Friday, 29 July 2011

The Stewards Cup

The Stewards Cup is one of the highlights of the sprinting calendar and this years renewal looks a cracker with 28 runners set to go to the start. All the old favourites are in there and whether it be a slice of luck, the draw, the going or just plain class that wins the race we will know by 3.46pm tomorrow.

Macs Power takes the No 1 stall in the draw and will benefit from the fresh strip of the ground on the far side and James Fanshawe has had this to say about his chance in the last few days “He has come out of his latest run at Ascot well but I would have preferred a wet weather forecast rather than a dry one. He does like some give in the ground but they usually do a good job at Goodwood and he has some form on good to firm. As with all these big handicaps, everything can go right and then something goes wrong and you don’t win - you need an awful lot of luck for the equation to work out.” .

Hoof It deserves to be at the top of the handicap and favourite as he has won his races convincingly and they have a good draw in stall 18 sandwiched between Tajneed and Cape to Rio. Connections think he has a good chance and that he will act on the course and that this a stepping stone to Group races later in the season.

Edinburgh Knight could be an improving sort having only had 3 runs on the turf so far this season and his 3rd to Imperial Guest and Deacon Blues in May at Ascot beaten just half a length reads well. He won last time out at Newcastle quickening well to beat a Class 2 field and his trainer comments “I ran him back too quick at York because I wanted to get him in the Wokingham but it was a mistake I won't be making again," said the Newmarket handler. When he ran at Newcastle it showed he must be best fresh and he's going well. He's drawn 10 - the pace will be up the middle - and I wanted to be on the edge."

Pastoral Player was third in the other big summer sprint the Wokingham three lengths behind Deacon Blues and Waffle and Hughie Morrison summed up his chances as follows “I wanted an even number, which means you go in later, as he doesn't have a great reputation in the stalls, I'm happy to be on the wings. He ran a decent race at Newbury but maybe the drop back down to a big handicap from a stakes race might just suit him.It's worth a go as there aren't many £100,000 races around”

Colonel Mak is last seasons Ayr Silver Cup winner and he showed he was on the way back to form last time out when second to Quest for Success albeit he was beaten 1 ½ lengths by that rival. He is now only a pound higher than when he won at Ayr and Jamie Spencer has been booked by David Barron who was represented by Hitchens and Ingleby Lady in last years race.

At the start of the season Victoire De Lyphar would have been at the top of most people's list to win this but he didnt do very well in the Wokingham and his stable have had a spell in the doldrums, but that appears to be behind them now and we should expect an improved showing from him tomorrow as he is reported to have been working well at home and he is open to improvement.

Crown Choice won well at the course in May and connections have probably had this race in mind for a while, he ran a decent race in the Bunbury Cup too to finish 5th of 20 behind Brae Hill and he should be finishing to good effect and is a lively ew player.

Quest for Success also won well last time beating Colonel Mak and Fahey thinks ideally he would have preferred a little bit of rain for him, but he has booked top apprentice Lee Topliss who claims 3lb and lets hope he's not shouting “Your fired” after the race.

Kanaf is on a fair mark and he too won last time out and his trainer Ed Dunlop said recently “He won really well at Ascot and is another who will relish the fast ground, we came out early for the draw and opted to go stands side (in stall 20), but you want to be where the speed is and I was relieved to find that at least we have Nasri in our group. It's a lottery, but if you are not in you can't win."

Fathsta is another to consider with Silvester De Sousa up as he has finished 213 when on board and he seems to have the knack of getting the best out of him, that said he ran well last weekend for Tom Queally behind Hoof it when he finished 4th after not getting the clearest of passages through and he should run another solid race.
A very tricky and difficult race as you would expect for such a competitive handicap and you may get some clues re the draw from the consolation race earlier on the card. I am not going to plump for one horse and will stick with Kanaf, Colonel Mak and Fathsta each way.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Up a bit, down a bit - 28th July

Last week I mentioned that Secret Asset had been dropped 3lb to and he duly won the handicap on Tuesday at Goodwood at 14/1.

Skybet Supporting Yorkshire Racing Summer Festival Handicap Class 4 6f Good Doncaster

This went to Fast Shot by a length from York Glory with short head back to Shesastar in third. The winner has only had 11 starts to date and has been steadily improving for his trainer Tim Easterby and he is the sort who may stay ahead of the handicapper, although he has been raised 7lb to 78 for this effort. The time of the race was only 0.41 seconds outside standard and it was the closest to standard of the day and hopefully it should prove reliable form. The second had not been out of the first 3 in all seven starts and finished 2nd to Cinderkamp at Haydock and he is featured below after running third in a Class 2 at Newmarket, whilst the third had also won a couple of races. His jockey David Allan was quoted as saying after the race “Fast Shot did very well over the winter. He´s come back in good form and he is obviously improving as he had something to find with Shesastar. He is very tough and that is a big asset in a finish”.

