Tag: #FantasticMrFahey

Saturday October 28th Time for some verbals!

Posted Friday 27th 6pm

Excellent afternoons racing ahead with Newbury and Doncaster on the Flat whilst National Hunt fans are well catered for at Cheltenham and Kelso. For punting purposes I will stick to the Flat although full attention will be given to the Cotswold venue and there are many decent horses making the long haul to Kelso.

The Group 1 Racing Post Trophy for two year old colts is a belter with most of the runners on my radar and in the Notebook! Fully expect the winner to be the 2018 2000 Guineas and/or Derby winter favourite.

Winners look hard to find so we will just go with the Lucky 15 and a stab at the Racing Post Trophy.

Win Lucky 15

Doncaster 1.45           STAXTON                                @ 6/1 general

Doncaster 4.00           BOUNDSY                               @ 9/1 general

Newbury 2.50            VINTAGER                               @ 7/1 BF 13/2 general

Newbury 3.55            HIKMAA                                  @ 11/2 general

Star* Singles (5 stars* Out)

Doncaster 1.45           STAXTON                                One star* win @ 6/1 general

Doncaster 3.25           VERBAL DEXTERITY                Three star*** win @ 4/1 WH + BF

Newbury 2.50            VINTAGER                               One star* win @ 7/1 BF 13/2 general

 and here is why

Doncaster 3.25 Doncaster Racing Post Trophy G1 8F 2yo colts

Undoubtedly the strongest, deepest 2yo race run in Europe this season and much of the hype will be over O’Brien breaking Bobby Frankels G1 record here or whether he’ll have to wait for Sunday in France or Lord help us, the Breeders Cup! I am going to keep this simple and put up the only horse to have already won a Group 1, VERBAL DEXTERITY. Aiden O’Brien clearly didn’t run his first team in the National stakes but the selection put Beckford and the rest to the sword in impressive fashion and Jim Bolger hasn’t sent him here for a day out! Saxon Warrior hasn’t done anything wrong but looks a Derby horse to me, likewise The Pentagon. Chilean and Loxley need to make a giant leap forwards and the main danger may be the cannily placed Roaring Lion from John Gosden. I think Verbal Dexterity has the class and speed to hold them all at bay.


Doncaster 1.45           STAXTON Having won two Novice events at Haydock over this 6F trip he was stepped up in grade finishing 5th in the G2 Gimcrack, 6th in the G2 Middle Park and third in the Listed Rockingham. He was beaten by the filly Rebel Assault last time out but didn’t get the cleanest of runs and a pound better off can turn the tables here. The biggest dangers will be the lightly raced Newmarket raiders, Hugo Palmers Never Back down and John Gosdens once raced winner of a Yarmouth maiden, Mutaaqeb. However I’ll stick with the form in the book.

Doncaster 4.00           BOUNDSY Already done us two favours this season at Chester and Haydock and with Paul Hanagan taking over the reins he is in effect up six pounds. However Boundsy doesn’t know how to run a bad race and loves a photograph! In his last five races he has been beaten a head and a neck and won by a neck, a neck and a nose! It might happen a bit quick for him over Doncaster’s sharp five but he is in top form and possibly still improving.

Newbury 2.50            VINTAGER 33/1 winner of his maiden at HQ for Sussex trainer David Menuisier may have been a surprise but that Newmarket maiden has thrown up a shed load of winners, the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and tenth have all obliged! Stepped up to G3 class in the Solario at Sandown over 7F he was an honourable fifth to Masar. His trainer is saying all the right things “Vintager seems to be in good shape and the track at Newbury should suit. I think that the soft ground should suit as well because he won nicely on similar ground on his debut at Newmarket. He was meant to run the other day at Newmarket in the G3 Somerville Stakes but his scope wasn’t great, so we decided to give him a bit more time and he seems fine now. He was very green when he ran in the Solario Stakes and he switched off a little bit too much at the back. Sandown is not an easy track for two-year-olds and, when you win first time out, you need to learn a great deal quickly in order to compete at G3 level. Despite his greenness, it was still a good run. He should be a bit cleverer on his third run and we will see how he gets on – he will either prove me right or prove me wrong!”

Newbury 3.55            HIKMAA Won her first two races on the AW over 6F and her two most recent runs have been in Group company. She wasn’t far away when fourth in the G2 7F Rockfel behind Juliet Capulet at HQ and over the same course and distance when fifth in the G3 Oh So Sharp. Ed Vaughan has found the ideal race for Hikmaa, Listed, 7F and Adam Bechizza is her regular pilot.


Friday October 27th 

Posted Thursday October 26th 6.40pm

Three fascinating cards with Newbury and Doncaster on the Flat and for the winter fans the first days racing of the season at Cheltenham. I think I can see a definite each way Lucky 15 and probably a win Lucky 15 as well! As usual it will be selections first then the here’s why but that part might have some different headings! Clear as mud.

First though some general observations.

