Sunday, 19 November 2017

Bluebook Looks Overpriced In The Greatwood

Pivotal Flame was simply outclassed for us on Friday and she never got involved. She was left behind as the pace lifted down the back and her jumping let her down. I still believe this filly possesses ability and she can make her presence felt once she gains a bit more experience. On Sunday I like the look of one in the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham and I think Project Bluebook looks well overpriced for this 16.5f contest.
 
Project Bluebook ticks a lot of boxes for the Greatwood.
John Quinn’s 4yo has run some cracking races in big field handicaps, including when 4th in the Fred Winter back in March off 138. He followed that up with a fine performance when beating Dandy Mag and Ex Patriot in brave fashion in a Grade 2 hurdle at Fairyhouse(16f yld). That win saw his rating hiked to 141 but he showed he could be competitive off his revised mark when 6th behind Tigris River in the Galway Hurdle.

He is 3lb better off with that rival now and though he was a long way behind him at Galway I think he was given a poor ride by Brian Hughes and with a kinder trip he would have finished a lot closer. Project Bluebook was posted wide throughout and raced in rear, and as the race developed ahead of him he was simply left with far too much to do. He did stay on well up the Galway hill though and he must have caught the handicapper’s eye as he raised him 2lb for that run.

John Quinn’s charge is no slouch on the level either and he last ran in a flat handicap at Chepstow, chasing useful stayer Taws home off a mark of 80. He has been given a 3 month break since that good effort but that isn’t a big worry as he has form figures of 22 when returning from a break of 3 months or more. He won’t be too worried about the ground either as he has won on the flat on soft so he should handle it well.

The form of his trainer John Quinn is another positive as 2 of his last 12 runners have won. Brian Hughes has a fine record when riding for Quinn, winning on 11 of 41 rides, with a further 21 top 4 finishes, for a fabulous frame hitting strike rate of just over 78%. All things considered, I think Project Bluebook is an absolutely massive price at odds of 28/1 and at those odds he has to be worth chancing each way (6 places Skybet).

STEVOS’ SELECTION: 15.00 CHELTENHAM: PROJECT BLUEBOOK E/W 28/1


Thursday, 16 November 2017

Phelan’s Flame Could Burn Brightly At Cheltenham


I thought Cohesion ran a better race for us than his finishing position suggests last week in the November handicap as very little went right for him. David Bridgwater’s charge didn’t get as good a start as he would have liked and George Wood couldn’t get him into his preferred prominent position early doors. He raced on the inner, got shuffled back through the field and by the time George Wood switched him wide in the home straight the race was over. When he did find daylight he stayed on very well, and though he finished 14th he was only 8L behind the winner and 4l off a place.
 
Sean Houlihan's 7lb claim could be crucial.
My fancy for tomorrow at Cheltenham has form that ties in with Cohesion, and I think Pivotal Flame looks too big a price in the 16.5f handicap hurdle at 13.15. Pat Phelan’s 4yo daughter of Pivotal has improved with every run since going hurdling and her best effort yet came when 4th behind Highway One O One at Plumpton last time out. She was beaten just over 9L by the winner that day, but she was only a length behind the runner up Cohesion and on the evidence of that run I think her opening mark of 114 looks workable.

Now, she was admittedly receiving a fair chunk of weight from the majority of her rivals that day at Plumpton, but she pulled pretty hard early on and if she had settled better she could have finished a lot closer to the winner who is now rated 133. The runner up Cohesion is rated over 100 on the level and the 3rd home Trust The Man, a 200/1 shot, backed up his good run by finishing a decent 2nd behind the very highly rated and unbeaten Irish Prophecy on his next start.

Sean Houlihan, who almost guided Milrow to victory for us here at a monster price a few weeks back, keeps the faith and that looks a big plus as Sophie Leech has a couple of runners in this race. I am not sure if she has first dibs on Houlihan but presumably he had the choice between Pivotal Flame and her two entries. His 7lb claim means that Pivotal Flame makes her handicap debut off effectively 107 and I think she has the raw ability to be competitive off that rating.

The big worry for me with Pivotal Flame is her lack of experience over hurdles as this is just her 5th start in this sphere. Her jumping looked a little bit sketchy at times at Plumpton, but it got better as the race wore on and hopefully she has learned enough in her three completions over timber to allow her to hold her own in this big field. If she settles early and jumps well I think she is capable of putting up a bold show, and at the monstrous price of 66/1 I think she has to be worth a fiver each way.

I have also put up a trio of tips for Mybettingbonus tomorrow. Click here to see them.


