Saturday, 5 December 2015

A Day To Forget

Saturday was a day to forget for Paul Nicholls - out of 14 runners across 3 meetings he was only able to manage 3 third places and there will be some long faces down at Ditcheat.
If we look back to last season Nicholls was a standing dish every Saturday from the beginning of November onwards and on this corresponding day he picked up 4 winners at Aintree, Sandown and Chepstow.
I'm not sure exactly what is wrong with his Saturday runners at the moment - Southfield Theatre was beaten a long long way out and you couldn't put that down to just the going being softer than ideal - he surely should have been more competitive than that. I thought Vibrato Valtat was a bit free on the way to the start as he seemed to run away with Sam Twiston Davies. In the race itself he had it set up for him if he was good enough to win - but he wasn't and it was a disappointing run.

As I said in Friday's post I was at Aintree yesterday and there were some top performances. I was particularly impressed with the Irish runner Jer's Girl in the first race who was up against Alan King's duo Forgiving Close and Mystery Code. Apart from this race Alan King only had 1 other national hunt runner yesterday and that was at Sandown in Simply A Legend who won. This listed race has only been run 3 times and King won it in both 2012 and 2014 and was 2nd in 2013 - so he meant business. Despite that Jer's Girl brushed them aside like they weren't there and was eased down for a 10 length success and she is a horse that you need to keep on the right side of in future engagements.
The race itself was run in honour of Everton FC great Howard Kendall and part of the winning prize for the trainer was a signed EFC shirt by all the current players - however they didn't bank on Gavin Cromwell being a Liverpool supporter and he was cheekily asked by Gordon Brown if he could have the shirt for a fiver, Cromwell responded by saying he could have it for two quid!!

Nick Williams, regular as clockwork, farms the month of December. Tea For Two ran away for an impressive 10 length win for Lizzie Kelly the day before at Exeter in a Class 2 novice chase and Williams third runner of the month, Agrapart, won the Class 3 hurdle and in doing so doubled the winning distance of Tea For Two for Lizzie Kelly and he looks a decent sort.

Onto Sunday now and both the trainers we are following have runners

Dan Skelton
12.50 - Bon Chic doesn't want it overly soft and was withdrawn when it was heavy a few weeks back. She is said to perform better on good but despite that she ran on soft at Ascot first time out and performed with credit to finish 2nd to Thomas Brown which the stable were happy with. The plan is to campaign her with the Listed mares novice chase final at Cheltenham in April in mind. Harry Skelton takes over today and although it's soft ground again the race doesn't look like it will take a great deal of winning and looks a match between her and Kalane but is not one for a bet as she is too short. 2nd - Bon Chic came up against what could turn out to be a useful prospect in Kalane and was unable to go with her,

2.00 - Al Ferof has been a top performer over the years with Paul Nicholls and starts afresh here. Dan Skelton reports that his preparation has gone smoothly and his record first time out is good. The going shouldn't be a problem and he has a good wins to runs ratio. Although his last two wins came in the Amlin Chase at Ascot he missed that to avoid meeting Vautour and he comes up against the Amlin second Ptit Zig. The chances are he will improve for the run but Skelton knows him well from his days with Nicholls and whatever happens his next race will be the King George. 1st - Started the season with another win for this popular grey who was always in control when he got to the front. Next stop King George.

Paul Nicholls
2.00 - Ptit Zig was a Grade 1 hurdle winner but chasing was always been the long term plan and he won 4 chases on the bounce between November and January last season. Consequently he started this season on a rating of 157 and he went over to Down Royal in the Grade 2 Powers Irish Whiskey Chase over 2m 4f on yielding to soft. Paul Nicholls thinks he will stay 3m. The initial plan for the first half of the season had been the King George but that appears to have been revised to this race. He has a tendency to jump out to his right and his jumping was a bit sketchy at Down Royal and Ascot last time out. He did well against Vautour though at Ascot as he was 12lb inferior ratings wise and he was also conceding 5lbs and at one point it looked as though he may win. His job isn't as difficult here and the biggest problem may be a lack of confidence following yesterday's dismal results, but he looks the one to beat. Fell - Ptit Zig was hesitant at nearly every fence and lost ground, when thrown at the last he hit it hard and came down. This will have dented his confidence even more and any King George ideas will probably be shelved now. If he is to make it in this grade then he needs to jump more fluently. 

2.35 - Lac Leman wears a hood for the first time but Nicholls is not averse to reaching for the various types of head gear and he must use them more than any other trainer in the UK. Lac Leman ran just the once last season finishing 4th of 9 in a Claas 4 novice hurdle at Taunton on soft. He ran very free and pulled hard there and it is hoped that the hood will calm him down and that the breathing operation he has had in the interim will help. We have seen several of Nicholls novices this season come out and win well after having initial problems last season but this is a fair old race and may not prove as easy to pick off. - 4th

12.30 - Silsol ran 4 times last season winning twice at Newbury and Ffos Las on soft and heavy so has no trouble with conditions and bids for a 3 timer in 4 weeks while the going is in his favour. He is the highest rated hurdler Nicholls has sent chasing this year. He is solid, dependable and jumps well and the plan has always been to campaign him in the north as the stable are high in the novice chase department. He won on his return at Carlisle beating Maximiser and today's rival Seeyouatmidnight and he is 10lb worse off with him so has it all to do.

2.15 - Vivaldi Collonges is said to stay forever and this trip may prove too short on his return. Nicholls is confident he will win races this season but I think it will be on another day and I'm giving him a miss this time. 1st


I am concious that my bets aren't going too well but they are limited to the two stables that we are following. Im going to give some thought as to how I can improve things and I may look at putting up some horses from other stables in addition.

Ptit Zig - 1 point win at 9/4 with 888sport

Friday, 20 November 2015

Friday Again!!