Cheltenham – Good (watered). (Going Stick: 6.6 on Thursday at 15:00) Watering: Have applied up to 180mm of irrigation since the end of August. Rails: All hurdle and chase bends dolled out 7 yards. The 2m 5f hurdle start has been moved forward 25 yds to improve the start. Distances as follows: Races 1 and 3 2m 5f 63yds Race 2 2m 21yds Race 4 3m 164yds Race 5 3m 1f 84yds Races 6 and 7 2m 129yds Going/Weather/Other last updated @Thu 26 Oct 3:09pm

The handicaps have large fields but the ground has reduced the level weights fields. Wouldn’t be too keen to take a short price! Small stakes, big prices may be the way to have an interest. Gordon Elliott and Davy Russell are in attendance!

Newbury – Soft (Going Stick: 5.3 on 26-10-2017 at 07:45) Stalls: Centre of the course straight course

Rails: The 7f and 5f Bends are set on the inside lines so all round course races are standard distances. Rail will be moved after racing on Friday to give fresh ground for Saturday.

The maidens are essential viewing, debutantes especially.

Doncaster – Straight Good Round Good, Good to Soft in places (Going Stick: 7.5 on Thursday at 06:30)

Stalls: Straight course stands side Round course inside

This quicker ground could see some upsets.


Each way Lucky 15

Doncaster 3.35                       OUTBACK TRAVELLER                               8/1 PP and shortening!

Newbury 4.35                        REPTON                                              12/1 general

Doncaster 4.45                       ANDOK                                                               11/1 WH

Doncaster 5.20                       HAWRIDGE FLYER                                        11/1 general

Win Lucky 15

Doncaster 1.20                       DUBHE                                                5/2 WH + Ladbrokes

Newbury 1.40                        GEORGE OF HEARTS                                   2/1 general

Doncaster 2.25                       GRANDSCAPE                                     7/2 general                            

Newbury 3.25                        DUKE OF BRONTE                              5/1 general


Horses on my Radar with an eye for next season (2018)

Newbury 1.10 BLUE MIST This gelded son of Mafki was an impressive winner on the Aw at Kempton on debut but now on Soft ground and with a three pound penaly I’ll pass. Handicaps next season.

Doncaster 1.15 DUBHE Three runs and into a handicap. Fourth on debut in a hot maiden at Newbury won by Mildenberger, won well at Sandown and then derailed by the heavy ground behind Chilean on heavy in a Listed race at Haydock. Being by Dubawi out of a Galileo mare suggests he’ll want further next season but I think the handicapper has been lenient starting him off on OR90 and on this better ground for the in form Charlie Appleby yard looks good.

Newbury 1.40 GEORGE OF HEARTS Richard Hughes has a smart 2yo on his hands in the shape of Glendevon and he mentioned this fellow in the same sentence in the Racing Post at the weekend. George of Hearts was fourth on debut here at Newbury and goes a hundred yards further this time. The second from that maiden finished an excellent third in the Listed totepool 2yo Trophy at Redcar giving the form some substance. Nothing too scary in the newcomers.

Doncaster 2.25 GRANDSCAPE Oh I really hope he runs well! He was fourth in one of my favoured Yarmouth maidens behind a horse I have real high hopes for, Regal Reality. My thoughts on James Tate’s US bred son of Lemon Drop Kid on debut was “On debut respectable fourth to Regal Reality in a C4 7F maiden. Settled, travelled and stayed on. Looks a handicap project, probably on Good ground or better or maybe the AW?”. Since then the horse a neck in front of him has won at Chantilly and I am happy to support Grandscape in a maiden especially on this quicker ground. Tate is one of two trainers who I think have a better than expected set of 2yo’s, the other is Robyn Brisland but I digresss.

The Price is Right!

Newbury 3.25 DUKE OF BRONTE Love this horse and I just think he is the wrong price here. Only the three runners for this 13F C2 Conditions race but surely all three are destined for Group success next season. This year’s Mallard winner, Time to Study, will set the fractions with the Messrs Dettori and Crowley sitting behind. This is a step up for Royal Line who is two from two and will need every yard of this trip, I just think Duke of Bronte will have too much speed and he loves upsetting the odds!

Doncaster 3.35 OUTBACK TRAVELLER I backed him last time and due to SkyBet’s generous place terms I collected at 33/1 when he was fifth! He won the Wokingham at Royal Ascot last year but since then he’s tumbled down the weights and has found his way to the King of Sprints, Robert Cowell. This quicker ground will suit him better and who has Cowell booked for this definite hold up horse? The best in the business, Jamie Spencer! I can’t resist. Top weight is the Stewards Cup second Shanghai Glory,  owned by Fitri Hay but NOT ridden by Spencer. A clear message.

Plenty of old friends in opposition. Who’s brave enough to back Hoof It, George Bowen, Naggers, Aeolus, the first time blinkered Al Qahwa etc. etc? Mind you that 50/1 Kickboxer is too big.

Newbury 4.35 REPTON He’s been playing with the big boys in C2 recently without pulling up trees but dropping a grade here I think he can be competitive here. Thought good enough to run in a G3 as a 2yo, he just about gets 7F and on Soft ground over 6F from the Hannon yard that is finishing the season strongly at the price I think is worth a shot.

Doncaster 5.20 HAWRIDGE FLYER Stays 10F, won on Good ground, ridden by the seasons leading amateur Patrick Millman, trained by his super-shrewd dad, gets three pounds as a 3yo, the draw is a nightmare but Hawridge Flyer is a hold up horse and it’s a long straight on Town Moor and at the price I’ll take the chance!