STEVOS’ SELECTION: 13.15 CHELTENHAM-PIVOTAL FLAME E/W @ 66/1 (5 places PP)

Friday, 10 November 2017

Stick With Cohesion At Doncaster

We capped off what was a good weekend last week with Nakeeta running a massive race in a Melbourne Cup that was dominated by European horses. Joseph O’Brien saddled Rekindling to take the win but Nakeeta ran a gallant race in 5th and with plenty of bookies paying out on the first 5 home it was good enough for each way purposes. He didn’t enjoy the clearest of passages, but he stayed on very well in the closing stages and Iain Jardine can be very proud of his stable star.
 
David Bridgewater is better known as a national hunt trainer.
Tomorrow I fancy one at a nice price in the 12f November Handicap at Doncaster and I think Cohesion is a very interesting contender for David Bridgwater with George Wood claiming 3lb. I tipped this fella up for the Ebor but he was declared a non runner. He was last seen running a nice race to be 2nd in a maiden hurdle behind Highway One O One at Plumpton (16f gd/sft) last month. That should have put him spot on for his return to the level and he has some smart form in this sphere.

His last two flat runs came over 15f at Chantilly when he was well beaten in a Group 3 and he was previously 4th in a hot 2 mile contest at the All Weather Championships. He was a shade unlucky behind Winning Story that day and with a clearer run he would have finished a lot closer to the winner. His last 12f run came in a handicap off 101 at Wolverhampton when he won by 1.5L and the 3rd home that day, Fabricate, has gone on to win a Group 3 since so it looks rock solid form.

His trainer David Bridgwater is best known for training jumpers like The Giant Bolster and Cohesion is one of only two winners he has had on the level. The booking of George Wood looks a signal of intent as his 3lb claim means that Cohesion is effectively running off his last winning mark of 101 and Wood showed he knows what it takes in these big handicaps by scoring in the Cambridgeshire aboard 50/1 shot Dolphin Vista.

The draw has been kind to Cohesion who finds himself in stall 4 and with 23 runners due to go to post hopefully he gets away to a decent start and is able to assume his customary prominent racing position. He was a winner on heavy when trained in France so soft ground holds no fears and he should be at peak fitness after his run over hurdles. This son of Champs Elysees has the credentials to run a massive race and at odds of 25/1 he looks well worth chancing each way.

I have posted another three selections for Mybettingbonus and you can check them out by clicking here.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: 15.15 DONCASTER-COHESION E/W @ 25/1 

Monday, 6 November 2017

Nakeeta Can Nail Them Late Down Under


We had a superb Saturday at the Breeders’ Cup with Lady Caledonia and Talismanic both obliging at double figure prices. Mind Your Biscuits, Lancaster Bomber and Collected landed each way bets for us too so overall it was a profitable meeting. The focus now switches from America to Australia and the race that stops a nation. The Melbourne Cup gets under way at 4am Tuesday our time so don’t forget to either set that alarm or get in some nice coffee (or something stronger perhaps!).
 
Nakeeta looks well overpriced at 25/1.
The one I like at a nice price in this year’s Melbourne Cup is Nakeeta, a horse last sighted winning The Ebor by a head at York for Iain Jardine off a mark of 103 (14f gd). That narrow victory capped off what has been a real rags to riches tale for the gelded 6yo son of Sixties Icon whose first career win came back in 2014 in a class 5 maiden handicap at Pontefract off a mark of just 66! He has improved relentlessly since then and he more than deserves his place in a race of this magnitude.

There are a lot of positives for Nakeeta regarding his chance in this contest, none more so than the manner of his win last time in The Ebor. Anchored in rear until they turned for home he didn’t enjoy a clear passage at all, squeezing through a couple of narrow gaps to get into the race. When he did find daylight 2f from home he showed a very nice turn of foot to seal the deal, and even his jockey dropping the reins close home wasn’t going to stop him from scoring.

He probably was value for more than the winning distance of a head and I got the impression that if the race was further than 14f he would have won by a wider margin. Nakeeta seems to relish the rough and tumble of big fields, a huge asset in a race like the Melbourne Cup, and though he is drawn wide it shouldn’t hinder him too much as he enjoys being held up and produced with a late run. He will have the assistance of the vastly experienced Glyn Schofield in the saddle and he knows his way around this track.

The step up to 2 miles is no problem for Nakeeta either as his stamina is assured. He stayed on strongly for 2nd in the Chester Cup last year and that race is run over 2 miles and 2 furlongs. Nakeeta has been given plenty of time to get over his exertions at York and seeing as that was only his fourth run of the season he is a relatively fresh horse. Heartbreak City was touched off in the Melbourne Cup after plotting the same route as Nakeeta last season, and at odds of 25/1 hopefully the Scottish star can go one better. 