Seddon Property Services Handicap Class 4 6f Good To Soft York

Toby Tyler took the spoils in this by 2 ½ lengths from Hotham with ¾ length back to Nomoreblondes in third with his trainer saying “he was unlucky last time at Hamilton, he was making his move when he got behind a wall of horses. He has been in training for well over a year now but he is in the form of his life so there is no point in giving him a break”. Of those behind Sonny Red finished 8th and was dropped 3lb by the handicapper to a mark of 74 and with the Nicholls stable coming back into form it shouldn't be long before he is running well. He was a running on second in last seasons Ayr Silver Cup behind Colonel Mak off a 15lb higher mark albeit his jockey was claiming 3lb. Green Park is now down to a mark of 77, he started the 3 of his wins at the end of last season off a mark of 76 before winning again off 82 and 88.

UTS Connor Sadler Handicap Class 4 5f Good To Soft Newcastle

Cayman Fox led at a good pace in this before Red Cape, Pavershooz and Rasaman came through to finish 1, 2, 3. The winner has gone up 5lb to 80, the second 4lb to 84 and the third remains on the same mark of 85. Behind Haajes finished 4th and has been dropped another 1lb to 75 and as I have said before it is only a matter of time before he wins and this was an improved effort from him as he ad Bedloe's Island and Doc Hay behind and he is now 8lb below his last winning mark. Cayman Fox finished second and first twice from 3 runs last August so she may be about to hit form.

Boylesports Mobile Handicap Class 2 6f Good Newmarket

This was a good field for this Class 2 3yo Handicap and it was won by David Elsworth's Swiss Dream by a length from Pabusar with a further half length back to Cinderkamp. The winner has gone up 6lb to 96, the second 3lb to 104 and the third 2lb to 88 and Swiss Dream lived up to her previous good runs and made all to win gamely. Barnet Fair once again didn't get a great start and in the circumstances he ran quite well to finish 4th and has been left on the same mark of 89 and What About You in fifth had been set some tough targets this year by his trainer and with the first time blinkers ran another good race.

Sky Bet Dash (Handicap) Class 2 6f Good York

This was won by Hoof It whom his trainer describes as a hell of a horse, very top class – likewise his jockey is also a big fan saying he has so much class it was a doddle for him and that he will make a Group sprinter before long. Some big statements indeed and even off top weight in the Stewards Cup he must have a favourites chance of winning that. He beat Tajneed here by ¾ of a length whom Dandy Nicholls had groaned pre race that he thought his horse was 10lb too high in the handicap and on this performance it shows that his horses are coming back to their best. Ginger Ted in third improved again on previous runs and continues his rise up the ladder for Richard Guest who has been doing that himself this season improving countless horses. Fathsta in 4th gave the form a solid look after running well in most of the big handicaps this season and was probably a little bit unlucky here having to be switched to make his run and he will be off bottom weight in the Stewards Cup on Saturday. There were others to note and out the back and several received some leniency from the handicapper with Befortyfour down 3lb to 84, R Woody down 2lb to 90, Singeur down 2lb to 94, Silaah down 2lb to 91, Mister Hughie down 2lb to 98, Midnight Martini down 3lb to 88 and Swilly Ferry down 3lb to 91. The latter had probably run his best race for a while in his run prior to this so we should keep an eye out for him as this may have been a blip.

Looking ahead to the Stewards Cup on Saturday it looks to be more competitive than ever and a few I like the look of at this stage are Kanaf (33/1), Colonel Mak (20/1) and Fathsta (25/1) and the booking of Jamie Spencer for Colonel Mak takes the eye. However there's no knowing what effect the draw will have on the race and you may even want to wait and see how the Silver Cup goes earlier in the afternoon before placing your bets. However I will try and have a more in depth look at the race tomorrow evening to try and narrow it down to a more manageable few.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Up a bit, down a bit - 20th July

The whole midweek racing programme has been so dire of late it's proving hard to come up with something to write about. This Saturday see's several decent races though with the likes of Hawkeyethenoo, Fathsta, Seal Rock, Barnet Fair and Hoof It to name but a few contesting the sprints up and down the country and they will provide the last few clues before Glorious Goodwood.

Onto last weeks racing and you may not believe this but I have already written this blog once this week but due to some technical issues the majority of the post was lost, so as a result I will only be covering a few races.

John Smith's Scottish Stewards' Cup (Handicap) Class 2 6f5y Good To Firm Hamilton
Quest for Success followed up his win at Ayr by winning this by 1 1/2 lengths from Colonel Mak with 3/4 of a length back to Roker Park. The winner has gone up 6lb as a result to a mark of 103 which is new ground for him with his best win coming off 99 previously although that was only in a 4 runner race. The stable are aiming for the Ayr Gold Cup now and the fact that he beat the Silver Cup winner from last season could be a good omen particularly as Colonel Mak himself was only1lb higher than when he won the Silver Cup and he is also related to the high class 2yo Frederick Engels who won the Windsor Castle at Royal Ascot. Third placed Roker Park had already won two races this season with the second of those last time out when he beat Star Rover in a Class 3 at Chester and all in all it was a good performance by the winner.

