Friday, 22 June 2018

Royal Ascot Day 5 Preview And Tips

Race 1: Chesham Stakes

The opening race on the final day of Royal Ascot is the 7f Chesham Stakes, a Listed contest for 2yo fillies and colts. The one I like at a nice each way price for this contest is Arthur Kitt, a well related son of Camelot who looked a very nice prospect when scooting home by 2.5L on his debut over 6f at Haydock on good ground.

Arthur Kitt could run a big race for Tom Dascombe.
At first glance the form doesn’t look overly strong, but the runner up was beaten just 4L by Shine So Bright on his next start and that colt ran a cracker to be 5th in the Coventry earlier this week. Arthur Kitt’s pedigree is all about speed on the dam side, but his sire will have hopefully added enough stamina to ensure 7f shouldn’t be an issue. At odds of 12/1 I can see Arthur Kitt running a big race for each way players.


Race 2: Hardwicke Stakes

Only five horses will go to post for this 12f Group 2 and I struggled to find a value angle. No bet.

Race 3: Windsor Castle Stakes

A total of 28 fillies and colts will go to post for this Listed contest for 2yos and it looks an absolute minefield for punters. Moonlight Romance is well fancied for Wesley Ward and Joel Rosario and her run behind Shang Shang Shang on debut looks alright form now. Queen Of Bermuda’s debut form has worked out very nicely too and she has improved with every run. It would be no surprise to see her make her presence felt here.

However, with such a big field and with plenty of bookies offering enhanced each way terms, I am going to take a chance on one at a big price and I think Rolling King could go well back down in trip and back on quicker ground. He won well on debut at Chantilly (5f gd) and 6f on soft ground seemed to stretch his stamina at the same venue last time. In first time blinkers and from a reasonable draw in stall 13, I think Rolling King could go well at odds of 33/1.


Race 4: Diamond Jubilee Stakes

The feature race on Saturday at Ascot is the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, a 6f Group 1 that has attracted a field of 12 of the fastest horses on the planet. Harry Angel, a close 2nd in the Commonwealth Cup here last year is the clear favourite after his fine reappearance win at York last month. He is the highest rated horse in the field, trip and track suit and he will have no issues on quick ground. He is deservedly the market leader and if he is at his best he will be hard to beat.

Last year’s hero The Tin Man is back to try and defend his crown and the 6yo son of Equiano looked as good as ever when winning a Listed heat at Windsor on his seasonal comeback. At 8/1 he has each way claims, as does American raider Bound For Nowhere. However, one horse that I think looks massively overpriced is D’bai for in form duo Charlie Appleby and William Buick.

D'bai looks overpriced on his Windsor run behind The Tin Man.
This son of Dubawi was campaigned mostly at 7f/8f/10f during his 2yo and 3yo seasons, but he produced one of the best runs of his career when dropped to 6f at Windsor last month. He was beaten less than a length by The Tin Man and he followed that up with a fine win in a 7f Group 3 at Haydock. I think he could well be suited by a furiously run 6f, he won on his only previous visit to Ascot and at odds of 40/1 he could give each way players a run for their money.


Race 5: Wokingham Stakes

Robert Cowell came ever so close to winning the Norfolk Stakes with 20/1 shot Pocket Dynamo earlier this week and I think he could go close with another one at a big price here. Course regular Sir Robert Cheval has some serious form here over a variety of trips and he makes his seasonal reappearance off a mark of 103 with top pilot Gerald Mosse booked for the ride.

In a race like this the lack of a recent run would usually be seen as a negative, but this son of Green Desert has first time out form figures of 21 since joining the Cowell yard. He won easy on his seasonal bow last year off a mark of 97 and he ran another cracking race here in August when beaten a neck off 100 after a two month break. His last six visits to Ascot have yielded form figures of 261322 and at odds of 50/1 I think he could hit the frame.


Race 6: Queen Alexandra Stakes

The last race of the Royal Ascot meeting in 2018 is the Queen Alexandra Stakes, a conditions race run over the unusual trip of 21.5f. Any horse that has notions of winning this will need to have lots of stamina and last year’s runner up Thomas Hobson is back for another bite of the cherry. He won the Ascot Stakes a few days earlier and it is no surprise to see him chalked up as the 6/4 favourite.
Fun Mac has a good record on quick ground at Ascot.

The one I like at a decent each way price is Fun Mac, a horse I tipped up for the Chester Cup earlier this season. Hughie Morrison’s 7yo son of Shirocco has run well on two of his three visits to Ascot, the only poor effort coming on soft. He was a decent 5th in this race last season, given too much to do by his jockey Jim Crowley but staying on well. Hopefully Crowley doesn’t make the same mistake again today, and if he doesn’t I think Fun Mac can reward each way support at odds of 14/1.


Thursday, 21 June 2018

Royal Ascot Day 4 Preview And Tips

Race 1: Albany Stakes

The opening race on Day 4 of the Royal meeting at Ascot is the Albany Stakes, a 6f Group 3 contest for fillies and 18 horses will go to post. Just Wonderful has been strong in the market for Ballydoyle and she could go off a lot shorter than her current odds of 11/4. Gee Rex didn’t do the form of Fairyland’s win at the Curragh any harm in the Coventry on Tuesday and she is another one that looks to have an excellent chance.
Satisfying's form looks strong.

