward a year from his last P2P run and he turned up in a bumper at Wexford where Patrick held him up wide all the way round giving up plenty of ground to the others but still had plenty in hand to kick a few lengths clear at the line. Given the form of the Irish bumpers tends to be better than that at home I’ll take the sole Irish runner to carry on the run.
Not the most original selection, but ticks all the boxes. We know he stays from his excellent run in the Scottish National, likes the ground, goes prominent and is ludicrously well in. With a bit of luck he should go really well. The main danger is likely to come from Ireland, with Burrow’s Saint a pretty solid option. He would be the next best.
335 Aintree – Diol Ker 11/1
Diol Ker looked a really smart prospect for chasing as a hurdler, as he’s a tremendous physical specimen, but sadly for his connections it hasn’t worked out as he can’t jump! He had some terrific form over hurdles as a novice, including a smart defeat of Monkfish and has returned to hurdles this season, and jumped better and better on his last start. He should improve for the better going and looks a good bet at the prices.
225 Aintree – My Drogo 13/8
My Drogo does have the Irish to beat here, but they aren’t the cream of the crop, with Dreal Deal a quirky customer and Ballyadam a generally mediocre jumper and not a certain stayer. My Drogo has looked the real deal over hurdles with 3 consecutive wins in impressive style, and shaping last time like a step up in trip will suit ideally. He should be tough to beat.
6 time course and distance winner EL GHAZWANI hasnt been in great form of late, but has slowly been slipping down the weights, now 4lbs below highest winning mark and Jim Crowley booked, if he can get best out of this horse it should be the one to beat, and at a big price is worth the risk.
Aintree 5.15- Anibale Fly EW 28/1
In what can be a lottery of a race and with so many having question marks about the distance, im going to look for something thats already proven over the distance. ANIBALE FLY has finished 4th and 5th in two runs in the Grand National, so proven to handle course and distance, a lot in the weights this time around and at a big price is worth an each way play.
Wolves 7.45- Puchita WIN 13/2
PUCHITA lost by a head over course and distance last time out to Soyounique, which has come out and won again since, so that form looks good. This time Puchita has a beeter stall draw (4) and a good apprentice jockey Angus Villiers claiming 5lbs, so will running of a lower weight this time round giving Puchita a great chance.
Sticking to the main meeting for all selections as I prefer to focus on higher class races with my ratings analysis being more reliable in Class 1-3 races. This one may look a short price but I think it is still value and can’t really see what else can challenge (on paper at least). Looking for four wins in a row and a more reliable jumper than the main rival. The competition all have questions to answer but this one has the best form and a favourite’s chance.
SNOW LEOPARDESS – 4.15 Aintree 10/1
No each way for me here – double figure price (hopefully) is the best value of the day. The drying ground will improve the chances and well ahead of the ratings and a positive trends selection. The form is strong and I think this one is far better value than the favourite.
FARCLAS – 5.15 Aintree (0.5 point each way) 20/1
Surely seven year olds never win the National? I must admit I would have said the same but having spent some considerable time on this race I keep coming back to Farclas. Previous Triumph Winner (like Tiger Roll) and a French style of jumping (like Tiger Roll), owned by…. (you get the picture now I’m sure). Farclas will certainly appreciate any drying ground, is very well weighted and has a genius jockey on board. It is the year of the Irish and hopefully this one will add to it. Going each way (well, it is the National) and fear the favourite if he gets round. For the record, Mister Malarky or Canelo if you are looking for the exacta and trifecta!
The big one! Everyones favourite race to have a dabble on. This is always an open race - I feel that the fav Cloth Cap is just too short at 9/2, I have sided with a horse that has beaten Cloth Cap by 4 lengths in 2019 Scottish National being 1 lb heavier, now only 2 lb higher than the fav looks to be on a good mark.
REQUITED 13:25 LINGFIELD 7/2
4 runs over course and distance with 2 wins - This is a weak race and has a good draw in number 2. has previously won from 10 higher. Has also won twice with Charlie Bennett, So all looks good for a good run,
DEVIZES 15:15 LINGFIELD 0.5E/W 11/2
With 2 wins and a place over course and distance from 5 runs Devies looks to have a good chance. This is a step up in class but of a basement mark he should make the frame.HAs run at the distance 7 times- after the first two times where he didn't feature he has form figures of 2/1/1/1/2 linking up with J F Egan on 4 of those runs.
Not an original selection but he fits all the trends, which are readily available elsewhere, has won his last two races comfortably, both times ridden by today's jockey, and remains well handicapped. If there is a negative it's the trainers' record with chasers at the track which would have left you out of pocket over the last five years. That could improve after this race if he gets a clear run and avoids any trouble, not value by any means but you should get a decent run for your money if fun is what you're after.
FANTASTIC ROCK 1.15 NEWCASTLE 10/3
Half of all the horses Sandy Thomson has sent to Newcastle over the last five years have been placed and a very healthy profit would have ensued if you had backed them all to level stakes. The selection returns to the track after meeting trouble and finishing second last time out, I'm hoping the extra half a mile will suit him.
YOUNG O'LEARY 4.00 CHEPSTOW 5/4
The youngest horse in the race and looks ready to build on his last time out win at Taunton where he battled it out to the line, a good attitude for any horse. The opposition today finds it hard to win any race over any fence so I'm hoping the selection is open to more improvement and though slightly raised in class, can handle it.
This tough mare ran a blinder when finishing 2nd in the last running of this prestigious race and with no Tiger Roll in her way this year, she is taken to go one better. She proved her stamina over this marathon trip that day, always prominent and despite a poor mistake at The Chair and a blunder at the last, she was able stay on strongly for the runner up spot. With last year’s abandonment, I reckon connections have had their eye on a repeat ever since and she looks to have been trained for this day. Conditions to suit and from only 5lb higher than that 2nd in 2019, she looks to have solid chance of being involved in the finish.
BIRD FOR LIFE 12:55 Lingfield 15/2
This 7yo mare hasn’t won in thirteen runs but with conditions in her favour and the drop in grade she should be capable of going close here. 4 of her 6 career wins have come over this 2 mile trip in Class 6 (including one over course and distance) and after some credible runs in higher grades this year, she should be more at home back in this weaker grade. She is also down to a mark of 58 which should help, having won off 63 on the AW last year. Furthermore, her small yard are back in form with a 40% strike rate over the past 2 weeks and everything looks in place for a big run here.
HAPPYGOLUCKY 4:15 Aintree 11/4
Happygolucky put up a solid display when finishing runner up at the festival last month and should take some beating here against plenty of rivals who have question marks against them. This progressive type was always travelling well and looked to have every chance that day until a mistake at the last put paid to any chance he had against the resurgent winner. It was a good performance nonetheless and he should be fine here fitness wise considering he had a 3 month break prior to that Cheltenham outing. This field look beatable and from just 2lb higher Happygolucky can regain his winning thread before moving onto better things.
This horse has lost his way of late, and hasn’t show up well for his new yard. But if we look a little deeper into his form, he absolutely loves it here at Lingfield. He is a 6 time C&D winner, and is 4lb below his last winning mark. It surely won’t be long until he bounces back and at the price he’s worth a chance here.
Roksana 3:35 Aintree 11/2
I was so very impressed with the way Roksana won over this trip at Ascot in January and so it was disappointing to see her drop back by half a mile at the Cheltenham Festival. She still ran well that day but now back up to this three mile trip I’m excited to see how she progress. Form so far over 3m+ is 2131.
Magic Of Light 5:15 Aintree 20/1
What a puzzle this race is, and it is very difficult to settle on one. However, this horse is one that I backed Ante-post and have had in my mind for this race since the last time it was run, now two years ago! On that day Magic Of Light finished in a very respectable 2nd Place, only beaten just over two lengths by Tiger Roll! 5lb higher this time makes this tougher but she has valuable course experience and will relish this trip much more than the short trip she tackled at Cheltenham Festival so that run can be ignored completely.
Gary Moore’s 8 yo gelding, Waikiki Waves, is quite adept over both hurdles and fences but is probably a more accomplished chaser. He’d had a long break before finishing 2nd at Taunton in early March and that race should have brought him on nicely for this. I’m expecting him to sit in behind the leaders and take it up between the last two and going on to win.
3.20 Chepstow Bashful Boy 1 point win 7/4
The five year old was a very convincing winner at Fontwell 12 days ago and I’d be both surprised and disappointed if he can’t build on that here. Young apprentice Niall Houlihan (a very good rider who is one for the future) takes over from Daryl Jacob and the 5lb he takes off could be crucial and Bashful Boy can continue on his upward curve.
5.15 Aintree Definitely Red 0.5 points ew 50/1
I would have been seriously interested in Potters Corner had the course not dried so much and I’m reluctantly forced to look elsewhere. Brian Ellison has had this in mind for the 12 year old Definitely Red for some time and there is no reason to think the selection can’t get really competitive. He has been very lightly raced with a last time out 4th behind current favourite Cloth Cap but this is a very different proposition. At a big price I’m happy to have the each way money on him.
Traditionally tricky race to pick apart with plenty of luck in running needed. The three key qualities I look for are 1) ability to travel comfortably with the pace, 2) proven stayer over 3m+ and 3) quick through the air when jumping. The favourite Cloth Cap fits the criteria but offers no value and I suspect that Any Second Now is a better treated contender. I don’t think any other horse has the class Any Second Now displayed last time to win a Grade 2 comfortably over 2m (second upheld form since) really and whilst he’s not as officially “well-in” as the favourite, I would suggest he’s done more to deserve his rating.
1345 Aintree - Janika (0.5pt ew) 22/1
Plenty of these look harshly treated whilst Janika appears 21lb below his peak chase mark. He’s yet to show that level of ability over hurdles but has shown hints of more to come, particularly last time in the Coral Cup. He was prominently positioned but had no match for the winners’ turn of foot, tentatively handled over the last and stayed on well up the run in. He shaped as though this trip would be well within his grasp and looks to have solid claims.
1615 Aintree - Kilfilum Cross (1pt win) 40/1
It’s hard to say that many of these look well treated but one that bucks the trend is Kilfilum Cross. He looked to be laid out for the Kim Muir last time (3lb lower here) but didn’t run with his usual zest whilst possibly suffered from the amateur rider ban (jockey turned conditional whereas many found significant upgrades). Connections have switched cheekpieces to blinkers in a bid to perk the selection up and I expect to see him travel more sweetly and be in contention late on.
Already beaten stablemate burrow Saint 4.75L LTO Bobbyjo G3 conceding the r/up 6lbs in the weights and making all the running under the talented Danny Mullins 2-3 over fences ! Receives 7lbs here tomorrow ? Clearly a improving sort ~ stays the trip well finished 3rd Irish national behind burrow Saint 2019 conceding 6lbs and is weighted to finish ahead of his much fancied stablemate burrows Saint this time around ~ latest effort made all the running and when burrows loomed up 2 out the Mullins ridden runner found extra and if anything was going away again over the last and with the revised weights 33/1 looks huge and for some reason has gone unbacked in the markets 11yr olds also have a decent record in the national, ticks plenty of boxes and looks the value bet as when making my own book pencilled in nearer 16s I’ve played bet365 e/w national giveaway bookmaker offering customers e/w returns back as actual cash ~ my advice shop around as theirs countless bookmaker offers out their ,hopeful rather than confident
- 2.40 Ling ~ Secret victory win bet 11/4
Best form been achieved on the a,w decent enough spin LTO around Doncaster when finishing 3rd 0-2 on turf 2-5 on the a,w latest effort came in a much stronger contest than face here when beaten 5.5L behind throne hall who looks above his mark 88 HC also impressed as future mark now 97 selection rated 89 little miles on the clock jockey William Buick rides,clearly going the right way judged on RPR 91 94 & 95 10f should suit being out of Dubawi trainer operating around 20% with his runners at the track 7-35 recording small loss LSP - £3.00 stables only runner on the card and looks the one they all have to beat ~ leading claims
- 3.35 aintree ~ Thyme hill win bet 5/2
Days nap,clearly goes well fresh as shown when returning to action Newbury backend November when getting the better of paisley park 1.5L good ground whilst in receipt 3lbs latest level weights ascot long walk hurdle heavy ground which would not have been ideal for the Hobbs runner ~ went to early and collared close home “, connections bypassed the stayers hurdle in favour of returning here a fresh horse ~ whereas paisley looked to have had a hard race in the stayers when beaten fav behind flooring Porter 5L tomorrow’s better ground looks assured to suit the Hobbs runner with Tom O’Brien coming in for the ride after the retirement of regular jockey Richard Johnson. O’Brien was aboard when the horse made his debut in NHF race Worcester 2018 6L victory over Timcoda form of the race worked out exceptionally well.
One that slips in here under the radar slightly and scrapes in from bottom weight having finished runner up on both of his races this term. Takes a big step up in trip here but has been finishing off his races well suggesting that this staying type should be able to see out this marathon trip. Decent jumper who likes to race prominent so ought to get a good look at his fences. Well worth a stab at triple figure odds.
225 Aintree Lucky One EW 66/1
Got caught out last time by the reopposing favourite here and could have finished much closer if he hadn't gone off quite so hard and set the race up for his rival. Would like to see him applied with different tactics here but looks way over priced on previous run when running out a clear winner.
745 Wolverhampton Puchita win only 13/2
Narrowly denied over CD last time out and that form has taken a boost since when the winner went in again this week at Lingfield. Up 3lb in the weights but holds a better draw and has talented 5lb claimer in the saddle to help too. Well handicapped and sure to run her race again here.
Basing my selection on the 8 year old trend and he likes the ground and should be at the forefront which I believe is essential in a race like the national. Also proven in the top class of racing. It’s a bit of a lottery, Cloth Cap should thrash them all but the price is awful for a race like this and offers no value when anything can happen to affect your run. MM has as good a chance as most of them in my opinion and the price is quite generous to my mind.
Ling 1.25 Requited. Win 7/2
Now 10lb below its last winning mark and drawn well enough to have a good go. 50% strike rate at the track 2/4. Won a couple a times at the distance and jockey seems to get along well with him. The favorite doesn’t look anything special so should take this if things fall right for him
Wolv 7.45 Camachess. Win 7/1
Won twice in the last 12 months but wasn’t very good in the other 5 races during those months. His jockey tonight though is Adam Kirby and the OR is back down to the 60s Horse profile states it’s won at the track a couple of times, won 6/20 at the distance, won at the class and its history indicates it likes this time of year. Worth a go
Last two starts haven’t been great, struggled to settle and never really finished the races off. Now back down to 146 and with aid of a first time hood, looks to have a great chance at the weights. Has been given a rest and should turn up here today with an improved performance on previous starts. Jonjo O’Neil Jr takes the ride.
OFALLTHEGINJOINTS (e/w) Aintree 16:15 20/1
Pulled up latest at the Cheltenham Festival over 3m5f in a C1. Today is coming back in trip by 3f and has previously raced well here, coming 3rd in a C3 off 132. Today races off 141 but looks to have a better chance in this company and favourable race conditions.
MISTER MALARKY (e/w) Aintree 17:15 22/1
This has been the target this season and his run LTO at Kempton looked a solid effort, finishing 3rd but stayed on well over 3m. Today’s more stamina testing trip will bring out greater improvement and with this being the 2nd run after a wind operation, all signs are looking for a big performance.
