Beaten horses to take from Ascot 2011

TUESDAY

St James Palace Stakes – Zoffany
The horse was still last turning for home travelling noticeably well in-behind runners. Having to wait for a run momentarily he eventually got the split and began to bear down on the leader Frankel (who obviously went too hard too soon). Frankel is clearly a class above, but the way Zoffany finished his race off here suggests he’s coming to hand at just the right time for Aidan O’Brien and it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise were he to pick up a Group 1 over a mile this season. He is said to have suffered a bout of colic prior to his comeback run in the Ballychorus (and badly needed the run) but he has improved leaps and bounds from that effort and is very smart.

Coventry Stakes – Gatepost
Can be rated better than the bare form suggests given this wasn’t jockey Jamie Spencer’s finest hour on board this smart colt. Spencer elected to explore every blade of grass on the straight mile course allowing the principles to get first run on him. Eventually when realising the winner and second had gotten too far away from him, Spencer made up ground on the Mick Channon trained colt but all was too late and he kept on well into fifth under relatively hands and heels riding.

Ascot Stakes – Zigato
In a race run at a relatively modest pace, this was the first poor judgement in the saddle from William Buick who will feature on Day 2 with another shocker. Positioned miles out of his ground at the back of the field, and making little to no effort to negate that deficit until rounding for home, the front two had stolen a march on Zigato. Zigato kept on eye-catching down the centre of the track under hands and heels riding to finish a going on fourth, and would clearly of won with a more tactically astute ride from his pilot (and I backed the winner).

WEDNESDAY

Jersey Stakes – Western Aristocrat
A horse that was previously unbeaten prior to this run, and after racing rather enthusiastically in the early stages Johnny Murtagh decided to sit in the slipstream of the favourite Codemaster in a bid to get his colt some cover, but that decision proved costly as it left him too much to do when the race quickened. Outpaced when asked for his effort, he was really going on at the finish in the style of a horse needing that extra furlong and judging by this display he could develop into a high class miler for Jeremy Noseda.

Queen Mary Stakes – Caledonia Lady
Almost caused a shock at 100/1 when finishing fast in the closing stages, and I believe she would have won granted a clear passage. Travelling noticeably well approaching the final two furlongs, she began to make her effort down the centre of the track but had to switch around the weakening Gypsy Robin and On The Dark Side meanwhile Best Terms and Shumoos were able to run straight and true to the line. The official distances were (short head, head) and that manoeuvre around beaten horses I believe has cost Caledonia Lady at least a length which is the difference here between victory and defeat. She is an absolute formality to win a maiden and looks to play her hand against her own sex in group races this season – and could well be a decent price being from an unfashionable stable such as Pat Murphy’s.

THURSDAY

Norfolk Stakes – Burwaaz
In a race where all the pace came down the centre, Burwaaz raced away from the pace up the stands rail under Richard Hills and was at a disadvantage as the race began to take shape. A horse with plenty of size he quickened up smartly on the stands rail just inside the furlong and put distance between himself and his group of 5 and can be marked up significantly for this effort. He looks the type to improve from this and connections must be itching to take on winner Bapak Chinta on a level playing field next time and I’d favour Ed Dunlop’s colt to come out on top judging by this effort.

Ribblesdale Stakes – Field Of Miracles
Ran an admirable race on the front end going down by the shortest of short heads to quite possibly the toughest filly in training at the moment in Banimpire. In front throughout, she quickened away from her field off the turn for home and had them all on the stretch. She was gradually worn down by the tough as teak Jim Bolger filly but battled back bravely when headed to force a photo finish. She clearly has her quirks but is improving with racing and a group race should come her way before long this season based on this effort and is worth keeping on side.

Britannia Stakes – Tropical Beat
The sequel in the William Buick trilogy of bad rides and this one would have gone very close to winning if things had gone his way. Switching to the inside Buick spent around a furlong trying to remove Tropical Beat from up the arse of a weakening rival and when doing so the horse absolutely took off closing the final furlong faster than anything else in the race to finish tenth. Now this isn’t great for those of us who’ve backed him (myself) but I’m willing to award him the title of the ‘moral’ winner of the race given a clear passage and a more tactically astute effort in the saddle he would have. Of the others Cai Shen and Bahceli look the two to take out the race.

Tercentenary Stakes – Laajooj
Positioned out the back by Mikael Barzalona on a week where this wasn’t the place to be on the round course, the Godolphin colt made a sweeping move down the outside of the pack. I had noticed he was positioned 1L behind Alkimos prior to entering the straight but as they entered he was some 8-9L behind (good race riding by Fallon), the race was pretty much over by the time Laajooj hit full stride and he came home well under the young sensation. This wasn’t Mikael’s finest hour in the saddle but the horse has shown his ability to us to suggest back on a straight track like Newmarket (July course perhaps) he looks capable of picking up a nice prize. Marksmanship who looks another worth keeping an eye out for, and he clearly needs to be upped in trip.

King George V Stakes – Census
Didn’t appear to be overly inconvenienced when hampered as the dash for home began, and he took a while to hit full stride allowing Brown Panther to poach an unassailable advantage. However after looking like getting nowhere near the leader two furlongs out, Richard Hannon’s charge absolutely took off on the approach to the final furlong and closed the race faster than anything else in the field. Although the gap was sixth lengths at the line Census is value to be a fair bit closer than that margin in my book, and it is worth stepping this colt up in distance to 14F where he could potentially be group class.

FRIDAY

King Edward VI Stakes – Fiorente
A horse that will without doubt make a better four-year-old, he was taken under the trees by Ryan Moore on the far side in the early stages of the race (along with Mijhaar and Neil Callan). This tactic is often used as an advantage by jockeys (most memorably deployed by Willie Carson on Bahri) when the ground goes soft; however this decision backfired as when they rejoined the pack they were forced to tuck in at the rear of the field (a place of disadvantage on the round course all week). Still at the back of the field turning in, Ryan Moore appeared to fall asleep reading the paper (or maybe he was doing the crossword?) aboard Fiorente allowing William Buick to blast clear on the impressive Nathaniel. Fiorente got going all too late in the end but made up masses of ground in pursuit of the leader, but John Gosden’s colt had gone beyond recall. There is a lot more to come from Fiorente, mark my words.

Buckingham Palace Stakes – Striking Spirit
Ran an absolute screamer from stall 2, in a race where high numbers were heavily favoured. Raced on the far side early before gradually edging across to the centre at the half-way stage, he was still racing away from the pace throughout and as those that had raced around him disappeared out of view, he powered all the way to the line, only to be outdone by the draw bias. Clearly the one to take from the race being beaten only 1.5L after racing at such a disadvantage he looks capable of striking in a similar sort of handicap before long. He has a liking for this track and his trainer Tim Easterby shall be more than capable of placing him to effect in the not too distant future.

SATURDAY

Wokingham Stakes – Mac’s Power
On a day where James Fanshawe did so well at Ascot (saddled the Golden Jubilee winner in Society Rock and winner of this race in Deacon Blues). This horse ran a massive race down the now unfavoured stands side. Travelling noticeably well as the camera zoomed in two furlongs from home, Pat Cosgrave asked this smart gelding for his effort shortly after spying a gap to go through and he drew nicely clear of his field. Sadly the action was all over on the far side and there will be other days for this son of Exceed And Excel and looks worth keeping the faith with now that the yard are amongst the winners.

Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes – Rock A Doodle Doo
This really wasn’t the best moment in the saddle Olivier Peslier has had in his lifetime, and it won’t be far from his worst either. All dressed up with nowhere to go out the back of the field as the action began to unfold, he continually ran into trouble as the horse was screaming for an out. Eventually getting a gap when the front two kicked on to fight out the finish he kept on under minimal assistance in the saddle, and can be counted an unlucky loser (he would have been ALOT closer). This goes down as a string of recent awful efforts in the saddle by Olivier, and isn’t anywhere near the form he is usually in at this time of year. Unfortunately every man and his dog will probably have seen Rock A Doodle Doo which will probably mean we’ll struggle to get any sort of price next time but one of these races will come his way before long.