Doncaster 4.45 ANDOK I don’t think the master of Musley Bank expected getting this far into the season without Andok having won! He was sent off at just 8/1 to beat Defoe in the C2 London Gold Cup off 7lbs higher! I think he’s running better now and C3, 10F, Good ground and off OR80 tick all the boxes for me! Happy to take on an inexperienced favourite who is yet to run on ground this quick and whose only win was a C5 maiden on heavy ground at Epsom! If soft ground loving Red Society beats Andok keep me away from high buildings and sharp knifes!

Newbury 2.50 PRYING PANDORA Twice second this season in a grade higher and I believe what she wants is a long straight to organise her challenge and Newbury fits that bill. I’m tempted at the price but the jolly may not have been out for getting on for a year but she could be Group class and you never know where you are with fillies at this time of year.

Newbury 5.10 GABRIALS STAR Seventeen pounds lower than this time last season, ran his best race for ages last time and the vastly improved Connor Murtagh takes the ride in this C5 16F apprentice handicap. Surely it’s now or never!


Lay of the day

Cheltenham 4.55 SLATE RIVER Been hyped up all over the place and Colin Tizzards good horses have all needed the run.

Monday 2nd October (Saturday Lucky 15 plus Star* Selections)

Posted Monday 2nd October 12noon

 Oh I do hope some of you kept the faith!?

Massively satisfying to have put up the winner of the Cambridgeshire, Dolphin Vista @ 50/1, in my ante post piece over three weeks before the race and then recommending topping up again on the day, add to that a comfortable win for Makzeem @ a generous 5/1 and SammyJo Bell getting the improving Boundsy up on the line @ 10/1 and it was a great day. If you had played the Lucky 15 for a £1 unit stake and the Star* selections @ £5 a star you would have got back £437.50 for your £85, that is £352.50 profit (!!!) and playing the optional #FantasticMrFahey Saturday Lucky 15 would have earned you another £16! Could have been even better with Clubbable and Original Choice beaten just a nose and a short head and either of those would have put another sixty quid in the pot!

Not all good news, as on Saturday morning my two best bets of the day would have been Sands of Mali in the Middle Park and Zap at Chester and both were most disappointing.

Still plenty of room for improvement then.

Saturday Lucky 15

Haydock 2.05                         ORIGINAL CHOICE        2nd 7/2F

Newmarket 2.55                    SANDS OF MALI         12th 9/2

Haydock 3.15                         AEOLUS                       13th 9/1                      

Newmarket 5.20                    MAKZEEM                  1st 5/1

Saturday Star* Selections (14 stars* Out)

Haydock 2.05                         ORIGINAL CHOICE      2nd 7/2F           One Star win @ 8/1 Lad+Coral

We got the price, then we got done on the bob! Every chance.

Haydock 2.40                         BOUNDSEY                 1st 10/1           One Star win @ 9/1 BF 8/1 general

Such a genuine horse. Handled the Heavy ground and SammyJo Bell got him up on the line.

Newmarket 2.55                    SANDS OF MALI         12th 9/2           Two Star** win @ 4/1 general

Really disappointing. Looked to me that he lost his action, unsuited by the course or the ground or both? However the BHA Stewards Report says “The performance of SANDS OF MALI (FR), which was ridden by Paul Hanagan and trained by Richard Fahey, and finished unplaced, was considered. It was noted that the trainer could offer no explanation for the colt’s performance.”

Haydock 3.15                         AEOLUS                       13th 9/1           One Star win @ 11/1 WH+PP

Prominent early but just not competitive in the final two furlongs

Haydock 3.15                         JOHNNY BARNES       6th 5/1             One Star win @ 8/1 BF+Coral

Missed the break by 3 or 4 lengths. Ran on but the race was over.

Newmarket 3.35                    DOLPHIN VISTA          1st 50/1           One Star* each way @ 50/1 WH ?? places

Amazing run as basically it was a solo from the 2F pole once he headed the smaller stand side group!

Ripon 3.45                              RIGHT TOUCH             4th 20/1           One Star win @ 16/1 BF+Coral

First time this season he’s got competitive and only missed out on the podium by a nose. Wins before the seasons out!

Haydock 3.50                         GEORGE BOWEN        3rd 10/1           One Star* win @ 18/1 Lad’s

Kept on but one paced. Wins before the seasons out?

Chester 4.15                           ZAP                             5th 9/4F           One Star win @ 9/2PP 7/2 general

Every chance 2F out, just didn’t pick up on the heavy ground, disappointing.

Newmarket 4.45                    CLUBBABLE                 2nd 10/3F         One Star win @ 9/2 BF 4/1 general

Worryingly Dave Orton in the RP analysis says “should have won this”. Much as I am huge Paul Hanagan fan, of many years standing, I would have to agree. Held up, weaved their way through.

Newmarket 5.20                    MAKZEEM                  1st 5/1             Two Star** win @ 9/2 Lad+Coral

Given a fine ride by Ryan Moore, coming from way back but running on very strongly up the Stands rail a la Dolphin Vista! Could be a group horse over this 7F trip.

