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Monday 28 May 2012

Up a bit, down a bit

Well the season is really gettin goin now and at last we are beginning to see the beginings of some reasonable weather so hopefully we can start to pick out some selections with a bit more confidence.

Looking back at this last week we start with a couple of races at Bath on 16th May, nothing out of the ordinary though only Class 5 Handicaps. The first one was won by Valmina by a length from Cheers with a further 1 1/4 lengths back to Whipphound in third. The winner won comfortably and recorded a topspeed figure of 75 and has been raised 6lb to a new mark of 73 and the second moves up 3lb to 66 and both remain capable of better.
The next race up was won by Robert Cowell's Cats Eyes by a length from Welease Bwian, she has been raised 6lb to 68 and the second is up 3lb to 65 for his length beating.

Onto York and on the first day we had the Class 2 Handicap over 6f, the going was good and it was won by Secret Witness by half a length from Baby Strange with 1 1/4 lengths back to Fast Shot in third. The winner looked to win well and he was also out again the following day here and finished second. As a result over the two races he has been raised a total of 11lb and is now on a mark of 105. Derek Shaw's Baby Strange goes up 3lb to 88 and Fast Shot remains on 87. Out the back there were no significant drops New Planet is down 2lb to 98 and Love Delta 4lb to 88.

The Group 2 Duke of York Stakes run over 6f was won by Kevin Ryan's Tiddliwinks, he 's been an in and out sort in the past but the stables sprinters have been doing well so far and this confirms that they are generally in good order.
He beat The Cheka, who has improved for the move to sprint distances, by a head with a neck back to Group 1 winner Society Rock in third. As a result the winner has gone up 12lb to a mark of 112, with the second up 3lb to 111. Bogart in fourth ran well on his first start back but goes up 4lb for this to 110. In behind Sirius Prospect went down 2lb to 107 and Libranno, winner of two Group 3's last season, down 3lb to 109.
Below is the handicappers view of the race.

THE GRAND OLD DUKE OF YORK Last week’s Group 2 six-furlong Duke of York Stakes on the Knavesmire was billed as the battle of North Yorkshire, with the front two in the market, Hoof It and Mayson, expected to battle out the finish enthuses Stewart Copeland.

However, it was their unconsidered fellow ‘Tyke’ Tiddliwinks, trained by Kevin Ryan, who triumphed for the White Rose County instead. Third in last year’s renewal when running to a mark of 108, he showed himself to be better than ever with a head defeat of The Cheka, with a somewhat unlucky-in-running Society Rock a neck further back in third.

In recent times the average winning rating for the Duke Of York has been around 112, and I had to consider whether Tiddliwinks was at least worthy of such a rating. On balance I feel he is for now, which means I took the view also that The Cheka had put up a marginally best career effort. Unexposed at sprint trips, he seems to have relished the drop back to six furlongs this season, and he’s been credited with a mark of 111.
As for Society Rock, he ran a highly creditable first race of the year, recording a mark of 110. I’m happy to leave him at 117, and he’ll head for his favourite stomping ground of Ascot in an attempt to repeat his Golden Jubilee success at the Royal meeting. However, looking ahead to that race, on this evidence they’ll all be fighting for second place if a peak form Black Caviar turns up. The brilliant mare is currently rated 132, which puts into stark perspective the gulf between her and the pick of the home contingent.

Going back to the two favourites, a line can be put through Mayson’s disappointing run, having got upset at the stalls; he was reported to be never travelling. He remains on 110, and having been such a progressive sort this year, hopefully he’ll put this quickly behind him. Hoof It also remains on his current rating of 118, though he only ran to 101 in finishing fifth. It was a somewhat sluggish start to his season, from some way out he was clearly struggling to go the pace and never looking like landing a blow. He was subsequently reported to be coughing though, and it’s far too soon to be writing him off.

On Thursday 17th May Pearl Secret reappeared in the Class 2 Conditions Stakes over 5f were he won impressively by 1 1/2 lengths from Ponty Acclaim and he looks capable of winning in the very best of company in due course. He has been raised 7lb to 108 and David Barron said afterwards "That was a good performance, as he was having to go and beat horses who were quickening up in front of him".

David Elsworth's Swiss Spirit won a Listed race at Newbury on Friday 18th May beating Lethal Force by a neck over 6f on his sixth start. The race had been won by some decent sorts in the past and the winner is certainly capable of following in their hoofprints. He had run well at Newmarket last time and David Elsworth said afterwards " We thought he´d progress and he´ll come on again for this. I would think the Jersey is a good target".

At Newcastle on the same day Pivotal Prospect won the Class 5 fillies handicap over 5f by 3 1/4 lengths from Untold Melody with 2 lengths back to Sally's Swansong back in third. She was running from 9lb out of the handicap and as a result the handicapper took this into account and raised her a total of 22lb for her win to a mark of 76. This was only her sixth start and she can progress further.

At Newbury on 19th May Palace Moon won the Class 2 handicap over 6f by a head from Pabusar with 3 1/4 lengths back to Pabusar. The winner was running on his favoured surface as all the progeny of this family have done well on an easy surface in the past, as a result he has been raised 6lb to 106. The second has gone up 4lb to 104 and the third is down 1lb to 98. In behind there were drops for Bertiewhittle, whose trainer was expecting a good run here, down 2lb to 89 and Sohraab 2lb to 88.

Later in the afternoon at Newmarket Mince (811221) made up for his unlucky run last time and beat Bartolemue by a head in the Class 2 CoralChampionsClub.Co.Uk Sprint Trophy Handicap over 6f with a nose back to Top Cop (Desert Law was just beaten in the same race last season). The winner has been raised 4lb to 95, the second 3lb to 92, the third 3lb to 93 and the fourth and Fifth Rafeej and Tioman Island up a 1lb to 88 and 93 respectively. Democretes finished a running on 8th and pre race Hannon was saying that he will want a mile in time. It was another win for horses with a mark in the 90's in this.