Monday, 31 August 2015

Ryan's Lady Too Big At Goodwood

Another disastrous day for the blog today, with Castanea running an absolute shocker. He never got involved, finishing tailed off, and it was a very disappointing effort. Hopefully tomorrow's selection at Goodwood will run better.

The filly I am interested in is Lady Nayef who goes in the 3.15 at Goodwood. She makes her handicap debut off a mark of just 67, and there is reason to believe she could be well treated. She has already had eight starts, including a run in Listed company (7f good to firm) at Ascot where she had only three behind her in finishing 9th. One of those behind her was Cymric, who has gone on to win a maiden and then finish 4th in a Group 3.

She was sent off at 50/1 in a class 2 maiden at this track over 6f (good) on her next run, and she ran a cracking race to finish 5th, with a host of next time out winners in her vicinity. The 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th have all gone on to win since, so it looks a strong piece of form.

Lady Nayef travelled to Lingfield for her next start (5f) on heavy ground, and she was sent off 5/2, just failing to reel in the winner and going down by less than a length. In all honesty she was probably given too much to do by her jockey and should have won, but she really seemed to relish the easy ground, and the way she finished off her race suggested 6f on soft would bring out the best in her. Her last run came at Yarmouth (6f good) but she didn't run to her best and I am willing to put a line through that effort due to the ground.

There are major doubts about the majority of her opponents with regards to their capability on a soft surface, and Addicted To Luck is the only other horse in the field with good form on such ground. Lady Nayef looks sure to appreciate the return to this venue and with the very capable young claimer Ryan Powell also taking off a handy 3lbs she should hopefully run a huge race at the generous odds of 14/1.


Castanea Can Imoprove At Chepstow

Chepstow racecourse is but a stones throw from Ron Harris' yard in Earlswood, and of the two horses he sends into battle at the track today it is Castanea that is of interest. This son of Pivotal who is out of a Medicean dam has yet to trouble the judge in six starts so far, three of which have come at today's venue. He has been tried at trips ranging from 7f to 8.5f, and while his form figures of 674607 are uninspiring he has shaped on a couple of occasions that a step up in trip would suit.

He has loads of soft ground winners on the dam side of his pedigree, and the progeny of Pivotal ususally handle an ease well too. There is also hope regarding the trip on his dam side, as his grand-dam is related to Kathmandu, a 12f listed winner on soft.

 His last run here over 8f on good to soft was pretty encouraging, and he stayed on well in the closing stages having been badly outpaced early on. This extra 4f today should hopefully enable him to travel better for longer, and if it does he has a great chance of making the frame at odds of 16/1.


Sunday, 30 August 2015

Barry's Mare Overpriced Again

Not a great day for the blog yesterday, although Intense Tango ran a decent race to buck the trend of lacklustre performances. Sunday is another day filled with with quality action, and there is one horse in particular that I believe looks overpriced.

Akira, trained by Shay Barry in Waterford, is a mare I have been following closely this season and she takes her chance in the 4.20, a Group 3 contest run over 9f. She has had just the three runs so far this year, and she has improved with every one. Her penultimate run, when close up behind Laviniad and Subsequent Group 3 winner Tested in a Listed heat at Galway was a superb effort, and she looked booked for a place until the final strides. 

Her next run was even better,in the Listed Platinum Stakes down in Cork,  and she was arguably very unlucky not to win, never mind place, as she was denied a clear run at a vital time and finished with plenty still left in the tank. She steps back up to Group 3 company in the same race she ran in last year, when she again ran a cracker at a huge price, just over two lengths behind Carla Bianca. 

She followed that run last year with another cracking effort behind today's rival Brooch in another Group 3. She had to concede 5lbs to the Weld horse last year, but this year the tables have turned, and instead Akira gets 5lbs from the Weld horse. How Brooch is just 3/1 and Akira is 25/1 is beyond me given the swing in the weights. She was also less than a length behind Odeliz, who recently bagged a Group 1 in France .

Now there are plenty of 3yos in the race that Akira has to give weight to, and given that age group's success in this race in recent years it may well stop her from winning. However, she looks way overpriced for the reasons outlined above, and at 25/1 has to be worth a little bit of each way support. 


Friday, 28 August 2015

Saturday Scoop 6 Selections

An awful run from Friday's selection, but such are the risks when one tips up handicap debutants. When they win at a big price you can look very clever, but on this occasion the writing was on the wall from a long way out. His price drifting out to 25/1 suggested such a run was expected by connections too.

Onwards and upwards though, and Saturday sees a feast of quality racing for punters to sink their teeth into. This week I have decided to have a look at the Scoop 6 races, and below are my selections for each leg.


Conditions at Goodwood are currently described as soft, but with very little rain forecast between now and the start of racing it is likely to dry out. Tacky, gluey ground is a distinct possibility, and this is unlikely to suit the current market leaders Belvoir Bay and Fireglow.

One that has already shown form on softish ground, and whose trainer has stated a clear preference for such a surface, is the Kevin Ryan trained filly Dutch Mist. She is  a beautifully bred daughter of Dutch Art, and her Dubawi dam is out of a half sister to the dam of Byron. She has won 3 from 5, her last win a handicap off 85 at Thirsk (6f good to firm).

She was given too much to do by her young jockey last time in a deep 6f handicap at Newmarket off a mark of 92, and even so she wasn't far behind Show Stealer(3rd), who she is 7lb better off with today. She looked to be crying out for a step up to 7f the last day too, and she gets that, along with the plum draw in stall 1. Granted a good start she shouldn't be far away.

At an even bigger price the Stan Moore trained Manhattan Skyline ran a race full of promise last time out in a Listed heat at Deauville (7f) and it would be dangerous to discount her.



You can read my in depth preview and analysis here at


A devilishly difficult handicap to decipher, and the likelihood of sticky ground further complicates matters. Magic City loves it around here, and doesn't mind a bit of an ease. However, he looks weighted to near his best at the moment and is a very hard horse to win with at the best of times.

Suzi's Connisseur showed clear signs of returning to form here last time out (6f good to firm), and he has a great draw in stall 2. He races off a mark of 97, 3lb lower than his last win which came off 100 last October. He has won four races on ground ranging from heavy to good, and one of those wins was a Listed contest. The step back up to 7f should suit today, the ground will be fine and he has a super draw. He looks sure to go close and can be backed at 8/1.

At a big price Jack's Revenge may well hit the frame, as he did in this race two years ago off an identical mark. He is another that won't mind a bit of ease in the ground and he looks overpriced with the considerable assistance of Dane O'Neill in the plate. He hasn't got a great draw in stall 19, but as he is a hold up horse it is not too much of a hindrance. He likes the track (last four runs form figures 3242) and is overdue a win here. He looks too big a price at 33/1.



A chance is taken on Spectator for the Balding yard here. His horses have a habit of hitting form in late August/September and this 4yo gelding, a winner on good to firm and soft in the past, shaped as if a return to form was imminent on his penultimate run over 16.5f at York, a trip that stretches his stamina.

He had previously run well over 12f at the same venue, and in all honesty his run at Nottingham on soft (14f) last time was very disappointing. I am willing to put a line through that run though,and hopefully this brother to Side Glance can return to form with David Probert back on board. He can currently be backed at 16/1.

