Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Jockey Booking Catches The Eye On Marmajuke Bay

Oriental Tiger ran on for 4th earlier from what was an almost impossible position. Lynch gave him way too much to do and if he is ridden a little bit closer to the pace next time he will be in the first three.

Tomorrow at Salisbury the opening maiden is a heat with plenty of promising sorts taking their chances. The likes of Hannon, Channon, Stoute and Candy (sounds like a new Walkers Crisps flavour!) are all represented, and their horses are at the head of the market.

The gelding I like here though is Marmajuke Bay, trained by Mark Usher who has been in very good form lately (3 places and a win from last 8 runners). This son of Duke Of Marmalade made a very promising start to his career in what may turn out to be a decent class 4 maiden at Ascot.

He finished 6th that day, and was only a head behind Navajo War Dance who has since gone close in a class 2 conditions event (3rd) and is officially rated 84. That run was even more impressive considering it was Marmajuke Bay's debut and was Navajo's 3rd run.

Marmajuke just got a bit outpaced a furlong or two out, and looked a little bit green too. However,the penny dropped in the closing stages and he stayed on well between a couple of his rivals to just miss out on 5th. It was a lovely first run and he will have learnt an awful lot from it. Mark Usher's 2yo's always come on a lot from their first outings too, so he will have undoubtedly been pleased by what he saw.

He has a nice pedigree too. His dam is related to a heap of winners from 8f-12f, and her dam is a full sister to a dual Group 1 winner. Duke Of Marmalade has a solid start at stud. He has a decent 19% strike rate with 2yos, and a 30% strike rate with his progeny from 7f-9f. Jamie Spencer, who won on his only previous ride for Usher, has been booked and a odds of 33/1 Marmajuke Bay is surely worthy of a little each way interest.


Monday, 28 September 2015

Tiger Can Roar At Ayr

Oriental Tiger is a horse that caught my eye earlier this year in his third maiden run, which came over  today's course and distance. He stayed on very strongly in the final furlong having been slightly outpaced a couple of furlongs from home. It was perhaps greenness that caused him to come off the bridle, because when his jockey gave him a couple of smacks he really took off, flying home for 3rd place.

The horse that won that day, Almodovar, went out and won a handicap off 80 on his next start, and subsequently went close off 87, so theoretically Oriental Tiger should be well able to win off 69 given that he was just 4 lengths behind the Lanigan horse that day. He was stepped up to 12f on his handicap debut off 71 and ran a stinker at Thirsk. He was much better at Hamilton on his next run, again over 12f, and was beaten just under 3 lengths into 2nd, fading in the closing stages having led 2f out.

It was the same story on his next run, again over 12f at Haydock, and this time he managed to get even closer to the winner, beaten less than 2 lengths in 3rd. He made eyecatching headway before his run again flattened out in the closing stages. It was surprising to see Mr.Goldie stepping him up in trip next time out, and over 13f at Hamilton he ran another stinker.

He is dropped back down to the trip he ran so well over in his maiden, and the return to Ayr also has to be seen as a positive. His full brother's only win came over 10f, which suggests that it may well turn out to be the perfect trip for Oriental Tiger. Fergal Lynch takes the ride for the first time, and off bottom weight in what looks a winnable handicap he looks worthy of supporting each way at 16/1.


Friday, 25 September 2015

Saturday's Selections For A Big Day At Newmarket

Friday's selection was unfortunately a non runner, as perhaps connections would have preferred quicker ground. He is still one to keep a close eye on, especially if Fallon is rebooked for the ride.

Saturday is a big day at Newmarket, and there are top class pattern races as well as some ultra competitive handicap action in the Cambridgeshire. Below are my views on some of the day's biggest races.

2.00 Newmarket Royal Lodge (G2) 8F

The last four runnings of this have gone to horses priced no bigger than 11/4, and some useful types have won it in recent times. Elm Park won it last season, and the mighty Frankel is also among the previous winners.

Deauville is the one that comes here with the biggest reputation for Aidan O'Brien and Fitri Hay, and O'Brien  will be delighted to have Ryan Moore back in action to take the ride on this son of Galileo. As one would expect there is no shortage of black type in his pedigree, and indeed his brother, The Corsican, won the Arc Trial last week. He is a G3 winner already, and the form of that win was boosted by the runner up Sanus Per Aquam during the week.

The bookies reckon it is a two horse race, and Gosden and Dettori team up yet again with the unbeaten Foundation. This son of Zoffany has looked flawless in his two starts so far, and like his Irish rival he is versatile regarding ground. He is two from two, both wins by over 3 lengths. This will be a much tougher test today though and his form is not as strong as Deauville's.

