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Sunday 20 May 2012

Up a bit, down a bit - 20th May 2012

This week I will start with the 3yo Al Rayan handicap run at Newmarket on 5th May 2012 which I missed out last week but as Mince won off his 6lb higher mark yesterday I thought I best revisit it.

That race was run in a time of 1m 16.03s on going officially described as Good to Soft, the winner was Robert Eddery's Red Clubs colt Red Quartet who beat Mince by half a length, who was considered to be a little unlucky, with 2 lengths back to Hannon's Democretes. Red Quartet has gone up 7lb to a mark of 88, whilst Mince went up 6lb to a mark of 91. The third went up 1lb to 88 and the 4th Richard Fahey's Personal Touch, who was 4lb out of the handicap, went up 5lb to 87. Robert Eddery said after the race of Red Quartet "He ran well over seven at Newbury last time and I knew he´d be more effective over six here. I would hope he could go to Royal Ascot".
Mince had previously been beaten just a nose by Ballesteros at Haydock last October when Ballesteros was rated 88 and Mince 76. Ballesteros has won twice already this season off marks of 93 at Sandown, when beating Bear Behind by a neck, and 99 at Chester, when beating Sonko by 2 1/2 lengths. Bear Behind is 20/1 for the Dash at Epsom and is rated 104 for which Ballesteros, who is now rated 107 is 12/1.
Hurry Up George was rated 99 for this and was therefore carrying 17lbs more than Mince, he managed to finish 5th.

On Sunday 6th May Maarek won the Class 2 Qatar Racing Handicap over 6f at Newmarket by a neck from Charles Hills Shropshire, with topweight Colonel Mak and Parisian Pyramid in third and fourth. The second has been raised 5lb to 95, the third 1lb to 105 and the 4th remains on 91. The going was slightly better than the day before according to the "going stick" but the time of the race was exactly 2 seconds faster so should be form to follow.
Pre race David Nagle, trianer of Maarek had said "He's in good old order over here and though this is the highest calibre race he's run in he's an improving sprinter. With an ease in the ground he wont be far away, so were hopeful the few showers that are forecast will come".
Charles Hills said on his website "Shropshire couldn't have done anymore and was just nosed out of it in the 6f handicap. Hopefully he won't be too harsly treated for this effort and we could have lots of fun with him this season" - he has since run a stinker at York off his old mark of 90 ? who knows what happened there.
In behind there were notable drops for Fathsta 2lb to 88(won off 102 and 94 and trianer thinks he can be competitive off new mark), Bathwick Bear 3lb to 87 and Victoire De Lyphar 3lb to 92.

On Monday 7th May Bryan Smarts Exceedance won by 5 lengths at Kempton and in doing so broke the 5f track record off a mark of 79, he has now been raised 14lb to 83. In doing so he recorded a topspeed figure of 97, so in theory is still well ahead of the handicapper on his new mark. The trainer commented recently in his stable interview for the weekender "He ran in three good races last year winning the third of them. I have been very happy with him over the winter and wasn't in the slightest suprised to see him win on his return to action at Kempton on Monday. He bolted up by 5 lengths and smashed the track record in the process. I couldn't tell you what we will do next as the handicapper will determine that when he reasseses him. I a very pleased with him and hope we can go on from there as he is an exciting prospect".

Tioman Pearl for Roger Varian was another to record a 5 length win at Windsor on the same day, beating Courtland Avenue in the process. The handicapper once a gain took a dim view as he has been raised a whopping 18lb but he was 4.98 seconds outside standard so was that justified compared to Exceedance ?.....only time will tell.

At Chester on 8th May Confessional took advantage of his good draw to win by 3/4 of a length from Foxy Music and has been raised 6lb to 101. He may be entered in the Temple Stakes and will probably run in the Epsom Dash again in which he was second last year off a 10 lb lower mark for which he is 12/1. The time of the race was 0.71 secs faster than the following Conditions Stakes won by 102 rated Duchess Dora by 3/4 of a length from 105 rated Borderlescott, so Confessional could well have improved now he is a 5yo. Dickies Lad had a rough race so remains one to look out for.

At Kempton on 9th May Larwood was out to see if he could follow up his impressive performance a few weeks back but it never looked on the cards from the start and remains to be seen if he was a one race wonder. The winner Priceless Jewel by Selkirk looks to be decent and she beat Safari Sunseeker by half a length and has been raised 6lb to 87 and Roger Charlton commented afterwards" I´m really pleased. It was a bit tight for Priceless Jewel and she would have learnt plenty, as she made all when she won at Newbury last year. George [Baker] didn´t have to get too serious with her and we´ll see what the handicapper does. There are somevaluable handicaps over 6f coming up and we will think about it. She´s a very nice filly". This was only her third start so she looks open to plenty of improvement.

As we mentioned above Ballesteros won at Chester on Friday 11th May beating Sonko by 2 1/2 lengths and as a result has been raised 8lb to 107 and looks set to continue to improve up to Group class as the season progresses, but may be ground dependant.

The Victoria Cup although a race over 7f has plenty of the sprinting brigade stepping up to try and win the big pot on offer. This years race was won by Brian Ellisons Global Village who pre race said that he would be better suited by the trip and ground than the mile at Newbury which stretched him. He beat Elsworths Bonnie Brae 3/4 of a length and Elsworth has commented several times this season that his horses are behind......but they keep popping up in decent races. King of Jazz, not his ground, was third and a veteran of this type of race Brae Hill, who his trainer said pre race that he still hadnt completely come in his coat, was fourth.
The winner has gone up 8lb to 96, the second, from whom there should be more progress to come, 4lb to 100, the third 1lb to 98 and the fourth remains on 99.
In behind there were drops for Mabait 2lb to 95, whose trainer says he is slowly becoming well handicapped but didnt like the ground and Nasri 3lb to 92(ran several good races last season off higher marks).

At Haydock on the same afternoon Our Jonathan continued his rise up the ladder by taking the Class 2 Conditions Stakes by 3/4 of a length from Regal Parade. Swiss Dream won the fillies Listed Race at Nottingham beating Sioux Rising by a length with Ladies are Forever in third. The winner has been raised 4lb to 103, the second 3lb to 100 and the third remains on 108.