STEVOS’ SELECTION: MELBOURNE CUP-NAKEETA E/W @ 25/1 

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Breeders’ Cup Saturday Preview


Two of our four Breeders’ Cup selections on Friday ran well, while the less said about the other two the better. September ran a massive race to finish 3rd as she had to make her challenge very wide. She is a filly that should be kept onside next season, particularly on quick ground. Giant Expectations was never put into the race at any stage after a slow start and James Garfield never found daylight under Frankie.

Abel Tasman flew home for 2nd but I think she should have won and if Mike Smith could ride the race again I am sure he would do it differently. I will only be previewing the Grade 1s tonight but I will be keeping a close eye on Corinthia Knight in the 18.20. This will be Ontoawinner’s first ever Breeders’ Cup runner and he could well be suited by the track. At double figure odds he could be worth backing each way and I would love to see him run well for his owners and Archie Watson.
 
Caledonia Road looks an interesing runner for Ralph Nicks.
19.00 JUVENILE FILLIES

This 8.5f dirt race sees 13 speedy 2yo fillies go to post and, as is the case with most of the dirt races, European horses have struggled in this. There is no British or Irish representative here and in a field loaded with front runners it looks sure to be run at a furious gallop. The top two in the market are the clear form picks, but they both like to be up there and I think this could set up for a closer.

Mike Smith misjudged the timing of his effort on Abel Tasman for us yesterday, but perhaps he can make amends here on Caledonia Road. This filly is drawn wide but she will likely be dropped out the back and produced late on. She ran a good race under patient tactics last time when chasing home Separationofpowers in a Grade 1 and with that horse unlikely to get an easy time up front I think Caledonia Road could reverse that form and at nice odds she is the each way suggestion.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: CALEDONIA ROAD E/W @ 18/1

Washington DC will enjoy the firm ground at Del Mar.
 19.37 TURF SPRINT

The fact that previous winner Mongolian Saturday can be backed at 66/1 shows that this is a deep race and the Europeans hold a strong hand. Flying filly Lady Aurelia is the short priced favourite and if she is at her brilliant best she will be hard to beat, particularly as she carries less weight than all of her rivals. Marsha is the shortest of the British and Irish challengers, but at a much bigger price Washington DC is of interest on the forecast firm ground.

This son of Zoffany has yet to win at the highest level in ten attempts but the fact that O’Brien has persisted with him suggests that he believes the 4yo is capable. He won impressively in a Group 3 at the Curragh the last time he ran on good to firm and he had excuses the last twice. He is far from reliable and he needs everything to go right, but if things fall into place he could be dangerous and a small e/w bet at 25/1 is advised.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: WASHINGTON DC E/W @ 25/1

Unique Bella will be hard to beat.
20.14 FILLY AND MARE SPRINT

This race is all about Unique Bella, and if she repeats the form of her penultimate start when easily beating Abel Tasman then she will be very hard to beat. Our old pal Mike Smith will have to work his magic from stall 11 and she will need to be fast from the gates. If she gets away well and doesn’t get trapped wide it will take a very good one to beat her.

Her trainer Jerry Hollendorfer had a nice winner with Battle Of Midway here yesterday so there are no worries regarding the form of his horses. Smith has a good record in the race, winning it twice, including last year on Finest City. The fact that he has abandoned that mare for Unique Bella says a lot and at odds of 2/1 she is a confident selection.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: UNIQUE BELLA @ 2/1 WIN

Senga could go well for France.
21.00 FILLY AND MARE TURF

This race has proved to be a happy hunting ground for European horses and Michael Stoute is the joint leading trainer with 3 wins. He teamed up with Frankie Dettori last year with Queen’s Trust to win it and they are back to try and repeat the dose this year. She ran a cracker her only run on quick ground this season when 2L behind Highland Reel and she can be forgiven her recent runs on ground softer than ideal. With firm ground forecast at Del Mar she should run a good race at 9/1.

However, at a slightly bigger price I think Senga could run a big race for Pascal Bary and Stephane Pasquier. This French raider loves quick ground and her only defeat since debut on good or better came behind Wuheida over a mile. She was finishing fast that day so the extra furlong here should enable her to reverse that form. She is nicely drawn in stall 2 and at odds of 12/1 I think she has outstanding each way claims.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: SENGA E/W @ 12/1 NAP

Mind Your Biscuits has a good e/w chance.