Bottom weight Intense Tango for Karl Burke is another that could run a big race. She is a useful hurdler, and was very unlucky last time at Pontefract over 12f, badly hampered and then staying on well for 3rd. She stayed on well over the same trip on her previous start too, and this step up in trip to 13f ought to suit really well. She is only 6/1, but she looks to have a cracking chance granted better luck in running.



Another nightmarishly difficult handicap, and a wide open race. One that may well outrun his huge odds is Noodles Blue Boy for Ollie Pears. This 9yo has looked to be out of sorts recently, but he had showed some of his old spark at Leicester back in June, beaten into 2nd by under a length off 74.He again ran well at the same venue, but on his return to Beverley he ran two stinkers, hampered badly at the start both times.

His last win came here in this month last year, and he hosed up by 4 lengths off a mark of 70. He was in stall 1 that day, but he also won here back in 2010 and managed that from stall 7, the same draw he has today. Tom Eaves has won on him before. He also won in August 2013, so evidently he likes it at this time of year. 20/1 looks massive, and he should run a big race off a mark of just 68.



Yet another tricky race to conclude the Scoop 6, and the ground will be key to the outcome of this one. Good or better and Lucky Kristale should be hard to beat. She was an exciting 2yo filly, and for whatever reason her 3yo season just didn't go to plan. She has looked to be returning to something like her old form in recent runs, and her effort at York last time was a big step back in the right direction. She loves quick ground though, so if there is soft in the description it will be damaging to her prospects.

If there is a slight ease in the ground Wet Sail could be the one. He was highly tried after his maiden win, and showed he handled cut on debut. He didn't cut much ice in Group 1 company at Santa Anita upped to a mile, and his seasonal reappearance was nothing to get excited about. However, he showed distinct signs of a resurgence in a Listed race at Chester last time out, and if Lucky Kristale doesn't get her ground this fella could be the one to capitalise. He looks a solid each way bet at 13/2.


Sunny Friday At Newcastle

The second race at Newcastle, a 5f 2yo handicap, sees a host of unexposed juveniles taking each other on in what looks a wide open race. One filly that caught my eye on one of her maiden runs was Sunnyhills Belford, who ran a lovely race on debut at 50/1, slowly away and finishing well for fourth. That effort came on good ground at Hamilton, and she wasn't so good next time at a much shorter price at the same track. Whether the soft ground was to blame is debatable, as she reared at the start and lost all chance. Her last maiden run, over 6f at Ripon, was also poor and it looked as if the 6f didn't suit.

She drops back down to 5f for her handicap debut today, and while the good to soft ground might put some people off due to her poor maiden runs on it, I don't think it will pose a problem. Her pedigree screams that easy ground should suit, and her sire Monsieur Bond has produced plenty of soft ground winners. Her half brother has won on yielding ground, and her Zamindar dam is a half sister to Fast Shot, who loves a bit of juice in the ground.

Her trainer Noel Wilson is a small operator that trains out of Yorkshire, and he has had three winners at Newcastle in the past five seasons. Barry McHugh is booked for the ride today, and he is 4/32 for Wilson since 2011. She has been allocated a mark of just 53 for her handicap debut, and at her current price of 14/1 surely it is worth giving her another chance to fulfil the promise of her opening effort.


Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Ellison Could Enhance Excellent Record At Catterick

Brian Ellison is a trainer that usually does well with his team at Catterick, and he has a 20% strike rate with 16 winners from 80 runners there in the last 5 seasons. Silvestre De Sousa, the man going all out for the jockey's championship, is on board today's fancy, and he has a similarly impressive strike rate when riding for Ellison, 22% with 30 wins from 134 rides. They team up with Rock On Bollinski on Wednesday afternoon, and he could be set to run a big race.

He was beaten just a nose on heavy ground in a 14.5f bumper at Newcastle on debut, and again ran well in another bumper on his second run, on heavy ground. His flat career to date hasn't exactly been impressive, but he has been racing mainly on quick ground and today's surface should show him in a much better light. 

He shaped encouragingly at Thirsk on his third maiden run, keeping on well over 12f (good)and looking as if a step up in trip would suit. His seasonal reappearance was very disappointing, on soft at the same venue, but on his penultimate run at Beverley, when De Sousa rode and he was just 4/1, he wasn't beaten that far at all, and again shaped as though a step up in trip was required. 

He gets that today, and combined with the soft ground and his rapidly declining mark it could well result in a bold show. He is now 12lb lower than his opening mark of 72, and dropped back into class 5 company he looks well worth an interest at 12/1. 


Monday, 24 August 2015

Soft Ground Could Showcase Guapo's Talent

A couple of short priced favourites won for us yesterday, but unfortunately the bigger priced selections were out of luck. I am usually loath to put up an odds on horse as a selection, but sometimes the form and figures don't lie and the most likely looking winner is the favourite, no matter what angle you approach it from.

Order Of St. George looks to be a really progressive type, and he will be a threat to all in the St. Leger, especially if it comes up softer than good. The run of Sea Moon in behind was also very encouraging, and it will be interesting to see if John Oxx can work his magic and get him back to his very best.

As is usually the case on a Monday, the quality of action on offer is not the best with low class maidens and handicaps the recurring theme of the day. The rain arrived at Brighton overnight, and this has sparked my interest in a horse in the opener. Richard Hannon won this race last year, and he has two contenders today. Pinky Promise has already had three runs, and is rated just 62 after finishing a well beaten third on her last two outings. Her dam is a half sister to Captain Rio, so perhaps she will improve for the soft ground, but she has looked limited and even though she looks the stable first string on jockey bookings, her stablemate looks interesting at a much bigger price.

Guapo Bay was given a very considerate introduction at the beginning of this month over today's trip at Windsor, and she showed a glimmer of ability when finishing 7 lengths behind the winner in 11th place, just under a couple of lengths in front of today's rival Flying Bond Girl. Her sire, Showcasing, has produced a good number of easy ground winners so far, and has a strike rate of 21% (8/38) on soft, and is 50% (1/2) on heavy. Her half sister La Tinta Bay won over course and distance here for the same owner, and her dam won her maiden on soft ground over 5f at Sandown. She will have to come on a lot from that first run, but with the soft ground very likely to suit she could run a big race with Kieran O'Neill again in the saddle, and looks worthy of a little each way support at 20/1.


Sunday, 23 August 2015

Heavy Rain Changes Things At The Curragh

Since completing my preview last night the rain has arrived, and it has been non stop since the early hours. This obviously changes things for some of my selections, and below is a quick update and some new selections that will be better suited by the prevailing conditions.

2.10 Handicap (7F)

Tom Dooley was the original selection here, but unfortunately the rain has diminished his chance. He is best when the ground is good, and with that scenario looking unlikely, an alternative selection is the Willie McCreery trained filly The Fairy. 

She ran well enough on heavy ground in Listowel back in May, beaten five lengths off a 4lb higher mark than today's. There are plenty of soft ground winners on the dam side of her pedigree, and her sire Invincible Spirit's progeny often handle cut too. The blinkers go on for the first time, Gary Halpin has been booked and off a feather weight on the likely soft ground The Fairy could run well at odds of 12/1. 


2.40 Group 3 Royal Whip Stakes (10f)

The ground shouldn't be an issue for the original selection Found, although her best form has come on good or better. Her full brother won on heavy.  Answered may get closer on this ground, but it is still difficult to see him beating the O'Brien filly. Ol Man River has yet to encounter soft ground, and the outsider, Pat Flynn's Highly Toxic has gained his only win on soft. Found remains the selection. 