Of the remainder Beast Mode is probably the one with the best chance of upsetting the two market leaders. He is regally bred, by Cape Cross, and is out of a dam from the family of Group 1 winner Favourable Terms. He won well on his 2nd start, the runner up has gone in since, and he looks well worth a shot at this level.


2.35 Newmarket Cheveley Park (G1) 6f

I have opposed Besharah twice already this season, and its fair to say she has cost me a few quid. She has taken each step up in class in her stride, and she has yet to run a poor race. She is versatile when it comes to underfoot conditions, and Pat Cosgrave knows her inside out. She is the most solid option in the race and to be honest I am surprised she is as big as 5/2 at the time of writing.

One of Besharah's two defeats came at the hands of Illuminate, who reopposes today. There was the width of a rizla between them on that occasion but crucially that came on rattling fast ground, and the conditions will be a bit different today. She will have her supporters though and if she handles the ground she ought to go well.

At a bigger price Sunflower is an interesting filly. I had a few quid on her for her debut, and she did the job well. She only won by a neck but in my opinion she had plenty more in the locker if it was required.  She seemingly picked up a knock back in the Spring, and that is why she didn't appear until the start of September. Her trainer thinks a lot of her and there is black type in her pedigree. She could outrun her odds of 33/1. With eight going to post she is a speculative each way selection.


3.50 Newmarket Cambridgeshire (Handicap) 9f

35 will got to post for this valuable handicap, and it is one hell of a competitive race. There are a host of horses that cases can be made for, but there are a couple that have caught my eye and the first one of interest is Energia Davos for the Chapple-Hyam's and Jamie Spencer. Spencer won on this 7yo gelding last time out off 99 at Ascot (8f good to soft) and the manner of the victory suggests that a 4lb rise might not be beyond him.

Spencer settled him out the back, and he was always travelling well within himself. When the eventual runner up kicked for home from the front Spencer was still travelling well. He made ground smoothly then about a furlong out started pushing Energia Davos gently along. He quickly went by the leader, and won without any smacks of the whip from Spencer. In a bigger field today things will admittedly be different, and his racing style means luck in running will be required. Spencer keeps the faith, and as it was his first run back after almost 9 months off he should strip fitter too. At 25//1 he could run a big race.

At an even bigger price Examiner may well be worth a few pennies each way. He has been lightly raced this season, and looks as though he has been campaigned with this race in mind. He has yet to win on turf, but he has plenty of form on it, and good/good to soft looks to suit him best. He ran well to a point on his last start (10f soft) but it seems a combnation of soft ground and a lack of race fitness took it's toll and he stopped quickly in the closing stages. He had previously run a very encouraging race at York (10.5f good) and was beaten less than 5 lengths in a very competitive 18 runner handicap.

That trip of 10.5f on soft ground stretches his stamina and the drop back to 9f should suit him well today. His best run  last year came last October at York over this trip on good to soft, and he was beaten just a length off a mark of 87. He also was just a length behind The Corsican off level weights at Goodwood last August.  He is just 1lb higher today than for that York run, he has the considerable assistance of Harry Bentley in the saddle, and at an enormous price of 50/1 he should give us a run for our money.


Fallon Could Swoop On Return To Haydock

When glancing through the cards earlier I noticed that Kieren Fallon was back in town for a couple of rides. He heads to Haydock for two, and as you might have guessed it is the bigger priced of the two that interests me.

He rides a horse called Siege of Boston in the 3.55, a 2yo colt trained by Sarah Hollinshead. She is not a household name (yet) but she can train a winner, as she demonstrated with Munaawib on Tuesday at Beverley. He hacked up at 16/1, and when she gets winners they are generally at least 16s but usually much bigger. Prisgnov Dancer also went close for her recently, so the health of her string is not in doubt.

What really drew my attention to this colt though was his pedigree. He is by Starspangledbanner, who was as speedy as they come. But his dam, Milton Of Campsie, is a mare that I hold close to my heart. She was the final leg of a four timer for me back in 2009, and it was my biggest win up to that point. And guess who rode her that day? Kieren Fallon.

She had bags of speed and three of her four wins came over the minimum trip. There are soft ground winners in his pedigree too, and Starspangledbanner has done well with his few progeny that have run on soft (31% strike rate). Maybe it is just a coincidence that Fallon has been booked to ride this colt, but there is always a chance it has been planned, and he did show plenty of dash before fading late on in a strong race last time out. Dropped in trip on his handicap debut he looks worth a little bit of interest each way at odds of 25/1 off a mark of 75.


Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Meade And Sweeney Could Score At Kempton

It is not often that I tip up a first time out 2yo, but Mywayistheonlyway catches the eye in the 7.25, a class 5 maiden to be run over 6f. Meade has been in good form recently, and he has had a winner and two 2nds from his last four runners.