It looks as though horses drawn low have had a big advantage in the sprints so far this week, and I like a 100/1 shot who will start from stall 3. Satisfying remains a maiden after three career starts, but the form of her maiden runs has been boosted big time so far this week with some of her conquerors running well in the Group 2 Queen Mary. She was 2L behind Shades Of Blue here over 5f on her debut and she was beaten a nose by Signora Cabello.

The form of her third run too behind Kurious doesn’t look too bad as that filly also ran well to be beaten just over 2L in the Queen Mary. Richard Hughes has his horses in great form and this daughter of Fast Company is proven at the track, is well drawn and she will handle the ground. I think she is capable of outrunning her odds and at odds of 100/1 she has to be worth a small each way interest.


Race 2: King Edward VII Stakes

The Group 2 King Edward Stakes is run over 12f and a field of nine 3yos will line up at the start. Aidan O’Brien’s horses are flying and it is no surprise to see Delano Roosevelt at the head of the market. He also runs Giuseppe Garibaldi and Rostropovich, but I am going to take a chance on Wells Farhh Go each way at 12/1. Vintage Brut ran no sort of race for Tim Easterby here yesterday, but he could gain compensation here.
Wells Farhh Go should relish the step up to 12f

This son of Farhh was disappointing on his return to action behind Roaring Lion at York, but he can be excused that effort as Tim Easterby’s horses usually need a run to put them right. That race was likely a stepping stone towards this contest, and on the evidence of his last gasp 7f win over James Garfield last season, this fella has no shortage of stamina. I think he could well relish this step up in trip, he is the 2nd highest rated horse in the race and at 12/1 he is the each way selection.


Race 3: Commonwealth Cup

The Commonwealth Cup was introduced at Ascot in 2015 and it has quickly become one of the highlights of the week. This 6f Group 1 is always fiercely contested and last year it was Caravaggio who brought home the bacon for Ballydoyle. Sioux Nation looks to be their leading hope this year, but as ever the other O’Brien runners Actress and Fleet Review cannot be discounted.
Speak In Colours hasn't got much to find with Sioux Nation.

Joseph also has a couple of interesting contenders and I think Speak In Colours could go well with Donnacha in the plate. He only has a couple of lengths to find with Sioux Nation who beat him into 3rd at Naas and he is already a course and distance winner, although that victory came on soft ground. He proved he could handle quick ground last time, he has an okay draw in stall 13 and at 28/1 I think Speak In Colours has each way claims.


Race 4: Coronation Stakes

I think this mile Group 1 race for 3yo fillies looks wide open and only a couple can be ruled out with any confidence. Clemmie is the market leader but she had no answers for Alpha Centauri last time in the Irish Guineas and Jessica Harrington’s filly should be able to uphold the form. English Guineas winner Billesdon Brook beat Laurens at Newmarket and that filly boosted the form in France at the weekend.

The water is muddied further by the presence of French Guineas winner Teppal in the race, and a few of the fillies that were in behind her at Longchamp also run. To be honest, I am struggling to come up with a value bet here as I think the bookies have the prices pretty much spot on. This is a race I am happy to just watch. No bet.

Race 5: Sandringham Stakes

It is another race for the girls here in the 8f Sandringham Handicap and given how results have gone so far over the straight course it might pay to stick to backing horses drawn low. Broadway seemed to relish the quick ground at Naas when breaking her maiden at the fourth attempt and I think this filly could go well off a mark of 99 for Aidan and Donnacha O’Brien from a favourable draw in stall 8.

As you would expect this filly is impeccably bred, by Galileo and out of Danedrop. She is a full sister to Venice Beach and a half sister to Danedream, so as pedigrees go it isn’t half bad! The runner up and third from her Naas win have both won impressively since, and she was beaten just a length in a Group 3 on her penultimate start. She could turn out to be a lot better than a 99 horse and at odds of 18/1 she could go very well.


Race 6: Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes

The closing race on Day 4 of Royal Ascot is the 12f Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes and a maximum field of 19 will go to post. Small stakes at large odds is usually the way to go in these races and at odds of 66/1 I think Sir Chauvelin could surprise with a big run for Jim Goldie and Danny Tudhope from a nice starting position in stall 8.
Sir Chauvelin looks well overpriced.

This 6yo son of Authorized runs off a mark of 97 here, just 2lb above his last winning mark. He was below par on his penultimate start in a handicap hurdle at Ayr, but it was much more like it over an inadequate 10f on his return to the flat in the Zetland Gold Cup at Redcar. He flew home in the closing stages for a fast finishing 4th and he looks sure to benefit for the step back up to 12f.

Sir Chauvelin is versatile regarding ground and he will have no issues on the good to firm ground at Ascot. It was similar ground at Redcar last time and the form of that race was boosted by the 5th home What’s The Story who was a fine 4th here in the Hunt Cup earlier on this week. With luck in running I think Sir Chauvelin is capable of running a big one here, and at odds of 66/1 he is worth chancing each way for small money.


Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Royal Ascot Day 3 Preview And Tips

Race 1: Norfolk Stakes

The Group 2 Norfolk Stakes is run over 5f at Royal Ascot and a total of ten 2yos will go to post in what looks a cracking renewal. I am not usually one for putting up horses at single digit prices, but Vintage Brut is a horse I rate really highly and I think his win last time at Sandown was extremely impressive, even more so than his eye catching wide margin debut victory at Thirsk for Tim Easterby and David Allan.