3.10 Handicap (6f)

Master Speaker is versatile regarding ground and remains the selection. 

3.40 Group 2 Futurity Stakes (7f)

No change in the selection here. Now or Never should handle cut. 

4.10 Group 3 Irish St. Leger Trial Stakes (14f)

Order Of St.George won easily on his only soft ground start and remains the selection. 

4.40 Handicap (6f)

The ground is an unknown for the selection Cutting Corners, but one horse it may well suit is Daisy Bell, whose only win has come on the all weather at Dundalk and who will be experiencing soft ground for the first time. Her sister Chiclet has won on yielding ground, and her Captain Rio dam loved to get her toe in. At 12/1 it could be worth chancing that soft ground will bring about an upturn in Daisy Bell's form. 


5.10 Handicap (16f)

The rain may well scupper Wrap Star's chance, but Theophilus will love the ground if it turns properly soft. His form figures on heavy are 112, and among those wins was a bumper victory over today's trip at Leopardstown. Is 4lb lower today than for a 2 length defeat on his last try on heavy ground, and back on a similar surface today he should run well. 


Curragh Sunday

Litigant did the business for us yesterday (40/1 adv) with a marvellous and heart warming win for   Joe Tuite. It really is a fairytale story, and to see the small man come out on top on such a big day is what racing is all about.

The search for more value bets moves on to the Curragh today, and there are some decent pots on offer, and some high quality horses on show too,  even if some of the field sizes are rather disappointing, particularly in the Group races.

2.10 Handicap (7F)

Tom Dooley went close for us on his penultimate run here earlier this month at a big price, and he also ran well over an inadequate 6f last time out at Leopardstown, staying on well late,as you would expect, and not beaten far in 5th. He steps back up to his best trip on turf, and he gets his ground too.A strong pace looks assured with plenty of horses that like to race prominently in the field, and off just a pound higher mark of 62 Tom Dooley can go close and looks overpriced.


2.40 Group 3 Royal Whip Stakes (10f)

Only four runners here, and Aidan O'Brien has two, including odds on favourite Found, who with her age/sex allowance gets 11lb from the Jim Bolger trained Answered, who is also rated 4lb lower than Found. She is the clear pick at the figures, and Answered will need a career best to come out on top. Her pedigree suggests that 10f will be fine, and she is the one to beat.

Ol Man River is the other O'Brien contender, and he has largely been disappointing this year, albeit highly tried. He was only 6/1 for the Guineas though, so he must have been showing plenty in his work. His dam Finsceal Beo was best over 8f, but there are 10f and 12f winners in his pedigree so the trip ought to suit. He is the dark horse of the field, and a tactical race could suit.


3.10 Handicap (6f)

Treachorous looking from a punting point of view with a valid case to be made for all the runners. The suggestion though is Master Speaker, who at 11/2 looks sure to run a big race over a course and distance he loves. His last four runs here over this  trip have seen him produce form figures of 221, and he was also 4th over 6.5f on his last visit. He is just 1lb higher now than he was for his win here, and with O'Donoghue booked he should be right there at the finish.


3.40 Group 2 Futurity Stakes (7f)

Now Or Never won at Galway in the manner of a very useful animal, and she is the only filly in this five runner Group 2. She gets a handy 3lb from her rivals, and whilst the O'Brien trained Air Vice Marshal has the strongest piece of form on offer, this Bushranger filly should be well up to competing at this sort of level.

She is out of a Pivotal half sister to Dream Ahead, and she herself is out of a Group 2 winner. It is a very nice pedigree indeed, and it is hard to believe she went unsold for10k Guineas at Tattersalls last October. She subsequently went for £42k a few months later, and that could still turn out to be a bargain if she grabs some black type today. The 5th home at Galway, 12 lengths behind, has since gone on to win a maiden, so her form has some substance. She can take the step up to this level in her stride and is a confident selection to give young trainer Micheal O'Callaghan a big race victory en route to possibly even bigger days next year.


4.10 Group 3 Irish St. Leger Trial Stakes (14f)

Order Of St. George will be a tough nut to crack here, particularly in receipt of so much weight from his rivals. This 3yo colt dotted up last time, as he was entitled to as 1/5 fav, but his previous run, over this trip here behind Bondi Beach was franked in a big way with that horse's effort behind Storm The Stars at York this week.

He is getting the guts of a stone from his opponents, and it should be enough to ensure he gets his head in front. At a bigger price Sea Moon is a fascinating contender, and he has some serious pieces of form to his name, including an 8 length defeat of Al Kazeem in The Great Voltigeur at York back in 2011. He is now with John Oxx after a spell down under, and it will be fascinating to see if he retains any of his own ability. Probably best watched for today, but one to keep a close eye on with regard to future races,


4.40 Handicap (6f)

The suggestion here is another Mulvany horse, though it is the bigger priced of his two. Cutting Corners shaped with plenty of promise on her first three maiden runs at Dundalk. Her handicap debut was admittedly disappointing, but she has been given a break since then, and the handicapper has dropped her 5lb to a mark of just 51.

She drops back down to 6f for her 2nd handicap run, and there are plenty of turf winners in her pedigree so that should not pose a problem. Declan McDonagh is booked, and at 16/1 it is worth chancing that Mulvany has her fit and ready to run well in a wide open handicap.


5.10 Handicap (16f)

 A decent race, with some useful types among the entries. The speculative selection is Anthony McCann's Wrap Star, who shaped with definite promise on this ground over a furlong shorter at Leopardstown. His previous run at York off 75 when an unconsidered 33/1 shot was a brilliant effort (16.5f) and he is a similarly huge price this afternoon.

 Chris Hayes left him with too much to do last time out, and if Micheal Hussey can time his challenge correctly Wrap Star has every chance of running into a place.


Saturday, 22 August 2015

Stoke Too Big At Carrow Road

Stoke have just a solitary point to show for their efforts so far this season, but if you consider that Liverpool and Spurs were their opponents it is not a bad haul. Add in the facts that Liverpool were extremely fortunate to leave the Britannia with three points having been outplayed for long periods, and that Spurs were lucky to  hold on in the closing moments at White Hart Lane, it is plain to see that the 12/5 about Stoke winning at Carrow tomorrow is a silly price.
The hosts beat a shambolic Sunderland outfit last time in the Stadium Of Light, but the way the Mackems are  playing even Ragball Rovers would get a result at the minute. Previously Crystal Palace exposed their frailties, with an easy 3-1 win in this very stadium, and a similar scenario unfolding this afternoon would not surprise. Mark Hughes has built himself a decent squad, and with glamour signing Shaqiri in line to make his debut they look to be a massive price at 12/5 to emerge victorious.


Friday, 21 August 2015

York Day 4 Preview

We were back in the winners enclosure on Day 3 with Max Dynamite (12/1 adv), a most impressive victor in the Lonsdale Cup. He looks to be an exciting prospect and perhaps The Melbourne Cup now beckons. Orions Might on the other hand.... the less said the better! Saturday is the final day of this magnificent meeting, and the Ebor is the highlight. Below are my views and selections for every race on a tricky looking closing card.

