Saturday, 31 July 2010

Stewards Cup Thriller !

Well I'm signing out for the week and I'm off on my hols and will be back next Sunday to review the sprint action that takes place whilst I'm away in the popular "Up a bit, down a bit" weekly post.
Dont forget to keep track of the horses featured in Horses to follow section and be sure to watch the Stewards Cup tomorrow, which should be a classic. Genki, Enact, Palace Moon and Rileyskeepingfaith should all be bang there and a lively outsider could be Singeur if he runs up to his form behind Victoire De Lyphar in the Reg Griffin with the first time headgear.
Anyway hope you all have a good week and dont be afraid to go for a big bet tomorrow.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Victoire for Victory !

The draw on Thursday looked to favour those drawn middle to high and in the Class 2 Handicap at 2.45 one of the best drawn appears to be Victoire De Lyphar who I have had in mind for this race all week and he is drawn 19 of 28. He was probably Nicholls best hope for the Stewards Cup and he obviously thought he would have made the cut otherwise he would have run him again to make sure he got in, but he didnt and he's not. The stable had a winner in the handicap yesterday and it wouldnt be the biggest suprise to see him come home in front and go on to better things after having won the competitive Reg Griffin at York. However this is a very competitive race too and there are several in here that we have looked at over the weeks gone by and I wouldnt put anyone off having their own fancy.

The 5.45 Class 3 Turf Club Handicap over 5f for 3yo has 16 runners and Little Garcon, although running over this sharp 5f, would appear to be well handicapped on his run behind Bated Breath over 6f at Haydock as he is still only on a mark of 88, whereas the winner of that has been entered for Group 1 Haydock Sprint Cup in September. The only problem would be the distance as he was running on there and this may be too short for him, although he has the assistance of Martin Dwyer who I think rides this course well.
Another who could go well is Skylla on his 3rd run for Fahey, his first run back was a good one against his elders in the Gosforth Park Cup when he was only 1 1/2 lengths behind the winner Captain Dunne who finished in front of Borderlescott at Chester. If he was to run to that level again over this fast 5f then he could go close.
I have nothing against women jockeys but Amy Ryan might not have enough experience for this race on Perfect Blossom, however it wouldnt be the first time Ive been proved wrong.

I will hopefully be able to post something about the Stewards Cup on Saturday, however I will be on my holidays from Saturday so you may have to look back at my previous blog posts on the race which have covered all the main contenders.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Thursday Sprints at Goodwood

Well this is our first chance to select something at Goodwood in the Sprinting divisions so lets hope we do good.

First up the is the Group 2 Audi Stakes at 2.45 over 5f and this sees a top class field take centre stage. The race is sure to be run at a frantic pace and Glamorous Spirit will go like a rocket down the hill but in this class of race I dont expect to see her at the finish.
Starfish Bay is another that will most likely be forcing the pace, being the holder of 3 course records, Dettori is a good booking. She recorded a very fast time of 53.75 at Gulfstream Park in February of this year over 5f on firm and if she can reproduce that effort here carrying just 6lb more then she would win without a doubt. Her speciality is said to be sprinting on grass and having watched her win at Gulfstream Park I cant argue with that, to run that time in a sprint race is very good but to run it going round a bend is exceptional in my view and she could literally blitz these apart.
The 3yo's this season are showing up very well and Astrophysical Jet and Tropical Treat are 2 that will be up there. Astrophysical Jet has been mentioned by Tom Segal as a horse to follow for the season and that she will suprise a few tomorrow. She certainly showed she was progressing in the right direction when she won at Newmarket last time out but I dont think that was good enough to win this and I think Tropical Treat is a better prospect and is a good ew bet.
Of the elders Borderlescott, Group Therapy (drawn 1 and with Ryan Moore up)and Triple Aspect will all be fighting as they head towards the finish. Borderlescott has Kieren Fallon in the saddle for the first time and he ran well below expectations at Chester last time. He had previously been 3rd to Equiano btn 1 3/4 lengths in the Kings Stand at Royal Ascot and he then went on to run Starspangledbanner close in the July Cup so he must be in with a big shout with the strength of Fallon on board and he is the best of the home team.
However if Starfish Bay shows that she has not been affected by the trip over from USA and she has setlled in well then I cant see her being seen for dust and 6/1 represents good value!

The last race will give us some further clues as to the draw on the straight course in time for the 2 big field handicaps on Friday and Saturday. Traditionaly the high numbers have held sway in recent years in the Stewards Cup so it will be wise to keep an eye out for the declarations tomorrow when the draw will be known, unfortunately due to work commitments I will be unable to post anything until later in the evening, however you can click on the links to the right of this post to access the racecards.
Fallon once again is an interesting booking for Indian Trail who will be suited to this very fast run 5f. As we have seen at Epsom over the years he finishes his races well and you can visualise him coming with a strong run if the gaps emerge and he is well treated on his current rating and will go close.
Lost in Paris with Ryan Moore in the saddle is another that will be bang there come the finish and a change in headgear may bring about further improvement.
Matsunosuke returned to form for his new stable last week and he could go well once again from stall 1 as he will have the benefit of the rail, although I am waiting for him to return to the all weather as he has always been a better horse on an artificial surface.
Bajan Tryst is another who has been very consistent of late and Jamie Spencer is given the task of steering him home for Kevin Ryan after they had a big sprint winner last Sunday.
Feelin Foxy and Titus Andronicus are others to consider.

I keep mentioning the jockey bookings but they can be the key to winning these races when there is nothing much else between them. We saw last Saturday in the big handicap at York only 3 1/2 lengths separating over half the field come the finish line and it was Kieren Fallon who prevailed there with Jamie Spencer winning the other big sprint handicap on the Sunday.

Stewards Cup Latest !

Anyone who purchased a copy of the Racing Post Weekender today will have seen that followers of this blog have had a real head start as far as previews for the Stewards Cup go. The front page headlined "HAVE FAITH IN RILEY" and the form of his run at Haydock behind Genki was well highlighted in my review of the Stewards Cup a few weeks ago as was the form of other leading contenders.

