Monday, 30 January 2017

Rossmore Has The Form To Figure At Down Royal

John Constable never tried a yard on Saturday, racing in rear and staying there until the finish. However, the day was overshadowed by the tragic passing of a true hero in Many Clouds. His thrilling tussle up the Cheltenham hill with Thistlecrack will live long in the memory, as will the shocking news that followed. Many Clouds collapsed soon after the finish, and the ecstasy of his win soon turned to anguish. 
Many Clouds On His Way To His Famous Grand National Win. 
The stunned silence in the ring summed up the numbness that everybody felt in the immediate aftermath, and the news broke today that he was overcome by a massive internal bleed. It wasn't enough to stop him winning, and horses as brave, genuine and talented as him don't come along very often. The former Grand National victor went out at the top, came home on his shield and he is a horse that will go down as one of the greatest. Thoughts remain with his connections. 

As the saying goes, life must go on, and tomorrow's each way fancy is a chancy one from Down Royal. Christian Delcros is a trainer based in Donegal, and until I looked at Tuesday's card I had never heard of him. Rossmore's Pride is his first ever runner in the 2m maiden at 2.50, and this 9yo son of Heron Island has the form to figure if he is straight after a 797 day layoff. 

He has had just the one start under rules, back in November 2014 for Ian Williams, and he belied his odds of 40/1 with a massive run at Wetherby (16f soft) in a Novice Hurdle. Rossmore's Pride finished an excellent 2nd, just over 2L behind The Grey Taylor who went on to achieve a rating of 140 over timber. 

The 3rd home, Ma Du Fou, was 2L behind Rossmore's Pride and he went on to win a Listed hurdle and earn a rating of 139.  The 4th and 5th home both went on to win maidens since, and for a class 4 contest the form has worked out extremely well. Now, it has been a long time since Rossmore's Pride was sighted, and who knows how much ability remains. 

However, those that have form in this race have achieved very little, and it does look a very weak heat. If Delcros has been able to get Rossmore's Pride back to anything like the form of his rules debut, he could run a huge race. The forecast rain should see conditions ease from yielding, so he will get similar ground as at Wetherby. Stakes should be kept to a minimum, and a very small each way bet at odds of 33/1 is the order of the day. 


Friday, 27 January 2017

Constable To Lay Down The Law At Cheltenham

Beautiful People was sent off at 14/1, and she rewarded each way support by staying on well from the back for third. Hiskett didn't exactly throw the kitchen sink at her, and she wasn't stopping when she crossed the line. There is more to come from this mare, and she will be well worth backing next time out, once she gets good ground.
John Constable's mark has dropped  to a career low 131. 
Saturday's selection goes in the lucky last at Cheltenham tomorrow, and I think John Constable could be ready to strike dropped to a mark of 131. He ran well here over course and distance to be 6th of 18 on his penultimate start off 137. His last run over 20.5f at Newbury was nothing to write home about but he has been dropped to 131 now and the return to 16f looks sure to suit.

Williams has done nothing but moan about his mark all year, and this is as low a rating as he has had. He was a very useful performer on the flat, and this 6yo son of Montjeu earned an official rating of 94 in that sphere for Aidan O'Brien. He won a maiden and a novice on his first two starts over timber, before producing an excellent run to be 2nd, 4L behind Sternrubin, in a Listed handicap off 137 at Newbury (16.5f sft).

He was also a good 4th in the Grade 3 Swinton off 138, 4th beaten 4L (15.5f gd) so on the evidence of that form he looks very well treated off 131. Williams also runs the top weight Court Minstrel, and that could be a ploy to ensure that John Constable has a nice racing weight. He has won on ground ranging from soft to good, so he won't mind what the weather does.

Paul Moloney seemingly prefers the chances of Court Minstrel, but the 10yo has to carry a welter burden and he could struggle to concede weight to his younger rivals. Adam Wedge is a good pilot in his own right, and he has won on 12 and placed on 24 of 98 rides for Williams in the last 12 months. The drop in the weights and the return to 16f are reasons for optimism and, at odds of 20/1, John Constable is worthy of each way support in an open contest.