 He has done well with 2yos over the past few seasons, and he is not averse to sending them out to win at enormous odds. Irish Rookie won at 50/1 last year among other big priced winners, He has a brilliant 21% strike rate with his 2yos, and a pound wagered on each one would see you up by £70.36.

This colt is by Tamayuz who has a 25% strike rate with 2yos and an even better hit rate of 29% on the all weather. His dam, Soul Custody, won as a 2yo too on the dirt in America, so tonight's conditions should be ideal for Mywayistheonlyway on his debut. Meade's main man Fergus Sweeney is in the plate, and he has been riding exceptionally well lately.

Some powerful connections are represented in this maiden, and perhaps that explains why Meade's horse can be backed at 20/1. That looks very tempting to me, and he looks well worth taking a chance on each way.


Monday, 21 September 2015

Fox The Cute Bet At Navan Tomorrow

There has been no shortage of precipitation around Ireland on Sunday afternoon/evening, and Navan has not escaped the rain. The ground is currently described as good at the Co.Meath track, but I am willing to wager it will have turned soft by the time the 4.15 comes around on Monday afternoon. 

The Fox Tully ran a lovely race at Galway last time, a track with similar characteristics to Navan. He seems to like a stiff uphill finish, and indeed he went down by just a head on his last visit to his trainer's local track (13f soft). That effort came off a mark of 75, and he is 2lb lower today. 

His capable young claimer Killian Leonard takes off an invaluable 10lb, and when this is taken into consideration he is effectively 8lb lower than his last winning mark of 71. He looks well treated, the track is sure to suit and with plenty of rain about he should get his preferred ground. The trip is ideal too. His current price of 14/1 with various bookmakers looks all wrong, and with a bit of luck in running he should be bang there at the finish. He is a confident Monday selection. 


Saturday, 19 September 2015

Saturday's Selections

A cracking days racing in store this Saturday, and there is no shortage of quality horses on show. Ayr sees the running of the Ayr Gold Cup, and there are pattern races at Newbury. Below are my selections for a superb Saturday of racing.

Ayr Gold Cup

Jack Dexter is a horse that readers of the blog will be familiar with, and today he has a crack at the Ayr Gold Cup, a race haS has been 'trained for' according to his trainer Jim Goldie. He went very close a coulple of times earlier this year and is unlucky not to have won a race yet this season.

His last three efforts can be written off as they were on unsuitably fast ground. It has resulted in his mark dropping by a pound though and that could prove crucial today. There is a bit of juice in the ground, which this fella loves, and Mr Goldie wouldn't complain if the heavens were to open before 3.45. His jockey will have options from his draw in stall 13, and he will be produced late. With a bit of luck he should be right there at the finish.

Arc Trial 1.45 Newbury Group 3

You can check my in depth preview and analysis for this contest  here.

                                              1.45 NEW SKY HUNTER 9/1 

Friday, 18 September 2015

French Worth A Fiver In Rugby World Cup

Looking at the outright market for RWC15 one price struck me as being nothing short of outlandish. France an be backed at 16/1 with a variety of bookies, and it really is a headscratching price. Ok, there is a chance they could meet  the All Blacks in the quarter final if they lose to Ireland in the Pool stages and finish runner up. So what!!? The French have absolutely no fear of New Zealand, and if anything the All Blacks will be praying for France to beat Ireland!

The French have an outstanding record in World Cups, and have reached three finals without managing to win. It doesn't seem to matter what form they are in prior to the tournament. Like Italy, Germany and Brazil in the soccer they are always there or thereabouts, and at 16/1 they look way overpriced. With 1/2 the odds on offer for reaching the final surely Les Bleus are worth an each way flutter.


Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Tango Can Lead Them On A Merry Dance At Beverley

Shawkantango is usually a horse to watch out for when he travels to Southwell. He has a super record there with 7 of his 11 career wins coming at the track. He has only won on turf once, back in 2012 on soft and that came off a mark of 60.

He ran one of his best races for ages last time out, and he probably should have done better than finishing fourth. That effort came over today's course and distance, and it is no surprise to see trainer Derek Shaw returning him to the same venue today.

Silvestre De  Sousa rode him last time, and the horse travelled well along the inner for an awful long way. De Sousa had to wait for the gap to come before he could ask the horse for an effort, but by the time it came three horses had gathered momentum down the outside and swept past Shawkantango. In the blink of an eye his chance of a place had gone, but he closed all the way to the line once he got going, and was beaten less than 3 lengths in the end.

That effort came off a mark of 60 and the handicapper has dropped him 2lb to 58 for today. In the same class of race he can make his presence felt  today from 3lb out of the handicap. Any showers and easing of the ground would further enhance his chances. At 16/1 he looks worthy of an interest each way.