21.37 DIRT SPRINT

Bob Baffert is the leading trainer in this race with 5 wins and he took it last year with Defrong. He is back with the now 4yo to defend his crown and from a plum draw in stall 2 he will be hard to peg back if fast from the gates.

For each way purposes perhaps Mind Your Biscuits can give his backers a run for their money. He is versatile tactically, he is a former Grade 1 winner and he wasn’t beaten far by Defrong in this last year. The quicker they go early the better for this fast finisher and a small each way bet is advised at 8/1.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: MIND YOUR BISCUITS E/W @ 8/1
 
Lancaster Bomber could go one better than last year.
22.19 TURF MILE

European trainers have fared well in this race, especially Freddy Head who has the most wins with three. However, the Americans have dominated in recent years and no European trainer has scored since super mare Goldikova back in 2010. Aidan O’Brien has surprisingly never won this race but Lancaster Bomber could be the one to break his duck.

This 3yo son of War Front has won just 1 of his 13 career starts but he has run some cracking races in defeat at the highest level. The key to him, like so many of War Front’s progeny, is rattling quick ground and he will get his optimum conditions at Del Mar. He was runner up in the Juvenile Turf last year on firm, he ran well at Woodbine on his penultimate start on similar ground and at odds of 12/1 I think he holds very solid each way claims.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: LANCASTER BOMBER E/W @ 12/1
 
Bolt D'Oro looks a worthy favourite.
22.58 JUVENILE DIRT

Aidan O’Brien and Mick Kinane teamed up to win this race many moons ago with Johannesburg and O’Brien is back to try and repeat the dose with US Navy Flag. O’Brien won the Juvenile Turf on Friday night with Mendelssohn and that was a race that many pundits thought would be ideal for this fella. It will be the first time the son of War Front has ever encountered dirt, his Galileo dam never tried it either and on balance I think that he is skinny enough at 9/1 as he has a lot to prove.

Although he is drawn wide the current favourite Bolt D’Oro looks very hard to oppose here. He is unbeaten in three starts, including two here, and his last two wins have come at the highest level. He absolutely destroyed them last time on his first run at tonight’s trip at Santa Anita, he is versatile tactically and it is hard to pick holes in this son of Medagalia d’Oro. He may only be 5/4 but he should give favourite backers something to shout about.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: BOLT D’ORO @ 5/4 NB

Andre Fabre is looking for his 3rd win in this race.
23.37 BREEDERS’ CUP TURF

This 12f race has been dominated by the European’s in recent years and they have been successful 17 times in total. That man Aidan O’Brien has won it six times and he will be looking to complete a hat trick having won it for the past two years with Highland Reel in 2016 and Found in 2015. Highland Reel is a short order to repeat the dose but O’Brien has another couple of entries and both Cliffs Of Moher and especially Seventh Heaven will enjoy the firm ground.

Andre Fabre has won this race twice and he has an interesting contender in Talismanic this year. This 4yo son of Medaglia d’Oro has yet to score at the highest level but he will enjoy the quick ground and he is 2/3 over 12f on good. He was a good 3rd in the Group 2 Prix Foy last time out, he will appreciate the return to a faster surface and from the plum draw in stall 1 he could give each way backers a good run for their money at 20/1.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: TALISMANIC E/W @ 20/1
 
Collected looks a solid each way bet.
00.35 CLASSIC

In the early hours of Sunday morning 11 horses will go to post for the final race of the Breeders’ Cup meeting. Arrogate comes into the race as the 5/2 favourite but his air of invincibility is gone after meeting defeat on his last two runs. It is perhaps too soon to write him off and he has landed a great draw in stall 1.

The 7/1 about Collected looks a big price seeing as he beat Arrogate last time out over this course and distance and though he is drawn wide he is usually fairly quick from the gates so he should be able to get a prominent racing position. I really liked the way he galloped all the way to the line last time and I think he looks a rock solid each way bet with an excellent chance of winning.


STEVOS’ SELECTION: COLLECTED E/W @ 7/1

Friday, 3 November 2017

Breeders' Cup Friday Preview


The eyes of the equine world will be fixed firmly on Del Mar racecourse tonight as some of the most talented horses on the planet take each other on at the Breeders’ Cup. There are plenty of British and Irish challengers this year and Aidan O’Brien sends a strong squad across the Atlantic in pursuit of yet more Group 1 glory. The main action gets underway tonight with the Juvenile Fillies’ race and you can find out my fancy for all the big races below.
 
