Friday 6.10pm Struggled at Chester on all three days! Montaly being the only highlight winning the Chester Cup but that is a bit like saying I got the winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup at the Festival, expensive! Quite a knack getting prominent running horses beaten out of the three inside stalls! No winners for Koukash, no winners for #FantasticMrFahey and not much better for me! Let’s get back to the orthodox courses this weekend and look forward to York’s Dante meeting next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Let’s get some more bad news out of the way, Non-Runner “Ride Like The Wind (IRE) Declared: Fri 12 May 12:53pm Reason: Vets Cert (Bruised Foot)” Sorry!
Ascot for Victoria Cup – Good to Firm
Haydock for Swinton Hurdle – Chase & Hurdle: Good, Watered. Flat: Good to Firm, Firm in Places, Watered
Lingfield for Derby and Oaks trials – Good to Soft, Good in places
Saturdays Lucky 15
Ascot 2.15 MORNINGTON 10/1 PP 9/1 WH+BetFred
Ascot 3.25 ARISTOCRATIC 3/1 general
Haydock 3.45 BIRCHWOOD 4/1 general
Haydock 5.25 LEADERS LEGACY 3/1 Ladbrokes 11/4 general
and here’s why
Ascot 2.15 MORNINGTON He is definitely on the upgrade and seems to get on well with his young pilot who probably needs monitoring as closely as the horse. No issues with ground or trip just a case of is he good enough at this stage of his career to be a C3 Saturday horse? At a double figure price I’ll take the chance.
Marcus Tregoning Latest News on website “Mornington doubled his score for the season with a decisive success in the Class 4 handicap at Bath on Monday over a trip of just short of twelve furlongs. In defying an 8 lbs ride for his maiden triumph at Brighton just over a fortnight ago he took a significant step forward in a manner which offered promise of more to come. The winner was again well ridden by stable apprentice Tyler Saunders who seized the initiative early in the straight before easing up on his mount in the closing stages once victory was assured. Racing off a mark of 80 Mornington won with something to spare by two and three quarter lengths from Plymouth Sound. He seemed well suited by the step up in trip from a mile and a quarter last time and is progressing nicely at this early stage of the season.”
Ascot 3.25 ARISTOCRATIC If there is any area of training that Sir Michael Stoute excels at it is with his older horses, especially his fillies. This daughter of Exceed and Excel looks ready for a step up to a mile and Sir Michael once again uses Andrea Atzeni. Should improve having had a run, the quick ground should help and OR82 seems a lenient mark in this C3 fillies handicap.
Haydock 3.45 BIRCHWOOD Classy at best, bought last year by Godolphin, steps back up to 7F and must surely come on for his prep run in the Cammidge trophy over 6F that opened the Flat season. Form on all types of ground, 7F at Listed level is his level and Paul Hanagan does the steering.
#FantasticMrFahey sportinglifeblog “Birchwood is our first Saturday runner in the Pertemps Network Spring Trophy Stakes at Haydock. He was very disappointing at Doncaster on his reappearance as he’d been working really well going into that. He is going nicely again now, we’re very happy with him, and I hope he bounces back as he’d have a chance here.”
Haydock 5.25 LEADERS LEGACY Owned by Godolphin this $900K son of War Front was sent off 11/4 favourite on his only run as a 2yo and showed promise when prominent a furlong out but tired up the stiff Sandown hill. The Boys in Blue must have been fairly impressed with the race as they promptly bought the winner, Best of Days! Made his 3yo reappearance in a C5 maiden at Epsom over 8F+ on Good ground and with De Sousa, back in the Godolphin blue, riding him as the best horse in the race this bull of a horse handled the gradients well and hosed up. His opening handicap mark of OR89 could be very much on the lenient side. Dane O’Neill takes over in the saddle.
Fridays Lucky 15
Dreadful. Amazed none of the four jockeys had anything to report to the Stewards. Can only presume, no excuses and all beaten on merit!
Chester 2.25 MIRAGE DANCER 4th 7/2 (9/2 PP + BetFred 4/1 general)
Needed the experience. Fizzy going down. Slow away, dropped in, no room turning for home. Kept on, will stay further and possible candidate for G3 12F Edward VII at Royal Ascot.
Chester 3.00 PARTITIA 4th 13/2 (6/1 general)
Dropped out early and basically never dropped in! Poor.
Chester 4.35 CANNY KOOL 3rd 12/1 (8/1 Coral+Ladbrokes)
Sat in the box seat, kept on final furlong. Will improve for the run.
Chester 5.05 CROQUEMBOUCHE 7th 8/1 (15/2 general)
Got out well, soft lead, swamped at the furlong pole. Smart winner in St. Marys for Andrew Balding who for a long leggy filly was athletic enough to handle this tight course. She’ll get no penalty as this was a boy’s race and she’s well handicapped on OR78.
Here’s a reminder of the Ante Post piece I put up on Tuesday that did of course recommend the 16/1 winner of the Chester Cup, Montaly, as one of three selections. Here are Saturday’s hopefuls and the good news is they all go to post!!