I was pretty much bang on with my stable horse appraisals yesterday and there are 7 runners today to look at below :

Dan Skelton
Ascot - Soft, good to soft in places. There doesn't appear to be any further rain due.
1.30 - Bon Chic was due to run at Wincanton yesterday but was taken out because of the heavy going and presumably she doesn't want it overly soft and performs better on good so that is a big negative today. The stables early plan is to campaign her with the Listed mares novice chase final at Cheltenham in April in mind. Her jockey Robert Dunne only has a 3% strike rate this season and she is one for another day when the going is more in her favour.

2.40 - Squire Trelawney has been with the stable a while but his first win from 7 starts for them came last time out at Wincanton in a 6 runner Class 4 novices limited handicap chase over 2m 4f on good. He has been off for 557 days prior to that win so there may be a "bounce" factor to consider. He has gone up 6lb for that win and is on a workable mark of 114c which brings him into this Class 3 on bottom weight of 10-1 which is Ryan Mahon's lowest riding weight in last 12 months. The stable thought he would improve for the run pre race last time even though he had done a lot of work. He is a sound jumper who should appreciate the softer going, longer distance and stiffer track. Of his opponents Tenor Nivernais and Garrahalish are back down to their last winning marks,

Haydock - Soft, heavy in places. There are patches of rain in the area at present.
1.55 - Welsh Shadow is another from the stable that is highly thought of being related to Celestial Gold and he won his bumper by 7 lengths beating Duelling Banjo's who won the Class 4 novices hurdle at Kempton recently. He was comprehensively beaten by Champion Bumper 4th Yanworth, who has since won again, on his first run back at Exeter in a Class 3 2m1f novices hurdle on soft going. He remains at a similar distance in this Class 1 Listed race and the stable will be hoping of a better showing here on his second run back as I would imagine they have aspirations of the festival with this horse but odds on ain't for me.

3.05 - Baratineur was a dual bumper winner in France on soft and heavy going. He is said to have a shown a lot of speed and ability at home. Returned at Huntingdon in a Class 5 maiden hurdle over 2m on good going finishing 4th behind Great Hall. He failed to settle and pulled hard and it is hoped the first race has taken out some of the fizz and brought him on too.

Paul Nicholls
1.20 - Solar Impulse has won twice from 13 starts for Paul Nicholls so he doesn't win as regular as some in the stable. That said he is on a fairly stiff chase mark of 149c due to consistent form in good company running with smart novice form with Josses Hill, Three Kingdoms and Monetaire. The stable have chosen to go down the graduation chase route and that works in his favour today as he is favourably weighted with his two opponents - ie Doctor Phoenix would be 13lb better off in a handicap, however his trainer is excited by his potential and that's why he may be prepared to overlook the weight disadvantage. As Solar Impulse is still only 5 he is open to further improvement however Paul Nicholls was saying about 12 days ago that he was "a bit behind the others at present". He has had a breathing operation and will need the run and I personally think the stable are a bit confused as to what his ideal conditions are as he 's back over 2m here on soft against two horses that have a race fitness edge - the cheek pieces are also re employed. The Tizzard stable had the runaway winner in this race last season in Third Intention as I was there and I remember it being a particularly "bad day at the office"for Sam Twiston Davies - so Kings Lad could hand out some more punishment on going that he will like as Doctor Phoenix will try to make this a test.

1.55 - Marracudja had a breathing operation over the summer. After his run at Doncaster last December he was put away. He duly rewarded patience when he made a comfortable winning return at Wincanton on 25th October in a Class 4 national hunt novices hurdle. He then followed up that win at the same course in a Class 3 national hunt novices hurdle over 2m on soft winning by a comfortable 9 lengths He.jumps well, possesses speed and a flat track probably suits, that said he probably doesn't want it too soft so the going may be going against him. He is progressing well and the stable are looking forward to his 2m chasing career already. - NON RUNNER

2.30 - Silsol ran 4 times last season winning twice at Newbury and Ffos Las on soft and heavy so he should have no trouble with conditions here. He is the highest rated hurdler Nicholls has sent chasing this year and the stable think there is more scope for progress in this code, particularly on soft ground. There are no frills with this horse he is solid and dependable and jumps well and the plan has always been to campaign him in the north as the stable are high in the novice chase department. He won on his return at Carlisle beating a couple of good horses and he should have come on a bit for the run. However he faces two decent rivals here in Minella Rocco and Private Malone but Silsol's race fitness should give him the edge on going he likes.


Squire Trelawney 0.50 points ew @ 11/2 with Bet365, BetVictor and William Hill

Silsol 1 point win @ 7/4 with several bookmakers
Baratineur 0.50 points ew @ 7/1 with several bookmakers

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Piling On The Pressure!

A very sad day for racing yesterday with the passing of Pat Eddery who wass one of the best jockeys that I have been fortunate to watch in my lifetime.
A strong jockey he was someone, as a punter, you could have every confidence in to deliver the goods and as a role model he was a racing icon you could aspire to be - he will be greatly missed by many.
He rode in some great races - not least the Bustino(Mercer) v Grundy(Eddery) match which is probably best remembered through the words of another legend Sir Peter O'Sullivan :
"As they race towards the furlong pole it's Bustino and Grundy together, then comes Dahlia and On My Way. Bustino on the far side, Grundy on the near side. The 3yo and the 4yo as they race into the final 150 yards and it's Grundy going on from Bustino and Dahlia and On My Way. Bustino is fighting his way back but Grundy is holding him and as they come to the line Grundy wins it!".

There was no change on the luck front yesterday - I ignored the two Skelton runners at Lingfield and they both won ! - albeit the second of those Arthamint was disqualified because David England, his jockey, weighed in 1.5lbs light. The explanation was that he had gone down to the start early and must have sweated it off - but that said he won well in this small field and he is a winner without a penalty.

Onto today and Bangor with just the two runners for Dan Skelton.
Paul Nicholls had several entered up at Exeter but they have presumably been taken out because of the heavy going.