2.00 Strensall Stakes (Group 3) 1m 208y

Dane O'Neill looks to have chosen to ride Mahsoob instead of the William Haggas trained Mutakayyef, and it may turn out to be a decision he rues. It is entirely understandable to see why O'Neill has picked Mahsoob given his rapid progression this year and his record of four wins in five starts, but his effort when upped to Group 2 company last time was disappointing, and whilst the drop in trip today may well suit him, he was beaten far enough the last day to raise enough doubts about his capability at this level.
Mutakayyef, on the other hand, has already proved himself in this sort of company, with two excellent efforts in Group 3 contests last season. He hasn't been seen for almost a year, but that is not a worry as he has run well fresh before, including at Newmarket in the Darley when just behind useful type Berkshire (9f soft). Haggas has been in good form this week, and if Mutakayyef is fully wound up for his seasonal return he should make a bold bid at 8/1.


2.35 Melrose Stakes Handicap (Class 2) 1m6f

Yorkidding won handily on her last visit to York, and whilst she is 13lb higher in the handicap now she still is of interest in a wide open race. She showed that this sort of trip suits her well with a good run over 13.5F off 82 last time at  Musselburgh, and indeed her last win came over 14F at Sandown.

Silvestre De Sousa, on board for her last two wins, is back in the plate today and this filly's current price of 20/1 looks more than generous. She can make her presence felt and looks worthy of a little each way support.


3.10 Gimcrack Stakes (Group 2) 6F

In depth preview and selection can be found here at Bettingtools.

3.45 Ebor (Heritage Handicap) 1m 6f

This is the one we have all been waiting for, The Ebor, one of the most illustrious handicaps around. This race has been good to me over the years, and my highlight was Sergeant Cecil romping home in 2005 for Rod Millman on his way to an historic handicap treble. Good times.

This years renewal looks as difficult a puzzle to solve as ever, and there are a couple of Irish raiders, Quick Jack and Clondaw Warrior, vying for favouritism at the head of the market. Both come here in fine fettle on the back of wins in big handicaps on their last outings, Quick Jack over hurdles at Galway and Clondaw Warrior the Ascot Stakes and the Premier Handicap on the level in Galway too. Both are lurking with intent at the foot of the handicap, and it would be dangerous to discount either, especially with Irish trainers having a good recent record in this race.

One at a huge price that could run well is Litigant, another at the foot of the handicap. He is having his first run back after quite a long injury layoff, and his fitness has to be taken on trust. He proved himself a classy stayer before his setback, and is five from seven over trips ranging from 10.5f to 16f, with one of those defeats an  unlucky one. His best form has come on an artificial surface, but he has had just the two runs on good ground and both resulted in victory(beaten on debut on soft). He won well first time out last year, and while this is undoubtedly a tough race to return in, his trainer believes he is better than a handicapper and I am sure he will have him primed to run a big race. He can be backed at 40/1.

Arabian Comet is another of interest, and with Haggas on song and 'very excited' about running this filly at a track she has form at, she is entitled to plenty of respect. Grand National winning jockey Graham Lee is booked, so he knows how to get the job done in a big field. 20/1 looks huge about her chances and I can't see it lasting.


4.20 Roses Stakes (Listed) 5f

Kurland is the each way suggestion against the favourite in this race. She won well over this trip on debut, and she has subsequently run with credit behind Acapulco at Ascot and Illuminate at Newmarket, both Group 2s with the first over 5f and the second over 6f. The drop back to 5f today ought to suit and she is a confident each way selection dropping down a couple of grades.


4.55 Handicap (Class 2) 1m 2f 88y

Hanseatic is the speculative each way suggestion here at a huge price for Mick Easterby. This well bred sort is closely related to a Listed winner over this trip, and on his last start over 10.5f in 2013 he hacked up off a mark of 83. Something obviously went wrong since that win, and he was off for two years, changing hands in the meantime.
He returned here over a mile back in July and it was an underwhelming effort. However, his next run over the same trip at Haydock was much more encouraging, and he stayed on nicely in the final furlong, shaping as if a return to form was not far away. The handicapper dropped him another couple of pounds for that effort, and he comes here just 4lbs higher than for that easy win at Haydock back in 2013. Easterby has been among the winners in recent days, and at his current odds of 33/1 he could run into a place stepped back up to the trip that suits him best.


5.25 Apprentice Handicap (Class 2)  5f

Chris Wall and Ashley Morgan are an alliance that has tasted plenty of success in the last couple of seasons, and they team up here with the well regarded Listed winner Accipiter, who shaped well for the first time in a while on his penultimate run at Bath off a mark of 90 when 3rd beaten under a length.  Last time out at Goodwood he was snatched up when coming late with his challenge, and while he would not have won he certainly would have been a lot closer. It is not a race to be risking the family silver on, but as long as the ground comes up good or better Accipiter should run well at 20/1.
Lightscameraction is another of interest at a big price for Gay Kelleway, and he has the assistance of the relatively experienced Danny Muscutt in the saddle. He is highly rated by Gay, and was a 'surprise' winner at 25/1 at the high quality Good Friday meeting in Lingfield. He won't mind a bit of an ease if the rain does arrive, and with form on good ground too his price of 25/1 looks way too big.

                                           LIGHTSCAMERACTION 25/1 (E/W).

Orions Could Be Mighty In Kilbeggan

If one was to describe the relationship I have with Orions Might in the facebook lingo favoured by the modern youth (and not so youthful unfortunately!) of today, 'it's complicated' would sum it up perfectly. He is a horse I have been watching for a long time, and one I have backed on numerous occasion to the detriment of my betting balance.
However, there is reason to believe that he has finally turned the corner and is ready to deliver on the promise he has shown on more than one occasion in the past. He has run plenty of promising races in his thirteen starts over timber, as well as some shockers admittedly, but he has been coming to the boil nicely in recent runs, and although beaten 17 lengths on his penultimate effort it was not a run devoid of encouragement. He just ran out of steam on the long run between the last two, and the soft ground was no good for him that day anyway. 
He was dropped back into maiden company last time out at Roscommon back on decent ground and produced his best performance yet over hurdles, pulling well clear with the short priced Gigginstown favourite and only giving best in the last 200 yards. He looked to have the eventual winner in a spot of bother approaching the second last, and it was a big step up on his previous hurdling efforts. There are a few unexposed types in this race, three owned by JP McManus, but Kilbeggan is Nigel Carolan's local track and if Orions Might is ever going to win it is going to be tonight. At his current odds of 15/2 he looks worth one more chance to get his head in front. 


York Day 3 Preview

We were back in business big style on Day 2, with Tasleet winning at 2/1 and Pleascach also delivering at 8/1. With Melvin The Grate and Secret Hint also placing at 33/1(adv) and 12/1 (adv) respectively it was a profitable day, and hopefully it will be more of the same on  Friday, with the Nunthorpe being the feature. Below are my selections for day 3.

1.55 Class 2 Handicap (1m4f)

A nice and easy introduction for punters...with just the 20 going to post in an ultra competitive handicap. Mistiroc is a horse that caught my eye on his last run here, back in June over 10F, when he ran a cracker behind Donny Rover, getting outpaced in the final furlong only to stay on well again close home to regain 2nd.

He again caught the eye last time at Ayr 10F , travelling best with nowhere to go 2 furlongs out, shuffled back through the field before staying on like a train when switched out wide for a run when the race was all but over. He returns to York upped to what I believe to be his optimum trip, and he could be set to run a huge race for Jim Goldie.


2.30 Group 2 Lonsdale Cup (2m88y)

Max Dynamite has some serious flat and hurdle form to his name, and the booking of Frankie certainly catches the eye on the Irish raider. His 2nd to Quest For More in the Northumberland Plate was a smashing effort off a mark of 104, and he definitely deserves his place in this field.