I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on the Royal Ascot meeting.

World Cup 2010 – Competition Draw

With the World Cup just 11 days away it is time to put in place the draw for our World Cup Competition (Sponsored by Boylesports.com) to decide which member involved is allocated which team.

Players must bear in mind that your team selected has nothing to do with your chances of winning the sponsored prize, and just relates to the current World Cup only.

If you have read the rules then you will know what happens once the teams have been drawn, and if you haven’t read them already see here: *Competition Rules & Guidelines*.

The Draw:
Kidon Algeria
Mead Switzerland
GMAB Germany
The Legend! Mexico
nYxxernar France
michael Japan
Anadin Slovakia
Fudge Paraguay
Palmersears Serbia
del boy Brazil
Storm Cat Portugal
Andtheyreoff Netherlands
Stocksy Cameroon
Antiflag Uruguay
Broadsword South Africa
Lee Cara Denmark
The Duke Honduras
Budgie Ghana
Chris Verner Italy
Riches Spain
Spook Ivory Coast
jtw1 Korea DPR
Daresaints Greece
Krisbow New Zealand
Norton Chile
Teekay Slovenia
Mwesty1 Korea Republic
Anubisrich USA
l’ami Australia
Micky England
Retroneous Nigeria
Dancing Brave Argentina

Information about fixtures will follow on the forum in the next few hours, and threads will be created for each fixture in the Group stage to go with this. Remember it will be in line with the real world cup and your matches will fall on the date of the actual dates your chosen team plays.

GROUP A
South Africa – Broadsword
Mexico – The Legend!
Uruguay – Antiflag
France – nYxxernar

GROUP B
Argentina – Dancing Brave
Nigeria – Retroneous
Korea Republic – Mwesty1
Greece – Daresaints

GROUP C
England – Micky
USA – Anubisrich
Algeria – Kidoncricketer
Slovenia – Teekay

GROUP D
Germany – Givemeabreak
Australia – l’ami
Serbia – Palmersears
Ghana – Budgie

GROUP E
Netherlands – Andtheyreoff
Denmark – Lee Cara
Japan – Michael
Cameroon – Stocksy

GROUP F
Italy – Chris Verner
Paraguay – Fudge
New Zealand – Krisbow
Slovakia – Anadin

GROUP G
Brazil – Del Boy
Korea DPR – Jtw1
Ivory Coast – Spook
Portugal – Storm Cat

GROUP H
Spain – Riches
Switzerland – Mead
Honduras – The Duke
Chile – Norton

REMEMBER: If you have drawn a team which don’t look likely to qualify from their group. The team performance has no baring on your own performance in this competition, and acts as only a relation and interest in the competition (and through the correct score bet).

Follow this competition on our forums: CLICK HERE

Finding The Edge – Living For The Weekend #1

No this isn’t a post about Cricket, but more for finding the value on weekend racing. I’ll be doing this once a week (usually on Saturday) with any selections I feel are really overpriced on the evening markets so they can be snapped up prior to the adjustment of the markets on Saturday morning.

First up we have Cheshire Prince, who if staying the distance will go very close to winning the 2:55 at Chester. The gelded son of Desert Prince clocked a flashy figure when beating Kingdom Of Fife over a ten furlongs round here when last at the venue. The second placed Kingdom Of Fife then won the Zetland Gold Cup off a mark of 92 next time out, before a brave second place finish in the John Smiths Cup off a mark of 101.

Mark Brisbourne’s gelding comes into the race off an 8lb higher mark than his last victory here, and needs to prove he can stay this distance of 13f but a victory round here in August last year over a furlong shorter suggests it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise if this was to pop up in the frame of this listed handicap tomorrow.

Cheshire Prince’s form round Chester from his three-year-old season and onwards reads: 231621161 and has an ideal stalls position coming from the two box.

Luke Morris has a 13% record for Mark Brisbourne in the last 5 seasons, but this improves to 19% for 2009 alone.

Next there is Black Spirit for Clive Cox and Adam Kirby at Sandown (2:40) and the son of Black Minnaloushe cut a favourable impression on debut when narrowly getting the better of Prompter (who re-opposes here) at Ascot in a very quick time on the clock.

Prompter since went out and won round Chester in workmanlike fashion and the form looks strong overall.

Black Spirit has the look of a colt with some potential and I just hope he goes on from his first run as I’m always weary of backing the progeny of Black Minnaloushe. A half brother to Majestic Roi a mile looks like being his trip in the future and this looks the next logical step for a stable who are having a real good time of things this year.

Bets:
2pts each-way :: Cheshire Prince @ 16-1 with William Hill
1pt win :: Black Spirit @ 5-1 with Bet365


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York Ebor Festival: Day 2 Preview

It’s been a long time since I last updated the blog, so thought I’d give it some air with a quick blog in reference to my thoughts tomorrow.

Many thanks to the kind person who emailed in wondering where my bloggings had gone, I will be sure to try and keep things more updated in future but I’ve taken a few weeks break from writing and in a sense gambling but I’m back in the formbooks now and looking for the next piece of value.

Onto York, and the Ebor Festival – an excellent performance this afternoon from Sea The Stars to win yet another Group 1. If you are a fan of Sea The Stars, then head on over to his fan site at http://www.seathestars.co.uk .

Wednesday holds the main race of the meeting The Ebor, and I will get round to this race eventually, however we’ll start with the first and the Ralph Beckett trained Seeking The Buck (1:45) can land the opener under Seb Sanders. Fourth in the John Smiths Cup at this venue, he looked outpaced at a vital stage and had to race down an unfavoured part of the track so his performance can be slightly upgraded, his speed figures this year have been very decent and he is overpriced. The Sir Michael Stoute trained Class Is Class will probably improve for this extra trip as his pedigree suggests, and is entitled to head the market but for me he is far too short to be getting involved in.

There is a chance that Royal And Regal (2:15) is gone at the game, but he’s proven over these sort of trips and has been given a long break after a terrible effort behind Ask in the Yorkshire Cup last time out. Something must have gone wrong with him that day to be rested for so long, and with the field cutting up here, with horses who got trounced in a shocking renewal of the Goodwood Cup, I’m willing to give this Michael Jarvis trained gelding another shot at a quite reasonable price.

It is quite possible we’ve yet to see the best of Showcasing after his impressive debut second to Arcano; he won his maiden with little fuss at Yarmouth next time out and has been saved with this race in mind. However I’m going to give Orpen Grey (2:50) another chance after a superb effort from the front in the July Stakes (G2) when mown down late by Arcano. The speed figure for that race was huge and puts him ahead of anything else in this race and given that York is a track which has been doing well with horses racing on the pace, Tom Dascombe’s grey colt can get back to winning ways. Monsieur Chevalier is the obvious danger with his potent turn of foot but is likely to be over bet.

Next The Ebor (3:25) and I’ve had a substantial each-way investment on the David Arbuthnot trained Desert Sea tonight at 25-1, and a little more at 22-1. It has currently been backed into 20-1 and I still feel his well above the price he should be. His speed figure on his Sandown run was very good indeed, Victoria Montoya has ran with credit in various races since to frank the form. Desert Sea won over this trip at Sandown last year, and has form from this trip all the way up to his fourth place finish in the Chester Cup over nineteen furlongs. He looks to have improved this year and I rate him quite a strong bet in a competitive race.

I’m going to skip the (4:05) in favour of the (4:40) race and this can go with the Boys In Blue as Burgundy Ice is taken to improve on her comeback run at Sandown when caught late by Romany Princess last month. Romany Princess ran well at Goodwood since finishing close up on the bridle in a luckless race making the form of the Sandown race look quite strong and I believe Frankie Dettori can coax out further improvement from this daughter of Storm Cat.