Monday, 14 September 2015

De Sousa Can Score For Dwyer At Brighton

A very poor weekend for the blog ended with a fittingly brutal effort from Sea Moon in the St. Leger at the Curragh yesterday. He never got into the race and the writing was on the wall from a long way out. Order of St George looks a serious animal though, and he will make his mark in the big staying races next year.

Today's action is not quite up to the same standard as what we enjoyed over the weekend, and indeed Listowel's meeting has succumbed to the atrocious weather we have been getting in Ireland during the last couple of days. However, there is one horse that catches the eye at Brighton, and he could be worth an interest upped in trip and switched to turf.

Boston Two Step's form figures are pretty uninspiring so far, and the only real glimmer of hope he has shown in his nine race career was a few runs back at Southwell. He finished second that day under De Sousa, and whilst he was admittedly beaten by 7 lengths he did shape as though a step up in trip would suit.

His full brother won over 11.5f at Bath on good to firm ground, so there is every chance he will improve on the turf. He is a son of Pivotal, so a bit of juice in the ground shouldn't inconvenience him too much. Silvestre De Sousa retakes the ride, and he has an excellent 26% strike rate when riding for Chris Dwyer (12/46) and Dwyer is 4/13 at Brighton in the last 5 seasons.

Boston Two Step is available to back at 8/1, and at that price he looks worth a small interest. It is a weak looking contest, and with De Sousa booked off bottom weight it will be disappointing if Boston Two Step can't make an impact.


Sunday, 13 September 2015

Moon Could Shine In St Leger

St Leger day at the Curragh today, and a field of 11 will go to post in what looks to be an open enough race. Last years impressive winner Brown Panther is back to defend his crown, and there are no shortage of dangers to the apple of Michael Owen's eye.

Having had a look at the prices this evening one horse in particular looks way too big. Sea Moon was a serious operator on these shores before his move down under, and he was 3rd in the English St Leger, just behind Brown Panther in 2nd back in 2011. He has an eight length demolition of Al Kazeem to his name too, and also a comprehensive defeat of Dunaden. He gave St Nicholas Abbey a good race as a 4yo too, and if he can get back to anything like that form it would put him right in the frame for this race.

It was obvious that he didn't take to life in Australia, despite the fact that he managed to win a Group 2 during his stay. Maybe it was the hot weather, too many barbeques, who knows...In any case he now finds himself with John Oxx, and if anyone is capable of sweetening Sea Moon up it is him.

He made a perfectly satisfactory seasonal return behind Order Of St George last time out, and with that run under his belt he should manage to get closer to that rival today.

The  18/1 available with Paddy Power looks huge, and it is worth taking a chance that John Oxx has sprinkled his magic dust on this formerly top class performer and got him back to something like his best.


Friday, 11 September 2015

Saturday's Selections

A serious days racing in store this Saturday, with top class action on offer at both Leopardstown and Doncaster. It is Irish Champion Stakes day at the Dublin track, whilst the St.Leger is the big one in the North of England. As well as these two illustrious events there are plenty of high quality handicaps to be contested, and below are a few selections that look overpriced on the eve of what will be a truly Super Saturday.

5.45 Leopardstown: Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes

Golden Horn's bubble was burst last time out, and few would have predicted he would be available to back at 2/1 in this race a month ago. The going is currently given as good to firm, but there is lots of rain forecast and it is highly likely conditions will ease before the start of racing.

This will have a huge effect on the chances of most of this field, but one horse that is guaranteed to relish the rain is French superstar Cirrus Des Aigles. He has had just the two runs this year, and on his seasonal return he looked as good as ever on soft ground over this trip at Longchamp in the Prix Ganay. He made all and easily repelled the late challenge of Al Kazeem under Christophe Soumillon, who will ride again today.

His last run, behind Solow again at Longchamp over 9.5f on good, was not so good. But his trainer reported that he broke a shoe, and that combined with the good ground probably conspired to cause Cirrus Des Aigles to run below par.

The forecast rain will suit him better than most of his rivals, and he will arrive here a fresh horse haven been given a nice break since his last run. 12/1 looks huge for this multiple Group 1 winner, and whilst he admittedly is getting on a bit at 9yo, he looks worth giving one more chance to, especially if the ground turns soft.


3.45 Doncaster: Group 1 St. Leger Stakes

The highlight of the flat season at Doncaster, and there are a number of intriguing contenders taking their chance. Order Of St George will be the choice of many after his spectacular performance last time at the Curragh, and he won't be worried if there is rain.

Storm The Stars has been seen as the ideal horse for this race by his trainer for some time, and he brings the strongest form into the race with his Voltiguer win and placed efforts in both the Epsom and Irish Derbies.