NGK Spark Plugs Conditions Stakes Class 3 5f Good To Firm Newmarket
Dinkum Diamond won this Class 3 Conditions Stakes by 1 1/2 lengths from Five Star Junior with half a length back to Piccadilly Filly. It was the third who caught the eye for me as she went off like a scalded cat in the first time visor and at one point she was 3 to 4 lengths up on the field before tying up as they went up one of the stiffest finishes in the country. She was 3rd in the Nunthorpe over Yorks flat 5f when 100/1 last season and at this stage she is the same price again and whose to say she couldnt finish in the first three at a big price again. Tamagin finished last of the seven and has been dropped 5lb by the handicapper to a mark of 95 which is the lowest he has been since 2007.

Betfred Handicap Class 3 5f Good To Firm Pontefract

Duchess Dora is at the top of her game at the moment and she won this by 2 1/4 lengths from Noodles Blue Boy and Whozthecat and when the female of the species get in form there's no knowing when they will stop. She beat a decent little field here and she's entered at Ascot on Sunday and Ryan Moore has been booked, she's gone up 7lb to 98 but whose to say in this form she cant win again. At the back of the field there were 3lb drops for Secret Asset and Tabaret the latter of which is well in on old form and he must strike form at some time even at the age of 8.

The BHA Handicapper provides a summary for Deacon Blues empatic win below :

Stewart Copeland explains his decisions behind an improving sprinter… With the dust barely settled on Dream Ahead’s thrilling success in the Darley July Cup, another contender threw his hat into the ring at Newbury on Saturday for top sprint honours this season.

Deacon Blues, successful in this year’s Wokingham at Royal Ascot, the same day his stable-companion Society Rock grabbed the bulk of the headlines when winning the Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes, took the transition from handicaps to pattern company in his stride at the Berkshire track.

Sent off 5-2 favourite in a competitive 10-runner field, which included last year’s Haydock Group 1 Betfred Sprint Cup winner Markab, Deacon Blues travelled powerfully throughout just off the pace before showing a smart turn of foot to burst clear inside the last, winning comfortably by two and three quarter lengths, with the 107-rated Jimmy Styles a further length and a quarter back in third.

Rated 107 after winning the Wokingham off 98, his performance in winning the Group 3 Shadwell Hackwood Stakes represents another major step forward in my view, and I’ve credited him with a rating of 117. This is above the average I’d normally expect for the race – and makes him the highest rated winner of it since it obtained Group status in 2006 - but such was the impressive nature of his win, I see no reason not to take a positive view of the form for now.

As for Markab this was a much more encouraging performance than his first two starts this year, though I have revised his rating from 118 to 116 to slot him behind Deacon Blues in the pecking order of the top sprinters.
The British 6f sprint scene has certainly begun to take shape these past few weeks with Dream Ahead currently leading the pack at 126, followed by Society Rock and Bated Breath, both at 118. Deacon Blues then comes next at 117, and even though Dream Ahead will be a tough nut to crack, he’s well worth a shot at Group 1 company on the form we saw at the weekend.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Up a bit, down a bit - 13th July

Well you may or may not have noticed that I have winded down my blog posts to nearly 1 a week simply because of the lack of interest shown. I am of course continuing to enjoy the profits my own selections and if I get any requests I may review some races in the future.

I will once again be producing a Master List of Sprinters to follow at the end of this flat season, however by way of a change it will not be posted for free on the blog.
If anyone is interested in receiving a copy then just let me know your email address in the comments box below or email me at and if I get enough responses to this post I will email you the details of how you can get a hold of copy in December/January.

I watched the magician Dynamo last night on watch, if you've never seen him then he is worth a view as he is very entertaining and will leave you baffled as to how he performs some of his tricks.

Anyway enough of that and onto last weeks review of the ups and downs of the handicapper.

We start with Pontefract on Tuesday 5th July 2011.
King Richard III Handicap Class 3 6f Good To Firm
It seems many years ago when Sean Connery was playing the lead role of James Bond in Thunderball and a horse of the same name as the title of that film won this Class 3 Handicap in a manner that suggests we are going to see a bit more of him in the future. He has already won 4 times this season and his mark has gone up 22lb(inc 7lb for this win) and here he beat Klynch (another 4 times winner this season) by 2 lengths with another 2 lengths back to the same stables My Kingdom in third ridden by Adrian Nicholls. The assistant to David Nicholls Scott Dixon said he had been crying out for a stiff six all season....I hope he meant the horse !! The winner is entered in the Stewards Cup for which he is a best priced 50/1, although he may not get in that.
Of those behind Haadeth has dropped 9lb since arriving with Fahey and he is due to run next on Monday at Ayr in  a 7f Handicap. Also Haajes is continuing his drop down the handicap (another 3lb here) and is now on a mark of 76 having won a Class 4 on Soft at York at the end of last season off a mark of 83. He is entered on Sunday at Redcar and if the rains do arrive it would put him in with a shout. Exchange Price Multiples Handicap Class 4 6f Standard Kempton
James Fanshawe has been doing well here of a Wednesday evening of late and Great Acclaim added to his tally by taking this by a length from Desert Strike. This was the winners fifth start in total and the handicapper has put him up 5lb for this to a mark of 80 which he should still be capable of improving from at this 6f trip. His trainer has commented that he is much stronger this year.

