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Friday 11 May 2012

Up a bit, down a bit - 10th May 2012

We start off this week by looking back at what happened the week before because I took a little time out last week in the Lake District.

On the 23rd April at Pontefract Seal Rock beat Mirza by a length over 6f in the Class 2 handicap with the veteran Tajneed back in third. With the gorund being so soft its hard to know what to make of any form at the moment and it's going to be difficult picking winners over the following weeks. In behind there were drops in the handicap for Nicholls Victoire De Lyphar down 4lb to 95, Wildcat Wizard down 3lb to 85 and Nasri down 2lb to 95. Nicholls has said that none of his are firing at the moment and we will just have to wait until he comes into form but in the meantime watch their handicap marks get reduced.
At Epsom on 25th April it was heavy going and the fast 5f Class 3 handicap was won by Cadeaux Pearl by a length from Taajub with Taurus Twins a further length back in third. The winner was raised 7lb to 90 and recorded a topspeed figure of 89 in the process, whilst the second was raised 3lb to 92 and recorded a topspeed figure of 92 from his poor draw in stall 1. Certainly the second, if he gets a better draw, could be capable of a good show in the dash in June.
At Kempton on the AW the 4yo Mon Amie Jolie beat Twice Red by a length and in doing so recorded a topspeed figure of 80 from his handicap mark of 69 and as a result he has been raised 6lb to 75 so should still be ahead of the handicapper.
On the 27th Pearl Secret showed that he is a decent horse in the making by winning Class 3 handicap at Doncaster by 4 1/2 lengths from Lupo D'oro and he now looks set to run in all the big 3yo sprints. The handicapper was certainly impressed as he has been raised 16lb to 101.

This last week started off with Bartolemue winning a Class 4 handicap at Wolverhampton by 3 lengths from Stoute's Pivotal gelding Uprise with a head back to the third Homeward Strut. The winner who is trained by Marco Botti was put up 9lb for this performance and there is every chance he can continue to improve from his new rating of 89. Later in the week his trainer commented "He has ability and won a Lingfield maiden over 7f, although he ran a bit free so we are dropping him back to 6f as he has a lot of natural speed. His rating of 80 looks a fair mark and we wanted to avoid the heavy ground".
At Kempton on 2nd May Gusto took the Listed Pavillion Stakes which was rerouted from Ascot. He managed to do so by 3/4 of a length from Bannock and the handicapper reviewed the race as follows :
The hard work put in by the BHA Racing Department in rearranging Ascot’s flooded off fixture to Kempton saved what turned out to be an above average renewal of the the Blue Square Ascot Pavilion Stakes says Stewart Copeland.

It looked a strong race beforehand as the average winning rating of the race over the last decade has been 106 and three of the field had already surpassed that level beforehand.
Indeed those three fought out the finish with the admirable Gusto trained by Richard Hannon claiming his third Listed success this year and his fourth in total.

The race itself was a somewhat messy affair as a modest early gallop meant a position close to the pace was probably crucial. Gusto was well positioned throughout and despite being headed a furlong out by Bannock, he dug deep and rallied in fine style, coming home just under a length clear of that rival.
Rated 110 going into the race, Gusto’s defeat of the 109 rated Bannock at level weights is worth 111 thus giving a minor adjustment to his rating as I believe Bannock replicated his fine effort of 109 in the European Free Handicap.

However it is worth highlighting the run of the third, Burwaaz, given that little went right for him on the day. Too keen early off the modest pace, he then suffered trouble in running in the straight, before finishing strongly into third.

It was an even more meritorious performance when you consider that the bit slipped through his mouth which hardly helped his cause.

Burwaaz was rated 109 after some excellent efforts in Pattern Races as a two year old. Although his performance at Kempton was only 104, he looks sure to be capable of 109 or better later in the season. As for Gusto he is reportedly being aimed at the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot. As he has already shown winning form at 7 furlongs this season, it seems a logical target to aim him at.

At Doncaster on 5th May Farlow got his season back on track by winning the Class 3 handicap over 6f by beating Summerinthecity by half a length with a further half length back to Beckermet. The winner has been raised 3lb to 89 for this and his trainer Ralph Beckett commented since "He had plenty of boot at two and three but was immature and has done well physically from three to four. He didn’t look obviously well handicapped but won at Doncaster on Saturday, where he got a really good tow into the race and was always going to be hard to pass once he got to the front. I’d love to think he would make up into a Wokingham or Stewards’ Cup horse, but he’ll need to win again".
Out the back were Marine Commando and Ginger Ted and both were dropped 2lb apiece to 88 and 83 respectively.
In the maiden beforehand Roger Varian's Shahzan won over the same course and distance in a time o.43 seconds faster than Farlow and he was carrying 12lb more in weight and in doing so recorded a topspeed figure of 90 so it will be interesting to see what mark he is eventually alotted. In second a half length behind was Rae Guests Milika.

Over at Newmarket Mayson continued his rise up the sprinting ranks by taking the Palace House Stakes by 3/4 of a length from the proven mudlark Definightly with Brian Meehan's Elusivity back in third. Going with the latter first he reocrded a topspeed figure of 109 and therefore he has been raised 12lb from 95 to 107 and he can obviuosly hold his own in this company. The winner clocked his best ever effort and he looks open to further improvement having won with a bit in hand. Afterwards Fahey said Today's 5f is a bare minimum for him and he will be back up to 6f from now on. He'll definitely go for the Duke of York and I'll enter him for the July Cup, but he'll have to win at York to go there. But how did he get beat in the Ayr Gold Cup ? I thought he was a certainty there off a mark of 100, but he was probably a bit fresh and it went pear shaped".
Caledonia Lady ran another good race in 6th and once again ran on when meeting the rising ground. Astrophysical Jet is down 3lb to 94, Stepper Point down 2lb to 106 and Jonny Mudball down 3lb to 102.