Sunday, 29 May 2016

Paris Has Pedigree To Pack A Punch At Leicester

Firesnake ran a cracking race to finish 5th at Haydock and with a clearer run he might have sneaked into a place. It wasn't to be, though it was definitely another step forward for Karl Burke's horse. Quiet Reflection was the standout performer of the day and she really is a super filly. Exciting times lie ahead for the Ontoawinner syndicate.

I like the look of another filly in the  3.55 at Leicester tomorrow, a 12f 3yo maiden, and Pray For Paris has a pedigree to die for. She is by up and coming sire Champs Elysees and three of her siblings have won 11 races between them. She is out of a half sister to top class stayer Persian Punch, a horse that won 20 races including multiple wins at Group 2 and Group 3 level. The trip of 12f looks ideal for this filly to start over and she is highly thought of by her trainer.

Shrewd handler Martyn Meade has described her as a "big strapping filly who has taken a long long time to come to herself....she is doing everything right now". Meade is well capable of readying one first time out and he has had plenty of debut winners at huge prices. He is 2/5 at Leicester overall in the past 5 seasons and 1/3 with 3yos. The favourite Ajman Princess will be popular, but she has been beaten twice already and she could be vulnerable to an unexposed one. At odds of 33/1 I think Pray For Paris is worth an each way flutter in a maiden that lacks strength in depth.


Friday, 27 May 2016

Snake Could Strike At Haydock

Nuclear Power ran a nice race earlier, but unfortunately it wasn't nice enough to reward each way support. He looked a bit worked up as they were circling behind the stalls and I wonder if he is a little bit coltish. If he doesn't improve next time it could be bye bye balls and handicaps for poor old Nuclear Power.

One trainer that has really caught fire in the last week is Karl Burke. He is firing in winners all over the place and he obviously has his string in fine fettle. He will be a nervous man tonight as his star filly Quiet Reflection goes in the Group 2 Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock for top syndicate Ontoawinner. It is a hot contest but she gets weight from most of her rivals and she is my idea of a solid each way bet. You can read an in depth preview of that race here at Bettingtools.

Burke has a much bigger priced horse in the closing race at Haydock, a class 4 7f 3yo handicap to be run at 5.30. Firesnake, a 9 race maiden, sneaks in near the foot of the handicap off a mark of 74, with young Jordan Vaughan taking off another handy 5lb. This gelded son of Dandy Man spent his 2yo season with Tom Dascombe, and he showed plenty of promise with a couple of 2nds on the all weather at Wolves, including off 77 when beaten just over a length last October.

He returned to action this season with a less than impressive effort on his first run for Burke at Nottingham (8.5f soft) off 77 but the ground and trip were valid excuses that day. He stripped a lot fitter for that run and looked to appreciate the return to quicker ground at Hamilton (6f), staying on really nicely late on for 4th at odds of 40/1, beaten just over 2L for the win. My Amigo was a just over length ahead of him in 3rd and he won his next start off a mark of 80. Keep an eye on the 4.20 as a pointer too as the winner of that race, Dodgy Bob, takes his chance off 82.

He steps up to 7f tomorrow and his best career runs have come over that trip. He has had just 4 starts on turf so he is relatively unexposed and his half brother, the ill fated Haven't Got A Scooby, improved plenty from 2 to 3. Now there is no doubt that this is a stronger heat than his last race, and there are a few last time out maiden winners in the field that could be anything. However, Firesnake has had a lot more races than the majority of his opponents and that experience could count to him in the rough and tumble of a big field handicap. I think he is worth chancing for small stakes each way at odds of 28/1 in this very competitive handicap.


Thursday, 26 May 2016

Power Overpriced At Haydock Tomorrow

Pivotal Dream had a nightmare for us earlier this week and she never looked like landing a blow. I still think she is capable of winning a race, though on yesterday's performance you all probably think I am mad! Her yard is not in the best of form but when their horses start showing a bit more spark I will be back for more punishment with this filly.

The one I like tomorrow goes at Haydock, and this 2yo is trained by Joe Tuite, who saddled the winner of the Ebor and November Handicap, Litigant, for the same connections last season. Nuclear Power is by Equiano and he is out of a dam that has produced plenty of winners. His half brother Flaming Lamborghini won a Group 3 over 7f and earned an RPR of 108. He has other half siblings that were placed, and who won, as 2yos, so he is bred to be a speedy juvenile. His pedigree suggests that the extra furlong tomorrow should suit.

He was purchased for a whopping £115k after a very taking breeze up and he was backed as if defeat was out of the question on debut at Bath. Richard Kingscote didn't enjoy his finest hour though, getting trapped in a pocket on the inside and running into trouble on a couple of occasions. He has to ride for Tom Dascombe here, so Tom Queally takes over in the saddle.

He was a bit green early doors last time, which didn't enable him to secure a good racing position, and he will need to be a lot smarter away from stall 14 tomorrow. He ended up in 4th at Bath, beaten 6L, but Kingscote was easy on him once his chance was gone and I got the impression there was a fair bit more left in the tank. His current price of 16/1 looks way too big to me and I think he is capable of rewarding each way support with the step up to 6f sure to suit.


Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Return To Turf Could Be Pivotal For Dream At Lingfield

Joey's Destiny was an unlucky loser for us earlier this week. He travelled really well in rear throughout the race and Keniry looked to have plenty of horse under him as they entered the final two furlongs. He waited for a gap that never came up the inside, and by the time he switched and found daylight it was too late. He stayed on really well in the closing stages and he has a nice handicap in him soon, given better luck in running and a  good strong pace to aim at.

Tomorrow the fare isn't that great but there is a horse going at Lingfield that I have had my eye on for quite a while. Pivotal Dream, Mark Brisbourne's 3yo daughter of Excellent Art, has looked moderate so far in her 14 race career but she has shown definite promise on more than one occasion. The run that sparked my interest in her came last October at Leicester (8.5f good to soft) off a mark of 54, her last run on grass.

She met all sorts of trouble in running, stumbling over 3f out and then running into the back of horses and having to be switched a number of times. When she finally found daylight she stayed on really well in the closing stages and she ended up in 3rd, beaten about a length. It came on good to soft ground, identical to the conditions she will face tomorrow. She steps up to 10f for the first time and on that Leicester run it should be ideal. She ran a couple of decent races on the all weather too before Xmas at trips ranging from 8.5f to 9.5f and more than once she shaped as though a step up to 10f would be perfect for her.

She was given a few months off after a poor run at Southwell in January and she returned with a less than impressive run at Wolves off 52. She will likely strip much fitter after that effort and she returns to turf off a mark of 51. Ryan Clark replaces Charlie Bennett in the saddle and off a 3lb lower mark than her very unlucky Leicester effort I think she is capable of running a big race at nice odds in a wide open handicap.