Three Chimneys Handicap Class 3 5f Good Newmarket
First time blinkers often have the desired effect and they did so here in no uncertain terms when Murura won this Class 3 by 2 3/4 lengths from Whozthecat with several other speedsters behind. The winner is related to Topkamp (top rating 106) and Morinqua (top rating 96) and was off 75 here and he has now been whacked up 11lb to a mark of 86. Fol Hollow has dropped another 2lb to 84 (beat Captain Dunne of 93 last season) and anyone interested in claiming a sprinter could do no worse than getting him for £10,000 this week coming.

James Taylor Group Handicap Class 3 6f Good Ascot
Kanaf is a short enough name to call out from the stands and no doubt his supporters were doing just that here as he won by 1 1/2 lengths from Bravo Echo. The winner has been raised 6lb to a mark of 95 and holds an entry in the Stewards Cup for which he is a best priced 33/1. Trained by Ed Dunlop he commented afterwards "Kanaf picks up a 6lb penalty for the Stewards Cup at Goodwood and while he is not yet committed to that sprint, it was good to see him recapture the form he showed last summer". King of Eden seemed to run with a bit more spark here and he remains on the same mark of 87, whilst Dorback has been dropped 2lb to 86, Elna Bright 2lb to 82(watch for return to AW) and Olynard 3lb to 74. Stakes (Heritage Handicap Class 2 3yo 6f Good Newmarket
Several of these had run in the big 3yo sprint up at York however Coeus was not one of them and he won this in grand style by 1 1/4 lengths from the winner of that York race Lexi's Hero. This was only his seventh start and he has been raised 7lb to a mark of 95 from which you could see him figuring from on the way he won this, although over what distance he runs next is anyone's guess. Several of those behind ran well and its another race to keep a close eye on as the form unfolds over the next few weeks. Murbeh, Desert Law, St Augustine, Barnet Fair, Swiss Dream and Forjatt are all worth keeping watch for.

Ritz Club Handicap Class 2 5f Good Ascot
Medicean Man got back on the winning trail for his first win since he had won here in May 2010. The handicapper hadnt shown him much respite as in that time he'd had 10 more races and was still 7lb higher than his last winning mark. Still he won here and is now up another 5lb to a mark of 101 and this course seems to bring out the best in him and being a hold up performer you cant say he couldnt do the same again off his revised rating. A stalwart behind Cheveton has been dropped 3lb to a mark of 87 and he's getting back to a nice mark for when the ground eases. Mister Manannan was dropped 5lb to a mark of 95 which is generous for a David Nicholls inmate, he has been highly tried and this could be just what he needs to get him back to the boil.

There were many other races I could look at but I havent got all day and the July Cup is summed up nicely below.

Here are the thoughts of the handicapper on last weeks July Cup:

Stewart Copeland on a very special day…

For a horse unbeaten at the trip, including two Group One wins, Dream Ahead still seemed to have his doubters over the merit of those successes leading up to this year’s 6f Group One Darley July Cup, but he silenced them in fine style on Saturday. Combine that with Hayley Turner’s first, and well-deserved, success at Group One level, and it was certainly a day to remember for those fortunate enough like myself to be at Newmarket’s July course.

His impressive win proved beyond doubt that Dream Ahead could well prove to the best British sprinter we’ve seen for a good few years, and I’m already looking forward to seeing him run in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville and the Haydock Sprint Cup, all being well.

Like the Golden Jubilee this year’s renewal of the July Cup didn’t quite boast the strong international challenge we’ve become accustomed to, but it still represented the pick of this year’s European 6f sprint form, with the notable exception of the Golden Jubilee winner, Society Rock.

Looking at the race beforehand the obvious pace looked likely to come from Libranno, drawn one, and it was no surprise when the field tacked over to the stands side early on. Always well placed just behind the pace, Dream Ahead travelled noticeably strongly throughout, and from 2f out it looked a case of when, not if, he would make his decisive move to win. Briefly short of room behind the hanging Bated Breath a furlong out, he was soon steered around him and powered to the front, winning readily by a half a length from the aforementioned rival.

Looking at the race as a whole it’s fair to say that those drawn high were clearly at a disadvantage, but there’s enough solid form amongst those drawn low to say that this renewal of the July Cup was well up to scratch. I eventually took the view that Dream Ahead ran to a mark of 120 on the bare form, but given the impressive nature of his success I’ve no hesitation in leaving him at his current rating of 126.

Of the rest, the progressive Bated Breath, back on his favoured sound surface, improved his rating from 113 to 118, whereas in third, a further length and a half back, Hitchens returned a career-best effort of 114. In fourth was the pace-setting Libranno who I have running to 111, reflecting the fact he would probably have finished a touch closer but for being short of room when Bated Breath hung towards the rail. He remains unchanged on 112.

