Thursday 6.00pm Plenty of cracking racing for the next four days. I’ve put Fridays Lucky 15 up using Newcastle and Bath and I’ve had a brief look at Lingfield’s AW Championship card. ITV have Haydock and Musselburgh on the box on Saturday. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday is Punchestown and their Grand National meeting where Mullins v Elliott will be big on the agenda before climaxing at Punchestown so I’ve included a bit of light reading on the subject!
Special treat is a Newmarket gallops report from RP’s David Milnes.
Good Friday Lingfield AW Championships.
Just an Apprentice handicap then six Conditions (level weights) races over varying trips for varying ages and sexes. Just too much luck involved with fourteen hurtling down and round Lingfield and unless you get a racing seam in that short home straight you’re stuffed. Having the right jockey in the right place will be crucial.
1.40 Just think for a trainer such as David Evans these races are a big deal and I fancy a couple of his that I think have been trained to the minute! So it’s the frustrating Dougan for me, normally a 6F finisher on the Turf but he has won over 7F here in Surrey. Drawn in stall 7 Callum Shepherd should be able to have plenty of options when making his charge.
2.10 Not many races of this quality over 16F at Lingfield. If any jockey can overcome the car park draw it’s Joe Fanning and he’s going to try to get to the front before they run downhill first time and make every yard on Mark Johnsons in form Watersmeet.
2.40 The mare’s is a three way go. Neither Realtra nor Muffri’Ha covered themselves with glory on their Dubai trip so I’ll go for Kevin Ryan’s stay at home Ashadihan. She is two from two over course and distance.
3.10 6F sprint. You pay your money and you take your chance!! Heart says Kimberella for Fahey and Hanagan but two serious rivals in the classy Lancelot du Lac and the selection Gracious John. For reasons outlined in the 1.40 and he was soooooo unlucky last year, awkward at stalls and met with a wall of horses when storming through!
3.40 It’s a mile, it’s at Lingfield it has to be Michael Wighams My Target! C&D form 2111115!!
4.10 Hard to oppose the Haggas hotpot but Ryan Moore riding for Godolphin on a filly getting 5lbs from the boys and she’s unbeaten in her last three! At the prices (5/1) we’ll choose Dubai One.
4.40 We’ll stick with young Ryan here on Convey who the handicapper and I think is at least three pounds well in! Won the Winter Derby on his only attempt over course, distance and surface with most of these behind him. Nap material.
Good Fridays Lucky 15
Bath 3.30 DOCTOR BAROLO 4/1 general
Bath 4.30 THE WARRIOR 8/1 general
Newcastle 2.55 INAAM 6/1 PP 5/1 general
Newcastle 3.25 WILD HACKED 6/1 general
and this is the reasoning
Bath 3.30 DOCTOR BAROLO Many of these 3yo’s are stepping up in grade and trip or both. The selection impressed on debut in a Newmarket maiden when second to Time Zone, has a 2000 Guineas entry, and the third has won since. Disappointed twice at Wolverhampton but hacked up at Newcastle in a C5 maiden when stepped up to 10F. OR80 seems a fair mark to go handicapping off and Charlie Hills can repel the Mark Johnston batallions, he runs three of the eight!
Bath 4.30 THE WARRIOR Ex Coolmore and A.P O’Brien acquired by Amanda Perrett in October 2015 he was OK last season, just beaten three lengths when eighth in the Victoria Cup. He was gelded in August 2016 and his form on the AW since is 321. 8F seems to be his trip, he’s fit and in form and as a hold up horse just needs a little bit of luck in the final furlong.
Newcastle 2.55 INAAM Time to find a winner from #FantasticMrFahey. I like it when he’s succinct in his sportinglife.com blog, “Inaam is in great form as he goes for a hat-trick in the sunbets.co.uk Handicap. Track and trip will suit him.” Not many negatives there! Up just 2lbs for winning in this grade over C&D. Happy with the draw in stall 4 and even Tony Hamilton has had a couple of winners recently.
Newcastle 3.25 WILD HACKED Marco Botti teams up with Frankie Dettori on the recent Rosebery second who certainly bumped into one in Big Country. Up 4lbs I think he’s still well in for this valuable £52K C2 12F contest. Remarkably consistent being placed in eight of his eleven races, winning three. This can be his fourth with trip, grade and fitness in his favour, Frankie will just have to box clever from the outside draw early on.
Wednesdays Lucky 15
Sort of OK if you got some of the 3/1 about the winner (£10 back for £15) with a first second and third.