 He went close in a Group 2 back in France as a 3yo (11.5F), staying on strongly and beaten less than a length for the win, just failing for third.He will stay the trip, goes on easy ground and he should be there or thereabouts for Willie Mullins.


3.05 Listed City Of York Stakes (7f)

We had a couple of placed horses trained by Andrew Balding yesterday, and the old adage 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' sprang to mind when I looked at this race. He has Intransigent here, already a dual Listed winner, including on soft ground over this trip, and he has finished close up on both his starts over 7F this season.

On his last start over 6F he shaped as if he was in good form, and looked as though he was crying out for a return to this sort of trip. Rain won't inconvenience him, his trainer has his string in fine form, and if David Probert can get this fella to settle early and deliver him as late as possible he will surely be bang there at the business end. At the generous current odds of 14/1 he rates as a confident e/w selection.

If it comes up soft another one to note is Ontoawinner star Toocoolforschool, who bagged a group 2 on soft ground last year very easily. If there is enough rain he could well run a big race dropped in grade with a very interesting jockey booked (rode winner for connections in France earlier this week)


3.40 Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes (5f)

This will be a spectacular sight, with twenty of the fastest equine superstars on the planet careering down the Knavesmire at breakneck speed over the flying 5 furlongs.

 Acapulco is an obvious starting point, and she receives a ridiculous amount of weight from her rivals due to her age/sex allowances. This 2yo filly produced an devastating display of dash at Royal Ascot in the Queen Mary, travelling powerfully into the lead 2f out and putting the race to bed quickly, staying on strongly all the way to the line. Visually it was an impressive performance, and at 2/1 she looks to have every chance. The only unknown would be if it came up soft, and if it does it raises enough doubts for me to let her run without the burden of my few bob on her back.

Sole Power is back to defend his crown, and many will be tempted by the 9/1 available about the admirable old boy. He is eight now though, and easy ground is no good to him, so he will have to overcome a lot if he is to complete a hat trick of wins.

At huge odds the filly Wind Fire could run well for David Brown. Jamie Spencer takes the ride, and he has been on board for two of her three career wins. She didn't run well upped to this level at Ascot on her second start this season but she has gone close on three other runs, and looked an unlucky loser at Haydock in a Group 2, and again in a Group 3 at Sandown. Her run at the Curragh last time out was again a good one, possibly given too much to do, and at her current odds of 40/1 she could well run into a place under a patient Spencer ride.

STEVOS' SELECTION: ACAPULCO (only if ground is good or better) 2/1.                                                                                  WIND FIRE (E/W) 40/1.

4.20 Class 2 Maiden (7f)

No strong opinion in what looks a very tricky heat for punters. At a price the Mark Johnston trained Yorkee Mo Sabee could run well. His debut run at Goodwood was promising, and this son of Teofilo is well related.


4.55 Class 2 Handicap (8f)

Another race where small stakes are advisable, with any amount of unexposed types taking their chances. Taylani is the selection for the in form William Haggas. Is well bred, by Halling, and his dam is out of a Lowther winner. Has looked very promising so far with two effortless handicap turf wins, including one here, and even though he is 12lb higher now off 88 he has a pedigree that suggests he can progress even further. Joe Fanning is 13/62 for Haggas, a 21% strike rate, and he looks sure to run a big race in a wide open handicap.


Wednesday, 19 August 2015

York Day 2 Preview

A shocking day for the blog yesterday with not one of the selections managing to hit the frame. Golden Horn's defeat will be the major talking point of the day, but in reality the rain softened ground wasn't ideal for the Derby hero, and he should not be too harshly judged. Tomorrow sees yet more top class pattern and handicap action, and below are my selections for what should be an exciting days racing with the forecast rain likely to ensure a few surprise results.

1.55 York  Premier Yearling Stakes (6F)

Only three favourites have won this since 2005, and none has obliged since Wootton Bassett back in 2010. William Haggas has won the last two, and he supplies the 7/4 shot Tasleet, who already has a Listed win and a Group 2 place to his name, He is the clear form pick and should prove hard to beat.

At a bigger price the sole filly in the field makes some appeal. Encantar is trained by Ann Duffield and gets a handy 3lb from her rivals. She has had four starts, almost causing a 50/1 shock on her 2nd one when dropped to this trip. She has won her last two, and in a handicap at Carlisle last time out she was value for more than the winning margin suggests having been forced to switch widest to challenge. When she found her stride after a smack of the whip she ate up the ground, and  the furious pace that will be on here should enable her to travel better for longer. At her current odds of 33/1 she could well run into a place.

Stevos' Selections: Tasleet (7/4)   Encantar (33/1) e/w.

2.30 York Lowther Stakes (Group 2) 6F

Detailed preview below.

3.05 York Clipper Handicap (8F)

Just one favourite winning since 2005 illustrates how tricky a puzzle this race is to solve, and stakes should be kept to a minimum. One that interests me near the foot of the handicap is Melvin The Grate, a horse that has seemingly been in the doldrums since a couple of impressive victories at the end of last season, including a decent class 3 handicap at Haydock on soft ground.

He is very well bred, being a full brother to the likes of Misu Bond and Air Force Marshall and whilst most of his wins have come on the all weather, on turf he seems to relish a bit of cut in the ground. The rain that is scheduled to fall will suit this horse, and off a feather weight he could well make the frame at his huge odds of 33/1.

Stevos' Selection: Melvin The Grate (33/1) e/w

3.40 York Yorkshire Oaks (12F)

A very open race this year, and Aidan O'Brien has three wins in the last decade. He is doubly represented today, and unusually neither horse is seemingly fancied according to the prices. Outstanding looks the more interesting of the two given his affinity for slow ground, and at 20/1 he makes each way appeal.
However, the selection for the win is another Irish raider, Pleascach,which translates as the Gaelic for explosive. The Irish 1000 Guineas winner lived up to her name that day, but she was beaten by Curvy next time out in the Ribblesdale (12F) at very short odds. She was dropped back to 10F next time out, and came home in 5th behind Diamondsandrubies and Legatisssimo at the Curragh, another relatively disappointing run given the regard she is held in by connections.
However, I don't think she gave her true running on either occasion when she was beaten, and she has been freshened up since the Curragh effort. The step back up to 12F should suit, and she is a great price at 7/1.

Selections: Pleascach (7/1), Outstanding (20/1) e/w.

4.20 York Listed Galtres Stakes (12F)

A very tricky race for the girls, and the one I like at a price is Irish raider Hot Sauce, who comes here on the back of a couple of decent runs at Group level. He wasn't beaten all that far, particularly on the second occasion behind Zannda down in Cork, and indeed she went very close on her last run in Listed company at Newbury (10F good to firm) when less than a length behind Speedy Boarding.

She has run well with cut in the ground and is a well bred daughter of Peintre Celebre and her dam is a Kings Best half sister to Group 1 winner Prohibit, as well as another couple of black type performers. She is priced up at 20/1, and back at Listed level over this trip she could well outrun those long odds. It is also interesting to note that connections saw her as a potential Group 1 filly after she won at Gowran back in April.

Stevos' Selection: Hot Sauce (20/1) e/w.

