Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Up a bit, down a bit - 24th July 2013

Not much happened over this last week sprinting wise so I'm going to start by touching on a football story thats in the news at the moment - will Suarez be a Liverpool player by the time his ban is over ?
As a Liverpool supporter I hope that he is but he certainly didn't look happy to be on the pitch in Melbourne earlier today and he positively tried to avoid celebrating the second goal which he created.
Brendan Rodgers commented after the match that he needs to show the fans a bit more loyalty as it is they who have stood by him through all of his antics.
It certainly wasn't Liverpool Football Club or their fans that made Suarez bite the Chelsea player or get in trouble over the Evra incident and he created these problems all on his own just as he did at his previous club.
Any ongoing issues that he has with the media, who will hound him from now until the end of his career, are of his own making and I believe at this stage its a change of his attitude rather than a change of football club that he needs in order for him to achieve his immediate football ambitions.

Onto the racing and we have to go right through to Friday at Newmarket before we find a speed figure to take any note of and that was by Picture Dealer in the Class 4 handicap over 6f. In winning by 4 lengths from Whipper Snapper he achieved a speed rating of 86 and the handicapper has duly raised him by 10lbs to a mark of 89. It was the best top speed figure and Racing Post Rating that he had achieved so far and only having had 15 runs to date he could be capable of improving further and he is entered on Friday at York in the 6.30 for which he carries a 6lb penalty. - 1st 11/4

At Newbury on Saturday Heeraat beat Hamza by 1 3/4 lengths and they both achieved top speed figures of 90 and 83 respectively. They had finished in reverse order over 5f at Beverley two starts back and they are creating  a bit of rivalry and the step up to 6f helped Heeraat on this occasion. Heeraat holds two Group 1 entries whilst Hamza is also entered for a couple for Group 3 events and the Stewards Cup(6f) for which he is 14/1.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

May the force be with you !

I have now returned from the heat of Cyprus and I'm raring to get back amongst the winners !

The July Cup looked a great race on paper and it was dominated by Lethal Force who showed his performance at Ascot was not a penalty kick.

Below are the thoughts of the BHB Handicapper on the race so that we have a record recorded on the blog for future reference :

The words “seconds out, round three” sprang to mind as I watched Lethal Force and Society Rock parade in the paddock on a sweltering day at Newmarket’s July course, writes Stewart Copeland.

Much had been said after the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot, with some suggesting Lethal Force owed his win to a good ride, rather than his ability being the decisive factor on the day. As I wrote in my blog on the race I disagreed with that view, and I’ll return to that later.

This year’s 6f Group 1 Darley July Cup was far from a two-horse race though. Half of the declared twelve-strong field had already triumphed at this level, though it was unfortunate for connections of one of them, the Bahrain-trained Krypton Factor, that he had to be withdrawn after bursting through the front of his stall.

The eleven who eventually took part meant this was the smallest field in the race since Agnes World beat nine rivals in 2000. The market was headed by the South African challenger Shea Shea, who was hoping to go one better than when runner-up to Sole Power in the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot. Both though had a question mark against them for the same reason, as their best form had been achieved at the minimum trip.

There were no such doubts about Lethal Force and Society Rock, and it was fascinating to see which pair would usurp the other. Chris Nash, who oversees the top 5f horses, and myself were both of the view that the Diamond Jubilee represented stronger form than the King’s Stand, so we were hoping that would be borne out by the latter duo.

As it turned out, what was to follow not only produced a really pleasing result from a handicapping viewpoint, but hopefully put to bed those who questioned Lethal Force’s superiority at Royal Ascot, which I alluded to at the start of this piece. It’s surprising when sectional times are available, which clearly gave an invaluable insight in to how the Diamond Jubilee was run, that there was a body of opinion that Society Rock was unlucky at Royal Ascot. Quite what that opinion was based on I don’t know, but it certainly wasn’t the clock.

Lethal Force’s dominant front-running display was tremendous to watch. He displayed a high cruising speed before stamping his authority on the race from two furlongs out and, despite a slight stumble shortly after, always looked in control. His old foe, Society Rock, chased in vain to finish a length and a half back in second, with Slade Power in third faring best of the Irish challengers, a further three-quarters of a length behind. The favourite, Shea Shea, finished fourth, a neck further back.

From a ratings perspective, Lethal Force came into the race joint top rated with Shea Shea at 120, and it was a case of whether I felt he had improved upon that to win. I took the view he has, but only marginally and have revised him to 121, a view also shared across the board by my international colleagues who make up the World Thoroughbred Rankings committee. That meant Society Rock ran to his rating of 117, and Slade Power posted a career best of 115, having been 109 pre-race. Interestingly, this meant that Shea Shea reproduced the 114 my colleague had him running to in the King’s Stand, a creditable performance but still below the level he achieved over 5f at Meydan earlier in the year, which his rating is based on.

Apart from that, the form is also bolstered by the time, which was a new course record. Course records are not always a guarantee of an exceptional time, but on this occasion it is. Comparisons with the other races on the card, including the fiercely competitive Bunbury Cup, show the time to be on a par with Lethal Force’s rating, leaving little doubt that he is fully deserving of his position at the top of the European sprint ladder.

Where does this place Lethal Force historically? His rating is now on a par with Starspangledbanner who completed the same double in 2010. Interestingly, in winning the Golden Jubilee, as it was called then, Starspangledbanner beat Society Rock by a similar margin, so the pair have something in common. It also speaks volumes for Society Rock, who’s been toughing it out at the top of the sprinting tree for four seasons, and has maintained his form and enthusiasm remarkably well. We then have to go back to Oasis Dream’s 125 in 2003 to find a better performance, which puts in to context what an excellent effort it was from Lethal Force.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

"In the Summertime"

Not many blog posts this week as been get ready for my holiday in Cyprus, starting today !

