Longshot Betting – 22nd June 2012

Two selections for Friday’s action from Royal Ascot. Thursday was a profitable day for the blog and it came due to Energizer winning really well. As stated in the reasoning, the price really was based on the fact the horse was trained in Germany and although Starboard being declared a non-runner definitely helped his cause somewhat, I’m hopeful he’d have won anyway. Still, a 14/1 winner (15p R4) is not to be sniffed at, and the horse itself has a future in Group races throughout Europe. Kailani was an odd one to judge, as he was well-beaten but he never looked happy at all and was given a hopeless ride by his jockey anyway (sent ridiculously wide round the bend, got into trouble again). I’m willing to give her another chance on genuine softer ground and perhaps she needs a slightly easier race or a much stronger pace. Anomaly ran his heart out from the front, looking like he was going to finish well back but managed to stick on for 4th. He’s certainly game and there are races to be won with him, albeit in slightly less competitive heats than that one. Selections below.

Although the form of his maiden is hardly spellbinding and he’s a little bit to find on the figures with some of these, YAZDI (17:00) looks set for a big run in a race where they’ll be an emphasis on stamina, given 1m4f looked inadequate for him when winning last time out. The booking of Frankie Dettori for Brian Meehan is interesting in itself and with the ground unlikely to be an issue, I think he should be even shorter than his current single-figure price. Twice raced, not seen as a juvenile and making his debut over 10f at Newmarket. Yazdi finished a 4 length third, looking woefully outpaced through most of the contest before staying on really nicely under considerate enough handling. That race has worked out well with the winner narrowly touched off in the Chester Vase, the runner-up is an 8/1 chance for the earlier King Edward VII whilst the 5th is likely to be a solid handicapper rated in the 90’s before too long. It was a decent contest and the market knew this for Yazdi’s last outing, sent off a 2/5 chance. That was on softer ground and he yet again shaped as if further would suit, taking a little while to get into top gear but eventually pulling seven lengths clear. That race wasn’t a great one but it was the manner in victory which was more taking, especially for a 2 mile contest for three year-olds. He looks obviously suited to such a stamina test having taken his time to fully accelerate over 1m4f and a stamina test looks the best port of call (has some winners over fences in his bloodline) right now and it is probably a decent time to catch him in these sorts of races, especially facing rivals who might not handle the distance quite yet. Frankie Dettori is quite a rare booking for the yard in recent times and he has a fair 9/46 record since the beginning of 2009, he’s is certainly more positive than the usual Meehan affair of Shane Kelly or Martin Dwyer. The ground isn’t an issue, this looks a weak contest and Yazdi looks ideally suited for the step up in trip. He should be closer to the 7/2 mark than his current price and I have him as a clear favourite in this race.

There’s such an obvious bet for this wide-open (on paper) handicap in my view that it beggars belief that it isn’t much shorter. DECENT FELLA (17:35) has plenty in his favour today, not least that the 265 day absence should be a help rather than a hindrance and this race looks to have been the plan all along, so he’s more than capable of playing a big part in a race in which he went very close in last year. The selection runs all his best races fresh, seen when landing a very competitive Newmarket handicap on his reappearance effort last year. That race has thrown up many horses who’ve proved that they are top handicappers and it just shows that the selection is perfectly capable of running a huge race on seasonal debut. He wasn’t quite seen to best effect in subsequent starts last year, although his run in last year’s renewal gives us plenty of hope that he’ll go even better this time around. He travelled supremely well on the soft ground but could only manage 4th, 1.5 lengths behind the winner. That was off a 6lbs lower mark but there’s plenty to suggest that Decent Fella is continuing to improving, his win at Goodwood (again, coming off a short absence) from a rating of 93 (some fair sorts in behind) providing evidence of this. Although showing little on his next start, the winter break should have done him good and as emphasised throughout, there should be little to fear regarding the absence. Andrew Balding is a dab hand at getting them fit regardless and all looks set for a big run today. There should be no issues regarding ground, the track and the fact that he’s had a breathing operation can only help (does sometime finish his races off a little tamely). He should be closer to the 9/1 mark in my book and with the draw in 28 looking ideal, it’s only the fact that it’s traditionally such a competitive race that is stopping me from getting seriously involved. The usual stakes will suffice.

[notification_box]Bets

17:00 Ascot – Yazdi; 2pts @ 6/1 Stan James

17:35 Ascot – Decent Fella; 2pts @ 20/1 Bet365, BetVictor (bog) [/notification_box]

Longshot Betting – 16th May 2012

Selections for Wednesday’s action from York, posted below. Friday was the last day of posting and it was the first profitable day in a while with Pintura managing to survive a stewards enquiry to hang on at Chester. Personally, we were lucky to keep the race I feel as the interference was quite major to the eventual runner-up. However, Pintura deserved a change of luck and so did we, so I’ll take it. 6/1 was a lovely price. Unfortunately, King Zeal couldn’t land us another winner and managed 2nd. He was ridden with a bit more restraint which was the right move as there was a fair amount of pace involved and he just ran into one, that being the well-handicapped favourite. He did nothing wrong but is unlikely to be much of a price for a little while, but he’s probably worth keeping an eye on around tracks such as Nottingham and Haydock. There was supposed to be selections for Saturday on the blog but as some of you might have read on my Twitter (@joshfletch), there was a power-cut and I was unable to post them. Luckily for those who didn’t read the tweet, they both came 2nd. I’ve been looking forward to this meeting for a while and I must add, I’ve done my best to make sure prices are accurate but this blog will have been posted automatically at 9am (for a few reasons), so hopefully there isn’t a huge market move in the time between hitting ‘submit’ and the post going online.