Monday, 23 May 2016

Joey Destined To Run Well At Windsor

Well there is just one thing I would like to say as we head into another intriguing week of racing and that is.....GET IN THERE!!! Jet Setting did the business for us at 12/1 (adv) and edged out Minding by a head at the Curragh, delivering a first ever classic win for up and coming trainer Adrian Keatley. Only for United winning the FA Cup and me getting slightly distracted we would have been on at even fancier odds, so I apologise for that. Jet Setting proved that the ground is a great equaliser, at any level of racing.

Mr. Adrian P Keatley  is a trainer with big ambitions and he has shown that he has the talent to deliver a horse in tip top condition on the biggest days of all. He is a name that you will be hearing a lot more about in the coming months and as the flag bearer in Ireland for Ontoawinner he will have plenty of ammunition at his disposal.

He has a couple of runners at Ayr today and you can read my thoughts about them here, in my new weekly Monday update at Bettingtools. I will be contributing more articles to the Bettingtools blog in the coming months and there will be lots of tastily priced fancies for you to sink your teeth into. Keep an eye on my Twitter account @davestevos for updates on when new articles are published.

Windsor on a Monday is a meeting I have long held an ambition to attend and I would imagine there are few better places you could be on a sunny Monday during the summer. The quality of fare on offer is usually pretty decent too and there is a Listed heat due to be run at 19.15. I have no strong fancy for that race, but I really like the look of one in the 19.45, a 6f class 3 handicap.

Joey's Destiny, a 6yo son of Kheleyf, is trained by George Baker and there are few yards in better form. He has been amongst the winners in recent weeks and this fella showed clear signs of returning to form last time out. He stayed on really well from a poor draw at Goodwood and though he finished 8th he was only beaten 2L. That run came off a mark of 92 and he is a pound lower today off 91. His last visit to Windsor saw him beaten a head off 85 so he handles the track.

Liam Keniry keeps the ride and he knows this fella well. He was a fast finishing 3rd at Goodwood on his only other previous go on Joey's Destiny and it was a race he would have won with a bit more luck. That effort came off a mark of 93 so it proved that this lad is capable of winning off 91. He will be ridden patiently and he will need the gaps to come at the right time, and for this reason stakes should be kept pretty low. However, at odds of 18/1 I think Joey's Destiny is well worth a couple of quid each way in a high quality Monday night handicap.


Sunday, 22 May 2016

Sunday's Selection

Unfortunately Still On Top ran no sort of race yesterday and he clearly wasn't right. He was heavily eased around 3f out and David Allan was looking down as if something was amiss. There was a bit of interference as they came around the bend and maybe that is where the problem occurred. Either way it meant our losing run continued and hopefully we can end it at the Curragh today.

The rain arrived at the Irish track yesterday and Awtaad ploughed through the soft ground to land the 2000 Guineas for Kevin Prendergast. Galileo Gold ran a cracker to finish 2nd considering the ground was plenty soft enough for him. It was an unusual sight to see an Irish classic finish without an O'Brien/Ballydoyle horse in the first three, but that is unlikely to be the case in the 1000 Guineas today.

O'Brien saddles 4 of the remaining 10 runners and Minding is a short order to follow up her impressive win in the English version of this race at Newmarket. However, the ground will be completely different today and that could blunt the scintillating turn of foot she showed at Newmarket. Now Or Never decimated her field at Leopardstown last time but again the ground was very different and she may not be as effective on a softer surface.

One filly that will relish the rain that has fallen in the last couple of days is the Adrian Keatley trained Jet Setting. She was supplemented for the Newmarket race when the forecast suggested the ground might ease. It didn't rain, but this filly still took her chance. She could only finish 9th but it was a much better run than the result suggests. She will be more at home on the ground today than a lot of her rivals and she has proven that she has the ability to compete at Group 1 level.

She has already shown that she has the measure of Now Or Never on soft ground when beating that rival easily by 3L in the trial for this race at Leopardstown on heavy. I think she is going to bounce out from stall 10 and make this a proper test. She will look to run the finish out of her rivals and I think she can make a bold bid. At 12/1 she looks overpriced and I believe she is worthy of a small each way bet.


Friday, 20 May 2016

Saturday's Selection

We just missed out on place money with Kingstreet Lady earlier this week. It was highly frustrating to finish 4th and it seems to be a recurring theme of late. I wasn't best pleased to see her drift out to as big as 33s but it was understandable given the rain that fell. I think the ground just blunted her turn of foot and she is not one to lose faith in just yet. She will be dropped another couple of pound after that run and she has a small race in her somewhere along the way.

Tomorrow my fancy goes in the Silver Bowl at Haydock, a fiercely competitive 1m class 2 8f handicap with 17 runners due to go to post. In races like this stakes should be kept to a minimum but you won't need to risk much on this fella to make a pretty penny. Still On Top is currently a 33/1 shot with a few bookies and he caught my eye when I was at Chester a couple of weeks ago.

He made his seasonal reappearance at the Lancashire track (7.5f good) and he really looked like a big imposing sort in the parade ring. He was an even bigger eyecatcher during the race and with a clearer run I think he would have been placed. He was outpaced 3f out but entering the last couple of furlongs he looked to be staying on strongly before he was snatched up. That run was off a mark of 96 and the handicapper has generously dropped him to 94.

He showed some serious form last season, none more so than when getting to within 4L of trailblazing Log Out Island at Redcar over an inadequate 6f (in receipt of 4lbs). His pedigree is loaded with stamina on the dam side so this son of Royal Applause is bred to get the trip. He has shaped as though it could be his optimum distance and he ran a cracker at Ponte in a listed heat (8f goods to soft) on his only previous try at this trip.

It is currently good to firm at Haydock but there are showers forecast. Still On Top will be fine on good or good to soft but very soft ground would be a worry. Tim Easterby's horses generally come on massively for their comeback runs and I think we could see a big performance from this colt tomorrow. Hopefully the weather gods shine on us and Still On Top can run a big race at 33/1.


Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Lady Looks Overpriced At Bath

Unfortunately they didn't go quickly enough for Vincentti earlier this week and the blog's losing run continued. I was hoping two or three of the confirmed front runners would take eachother on up front and Vincentti would pick up the pieces in the closing stages. It didn't work out like that and he just didn't have the turn of foot to get involved at the finish.

Tomorrow I like the look of a 3yo filly at Bath after she caught my eye on more than one occasion last season. Kingstreet Lady goes in the 5.5f 3yo fillies handicap at 5.15 and it will be her first turf handicap run on proper quick ground. This daughter of Royal Applause is bred to be best when the ground is like the road, and it was encouraging that she showed plenty of promise on ground that would have been easier than ideal last season.

