Friday, 29 April 2011

Saturday's Sizzlers !

Some big sprints for Saturday most notably the Palace House Stakes at Newmarket

This is probably the most competitive sprint we have seen so far this season with 15 runners lining up for this 5f contest which has been won by some top sprinters in the past.
At the head of the field we have Astrophysical Jet who improved markedly through last summer and is now out to take the sprinting crown for the year. She won 3 from 4 when switched to this 5f trip at the end of last season, two of those were in Group 3 company which she faces again today. She should be ready to put her best foot forward as Noble Storm won on his first run back recently and her trainer Ed McMahon will have her geared up for this. He has reported that she is capable of winning a Group 1 and she will be heading for the Nunthorpe after this all being well.
Borderlescott although 9 now will no doubt run up to his usual level of form, he was a close 2nd to Equiano in this last year staying on well up the hill and he is a proven Group 1 performer who is consistent. However he finished 3 3/4 lengths behind Sole Power in the Nunthorpe last season although that came after an interupted perparation. He has reportedly been working well at Southwell to convince some people he is back to his very best.
On the subject of Sole Power his 100/1 win in the Nunthorpe wasnt given much credence from the form pundits at the time and he did little to change that view on his run in Dubai.
Evens and Odds although beating Redford last time had the advantage of having had a few runs and although he won last seasons StewardsCup by a neck from another of todays rivals Jonny Mudball he may be not be good to figure in the places.
Iver Bridge Lad has been in the form of his life and you wouldnt put it passed him being involved in the finish again as he has improved enough to be a Group 3 performer as he showed last time when only beaten a neck by Genki in the Abernant.
Rain Delayed also put up a good performance last time out when beaten into 2nd by Noble Storm at Newbury although that too may not be good enough to get him involved this time despite the assistance of Murtagh.
Mister Hughie will be having his first run for Tim Easterby and it will be interesting to see how he goes as he showed a good level of form at his best last summer when a 3yo.
Several of the others are also having their first run of the season and this may be a race to watch rather than one for betting, however I would imagine that Astrophysical Jet, Borderlescott and Iver Bridge Lad will be to the fore come the finishing post and the latter two represent ew value at 9/1 and 11/1 respectively

Over at Doncaster Cape Vale reappears in the Class 3 6f Handicap and may struggle off this mark and one's worth a second look that may have a bit of value in the market are Desert Poppy and Diman Waters. Desert Poppy won sprint handicaps at both Newbury and Windsor last season and only being lightly raced she may have more improvement to come. The same can be said of Eric Alston's Diman Waters and we have seen what the stable's King of Eden has done since his return from the winter break and Diman Waters could be equally good if he has filled out into his big frame.

There are a few other races to keep an eye on and I will review all racing on Wednesday evening in "Up a bit, down a bit.

Please remember when reading this blog that I am not a professional tipster and that I only do these write ups in my spare time for the assistance of the other racing enthusiasts like myself.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Up a bit, down a bit - 27th April

Come Racing Again on Easter Monday Handicap - Class 4 - 6f - Redcar
This was won by Doctor Parkes by a neck from Solar Spirit and the first 2 were raised 5lb and 4lb to marks of 89 and 82. A couple of David Nicholls horses namely the 3rd Karaka Jack and 5th Jarrow ran with some promise, Karaka Jack has been raised 1lb to 75 and Jarrow has been dropped 1lb to 76, however the former is unlikely to remain over sprint distances. Jarrow who is a half brother to both Cape Vale and Moss Vale with whom the stable has done so well with down the years is now 16lb lower than when running behind Nicholls Victoire De Lyphar last April and no doubt Nicholls will fancy a crack at one or two handicaps with this one.

Reading Post Handicap - Class 5 - 6f - Windsor
This was won in taking fashion by Spanish Bounty who had the field in trouble some way out and as a result of his 5 length win he has been raised 12lb to 87. Equuleus Pictor had shaped well on his previous run and ran encouragingly again to finish 4th and he has been dropped 1lb to a mark of 71 and he is well treated on old form.

Riu Palace Meloneras Handicap - Class 2 - 6f - Pontefract
It was dissapointing that Hoof It was a non runner for this given that he was also a non runner in his previous entry some weeks earlier. The race went to veteran Flipando and was dominated by horses who stayed further than 6f. Looking back through the field Wildcat Wizard ran slightly better for Nicholls and finished 6th in first time blinkers and it will be interesting to see how he is campaigned, he has been dropped 1lb to 90.

Investec Asset Management Handicap - Class 3 - 5f - Epsom
Falasteen blazed the trail here under a rare front running ride from Jamie Spencer to win by 1 3/4 lengths from Beat the Bell. Beat the Bell did well in the circumstances as he was drawn the widest of all in stall 1 of 14. The winner, like so many who run well here, had previous form at the course and looks sure to be gearing up to a run in the Dash on Derby Day, however he will have to cope with a 7lb rise for this win which takes him to a mark of 92. The race itself was a competitive one and was run in a similar time to last seasons Dash won by Bertoliver, he was having his first run of the season here and was never really in it and as a result he has been dropped to a mark of 84 which is only 1lb higher than his winning mark last June. Others to be dropped were sir Geoffrey down 3lb to 82, Best Trip (only won at Kempton)down 3lb to 77, Skylla down 2lb to 84(may fare better on a more conventional track) and Fratellino down 3lb to 90 (may head to Chester). Breathless Kiss remains on 93 after running on from the rear, she had beaten the first two at Beverley and can improve again maybe over 6f.