Bets:
1pt each-way – Seeking The Buck @ 10-1 with BlueSQ.
0.5pt win – Royal And Regal @ 7-2 with Bet365 (Best Odds Guaranteed).
1pt win – Orpen Grey @ 11-4 with Bet365 (Best Odds Guaranteed).
3pts each-way – Desert Sea @ 20-1 with Stan James (Best Odds Guaranteed).
2pts win – Burgundy Ice @ 10-3 with PaddyPower (Best Odds Guaranteed).

Saturday’s Glorious Action

No blog entry yesterday due to a bad hangover but we would only have grabbed a place anyway with Webbow sneaking fourth place after given a nightmare passage through by Louis Philippe-Buezelin so not much lost.

Onto Saturday and there is plenty of racing of varying quality and there are a few bets to be had out there judging by the early prices.

Itlaaq (1:55 Goodwood) can get the job done under Richard Hills in Goodwood’s’ first. The selection posted a smart rating when last seen at the track when posting a rating of (87) and the form of the card has worked out quite well since.

From the card we have other winners Inchpast go on to win next time out at Ripon, Xtension ran a gallant second in the Coventry Stakes behind Canford Cliffs before winning the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood this week. The race won by Louise Bonne has seen winners come in the shape of Aqwaas, Halling Gal, All For You, Arcola, and a close second with Penzena. The race won by King’s Wonder has seen a winner in the shape of Brassini, and several placed efforts next time from other horses.
There have been a few winners come from Itlaaq’s race and the form looks overall strong, and he still remains well handicapped here off a mark of 78. Thin Red Line looks the danger on figures with two solid clock efforts since stepping up in trip, and he can follow Itlaaq home.

Hartley (2:30) can make the frame in the next at Glorious Goodwood and he came back well from a break bagging a place behind Regal Parade at Chester (Regal Parade came third in Lennox Stakes this week). He still remains lightly raced and although has a bit to find with some of the principles on official figures rates well on the clock, and is hugely overpriced at 25-1 with Ladbrokes. Gallagher looks a fair price as well, and should be used if exercising the forecast option.

Mick’s Dancer (3:20 Newmarket) clocked a good time on the stopwatch for his last victory but still probably has to find a couple of pounds with short-price favourite Laaheb. However at the difference in prices, Mick’s Dancer looks overpriced at 9-1, and I’d rather take that than the 4-5 currently on offer for Laaheb.

An interesting Nursery on the Goodwood card, and it can go with the Dandy Nicholls trained Layla’s Hero (4:50 Goodwood) who did the job in a good time at Hamilton last time up and looks reasonably well treated off a mark of 71 with Adrian Nicholls in the plate.

Bets:
Itlaaq – 1pt win @ 13-2 with SportingBet
Hartley – 0.5pt e/w @ 25-1 with Ladbrokes
Mick’s Dancer – 0.5pt win @ 9-1 with Betfred
Layla’s Hero – 1pt win @ with Betfred

Glorious Goodwood – Lillie Langtry Stakes

Fresh from the small success of Mata Keranjang grabbing some place profits in the Vintage Stakes yesterday, there is just one race that interests me tomorrow on what is a poor card for Glorious Goodwood.

I have to say that the Goodwood Cup is probably the worst Group 2 race I’ve ever seen, and anything could theoretically win that race, with Schiaparelli being far too short at 5-2.

I’m going to focus my attentions on the Lillie Langtry Stakes (Group 3) run over 1m6f for Fillies aged three and above.

This race has been run since 2003, with three year olds winning three out of the six renewals. With that in mind, and with the only three-year-old in the field being the Michael Bell trained Lady Artemisia it would be right to start with her first.

Lady Artemisia – Was second to Aromatic in a good time at Salisbury but I’m beginning to believe it’s a potentially rogue card given the recent failings of Aromatic in handicap company off favourable marks to the speed figure posted. Lady Artemisia went to Newcastle and finished second behind Charity Belle, who then went to contest Listed Company finishing fourth but was turned over by a horse rated in the 60’s in Handicap Company since. Lady Artemisia has been upped in grade here and I can’t see why, she’ll come unstuck in this company and won’t be winning.

Cassique Lady – One of the very few horses Lucy Wadham has on the flat and has run with real credit since being drafted in from Ireland. Clearly improved for the step-up in trip when a second at Haydock and a win at Warwick last time in Listed grade. However against some classier types in this field on speed figures, despite her OR being the highest of the lot on 102 – she should struggle to win here.

Dolly Penrose – A dour stayer and wants a trip further than this ideally but I can see Mick Channons method in trying to plunder some black type here with this full sister to Misternando. She lacks the class of some of these but certainly will be trying her heart out but is another who should come up short at the business end, and is liable to get outpaced at a vital stage.

Presbyterian Nun – Would have a chance on this based on her third at Newbury last August but has failed to fire so far this season. Questions have to be answered if she retains all ability and is another passed over in favour of something else.

Princess Taylor – A good effort to finish second to Barshiba over 12f at Newmarket last time out, and showed enough pace to be racing over a mile last year. I think she is the type of horse who regularly finds one better every time and is held by Cassique Lady on their Warwick running, should run her race though but wouldn’t be too sure on her lasting home over the extra 2f.

Sevenna – Has plenty to find on official figures and you’d have to go back to Great Leighs last September to find a rating big enough to give her a chance here. A fair run last time at Goodwood in an okay time but the horse that beat it has since disappointed twice when fancied.

Starfala – Is a horse I’ve backed on numerous occasions now and has let me down plenty of times but still runs well in defeat. She has been campaigned over 12f mainly and tends to hit a flat spot in her races before coming home well. Should of won here in Handicap Company over 12f last year and the extra distance can only suit this Galileo filly. Frankie Dettori is an excellent booking for this Paul Cole filly and on the speed ratings and figures; she should be half the price she is quoted at given she is unexposed over this trip and ought to improve for the extra yardage.

Sualice – Is the favourite for the race for the Irish President and Dermot Weld couldn’t be in better form at the moment. The run behind Profound Beauty last time was in a very good time but appears to find one or two better in each race she runs and doesn’t win very often. With that in mind the 11/4 on offer is plenty short enough. There have also been no Irish winners of this race since the race began in 2003.

Victoria Montoya – Has it to find on official figures here but the Andrew Balding filly has posted some very noteworthy times this year over this distance. Second to Desert Sea at Sandown over two miles last time, the time was very quick and thus puts her slightly ahead on figures over the remainder of the field here and with a C&D win under her belt (itself in a good time) last year suggests this High Chaparral filly holds all the aces tomorrow under William Buick.

Verdict: In what looks a straight forward scope-em-up on figures for Victoria Montoya and Starfala, I really can’t separate the two – so I have two options. Take a blind leap of faith and take one over the other, or back both and hope that one of them wins given I’d be dutching the pair at just above 9-4 (Providing I take the 7-1 and 5-1 Best Odds Prices). I’m going to side with Victoria Montoya for the Andrew Balding team who should get back to winning ways here providing she reproduces her effort at Sandown last time.

1pt win – Victoria Montoya @ 7-1 with Bet365

Glorious Goodwood: Vintage Stakes

The Vintage Stakes is our first port of call in regards to betting opportunities tomorrow. Frankie Dettori has won this race the last two years for different trainers and I can see this stat being quite prominent amongst the industry tomorrow thus making the Godolphin trained Chaperno bad value.

Big Audio – Won the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot from the Aidan O’Brien trained Emperor Claudius posting a rating of (92) in the process. Turned over at Newmarket in the Superlative Stakes behind Silver Grecian though and on that run is held by Roi De Vitesse and Lucky General who re-oppose here.