Her first two outings were badly needed, here over 5.5f (firm) and then over 6f at Ffos Las. She took a big step forward on her final maiden start when 4th, beaten just over 3L, on good to soft ground at Ffos Las (6f). She showed plenty of speed that day and only gave way in the closing stages. Her handicap debut at Chepstow off 63 was another promising effort (6f soft) and she would have finished a lot closer than a 4L 5th without interference 2f out.

She ran another very eyecatching race next time at Wolverhampton (7f) when Hayley Turner didn't give her the most inspired of rides, finding trouble repeatedly down the back straight. When the gaps finally came she showed a nice turn of foot and she did very well to finish 4th, beaten just over 2L off a mark of 60.

She was kept to 7f next time off the same mark at Leicester but the ground was soft and she could only manage to finish 8th. She was put away for the Winter and reappeared at Nottingham last month (5f good to soft) off a mark of 59. She should come on massively for that outing, where she finished last of 6, and she should be a lot fitter tomorrow. As an added 'Brucey Bonus' she has been dropped another 2lb to a mark of 57 and Oisin Murphy has been booked for the ride. The firm ground looks sure to suit this daughter of Royal Applause on pedigree, the only possible negative being her draw in stall 8. Hopefully she can break quickly, and if she does I think she is well capable of going close at odds of  16/1.


Sunday, 15 May 2016

Vincentti Could Relish Return To Brighton

Frozen Kiss ensured our losing run continued on Saturday but I think she ran a promising race. A tardy start didn't help her and she had to be switched out wide to make her effort. She actually looked as though she might mount a serious challenge around 2f out but she weakened in the final furlong, beaten just over 5L at the finish. She is a filly to keep a close eye on as she is sure to come on a huge amount for that initial outing. Sometimes losing runs are inevitable when trying to tip up horses at big prices, but by keeping stakes small you won't lose too much. And WHEN we do get back to winning ways the rewards will be worth the wait.

Tomorrow I like the look of Vincentti for Ron Harris at Brighton. He goes in the 3.15, a 6f class 4 handicap and the ground is currently described as good. This 6yo son of Invincible Spirit won on his only previous visit to Brighton, taking a 6f class 5 handicap (good to soft) in taking style off a mark of 72. He races off a mark of 73 tomorrow and this strong finisher should get a good pace to aim at with plenty of front runners in the field.

He was beaten out of sight on his seasonal comeback at Ascot, but he was also beaten 18L at Ascot before going on to win here last August. The Harris yard has been in superb form, with 2 of his last 3 runners winning at 6/1 and 8/1. As I stated earlier it is crucial that Vincentti gets a strong pace to aim at, and there are a few horses in the field that like to force the issue. Monumental Man, Jaywalker, Upstaging and Monarch Maid all like to get on with it, so hopefully it will be a breakneck pace. If Vincentti is fit and ready to go he can sit quietly out the back and stay on strongly at the finish. I think he is worth a couple of quid each way at 25/1 in a race that should be run to suit.


Saturday, 14 May 2016

Saturday's Selection

Morale is low after what has been a very tough week at York. Three places in three days is a poor return and some of the selections ran absolute stinkers. I think Excessable could have got closer to the principals in the opener if he had got a clear run. He had to be switched a couple of times as the pace lifted and by the time the gaps came the race was over.

Twizell at least ran a solid race and at one point entering the final furlong she looked as though she might go on and win. She stayed on well but she couldn't hold on for place money, coming home in 4th. Our Joy faded badly after making the running and she doesn't look as though she is going to live up to her pedigree. 

Innocent Touch was another that didn't get a clear run but he probably wouldn't have won even if he did. He would have gone close to a place but he ended up in 6th. He likely needs more help from the handicapper. Breakable was our only success of the day and he also looked as though he might win. He just ran out of puff in the last 100yds but at least he held on for 3rd. Sporty Yankee ran no sort of race and like many of Karl Burke's horses at the moment he just didn't look right. 

I put Mountain Kingdom up on Twitter and that was the final insult. What Ger Fox and the horse were doing at the start I will never know and on a tight track like Kilbeggan it is nigh on impossible to make ground from out the back. The horses were dropping like flies in the last half mile but Mountain Kingdom never made it out of mid division.

 What made the run even more puzzling was the fact that he was backed from 25s into 12s before the off. My small bets are nowhere near big enough to create those kind of market moves and you have to wonder was it genuine money or were the bookies playing games. I know which one I suspect to be true. 

The highlight of the week for the blog was undoubtedly Red Pike placing at 50/1 on Day 1 and I am going back to the Smart yard for today's selection. His horses have been knocking on the door and he has a 2yo at Thirsk in the opener that has a very attractive pedigree. Frozen Kiss is by Exceed and Excel and out of a well related Pivotal mare, so she is bred to be speedy. 

Her dam is a half sister to the speedy Hooray, a fast mare that completed the set of Group races as a 2yo. His grand-dam Hypnotize won a listed heat as a 2yo and her half sister Dazzle was a 2yo Group 2 winner. It is a speedy pedigree and it is enough to convince me that this filly could be set to outrun her odds. 

She has a decent draw in stall 8 as high numbers are seen to have an advantage at Thirsk on the straight course. Connor Beasley takes the ride and he has an encouraging record for these connections. He has had two rides for these owners and his only previous ride on a 2yo for them resulted in a win. He is 7/49 (17%) overall for Smart and he is 2/9 on 2yos for the stable. 

Only two of the runners in the field have form and it is not too taxing a standard for Frozen Kiss to reach. She is a late March foal and the only filly in the field with a significant advantage in that regard is the Johnston filly. She has to be feared after the start her yard has had with their juveniles. However, I would much rather be with Frozen Kiss at the current prices and she is worthy of a small each way bet at odds of 25/1.


Friday, 13 May 2016

York Day 3

It hasn't been a great week for the blog so far but hopefully the last day will see a turnaround in our fortunes. Meadway got us off to a rotten start with a poor run in the opener. I actually think that Victory Bond ran a much better race than his finishing position of 6th suggests in the Dante. He pulled furiously for a good two furlongs at the start of the race and he just refused to settle for Pat Cosgrave. I was amazed that he was still travelling so well 2f out and he angled out for what looked like a possible winning run. However, those early exertions took their toll and he faded in the last 150 yds. He obviously has lots of ability though and if he can learn to settle he is capable of winning a big race.