North Sea Logistics Handicap - Class 6 - 6f - Newcastle
A bit of a lowly race but there were a couple to catch the eye of racereaders notably Pitkin and Commander Veejay with the latter who was racing from 5lb out of the handicap and seemingly getting a sympathetic ride from his jockey.

Scottish Racing Conditions Stakes - Class 2 - 5f - Musselburgh
This went as expected to Hamish McGonagall who got the better of Waffle by 2 lengths and the second can probably be seen to better advantage in a bigger field were he can come with a late run. Their were 2lb drops in the handicap for Fitz Flyer (now 92), Elnawin (102), Striking Spirit (94) and Masta Plasta (96).

Calverts Carpets York Ltd Handicap - Class 6 - 5f 13yds - Nottingham
The winner Athwaab was raised 12lb for his win here, however it is the 3rd Yankee Storm who is potentially well handicapped on his All Weather form as he is 16lb lower on turf but he doesnt make many visits to the green stuff. He didnt start very well and got a bit detached before consenting to run on to finish a closing third.

Totepool Flexi Betting Handicap - Class 4 - 5f - Musselburgh
This was won by Mon Brav but the one that caught my eye was the Chosen One who ran on well towards the finish and he could be about to go one better. He won well last summer off a 1lb higher mark at Haydock and maybe stepped up to 6f.

Handicappers Comments
Inxile gained his second Irish listed success in as many weeks at Cork on Saturday, writes Chris Nash. When making a successful return from Dubai over 5f at Naas, Dandy Nicholls’ six-year-old gave 3 lb more than weight-for-age to the locally-trained runner-up Knock Stars and beat her by three lengths, running to a figure of 109 by my reckoning. At Cork he was giving 6 lb more than weight-for-age to that same rival yet beat her by half a length further as she came home fifth in the 6f event. I was tempted to rate the race through Knock Stars initially, which would have had Inxile running to a figure of 112, but after consultation with my Irish colleague I decided on a figure of 110 for the winner. This represents a career-best, and he might well turn out quickly again judged by his entry in the Group 3 Palace House Stakes at Newmarket this coming weekend.

Another Dandy Nicholls-trained sprinter worth a mention is Falasteen who won the first 5f race of the season at Epsom by a very decisive one and three quarter lengths. Not necessarily best drawn (stall 5 in a field of 14), he showed terrific pace to make just about all. Such a comprehensive margin of victory in a sprint handicap is hard to ignore and his mark will rise 7 lb from 85 to 92. His record at Epsom now stands at two wins from as many starts and the ‘Dash’ on Derby day looks an obvious target. Before then it would be no surprise to see him take in the Chester May meeting, with his pace likely to prove a potent weapon round there.

Finally a mention for the fantastically consistent ten-year-old Flipando. David Barron’s charge has been rated between 87 and 100 throughout the last five years. He won the 1m2f Zetland Gold Cup at Redcar in 2007 and the 1m1/2f Lincoln Trial at Wolverhampton in 2009 but is now being campaigned as a sprinter, securing career win number twelve over 6f at Pontefract on Tuesday from a mark of 94. The first six home in that handicap were covered by less than two and a half lengths and Flipando’s mark will rise 4 lb to 98 as a result.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Make sure you get Value !

Newcastle 8.10 Sendrig Construction Handicap (CLASS 4) (4yo+ 0-85) 6f

The going at Newcastle is Good to Firm, Firm in places and there are 3 or 4 of interest in this. We start with King of Eden who features in our Horses to Follow section. He has been very progressive for his trainer and started the season with another win, this time over 7f and this stiff 6f should hold no fears, his trainer Eric Alston said last year that King of Eden would be better in 2011 and on his last run he would appear to have been proved correct. He is a big horse that shows a bit of acceleration when needed and he looks one of the improvers in the field only having had 15 races to date.
Invincible Lad is supposedly better at 5f but he didnt run too badly when 3rd to Lucky Numbers over 6f at Ripon last time out when beaten 1 1/4 lengths, he has form on fast ground and he was 3rd to Astrophysical Jet at Newmarket last July when in receipt of 4lb from the winner. If Nicholls can recapture that sort of previous form (and when has he not done that) then off a 5lb lower mark he should be thereabouts. although this stiff 6f could well stretch him to the limit.
Marvellous Value ran in Division 1 of the above handicap contested by Invincible Lad and his race was run in a time 0.77 seconds faster although he could only finish 4th behind Cape Vale. He did have a bit of a rough race there and he could fare better this time particularly as his trainer thinks he is favourably treated on turf in any event. He was 5th in the 2008 Ayr Gold Cup off a mark of 92 on only his seventh start so that shows he is smart on his day and off  only 78 here you can understand why his trainer thinks he's favourably treated. This will only be his 15th start to date, he was won over the course and distance on fast ground and off a fast pace so he must be bang there in my view.
There are others in the race but I can see the finish being fought out between the one's mentioned and Marvellous Value looks to have the best chance in receipt of 3lb from King of Eden. With none of the bookmakers having priced up by 9.00pm on Tuesday it will be interesting to see what view they take of the race.

In the 4.15 at Ascot Madany could run better than her price as she was unlucky at Newmarket last time when 2nd to Sir Reginald. The race was run in a decent time there and the stable report that she has come out of the race in good form as she seeks some black type and the 7/1 with Ladbrokes is a fair price given that the front two in the betting are entered in the Golden Jubilee at Royal Ascot.