Fallon in his column today has said that he will be riding Palace Moon as it has become increasingly certain that Hawkeyethenoo will not get into the race, however as a result he may now run in the consolation race on Friday where Fallon can ride.

Up a bit, down a bit

This week we start with the Class 2 Bet at Victor Chandler Handicap at Ayr over 5f which went to the improving Favourite Girl by 3/4 length from Pavershooz, the latter has been out of form for a while but this was an improved showing and he may have turned a corner, although this has been one of his fav courses in the past. Favourite Girl went up 6lb as a result to 94 and Paveshooz 4lb to 91 but he is a well handicapped horse on last summers form. Cheveton also put up an improved performance in 3rd as he enjoyed a bit of cut on the Good to Soft going as a result he has gone up 2lb, but he had dropped a fair way in the ratings prior to that run and if he gets genuine soft ground he could run a big race wherever he goes next. Of those behind Strike up the Band who finished last and who is really out of sorts this season has been dropped 4lb to 90, were he to rekindle his enthusiasm he would surely win off this mark and we should keep a close eye on him.

The following race was a Class 4 over 6f and it was won by Tadlavil from Lochan Moor, however it is the continuing drop in the handicap of River Falcon, who is featured in our horses to follow section, by a further 2lb to 70 that catches the eye and he may now drop down to a Class 5.

At Catterick on Wednesday 21st July we saw the Class 4 Handicap over 5f go to the consistent Lucky Numbers and James Sullivan who is now 2-2 on him. As a result he has been raised 4lb to 89, whilst May Blossom who finished 3/4 length behind was upped 2lb to 74. The winner is probably capable of better now that he has struck up a good partnership with this jockey.

On the Friday at York there was a Class 4 Handicap over 6f which was won by La Zamora by 1 1/2 lengths from Tyfos with King Of Eden in 3rd. I thought that the latter had a good chance in this but unfortunately he was drawn in stall 1 and it probably had a bearing on his finishing position. The winner was raised 5lb to 82, the 2nd 1lb to 78 and the 3rd also 1lb to 78, the latter can still be followed next time as the form is held up by the very consistent Green Park who finished 6th.

Later on in the day the 3yo Diman Waters, although just edging out Mon Brav, lost the Class 4 5f 89 yrds Hcap race in the Stewards room for leaning on the winner in the closing stages. He was only raised 2lb as a result though and this big horse can regain the winning thread soon for his in form stable. The eyecatcher of the race for me though was Bossy Kitty who made up good progress in the latter stages despite being a bit detached and running on the unfavoured far side of the group and she should be followed next time from her mark of 70.

The big race on Saturday was the Class 2 Sky Bet Dash Handicap at York over 6f and it went to Hawkeyethenoo who has had a lot of press coverage of late. He had been unlucky on a few occasions recently and according to jis jockey he could easily have been so again as his saddle slipped, however he won by a head from Kaldoun Kingdom and as a result has been put up 5lb to 96, but he is still not certain to get in the Stewards Cup this Saturday and Fallon is set to ride Palace Moon. Hawkeye certainly did well to win from stall 18 though as I thought the best place to be would be up the middle throughout. The 2nd also has an entry in the Stewards Cup and he is another who will go well in that as he enjoys these big field handicaps and he is sure to have another claimer on board there. Parisian Pyramid in 3rd has been in a lot of good races this year and gives the race a solid feel to it formwise.
Of those behind there were some rating drops as follows :-
Baldemar -2lb to 88
Singeur -2lb to 98
Sonny Red -3lb to 92
Iver bridge Lad -2lb to 102
Valery Borzov -4lb to 90
However one who may have escaped the radar as far as "pundits" go was the performance of Tajneed, who on having the hood removed very late, went violently right when leaving the stalls, became detached from the rest of the field by several lengths and then made up significant ground in the latter stages to finish just 3 1/2 lengths off the winner. I thought it was a remarkable run in the circumstances and it is one to watch on the replay service, if you can, to make your own assessment.
It just shows you though how tight these handicaps can be when there is only 3 1/2 lengths separating over half the runners.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Glorious Goodwood takes centre stage !

Well this week is all about Glorious Goodwood and there a few sprints later on in the week for us to get our teeth into, most notably the Stewards Cup and its consolation race.

These festival meetings produce big payouts on the tote and I will be trying to get the Exacta/Tricast for each of those races.
Bet 365 offer 5 places on the Stewards Cup as do the sponsors Blue Sq and 888sport.

It will be interesting to see whether Fallon rides Hawkeyethenoo, if he gets in, or Palace Moon who ran very well in both the Wokingham and the Bunbury Cup as both are ath the head of the market.

At this stage it looks as though Dandy Nicholls Victoire De Lyphar will not get into the race and I would rate him a good bet in the consolation race.

Johannes (Tom Segal's selection) has come in for some support in the Stewards Cup today as has Kevin Ryan's Parisian Pyramid.

You can look at my earlier post on the Stewards Cup (which I posted on 13th July 2010) which sums up my thoughts at the moment. Obviously when we get the draw on thursday and know for definite what the runners will be I will be in a position to give the race a further look.

The next race I will be concentrating on however is the Audi King George Stakes on Thursday at Goodwood as well as the Class 3 5f Handicap which is the last race on the card that day. I note that Jeremy Noseda has booked Ryan Moore for Group Therapy in the Audi and if the fast ground remains the stable feel he will go close.

There is an interesting Class 3 5f 3yo Handicap on Friday at Goodwood which sees Little Garcon, Perfect Blossom and Rule of Nature line up and at Newmarket later that night Cheveton may run if we get any rain betwen now and then.

