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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.