Very much optional #FantasticMrFahey Saturday Lucky 15

Haydock 2.40                         BOUNDSEY                 1st 10/1

Haydock 3.50                         GEORGE BOWEN        3rd 10/1

Newmarket 4.45                    CLUBBABLE                 2nd 10/3F

Chester 4.15                           ZAP                             5th 9/4F

Saturday 30th September Lucky 15 plus Star* Selections

Posted Friday 29th September 6.30pm

Not happy with this rain.

From what I’ve seen of Newmarket you would rather race prominently than come from the back. After the first at Newmarket, winning jockey Pat Cosgrave said, “It’s good to soft”.

Haydock on the straight course doesn’t look as bad as I feared. The only thing you can do quickly is stop! I would want evidence of form on Soft ground or worse. After the second race at Haydock Joe Fanning said, “It is heavy, particularly down the back, but it’s loose.” The time was 14.35 seconds slow.

Both Ripon and Chester produce course specialists as the former is a roller coaster and the latter is like racing round your back garden! Remember NO CUTAWAY at Chester, looking for low drawn front runners with Soft ground form.


Newmarket 3.35 Cambridgeshire Handicap (Already advised)

DOLPHIN VISTA ex-Fahey now Martyn Meade, quiet season, ran well in Lincoln, trip and ground are ideal, the excellent George Wood takes off three pounds and just might be a plot. One star* win @50/1.

GM HOPKINS It’s the Cambridgeshire you have to back him! Two things needed, leave stalls at same time as everyone else and running room in the final furlong! One star* win @ 25/1

WEEKEND OFFENDER Went in my notebook twelve months ago as a likely sort for this big field handicap. Goes with cut in the ground, 9F is spot on and has a bit of class. Kevin Ryan’s mid-season break may be a blessing in disguise in this case. One star* win @ 33/1

None of the three have moved a jot (5.15pm Fri.) so just topping up each way with as many places as you can get. On line William Hill and SkyBet were going EIGHT places!


Saturday Lucky 15

Haydock 2.05                         ORIGINAL CHOICE         

Newmarket 2.55                    SANDS OF MALI

Haydock 3.15                         AEOLUS

Newmarket 5.20                    MAKZEEM


Saturday Star* Selections (14 stars* Out)

Haydock 2.05                         ORIGINAL CHOICE      One Star win @ 8/1 Lad+Coral

Haydock 2.40                         BOUNDSEY                 One Star win @ 9/1 BF 8/1 general

Newmarket 2.55                    SANDS OF MALI         Two Star** win @ 4/1 general

Haydock 3.15                         AEOLUS                       One Star win @ 11/1 WH+PP

Haydock 3.15                         JOHNNY BARNES       One Star win @ 8/1 BF+Coral

Newmarket 3.35                    DOLPHIN VISTA          One Star* each way @ 50/1 WH ?? places

Ripon 3.45                              RIGHT TOUCH             One Star win @ 16/1 BF+Coral

Haydock 3.50                         GEORGE BOWEN        One Star win @ 18/1 Ladbrokes (Rest all over place)

Chester 4.15                           ZAP                             One Star win @ 9/2PP 7/2 general

Newmarket 4.45                    CLUBBABLE                 One Star win @ 9/2 BF 4/1 general

Newmarket 5.20                    MAKZEEM                  Two Star** win @ 9/2 Lad+Coral


Very much optional #FantasticMrFahey Saturday Lucky 15

Haydock 2.40                         BOUNDSEY

Haydock 3.50                         GEORGE BOWEN

Newmarket 4.45                    CLUBBABLE

Chester 4.15                           ZAP


and here is why


Saturdays Lucky 15

Haydock 2.05                         ORIGINAL CHOICE        Not easy to find an improver in any of today’s handicaps but William Haggas’ 3yo looks the most likely. Right trip. Acts on the ground and more to come.

Newmarket 2.55                    SANDS OF MALI On the day I wasn’t that impressed by the Gimcrack but the form has been really well franked since, the time was good and this lengthy, speedy colt will surely improve. Yet to be convinced on the French 2yo form and I think Cardsharp is over-rated.

Haydock 3.15                         AEOLUS Ayr Gold Cup II has an awful lot of 7F horses at the top of the market and Haydock is considerably sharper than Ayr and even in the holding ground I am not sure the closers will get there. On his second in a Soft ground Stewards Cup I give Ed Walkers charge every chance.

Newmarket 5.20                    MAKZEEM I think he has the best form in the race. 7F is his trip, acts on Good to Soft and his second to Parfait here at HQ is good enough to win this.


Saturday Star* Selections

Haydock 3.15                         JOHNNY BARNES      

He was my selection for the abandoned race last week and on similar ground hopefully the closers will get there?

Newmarket 3.35                    DOLPHIN VISTA         

See opening section above and blog on 30th September.

Ripon 3.45                              RIGHT TOUCH            

Hardly lifted a hoof this season but the handicapper gives him a chance, he will act on the ground and ripon is a course he has run well at before.


Very much optional #FantasticMrFahey Saturday Lucky 15

Haydock 2.40                         BOUNDSEY                

Doesn’t know how to run a bad race, could still be improving, acts on soft ground and gets weight here.

