The handicappers – Gimme the money!
I think it would be fair to say the bookies got the better of the handicaps last week at Royal Ascot with victories for 25/1 shots Bless Him, Snoano and Feng Zhui 20/1 Con Te Partiro and Rare Rhythm with Atty Persse at 7/1 and the well backed Thomas Hobson the only favourite to oblige courtesy of the omnipresent Willie Mullins and a super-patient Ryan Moore. These are the handicappers that went into my Notebook.
Wednesday – Hunt Cup
GM HOPKINS There is life in the old dog yet! Recently been having problems rearing as the stalls open but they seem to have sorted that and he flew out here, got outpaced but nothing was finishing stronger on the Stands side. Currently on OR104 I could see him running a big race in the Cambridgeshire if he hasn’t landed one of these big handicaps before then. (John Gosden)
FASTNET TEMPEST Remains on OR99 and I’m not sure the handicapper has him fully yet. Hold up horse so you are always a hostage to fortune but surely the total lack of pace that allowed Feng Zhui to make all put paid to all the “something to aim at” horses. Preference for a fast 7F over 8F, has to be a player in the Bunbury Cup at Newmarket on July 15 and/or the Gigaset International at Ascot on July 29. (William Haggas)
ANOTHER TOUCH Rather ran away with Connor Murtagh and was front rank for the first 6F then hung right under pressure. I’m dead keen on this horse for the John Smiths over 10F at York on July 15th, just think York and 10F will be right up his street. Horse is in form this season and never thought I would write this but Tony Hamilton might be the man for the job! (#FantasticMrFahey)
EL VIP Jamie Spencer got off Banksea to ride this one who’s mark of OR99, down from the OR102 he has in the John Smiths, looks workable. Never involved here as he had a ‘Taurean Star’ experience namely two thirds of the field came across him and Spencer could never find a racing seam until it was all over. (Luca Cumani)
Wednesday – Sandringham
DANCING BREEZE Solid effort here having been drawn on the wing with little cover on the far side when the race was down the middle and her OR drops from 90 to 87. Her turn isn’t far away. Might be worth a try in a C3 10F 3yo filly’s only handicap? (John Gosden)
Love this race and there will be a shed load of winners coming out of it which I hope will include the following!
The first three were three lengths clear of the rest and the handicapper has punished them accordingly.
BLESS HIM Quite sure this was a case of Jamie Spencer being in the right place at the right time with this winning reserve. Up ten pounds from OR90 to OR100 and if he was mine I would be touting for a Far East purchaser whilst here I would put him in Group company just in case he was that good! No bet for me. (David Simcock)
RONALD R Wrong race to bump into one and is now up to 104 which could spell the end of handicaps. However down to run at Yarmouth in an 8F C2 (0-105) on Friday and surely has to take part as he is nine pounds well in! Non-runner! (Michael Bell)
TRICORN Just doesn’t know how to run a bad race. In his six races his Racing Post Rating has gone 72-76-90-100-101-107 suggesting he could improve further and make into a Group horse. Now rated OR105 on Turf only OR99 on the AW so is there a handicap at Chelmsford? (John Gosden)
INDIAN DANDY In real time I never saw this horse fly from last to first on the stands side to finish fourth overall. However when you sit back and watch the replay objectively he is the first horse you notice! Handicapper has put him up one pound to OR93 and he has gone into many notebooks, to the point where he will be too short next time because everybody saw the last run! Currently 10lbs above his last winning mark, beware. (Marco Botti)
SENATOR Cracker of a run on only his second outing of the season, in the van throughout on the favoured far side and only faded in the final furlong. Handicapper has dropped him a pound to OR90 which should provide a winning opportunity knowing his shrewd connections. York in a couple of weeks? (#FantasticMrFahey)
The next three all stay on what I believe are winning marks, just didn’t happen for them at Ascot, close but no cigar!