I’m hoping this may go off at a bigger SP than the morning price and it really is a case of keeping it simple with this selection. He’s officially 14lbs well in according to the handicapper, a 9 year old gelding who has been placed over 4 miles in a Scottish National and like 7 of the last 10 winners, has never seen the Aintree fences. His trainer and owner know what it is like to have a National winner and his Kelso win last time out saw Cloth Cap produce his best RPR figure. He looks to be improving. His record over fences with good in the description is 4 wins and 3 places from 7 outings and he is 2 wins from 2 with the cheekpieces on. A bold, beautiful jumper, I can see Tom Scu having him prominent towards the inside, avoiding any trouble behind and letting his bold jumping and easy travelling style being in the front rank all of the way. His chance is obvious.
1pt win – MY DROGO, 225 Aintree 7/4
The Skeltons avoided Cheltenham with this classy-looking animal who has improved with every run. Last time out he was an impressive 9.5 length winner beating Do Your Job at Kelso. The form was franked today at Aintree with Do Your Job running a good race in the Grade 1 Betway Novices Hurdle over 2 miles 1 (a close 2nd to Belfast Banter). I don't see the step up to 2 miles 4 as a negative and he should stay 3 miles based on breeding. Team Skelton are still in fine form and I can't see any negatives. Ballyadam is an obvious danger but the De Bromhead stable has lost form since Cheltenham and genuinely don't see any other threats. He should put these to the sword and will be an exciting prospect next year; could easily be a 160+ rated hurdler although it has been mooted he will be a grand chaser.
0.5pts each-way – WHIRLING DERVISH, 145 Aintree 10/1
At the time of writing, Ireland have had 6 winners at the Aintree Festival this year from a handful of runners including Tronador and Livelovelaugh in handicaps. Whirling Dervish is the sole Irish representative in this race and he recorded a career best RPR of 141 (he runs off 137 today) when winning at Thurles last time over 2m 7f. He rallied after the last to win giving hope this 3 miles will be fine. Irish National winning jockey Ricky Doyle will take off another 3lbs. Ricky was on board for that Thurles win when he lost his irons after the last flight suggesting the win can be marked up by a pound or two. With wins on yielding and yielding to soft ground, there will be no excuses with the going and he can outrun his odds in a trappy contest.
The betting in this race revolves around Paisley Park and Thyme Hill, which I find quite surprising as I felt Paisley Park was fairly and squarely beaten at Cheltenham. Most of the Irish have stayed at home for this, and the two that have come over don’t quite look good enough to me. You are looking for a horse that has won a Group 1 or 2 in the past and needs to have a rating of 159+ in order to have the class to win it. The one that interests me the most is Lisnagar Oscar. He of course surprised everyone last year winning the Stayers at Cheltenham and in fairness was running well enough in this year’s race until falling at the 7th. It was too early to know how he would have faired but he has made significant improvement throughout the season, which mirrors his campaigns in his first 2 seasons. He definitely improves at the turn of the year. I think the booking of Rachael Blackmore in inspired and I expect a big run from him against the top 2 in the market
Hold The Note – Aintree 4.15 ½ pt E way 14/1
I have been watching Hold the Note all season, as I am sure he has got a big Handicap in him. He first came to my attention at Cheltenham in 2020 when 3rd to Imperial Aura over 2m 4f at the festival. I thought then that he needed to be stepped up to 3 miles but this never happened until February of this year when he was a good 2nd to Enrillo at Newbury. I was then quite surprised to see him upped in trip again for the Kim Muir ran at Cheltenham on March 4th. He didn’t quite get home that day and a mistake 4 out didn’t help his chances and the return to 3 miles on a flatter track will suit him more today and I expect him to go close.
Mister Malarky – Aintree 5.15 22/1 ½ pt E way
The Grand National is different to any other race in the calendar and still provides a unique test. So where do you start. I have used the same set of stats for a number of years now(with a few tweaks) to provide a short list. Some years it works others it doesn’t. You need a horse that will definitely stay, so form over 3 miles or further is a must. I am a big believer in the winner having its first run in the national. I believe these days you need a bit of class, and have previous Aintree form. I am also a big believer in horses that have done well in one or more of these races,(Irish/Scottish/Welsh/Midlands National, RSA Chase, Ultima, Ladbrokes Trophy, Nat Hunt chase). By using this method I have a smaller list. I prefer them to have had a recent run, and I don’t look above 11st. So having said all that I have my short list and the favourite is certainly in there, but I cant tip it at the odds it is now. So the one I am going to put up each way is Mister Malarky. Some of his form is really good. His 2nd to “Kildersart” at Aintree in the Betway chase was a great effort as was his victory at Ascot when beating “The Conditional”. He was 4th in a hot RSA behind “Topofthegame”, “Santini “and “Delta Work”. His latest run was a good 3rd behind Clondaw Castle (who boosted that form with his run on Thursday). I think he has a touch of class and has a sporting each way chance.cordion Sample Description
A 9 year old Flemensfirth gelding. Trained by Tom Lacey, who has his runners in good recent form. Consistent runner,with 6 wins and 3 places from 19 career starts. Won the Classic Chase at Warwick in good style. Has good past form at Aintree. Finished second in each of the last two runnings of the Becher Chase. Stayed on in both races. Should appreciate the longer trip. Connections had planned to him in the Premier Chase at Kelso,but has worked so well at home and the trainer skipped that race to send him straight to the National. Goes well fresh and has each way chance.
4.00 Chepstow. YOUNG O’LEARY win.
Showed promise over hurdles,finishing fourth on hurdling debut. Ran into second spot on third and final hurdles run. This lightly raced 7 year old gelding won on Chasing debut last time out. That success was at Taunton last month. Distance was 2 miles and 2 furlongs,on good going. Has been raised 6 lbs for that win,but will improve from that initial run over the larger obstacles. Trained by Nigel Hawke who has his runners in good form. Five pound claimer David Prichard has already won on board the horse.
4.35 Chepstow. ATJIMA. win.
ATJIMA has been entered in a five horse bumper with only three runners with past experience of a racecourse,and very little form. Irish bred,sired by Mahler. Foaled in June 2015 ,and a sister to a bumper winner. Fitted with a hood and blinkers for racing debut. Trained by Victor Dartnall in North Devon on the edge of Exmoor. Trainer is in fine recent form,with two winners from three runners in the last 14 days. Dartnall has a fine record in Bumpers and also at this track. Jockey is David Prichard who does well when riding for this yard.
Well, every race needs an In ! I have decided to come down on the side of `The Going` ! Asking a horse to run four and a half miles on unsuitable ground is asking too much. So, after trawling through the entire field, this selection has a great strike rate in Chases and handles good ground. The one negative is it`s not so promising tries over these fences ( but you can`t have everything ) ?
LISNAGAR OSCAR EW - 3-35 Aintree 12/1
Staying at Aintree for all 3 selections this week. The selection has nothing to prove and having not completed last time out, may be a little fresher than most. Comes out 4th in RPR, 2nd in speed ratings and the ground won`t be a problem. To top it all, Rachael Blackmore takes the ride. Would have been a win selection, but I am in need of safety points just now.
BRAVE KINGDOM EW - 6-20 Aintree NR
This selection contradicts my last comment, but I was so taken with the ease of its Fontwell win ( stroll ) that I just have to take a chance at the price. The PTP it ran in was on heavy ground and he will love the good ground here. After Brave Kingdoms win I made a note in my Nag Me a/c that this horse could be Premier League ! So there we go, another 3 big priced selections that will hopefully move me up the ladder.
A bit on the heavy side but very good numbers with almost 1 win and place out of 2 races, same for its results in Newcastle and in class 4. The Jockey and trainer are a profitable combo and are in Newcastle for a few races today so probably looking to make something out of this one. 3 pounds below its last winning mark. Only little concern is the ground which if softer than announced could help.
Gateway to Europe - 3.20 Chepstow - EW 5/1
Lilly Pinchin has 4 interesting rides in Chepstow and could win on each of them. I stopped on Gateway to Europe as the last few races deserve more after 5 places out of 6. Pinchin is impressive so far in Chepstow with 3 wins out of 5 rides in a new career. There might just be something in there. Down in class today and 5 pounds lighter should do it.
Shattered Love - 5.15 Aintree - EW 50/1
40 horses... I have scanned and rescanned and try to find the one that gives me a good chance and a good return whether it wins or place. Others considered were Minellacelebration (discounted because of experience), Bristol de mai (discounted because of weight), Blaklion (discounted because of history) etc. Shattered love has course experience, class experience with 67% place and win which is rather big). The trainer is 50% in Aintree as well and the jockey just won on Belfast banter this week. Maybe hard for the jockey on such a big field as it is a rather new experience but youth and good result with Belfast banter must give some confidence for at least a place if not better...
Yet to trouble the judge in 5 previous attempts over hurdles but ran well in a couple of jumpers bumpers at the start of the year and went off favourite on his latest start over todays course & distance but could only finish 7th. Drying ground will suit and taken to make amends for disappointing last time back in novice company.
DREAL DEAL - 2:25 AINTREE 7/1
Has been in outstanding form this season in Ireland, winning his first 3 starts in a canter and then remarkably coming from last to first in the space of 2f at Punchestown when upped in class on his latest start. Versatile in terms of ground and trip (has won over further than today's 2m 4f and he could be the one to take advantage of a likely frenetic pace, likely to be set by Lucky One & Straw Fan Jack.
MAGIC OF LIGHT (EW) - 5:15 AINTREE 20/1
Disappointed at this years Cheltenham Festival on her latest start over a trip arguably too short for her these days. Ran a cracker in the last 'actual' running of this race in 2019 when 2nd to Tiger Roll (made a mistake at the last when upsides) and with that experience under her belt, a significant step back up in trip & Robbie Power in the saddle another big run is expected.
Week 3 – Saturday 3rd April
Seems to have found his distance with a 2l second LTO. Trainer has an excellent record with first time handicappers scoring 34% of the time over the last year, an actual vs expected of 1.48. The combination of low draw and hold up run style is not ideal however and I'm hoping Tom Eaves is under instruction to take a more prominent position today.
GAME LINE 18:00 Newton Abbot. 2/1
Game Line has the best form at the distance but, under top weight, is going to need to run to it. He was 3rd of 7 LTO which turns out to be not bad form with the 1st, 2nd, and 5th going in subsequently. This is a drop in class from that race. The Trainer/Jockey combination is a good one and the trainer has a good record at the track. The horse is likely to go off favourite but I'll be having a flutter.
POPE GREGORY 20:30 Wolverhampton. 5/2
Consistent sort who quite likes it here and scored over C&D two weeks ago.Thet form has been boosted by the 3rd placed horse going in subsequently.Has a 25% strike rate at the distance and Richard Kingscote is not a bad booking having placed on the horse before.The draw is not bad and if he can tuck in he shouldn't have too much to do at the finish.
Éclair du Beaufeu ran a great race in the County Hurdle off 139, when slightly unlucky on the run in. He runs off 138 in this and he’s extremely well in versus his chase mark, where he’s rated 153. Jordan Gainford has been booked, who claims a valuable 7lbs. He should be hard to beat.
130 Haydock. Five Star Getaway 11/8 WON
Five Star Getaway comes from a good family (half brother to Three Stars and Soaring Glory) and cost a decent sum (£85,000) at the Cheltenham sales in April 2019. It could be said he was campaigned to get a mark early in his career – going off 40/1, 100/1, 150/1…- and he eventually turned a corner with the application of cash from a mark of 94 a month ago. He subsequently bolted up off 105 and goes here off 120, which still looks lenient.
520 Wolves. Act Naturally 3/1
Act Naturally is pretty well bred by Frankel out of Anipa, who was reasonable. He’s shown a reasonable level of form so far and looked to be slowly getting his act together on his final two year old start. He’s got an opening mark of 71, which looks very fair and I’m confident he’ll prove to be a fair bit better than that in time.
Two horses here with a serious chance but my selection goes confidently to Wetlands with Brian Hughes on board. This very progressive 6 year old has to date won his bumper and 2 hurdles winning very impressively last time at Newcastle. Now off 132 he has to give his only serious competitor Karl Philippe 6 pounds buy i feel he can definitely do this and win again. Have a lumpy bet on this if you are holding. 1 point win.
Storm Nelson 3.58 Carlisle 11/10 WON
Storm Nelson is making hay for Sandy Thompson winning firstly at Ayr five weeks ago then bolting up on the snaff last Sunday over course and distance. This 8-year-old is definitely stamina laden and will look to hand out another similar destruction to today's opposition. I see absolutely no reason to oppose him . 1 point win.
Tornadic 2.25 Musselburgh 9/2
A typical tricky race for Musselburgh with plenty of progressive 3-year-olds in attendance. I think i have found a solid each way selection in Tornadic for the ultra-consistent Eve Johnson Houghton. Winning his first two races convincingly he stepped up again just failing to get up by a short head at Kempton off 84. Now off 90 with assured stamina Charles Bishop will look to pounce late and bag the loot. A confident each way bet. 1/2 point each way.
Sue and Harvey Smith are in good form at present with a 25% win strike rate and 50% place. Ryan Mania has also benefited from that and after his Cheltenham win must be full of confidence. As this is only Silva Eclipse's second start over fences lots of confidence will be needed. He won on his fencing debut over 3m2f at Sedgefield in early March and only made one jumping error, he should improve for that here. His Haydock record is also excellent, having run 6 times over hurdles, winning one and placing second in 5, one of those a Class two.
3.10 CORK - IT'LL DO MY DAY E/W 9/2 WON
This neat and muscular grey colt ran in the first turf 2yo race of the season at The Curragh at 14/1 and was the only one that could keep tabs on Missing Matron the 18/1 second string of Jim Bolger. The winner stood out beforehand as different class and the selection did well to match strides for all but the last 50 yards. Mick Mulvany has a poor record of converting 2to two year old runs to wins but as Aidan and Donnacha O'Brien both have runners as well as Stack, Bolger and Harrington we may get a decent price about this one despite its good run last time out.
4.55 CORK - ZOZIMUS E/W 11/1
Trained by Donnacha O'Brien, Zozimus has been mostly running on the all weather at Dundalk where as a 2yo he won one and placed twice over 8f. He was also 2nd in a mile h'cap at The Curragh. Today after a pipe opener over 8f at Dundalk he steps up to 10f here and with bottom weight and a 5lb claimer up will hopefully improve for it. The blinkers he wore for the first time when he won are back on, having been left off for his warm up.
In quite an open race I have sided with Alright Sunshine, he has had a couple of recent hurdles runs and the eye is drawn to the excellent course figures of 4 runs and 4 wins, one being over course and distance. He is only 2 lb higher than when last scoring on the flat and should be right up there at the finish.
CASPIAN PRINCE 15:00 MUSSELBURGH 0.5PT E/W 12/1
Well into the veteran stage of his career but still retains a fair amount of talent. He has a had his regular stint at meydan not being disgraced. He is back on a winning mark. I have to admit I have a soft spot for Caspian Prince and always will have a dabble when he is running - but this time it is from the head not the heart saying he will have a great chance here today.
THE PADDY PIE 13:30 HAYDOCK 7/1
The two early market leaders are at the foot of the weights, and I will side with The Paddy Pie. He is wearing cheekpieces for the first time and has Course and distance form - Ryan Mania is booked who has a 25% strike rate over last 14 days in Chases. HE is only 2lb higher than hs last winning mark so should go close.
CASPIAN PRINCE has been running well in defeat over in Meydan this winter and is back to line up for Mick Appleby and Ali Rawlinson in this hotly contested sprint handicap. Appleby is 3/6 and Rawlinson 2/3 in this race which Caspian Prince is a previous winner. Now back down to his last winning mark and if given a too easy lead, the rest might struggle to catch the now ageing Prince.
