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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.