September will love the firm ground at Del Mar.
21.25-JUVENILE FILLIES’ TURF

The maestro of Ballydoyle looks to hold a strong hand here and Ryan Moore has chosen to ride Happily. However, that filly has yet to encounter ground faster than good and the firm going at Del Mar has to be a slight concern. Seamie Heffernan will partner September, a filly for whom there are no worries regarding the ground, and this regally bred daughter of Deep Impact could be the one to be on. She hasn’t been handed the best of draws in stall 10 so Seamie will need to be at his best, but at least she is proven on fast going.

She won a Listed race at Ascot easily on her only start on good to firm and she was only narrowly beaten by Laurens on good last time at Newmarket. Her dam, Peeping Fawn, was a winner on good to firm too so on pedigree it is a case of the faster the ground the better. Although Happily did beat her quite comfortably the last two times they met, the ground was soft on both occasions. September came out on top when they met on yielding and she can turn the tables on Happily tonight back on a sound surface at odds of 5/1.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: SEPTEMBER @ 5/1

Giant Expectations could spring a surprise back up in trip.
 22.05-DIRT MILE

This is not a race that European horses have fared well in since its inception back in 2007. There are no British or Irish contenders this year and it looks a tricky puzzle to try and solve. One clue could be that only two 3yos have won in 10 renewals, so it might pay to concentrate on the older horses. 4yos Mor Spirit and Sharp Azteca are at the head of the market, but at bigger odds I think Giant Expectations could go well.

He is 1/2 at Del Mar, winning a Grade 2 here over 7f on his penultimate start before disappointing in a Grade 1 when dropped back to 6f last time out. He seemed to be only hitting top gear as he hit the line when winning here over 7f so he should be suited by stepping back up in trip. Hopefully they go quickly up front and give this fast finisher a pace to aim at, and if they do he could stay on late and reward each way support at 25/1.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: GIANT EXPECTATIONS E/W @ 25/1

James Garfield could give Frankie a fourth win in this race.
22.50-JUVENILE TURF

British and Irish trained horses have a fine record in this turf race and Aidan O’Brien leads the way with three wins since 2007. Frankie Dettori has also won it three times and both men will be looking to add to their tallies tonight. O’Brien fires just one bullet in Mendelssohn but I don’t think he represents much value at 11/2 given his achievements on the track. The one I like is the George Scott trained son of Exceed And Excel James Garfield and he will be ridden by that man Frankie Dettori.

This fella scored his first win at Group Level last time when beating Invincible Army over 6f at Newbury. He steps up in class and trip here, but I think he will handle this new distance judging by how he finished off his race at Newbury. He is related to a couple of 8f/10f winners too, so his pedigree suggests he should be fine. He will relish the forecast firm ground and he has a nice draw in stall 7. At odds of 13/2 James Garfield can give Frankie a 4th win in this and he is our NAP of the night.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: JAMES GARFIELD @ 13/2 NAP

Abel Tasman looks a big price at 8/1.
 23.35-DISTAFF

This is another dirt race that has proved to be an unhappy hunting ground for British and Irish horses with none winning since it was first run back in 1984. Mike Smith and William Mott have five wins each and they both look to hold strong hands in this year’s renewal. Elate is the favourite for Mott with Jose Velazquez booked, but we think Abel Tasman can uphold the form that saw her beat Elate in a 9f Grade 1 at Saratoga back in July.

This four time Grade 1 winner probably would have won last time out had she not got to the front as soon as she did. She was a winner here over 7f on her debut so she will have no issues with the track and she is unbeaten at 9f. Her trainer Bob Baffert has yet to win this race, but Abel Tasman could be the filly to break his duck and at odds of 8/1 she definitely represents each way value in what looks a pretty open race.


STEVOS’ SELECTION: ABEL TASMAN E/W @ 8/1

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Keep An Eye On Katy At Sedgefield


Glen’s DD ran a lovely race for us on Sunday but unfortunately, she just didn’t get home on the bottomless ground. She travelled really well out the rear for Blackmore and when she gave him a squeeze she made ground stylishly, scything through the field and slickly flitting over the fences. I was rubbing my hands as they hit the 4f marker in anticipation of a tasty 40/1 payday, but a furlong later she hit the wall and Glen’s DD ended up coming home in 6th. I think with that run under her belt she will be dangerous to discount next time out, especially on slightly better ground.
 