Haydock 3.50                         GEORGE BOWEN       

OK I know he is a rogue but he is down to C3, down to OR90 and if SammyJo Bell claiming three pounds can get a tune out of him he could dot up!

Newmarket 4.45                    CLUBBABLE                

Her form suggests bridesmaid but everything that has finished in front of her has gone on to better things. Could be well handicapped and has been crying out for this seventh furlong.

Chester 4.15                           ZAP                            

If #FantasticMrFahey thinks “the trip and the track to really suit Zap, who has run well in valuable races at York and Doncaster the last twice. He might just have needed the York race after being gelded and I was encouraged by his fifth to Laugh A Minute last time. He’s still open to a bit of improvement and shouldn’t mind the ground, being by our July Cup winner Mayson.” That is good enough to me. Zap’s second in the Woodcote at tricky Epsom looks a standout bit of form in the context of this race.


Fridays Lucky 15

Just the one 4/1 winner and its £13 back for our £15.

Newmarket 3.00                    LIGHTENING QUICK    8th 4/1

“Keen early, no cover, lost place 2F out, plugged on. Lack of experience told. Not sure she handled either the ground or the course. Bye Bye Baby in the fillies maiden at HQ on Saturday will be noteworthy.       

Haydock 3.20                         MAYBRIDE                        2nd 8/13F

Embarrassing! Dreadful price for Lucky 15 and then she was beaten.

“Prominent throughout, led 2F out, headed inside final furlong by Tom Dascombe’s debutante This Girl.” Maybride will be a better 3yo when filling her frame and strengthening up.

Newmarket 4.20                    SPRING OFFENSIVE    7th 11/2

Newmarket 5.20                    ADDEYBB                    1st 7/2F

Ryan Moore just gets the job done in a three way thriller. Bless!


Friday Star* Selections (9 stars* Out 16 stars* in) That’ll do.

Newmarket 2.25                    ISABELLA DE URBINA 8th 9/1             One Star* each way @ 12/1 general

Sadly hasn’t progressed at all this season. “Chased leader until over 2f out, lost place under pressure over 1f out, well held final furlong”

Newmarket 3.00                    LIGHTENING QUICK    8th 4/1                         Two Star** win @ 9/2 WH + Coral

Newmarket 5.20                    ADDEYBB                    1st 7/2F            Two Star** win @ 4/1 general

Haydock 5.05                         SPRING OFFENSIVE    7th 11/2           One Star* each way @ 10/1 PP 9/1 general

Newmarket 4.10                    THRAVE                      1st 9/4             One Star win @ 5/1 WH + PP

“Ridden like best horse in race. Prominent, took trail, quickened nicely 2F out and saw it out well.” Promising.




Notebook horse

Newmarket 3.00        GAVOTA Pre race, “Roger Charlton has Gavota in the Rockfel. He said: “Gavota has been very impressive in both her races and now has to step up in to a higher grade. The program book for two-year-olds is a bit odd, in that a lot of the races come in a very short time period, and we think that this is the right race for her. She has handled soft ground on two previous runs, but she is such a good mover she would be better on faster. It’s a strong race as you would expect and we will see where we are after the race.


Paddock Newmarket 3.00: Rockfel

Butterscotch was a big strong type which you need in this ground and she was the pick.

Lightening Quick was also a looker.

Gavota was fit as she was on her debut at the July course.

Club Tropicana was on her toes.

Thursday 28th September Lucky 15

Posted Wednesday 27th September 6.00pm

Plenty to look forward to over the next four days with an informative three day Newmarket card, two days of action at a Heavy ground Haydock, handicap heaven at Ripon and Chester on Saturday and of course it is Arc weekend at Chantilly. Personally I will be trying to concentrate on in form, fairly fresh horses who have form on the prevailing ground! Indeed the Going could be key with Haydock possibly Heavy but HQ could have Good to Firm patches. So what is the latest information @ 6pm Wednesday?

Newmarket    (Thurs. Fri. Sat.) Going/Weather/Other last updated @Wed 27 Sep 3:16pm

Going Good, Good to Firm in places. (Going Stick: 7.5 (Stand Side 7.6; Centre 7.5; Far Side 7.3) on Wednesday at 15:00)

Stalls: Far Side Course 12f and 16f Centre Remainder Stand Side

Weather Wednesday; Largely dry until evening rain. Thursday; Overnight/morning rain clearing to leave a largely dry afternoon. Friday; Morning rain clearing to leave a drier & brighter afternoon. Saturday; Largely dry.

Haydock            (Fri. Sat.) Going/Weather/Other last updated @ Wed 27 Sep 7:53am

GoingSoft, Heavy in Places (GoingStick: 6.4 on Wednesday at 07:30)

Stalls: Centre: 5f, 6f, 1m4f Inside: 1m, 1m2f, 1m6f

Weather Saturday dry. 15mm on Sunday and 3mm on Monday. Tuesday dry. Forecast wet from Wednesday to Friday, with up to 19mm of rain to fall.

