Wednesday 4.00pm.You won’t mind it raining this Saturday as ITV have some belting racing on the telly. Many of these races are already priced up and there could be some value in getting on early.
2:05 bet365 Handicap Cl2 (3yo) 1m6f
14F is a real challenge for a 3yo and the field for this C2 handicap is full of progressive staying types who could go onto races like the Chester Cup and Northumberland Plate next season or even make up into Cup horses! For the past few seasons this has been a 10F 3yo handicap but in 2017 they are going half a mile further! So no stats or trends!
Horses such as Cribbs Causeway and Dominating are bang in winning form but stepping from C5 to C2 whilst going up in trip is a big jump. I am going to concentrate on just three, Zenon, Uae King and Humble Hero.
Zenon This is a handicap debut off OR87 for this son of Galileo trained by John Gosden. The dam is unraced (?) and based in India and Zenon was bred by Messrs V B Shirke, K N Dhunjibhoy & B M Desai and they own him but with Magnier & Tabor, as was his full brother Lord Napier who never rated higher than OR80 and was sold to John Ryan for £21K. Zenon has a date in the sales ring on July 17th. Three runs to date, turned over at odds on over 8F as a 2yo, second in a C4 Newmarket maiden to Godolphin’s Hold Sway (currently OR87) over 10F then hacked up over 12F in a C5 Chepstow maiden on Soft ground. Handicap mark seems high for what he has actually achieved.
Uae King He is a son of Frankel and a half-brother to Dubawi bred by Darley. Wow. However he is built like a three mile chaser! No gears but as Gosden has observed these Frankels have a real stride on them and Uae King looks a real galloper. Backward as a 2yo, midfield in a maiden. Took him three attempts to get off the mark as a 3yo but won a 12F C5 maiden here at Haydock and the third has already won in a class above at HQ and the second, the US bred Festival of Ages from Godolphin, didn’t look too shabby on debut. Races prominently and will be suited by the course and the extra distance and goes handicapping off OR84 with Andrea Atzeni in the saddle.
Humble Hero Son of High Chaparral who was unraced as a 2yo but three runs as a 3yo around 12F with solid form of 221. The win was at Doncaster in a C5 12F maiden on Good to Firm aided by the second favourite being a pig. Runs in the colours of South African Mr Jooste, he of Poundland fame, but is owned by Mrs S Magnier/M Tabor/M Jooste & D Smith. They get everywhere! Humble Hero has every chance on handicapping debut off OR84 but 4/1 is unattractive.
The bet is one star* each way for Uae King @ 8/1 with WH 123 ¼ to grind them into submission.
2:40 bet365 Lancashire Oaks (Group 2) (Fillies & Mares) Cl1 (3yo+) 1m3f175y
This has got to be the hardest of the weekend TV races to assess as the starting line-up is hard to work out! The trends say that in the last fourteen runnings of this race the 3yo’s, in receipt of twelve pounds, have won it just three times. John Gosden has won it five times. Atzeni misses the ride on Decorated Knight in the Eclipse supposedly to partner Ajman Princess in this 12F Group 2 contest. Gosden has jocked up his two, Robert Tart rides The Black Princess and Harry Bentley is aboard the 3yo Hertford Dancer. Daniel Tudhope has been booked on 50/1 shot Lucy the Painter. Otherwise we are struggling!
Many of the runners have met each other before and most of the leading players ran in one of four races.
31st May Listed 10F Nott’s Oaks at Nottingham on Good. No pace and they finished in a bit of a heap. Wilamena raced prominently, got first run and ground it out. Singyoursong was held up right out the back, had to challenge five wide and kept on well. Lucy the Painter and was staying on, beaten just under three lengths back in fifth.
10th June G3 12F Pinnacle Stakes at Haydock on Soft. French challenger Bateel galloped all over Dubka and Ajman Princess with seven lengths back to the fourth, Lucy the Painter. However the winner is ground dependent and won’t make the journey unless there is Soft in the going, currently (Wednesday 7.30am) Good, Good to Firm in places. 14th June Varian said: “Ajman Princess ran a great race on Saturday but the ground was too heavy for her and she could not quicken on that ground. She is a much better filly on a decent surface. She could go back to Haydock for the Lancashire Oaks but she would not run in that if the ground was soft.”