Nothing went right for him at Sandown four weeks ago in the Listed National Stakes and 2F out he looked to be trapped in a pocket on the rail with very little hope of getting out. However, when the gap did appear the horse showed great courage to go through it and he quickened up well to score by a neck (Konchek 3rd). The 4th home that day was far from disgraced in the Coventry and at odds of 5/1 I think Vintage Brut is the one they all have to beat.


Race 2: Hampton Court Stakes

The second race on Day 3 of the Royal meeting at Ascot is the 10f Group 3 Hampton Court Stakes and a maximum field of sixteen 3yos will go to post. Last year’s Solario Stakes at Sandown has served me well so far this season, with classic winners Masar and Romanised filling the first two places in that race. Vintager was only a couple of lengths behind the runner up Romanised in 5th and I think this son of Mastercraftsman could go well after a fine effort behind Without Parole in a Listed heat last time.

He was only 2L behind the John Gosden horse in 3rd and he had Stephensons Rocket another 1.5L behind him in 5th. There is no shortage of stamina on the dam side of his pedigree and I think the step up in trip from a mile to 10f will suit. The good to firm ground is an unknown, but his dam won on it and his sire wasn’t half bad on quick ground either. David Menuisier is a trainer I have a lot of time for and hopefully Vintager rewards each way support at odds of 14/1.


Race 3: Ribblesdale Stakes

Aidan O’Brien had a barren opening day at Royal Ascot, but he bounced back by firing in a 1-2-3 in the Queen’s Vase on Wednesday. He supplies four of the ten runners in this 12f Group 2 Fillies’ contest but they could have their work cut out to beat Wild Illusion. Charlie Appleby’s filly is streets ahead on official ratings with a mark of 113 and even with a 3lb penalty she is definitely the one to beat.

Sun Maiden is the most unexposed filly in the field and she went into a lot of notebooks after her spectacular performance in a 10f maiden at Salisbury last month. The form of that race looks questionable though, and she is short enough in the betting given what she has actually achieved. One at a nice price that could run well is Dancing Brave Bear. She travelled best in the Musidora (10f gd/fm), she is having just her fourth start and she should stay 12f. At odds of 16/1 she represents each way value against the favourite.


Race 4: Gold Cup

Nine of the best stayers in the world will battle it out in the Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup over 20f on Thursday. Order Of St George has proved to be an absolute legend of a horse, even by Ballydoyle standards, and it is no surprise to see the 6yo son of Galileo at the head of the market. He didn’t produce his best ever run when winning a Listed heat at Leopardstown last time, but I would imagine that was a stepping stone towards today and with no Big Orange in the field this year he is the one they all have to beat.

Stradivarius is another fascinating contender and he has done nothing but improve since the start of last season. He has some seriously strong form in the book and he could give the likely favourite plenty to think about. The rest of the field will be battling it out for minor money, and Torcedor could be the one to grab 3rd. However, my recommended bet for this race is a reverse forecast with the two market leaders as I think they are in a different league to the opposition.


Race 5: Britannia Stakes

The fifth race on Day 3 is the Britannia Handicap, a mile contest for 3yos that has attracted a maximum field of 30 horses. Small stakes are always advisable in races of this nature and make sure to shop around for extra place specials. Horse drawn middle to high fared best in the Hunt Cup on Wednesday, and I think James Cook could go well for Donnacha and Aidan O’Brien from stall 22, the same starting berth as Settle For Bay who won the Hunt Cup.

This son of Galileo has failed to make the desired impact at pattern level on his last two outings over 10f, but he wasn’t disgraced behind Crossed Baton at Epsom on his seasonal reappearance. He was only 2L behind Dee Ex Bee and that horse chased home Masar in the Derby. He got very warm before his next outing at York and he ran no sort of race, but he is a better horse than he showed that day.

He drops back in trip to a mile and his only start at this distance resulted in his maiden win at Leopardstown last season. His dam Red Evie was a very smart performer at the trip, as were a couple of his siblings (Found, Magical Dream, Best In The World). Donnacha O’Brien was 2nd and 3rd on both his rides for his Dad on Wednesday, and hopefully he gets his first win on the board on James Cook. At odds of 33/1 he is the each way selection.


Race 6: King George V Stakes

Another minefield in the last, as 19 horses line up for the King George V handicap over 12f. I am going to take a chance on one at a decent price here, and I think Occupy could go well for Ralph Beckett and Harry Bentley. This 3yo son of Declaration of War surprised a few with a decisive win on debut at 25/1 at Kempton last season, and while the form is far from outstanding he had a few solid horses now rated in the 80s behind.

He disappointed on his return to action at Newmarket (10f gd) but he left that well behind when running a nice race behind subsequent winner Raa Atoll at Nottingham (10f gd). On pedigree the step up to 12f looks sure to suit as his Galileo dam is a sister to former top class 12f performer Telescope. He hasn’t got a bad draw in stall 8, his opening mark of 88 looks workable and at odds of 25/1 he could give each way players a good run for their money.


Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Royal Ascot Day 2 Preview And Tips

Race 1: Queen Mary Stakes

The opening race on Day 2 of the Royal Ascot meeting is the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes, a sprint over the minimum distance of 5f for 2yo fillies. This looks an exceedingly tricky puzzle to solve as it is very difficult to weigh up the form. American raider Chelsea Cloisters is the clear favourite for Ascot assassin Frankie Dettori and Wesley Ward, a trainer that has a fine record at this meeting. This filly hosed up by 8L over 4.5f on her debut at Keeneland but at odds of 11/4 I would prefer to take a chance on something each way at a bigger price.
Karl Burke has his string in red hot form.

