Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Up a bit, down a bit - 24th April

Another week goes by and I'm starting with the Class 4 Handicap over 5f 10 yds won by Cheworee at Windsor on 15th April. She won by a nose from Cruisetothelimit with My Son Max 3/4 of a length back in third and she recorded a fair time figure on her first run of the season. Trained by Elsworth who knows how to place a good horse there should be more wins ahead in the coming weeks. The win sees her go up in the ratings by 5lb to a mark of 87, whilst the second is raised 4lb to 82 and the third 2lb to 84.Noverre To Go went to the far side with Cadeaux Pearl and in the circumstances both of those did well to finish as close as they did.

At the Craven meeting, at Newmarket, Zanetto won the Class 2 3yo sprint by 3/4 of a length from the Irish runner Clancy Avenue with the same distance back to Graphic Quest in third. The winner has been raised 6lb for his win to a mark of 100 whilst the second and third remain on the same marks of 89 and 99 respectively. The winner now heads to Ascot in two weeks time according to his trainer.

Later in the afternoon Shahdaroba won the Class 2 Handicap over 6f by a length from Regal Dan with 1 1/4 lengths back to Equitania in third. The winner has been raised 7lb to 94 which compares favourably with the winner of the previous race based on time figures and he would have preferred easier going than he found here.Professor ran on well in fourth and was only just run out of third by Equitania.

The following day Tickled Pink clocked a time of 1m 9.88s but was helped by a tailwind and on time figures and therefore ran to a similar standard of those who raced on day one. The handicapper took no chances and he has raised her 25lb to 109 but she pretty much had the run of the race here with the other Jockeys probably thinking she was going to set the race up for them. Jimmy Styles fnished second again and has been dropped a 1lb, whilst Move In Time did very well considering he'd had a hard race last weekend and this was stretching his stamina to the limit. Hawkeyethenoo was finishing well from off the pace and the Victoria Cup looks on the cards again.

At Ripon on Thursday Another Citizen won the Class 4 Apprentice Handicap over 5f beating Oldjoesaid by a short head, the secons was putting up his second good run of the season and has been raised a further 4lb. One that was running on well from the back an looked an awkward ride for his Jockey was Alaskan Bullet and he has been dropped 1lb to 79.

On Friday at Bath Place In My Heart won very well in beating My Propeller a length and a half in the Class 1 Fillies Listed Race over 5f 11 yds and in doing so recorded a top time figure.She was at the front from the word go and they were not hanging about yet she was very tenacious towards the finish and won going away. Clive Cox said afterwards "I was pleased the ground dried out for Place In My Heart as she wants decent ground. We can now go away and think about where we go next but she will be probably moving up to graded company".

At Newbury the following day William Haggas's Heeraat recorded the best time figure in the UK so far for a sprinter this season when easily winning the Class 2 Dubai Duty Free Handicap over 5f 34yds by two lengths from El Viento with a further one a half lengths back to Kingsgate Choice in third.
Heeraat looks an exciting sort for the months ahead and is entered in the Duke of York. The third didnt start well was settled out the back and stayed on towards the finish despite looking a bit awkward and should be capable of winning something.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Up a bit, down a bit

Last weeks turf sprint action kicked off with Pontefract on Tuesday and the Class 3 6f Handicap went to Richard Fahey's gelded Polski Max who won by 5 lengths from Mark Jonston's Flashlight. The winner was drawn 1 and was quickly away and in command before quickening and keeping on towards the finish. He has been raised a large 10lb by the handicapper to a mark of 97 but he should be capable of winning again judged on this.

At Nottingham on Wednesday Mayfield Girl recorded a topspeed figure of 80 in beating The Art Of Racing a head in the Class 4 Handicap over 5f 13 yards on going described as Good (Good to Soft in places) and has been raised 2lb to 81. In behind Moviesta ran well but found trouble in running and deserves another chance off the same mark of 83.

The following Class 3 Conditions Stakes was run in a similar time and was won easily by Spririt Quartz as he was entitled to do.