Bondi Beach also enters calculations after his controversial second place behind Storm The Stars at York, and it will be interesting to see if he can reverse the form. Personally I think Storm The Stars was going away at the finish, and he will be doing the same at the end of this race.

The Haggas horse looks to be a horse that relishes a battle, and it will take a good one to lower his colours in this race. He should have improved again after his last effort if his pedigree is to believed, and whilst many will be lured by the stylish manner of Order Of St.George's last two wins, it is important to remember  he was beaten fair and square by Bondi Beach on his last defeat.

Storm The Stars won't mind an ease, has the best form in the race and should be hard to beat. 5/2 looks a more than fair price and he is a confident selection to land the St.Leger for William Haggas and Pat Cosgrave.


2.35 Doncaster Portland Handicap

A hugely competitive sprint with 22 going to post and as usual there are a plethora of horses with serious chances. Finding the winner will be a difficult task, but there is one at a huge price that could be primed to run a big race.

Neville Bycroft is not a name that casual fans of racing will be too familiar with. The Yorkshire based trainer is no mug though, and he does very well with his relatively small string. He has Willbeme in this race, and Dale Swift will take the ride.

This mare shot up the ratings last season after a couple of decisive handicap wins, and she showed those efforts were no flukes with a couple of creditable efforts in pattern company afterwards.She returned to action this season off a career high mark of 97, and ran crackers in her first two races at York in big field handicaps. Her 2nd run in particular was superb off 96, and she was beaten less than 2 lengths into 3rd behind Monsieur Joe.

She went close in a conditions race on her next start at Beverley behind Pipers Note, and then she produced her first poor run of the season when drawn out in the car park off 98 in a good handicap at York. She ran well in another couple of decent conditions races (including one here), and last time at Beverley she was again drawn out wide when well beaten.

She returns to handicap company off a mark of 92, 4lbs lower than the mark she went close off at York. She is effective on ground ranging from good to soft to good to firm, so as long as there is no deluge before racing the ground will be fine. She is a course and distance winner and at odds of 33/1 she could be set for a bold show.


Kingdom Could Finally Come Good At Down Royal

Mountain Kingdom is a horse that the term 'expensive to follow' was coined for. The frustrating 4yo remains a maiden after 19 starts, and what makes it worse is that he clearly has the ability necessary to win a race.

He went close on his second handicap run when he was in the care of Mark Prescott off a mark of 71, but that was as good as it got for Mountain Kingdom in the UK. He went up to mark of 75 on the back of that effort, and despite being well backed on a couple of occasions he proved to be very disappointing.

He was given tally ho from the Prescott stable, and was picked up for a cut price 11.500gns at the sales. He was initially bought for 95,000gns, so as you can imagine he is rather well bred. He just hasn't lived up to his pedigree as of yet.

However, he couldn't be with a better trainer to sweeten him up, and he has been falling in the handicap despite showing clear signs that some ability remained in recent runs. His effort behind Bog War when returning from a mini break at Galway off a mark of 62, when finishing 5th beaten less than 4 lengths was a huge step forward.

He couldn't follow it up when upped to 14f on his next run at the same track, but on his penultimate run at Roscommon he again ran well dropped back to 12f. That came off 61, and the pattern of a good run followed by a bad one continued over 16f at Dundalk last time out, when he was beaten out of sight.

At least that effort has resulted in him being dropped another pound by the handicapper, and the return to 12f on easyish ground will hopefully spark this inconsistent gelding back into life. Down Royal is a similar sort of track to Galway and a reproduction of Mountain Kingdom's run there behind Bog War would be sufficient to see him in the shake up here. He looks worth a small each way interest at 16/1 and his pilot Ross Coakley, is riding out of his skin at the moment.


Thursday, 10 September 2015

All Ireland Final Preview-Dublin vs Kerry

Tens of thousands will descend on Jones' Road on the third Sunday of September, and they will all be there to witness two age old rivals go head to head for the right to raise the fabled Sam Maguire Cup. The frenzy for tickets has already begun, and every aul wan and young fella are on the lookout for a stray Hill, or Hogan, or bleedin' anywhere ticket.

The match itself promises to be a classic, because when the Dubs and the Kingdom collide it is always a match that remains etched in the memory. Cluxton's free and McManamon's goal back in 2011. Sheehy's exquisite lob in '78. Kevin Moran's barnstorming runs in '76 and '77. It is a fixture where legends are born, and this year's edition has the potential to produce yet more heroes that will forever be adored.

It is a final that is befitting of it's status as an 'All Ireland' as the two teams involved are without doubt the best the country has to offer. Both have extremely strong squads. Dublin will have the likes of Alan Brogan, Dennis Bastick and  Kevin McManamon  to choose from should things go awry for the starting fifteen, but the options possessed by the Kingdom look even stronger.