Catterick 3.00 DUTCH ARTIST 3rd 4/1F (8/1 BetFred 7/1 PP) R4 3x 10p in £
Great position going into the bend but didn’t handle it well and was in a pocket turning for home but when he got out the Fahey trained winner was gone.
Nottingham 4.50 SNOOKERED 8th 14/1 (12/1 Lads 11/1 general)
Tried to sneak up the inside to make his challenge two out but got squeezed and came home in own time. 12/04/17 BHA Stewards Report “The Stewards noted that approximately 1½ furlongs out, PEACE AND PLENTY, unplaced, had hung left despite the best efforts of its rider to correct, causing SNOOKERED (IRE), unplaced, to be tightened for room against the rail but after viewing a recording of the race they were satisfied that it did not involve a riding offence. “
Kempton 6.45 MONARCHS GLEN 1st 7/4 (3/1 general)
Terry Norman @tjnnorman Weds April 12th Monarchs Glen did 11.2sec between the 2f – 1f pole. A proper horse. Drop to 10f will be no problem #impressive
sportinglife.com April 13 2017, 13:47 Frankel colt, Monarchs Glen, will be stepped up in class after making a mockery of an opening handicap mark of 87 at Kempton on Wednesday evening. Gosden said: “He is very talented and he won his maiden well. He is a strong-willed horse. He finally relaxed after the back straight. He surprised Frankie how well he defeated a field full of winners. We will head towards the Classic Trial at Sandown.” Nuff said!
Dundalk 8.00 PUPPETSHOW 2nd 4/1 (15/8 PP)
Hood and a tongue tie probably tells you all you need to know. Good sized filly with tons of ability and when she mentally matures, learns to settle she could easily be Group class! Confused by market, drifted all day to 7/2, opened on course at 5/1 out to 6/1, smashed into 7/2, returned at 4/1. Looked to me as though she was ridden in an “educational” manner, if you can say that these days about A.P O’Brien runners, and the market knew!
Keep an eye out for
Newcastle 3.55 I’ve backed South Seas for the Guineas so I hope he bolts up here but there are some useful types in opposition and I think this race could throw up a bucket load of 3yo winners with runners from Fahey, Ryan and Johnstone for the North v the Newmarket big guns of Stoute, Gosden and Bin Suroor! A notebook must!
Bath 4.00 Can #FantasticMrFaheys Mr Lupton beat Muthmir? Notebook says “Brilliant winner of the Charity Sprint handicap at York off OR102 and now plying his trade at Listed/Group level. 6F, cut in the ground, breakneck gallop and Jamie Spencer may be the ducks that need to be aligned to land a Group race!” Its Bath’s Good to Firm ground that bothers me, they can’t water. Otherwise all the ducks are swimming in the right direction! Fahey in his sportinglife.com blog says ”Mr Lupton in the Bathwick Tyres Conditions Stakes. For some reason he seems to take a run to get into gear but he’s in good form at home. He has Muthmir to beat here but if that one isn’t on his A-game I hope we’ll be around to pick up the pieces.” Not exactly oozing confidence. Spencer only has one other ride on the card, the 2.00.
Bath 4.30 HEAVENS GUEST Love this horse and Connor Murtagh takes 7lbs off his reduced mark of OR98. HG on OR91 and I would be piling in BUT he’s best on a straight course with a bit of cut in the ground and this hairpin bend into the straight is going to totally confuse him. Why is he running here? Well the answer may be in Fahey’s sportinglife.com
blog “I think Heaven’s Guest is badly handicapped and ran accordingly in the Lincoln. However, with the current system if you don’t run you won’t come down so we’ll try again in the Dribuild Handicap. I’d be absolutely over the moon if he won – but a little surprised too.”
He also runs Invermere who ran a cracker at Doncaster and only carries 8st here but is 3lb wrong in the handicap. Notebook says “Got her season off to a cracking start when second in a C4 7F handicap at Doncaster’s opening meeting. Up a pound to a career high OR80. Really consistent and could still be improving. Any ground, 7-9F. Worth a shot at a C2?” Has to be worth an e/w interest with Coral @12/1
Newcastle 1.50 and Bath 5.00 are two 2yo 5F maidens BUT they are both C2 and worth £12k a pop!! Could be some Royal Ascot clues as you won’t send a muppet here. Winners could be useful.