The one I like for each way purposes is the Karl Burke trained daughter of Garswood, Little Kim. This filly made a big impression on me with the manner of her debut win at Carlisle (5f gd) two weeks ago. She travelled into the race well, and once Ben Curtis gave her a couple of smacks she displayed a nice turn of foot to put the race to bed. Her half sister was 3rd in the Queen Mary in 2017 so she is bred for the job, and at odds of 40/1 she is the each way pick with the Karl Burke team in outstanding form.


Race 2: Queen’s Vase Stakes

Crimson Rosette ran a cracking race for us a couple of weeks ago and I think that Charlie Fellowes has another horse that could be underestimated by the bookies in Jeremiah. This 3yo son of Kheleyf has run respectably on both starts in handicap company this season, firstly on the all weather at Chelmsford (14f) when 3rd. He followed that up with another good run on ground plenty soft for him at Doncaster when 2nd off a mark of 80.

He is coming into this race with a mark of 81 which obviously leaves him with a huge amount to find with the likes of Nelson (111) and Kew Gardens (108). However, I think you might see a different horse on quick ground, as his best maiden effort came on good to firm at Newmarket last season. His Tiger Hill dam is a half sister to the dam of Duncan, a Group 2 winner over 14f on good to firm, so he is bred to be competitive at this level. Fellowes doesn’t seem to be the type to tilt at windmills and I think Jeremiah could outrun his odds of 40/1 in first time cheek pieces for Oisin Murphy.


Race 3: Duke Of Cambridge Stakes

The third race on Day 2 of the Royal meeting at Ascot is the Group 2 Duke Of Cambridge Stakes, another one just for the girls over a trip of a mile. Aidan O’Brien drew a blank on Day 1 with a couple of his horses running particularly poorly and he will be hoping that Hydrangea can get him on the scoreboard on Wednesday. This filly is the clear form pick, but she was beaten at a short price last time and she looks skinny enough again at just 7/4 in what looks a pretty open contest, especially as she concedes weight to all of her rivals.
Arabian Hope has a fine record when fresh.

The one I am interested from an each way perspective is the Saeed Bin Suroor trained 4yo Arabian Hope. This daughter of Distorted Humour will need to be at her best on her seasonal reappearance, but she did win first time up last year at Kempton. She was returning from 51 days off when landing a Listed contest at York, so clearly she goes well fresh. She should beat Wilamina on a form line through Wuheida, Oisin Murphy has an outstanding record when riding for Bin Suroor and the ground has come in her favour. At 16/1 Arabian Hope is worth chancing each way.


Race 4: Prince Of Wales's Stakes

The feature race on Day 2 of Royal Ascot is the 10f Prince Of Wales's Stakes, a Group 1 contest over 10f that sees a total of 7 horse go to post. Cracksman, unbeaten since his narrow defeat by Capri in the Irish Derby last year, is a warm order to complete a six timer and given the form of Frankie and John Gosden on Tuesday he is going to be extremely popular with punters. However, he has yet to race on good to firm, he needed every inch of 12f to win last time and back down in trip I think he could be vulnerable.
Eminent looks a huge price at 12/1. 

Eminent has been written off by many after a poor reappearance run at Chester, but nothing went right for him that day as he pulled far too hard and he had a fibrillating heart post race too. I think it is safe to put a line through that run, and on Epsom Derby form there is nothing between him and the favourite. Eminent beat Salouen by a much further margin than Cracksman when they met at Deauville last season (10f gd) and this is Eminent’s optimum trip. He will relish the ground, he holds strong form claims and at odds of 12/1 he is capable of causing an upset.


Race 5: Royal Hunt Cup

As far as punting goes, the Royal Hunt Cup is as challenging as it gets. A maximum field of 30 horses will take each other on in this handicap on the straight mile and usually a high draw is an advantage, but that can often depend where the early pace in the race is. Last season’s winner Zhui Feng is back to defend his crown off top weight, but he faces a tough task off an 8lb higher mark. Seniority is the favourite to complete a 3 timer for the Queen, and she would be a popular winner at the Royal meeting.

One I like at a massive price is Surrey Hope for Joe Tuite and Ed Greatrex from a nice draw in stall 33. This son of Lemon Drop Kid races off a mark of 96 and he showed he could be competitive off that rating when a good 3rd on his seasonal comeback at Newbury (8f gd/fm). He was just over a length behind Ripp Orf who won the Victoria Cup here on his previous start. A line can be put through his last effort when drawn out in the car park at Chelmsford and if he was coming here after that Newbury run he would be a much shorter price.

His trainer Joe Tuite is on record as saying this is the best horse he has ever trained, and that is saying something when you consider that he won an Ebor and a November Handicap with Litigant. Ed Greatrex has 5 wins and 18 top 4 finishes from just 45 rides for Tuite, and he was runner up on his only previous ride on Surrey Hope. The horse will relish the ground, he has a nice draw and at odds of 50/1 he is the each way selection.


Race 6: Jersey Stakes

23 horses will line up for the 7f Group 3 Jersey Stakes and one of the three fillies in the field, Could It Be Love, is the 11/2 favourite Could It Be Love. This daughter of War Front comes here after a fine effort in the Irish 1000 Guineas behind Alpha Centauri and she takes a big drop in class here. Being by War Front there is every chance she could improve again on her first start on genuinely fast ground and she looks a worthy favourite.
Owen Burrows could have a good one in Tabdeed.