Against Mayo their bench included Paul Galvin, Bryan Sheehan, Darran O'Sullivan, Fionn Fitzgerald, Aidan O'Mahony and most worryingly of all for Dublin supporters Tommy Walsh. He has had just a brief outing in the championship so far this year, but what a weapon he is to have in reserve.Not to mention Barry John Keane.

Fitzmaurice looks to be a top class manager, as not only has he kept his squad of superstars happy, he has also developed a Kerry team that can change their style of play with ease. Tyrone looked to have them rattled in the semi final, but Kerry knew they couldn't maintain the intensity they showed early on, and even when the Ulstermen drew level in the 2nd half the result was never really in doubt. The Kerry supremo knew Tyrone would tire, and they tagged on a couple of insurance points in the closing stages to ensure the job was completed.

Kerry look to have more strings to their bow than Dublin, and the Dubs will be relying on their exciting forward line to deliver the goods. Bernard Brogan has adapted well to the inevitable loss of a yard of pace, and has countered it with a huge increase in accuracy. Diarmuid Connolly, despite a poor showing against Mayo, is probably the most naturally talented footballer bar Gooch in the country, and Kerry will need to nullify his threat.

McManamon, the ghost of All Irelands past for Kerry, is not even guaranteed a starting spot for the Dubs, but his effectiveness as an impact sub cannot be questioned. He is an admirable player. Never complains, and when he gets his chance he gives it 110%. The sort of individual a manager prays for. And his knack for scoring crucial goals is an added bonus. He is Dublin's Solskjaer.

However, even with all this explosive forward talent at their disposal Dublin look short at the back. A more clinical Mayo team would have won by 4 points in the first game. They had a succession of easy wides (Andy Moran, among others, had a couple of brutal efforts before redeeming himself) and they created plenty at times in the replay too. Cian O'Sullivan has been playing centre half back, and while there is no doubting his ability as a footballer, his suitability for the pivotal centre half back role is still in question.

In essence O'Sullivan is a midfielder, and one with natural attacking instincts too. He has done a decent job at centre half back, but it is obvious it is not his natural position.His tendency to attack leaves Dublin exposed sometimes (just ask Donegal last year), and they have missed Ger Brennan so much in that position. The St Vincents man's positional sense is second to none, and he is a huge loss for this Dublin team.

So now the vital question comes. Who is going to win? From a personal perspective I only want to see one winner. I am a Dub at the end of the day, so I would love to see them do it.

There is very little between these teams according to the bookies, and as usual they are probably right. I just hope that some of you took the 4/1 about Kerry for the All Ireland when I tipped them up earlier in the year.

At 6/5 Kerry are probably a bit skinny now, but if there are any Dubs on at 4/1 there is nothing like the consolation of a few bob when you suffer the blow of a crushing defeat!


Wednesday, 9 September 2015

All Star Could Return To Form At Laytown

Red All Star is a horse I tipped up earlier in the year when he ran at Naas back in June over 7f on quick ground. He ended up in 2nd that day off a mark of 67. He has been expensive to follow since, and his last couple of runs have been particularly disappointing. However, I don't think this son of Haatef should be written off just yet.

Pat Martin has been running him on soft ground recently, and he was never going to show up well on that sort of a surface. He has also been running him over 5f and 7f, which is puzzling given that 6f is the trip he won over last year. His only start over that distance this year was at Naas and he was drawn out in the car park in a field of 20, so his poor effort on that occasion is excused.

 Martin is based not too far from Laytown, and he enjoys having a winner there (2/4 last season  at the meeting).Red All Star's sire Haatef has a 33% strike rate on an artificial surface, so there is every chance he will enjoy the sand at the track. Shane Foley is a positive jockey booking, and he is 3/11 for Martin over the past 5 seasons.

If running Red All Star on the wrong ground and over unsuitable trips was a ploy to get his handicap mark down, it has worked a treat. A reproduction of his run at Naas back in June would suffice here, and at 16/1 he looks worth taking a chance on off a mark of just 57.


Monday, 7 September 2015

Hot Rod Could Strike Again At Leicester

El Beau did the business for us on Sunday at York, and at 20/1(adv) it was a sweet victory indeed. With two winners at 10/1 and 20/1, along with a place at 14/1 it was a good weekend for the blog, and there is an interesting horse at Leicester tomorrow that might be worth investing a little bit of the winnings on.

Sir Roderic, a 2yo gelded son of first season sire  Roderic O'Connor trained by Rod Millman, goes in the opening maiden at Leicester. He was sent off at fancy odds on debut at Wndsor, and ran a decent enough race despite obvious greenness to finish 10th. That race has produced a few winners since so the form doesn't look too bad.