Chaperno – Has looked to my eye quirky in his runs to date but did the job last time at York in good style earning himself a rating of (83) and is ridden here by Frankie Dettori who has won this race for the last two years running. I don’t think he’s good enough however and looks underpriced to me in the market at 12-1.

Corporal Maddox – Top ranks the race with a rated of (93) posted in France last time behind Dolled Up in the Prix Du Bois, his Epsom run also ranks very nicely on the figures. He is overpriced in this at 18-1 (BlueSQ) and should show up well in the race for Karl Burke.

Dreamspeed – Won a maiden at Sandown but the time wasn’t anything to write home about and looks pitched in at the deep end here on only his second start. He made up plenty of ground from the rear last time and he’s entitled to improve but the price of 9-2 available early is bad value for me and is worth taking on.

Ishtar Gate – The first of the two Paul Cole runners got up late in the day to win his maiden at Leicester on the first time of asking and the second and third placed animals have since won their maiden races. He should improve for that run but the figure posted is nothing out of the ordinary and he’d have to improve markedly to trouble some of the more experienced types.

Lucky General – Posted a fair figure when fourth to Silver Grecian at Newmarket and his fourth placed earnt him a rating of (88) on my figures but is held by the Rod Millman trained Roi De Vitesse on that running. Richard Hughes favouring Big Audio suggests once again this is second string and you cant get a better jockey for your second string than Ryan Moore and this horse will run it’s usual race, but should find one or two too good.

Mata Keranjang – The second of the Paul Cole duo and the one I’m most interested in. Made his debut in a Listed race in France at Deauville at the start of this month, he finished third in a good time to Sorciere and Special Duty over five furlongs looking seemingly outpaced when challenged and stuck on one paced for his third placing. The second Special Duty made easy work of beating the big French Guineas hope in Siyouni in the Prix Robert Papin (G2) at the weekend, and held superiority over Dolled Up who beat Corporal Maddox in the Prix Du Bois last time. On that line of form Mata Keranjang should hold Corporal Maddox, and should also improve for his first run and the step up in trip as he’s bred to do better over and around a mile. Martin Dwyer rides Goodwood well and is booked to ride and this animal is massively overpriced at 20-1 (Totesport).

Roi De Vitesse – Second behind Silver Grecian in the Superlative Stakes at Newmarket last time, he holds superiority over Big Audio and Lucky General with a rating of (89). He was third prior at Cork behind Love Lockdown and the second placed King Ledley has since placed in both Group 3 and Group 2 Company so the form of that run looks solid. He is the most experienced of this field and was held by Silver Grecian at the finish last time and looks to lack some of the scope of his rivals do here. He should once again run his race but I can see this horse placing at best.

Xtension – Second to Canford Cliffs in the Coventry Stakes coming from miles back to swoop for second a distant second at that. This looks the logical next move by Clive Cox and the seven furlong trip looks tailor made for the colt. He is the rightful favourite and should go very close with the improvement for the extra distance and ranks in at (88) on his Ascot run but should improve to the low 90’s.

She’s A Character – Made good headway to come from the rear to pinch third behind Habaayib in a race which wasn’t overly flash on the time. The Queen Mary has held prominence over the Albany Stakes with Misheer turning over Habaayib in the Cherry Hinton and on the whole the race doesn’t look that great. No filly has won this in the last 10 years and she has plenty to find on her figure and looks hugely underpriced at 11-1 (Bet365).


Verdict: I like to bet to what I believe to be value, and you cant find anymore value on show at Goodwood on Wednesday than the 20-1 available for the Paul Cole trained two-year-old Mata Keranjang given the form of his debut run working out extremely well, and the theoretical line of superiority he should hold over Corporal Maddox through Dolled Up’s run in both the Prix Du Bois and Robert Papin. This should put Mata Keranjang in at around the (94-95) mark and thus would make him top rated of the field with improvement likely under Martin Dwyer.

1pt each-way Mata Keranjang @ 20-1 with Totesport

Glorious Goodwood: Day 1

The first race (2:10) at Glorious Goodwood is as difficult as you’ll see for any showcase flat meeting but there still needs to be a winner from them. There have been no winning favourites of this race for the last ten years and the last five renewals have been won by four-year-olds.

Another interesting trend is that there have only been two winners since 2000 who have won the race weighted below 8st 10lb, all the remainder have been above that threshold. Theoretically this would rule out 7 of the 14 runners including likely favourite Royal Destination.

My fancy on speed figures fits in with the weight trend, but needs to break the stranglehold that four-year-olds have had in the last 5 years, by becoming the first six-year-old to win the race since Prairie Wolf in 2002.

The Paul Webber trained Australia Day has returned better than ever from a break, and made his comeback at Sandown, beating Wintercast in a fast time.

The form of that race has worked out rather well with the horses in-behind Australia Day doing the following when next seen.

2nd – Wintercast (Btn 2.5L) – Second at Newmarket in 12k handicap off a 3lb higher mark.
3rd – Shamali (Btn 5.25L) – Winner off a mark of 84 next time, and won again in conditions event off 92.
4th – King Charles (Btn 5.75L) – Won a Newbury handicap off same mark (90) and ran a close-up fifth off 5lbs higher at Newmarket next time.

Next time out, Australia Day returned to Sandown off a mark of 97 (7lbs higher than for his last win) racing off top weight the grey set a ferocious pace but battled on tenaciously when challenged finally succumbing to Fanjura and Greylami and finished third. Fanjura has since won at Ascot off a 5lb higher mark (95) beating William Blake and giving the Mark Johnston horse 12lbs also. Australia Day gives 15lbs to William Blake tomorrow but was giving 7lbs to Fanjura at Sandown so theoretically should hold William Blake on that form line.

The card form of that last run behind Fanjura at Sandown is quite strong, with various winners coming from the surrounding races, these include.

Canadian DanehillOff 6lbs higher (91) at Newmarket’s July Meeting.

KirkleesWon Group 2 at York at the weekend in good style (Now the time of the Fanjura race was 0.03sec faster than that won by Kirklees, Kirklees carried 9st 5lbs to victory, but Australia Day carried 9lbs more than Kirklees and would have finished a close second to Kirklees giving him all that weight, and would have beaten him off levels.

AlanbrookeWon handicap at Ascot off 6lbs higher (86) next time before finishing second beaten 10L behind Darley Sun over the same trip at Ascot off a mark of (96).

The Paul Webber trained grey is a free-going sort who will cut out his own pace and a track like Goodwood should work to his strengths as its easy enough to get home when going from the front in previous experience. He’ll have no problems staying the trip, and has a master in Richard Hughes setting the fractions and he can bring this grey son of Key Of Luck home in-front at a rather handsome 12-1 early price.

I have him top rated on my figures with a rating of 98, of the rest, Royal Destination is most feared with his latest figure of 94 posted at Ayr.

1pt each-way @ 12-1 with StanJames (B-O-G) or William Hill (B-O-G)

I was going to have a go next at the Gordon Stakes (Group 3) but decided against it as the race is far too trappy for my liking, but will be keeping a close eye on Urban Poet to see if he can improve on his debut figure of 86.

So next we come up against the field in the Betfair Cup (3:25) (Group 2) and the Lennox Stakes as I still like to remember it as has had one winning favourite in the last 10 renewals, evidently a graveyard for favourites.
I went through all the beaten favourites in each year’s renewal and recorded their name and official rating to compare against Main Aim and his OR of 121.

Lennox Stakes – Beaten Fav’s
2000 – Swallow Flight: 120
2001 – Mull Of Kintyre: ???
2002 – Millennium Dragon: 114
2003 – Arakan/Tillerman: 106/117
2004 – Kheleyf: 112
2005 – Autumn Glory: 114
2006 – Iffraaj: 117 (WON)
2007 – Asset: 115
2008 – Infallible: 113

Only Iffraaj was able to land the Lennox Stakes in the last decade and there are some decent names up there which tried and failed. Main Aim bids to become the second favourite to win since the turn of the millennium and holds the biggest official rating going into it since before Swallow Flight in 2000.