So as you can see there is a great end to this week and we just have to twiddle our thumbs a bit in the meantime.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

The Japan Racing Assoc Sprint Stakes

This is another very competitive sprint, a Class 2 handicap over 5f at Ascot. It would be the appear that the fastest part of the course at the moment is up the middle as there has been no rain overnight.
Looking at the race we will try and come with a shorlist like yesterday from which you can pick one or combine all in a pool bet.
HAMISH MCGONAGALL - Stall 14 is a good draw for Hamish and I would imagine back in handicap company he will try and make a bold bid from the front as he is one who will not be bothered by the going which is Good to Firm.
JUDGE N' JURY - Winner of this race last year from a 1lb lower mark. His trainer Ron Harris has won the last 2 runnings of this and he also saddles Abraham Lincoln.
PROHIBIT - Is drawn in 21 and has run well over 5f against a couple of today's opponents in Rowe Park and Monsieur Joe, he has the talented apprentice John Fahy up who claims 5lb and that could make all the difference for him.
FOL HOLLOW - Is also drawn wide in 22 and is now 5lb higher than his best winning mark so he will need a PB to come good.
CHEVETON - Would ideally want some give in the going, however Ascot is known for it's forgiving ground and he came back to form last week so it woulldnt be a suprise to see him up there, particularly from his good draw in 8.
SOLEMN - Is drwan in stall 12 which could be a good place to be in my view as it would appear to be the fastest part of the track and his trainer who has won this race in the past is hopeful of a good run.
MONSIOUR JOE - Is an improving sort (mentioned above) however I feel Prohibit can turn the tables on him today.
As I have said it is a very competitive sprint and it doesnt take much to bring you into contention, however the 4 I would be concentrating on are :-

Another race to look at is the 3.00 at Carlisle and in particular FADHB ARBITH (watch your spelling on this one). He ran a very promsing race at Pontefract on the 16th of this month when ridden by Jamie Spencer, however he was given a lot to do by him up the Ponty hill. He gets an extra furlong here to get going and Carlisle also has a stiff hill in which his 3lb claimer can galvanise him and he has shown on his last run that the hill should pose no problems. He currently looks on a decent mark and the weight shouldnt be a problem as he is a big horse. The fav More than Many looks unexposed and could be the one to give him most to do from his in form stable.

ATLANTIC STORY is another from the horses to follow section, he is dropping down the weights and his turn surely cant be that far away and he has the blinkers left off today which could spark him up in the 4.25 at Pontefract.

Also at Pontefract in the 5.30 Mr Wolf is drawn in stall 1 and has the man of the moment Paul Hanagan up. Mr Wolf has won 7 times here over the years and clearly loves the place. He ran another good race last week and he is value for his price of 9/1.

Well there are a few to be looking at today and hopefully 1 or 2 will come good. I'll be blogging again tomorrow so keep in touch with the site.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Hawkeye gets back on the winning trail

Hawkeyethenoo showed us what he can do this afternoon and won the big sprint at York, he may now go for the Stewards Cup at Goodwood but his stable have said that his main target is the Ayr Gold Cup. Kaldoun Kingdom finished 2nd and it was a good result for the blog as we had the first 2 from the shortlist of 5 with the exacta paying £211.10. Unfortunately we didnt make the tricast which paid £1,817.38, we cant have everything but we will keep trying. Skybet paid out on 5th Novellen Lad which was the main selection from the blog post, he had sweated up badly before the race so he may be better on another day.
Tajneed ran a remarkable race in my view, his jockey was slow to remove his hood and so he went violently right coming out of the stalls and he lost several lengths and in a top sprint that is usually the end of the race. However his jockey never gave up and began to make up ground and by the end he was probably the fastest finisher in the race and he was very unlucky in the circumstances not to finish closer.

From the Horses to follow section Hazelrigg finished 2nd at 11/4, so all in all it wasnt a bad day and I will be looking at the best of the sprint action tomorrow so be sure to look in again from wherever you are.

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Will the Lad do good ?

Novellen Lad looks to have a decent chance today in the Skybet Dash at York over 6f on Good to Firm. He finished just behind Hawkeyethenoo in Ireland but they were both drawn on the wrong side of the track there. Today Novellen Lad is drawn bang in the middle of this big field and I think that is the place to be and Alston had a couple of runners run well at york last night so he knows how the course is riding. He is held in some regard at the yard as he has been entered in the Haydock Sprint Cup, so it is fair to say he could be well handicapped off 93.
Of course this is a big sprint and all the usual suspects are out including the aforementioned Hawkeyethenoo who reportedly hurt his back last time at Hamilton and the time before that wasnt well drawn. Prior to that he had been showing very good form and we probably havent seen the best of him yet, however he is drawn in stall 18 so may have it to do from there even with the power of Fallon up.
Lowdown won that Hamilton race in very good style and if you get chance to watch it you will see what I mean. Obviously he was whacked by the handicapper as a result but Mark Johnston charge will surely have left some more improvement to come and Dettori is given the job of steering him home and he must be bang there at the end.
Singeur ran a great race in the Reg Griffin here and that has produced several winners since and indeed Lowdown was well down the field there but he may have improved since. However Singeur finished with a fine turn of foot and it wouldnt be a suprise to see him doing the same today, although his draw in the coffin box (1) will be difficult to overcome.
Kaldoun Kingdom has been in fine form this year and he has a handy draw in stall 9 and with the impressive Lee Topliss taking off a handy 5lb he wont be far away either.
You could put all of the above in a tricast perm, but if I was going for one it would have to be Novellen Lad as he has a lot in his favour today.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Alston duo at York

The 6.30 York Class 4 Handicap over 6f can go to the improving King of Eden who has won 4 of his last 5 and been raised 27lb in the process. His last win came at Haydock were he came through the field with little fuss after a poor start and his improvement doesnt appear to have come to an end. Alston hopes that there is more to come and being a big horse he is capable of carrying weight, he thinks he's best at 6f and will cope with most going. The race itself doesnt seem to have much depth to it and Green Park, Tyfos and Brierty look to be the three who will give him the most to do. Tyfos was only 2 lengths behind him at Haydock and he is now 6lb better off at the weights but he never looked like containing him there.
King Of Eden is a fast improving horse and in the hands of Eric Alston a renowned sprint specialist there is no knowing when his improvement will stop and 3/1 would be a great price if you can get it.