One further horse who definitely merits a mention though is Delegator. Drawn worst of all in stall seventeen, he ran a cracking race to finish on the heels of the placed horses given his position away from the pace, and a far from trouble-free passage as well. Currently rated 112 after his win in the Duke of York, I have him running to 111 here, and it’ll be surprising if he doesn’t improve on those figures in the months ahead. It’s worth remembering he was rated as high as 121 as a three-year-old and he, more than most, may give Dream Ahead most to think about on the European sprint scene.

Friday, 8 July 2011

The July Cup

This is probably the UK's premier sprint although other countries, such as Australia, would say that it's only a fair race compared to their own sprint programme.

The draw seemed to play a role in todays 6f sprint with the first 6 of the 18 runner field being drawn 14, 15, 16, 12, 6 and 18 and the top 6 of the draw in  the 17 runner field tomorrow are as follows :
17 - Delegator - 4/1
16 - Winker Watson - 66/1
15 - Swiss Diva - 50/1
14 - War Artist - 20/1
13 - Dalghar - 18/1
12 - Oracle - 25/1
Delegator could therefore get it all his own way up front on the far rail and he looks sure to be in command and his trainer had this to say about him earlier this week :
"His preparation has gone very well and I think that six furlongs is the best distance for him now. He has the natural speed to be a sprinter and also possesses a good turn of foot. He runs well when fresh and he is one of our top horses. He was going to be my best chance at Royal Ascot and now he will be running on more suitable ground hopefully. It would be good to see him win. He did not show his best form last year, either when working or on the track, because of problems but this year he is 100 per cent sound and healthy - a different horse. Physically he has improved a lot and mentally he is much better. It will not be easy to win a Group One - you need everything to go right in a six-furlong race - but he is doing really well and I am looking forward too seeing him run another big race."
The other main protagonist is Star Witness following his two good runs at Royal Ascot and he maybe primed now to step up and his trainer and jockey seem confident of another good show from his number 10 stall. Bated Breath, Dream Ahead and Elzaam are all good enough to be bang there should there be any failings from Delegator and Star Witness.

Up a bit, down a bit - 6th July

This week there are a few examples of trainers trying out their horses in better races and being subsequently hiked up the ratings for running well and yet winning little money for their efforts and thereby being restricted in where they can run next because of their ratings increase.

British Stallion Studs E.B.F./ Park Suite Fillies' Handicap Class 3 6f Good To Firm Pontefract
Sioux Rising won here by a head from Desert Poppy with another head back to Favourite Girl in third and Entitled in fourth. The latter although drawn on the outside was slightly dissapointing following her good run previously and you would have expected her to do better in this and it is hoped this was just a blip. The winner was winning off her highest mark of 89 and it was her first win for 2 years although she had been running well on the AW. She has gone up 3lb probably because she made use of a stall 2 draw, whereas the second who was drawn widest of all in 12 goes up 2lb to 89 and she has run a couple of good races now on the bounce so maybe capable of going one place better soon. Mosaicist didnt really fire here after looking good at Kempton and the stable think the track was the reason for the poor show although she was walloped with a 10lb rise for her Kempton win and has been dropped a pound now. Handicap Class 4 5f6y Good Sandown
Ritual made it 4 wins on the bounce on his first start back in 2011 for Jeremy Noseda by winning this handicap by a length from Night Affair with the improved Doc Hay, who remains capable of better, back in third. He is favourite for a very competitive Class 2 Handicap at Ascot on Saturday and although he looks capable of further improvement on this showing he may however be biting off more than he can chew as he's up against the likes of Macs Power. He has gone up 7lb for this win to a mark of 90 and he is a sprinter to follow whatever happens on Saturday and his trainer had this to say afterwards "It's just been niggling foot problems which have kept him off the track. It's great to see him back and that was a nice surprise as I didn't think he was fit enough to win today. We'll take a look at the Steward's Cup but he may have to go up a bit to get in."  Race Time : 1m 1.27s

Aarca Sales Recruitment 10 Year Anniversary Handicap Class 4 6f Good To Firm Warwick
Barkston Ash got back on the scoresheet after his below par run at Chester due to him not acting on the track and he remains one to watch in Handicap company. He beat Restless Bay by 3/4 of a length with a further neck to Close to the Edge and he has gone up 4lb for his efforts to a mark of 79. Conditions Stakes Class 3 6f Good To Firm Haydock
Although High Standing won this race his rating has dropped by 2lb which is in contrast to Fitz Flyer who finished 1 1/2 lengths back in third who has been raised 5lb to 95. Ok that they've finished third in a Class 3 Conditions Stakes but connections have only picked up £1,211.00 and it would probably have been better keeping his mark and trying to win a handicap for which he would have got a similar penalty but would have won more money and he is a gelding after all.