On the figures Main Aim ranks top with his effort achieved at Newmarket earning him a figure of (99), he holds the advantage over JJ The Jet Plane (98), Ouqba (98), Balthazaar’s Gift (97) and Regal Parade (96).

The level of superiority over his rivals compared to his rather short early price of 13-8 isn’t getting me interested whatsoever despite the fact he looks the most likely winner on both figures and form. I think Ouqba is overpriced at 11-2 (Stan James) based on his Jersey Stakes rating at Royal Ascot and the fact that Richard Hills has chosen him over Finjaan is a tip in itself.

However I’m gonna throw a wild one into the mix and side with the Clive Cox trained Balthazaar’s Gift under Adam Kirby. Some 13lbs to find on official figures, the ex-Cumani trained entire has come back well from his winter in Dubai with a solid third to Imbongi at Newmarket on his British return, and a fast finishing second at Chester behind Regal Parade last time in a race where I fancied the James Bethell trained Hartley.

If you go back to August 2007, and the Stewards Cup, Balthazaar’s Gift on his only run at Goodwood carried top weight of 9st 13lb, giving 12lbs to race winner Zidane and 4lbs to Borderlescott and finished full of running on the bridle after suffering interference with the Racing Post journalist quoting “hopeless task”. He has been very much a nearly horse in his career but Clive Cox appears to be getting something out of him and with that huge run at Goodwood the last time he ran here, he has to be chanced at the massive odds of 20-1, even if he only runs into third place behind Main Aim and Ouqba.

Balthazaar’s Gift 0.25pt each-way @ 20-1 with StanJames (B-O-G)
Ouqba 0.5pt Win @ 11-2 with StanJames (B-O-G)

Of the remainder of the card I’ll be backing Mister Manannan in the Molecomb for Dandy & Adrian Nicholls with Dandy having a record of 6 wins from 9 runners with his juveniles at the track for the last five seasons. I’ll be backing him each-way at 8-1 with Stan James (B-O-G).

I’ll also be looking at backing Quai D’Orsay and George Benjamin when they’ve priced the races up but it all depends on what sort of price they’re offered at.

So there we have it, I have to say my strongest bet of the afternoon will be on Australia Day at the available 12-1, hopefully Hughes will be able to track across and bag the rail in a race where there doesn’t seem a huge amount of pace options.

Discuss this article and Glorious Goodwood on our forums – and join in our competition!

Ahead of Glorious Goodwood

Looking ahead to Glorious Goodwood and I’ve done minimal form study at this stage which could be hazardous if I don’t get my head in the books at some point today.

I think the Goodwood meeting is quite profitable for me as a betting medium, and I’ve made a profit there over the past four consecutive years, unlike the Newmarket July meeting where I’ve lost over the past three (left this year alone).

I’ve been thinking I need to refine my approach a little at this time of year, as my methods which work so well in the early part of the season start to fail with increasing regularity (and if you’re currently relying on punting as your income its far from ideal).

I’m beginning to think that to do well at this time of year, you need to think ‘outside the box’ as far as picking winners are concerned. Horses with planned campaigns perform differently at different times of year, depending on which there target is. A Horse with a target at the Chester May Meeting will perform better there than at say Epsom Derby Meeting, because they are at peak fitness and have been readied for the job at hand and when running at Epsom they’d be slightly below their level at Chester.

Of course this all depends on each horse individually, different trainers have different standards of facilities and different methods in which they train so you cant really pinpoint an exact time when a certain horse will peak, all you can do is look through the form and see if there’s any gradual improvement or check back through the horses history to draw up any comparisons in form.

I use my speed figures for this type of work, and they can give you an accurate guide as to which conditions a horse will perform under best, and at which time of year – providing you have a big enough pool of ratings that is.

I intend to scan through each Goodwood race this afternoon/evening and draw up a shortlist of horses which come to my attention and then investigate them further. Hopefully I’ll be able to pick up on something the average punter has failed to notice and thus secure a few points of value.

A few stats though before I head off to sleep for a few hours.

  • Dandy Nicholls is 6 winners from 9 runners at Goodwood in the last 5 years, and won the Molecomb with Strike Up The Band in 2005, he saddles Mister Manannan in the race this year.
  • The opening handicap on Tuesday’s card has been won for the last four years by four-year-olds only.
  • The Gordon Stakes has been won by the favourite for the past three years running.
  • Frankie Dettori has ridden the winner of Wednesday’s Vintage Stakes in the last two renewals for different trainers; he rides Chaperno for Saeed Bin Suroor this year.
  • The favourite has won four of the last six renewals of the Vintage Stakes. A joint second favourite and a third favourite won the remaining two.

That’s all for now, more to follow…

Ok maybe that didn’t work, but Sunday’s Dream could happen!

Well it didn’t exactly go the plan now did it? I guess I bettered my initial prediction of just one winner landing Pyrrha (3-1) and Blue Maiden (9-4) and so nearly added Luscivious to the brace of winners only to go down by a head.

Today’s racing left plenty to think about for me and a couple of horses left a lasting impression on me, for differing reasons.

We’ll start with arguably the best race of the day King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes won by Conduit and Ryan Moore, followed home by stable-mate Tartan Bearer under Mick Kinane and Ask rounding up the 1-2-3 for Sir Michael Stoute under Frenchman Olivier Peslier

All three putting up excellent performances under Group 1 rides from their riders, but one horse that really disappointed me this afternoon was Look Here who looked a shadow of her former self and clearly has questions to answer from now on in. She is likely to be pitched back in against her own sex and the Yorkshire Oaks looks the obvious next target for the daughter of Hernando and hopefully she can rekindle that form that saw her wins the Epsom Oaks last year.

Another horse to leave an impression on me was the Karl Burke trained Rodrigo De Torres who streaked away powerfully to land a six furlong maiden on the Knavesmire. Tracking the pace early on her bursts between two rivals before putting two lengths between him and his rivals with consummate ease. This son of Bahamian Bounty holds entries in the Champagne Stakes (G2) and Middle Park (G1) and if improving on this effort like he can be expected to, should be good enough to line-up in such races with a chance.

That’s pretty much today covered really aside from Kirklees who won as he was entitled to following another flat-run from Tazeez, the John Gosden gelding clearly needs fast ground and excels at Newmarket on the Rowley Mile.

Onto Sunday, and we have two quality races from Maisons-laffitte, starting with the Prix Robert Papin (G2), 2:50); a race for juveniles over the minimum five furlongs. I’ll be carefully looking at Siyouni in this race, as the son of Whipper looked a smart prospect when winning on debut at Longchamp before winning two races at this venue going 3 for 3 unbeaten. I won’t be backing this colt but will watch with great interest.

The next race on the card (3:20) and I’ll be backing the Alain Royer-Dupre trained Cashelgar in the Prix Eugene Adam (G2) providing I can get a fair enough price. His run behind Glass Harmonium in the Hampton Court stakes at Royal Ascot was that of a rapidly improving and smart animal and this looks an ideal way to get back in the winners enclosure under regular pilot Gerard Mosse.

Pontefract is the next port of call and there will be plenty of people out there wanting to be on Orizaba for the Godolphin team in the (3:50), however I’m taking him on with the Richard Fahey trained Dream Lodge who despite having a little to find on official figures posted the best speed-figure of his career at Doncaster last time and has clearly thrived for the switch to Fahey’s yard. Second in this race last year behind three-year-old Choose Your Moment off a mark of 92, he’s improved 13lbs in official figures since then and that should set him in good stead here given his Pontefract form-figures read 6212.