Thursday, 26 January 2017

New Trip To Suit Beautiful At Taunton

The ground was just a touch too lively for Montys Meadow in the Thyestes, and he couldn't go with the leaders when they quickened down the back. He was allowed to come home in his own time by Paddy Mangan and there will be other days for him, when he gets his preferred ground. The winner, Champagne West, won doing handstands and he is an exciting horse for the Spring.
Richard Phillips has his string in great form. 
It was a lot better for us on Wednesday, with Larry Capri doing a demolition job on the field at Fairyhouse. He was given a lovely ride by young Danny Hand, and he is a jockey with a bright future. Larry Capri jumped slickly, travelled well and when Hand pushed the button after the last he surged clear for a near 6L win. He looks an out and out stayer, and he will get even further in the future.

Another horse that could benefit from a step up in trip is Beautiful People, a 6yo daughter of Early March who is trained by Richard Phillips. This mare showed promise in a couple of good ground maidens at the beginning of the season, and she could be ready to take a step forward now in the 3.45 at Taunton, a 2m 7f class 5 handicap hurdle.

Those two eye catching runs came at Stratford (18.5f gd) and Uttoxeter (20f gd) and, on both occasions, she was doing her best work at the finish. Exaggerated waiting tactics were used, and she was given way too much to do before staying on strongly in the closing stages. She was given a break after her run at Uttoxeter, and she ran poorly on her return in her first handicap at Warwick (21f) off 103.

However, the soft ground was a valid excuse that day and it was also a class 4. She didn't fare much better next time off 100 dropped in trip here, but she was never likely to be sighted over 16f. She has been dropped another 5lbs after that run, and I think she is capable of much better than she has shown in her first two handicap outings.

The good ground and step up in trip are reasons for optimism, and her trainer has his string in fine fettle. He has won with 2 of his last 3 runners, including a 16/1 shot at Leicester this week. Hiskett was on board both those winners, and he has won 15 and placed on 44 of 190 rides for this trainer. Phillips has sent out 8 winners and had 13 placed from 81 runners at Taunton, not a bad record at all. Hopefully Beautiful People enhances that strike rate tomorrow and, at 25/1, she is worthy of a small each way bet.


Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Meadow Can Make Hay In The Thyestes

Well, the money has come for Larry Capri, but that doesn't mean a thing unless he finishes in the first three. Gary O'Brien tipped him up at 12s this morning on At The Races, and that saw him immediately cut into 8s and 9s in places. Fingers crossed he does the business.
Jimmy Mangan knows how to win the Thyestes.
Last year we managed to find the winner of the Thyestes (read here) and, hopefully, Montys Meadow can complete the double for us this year. Jimmy Mangan is a trainer that knows what it takes to win this race, sending out Whinstone Boy to score in 2010. He has another real contender in Montys Meadow, and I think he could prove to be better than his mark of 140 over fences.

This 9yo son of Oscar has yet to win over tomorrow's trip of 25f, but he showed at Punchestown in 2015 that he stayed it with an excellent effort behind Pleasant Company (25f hvy). That horse subsequently beat Regal Encore off 139 in a valuable handicap at the Punchestown festival, and he is now rated 148.

He made no mistake next time dropped to 20f (hvy) in another beginner's chase, accounting for 150 rated hurdler Arbre De Vie with the minimum of fuss. He was stepped into Grade 3 company next time at Naas, and he was there with every chance when tipping up at the 3rd last. Sub Lieutenant and Tell Us More fought out the finish, and they are now rated 162 and 150 respectively.

It was far from guaranteed that Montys Meadow would have hit the frame in that race, but he seemed to be travelling well and he just dived at the fence. A silly mistake in a hurdle heat resulted in him unseating his pilot on his seasonal comeback, but it was much better last time back chasing in a 19.5f (hvy) handicap at Limerick.

He just failed to concede almost a stone to Westerner Point off a mark of 136, going down by half a length in 2nd. He jumped really well, and that should have put him spot on for this race.  Montys Meadow looks potentially well treated for his first handicap chase at 25f and, at odds of 14/1, he is capable of producing a big run for the Mangans.


Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Capri Could Flourish Up In Trip At Fairyhouse

River Dun was unfortunately a non-runner earlier due to her getting cast in her box. Hopefully she came away unscathed and gets to race another day. She is one to keep an eye out for on her next couple of starts, particularly if Kieron Edgar is booked for the ride.

McLoughlin has a few with chances at Fairyhouse.
Tomorrow's fancy goes at Fairyhouse, and I think Larry Capri could run a big race upped to 3m in the handicap chase at 3.30. The going will be testing, and that should suit this dual heavy ground point to point winner on just his second handicap chase start.

Young Danny Hand takes off a valuable 7lbs, and he rode a good winner for McLoughlin earlier this season. He gave this 8yo son of Beneficial a pretty easy time at Punchestown on his handicap chase debut off 102, and he has been dropped to 101 after finishing 5th, beaten 30+L for the win, but only 2L behind the 3rd, who re-opposes today. I think he can reverse that form over this further trip.

Larry Capri won a couple of point to points on heavy and soft ground in his younger days, and he remains lightly raced for an 8yo. He fell on his first couple of beginner's chases, but it was much better on his final beginner's chase run when he was 4th over an inadequate trip of 16f behind Yorkhill.

Hand was in no hurry to put Larry Capri into the race at Punchestown (20f hvy) on his handicap debut, and when the horse did make ground in the middle part of the race, he saw fit to rein him back and allow the eventual principals to pull clear. He stayed on well in the closing stages to finish a never nearer 5th and, to my eyes at least, he shaped as though 24f would be ideal.

There has already been a plunge on another one of McLoughlin's entries on Wednesday (Uptake in the 2.20), but at just 6/1 the value has probably gone. Larry Capri is a much more appealing price at 18/1 and, at those sort of odds, he looks worth backing each way in a race that lacks strength in depth.


Dun Could Deliver Dropped In Class At Leicester

Edvardo emptied after the 2nd last at Navan, despite looking like he was travelling pretty well in the back straight. It was a disappointing effort, and it would be interesting to know if any issues came to light post race.

Tomorrow's fancy takes her chance in the lucky last at Leicester, and I think River Dun could run a big race on her first start in class 5 company. This 7yo mare is a daughter of on fire sire Indian River, the proud father of recent winners Native River and Tanit River. She has shown potential for both her former trainer Steven Crawford and her current handler Gordon Edwards.

It has been a long time since Edwards visited the winner's enclosure, but hopefully River Dun can end his dry spell on Tuesday. She finished either 3rd or 4th on all her bumper runs for Crawford before Edwards picked her up for 10 grand at the Doncaster sale last May.

She didn't show much on her first two starts for her new handler, and she was well beaten in a class 4 maiden and a class 4 novice. However, her final novice run was a big improvement, only beaten 6L and just 3L behind Seven Nation Army.

That horse has placed form over timber off marks in the high 120s, and he was rated 119 when running in that heat. River Dun was getting 10lbs from that rival but, even so, it was a good run.
Edgar has a decent record when riding for Edwards.
The handicapper handed her a mark of 109 and she was a no show on her first two runs in class 4 handicap company. However, the booking of Kieron Edgar catches the eye, as he has placed on 4 of his 9 rides for Edwards.

He went close on Shannan Star for Edwards earlier this month at 14/1, so it looks significant that he is riding River Dun for the first time. She has been dropped to a mark of 100, and she races against her own sex in a class 5 for the first time.

Soft ground is a worry admittedly, but her dam is related to soft ground winners and there is plenty of black type in her pedigree. Indian River's progeny have shown an affinity for soft ground too, so River Dun looks well worth another crack on an easy surface.

Edwards hasn't had a winner under rules since 2011, and it has been a long time between drinks for the Somerset handler. With soft ground a slight worry stakes should be kept low but, at odds of 33/1, River Dun is well worth a pound or two each way in an average looking contest.