Bangor - Soft, going stick 6.1 - will probably remain so as showers forecast in the area.
2.00 - What A Good Night would have won three on the trot last season but for falling when well clear at Southwell. His dam was an unraced half sister to 2003 Hennessy winner Strong Flow(OR140). He sounds a bit of a character that needs strong handling but  he is an improving sort. That said he's been let down by his jumping on occasions not least last time out when he fell at the last with the race at his mercy. He's gone up 7lb since that race and therefore he is now 16lb higher than his last win which seems a bit harsh. He also steps up two classes here to Class 2 which is the highest grade he has ever run in and that will no doubt put more pressure on his jumping ability. The stable are testing the water, it would seem, but he has race fitness on most of the the field which paid with the stables Rock Of Leon yesterday. His price is currently between 5/1 and 15/2 so there is a range of thought as to what his prospects are.
4.00 - Mister Kalanisi is returning from a long break and is probably best watched.

No Bets today

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Form or Luck!!

Whilst I appreciate there is a large element of form to horse racing it sometimes falls down to just luck.
I've been putting up bets on the Nicholls and Skelton stables over the last few weeks but things haven't been going too well and that has been compounded over the last few days.
On Saturday I went for Nicholls All Yours only for a deluge of rain to hit the track and for the stables mud loving Irving, who was said to need the run, bounding clear to win. I also went for Skeltons Upepito only for him to fall when seemingly going better than anything.
Yesterday, as a result of that, I did't bother with either of Nicholls runners, although I gave them a good write up, and what happens they both win!!.....when your lucks in its in.

Not to be deterred by mere luck we are back into the fray today as Nick Skelton has five runners. He did have one yesterday but I left it alone as he made little mention of it in several stable tours.

Dan Skelton
Huntingdon - The going has dried up overnight from Soft to Soft - good to soft in places.
1.10 - Herons Heir won a 7 runner bumper in Ireland on his first run and on the back of that was thrown straight into a Listed bumper at Ascot finishing 7th of 9. His next and final run was in a novice hurdle at Newbury when he finished 5th behind Cole Harden but the trainer readily admitted that it was his fault that the horse didn't perform to his capabilities in either race. He drops back to 2m here, which could be his ideal trip, and he must be settling better now as the stable haven't reached for any head gear. Dan Skelton has, a lot of time for this horse and although he's been off for 664 days he could figure prominently against the likes of Camborne and Younevercall and he's worth an ew.

2.10 - Calculated Risk has come from John Quinn's stable and is probably best watched on his stable debut. Having owned a share in Lil Rockerfeller when he was with Middleham Park I am keen to see how he gets on after his promising run last time out as the going and track should be perfect for him.

2.40 - Notnowsam joined the yard earlier in the year from Noel Quinlan and was quickly off the mark at Warwick - being well placed to win a Class 4 Novice Handicap Chase over 2m on Good to Soft. He jumped well that day and won in a respectable time. Having only run 11 races under rules and still being a 4yo he is open to improvement. He returned over fences at Wetherby 4 weeks ago finishing 2nd to Oliver's Gold when he was headed with a 150 yards to go for which he has gone up 2lb to 124c. There are no cheekpieces employed today and the easier going should suit and he has a favourites chance of winning.

1.00 - Rock Of Leon ran three times over the jumps last season winning first time out at Fontwell when scraping home after idling having looked set to win by further. He was tried in a Grade 2 next time out at Haydock but he wasn't up to it. The stable think there is definitely more to come and he was pitched straight into a handicap hurdle off 124h first time out this season at Stratford when he finished 5th of 11 after being unable to quicken between the last two hurdles. The heavy going may be more than he cares for but he has won on soft. He's been dropped 1lb and whilst he has a fitness advantage on a lot of the field he dropped away tamely last time and may need to come down a bit further in the handicap to find a winning opportunity.

3.30 - Arthamint won a maiden bumper at Ludlow last December but then never progressed from there in 3 runs. He returned at Ludlow a few weeks ago where he finished 6th after pulling hard. He is said to be more of a chasing prospect but the stable will look to try and win a hurdle. He has had a breathing operation but it hasn't had any significant effect to his form. He's gone up 2lb for finishing 2nd in a Class 5 last time at Uttoxeter when he kept on to take that position in the last 100 yards. He's not one of the stable stars and although I may be wrong I cant see him winning.

Notnowsam 1 point win @ 11/4 Coral, William Hill and Betvictor
Herons Heir 0.50 points ew @ 8/1 with most firms

I will be having a look at the Paddy Power Chase later this afternoon and I think there is one that's worth a decent ew punt. Plus there's Exeter, Ayr and Bangor tomorrow to look forward to.

Good Luck - we certainly need it !!

Monday, 9 November 2015

Disappointing Weekend ???

I went to Aintree on Saturday and whilst not winning a retirement fortune I did manage to pick up some information once having paid the extortionate £25 to get in!!

It was great to see Bobs Worth and Simonsig dominating the finish of the Class 2 Betfair Hurdle but not so great that there was no depth of entry to make this race more than a "run out" for the Henderson duo - there was after all £18,768.00 to the winner!!
That was compounded by there being not one northern entry - surely someone had something in that rating band that they could have run - it was penalty kick waiting to happen!
After the race I offered my congratulations to Nicky as he couldn't have hoped for a better result. It was clear afterwards that Simonsig wont be contesting a 3m chase any time soon and that was confirmed by Henderson, although had he had a bit more company on the way round he may have been able to reserve more energy for the finish. He had been off  the track for 970 days and you also have to take into account that this was still only his tenth race under rules and off those ten he has only had three races over fences which culminated in his Arkle win in 2013.
Bobs Worth now heads for the Hennessy, although there will be a jockey issue as Nico de Boinville will ride Coneygree.

Venetia Williams was at the track and she enjoyed success through the mare Pepite Rose in the Class 2 Handicap chase over 2m 4f who ran away with the event. It was a top weight carrying effort by the only mare in the line up and this was her "Gold Cup" it would seem. Upepito though was yet to be asked a serious question and the large weight concession would surely have told up the straight and compensation awaits for him.