The only other race of any note was on Saturday at Doncaster and it was the Class 2 Bet 365 Handicap over 6f in which Move In Time beat Shropshire by three quarters of a length with Hitchens the same distance back in third. The winner was winning over 6f for the first time and he was able to shrug off the extra 10lb on his back and he now goes up another 6lb to 101. Shropshire ran another solid race and even though he has gone up 3lb he looks like being involved in these big handicaps all year and he was only beaten by a well handicapped rival here.
This was a competitive race and Hamza showed up well for a long way on his first start back for Kevin Ryan and he should be winning soon as he remains on the same mark of 101. Yeeoow also did well as he was on the wrong side of the track to where the pace was and he wasnt beaten far in fifth and he is another we have to keep on the right side of, plus he was the Pricewise selection along with the winner. King Of Jazz was another to note as he didnt get the best of runs and he finished to some effect.
Others to be dropped 2lb were Harrison George - 85, Farlow - 87, Prodigality -100, Colonel Mak - 92 and veteran Tax Free - 90.
David O'Meara said of the winner "He's proved today that he's fairly versatile trip wise but the jury is still out over whether he's better at five or six furlongs. We gelded him before Christmas and he's a nice horse to have. Where we go next, I don't know - we'll see what the handicapper does."
As for Jack Dexter who finished a dissapointing 12th Jim Goldie said afterwards "I think it was a combination of things really, but largely the ground. It was very loose ground, they'd raced on it a fortnight before and then rolled it. He'd run there at the Lincoln meeting on soft ground and won but Graham (Lee, jockey) said it was the ground on Saturday".

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

The Group 3 Abernant Stakes

Newmarket stages day two of the Craven meeting and for sprint followers the Group 3 Connaught Access Flooring Abernant Stakes takes centre stage.

The going is Good and a 11 runners go to post including last saturdays Bet 365 Handicap winner Move In Time and this will be not only a step up in class for him but also another step up in his staying ability but fitness is assured in a race in which 90% of the contenders are making their seasonal return.
Move In Time beat Charles Hills 96 rated Shropshire by 3/4 of a length in that Handicap and he now meets another of that stables inmates in the shape of the 102 rated Angels Will Fall so Hills should have a good idea about his chances of beating him.
The Cheka goes well when fresh and Jimmy Styles who was second here last season are two others that should go well.
Jack Dawkins was ready for his debut run of the season and there's every reason to believe that Hawkeyethenoo will be just as forward for his seasonal debut for the same stable and he strikes me as being a good option to Move In Time as he looks sure to be able to outstay that rival.

2012 Mayson49-54/1Richard FaheyPaul Hanagan114
2011 Genki79-512/1Roger CharltonSteve Drowne112
2010 Equiano59-511/4FB W HillsMichael Hills114
2009 Tax Free79-48/1David NichollsFranny Norton111
2008 Zidane69-417/2James FanshaweJamie Spencer113
2007 Asset49-411/4FRichard HannonRichard Hughes121
2006 Paradise Isle58-1314/1Chris WallKevin Darley106
2005 Quito89-814/1D W ChapmanTony Culhane115
2004 Arakan49-45/2FSir Michael StouteKieren Fallon116
2003 Needwood Blade59-811/4B A McMahonSeb Sanders119

Friday, 12 April 2013

Bet 365 Handicap

Twenty runners line up at Doncaster for the 6f Bet 365 Class 2 Handicap for which the going remains good.

The draw can often play a part in these big field sprints and in previous 6f races at the track we need to dodge the outside draws as stall 1 is 0-34 in 6f Handicaps since 2009(although won this race in 2008) and stalls 20-22 have a combined record of 1-41.
The meeting here a couple of weeks ago was on very different going so there its not a lot we can draw from that and Thunderball would almost certainly need some rain to show his best.
Some big priced winners have won over the last 8 years and every winner has been aged either 4 or 5 in that time including last years winner Colonal Mak who lines up again.

2012Colonel Mak59-033/1David BarronL McNiff107
2011Horseradish49-35/1FMichael BellHayley Turner105
2010Kaldoun Kingdom59-36/1Richard FaheyPaul Hanagan107
2009Palace Moon48-85/1FHughie MorrisonSteve Drowne114
2008Pusey Street Lady48-540/1John GallagherJoe Fanning98
2005Merlin's Dancer58-1116/1David NichollsAdrian Nicholls96
2004Steel Blue49-616/1Richard WhitakerMichael Hills89
2003Law Breaker58-1366/1J A GilbertBrian Reilly96

Our Jonathan made an encouraging debut for Pitt when finishing third in the Listed Cammidge Trophy over course and distance last month behind Jack Dexter. The six-year-old, who joined Pitt during the winter from Kevin Ryan, has shown his best form with give in the ground with wins in the Group 3 Cornwallis Stakes, Group 2 Criterium de Maison-Laffitte and Ayr Gold Cup.
Writing on his blog, Pitt said: "Robert Tart takes a valuable 5lb off his back and as a result he meets the progressive Jack Dexter on 9lb better terms for his length and a half defeat in the Cammidge Trophy. He is drawn in stall 12 of the 20 runners so it will be interesting to go through the race in more detail now and see where the likely pace comes from. It would be nice to see a bit of rain on Town Moor before then just to freshen things up a bit and add a bit of moisture to the ground."