Monday, 25 April 2011

I'm Free !!

Was the well known catchphrase of John Humphries in the hit tv comedy "Are you being served" starring John Inman and that phrase, although not heard much on the box these days, still applies to numerous horse racing bloggers who provide free racing information on a daily basis. Of course some bloggers have fallen to the "dark side" on the back of their hard and well earned success and have subsequently sought to charge their loyal band of followers for their tips. You may, or may not, be glad to know that my blog, and no doubt many others, shall remain "free" for the foreseeable future to anyone who wishes to read them.

Oh well enough of that and onto tomorrows sprint at Lingfield and I suppose we have to stick with Garstang after his very close second last time out and Paul Hanagan has retained the ride so he must think he can go one better. Garstang goes very well off a fast pace and that should be in evidence here with Island Legend in the lineup and hopefully he can get the better of him up the straight, although they could quite easily finish 1st and 2nd as there is not much between them both on form.

Dont forget to look at the blog on Wednesday when I will post this weeks Up a bit, down a bit and also over the coming weekend as there are several decent sprints that have entries of interest.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Dont put all your eggs in one basket !

As the Easter weekend approaches I thought I would look at a couple of the sprints that take place at Musselburgh on Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday we have the Class 2 Scottish Racing Conditions Stakes over 5f, the going is currently Good, Good to firm in places although rain is expected at some point, so do keep a lookout.

Hamish McGonagall will be much more at home here than he was over 6f at Thirsk first time out having won over the course and distance three times in the past and he's also best in at the weights by 7lb or more on official ratings. He will no doubt try and lead from the off, although he doesnt have to, and he seems versatile as regards going conditions, although I doubt he would want it very fast. It seems the plan was always to come here but they are now doing so with a run under their belt so he should definitely go well.
Waffle caught the eye when running on from the back last time in a Class 2 Handicap at Doncaster but that was over 6f. He has form over 5f and the strong Silvester De Sousa keeps the ride.
David Nicholls Striking Spirit is best over 6f and I dont think Moorhouse lad who he came second to last year is as good as Hamish McGonagall and he is 5lb worse off with the selection for a neck defeat in the Scottish Sprint Cup last season, also at the track. The stables other runner Masta Plasta will try and push Hamish McGonagall all the way with his trainer reporting him as bouncing since he came back from Dubai.
Elnawin has shown a consistent level of form in Group and Listed races in the past and it depends how striaght he is on his first run back since last July for Richard Hannon but he shouldnt be too far away in any event , although their is a suspicion he may prefer 6f.
Bryan Smart's Fitz Flyer shouldnt be too far away either, he ran too free last time out and his trainer subsequently earmarked this race for him as he has won it last year with Moorhouse Lad.

Given that I'm writing this on Thursday night, I'm not sure what sort of price we will get about Hamish McGonagall but he looks the likeliest winner at this stage.

On Sunday there is a Class 4 Handicap over 5f and the form of the race between Mandurah and Bosun Breese could be of significance (see this weeks Up a bit, down a bit) if both get in the race. They had a ding dong battle from start to finish last time and Bosun Breese is now 4lb better off although Mandurah has room for further improvement.
Taurus Twins could also line up after breaking the 5f track record at Windsor last time and others of note are Oldjoesaid who has dropped pounds down the handicap and is partnered by stable jockey Philip Makin, who got such a good tune out of Breathless Kiss at Beverley at the beginning of the season and Strike up the Band whose connections will be praying for the thunderstorms to arrive in time.

Anyway I hope you all have an enjoyable and profitable Easter break and I will be back on Monday.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Free Racehorse Shares !

If you have ever wanted to own a share in a racehorse then now could be the time to get started because Lancashire Racing Stables are offering free shares in a number of its horses which require a monthly payment to the training costs. Just visit the website, click on ownership and then horses for sale and it will take you the page showing you what horses are available. The stable have not been up and running too long but they are progressing nicely and the stables Meydan Style was second at Southwell dont turn up a golden opportunity and click on the link below.

Up a bit, down a bit - 20th April 2011

Newmarket - Tattersalls Millions 3yo Sprint, Class 2 - 6f
This was a competitive little sprint and it was won by "Jimbo" McGrath's Sir Reginald, although you would have to consider the second Medany an unlucky loser. The winner won by 3/4 length but the second struggled to find an opening to get through, but once she did she ran on well to be just denied. The time of the race compared favourably with the following days Abernant Stakes won by Genki and the form should prove to be reliable. The 3rd Khor Sheed had won the Listed Empress Stakes last season and prior to the race Luca Cumani had this to say "We start off tomorrow with Khor Sheed in the Tattersalls Millions 3-Y-O Sprint. She has been working well and is in very good order and looks like she has progressed since last year. Six furlongs on fast ground look to be her ideal conditions and though she has the second highest official rating of the runners, that might not count for too much if some of those with less racing than she has had have improved a good deal over the winter".

