Tuesday 6.15pm The Epsom Derby meeting approach’s and I’ve no strong fancy in either Classic but #FantasticMrFahey likes the handicaps, two 25/1 winners in the last four seasons and Atteq goes for the 3yo one that Heavens Guest won at 9/2 back in the day. Indeed Musley bank is in rude health especialy with market leading 2yo’s. Indeed #FantasticMrFahey is currently top UK based trainer for money won, most winners and most 2yo’s winners. Sort the wheat from the chaff and he’s a money factory!
The Epsom Derby 2017
Epsom going turns good to soft following 15mm of rain Keith Melrose Racing Post 9:09AM, MONDAY MAY 29 2017
The band of rain that swept across south-east England on Sunday evening deposited more than half an inch of rain on Epsom, where the Derby meeting begins on Friday. Clerk of the course Andrew Cooper reported on Monday morning: “We’ve just been out for a walk on the course and if we were racing today I’d call it good to soft. The rain started about 4pm yesterday and got heaviest between around midnight and 2pm. It has softened the ground quite a bit, but we were pretty quick before that.” Nearby Windsor, where racing takes place on Monday, reported little more than half the amount (8.7mm) of rain Epsom received on Sunday, but Cooper had no concerns about getting the worst of the weather. “I was pleased to get the rain, it was fairly timely, I was starting to get a bit twitchy yesterday. We were calling it good to firm, but it wasn’t too far off being firm.” The Oaks takes place on day one of the Derby meeting on Friday and Cooper suggested that the weather is likely to be more settled in the days leading up to racing. “We might get a few more showers today, according to the forecast, but we’re due to be dry Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, we might get a bit more rain on Friday night into Saturday.”
Gosden supplements Khalidi to take his team to five Racing Post Graham Dench 6:34PM, MAY 29 2017
John Gosden’s addition of Friday’s Goodwood winner Khalidi to the Investec Derby field at a cost of £85,000 caught many by surprise, but while he would have preferred more time between races he feels the colt merits his place in an open race. Gosden, who has never previously had more than two runners, could have as many as five on Saturday, with Windsor handicap winner Crowned Eagle, runaway Southwell maiden winner Pealer, and Lingfield Derby Trial second Glencadam Glory in the mix alongside general 4-1 favourite Cracksman and 25-1 chance Khalidi, who landed the Listed Cocked Hat Stakes last week. Gosden said: “It’s a very open race and it’s a great race, which means people can be bold and have a go. All of mine are in different ownership, and it’s the Derby. We like to be part of it, although we go there more in hope than certainty. It’s a pity Cracksman didn’t get another run, but he goes there with two runs and two wins and he has been to Epsom twice, which helps. He’ll stay well, so he’s a legitimate 4-1 chance. Crowned Eagle comes off a nice win and will definitely appreciate the step up in trip. Pealer has gone very nicely with Cracksman twice, both at home and at Breakfast With The Stars and he’ll stay well too. Glencadam Glory has always had the pedigree of a proper mile and a half horse and has been better at the gate since Lingfield, while Khalidi’s owner [Nizar Anwar] called on Sunday to say he would like to supplement. Although I had been thinking of the King Edward VII, Khalidi is a grand horse who broke the track record, and he has taken his race well.”
Racing Post Maddy Playle 8:22PM, MAY 26 2017
Aidan O’Brien’s Derby team will be minus a member as the Ballydoyle trainer ruled out 12-1 shot Yucatan on Friday evening. O’Brien, who won the Classic for three consecutive years starting with Camelot’s win in 2012, will not be relying on Flaxman Stables’s colt, who finished a narrow second behind stablemate Douglas Macarthur in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial Stakes at Leopardstown earlier this month. Following Order Of St George’s win in the Saval Beg Stakes, O’Brien revealed: “Yucatan is going to be left alone. We’ll give him a little break now and hopefully he’ll be back for the autumn and if not he’ll be a smashing four-year-old. Of the horses we were looking at for the Derby, he’s the one we’re going to leave at the moment. We always really liked him and were very happy with him last time and were looking forward to him running, but he just needed a bit of time and we felt it was the right thing to do to give him that time.”
Wednesdays Lucky 15
Little different today in as much as I’ve chosen the races first then looked for the horse.
Beverley 3.30 ARCANE DANCER 4/1 general
Nottingham 3.50 ANOTHER TOUCH 11/4 general
Kempton 7.50 KEYSER SOZE 10/1 general
Kempton 8.20 DARK DEVIL 6/1 Coral 11/2 general
and here’s why
Beverley 3.30 ARCANE DANCER Two to choose from in a race where not many have obvious chances. Some with no ability and those that have the handicapper has by the short and curly’s. As the Racing Post website points out about Arcane Dancer, “Two C&D wins last year and went close back here on seasonal return; major player.” Add to that Paul Hanagan in the saddle and a draw in stall 1 and that’s plenty of positives. The other runner of note for me, at a price, was SpecialV who is down to a winning mark and two runs ago hinted that his turn could be near but that draw in stall 13 will make life tough for Ben Curtis.
Nottingham 3.50 ANOTHER TOUCH A cracking 8F+ C2 handicap for a Wednesday and plenty of Saturday horses looking to pick up a nice prize on a Wednesday!