Broxbourne had been targeted at the mares hurdle on the Wincanton card but missed that to run at Aintree instead and the tip should have been taken, albeit Henderson had warned previously that soft ground wouldn't help her cause - but trainers "what do they know". She didn't appear to mind the soft going and she too won well whilst the stables Caracci Apache, who looked great in the paddock, suffered a mid race injury in his contest.

I'm partial to having a bet in a bumper and I particularly like the festival one. There were some nice lookers on Saturday namely Golden Investment and The Fresh Prince and they should pay their way as the season progresses and once they jump a fence - but they all played second fiddle to the more experienced Mahlerdramatic.

There is a lot to look forward to this week with Cheltenhams three day Open meeting commencing on Friday and the word "soft" looks odds on to figure in the going description. Tomorrow I will try and come up with a couple of long price ew selections for the Paddy Power Gold Cup and Greatwood Hurdle.

Onto today and there are a couple of entries for Paul Nicholls at Carlisle. Dan Skelton withdrew both his runners yesterday as I don't think his horses are running consistently at present. 

Paul Nicholls
The going is heavy, soft in places and the rain continues to pummel the north and I would imagine this very stiff track will take no prisoners today and some odd results may ensue.

1.45 - Silsol ran 4 times last season winning twice at Newbury and Ffos Las on soft and heavy so he should have no trouble with conditions today or staying the distance. Paul Nicholls says he may need the run but he said that last year and he came out and won  - a bit like Irving on Saturday! I believe he is the highest rated hurdler Nicholls sends chasing this year and the stable think there is more scope for progress in this code, particularly on soft ground. There are no frills with this horse he is solid and dependable and jumps well and the plan has always been to come north as the stable are high in the novice chase department. He is up against two similar types here in Seeyouatmidnight and Maximiser and it will be no walk in the park. In addition Sam Twiston Davies may be low on confidence at present as he has only ridden 6 winners in the last 14 days all of which were fav.

2.50 - Salubrious was a Grade 1 performer over hurdles and won the Martin Pipe at the festival in 2013 off a mark of 141h. That said Nicholls wasn't overly impressed with his initial handicap rating of 153c following his Fontwell win on his sole chase start prior to injury last season and that has now been reduced to 148c. He is said to be in good form but given the injury, today's attritional going and the fact that he hasn't run for 402 days you couldn't back him with any confidence and Blakemount's previous run out may swing the balance in his favour.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

It's All Go !!

We went very close to a decent place punt with Crockery at Chepstow on Wednesday but unfortunately it wasn't to be.

Just a couple of runners for the Dan Skelton stable tomorrow and none for team Nicholls now until Saturday. Things seem to have slowed down a bit with the Skelton horses as they are not firing as good as they were a couple of weeks ago but that said they had a winner yesterday in Willows Saviour who was returning from a long lay off.

1.20 - Toby Lerone returns to the fray in a novices hurdle over 2m 4f 217y. He was 4th in a handicap hurdle here on his third start last season off the same mark so I wouldn't expect too much. He was 2nd to Broadway Buffalo in the Tommy Whittle at Haydock and BB went on to finish 2nd to Cause Of Causes off an 8lb higher mark in the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham. Toby Lerone missed the cut in the Irish National. He is a lover of soft ground and staying is his forte and I would imagine this is a prelude to other targets as his chase rating is 128c. The early season plan would be to contest a race at Ascot the week before Christmas as he seems to perform better at right handed tracks. There is no head gear on for this and as the going is good he may be tapped for a bit of toe.

2.55 - Beautiful Gem has been given time to mature hence the 565 days off. Although she finished 6th of 8 to Blaklion she has not set the world alight in her two previous runs and it looks as though she will ultimately end up chasing.

There are no bets tomorrow.

Monday, 19 October 2015

That Monday Morning Feeling !

Well although I didn't put up a selection on Saturday I steered you towards two winners in Adrakhan at 9/4 and Work In Progress 8/11F both trained by Dan Skelton. When I updated the blog on Saturday the latter was at least available at 7/4 so it gets us back in a positive state of mind.

I'm not sure Paul Nicholls is in a positive state of mind at the moment as since Abidjan and Simon Squirrel won his results have been 273B2PP84115476124P3. The three winners were each a little bit fortunate in that the main rivals fell in two of the contests and in the other there was a dubious reverse in placings by the Stewards. Nicholls will be hoping his fortunes take an upturn as we approach November as he now says the plan has always been to have them ready for then and he has plenty entered up this week at Exeter and Cheltenham.

I would imagine the mood is a bit different over in Warwickshire where Dan Skelton form figures read 4F343370434127215122135P221. That's five wins and six seconds from 16 runners since 14th October so he is really moving into top gear. He set himself a target of 50 winners last season and picked up 73 and this season the stable have ambitions to train a 100 winners. They only have ten runners entered up to this Friday at Cheltenham, several of which we haven't seen so far this season so it will be interesting to see how they get on.

Neither stable has any runners today and I will post a further blog later on when I know which horses have been declared for tomorrow.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Looking Ahead

The Prix De L'Abbaye is a race I've often missed seeing on television as it's usually run before 1.00pm BST.... but not this year. This years running takes place at 3.40pm and it will be the race after the Arc which has been moved forward to 2.55pm.
Twenty Four horses remain in the line up of which only TWO are French and the fav Mecca's Angel will be in receipt of 4lb from the colts.
Paddy Power have actually pushed her out to 100/30 from 3/1 - (so time to invest some more if you can) - but it looks as though they have intentionally skewed the market in order to try and get their own Sole Power closer to the head as they have him at 4/1 (7's with Ladbrokes) - unfortunately guys the price wont make him go any faster !
My each way selection Maarek has been cut into 14's from 20s by Paddy Power but you can still get 16's with Coral, Skybet and 888Sport.

Rangali, one of the two French runners is interesting, he was 2nd beaten a head by Move In Time in last years race when he was a 3yo. Total Gallery was the last 3yo winner in 2009 and prior to that it was Carmine Lake in 1997. 
Rangali went off at 16/1 last year and was a length clear with a 100 yards to go before being pipped on the line and the chances are his season will have been geared towards running well here once again. There is however a bit of confusion between the bookmakers as to what price he should be - he is generally 20/1, but Ladbrokes and others have him at 16's, whilst Coral stick their neck out at 33's.