However, at a bigger price I think Tabdeed falls into the could be anything category for Owen Burrows and Dane O’Neill. This son of Havana Gold won impressively on debut at Leicester (6f gd) and the runner up in that race, Yafta, won 3 of her next 4 starts and is now rated 105. Tabdeed absolutely hosed up on his only subsequent start at Nottingham last month and he seemed to relish the quick ground. He has a lovely pedigree, he is completely unexposed and at odds of 20/1 he could go well for each way players.


Monday, 18 June 2018

Royal Ascot Day 1 Preview And Tips

Race 1: Queen Anne Stakes

The opening race on the first day of what is one of the most important flat meetings on the planet is the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes and it looks a cracking renewal. The Aidan O’Brien trained daughter of Galileo, Rhododendron, is the current market leader at odds of 11/4 after her narrow defeat of Lightning Spear in the Lockinge at Newbury (8f gd/fm). She faces several of the same opponents in this contest and in receipt of weight from the boys she looks a worthy favourite.
Accidental Agent ran a cracker last time. 
However, one horse that really caught my eye that day at Newbury was the 6th horse home, Accidental Agent. Eve Johnson Houghton’s 4yo son of Delegator was slowly away and 3f out it looked like he was going finish well beaten. However, he stayed on very nicely in the closing stages to grab 6th and he was just over 5L behind the winner. He was less than a length behind Deauville, who is half his price for this race, and I think he could easily improve again.

Accidental Agent has some strong course form in the book, including when taking a competitive handicap on good to soft here over 7f off 104 last season. He was beaten just over 2L in a Listed heat over course and distance on unsuitably soft ground on his penultimate start behind Century Dream, a horse that relishes juice in the ground. If Accidental Agent breaks on level terms I think he could go well here, and at odds of 33/1 he is worth chancing each way for small stakes.


Race 2: Coventry Stakes

A bumper field of 24 of the speediest 2yos around will go to post for this year’s Group 2 Coventry Stakes. This 6f contest is a real blink and you will miss it affair, and after winning his last two starts over 5f by a combined total of 11.5L, Sergei Prokofiev is the clear favourite at odds of 9/4 for Coolmore. He has been visually impressive, but I am not sure about the quality of the form of his two victories and at that price in such a competitive looking race I would rather look for a bit of each way value elsewhere.

The one I like at an absolutely huge price here is Gee Rex, a colt by Requinto who ran a massively eye-catching race behind a trio of Ballydoyle horses in the Listed Marble Hill Stakes at the Curragh last time (6f gd/fm). He looked like he would finish out with the washing at the half way stage, but he flew home for 4th, just 3L behind the winner Fairyland and less than a length behind the runner up Van Beethoven.

His Kildare based trainer J C Hayden is far from a household name on either side of the Irish Sea, and that is probably the reason that Gee Rex is available to back at odds of 100/1. Hayden has booked top jockey Jamie Spencer for the ride and given how Gee Rex ran last time, his style could suit this horse. They look sure to go at it hammer and tongs from the outset in this race, and if Gee Rex doesn’t get too far behind I think he will be staying on at the finish and at odds of 100/1 he could sneak into the frame.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: GEE REX E/W @ 100/1 (4 places available)

Race 3: King’s Stand Stakes

The second Group 1 on the first day of Royal Ascot is the 5f King’s Stand Stakes and a field of 14 horses have been declared for this sprint. Battaash and Lady Aurelia are battling it out for favouritism at around the 9/4 mark, and both those horses look to hold solid claims. Lady Aurelia gets 3lb from Battaash and given Wesley Ward’s excellent record at this meeting she is going to prove extremely popular with punters.
Mabs Cross hasn't got much to find to feature.

The one I like at a nice each way price is Mabs Cross for Michael Dods and Paul Mulrennan. This admirably consistent 4yo daughter of Dutch Art was less than a length behind Battaash at Haydock last time and she has only finished out of the money twice from 9 starts. Her trainer is in great form, she has a nice draw in stall 8, trip and ground look ideal and at odds of 20/1 I think she looks a cracking each way bet.


Race 4: St James’ Palace Stakes

The third Group 1 of the day is the 8f St James’ Palace Stakes and Without Parole is the current clear market leader at a best price of 11/4. This son of Frankel was visually very impressive when hacking up at Yarmouth (8f gd/fm), showing a nice turn of foot to score by 6L from next time out winner Ostilio. It was harder work for him last time in a Listed contest at Sandown on ground with a bit of juice in it, but back on good to firm ground he should be more at home. This represents a massive step up in class though, and he has to prove he is a Group 1 performer.
Romanised looks overpriced after his easy win last time. 

Romanised did us a huge turn when scoring in the Irish 2000 Guineas a few weeks ago, and I am keeping the faith with him here. Ken Condon’s son of Holy Roman Emperor was a decisive winner at the Curragh, staying on strongly to score by over 2L from US Navy Flag. There was no fluke about the victory, and I am amazed to see the two of them priced up at near identical odds here. Romanised ran well in the Coventry here last year after a slow start, he will relish the ground and at odds of 6/1 he looks to represent serious value in an open looking race.


Race 5: Ascot Stakes

The first handicap at Royal Ascot is the Ascot Stakes, a 20f contest that sees a maximum field of 20 horses going to post. Willie Mullins has won three of the last six renewals of this race, including last year with Thomas Hobson. Ryan Moore has been on board for all three of those winners, so it is no surprise to see that Chelkar is near the head of the market, even if it is his first start for the guts of two years. A lot has to be taken on trust with the son of Azamour though and I think odds of 8/1 look too short.

