Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Sophia Could Star With Hood Removed At Fairyhouse


Boris Boru was in the process of running a big race for us at Navan and he was bang in contention when taking a heavy fall at the fourth last. Olive D’haguenet was alongside him at the time and ended up in 2nd with very few of the hold up horses getting involved. It is impossible to know for sure, but I think Boris Boru would have placed at least if he had stayed on his feet. He is one to watch out for at Down Royal or Downpatrick this Winter.
 
Jack Kennedy is back on board Tsarina Sophia.

There still hasn’t been enough rain in these parts to change the underfoot conditions and the ground looks likely be good at Fairyhouse on Wednesday, though there is some rain forecast. I like one at a huge price in the closing 20f handicap at 3.35 and I reckon Tsarina Sophia could surprise with a big run with Jack Kennedy booked and the hood removed for the first time.

This 6yo daughter of Soviet Star has yet to trouble the judge after seven starts under rules, but she definitely showed a modicum of ability on two of her last three starts for Diarmuid Ryan. Interestingly, her best effort came on the only occasion she was ridden by Jack Kennedy at Tramore and she shaped well enough to finish 7th of 13, her effort petering out in the final furlong.

Kennedy was struggling to hold her up at the back of the field in the early stages and she looked keen to get on with things. He was determined to keep her out the back though, and as they came to the third last hurdle she wasn’t far off the leaders at all. Her early exertions took their toll late on, and while she was 23L behind the winner at the finish, it was a much better run than it looked.

The same applies to her penultimate start at Wexford when Darragh O’Keefe was on board for her handicap debut. She was dropped back to 2 miles and finished 8th beaten 20L off her opening mark of 85, but again she ran better than her finishing position and distance beaten suggests. It looked to me like she wasn’t in love with the hood, and it was the same story at Clonmel last time when she almost refused to race before being brought down early.

This mare is bred to be a whole lot better than her current rating of just 83. She has had four siblings make the track and three have won, including Joanne One who was a Listed bumper and dual hurdle winner that achieved an official rating of 123. Her half bother Kylestyle was a useful performer on his day and her dam is a half-sister to Snap Tie and also a half-sister to the dam of promising sorts Spider Web and Runfordave.

I think the removal of the hood for the first time could help to improve Tsarina Sophia’s jumping and the return of Jack Kennedy to the saddle looks significant. Good or yielding ground should be just fine for this mare, as should the trip, and if her mishap last time at Clonmel (no fault of her own) hasn’t knocked her confidence I think Tsarina Sophia is worth chancing for small stakes each way at odds of 33/1.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: 3.35 FAIRYHOUSE- TSARINA SOPHIA E/W @ 33/1 5 PLACES

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Boris Could Go Well At A Huge Price Back At Navan


Unfortunately, Doncaster got lots of rain before racing yesterday and the ground turned against my selection Sokudo. He was never happy on the soft ground and he faded in the closing stages after racing prominently. I think he will be much better on a sounder surface and once he gets a mark he is one to keep an eye out for in handicaps.

 
Boris Boru could run big for Sarah Dawson.

Today I am taking a chance on one at a monster price at Navan and I think Boris Boru could outrun his huge odds for Sarah Dawson and Conor Maxwell. This 7yo son of Brian Boru has returned from a lay-off with two runs this season, and he showed that he still had a bit of ability when running a nice race from the front over 3 miles last time.

He faded late on that day and shaped as though a drop in trip would suit. He gets that in this 22f handicap hurdle and encouragingly, he has run well over this course and distance before when 5th off 86, beaten just over 3L on yielding/soft ground. He won’t mind the good ground at Navan today either as his best run so far came when he was 2nd on good ground at Down Royal over 22f.