Ripon              (Sat.) Going/Weather/Other last updated @ Wed 27 Sep 3:39pm

Going Good to Soft (Going Stick: 7.2 on Wednesday at 15:30)

Stalls: Straight Course – Stand side Round Course – Inside Rail 1 mile 4 furlongs – Centre

Weather 2mm of rain in the week to Sunday 24 Sept 4mm of rain Monday morning Wednesday – Mainly cloudy with rain developing late on and overnight, 1-3mm, 17c Thursday – Rain through the morning, 1-2mm, becoming drier for the afternoon with sunny periods, 18c Friday – Partly cloudy, sunny periods, rain in the afternoon, 2-3mm, 15c Saturday – Partly cloudy, some sunny periods, 15c

Chester               (Sat.) Going/Weather/Other last updated @ Wed 27 Sep 7:25am

Going – Soft (Going Stick: 5.9 on Wednesday at 07:00)

Rails: The rail has been returned to the inside meaning all race distances will be as advertised. (NO CUTAWAY!)

Stalls: 1m 2f – Outside, All other races – Inside

Weather Dry over the past 24 hours. Forecast: Wed – Dry and mild. Thu – Spells of rain (5mm). Fri – Dry morning turning to an afternoon of showers (4mm). Sat – Dry with sunny spells.

Chantilly         (Sat. Sun.)

Henry Candy said when ruling Limato out of the Foret, “It was just because of the ground. We have been very lucky to have two dry Arc days the last two years. Three in a row would have been asking too much. The ground is soft now, not far off heavy, and there are two more days of rain forecast so in my opinion it wasn’t worth staying in.”


Thursdays Lucky 15

Newmarket 2.35                    RASTRELLI

Newmarket 3.45                    ELARQAM

Newmarket 4.20                    UAE KING

Newmarket 5.30                    RIGOLETTO

Thursday Star* Selections (13 stars* Out)

Newmarket 2.35                    RASTRELLI                   Two Star** win @ 4/1 BF 7/2 general

Newmarket 3.45                    ELARQAM                       Three Star*** win @ 9/4 Coral All over the place 7/4-5/2!

Newmarket 3.45                    FORTUNES PEARL      One Star* each way @ 16/1 PP 14/1 general

Newmarket 4.20                    UAE KING                    Two Star** win @ 3/1 BF + Coral

Newmarket 5.30                    RIGOLETTO                 Two Star** win @ 7/2BF 10/3 general

Pontefract 4.40                      ANDOK                       One Star* each way @ 8/1 Lad + Coral

 and here is why

Thursdays Lucky 15

Newmarket 2.35                    RASTRELLI Charlie Appleby/Godolphin improver. French pedigree, 550K son of Siyouni. Talked up prior to running but withdrawn in mid-July, Vets Cert (Fracture) ?!?!, but made a belated debut in August when seeming to know his job was a perfectly respectable staying on fifth in the hot Newmarket maiden won by Vintager. Hector Crouch, claiming three pounds, gave him an odd ride at Goodwood second time up. Raced three wide throughout with no cover, made his ground in the middle of the course to be competitive at the furlong pole, then changed his legs and hung right down the camber and finished an untested fourth. Dropping down to C5 and back to 7F George Wood, claiming three pounds (and worth every ounce!), completed Rastrelli’s education getting him to settle just off the pace, lengthen two out, come between the two leaders and put the race to bed. Rastrelli still showed signs of immaturity, jumped a path early on, idled when in front but this looks an OR100+ to me. Spotted on the gallops early on, Catching Pigeons sportinglife.com July 28th “Provided the ground is not like a swamp, next week should see a couple more highly rated Charlie Appleby-trained juveniles see the light of day for the first time. One of their number, Rastrelli is likely to hold several entries, with the seven furlong novice at Sandown on Wednesday the first possibility. A son of Siyouni out of a Sinndar mare, he has been showing up really well in his recent spin outs on his home turf, and is definitely one to look out for wherever he pitches up for the first time.” I will be amazed if this horse is still on OR85 this time next year. Only concerns would be that “fracture” on this quicker ground and how far he is up that curve? Whatever happens here he is one for the tracker.

The main danger could be Global Conqueror about whom my Notebook says, “A home bred son of Dubawi out of a Listed winner he has plenty of size and should make up into a decent 8-10F 3yo when there is Soft in the going, handicaps probably. Second to a more athletic The Reverant in a decent (?) C4 GS 8F maiden at Haydock. OR82

Newmarket 3.45        ELARQAM Reputations will be made and lost in this Group 3 7F Somerville Stakes. All nine have won this season, three are one from one, and the only thing missing is a Ballydoyle contender. However there could be a superstar in here on his way to Group One glory and that is Elarqam. I was hugely impressed with his debut and the form has been franked since. The Notebook drooled, “This is one serious colt. Hamdam al Maktoum had to go to £1.6million to secure this son of Frankel, out of Attraction a Group 1 winning mare, and he may yet have a bargain. He debuted at York on a Sunday in a C3 7F Novice event on Good to Soft, having declined an opportunity at Ascot in a C4 event the day before because of Soft ground. He was forward enough to win the race comfortably. Having taken a trail early on, Dane O’Neill asked him to win the race approaching the furlong pole and Elarqam did his best work in the last two hundred yards, oozing class. Two horses behind him have run since, both winning. The third, Buckstopper Kit, got up late to nab a C5 Novice at Beverley and the fourth, Flying Irish, stormed home in a C6 nursery at Yarmouth by five lengths off OR77.