The Ron Harris-trained Prodigality made a stylish return to action at Warwick at the start of the month, but is now significantly higher in the weights. Harris said: "He's been put up 7lb for his Warwick win and we could have done with a couple less as then he'd still have been able to run in 0-100s, which would have been nice. He beat a 99-rated horse (Justineo) and whether he's run to 99 we'll never know. He did it well enough and I'm sure he'll have come on for the run. It's a big pot on Saturday so we'd be mad to miss it. I suppose after this we'd have to be looking at Group races for him, there's nothing between the best handicapper and those that run in the Group races. I'd imagine we'll take him to Ireland at some point, too, for something like the Sapphire Stakes".

Move In Time showed smart form in the past when trained by Bryan Smart and there was a lot to like about his winning debut for fellow Yorkshire handler David O'Meara at Musselburgh late last month, O'Meara said: "He seems really well and we were delighted with his run at Musselburgh. If he gets six furlongs or is better at five, I don't know yet. We'll find that out. He did win over this trip at two. We just want some luck in running."

The best may yet be to come from Duke Of Firenze, who has just had seven races and has shaped with promise on several occasions. "He's done well physically and he's wintered well. Sir Michael is very happy with him so we'll get him going and hopefully he'll put up a good show. We think there's more to come from him and he's got some talent. The ground will suit and everything is in place. He will build on whatever he does tomorrow but he's in good form."  said Chris Richardson, managing director of owners Cheveley Park Stud.

King Of Jazz was third over this course and distance two weeks ago and his trainer Michael Bell is optimistic of another bold show "He ran a good race when drawn on the wrong side at the last meeting and he seems in similar form, so he should be knocking at the door," said the Newmarket-based handler.

Richard Fahey comments on his two runners "Johannes isn't getting any younger but doesn't come up our gallop like an old horse. He'd need to be at his very best to win this, it's a very competitive race and a lot of winners will come out of it. I was disappointed with Farlow on his first run for us. Perhaps it was the sticky ground but I'm inclined to bounce him out and be more positive with him this time. Looking at him you'd think perhaps he wants seven furlongs but we'll try him again at six under a more positive ride. It would be a good day for him to pull it all together.

Looking through the runners it's a real good competitive handicap to get stuck into. Jack Dexter, Prodigality and Duke of Firenze look potential Group race performers in time and all three should be to the fore.
I was hoping that Lexi's Hero, now with Ed Dunlop, would get into the race but unfortunately he didnt make the cut. Shropshire (2ND), Colonel Mak (18TH) (25/1 Ladbrokes) and Move In Time (1ST) are others to consider along with Yeeoow (5TH). Kevin Ryan's horses dont look at their best yet and I think on this occasion we can see how Hamza (4TH) gets on whilst York Glory (6TH) needs to improve a bit on the form shown on the All Weather.
Im going for two each way in Shropshire and Colonel Mak and hoping the latter can bounce back to form being on a 4lb lower mark than when winning last season, he's had a run albeit he didnt show much and although Gibbons has gone for Hitchens (3RD), being fit from Dubai, he is a negative along with Duke Of Firenze (10TH) according to Tanya Stevenson on the Morning Line.
Move In Time is the unkown quantity and several pundits are prepared to chance their hand on him staying 6f now he is with David O'Meara who can get his horses very fit and further improvement can be expected despite 10lb rise from Musselburgh.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Up a bit, down a bit

No great sprints over the last week and we can look forward to this Saturday at Doncaster where there is a potential blot on the handicap should he get into the race and also some improvers to note in the Class 2 6f sprint...... more of that once we know the draw and there are some more bookmakers involved other than the sponsor.

One trainer who is targeting the race is trainer Jim Goldie who is tempted to take his progressive sprinter back to Town Moor for the valuable prize despite having been raised 7lb for his Listed Success there in the Cammidge Trophy, he said "The plan is to run, We've asked him some big questions and this will be another one, he goes there in good form, he's won at Doncaster twice already, so we'll try and get a third"

You may or may not have noticed but there are already 3 winners recorded on the Master List 2013 page, see above.

Also last seasons Master List threw up the winner of the Lincoln at 20/1 in Levitate..