Unfortunately I wont be able to see the July Cup so any comments from any of you readers post race would be appreciated so I can get the feel of what happened in the race.

The race itself is a tough, I'm torn between Shea Shea and Society Rock as I supported both at Ascot and they both finished 2nd. Fallon is confident that he can turn the tables as Lethal Force had the run of the race in The Golden Jubilee and Fallon was his own worst enemy there. I don't think Sole Power will stay this extra furlong and he might not have enough cover during the race. Gale Force Ten is a major threat but I'm going to go with Shea Shea who has probably been prepared more with this race in mind than Ascot.

In the 1.55 at Ascot Goldream gets the chance to prove himself after his unlucky run last time out and this time he has the assistance of James Doyle who hopefully can steer him in the right direction.

At Chester Rusty Rocket is up against Sir Maximilian and with a 4lb weight difference and a draw disadvantage this time he may have to miss out to Ian Williams runner although El Viento could be a danger.

With so many meetings today there are plenty of new jockey and trainer combinations and over at York Kingsgate Choice doesn't have that problem and he must be a strong contender to make it three wins on the bounce with Hoof It likely to need his first run back.

Anyway I will be back next Saturday hopefully renewed and refreshed to take on the bookies once again.

Good Luck !!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Big Race Facts - The July Cup

The Darley July Cup - Newmarket
History : The July Stakes is the oldest surviving event for two-year-olds in the British flat racing calendar. It was established in 1786, and it was originally open to horses of either gender. The conditions initially stipulated that those horses sired by Eclipse or Highflyer should carry an additional weight of three pounds.
The present system of race grading was introduced in 1971, and for a period the July Stakes was classed at Group 3 level. The event was restricted to colts and geldings in 1977, and it was promoted to Group 2 status in 2003.
The July Stakes is currently held on the opening day of Newmarket's three-day July Festival
Draw Record last 5 years :
2012 : 11, 10, 12, 8 (12) Heavy
2011 : 2, 9, 7, 1 (16) Good to Firm
2010 : 4, 5, 1, 13 (14) Good to Firm
2009 : 5, 4, 9, 13 (13) Good to Firm
2008 : 8, 5, 10, 12 (13) Good
Age of Winner - 4, 3, 4, 4, 5
2012 : 1st Mayson, 2nd The Cheka, 3rd Society Rock, 4th Ortensia
2011 : 1st Dream Ahead, 2nd Bated Breath, 3rd Hitchens, 4th Libranno
2010 : 1st Starspanglebanner, 2nd Equiano, 3rd Alverta, 4th Kingsgate Native
2012 Review - the winner who had been taken to post early, showed bright pace down the centre and had all his rivals in trouble heading down to the two furlong pole, keeping up the gallop to win emphatically.
Going - Heavy
Time - 1m 15.90s

Friday, 5 July 2013

Native Who ?

Kingsgate Native looks well up to winning the 2.05 at Sandown over 5f tomorrow if he turns up on his "A" game even with his Group penalty. His first two runs of the season showed him back to his best at the age of 8 and his last run was reminiscent of his well known trait of being an in and out performer.
Bungle Inthejungle and Tickled Pink look set to take the field along at a quick tempo and that should set things up for Kingsgate Native who has a strong finish when required and the best top speed figure on offer here.
The 3yo Dutch Masterpiece ran a good race last time and he could be capable of putting in a good performance here and should be around in these sprints for a while to come.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Up a bit, down a bit - 4th July

We start with Leicester on Thursday and Harrison George beating Elusive Flame by 1 1/4 lengths in the Class 3 handicap over 6f, there was a further 1 3/4 lengths back to Apollo D'Negro in third. The winner has improved of late with the blinkers on and he is rising back up through the ranks again at the age of 8 and he's gone up a further 6lb for this to 95, he was 114 in 2010. He recorded a good speed rating of 90 on this rain softened ground.

At Warwick on the same day Rae Guest's Minalisa, a filly by Oasis Dream, excelled on the fast ground to win in convincing fashion and in doing so a number of bets were landed. She recorded a speed figure of 84 in beating Picture Dealer  2 1/4 lengths and she has been raised 7lb by the handicapper to 83 but she looks capable of keeping up her winning ways.

On Friday at Newcastle Magical Macey managed to clock a figure of 103 over 5f on the softer going in the Class 2 handicap when beating Ancient Cross and Jack Luey by 3/4 of a length and 1 1/4 lengths. Inbehind the Tim Easterby pair Captain Dunne and Confessional finished 9th and 12th and both have been dropped 2lb. Confessional is now on 96, his last winning mark, whilst Captain Dunne is on 91, 14lb lower than when he won the Dash at Epsom in 2011 and both are more than capable when things go right.

Another old timer, the 11 year old Tax Free, showed that he was no slouch when he set a speed figure of 90 at Newmarket in the Class 4 handicap over 5f on the July Course on Friday and recorded his 17th victory for his lucky connections. He was able to beat the 4yo's Gladiatrix and Asian Trader into 2nd and 3rd and the handicapper was as quick to raise him 5lb back to 90.

Chester on Saturday saw Rusty Rocket achieve his best figures so far, off his highest rating, and he looks to be improving. He beat Sir Maximilian by a length with a further 2 lengths back to Secret Look. He was drawn well and was at the head of affairs throughout but showed tenacity to get a run up the rail turning into the straight and scoot into a winning lead. He goes up another 5lb for this but when there's some give in the going he is a solid performer.

Jack Dexter was able to take the Group 3 Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle run over 6f by a head from Mass Rally and he may now head for the July Cup although he is unlikely to get his favoured give in the going there.