Jockey Dane O’Neill said “He’s done it quite well, as the second horse had a bit of experience under his belt and the ground was a bit soft and scrappy. He gave me a nice feel and the further he was going the better he was. I always felt that when I pressed the button he’d go and he’s a big prospect who hopefully will live up to it all. He doesn’t mind a bit of cut in the ground and is versatile, but it being more solid underfoot will help him a bit.”

Elarqam already has quotes of 25/1 for the 2018 2000 Guineas!

Saturday, 14 October 2017 – 3:00 Newmarket Darley Dewhurst Stakes (Group 1) (Colts & Fillies) (7f)

Saturday, 28 October 2017 – 4:00 Doncaster Racing Post Trophy Stakes (Group 1) (Colts & Fillies) (1m)”

The main danger could be the very likeable chestnut colt FORTUNES PEARL. From lowly beginnings he has earned his shot at G3. Plenty of familiar names in his report to date, “David Redvers may have acquired Qatar Racing a real bargain here paying just £30K for this son of Harbour Watch out of a German mare. He is a tall, leggy enthusiastic colt who won on debut at Chepstow in a Good ground C6 Novice Auction and being sent off at 11/2 in this lowly level suggests he wasn’t burning up the gallops! He “travelled, lengthened 2F out, got to the front, hung left, straightened and stuck his neck out. Likeable attitude.” His next race was at York on a murky Friday evening in a C3 Novice Median Auction Stakes but the form is red hot. Fortune’s Pearl was always prominent but didn’t get the clearest run 2F out before keeping on for fourth. Immediately behind him was Dubai Empire who since was fourth in the C2 Convivial at York before hacking up at Musselburgh. The second was Laugh a Minute who finished third in the Convivial before going on to bag the valuable Sales race at the Doncaster St.Leger festival. The winner returned to the Knavesmire and Wells Farhh Go was pretty impressive in once again swooping late to take the G3 Acomb Stakes! The third horse at York on that Friday was the US bred Pacific Fleet for Owen Burrows who was withdrawn at Lingfield on August 17th as he refused to go in the stalls!

Fortunes Pearl himself won a C4 7F Novice at HQ on Good (Good to Firm in places), “prominent throughout, headed in The Dip, back upsides when veered left away from the whip, straightened and showed his determination to hold off an eye-catching, fast finishing Thrave.” The hampered fourth, Al Hajar has since won a C4 Maiden by seven lengths.

So he is an improver, a C&D winner, has form on this quicker ground and is a genuine scrapper!

As for the rest, the proximity of Albishr will tie the form to Expert Eye through Mildenberger. Tangled steps into Group company having run in two Sales races, winning the one at York. Fajjaj, Al Shaqab/Hugo Palmer won the Ascot race Elarqam declined. Morlock won on debut on the AW at Kempton for Godolphin. Roger Teal (Tip Two Win) has a rare stab at Group company and in line with her excellent season Eve Johnson-Houghton has a runner here (Statuario) and Karl Burke (MyBoyHenry) can do no wrong with his 2yo’s, the stable kitten could probably win!

Newmarket 4.20        UAE KING Times are a changing in the staying division with the likes of 3yo’s Stradivarius and Desert Skyline leading the way but I don’t think this one will be far behind. One run as a 2yo this son of Frankel, who is built like a novice chaser, has stamina in spades. Two miles plus on decent ground off a solid pace are his ideal conditions as he doesn’t do anything quickly including stopping! This will be his seventh run of the season and hopefully his defeat last time was due to taking on speedier colts over a shorter trip and not that he had gone over the top.

Notebook, “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 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 (Sandown) and the extra distance and goes handicapping off OR84 with Andrea Atzeni in the saddle. Ran on the Friday over 14F in a C4 and ground it out to win. Up to OR90 and the trainer thinks he’ll stay two miles.

Varian website, Roger said: “It was not all plain sailing for the strapping bay with distinctive white markings, who had to be nudged into the bridle by Andrea Atzeni as the tempo lifted down the back straight, but he made up his ground nicely on the climb to the line and always looked to be doing enough. UAE King is still a work in progress and while he has improved with each visit to the racecourse, he is still babyish at times and is learning his trade. He certainly has the pedigree and looks to develop into a nice horse in time and so long as Sheikh Mohammed Obaid is in agreement, I would like to keep things low key with him at this stage.