Time : 1m 11.33s - slow by 1.33
Trainers post race comments
Barry Hills stable - Medany "She was slightly unlucky not to win the sales race at Newmarket on Wednesday, although the winner may have found more if she had tackled him earlier. It's great to see she has improved over the winter as she is a lovely filly to be around and tries really hard. Hopefully she can pick up some black type

Newmarket - Connaught Access Flooring Abernant Stakes, Listed Race - 6f 
This was won by Genki who ran on well down the outside, just as he had done last year here, albeit that was in a Handicap. He got the better of the race fit Iver Bridge Lad by a neck and he looks set for another good season ahead. Iver Bridge Lad looks like one we can set our clocks by on what we have seen from him so far. Dinkum Diamond ran well considering he was the only 3yo in the lineup and the trainer had reported pre race that he hadnt grown over the winter and he certainly stays 6f on this showing. Anne of Kiev in 4th ran a blinder and as a result has been raised 4lb by the handicapper to a mark of 102.
Time : 1m 11.12s slow by 1.12
Trainers post race comments
Roger Charlton - Genki "I was really delighted with Genki's run in the Abernant yesterday, he has been so lazy in his work at home with most of my sprinters leaving him trailing behind. Luckily when he gets to the races he wakes up and I thought that Steve rode a good race allowing him to free wheel down the hill before launching him in the final furlong. His next race is likely to be The Duke Of York at their May meeting".
Barry Hills stable - Prime Defender "he wasn't beaten far in his race, but came back blowing hard. Following his break it is taking a while to get him fit and he probably needed the run again. He doesn't overdo himself at home and some of his best runs last season came after short breaks. We will keep him on the go.

Newbury - Dubai Duty Free Double Millionaire Handicap, Class 2 - 5f 34yds
This was won by the top weight Noble Storm in good fashion and for me it was the most eyecatching performance I have seen so far by a sprinter this year. He had the field struggling and yet he seemed to be going very well within himself and he won by half a length from the race fit Rain Delayed as his own lack of race fitness told at the end of the race. He has been raised 6lb by the Handicapper to a mark of 108 and on this showing there's every chance he can emulate the stables Astrophysical Jet. The second raised 4lb to 103 had previously been trained by Ger Lyons and connections had felt that he was bordering on Group Class so this augurs well for the winner too. Malcolm Saunders Captain Carey was 3 lengths back in third and he has been dropped 1lb to 92 and his time will come.
Time : 1m 0.63s slow by 1.13
Trainers post race comments
Ed McMahon - Noble Storm "He was out of sorts last year but I hope I'll be able to do an Astrophysical Jet and win the Flying Five at the Curragh, I think there's a Group race in him."
Roger Charlton - Run For The Hills "For a moment he threatened to get involved in the finish but his run faded and he is due to continue his racing career in Singapore where I hope he does well".
Tom Dascombe - Noverre To Go "Now a 5-y-o, he has always needed his first run of the season to fine tune his race fitness".

Ripon - Stowe Family Law LLP Handicap, Class 5 - 5f
This was won by David Nicholls Mandurah by short head from David Barons Bosun Breeze. The winner had previously been trained by Nicholls back in 2009 when he was beaten 5 lengths off a mark of 88 be Group Therapy. Here he was back with Nicholls for the sart of 2011 with a mark of just
64, so all the signs were there, especially as he had a 3lb claimer on board too. As a result of his win he has been raised 5lb's to 69 but surely Mr Nicholls can extract some more meat from the bones and get him to win a couple more times. In the circumstances the 2nd (raised 4lb to 76) did well to be beaten a short head as he was carrying a stone more in weight and he didnt have the race fitness edge of the winner also the race was run in a fair time. Third placed Senate Majority was on the opposite side of the track to the first two so he also deserves a mention as does another Nicholls runner Supreme Spirit who was only contesting her fourth race, she missed the break but was staying on to good effect in the closing stages of the race and she looks sure to win shortly with her trainer reporting recently that she has wintered well and is on the upgrade.
Time : 58.79s slow by 0.69

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Bertoliver to feel at home ?

The 2.00 Class 3 5f  Handicap sees 14 runners take to the unique Epsom contours for this sprint over the minimum trip. Its the fastest 5 furlongs in the country and it usually favours horses with course form at the distance.
Those to have run well here in the past are Bertoliver, Indian Trail, Falasteen and Cape Royal. The draw too will play a part, with those drawn HIGH (nearest the rail) sure to have a big say, but if anything is quick enough to bag the rail they will have an advantage against those drawn LOWER.
Bertoliver was a good winner of the 19 runner Dash at the Derby meeting last summer when establishing a clear lead in a better field than this after a blistering start before being run down close home by Hawkeyethenoo. With his saddle having slipped in the final furlong his young jockey was unable to give him the maximum assistance as they approached the line as his left leg was considerably lower than his right, however he managed to hang on. Bertoliver also ran well in this race last season when he was 3/4 length 3rd to Fathom Five and he is obviously a horse who has the ability to perform well at this track. Of course it maybe that he has his sights set on the Dash again onhis first run back and this race may not be at the top of his agenda this time around, but in the sprinting game you have to win when you have the chance. He won the Dash off a mark of 83 and he is only 3lb higher now so he must have place prospects at the very least as he is only a few stalls further out from the rail in this than in the Dash and 12/1 is a fair price about his chance.
Of course he is not the only horse in the race, Breathless Kiss was a tidy winner up at Beverley last time when he just got up on the line to win, he was subsequently raised just 4lb and he has the assistance of Fallon this time. Kevin Ryan has made a fine start to the season and he is always well represented in the sprints here.
David Barron has 2 runners Archers Road and Beat the Bell and I think the former has the edge on their meeting at Musselburgh at the back end of last season, although I'm not sure that is good enough to figure here.
Skylla represents Fahey and Hanagan and this horse was 3rd in the Gosforth Park Cup last season after leading to the furlong pole so he has a bit of pace about him.
Sir Geoffrey for David Nicholls is one of 4 entries for the stable and he looks to be the paciest of them, although old timer Indian Trail relishes coming through late on and Silaah has been running well of ;ate on the All Weather.
Best Trip has been showing good form at Kempton and Franny Norton has struck up a good partnership with him and he is capable of breaking quick from the gate fromstall 11 and I imagine he will be pushing the pace along with Sir Geoffrey, Skylla and Bertoliver and one of these could well win.
Given the very fast nature of this race and that things can change so quickly I am going to go each way on Bertoliver at 12/1.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Hoof It to lead the way ?