Wolves 6.30- Martineo Win 2/1
3 from 3 course winner MARTINEO looks to have found a good opportunity to make it 4 from 4. Just 1lb higher then when winning over course and distance and 8lbs lower then highest winning mark. Finished 2nd last time out to Swiss Pride by a nose who has been in good form (121) and just over a length ahead of Sir Hector who has gone on to win last night. The form looks good, Adam Kirby on board and a good stall draw, so has a good chance.
Wolves 8.30- Pope Gregory Win 5/2
POPE GREGORY has made a good start since switching trainer, with a 2nd and a win both over course and distance from 2 starts. The win was better then it looked having travelled strongly against the rail, he then had to switch and come 4 wide coming off the bend staying on well to power home. The 3rd that day (Makambe) has since come out and won and the 2nd (Carey Street) has a good chance in an earlier race tonight to hopefully boost the form.
As the sun comes out Saturdays usually mean getting stuck into a sprint handicap, hopefully somewhere with a nice pace/draw bias. Thankfully we kick off with a course that has just that where racing prominent and being drawn middle-high are a distinct advantage. Caspian prince is the confirmed front runner but Jabbarockie wont be far away and drawn in 10 has a few horses around him who should be held up in mid division so hopefully he can get across to the rail and prime position to pick up the win. Form wise the selection had a fruitful 2019 where he was placed in 7 of 8 races including a CD win here, seeing his rating go from 78 to 94. 2020 started the same way with a win and 2nd taking his rating to 99. A few below par performances has seen this drop below his last winning mark to 93 today. The final positive form marker is the fact that Jabbarockie has run 5 times after a break of a 100+ days and has form figures of 2/2/2/2/1. So having his first run since September is definately seen as a positive.
Muss 1.50 - Marshal Dan 9/2
Onto one of the biggest pace biases in the country. The downside there's plenty in the field who like to race prominently. The selection however is drawn 2 with a hold up horse in 1. So if he can get prime position out of the stalls we'll significantly increase our chances. 7f is one of those tricky distances where you get sprinters stepping up in distance not seeing out the distance and vice versa for milers stepping down. So i do like to stick with the 7f specialists, something you can certainly mark Marshal Dan up as, having won 7 times in 19 attempts at the distance including signing off 2020 with a CD win.
Fairyhouse 5.15 - Letsbeclearaboutit 10/11
Gavin Cromwell had a Cheltenham to remember with not 1 but 2 Grade 1 winners. He has a good chance at the Easter Festival in the bumper with the selection. Unusually this will be the horses 5th run in a bumper having won 2 and finished 2nd in its other 2. Its those 2nd placed runs that are the stand out pieces of form. The last time 2nd to Champion bumper runner up Kilcruit in the grade 2 at Leopardstown (it could be argued daylight was actually 2nd) and the time before again filling the runners up berth but this time to the Champion Bumper winner and next year's Ballymore winner Sir Gerhard. Those 2 bits of form make him the clear pick to keep the Cromwell army marching on.
Goes here from a very tempting mark and dropping in class. Looked in need of his latest run and and could be capable of much better here. Has previously won from a 13lb higher mark so we give hope that first time cheekpieces can bring about a little spark and maybe a resurgence for this shrewd yard.
Pookie Pekan win only (433Carlisle) 8/1
A two times CD winner who has fallen to a very tempting mark having had a few runs that on paper look below par. Excuses can be made however from ground not right to inadequate trip so another chance is given here. Made an encouraging reappearance back in October suggesting this revised mark is a fair one to say the least. Last two wins have come over CD with similar conditions so plenty to like about this outsider.
Better Getalong win only (323 Carlisle) 18/1
Decent hurdler who was set a pretty stiff task on chase debut just 13 days ago. This looks a more realistic test and a better run can be expected. Opening mark in this sphere looks fair and despite being the outsider of the field can not be written off on what will be only a second start over fences. Yard do pretty well with their runners here with around a 24% strike rate in the last 5 years which offers further encouragement
Ran a cracker in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham a few weeks ago to not be beaten far at all in 4th Place. That, as you would expect, was a competitive handicap with the top rated horse running off a mark of 155. This will represent a slightly easier task for him and the booking of young Jordan Gainford is a big plus!
Letsbeclearaboutit 5:15 Fair 10/11
Four runs to his name and form figures of 1122, with his most recent 2nd place finish behind the highly impressive Kilcruit, who ran a great race at Cheltenham only to be denied by his stablemate Sir Gerhard. When you consider the only other horse to beat my selection was Sir Gerhard, he must have a huge chance of not running into another in this race!
Martineo 6:30 Wolv 2/1
Running well in defeat of late with second place finishes in his last two outings. The most recent defeat was only by nose and the third place has come out and won since so he must have a big chance here off only 1lb higher than last time.
Running at the same track and distance in the same grade as it’s last race where it won in good style. Has 2lb more to carry this time but looks a horse in form running with the same jockey and from the same stall as previously. Hoping as clear a run as last time.
NA 4.52 Glentrool. To Win 4/1
First handicap race for this horse after running a good 2nd in its previous race a few weeks back. It looked beaten and tired about 2f out but came back for more and pressed for the lead but just didn’t have enough to get its head in front, eventually losing by about 2 lengths but I love a battler with a lot of heart and maybe a bit of good in the ground may just bring that bit extra out of it?
W 5.55 Algheed To win 15/2
Races just once previously when a 5/2 fav and came a close 3rd in a race that looked a bit scrappy to me and had it got a better steering job, may of done better? Same jockey this time unfortunately but hopefully will get a clearer passage and with the experience of its first run out the way, could improve and hopefully take this race?
Strong runner in Doncaster nursery back in October. If he has trained on and developed I think he will show strongly again today. I would have liked the form of the last race to have been franked but early season form is often more about Winter development. The trainer- jockey combination is in excess of 20% in the last year and can see this one running well at a decent price.
SMALL PRESENT – 3.15 Haydock 5/1 WON
Improver looking for third consecutive win from a yard that specialises in the tough, long distance runners. The Smith-Mania combination is flying at the moment and this one can overcome a further 6lb hike in the weights. No obvious front runner in the field but I’m hoping this one will run up with the pace which is the right tactics for the course. Can’t see it out of the top four and hoping it will make it a third win in an open race.
MIRANN – 4.55 Cork 9/4
On a day of relatively low quality racing the third selection is unusually (for me) coming from Ireland. Mirann was an eye-catching unlucky runner in the Irish Lincoln two weeks ago and seems to be very fairly treated in today’s contest. Johnny Murtagh is a particular trainer favourite and stepping up in distance form a mile to 1m2f is a real positive. Hoping that the field size will be large enough to get some cover but small enough to get some room when it’s needed and at the prices it is a strong value bet.
Goes particular well when fresh & arrives here with a live chance of returning back into the winners enclosure since taking out a listed event on quick ground York 2019 BHA 106 beating dark shot 0.5L returned to action Newmarket quick ground last season class 2 BHA 102 after an absence 236 days ‘ when beaten just a short head behind Makanah the year before that came in this very race BHA 100 beaten 4L Saaheq, enjoys quick ground - high draw favored - selection a real 5f specialist & application of customary tongue tie applied with Ella McCain claiming a valuable 5lbs aboard, you can excuse the heavy ground on the back of a hard season, when last seen on the track Rachel Richardson was also aboard, stats poor when she’s been in the plate, no offense when last seen behind justanotherbottle when in receipt 6lbs backend last season 5lbs better off here here with that rival + the jockeys claim another 5lbs add stats when Richardson been aboard 1040000320000 ~horse goes well fresh and decent draw in 9 makes the Tim Easterby runner of strong e/w interest,.
3.35 Musselburgh ... Kings advice e/w 9/1
Application first time visor will hopefully make the difference ‘ selection 8-19 on turf Johnston runner went through a purple patch 2019 ending the campaign neck 2nd weekender Salisbury BHA 112 - 2020 nothing to write home about but still achieved a couple of decent performances behind red Verdon and Hochfeld ~ selection had a pipe opener on the a.w back in December when down the field kingswear beaten a little over 8L revised mark 97 could be lenient with Andrew Breslin claiming a valuable 5lbs off the horses back ( trainer has 5 entries ) much shorter in the betting is Johnston trained trumpet man who’s on a career high mark 97 and in my opinion looks to high in the weights especially as was racing off 76 backend last September when we’ll held behind Billy no mates.
2.20 Fairyhouse ... Elimay win bet 4/6 WON
Ran a screamer at the festival behind Colreevy recording RPR 159 beaten 0.5L clearly has the beating of market rival mount ida who was 12L adrift of the same horse Thurles however did seem to put in a much improved performance LTO when accounting for cloudy Glen at the festival 6L recording RPR 160 yet came off BHA rating 142 and on official figures looks a match between the two runners, looking at the sectional times and weight carrying performances, of the two rivals and I’m favoring the Mullins runner to continue his rise through the rankings ‘ form shown behind Allaho also makes good reading,.leading claims in what looks a match between 2 improving rivals.
This 4 year old has shown great improvement on the AW since switching to the Archie Watson yard and he can continue his upward trend back on turf. A proven winner with cut in the ground, the 7F around here should be ideal and Morris takes the ride again. 9lbs lower than his AW mark, Stone Soldier can capitalise here against some older, out of form rivals and should prove very tough to beat.
ABOUT GLORY 7:00 Wolverhampton 9/1
About Glory is back on his last winning mark and should go close back at Wolverhampton. The selection returned from a 10 month break and has looked ready to strike in his past few runs. His poor Southwell runs can he forgiven, and he found it tricky getting involved from rear in his last two runs at Chelmsford (hampered in latest run). His run in between, at this track makes him of interest, where he probably hit the front too soon and was swamped by some in form rivals close home to finish a near 3rd. Back to a mark of 49, if Edmunds can time his run better today, About Glory should get back to winning ways in what looks a winnable race.
NINE ELMS 7:30 Wolverhampton 15/8
Nine Elms has displayed good form over course and distance this year and was perhaps unlucky to finish 4th last time out. The selection was caught three wide for most the journey, running more ground than anything else in the field and did remarkably well to stay on for 4th in the circumstances. A better passage should be granted here given the smaller field and a reproduction of his prior two runs over C&D should be good enough to win what looks a weak contest.
Kevin Ryans stabke are in great form at present and with the stable sending out a nice 2YO winner yesterday for the same owners they will be looking to follow up here, Kevin Stout takes the ride and the combination has a suoerb record at this venue, His 2YO look well ahead at the moment and look worth following early season.
15.23 Carlisle 2m Handicap Chase SOME REIGN 9/1 WON
Ruth Dobbin is going great guns with her string at present and looks to have found a god opportunity here for Some Reign based on his form from last Autumn, down in grade he will find this a lot easier than his last race and with plenty of pace on here his hold up style will suit him well.
18.00 Newton Abbot 3m1f Handicap Chase GAME LINE 2/1
My NAP of the day runs here, Game Line has solid claims on recent formand gets my vote with the stabke in tremendous form, he looks a class above these and can use his proven front rank tactics to good effect, Sean Bowen rides here particularly well and get finish of hte card with a nice winner.
The selection goes for his hat trick of wins after winning in a higher grade at Newcastle last month. He hasn't been out of the frame in his four runs over hurdles to date and looks to be on the upgrade. N Richards, though having a quieter time at Carlisle this year, has been worth following with his hurdlers at this track over the last five years with a forty percent return on stakes.
FOREVER DES LONG 3.40 NEWTON ABBOT
Although slightly frustrating the selection was staying on over a slightly shorter trip last time having blundered at the last and throwing his chances away in the previous race at Ludlow. The horse behind him that day, Olympic Conqueror, has since come out and won a race at Fakenham with a bit in hand.
PARTY CENTRAL 4.40 FAIRYHOUSE WON 15/8
Sandwiched between a couple of WP Mullins horses last time out the mare was only beaten a neck after not getting the clearest of runs. She re opposes the fancied Brooklyn Glory again after beating her by over seven lengths. Not out of the first three in her three runs to date she holds an excellent chance of getting back on the winning trail.
Previous winners of this race appear to have been drawn 1-4 and have carried between 9-3lbs and 9-7lbs. There are only 2 horses that fit both criteria and of the two Marshall Dan looks like the more obvious one. He is a course and Distance winner and seems to save his best form for the Turf. I have had a look through his past form and he seems to always do well following a defeat. In fact the last 3 times he was beaten, he followed up with a victory. The going wont matter to him as he has won on soft through to Good to Firm. His win here in October in a class 2 looks good form and this drop in class should give him a great opportunity of bouncing back. I have no doubt he would be vying for favouritism if trained by someone more high profile. Given his tendency to either win or come unplaced, I suggest a win only.
Neverbeen to Paris – Haydock 3.15 ½ pt E way 16/1
The starting point for this race is to look for horses that are 6 or 7 are carrying 11-4lbs or less, are rated 122-126, have run at the track before and have won over hurdles at least 2 times. The horse that fits the bill in all of these stats is Neverbeen to Paris. The key race to look at could be the Betvictor Handicap Hurdle at Newbury on March 5th, where Regarding Ruth, Iwilldoit and the selection finished, 1st, 2nd and 6th . Our selection was given an easy time once it wasn’t going to be in the shake up, and now has a big pull in the weights with the winner. That brings us to the other key thing to look at, in that 6 horses have got apprentices riding them claiming between 3lb and 7lb, including our selection, who has Alan Doyle claiming 7lb. That could make all the difference. The final thing to note about Neverbeen To Paris is that his best recent race was at Newbury when finishing a good 3rd to Hill Sixteen and Lil Rockefeller, which was his 2nd race after a break. This is his 2nd run after a break of over 3 months, which again gives me hope of a good run for our money. There is no doubt that this is going to be very competitive but I think he is overpriced compared to the 2 that finished in front of it last time out and therefore is a reasonably confident e way seletion.
Ruaille Buaille– Fairyhouse 4.05 ½ pt E way 9/1 PLACED
A hot Irish Handicap and at first glance it looks a minefield, with a number of promising sorts running in it. However I think I may have found an angle into the race. The form of the Paddy Mullins EBF Handicap Hurdle ran at the Dublin festival looks red hot. Heaven Help Us won that race and followed up by winning the Coral Cup at Cheltenham and Tellmesomethinggirl, came third and followed up by winning the Mares novice hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Back in 8th place that day was Ruaille Buaille carrying 11-2lbs, she has 10-12lbs today and is aided by Paul Townend, who had the choice of a number of horses for this. Although only 8th she was hampered by a faller half way round and she was right behind the leaders 2 out. She didn’t look like she stayed to me that day and a combination of better ground and back in trip to 2m will suit her. Her 2 wins have both come on good or Yielding going over 2m and I think she is a good e way play in a very competitive race.
A well handicapped selection that has won 3 times, but not since switching stables. Now back at a course that he has won at ( albeit not at this distance ) and with the jockey who has partnered the horse for all of its wins. Very well drawn to burst out and make all. The horse is already being backed and once again I hope that the price stays in double digits. Probably my pic of the day, especially backing w/o the fav at B365.
DIYARI EW - Wolv 8-00 25/1
Another well handicapped outsider ( albeit with little experience ).
The positives are :-
1) Ex Gosden Inmate.
2) Unexposed and making Wolv debut.
3) First time visor ( which I believe will make a difference to this horse )
4) The trainer is running at 80% RTF and putting his stable jockey back on board after an apprentice rode 4lb off of the handicap mark last time out.
5) Finally the price, which is massive.
A speculative tip in a poor race where anything could win / finish last.