Later on at 8.30 York stage a Class 4 Handicap over 5f and Alston's Diman Waters is top weight. He was 2nd at Chester last time and being a big horse that track would not have played to his strengths. Alston feels there is a lot more improvement to come from him and that 5f is his best trip, he handles Good to Soft but is better on a firmer surface. There are only 8 other opponents agin him and Boragh Jamal for Brian Meehan who won last time out has his 5lb rise in the weights offset by the talented James Sullivan and he will push the selection close. Melody in the Mist is the paper fav but I'm not sure she will be good enough and I am going to stick with Diman Waters to make it a double for the Alston yard.

On a different note Paul Hanagan in his Thursday column in a Liverpool newspaper said that he thinks Cotton Spirit is his best chance of a winner on the night. He says he has improved further since his last run when he came 2nd at Carlisle.

There's plenty of good racing on tomorrow but dont get too bogged down with it all and try and be selective, also remember that the weather is very unpredicatable at the moment.

Be sure to look in for the weekend's sprint action.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Up a bit, down a bit

The weeks just fly by lately and here we are again doing the "Up a bit, down a bit" post for this week.

First up its the The Scottish Stewards Cup at Hamilton last Fiday won by Lowdown. The handicapper was well impressed as he has raised him 11lb to a mark of 104 and anyone who watched the race could see that he powered away up the hill there and is worth every pound of that. The stands side was very much favoured though but all the same he won very well. Of the others, the nearest on the unfavoured far side was Kevin Ryan's Esprit De Midas and he was dropped 1lb to 87, the same stables Captain Ramius was dropped 3lb to 90 and he had run a race full of promise the time before this so he may be worth keeping an eye on wherever he goes next. Oldjoesaid was dropped another 2lb to 87 and considering his trainer was full of hope for him at the begining of the season he has not yet repaid the faith(last win came off 102, albeit 2 years ago). Bonnie Charlie was over on the far side, he was also lumbered with 10 stone, which is a lot for a 4yo in a competitive sprint and his finishing position is best ignored, as a result he drops 3lb to 99.

On the same day at Haydock Avertor was expected to win as he had been carefully placed in this race from a number of options, however he could only finish 3rd although he seemed to be eased near the finish and he's been left on 80. The winner was Evelyn May for Hills who does very well with his northern runners and she went up 5lb to 74. Hazelrigg often flatters but on this occasion he was very slowly away, came up the stands side at a fair old rattle before fading late on. On this showing he could be capable of winning off 73 if placed with some thought by the in form Easterby camp.

At Pontefract being drawn near the rail was favoured and Kingdom of Light was able to win the 5f Class 3 by 1 3/4 lengths from Lucky Numbers (who has won today) with the consistent Green Park in 3rd. Haajes ran on towards the end and remains on 83 and a couple who were not so well drawn and have benfitted from the handicappers cuts are Go Go Green dropped 2lb to 81 (won at Pontefract 3 times previously off 75, 74 and 79) and Rowayton dropped 3lb to 75 (ran well off 82 on good to firm first time out this season over 6f).
Later on the Class 5 over 6f was won by Orpsie Boy (up 6lb to 80) from Fadhb Ar Bith. The latter came from stall 10 so did well to get within 3/4 length of the winner particularly as Spencer did one of his famed hold up rides and he is now on a mark of 73, he remains capable of better and is one to take out of the race, as this was only his 4th start for this trainer.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Softly Softly !

The chances are its going to end up soft tomorrow at Catterick and the Class 4 5f Handicap looks between Equuleus Pictor, Lucky Numbers, Le Toreardor and Mullglen who all look capable of going well on their day. Equuleus Pictor may get the going that he thrives on and if he does he is potentially well handicapped, so a watching brief on the going report is recommended. Likewise Lucky Numbers thrives on soft and he has been running well of late and is reunited with top apprentice James Sullivan who takes off a valuable 5lb. Mullglen has also been consistent of late and his stable remains in good form.

On a completely different note an interesting stat I noticed last night when going through Jockey form was the record of Adrian Nicholls this season in Sellers and Claimers.
He's ridden 32 winners in total in 2010 as follows :-
Sellers and Claimers 20-41
All other races 12-126
That makes him potentially very interesting in that type of race. I dont know whether he's set about doing that or its just by chance but its a good stat to know.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Tomintoul Singer to win for Cecil.

I have been trying to keep away from the 3yo sprint handicaps, however they're proving to be a good set of horses so the 8.50 6f Class 3 Handicap tomorrow at Kempton looks a good opportunity for Henry Cecil's Tomintoul Singer. He led the field at a very good clip in the Reg Griffin at York which is proving to be a good race to follow and he basically set it up for those coming from behind. He has been dropped 3lb since then and this is nowhere near as competitive as that, the fav Qudwah won easily last time out but you would have to ask what did it beat and had the selection been in that same race he would have won just as easily. He should be able to act on the surface and we probably wont see him go off as fast this time.
If you can get 5/1 about Tomintoul Singer as per RP betting forecast then it will be good value.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Old Favs Cheveton and River Falcon to come good ?

Ayr stages a couple of good handicaps tomorrow afternoon, and although I havent given them a great deal of study you should keep an eye out for Cheveton and River Falcon who have both been dropped steadily down the weights this season. First Cheveton has been waiting for some ease in the going and hopefully he gets it now and the talented Andrew Heffernan takes off a further 3lb, he should go off at a decent price. Next up is River Falcon who has finally been dropped into a lower grade handicap, Class 4 and Paul Hanagan was booked a few days ago. He probably has been dropped far more than Cheveton and he should also be capable of going well at a big price. Im not saying both will win but they are lively outsiders that are capable of better than they have shown to date this season and both are worthy of ew support.