One Word More ran a cracker to be a fast finishing 3rd which at least meant the day wasn't a total disaster. Wind Place And Sho ran a desperately disappointing race but he is a better horse than he showed today. Perhaps he needs a bit of juice in the ground to be seen at his best. The Yorkshire Cup is the feature on the last day of the Dante meeting and it looks a competitive heat this year. Below are my thoughts for the third and final day of what has been a fantastic week of racing.


A class 3 handicap 5f sprint gets us off to a tricky start on Friday and going by results throughout the week a low draw is key. Only 15 go to post so there will be just 3 places for each way money, but some bookies will be paying out on 4 places so it will pay to shop around. The ground will be quick tomorrow after another dry and warm day today, and one horse that will appreciate the return to good to firm ground is Excessable for Tim Easterby and David Allan.

This 3yo son of Sakhee's Secret showed some very smart form last season and he has shown a distinct preference for a sound surface. He won his maiden on good to firm on debut at Ripon (5f) and he was a close 2nd to today's opponent Lydia's Place on his next start in a class 2 novice at Beverley (5f good to firm). He is over a stone better off with that rival today so he should reverse the form.

His best effort came in the Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury, a race with over 120k going to the winner. He produced a cracking effort to finish 5th, just 2L behind the winner Lathom. His last three runs have not been to the same standard but he has been running on good to soft and soft ground and we could be set to see a better horse back on good to firm at York tomorrow. His draw in stall 8 is not disastrous and his jockey will have options from the start. This will be his first ever handicap on quick ground and he could be potentially well treated off 85 going by his Newbury form. I think he is worth an each way bet at odds of 16/1 for a yard that has it's horses in fine fettle.



Another sprint for the second race of the day and this time it is the turn of the fillies in the listed Marygate Stakes. Mark Johnston won it last year and he is doubly represented. He has the favourite Boater who will be ridden by Andrea Atzeni and she was very impressive on debut. Love Oasis is his other entry and De Sousa has been booked for the ride. She looks a less obvious winner but she showed promise on debut at Newmarket and the quicker ground at York could spark some improvement.

Another filly that won well on debut is Twizzell and at the prices she is a much more attractive betting proposition than the favourite. She was very impressive when hosing up by 4L at Beverley and while it mightn't have been the strongest of races she could only beat what was in front of her.

She has a lovely pedigree, being a daughter of Equiano and out of a winning (6f good to firm) Green Desert dam that is a half sister to a Group 1 placed mare. Ann Duffield is a shrewd operator and she wouldn't be aiming her at this race unless she thought she was capable of picking up some all important black type. She is drawn wide, but that is not too big of a hindrance with only 10 runners in the field. She is the 12/1 each way selection in an intriguing listed fillies heat.



Another listed fillies race, this time over 8f, and it is hard to oppose the favourite who was placed at Group 1 level last year. However, she has been off the track for 196 days and her fitness has to be taken on trust. She is head and shoulders above the rest of these on the ratings though and even if she is 90% fit she should have too much class for this field.

However, I am not in the business of tipping up even money shots and the each way alternative for me is the Clive Cox trained Our Joy. She is a beautifully bred filly and she went mightily close on debut behind the useful Kassia at Sandown (5f good to firm). Clive Cox obviously holds her in high regard as she was pitched into Group 3 company on her 2nd start. She came up short but it could have been too much too soon for the daughter of Kodiac.

She was next seen finishing 4th in a maiden on the all weather at Wolves (6f) and she stayed on really well late in the day. She was upped half a furlong in trip on her handicap debut at Doncaster (6.5f good) on her next run and she ran another cracker to be 5th, again shaping as though she needed further. She was 3rd next time behind the useful Mix And Mingle in a competitive handicap at Newmarket (7f good) off 77 and she then dropped back into maiden company to get a win on the board at Lingfield (7f).

She is a half sister to dual Group 1 winner over 8f Xtension, so she is bred to be a black type filly. This is her first run back of the season so stakes should be kept low, but Cox has his string in super form and Our Joy should be primed for action tomorrow. She is the each way suggestion at 33/1 in a race where the favourite should prove hard to beat.



The Group 2 Yorkshire Cup is the feature race on the final day of the Dante meeting and 6 horses will go to post in this 14f heat. That is not good news for each way backers like myself and it is a race that I will be sitting out. Clever Cookie has been a fine servant to connections but the ground might be a bit lively for him tomorrow. He is definitely at his best with a bit of cut.

At a price Glaring is interesting on his 2L 4th in a Group 2 over this trip on good ground at Longchamp last season. He was well beaten over 2m in a Group 3 at Ascot on his UK debut but the good to soft ground wouldn't have suited and he may well have needed the run. A much better run could be forthcoming back on better ground tomorrow and if I was forced to have a bet it would be on him at 20/1. With only 6 in the field I'll just be watching and hopefully we get to see an exciting race.


This 12f class 2 handicap is a competitive race and 10 are due to go to post. Barsanti is the market leader at 9/4 for Varian and Atzeni after a couple of impressive all weather wins at Chelmsford (10f) and Kempton (11f) off marks of 75 and 85 respectively. However, he has yet to show form anywhere near as good as that on turf and he is short enough upped to a mark of 96.

The one horse that appeals as possibly being overpriced is the Richard Fahey trained bottom weight Innocent Touch.This 5yo son of Intense Focus has been a consistent horse for connections and he had a number of near misses in handicaps at around this trip last season. He won a novice hurdle during the winter but his last flat win came back in 2014 at Doncaster (12f good to firm) in a handicap off a mark of 70.

Last season he ran three excellent races here over course and distance on ground ranging from good to good to soft. He was beaten less than a length off a mark of 83 on his last run here and he is only 3lb higher today. He was well beaten on his seasonal reappearance (13f soft) but he has usually needed a run to blow away the cobwebs. Dropped back to 12f and returned to faster ground an improved showing could be forthcoming with that run behind him, and he is the each way selection at odds of 16/1 off a nice low racing weight.



Breakable is the one to be interested in here for Tim Easterby, who has another fascinating contender in Azagal. 11 go to post in this 7f handicap and it looks an open race. Azagal is undeniably well treated but I think 7f around here might be a bit short for him and his last win came over 8.5f at Doncaster. Breakable, on the other hand, is a 7f specialist and he will be well suited by the good to firm ground at York tomorrow.

He has course form in the book and he was an excellent 3rd here last October (7f) off 82 on ground that was plenty soft enough for him. His last two runs over this trip on his preferred quick ground came at Chester and Catterick last summer and they both resulted in wins off 76 and 78. He will be racing off 82 tomorrow and he showed last season that he can be competitive off that mark. Rachel Richardson takes off another handy 5lb and she will be looking to get a good start and race in a prominent position. If things pan out for Breakable he is capable of producing a big run and he is the each way selection at odds of 10/1.