 His next run also came at Windsor, and it was a huge improvement on his first run. He came home in fourth, beaten less than two lengths for the win, and kept on very well in the final furlong, shaping as if a step up in trip would suit. His pedigree suggests it will suit too (loads of stamina on dam side).

He gets that step up in trip today, and with Freddy Tylicki taking the ride he won't lack for assistance from the saddle. Of Millman's last four runners two have won, and another finished a close 3rd. He is clearly in form at the moment, and Sir Roderic looks way too big a price at 25/1 in what seems to be a very winnable maiden.


Sunday, 6 September 2015

A Couple From The Knavesmire On Sunday

A good day for the blog yesterday, but it could have been even better if Duretto would have just bloody gone by Wonder Laish like he was supposed to! At least it wasn't another loser though, and Hassle also ran a cracker to finish 3rd at Haydock. He is one to keep an eye on for his next couple of starts.

There are two horses that catch my eye today, and they both go at York. In the 2.30, a 10f handicap, El Beau is the horse that is of interest. This 4yo gelded son of Camacho returned from a break after a successful spell hurdling with a fine effort over 9f at Hamilton. That came off a mark of 76, the same as he has today, and he ran a lovely race, staying on nicely for 5th in the final furlong.

He will strip fitter for that effort, his first run since March, and he will also appreciate the extra furlong. He went close last season off this mark over 10f at Chester, and he followed that up with a cracking effort in 6th over today's course and distance in a stronger race than today's. Both those efforts came off 76, and with useful young claimer Joe Doyle taking off a handy 3lb he should run a big race today. His trainer has been amongst the winners in recent weeks too, another positive, and he looks too big a price at 20/1.

The other horse that I fancy today is a beautifully bred Yeats filly trained by George Moore, and she goes in the 2m handicap at 4.05. Lady Yeats has been ultra consistent this season, except on her seasonal return, and she went mightily close last time at Chester, an all the more impressive run when you consider she lost ground at the start having been hampered.

Connections reach for the visor today, and hopefully that will sharpen her up in the stalls and she breaks on terms. She has been raised 2lbs for that effort at Chester to a career high mark of 75, but she is only a 4yo and lightly raced so she could well be capable of defying it. She loves the trip, is in excellent form, and granted a better start she should go very close. She looks well worth an each way interest at 14/1.

 2.30 YORK-                  EL BEAU (20/1) E/W
 4.05 YORK-                  LADY YEATS (14/1) NAP E/W

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Connolly Farce A Dark Day For Gaa

Dublin supporters woke up this morning to the news that Diarmuid Connolly has had his suspension for striking Lee Keegan overturned. Having had two appeals turned down during the week he took his case to a higher authority, the DRA, and they ruled in the mercurial centre forward's favour. He will be lining out for the Dubs in their eagerly anticipated replay with Mayo at Croke Park this evening, and no doubt he will be one of the main contribtors to the spectacle.

However, this decision raises serious questions about the future of the disciplinary procedures of the GAA, and how they must regret setting a precedent when they overturned Lee Keegan's red card for throwing a boot into Kerry's Johnny Buckley last year. It seems now that striking will no longer result in a suspension, and the only punishment the guilty player will face is missing the remainder of the game if the referee sends him off. It is a truly farcical situation, but the GAA have nobody but themselves to blame.

A solution will not be easy to find either. Any player sent off for striking will know that if they keep appealing, and take it to the courts, the judge will rule in their favour. No matter how obvious, or violent, the offence is the GAA will not be able to enforce a suspension once the player involved decides to appeal. Their hands are tied now, and it will be interesting to see how they try to wriggle out of this one. Joe Brolly's view on the matter should be fascinating later given his legal background, and the GAA may well need the services of a crack lawyer if they are going to clean up this mess that is all of their own making.

Saturday's Selections

Yourholidayisover was backed off the boards throughout the day yesterday, but even so he still couldn't manage a place, missing out on third in the final strides. To say it was a sickener is an understatement. Saturday is a day stuffed with decent quality action, and there are a couple of tastily priced horses that have caught my eye.

Duretto has crept in near the bottom of the handicap in the 3.25 at Ascot, a Class 2 Heritage handicap run over 1m 4f. The ground is currently good to soft, and with showers forecast overnight there should be an ease. This will be music to the ears of Andrew Balding, as Duretto has shown a clear preference for soft ground during his short five race career. He has two wins in those starts, with his most recent one coming last time out over course and distance on soft, when he routed a small field.

Jim Crowley rode him with supreme confidence that day, and he waited with him in rear, making his move as they turned into the home straight. He travelled powerfully up on the outside, and a furlong from home Crowley got to work and administered a couple of smacks. The response was immediate, and he pulled away for an impressive 3 length victory, after which his trainer suggested he could 'go on now' and suggested this race as a possible target.