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This afternoon at The Curragh (4.45pm) sees Captain Carey try to continue his good run in The Rockingham Handicap over 5f but it wont all be plain sailing. We saw a few weeks ago here that the place to be was up the rail and Airspace who won against 16 opponents then is once again drawn in the Coffin Box and should be able to dominate if he can get out fast enough. He is 9lb higher now and worse off at the weights with those who finished behind him there but he looks to be an improving sort and Johnny Murtagh rides. What you have to remember is he recorded a good time there and although he is rated higher he physically has to carry 12lb less, so should in theory be able to better that run if he has an easy lead up the rail again.
Captain Carey is closely weighted with Bajan Tryst on their recent all weather meeting so it will once again be close between those two. Masta Plasta could emulate Regal Parade yesterday and put up an improved show for the Nicholls camp, however he is in stall 8 and may have it to do from there although he does finish his races well. All in all though it might be Airspace that comes out on top.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Dont rain on my Parade !

If anyone new is looking in for the first time today you will be glad to know that I am continuing in good form. I was against Hawkeyethenoo as the winner last night and I came up with 25/1 3rd Dancing Red Devil earlier in the day.

Today there isnt a great deal of good sprint races about and we have to go to Newbury for are only preview in the Hackwood. Laddies Poker Two is a suprise absentee and the other runners must be wiping their brow at their good fortune as she would have been the most likely winner.

One who may be a good price is former Group 1 winner Regal Parade who is available at 7/1, he is capable of tip top from on his day and after a couple of dissapointing efforts this year this could be the confidence booster he needs.

Markab and High Standing look to be his 2 biggest threats and the latter needs to put an uncharacteristic performance behind him to figure here.

However I will go with Regal Parade to come back to form.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Reg Griffin Form begins to stack up !

Following Victoire De Lyphars win in the Reg Griffin Memorial Trophy several of those that finished behind have come out and franked the form since by running well in other handicaps. The 6th placed Astrophysical Jet won the Class 3 5f Handicap at Newmarket off a mark of 93 from Five Star Junior in the style of a future Group class sprinter, whilst the 5th Side Glance won a Class 2 Handicap at Ascot over 7f by 2 1/4 lengths off a mark of 90 and Lowdown who finished back in 14th was the only 3yo in the Class 2 Scottish Stewards Cup tonight at Hamilton and won the race convincingly by 3 1/4 lengths from Damika off a mark of 93 to boost the form even further.
Clearly as I have said before this years crop of 3yo sprinters are doing very well and we should keep a close eye on them over the coming months as they improve even further.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Up a bit, down a bit

This weeks look at the weekly jottings of the sprint handicapper starts with Class 4 Handicap at Windsor on 5th July which was won by Desert Poppy quite convincingly despite an awkward head carriage, as a result she is raised 3lb to 79 which is fair in my view and leaves room for further improvement. Equuleus Pictor needs the word soft in the going so was never going to be in contention and as a result he is generously dropped 2lb to 78.

Next up is an interesting 3yo Class 2 6f Handicap at Newmarkets July Meeting which saw Fireback beat Bagamayo by 3/4 of a length with Gene Autry and Take Ten close behind. This race has been won by some good sprinting sorts in the past and it is form that we can rely on as the season progresses.
1st Fireback up 7lb to 91
2nd Bagamayo up 4lb to 100
3rd Gene Autry up 3lb to 95
4th Take Ten up 2lb to 87
The latter off 87 can surely make amends and will be placed to effect by Mark Johnston. There were several top performers that make this form solid.

The Class 3 3yo Handicap at Chester last Friday was good in that it was run in a time only slightly slower than the following days Listed Stakes won by Blue Jack. It was won by Diamond Johnny by a neck from Diman Waters with Tawabb 3rd and the unlucky Dancing Red Devil in 4th. The second Diman Waters is probably the one to take out of the race as he wasnt best suited by the course and off a mark of 80 is capable of winning for Eric Alston.

Palace Moon ran 3rd in the Wokingham and escaped a penalty however he wasnt so lucky here as he got 5lb for coming 2nd in the Bunbury Cup which puts him up to 110. Signor Peltro should be kept in the notebook despite finishing 6th here as he comes with a flourish at the end and the leaders were not coming back to them for the whole meeting.

Two 3yo's dominated the Group 3 fillies and mares Stakes at York on Friday and they continued to show what a fine bunch of sprinters they are. Rose Blossom was the worthy winner after leading from start to finish in a fast time and as a result she is up 8lb 103 with the 2nd Tropical Treat up 8lb as well to 102.

On Saturday at Ascot the Class 2 Handicap wnet the way of Rowe Park by a neck from Monsieur Joe with Prohibit 3rd. Present Alchemy dissapointed in last but it was Sonny Red who showed as though a step up could be near, he is now down to a mark of 95 and he was 5th in the Ayr Gold Cup off 100.

The final race to look at is the Class 3 Handicap at York on Saturday over 6f won by Hotham by a short head from Discanti with Gap Princess in 3rd. The winner was raised 4lb to 95 whilst the 2nd and 3rd were raised 3lb to 84 and 2lb to 82. Internationaldebut has been mentioned in this article previously and he was running on here and maybe coming back into form. Several behind were dropped as follows :-
Atlantic Story 2lb to 83 - was running well off 90 last summer
Saucy Brown 2lb to 87 - 2nd in Class 2 off 90 on Good to Soft in March.
River Falcon 3lb to 73 - Needs to be put in a Class 4 now.
Harlech Castle 3lb to 79 - sure to run better next time with this under his belt.

Its Friday already !

Avertor has a choice of two engagements on Friday and it will be interesting to see which one he takes up as the last 2 times he's been entered he hasnt run. He is certainly low enough on official ratings on 80 to show improvement and Roger Charltons horses are continuing to run well. Being by Oasis Dream you would think he was likely to avoid any cut in the ground, however the stable say he is completely the opposite and they are positively looking for it. He is believed to have improved since his last run and he could be ew value judging by the betting forecasts in the Racing Press.