4.55 York Fillies Handicap (7F)

Secret Hint is the tentative selection here. She is from an illustrious family, her dam being a half sister to Sleeping Indian and Aiken. She is by Oasis Dream, and she hast yet to race beyond 6F. The step up in trip ought to suit,as her full sister Timba has won over a mile, and her dam also won over 12F. She has shaped as if the step up in trip would suit too on a couple of occasions, and with soft ground winners in her pedigree she should be fine if it rains.
Another horse that will enjoy the underfoot conditions if they deteriorate is Giles Bravery's mare Subtle Knife. She is at her best with plenty of cut, and she demonstrated her liking for bad ground with a facile victory on heavy at Lingfield last time out. She is up to a high mark now, and it may well stop her, but if it turns heavy she will relish it, and could well stay on late for a place at a track she has run well at before.

Stevos' Selections: Secret Hint (12/1) Subtle Knife (If Ground is soft or worse) 14/1.

Lowther Stakes Preview

 (Fillies) (CLASS 1) (2yo) 
(6 furlongs)

Richard Hannon took this last year with Tiggy Wiggy, and between him and his Father they have tasted victory three times since 2008 and six times in total, the most successful yard of all time in this race. Unusually he has no runner this year, and of the contenders on this occasion only William Haggas has a previous win to his name. 

The last two favourites have won, but only four in total have obliged since 2005 ,with just two winners returning at double figure odds. Lumiere looks set to go off as a short priced jolly but there are plenty of interesting types at bigger prices that are worthy of a second look. Below is a preview of this years heat and hopefully we can find the winner. 


Daughter of Kyllachy who has been ridden by Jamie Spencer on both of her starts so far. First time out she was well backed in a maiden at Haydock (6F good) and she won in the manner of a useful type, slowly away and then scything through the field when asked to quicken by Spencer showing a lovely turn of foot. 

She proved that was no fluke next time at Royal Ascot in the Group 3 Albany (6F good to firm), again slowly away and giving away ground as Spencer shifted her across from her wide draw to the main group. She endured quite a rough passage through, and when she burst into contention  a furlong out it looked like a winning challenge. Illuminate denied her though, form that the winner has since franked when beating Besharah by a nose at Newmarket (group 2). 

Her dam is a half sister to 6F 2yo Group 2 winner Sander Camillo so the pedigree is there too. Her current odds of 7/1 look very big, and, granted a strong pace to aim at, Spencer will try to deliver her late in his customary cool fashion. Will need luck in running, but if she gets it she is a massive threat to all. 


This filly left me with an awful lot of egg on my face when she romped home last time out in the Group 3 Juddmonte at Ascot, ploughing through the soft ground with glee and accounting for her opposition with the minimum of fuss. I was amazed she handled it so well, and she is obviously versatile regarding ground as well as possessing plenty of natural ability. She has also run well twice at Group 2 level and she has some of the strongest form on offer. 

 On a form line through Illuminate she should have Ashadihan's measure, but the Ryan filly endured a troubled passage through the field at Ascot, and I doubt there will be too much between them today. Rain is forecast, which will be no worry to this filly, and whether the ground comes up soft or good she should be in there pitching at the finish. 9/2 looks a fair enough price and as the filly with the strongest form in the field she has to be on any shortlist. 


Medicean filly who made a taking winning debut at Leicester just a few weeks ago (6F good to soft). Sixties Pilgrim who was miles back in 7th  has won a seller since, but apart from that the form has yet to be really tested. 

This filly is bred to be a middle distance horse, and is related to hurdles winner Intense Tango, as well as 2m Group 3 winner Shipmaster. It really is a stout pedigree, and whatever happens today she will be one to look out for when stepping up in trip later on in her career. She is 16/1 to score today, but her form is not as strong as some of her competitors so until she shows she belongs at this sort of level she is best watched. 


Dark Angel filly that won her first two (both 5f good to firm/soft) before stepping up massively on that form when chasing home Acapulco at Royal Ascot (Besharah behind). Besharah reversed the form in the Duchess Of Cambridge at Newmarket, though it has to be said Easton Angel was unfortunate as it wasn't Paul Mulrennan's greatest ever ride and she only found a clear passage once the leaders had flown. 

She has a decent pedigree, nothing spectacular mind,  and there is a mix of stamina and speed in there. Her sire has been having a good year though, and this filly looks to have inherited some of his turn of foot. 5/1 looks a more than fair price, and a reproduction of that Royal Ascot run would see her right in the shake up. 


One of the more exposed fillies in the race, having already had six runs. Was far from disgraced when stepped into Group company after his maiden win, finishing 5th   to Illuminate with Ashadihan ahead of her at Royal Ascot. Just failed to give 3lbs to a useful Giles Bravery filly last time out, going down by a short head over 5F at Musselburgh. 

Can be backed at 40/1, and on the face of it she looks set for another supporting role. A repeat of her Ascot run would not even suffice, and she looks to be one for another day. 


Two from two so far, both over 5F, but the form of her maiden win has been let down since, and the horse she beat by less than a length last time out was miles behind Besharah and Easton Angel at Royal Ascot which suggests she will have her work cut out here. 

That second victory came on good to soft ground, so the rain that is scheduled to fall shouldn't inconvenience her too much. She is bred to be useful, being by Canford Cliffs and out of a Cape Cross mare that is out of a Group 1 winner. However, she looks to be up against it on all known form, and is likely to go off at a big price. Can currently be backed at 33/1 and will do well to finish in the top half of the field. 


Currently a short priced favourite at 11/8, and comes here with a big reputation. Absolutely bolted up on debut at the beginning of July, and the horse home in 3rd that day was beaten just 5 lengths in a Listed heat next time out, so it looks as if the form may have some substance. 

Is by Shamardal and is out of a Tobougg mare that had only the one start, an 11 length maiden victory over 7F. Lots of middle distance types in her pedigree, and will get further in time. Reputation is based on ex jockey Russ Kennemore's opinion, who rode her in work and stated he 'had never been so fast'. The big unknown would be if the ground turned soft, as his dam's win came on quick ground, as did Lumiere's debut victory.  Has all the right entries and is clearly highly regarded by connections, however 11/8 looks skinny to me, especially with rain around, and I'll be just watching her for today, on her first run in pattern company, to see if the hype is justified. 


Another hugely impressive five length debut winner (5F good to soft), and the horse home in second that day has since hacked up by a similar distance. By Showcasing, a sire that gave connections their biggest day yet when his son Toocoolforschool bolted up in the Group 2 Mill Reef at Haydock. Her dam is out of a listed winner, so her pedigree is none too shabby.

 Is syndicate owned, and as a former member of the Ontoawinner faimily I would love to see this promising filly run well. As with the favourite, this represents a huge step up in class for her today, but in contrast to Lumiere at least her odds of 14/1 make more appeal from a betting perspective. I would imagine the more rain that falls the better it will be for this filly, and if it comes up soft I wouldn't be surprised to see a big run. Has a very similar profile to the favourite, and at much bigger odds represents proper value.


Irish raider who remains a maiden after two runs, the second of which was a huge improvement on what she showed on debut. She chased home Queen Of Sicily, going down by just under three lengths, and the winner has since run well at Group 3 level. The 5th home also won next time out at 40/1, landing a decent conditions race at Naas. 

Is well bred too, by Zebedee and a half brother to multiple winners, including 6F Group 3 winner Final Exam. Is a huge price at 66/1, but it wouldn't be the biggest surprise if softer ground was to bring about a bit of improvement. Could run well, though it is difficult to see him winning. Best watched for today. 