Mullins runs a total of five horses here and the shortest priced of his entries is Stratum with Robert Winston booked for the ride. However, the one I like at a nice each way price is White Desert for Charlie Appleby, William Buick and Godolphin. This son of Teofilo is a half brother to a legend of a stayer in Red Cadeaux, and his full brother Amazing Red has proven himself to be a very useful stayer too.

White Desert was narrowly beaten by the 110 rated Glencadam Glory in a Novice heat at Wolves on his seasonal comeback (12f). He didn’t run his race on his next start at Newmarket in a 12f handicap off 83, but he seemed to relish the step up to 14f when hosing up off a pound lower back at Wolves last time. That was a poor race, and he is 10lb higher here, but I think the further he goes the better he will be, and at odds of 14/1 he is the each way pick.


Race 6: Wolferton Stakes

The 10f Listed Wolferton Stakes is the concluding race at Royal Ascot on Tuesday and 16 horses will go to post for what looks an extremely open contest. The one I like at a decent each way price is Yucatan. This 4yo son of Galileo has failed to show his best thus far this season, but he has yet to get his optimum conditions. There has been an ease in the ground for all three of his starts this term, and hopefully on Tuesday he will encounter the rattling quick conditions he thrives on.
Yucatan gets his ground for the first time this season.
His last start on good to firm ground came in a Group 3 at Leopardstown over 10f and he split Douglas McArthur and subsequent Group 1 winner Capri. He was previously beaten a length by Rekindling in another 10f Group 3 contest on good to yielding at the same venue, and his conqueror has since gone on to win the Melbourne Cup. Ryan Moore is back in the plate, he takes a massive drop in class and this looks a very winnable race. At odds of 14/1 Yucatan should go very close.


Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Millman's Girl Could Relish Step Up In Trip At Newbury

I really fancied Killaro Boy to run a massive race in the Connacht National on Tuesday but yet again, lady luck was not on his side. He was brought to a virtual standstill by Mr Boss Man who fell at the first, and for a horse that likes to race prominently it was a race ending accident. In the circumstances I thought Killaro Boy didn’t run too badly, and I am still of the opinion that he has a nice pot in him over fences.
Rod Millman could be smiling at Newbury on Thursday.

Tomorrow I like the look of a filly in the 10f Listed contest at Newbury at 2.55 and I think Daddies Girl is well overpriced at odds of 25/1 for in form combo Rod Millman and Jason Watson. Young Watson is making a name for himself this season and although he cannot claim his usual 5lb here, I am not surprised that Millman is keeping the faith with him after the fine ride he gave this filly last time over a mile at Nottingham.

She was conceding 9lb to Rasima that day, a filly that re-opposes here, and she only went down by a neck. Daddies Girl was closing on Rasima all the way to the line that day, and the combination of a 9lb swing in the weights and an extra two furlongs should enable her to turn that piece of form around. Daddies Girl is officially rated 92 after that run, and that doesn’t leave her with much to find with those in the race that have earned official ratings.

In fact, she is the 2nd highest rated filly in the race behind Princess Yaiza who is rated 97, but unlike Gavin Cromwell’s charge Daddies Girl has already proven herself to be effective on good to firm ground. Admittedly, three of the fillies who do not have ratings fall into the could be anything category, particularly the favourite Sea Of Class. However, Daddies Girl is a filly on the improve and I think this step up to 10f will eke out a bit more.

On her pedigree you wouldn’t give this daughter of Elzaam a hope of getting today’s trip of 10f. Her sire was an out and out 6f specialist, while her dam is out of a mare who is related to some very speedy types. However, sometimes you just have to trust your eyes in this game and every time I have watched Daddies Girl in recent starts I have been of the opinion that she is crying out for further.

She was an excellent 4th in a Listed heat on soft ground here last season over 7f and she finished in close proximity (and ahead of) some extremely useful horses. Again, she was doing all her best work at the finish that day and after that fine run this race may have been on Rod Millman’s radar. Jason Watson has yet to finish out of the frame on his five rides for the yard (one win) and at odds of 25/1 hopefully he can help earn Daddies Girl some black type at Newbury


Monday, 11 June 2018

McConnell Could Keep Rolling At Roscommon

Island Court ran a better race than his finishing position suggests for us today. He broke decently but got shuffled back towards the rear inside a furlong, and once that happened he faced a tough task to get involved at the business end. He did stay on well enough for 6th though despite looking a bit unbalanced on a couple of occasions, and I think if he had been able to race more prominently from an early stage he may well have challenged for a place.
John McConnell has his string in fine fettle.

I always try to tell myself that backing horses on a Monday is a bad idea, but when there is a 40/1 shot that catches my eye I simply can’t resist having a small each way bet. Few trainers have their horses in better form than Meath based handler John McConnell at the moment and I think he has an interesting contender in Liars Corner in the 10f handicap at 8.30pm.

This 3yo son of Zoffany makes his handicap debut off a mark of 59, and when you consider he was beaten a combined total of 62L on his three maiden starts at 7f/8f then that rating does look a tad harsh. However, his two heaviest defeats came as a 2yo and he displayed a fair amount of promise on his first start as a 3yo over 7f on heavy ground at Cork.

He was reined back early by Robbie Downey in that contest and he pulled hard in the early stages. As they swung for home the leaders had already flown and Downey decided to plot a route up the inner. Liars Corner still looked to be travelling okay 3f out, and Downey switched him again to the outer. He kept on well to finish 6th, and if his pedigree is anything to go by then 10f on good ground could bring about even more improvement.