Hawkeyethenoo has to win at Hamilton to have any hope of getting into the Stewards Cup but it doesnt look an easy task with several top performers lining up against him for their own bit of glory. Bonnie Charlie was a new addition to the Haggas yard this season and he has been in two Group 3's so far, so this drop in grade over a stiff 6f could bring out the best in him. Silvestre De Sousa is an interesting jockey booking for Captain Ramius who put in an eyecatching effort last time out. De Sousa does very well on sprinters and Captain Ramius is dropping down the weights. In the same race that Captain Ramius ran in Baby Strange won from Johnny Mudball who has since won at Newcastle and been raised 9lb and that was Baby Strange's first run on turf for a year so there may be more room for improvement. Oldjoesaid has also dropped to a feasible handicap mark and is capable of producing the goods at the business end, so there are a few in there to make Hawkeyethenoo work for his corn.

Dancing Red Devil ran well at Chester last weekend and may have finished 2nd but for being interfered with turning into the straight and the time of the race worked out well in comparison with the Pattern race the next day in which Blue Jack won and Borderlescott was 3rd.

Over at Newmarket it should be a penalty kick for Elnawin the fav but he's too short a price to get involved.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Early thoughts on The Stewards Cup

What a race this is building up to be, the market is headed by Genki, Palace Moon, Hawkeyethenoo and Enact, of which 3 of those faced each other at Newamrket in May. Hawkeyethenoo came out on top there but he is by no means a certain runner as he is not rated high enough, you will need to be at least 95 to get in in my view. Connections however will try and get a penalty this Friday night at Hamilton in their version of this race, but he is not certain to win there in any event.
Genki ran a cracker in that Newmarket race and although seemingly only just winning at Haydock recently his target all season has been another crack at winning this for the 2nd year in succesion.
Palace Moon has been reported as an uncertain runner and connections may feel after his run in the Bunbury Cup that his best distance may now be 7f.
Enact has the look of one of those Stoute runners that creeps in under the radar, this will be her first run since the Newamrket race and prior to that she hadnt run since October. She showed improved form at headquarters and Stoutey doesnt keep them in training for nothing so she looks sure to be thereabouts.
Johnny Mudball has been running well all year and his latest win at Newcastle was a demolition job in a fast time, however he very much had the run of the race there as the fastest bit of the course was up the stands rail and he hugged it all the way.
Dandy Nicholls is a master of the big sprints and his 3yo Victoire De Lyphar won the very competitive Reg Griffin at York from Iver Bridge Lad with Astrophysical Jet back in 6th (winner of a decent handicap at Newmarket last time out).
Striking Spirit always runs well in these big handicaps and it was no disgrace to finish 2nd to Laddies Poker Two in the Wokingham with Palace Moon 3rd and he is sure to run his race once again.
Of the bigger prices Rileyskeepingfaith could represent good value against the fav on their recent running at Haydock, he was 2nd there and he is better off at the weights for this and substantially better at the prices.
Jimmy Styles winner of last seasons Ayr Gold Cup is another who runs well in the big one's and it wouldnt be a suprise to see him return to form in this especially if its fast going.
One who has the bookmakers somewhat confused as to his ability is James Fanshawes Bagamayo who was 2nd in a competitive 3yo handicap at Newamarket earlier in the year, the magic sign have him at 16/1, whereas Betfred have him at 40/1 and he has a high enough rating to get into the race, but Danetime was the last 3yo to win this in 1997.
Oldjoesaid from the astute Kevin Ryan stable is one who has dropped steadily down the weights and he was purchased for a reason at the end of last season by connections and it wouldnt be out of place for him to run a big race.
As you can see it is a very competitive renewal, howeverI wouldnt put anyone off having some speculative wagers, however the cut off point is likely to be roundabout the 95 mark so make sure non runner no bet is in operation if you fancy one below this mark.
I will try and keep you updated as the days countdown to the big event.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Saturdays Sizzlers !!

Well I'm going to look at 4 sprint races today starting with the 2.00 at York a Class 2 6f Handicap and first up is River Falcon, this old stager may be 10 but he's still running with plenty of enthusiasm and his trainer beleives he can pick something up this summer. He's dropped 21lb since the begining of last season so that entitles him to be thereabouts on a course at which he runs well and 16/1 is a fair price. Internationaldebut is another at a big price who runs well at this track and if he comes back to his early season form after his little break he will be running on at the end. Tajneed probably needs a bit of overnight rain and if he gets it he could be my idea of the winner so keep an eye on the weather forecast and going news. Harlech Castle is on a 4 timer but hasnt run for a while so he may need this to show his best.

The City Wall Stakes at Chester over 5f looks to be a penalty kick for Borderlescott who is drawn in stall 2. He has a great record in this race having been 2nd and 1st and he should have too much class for these. Glamorous Spirit was raised a whopping 15lb for her win in Ireland and even though she is well drawn it will be a different story here I'm sure. She had it all her own way in Ireland from what turned out to be a very good draw as all 4 winners on the straight course that day came from stall 1. Also she only just gets 5f and with Chester being on a continous bend the races take longer and therefore a horse has to sustain its effort for longer, for instance this race will take at least 3 secs longer than the Curragh race, so I cant see her lasting out. Captain Dunne finished 2nd last year behind Borderlescott but he is drawn 6 this time compared to 4 last year, so will have it all to do to keep up with the leaders as this race is sure to be run at a fast tempo. Masamah who won here earlier in the year will also be trying to lead from stall 3 but its unlikely he will be able to get in front of Glamourous Spirit and I cant realistically see anything else geting involved apart from maybe Reverance who will be one that is running on at the end.

The 5f Class 2 Handicap At Ascot looks a tricky little puzzle and I'm not sure I'd want to get involved myself. However I will have a look at it and lets see were we end up. Present Alchemy looks a good place to start and he looks to be on the up judged on his latest race were he won by 2 lengths. He's gone up 7lb as a result and the the horse he beat there Solemn should go well in the next as he came up against Desert Poppy at Windsor earlier in the week. Back to Present Alchemy and Hughie Morrison reckons there's definitely more to come from him if he gets a decent surface as he has an engine and Hughie has trained 1 or 2 good sprinters in his time to know the time of day. Judge n' Jury likes Ascot having won here twice before but he really needs a bit of give in the going to show his best and he looks highly unlikely to get that here. Prohibit stepped up last time with the first time cheek pieces in coming 2nd to Parisian Pyramid and Frankie Dettori is a good booking on this track. However Present Alchemy is at the right end of the handicap for a potential improver and he is the one to be on if your having a flutter.