Joe Colliver has a good record at Sedgefield.
I usually refrain from tipping up horses in 7 runner contests due to only being paid out on the first two home for each way bets, but for those of you who play on the exchanges you can bet on this mare to place in the first three. However, I just can’t resist having a small each way bet on Katy Royal at silly odds tomorrow as she was a big eyecatcher at Sedgefield on her last outing (20f gd). She races over a furlong further at the same track on similar ground on Thursday and that is enough to tempt me into having a small bet.

This nicely bred daughter of King’s Theatre is out of a dam that has yet to produce a winner from six attempts. However, her dam’s half brother Betty’s Boy was a Cheltenham Festival handicap winner and her half sister is the dam of Grade 2 winner Carraig Mor. Those horses all stayed very well, and it looks to me that Katy Royal is a similar type. She had shown very little up until last time out at Sedgefield, and when sent off at 200/1 and anchored at the rear early on it didn’t look like much would be forthcoming.

However, having watched the race back a couple of times I noticed that she was given a very considerate ride by Joe Colliver. He was at pains not to ask for too much too early and he held a tight rein near the rear of the field throughout. I loved how Katy Royal jumped the first couple of hurdles and though she got in close to a couple after that she jumped the last two nicely too. She was left with an awful lot to do by her jockey but when he got stuck in after the final fence she responded well to pressure to get up for 4th and, judging by how she crossed the line, there was plenty more left in the tank.

She is stepped up in trip to 21f on Thursday, a furlong further than last time, and the extra distance looks sure to suit. Joe Colliver is back in the plate and it will be interesting to see what sort of a ride he gives her in this contest. My hope is that she is held up again, hopefully off a strong pace, and if they go too quick up front she will be finishing fast and hopefully she can sneak into the frame. Another cause for optimism is her trainer and jockey’s individual records at Sedgefield.

Chris Fairhurst, whose only runner in the past two weeks won on the level at Newcastle, has an excellent frame hitting strike rate at Sedgefield of over 40% (4 wins 20 top 4 finishes from 59 runners). Colliver, for whom Katy Royal is the only ride today, has had 101 rides at the track, winning 13 races and achieving 41 top 4 finishes for a frame hitting strike rate of nearly 54%. I think there are more than enough reasons to chance a small e/w bet on Katy Royal, and at odds of 66/1 if she can sneak into the first two we will be well rewarded. 

I have also posted two tips for Thursday for Mybettingbonus, check them out by clicking here.


STEVOS’ SELECTION: 13.30 SEDGEFIELD-KATY ROYAL E/W @ 66/1 

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Power Could Enhance Fine Wexford Record On Sunday


I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry after watching Milrow run a storming race at Cheltenham. I thought Sean Houlihan had given him an absolute beaut of a ride and as they turned in to face the final two hurdles there was nothing travelling better. Milrow jumped slickly throughout, pinged the last and when Houlihan gave him the office he stormed up the hill. Houlihan’s route to victory up the inner was blocked off by the winner though, and when he snatched up and switched Milrow to the outer all momentum was lost. Still, we got our each way money at odds of 66/1 and I fancy another one at a monster price at Wexford tomorrow.
Rachael Blackmore was on board for Glens DD's best run.
Garrett Power is a trainer that is far from a household name but his record with his jumpers at Wexford is second to none. He has had 15 runners there down through the years and 6 of those have won. A further 5 top 4 finishes means he has an astonishing frame hitting strike rate of 73% and I think Glen’s DD looks a very interesting contender for him in the 3 mile handicap hurdle at 14.35. This 5yo daughter of Dubai Destination has yet to get her head in front after 6 hurdle runs but her best effort came on her only outing over hurdles on soft and Rachael Blackmore is back on board for the first time since.

That maiden run at Roscommon came over 2 miles and Glen’s DD was doing all her best work at the finish. She was held up and as they approached the 3rd last flight it looked as though she would finish 6th at best. However, she finished the race off really well and managed to get up for 4th, closing on the first three all the way to the line. Her four subsequent runs, three handicap hurdles and one on the level, all came on good ground and she was well beaten every time, pulling up in two of the hurdle runs.

Every cloud has a silver lining though and her opening handicap mark of 95 has been slashed to 85 after those poor efforts. On the form of her Roscommon run she should be well capable of being competitive off that rating. The winner of that maiden has won 5 races in both codes since and is now rated 119. The 3rd home has since won a maiden, the 6th also won a maiden and a handicap off 98 and the 7th also won a maiden and is now rated 112. That would suggest that Glen’s DD is well treated off 85 now returning to soft ground.