Saturday 3.10 Swinton Hurdle Haydock
This C2 2m handicap hurdle is the first big prize of the new NH season and will be run on Good ground, unless those thunderstorms hit on Friday, on one of the UK’s sharpest tracks. The trends say we are looking for a 5yo-7yo, an Official Rating between 126-135 inclusive, under 11st 6lbs, that’s run in the last 50 days, fewer than eight handicaps, form in the Imperial Cup or Scottish County hurdle or a Festival and beware of anything Philip Hobbs or Ewan Williams saddle. Any horse with 11st 7lbs or more has a dreadful record in this race. Two leap out at me. London Prize won the Imperial Cup and still gets in here off OR135, Tom O’Brien is already jocked up, was second at Haydock on the flat and last time was beaten just over four lengths in seventh in the Scottish Champion hurdle. Has to be a player. Traditional Dancer for Ian Jardine further down the weights and at a much bigger price also appeals. He was a solid third in the Scottish County hurdle and will certainly be staying on and I think this sharp track off a quick pace will suit him.
London Prize two star**win 12/1 PP+WH
Traditional Dancer one star* each way 33/1 PP+WH 1234 ¼
Saturday 4.00 Victoria Cup Ascot
By far the best handicap of the weekend but comes fraught with danger at this stage as running plans are far from sorted. We’ll have a stab anyway. I’m ignoring the draw, I’m going with good to Firm ground and I’m assuming a solid pace. This is an obvious stepping stone to the Hunt Cup at the Royal meeting in a month’s time. The stats say (as of 2016) Official Rating no greater than 96: 9/10 Carried no more than 9.01: 9/10 Aged either 4 or 5 years old: 8/10 Previous win over 7 furlongs: 8/10 Ran earlier during the Season: 8/10 Recorded a top 5 finish last time out: 8/10
So the first selection is George William. Richard Hannons 4yo son of Paco Boy was a huge eye-catcher last time out when getting going too late over a mile behind Banksea at Newbury, finishing fifth but less than a length off the winner. He had won his two previous races over 8F+ at Nottingham and 7F at Chelmsford and I think this improver who ticks many of those trends boxes will be ideally suited by Ascot’s stiff 7F.
For our second selection we are going to throw the trends out of the window and we are going completely left field. In the last three running’s of this race the same jockey has finished 5th 20/1, 1st 10/1 and 3rd 10/1 all for different trainers and in my opinion no one rides the straight 7F and 8F course better than him. Take a deep breath, it is of course Jamie Spencer, Mr Marmite of the weighing room! This year he is currently down to ride Ride Like The Wind for Kevin Ryan. Originally with Freddie Head in France he cost the current owners €75K who have had the 5yo son of Lope de Vega gelded. He’s had two runs for the current yard over 5F on the sand at Lingfield and then in a hood over 6F in the Cammidge trophy that opened the current Flat season when he didn’t clearest of runs. He was sprinting on soft ground all last season but if you go back to his 3yo days he was 3rd in a G3 on Good ground at Longchamp when the RP analysis says “Held up towards rear, unable to quicken instantly 2f out, finished strongly final furlong, just failed to get 2nd”. This horse could be made for young James. At the price I will try our luck and the horse goes in the tracker for sure!
George William one star*win 16/1 PP 12/1 general
Ride Like The Wind one star* each way 25/1 BetFred+WH 1234 ¼
The Victoria Cup comes with a major rider. I really want to put up Taurean Star who has the Ascot form and his recent win at Yarmouth would have put him spot on for this but the miserly handicapper has only put him up two pounds from OR89 to OR91 and I don’t think he’ll get in. If he does and we’ll know Thursday about 11am he has to be my two star** each selection (16/1 PP+BetFred 1234 ¼) and I fully expect that Michael Bell’s 4yo charge will be ridden by no less than one James Spencer! Check out the video replays of his previous Ascot runs.
Richard Fahey guide to his Saturday Chester team May 11 2017, 16:51
Birchwood is our first Saturday runner in the Pertemps Network Spring Trophy Stakes at Haydock. He was very disappointing at Doncaster on his reappearance as he’d been working really well going into that. He is going nicely again now, we’re very happy with him, and I hope he bounces back as he’d have a chance here.
Heaven’s Guest loves Ascot and heads there as part of our team for the totescoop6 Victoria Cup where he’s joined by Withernsea and Stamp Hill. He isn’t getting any younger but the handicapper has just started to give him a chance and we’re giving it a go in a race that should suit. To be at his best Withernsea needs some rain. He’s been knocking on the door in the big prizes and I’d love to win one with him but I do think he needs everything to be right on the day – with the ground the biggest factor.
I was a fraction disappointed with Heatongrad’s reappearance at Thirsk, where he finished sixth. We were very happy with him going into it and he needs to bounce back in the Download The App DG Cars Handicap at Nottingham.
Our final three runners are all at Thirsk. Noah Amor is in great form right now – he was just touched off at Pontefract last time when trying to complete a hat-trick. He must have a big chance in the ABF The Soldiers’ Charity Selling Stakes which doesn’t look the warmest of heats.
Things will be tougher for Scofflaw in the Dick Peacock Sprint Handicap. He’s possibly not ideally drawn in two although you can win from there in a big field such as this. He needs to be at his very best but is capable of going well if he is.
Dark Confidant has been a disappointing horse. We had his wind done before his last start at Catterick where he seemed to run a little better. Hopefully he can build on that in the closing Thirsk Racecourse – The Perfect Wedding Venue Handicap.