David Milnes Newmarket Gallops APR 12 2017
Shutter Speed John Gosden
Gosden conveyed his recovering jockey Nicky Mackay to watch his second lot work on the Al Bahathri Polytrack and the rider was soon turning around on his crutches to watch the Yarmouth winner fly by. The daughter of Dansili is one of a few fringe horses in the 1,000 Guineas picture at Clarehaven and is set to test her Classic credentials at Newbury’s Greenham meeting. David Milnes Newmarket Gallops APR 12 2017
Eminent Martyn Meade
Jim Crowley plans to ride out twice a week in Newmarket this season and found time from his Hamdan Al Maktoum duties to partner the promising Frankel colt on the Limekilns Trial Ground. As he did when winning his maiden on the Rowley Mile, the three-year-old takes time to find his stride but was well on top at the close of a seven furlong exercise and will trial back at Newmarket next week David Milnes Newmarket Gallops APR 12 2017
Dubawi Prince Roger Varian
Now situated close to the Bury Side gallops at Carlburg, Varian can have a lie in and still get to the Limekilns and Al Bahathri early and this recent Doncaster maiden winner shone at the latter venue at second lot. Andrea Atzeni was stepping on the revs on the son of Dubawi who may tackle a 1m2f conditions contest at Newbury on Friday week. David Milnes Newmarket Gallops APR 12 2017
Kaspersky Jane Chapple-Hyam
A recent arrival from Italy, the six-year-old looked a class act on the Al Bahathri Polytrack at second lot where he stepped clear of his lead horse under Stevie Donohoe. A four-time winner at Group level in Italy and Germany, the son of Footstepsinthesand already tops the bill at Abington Place and is set for his first outing on British soil in the Listed Paradise Stakes at Ascot on May 3. David Milnes Newmarket Gallops APR 12 2017
Never Back Down Hugo Palmer
Palmer is hoping to unleash this two-year-old son of Kodiac in the 5f conditions contest at the Craven meeting, a race he won with Gifted Master in 2015. The 100,000 guineas purchase was giving out all the right signals in his work on the Al Bahathri and is managed for a new middle eastern owner by agent Armando Duarte. David Milnes Newmarket Gallops APR 12 2017
Gordon Elliott or Willie Mullins David Jennings 6:48PM, APR 12 2017
Neither Gordon Elliott or Willie Mullins can win the Irish trainers’ title at Fairyhouse but both can lose it. Three days, two Grade 1s and Ireland’s most valuable jumps race means that the Easter eggs on offer at the Meath track have never tasted so good. There is a whopping €1.39 million worth of prize-money up for grabs over 23 races and, while the €500,000 BoyleSports Irish Grand National is the undisputed highlight of the festival, there are four races worth €100,000 and five more worth €40,000 or more so there is plenty to play for. Sponsors BoyleSports make Elliott a 2-1 shot to train the winner of the Irish Grand National for the first time, while Mullins is 4-1 to do likewise. If either achieve the feat, it would certainly put them in the driving seat. Elliott goes into the three-day festival at Fairyhouse with a commanding €362,230 lead over Mullins but, given the defending champion’s superb record at Punchestown in the last decade, the consensus is that he will need to be just as far in front heading into those five days as he is now to hold on.
The races that matter most . . .
Ryanair Gold Cup (€100,000), Sunday April 16
Elliott Sent out Realt Mor to make all in 2013 and the Gigginstown pair Ball D’Arc (7-1) and A Toi Phil (9-1), who both have solid handicap form, are his two representatives this time.
Mullins Has never won it but Yorkhill is 1-2 with Paddy Power to end his hoodoo. The JLT winner jumps markedly to his left but did win his beginners’ chase at Fairyhouse.
Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares’ Novice Hurdle Championship Final (€100,000), Sunday April 16
Elliott Yet to scoop this lucrative pot, and while he does not have a female as talented as Let’s Dance he does have Barra (chased home Let’s Dance at Cheltenham), Shattered Love (took on the boys in the Neptune) and the four-year-old Dinaria Des Obeaux, who gets weight from all her rivals.
Mullins Landed two of the last four runnings with Annie Power (2013) and Adriana Des Mottes (2014) and this would look the ideal race for Cheltenham winner Let’s Dance, who is unbeaten this season. Mullins has six of the 14 entries.
Tattersalls Ireland Sales Bumper (€100,000), Sunday April 16
Elliott Three possibles, including Gigginstown pair Commandant, who fell six out on his sole point, and Dorydalis, who was a half-length winner of a Ballinaboola point in February.
Mullins Won the race in 2015 with Castello Sforza but has just the one entry this year, the Supreme Racing-owned Special Ted, an unraced son of Soldier Hollow.
Keelings Irish Strawberry Hurdle (€70,000), Monday April 17
Elliott Has six to choose from but the most interesting of his entries are arguably Coral Cup disappointment Tombstone and the hugely exciting Sutton Place, who has looked a star on both his starts this season and easily beat Supasundae at Naas.