Coral Charge (Registered As The Sprint Stakes) (Group 3) 5f6y Good To Firm Sandown
Similarly in this both Beyond Desire and Humidor in finsihing 2nd and 3rd have both been raised 11lb's each to marks of 103 and 104 and one wonders what connections of Humidor were thinking as although theyve finished 3rd in a Group 3 they only won £5,380.00 and now may struggle if reverting back to handicap company. As it was both made the best of the good draws that they had like the winner Night Carnation and the only good thing is they have both probably gaurenteed themselves a run in the Stewards Cup for which they are entered. Race Time : 59.68s

Below are the Handicappers comments taken from the BHB's excellent site for last weeks sprint racing :

The most prestigious sprint race during the last racing week was the Group 3 Coral Charge Sprint on the Eclipse card at Sandown and it was won by the Andrew Balding trained Night Carnation.

As ever on the 5 furlong course at Sandown the field raced up the far rail and a low draw looked preferable – in this field of 10 runners the first three home came out of stalls 2, 3 and 1. The 2nd (Beyond Desire) and 3rd (Humidor) came into the race with the lowest official ratings of 92 and 93 respectively so their prominent finishes must cast an element of doubt over the form. Despite that I feel the winner is a sprinter of some quality and, in taking this by 1¾ lengths going away, I have her running to a figure of 108+. This is the same figure she achieved when winning a C&D handicap off a mark of 99 earlier in the season and her revised rating will be 109. This means that Beyond Desire records a figure of 103 and Humidor records 104 – I intend to move both to an official rating in line with what they ran to in this race but I do have in the back of my mind that both may have been a touch flattered. Interestingly the historical level of this race over the last 5 years has the winner running to an average of 108.

The most memorable sprint race of the week for many people would have been the 4.10 at Yarmouth on Thursday which was won by the ever popular 14-year old The Tatling. He won his first race in July 1999 – a 2yo Maiden race also at Yarmouth. Amazingly enough he went from winning a Claiming race in July 2002 to winning the Group 3 King George Stakes at Goodwood in July 2003 and on to winning the Group 2 Kings Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2004. He also managed to finish 2nd three years running in the Group 1 Nunthorpe at York – getting within a head of taking the prize in the 2005 race. Plying his trade at a far lower level nowadays he lined up at Yarmouth in a handicap running off a mark of 60 but he still managed to produce his customary late burst to take the prize by 1 length and thereby record his 17th career victory. His revised rating will be 65 and with his enthusiasm intact I would hope (and expect) that he remains competitive from that mark

Thursday, 7 July 2011

What planet are you on ???

I know what planet Im on and it runs in the 1.50 at Newmarket....yes you've guessed it, its New Planet !
His last run was in the very competive 6f sprint at York the Class 2 Bond Tyres Trophy Stakes on 11th June where he finished 6th of the 20 runners from stall 20 off topweight of 9-7. That was a big ask as the highest weight carried to success in the race since 1980 was when Sheikh Albadou lumped 9-3 when beating Adwick Park by 4 lengths. Tomorrow New Planet gets a little bit of respite as Dale Swift takes off a valuable 5lb and this gives him a bit in hand of those who finished both in front and behind him that day. For instance the winner there Lexi's Heros is now 11lb worse off for the 2 3/4 lengths he beat the selection by and New Planet was doing his best work in the final furlong, so he looks sure to appreciate the stiff finish here. I am not saying he is going to win as it is a very competitive race as you would expect for a Class 2 Handicap worth £62,250.00 at Newmarket, but he is a value 16/1 with a few firms and that must be worthy of a little ew money whilst you can get it.

Another interesting runner tomorrow in the 7.10 at Chester is Albany Rose who has been entered more times of late than a Bangkok hooker !!.....and it will be interesting to see how she gets on as she is 6lb well in according to the handicapper.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

July Cup Comments

Here are some of the comments of the connections of the leading fancies for this weekends July Cup at Newmarket :
BATED BREATH - The plan is for him to run in the July Cup and were looking forward to seeing how he gets on. Weve always liked him and I was delighted with his victories at Haydock and Windsor earlier in the season. I thought he ran well in the Golden Jubilee last time out at Royal Ascot even though the ground was against him. He's a young horse who is still improving and is in good form at home. Weve yet to finalise riding plans but I'd imagine Steve Drowne will be back on board after missing Ascot due to injury.
DALGHAR - He's high class and definitely got a big race in him. You can put a line through his last run at Ascot because he was drawn on the wrong side. Before that he travelled best of all at York, but it was his reappearance and he needed it. He's fit now and I'd love to see him on faster ground.
DELEGATOR - He won nicely at York and he came back really well, in good condition, sound and healthy from that race. He worked five days ago over six furlongs on the Limekilns Short gallop at Newmarket and he was impressive when going away from his lead horse on grass - that gave me a good feeling. Today he had his last piece of work before the Darley July Cup, a three furlong blow-out on our Snailwell gallops on grass.I'm happy with Delegator and so far he is doing really well - he missed Royal Ascot because the ground was too soft for him. I think we will get better ground at Newmarket on Saturday - good to firm would be ideal for him. Six furlongs is probably going to be the best trip for him. He was second in the 2,000 Guineas two years ago but his work in the morning shows that he is more of a sprinter than a miler. He came from behind to win at York over six furlongs last time and he remains at that distance on Saturday. We will keep our options open for the future. It will not be easy to win a Group 1 - you need everything to go right in a six furlong race - but he is doing really well. Ideally, I would like him to sit just off the pace and thencome through because he has a good turn of foot.
GENKI - He has been a very good horse for us over the years and has raised his game again this season. He won a Stewards Cup for us in 2009 off a mark of 96 and is now rated 110 having won the Listed Abernant and the Group 3 Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle this season. We intend running him in the July Cup and he needs to improve again. I thought he ran respectably in the Golden Jubilee but the ground was a slight issue and he didnt get much cover. He's come out of his last race well and appears to be in good form at home.
STAR WITNESS - An Australian-trained horse has never won the July Cup, so we're going in there very aware it has been a bridge too far for the Australians in the past, but naturally it's a challenge and we'd like to be the first to win it. Actually, he's every bit as good as he was on Jubilee day. That (King's Stand) was part of his preparation for the Jubilee and obviously we were still hoping to win that, but he came out of the King's Stand in great order and ran very well on the Saturday without conditions really being in his favour. He's had three weeks since and really enjoyed the environment. He certainly hasn't gone backwards.