A fascinating renewal, with Lumiere looking to deliver on all the hype we have heard about her from connections. Her maiden win was admittedly an eye catching performance, and with more improvement likely to be forthcoming she should run a big race. It is a massive step up in class though. Quiet Reflection has a very similar profile, yet she is a far bigger price, and with the falling rain likely to suit she is of definite interest each way. 

Easton Angel was unlucky behind Besharah last time out, and with a better ride today she can reverse that form. 

However, the one that makes most appeal at the current prices is Ashadihan for  Spencer and Ryan. When I started writing this preview on Tuesday night he was as big as 12/1, but even now that he has been shortened to 7/1 he still looks to represent serious value. The likes of Lumiere and Quiet Reflection should ensure it is a truly run race, and if Spencer can find the gaps and time his challenge correctly I can see Ashadihan arriving late for the win. 



Tuesday, 18 August 2015

York Ebor Meeting-Day 1

1.55 Class 2 Handicap (5F)

Couldn't be a trickier opener for punters with twenty going to post and any amount of them with chances. Dandy Nicholls had been amongst the winners in the past week or so, and he ran a cracker here to finish fifth in this race behind Bogart back in 2013 off 96, three pounds higher than today's mark. He showed clear signs of returning to form last time out at Glorious Goodwood, and with Franny Norton booked he could be set for a bold show. Can be backed at 16/1 and he is well worth an each way interest at that price.
At an ever bigger price Richard Fahey's Arctic Feeling could also run a big race, and he has now dropped to a pound below his last winning mark. Jack Garrity takes off anther handy 3lbs, and having signalled that a return to form was imminent on his last run at Doncaster he may well outrun his odds of 33/1 over a course and distance that he has won at before.

Stevos' Selections: Barnet Fair (16/1) Arctic Feeling (33/1).

2.30 Acomb Stakes (Group 3) 7F

An open looking little race, with no horse currently priced lower than 5/1. The each way selection is Dream Mover for Marco Botti and Neil Callan. Callan waxed lyrical about this colt's ability after winning on him last time out at Nottingham, and he has seemingly delayed his return to the Far East in order to ride him again today. He is bred to appreciate the step up to 7F and he is a tentative selection in a tricky looking heat.

Stevos' Selection: Dream Mover (14/1) e/w.

3,05 Voltigeur Stakes  (Group 2)

See in depth preview below.

3.40 Juddmonte International Stakes (Group 1)

You can see my in depth preview completed earlier this week at Bettingtools

4.20 (Class 2 Handicap) 16F

Noble Silk is the one I like here. Stamina is his forte, with his last win coming over this trip at Haydock. He ran a cracker behind Clondaw Warrior in the 20F handicap at the Royal Meeting, and off the same mark today surely he has to go close. Has yet to prduce his best form at York, but has only had one go here, in this race in 2013, and he was badly out of form at the time. He could be worth giving another chance to, and he can be backed at 12/1.

Stevos' Selection: Noble Silk  12/1 e/w.

4.50 (2yo Handicap) 6F

Not a race to be having the mortgage on, with twenty going to post in what will be an absolute battle charge. The selection is Kassia, who is well bred and who wasn't suited by the soft going last time out. She is better judged on her good run in 5th behind Acapulco in the Group 2 Queen Mary at Royal Ascot when she shaped as though 6F would be right up her street. Mick Channon has been hitting form in recent days too, and Kassia could make hay off what could turn out to be a very generous looking mark of 85.

Stevos' Selection: Kassia (16/1) e/w.

Voltigeur Stakes Preview

 (Colts & Geldings)
(CLASS 1) (3yo) 

Opening day at York's Ebor meeting, and this year's Voltigeur looks to be a very open race with a quartet of horses vying for favouritism at the head of the market. Michael Stoute has been the most successful trainer in this race, but he has no representative this year. Aidan O'Brien has not had a winner since Powerscourt back in 2004, and he sends three across the Irish Sea in an attempt to snare this Group 2 contest. 

Favourites have a decent recent record in this race, with three of the last five winning. There has also been three winners at odds of 12/1 or bigger since 2005, including Monitor Closely at 28/1 back in 2009, so it is a race that can throw up a surprise result. Nothing in the field can be discounted with much confidence, and below is a summary of what I consider to be their respective chances. 


Son of Shamardal that has already tasted victory at Group 2 level, on his penultimate run at Royal Ascot. Dam won a Listed race and is out of a triple Group 1 winner, so his pedigree is not in question. Trainer has stressed that he still has some developing to do, and has earmarked him as an exciting 4yo prospect. 

However, his form so far this year has been excellent, and after taking the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot (12F good to firm) from Mr Singh (easy Group 3 winner next time out) he made the step up into Group 1 company in the Grand Prix De Paris at Longchamp (12F good) and ran with credit, coming home 5th of 6 beaten less than 4 lengths. He was within a hair's breadth of Storm The Stars, who finished 3rd, and with further improvement likely from this progressive sort he could well reverse that form. Solid credentials at 5/1. 


Ballydoyle colt, a lightly raced and extremely well bred son of Galileo, out of a Group 3 winner that is out of a dam from the family of classy Group 1 winners Denon and Chains of Freedom. Only had the four starts so far, and has won two, including the Listed two miler at Royal Ascot last time out. Also beat Storm The Stars when winning his maiden at Newmarket (8f good). 

Obviously there are no stamina doubts regarding the trip for this colt given his impressive performance over 4F further at Ascot. His 2nd to Elm Park in the Racing Post Trophy (8F soft
) was a cracking first run in Group 1 company, especially as O'Brien is of the opinion that he needs 'nice ground' to be seen at his best. He gets that today, and with a couple of high class middle distance types in his pedigree, as well as lots of speed, this colt could surprise a few today at odds of 10/1. 


Another Ballydoyle inmate who looks to be the choice of Joseph O'Brien from the three they have entered, although jockey bookings often mean nothing when the Coolmore Mafia is involved. Unsurprisingly he is a regally bred colt, by Galileo and out of a Danehill dam who is a full sister to Group 1 winning miler Simply Perfect. 

Given the amount of high quality milers in his pedigree it was mildly surprising to see him score at the Curragh last time over 14F(good) in a Group 3 contest. However, the form of that contest looks pretty ordinary in the context of this race, and he will need to improve a whole lot more if he is to make his presence felt against the likes of Balios and Storm The Stars, who have arguably achieved a lot more in defeat at Group 1 level. Priced up at 9/2 joint 2nd fav, and I think that is way too short for a horse who has yet to prove he is a proper top class animal. Much better value to be found elsewhere. 


The third of the O'Brien trio, and yet another son of Galileo. Is out of a well connected Kingmambo mare whose dam is a sister to classy Group 1 winning sprinter Wolfhound. He is a full brother to Ruler Of The World and a half brother to Duke Of Marmalade, so he has an awful lot to do to emulate those two classy operators.  

He has been highly tried this year and claimed 4th in the Epsom Derby and 3rd in the Irish edition, behind Storm The Stars on both occasions. He actually lost ground on the Haggas horse on their second meeting, going down by five lengths having been only two behind  him at Epsom. It is hard to see him reversing that form, as he had no excuses on either occasion, and conditions will be very similar today regarding trip and ground. Can be backed at 15/2 but probably just has place claims at the very most. 