The Curragh tomorrow houses the Phoenix Stakes (G1) over six furlongs for two-year-olds and I’ll be looking at how Walk On Bye does for Tommy Stack. Unbeaten to date the Pipalong filly showed real dash in the Anglesey Stakes last time to see off King Ledley and although I wont be betting in the race, I’ll be looking to see if she can continue her upward curve and finally give her dam a worthwhile progeny.

Finally at Ascot in the (4:35) the Mark Johnston trained Record Breaker can resume winning ways under Royston Ffrench after an unlucky run round here at Royal Ascot where had he not let the leader and stable-mate get such a head start, would of won. His speed figures for his last three efforts prior to a disappointing run in a farcical race in what was the Northumberland Plate can be discounted and at 8-1 (StanJames) is worth an each-way play.

I’ve decided to have a look at the last at Ascot against my intentions of not and the (5:10) looks a tricky puzzle to solve. I backed Stoneacre Lad in this race two years ago when he raced off 10lbs higher and won at 66-1. Now he clearly likes this track but the problem we have is that his Peter Grayson couldn’t win a raffle with the only ticket in the draw at present and has gone 100+ runs without a single winner. Which means Stoneacre Lad is now dangerously well handicapped off a mark of 78, and Nicky Mackay gets the chance to try and drive him into the winners’ enclosure. He is a 66-1 chance with William Hills to repeat his success in the race. Another which could run well is the top-weight Rowe Park who has been kept fresh since his run in the Palace House at Newmarket in May, and Ascot is a track which does well with all-weather form and beings that Rowe Back is 5 wins from 12 on the all-weather he might run a little better than he has done on the turf for a while, meaning he is overpriced and underestimated at 33-1 under Steve Drowne.

Probable Bets:
3pts win – Cashelgar (Best Morning Price)
1pt E/W – Dream Lodge (6-1 with Paddy Power) – Best Odds
1pt E/W – Record Breaker (8-1 with Stan James) – Best Odds
0.25pt E/W – Stoneacre Lad (66-1 with William Hill) – Best Odds
0.25pt E/W – Rowe Park (33-1 with Ladbrokes)

Saturday’s Racing: It’s a Knockout! Surely?

After just watching the ten greatest boxing knockouts on YouTube, I’m inspired to deliver a knockout punch of my own, but my opponent is the Bookmakers.

I’m going to set myself a little challenge, and like the video I saw, I’m going to find 10 winners tomorrow, now it’s a Saturday, full of hard racing and seemingly impossible? Well you’re probably right, but I intend to have a bash and god sure does love a trier, although sometimes I’m not sure the gambling gods do!

We’ll kick off at Ascot and the first race on the card (1:25) and the course form of Golden Desert should set him in good stead. A winner of this race last year under today’s jockey Katie Walsh, the selection has to race off 5lbs higher this afternoon but a solid effort at the track off 1lb higher back in June suggests he’ll be competitive off this sort of mark. The Terry Mills trained gelding has course figures of 43156 and hopefully can get in the frame under Katie Walsh who is (1-1) on the horse.

The next bet of the challenge is on the Knavesmire and the John Gosden trained Aromatic can take full advantage of a seven week break by landing the (2:35) at York. The Medicean filly clocked a rapid rating when taking a maiden here back in May and I backed her on her next two starts because the rating I got suggested she was a listed class filly masquerading as a handicapper in the 70’s. Frankie Dettori takes the ride for Cheveley Park where he has a 33% strike rate (3-9) in the last 5 seasons and he rides York particularly well as we’ve seen this year. I think you can forgive Aromatic her latest effort when disappointing favourite due to the three quick runs in succession and she should be back to her best now and looks a shoe-in off 83.

Back to Ascot for the next bet in the challenge, and it looks like Clive Brittain can plunder some more black-type with the improving Jira in the (2:40). Ridden by South African Kevin Shea, the selection landed the Empress Stakes at the Newmarket July meeting beating off today’s market rival Jeanie Johnston by a neck and I feel over this extra furlong the Clive Brittain trained daughter of Medicean can confirm superiority over the Karl Burke filly, who is a full sister to Marine Boy and thus I’d worry about her staying the extra furlong in trip.

To Racing HQ for the next bet and it should pay to side with the Chris Wall trained Pyrrha in the (3:25). She returned from her break looking in need of the run at Salisbury and appeared at the July meeting on seemingly the wrong side of the track. I think she’d of won the race had Alan Munro raced up with the main group instead of ploughing a lone furrow up the rail and compensation can be gained this afternoon, with Victoria Sponge doing the chasing home.

So hopefully by now we’ve already secured four winners, so we now head off to the Sky Bet Dash at York (3:45) and this is a race where Valery Borzov can resume winning ways under Francis Norton, despite Adrian Nicholls being on Tajneed. The rating clocked by Valery Borzov last time over course & distance suggested this is a Group horse running in handicaps, and if that rating is reliable he should cakewalk this tomorrow on a similar surface. Hopefully there will be a few more showers in the York area tomorrow morning ahead of this race to ensure conditions are perfect and looks massively overpriced at 14-1 generally, of the remainder Biniou also looks overpriced at 14-1, as does Pusey Street Lady at 25-1 but we’ll stick with Valery Borzov to shoulder top weight in style.

Back to Ascot for our next bet, and the Abu Dhabi International Stakes (3:50) can go back to Newmarket with the Willie Haggas trained Roaringforte. A lightly-raced son of Cape Cross, the selection posted a rapid time on the Great Leighs all-weather surface before returning from a layoff, back on the turf at Newmarket where he easily disposed of the well touted and handicapped Tryst in the style of a Group horse. The thing I like about this horse is that he’s an uncomplicated ride; he will be bounced out sit handy and kick on shortly after half-way. His huge stride devours the turf and this will be a Group horse before the end of the year is out, however I feel he’d do even better if shipped to America to race on Dirt where there is more prize money on offer.

Newmarket (4:00) is the next port of call and the PJ McBride trained Blue Maiden can get off the mark at the second attempt. The selection ran a big race to finish second to Lady Pattern when seemingly un-fancied in the market. She kept on well enough from the rear in a race where they run 0.02sec quicker than the older horse sprint won by Brandywell Boy (OR: 58) which suggests the form is fair. She will know more after that run and should also have improved and can give McBride a much needed winner under the hands of Cathy Gannon.

Back to the Knavesmire for admittedly a short-priced runner in Loveinthesand for the Mark Johnston ‘Always Trying’ camp and the Footstepsinthesand colt can take the (4:15) en-route to better things. A colt with loads of fancy Group entries he was backed as if defeat was out of the question at Hamilton Park on debut but was very green and kept changing his legs throughout the contest and should come on a ton for that run. The horse that beat him Leviathan has since come third in a Nursery off a mark of 83, so this should be a good opportunity for Loveinthesand to get another win on the board for trainer Mark Johnston.

Next up is the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes (G1) at (4:25) and while the press seem to be focusing on what horse Ryan Moore picks out of Tartan Bearer and Conduit, I feel they may have missed the potential winner of the race. I have no doubt that Conduit is a top-class animal and has run two excellent races to date but Sir Michael Stoute said in an interview on RacingUK that they’re targeting a back-end campaign with him so he wont be at his very best until the end of the year. Now on my figures he’ll need to repeat his St Leger performance to take this, and if he isn’t at peak level he isn’t going to, Tartan Bearer is an excellent game animal but whether he has the natural class to land a Group 1 still remains questionable and looks almost a ‘nearly’ horse in this grade. So I’m going to side with Look Here for the Ralph Beckett stable who, made an excellent comeback finishing third to Ask at Epsom in the Coronation Cup and could potentially of won but for a stumble inches before the line, she then went to the Pretty Polly Stakes in Ireland and failed to fire over a trip shorter than ideal, and back up to her favourite trip, fitness assured and a big price of 8-1 (Ladbrokes) this is definitely worth an each-way play against the underpriced Conduit.