WAR ARTIST - He will run in Newmarket, that is the plan. He was fifth at Royal Ascot and that was a good run. He had a long break after Dubai in March; that’s a long time to the King’s Stand Stakes, so he did well. We hope that he can win the Darley July Cup but he is eight years old. We are hoping for fast ground; we don’t want any soft ground, so no rain between now and Saturday would be perfect. Mr Plersch sent the horse to me in April and I have been very happy with him. He will be my first runner at Newmarket and we are hopeful that he will run very well.
WINKER WATSON - He seems to have come out of that race nicely. He’s very fresh and well so I’m hoping he will be spot on for Saturday. He’s done it on the track before but he has to do it again now.
He may have been off to stud but I haven’t trained him any differently, I only know one way to train them. Peter Chapple-Hyam had him before and they all seemed to love him there. He’s such a smashing horse to deal with; great temperament and just a great horse to have around. He has got to step up again but he’ll strip fitter, that’s for sure. He would certainly have been a Group One horse as a two-year-old, so why not now? He’s as good as we could possibly have him and I’m hoping he will be good enough to win, but we will take whatever comes along. Some people complained that he didn’t look right in his back but we have never had a problem with him, he’s never been lame while we have had him and we will get on and train him. He’s a racehorse and we will try to win races with him.
DREAM AHEAD - Hopefully we'll get a continued spell of rain so he can run in the July Cup, which was always his preferred target. The long-term plan is still to run him in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville on August.
ELZAAM - He will have to please me next week if he is to run in the July Cup. He had quite a hard race at Royal Ascot and I would say he's only a possible at this moment in time.

On another note -
Just to let you know in advance I will once again be producing a Master List of Sprinters to follow at the end of this flat season, however by way of a change it will not be posted for free on the blog.
If anyone is interested in receiving a copy then just let me know your email address in the comments box below or email me at and if I get enough responses to this post I will email you the details of how you can get a hold of copy in December/January.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Order your Sprinterstogo Master List for 2012 now !!

Just to let you know in advance I will once again be producing a Master List of Sprinters to follow at the end of this flat season, however by way of a change it will not be posted for free on the blog.
If anyone is interested in receiving a copy then just let me know your email address in the comments box below or email me at and if I get enough responses to this post I will email you the details of how you can get a hold of copy in December/January.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Up a bit, down a bit - 28th June Handicap Class 4 - 5f - Standard - Kempton
This was won by Mymumsaysimthebest  by 2 lengths from Best Trip but it was Brynfa Boy in 3rd that caught the eye staying on strongly having not had the best of runs until into the straight and he has been dropped a 1lb to 75. He's still on a mark higher than he has ever won off but he has only had 20 races to date so could still be open to some further improvement.

Betdaq Mobile Apps Fillies' Handicap Class 4 - 6f - Standard - Kempton
Hallelujah had the worst of the draw in stall 9 and her jockey was content to sit out the back and was still last with just over a furlong to go before being produced with a telling turn of foot on this just her second race in total and her first of this season to win on the line. The trainer thinks she is a lovely prospect and she will be kept to handicaps and her own sex for as long as possible.

Bet On Live Tennis At Handicap Class 4 - 5f - Soft - Carlisle
This was run on Soft and just went to Le Toreador by a short head from Bedloe's Island who got a little bump by the 4th otherwise I think he would have won. The 1st has gone up 4lb to 86, the 2nd 3lb to 77 and the 3rd Valery Borzov 3lb to 85 and Doc Hay who was running all over them behind went on to win by 3 lengths at Hamilton off the same mark of 75 the following night. Valery Borzov was well in on old ratings having been in the hundreds 2 years ago and ran his best race for a little while, he holds an entry in the Stewards Cup but probably wont get in that.

Warwick Music Night August 23rd Handicap Class 5 - 3yo - 5f - Good To Firm - Warwick
Albany Rose is another to have showed an improved level of form of late and has been raised a total of 15lb by the handicapper for winning here and 2 other races in the space of 4 days, this being the middle leg of the three. She is entered to run again on 7th July at Newmarket having held 8 entries over the weekend without taking up any of those options. She won by 3 lengths here and 5 lengths at Windsor the following night and whose to know when her improvement will come to an end and she will be running off a mark of 74 at Newmarket and the stable will be hoping the going remains fast.