Zoffany’s offspring often relish decent underfoot conditions and Liars Corner’s dam, Abstain, is related to some extremely talented fast ground performers at trips ranging from 7f to 12f. So, for those reasons I think that the step up in trip and better ground will suit, and another big positive is the form of John McConnell.

He has his string in super shape, with form figures of 1113P284 for his last 8 runners. Tom Madden claims 5lb off Liars Corner’s back and he is worth every ounce of his claim. He has a good record for the yard too, with 4 wins from just 17 rides. This gelding obviously needs to step up on what he has shown so far so stakes should be kept small, but at odds of 40/1 there are enough angles to justify a modest each way bet.


Saturday, 9 June 2018

Drop In Trip Could Ignite Island At Nottingham

I was absolutely delighted with Crimson Rosette’s run for us at Haydock earlier, and even with a 10% rule 4 we still bagged a nice profit. I was told afterwards she traded at 1/10 in running and I suppose it was a little bit heart wrenching that she couldn’t go on and win after hitting the front a furlong out. I think she just got worried out of it by the winner but she rallied well and wasn’t beaten far at all. Connections were obviously eager to pick up some black type though, and it was mission accomplished on that front for Fellowes.
George Wood has a fine record when riding for these connections.
The fare tomorrow is trappy to say the least, but there is a horse going in the 8.5f 3yo handicap at Nottingham that I can’t resist backing each way for small stakes. Heather Main is a trainer that my long time followers will be familiar with and she runs Island Court with George Wood taking the ride. This very well bred son of Camelot has showed glimmers of ability on more than one occasion, and I think today’s trip on good ground could be just what he needs.

Island Cloud’s best effort came in a maiden at Wolverhampton over today’s trip of 8.5f when beaten just 2L in 3rd for former trainer Stan Moore. He had horses now rated in the 80s in behind and it a solid piece of form. He has since moved to Heather Main and she applied a tongue tie for his stable debut. He ran a nice enough race to finish 4th off 72, given too much to do but finishing well.

He was upped in trip for his next two runs at Doncaster on soft and Wolverhampton on the all weather and with cheekpieces applied he ran poorly on both occasions. He didn’t get home at Doncaster over 12f, and his run at Wolverhampton over the same distance was too bad to be true. It is no surprise to see him dropping back in trip now, and the booking of George Wood for the first time catches the eye.

He has an excellent record when riding for Heather Main, and an even better one when riding for Donald Kerr. He has had 14 rides for Main, winning 3 and finishing in the first four on 8. He has ridden three times for owner Donald Kerr with a win, a 2nd and a 3rd. The cheekpieces and tongue tie are discarded, Main has her string in great form and off a mark of 65 I think it is worth chancing at odds of 25/1 that today might be the day that Island Cloud builds on the promise of that excellent maiden run last November.


Friday, 8 June 2018

Black Type The Mission For Fellowes’ Filly At Haydock

We capped off a classic couple of weeks with Masar in the Derby on Saturday and the son of New Approach won with quite a bit in hand. Wilamina also scored for us at a slightly more modest price, and though Study Of Man was a non runner in the Epsom Derby, he justified his trainer’s decision to aim him at the French version with a gutsy win. On Saturday, the ITV cameras will be at Haydock for the Pinnacle Stakes and I like a filly at a big price in that contest.

This Group 3 for fillies and mares represents a big hike in class for Crimson Rosette, a filly I have been keeping an eye on ever since backing her on her debut. She was only 5th that day, but she stayed on steadily over 7f and the daughter of Teofilo has flourished since being upped in trip by Charlie Fellowes.

She dropped back into maiden company to get her first win on the board over a mile at Windsor and she showed that was no fluke by following up in a 10f race at Lingfield. She actually finished 2nd that day, but she was hampered by the winner close home which cost her victory and the stewards awarded Crimson Rosette the race.
Charlie Fellowes is a trainer going places.

She showed she had trained on with a solid reappearance run in a 10f handicap at Yarmouth off 80, beaten 2L and shaping as though she would come on for the outing. That proved to be the case when she turned over a next time out winner and a well fancied Godolphin horse on her next run at Doncaster (10f gd/fm). I was impressed by how she did it, and I also am of the opinion that she is well worth a crack over further because she was pulling away at the finish.

Her pedigree suggests that an extra couple of furlongs should suit her too. Teofilo is one of my favourite sires and he has produced some serious middle distance horses, including Irish Derby winner Trading Leather. Her dam, by Lemon Drop Kid, is a full sister to Hardwicke Stakes winner (12f) Bronze Cannon and a half sister to 12f Group 2 winner Across The Stars.

Her trainer Charlie Fellowes has had an excellent season so far and he is a trainer going places. Stevie Donohue takes the ride and he knows this filly inside out, having ridden her for two of her three wins. He missed out last time when Jim Crowley got the leg up, but he is a quality pilot and it doesn’t worry me that he is back on board.

With an official rating of 85, Crimson Rosette has admittedly got a lot to find on the figures with some of the horses at the head of the market. However, the top rated favourite, God Given, would prefer a bit of cut in the ground and she is not the only one in the field with something to prove on good to firm. Crimson Rosette will relish under hoof conditions, she is bred to be a black type filly and if a couple of the more fancied horses under-perform she could sneak into the frame for each way players at odds of 28/1.