Hoof it was entered up at Doncaster on 3rd April for a Class 2 6f Handicap but he was Non Runner and his trainer stated pre race that he thought that he was too high in the handicap, that he's a 5f horse and that he may just need the run. Considering he's a 5f horse its strange that the stable have re entered him for another 6f race and at Pontefract of all places ! Is the wool being pulled over our eyes ? - that day Pricewise made him his selection and hailed him as a potential Group class sprinter. Last season Hoof It won 4 times and went up 31lb in the handicap and the form of his last race when beating Noble Storm by a neck off 94 is particularly encouraging given that he has come out and won his first race of this season in impressive fashion, that was a Class 2 Handicap off a 4lb higher mark of 102. Hoof It is now 5lb higher, however he could he could run to a higher rating at 6f, he was running on very well at the end when pipping Noble Storm. The only problem I see is if he runs too fresh on this his first run of the season and he runs himself out before the race begins in earnest. On another note I remember the days when Fallon was riding for Linda Ramsden and he knew this course like the back of his hand, so thats a definite plus.
The other one I like in this is Internationaldebut who finished 2nd in this same race 12 months ago when running on very well to cut through virtually the entire field to finish a 2 3/4 length behind Castles in the Air off a mark of 89, he's off 86 this time and it is hoped he doesnt give himself too much to do, although he needs plenty of pace to attack over this trip.
Discanti ran well behind Cape Vale recently but he is 9lb higher than his highest winning mark.
Wildcat Wizard is now in the care of David Nicholls and he sports blinkers for the first time after 2 runs for the stable for which he has been dropped 3lbs. He ran very well in 3rd behind Nicholls Joseph Henry and Victoire De Lyphar in the Stewards Cup consolation race last season coming with a strong run despite having to be switched round a wall of horses. His previous trainer Paul Cole said he would need a stiff 6f or 7f to show his best and he gets that here so you would expect to see him thereabouts at the end and 16/1 is good ew value from this stable although there are only 13 runners. Nicholls ran a total of 22 runners on Saturday, that must have been some operation, but he had 5 winners. The only thing that tempers enthusiasm is the jockey booking and because of that you have to think his day may be on another occasion.
Corporal Maddox ran his best race first time out last year for Henry Cecil when running 2nd to Society Rock beaten 3/4 of a length when trying to concede the subsequent Golden Jubilee 2nd 3lbs and he is now 4lb lower on a mark of 100.
Tombi is 10lb lower than when a 2 1/4 length 6th to Jimmy Styles in the 2009 Ayr Gold Cup, albeit he hasnt shown a great deal since.

I cant really see anything else getting into it and Hoof It could well  be a class above these. Kieran Fallon who was booked for his aborted ride at Doncaster takes the mount again and they should take all the beating with Internationaldebut set to take advantage should the fav falter.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Windsor Wager !

Equuleus Pictor ran well at Windsor last time out over 5f when coming with a strong run under Cathy Gannon to finish a 3 1/4 lenth fifth to Taurus Twins after suffering some interference. That race was run in a course record time and it was his first run for 111 days, he is well handicapped on his old form at present. He had previously shown his best with cut in the ground so it was a suprise to see him run so well on Good to Firm here last time. The step up to 6f  could see him finishing even better and he could well get up this time from a good draw in stall 3 and 10/1 is a fair price.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Friday's racing !

Common keep up ! There's a top sprint at Newbury in the Dubai Duty Free Double Millionaire Handicap run over 5f 34yds on Friday afternoon. The going is Good to Firm which knocks out a few horses and there are a few making their seasonal appearances. The most recent good form would appear to be that of Secret Asset who came second to the in form Iver Bridge Lad (who just missed out for 2nd in the Abernant Stakes at Newmarket today) when beaten 2 lengths at Nottingham when receiving 6lb. He came with what looked like a winning run there and was beaten by the above and with Ryan Moore back in the saddle again, he may wait a little longer this time, he should be bang there. Behind him that day was Five Star Junior but he is actually worse off at the weights and probably wants another furlong although Fallon will be pushing hard to the line.
One who could run well on his reappearance is Striking Spirit who has finished 1st and 2nd in 2009 and 2010 on his first runs of the season, although idealy he wants 6f. Caperccaillie has had a run at Wolverhampton and is now in the care of Clive Cox who said she showed loads of tactical speed there and that is why she has been dropped back to 5f for this, she could be in the places.
Its a tricky little race though because so many are coming back from their winter breaks and we dont know for sure where they are as far as preparation goes, so I'm going to go with Secret Asset whose 2nd to Iver Bridge Lad hasnt turned out to be bad form and he has run well here in the past and the 7/1 on offer is worth a punt, however I will be keeping a watching brief on all of the runners with a view to future engagements.