Although on last time out form LABARINTO (13:30) wouldn’t have a chance, that run was all wrong for a yard that at the time, were out of sorts. That can’t be said now and returned to better ground and his optimum trip, I’m hoping for much better.  He made solid progress in handicaps last season, rising from an opening mark of 87 to his current rating of 97, running some big races without a win over this 10f trip before finally succeeding off a mark of 93 at Goodwood. That was a performance of some note, especially as it came in a race that generally favoured those up with the pace and not many got into the race. The horse he beat was a decent yardstick and Labarinto looked destined for better things.  Sent off a 7/2f for the Dubai Duty Free handicap at Newbury, he dropped away when chasing an overly quick pace, emphasised by the fact that the first four home all came from off the pace. It wasn’t overly encouraging but was definitely worth putting a line through, and his seasonal reappearance should attribute similar comments. Although a winner on soft ground in a Maiden, I don’t think it’s a surface that suits a horse with his action ideally and running on testing ground on reappearance can often find a horse out. That race was over a mile too, a trip on the sharp side and with the Sir Michael Stoute yard going notably poorly at that point in time, it’s fair to say he’ll have benefitted from the outing.

Now back up in trip, on better ground, and for a yard now amongst the winners, it’s fair to say that better is definitely expected. He remains potentially a close to pattern-class animal on his form when winning at Goodwood and with reasonable excuses since then, he’s definitely worth chancing especially in a field where there isn’t an abundance of younger progressive types. Flag Officer would be the main danger on paper but he’s been off for a long while and I don’t particularly rate his trainer a great deal at this time of the year. Although not an outlandishly big price on first glance, I feel confident that we’re yet to see the best of Labarinto and off what still be a very generous mark, he’s worth backing into about the 9/2 mark.

Although carrying top-weight in a sprint handicap isn’t ideal, NEW PLANET (14:00) has shown form to suggest he still retains plenty of his ability that he showed as a juvenile and after not an ideal three year old campaign, he still looks capable of running to around a level of 110 if getting a strongly run race which is more than likely in a big-field handicap such as this one. He’s far too big a price today and should be more like single figures, so he’s definitely worthy of a bet. He was highly tried as a juvenile, placing in a Group 2 at Doncaster and that subsequently made him difficult to place last season, especially when there’s a distinct lack of opportunities for sprinters of that age. He ran respectably in a handicap over this C&D off 5lbs higher, and in a Conditions event at Doncaster, but the season ended quite prematurely in late July and it seems that they’ve decided to save this horse for this campaign, where there’s an abundance of opportunities.  Gelded in the meantime, he returned to winning ways first time out at Warwick, in what wasn’t the greatest of races. He did it well though and showed that he was perfectly capable of running to a decent level of form as an older horse. This was subsequently backed up when finishing 5th last time out in a listed contest. Although beaten by 5.75 lengths, the race was run at a very modest pace and New Planet got caught flat-footed and probably ran as well as he could in the circumstances.  He does best when they go a nice pace and although there isn’t an abundance of front-runners in the race, with 20 runners going to post it is fair to say that they’ll likely go a fair clip. Although carrying a big-weight, I wouldn’t have said he’d be out of his depth at a couple of grades higher than this, and this has been a race where winners have gone on to be Group race animals, Hoof It and Borderlescott being two examples. New Planet is lightly-raced enough to have the scope to go on to a better grade than this and he’s far too big a price at these double-figure odds. He should be more like 9/1 in my book and he’s worthy of a 2pt bet, even though races like this are devilishly difficult to solve, given there could be draw and pace biases that only become known post-race.

KING KURT (15:35) is 7lbs higher than his last winning mark but he still retains the scope to progress further at around this 1m4f trip. His reappearance effort should have put him spot on and I think a win from this mark is entirely possible, so he’s a horse worth following until he proves otherwise. Kevin Ryan’s charge was twice a winner in 2011, once at this 1m4f trip. His last victory came off 7lbs higher and it was a resounding success over 1m2f, where although he was slightly fortunate that the race panned out perfectly (was handy in a slowly-run race), he stayed on extremely strongly and looked a horse that could definitely be competitive off ratings much higher than the one he is currently at.  He was well-beaten on his next two starts, but the second being in decent company and he probably ran as well as could have been expected. His final start of the 2011 campaign was a creditable one on soft ground over 1m5f. Although quite slowly run, it more or less proved that this trip was within range, as he had on occasions looked that he might not stay a strongly run contest at 1m4f.