Friday, 1 June 2018

Epsom Derby Day Preview And Tips

Race 1

The opening race on Derby Day at Epsom is a 10f handicap that has attracted a field of 11 horses. With drying conditions the ground could be pretty tacky and that makes finding winners that bit more difficult. Not many horses will handle the likely gluey ground at Epsom, but one horse that is already proven on similar ground is George for Sylvester Kirk and Hollie Doyle. This 3yo son of Dragon Pulse remains a maiden after eight career starts, but he has produced some of his best form on ground with soft in the description.

He was a fine second at this track last season off a mark of 81 (7f hvy) and he followed that up with a fine effort at Brighton in a Novice race (8f gd/sft). He is racing off just 2lb higher than for his 2nd here last season and he gets his optimum conditions for the first time this season. Salouen ran a cracker for Sylvester Kirk in the Coronation Cup, and hopefully George repeats the trick at odds of 14/1 here. He is the each way selection despite being a couple of pounds out of the weights.


Race 2

The Group 3 Princess Elizabeth Stakes for fillies and mares is the second race of the day at Epsom and the one I like here is Wilamina down in class for Martyn Meade and Frankie Dettori. This likeable mare chased home a top class horse in Wuheida last time out and while that run was on good to firm at Newmarket, she handles an ease in the ground too.
Wilamina drops in grade after a fine effort last time.
This daughter of Zoffany hasn’t got her head in front since scoring in a 10f Listed heat at Nottingham last season, but she has run well in higher grades a number of time since. She has from figures of 321 on ground with soft in the description and her trainer has had a win and a place from his last four runners. Frankie Dettori rides Epsom as well as anyone and he looks an interesting booking. At odds of 5/1 I think Wilamina is the one to beat.


Race 3

The Diomed Stakes looks a very open renewal and to be honest, I struggled to find anything that looks particularly overpriced. True Valour could go well for Irish trainer Johnny Murtagh but I am going to sit this race out. No bet.

Race 4

The fourth race on the card at Epsom on Derby Day is the Dash and this is a real blink and you will miss it affair. The 5f course at Epsom is the fastest in the country and prominent racers usually fare well as it is very difficult to come from behind. Course form is a huge plus around here and though he is racing from a couple of pounds out of the weights, I think Bahamian Sunrise has the credentials to run a big race for John Gallagher and Paddy Mathers.

Bahamian Sunrise will carry a feather weight of just 8 stone off a mark of 83, just 4lb higher than he was for his narrow win here back in April (5f gd). He followed that up with a fine effort off 81 at Goodwood when beaten just under 3L in 3rd by Pettochside and he is 2lb better off with that rival today. Bahamian Sunrise acts on good to soft ground, he won on his only previous visit to the track and he has an okay draw in stall 13. If the first time visor sparks a bit of improvement he could go well for each way backers at odds of 25/1.


Race 5

The Epsom Derby is a race where legends are made and Saxon Warrior will be looking to cement his place at the top table by following up on his fine 2000 Guineas win. He has long looked like the ideal type for this race, on paper and physically, and despite the drift I think he is most definitely the one to beat. If he turns up at 100% and puts his best hoof forward he will win.  
Masar looks massively overpriced for the Derby.

At a bigger price I think Masar is capable of delivering a big run for the connections of Oaks runner up Wild Illusion. This son of New Approach really impressed me with the manner of his Craven win, galloping powerfully all the way to the line. He left Roaring Lion trailing in his wake that day and he confirmed the form by beating that horse in the 2000 Guineas.

His run in the 2000 Guineas leaves him with under 2L to find with Saxon Warrior, and that rival wasn’t exactly pulling away at the finish. Just like the favourite Masar is bred to come into his own over middle distances and his dam is a grand daughter to a half sister to Derby winners Sea The Stars and Galileo. I think odds of 20/1 totally underestimate this colt’s chances and he looks the each way value in the 2018 Epsom Derby.


Race 6

The penultimate race on Derby Day is a 12f handicap and with a massive field of 19 horses declared, small stakes at tasty odds is the right approach to take. The one I like at a nice each way price is Andrew Balding’s son of Tagula, Twin Star. Formerly trained by Sheila Lavery in Ireland this fella caught the eye big style last time at Ascot when 5th in a race that wasn’t run to suit (12f gd/fm).

He stayed on well off what was a steady pace and he gave the impression that a stronger run race would suit him a lot better. He should get a stronger pace to aim at today and the more the ground dries out the better his chance will be. However, he ran a cracker on yielding at the Curragh in a Group 3 so good to soft should hold no fears for him. I think he could surprise with a big run and at odds of 20/1 he is worth chancing each way.


Race 7

The closing race on Derby Day is a very competitive looking 6f sprint and the one I like from a decent draw in stall 16 is Holiday Magic. He looks handicapped to run a massive race for in form trainer Mick Easterby and Hayley Turner. This son of Dark Angel remains a maiden on turf after 16 starts but the 7yo has run some big races in defeat, including when flying home for an unlucky 6th beaten just over 3L in this race last year off 94 on good ground.
Holiday Magic looks well handicapped on his run here last year.

He returns for a repeat bid off a mark of 85, 9lb lower, and though the ground will be different he was beaten less than 2L off a mark of 94 at Haydock on soft last June. He is a frustrating sort to follow at times and he will need them to go hammer and tongs early. If they do, I can see Holiday Magic staying on strongly late in the day and at odds of 25/1 I think he is worth chancing each way.