As of yesterday the going remained Good to Soft, although officials expect it to be Good by Sunday.
Hopefully we will have some quotes from connections over the coming days and I will do another post then.

RANGALI - 0.25 point each way @ 33/1 with Coral

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Prix de l'abbaye

Sunday sees this years running of the main French Group 1 sprint race the Prix de l'abbaye at Longchamp.

Last season Move In Time was successful for David O'Meara in a time of 56.42s and become the 28th British trained winner of the race in 40 odd years and his own record at the track now reads 2211.
His latest win came on 13th September in the Group 3 Qatar Prix Du Petit Convert at the expense of Gengis and old rival Mirza (1051573) in 2nd and 3rd in a time of 57.30s. The previous years running of that race saw Mirza beat Move In Time by half a length in a faster run race (55.68s) on going described as Good.

The going is often given as very soft/heavy at Longchamp although the times never seem to reflect that - unless the distance is slightly shorter than 5f.

This year there are the usual number of British contenders to take on their French counterparts and although the draw often plays a big part in this race it may be wise to have a bet now and then have another look nearer the time.

Mecca's Angel would appear to have an outstanding chance  for Michael Dods. She ran at the course back in May in the Group 3 Prix Du Saint George and won by a comfortable 2 lengths on going described as Good to Soft in a time of 55.24s, she was drawn in stall 11 and Maarek the 2013 Prix de l'abbaye winner finished in 4th.

The last horse to win from a double figure draw was Marchand D'or in 2008 - stall 20 so Mecca's Angel comfortable win from stall 11 in May looks even better with that in mind.

Her Jockey as usual will be Paul Mulrennan who recently spoke to Attheraces about her chances "She's in great condition and I'm really looking forward to it. They're calling the ground soft at the moment and hopefully it stays like that. The ground should be perfect for her, you've got to remember she broke the track record out there on good ground. As long as it's good or good to soft and as long as there's no jar we'll be going there next week and we couldn't be happier with her - we all saw how good she was at York. Her coat is great, her weight is good and she was jumping out of her skin. It's hard to believe she only won a Group One a few weeks ago, all credit to Michael, he's been keeping a lid on her."

At a best price of 3/1 with several bookmakers she looks well worth a bet to follow up her Group 1 Nunthorpe win on what is likely to be her favoured going.

An outsider could be 2013 winner Maarek who finished with a rattle behind Mecca's Angel in  May and this Pivotal gelding is also well served by going on the soft side. Granted a reasonable draw the 20/1 currently quoted by Paddy Power could be too high.

Mecca's Angel - 1 point win
Maarek - 0.5 point each way

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Next Up !

After the big meeting at Ayr with it's Gold, Silver and Bronze cups the next big race on the British sprint calendar is the the Coral Sprint Trophy at York on Saturday 10th 0ctober 2015 at which the cup races run at Ayr usually have a say in the outcome. 
Spinatrix has been at the top of the handicap with a mark of 105 for the last two years - winning last year. 
Here are a few more facts to wet your appetite over the coming weeks :

Draw Record last 7 years :
2014 : 9, 4, 16, 6 ( 19 ran) Good to Soft - Connor Beasley (3) - Winning Time : 1m 13.26s
2013 : 4, 13, 3, 14 (19) Good - P J McDonald
2012 : 14, 8, 9, 20 (14) Soft
2011 : 19, 6, 10, 18 (20) Good
2010 : 15, 8, 2, 4 (20) Soft
2009 : 9, 13, 17, 4 (20) Good
2008 : No Race
Age of Winner : 6, 6, 8, 3, 5, 4
Weight of Winner : 9.7 (2014)
Result :
2014 : 1st Spinatrix, 2nd Highland Acclaim, 3rd Another Wise Kid, 4th Rene Mathis
2013 : 1st Mass Rally, 2nd Seeking Magic, Hallelujah, 4th Jimmy Styles
2012 : 1st Regal Parade, 2nd Louis The Pious, 3rd Sirius Prospect, 4th Misplaced Fortune
2011 : 1st Sirius Prospect, 2nd Kaldoun Kingdom, 3rd Racy, 4th Sioux Rising
2010 : 1st Fathsta, 2nd Damien, 3rd Irish Heartbeat, 4th Parisian Pyramid
2009 : 1st Kaldoun Kingdom, 2nd Cheveton, 3rd Hitchens, 4th Green Manalishi
2008 : No Race
2014 Racing Post Analysis
A typically competitive heat and, having originally split into two groups, the whole field merged within 2f of the start and came more or less centre to stands´ side.
SPINATRIX was fifth in this last year off the same mark, but the ground was softer this time around and that proved the key to her defying top weight. She´s been in good form lately and the Wentworth Stakes, in which she was third last year, was mentioned as a possible short-term target.
Highland Acclaim gets plenty of credit for coming from off the pace to challenge in a race where it paid to race handily. His rider did pick up a nine-day ban for overuse of the whip, however.

Pre Race Comments:
Spinatrix - "Spinatrix is in good form and the ground is coming right. She ran a cracker at Ripon, but this is competitive and she has a tough job at the weights".
Another Wise Kid - "It's a tough competitive race but he has run really well all year and was unlucky in the Great St Wilfrid at Ripon".

Post Race Comments:
Spinatrix - "I was pleased when I saw the only other speed horses were drawn well away from Spinatrix. I said to Connor go forward and do your own thing. We might go for the Wentworth Stakes at Doncaster, and there´s a Listed race at Fontainebleau on November 20. She has not had a lot of racing this year because of the ground".