He races from 5lb out of the handicap today (rated 81 runs off 86) but as he has shown in the past he is well capable of getting involved off 86. He should be a lot fitter with his two comeback runs behind him and he went well for a long way last time. If he is trying today I think he could run a big race and at odds of 40/1 I think Boris Boru is well worth chancing each way for small stakes.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: 12.35 NAVAN- BORIS BORU E/W @ 40/1 5 PLACES

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Sokudo Could Spring A Surprise At Doncaster


Nakeeta may well have finished well beaten in the Melbourne Cup, but turning in I thought he had a massive chance and at least he got our pulses racing for a few moments! He travelled very well into the race from a much better position than last year but he just couldn’t sustain his effort.
 
Madeleine Tylicki has just one runner at Doncaster.

On Saturday the last main UK flat meeting of the year takes place at Doncaster and the ground is good. Very interestingly, Kildare based trainer Madeleine Tylicki sends Sokudo over for the 6f 2yo maiden at 12.20 and I think he could surprise with a big run at monster odds. This colt has run better than his form figures of 09 suggest on his two starts so far and he improved big time on his second outing at Naas.

He was clueless for Colin Keane at Cork on his debut in what has turned out to be a decent maiden, but he was given a good educational ride by Keane. Sokudo was slow from the gates and was detached 2nd last early on. When Keane went for him at around the 3f pole he was green as grass, but he did keep on to pass a couple of horses in the closing stages under hands and heels.

He ran again at Naas six days ago (6.5f yld), this time sporting blinkers with Leigh Roche on board. He was much more professional, breaking a lot better and though he faded late on, he showed up well for a long way and I think the return to better ground will suit this nicely bred son of  Bungle Inthejungle.

His Distorted Humour dam is a half sister to Outstrip, a son of Exceed And Excel who was a 2yo Breeders’ Cup Turf winner on firm as well as a winner of the Champagne Stakes here at Doncaster. Bungle Inthejungle is also a son of Exceed and Excel, so Sokudo is bred along very similar lines to Outstrip.

If his pedigree is anything to go by this fella will be at his best on good ground or quicker and with no rain forecast, he should get his ideal conditions at Doncaster. Tony Hamilton has been booked, the blinkers are removed and Sokudo has been handed a decent draw in stall 6. At odds of 66/1 I think he is well worth chancing each way for small stakes.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: 12.20 DONCASTER-SOKUDO E/W @ 66/1

Monday, 5 November 2018

Nakeeta The Each Way Value In Melbourne Cup

I was very happy with how Shimmer And Shine ran yesterday at Cork but I think the slow ground was against her. She kept on really bravely to hold off the chasing pack in 4th because after the 3rd last I was convinced she would be swallowed up. She has a win in her and she is one to keep onside when the ground is properly good.

The race that stops a nation is run at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne at 4am Tuesday morning UK and Irish time. I really liked Red Verdon for this contest but unfortunately he picked up a knock and can’t run. Instead, I am keeping the faith with the horse I tipped up last year as I cannot believe he can be backed at triple figure odds in some places.
Nakeeta ran a huge race from a poor draw last year.


Nakeeta ran a cracker off the same weight to fly home for 5th from stall 19 in the 2017 Melbourne Cup but this year he has been handed a far better draw in stall 3. He is available at odds of 100/1 with a couple of firms at the moment but I have backed him at 66/1 for 6 places each way.

The only reason this son of Sixties Icon is such a massive price is because his last couple of runs have been far from inspiring. However, the trip of 12f was never going to suit him for his prep run and his jockey was very easy on him once his chance was gone. He was in the process of running well on his last UK start too but he was hampered at a crucial time.

His sole run on turf at 2 miles this season was his best one and it came when he finished well off a strong pace at Newbury back in July. He was only beaten 3.75L by Stratum, to whom he was conceding 9lb, off a mark of 106.  He had Cleonte in behind (conceding a stone) and that horse went on to win next time and go close in the Cesarewitch.