SEAFORTH EW - Wolv 8-30 33/1
Seaforth is neither well or badly handicapped ( but he is back to his last winning handicap mark of 57 ). There are a couple of well handicapped horses in the race but they don`t come with the positives that the selection does, which include being a four time course winner, two of which were course and distance wins, along with a massive price again ( which is important to me ). The big danger is International Law who has five course wins to his name, three of which are course and distance wins. But the selections price is seven times bigger and that will do for me !
This one is on 45% places and wins in this class, in the places once out of two in Newton Abbot. Trainer and jockey on 30% at this race course. Only ride of the day for Harry Reed as far as I can see. Not far from the top RPR
Conkering Hero - 4.49 Wolverhampton - EW 20/1
An amateur's jockey race can go in plenty of ways. I looked at different options and Conkering hero has a 46% places and wins in this class, doing that once out of 3 at Wolverhampton. So the ground is OK. Mixed bag on the distance and weight could be a concern. Still in with a shout.
Runway Queen - 5.55 Wolverhampton - EW 22/1
Now a novice race, another tricky thing to consider. Looks like I am not going to go for an easy tip idol... My attention has been brought to Runway Queen. No great results so far but a move to handicap anda trainer on 43% and a jockey on 27% at Wolverhampton could be the recipe for it to do well.
Trained by Roger Varian,who has an excellent course record,with 10 wins and 9 places from 30 runners in the last 12 months. He is also in good recent form with two winners from six runners in the last 14 days. On board is 5lb claimer Cameron Noble,who has a top strike rate for the yard. Four wins and 3 places from only 11 rides. This 3 year old Konica filly has just one run ,winning a 6 furlong Novice event at Redcar in June. Held up and stayed on to lead from a furlong out. Form of that race has worked out well with three of the seven runners having won since. Improving type who should go on to better things.
3.35 Musselburgh. CARDANO. each way. 9/1
Trained by Ian Williams and ridden by the in form Hollie Doyle. Has won both races this year,both on the all weather at Lingfield over 1 mile 4furlongs. Stayed on well on both occasions. This is the first attempt at a longer distance but from previous runs looks capable of seeing out the trip. Has two wins and a place from four runs in Class 2 races. Fitted with cheek pieces again. Has four wins and three placed efforts from 9 runs with the headgear.
2.40 Haydock. CHECKITOUT. each way. 7/1
Trained by Nigel Twiston Davies and ridden by son Sam. Moved yards from Charlie Longsdon after wind surgery, and has had 6 runs(all chases) for current connections. Two wins and a place from those six outings. Has a win in Class 2 from two runs at this level. Goes well in the predicted going. Won last two races,including last time out at Ludlow. Won that race with ease by a 7 length margin. Looks a horse who will continue to improve over the larger obstacles.
Three wins and four seconds in a nine-race career for Sexy Lot who is a consistent and progressive handicapper. She scored easily scored at Sandown (2m4f) in first-time cheekpieces last month. (12th March) and although having gone up 8 lb in the handicap still holds a serious chance of winning for the fourth time this season.
1.30 Haydock Five Star Getaway 1 point win 11/8 WON
Christian Williams appears to have a pretty decent gelding with the lightly raced Five Star Getaway has shot up in the weights significantly but has had plenty in hand the last twice and can land the hat-trick here. He was successful at Sandown just before Cheltenham and prior to that had won at Wincanton.
2.40 Haydock Crossley Tender 0.5 points ew 8/1
Trainer Paul Henderson has a very consistent horse with the eight year old Crossley Tender who has not been out of the first three in his last six races and has quite a remarkable record overall with being placed 9 times from 13 races over the bigger obstacles. He was 2nd last time out in a much longer race than this but he has won over this distance before and I feel certain he can be thereabouts again in what is a highly competitive race.
Withdrawn from an engagement at Newbury last weekend due to the soft ground. Ran a blinder in the Greatwood Gold Cup at that venue last month on his latest start following a 99 day break, holding every chance jumping the last before tiring on the run to the line. Dropped 1lb since, this course & distance winner (shouldered a similar weight to victory here in May 2019) should have conditions to suit today and could take some pegging back.
WESTERN CLIMATE - 4:25 Haydock 9/1
Will be suited by a return to racing against veterans today having ran well to a point in a more competitive handicap over further when last seen at Warwick 20 days ago. Drying ground shouldn't be a concern (has won in all conditions) and showed 3 starts back that he's no back number just yet.
ACT OF MAGIC - 7:00 Wolverhampton 9/4
3 progressive runs this year, the latest a win when ridden prominently over course & distance 3 weeks ago under today's jockey, holding on well having hit the front 2f out. Prior to that he had run well in 4th behind the prolific Khatm when given a different ride (held up) over a mile. Up just 2lb today, the selection should be well placed to take advantage of the relative lack of pace in the race if adopting similar tactics to last time.
Both of Christian Williams’ runners here look well treated, so it’s interesting that stable jockey Jack Tudor takes the ride on Defuture Is Bright. He’s a progressive horse, whereas most in the field haven’t got much improvement left and his record of 2/4 over fences hints that there could be plenty more to come. Defuture Is Bright looks particularly well treated based on a 2lb rise for his last time out win. He was seriously hampered on the final circuit but recouped upwards of 10 lengths on the runaway leader to win with plenty to spare. Such a feat would be impressive enough in itself but when you consider it took place at Fakenham, where it’s notoriously hard to do make up any ground at all, it’s deserves further upgrade and there should be plenty of scope left in his handicap mark.
1500 Musselburgh - Jabbarockie (1pt win) 11/2 WON
A high draw and travelling up with the pace is key on the straight track at Musselburgh with the stalls towards the stands side, partly due to the kink in the rail itself. Jabbarockie fits the bill in that regard, but also has fantastic form fresh (2221 on seasonal reappearance). He features on a competitive mark, just 1lb higher than when winning on his return last year and looks sure to go well.
1611 Musselburgh - Primo’s Comet (1pt win) 9/2
Comes here 8lb lower than last turf run, which was also over C&D, following some below par runs on the all weather. Primo’s Comet followed an identical path to this last season in lowering his mark on the AW before winning on turf return at Musselburgh. Course and distance form of 71621273 reads well, especially when considering that a lot of those races were of higher quality than this opposition. As mentioned earlier, a high draw is ideal and the jockey booking of Hollie Doyle catches the eye given the trainer has three runners in the race.
Christian Williams snared a decent pot with a handicap chaser at Kelso last week and the feat can be repeated with this son of Getaway. A lightly raced 7 year old having just his fourth start over fences, the money was landed at Wincanton last month with Five Star Getaway winning by 6 lengths from Baignard proving good ground and a flat track is not a problem. He followed up in a class 3 handicap chase at Sandown thumping Golden Whisky by 5 ½ lengths on soft ground with a decent amount in hand. He was given a RPR of 129 that day and runs off an OR of 120 today. Jack Tudor takes off 3lbs meaning he runs off 117. A feature of Five Star Getaway is his cruising speed and accurate jumping, essential features for Haydock and I expect a big run from him today.
0.5pts each way – DEFUTURE IS BRIGHT, 240 Haydock 4/1 PLACED
The Williams/Tudor partnership can strike again with this son of Westerner. I suspect connections have targeted this race and Haydock will play to his strengths as he is a big galloping type. He has only gone up 2lbs for his latest win at Fakenham (recorded a RPR of 115, he runs off 109 today) as he was nearly brought to a standstill by a faller but still won. He races off bottom weight and connections have previously campaigned Cap du Nord at similar events. He should go close and looks rock solid each-way material.
0.5pts each-way – ASHTOWN LAD, 315 Haydock 9/1 NR
Harry Skelton can notch up another win in his Jockeys Championship duel with Brian Hughes by landing this class 2 handicap hurdler on this 7 year old. After racking up victories at Wetherby and Uttoxeter this lad went off 6-4 favourite for a Grade 2 novice hurdle at Cheltenham but disappointed in finishing 5th with Skelton reporting the gelding failed to pick up. He subsequently flopped when pulled up in the River Don at Doncaster. I thought the ground that day was horrid clingy ground which a lot including this lad couldn’t handle. It may well have been e case but it was also reported Ashtown Lad had blood in his trachea. Freshened up with a 2 month break and a wind operation and back on better ground, this lad runs off a mark of 135. He achieved a RPR of 136 when winning at Uttoxeter giving hope he can handle the mark while his trainer Dan Skelton has saddled 16 winners from 58 runners in the last 14 days. I’m hopeful of a decent run.
Week 2 – Saturday 27th March
Bit speculative here with a first ever runner for sire Ardad but I was expecting him to be favourite purely on Richard Fahey's stats for first time out runners, particularly in the Brocklesby. I would sooner have Tony Hamilton on a 2yo than Flanagan but hopefully all he has to do is steer. The two being backed are for Boughey and Channon. Mick Channon has not had a fto 2yo winner before June in the last couple of years and although he did win this in 2018, I'm happy to stick with Richard Fahey's runner. George Boughey only seems to have had one 2yo career 2yo debut winner and that was in September.
2.00 DONCASTER - FATHER OF JAZZ Win 7/1
On what seems a very difficult day for tipping I am relying on Roger Varian's ability to improve a well bred son of Kingman. Hopefully he will be able to use the early speed demonstrated in his three wins over 10f in this drop back to 8f. Varian has excellent course stats and Callum Shepherd has ridden FoJ to all his wins.
3.10 DONCASTER - DANYAH E/W 8/1 PLACED
Trained by Owen Burrows who has a good record at Doncaster, Danyah has won off breaks of more than 90 days on both occasions he has tried it so the 182 days off combined with the trainers stats should not be a problem. Ground conditions appear immaterial so if Doncaster gets some more rain it should not be a hindrance. Centre draw is fine as long as the ground remains good. It would also be a good story for a Sheikh Hamdan horse to win in the week of his death.
Haqeeqy is a relatively short price but also has an awful lot going for him. He looked really progressive at 3, bar for one blowout at the July course, where I assume something was amiss. John and Thady Gosden have booked their stable apprentice and potential star Benoit de la Sayette, who gets a valuable 7lbs. I’d fancy Haqeeqy even without that booking, but it certainly helps. There isn’t an awful lot of pace on, but that shouldn’t be a problem as Haqeeqy has looked a quick horse (backed up by sectionals) – I expect he’ll be held up for a late run and he should go really well.
240 Meydan. Yaupon 7/2
Yaupon went off 6/4 favourite in the Breeders Cup Sprint, following a string of impressive wins. He missed the break in the Breeders Cup and never landed a blow, but he was inexperienced and that run can be easily forgiven. He’s well drawn to attack in stall 2 and if he can get away on terms he should go extremely well. One slight downside is he’s never run a top class Beyer figure, but he is progressing and this race isn’t as hot as the big US sprints, so he probably won’t need to run a big figure to win.
345 Doncaster. Mr Lupton ew 13/2
Brando, who is certainly classy and has some top class form in the book, looks a favourite to take on, as the Abernant is his likely early season target. Mr Lupton, although 8, makes plenty of appeal at the prices. He tends to run better in the first half of the season and has form figs of 122 at the course. The Fahey yard often do well at this meeting and are in good form. He looks a decent ew bet.
Had shaped very well in a couple of strong looking races before finally getting back to winning ways in a big field handicap at York when last seen. Has gone well fresh in the past so reassurance can be taken that he will come here ready to roll first time. Versatile with regards to conditions and trip is ideal, strong draw based on recent renewals and plenty to like from this overpriced selection.
Doncaster 235 Spring Mile Handicap Mascat (1pt win only) 10/1
Ended last term with a couple of solid performances and comes here making seasonal debut having been gelded and could have more to offer. Has a couple of decent form line runs under his belt from last term and possibly the pick of all the 2 year old form on offer. This trip looks to be where he is most comfortable and he will certainly be staying on late to go close given the pace in the race. Still unexposed over this trip which could have him well treated too.
Wolverhampton 425 Arthurs Angel (1pt win only) 11/4
One from the tracker who is worth another try following a fine run in third at Lingfield last time out. That race has worked out very well since and this one has been given a little time to come on for that.
Right here we go with Doncaster's annual cavalry charge. Haqeeqy looks to have an good chance. This 4 year old gelding looks a classic John Gosden group horse masquerading as a handicapper.His last race also at Doncaster was impressive off 92 winning easily from Cold Front. Gosden puts his stable apprentice up Benoit D L Sayette who claims an invaluable 7lbs . This is a fairly confident enough win selection in a very difficult race. 1 point win.
Lord Glitters 3.30 Meydan 7/2
This selection picks himself in my opinion. Lord Glitters i salute you. One of our outstanding exports to run here having already won 3 times over course and distance this season. There is no reason why he cannot win today and add another to his super career record. Well drawn to attack when Tudhope presses the button he will look to come there with a double handful and win the prize for connections. Well worth the one point win.
Walton Street 4.10 Meydan 9/1
Another tricky race now but i feel i have chosen a solid each way selection from the Godolphin Team . This improving 7 year old won really nicely over the course and distance last time out beating 3 others from the same ownership. This gelding is the choice of Will Buick and i feel he is a great each way punt. Well drawn in gate 5 i expect a positive ride and hopefully a win. 1/2 point each way.
My selections are driven by my own race ratings system which considers a number of variables relating to form, conditions and relative merits versus other runners in the race – with an “eye test” to turn shortlists into selections. This one is very much ratings driven. It has been running in both hurdle and chase races in recent times but many of these have been at Class 1 level and in some strong company. This race looks like some good placing and even though top weight, is running from an OR only two higher then its top winning mark – a much better level than most of the others in the race. Course and distance win will help and in a race with many exposed horses I think that it is a value bet at the prices.
ACROSS THE LINE - 2.40 Kelso 9/4
Handicap debutant running from the Skelton team with Harry in particular firing in winners with some confident rides. Coming form novice company is often a positive at this time of year and I can disregard a couple of others in the race who are hardened handicappers but have maybe been put under the grip of the handicapper. On the ratings form, speed, conditions and the TJ team all score well and this is a worthy favourite for me. However still a value bet at the time of writing at least – hopefully not too many others will have found it by the morning prices.
OUZO (Each Way) – 3.10 Doncaster 22/1
Early season flat form is of course a bit of a lottery – are all weather runs going to sharpen up horses fitness for their first run? Will horses have trained on? Will they be ready first time out? And that’s before you put them into a 22 runner handicap. However there are some pointers which may help to unpick this one. First the draw, or more particularly the draw and the pace. I would be looking for a draw close enough to either rail so can happily rule out some of the middle drawn runners. Then where is the likely pace? Here I think the high numbers will be the pace setters with the likes of Born To Be Alive and, in particular, Dashing Roger likely to set a fast pace. I would then be looking at a runner that can race prominently off a strong pace. The ground will be quicker than for several years and good ground form is another major plus. I would also look for winning form over the distance and running at an age that does not exceed 7. Step forward Ouzo. 5 year old, 2/3 on good ground, 2/4 over a mile. Drawn 16, so close enough to the pace of the pace to hang off them and pick up the pieces. No course form but has won at Newmarket, a similar galloping track. Added to all of this in the ratings system it ranks very highly and this becomes a bet for me. Not quite brave enough to put it up as a win bet – but the time of year has an effect on that.
Mr Harp has some very strong recent form in the book and he looks a good price in this race. He drops into this handicap race having run in a Grade 2 Novice race last time, where he finished a clear 2nd behind one who went to run respectably at Cheltenham last week. The race before he finished 2nd behind Imperial Alcazar, who went off favourite for The Pertemps at Cheltenham, and beat Come On Teddy (3rd in Pertemps) and Saint Delina (Winner last Saturday), who have both boosted that form since.