Son of Archipenko who is out of a Group 3 winning Lomitas mare who is herself out of a half sister to USA Group 2 winner Prospectress. Not as spectacular a pedigree as some of his rivals admittedly, and he looks to be up against it on ground that will be plenty quick for him. 

Hugely impressive winner in a Listed contest at Hamilton (11F soft) on his penultimate run, but the runner up has been bitterly disappointing since. Has twice run well at Group 3 level since winning his maiden and also has a two length defeat to Storm The Stars to his name in a Listed heat at Goodwood (11F good). All his best form has come with plenty of cut in the ground, and with no significant rain forecast he could get tapped for toe on the forecast underfoot conditions. Should run his usual consistent race, but unless there is an unexpected deluge between now and the start of the meeting he is best watched at his current odds of 16/1. 


Beautifully bred son of Sea The Stars, out of an unraced Sadlers Wells mare who can count the likes of Giant's Causeway and Freud among her illustrious half siblings. He has a pedigree to match any of his rivals, and he also has what looks to be the strongest form in the book. It is no shock to see him chalked up as favourite, and perhaps what is most surprising is his price of 10/3, as I thought he would probably be shorter. 

Had strong form in maidens, only finding Golden Horn and today's rival Aloft too good on his first two starts. Landed a listed contest at Goodwood (11F good) before taking in both the English and Irish Derbies, finding only Jack Hobbs and Golden Horn too good for him on both occasions. It is strong form, and it was pretty disappointing that he could only manage 4th last time in Longchamp (Balios behind). He has had a lot more runs than Balios, so it is not inconceivable that the less exposed Simcock horse could improve past him. However, he still deserves his place on any short-list given the strength of his form and at his current odds of 10/3 he shouldn't be far away. 


This is another son of Sea The Stars, out of a  Listed placed Montjeu mare who is a half sister to a Listed winner. There is plenty of black type in his pedigree, but most of it was achieved at Listed level, so he will need to prove himself a cut above his relatives if he is to succeed in Group company. 

However, while his pedigree might not capture the imagination like some others in the field, he has looked ultra impressive on his two starts so far, particularly at Goodwood last time when he showed a sparkling turn of foot to easily win an 11F class 3 handicap off a mark of 90. He is now rated 102, which leaves him with about 12lb to find with the highest rated in the field, and 8-10lbs with the rest. It is a big ask taking such a huge step up in class on just his third start, and it remains to be seen whether he can repeat his Goodwood heroics in a much more difficult race. 9/2 looks extremely skinny to me, and surely he is best watched on his first run in pattern company. 


A little minefield of a race, and of the seven runners almost all of them have some sort of chance. Tashaar could be anything, but this is a huge step up in class and he will have to be very good indeed to score here. Of the O'Brien trio it is Aloft that makes the most appeal, and he is certainly considered each way. 

However, the two colts that look set to fight out the finish are Storm The Stars and Balios, with slight preference for the Simcock horse, given the fact that he is less exposed and he should also  improve again from his last run, when just behind  Storm The Stars in France. Medrano should run well enough, but he needs rain to be seen at his best.

                                           2. STORM THE STARS (10/3)
                                           3. ALOFT (10/1)
                                           4. GIOVANNI CANALETTO (15/2) 

Monday, 17 August 2015

Rogers' Charge Could Be Hard To Reel In At Sligo

Harry Rogers might well be based in the Wee County Louth, but he is not afraid to head West in search of success and he has proved to be a profitable trainer to follow when he crosses the River Shannon. At Ballinrobe he is 2/11 for 8.25 profit to a one pound stake for the past five seasons. At Galway he is 4/28 and a quid on each runner would see you break even. He has an even better record at Roscommon, where he is 5/33 for +28.00 and at Sligo he is 3/31 for +9.00.

As the above illustrates he clearly has a penchant for producing winners way down West, and in the 7.00 at Sligo tomorrow he fires three bullets at the target, and the most likely looking of the trio has to be Irish Reel. This enigmatic mare has been dropping like a stone in the ratings, having been upped to a career high mark of 70 after a facile win at Roscommon in June of last year.

That came off a mark of 54, and after her last couple of runs at Galway, both of which were encouraging considering they were over a trip that stretches her, the handicapper dropped her 3lbs to today's mark of 55. Her last run in particular was a good one and she was beaten less than 5 lengths in the end, especially as she didn't get to lead as she likes to do. Her draw is a negative tomorrow, and she will have to be quick out of the stalls if her preferred front running tactics are to be adopted.

 If she does get a quick start she should go close, and with the assistance of the massively underrated Colm O'Donoghue in the saddle (rode her for her last win) Irish Reel could lead them on a merry dance dropped back to her preferred trip on ideal ground. Looks well worth an each way interest at 14/1.

Stevos' Selection: 7.00 Sligo- Irish Reel (14/1 e/w)

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Saturday's Selections

A day with some really top quality action on offer, with Group Races at Newbury and the high class Great St Wilfrid handicap at Ripon. Today's selection  goes in the consolation handicap race at Ripon, Fast Shot, and he is sure to be delighted with the rain that has fallen during the week.

He has slid down the ratings since a rather encouraging reappearance at Newcastle off a mark of 94. He has won off marks as high as 93, as recently as last season, and the handicapper has taken a big chance in dropping him down to 85, three pounds lower than he was for his last, admittedly poor, run.

He was targeted at the Ayr Gold Cup last year, and ran a cracking race in 5th, despite the ground being plenty quick enough for him. He will need to go up a few pounds in the handicap if he is to go back for another try this year, and a win would probably be enough to get him in. David Allan is back on board and at his current odds of 11/1 he looks worth an each way bet.

Top Boy also goes in the 4.55 at Doncaster, and looks overpriced yet again. I wouldn't put anyone off having a small few bob each way on him too. He is well capable of winning off his mark of 84 and should get the fast pace he likes to aim at too.

Stevos' Selections: 3.00 Ripon             Fast Shot (e/w 11/1)
                                4.55 Doncaster     Top Boy   (e/w 10/1)

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Argent Could Land Touch If Rain Arrives

A bad day for the blog yesterday, with Eastern Dragon declining to land a blow, and Aces And Kings failing to turn up in any shape or form. He was given a very strange ride by Lynch, who seemed to want to drop him in rather than dominate. He never got into the lead, or his jumping rhythm, and to be honest I knew his goose was cooked after about 100 yards of the race when he allowed the Nagle horse dictate the pace and have an easy time up front. There will be another day for this fella though, and hopefully the handicapper drops him a few pounds for that effort.

Today's selection comes from Nottingham, and should only be backed if the forecast rain arrives and changes the current good to firm ground into something a lot softer. Argent Touch, a half brother to former stable favourite Baby Strange (a confirmed mud lover), goes in the 2.40 at Nottingham and will be partnered for the first time by Stevie Donohue. This horse is now rated just 48, and his sole win came off 2lb higher all the way back in January of 2014.

However, if the forecast rain materialises he is of definite interest, as his only run on properly soft turf resulted in his best performance on grass, a decent 2nd at Pontefract in July of last year off a 10lb higher mark than today's. He wasn't beaten all that far in 5th here last time out, pulling hard, and the return to soft ground may well bring about the improvement required for him to get even more competitive. At his current odds of 16/1 he looks a lively outsider, once the ground softens.

Stevos' Selection: 2.40 Nottingham- Argent Touch (16/1 e/w).