Last but not least is a class 4 12f handicap and it is a difficult get out of jail race for punters. I am going to side with the bottom weight here and Sporty Yankee is an interesting contender on his 2nd handicap start for Karl Burke. He didn't pull up any trees in three maiden runs but he showed definite promise, especially on his first run when he stayed on nicely over 7f on good ground at Newcastle. He was stepped up to 12f for his handicap debut on soft ground on his seasonal comeback at Beverley and it was a very encouraging effort off 65.

He was 3rd of 4 but he was beaten just 3L and it was a decent effort on his return to action. A lot of Karl Burke's horses have been needing their first outings of the season so he should be a lot fitter tomorrow. His sire Paddy O' Prado showed his best form on a quick surface and his pedigree suggests that a quicker surface should suit him well. I think he will prove to be a lot better than his current mark of 65 in time and I am willing to chance that he will show a lot more at York tomorrow. He is the each way selection for the lucky last at odds of 16/1.


Thursday, 12 May 2016

York Day 2


A tricky looking 5f class 2 handicap gets us under way on Day 2 and the ground is almost certain to dry out even more with a sunny day forecast. One horse that will definitely appreciate the quicker going is Meadway for Bryan Smart. The Smart yard had a couple run very well at big prices yesterday and Red Pike was placed for us at 50/1. Meadway is having his first run after a bit of a break but that is not too much of a worry as he went agonisingly close on his seasonal comeback last year.

That run came at Musselburgh in a class 2 handicap off 88 (5f good to firm) and he was only a head behind the winner Pearl Acclaim. He wasn't beaten all that far at Royal Ascot on his next start off 92 (beaten 3L in 9th) and you can put a line through his next handicap run which came over today's course and distance as the ground was good to soft. He won a handicap at Southwell in December off 86 and was beaten only a length off today's mark of 92 on his next start.

He has won over course and distance in the past, on good to firm ground, so his ability to handle the track is not in doubt. Just like Red Pike yesterday he likes to get on with things so a good fast start is important. If he gets away quickly he could be hard to peg back if he gets an easy lead. He looks a big price at 28/1 and he is the each way selection in a wide open handicap.



The first of the pattern races on Day 2 is the Middleton Stakes. Only 7 go to post but it looks a very tricky puzzle to solve. Most of the field are making their seasonal comebacks so fitness has to be taken on trust. With only 2 places for each way money I am going to sit this one out as I have no strong fancy and nothing looks overpriced.


The big one on Day 2 is the Dante and there are 12 runners in this competitive Group 2 contest. Unbeaten Galileo colt Midterm is the 6/4 favourite for Michael Stoute and he looks to be a worthy favourite. The only worry would be the quick ground as both his previous wins have come on good to soft. However, his dam Midday was right at home on a fast surface and he really should be fine on this different ground.

The one I think that could well at a decent price is Victory Bond, a son of Medicean who is trained by William Haggas. He went close on his only run at the tail end of last season when he was a close 2nd to Algometer. The winner got to within 2L of Midterm at Sandown last month so it was a good run, and Algometer also had the benefit of a previous run when he beat Victory Bond.

He made his seasonal reappearance in a maiden at Ripon (10f good to soft) last month and Victory Bond absolutely hosed up by 7L. He showed a nice turn of foot to put the race to bed and he won in the manner of a quality horse. He is bred to be useful, his Grand Dam was listed placed herself and her half brother Aquarelliste won a Group 1 Prix Ganay (10.5f) at Longchamp. Another half brother also won at Group 1 level so he has a pedigree that suggests he belongs at this level. He looks a big price at 14/1 and he is the each way selection in what should be a cracking race.



The next race on the card is the Hambleton, a listed handicap that will be run over 8f. This is as open a race as you will get and it is 8/1 the field, with Express Himself and Always Smile vying for favouritism at the head of the market. The one I like though is the Tim Easterby trained One Word More, a 6yo son of Thousand Words who has won just 3 of his 26 starts. That is not the most inspiring of strike rates but he has run very well on his 3 previous visits to York and the handicapper has dropped him to a mark he can be competitive off.

He didn't manage to win a race last season but he ran a couple of big races in defeat. He was beaten just 2L in a 7f handicap (good) at this meeting last year off 98 and he was beaten by a head here over the same trip off 99. That was followed with another smart effort off 102 at Ascot (7f soft) when he was beaten only a length by Rene Mathis. His next run, over today's course and distance off 103 was another sound effort and he stayed on really well late in the day for 5th, beaten just over 4L.

After a couple of moderate efforts at the tail end of last season and on his seasonal comeback he has been dropped a few pounds and he will run off 98 today. He showed last season that he is capable of a good run off this mark, and indeed he was a pound higher when beaten a just a head over 7f. He looks sure to come on a huge amount for his outing at Haydock last month and from a decent draw in stall 5 he can run a big race at odds of 14/1.



I have no strong fancy for this Listed race and it is one to just watch and enjoy.


Again this maiden does not appeal as a betting proposition. The ones with form in the book dominate the market and the newcomers are hard to weigh up. Another one to just watch.


It is the turn of the staying handicappers in the finale, a 16f class 3 event. 16 runners will go to post and it looks a very difficult puzzle to solve. The two Fitri Hay horses are battling it out for favouritism but the Cashel Man is having his first run of the year so if I had to pick one of those two it would be the top one Cardinal Walter as he will be fit from the jumps.

However, his odds of 4/1 look much too short in a race as competitive as this and at a much bigger price I think Wind Place And Sho could run well for James Eustace and Graham Lee. He had an excellent season last year, winning his maiden at Ponte (10f) before going on to win a 14f handicap at Sandown (good) off 80 and running a cracker when upped to 16f for the first time on his final run of the season at Newmarket (soft). He was beaten less than a length that day off a mark of 84 and he proved that he has the stamina for the trip.

He was poor on his seasonal comeback last month at Epsom but the trip of 12f was never likely to be ideal for this 4yo son of Shirocco. He was beaten out of sight by Barwick but the step up in trip he gets today will suit him a lot better. He should also strip much fitter for that effort and the return to better ground shouldn't be an issue. He is still only a 4yo so there could still be improvement to come from him over this trip and at odds of 25/1 he is worth chancing each way in an ultra competitive handicap.


Tuesday, 10 May 2016

York Day 1

I am gutted that Bound Hill just missed out on a place for us earlier. He stayed on really well after getting outpaced and squeezed for room coming around the home turn but once he found his stride again he almost got up for a place. He is not one to lose faith in just yet and upped in trip kept to better ground he is capable of winning a handicap.