Friday, 20 January 2017

King's Claim To Be Key For Edvardo

Court Frontier did the business for us earlier, advised at 20/1 but returning at just 9/2. It was a big plunge, but from around two out it always looked like he was going to get there, and after pinging the last he surged clear for an 8L win. He really appreciated the return to soft ground, and it was a peach of a ride by Denis O'Regan.
David Harry Kelly is a shrewd operator.
Tomorrow's selection goes at Navan, and I think Edvardo could be primed to run a big race for David Harry Kelly. Pa King is a quality pilot, and his 5lb claim could prove to be invaluable at Navan. Edvardo, a 7yo son of Oscar, has won two and placed in two of 13 career starts, and the first of those wins came in this race last year off a mark of 82.

He proved that was no fluke with another win at Limerick off 91, and he ran a cracker to be 2nd at Fairyhouse on his penultimate run last season off 99. He ran an average race on his seasonal return at Navan last month, 7th of 22 beaten 27L off 102. He was again well beaten next time at Limerick off 101, but at least the handicapper has dropped him a couple of pounds to a mark of 99.

That remains 8lb above his last winning rating, but it is the same mark off which he ran so well behind Killaro Boy at Fairyhouse. When you factor in King's claim he is effectively 5lb lower, and he is likely to have been trained with a repeat bid in this race in mind. I think odds of 18/1 are far too big, and he is well worth an each way bet at that price.


Thursday, 19 January 2017

Court Can Lay Down The Law At Chepstow

Socialites Red was, I thought, a rather unlucky third at Chelmsford earlier. At least she rewarded each way support, but if she had a clearer passage she might well have won. She was beaten less than a length for the win, and she is more than capable of getting her head back in front off her current mark.
Denis O'Regan has a good record when riding for Paul Morgan.
Tomorrow's fancy goes in Chepstow in the 2m 7.5f handicap chase at 15.20, and I think Court Frontier can hit the frame at tasty odds off his current mark of 110. This 9yo son of Court Cave was pulled up over course and distance last time, but he had a valid excuse. The good to soft ground was probably too lively for him, and he will be a lot more at home on the forecast soft ground on Friday.

His last win came over today's trip on heavy back when he was trained in Ireland, and he produced a cracking run behind Forever My Friend at Ffos Las (21f soft) on his penultimate start. He stayed on strongly behind the winner, who franked the form by going on to win again on his next start. That run came off a mark of 109, and he is just a pound higher off 110 on Friday.

He shaped as though he was crying out for an extra couple of furlongs at Ffos Las, and back on soft ground he is capable of making his presence felt for Denis O'Regan. His quiet style should suit this horse, and hopefully he can deliver him late on the scene at the right time. O' Regan has 5 wins and 3 places from just 27 rides for Morgan and, hopefully, Court Frontier enhances that excellent record at odds of 20/1 tomorrow.


Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Take A Chance On Red At Chelmsford

Bowie ran a decent race at his beloved Market Rasen earlier, but he pulled hard in the early stages and he didn't get home. He actually travelled well for a long way, but when push came to shove he found little. Tomorrow's 16/1 selection goes at Chelmsford in the opener, and I think Socialites Red looks a crazy price on her return to Chelmsford.
Scott Dixon has plenty of well handicapped horses.
This 4yo filly is trained by Scott Dixon, and his yard has been struggling for winners. However, he had a couple run well at Southwell last week, and his string could be about to turn the corner. He has a lot of nicely handicapped horses right now, and Socialites Red fits into that category.

This 4yo filly has run twice at Chelmsford, and she ran a lovely race on her first visit back in April. She was beaten just over 4L in a class 4 (6f) off 71, a cracking effort in the context of today's race. It was no surprise to see her well backed on her return here off 9lb lower in a class 6 (5f) back in October, but she was hampered at a crucial stage and could only manage 7th.

She was given a couple of months off after that run and she had a couple of outings at Southwell and Wolverhampton earlier this month. The latter run off 61 was decent, beaten just over 2L, and she has been dropped to a career low mark of 59.

She is now 12lb lower than for that class 4 6f run last April, and she has landed a decent draw in stall 2. If Socialites Red gets away well she can make a bold bid for Dale Swift and, at odds of 16/1, she is worth backing each way in a wide open looking race.


Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Bowie Could Be A Hero At Market Rasen

I was very disappointed with Goosen Maverick’s run earlier on. There seemed to be a few quid around for him in the morning, but he drifted on course and he was ridden accordingly by David Noonan. He was allowed drop back through the field after starting in a prominent position, and though he did pass a couple in the closing stages he never got close to landing a blow. I still believe he is a horse with ability, and maybe further will suit.
Bowie has an excellent record at Market Rasen.
Hopefully Wednesday’s 20/1 each way selection can put up a better showing in the lucky last at Market Rasen. Bowie races off a mark of 114 for Nick Kent, and promising claimer Ross Turner takes off a very useful 5lb. He has ridden 5 winners before, including one around here. Bowie, a 10yo son of Pelder, has been a fun horse for Nick Kent and he has won 2 and been placed on 8 of his 17 starts over timber.

He returned to action after his summer break at Uttoxeter (23.5f gd/sft) and he was pulled up. It was the same story at Towcester next time, this time in a novice chase, but he showed definite signs of returning to form last time over today’s course and distance. He was 5th beaten 21L off a mark of 118, and the handicapper has generously dropped him to 114 after that run.

The last time he got to race off that mark was around here back in 2014 and he made no mistake, winning a class 3 handicap hurdle by 1.5L. His two career wins have come at Market Rasen, and his form figures here read 52341341234. He has run well on ground ranging from soft to good, so today’s underfoot conditions will be no problem.

He admittedly does have quite a bit to find with the top weight Isaac Bell on his last run here, 17L to be exact. However, he was conceding 4lb to that rival last time whereas now, with Turner’s claim, he is in receipt of 6lb. That is a 10lb turnaround, and Bowie should appreciate the soft ground more than that rival.

Unexposed 4yo fav Nietzsche is the big danger, and he could be the one to beat given all his allowances. However, Bowie loves the track, he won’t mind the ground and he is back down to his last winning mark. I think 20/1 is too big and, at those sort of odds, he has to be worth a small interest each way.


Monday, 16 January 2017

Goosen Maverick Can Be Top Gun At Exeter

Nerual ran a lovely race for us on Sunday at Fairyhouse, and with a clearer run she might have gone even closer than 4th. I was worried when she lost her place in the middle part of the race, but she travelled back into it nicely and she stayed on well in the closing stages. You would imagine she will stay even further in time, and she has a race in her off her current mark.
David Noonan keeps the faith with Goosen Maverick.
Tomorrow at Exeter there has been a big market move for the Sue Gardner trained horse Relentless in the 13.30, a 23f class 5 handicap. He is as short as 16/1 in places now after opening up at 50s, and the Gardner's have form when it comes to landing a touch at silly odds (Couer Blimey last year). The ex John Gosden horse has the tongue tie on for the first time, and they must be expecting the big step up in trip and the soft ground to suit.

He is by Dylan Thomas and, while he has produced some useful hurdlers, most have been effective over the minimum trip of 16f. He is not a sire that is renowned for producing stayers on the flat either, and he also has a much better strike rate on quick ground. Relentless could make a fool of me and hack up off his mark of 73, but I would rather be with the Grant Cann trained handicap debutant Goosen Maverick.

This 6yo so of Morozov has failed to pull up any trees in three hurdle starts for Cann, but he showed a glimmer of ability under a considerate ride by David Noonan here on good ground back in November (21.5f). He stayed on past beaten horses late on for 4th and, although he was beaten 46L for the win, he shaped as though a step up in trip would suit.

His best point to point run came over 24f on heavy ground at Maralin, and he finished 4th in that race beaten 23L. That form has worked out very well, with the first two finishers and the last home winning under rules since. The 3rd, 5th and 6th went on to win point to points afterwards too, so while he was well beaten it was still a good effort.