Back to last week and at Warwick on 1st April Prodigality got his season off to a flying start by beating Justineo a length and a quarter in the Class 3 Conditions Stakes over 6f. As a result the Pivotal gelding was raised 7lb to a mark of 102 and he goes into this Saturdays Class 2 Bet 365 Handicap with a real chance with his trainer reporting "There's so much more to come from Prodigality and he must go very close if granted a half decent draw. He has come on an awful lot in the last two weeks. He has run a couple of superb races at Doncaster but has never had a decent draw there. We are expecting lots of improvement this week".

Nothing much else to report this week apart from Jillnextdoor who has been dropped 5lb to a mark of 90 having finished 3rd to Smoothtalkinrascal in a 5 runner affair at Leicester over 6f. 

Friday, 5 April 2013

Up a bit, down a bit

Last Saturday saw a number of sprints to wet the appetite for the coming weeks ahead. At Doncaster Thunderball kicked off affairs by winning the 6f Class 2 Handicap by one length from Spinatrix with King Of Jazz back in third. The wining trainer Scott Dixon was confident that his horse would run well and as a result of his win he has been raised 5lb to a mark of 96, with the second up 2lb to 94 and the third, who went off fav, remaining on 87. The going was officially soft(7.1) and the time of the race was 1m.13.71s which was over 2 seconds faster than Annunciation had recorded the previous week. Of those behind Shropshire did well from stall 10 coming from behind and he remains on 96. The handicapper altered very few marks behind him and he dropped all horses who finished from 7th to 16th 1lb even though several lengths covered them all.

Jack Dexter did as expected on his step up out of handicap company on going that he has excelled on already and duly won the Cammidge Trophy over 6f by half a length from Ayr Gold Cup winner Captain Ramius. The winner has been raised 7lb to a mark of 109, whilst the second has gone up 1lb to 107. The time of the race was 0.8 secs slower than the Class 2 Handicap. The winning trainer says that he is likely to keep him and Hawkeyethenoo apart in their races and the latter heads for the Abernant at Newmarket. The handicapper summed the race up below on his blog post on the BHB website :

After Jack Dexter ran out an impressive winner of last year’s Ayr Bronze Cup there was a lot of talk of whether he could emulate Roman Warrior’s achievement in 1975 and become the first Scottish-trained winner of the Gold equivalent, writes Stewart Copeland.
However based on his reappearance success in the 6f listed William Hill – New iPad App Cammidge Trophy, loftier prizes up the sprint ladder may be on the agenda instead.
A smaller field than usual lined up for the Cammidge, but it still contained a group of horses proven at this level who’d provide strong opposition to Jack Dexter in his attempt to land his first listed prize.
He answered the challenge in impressive fashion, travelling well just off the pace before asserting around a furlong out and kept up to his work to prevail by half a length from last year’s Ayr Gold Cup winner, Captain Ramius. In third a further length behind was Our Jonathan, victorious in the 2011 version of the Ayr showpiece.
With the second and third both proven under the conditions there’s every reason to view Jack Dexter’s win in a positive light, which means an improvement in his rating from 102 to 109. That has Captain Ramius running to 107, a similar level to his performance in the Ayr Gold Cup, and Our Jonathan reproducing his pre-race rating of 105.
Jack Dexter’s 109 is the highest rating I’ve allocated to the winner of the Cammidge since Les Arcs in 2006, and he went on to complete a Group 1 double in the Golden Jubilee and July Cup. No doubt the connections of Jack Dexter will be dreaming he can follow a similar path.

At Musselburgh on Saturday Oldjoesaid rolled back the years to take the 5f Class 4 Handicap by 2 1/2 lengths from Cadeaux Pearl. The winner had the race run to suit and going he likes and therefore 7lb rise may be a little bit harsh if the fine weather happens to stay around.

Tangerine Trees won the Borderlescott Sprint Trophy over 5f beating Kingsgate Choice by a neck. Hamish McGonagall was lumbered with big weight 10.2 and was giving the winner over a stone which must have made it impossible for him to win. Of those behind Bapak Chinta, who Kevin Ryan thought was one of some potential at the begining of last season, was dropped 6lb by the handicapper to 99.

The concluding race at Musselburgh went to Move In Time who has switched stables to David O'Meara and he continued his knack of improving horses from other yards much in the same was as David Nicholls used to do. He beat Middleham Park's Come On Dave by an eased down 5 lengths and there must have been some banter between connections as Middleham Park have a number of horses traind by O'Meara. He has been raised 10lb to 95 but the way he won suggests he may be winning again soon.