The last race at Chester is the 6f Class 4 Handicap and this can go to Green Park who has been running well without winning this season and he gets a good draw here in stall 2 and its a course where he has a decent record 2212.

Tomorrow's selections :
Borderlescott ***
Present Alchemy *
Green Park *
Tajneed (if overnight rain) *
River Falcon - ew *

Thursday, 8 July 2010

July Cup Spectacular !

Friday is here and its the July Cup at Newamarket and Im happy to stick with Starspangledbanner to win, he showed improved form at Ascot and it may be that he will have come on even further from that. We have covered a lot of the other runners earlier in the week and Society Rock probably also has room for further improvement only having had a handful of runs so far. I still think though that Balthazars Gift is too big a price to go unbacked and a small ew on him can be afforded.

In other races tomorrow we see Feeling Fresh out to continue his good run back at Chester and make it 3 wins, he's drawn in stall 12 tomorrow but I would imagine he would have been dropped in in any event so I wouldnt worry to much about that.

I think City Dancer is also a cracking ew bet at York in the 5f Group 3. As we know there is very little between top handicaps and Group race sprints and she has got a lot of speed at the business end of her races and if she gets the gaps she will go well close.

At Chepstow we have a 6f Class 2 Handicap and William Haggas's sprinters have been in very good form this year and Tagseed is another who could continue his good streak. I have mentioned Wildcat Wizard before but he didnt run very well last time, however if he is in better form he could shake up the fav.

Back at Newmarket in the 7f Heritage Handicap Palace Moon can show that his run in the Wokingham was no fluke, afterwards Fallon suggested he might need 7f and here he gets it, however he will have to be on his metal as Signor Peltro who is also one of our horses to follow (see seperate page)could give him the most to do as he was also finishing like a train last time out.

Tomorrow we will have our regular look at the handicappers ups and downs in "Up a bit, down a bit".

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Up a bit, down a bit

This weeks musings on the Sprint handicappers tinkerings start with the Class 4 Vista Panels Handicap at Haydock last Thursday over 6f. The winner of this was KING OF EDEN who came with a good run to win well despite having an awkward head carriage and he looks be capable of winning again despite being raised 7lbs for this taking him to a mark of 77. He had a couple of consistent performers in 2nd and 3rd which gives the performance a solid look to it. A couple to be dropped were Pearley Way 2lb to 73 and Northern Dare 3lb to 77.

On Friday at Doncaster Favourite Girl continued her run of form by just getting the better of John Balding's sprinter MILTON OF CAMPSIE by a head. The latter looks as though her time is near and for this run she was raised 3lb to a rating 73, whilst the winner was raised a further 4lb to 88.

On the same day at Sandown the 5f Class 3 handicap went Pisceans way by a short head from Rocket Bob and they were raised 4lb and 3lb repectively. Behind were the likes of Secret Asset, Fathom Five and Cheveton, the latter hasnt been in good form this season and as result of this effort he was dropped a further 4lb to 85. He is one who has not been liking the going of late and he is now 16lb lower than at the begining of last season and as soon as there is some ease in the going he will spring up at a decent price.

As expected Bated Breath went up 10lb for his facile win at Haydock in the 3yo Class 2 Handicap over 6f and he is now on 105. Afterwards Roger Charlton said we may see him in next years Sprint Cup here but later in the week he entered him for this years race. I thought Little Garcon was unlucky not to get closer and he remains on 88 which is a very fair mark that can be exploited on his next run. The race itself was run in a decent time only slightly slower than the Class 2 Conditions Stakes won by his stablemate Genki 30 minutes later. Charlton is now eyeing up a 0-105 Handicap at Newmarket in August however he has stressed that he wont run him on fast ground again this season.

Genki himself ran out a good winner of the Conditions Stakes at Haydock albeit only narrowly but when he seemed to do have done enough he downed tools as he couldnt see the others because of the blinkers. He gets a 3lb penalty for winning this type of race and he looks to be on course for another good show at Goodwood. Of those behind Enderby Spirit, Edge Closer and Fitz Flyer were dropped 2lb each

Class 3 Handicap at Newmarket

Im sure Crimea is a poor fav for this handicap, he only won a 5 runner claimer at Hamilton last time and the 2nd and 3rd were both worse off than in a handicap, okay he won by 7 lengths but he was entitled to do so in the context of that race. This more competitive handicap will surely find him out and those that look like fighting it out are, Sohraab, Lenny Bee, Five Star Junior, Invincible Lad and the old stager Indian Trail. The latter is by no means a has been, he didnt run very well last time granted but prior to that he had only been beaten 3 3/4 lengths to Bertoliver in the Dash at Epsom and he will have the strength of Franny Norton to drive him up the hill here and it wouldnt suprise me if he was finishing better than anything. It obviously isnt lost on Nicholls that one of his better performances last year was at Glorious Goodwood when he came 4th behind Blue Jack with Norton up, in that race Invincible Lad was half a length in front of him but there is a 7lb turnaround in the weights now, albeit Ryan Moore is on Invincible Lad. Sohraab is 4lb below his last winning mark which came at Chester when he was drawn 4th of 12 last season, he was then placed in a couple of Listed races so is capable of running well on his day and Hughie Morrison said in a recent stable tour that he thought he was becoming well handicapped. Lenny Bee won smartly first time out this season at Beverley and that race was well advertised by several winners coming out of it, since then he has run twice and on both occasions his trainer hasnt thought he was well drawn, I dont think he will have any excuses on that score tomorrow as it shouldnt make much difference were he's drawn in this field. He is capable of further improvement and he should be thereabouts. Five Star Junior has the assistance of Fallon but although this is a stiff final furlong he would probably prefer 6f, he only just got up at Ayr over 5f, but on the positive side it was a decent race and it was a fast time. Invincible Lad as we have said has Ryan Moore up and this will be for the second time, he finished 3rd at Sandown last summer on him when just behind Blue Jack again, however he is 8lb higher than his last win on turf.
Its not easy stuff picking a winner and at the prices on offer I would be inclined to do Indian Trail ew and oppose Crimea, but if I was pushed to go for a winner I would go for Sohraab and bank on him coming back to form here.