He was strangely dropped in trip for his final two maiden runs at Chepstow (19.5f) and Taunton (16.5f), both on good ground. He has been handed a mark of just 95 for his handicap debut, and that could turn out to underestimate his ability. The step up to 23f, the return to Exeter and the soft ground all look sure to suit, and David Noonan keeps the faith. His 3lb claim could turn out to be crucial, and I can't resist having a small each way interest at odds of 33/1 in what looks a wide open handicap hurdle.


Saturday, 14 January 2017

Step Up To 3m Should Suit Nerual At Fairyhouse

Saturday's selection was an unmitigated disaster and to not even get run for our money in a 3m5f race was a real sickener. When I saw Milansbar jump off in a prominent position I was optimistic. However, optimism turned to despair pretty quickly as he dropped back through the field after the 2nd. He was pulled up before too long and our losing run was extended.
Liz Doyle could have a well treated mare in Nerual.
I always preach that losing runs are inevitable when tipping up horses at big prices, but when they happen they are still hard to accept. Confidence takes a battering, but the key is to stick to the same staking plan and ride out the storm, because sooner or later things will turn and we will be back in the winner’s enclosure. Hopefully the tide turns tomorrow with this 14/1 each way fancy from Fairyhouse.

Nerual is a mare I have had my eye on for a while, as she had been staying on well late in the day in bumpers and in her maiden hurdles. This 6yo daughter of Craigsteel has a beautiful national hunt pedigree, being a half sister to 25.5f Cheltenham winner Spring Heeled and out of a half sister to classy chaser Central House. She has finished in the first 4 in five of her seven career runs, and she has filled 3rd spot on four occasions.

She was last sighted in a maiden hurdle at Limerick over 22f on heavy, and she caught the eye staying on well for 5th. She looked as though she was crying out for a step up in trip, and she gets an extra two furlongs today. Her half brother Spring Heeled earned an RPR of 151, so a handicap mark of just 98 could underestimate her up in trip. JJ Slevin takes off another 5lb and, with Skybet paying 6 places each way, she is worth chancing in a wide open handicap at odds of 14/1.


Friday, 13 January 2017

King Could Rule Supreme At Warwick

Untold Secret looked like delivering a big challenge as they turned for home, but it didn't materialise. He was switched wide but once Barzalona pressed the button there wasn't much response. To rub salt into the wound, bin Ghadayer’s other runner Hunter's Creek was placed at 20s. Hopefully we are in for a change of luck on Saturday with this 22/1 fancy from Warwick.
Milansbar could outrun his odds at Warwick.
Milansbar goes in the 3.35, a 3m5f Grade 3 handicap, and I think he could bounce back to form after a poor run at Chepstow in the Welsh National last time. He made a shuddering error at the 2nd fence and he never recovered. He didn't have a hard race and he was pulled up by his jockey Mark Grant a long way from home.

He had previously run a lovely race on his seasonal return at Chepstow (23.5f gd), staying on well late on for 4th over an inadequate trip. If he was coming here on the back of that run he would be a lot shorter than his current price, and he proved his stamina with an excellent 2nd to Firebird Flyer in the Midlands National at Uttoxeter last March (33.5f soft).

That effort came off a mark of 145, and he gets in off 2lb lower today. Mark Grant is replaced by usual jockey Trevor Whelan in the saddle, and Whelan has been on board for all of Milansbar's wins. He has won on ground ranging from heavy to good to soft, and he won't care what the weather does overnight. Neil King is in fine form, sending out 2 winners from his last 3 runners, and at odds of 22/1 Milansbar is well worth an each way interest.


Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Secret Could Surprise At Meydan

Today wasn't the day for Dalness Express, but although he finished 8th he was only beaten 4.5L for the win. He didn't get the best of rides from McKee, and he was again switched wide in the home straight. When he eventually felt the warmth of the whip he did make ground on the outside, and perhaps a fast pace over 6f might be the answer. He will pop up at a big price at some stage, so keep an eye out for future entries.
Barzalona has hit the frame on almost 50% of his rides for Ghadayer.
Tomorrow is due to be rather nippy weather wise, so I have decided to head to sunnier climes for Thursday's selection. There are some classy horses running at Meydan, and I can't resist having a small each way bet on Untold Secret in the 78-94 handicap at 3.40pm. This 5yo son of Shamardal is in the care of up and coming trainer Salem bin Ghadayer, and he has had 5 places from his last 8 runners.