Brentford Hope 3:10 Doncaster 9/1 NR
A lot has been thought of this horse and it would be fair to say that better has been expected than he had been showing on track last year. After easily winning a Newmarket maiden on his debut he was stepped up on trip, but it was only when he was dropped down to a mile on his fifth start that he managed to get his head back in front. It was heavy ground that day but there is hope that the improvement was due to the trip rather than the ground (he has only tried good ground once before and that looked a decent novice race).
Rose Of Ardcadia 3:25 Newbury 10/3
This mare won here only point to point start and was promptly purchased by Cheveley Park and moved to Colin Tizzard’s yard. She then won here sole NHF start with the minimum of fuss. It took three hurdles starts to record a win, although she was a good 2nd place before making the breakthrough last time out. It looked like the step up in trip was the key, and I fully expect this one to improve further. The form of her win last time had been strongly franked with the 2nd place horse winning both starts since and the 3rd place winning her only start since too! Based on that the mark of 120 looks very exploitable with bundles of improvement still likely.
The lottery that is the Lincoln! There are some compelling trends over the last 17 years that narrow down the field. I had a couple of speculative e/w bets at big odds before the declarations, unfortunately they are all non runners. SO looking at this race again I cant get away from the current favorite who has lot in his favour. The fact he has a very very useful jockey who takes 7 lbs off is a huge plus. I have followed Benoit D L Sayettes fledgling career since a very eye catching ride at Kempton back in January. Haqeeqy's record speaks for itself winning 3 from 5, one being last time out over Course. It is slightly worrying that the only time he has raced over 1mile he finished last of 10 - but I am overlooking this as he bounced back next time out.
ALIOMAANA 17:00 WOLVERHAMPTON 9/4
Aliomaana went into my tracker after her first race at Kempton (7f) in November. Starting from the widest draw she was carried even further out by another horse, she quickly settled at the rear and was last of 12 at the 3f pole, when she made eye catching progress to finish 4l 5th, with that run under her belt a big run is expected.
CLAUD AND GOLDIE 13:35 KELSO 6/1
In a tight looking race Claud and Goldie looks to have the best chance. The course form is solid with 6 course runs yielding 3 wins and 3 places. R P McLernon has ridden him 7 times with 3 wins and 2 places.Claud and Goldie also had vintage clouds behind in third over last months course and distance win. All solid form and should be right up there at the finish.
The Flat is back, stand by for at least a month of hearing about how one code is better than the other. Meanwhile I’ll just sit back and enjoy both. Kicking off with a nice Big Cavalry Charge on Town Moor. Some strong trends around Age, Weight and Form over 1m+ reduce the field significantly reduce the field however it includes all of the major players. There were 2 standouts for me who both have pretty similar form on a line through Alternative Fact. Namely Danyah and Ouzo. The latter went off fav in the Silver Hunt Cup at the Royal Meeting but looked workmanlike at best in his win at York whereas Danyah’s performance at Haydock over some pretty decent yardsticks looked like there was plenty left in the tank as the front two were going further clear at the line. Throw in the fact he’s only ever raced twice on ground better than soft and won both times gives me plenty of confidence he’ll at least make the frame. Drawn 9 in the middle of the course Kieron Shoemark can pick which side he wants to come up and he should get a good tow into the race from the front running Johan drawn 2 stalls outside him. A win would also make a very poignant return of the flat given he is owned by the late Hamdan al Maktoum.
2.20 Newbury – Valadom 0.5pt each way PLACED 9/1
Backing top weights in 3m Handicap Chases wouldn’t normally be my cup of tea. However I’ll make an exception here. Valadom produced an eye catching performance at the same track last time where he made the running and jumping like a buck didn’t see another horse for the next 3 mile. Unfortunately for those who backed him (yes that includes me) the race was over 3m 2f and though most of his rivals were beaten off before they even reached the cross fence the eye was always drawn to Sir Ivan in behind who pounced at the last but to Valadom’s credit he didn’t go down without a fight and was only beaten a length and a half with most of the others spread out all over Berkshire. The only confirmed front runner in the field he may well get his own way out in front again and it would be no surprise to see a few of these off the bit down the back straight if he jumps with the same zest as last time only this time he won’t find one too good.
1.35 Kelso – Dandy Dan 1pt win 11/2
Another long distance handicap chase and another top weight tipped, what next UK horses winning at Cheltenham!!!! Originally the eye was immediately drawn to Claud and Goldie who a few shrewdies will no doubt be following his stamina laden success here last time. My eye’s widened when I saw a Kim Bailey runner at Kelso that can’t happen too often. Surely enough just the 10 runners here over he last 5 years and 2 of those were this very horse who finished 1st and 2nd on his previous visits. His form over further than 3 mile reads 3,1,2,U,2 so certainly none too shabby over a stamina test. Another who prefers to bowl along in front and he’ll certainly have a willing partner for that in David Bass who has won on him 3 times in 7 chases. With a couple of the others in the field usually flattering to deceive it may well pay to stick with someone who has been placed in 7 of his 9 chases (one of the other 2 was a G3 at Cheltenham) so is a consistent sort who won’t mind the top of the ground going having won twice on similar.
C Appleby has won this race twice in the past four runnings and James Doyle has won the last two. The selection won comfortably at Meydan last month over a slightly longer distance. His weight fits snugly now in between 9-0 and 9-4, the winning weight of eight of the previous nine winners. With four-year-olds winning the last four runnings I'm very confident of a decent run.
VINTAGE CLARETS 1.25 DONCASTER 4/1
Eight of the previous nine winners of this race were priced at 7/1 or less so the market is a good guide to this the opening race of the flat season. R Fahey has won this race twice in the last three runnings with a third-place sandwiched between them so I believe we can expect a bold show from this son of Ardad colt.
PILLAR OF HOPE 1.15 KEMPTON 9/4
M Johnston won the last running of this race and his representative here beat a long odds-on shot at Newcastle last time out. Another of his horses beat OTYRAR at Wolverhampton last time so he should have the measure of him. Although the selection carries a penalty for his win he won going away so I'm hoping that he's going to progress even more for that run.
Back in to Listed grade Montatham can get back to winning ways, his final race last year over 1m1f in a Class 2 Handicap did not go his way, the extra furlong that day and the weight concession seemed to be his downfall, so back to a mile and carry level weight, he should be contesting all the Class 1 races at 1 mile this year and he always runs well first time up.
14.35 Doncaster Spring Cup ACQUITTED 1pt Win Bet 5/1
Just missing the cut for the Lincoln and being one of those who would have been fancied to win, this looks a good opportunity for Acquitted, H Palmer normally does well with his early starters and has a good record in March, Acquitted has run well on all his first time out starts and should be very fit for this and looks to be one who will step up in grade in time, drawn well in 19 and abke to sit handy should be a real positive and a big run is expected.
15.10 Doncaster LINCOLN HANDICAP DANYAH 0.50pt EW 8/1 PLACED
Danyah is one of my horses to follow for this turf flat season, had a terrific season as a 3YO with 2 wins and 2 places from his 4 runs and looks like he could be a better 4YO and I am looking forward to following this horse this year, he should be stepping up in grade soon but this could be a huge stepping stone for him, everything to me looks ready for a huge run today, drawn nicely in stall 9 were he can track the fast pace and pounce late on, always looks very fit first time up and the ground will be perfect for him as he goes on all types which shows that thus is a class horse.
A tentative selection as the horse is better know as a 7F runner. Having said that he won going away LTO at this track in September and the going is forecast to be ideal for him.He has won at the weight and a flat, galloping track suits him to a tee. He's run held up the last twice and this combined with a medium draw is a good omen in the context of this race.
DHUSHAN 16:20 Doncaster 1pt 2/1
An impressive 2nd over 8F last september, staying on strongly so this step up in trip should suit. Dropping 3 classes from that run and W Haggas has good course form and a good record with distance changes. I'm not sure where the pace is going to come from but, if there is something to aim at, last time's hold up style should be successful here.
SPIRIT OF ROWDOWN 16:25 Wolverhampton 1pt WON 17/2
3 time winner in class 6 company last year (twice here). Hasn't been doing as well in class 5s this year so this drop back in class is a positive.40% strike rate at the distance and has won at this weight before. Charlie Bennett seems to bring out the best in the horse with 3 wins and 2 places from 7 runs. Runs best on a left hand track and if he hits his 2020 from at the class should outrun his odds.
22 runners in a cavalry charge may not be everyone’s choice of a race to have a bet on, but it does gives us chance to try to find a nice each way selection. In recent years you are looking for a potential Group horse that is lurking on a decent weight who the handicapper hasn’t yet caught up with. Therefore its not surprising that in recent years, 4 year olds are the ones to concentrate on. In an ideal world the horse should be carrying between 9-0 and 9-4, has won over a mile before and only won between 2-4 times. Although the favourite seems to fit most of these trends, and seems to be improving, but so does my selection. Danyah has won first time out in both it’s 2 and 3 year old Campaign, and is a course winner. He has a very shroud trainer, who is selective with his entries, so is sure to be ready to do itself justice and represents good each way value at the current prices.
Rose Of Arcadia – Newbury 3.25 1 pt Win 10/3
Rose of Arcadia is a 6 year old, improving mare who is carrying less than 11-3lb, has won between 1-2 times and had a top 3 finish last time out. That fits closely to the profile of previous winning horses in this contest. I think that she will be backed prior to the race so I will put her up as a win only. Colin Tizzard’s horses ran quite well at Cheltenham and tend to improve this time of year on the run up to Aintree. Rose of Arcadia improved for the step up in trip last time out and having looked at that race in depth the horses that finished behind her have all ran well next time out.
Emaraaty Ana – Doncaster 3.45 1pt win 8/1
Emaraaty Ana seems to always go well fresh and has been tested at the highest level, when running in the 2018 Middle park stakes and the 2019 2,000 guineas stakes. He also ran in the Grade 1 Grimthorpe over 5F on his latest start, so the trainer clearly thinks he has a lot of ability. His official rating dropped from 104 to 100 for that run, but isn’t a 5 furlong horse in my opinion. Kevin Ryan likes this race and has had 4 placed horses in it before, so you can be sure that the horse will be primed to run a good race. As far as trends go, Emaraaty Ana fits most of the important ones as he is a 5 year old who has won over 6f but has had less than 5 wins. I thinks his odds will contract , so I advise a win bet.
My selection here has had just two runs for trainer N. W. Alexander and finished 2nd in both of them. The gelding now goes handicapping for the first time and seems to have a very reasonable opening mark. He is also stepped up in trip and that should be very much to his advantage. To be honest it looks to be a two-horse race between my selection and Leostar and the latter should help Blazing Port go off at a workable price.
1.35 Kelso Dandy Dan 1 point win 5/1
Trainer Kim Bailey sends Dandy Dan a pretty long way to compete in this race and it could well pay off. When last seen out, Cheltenham in November, he was last of ten but he wouldn’t have been racing there if he wasn’t held in some regard. Before that, he was 2nd at Sedgefield over slightly longer than he gets here. But he has won over this C/D and at a decent enough price gets the nod to resume winning ways.
3.10 Doncasster Kynren 0.5 points ew 25/1
The lottery that is the Lincoln and in all honesty, why would any serious punter back in this? Most horses haven’t run for ages and their fitness has to be taken on trust. I’ve managed to narrow it down to the David Barron trained Kynren, David O’Meara’s Orbaan, Michael Dods’ Brunch and the Richard Hughes trained Brentford Hope. Kynren is a frustrating character. He undoubtedly has the ability to win this. He finished 5th over this course and distance in November in what was overall a disappointing season for him last time around. Orbaan has the ability but often flatters to deceive. He could win but with his trainer also having another runner in the race I’ve decided to leave him alone. I’m absolutely convinced that Brunch will be thereabouts and at 12/1 he makes plenty of appeal and cannot be ruled out and I wouldn’t put anyone off backing him. Brentford Hope worries me and I would have a saver on him if playing in this race. Dropped to a mile in his last race he bolted up at Haydock. The one big negative about him is that he has Jamie Spencer on board and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him come late but just fail to get up. At the price, I think we have a great chance of at least getting Kynren in the places and at around 22/1 he’ll do for me.
Handles the ground and will relish this trip. MASCAT placed in two very good handicaps last season and looked to be a horse on an upward curve. Today’s jockey booking is a real positive and the trainer does well he at the track. This is MASCATS first run of the season and with condition to suits, won’t be too far away.
ACENSION (e/w) Doncaster 15:10 16/1
The selection is likely to run prominently throughout the race. Has form figures of 1132 since being gelded last season and the trainer does well here with his horses. 4 year old horses also have a great record in this race. ACENSION ticks a lot of boxes and won’t be too far away at the winning post.
LEROY LEROY (e/w) Doncaster 16:55 WON 8/1
Positive jockey booking in Rhys Clutterbuck who is claiming 3lb today in this Aprentice handicap. The jockey has won 2/8 rides in past 14 days. The selection is well treated and has previously raced well when fresh. Handles condition and has form over this trip and race conditions. A good run is expected.
I dont usually like to go with short price horses in big field handicaps, but I was very impressed with HAQEEQY's win back here in September. That was over 7f but Haqeeqy was slow away that day and ridden most of the trip, but still managed to win going away, so I cant see the step up in trip being a problem, and with the very impressive claimer Benoit Sayatte taking 7lbs off, also means Haqeeqy is only running 1lb higher from that win.
6.00 Wolves- Gold Coast 6/1
The lightly raced maiden GOLD COAST finished 2nd of10 over course and distance last time out staying on well, and with Laura Pearson booked to ride this time claiming 5lbs means Gold Coast is 4lbs lower from that run. Stall 11 is not ideal, but Gold Coast broke well from stall 9 last time finding himself in a good position just behind the front 3 or 4, I expect Laura Pearson to do the same, and go onto to win this.
7.00 Wolves- Spurofthemoment WON 11/4
SPUROFTHEMOMENT was a beaten 3rd by a neck to (Smokey) 1st and (Capla Spirt) 2nd last time out over 5f at Lingfield, both have gone onto win since aswell as the horse back in 4th (Hey Ho Lets Go), so the form looks fairly decent. The selection also beat market rival Shamson 2 starts back (5f Lingfield) and dont see Shamson reversing the form.
Bit of a lottery really due to the amount of runners but I’ve plumped for this one mainly based on how many times he fits the trends of previous winners. Also good to see he’s at a distance he seems to prefer. Good jockey who isn’t afraid to takes risks and finally, in a stall that’s been favorable in this race a couple of times before I believe
W 7.30 E/W Spring Romance 20/1 PLACED
Hardly a world beater but took my eye previously when forced to run wide but was still going strong at the end. Been placed 5 out of 8 times at the track and has won 6 times on Standard going. Lastly, has won 8 times in its career over this distance.
K 5.05 EW Foresee 20/1 PLACED PLACED
Likes the distance, having won 4 times and been placed 9 times. The other stat attracting me to this horse was its strike rate in class 6 races. In its past 7 races in class 6 its record is 1/1/2/1/1/3/3. A bit concerned it prefers left handed courses but we shall see?