Monday, 5 July 2010

The July Cup Lowdown

This friday sees the The July Cup take centre stage, run at Newmarket since 1876 this is one of the major sprint races of the calendar and this year we have the usual big names ready to do battle and claim their fame.

The Golden Jubilee and Kings Stand are the races that have been the most informative over the years and this time we have 12 taking their chance from the former. Starspangledbanner was the winner of that race, in course record time, but that record was to be taken away from him in the very next race by Laddies Poker Two. She does not take her place here as the owners rely on Starspangledbanner, which is a pity as it could have been a great battle between them and we are now unlikely to see them run against each other this season. Starspangledbanner improved markedly on his first run for O'Brien and if the 7/4 fav has improved further then the others may as well stay in their boxes.
Others in the Golden Jubilee such as Fleeting Spirit will feel they can get closer this time, she was having her first run of the season in that and she was also racing on the unfavoured far side that day. Noseda says she is sharper for the race and will appreciate the fast ground, however he doesnt think she would have won the Golden Jubilee even if she had been on the stands side, but she is in top order and did a good piece of work on monday. Frankie Dettori rides and provided she is drawn close to the pace she will go well.
Kinsale King will never have seen a track like Newmarket and neither will some of the Aussie horses and the american horse looked to be fading at Ascot towards the end so will find this very tough uphill finish a struggle in my view.
James Fanshawe hasnt really been convincing in saying this would be a definite target for Society Rock so in showing those reservations Im not keen to side with him.
Its probably too far for Equiano as he has shown his best form this season at 5f, however Kingsgate Native, if he puts his best foot forward, could be a bit of value at 16/1, but you just dont know which horse is going to turn up with him.
Nicconi stayed on well in the Kings Stand and will appreciate the extra distance but he is not up to the usual standard of Australian sprinters and the fav was probably better than him when back in his homeland.
Marchand D'or and Balthazars Gift are lively outsiders with the latter having had a highish draw in the Golden Jubilee, he moved across to the stands side before threading his way through to finish with a flourish, he too will improve for the run and 50/1 is worth a small punt.
Starspangledbanners price is very short for such a competitive sprint and he too will not have encountered a course such as this, so if you fancy one to beat him then you should go for it in my view. However we shall take another look at the race when the final declarations and the draw are known.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Weekend Fallout

It was a good day for this blog on Saturday with 2 winners from 3 runners.

GENKI won the 6f Conditions Stakes at Haydock and has lined himself up to defend his Stewards Cup crown at Goodwood. He wore blinkers for the first time here although they are likely to be swopped for a visor next time (so that he can see the opposition close home), as here he thought he had done enough as soon as the others had gone out of his sight in the blinkers and therefore the finish was tighter than expected. Still I thought he won comfortably enough from Rileyskeepingfaith and Castles in the Air, the second was 2lb worse off than in a handicap but the neck between them is not as big as the price difference between them in The Stewards Cup, so there may be some value to be had there if you fancy the Channon horse and Genki will carry a 3lb penalty for this win.

The race before that was the 3yo Class 2 Handicap and I havent been looking at these on this blog but this one deserves a mention as the winner BATED BREATH recorded a time only 12 hundreths of a second more than his stablemate Genki over the 6f despite carrying 9lb more in weight. He is now 3-3 and afterwards Charlton said that he could well be back next year at Haydock for the Sprint Cup, which was high praise indeed from him. The other interesting one in the race was LITTLE GARCON rated 88, he was out the back for best part of the race before being asked to follow the winner through, but just as he was getiing into full flow and making his challenge the original leader swerved violently right and collided with him and knocking him out of his stride. He probably wouldnt have won but he would have been a lot closer and has room for improvement if he is not penalised for this. His trainer Botti is currently in form and his last 11 runners read 21246196212 and he has a stable tour on ATR.

Feeling Fresh coped well with the drop in distance at Carlisle as this is a stiff track and he won by 2 1/2 lengths in the apprentice handicap so he wont be penalised for this and he is entered again at Chester on Fiday in the 7f handicap.

Hope you were all able to back one or both of the winners and all being well we can continue the good run through the week with The July Cup at Newmarket being the highlight on Friday afternoon.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Sprint Action !!

There are plenty of non runners about today so beware of any of those before you bet.

Over at Haydock GENKI looks a good bet in the 4.35 to get some of his confidence back before a crack at The Stewards Cup at Goodwood. A win here will surely see him promoted to outright favourite so if you fancy him for that you better get on pre todays race. Captain Dunne has only ever won over 5f as far as I know and the 2 that might give him the most to are Enderby Spirit and the Godolphin runner Global City.
In the next at Haydock I was going to go for AVERTOR but he is a non runner as is Taurus Twins which leaves it pretty wide open and I'm giving that one a miss.

The 2.00 at Sandown should go to GROUP THERAPY who looked right back to his best at Beverley and he may have most to fear from Triple Aspect, Hamish McGonagall might get closer this time because he didnt seem to like the course at Beverley and this might be more conventional for him.

Tonight at Carlisle FEELING FRESH runs in 6.55, he won well at Chester despite suffering interference and he only went up 4lb for it and is capable of winning again. I know its an apprentices race and anything can happen but its only a small field so hopefully there will be no hard luck story.

So they are my three for the day :-
2.00 Sandown - GROUP THERAPY
4.35 Haydock - GENKI
6.55 Carlisle - FEELING FRESH

Good luck and be sure to keep in touch !