I think Nakeeta has been trained all year for a repeat bid in the Melbourne Cup and his trainer Iain Jardine is well capable of readying one. The step back up in trip will suit, he handles the track, he has a great draw in stall 3 and his young jockey, Melbourne Cup debutant Regan Bayliss, knows the track well. I think 66/1 for 6 places about Nakeeta is a monster price, and he is a pretty confident each way selection.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: MELBOURNE CUP-NAKEETA E/W @ 66/1 6 PLACES

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Shimmer Can Shine Back On Better Ground At Cork


The jumps action in Ireland comes from Cork today and the Cork National is the feature race on a good card. I think Nobody Home represents a bit of each way value in that race, but my main fancy goes in the 20f handicap hurdle later on in the day at 3.50.
 
Nobody Home could go well at a price in the Cork National.

Shimmer And Shine went into my notebook when she was a massive eye catcher at a monster price in a 20f good ground maiden hurdle at Roscommon earlier this season for Peter Croke and Dylan Robinson, finishing 4th behind Gaillimh Abu despite being given an extremely tender ride.

I was shocked to see her dropped back in trip on her handicap debut at Clonmel (16.5f) after her run at Roscommon and I wasn't surprised that it proved too sharp for her. She was far from disgraced though, beaten 3.5L, and judging by the money that arrived for the daughter of Gold Well last time at Downpatrick, connections must have expected the step up to 22.5f to suit.

She was sent off at just 6/1 but the rain before the race scuppered her chance as she simply isn’t at her best on truly soft ground. It is good to yielding at Cork this afternoon and that will suit her a lot better. She had a 114 rated hurdler half a length behind on her last start at 20f so off a mark of 95 I think she is capable of getting involved at the business end. At odds of 25/1 she is well worth chancing e/w with an extra place available from plenty of bookies.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: 3.50 CORK-SHIMMER AND SHINE E/W @ 25/1

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Breeders’ Cup Friday- Previews And Tips For All Turf Races

Queen Of Bermuda will love the ground at Churchill Downs.


Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (Listed)

When I first sat down to study this race the ground was firm, but a deluge means conditions will be soft at the very least come Friday night. I fancied Strike Silver in a big way before the rain came as I think this race will be run to suit his fast finishing style. The ground is a complete unknown for him though, and for that reason I have decided to side with Queen Of Bermuda.

Unlike a lot of her rivals this daughter of Exceed And Excel is proven on soft/heavy and a wide draw shouldn’t hinder the chances of this hold up type. Her form figures on ground with soft or heavy in the description read 2121, with the two wins coming at Listed and Group 3 level. She only has a length to find with Soldier’s Call on their meeting at Deauville and at odds of 14/1 she looks the each way value of the race for Mr Haggas and Flavian Prat.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: QUEEN OF BERMUDA E/W @ 14/1 NB

Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (Grade 1)

The first Group 1 on Breeders’ Cup weekend is the Juvenile Fillies Turf and fourteen will go to post for this 8f contest. Unbeaten daughter of Lope De Vega, Newspaperofrecord is the 13/8 favourite and given both her wins came on yielding ground this special looking filly is a worthy favourite. Her two wins were by over 6L, including in a Group 2 last time at Belmont where she made all and never looked in danger for Irad Ortiz Jr.
 
My Gal Betty hosed up on yielding ground at Woodbine.

The one that I think looks overpriced is My Gal Betty for Roger Attfield and Javier Castellano. This filly hacked up on her only start on easy ground so far and she ran a cracker on firm behind La Pelosa at Woodbine last time. Her sire won two Group 1s on easy ground, she is bred to get a mile at the very least and if she gets a strong pace to aim at I think she could stay on late for a place at least at odds of 25/1.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: MY GAL BETTY E/W @ 25/1 NAP

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (Grade 1)

There is plenty of British and Irish interest in the 8f Juvenile Turf race and the two market leaders are Anthony Van Dyck for Aidan O’Brien and Line of Duty for Charlie Appleby. Both have winning form on softish ground but the draw has been a lot kinder to the Godolphin horse. He starts from stall 5 while Anthony Van Dyck is out in stall 14, so at the prices I would prefer Line Of Duty at 7/2.
 