22nd June G2 3yo 12F Ribblesdale Stakes at Ascot on Good to Firm. Hertford Dancer and Rich Legacy ran perfectly respectably in third and fourth just over a length behind Coronet and Mori.
25th June Listed 12F Pontefract on Good to Firm. Abingdon opened her season with a ten length destruction of Lucy the Painter. Afterwards Ryan Moore told Racing UK: “She’s a very smart filly. She won two Listed races last year and I think bad ground at Doncaster maybe got the better of her. She’s a big girl and she probably struggled to pull herself out of bad ground. This probably wasn’t the strongest of races, but when you win by 10 lengths, it’s a very good performance. I’m sure they’ll get her back and see how she is and make a plan. There’s a good programme for fillies, so I’d say she’ll probably stick to that. Hopefully she’ll get a Group-race win before too long.” Sir Michael Stoute trains both Abingdon and Dubka.
In 2016 Ajman Princess was half a length behind Abingdon in a 10F Ascot maiden at level weights. Ajman Princess went on to finish second in the 2016 G2 12F Ribblesdale at Ascot won by Even Song beating a staying on The Black Princess by a length. Jim Bolger has two entered with the higher rated being Turret Rocks who was in front of Even Song in last season’s G1 12F Yorkshire Oaks on the Knavesmire.
Clear as mud! I don’t think Bateel will turn up. I am not sure Wilamena, The Black Princess or Turret Rocks will get 12F. Tom Segal recently commented that Haydock was becoming a real front-runners course, right up there with Chester! I could see Abingdon (5/2) making just about every yard but I couldn’t possibly recommend a bet until Thursday lunchtime and the final declarations and we know the field, the riding arrangements and how much rain Haydock may or may not have had!!
3:15 bet365 Old Newton Cup Handicap Cl2 (4yo+) 1m3f175y
As always my first step to these wide open handicaps where I have no initial fancy is to look at the trends and see the type of horse I’m looking for. Thanks to race caller.
Summary: Based on the trends from the past 10 years you are looking for a horse:
– Aged 4 – Carrying 8-8 to 9-4 – Officially rated 90 to 97 – Run in 13 or fewer handicaps (winning no more than 3 on turf)
– Posted an RPR of 93 or higher last time out – Had at least 2 previous starts in 2016
– Course winner (or having first start at Haydock) – Won at a left-handed track
– Won over 1M 2F to 1M 4F (ideally won over 1M 4F+) – Won at no higher than class 2 level
– Ran in Duke Of Edinburgh, Galacuix Handicap and/or Jorvik Stakes
– Trained by Mark Johnston – Tends to race prominently – Drawn 8 or higher
Well for me that all points to one horse and that is Roger Charlton’s Blakeney Point. This would look on the short side for him having been sent off a well backed 4/1 favourite for the 18F Chester Cup but after an excellent last time out fourth at Goodwood his trainer seems to have a plan. 28th May 2017 Roger Charlton website “Blakeney Point travelled like the winner in his race over 1m 6f and in the end didn’t get home. He got taken on too early as they turned in and it set him alight. As we had thought at Chester, 2m 2f was too far. He has got a lot faster than he was last year and cruised all over the field. The Ebor looks like the race for him in August and his jockey (Jamie Spencer) seemed taken with the idea.”
Right if the “plan” is the Ebor on the third Saturday in August you may get in off OR98 but you need three figures to be sure. Currently on OR95 a solid run, even a win, here would do the job and give you six weeks to freshen him up!
Blakeney Point has won over 12F and three times over 16F as well with two wins on the AW, with one in C2, suggesting he’ll enjoy a sound surface. Keiron Shoemark has won on him twice and claims three pounds. This is one of two already booked rides at Haydock for the stable jockey so the horse seems sure to line up. The question will be “Is he quick enough”?
Blakeney Point one star* each way @ 14/1 general 1234 ¼ (There is some 16/1 on-line)