Out go;- White Lake won the Convivial at York three years ago but nothing since. Poeta Litta, zilch since arriving from Italy. One Word More, usually good on seasonal debut but this is tough for a 7yo who hasn’t won since April 2015. Dragon Mall, whose only win was two seasons ago as a 2yo. Consistent without winning and getting no respite from the handicapper. Big Baz has done his connections proud, winning two Listed races and this contest two seasons ago but nothing recently to suggest he’s about to return to winning ways although the handicapper has relented somewhat. Kaspersky was a Group 2+3 winner in Italy but seems high in the handicap for the actual strength of that form.
So I’m down to two again. Hamdam al Maktoum’s Algairth was always thought to be better than a handicapper, he was 9th in the Cambridgeshire as a 3yo but has been hard to train and this will only be the 5yo’s fourth race since and in the meantime he has moved yards and been gelded. His last run when fourth in a Listed race at Ascot suggested the fire still burned but is he in the shape to win this?
Another Touch is the selection and is top of my short list for the very valuable 10F John Smiths handicap at York later this summer and a win here wouldn’t go amiss. So far this season he has been second, mugged by Banksea in that very strong Newbury Spring Cup and a running on fourth recently at York in the Listed Hambleton handicap. Up just 2lbs he needs to get his head back in front and Tony Hamilton who knows him well will just want something to shoot at in the last hundred yards, maybe Algaith, maybe Big Baz, maybe both!
Kempton 7.50 KEYSER SOZE Simply this race revolves around whether Gymnaste can give the weight away? She is another of John Gosden’s excellent team of 3yo fillies and was a comfortable winner over this trip at the recent Chester meeting. I’m taking her on as I think she lacks experience and I didn’t think that Chester race had any depth to it. However I accept this Cheveley Park daughter of Shamardal could be Group class in two races time especially over further.
Keyser Soze is the selection who was placed in two hot 2yo maidens before competing in the two big 6F sales races, both times running on to be just behind the places. Gelded over the winter it was no surprise that he won comfortably over 7F at Thirsk on seasonal debut despite being keen and green. In the hands of new talented kid on the block, Richard Spencer, I think a mark of OR83 seriously underestimates the horse’s ability. Noticeably Stevie Donohoe retains the ride.
Kempton 8.20 DARK DEVIL Initial thought is that Classic Villager has first run for Dean ivory having left Michael Appleby’s, a trainer who paid Mr Fung Lok Li £110K for him and called him “the best horse I’ve trained” blah blah but didn’t stop him being moved out of the yard!! Barge pole territory.
I put up Dark Devil last week but he was a non-runner because the ground firmed up and I wrote on the blog “Delighted to see he opens his campaign over a mile and I think #FantasticMrFahey has found him a ‘soft’ race, a C4 71-85 8F handicap and he is rated OR86! Hanagan goes to Scotland for just two rides and this is the fancied one. At the start of the 2016 season I blogged “Two promising seconds in C4 maidens before narrowly getting home in a C5 maiden over 7F at Redcar. Travels well and looks a trier. He has already been gelded and 3yo mile handicaps look to be his bag.” Just hasn’t bagged one! C4 stiff 8F or possibly 9F, just doesn’t get 10F. He has now! Nolan gave him a great ride at Goodwood to win a C4 8F on Good ground.” This race is tougher being a C3 76-90 race and it will be first time on the AW for Dark Devil but I think he looks just about the only improver in the field with the possible exception of top weight, Ballard Down, but he has to give the selection six pounds. David Nolan keeps the ride.
Saturdays Lucky 15
Horray a winner! Nothing to go with it sadly but most of our stake back.
York 2.40 DAL HARRAILD 1st 3/1F (6/1 PP 11/2 general) (3.85/1 after rule 4’s)
In pouring rain saw it out well coming from off the pace and there is talk of the Ascot Gold Cup.
Haydock 2.55 MUSTARRID 5th 7/2F (8/1 PP 7/1 general)
Not sure that Mustarrid stayed the mile although connections blamed the ground “The representative of Richard Hannon, the trainer of MUSTARRID (IRE), placed fifth, was unsuited by the Firm, Good to Firm in places going on this occasion, and would prefer a slower surface.” BHA Stewards. Every chance two furlongs out then hung left.
Goodwood 3.10 AARDWOLF 10th 8/1 (8/1 general)
Annoyingly the other Mark Johnston horse, Sutter County, doing exactly from the front what I had predicted the selection would do! Fade badly from the furlong pole
Chester 5.20 OKOOL 4th 2/1 (7/4 general)
Quite simply the horse didn’t handle the course, he hung off every bend and there are plenty of those at Chester. Next time back on an orthodox flat galloping track please!
Dr Marwan Koukash old boys
Turned out to be a fun each way bet for the afternoon with Suegioo only just nabbed and Gabrials King coming from out of the clouds to grab third. Seeing the prices were 10/1 and 16/1 no financial damage done.
Chester 3.05 GABRIALS KAKA 8th 20/1
Connor Murtagh had him in position A throughout, horse just not good enough from the furlong pole. Does he need a bit more rain perhaps.
Chester 4.50 GABRIALS KING 3rd 16/1
Slow away but travelled then flew around the outside off the home bend to snatch third. BHA Stewards Reports “Adam McNamara, the rider of GABRIAL’S KING (IRE), placed third, reported that the gelding was slowly away.”
Haydock 2.20 SUEGIOO 2nd 10/1
Another excellent ride. Held up last but not far away, sneaked up the inside rail from 2F out and I thought he had got it only to be chinned by Yorkidding!
Goodwood 4.20 ANGEL GABRIAL 6th 7/1
Odd ride Pat Dobbs. Held up out the back, right out the back. Overtook half a dozen in the home straight!