Black Album could go well for Mickael Barzalona.

However, at a nice each way price I think The Black Album could go well up in trip. This son of Wootton Bassett has won three of his last four, including a Group 3 on good to soft last time. The 4th home that day won a Group 1 next time so the form looks strong and if Mickael Barzalona can get across early from stall 9 I think this fella could go well for each way players at odds of 16/1.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: THE BLACK ALBUM E/W @ 16/1

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Step Up In Trip Could Be The Making Of Magic At Leopardstown


Trans Express gave us a great run for our money in the handicap hurdle at Cheltenham on Friday. My heart was racing as they approached the third last as he was travelling very well and I thought he had a great chance of winning, let alone placing. However, he just lacked the turn of foot possessed by some of his rivals after jumping the last and he could only manage 7th.
Julia's Magic looks a lively outsider at Leopardstown.
I have previewed all the live ITV Saturday races for Bettingtools tomorrow and you can check out my fancies by clicking here. However, with quick ground looking likely at Leopardstown I can’t resist having a small each way bet on Julia’s Magic in the 7f Listed contest at 3.05pm.

This daughter of underrated sire Dandy Man has not run well on her last two starts in Listed and handicap company but the easy ground was not in her favour on either occasion. However, she is of big interest here on the form of her close 4th in a Listed heat at Naas three starts back and the way she finished that day suggested that 7f would really suit.

I think this filly is more than capable of picking up some black type for Denise Foster, just like her sister Lily’s Rainbow. Her wins all came at a mile so not only does Julia’s Magic’s last run suggest that 7f will suit, her pedigree does too. Quick ground is another important requirement for Julia's Magic and she looks sure to get that at Leopardstown.

On the figures she has a lot to find with some of the principals with an official rating of 93 but she was just a head and a neck behind Naas runner up Could It Be Love who was rated 112 on the day (104 now). Imaging, rated 105, is the current favourite at 3/1 but he has yet to run on quick ground. Smash Williams and Flight Risk might prefer a bit of cut and I think the biggest dangers on paper are Psychedelic Funk and North Face, who will appreciate dropping back in trip.

However, I think the step up in trip could eke out more improvement from Julia’s Magic and the return to quick ground is firmly in her favour too. If the assessor is correct she will probably finish down the field, but in my opinion her run at Naas was better than that of a 93 rated filly and at odds of 40/1 I think she has a fighting chance of picking up some precious black type for connections.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: 3.05 LEOPARDSTOWN-JULIA’S MAGIC  E/W @ 40/1


Thursday, 25 October 2018

All Aboard The Trans Express At Cheltenham


We had a decent Saturday last weekend on Champions Day with a couple of places at 25/1 and 66/1. I think if the ground had been softer Stormy Antarctic might have won, but credit has to go to Roaring Lion who proved he is as tough as he is classy by grinding out a victory on ground that didn’t suit.
 
Lucy Gardner gets a good tune out of Trans Express.

The ground will be good at Cheltenham tomorrow and I like one at a huge price in the 21f handicap hurdle at 3.10 who his making his seasonal comeback. Trans Express was a gallant 5th in this race last season off 112 and he is only 3lb higher here. He was a good way behind the winner that day but I think he showed he could handle the track and trip and this year’s renewal has probably been on Sue Gardner’s radar ever since.

On the face of it this 8yo son of Trans Island has it to prove off today's mark but he was beaten just under 2L by Ballinure off 115 at Towcester on his final start of last season. That showed that he can at least be competitive off his current rating and further encouragement can be gleaned from his excellent record on his seasonal comebacks for the last couple of seasons.