King Kurt’s seasonal reappearance was far from disgraceful and it’s entirely plausible that this big price has been attributed to that seemingly “poor run”. For a start, it was on really testing ground which for a seasonal reappearance is obviously not ideal. More patient tactics were employed and he was keen early on, and it’s fair to say he wasn’t knocked about in the closing stages. He still made a modicum of ground and with that run under his belt; I feel he’s definitely capable of further progression. He’ll stay the 1m4f trip, will likely appreciate the better ground today and he is still unexposed at these sorts of distance. A draw in stall 20 might not be seen as ideal but the winner of last year’s renewal came from a similarly wide berth and they have long enough to sort themselves out before meeting a bend. If he’s ridden more prominently today, which in a race with this sort of prize-money, would be more likely, a bold show is far from out of the equation. I think he is more than capable to run to a mark of 90 or so, and with his reappearance effort possibly setting him up for this sort of race, then he’s definitely worth a bet at a big price. I’d be taking prices up to about 10/1 or so for this one.

[notification_box]Bets

13:30 York – Labarinto; 2pts @ 8/1 William Hill, 7/1 Bet365, BetVictor (bog)

14:00 York – New Planet; 2pts @ 16/1 William Hill (bog)

15:35 York – King Kurt; 2pts @ 16/1 Bet365, William Hill (bog) [/notification_box]

Longshot Betting – 6th May 2012

Just the one selection for Sunday’s racing, coming from Newmarket. Saturday was a disappointing day with all four bets failing to provide any return and all of them finishing unplaced. Silenceofthewind was well-backed on the exchanges and went off a single figure price, he travelled really well (traded at 2.50) but never found anything once asked a question and then hung badly. He just looks a bridle horse and he needs them to go ridiculously quickly up front, something they didn’t do today. That being said, he’s not one I’ll be following. Al Khan was restless in the stalls and never went a yard. It’s a run that’s worth putting a line through and I just hope that the experience won’t mentally scar him, as he’s still got a lot of potential to be a very competent sprinter. Wannabe King is probably the one to take out of the day, even though his finishing position looks on paper, useless. He was held-up, something that doesn’t suit and he was still on the bridle when encountering trouble, with his rider deliberately going for a gap that wasn’t there. The softer ground won’t have suited either and back on a genuine decent surface, in a valuable handicap and perhaps with a more positive jockey booking (Silvestre De Sousa a likely candidate for this yard), he’ll be winning races off his likely revised rating in the high 80’s. The Nifty Fox held every chance but faded tamely into last. He’s lost the plot completely.  As a side-note, I haven’t advised anything in the 1000 Guineas and I just feel it’s too tough a race to call. Lyric of Light is interesting at double figure odds, as is Moonstone Magic if she continues to drift in the betting. That being said, there’s even some big outsiders capable of making the frame, such as Alla Speranza (who would be a bet in the Epsom Oaks if the ground was soft) and the likes of Starscope, which this race might come too soon for but will be winning Group races in due course. I’d probably like to put about six selections up, but that isn’t really feasible and I’ve just decided to let it slide from a blogging point of view.

ROCK A DOODLE DOO (14:05) almost looks too good to be true, given he handles soft ground and looks to be on a very workable mark. His yard are yet to have a winner in 2012 but he is still worthy of investment, especially as she’s gone well fresh in the past and looks to need a big-field handicap like this one to show his best. An improver on the all-weather in 2010, he was only seen five times on turf last year but made a striking impression on more than one start. His win on fast ground over this trip at Ascot was taking, not getting the best of runs but still winning, and showing that a decent pace in a big-field was what he really needs. This was followed subsequently by a really unlucky run at Royal Ascot, where he was hampered and blocked in on numerous occasions before finally getting a clear run. It came all too late but he did ridiculously well to finish only 4 lengths behind Fox Hunt that day and importantly, that start came on soft ground which should mean today’s conditions are no problem. He had excuses on his next two starts, not staying further at York and then being given far too much to do back to 1m4f at Ascot and this has meant he’s now 3lbs lower than the aforementioned Royal Ascot effort, so he looks obviously well-handicapped. His fitness has to be taken on trust having not been seen for 274 days but went very well on seasonal reappearance last time round and I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. He often finds trouble and might be one of those types who is just constantly unlucky, so reuniting him with Martin Dwyer, who was on board for his last success, could be no bad thing. Rock A Doodle Doo is well-handicapped, being easily capable of running to 104 or so in this sort of strongly run handicap, with conditions no problem and available at double-figure odds, he’s definitely worth a bet.  The yard’s current slight slump is a little worrying, but Oriental Scot for that stable ran very well this week (would have won with a better draw) and losing runs are always going to occur with a fairly small pool of horses. Hopefully this one can end that slump, and he has plenty in his favour to do so today and I’d be backing him up until the 8/1 mark.

[notification_box]Bets

14:05 Newmarket – Rock A Doodle Doo; 2pts @ 14/1 Bet365, Betfred (bog) [/notification_box]