A wide open race as to be expected, but those at the head of the market are too short for me and can’t be considered a bet. Orbaan may be 6 but remains unexposed after 14 runs and his run style of being held up suggests a big field scenario (only granted three times since joining O’Meara) will bring out his best. The first saw a very comfortable win (second, third and sixth all won shortly after). The second a fantastic run against a strong pace bias where all of those around him have won or placed since and is arguably the strongest handicap form from last season. He was poorly positioned at Ascot in the third big field race when it paid to be racing along the stands rails and wasn’t knocked about once it was evident he had little chance. The big field, straight mile should suit down to the ground and I expect to see Orbaan travel strongly before getting involved late in the day granted a strong pace to aim at (Revich and Dashing Roger expected to provide that scenario for those drawn higher). To top it off, O’Meara is on record as saying he was bought to be their Lincoln horse last year before COVID struck.
1435 Doncaster - Overwrite (0.5 pt ew) 12/1
Plenty of these arrive with seemingly upward trajectories but come with doubts attached regarding ground, trip and ability to handle a variety of underfoot conditions given the uncertainty. In addition, many of the more likely contenders have achieved their mark bossing smaller fields and lesser horses which brings a doubt as to whether a big field and strong gallop will see them to best effect. One horse with no such worries is Overwrite. Overwrite thrived in a similar big field scenario when putting up an incredible effort at Royal Ascot last year, finishing 6/22 but faring much the best of those up with the pace. Three of those that beat him that day rate 12-15lbs higher now (Overwrite is 4lbs higher). The rest of the season was hit and miss but I think a well run mile are his ideal conditions and results suffered from not seeing out races over further. He confirmed that a straight mile are his optimum conditions at Newbury in August, first past the post but later demoted to Tempus who followed up and went off a strong favourite for the Cambridgeshire. The final two runs last year were slightly disappointing but he may have been in need of a break after a long season and returns from a lower mark as a result. The straight mile and strong gallop looks ideal for Overwrite, I’d expect Mark Johnston to have him straight enough on his reappearance and he looks the most solid play.
1420 Newbury - Orchardstown Cross (1pt win) 15/2
My final selection comes in a conditional jockey’s, veterans chase where it can pay to side with the more experienced jockeys and younger horses within the veteran bracket. Orchardstown Cross has only had 12 career starts so could feasibly still be improving, whereas the vast majority of the field find themselves on lofty marks following recent wins which will make it tough to follow up. Orchardstown Cross opened his season at Exeter, running a gallant third from off the pace when the two placed ahead of him were up with the pace throughout. If the pace bias wasn’t enough to warrant a mark up, the fourth, sixth, ninth and twelfth have all won convincingly since. OC couldn’t back that performance up at Newbury against stiffer competition that were thrown in with the benefit of hindsight, but returned with a much better run over Christmas at Newbury again. Held up off the pace as usual, he made eye catching progress through the field when it suited to be handier. He comes here 4lb lower than that run due to a sub standard display in a small field at Plumpton which was never likely to suit his style of running. Back to a bigger field and more galloping track, I’m hoping to see Orchardstown Cross take advantage of the marked drop in class compared to previous runs.
This horse is by far the best handicapped in this race and on an upward curve. Only raised 3lb for its latest win ( probably because it was a messy race at Southwell ) I just hope the price holds out and remains at double digits. Rain is forecast from Saturday morning at Newbury and I am hoping the ground will be on the soft side. Almost advised a win, but at the forecast price EW is the way to go.
BRUNCH EW - Doncaster 3-10 16/1 PLACED
Let me start off by saying that this horse is not well handicapped ! Having said that, Michael Dods sends just the one runner, which is unusual for him. Has won after a break before and is a sporting ew bet. He fits most of the other trends and is one of 4 that I could have picked at a price, Kynren was close to being my pick. He does have a couple of possible group horses to beat in Haqueeqy and Eastern World but I will not tip short priced horses.
MUTAMADED EW - Doncaster 4-55 28/1
Now, this is a well handicapped horse ! Distance winner x 3 and the ground will not be a problem. He has spent the last year tumbling down the weights ( now 14lb lower than six runs ago ). There are a couple of negatives, 1) Apprentice Race 2) Never ran at Doncaster before ? I realise that they are all apprentice jockeys ( fair enough ) but I don`t understand why Ruth Carr has never ran this horse here at Doncaster ( my home course ). I hope it`s not because he prefers a Rt hand course ( has 3 wins at Ripon ) This is my bet of the day and I will be putting him in my ew L15
Ran a blinder in the Greatwood Gold Cup here earlier this month on his latest start following a 99 day break, holding every chance jumping the last before tiring on the run to the line. Dropped 1lb since, this fluent jumper could take some pegging back on ground that will suit in this less competitive race.
OUZO - 3:10 Doncaster (EW) 22/1
Was finally rewarded for some good efforts in 2020 when winning a 20 runner Class 2 handicap at York on his final start, holding on tenaciously having hit the front 3f out. No concerns ground wise and has run well on his seasonal debut. Prior to his last start the selection had tended to be held up in his races but being ridden positively from the front worked out well last time and a similar approach could see him go close. Sean Levey renews his association in the saddle (3 wins and a 2nd from 5 rides) and a high draw could be an advantage on the drying ground (drawn 16 of 22).
MONTATHAM - 2:00 Doncaster 7/2
Was an excellent 2nd in the Royal Hunt Cup last season when just touched off by Dark Vision. Gained his revenge over that rival next time at Sandown and followed that run with another gutsy handicap win at the York Ebor Festival. Drawn on the wrong side on his final start in The Cambridgeshire and can therefore be forgiven that run. Consistent & progressive last season and goes well fresh (won on seasonal debut last 2 years). Drying ground won't be a concern.
Danyah looks the value call here against the two at the head of the market and after just 7 career starts, this improving 4 year old should be capable of more off this mark of 98. A decisive winner at this track on his reappearance last year, after what looked a steep rise the weights he ran well in two subsequent races, staying on well into 3rd on bad ground over 7f at Newbury and then unlucky in running when again coming 3rd at Ripon at his first attempt at a mile. He proved he was still on the upgrade with a convincing win on his next start at Haydock, travelling powerfully and lengthening well once in the lead to win going away. He’s only 5lb higher here following that success and is unexposed over this trip. A proven winner when fresh, Danyah can continue his improvement here.
FRENCH MINSTREL 5:05 Kempton WON 7/2
This lightly raced 4 year old showed a clear liking for the step up to 12f last time out and off just 1lb higher here, he should have every chance of making it back to back victories. The selection needed a few reminders last time and was forced wide into the final bend, however once the penny dropped he stayed on strongly to just get up close home. He should learn plenty from that and the longer straight at Kempton will help. Looks to have a strong chance against some exposed rivals.
SHOOT TO KILL 7:30 Wolverhampton 11/2
This 4yo gained his second career win last time out after stepping up to 6F and there should be more to come over this distance. The son of Dandy Man has showed glimpses of ability in his career to date, however perhaps the step up to 6F could be the making of him, and from just 2lb higher and the inside draw he is fancied to make it back to back wins and start showing his true potential.
Already finished well ahead of the current favourite when comfortably accounting for cold front 1.5L over 7f here backend last season,. Always traveling well within himself and once given the office scooted clear inside the final furlong in the manor of an improving sort,. That victory came off BHA mark 92 8lbs rise in the weights will make life difficult, however they’ve employed the highly talented 7lbs claimer Benoit de la sayette ~ comes from a proper racing family and reminds myself of William Buick which is high praise indeed,. wonderful judge of pace, stylish and a future champion jockey ‘ who went into my notebook back in January as a future champion jockey with his ride aboard Hint of stars for the Foy yard,. I’m also convinced the lads been held back so connections can make good use of that 7lbs claim. Doncaster 7f form when ahead of cold front with the Charlie appleby 13L adrift and the further they went the easier the horse went, connections of eastern world could not explain the poor run ! Winner LTO weaker contest BHA 93 5lbs higher revised mark 98. add travel and quarantine, turning around that form looks almost impossible 3lbs = 1L 13L make up } if their was a genuine excuse ? I’m not convinced myself and make the selection the days best bet.
3.45 Doncaster ~ Brando 1pt win 11/2
Goes well fresh & repeat performance shown when beaten in G1 champions stakes ascot would make the Kevin Ryan runner a good bet, that was probably a career best performance ~ blew the start when last seen on the racetrack, over c/d backend last season when missing the kick and keeping on well without threatening Dakota gold ‘ also in that race was chiefofchiefs couple of places ahead after finishing off well and at a double digits could just sneak us the f/c under Spencer.
4.20 Doncaster ~ Dhushan 1pt win 2/1
Looked a very unlucky loser on racecourse debut class 2 maiden backend last season when beaten a SH pair 5L clear happy from the Johnston yard, selection looked green when asked go about his job under Marquand over the mile ~ derby entry who should relish middle distances this season,. 150,000 guineas purchase which was a very good deal as cost 160,000 guineas as a foal ‘ said to have done a sparkling piece of work recently on the home gallops and goes into this with leading claims, unless theirs a newcomer who’s a superstar then the William Haggas runner should have little difficulty breaking his maiden tag here....
I have been looking at the trends on this race and under 6 years old carrying less than 9st4lb and being in stall 9 and over have the best results apparently. That is good and made me shotlist 5 horses. Then looking at the jockey and trainer, I can see that Levey has an impressive 80% place and win with Ouzo. He is also 28% at Doncaster while Hannon is 29% place and win. Ouzo's last race was a win at York as well...Why look any further.
Didero Vallis - 1.35 Kelso - EW PLACED 11/1
A former Mullins trained horse which since switching to Venetia Williams has had some good wins. Seems to favour a softer ground and it will depend on how soft (currently market good to soft) the ground will be at Kelso on Saturday. A good chance with Deutsch on 30% wins with this horse. Has not done well in its last race but could bounce back on this one.
Lalipour - 5.20 Navan - EW 20/1
A former winner at this course last year with the same jockey and a lower weight. No great results since then but hurdles might not be its thing. With such a big field and with Irish races being very hard to predict I am playing a bit with fire while blind but Lalipour had made it to my horses to keep an eye on so here we are.
At the last 5 Lincoln festivals, backing Richard Fahey horses at an SP or 9-1 or under at class 3,4 or 5 level would see 8 winners from 24 races and a Betfair SP profit of 50pts. Fahey has won the class 4 Brocklesby 4 times, including two of the last three runnings and I can see this son of Ardad costing £20,000 being primed to go close in a competitive looking opening race of the turf season. A March foal ridden by Paul Hanaghan (2 winners from 7 riding for Fahey in 2021), Fahey comments on Sporting Life, this lad has “done everything well at home and looks great”. I sense a big run is expected.
1pt win, HUDSON DE GRUGY, 250 Newbury 4/1
A cracking looking novice handicap hurdle can go the Moores courtesy of this 4 year old from the family of Sire de Grugy. His first UK run saw him beaten just over a length by Elham Valley in December at Sandown. Elham Valley has since finished a close 3rd in the Boodles at Cheltenham to Joe Kidder and Saint Sam where he had behind in 4th place the well touted Houx Gris. 4th in the referenced Sandown race behind Elham Valley and Hudson De Grugy was Paros who has won at Musselburgh today (Friday). Since then, Hudson De Grugy has won two Sandown events making all over 2 miles beating Hystery Bere in January and Global Agreement in March. Hystery Bere has since franked the form, beating Sage Advice (who finished 6th in the Boodles) at Fontwell. Hudson De Grugy gets a pound from Good Ball (current favourite) whose form has been let down by Gowel Road. He runs of the same weight as Hooper (main danger) but he was lucky to win last time out after been left in front. I'm confident the step up to 2 miles 2 should hold no fears although he does need to brush up his jumping. He is potentially well handicapped as he is currently rated 130 and has the potential to be a 145+ horse.
1/2pt each-way, KING OTTOKAR, 310 Doncaster 14/1
His recent form figures are similar to the goals conceded by San Marino, but there are grounds for thinking this son of Motivator can go close here. The Charlie Fellowes trained 5 year old is ridden by Ben Curtis who has a 40% strike rate for the trainer. Running of a mark of 99, King Ottokar finished 6th to Njord in the Balmoral Handicap on Champions Day at Ascot. Lethargic at the start, he was making headway until meeting interference a furlong out but despite that he finished well in 6th, beaten 5 ½ lengths. The time before off a mark of 102 over today’s course and distance, King Ottokar again met trouble a furlong and a half out when 5th to Matthew Flinders, and dwelt again at the start. His best RPR is 107 when winning over 10 furlongs on soft ground at Newbury when beating Dashing Willoughby (now an OR of 112) by 1 ½ lengths with Space Blues no less back in 4th. He also achieved a RPR of 107 when a close-up 5th in a Group 3 at Salisbury. Fellowes puts the cheekpieces on for the first time today I presume to ensure he doesn’t miss the break. If that works, I can see him going very close. Ground and distance should be fine.
Trained by Owen Burrows and ridden by Kieran Shoemark. Won on Handicap debut last June. Won a Class 2 Handicap over a mile at Haydock in September. Has won on seasonal debut in both 2019 and 2020. One win and a place from two runs in Class 2 races. Consistent type who has a career record of 3 wins and 2 places from only 7 outings. Likes good ground and is a strong galloper who will enjoy this track.
2.00 Doncaster. FATHER OF JAZZ. Each way 7/1
Roger Varian trains this 4 year old Kingman colt. He has trained the winner of this race three times in the last four years. Callum Shepherd takes the ride,and he has a 33% strike rate when riding for this trainer. Horse has won three times from five races,finishing third last time out in the Lingfield Winter Derby. Improving type who can go on to contest some of the better races this season.
4.20 Doncaster. DHUSHAN. Win 2/1
Sea The Stars colt who is the only runner in this race with an Epsom Derby entry. Promising type who was backed into 15/8 favourite for debut in a good quality race at Goodwood in September. Ran on well to finish second,beaten a nose. Trained by the excellent William Haggas,who is two wins from only two runners in the last two weeks. Owned by Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum who’s runners do well with this trainer, a 33% strike rate. Should go on to bigger and better things. Looks one to follow.
Tip Idol II – Saturday 20th March
He was second in this last year to Truckers Lodge and although up 10lbs (12lbs if you include the 2lb less claim of Brian Carver) he is still under the 11 stone mark that seldom breached for a win in this race. Harry Fry is in good form and the horse likes the track.
MAN OF THE MOUNTAIN 3.15 Kempton E/W 14/1 PLACED
Appears to go very well on good ground and goes well off a break, in this case, 81 days. The pulled up lto has to be forgiven but otherwise progressive. It looks like Mellow Ben, My Way and Princeton Royal will set up a fast early pace that Man Of The Mountain can sit behind and then stay on best up the home straight using his proven 3 mile stamina.
TUNDRA 5.00 Wolverhampton E/W 11/1 WON
Has been gradually improving and did better racing prominently the last twice. Down in class and Richard Kingscote replaces Darragh Bourke. RK being the best jockey in terms of getting to the front and although drawn wide it is less of a disadvantage at Wolverhampton than the market generally allows.
On official ratings Rayong has a fair bit to find, however if you look at the other runners and profile of the race there are reasons for optimism. Garrus, the short priced favourite, hasn’t run since August 2019 and might find this 5f a bit sharp anyway. Blue de Vega is a hard horse to win with and disappointed last time. Justanotherbottle is smart on his day but does throw in the odd shocker. Rayong has never run on the all weather, but progeny of his sire Mayson tend to improve for the Tapeta and he has gone well on seasonal debut before (won on debut at 2 and 7th in hot race at Ascot last year). He could outrun his odds.
225 Uttoxeter. Ask Me Early. EW 11/2 WON
Ask me early needs to be forgiven a shocking last start at Sandown, where he was backed off the boards but didn’t go a yard and was pulled up. We need to take on trust that whatever was amiss that day has been fixed, as before that he looked a highly progressive staying novice. St Barts has looked a good prospect and is the one to beat but at the prices Ask me early looks a good bet.