Friday, 19 June 2015

The Wokingham and Diamond Jubilee

Well I get the chance to go to Royal Ascot tomorrow as I have a share in Tatlisu in the Wokingham. He has been well supported since Ryan Moore, who rides him, has had all his winners - but in truth he is probably shorter in the betting than he deserves to be and his price is probably more about the jockey. That said he has blinkers on for the first time so it is not beyond the realms of possibility that he will improve again on what he has shown to date and if that was the case he wouldn't be far away as he goes on any ground and heavy rain is supposedly due in the area tomorrow.
The draw is an unknown factor if the going changes - it seems to have favoured those drawn low more than those drawn high so far but that may change.
I like the look of both Huntsmans Close and Gamesome and I hope Tatlisu can get in the frame too.

The Diamond Jubilee sees an International field with Ireland, Australia and USA making up over half the runners. The home team may be up against it and Tropics looks the pick. In truth the race looks an easy Group 1 to win as it seems to be low on quality and it will be interesting to see how the time of this race works out - particularly if the going stays as it is.
Aiden O'Brien has his team in top form and the stable cat could run well if it came over so Due Dilligence could go very well for Ryan Moore as he travels and stays well.

No selections as I will just be having a watching brief - if you want to have a look at the big race facts they are available on the link above for both races.

Good Luck !

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Kings Stand Stakes - Royal Ascot Day 1

It looks like we are in for a feast of racing all week at Royal Ascot and the first big sprint is the Kings Stand Stakes.
The going is Good, Good to Firm in places. (GoingStick: Standside: 8.5, Centre: 8.3, Farside: 8.5, Round 8.1 on Tuesday at 08:15).The Fav is Sole Power as he seeks a record breaking third win in the race. He faces 18 rivals from over the globe in this fascinating Group 1 sprint.
For me this race is between Mecca's Angel, Sole Power, G Force, Muthmir, Goldream and Steps is good ew value at 50/1 as like Sole Power he finishes well off a fast pace.
Paddy Power himself thinks Sole Power is a good bet today and the best price you can get this am is 5/1 with Ladbrokes.
Goldream is good value too at 28/1 as he will like the going today and Robert Cowell hasn't sent many to Royal Ascot and he has to be respected in these big sprints.
The going is a slight concern for Mecca's Angel but the time of her race at Longchamp last time out was 55.24 which shows as always a dodgy going description at that track. She possesses plenty of natural speed being by Dark Angel and when winning at Longchamp she had a poor draw but still won going away by two lengths and she may set too hard a test for Sole Power to claw back and she is my idea of the winner.

Facts and Figures :
History : First run in 1860 as the The Queens Stand Stakes/Plate over the 2 year old course of about 6f. The distance was reduced to 5f in 1907 with the name of the race having changed to The Kings Stand Stakes in 1901.

Draw Record last 7 years :

2014 : 8, 4, 11, 10 (16 ran) Good - Richard Hughes 58.85s

2013 : 14, 5, 10, 6 (19 ran) Good - Johnny Murtagh

2012 : 7, 8, 22, 3 (22 ran) Good to Soft

2011 : 14, 18, 10, 15 (19 ran) Good

2010 : 11, 4, 3, 5 (12 ran) Good

2009 : 1, 15, 14, 9 (15 ran) Good to Firm

2008 : 11, 9, 12, 1 (13 ran) Good to Firm

Age of past Winner - 7, 6, 6, 6, 5, 5, 3

Previous Results :

2014 : 1st Sole Power, 2nd Stepper Point, 3rd Hot Streak, 4th Medicean Man

2013 : 1st Sole Power, 2nd Shea Shea, 3rd Pearl Secret, 4th Jack Dexter

2012 : 1st Little Bridge, 2nd Bated Breath, 3rd Sole Power, 4th Medicean Man

2011 : 1st Prohibit, 2nd Star Witness, 3rd Sweet Sanette, 4th Overdose

2010 : 1st Equiano, 2nd Markab, 3rd Borderlescott, 4th Nicconi

2014 Racing Post Analysis-
A wide-open Group 1 sprint, as if often the case these days, and they were spread across the track.
For a second consecutive year, SOLE POWER´s irresistible late burst proved too much for his rivals, travelling supremely well under new rider Richard Hughes, who weaved his way through the field. Having been switched right, he ended up near the far rail and he fairly flew home to win readily. Although now a 7yo he´s at the very top of his game and can return in 2015 in a bid to complete a hat-trick in the race, granted similarly quick ground.

Trainers Comments :

Sole Power - Eddie Lynam told At The Races: "I'm very happy with him. He's in a real good place and I'm looking forward to him. This is his fifth Royal Ascot, which is unusual. He's won the last twice and was placed in it and he was down the field in it, but he's carried us for years. He's a great horse.He hadn't run for a while so his last run blew the cobwebs away. He needed a run to get him back in order.Richard (Hughes) was happy and the way the horse has been training, recently especially, I think he's right now and he's ready to go."

Shamal Wind - R Smerdon said: "She's a very flexible mare and we wouldn't be worried if the ground was very soft or very fast. It's going to a tough race, but our horses have done well in this race before and I think she'll go pretty well. It's great to be involved and great to have a horse good enough to run at Ascot. Her win in the Oakleigh was typical of her style in that she is a run-on sprinter. She has an explosive burst, but you have to time it exactly right and she has been narrowly beaten in races. She is a tricky ride."

Muthmir,- Angus Gold, racing manager to owner Sheikh Hamdan, said: "I don't think he'll have any trouble holding him over five furlongs at Ascot and he's exciting. Whether he can beat Sole Power is another matter, but he's a horse we're looking forward to. I don't think he'll be outclassed, as long as we can get him into it in the right way, get a lead and produce him late. Sole Power is an incredibly impressive sprinter and there's obviously others in there as well, but I think our horse deserves to take his chance."

William Haggas is bullish he may be able to dethrone Sole Power in the Group 1 sprint - "He’s taking on the best sprinter that there’s been for a while but he’s got a lot of things in his favour. He’s got a good turn of foot and I think the track, the trip and the fast ground will suit him. He’s got a nice draw and he’s very well."