Mikael Barzalona is a jockey I have a lot of time for, and so does bin Ghadayer. He has had 50 rides for him, winning 6 and placing on 18. Barzalona prefers Untold Secret to Hunters Creek, and that could turn out to be a wise decision. Untold Secret has some decent turf form to his name, and he has a top class pedigree (out of French Oaks winner).

3 of his last 4 starts have come on the dirt, and clearly that surface wasn't to his liking. Admittedly he did run poorly on good ground at Abu Dhabi back in November, but he was slowly away and the 11f trip was probably too far. He was beaten out of sight on the dirt here last month, but the return to 10f on good ground could suit. He gets in off a mark of 84, and that could vastly underestimate his ability.

The horse he beat on his last start over 10f on Turf, Pretorio, has since won a Listed heat and was just 8L behind New Bay in 4th in a Group 2 at Deauville. He has an official rating of 104 and Untold Secret was conceding a pound to him at Deauville. That piece of form makes Untold Secret's mark of 84 look very attractive. Barzalona was on board for his only win, the cheek pieces are on and, if they work their magic, I think Untold Secret could run a huge race at odds of 16/1.


All Aboard The Dalness Express At Kempton

Prairie Town faded badly in the closing stages at Sandown on Saturday, and it was a disappointing effort. The big news this week is that Kempton could be up for sale, and racing could be a thing of the past at the home of the King George VI Chase.

The rumour mill has suggested that the graded national hunt races might be moved to Sandown, while Newmarket could be the location for a replacement all weather track. None of this is due to happen until 2021 at the earliest, and it will be interesting  to see how this story unfolds.
The future of racing at Kempton is under threat.
Fittingly, Wednesday's fancy goes at Kempton, and I think Dalness Express could be suited by the drop back to 7f in the 4.45, a class 7 contest, on just his 2nd handicap start. This 4yo son of Firebreak has had his issues at the stalls, and his handicap debut here (8f) was a write off after he lost at least 10L at the start. He was slowly away on his first three runs too, but he showed a glimmer of promise when 5th on debut at Bath (5.5f soft).

After a couple of poor maiden efforts at Hamilton and Kempton, when also slowly away, he showed definite potential when pitched into a class 6 classified heat over today's course and distance on his penultimate outing. He was a lot better at the start, even if he missed it slightly, and his jockey let him bowl along near the rear.

He got caught behind a couple of horses as they rounded the top turn, and as they came into the home straight he was brought widest of all to make his effort. He stayed on pretty well for 8th, beaten just 5L, and with a clearer passage he might have finished even closer. His mark of 49 remained untouched after his poor handicap run last time, and he races off the same rating today.

He is a half brother to dual Kempton 6f scorer Major Valentine, who runs later on, who is also trained by John O'Shea. Ciaran McKee takes off a handy 5lb, and he has ridden 25 winners for O'Shea down through the years. If he can get Dalness Express away on level terms from stall 10, and get a bit more luck in running, I think he could hit the frame at odds of 16/1.


Saturday, 7 January 2017

Prairie Could Relish Return To Sandown

Autumn Tonic ran an absolute stinker for us earlier this week, fading badly in the last couple of furlongs. He didn't come anywhere near replicating his previous run, and he is one to tread carefully with in the future. Today the best of the action comes from Sandown and Wincanton, and I think Prairie Town could outrun his odds in the lucky last at the former track.
Tony Carroll is a shrewd operator. 
This 6yo son of High Chaparral is in the care of shrewd handler Tony Carroll, and he has shown some of his best form over course and distance. Three runs here have yielded a win and a second, and his only poor effort at Sandown came in the ultra competitive Imperial Cup last March. He was poor last time out at Doncaster, but the trip of 19.5f was a valid excuse for that effort.