He is bred to be useful, a half brother to Nabatean, who ran Clever Cookie close in a Listed race earlier this year and his dam is a Listed winner out of a half sister to a dual Group 1 winner. His sire Manduro is not half bad either, and at odds of 10/1 he could prove better than his current rating of 85.

Another one that looks overpriced goes in the 2.35 at Haydock in another Class 2 Handicap. Hassle, trained by Clive Cox and with Dane O'Neill booked for the ride, can currently be backed at odds of 14/1 for this 1m 6f contest.

This horse had a spell hurdling in the Spring with Nicky Henderson, but he didn't show an aptitude for the jumping game, and that experiment was quickly aborted and he returned for a flat campaign with Clive Cox. He has had a couple of runs back from a post hurdling career break, both over 16f, and he showed that all his old flat ability remained. He shaped as if that trip just stretched his stamina, and the drop back to today's trip, which he is 3/4 over, will suit him in a big way.

His only defeat over this trip came in this race last year, by just 3 lengths, but he will be a much fresher animal this time around and it is not beyond the realms of possibility that this race is the plan. He races off the same mark that he had last year,and his last two runs should have him cherry ripe for today. Soft ground holds no fears, and Hassle looks well worth an each way interest at his current odds of 14/1, even if the draw could have been kinder.


2.35 HAYDOCK: HASSLE (14/1) E/W

3.25 ASCOT:     DURETTO (10/1) NAP.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Costello Could Clean Up At Newcastle

Day Star Lad disappointed at Chelmsford last night, although he had an excuse, clipping heels at a vital time and almost coming down. By the time Swift got him back on track the race was gone, and he was very easy on him in the home straight. It won't be long until he wins again. Stick him in your horsetracker for his next three runs.

Today's fancy comes from Newcastle, and he goes in the 4.00. Yourholidayisover has been a frustrating horse to follow recently, and I know better than most having backed him on his last few runs. I firmly believe he is ready and weighted to win, and the booking of Dougie Costello tomorrow really catches the eye.

He ran here back in June, with young Russell Harris (a talented young claimer) on board, and he found only a well treated Card High too good. It was an excellent run though, and he bettered it when facing soft ground over today's trip at Beverley when beaten just two lengths off 49, a pound higher than his mark today.

He ran a screamer last time from out of the weights in a stronger race than this one, finishing fourth and beaten less than four lengths off an effective mark of 54. He is off 48 today, Pat Holmes has had a couple go very close in the past few days, as well as having a winner for these connections. At his current odds of 14/1 Yourholidayisover looks worthy of a little bit of each way support in what looks a pretty poor race.


Thursday, 3 September 2015

Lad Can Star For Shaw At Chelmsford

Day Star Lad goes this evening in the 8.45 at Chelmsford, and whilst he may be priced up at 12/1, I believe he has a far better chance than those odds suggest.

He has won twice in his career, both times on Southwell's fibresand, but he showed a liking for this course and distance last time out, his second run back from a break, and he was unlucky not to be placed having been denied a clear run at a crucial time.

He is sure to strip fitter this evening after that outing, and from a handicapping perspective he is looking exceedingly well treated. His last win (a 7 length demolition job) came off a mark of 58, and he races off a 10lb lower rating tonight.

 If Swift can keep him close enough going into the last couple of furlongs, and the gaps appear at the right time, Day Star Lad must have a great chance of getting his head back in front tonight. At 12/1 he looks worth supporting each way in a race that won't take much winning.


Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Williams' Charge Reddy To Win At Bath

Lady Nayef was a non runner today, which at least halted our run of losers! Today's selection, All Reddy, goes at Bath in the 4.20, and it is the jockey booking and projected ground that drew my attention to this horse.
This 4yo is a gelded son of Compton Place, and his dam was a winner over 11.5f. She has produced a few winners, including Mr Gotham, a 10.5f Listed winner on heavy ground. He has been campaigned mainly on the all weather during his 13 race career, and has a couple of runner up placings on that surface, including a close call on his penultimate run at Wolverhampton (8.5f ) where he shaped as if a step up in trip was badly needed when finishing with a wet sail.
However, of his four runs on turf his third effort, in a maiden at Ripon on good to soft ground (10f), was by far his most encouraging. He still looked green as grass that day, and he kept on nicely enough for 4th and the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th have all won races since.
Back on a similar surface today with the champion jockey elect Silvestre De Sousa booked (9/56 past 5 seasons) and off a mark of just 53 surely All Reddy can make the frame in this low grade handicap. 9/1 about his chances look huge and he is a confident selection in what looks a pretty poor race.