Mecca's Angel - Michael Dods said: "Mecca's Angel is a very straightforward filly who did it very well in France last time when she quickened again off a strong pace and was quite impressive. This will be her sternest test yet, but I believe she has come on for that last run and deserves to take her chance.She has won on an uphill track before and she will probably jump and sit but she could lead if she has to lead. She is a better filly on genuinely good or good to soft ground so I hope they put plenty of water on - I will walk it on Tuesday morning just to check it's all right. Winning any race is a great feeling and makes all the hard work worthwhile but a race like the King's Stand is what we are aiming at as we want to compete with the best and show it is possible to train good horses up here in the North. If we were to win it would mean a hell of a lot to the whole operation - to my staff, to Paul (Mulrennan, jockey) and to the owners. Royal Ascot only happens once a year so you have to enjoy it, it's a massive occasion."

Stepper Point, - William Muir said: "Stepper Point just ripped a shoe off coming out of the stalls at Chantilly. He looked like a teddy bear in his coat before his last run, but he his just starting to show his summer coat now. He is in great shape and he really comes alive at this time of year."

Steps - Roger Varian said: "He ran a good race in the 'Dash' and he was only beaten two and a half lengths at Ascot last year. He is in super form and although I can't see him winning it, he has a good chance of being in the first four or five."

Friday, 12 June 2015

888sport Charity Sprint (Handicap)

Trainers Comments

Martyn Meade told At The Races about Scalzo : "I'm very pleased and obviously the horse has shown his ability and to actually be able to have an owner like this in the yard is enormously exciting. After the Haydock run it was not in our minds to sell the horse, but the opportunity to train for that particular owner made it a no-brainer. What we have to do is produce the goods.Running him in the big sprint handicap at York, we can gauge how good he is and then hopefully introduce him into Group class after that."

Henry Candy says of Twilight Sun: "He's in very good form. I'm happy with the draw (seven) and the ground. This has been his target since his win at Newmarket and I think he's ready to run a good race."

Sam Hoskins, representative of Magical Memory said: "It was a good win last time out and I think we've found the right tactics now, he needs holding up. He should run well but even though we get a bit of a pull at the weights with Twilight Son, I think he'll be tough to beat - he looks a Group horse in a handicap to me. It's a 20-runner handicap, though, so anything could happen, and with such good money on offer we'd be mad not to take our chance. I just hope they don't get lots of rain as he wouldn't want it very soft. Otherwise, he's going there with a good each-way chance I think."

Karl Burke commented re Explosive Lady "I was very pleased with how she ran at Haydock because I warned that she'd need the run and I feel she's really sharpened up for it. We're hoping for a good run off 95 because I feel she's a good bit better than that. She might need to be because Henry Candy's horse and three or four others look big dangers, it's very competitive. If I'm right, though, I still think she's well handicapped."

Richard Fahey has three runners in the race and comments as follows "Grandad’s World has been disappointing but we’ve gelded him since his last run. That will hopefully help him because he’s always been talented and worked well this week. I hope he can improve but this is very competitive. Bonds Girl is in no man’s land a little. She had a fantastic season last year and if she came back to her best she’d have a chance but she’s not very big. It’s not a case of her having not trained on but the worry is have the others strengthened and caught her up? She couldn’t be in better order though. Sarista got very upset in the stalls on her only previous run for us and we have been doing a lot of work with her since. She came here with a tall reputation but the main thing is for us to get her behaving properly at the start and see if she can run her race.

Race History :
Draw Record last 7 years :
2014 - 12, 5, 6, 16 (20 ran) Good, Good to firm in places - David Allan 1m 12.03s
2013 - 14, 9, 16, 3 (19 ran) Good to Firm - Duran Fentiman
2012 - 4, 12, 9, 17 (17 ran) Soft
2011 - 18, 16, 2, 15 (20 ran) Good
2010 - 5, 3, 19, 11 (20 ran) Good
2009 - 2, 6, 19, 4 (20 ran) Good
2008 - 8, 4, 17, 18 (19 ran) Good

Weight of Winner : 8-7, 8-11, 8-9, 8-11, 8-7, 9-1, 9-0,

Result :
2014 : 1st See The Sun, 2nd Naadir, 3rd Kickboxer, 4th Gamesome
2013 : 1st Body And Soul, 2nd Moviesta, 3rd Barracouda Boy, 4th Heaven's Guest
2012 : 1st Sholaan, 2nd Gabriel's Lad, 3rd Glen Moss, 4th Boris Grigoriev
2011 : 1st Lexi's Hero, 2nd Cocktail Charlie, 3rd Acclamazing, 4th Swiss Dream
2010 : 1st Victoire De Lyphar, 2nd Iver Bridge Lad, 3rd Singeur, 4th Pastoral Player
2009 : 1st Swiss Diva, 2nd Parisian Pyramid, 3rd Favourite Girl, 4th Rowayton
2008 : 1st Brave Prospector, 2nd Victorian Bounty, 3rd Ancien Regime, 4th Good Gorsoon

Tim Easterby has had 4 wins in the last 12 years.

2014 Racing Post Analysis
The ground continued to dry out and was now good to firm.
This traditionally hot 3yo sprint handicap looked well up to scratch this year and although it was another case of the winner making just about all, the form still has a solid look to it and plenty of winners will come out of this. The main action unfolded up the centre of the track. SEE THE SUN, back up to 6f and from a yard with a decent record in this contest, showed plenty of speed up the centre of the track and although he appeared to be paddling inside the last furlong and looked sure to be swallowed up, he found a bit more and just managed to hold on. On this evidence a return to 5f wouldn't bother him, but he gets this trip well and there should be more decent races to be won with him.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Investec Corporate Banking Dash - Class 2 Heritage Handicap

The stalls are situated on the stands side for the 5f races, high numbers are nearest the rail.