This mare has a lovely pedigree and her dam Glen’s Magic is very well related. Her half sister Glens Music won multiple races but she has made a big mark as a broodmare, producing Cheltenham Grade 1 winner Glens Melody as well as a host of other black type jumpers. Glens Melody and some of her half siblings stayed 3 miles with no problems at all and I am hoping that Glen's DD has inherited some of that stamina. On the evidence of her good run at Roscommon she looks well worth persisting with at this trip and back on an easy surface I think she is worth chancing each way for small stakes at 40/1.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: 14.35 WEXFORD-GLEN'S DD E/W @ 40/1  



Friday, 27 October 2017

Step Up In Trip Could Suit Milrow At Cheltenham

Quiet Reflection couldn’t give connections the fairytale ending they yearned for last weekend but she has been a wonderful filly for them. She gave them some fantastic days out and the highlight was probably her Group 1 win in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot. I feel privileged to have witnessed her last career win at Naas and there will be plenty of interest in her at the sales. It will take a hefty bid to land her and I can't wait to see her progeny run. Tomorrow I like the look of one at a monster price at Cheltenham and I think Milrow could outrun his odds for in form handler Sophie Leech.
 
Sophie Leech is a shrewd operator.
She also runs previous course winner Anteros who wouldn’t be without a chance if reproducing the form he showed this time last year. However, Milrow is a complete unknown quantity at this trip and he went into my notebook on his penultimate start when trying his furthest trip yet at Newton Abbott (21.5f gd/fm). This 4yo son of Tamayuz isn’t exactly bred for this sort of trip over timber and his three career wins have come at around 2 miles.

However, his half brother Canni Thinkaar won at 22.5f and his dam is by Lahib and he is a sire that has produced plenty of strong stayers down through the years. Milrow didn’t run any sort of race last time at Chepstow off 125 but the drop back in trip to 19f and slight ease in the ground are valid excuses for that below par effort. This fella is at his very best on good ground or better and conditions will be much more to his liking at Cheltenham on Saturday.

As I stated earlier he went into my notebook on his penultimate start at Newton Abbott over 21.5f when he stayed on eye catchingly for 3rd behind the highly progressive Golden Birthday, and he has gone on to win twice on the level since. He was 10L behind the winner but only 3/4 of a length behind the runner up Wait For Me, and that 142 rated horse went on to score on his chase debut next time out.

Milrow endured a troubled passage throughout that race and he was fairly badly hampered when the favourite fell at the 7th fence. He was held up in rear by young Sean Houlihan and as they turned for home he ran into trouble more than once. Houlihan had to stop riding for a moment as they approached the 2nd last but when he eventually did find a bit of daylight between the last two Milrow stayed on very well and almost got up for 2nd.

After that run it was surprising to see him dropped back in trip next time out but perhaps that run at Chepstow was just a sighter to put him right for this first crack at 3 miles. Leech and Houlihan were unlucky not to have a winner on Friday with Man Of Plenty and though Houlihan is yet to partner a winner for the yard he has been in the first four on 5 of his 8 rides for them. Hopefully he hits the frame again on Milrow on Saturday and at odds of 66/1 he has to be worth a pound or two each way.

I have also tipped up three horses for Mybettingbonus tomorrow and you can find out what I fancy by clicking here.


STEVOS’ SELECTION: 15.45-MILROW E/W @ 66/1 (5 PLACES PADDY POWER)

Friday, 20 October 2017

Champions Sprint Stakes

The flat season is drawing to a close but there is one last hurrah at Ascot on Saturday. Champions Day sees some of the best horses in the world taking each other on and one of my favourite races is the 6f Champion Sprint Stakes. A fantastic field of 13 of the speediest colts, geldings and fillies on the planet have been declared and if you blink, you might miss it. The mighty Harry Angel is a short price to complete a hat trick of wins at the highest level but he isn’t guaranteed to have things all his own way. Read my thoughts on what should be a thrilling race below.

The Main Contenders

Harry Angel


Clive Cox has repeatedly shown he has a special way with sprinters and Harry Angel is surely the jewel in his crown. This 3yo son of Dark Angel has flourished this season and he is looking to win his third Group 1 in a row at Ascot on Saturday. Bought by Godolphin after a cracking effort here at the Royal meeting (6f gd/fm) when narrowly beaten by Caravaggio, he has gone from strength to strength for the boys in blue. On a similar surface he proved far too good for crack fast ground sprinter Limato at Newmarket in the Group 1 July Cup, racing up with the pace and putting the race to bed a furlong out.