York gets under way tomorrow and it is one of my favourite meetings of the year. With plenty of high quality handicaps and a generous sprinkling of group races there is something there to keep all punters happy. The Duke Of York and the Musidora are the feature races on the first day and they both look like very competitive renewals. Below are my thoughts for the first day of what promises to be a cracking meeting.


A hot 10f Class 2 handicap is the opening race of the meeting and 12 are due to go to post. The ground is currently described as good to firm but there is rain forecast so an ability to handle an ease in the ground could be important (if the forecast is correct of course!). One horse that appeals at a big price is the David O'Meara trained Awake My Soul. This 7yo son of Teofilo hasn't managed to win since August 2014 at Ayr (10f soft) but he ran a cracker here behind Chancery last October (10.5f good to soft) and on that form he is entitled to run well here.

That effort came in a handicap off a mark off 99 and he has been since dropped 3lb to 96 after two tame efforts on bottomless ground. He was beaten almost 30L last time at Ponte (10f heavy) and it was even worse on his final run of last season at Doncaster, but again the ground was testing and the 12f trip was never likely to suit.

He has won on ground ranging from soft to good to firm so any rain that falls overnight will not be a worry. His yard has started to click into gear in recent weeks and this is a meeting they like to target. Mr O'Meara also runs Hit The Jackpot and he will be a much shorter price after his narrow win last time out. However, I am not sure he has much in hand off his mark of 98 and I think the value lies with the so called 2nd string. He is the each way selection in a wide open race.



It is the turn of the sprinters in the 2nd race, a class 2 6f handicap. The draw can be important in races run on the straight track at York and if there is an ease in the ground a low number is an advantage. 19 go to post here and there are any amount that can have a case made for them. The one I like at a price is Red Pike for Bryan Smart and Tom Eaves, and if the forecast rain arrives it will be no worry to this fella.

This 5yo son of Kheleyf has been a fun horse for connections and he has managed to win 5 of his 21 starts. All of his career wins have come at today's trip of 6f and he is at his best on genuine good, or good to soft ground. He was beaten out of sight on his seasonal reappearance at Ponte (6f soft) off a mark of 95 and he has been dropped back down to 92 after that poor run. However, the ground was much too soft for him and he is is a much better horse than he showed that day.

His last win came in August of last year and a repeat of that effort at Doncaster (6f good) would surely be enough here. He beat Polybius by a short head that day and he was conceding 4lb to that rival. Polybius won a Listed race on his next start and followed that up with a near miss in a Group 3 at Ascot. On that form Red Pike looks attractively treated off his current mark of 92 and while he ran poorly on his only previous visit to York he was drawn out in the car park. He has the plum draw in stall 1 this time and if he gets away quickly he could make a bold bid from the front. I think he is worth chancing each way at odds of 25/1 in what looks an ultra competitive handicap.



The Group 2 Duke Of York will be another fast and furious contest and 12 are due to go to post in this 6f sprint. On official ratings it is going to be a close run thing and Henry Candy's Twilight Son carries a 5lb penalty for his Group 1 win at Haydock (6f good to soft) last season. He is 5 from 6 so far, his sole defeat coming behind Muhaarar at Ascot in the Champions Sprint. He won easily first time up last season so his absence is not a big worry and dropping back into Group 2 company he goes there with every chance. The penalty could leave him vulnerable though and there is each way value to be found elsewhere.

At odds of 16/1 I think Moviesta could be worth an interest each way. Formerly trained by Bryan Smart he is now in the capable hands of Irish maestro Eddie Lynam, and he is sure to strip fitter for his comeback run over an inadequate 5f at Naas (good). He was 8th of 10 that day, beaten just over 5L, but it was an encouraging comeback run and it should put him cherry ripe for this.

He was a Group 3 winner at the Curragh last season (6f good to firm) and he is 5/24 overall, including a Group 2 at Goodwood back in 2013. He has won on ground ranging from soft to good to firm so any rain that falls shouldn't be a problem. He has won at York before, a 5f handicap off 87 on soft ground in May 2013, and he was a close 2nd here on his next run, again in a handicap, over course and distance. He got to within a length of a prime Sole Power in a Group 1 (5f good) here back in 2014 so his ability to handle the track is not in question. If he is on a going day he will put it right up to this lot and he has a decent draw in stall 5. I think he is well worth an each way bet at his current odds of 16/1.



This is a cracking little Group 3 10.5f contest with 7 fillies due to go to post. So Mi Dar is only the 4th highest rated in the field but she is a warm order at 10/11 for Frankie and John Gosden. In fairness the daughter of Dubawi has looked note perfect on her first two runs, and she has shown she is versatile regarding ground, her two wins coming on soft (10f) at Epsom last time and good (8.5f) at Windsor on debut. The fact that she managed to win last time even though Frankie dropped his whip 2f out is probably what punters have latched onto, and the runner up has boosted the form by going in at Lingfield at the weekend in a Listed heat. She looks the real deal but she will be facing a higher class of filly tomorrow.

I like the Aidan O'Brien trained filly Best In The World here and she looks overpriced at 11/2. She is only that price because of a below par run on her seasonal comeback at Navan in a listed race (10f) but the bottomless ground was never going to suit this daughter of Galileo. She is better judged on her defeat of Dolce Strega on her penultimate run on decent ground in a listed heat at the Curragh (8f).

The runner up has since gone on to win a group 3 at the Curragh by a neck from Steip Amach, and that form was franked at Leopardstown on Sunday. Best In The World is a full sister to top class filly Found, and she was at her very best on ground with just a little bit of juice, her two Group 1 wins coming on genuine good ground. The rain that is due to fall should render the ground ideal for the O'Brien filly and if it wasn't for that last run at Navan I could see her being less than half her current odds of 11/2. She is the selection in what should be a fascinating renewal of the Musidora Stakes.



This class 3 7f handicap will be a real battle charge with 20 runners due to go to post. In handicaps like this stakes should be kept small as luck plays a huge part in such big fields. The one I like at a price is London Protocol for Karl Burke and the Ontoawinner syndicate, and this 3yo son of Muhtathir has shown plenty of promise in his short 7 race career so far. He has only managed to win 1 of those starts, a 6.5f 2yo contest on good to soft ground in Deauville. The runner up that day has since gone close in a Group 3 so the form has worked out well.

He found Listed company too hot on his next start, again at Deauville, but this time on very soft ground over a mile. He was well beaten but the trip and ground are valid excuses for his poor display that day. He has had a couple of runs this season and he has shown plenty of promise on both occasions. He was 5th of 12 on his seasonal comeback at Wolverhampton (8.5f), beaten just over 4L off a mark of 88. He returned to turf at Beverley on his last outing and was 3rd of 5, beaten just over 3L again off a mark of 88.