Mullins Won this in five of the last eight renewals and has ten of the 19 entries on this occasion. Most intriguing of those could be the six-year-old mare Karalee, although Open Eagle, Shaneshill and Renneti would all be strong contenders too.
BoyleSports Irish Grand National (€500,000), Monday April 17
Elliott Has never won it but came very close last year with Bless The Wings, who was denied in a photo-finish. Now has 21 of the 74 possibles at the five-day stage, with Paddy Power winner Noble Endeavor his shortest-price runner at present. Sponsors Boylesports make him 2-1 to win the race.
Mullins still bidding to break his duck and will probably be hoping that The Crafty Butcher makes the line-up. Haymount and Arbre De Vie would look his two leading contenders if the Paddy Power runner-up does not make the cut. BoyleSports make him 4-1 to win the race.
Glascarn Handicap Hurdle (€100,000), Tuesday April 18
Elliott Automated would look the pick of his five entries, although Veinard was sixth to Ballyandy in the Betfair Hurdle off a mark of 126 and has a 3lb lower mark in Ireland.
Mullins Clondaw Warrior did the business for him last year and Daneking won it in 2014. He has 15 entries for this, headed by topweight Ivan Grozny.
Fairyhouse in numbers
3 days 2 Grade 1s 23 races 362,230 euro lead for Gordon Elliott in the trainers’ title race
1,390,000 in prize-money up for grabs over the three days
Thursday, April 13, 2017 MULLINS CONFIRMS STABLE STARS FOR PUNCHESTOWN
Willie Mullins has been leading trainer at each of the last 11 Punchestown Festivals (and 14 times in all) and he is set to unleash a fabulous team at this year’s event, running from Tuesday, April 25, to Saturday, April 29. Mullins is currently playing second fiddle to Gordon Elliott in the Irish trainers’ championship but Punchestown is likely to have a crucial bearing on the title race, with over €2.9 million in prize money on offer.
All eyes will be on the fantastic Annie Power, who Mullins has confirmed is set to have her first start since last year’s Punchestown Festival. The brilliant mare missed the Cheltenham due to a knee ligament injury. She has three options at Punchestown – the three-mile Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle (Thursday, April 27), the two-mile BETDAQ Punchestown Champion Hurdle (Friday, April 28) and the 2m 4f Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Champion Hurdle (Saturday, April 29).
“Annie Power is in good order and she is working well in preparation for Punchestown. We’re very happy to have her back obviously and looking forward to seeing her out again,” said Mullins. “She’s very adaptable and has top-class form over a variety of trips. Consequently she holds entries in the BETDAQ Champion Hurdle over two miles, the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Champion Hurdle over two-and-a-half and the Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle over three miles so we’ll decide on her target next week.”
Djakadam finished fourth to Sizing John when sent off 3/1 favourite for the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Mullins is happy to take on that rival again in what should be a brilliant Grade 1 Coral Punchestown Gold Cup on Wednesday, April 26. The 3m 1f showpiece is also the target of 2015 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Coneygree.
“I was disappointed with Djakadam’s run in Cheltenham as I thought he was in great form going into the race but hopefully he’ll return to form in the Coral Punchestown Gold Cup as he likes this track,” said Mullins. “From only four starts over Punchestown’s fences, he has won two John Durkans and finished second in the Gold Cup twice. With two of the last three Cheltenham Gold Cup winners likely to run in this year’s race, Coneygree and Sizing John, it looks like it will be an exceptionally strong renewal, which is as it should be. More and more English owners want runners in Ireland, or now have their horses trained here, because of the excellent prize money on offer.”
Un De Sceaux proved one of the stars of this year’s Cheltenham Festival when winning the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase over 2m 5f in superb fashion and Mullins has confrmed he will step back to two miles for the €250,000 Grade 1 BoyleSports Champion Chase on Tuesday, April 25.
“I’m very happy with Un De Sceaux,” added Mullins. “He was brilliant when winning his third consecutive Grade 1 chase at Cheltenham last month and given he’s unbeaten in three starts at Punchestown, I’m very much looking forward to seeing him contest the BoyleSports Champion Chase.”
In-form Ballycasey will be joining Un De Sceaux in the same race. “Ballycasey has had a great season thus far, recording four wins – three in Grade 2 company – and he will come back in trip to contest the two-mile Grade 1 Boylesports Champion Chase on the opening day of the festival. He’s well after his Fairyhouse win.”