He is much better judged on his penultimate run here when less than 2L behind Poker School and 8L ahead of the rest off a mark of 125. Poker School has gone on to win two of his next three runs over fences and, when you consider that Prairie Town was conceding 10lb to the Ian Williams horse, it looks an excellent effort in hindsight. The handicapper raised him to 129 for that effort, but he has been dropped to 127 after his poor run last time at Doncaster.

Lee Edwards keeps the ride, and he has won over 30 races when riding for Carroll in the last 5 seasons. Prairie Town's last run in a class 2 contest came at Cheltenham in January, and he was a good 4th on heavy ground (17f) off 129. I think that shows that he is more than capable of making an impact off his current mark of 127 in this company and, with trip and track sure to suit, he is worth backing each way at the generous looking odds of 25/1.


Thursday, 5 January 2017

7 Furlongs Could Be Just The Tonic For Autumn

Seemorelights drifted like a barge in the run up to the race and, despite being 'backed' into 25s before the off, he ran accordingly. He was always out the back, he pulled hard early and, while he did plug on in the closing stages, he never looked like reaching the frame. Tomorrow I think Autumn Tonic looks overpriced at Southwell in the opener, a 7f class 6 handicap.
Few trainers are in better form than David Barron
This 5yo son of Approve is trained by the in form David Barron, and he has had 2 winners and a 2nd from his last 5 runners. Autumn Tonic is having just his 3rd start for Barron, and he stepped up markedly on his first run for the yard when running a cracker in a class 6 classified 6f race here a week ago.

He was slowly enough away from stall 8 with the blinkers back on (retained today), and Andrew Mullen decided to chart a wide course. Autumn Tonic pulled pretty hard too in the opening furlong, and that makes his finishing effort even more impressive. He stayed on really strongly in the final stages, beaten just 1.5L in 5th. He was only a couple of necks behind Tasaaboq in 3rd, and he is 2lb better off with that rival today.

When he was trained by Simon Dow his only win came in a maiden over 6f, but he was placed over 7f on his 2nd start, arguably his best ever run. His refusal to settle has cost him in the past, and Mullen will hopefully be able to get him to race evenly behind the leaders from his good draw in stall 2. Mullen has had 2 winners and a 2nd from his last 6 rides for Barron, so it is worth taking note when they team up.

Autumn Tonic is obviously no superstar, but he definitely has enough ability to win off his mark of 52. He seemed to relish the surface on his first visit to Southwell last time and, if Mullen can settle him early and engineer a clear passage up the inner, he should have no problem getting 7f. I think odds of 14/1 look too big, and he is the each way suggestion in a wide open race.


Monday, 2 January 2017

Good Ground To Suit Sandy's Charge At Musselburgh

Here's Herbie ran a cracker for us on New Year's Day, advised at 16s but available at 33s in a place on the morning of the race. He was eventually sent off at 16s and he was given a lovely ride by Lucy Gardner to finish a clear 2nd. He just bumped into a well handicapped horse and he is well capable of winning off his current mark, particularly when getting better ground.
Sandy Thomson's horses are flying. 
Another horse that I think could improve for the switch to better ground is Seemorelights, a 5yo son of Echo Of Light who is trained by shrewd handler Sandy Thomson. The Thomson yard is in flying form, firing in a double at Ayr earlier today. This gelding ran a poor race on his first start for Thomson on soft ground at Carlisle (17f), but if his point to point form is anything to go by he should take a big step forward on the forecast good ground at Musselburgh tomorrow.

He was 5th on his p2p debut on good to firm, but the form of his 2nd run at Grennan, also on good to firm ground, has worked out very well. The winner was beaten just 3L by Brelade when 3rd in a maiden hurdle, the 3rd won a novice hurdle at Bangor last month and the 5th (1L behind Seemorelights) went on to win two bumpers for Adrian Keatley at Killarney and Galway.

The first time hood should sharpen his focus, and Derek Fox is a good jockey booking (3/29 for Thomson). He lost a shoe last time out and that, along with the soft ground, provides a valid excuse for his disappointing effort. I think we could see a different horse tomorrow with ground to suit, and Thomson couldn't be in better form. At odds of 33/1 I think Seemorelights is worth backing each way in what looks a wide open bumper.