On his return to action in 2016 he ran a cracker in a handicap hurdle at Sandown (16f gd/sft) when beaten 5L in 2nd by Limited Reserve when conceding 5lb off 104 and that horse is now rated 138. In 2017 he reappeared in an 18.5f handicap hurdle at Exeter off 105 and he made mincemeat of his rivals, winning easily by 4L.

I think it is very interesting that connections have opted to swerve a repeat bid in that race and have decided to come straight to Cheltenham instead. He sneaks in off bottom weight and though Lucy Gardner may not be the most stylish of jockeys, she gets a good tune out of this fella and has ridden him every time he has run under rules.

Trans Express has yet to win over further than 18.5f but he stayed on all the way to the line when a close 3rd behind Ballinure over 19f at Towcester on his last start and there is loads of stamina in his pedigree so I don’t think the trip will be an issue. This is a competitive race so keep stakes small, but at odds of 40/1 I think Trans Express could surprise a few people with a big run.


STEVOS’ SELECTION: 3.10 CHELTENHAM-TRANS EXPRESS E/W @ 40/1 5 PLACES

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Champions Day At Ascot 2018 Preview And Tips


Race 1
Sir Erec is proven on heavy ground.
The opening race on Champions Day at Ascot 2018 is the Group 2 Long Distance Cup at 1.25. A deluge earlier this week means conditions will be very testing and that has to be a worry for supporters of Stradivarius. He is unbeaten on quick ground this season but he has yet to win on ground with soft in the description, let alone heavy.

Flag Of Honour has at least run well on heavy before but his last three staying wins have come on good or good to firm. At the prices, I think Sir Erec could be worth chancing for the O’Briens. He hosed up in impressive fashion in a heavy ground listed contest at Limerick and he looks to be on the improve. He has to prove he has the stamina for this marathon trip but being proven on the ground is a big plus and at 14/1 he looks overpriced.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: SIR EREC E/W @ 14/1

Race 2

The second race on the card is the Champions Sprint Stakes, a 6f Group 1 that looks to be a cracking renewal. Last year’s winner Librisa Breeze will be delighted with the recent weather but he needs to bounce back from a below par run at Newbury last time. Tasleet should be spot on after his pipe opener at Haydock last month and at odds of 11/1 he looks overpriced on the forecast heavy ground.

The Tin Man looks a big price too at 11/1 after his win at Haydock last time, but at bigger odds I think Donjuan Triumphant represents solid each way value after a cracking run in 4th behind the Tin Man at Haydock. He has never finished out of the first four on heavy ground, the booking of James Doyle catches the eye and at odds of 25/1 he is the each way pick in what looks a wide open renewal.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: DONJUAN TRIUMPHANT E/W @ 25/1 NB

Race 3

The girls take centre stage in the 12f Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes at 2.40 and a total of eleven will go to post. Stamina will be at a premium on heavy ground and St Leger runner up Lah Ti Dar has no issues on that front. However, she has to prove she handles testing conditions and the daughter of Dubawi looks short enough at 11/8. Kitesurf is another one that might prefer better ground, but at least he has winning form on soft.
God Given will stay and handles an ease.
At a big price one horse that looks sure to handle conditions is the Luca Cumani trained daughter of Nathaniel, God Given. This filly’s stamina is assured and three of her five career wins have come on soft ground. She showed a good attitude to prevail in a Group 2 over 14f at Doncaster last time and on soft ground she could turn around Deauville form with Kitesurf. At odds of 20/1 she is the each way pick.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: GOD GIVEN E/W @ 20/1

Race 4

The QE II, otherwise known as the British Champions Mile, has attracted a star studded field of fifteen horses. Roaring Lion has been one of the stories of the season but I think there are big doubts about him handling this ground. Recoletos looks a big danger for Laffon-Parias and Peslier. He has winning form on soft ground and he looked as good as ever when taking the Prix du Moulin from Wind Chimes and Expert Eye last time.
 
Stormy Antarctic is unbeaten on soft and heavy ground over a mile.