Weatherbys Bloodstock Insurance Handicap Class 4 - 6f - Good To Firm - Warwick
Serena's Pride just won this from Stevie Gee by a head, the winner may go on from this but I personally thought that Stevie Gee was unlucky as he was staying on well at the end and this was his first run without the headgear for a while, if he steps up a furlong he could get back in the winners enclosure.

Deloitte Gosforth Park Cup (Handicap) Class 2 - 5f - Good To Soft - Newcastle
Always a competitive sprint this was no exception and it went in the end, and relatively easily too, to the 7yo Ancient Cross by 1 3/4 lengths from Noodles Blue Boy with a short head back to Verinco. He obviously has no trouble with a bit of cut and off topweight here you wouldnt put it passed him winning again off his new mark of 101 having been raised 6lb as this was a very good performance and impressed clock watchers. The handicapper didnt alter the ratings of too many behind as they all finished in a bit of a heap.

TurfTV Handicap Class 4 - 5f - Good To Firm - Newmarket
Medici Time had won at York beating Magical Macey and Ancient Cross and when the latter won at Newmarket earlier in the evening there was little doubt that he was going to run well here and he did just that. He was out the back and was produced with a run down the outside, he was going best of all come the end and won by a neck from Lujeanie. He's gone up another 5lb to 89 and this was the highest mark he'd won off so its not going to be easy and you would imagine he will need everything to fall just right, but tht said he should continue to run well. Of those behind Taurus Twins didnt get the best of runs and he remains of interest.

Trafford Centre Summer Fashion Handicap Class 3 - 5f16y - Soft - Chester
With the going soft it was not going to the breakneck pace we normally see round these bends but Foxy Music tried his best not to let us down and set a decent clip and set the race up for Duchess Dora who finished well to win by 1 3/4 from Foxy Music. The winner has been raised 6lb to a mark of 91 which is still 6lb lower than what she was running off last season and on this performance you could envisage her winning again, although she had the assistance of the talented 5lb claimer Lee Topliss here. Lost in Paris did well from stall 9 considering he was wide for most of the race and was shouldering topweight and he stayed on well late and is left on the same mark of 87 and on a more conventional track he should go well again and he is entered at Newmarket on 7th July. Chipchase Stakes (Group 3) - 6f - Good To Soft - Newcastle
This was a decent little race and Genki prevailed by just a head from Doncaster Rover with 2 lengths back to the third Regal Parade. I was taken with Winker Watson who hadnt run for 2 years and he ran a gopd race here, albeit he was a bit flat in the middle when they quickened up, but he stayed on again and he was only 3 1/4 lengths behind the winner at the line. The handicapper has dropped him 6lb for the run and he is now on a mark of 97 which would give him a decent chance of winning in a lesser race but whether he is allowed to do that as he was returning from stud duties here is unknown.
Totescoop6 Handicap Class 2 - 6f - Good To Soft - Newcastle
Edinburgh Knight had only finished half a length behind Imperial Guest at Ascot when he was just caught for second by Deacon Blues the subsequent Wokingham winner. He then ran just 6 days later in another competitive handicap where he finished down the field and that race must have come too soon as here some 6 weeks later he was able to win this Class 2 handicap by a length from Everymanforhimself and Johannes. He is a horse that needs to be produced late so its always going to be a bit of a gamble for him to get there, but as long as he has a decent break between his races he is likely to get the strong pace he needs in the better races and with only 15 races to date he remains open to improvement. Of those behind Singeur who has been running well of late over 5f shouldnt be long in returning back to the winners enclosure if put back to 5f.

Bet On Live Tennis At Handicap - Class 2 - 6f - Good - Windsor
This went to Norville by a length from the running on Medicean Man, the latter was on the outside of the winner who drifted to the right once in the final furlong and in my view interrupted Addictive Dream's run through otherwise he would have finished closer. The latter certainly looked good when he won at Ripon and it is unlikely we have seen the best of him just yet and he is another entered in the Stewards Cup. Medicean Man had the worst of the draw though in stall 16 but he still managed to perform with great credit against Norville who made it 2-2 here and it looks like his turn cant be that far away and he is also entered in the Stewards Cup for which he is 25/1. There were several drops in the handicap for the also rans and notably for Lui Rei 2lb to 97, Fathsta 2lb to 94 and Cheveton 3lb to 90.

Bet totepool On All UK Racing Handicap Class 5 - 6f - Good - Windsor
This blog had highlighted Questionnaire's run when she won at Chepstow and she duly followed up here albeit she had the best of the draw up the stands rail. She probably has a bit more improvement to come as she tends to fight for her head a little in the early stages but she keeps up a relentless gallop in her races and runs all the way to the line. She has gone up 8lb here but that only puts her on 73 and on the showing of her 2 wins to date there is every chance she will complete the hat trick.