Up a bit, down a bit - 13th April 2011

First race to review is the Class 2 William Hill.Com Handicap run over 6f at Doncaster on Sunday 3rd April 2011. It was a decent race runner wise and it was won by Michael Bell's Horseradish by 3/4 of a length from Waffle with Our Jonathan a short head back in 3rd. The winner has been raised 4lb to 100 for his win whilst the 2nd and 3rd have both been raised 1lb to 100 and 94. The second and third both came with fine runs and Waffle who was having his first run for David Barron looked to be the best of the two and looks capable of winning soon on this performance. Of those behind there were drops of 2lbs in the handicap for Joe Packet, Hotham and Wildcat Wizard with the latter now in the hands of David Nicholls.
Time of race - 1m 12.22s slow by 0.82

Stables Post Race Comments
Michael Bell -"Horseradish continues to progress and it was great to get another win out of him in what was a very competitive handicap. He is a real gutsy horse and always gives his all which he did here on ground that would not have been to his liking. He had the race won when quickening clear a furlong out and, while the margin was cut down close home, he looked to win nicely".
Jeremy Gask - Medicean Man "I do feel the ground wasn't perfect for him. I think he prefers a smaller field and slightly more forgiving surface but I was only a touch disappointed in the run".

At Windsor on Monday 4th April the Class 4 Tobey Le Rone Handicap over 5f  10yds was run in a course record time of  58.08s and the winner Taurus Twins who was carrying 8-13 won by 2 lengths. As a result has been raised 6lb to 78 for this fine effort and there is no reason why he cant follow up. Of those behind I thought the 3rd and 5th Ajjaadd and Equuuleus Pictor both ran good races and they had a bit of a bumping match at the back of the field before they both stayed on to good effect, Ajjaad stays on the same mark of 72 whilst Equuleus Pictor has been dropped 1lb to 72 and they continue to run well.

Lexi's Hero was unlucky not to hold onto the lead in the Class 3 3yo Dalby Stand Handicap over 6f at Pontefract on Tuesday 5th April when he was beaten a neck by Strictly Pink. He has got plenty of pace about him and on an easier track he may be hard to peg back, he has however been raised 3lb to 89.

The Class 3 Spring into Racing at Beverley Handicap over 5f  on Wednesday 6th April was won by Kevin Ryan's Breathless Kiss by a neck from Falasteen and Beat the Bell. The winner came with a well timed run to get up on the line and she could remain ahead of the handicapper who has raised her 4lb to 93. Of those behind Rocket Bob who usually runs well over Epsom's fast five (1423) dropped 3lb to 85 and Fol Hollow 2lb to 88 (won off 93 at Thirsk last May in a Class 2 seven runner handicap over 5f on Good to Firm beating Captain Dunne).

At Nottingham on the same day the Class 3 Free Racing Post form at Totesport.Com Conditions Stakes over 5f 13yds went to Iver Bridge Lad who had finished 2nd behind Jimmy Styles on levels in the Cammidge Trophy at Donacster. He came with a strong run between horses to win going away and his good run doesnt look like it is over just yet. Face the Problem ran well in 3rd for a 3yo as this was a competitive race with some fair yardsticks and the winner has since finished a close 3rd in the Listed Abernant Stakes behind Genki at Newmarket, so being dropped 2lb by the handicapper could be a result for him as well as the second and fourth Secret Asset and Five Star Junior.

The following day at Ripon the Class 4 SIS Live Handicap over 6f went to Cape Vale who scored readily by 1 1/4 lengths from Discanti and he has been raised 5lb to 89 which may not look too punitive but he has never won off a mark as high as that before. The race itself was run in a faster time than the second division won by Lucky Numbers and the one to take out of the race for me is Marvellous Value who had a bit of a rough race and finished 4th, she has been dropped 1lb to 78.

A horse to look out for in future could be Munaaseb who won the Maiden at Lingfield over 6f by 8 lengths on Saturday 9th April. He is a half brother to Amour Propre so he could have plenty left to come.

At Thirsk on the same afternoon the Class 2 Michael Foster Memorial EBF Conditions Stakes over 6f went to Evens and Odds ridden by Kieren Fallon by half a length from Redford amking it 1 -2 for David Nicholls. Hamish McGonagall who needs a fast 5f set the race up for them and Evens and Odds who had race fitness on his side was able to prevail in a tight finish.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Society.....Rocks !!

Newmarket's sprint season kicks off with the Connaught Access Flooring Abernant Stakes (Listed Race) Cl1 6f in which several top class horses stake their place for sprinting honours. Most of the field have crossed swords in th epast and I will look at some of those prevoius meetings here.