The handicapper has relented after that run and he has dropped him to a mark of 86. Decent young claimer Jordan Vaughan takes off a very handy 5lb so he gets to race off a nice low weight of 8st 8lbs. The forecast rain will be in his favour as he has shown his best form with a bit of juice in the ground. A fast run 7f on a track like York should suit him well, and he should get even further in time going by his pedigree. He has a decent draw in stall 5 and if he can get a decent position early doors and sit just off the pace I can see him finishing off his race strongly. He looks worthy of a small interest each way at odds of 25/1 in what looks a wide open handicap.



This 5f 2yo contest is a difficult race to weigh up as there is precious little form to go on. The 3 colts that have already run are at the head of the market and the Saeed Bin Suroor trained Kananee is 5/2 to follow up his debut win at Lingfield. He has to shoulder a 6lb penalty though and that could make life difficult in a field full of potential dangers. Nothing really jumps out as being potentially overpriced and this is a race that I will just be watching with a view to the future.


Last but not least on Day 1 we have another huge field in a 12f handicap. A maximum 20 runners will go to post in the class 4 contest and the one I like at a big price is Warfare for Barry McHugh and Tim Fitzgerald. This 7yo son of Soviet Star has been a fine servant to connections, winning 6 of his 4 starts. He is 4 from 18 on turf and he was a dual winner last year at Ayr (10f good) and Beverley (8.5f soft). That latter win came off a mark of 80 and he is a pound lower off 79 today.

This will be his first run at 12f but he has looked well worth a shot at this trip going by some of his form. Last time at Beverley (10f good) was a prime example and he was repeatedly denied a clear run in the home straight when he looked to be staying on very well. He managed to finish 5th, beaten just over 3L, but it was a cracking effort after a break and he should come on plenty for it.

There is also hope regarding the 12f trip in his pedigree as his dam is a half sister to multiple 12f winner Flossy. He has a decent draw in stall 1 and McHugh will likely drop him in and deliver him late. He is capable of going close off his current mark if he gets the trip, and a bit of luck, and I think he is worth a couple of pound each way at his current odds of 20/1.


Monday, 9 May 2016

Hill Could Bound Away On Better Ground At Wincanton

Beacon Rock ran a cracking race for us at Leopardstown and he was pipped for a place in the final strides. The forecast rain didn't materialise and the ground was probably just a tad too quick for him. The most visually impressive performance on the day came from Now Or Never and she showed an exciting turn of foot to put the race to bed. Hit The Bid, who was gambled on in the first race for the Bunyan yard, is one to look out for later in the season. He looked an absolute giant of a horse in the parade ring and he could be a serious animal given a bit more time.

York starts on Wednesday and it promises to be a top class meeting. I am planning on doing a preview of every race for all 3 days so be sure to check back tomorrow evening to find out my selections for Day 1. The fare tomorrow doesn't look too appetising from a punting point of view, but one horse that could be worth having a small each way interest in is Bound Hill for Fiona Shaw in the 2.35 at Wincanton, a 21.5f class 5 handicap hurdle that will be run on good to firm ground.

Bound Hill is a horse that is difficult to fancy on what he has produced so far on the racecourse. However, it is still relatively early days with this 7yo son of Kayf Tara and the  good ground tomorrow could bring about an improvement in form. He has yet to hit the frame in 6 career starts and his handicap debut off 105 in a class 4 last time was far from impressive (21.5f soft). The best effort of his career arguably came on good ground on his debut at Kempton when he was 5th of 13, but even so he was beaten over 30L at the finish. The rest of his career runs came on either soft or heavy ground, but his pedigree suggests that better ground should suit.

He is a full brother to top class chaser The Package, and though that fella managed to win on soft he was at his very best when there was good in the ground description. His dam's winning siblings all preferred better ground too, so hopefully that will be the case with Bound Hill. The drop into a class 5 has to be seen as a positive, and though he has to carry top weight that says more about the strength of the opposition than his ability. In any case Mikey Legg claims a valuable 5lb to ease the burden. It is a very poor race and the Woollacott horse is the only one with any decent recent form.

Another factor that sparked my interest in this horse is the fact that he wore a hood on his handicap debut (when he was sent off at just 12/1 in comparison to 100/1 on his previous run). That has quickly been discarded for this race and when you see connections messing about with headgear it can often mean they have something up their sleeve. It can also mean that the horse has a questionable attitude but for Bound Hill I am hoping it is the former. This is a pretty chancy selection so stakes should be kept to a minimum, but at odds of 25/1 I think Bound Hill is worth a couple of quid each way in the hope that the quick ground brings out the best in him.


Sunday, 8 May 2016

Sunday's Selection

Nuts Well ran a very disappointing race yesterday for us at Haydock but I am convinced that he is a better animal than what he showed. It looked as though he was sweating up before the race even started and that is never an encouraging sign. His jumping was poor and he was beaten a long way out. Maybe the two wins on bad ground took a bit too much out of him, and he is one to be interested in next season after he gets a nice summer break.

Today sees a cracking card of action at Leopardstown where there will be lots of classic clues to be found. I am heading out there this afternoon and I will be cheering on Cosy Club in the opener, the first runner in Ireland for the up and coming Ontoawinner syndicate. He ran a cracker on debut at the Curragh (5f soft) behind Mister Trader for Adrian Keatley and the bit of rain that has fallen should suit.

The step up to 6f should suit too, both on the evidence of his run last time and his pedigree. He is by So You Think who was a cracking performer at up to 10f, and he is half brother to a number of winners, including the ill fated Alkimos, who was placed at Group 3 level (10f good to soft). For a horse that showed so much promise on debut he looks a huge price at 25/1, but there is a reason for that. He is drawn widest of all and that rarely bodes well on the 6f course at Leopardstown. Fran Berry has been booked and if any jockey is capable of overcoming the draw it is him, but there are plenty of potential dangers in the field and he is probably best watched for today.

The one I like goes in the Derrinstown at 3.35 and Beacon Rock looks a fascinating contender. He is one of 4 runners for Aidan O'Brien and Colm O'Donoghue has been booked for the ride. Judging by prices and jockey bookings he is the 3rd string, but he has some serious form in the book and a slight ease in the ground should suit this son of Galileo perfectly.

He is impeccably bred, as most are that come from those quarters, and his sister Wedding Vow is a classy performer on her day. She  won a Group 2 at the Curragh last year (9.5f good to yielding) before going on to run a cracker behind Legatissimo at Goodwood in the Group 1 Nassau Stakes (10f good to firm). His dam was beaten by the great Snow Fairy in the Oaks at Epsom and she is a half sister to Dylan Thomas, among others.