Up north to Newcastle and Luscivious can give Jeremy Glover another winner since his comeback by landing the (5:20). Backed by myself when finishing second on the Haydock turf behind Equluus Pictor three starts ago, the selection lost ground at the start and couldn’t make that back up against the winner who got first run. At Pontefract next time, Luscivious struggled on the track and was beaten before half-way but a renewed enthusiasm over six furlongs on the Fibresand at Southwell suggests this horse is worth backing off a mark of 75. Add to that the booking of super-apprentice Frederik Tylicki and we’ve got ourself a strong case for a winner. Of the remainder Flash McGahon sticks out as a potential fly in the ointment, as he got no sort of run at Newmarket last time and was absolutely swinging along until the jockey accepted the situation and saved him for another day. 4lbs lower after that effort, and the claimer Nicky Lawes taking 7lbs off this is a well handicapped animal and should go close.

Well there we go, 10 selections, 10 winners! Well that’s the plan but in all fairness I’ll probably be lucky to get one, if you wish to have a go at the “Bookie Knockout – 10 Greatest” challenge, then post your selections in via the comment box below this article.

Good luck!

Bad to worse? Lets hope not!

I think the less said about yesterday the better after a dismal performance from all selections bar Dangerous Midge who only just escapes my wrath but that was only because he was a non-runner.

A few nice performances yesterday from around the country, mostly in the belting rain and none more so impressive than Colonel Mak up at Hamilton who did the job in fine style in the Nursery. This is a very nice horse and full of further improvement and the way he goes about his business suggests he’s really enjoying his racing at the moment.

The rain has continued to fall overnight leaving the ground soft everywhere, and bottomless up at Ripon, which only just passed an inspection by the skin of its teeth. So I advise caution to anyone having a bet this afternoon with the ground riding the way it is, I’ll definitely be keeping my stakes to the bare minimum.

Its worth siding with soft-ground horses today (obviously I hear you say) and in the 3:30 Ripon, it could pay to dutch both Distant Memories (4-1) and Moheebb (8-1) who both enjoy cut in the ground.

Over at Newbury and an impressive time from Doncaster Rover last time on quicker ground puts him in with solid claims in the Hackwood Stakes (2:20) and if handling the softer conditions looks very much overpriced at 12-1 with Ladbrokes. Later on the card and Smokey Oakey (3:55) can take advantage of ease in the ground by landing the Listed contest over ten furlongs for which he rates a general 7-1 chance. Never Lose (2:50) also looks overpriced and under Ryan Moore who’s riding well at present can get in the money and can be backed at 8-1 with Bet365 or William Hill.

Finally, I’ve been doing a little investigation regarding two-year-old racing this year and have drew up a list of around 31 qualifiers so far this flat season which have met the conditions I’ve set out. I’ve started a thread on the forums where each day, I’ll be posting up qualifiers from the system (if there are any) and hopefully it will prove profitable, I’m sure it will. You can catch up with the thread by clicking the link below.

Investigation System [Juveniles]

Calm before the storm (or Friday’s Thoughts)

Well it’s been a good few days now since the blog last got an update, so I figured with some good quality racing on show this Friday – then today is the day to bring things up to date.

The selections from last week didn’t really read the script, but plenty of promise was shown by King Ledley in finishing second to the obviously smart Walk On Bye and the daughter of Pipalong looks to have a bright future ahead of her if kept sweet by trainer Tommy Stack.

Beauty O’Gwaun was very disappointing finishing last in the Irish Oaks, but it doesn’t really matter because nothing would have beaten Sariska in the form she was in that afternoon and she is really progressing under the watchful eye of Michael Bell and looks a quality filly. As for where Beauty O’Gwaun goes now, it’s an unknown and with the added mystery that racecourse vets couldn’t find anything wrong with her, perhaps the reason lies in the application of headgear not working the desired effect? Who knows, I don’t.

Right, it’s been quite a slow week for me on the betting front, have managed to avoid getting involved all week but for a small interest in Profound Beauty tonight in the ‘lucky’ last at Leopardstown. The Dermot Weld trained mare clocked a rating of note when winning at the Curragh last time, and was worth a small bet here to follow up but there wasn’t much value in her price of around 6-4 generally. I had toyed with the idea of taking up a position against Forgotten Voice at his short odds, as he’d yet to encounter soft ground and a field as small as this and felt that he’d be done for toe at a vital stage – I would however of backed Perks and after deciding not to form any opinion on the markets, watched the race as Perks agonisingly got nailed by Dream Lodge for the Richard Fahey team. I guess it means I was right to take on Forgotten Voice as he was beaten easily enough out the places, but Jeremy Noseda is a real bogey trainer of mine and one which I can’t really get any sort of handle on – but that’s another story for another day.

Looking to the days proceedings and we’ll go up north to Haydock first, and immediately I like the look of Fivefootnumberone (3:30 Haydock) under the useful handling of Stephen Donohoe. Clocked an impressive figure when winning here back in May on Good-To-Soft conditions, and disappointed somewhat here last time after being fancied to go well by myself. Trainer John Quinn obviously thinks there’s a concentration issue with the horse and has seen fit to apply the cheek-pieces to the son of Acclamation and hopefully he can return to winning ways here in what looks a winnable affair.

Jack Mitchell is always worth looking out for as his great value for his claim, and the fact that Mark Tompkins has put him up aboard the once well-regarded Dulcie (4:40 Haydock) could mean the daughter of Hernando will be in the money on this marked step-up in trip. I will be watching the market in the morning with this one before getting involved and any market support should be seen as a positive.

Down to Newbury and a competitive looking card for a Friday afternoon, and one which could return to form is the Dominic French-Davis trained Green Onions (4:20 Newbury) who, if able to put behind him a recent clunker at Windsor would hold solid claims in this open sprint. Second off this mark in a quick time to Fivefootnumberone at Haydock before that and at a double figure price, could be worth a few pence each-way, especially if Fivefootnumberone goes and wins up at Haydock.

Nottingham
host a six-race card during the afternoon, and the race which interests me most is the 3:55, where Prime Exhibit makes his comeback after a lengthy layoff. Was once regarded as a very good juvenile by Roger Charlton, he was well backed for a Newmarket handicap won by Duntulm where the form has been franked everywhere since throughout the course of last year and this. If returning from his break in similar heart, he’ll take some beating off this mark under George Baker who, incidentally, only has one ride at Nottingham.

Onto the evening cards now and hopefully we’ll be playing with a few quid profit at this point (although this probably won’t be the case). Newmarket is our first port of call, and a quick browse through the cards brings me to Dangerous Midge (7:45 Newmarket). The favourite Yorgunnabelucky spread-eagled a field at Redcar when last seen but quite what he beat remains the question and I’m looking to take him on despite being a full-brother to Shamardal. The Brian Meehan trained Dangerous Midge was all at sea on debut at Sandown and looked green as grass but clearly learnt plenty from this experience as next time up at Salisbury he obliged in the style of a horse with promise and quite frankly, I’d be disappointed if he wasn’t able to improve on his handicap opening of 77 under Martin Dwyer.

In the 8:50, Grand Vizier is a well-handicapped animal if able to translate his all-weather ability onto turf. He won last time out at Kempton off a mark of 85, and is able to race here off just 72 under the same pilot Ted Durcan. Now, obviously he isn’t as good on turf as he is dirt, but rumours are he works just as well on turf at home and hopefully if they go a strong enough pace here he should hit the frame.

Finally, Hamilton Park is our last port of call and if you aren’t already asleep after reading my witterings then please read on, hopefully I’ve saved the best ‘til last.