AFAAK OR92. Still raw, seventh here and room for one better handicap prize before he goes into Group Company. Probably wouldn’t want to go further than a mile. (Charles Hills)
LEADERS LEGACY OR94 Mile on Good ground or better looks ideal and just like Afaak room for one more good handicap prize before he goes into Group company. (Saeed bin Suroor)
CITY OF JOY Remains on OR94. He was my nap of the meeting and in hindsight could have been beaten before the race started. Did the preliminaries upset him? He was certainly more than awkward at stalls entrance. Held up as expected but Ryan Moore just couldn’t find any racing room on the stands side until the race was over. Certainly not giving up on him yet. (Sir Michael Stoute)
Friday – King George V
ATTY PERSSE Kicking myself, wrote in Fridays blog “Wanted desperately to put up Atty Persse but concerned that 3lb claimer, Keiron Shoemark, rides for Godolphin? He’s drawn 22 and as one of the smallest Frankels I’ve seen he could get bashed about and he’s Favourite!” He may not be the biggest in stature but he’s a fighter. Overcoming Stall 22, over racing early on but still enough to repel all comers! Goes up from OR93 to OR102 and wouldn’t be surprised if Frankel’s first Royal Ascot winner was pointed towards the Great Voltiguer at York’s Ebor meeting and a tilt at the St. Leger. (Roger Charlton)
DROCHAID Probably too keen early on but still full of running in the home straight but just couldn’t get through when he needed to but did run on well for fourth. Up two pounds to OR95 and there is a good 3yo C2 12F handicap at Newmarket I would be keen to see him in. (Andrew Balding)
SOFIAS ROCK Remains on OR100 and had no sort of run here. Taken left out of the stalls, always travelling three wide then bounced around in the straight. Line through race and move on. Went off at just 7/1 here so front runners track like Haydock, Chester, Musselburgh etc. under the same conditions. Just needs to have a chance to lead. (Mark Johnston)
Friday – Duke of Edinburgh
RARE RHYTHM Some performance this. This was only the 5yo’s sixth appearance on a racecourse, he hadn’t been out since this race twelve months previously and in between this £650K son of Dubawi had been gelded. Drawn with just two horses outside him on ground probably quicker than ideal William Buick gave him a masterful ride. Though Buick had already displayed his ‘winning from a wide draw over 12F’ skill on Space Age two years ago!
“Charlie Appleby declared: “Rare Rhythm has been off a long time, but we knew we had got him right. I was confident coming into this race last year coming off another layoff but it didn’t pan out for us as it was a bit of a messy race. I thought the ground was key for this horse and that he would like decent ground. He met with a soft tissue injury after last year and it knocked us out of running him in the November Handicap at Doncaster. He has twice been to Chelmsford (Racecourse) for a gallop recently and he has also been gelded which has helped him get fitter. It was a great performance from the team and it is a big team effort – these are the days we are all here for, we haven’t thought of any races for him beyond this stage.”
William Buick added: “This was a very good training performance. Rare Rhythm has always had the engine but he got gelded and it’s ended up lighting the horse up a little bit. He just seems more athletic after it. He was fit and well coming in to the race and they didn’t go an awfully strong gallop either so I suppose we were in the right place.”
Rare Rhythm has an entry in the two furlong shorter John Smiths Cup for which he gets a five pound penalty but as the handicapper has put him up eight pounds he would in effect be three pounds well in. Looks a better horse over 12F and I wouldn’t be surprised if Godolphin move him into Group company over that trip, he certainly looks capable of winning at least a G3. (Charlie Appleby)
WADIGOR Backed off the boards into 4/1 favourite, SDS riding for Roger Varian. Dear Silvestre, not sighted at Ascot in nineteen rides, held up the inexperienced but unbeaten Wadigor way out the back and at the 2F pole just as he was about to ask for his finishing kick Adam Kirby on another punted horse, Sixties Groove, turned him sideways and it was race over. The culprit ran on strongly but was a rapidly closing fifth and I wonder how many more rides will Adam Kirby have for Mr Noseda? Wadigor remains on OR104 and has to be given another chance under similar conditions. (Roger Varian)
Saturday – Wolferton
SNOANO The Wolferton handicap was odd in as much that the strong pace looked like it collapsed at the furlong pole then parted like the Red Sea for David Allen on the winner followed through by a grateful Jamie Spencer on runner up, 7yo Majeed. Not sure how much I trust this form.
One of my favourite handicappers but as I have more than one quote from young Mr Easterby stating that “it just can’t be soft enough” for this horse, on quick ground I just didn’t have a penny on! Another who could show up in the John Smiths at York off OR102+5lbs penalty, although the handicapper has only put him up three pounds to OR105. (Tim Easterby)
“He’s come out of it good. I’ve had winners at Royal Ascot so I know what it takes. I won’t run them unless they have a chance,” said Easterby. “It was a nice surprise because he if it had been softer ground I’d have been fairly optimistic. It was fast so I was a bit iffy. He runs in the John Smith’s Cup. That’s been his aim all year. This was a bonus.”