335 Uttoxeter. Time to get up. 3/1 EW WON
Time to get up is not the most original selection but he’s got an awful lot going for him off this mark. He started this season with an “interesting” seasonal debut where be finished an “eye-catching” never-nearer third. He then went to Wincanton over 2m4f and finished a reasonable 4th looking like going up in trip would help. He then won a reasonable handicap at Wincanton off 130 at his first try at 3 miles, looking a well handicapped horse that would likely be suited by staying trips. He should go well.
This former Cheltenham Festival winner put in an eyecatching run when fifth behind Double Shuffle at Kempton back in January. Had previously been disappointing having lost his way somewhat and has since followed that up with a good second at Sandown from this mark last month where he raced wide throughout in probably not ideal conditions before being outstayed late on. This return to something more like his old self is very encouraging and he currently sits on a mark that makes him look pretty well treated some 7lb below his last winning mark which came in that race at the Festival, the Ultima Handicap Chase.
240 Kempton Silver Plate SWITCH HITTER 11/2 WON
CD winner of a novice event here on only his 3rd run when seeing off a subsequent winner in an above average looking race. Disappointed on handicap debut however thereafter and has been given some time since and returns to action here with possible improvement on the cards. Conditions look ideal and has to be worth another chance.
310 Newcastle SKIPNESS 33/1 EW
Didn't quite get home at Catterick last time out over the slightly longer trip of 3 miles in not ideal conditions. Despite still being a little green on that occasion he travelled and jumped very well and is interesting here on this much quicker ground. Improvement needed but has plenty of scope for that judged on what we have seen so far.
A very tricky race to work out but Time To Get Up looks a standout and has been smashed up anti post. A constant improver with low mileage this 8 year old looks to have been trained for this in typical trainer fashion. An impressive Wincanton winner last time drawing clear he looks well weighted to win for the J J Oneil combination. 1 point win.
Dreams Of Home : 2.00 Newcastle 2/5 WON
This 5 year old gelding is a typical D McCain improver learning his trade winning his point and two hurdles to date. He does have a double penalty to deal with but off 130 official rating there is much more to come. This is a stepping stone to something much harder as the season draws in. 1 point win.
Bushypark : 3.10 Newcastle 5/2 NR
A massive improver this 7 year old gelding winning 5 times over hurdles and looks another winner for the inform Phil Kirby stable. Rated 132 and off top weight this can win again and bag a decent prize. Very impressive visually last time beating Champagne Platinum at Haydock this gelding must be followed. 1 point win.
Comes out comfortably top on (my) ratings system and has comparable form with the favourite. She is also a value price (at the time of writing). Charlie Longsdon has a very good record at the track which is a positive. Even though untried at any surface quicker than soft, Uttoxeter always seems to ride on the soft side of the official going and so, particularly on the hurdles track, I have no worries here. Course form is positive with a win and a second on two starts and I think she will make another bold showing.
GOLAN FORTUNE (EACH WAY) 12/1 - 3.35 Uttoxeter
Need to look for an each way selection in this race as it has (to date) never been a happy hunting ground. The favourite will take a lot of beating here but there is some value in the market at the current prices. Golan Fortune’s best form has been on softer surfaces but Uttoxeter always seems to run on the slow side. No course form, but this has been a positive Midlands National trend so no worries there. Very respectable run in the Kauto Star Novice Chase at Kempton over Christmas and a “sharpener” over hurdles last time out. Running for an unfashionable trainer but that often only helps to boost the price. Looks a proper stayer and in this race that is often what you need.
PAY THE PIPER 6/4 - 4.20 Newcastle
Comes out well clear on the ratings system and , even though a relatively short price, still represents some value at the current price. Comes to the race on the back of four successive victories with a strongly performing Trainer-Jockey combination. Up 8lbs since the last run but is certainly a progressive type and no reason to think this will not continue. No previous start at Newcastle but has previous form on left-handed, galloping tracks so there should not be a problem with that. I would like to see him running up with the pace and, if looking like a tactical race, not to be afraid to make the running. All of the wins have been when racing prominent.
This horse would have had every right to turn up at Cheltenham this week based on his last run. He beat The Glancing Queen by 7 and a half lengths with Oscar Elite a further 14 lengths back. The Glancing Queen finished 5th in the Grade 2 Mares Novice Hurdle and Oscar Elite performed even better with a 2nd Place finish in the Albert Bartlett, beating home a great number of better fancied rivals. On that basis I give Wilde About Oscar every chance at the head of the weights on this handicap debut.
Bushypark 3:10 Newcastle 5/2 NR
Another with a link to the Cheltenham Festival, Bushypark had an entry in the Pertemps Final before being pulled out late. That race of course being an ultra competitive handicap, it’s interesting that rather than take that opportunity to run at Cheltenham he turns up for this race at Newcastle. Champagne Platinum, who Bushypark beat by 8 and a half lengths last time out, finished 5th in that Pertemps Network Final off a 1lb higher mark. You’d have to think Bushypark would have been in and amongst the place money there based on that. He has a 12lb higher mark and has won five times since November last year, but this horse may still have not finished improving!
Screaming Colours 3:35 Uttoxeter 6/1
This horse has been a model of consistency this year at Punchestown with firm figures of 1222, it’s interesting his trainer brings him across to England for this Midlands National. The form of his runner up finishes have been boosted and it looks like this further step up in trip could help him to unlock further improvement. A very interesting runner here.
I was disappointed when Time To Get Up was taken out of the Kim Muir after I had a little bet on it. I think it will get the step up in trip and has some solid form. Jonjo O Neill Jr Rides and has a 19% strike rate when teaming up with his Dad - (with a + £61 profit to £1 stakes) The ground shouldnt be a problem either - I expect a big run.
BREFFNIBOY 13/2 14:40 KEMPTON
Has been running very well this year with 5 wins, although today he runs over an extra 4f to any of those wins, however, this should not be a problem. The ground suits having won 2 and placed once in the last three races run over Good to Soft. The last 4th can be excused due to the Heavy going (His only race on Heavy)
CURRAMORE 5/2 14:35 NEWCASTLE
Curramore is an interesting runner in this race - having been off the track for 411 days, but he does go well fresh, having Won first time out the last twice after breaks (134 and 200 days) - He has moved stables and could go well down 4lb since last run.
A former Joseph O'brien hurdler sent to Jonjo to pursue his staying chase career. Was fav for Kim Muir before not being declared presumably because of the drying ground but no such concerns here. Will relish the trip and ground and his beating of Shantou Flyer (3rd in Kim Muir) looks solid form.
My Way - 3.15 Kempton 9/2
Well regarded when purchased (g2 hurdle on uk debut) and has finally started showing that promise this season over fences. Bold front running 4th when didnt stay in badger ales but got off mark over fences here last time out. With preferred ground and the queen of the front runners onboard. Another bold front running catch me if you can display is expected.
Flegmatic 2.25 Uttoxeter 0.5pt each way 12/1
5th on only previous try at anything further than 2 mile but was badly hampered not once but twice in that race. Ground is a slight concern but that is tempered by the fact trainer has a fantastic record around here being one of his local tracks. Over 50% placed in chases last 5 years, improves to 60% in soft ground so I'll hope Dan knows whether the horse will act on it.
Eight of the last ten winners were aged eight or nine with only one carrying over 10-12. Although respecting the chance of TIME TO GET UP he is poor value considering only one favourite has won in the time under review, plus only one last time out winner has prevailed as well. I fancy the chances of CAPTAIN DRAKE, second in this race last year after blundering at the last fence, as well as being a course winner on what is a testing track.
DEMOPOLIS 2.45 FONTWELL 7/4
A beaten favourite at Carlisle last time out on only his second chase outing was somewhat disappointing for P.Hobbs charge but the winner has won again since so time will tell. He won at Ludlow last year with the runner-up being placed four times since Christmas. Six of the seven previous winners were weighted 11-3 or more, likewise, the winning odds were 5/1 or shorter so this race tends to go to a more fancied runner on this specialized track.
KILBEG KING 5.50 UTTOXETER 5/2
Following Anthony Honeyballs national hunt flat race horses blindly over the last five years would have seen you in profit including this year where he has a one in three strike rate. A comfortable winner on his second start in Ireland he makes his debut on English soil, and I'm hoping it will be a winning one.
MIGHTY THUNDER EW 18/1
Has an extremely good race record of 7 wins from 24 runs with most of his wins coming over staying trips, won his NHF race over 16f first time up and was then pretty normal over hurdles until being stepped up to 3m+ winning 3 more races there after, was switched to Fences late last year and that transformed this horse winning 3 out of 4 chase races again over staying trips, especially LTO when stepped up to marathon trip winning by 20L, this trip and track look ideal for a big run today and will definitely be a very good each way bet at the price.
NEWCASTLE 16.20 2M46Y HANDICAP HURDLE CLASS 3
MICK MAESTRO 11/4
Has been in excellent for this season and now returns to a competitive grade after being pulled up in a Class 1 Grade 3 race LTO when obviously out classed and out passed, but now back in Class 3 company could very much bounce back here, 2m on Gd/Sft ground looks spot on from a yard going very well at the moment and a very good claimer on board who is his regular rider now.
KEMPTON 15.15 2M4F HANDICAP CHASE CLASS 3
FALCO BLITZ 11/4
Falco Blitz looks a typical Nicky Henderson improver now running over fences, won well LTO at Southwell after finishing 2nd here the time before behind another good horse in Killer Clown who has run really well in class 1 grade since, carrying top weight here may not hinder this horse as he looks big enough to carry these weights, this looks a good opportunity before stepping up in grade again, ground, trip and course look ideal and will get a confident ride from N De Boinville.
The selection has had a torrid time in his two runs since winning this last year but he did that comfortably and should be thereabouts again. He has an impressive career strike rate of 35% and the trainer/jockey combination have done well over the last year with a 17% win rate and 42% place rate to their names.He likes to run prominently which is not a bad tactic in this race and I'm hoping he can tuck in behind the leaders and let his proven stamina get him home.
THE TIN MINER E/W 15/2 15:20 Fontwell Park
A handy hurdler with a 40% win record under the code. He has only won on soft before so the going could be a concern but the other conditions are to suit.His trainer knows how to get a run out of him at this distance with 2 wins and 4 places from 6 runs.The most likely front runner in the field he might be able to steal a march and go in from the front.
BELLE DE MANECH 13:35 2/1 Fontwell
The main thing which draws the eye is Anthony Honeyball's record with first time handicappers.With 4 wins from 9 runners in the last year the horse is worth a look. Down in class after being pulled up at Sandown LTO this mare can regain the form of her previous two races at Fontwell and Wincanton. (2nd and 1st) A front runner, she is likely to be challenged for the lead by Sorbet and I expect these two to string the field out with the selection coming out on top.
Son of Camas didn’t win last time out, he is 6 years old, has a rating of 131 and has ran during the last 43 days. That fits the profile of 5 of the last 7 winners. He will like the drying ground and is taking a step down in Grade having ran in a grade 2 last time out. Nicky Hendersons horses ran quite well in the main at Cheltenham, so we should be in for a good run for our money.
Gustavian Uttoxeter 3.00 6/1 1pt win
Gustavian has never been out of the first 2 in all his runs, He is the only course and distance winner in the race and is also a last time out winner. All of these are positives for the selection along with my thoughts that he is ahead of the handicapper. Finally I think it’s significant that Ben Godfrey is claiming 5ibs. I am positive he will be backed on the day and therefore I am going for a win bet.
Coo Star Sivola Uttoxeter 3.35 16/1 1/2pt each way
Coo Star Sivola comes into this race running off a handicap mark of 135OR, but peaked in the Ultima at the Cheltenham festival in 2018 at 150OR. He is only 9 years old, so we shouldnt be writing him off yet and I think he now needs a proper test of stamina and I wouldn’t be put off by this being his first run over 4 miles, as it means he has not yet shown his hand at this distance and I think he will improve for it. From a trends perspective, I am happy that he fits the profile in all the major ones. You should be aged 9 or younger, won between 1-4 times over fences, won over at least 3 miles and have raced in the last weeks. It is also a positive that he has never run at Uttoxeter before. All in all he should give us a very good each way chance.
Only six runners go to post here following the withdrawal of Don Lami, which is a pity because that horse was helping to make the market. Nonetheless I still fancy the chances of Ellens Way here. She was last seen on February 25th when 2nd behind No No Juliet. Trainer Jeremy Scott seems to have found a good opportunity here for the 9-y-old to get her head in front once again. There has been a question mark against her jumping but if she can manage a clear round here she is going to take all the beating. She is a course and distance winner, something I always like in a horse and although that was over hurdles. She is yet to get her head in front since going chasing but I really fancy her chances here with Caspers Court probably being the main danger. Before that 2nd at Huntingdon she had finished 3rd at Taunton and I think this is an easier race than either of those and will be disappointed if she doesn’t get her head in front.
2.10 Fontwell Manor Park 0.5 points ew NR
None runners go to post here in what on initial viewing looks a tough race to solve. However I’m pretty confident we can discard four of these immediately. Postie, Ermyns Emerald, Bob Backus and Little Tipsy will surely find this too tough. In fact, the more I delve into this the more I think it will be a two horse race between Mac Amara and Manor Park. The latter was 9th of 16 in his last race which came after a 50 day break and that race should put him spot on for this. At the odds he is worth an each way play!
3.35 Uttoxeter Achille 0.5 points ew 16/1
Twenty runners go to post here and my initial reaction was that Highland Hunter would take all the beating. However, I’m going to take a chance with the Venetia Williams trained Achille. The gelding has gone close in a couple of big handicaps this season and although up 8lbs for those efforts I feel the step up in distance today will definitely help negate that. Last time out at Haydock he was beaten ½ length by Lord Du Mesnil and was clearly staying on at the end of the race. He struggled a bit with the pace last time but that should not be an issue over this extended distance. With five places available with the majority of bookmakers I feel he should definitely place and has an outstanding chance of getting his head in front. This race, on paper, looks easier than that graded race at Haydock and all we need is for the horse to do his job.
The trainer won this race in 2016 with Firebird Flyer and looks to have a great chance again with Prime Venture. The selection PU in this race last year off 134 on very heavy going. Today races of 139 but has the aid of a 5lb claimer and will appreciate the soft going. Arrives here in better form.
GLANCE BACK 20/1 (e/w) Uttoxeter 5:15
Won this race last year off 107 and arrives today off the same mark. The selection has won 3/7 starts on soft and been placed 5/7. The form of late hasn’t been too great but today’s slight drop back in trip and favourable conditions should hopefully see an improved performance.
AVARICE 16/1 (e/w) Wolverhampton 6:30
The selection raced well LTO over CD, finishing 5L behind Arij, who is likely to be Favourte for this race or there abouts. Avarice has a 5lb pull with Arij this time around and Adam Kirby takes over the reins which is a good jockey booking. Avarice is well drawn and with a positive ride, shouldn’t be too far away at the end.
My selection in this race is CAPTAIN DRAKE, 2nd in this race last year behind Truckers Lodge, Captain Drake then reversed the form with Truckers Lodge last time out finishing 4th in the Welsh Grand National, finishing ahead of Lord Du Mesnil that went on to win the The Grand National Trial Handicap and Cloudy Glen 2nd in this weeks Kim Muir at Cheltenham, so the form looks strong. Captain Drake loves the track with figures reading 1721 and stays the trip, got a good jockey Bryan Carver claiming 3lbs whos 3 wins and 5 places from 8 rides around Uttoxeter on fences.