Society Rock has the highest official rating in the lineup at 115 and appears to have the best form on show despite only having had 7 runs to date, the stable think that he has strengthened up considerably over the winter and that he is a most exciting prospect and they have had this race in mind for him for a while. He didnt run again after the July Cup in which he finished 7th to Starspangledbanner but the stable wanted to sort out a few niggles that they had with him so that he was ready to start afresh this season and that race may have come too soon for him in any event. His 2nd in the Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot behind the same horse is the best form on show here and to have done that on only his seventh start makes him worth serious consideration from a stable that was in the doldrums for the best part of last year but now look to be back to their best. In that race he was the highest drawn to cross to the stands side and he showed a terrific turn in foot in trying to peg back the winner. He is best held up so he should get enough cover here and you should expect to see him running on at the end.
Genki has progressed from the handicapping ranks into a Group race sprinter and he is the stables only runner of the meeting. He ran well first time out last season albeit in a handicap, but his 3rd in the Group 1 Haydock Sprint Cup, 4th in the Ayr Gold Cup and 2nd in the Group 3 Bengough Stakes shows that he can mix it with the best sprinters around.
Anne of Kiev has improved 23lb since her winning run started in May last year, however most of that improvement has come on the Polytrack and she has not met anything of the likes of Society Rock or Genki and the most she can hope for is a place.
Iver Bridge Lad has been in the form of his life of late and after finishing a well beaten 2nd at Meydan to J J The Jet Plane (who went on to win the Group 2 Al Quoz sprint), he came back to England and has won twice since, the latest of those being at Nottingham over 5f where he beat Secret Asset by 2 lengths. He is though probably best over 5f and may struggle over this stiff 6f against this class of opposition.
Poets Place looked to be a progressive sort last season however he may need some cut in the ground to show his best and he is unlikely to reverse placings with Genki from their Ayr Gold Cup meeting on 2lb worse terms although trainer thought he was unlucky in that. The same would apply to Jimmy Styles and Damika, although Jimmy Styles does have a fitness egde having won the Cammidge Trophy already this season and he has a couple of course records to his name as well so is no slouch..
Prime Defender may have needed the run behind Jimmy Styles last time out and although he is 7 he has won Group races previously, although he is a bit quirky and Society Rock has the edge on him on previous Group form.
Inler for Brian Meehan, who did so well with Lady of the Desert last season, could be an improver but this will only be his sixth start and he will be up against some battle hardened types here and this will tell us where he goes next.
Doncaster Rover was 2 lengths behind Equiano in this last year, however he finished behind both Genki and Iver Bridge Lad in the Group 3 Bengough Stakes at Ascot in October but he is further forward than this time last spring having been in Dubai, so he could be thereabouts however he may have preferred a bit of cut.

In conclusion, if Society Rock is on his game, and there is no reason to suppose he wont be, as the stable won this race with Zidane on his first run of the season in 2008 then he should be able to win and Genki should follow him home. Ladbrokes have priced him up at 9/2 which is good value and 15/2 can be had about Genki.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Redford back on the winning trail ?

You would have to think that Redford will have too many guns for his six rivals in the 6f Conditions Stakes at Thirsk. The winner of the Ayr Gold Cup will be out to get his season off to a winning start with bigger targets surely waiting on the horizon for him. Tom Queally has been booked to do the steering on his only ride at the track so they must mean business and Nicholls has also snapped up Fallon for Evens and Odds and it will be a interesting battle between those two. Hamish McGonagall and Tax Free are the only other two in it in my view and I'm not sure that the former will be able to sustain his usual front running tactics over 6f and will probably set the race up for Redford to win and he is available at 11/4.

The earlier 3yo Class 3 Handicap over 5f has a couple more Nicholls horses who look capable of  going close and I liked the way Sacrosanctus won last time out on the all weather and I can see no reason for not backing him in this at what could be an ew price with Ian Mongan riding. However we are bound to see some improved efforts from the others with Magnini having only his fourth start and there are 7 last time out winners in the field which has made the bookies go 5/1 about the fav.

The Grand National

Well I will take a little break from sprint racing to talk about the great race. The first two days have been fantastic stuff although I thought the jockeys went very fast in the Topham and a repeat of that could see a few disasters in the National, lets hope they've got it out of their system. A fantastic price for Master Minded and who knows we could have a challenger for Long Run next season although I would like to see him try 3 miles first.
The crowds have been immense on the first 2 days with records being broken and the big day itself has been sold out all week except for hospitality.
Who is going to win then, the old methods have now gone out of the window and we are seeing a different type of race as it grows back to its past stature in the racing calendar with better and better horses taking part every year.
The going is going to play a key part as they will all be tanking along from the start and jumping will need to be accurate and precise. Being in the front half of the field may be an advantage as there could be carnage to avoid if your out the back and as usual there will be no shortage of hard luck stories.
Everyone has their own fancy and we all have concrete reasoning at to why our selection should be winning, but as we know there can only be one winner and that is why we strive every year to unlock this intricate puzzle that keeps us fascinated and balanced on the edge of our seats.
I have not put much study into the race this year but I like a horse that has big stamina reserves built in within its breeding and in that respect I have in recent years looked closely at the dosage of the runners and combined that with virgins to the race and a few other things besides. How can I say a virgin to the race when we have just seen Always Waining win for the 2nd time over the fences in the Topham and we have had the likes of Red Rum in the past. Well simply because the two circuits make the National a bit different to the other races over the course and most horses that run in the National remember what the race is about and unless they've genuinely loved it like Red Rum they never seem to perform well enough again to win on a second or third visit.
I have backed three horses this time around, although I wouldnt encourage you to follow my selections, unfortunately one of those Northern Alliance is a Non Runner, I have also chosen Grand Slam Hero on the above process and have added to that Majestic Concorde who is completely the opposite on dosage but is trained by Dermot Weld who in my opinion if he sets out to win a race you can be sure that no stone has been left unturned and the horse will go there with every chance.
So the romance and the mystery will envelope us from the moment we wake up and we will all be willing on our selections and hoping aganist hope that they get round the first circuit and be close enough to make a challenge come the home straight.
Good luck everyone !