The G1 Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle at Punchestown on Thursday, April 27, promises to be a race to savour with Nichols Canyon, winner of the Stayers Hurdle at Cheltenham, set to line up in the €250,000 contest. Lil Rockerfeller and Unowhatimeanharry, the Cheltenham second and third, look set to reoppose while Mullins has not ruled out running Arctic Fire, winner of the County Handicap Hurdle under top-weight at Cheltenham. The eight-year-old also has the option of the two-mile BETDAQ Punchestown Champion Hurdle on Tuesday, April 25.
“Nichols Canyon is fine and he will go for the Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle,” said Mullins. “Arctic Fire has come out of his County Hurdle win at Cheltenham very well and he is on course for Punchestown. He’ll probably go for the BETDAQ Champion Hurdle at this stage but he has won over two-and-a-half miles so the three-mile Ladbrokes Stayers Hurdle could be an alternative for him as well. We’ll keep all options open until closer to the day but he is in great form.”
Alongside Annie Power, Mullins has usual formidable team of mares, including the progressive Let’s Dance, winner of the Grade 2 Trull House Stud Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham on her latest start. She is likely to stick to novice company at Punchestown while the gutsy Vroum Vroum Mag has a whole array of possible targets, with her entries including the Coral Punchestown Gold Cup and BoyleSports Champion Chase over fences.
“Let’s Dance has kept on improving all season,” said Mullins. “She was second in the Grade 1 AES Four Year Old Hurdle at Punchestown last year and has won all five of her starts since. I was very pleased with her win at Cheltenham and she’s come out of it in good form. Whilst she’s in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Champion Hurdle, it probably makes sense to stick to novice company with her this season and so the Tattersalls Ireland Champion Novice Hurdle over 2m 4f or the Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle over three miles are the more likely options for her.
Vroum Vroum Mag is so versatile she could go anywhere. She holds an entry in both the BoyleSports Champion Chase and the Coral Punchestown Gold Cup over fences but at this stage we’ll probably stick to hurdles with her for Punchestown so we’ll pick between the BETDAQ Champion Hurdle, the Ladbrokes Stayers Hurdle and the Mares Champion. But last year’s winner Whiteout will definitely attempt to retain her title in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Champion Hurdle.”
Mullins has a string of entries in the two-mile Herald Champion Novice Hurdle on Tuesday, April 25, the 2m 4f Tattersalls Ireland Champion Novice Hurdle on Friday, April 28 and the three-mile Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle on Wednesday, April 26. The highly-regarded Melon, runner-up in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, is on target for the former, while Bleu Berry – unbeaten in three starts this season – is being aimed at 2m 4f race. Meanwhile, Penhill, winner of the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, is on course for the Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle.
“Melon is in great form after Cheltenham and will go for the Herald Champion Novice Hurdle where he could be joined by a few of his stablemates as well,” added Mullins. “With three consecutive wins over two miles under his belt, Bleu Berry looks an exciting young horse. He is in the Herald Champion Novice over two but at the moment it looks like we might step him up in trip to contest the Tattersalls Ireland Champion Novice Hurdle over two-and-a-half miles. He’s in good form. Penhill has various entries but he is being aimed at the three-mile Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle, that’s the race for him. He’s in good nick too.”
Mullins has no shortage of rookie talent over fences with Great Field, a 32-length winner at Thurles last month, being aimed at the two-mile Ryanair Novice Chase on Thursday, April 27. Yorkhill, winner of the JLT Novices’ Chase, is also in that race and the 3m 1f Growise Champion Novice Chase on Tuesday, April 25. He is likely to start at Fairyhouse this weekend so plans are fluid at present.
“Great Field is unbeaten in three starts for us over fences and he just keeps on improving. He’ll go for the Ryanair Novice Chase over two miles where better ground should be to his liking,” added Mullins. “Yorkhill returned from Cheltenham in good form and I’m happy with him. He’s in at Fairyhouse this weekend so we’ll have to see about Punchestown after that. He is in both novice chases at Punchestown and I’m not sure which he’d go for.”
Meanwhile Bapaume, runner-up in the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham, is set to try and go one better in the Grade 1 AES Champion 4YO Hurdle on Saturday, April 29. Several stablemates could be in the field including French import Orion D’Aubrelle, who has yet to run in Ireland.
“Bapaume came out of Cheltenham well and is being aimed at the AES Champion Four Year Old Hurdle on the final day of the Festival where he might be joined by Dandy Mag, Meri Devie and possibly a new recruit from France in Orion D’Aubrelle,” continued Mullins. “There are some very good bumpers at Punchestown too and we have a nice team of horses to contest those.”