MAJEED Opportunist ride by Spencer who got on the quarters of the right horse and nearly stole the main prize. So was he flattered or is Majeed back in business going up just two pounds to OR102? I’m definitely with the former as his highest winning mark is OR97 a year ago and his form figures with a three figure handicap mark are 9983204802. Has to be opposed. (David Simcock)
KIDMENEVER Another Godolphin horse back from a break not having been seen since Meydan in February. Mildly surprised at his position in the market, second favourite, however this was a highly meritorious run as he was in the van throughout and saw it out very well. His mark remains on OR104 and he’s an interesting Godolphin horse as they paid €130K for him as a twenty times raced 3yo! Entered in the John Smiths and the G3 9F Meld stakes at Leopardstown. Will surely appreciate a bit of cut in the ground and I thought up in trip from 10F? (Charlie Appleby)
Found this on line from last Augusts Thoroughbred Owner and Breeder 16 August, 2016
“Europe’s busiest horse gears up for raid on Autumn showpiece
Three-year-old colt Kidmenever has been making a striking impression on the continent since his move from the UK at the end of last year. Now racing in the colours of Gerard Augustin-Normand, owner of Poule d’Essai des Pouliches and Prix de Diane heroine La Cressonniere, Kidmenever has raced no fewer than 11 times since February, almost twice a month for two different trainers. The son of Baltic King’s progression reach a high point on June 12 in the €69,000 Swiss Derby at Frauenfeld when trying a mile and a half for the first time. Under former Italian champion jockey Cristian Demuro, Kidmenever galloped to a comfortable two and a half-length victory over the Alain de Royer-Dupre-trained Black Sea.
Kidmenever was first picked up at the Goresbridge Sales by Lambourn-based trainer Stan Moore for what would turn out to be a bargain price of €10,000. After two starts at Salisbury and Lingfield, Moore decided to take his charge across to Deauville and won on what was to be his fifth and final start for the yard on Deauville’s polytrack, with none other than Christophe Soumillon on board. He was claimed after that race by Xavier Nakkachdji for a sum of €34,500. The Chantilly-based trainer stepped him up to Listed level straight away which proved a step too far at that stage. He ran a further five times, which included a win and two seconds, before being sold once again in March to Augustin-Normand. Since joining his current trainer Fabrice Vermeulen, Kidmenever’s form has hit a new level. Last time out in the Listed Prix Frederic de Lagrange at Vichy at the end of July, he finished a creditable second to Al Shaqab Racing’s smart performer Doha Dream, trained by Andre Fabre. Two runs prior to the Swiss Derby success, he was a close third in the Group 2 Prix Greffulhe behind Robin Of Navan and Godolphin’s Cloth Of Stars, when he was supposedly the stable’s pacemaker for Apilobar, who finished behind him in fourth. The Kidmenever story is far from over as Vermeulen has now entered him in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly on October 2.
Stan Moore, who continues to make profitable excursions across the Channel, has not been surprised by his former inmate’s recent upsurge. The handler felt he would be more of a 1m1f type – Kidmenever’s unraced dam, Pepys Tillergirl, is a daughter of the smart miler Tillerman – but believes the style of French racing has helped him to stay 12 furlongs. “He was always going to be a better three- and four-year-old than a two-year-old as he was a big horse,” reflected Moore. “He’s been quite a busy horse, the man said on the racing channel the other day he’s the busiest horse in Europe! We’re all dreaming of getting a Group horse, so I didn’t think he’d be a Group horse, but he is there, anyway.”
AYRAD Considering this was his first run of the season and Ryan Moore has come widest of all to make his challenge he has performed creditably to finish fifth beaten just two lengths in his first ever handicap. 10F was the distance here but is his trip 12F? Listed is his level but are they aiming the 6yo for a big handicap? The 12F G3 Glorious Stakes at Goodwood in which he was second last season would be a more obvious target but keep an eye on his entries.
In the early season ATR stable tour trainer Roger Charlton said “He just lost his form a little bit towards the end of last year having been pretty consistent in listed and Group 3 races up to a mile and a half. He has been gelded over the Winter and I hope we can resume sometime in May.” (Roger Charlton)
Saturday – Wokingham
The Wokingham sadly did split into two races sadly won by the far side.
AMAZOUR Everybody’s idea of an eye catcher but to me he looked like a horse that gets outpaced mid-race then keeps on strongly as this isn’t the first time he has looked an “eye-catcher”. However having looked at his dance card the place TO back him is over 6F at Newcastle on the Tapeta and lo and behold he is entered in two 6F races there this Saturday, Northumberland Plate Day. The 1.50 is the 6F C2 handicap off OR98 down a pound from Royal Ascot but just two pounds above his last winning mark here over C&D, then thirty five minutes later in the 6F G3 Chipchase stakes. Backable in the handicap and he’s currently 25/1 for the Group race! (Ismail Mohammed)
RAUCOUS William Haggas had a frustrating week epitomised by this chap. Having secured the services of the peerless Ryan Moore and wearing blinkers for the first time Raucous was backed in to 11/2 favourite. As expected he was held up and from 2F out every avenue he went down was closed up and when he did get room he flew home to grab third. Sadly that was on the slower side and he finished eighth overall! The handicapper has dropped him a pound to OR104 and you would have to think the gelding will be back for the Stewards Cup on August 5th at Goodwood where he was third last year off two pounds lower as a 3yo. He has a very interesting entry in the Gigaset International handicap back at Ascot on July 29th which is over the straight 7F! (William Haggas)