I’m diving straight into the Scottish Stewards Cup, and it’s clear for all to see there are many horses in with chances in this tight & trappy affair. Roker Park has been rejuvenated for the application of cheek-pieces and looks sure to go close here under Neil Callan, and you can expect Tamagin to blast out down the centre and try and make all, he too should go well for new connections. However I’m going to side with Baby Strange (7:55 Hamilton) for the Derek Shaw team. Second in this race last year off 1lb higher, he was only beaten a nose behind Knot In Wood who he meets here off 11lbs better terms and from an advantageous draw, and the extra 5lb claim of the excellent Martin Lane looks capable of going one better here, given the recent form of his yard and his obvious preference for straight-tracks. Another thing to note is the application of the first time visor, hopefully this will help tease further improvement out the horse and land us a few good bets in the process. 12-1 is available with PaddyPower and Bet365.

A quick recap of selections & horses to look out for tomorrow.

Fivefootnumberone (3:30 Haydock)
Prime Exhibit (3:55 Nottingham)
Green Onions (4:20 Newbury)
Dulcie (4:40 Haydock)
Dangerous Midge (7:45 Newmarket)
Baby Strange (7:55 Hamilton)
Grand Vizier (8:50 Newmarket)


Good Luck & Thanks for reading.

The Sunday Service

A very good day for the blog on Saturday with both Sirvino (16-1) and Hit’s Only Vic (16-1) obliging and entering the winners enclosure. I’d been waiting two months for David Barron’s gelding to come out and run and the victory is made even sweeter by the price, never did I expect him to go off at such long odds.

David Barron was interviewed by Lydia Hislop on RacingUK after the race and came across very well and definitely a trainer who knows his arse from his elbow, as does jockey Neil Brown who is worth every bit of his claim, he’s a very mature rider for his age and is sure to get plenty more opportunities with Mr Barron keeping him in the yard. It also goes to show that you don’t have to take the conventional route when it comes to handicapping your horse. David Barron let Sirvino do his maturing on the track and improved on a race-by-race basis culminating in five wins on the spin after landing the John Smith’s Cup on Saturday afternoon, this is a smart horse going places and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s tackling Pattern Company before long.

Declan Carroll got a deserved success with Hit’s Only Vic after an inspired no-nonsense ride from Derek Nolan to land the Listed Handicap and showcased the trainers talents after improving the horse 53lbs in official figures to land this off a mark of 97. The Ebor is his next intended target but the gelded son of Lemon Drop Kid is ground dependant and the trainer believes a little cut in the ground to be just what’s needed.

Onto this afternoon’s racing and there are a couple of bets which interest me over in Ireland, and the first of those two is King Ledley (3:05 Curragh) who gets his ground for the first time since his debut success at the track back in March and the son of Stormin Fever has been fitted with the first-time blinkers for this assignment. Aidan O’Brien usually does well in this race despite not winning it for the last three years, and he saddles Air Chief Marshal and Beethoven, although the latter I’m convinced has mental issues surrounding how much effort he actually puts in. King Ledley is currently a 3-1 chance with Bet365 and Betfred.

Next and finally the Irish Oaks (3:40) and plenty of people will want to be with the Epsom duo Sariska and Midday after the pair fought out a thrilling finish to the Investec Oaks just last month. Midday needs to prove she acts on a slower surface after being exclusively campaigned on faster surfaces so far in her career and Sariska I believe had a hard race at Epsom and it wouldn’t be surprising if she was still feeling the effects from that run. I’m looking elsewhere for value as always and the optimist in me suggests that Beauty O’Gwaun ranks a solid bet at the prices. A winner in soft ground on her debut, she once again did well to win at Naas when last seen on rain-softened ground looking green when the pressure was applied but she got there eventually to win by a head. John Oxx has fitted the filly with blinkers for the first time, now this could be down to her ‘greenness’ being a sign of her not putting it all in, or the fact that she still isn’t entirely ready for the big stage and the blinkers are applied to give her the best chance she can have of winning the race. I’m in-between both thought patterns, she is a filly with limited experience and evidently hit a flat spot in her last run, I’m guessing they’ve worked her at home in these and noticed an improvement in her work, John Oxx will obviously know best, he isn’t a well respected member of the game for making wrong decisions. Oh Goodness Me rates a large price for the each-way thieves amongst us but I’m slightly concerned about her lasting home as she didn’t appear to last out at Epsom last time. Beauty O’Gwaun is currently best-priced 4-1 with PaddyPower.

That concludes Sunday’s blog entry and possibly the last entry until the end of the week. I’m trying to avoid getting involved in the lower-grade racing on offer in the earlier part of the week and channel my energy elsewhere on projects that need my attention.

Time for some well earned breakfast.

They say you shouldn’t, but…..

Well I said I was going to bother betting today because the racing was so poor, so I’ve spent the first few hours of the racing day updating my extensive log of speed figures of which I’ve lacked behind in recently.

It was going through the update process, I came across a noteworthy performance on the clock from the John Dunlop trained Itlaaq at Goodwood (29th May). I have the son of Alhaarth running around an 87 which is a decent handicap par performance, and Itlaaq also beat the class-par of his race by 1.5L.

So I decided to look a bit closer at the race in question, to see what has come out of the race since and how they’ve performed.

Itlaaq – Winner of the race, not run since.
Just Like Silk – Op: 5/2, backed into 7/4 despite being 5lbs higher than last run, but couldn’t match winner Eastern Aria who got a fine ride by Greg Fairley (Won again off 4lb higher at Epsom by 7L).
Mabuya – Won a handicap at Salisbury next time out, at a well backed 2/1 (op: 5/2).
Sequillo – Won a handicap at Windsor next time out in good style.
Diamond Twister – Didn’t stay 12f at Newbury, and bumped into a well handicapped Carlito’s Spirit at Lingfield last time, definitely has a race in it.
Nice Time – Went down close second off same mark to Honours Stride at Doncaster at 16/1, beaten a short-head.
Blaise Tower – Close up third behind Just Like Silk and Eastern Aria off 1lb lower, yet to run since.
David’s Matador – Sixth behind Carlito’s Spirit and Diamond Twister since, and fourth in the race Pressing Matters has come out and won.
Three Ducks – Second in a handicap at Yarmouth off 3lb lower.
Viva La Vida – Not run since.
Best In Class – Sixth in a Windsor handicap off same mark.
Roly Boy – Sixth in a Windsor handicap, and fourth in Epsom claimer.
Rumble Of Thunder – Not run since.

So we’ve had 2 winners come out of the race, four places and Blaise Tower came third of seven at a big price putting up an improved run. It was only a 0-80 handicap so the form isn’t going to be rock solid especially at the time of year but it’s always worth noting races which work out to an extent in the formbook to make sure a rating is genuine.

From the card we have other winners Inchpast go on to win next time out at Ripon, Xtension ran a gallant second in the Coventry Stakes behind Canford Cliffs. The race won by Louise Bonne has seen winners come in the shape of Aqwaas, Halling Gal, All For You, Arcola, and a close second with Penzena. The race won by King’s Wonder has seen a winner in the shape of Brassini, and several placed efforts next time from other horses.

We have a card that has worked out, with horses winning elsewhere and form being franked left right and centre and tonight we have one runner from the Itlaaq race in the shape of Diamond Twister (7:00 Windsor). Obviously has his quirks and is a strong-travelling sort but ran a race full of promise last time out when bumping into a well-handicapped figure horse in Carlito’s Spirit on that horse’s favourite course. He’s top of the handicap here so it gives you an idea as to the quality of the race being below-par as he isn’t the best horse in the world but off this mark of 70 he is capable of winning a race for John Best. Seb Sanders has an alright record for Best aswell and his strong riding style can help make this horses mind up in the finish.

Isn’t worth a huge bet or anything but is worth a second look at the available 9-1 with Ladbrokes & Boylesports and I’ll be backing him each-way and making this my only interest of the day.