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Up a bit, down a bit - 7th April 2011

Hope all of you were on Lucky Numbers a 7/1 winner for the blog on Thursday afternoon.

This week saw the start of the turf flat season and at Musselburgh on Friday 1st April the Class 4 Handicap over 5f went to Nadeen who won by half a length from Verinco, the winner could be open to a bit of improvement and has only been raised 4lb as a result of this win. He had the best of the draw but didnt need to make use of it as he made his way home away from the rail. One we mentioned a lot last year was Oldjoesaid but he never obliged, however his stable have made a good start to the season and his 3rd placing here off 79 could give us some hope of a revival.

At Doncaster on Saturday The Cammidge Trophy over 6f went to Jimmy Styles by 1 1/4 lengths from Iver Bridge Lad, the second has of course since won during the week in taking fashion. Jimmy Styles has been bumped up 8lb for this to 107 and is reported to be going for the Abernant at Newmarket next. The one that caught my eye was Hitchens who ran on very well from the back to finish 4th and he remains on a mark of 102. Others to note were Royal Rock and Prime Defender who were both dropped 2lb to 103 and 107 respectively. Bated Breath got no sort of run and was nearly on the deck at one stage so this run can be forgotten for him.
Time of race - 1m 12.38s slow by 0.98

Trainers Post Race Comments

Chris Wall had this to say about Royal Rock on his website "He was a sick horse last spring and never quite got over it last year. Judged on his recent work, I thought he was in better shape going into this race and I was very pleased with the way he ran, particularly as I don’t think the race was run to suit him. The runners raced tightly against the stands rail and, from his high draw, George Baker found himself shuffled much further back than he wanted to be. As a result, he didn’t see much daylight until the final 1½f, which really wasn’t ideal as he is a horse that needs time to build up a bit of momentum. Once in the clear, he ran on well but was never going to peg the race-fit leaders back, eventually finishing 6th but only beaten around 4½ lengths. He certainly showed enough to tell us that he is back to something like his best. In terms of his next target, I have no firm plans at the moment but possibilities include the Abernant Stakes at Newmarket next week, although this may come a bit too soon for him, or a Group 3 in Germany towards the end of the month".
Barry Hills stable had this too say about Prime Defender "He was far too fresh and keen in his race following his winter break, and basically ran out of puff in closing stages. This race will have brought him on and the plan is to run him next at the Craven Meeting in the Abernant Stakes"
Roger Charlton said this about Bated Breath "Unfortunately it was one of those days when not much went right for Bated Breath, there was a lack of pace and being drawn one off the rails (13 of 14) there seemed to be little chance of getting any racing room after the field headed towards the stand rails. Several times he was stopped in his run and perhaps his lack of experience against a lot of battle hardened sprinters was noticeable. Hopefully he can bounce back in the future".

Peter Evans said this about Jack My Boy "He made a pleasing reappearance in the Cammidge Trophy at Doncaster and looks one worth following this season. He led to the furlong marker before fading but it was an encouraging run and we are hopeful of picking up a good handicap with him. He seems fully recovered from the setback he had last season".
David Nicholls - Lovelace "He ran well in the Cammidge, which was probably a little on the sharp side, but we wanted to get the rust off him, he'll win a good race this year".
Bryan Smart - Fitz Flyer  "Ran much too free and he struck into himself on his first run for me at Southwell. There's a conditions race at Musselburgh coming up which I won with Moorhouse Lad last season and should suit him. Big horse that wants decent ground." Handicappers blog comments "It’s hard to imagine that having been at Ayr to witness Jimmy Styles win the 2009 Ayr Gold Cup that it would be another eighteen months before he found his way back into the winner’s enclosure, writes Stewart Copeland. However he put that barren patch behind him in fine style with an impressive success in the 6f listed Cammidge Trophy at Doncaster on Saturday.

Always travelling well off the pace, he made his move over a furlong out before leading inside the last, winning by a length and a quarter from the consistent Iver Bridge Lad, with Brave Prospector a further length back in third.
The race itself was a somewhat messy affair, the field still in a heap against the stand rail two furlongs out and several meeting plenty of trouble in running when trying to improve their position, including the lightly raced favourite, Bated Breath.
That shouldn’t detract too much from Jimmy Styles’ performance though as this clearly signalled a return to the form he showed when winning the Ayr Gold Cup. As my colleague Graeme Smith touched on last week the use of standards is another tool we use in assessing races, along with form and time, and this running of the Cammidge looks at least on a par with what I’d usually expect.
Over the last five years the average figure for the winner has been around 107 – the notable exception being Les Arcs in 2006 who recorded a rating of 113 when the race was run at Redcar – and I’ve no reason to think that Jimmy Styles isn’t worthy of such a rating based on that historical evidence, and the form of the horses he beat on Saturday.
Rated 106 after winning the Ayr Gold Cup, this marginally represents a career best effort and his next port of call is reportedly the Abernant Stakes at Newmarket’s Craven meeting.

This weekend see's the return to the track in Australia of Black Caviar who is the worlds top rated racehorse according to the World Thoroughbred Rankings and she bids to extend her unbeaten winning run to 12 in Sydney. You may ask why do I keep going on about this horse, well if you look at some of the re runs of her wins you will see she is nothing short of phenomenal.