I think Recoletos is the most likely winner, but one at a huge price who shouldn’t be overlooked on soft ground is Stormy Antarctic for Ed Walker and Gerald Mosse. This fella ran a cracker in a Group 1 at Woodbine on firm ground last time (8f) and though he hasn’t won yet this term, he has yet to encounter easy ground. His career form figures on soft or heavy ground over a mile read 111 and he is massively overpriced at odds of 66/1.

STEVOS’ SELECTIONS: RECOLETOS @ 5/1; STORMY ANTARCTIC E/W 66/1 4 PLACES

Race 5

The final Group 1 of the day is the British Champions Middle Distance Stakes and eight horses have been declared. Cracksman swerved The Arc to target this instead and after his 7L romp in it on easy ground last year he is currently odds on to repeat the trick. He was well beaten by Poet’s Word last time over course and distance on good to firm but he will be a different proposition back on a more forgiving surface.

At double figure odds I think Verbal Dexterity could go well for each way players. He hosed up on heavy ground over 7f in the Group 1 National Stakes last season and he was far from disgraced in the Racing Post trophy behind Roaring Lion and Saxon Warrior. Quick ground wouldn’t have suited last time, but back on heavy ground for the first time since the Curragh Jim Bolger’s 3yo son of Vocalised could put it up to the more fancied ones at odds of 20/1.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: VERBAL DEXTERITY E/W @ 20/1 NAP

Race 6

The closing race on 2018 Champions Day at Ascot is the Balmoral Handicap, a very competitive looking twenty runner affair. Raising Sand and Flaming Spear head the market and there should be very little between them over this distance on ground they will both handle well. At a much bigger price I think Circus Couture could bounce back returned to a mile on heavy ground.
 
Circus Couture should be more at home back in handicap company.

He was only beaten a length in a Group 3 at Haydock on his penultimate start (8f hvy) and 9f and good to firm ground conspired against him last time. He was a fine 2nd here at the Royal Meeting over this trip back in June (gd/fm) off 106 and he is only a pound higher now after facing some tough tasks in Group 1 and Group 2 company. A return to handicaps and easy ground should spark a return to form and he is the each way pick at 33/1.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: CIRCUS COUTURE E/W @ 33/1 5 PLACES

Tintown Too Big On Return To Tramore


Another Cesarewitch, another loser was the case on Sunday as Miles To Memphis drifted like a barge and ran accordingly at Navan. In my defence, the ground was a lot livelier than I thought it would be and that probably played a big part in his poor performance. I blame my rum soaked weather 'reporter'!!! You know who you are… With little to no rain forecast the ground should be good at Tramore on Thursday and I think this 16/1 shot could go well at a track he likes.
 
Tintown Robin has a good record in handicaps at Tramore.

Tintown Robin hasn’t won since scoring over 16.5f on soft ground at Clonmel off a mark of 93 last November. He doesn’t need it soft though, as his win at Fairyhouse in a good ground handicap hurdle off 83 in November 2016 demonstrates. Although he has yet to win at Tramore he has run some cracking races in defeat there and his career form figures in handicaps at the track read 22244.

He ran a very nice race here back in June on his first try at 2m 5f on good ground and he travelled into the race extremely well. He was only beaten 4L by Coolfighter off 100 and he didn’t get the clearest of passages between the last couple of flights. His last two runs over shorter trips haven’t been as good but he may just need further now and his mark has slipped back down to 97.

The booking of Andrew Lynch catches the eye as he has ridden 11 winners for Vincent Halley, seven more than any other pilot. He has yet to win on board this 7yo son of Robin Des Pres but he did manage to finish second on him the last time he got the leg up. Ground will suit, his half brother won over 22f so his pedigree suggests stamina won’t be an issue and at odds of 16/1 I think Tintown Robin is well worth chancing each way.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: 2.35 TRAMORE-TINTOWN ROBIN E/W @ 16/1