The Draw as you will look at them is therefore as follows with their usual running style described:
  1 Desert Law - Prominent
  2 Smoothtalkinrascal - Prominent
  3 Monumental Man 8.8 - Leads/Pace
  4 Chiclet - Prominent
  5 Steps - Held Up
  6 Secret Missile - Held Up
  7 Monsieur Joe - Held Up
  8 Normal Equilibrium - Midfield
  9 Pearl Acclaim - Prominent
10 Burning Thread - Held Up
11 Seeking Magic - Held Up
12 Humidor - Midfield
13 Free Zone - Prominent
14 Caspian Prince 9.10 - Prominent
15 Duke Of Firenze 9.3 - Prominent
16 Perfect Muse - Held Up
17 Confessional - Prominent
18 Boom The Groom - Prominent
19 Barnet Fair - Held Up
20 Silvanus - Prominent

Some of the main contenders are as follows :

Monumental Man a C&D winner on his two previous starts at this track, looked better than ever here last time out, the race was set up perfectly for his strengths, he bagged the rail and was soon bowling along disputing lead, went on outright 2f out and drew clear inside final 1f for a convincing success by 3 3/4 lengths. Although up 12lb in the handicap ratings he actually carries 3lb less in weight than he did for his latest C&D win - so theoretically there is no reason to suppose his time will be any slower. His time for that race was 0.38secs faster than last years winning time in this race. He is drawn in stall 3 which could be a negative, but Stone Of Folca broke the world record for 5f from stall 2 so hopefully it will not be too much of a hindrance to his chances. In any event he would appear to be, on paper, the confirmed front runner in the field of runners so he should be able to go where he wants.

Steps (IRE) ran without his usual headgear at Newbury and looked rusty after 6 months off, the run sure to bring him on, and he does have an excellent record second time out in a season (has won in 3 of last 4 years); slowly into stride, never going pace, held when short of room briefly final 1f, not unduly punished. In this race last season he was counted as an unlucky loser as he missed the break and then finished fast to go down by just three quarters of a length in 4th. He is one pound lower in the handicap ratings this time and is drawn further towards the middle of the track.

Seeking Magic probably needed run after 6 months off last time out at Newmarket. He finished second in this race last season from a 4 lb higher mark having contested the same Newmarket race previously and his stable also run Perfect Muse. He is drawn in the middle in stall 11 and he is another who could easily have won last year granted some better luck.

Perfect Muse progressed well in 2014 and is open to improvement. Put down a good marker for this at Goodwood behind Humidor recently, just lacking the wherewithal to quicken at the crucial stage, but going on well at the end. Cam Hardie was booked early to claim a useful 3lbs and she is drawn more towards the rail in stall 16.

Chiclet (IRE) completed hat-trick in Ireland, the latest at being at Dundalk on the All Weather surface where she was close up, travelled strongly, led on bridle over 1f out, quickened clear soon after to record an impressive victory. The trainer nominated this as her next port of call although I'm not sure she has shown enough speed for a race of this nature but she is open to further improvement. She is drawn in stall 4 so will be able to follow the pace set by Monumental Man.

Barnet Fair looks close to hitting top form for his trainer who has a very good record in this race. He finished 6th in the race last season from a 1lb lower mark. He warmed up for this with a 6th at Thirsk under Franny Norton and Kieren Fox rides today. One big plus in his favour is the draw, he was drawn in stall 1 last year whereas this time he is 19 so I would imagine he will be able to do better than his 6th last year.

Desert Law (IRE)has shown some good from this season and it shows that he's competitively handicapped again, so he's one to bear in mind as he has form in the race, albeit 3 years ago, when 2nd to Spirit Of Folca, beaten half a length from stall 16 after travelling well. He is 8lb lower in the handicap ratings now but he has to cope with stall 1 so he may not get much cover.

Caspian Prince last years winner is now 11lbs higher and is 12bs worse off with Seeking Magic for winning by a head. He is drawn in stall 14, the same stall from which he won last season. He has been competing at a higher level since and he evidently still possesses speed. Weight in 5f races does not have as much bearing as weight in for instance in 1m 4f races as the weight carried is done so for less time and therefore there probably wont be much between him and Seeking Magic again at the line.

Facts and Figures
Draw Positions of previous winners and placed horses
2014 - 14, 17, 12, 13 (19 ran) Good - Adam Kirby 54.75s
2013 - 19, 1, 5, 13 (17 ran) Good - 55.22s
2012 - 2, 16, 15, 3 (20 ran) Good to Firm - 53.69s (World Record)
2011 - 9, 13, 10, 1 (16) Good to Firm - 54.30s
2010 - 15, 14, 16, 9 (19) Good to Firm - 54.22s
2009 - 18, 12, 11, 1 (18) Good to Firm - 54.67s
2008 - 8, 19, 12, 17 (19) Good - 55.33s
Age of Winner - 5, 4, 4, 6, 6, 9, 6
Previous Results :
2014 : 1st Caspian Prince, 2nd Seeking Magic, 3rd Addictive Dream, 4th Steps
2013 : 1st Duke Of Firenze, 2nd Smoothtalkinrascal, 3rd Dinkum Diamond, 4th Fair Value
2012 : 1st Stone of Folca, 2nd Desert Law, 3rd Catfish, 4th Taajub
2011 : 1st Captain Dunne, 2nd Confessional, 3rd La Fortunata, 4th Sohraab
2010 : 1st Bertoliver, 2nd Hawkeyethenoo, 3rd Rocket Bob, 4th Judge N'Jury
2014 Racing Post Analysis :
This was always going to be fast and furious and the second and fourth will feel they could have won on another day. Surprisingly, though, there was very little trouble in behind.
CASPIAN PRINCE, 7lb higher than when readily making all the running over C&D earlier in the season, repeated the trick in what was a much more competitive race, soon being in front near the stands´ rail and, having battled back after the third edged ahead of him, just held on. He clearly loves a fast 5f.

Course and Distance winners, their best times, actual weight carried and going :
Caspian Prince - 54.75s  9.0 - Good
Duke Of Firenze - 55.22s 9.0 - Good
Monumental Man - 54.37s 8.11 - Good To Firm

First Time Tongue Strap - Boom The Groom and Smoothtalkinrascal.

Selection : Monumental Man @ 12/1