He showed that heavy ground held no fears when hosing up in the Sprint Cup at Haydock last time out and he comes into this race as a worthy favourite. However, he has been on the go since the 3rd of May and whether he will still be at his very best in mid October remains to be seen. Horses aren’t machines after all, and it would be some training performance by Cox to get him here in the same shape he was in at Newmarket and Haydock. He is a best price of 11/10 for Saturday but I think there is better value to be found elsewhere.

Caravaggio


There is huge hype centred on the Aidan O’Brien yard at the moment as he chases down the record total of 25 Group 1 wins in a season held by Bobby Frankel. He is one behind, and the law of averages would suggest he will equal, and probably break the record this weekend. Enigmatic sprinter Caravaggio looks to be his best chance of glory in this race, but this horse is far from reliable and he is not one for maximum faith.

He looked the real deal when beating Harry Angel at Royal Ascot, but in hindsight that was more a result of one of his stablemates harassing the Cox horse than his actual ability. He was firmly put in his place next time, not only by Harry Angel but also by Limato and Brando too. It was far from smooth last time out when he beat Alphabet by a length in a Group 2 at the Curragh and that form won’t suffice here. He is 2nd favourite because of who he is trained by rather than what he has achieved, and I think he is more a 10/1 shot than his current price of just 9/2.

Quiet Reflection

Four of the thirteen entries in this race are owned by Coolmore, including the 2nd fav, and the favourite is owned by Godolphin, all powerhouses of the equine world. The third in the market is owned partly by the Ontoawinner Syndicate and this filly more than deserves her place in a race of this nature. She has been a flagbearer not only for Karl Burke, but also for Ontoawinner and the ragtag bunch of characters that own her.

This 4yo daughter of Showcasing is already a dual Group 1 winner so she owes connections nothing, but I think she could complete the hat trick at Ascot on ground that is sure to suit. Since turning three she is unbeaten on ground with soft in the description and after a rare poor effort at Haydock on ground quicker than ideal back in May she looked back to her brilliant best at Naas in a Group 3 last time. The rain has arrived in time, she has a searing turn of foot and I think at odds of 7/1 she looks by far the best value in this race.

The Tin Man
The only other horse in the field that is a single figure price is last year’s winner of this race, The Tin Man. This 5yo son of Equiano was very impressive on the good ground that day and he showed his liking for this track with another win here in the Diamond Jubilee when defeating Tasleet by a neck on good to firm ground. However, he has found Harry Angel far too good the last twice and another worry for his supporters has to be the underfoot conditions.

This fella has done all his winning on good or good to firm ground and while he has solid placed form on soft and heavy he simply isn’t as effective on it and it seems to blunt his turn of foot. The rain that has already fallen won’t be to his liking and with even more forecast it will further dent his chance of a repeat win. He should run his usual solid race though and it would be no big surprise to see him sneak a place.

The Best Of The Rest

At bigger prices there are a couple of horses that could go well, and Tasleet is one of them. William Haggas’ 4yo son of Showcasing was only a neck behind The Tin Man in the Golden Jubilee, he chased home Harry Angel last time on heavy and he should run well again without winning. Brando is another solid performer but he is at his best on good or better so conditions are not in his favour. Dashing grey Librisa Breeze has been running well in these types of races without looking good enough to win one, but he will handle the ground, he goes well at the track and at a nice price he could hit the frame.

Verdict

This is a cracking renewal of the Champion Sprint Stakes and it really is an intriguing race from a tactical viewpoint. There are no secrets regarding the running style of Harry Angel and he will look to dictate matters from out in front. Aidan O’Brien saddles both Washington DC and Alphabet and it would be no surprise to see the latter try and hassle Harry Angel up front. The worries for Harry Angel supporters are that he gets taken on for the lead and runs out of gas and also that he has failed to win on two previous visits to Ascot. He has been on the go since early May too and this could be a race too far for him. Whatever happens, a furious early pace looks assured and there is one filly that will really enjoy a fast run race.

Quiet Reflection is at her best when held up off a strong pace and she will get that at Ascot on Saturday. She will absolutely relish the underfoot conditions and she looked back to her brilliant best when hosing up at Naas last time. This is obviously a tougher task but she is already a dual Group 1 winner, including the Commonwealth Cup here, and I think Martin Harley will produce her fast and late to land the spoils. She will be dropped in behind the early leaders and few will be travelling better two furlongs out. When Harley presses the button she can demonstrate her trademark turn of foot and claim a third Group 1 for the Ontoawinner Syndicate and Karl Burke. The Tin Man and Librisa Breeze ccould be the ones to chase her home.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: 1. QUIET REFLECTION 2. THE TIN MAN 3. LIBRISA BREEZE