Beacon Rock has shown he also has plenty of ability with some cracking efforts last season.  He won only once from 5 starts, a maiden on his 2nd start at the Curragh (8f yielding) and he was then stepped straight into Group company at the same venue. He was less than a length behind Port Douglas in 3rd and that horse should have won at Chester on Thursday. His next run was behind Gifted Master in the Autumn Stakes at Newmarket (8f good) and he was again beaten less than a length. That form has also been franked this season. He stayed on really well in the closing stages in both of those races and the step up to 10f looks sure to suit.

He was poor on his seasonal reappearance over today's course and distance behind Harzand last month, but the bottomless ground was never going to suit. The ground will be a lot more to his liking today and with the worst of the rain not due until 5pm it should be perfect for him. There looks sure to be a strong pace, which should bring his stamina into play, and he should be staying on strongly at the finish. I think he looks overpriced at 14/1 and he is the each way selection in what is a fascinating renewal of the Derrinstown.


Friday, 6 May 2016

Go Nuts At Haydock

Well apologies for the lack of a blog for the last few days but I have a valid excuse. I decided to head to Chester on Thursday and I am only home a couple of hours. It is a superb spot, and while the racing was difficult from a punting point of view the stunning weather and cracking atmosphere more than made up for it. It was a brilliant day out and I would recommend anyone who hasn't been to go and check it out next year.

Tomorrow is a bumper day of action with quality racing on both sides of the pond. I like the look of one over timber at Haydock, and Nuts Well looks way overpriced for the Hamiltons in the 2.15. I usually try and avoid backing horses that have won a few races in a row as the handicapper usually has his say in the end. However, this lad has been improving at a rate of knots and there could still be a bit more to come.

He is a 5yo son of Dylan Thomas and he is very nicely bred. His half brother Runswick Royal has been a smashing hurdler for connections, a listed winner (23.5f good to soft) and also placed at Grade 1 level. Nuts Well has looked equally as talented in his short career so far, and after two soft ground handicap wins at Newcastle (16f) his mark has now risen from 122 to 136. However, Runswick Royal was rated as high as 156 over timber so he could still be potentially well treated.

He is kept to 16f and that is the trip all three wins have come over. It is currently good ground at Haydock, which is very different to what he won on the last twice, but his maiden win came on good to soft at Hexham. He has also been placed on good ground so the surface should hold no fears tomorrow. The Ann Hamilton yard has been in red hot form and her form figures in recent weeks read 324212411. Craig Nichol, who rode last time, has been booked for the ride and at odds of 25/1 I think he is well worth chancing each way.


Tuesday, 3 May 2016

King Can Rule Supreme At Chester

The 1000 Guineas on Sunday saw a most impressive victory for Minding who romped home for Aidan O'Brien, who thankfully for us had the 1-2-3. Alice Springs ran a grand race, holding on for 3rd by a neck, and she will be even more effective on proper fast ground. The winner looked in a different league though and she has a busy summer ahead of her.

The Chester May festival gets under way tomorrow and it is one of my favourite meetings of the year. I have always wanted to sample the atmosphere there and I am lucky enough to be heading over on Thursday. It should be good craic and to get a winner or two would be an added bonus. The feature race on Day 1 is the Chester Cup and 17 are due to go to post in this ultra competitive 18.5f handicap. The one I like sneaks in off a low weight at the foot of the handicap and his owner Marwan Koukash always targets this race.

Gabrial's King is one of 4 runners for Koukash and this 7yo son of Hurricane Run gets in off a nice low weight. This will be his 3rd try in this race, and a repeat of his effort last year should see him in the shake up. He was 4th that day on good to soft ground, 3L behind the winner Trip To Paris, racing off a mark of 91. He races off a mark of 92 tomorrow, just a pound higher, and he won here off 90 in a Listed handicap (13.5f good) back in August of last year.

He ran in the same 16f Ripon handicap on his reappearance this season as he did last year, and he ran a very nice race to be 3rd under George Chaloner. He keeps the ride tomorrow and he was on board for his Chester win last season. The ground will be drying out all the time tomorrow and the quicker it is the better it will be for this fella. All three of his turf wins have come on good ground or better and the weather forecast is good with no rain predicted to fall.

The big worry is the draw, and he will need a fair chunk of fortune from stall 17. However, he was drawn wide when winning his handicap here and he is versatile regarding tactics. George Chaloner will need the gaps to come at the right times, and if they do I think Gabrial's King is capable of a big run at 16/1, especially if the ground dries out.


Sunday, 1 May 2016

Sunday's Selection

Heaney's jumping let him down yesterday just as the race was starting to take shape. He looked to be travelling alright up until about a mile from home but a couple of sticky leaps soon saw him pushed along and he faded out of it badly. It was a desperately disappointing effort but at least he will get more relief from the handicapper. I'm not sure the deluge of rain that fell before and during the race suited him either as he needs decent ground to be seen at his best.

It was a much better effort from Massaat in the Guineas and he found only the exciting Galileo Gold too good. The winner was hugely impressive and the turn of foot he showed to pull clear was amazing. Air Force Blue ran no sort of race for favourite backers but with soft in the ground description yesterday it was never going to be ideal for the son of War Front. It is way too soon to write him off though, and I am sure we will see a different animal on quicker ground during the summer. Today's action sees the fillies take their turn at Newmarket and you can find out my thoughts below.


It is a cracking card of racing at Newmarket on Sunday with the highlight undoubtedly the 1000 Guineas. Once again it is Aidan O'Brien and Coolmore with the favourite, and Minding has the form in the book to justify her price of just 6/4. She is versatile regarding ground, her wins coming on surfaces ranging from good to firm to yielding. The way she hosed up in the Fillies' Mile here (good to soft) at the tail end of last season remains fresh in the memory and she really seemed to relish the 8f trip. Her pedigree is second to none, by Galileo and out of top mare Lillie Langtry, herself a dual Group 1 winner over a mile. She will be hard to beat but she is just 6/4 and there is plenty of each way value to be found elsewhere in the race.

The biggest priced O'Brien runner is Alice Springs and she is a 20/1 shot after she was well beaten on her reappearance behind Jet Setting at Leopardstown (7f). However, she was never going to be suited by the heavy ground that day and she is better judged on her close 2nd at the Breeders Cup (8f yielding) last October. She had previously taken the 2yo Fillies Trophy here over 7f (good to firm). She was just over a length behind Minding in 3rd when they met in the Group 2  Moyglare (7f yielding) at the Curragh with Ballydoyle just ahead of her in 2nd. I think the better ground at Newmarket today will suit Alice Springs well, as will the step back up to a mile, and at odds of 20/1 she looks overpriced. She is the each way suggestion in what should be a thrilling 1000 Guineas.