8.00 Wolves- Bell Heather Each Way 20/1
2 pounds below last win mark and with with Connor Murtagh claiming 3lbs, I'll be taking a chance on BELL HEATHER. A 3 time course and distance winner and with a good stall draw (6), it should pop out in front and dictate the pace, i think it has a great chance of out running its odds and should at least make the frame.
8.30 Wolves- Street Poet Win 17/2
Three time course and distance winner STREET POET gets my vote in this. Now 16 pounds below its highest winning mark, Street Poet has been running well in defeat of late and I am expecting it to win again very soon. I dont think its a very strong race but see Berthog as the main danger.
Quite a trappy Class 3 Handicap. The selection looks poorly drawn, but often starts slowly and comes from off the pace. Of the 7 runners, 2 of them have fitness to prove so are discounted. A further two ran too recently for me ( finishing 1st & 2nd though ). The top weight has won just 1 from 11 aw starts. This leaves Futuristic and my selection. Futuristic has gone up 10lb in 5 runs and may just be edged out.
AL RASMAH EW - Wolverhampton 7-30 12/1
Another Class 3 Handicap and no less trappy. Again, the selection looks poorly drawn and quite well could be. Of the 7 runners, this time 4 of them have fitness to prove, so are discounted. The bottom weight has gone up 16lb in just 3 runs and must be nearing its ceiling. That just leaves Quickstep Lady and my selection. The application of a first time visor and a 5lb drop since its first aw run have swayed me in favour of Al Rasmah.
CAPTAIN DRAKE EW 12/1 - Uttoxeter 3-35
Not as well handicapped as last year and previous runners don`t have a great record ! But, this selection still fits lots of other trend requirements and more importantly, I can`t see any certain stayers from the unproven pretenders. So, Truckers Lodge and Captain Drake have been there, seen it and done it. The only reason for not picking last years winner is the weight ( one of main trends is < 10-13 lb ) Of the clear lower weights, I quite like Coo Star Sivola but the price is contracting already and I would prefer EW on a double figure selection.
Horse has won 2 out of 4 at the track and been placed 3 times. Its won on the going and was 2nd at the distance in the same race last year after hitting the final fence hard. Seems to like this time of the year too as its won 2 out of 4 in March and placed all 4 times
W 5.30 Sunset Glow – To win 12/1
The horse’s first run on the AW and only its 3rd run in total. Not done anything of note as yet but assuming it was green on its first race where it was last of 7, it ran 4th of 7 in its next race LTO over 5 lengths in the same grade as today but although fairly well beaten at 5f, it was going ok at the end and looked liked another furlong which it runs today, would not hurt at all. Must be quite well thought of as it was 7/2 on its 2nd run after being last in its 1st race? Hoping the 6f and new surface brings something out of it?
F3.20 Good News – EW 14/1
Going EW on this one due to the expected big SP it will probably go off at. Won 3 times in its career, all of them being at Fontwell. Running at a class higher than its ever won before unfortunately but only 2 of the horses in the race have won at this class anyway. This is the only horse in the race to have won on the expected going albeit most have not run on it much before to be fair.
The selection comes here in tremendously consistent form, having placed in each start this season. The form from his previous runs this season is strong (Notachance followed up Bangor win with a win in the Classic Chase at Warwick and Secret Reprieve confirmed his lenient mark in the Welsh National) and comes from classier contests than here. The Haydock run last time was slightly disappointing on the face of it, seeming to fade late on but he’s shaped similarly at the track before and it creates an overly generous price here. The Two Amigos comes here only 2lb higher than his gallant Welsh National second place and is very well treated on that basis in my opinion. Matt Griffiths is a tremendous boost back in the saddle (trainer commented that the horse is quirky and he gets the most out of him) and I can see The Two Amigos going out in front and jumping them ragged where plenty have stamina to prove, including the short priced favourite who has it to prove up in class from a higher mark.
1440 Kempton: Vive Le Roi 15/2 (0.5pt EW)
Vive Le Roi’s second place over course and distance last year from 9lb higher looks the best piece of form on offer here. His runs this season look disappointing on the face of it but he forced an overly strong pace on his return at Plumpton and fared best of those racing prominently (Langer Dan well beaten off). The second run was a similar story, racing prominently and finishing fifth when the top four were all held up in rear. The final two starts were in deep handicaps over 3m that stretches his stamina but ran respectably nonetheless. On the face of it, a 9lb lower handicap mark for 4 runs that look solid enough seems generous and the drop in class combined with a return to optimal conditions of 2m5f, decent ground and less pace pressure seems to bode well for a strong run.
1515 Kempton: Mellow Ben 5/1 (0.5pt EW)
Mellow Ben’s form may look uninspiring but he has been running admirably from the front in good races, whilst arguably going off too hard and not quite seeing out the trips beyond 2m5f. His 5 length third to Cap Du Nord and Canelo at Newbury (rated 18lb and 9lb higher now, respectively) looks very strong. Following that he set an overly strong pace at this course over 3m before fading to Royale Pagaille, Cap Du Nord and Double Shuffle who have all strongly franked the form since. Again, the last run creates a bit of a price having gone off far too hard and faded badly. I’m happy to put a line through that and say that the drop in class (0-140 today vs 0-155 last time) and trip, combined with a smaller field, should mean he can boss this. Front runners typically go well at Kempton and I expect to see a bold display here.
Not disgraced on his last 2 starts, doing his best work at the death on both occasions. Should be suited by this galloping track and if the rain stays away he should go close as drying ground seems key to his chances. Brian Hughes knows the horse well and he will appreciate the drop in class (ran well at this level previously). Solid ew material.
CAPTAIN DRAKE - 3:35 Uttoxeter (EW) 12/1
Runner up in this race last year and has been in good form this season, most recently when a very respectable 4th in the Welsh National back in January. Very likely he has been kept fresh with this race in mind as he has shown a distinct liking for this course with two hurdles wins to his name along with last year's game effort. Ground conditions should be fine and another big run expected.
FUTURISTIC - 6:00 Wolverhampton (WIN) 15/8
Has formed a good relationship under Ben Curtis in 3 runs following a lengthy break, winning the latest of them over C&D in gutsy fashion last month. Up just 3lb today, there should be a decent pace on for him to chase and he's tipped to get the better of Power Over Me who is stepping up in grade.
There aren’t many in here with proven stamina over this marathon trip, however Captain Drake was 2nd in this event last year and everything looks in place for a big run again. The selection ran well in the Welsh National last time out, staying on to finish 4th over 3m6f and looked in need of the extra yardage he will get today. In last years event, he was looking to challenge the winner after staying on for pressure before a last fence mistake put paid to his chances of winning. He showed his liking for this track when winning here on this season’s reappearance, and today’s event looks to have been the plan since his Welsh National run. Just 2lb higher than last year’s 2nd and much better off with the winner from that day, Captain Drake should have every chance of going one better.
PROSCILI 5:00 Wolverhampton 8/1 (each way)
Despite finishing 4th last time out, Proscili wasn’t beaten far and was doing her best work at the finish. Today’s race is slightly easier and the useful apprentice takes off a handy 5lbs. I’m hoping they go quicker here which should set this up nicely for the filly who should be finishing fast. She’s still a maiden but has finished runner up twice to some progressive sorts this winter, and if things fall into place I can see her going very close, so she’s of definite interest each way at double figure odds.
TORONTO 6:30 Wolverhampton 9/2
This former Ballydoyle runner should be capable of better than he’s shown thus far, and now with a yard renowned for improving new recruits he can start to fulfil his potential. He was ultra keen on his stable debut last time out, taking a vigorous pull in the early to mid stage of the race which put paid to his chances. However, the small field and slow pace were clearly against him, not to mention his first run after 115 days off. That run should’ve taken the freshness out of him and there looks to be more pace in this line up which should be run to suit and help him settle. The selection is 3lbs lower today and drops a grade. Well punted last time, clearly more was expected, and with different conditions today I reckon we’ll see a bold showing.
Has not improved as expected, believe it or not this fella went into the little black book after finishing 4th at the 2018 festival when BF behind Relegate / carefully selected and tornado flyer,. Recording just the one victory over hurdles when accounting for the flying sofa over 16f soft ground under regular jockey Aidan Coleman ~ however since then ibeen partnered by Rex Dingle ~ certainly well HC went off 15/2 behind Royal Pagaille showed up well until taking a crashing fall 5 out “. I’m sure theirs a decent pot to be won with the horse when everything clicks ~ best form been achieved with cut underfoot / clearly been difficult to train and has recorded 2 wind operations with the last coming in July 2020 returning from 200+ days absence when winning 1.5L aintree backend October ~ does go particular well fresh ‘ hopeful the Anthony Honeyball runner can get in amongst the principals 7yr olds also have a good record in the race winning 6 of the last 10 certainly warrants close inspection in the markets ....only time raced at the track was over 20f in a hurdles race finishing 3rd behind poker play when BF 5lbs higher than chase mark,. BHA mark 136 tells me theirs still plenty of improvement from the horse when putting it all together,. you’ve only got to look at the amount of times the honeyball runner has been sent off favorite / clearly talented if not a shade quirky !
Midland grand national .....
Days feature race and a devilish tricky race to unfold with so many twists and turns whenever looking through races of this nature I like to follow certain stats trainer,jockeys course form ~ as we know from past exploits ‘ trainers are creatures of habit ‘
Whilst going through these favorable stats I’ve come up with a shortlist of 2 trainers starting with Dan skelton stats at the track 84-293 recording 29% SR LSP £37 next we’ve Harry fry smaller sample ~ less runners yet still recorded 28% SR 20-72 LSP £13. Captain drake represents team fry and theirs already been some market interest however when looking back to last years 2nd beaten 17L behind truckers lodge and arrives here with extra 2lbs and should have little difficulty in turning last years form around however i honestly believe the Skelton runner has been laid out for this contest after a huge run over hurdles latest behind Brinkley,.that chase form win over Darlac reads well with just 3lbs extra / maybe
Selection Tommy rapper 0.5pt e/w 20/1
.. Made seasonal spin in hurdles races back in February behind Brinkley off 136 excellent effort as that was the selections first race on the track since beating Darlac fontwell park BHA 136 just 3lbs above that winning effort here,. solid enough stayer and you would like to think that spin over hurdles will have sharpened the Skelton runner up no end,. arrives here a fresh horse ~ although never won at listed or graded level has been placed twice from just 4 starts over fences,selection has remained at the yard since being purchased for just 17,500 guineas back at the sales in 2011 and making debut 4yrs later,l which tells me theirs possibly been a few niggled issues along the way or just simply needed time to full out ~ seems versatile regards to ground conditions although interesting comments from Bridget Andrews stating the horse was still raw and green when winning the Pertemp’s hurdle when accounting for Theo’s charm Hay 23f heavy ground although never won on good,soft ground the selections been placed 5 out the 6 career starts,.visually looked as though would come on plenty for that seasonal spin and with several of these already having had a hard season I’m hopeful the Skelton runner will arrive with a fighters chance and off the current BHA 139 looks a interesting contender.
2.05 Kemp ... Eskendash 1 point win bet 5/1
0-6 over fences wouldn’t jump off the page as a well HC runner until you’ve dissected the form “ reasonable performer when on the level off BHA rating 81 hurdles form 1-12 rated 123 over fences 1lbs higher was a excellent 3rd behind Greaneteen BHA 125 novices event when wrong at the weights ~ receiving 8lbs yet rated inferior 22lbs on the figures and only beaten 6L. Selection had a nice break before returning to the track Wetherby when finishing 5-11 beaten 12L Amoola gold holding every chance until fitness told over the final couple of fences,since then had a wind-operation and left Pam sly for Olly Murphy’s yard ~ if the change of scenery along with the wind-op works with the talented Fergus Gregory booked,.claiming a vital 3lbs also sporting a first time tongue-tie, hopeful rather than confident yet if putting best foot forward could be well HC by claiming the win especially with the better ground c/d winner at the track over hurdles on good ground and believe the current odds 8s represent good value,.
Like most of my betting, it is a process of elimination. Which horse looks like could be in front compared to the field and which horse should be put aside so I can concentrate on the few with a chance ones. Especially in big fields this approach is relevant. By rule I do not like to consider top weight (with exceptions) and because of that I am discounting Regal Encore. Truckers lodge is one that i have been wondering about for a while. The Trucker named horses tend to be fairly good in placing and winning but a bit heavy and not fitting the profile of this specific race which has seen many runners on lighter side. The one that caught my eye is Captain drake. On a race as long as 4m having distance or thereabouts experience is important. Captain drake place previously on such distance, has won on the course before, has a jockey with 60% win or place which sounds like massive and a good trainer. That will do me well for today and my first tip in the competition.
John Betjeman - 12.30 Fontwell - EW bet 14/1
I might be crazy as the racingpost says it is a tougher than the two it bottled when short priced... When I see the name pop up somehow I am attracted to it. Might be the multiple places it got over the years. Top 3 RPR which usually works well for me. It is a first week, i like first races of the day and taking a chance on this one..
Melgate Majeure - 17.00 Wolverhampton - EW bet 7/1
The golden queen in recent times (before Rachael Blackmore super week) has been Hollie Doyle. On a horse that has won 40% of its races in this class. It is the kind of race where a horse might be hidden in the ratings as ephemeral, delleyl or others seem to have better stats. The Hollie effect I am counting on to bring this one in front for the start of a good night for her in the course with other races at shorter odds so not so exciting to pick.
This looks the sort of race Paul Nicholls mops up post Cheltenham. Despite a win record of only 2 wins from 22 starts, My Way won well last time beating Awake at Midnight over course and distance recording a personal best RPR of 136 relishing it appears the good ground and 1st time blinkers. My Way was 3rd to Cepage the time before that who run well on Tuesday in the Ultima finishing 3rd. Appears it has Falko Blitz to beat who often jumps left. I fancy Bryony to pop him out and attempt to make all.
1pt win – ST BARTS – 225 Uttoxeter 9/4
Phillip Hobbs has had just the one winner at the time of writing in the last fortnight which raises some reservations but I was greatly taken by the win of this son of High Chapparal last time at Newbury and fancy he can win this competitive looking novices handicap chase. An eye catcher when 2nd to Ofalltheginjoints at Exeter first time up this season, the money was down at Newbury when St Barts made all to win at 6-4 beating Versatility by 2 ¼ lengths with a 12 length back to third. St Barts’ jumping was assured that day which will stand him in good stead at Uttoxeter, a course where he has run once and won once, winning a maiden hurdle by 13 lengths on heavy ground. His last 3 RPRs have been personal bests, (127, 130 and 135) and the cards are in place for a big run here.
1pt each-way CALLETT MAD – 335 Uttoxeter 40/1
Its 17 years since Nigel Twiston-Davies saddled Baron Windrush to win the Midlands Grand National but a speculative punt is taken on this 9 year old to run a big race. His wellbeing has to be taken on trust but looks on an attractive mark of 142. In 2019 he was second off 145 in the Classic Chase to Impulsive Star. He fell on his comeback but will relish the trip (9th and 2nd on his starts of 4 miles+) and I just think NTD wouldn't be bothering if he didn't have him back right. The odds are factored into the risk.
Rules and prizes can be found here
After an epic battle that went down to the very last race of the competition, the Final Result...
1st: RACINGJACK +17.48pts
2nd: THE EDGE +14.25pts
3rd: TOMPO'S TIPS -2.93pts
Full competition weekly results here