Newmarket 5.30        RIGOLETTO It has to be the 3yo’s for me in receipt of the four pounds they get here weight for age. Very few trainers improve their 3yo’s as much as Luca Cumani and he has already taken Rigoletto from OR79 to OR94 and the trainer suggests there is more to come. Luca Cumani latest news “Rigoletto will run at Newmarket on Thursday. Rigoletto ran a career best to win at Chepstow last time, so hopefully he can keep progressing.” Not cheap at £170K this son of Zoffany was unraced as a 2yo but he has won three of his six starts this season and his three most obvious traits, slow from the stalls, travels like a dream and a change of gear make him an ideal ride for Mr Cumani’s regular ally, Jamie Spencer. So this selection does come with a slight wealth warning in that Jamie Spencer likes to challenge between horses on Rigoletto and that won’t work every time! However in my opinion no-one rides a straight 7/8F better than young Frank! It will be interesting to see how they price up Reach High for Godolphin as he hasn’t seen a racecourse for 509 days but the last time he did was over 5F at Ascot and he beat Harry Angel by a nose at level weights! This is a mile so he is stepping up three furlongs. Godolphin also saddle Night Circus who won over C&D back in April and although he probably has his ideal conditions he gets beaten a little too often for my liking. Via Serendipity was in the Notebook from his 2yo days but he is just too headstrong and like Hugo Palmer I got rid of him, he is now with Stuart Williams.


Thursdays Lucky 15

Newmarket 3.45                    FORTUNES PEARL (See 3.45 above)

Pontefract 4.40                      ANDOK This is now a well handicapped horse with regard to his 2yo form. Slow to get going this season, #FantasticMrFahey had him gelding and he showed some of his old spark when third at thirsk last time out. Drawn three here at Pontefract with stable mate Carnageo, a hold up horse in two and in stall one is a Mark Johnston runner who could ping to give Andok a tow in to the race but last time refused to race. That would be ideal! I expect Andok to make use of the five pounds he gets weight for age, be prominent throughout and C3 10F on Soft ground is just the job.


Saturdays Lucky 15

Great start and as you all got on at 4/1 its £13 back for our £15.

Newbury 2.50            JAMES GARFIELD                          1st 10/3

Great start for us, George Scott and Mr Dettori. Thoroughly deserved victory now for G1, here or Breeders Cup?

Newbury 4.35             GALACTIC PRINCE                  7th 5/1

Strong market support. Held up, progress 2F out but one paced final furlong. Disappointing.

Newmarket 5.30        DUBARA                                  3rd 5/2

Just never got competitive as pointed out by the trainer. Luca Cumani latest news “At Newmarket, the race tactics were not ideal for …. Dubara, who was held up in a steadily run five runner affair”

Catterick 4.45             MONACO ROSE                      6th 4/1

Every chance, didn’t see the trip out in C2 on Soft ground.


Saturday Star* Selections (12 out 25.2 back)

Good afternoon, at £5 a star that’s a tidy £66 quid profit!

Newmarket 2.00                    CITY OF JOY                4th 9/1             Two Star** win @ 3/1 general

The market told us all we needed to know, 3’s to 9’s! Time to admit, he’s a rogue!

Newbury 2.50                        JAMES GARFIELD          1st 10/3           Two Star** win @ 4/1 general

Newbury 3.25                        BROROCCO                 1st 8/1             One Star* each way @ 11/1 PP 12345 1/5

Did it nicely. Cambridgeshire? Not for me.

Newbury 4.35                         GALACTIC PRINCE      7th 5/1             Two Stars* each way @ 9/1 BF+PP

Newmarket 5.30                    DUBARA                      3rd 5/2             Two Star** win @ 11/4 PP 5/2 general

Wolverhampton 7.40            STAUNCH                    3rd 9/4             Two Star** win @ 3/1 general

Not good enough. The 4/9 Godolphin shot was too good. Spencer tried most of his tricks!

Thursday 21st September Ayr we go!

Posted Wednesday 20th September 6.30pm

A quiet start to the Ayr Gold Cup meeting as we build up to Saturdays richest sprint handicap in Europe. As a major fan-boy of the #FantasticMrFahey this meeting is quite important. Firstly if you asked the master trainer to write down the one race he wanted to win EVERY season I expect it would be the Ayr Gold Cup! Hence he is likely to saddle six (25% of the field) possibly eight. Currently shortest in the betting is Toscanini and Paul Hanagan (wasp sting permitting) is down to write whilst Graham Lee has already been booked for last year’s second, Growl.

Secondly he targets this meeting for many of his lesser horses and runs plenty of “Saturday” horses in the handicaps here.

As with all these Festivals the Going is crucial. The current official line is:-

Going/Track Soft (GoingStick: 6.9 on Wednesday at 07:30) Going stick Sprint course FAR 6.3 CENTRE 6.4 STAND 6.3

Rails: Top Bend in 7yds Remainder Track Full Width Stalls:6F & 5F Centre 7F Outside Remainder Inside

Weather 0mm Rain past 24hrs Wed: Showers in morning heavier through day (15mm) Thurs: Wet start turning drier through day (<2mm) Fri: Dry start chance of shower in afternoon Sat: Dry sunny spells Windy

Going/Weather/Other last updated @Wed 20 Sep 9:20am

Those going stick readings do not surprise me. The 5.20 is a C5 twenty runner 5F handicap and I would expect the field to “arrowhead” down the centre, likewise in the Bronze Cup on Friday. Tomorrow at 11am we have the draw for the main event and I’m expecting those who have early picks to go for stalls 5-14. In recent years with Firm in the going the stands rail has been the place to be but on Soft ground the lower numbers are preferred and although we will probably start on Soft it should quicken towards Saturday when I expect Good to Soft.

Oh dear I’ve just seen this on racingpost.com “4:01PM, SEP 20 2017 Ayr’s three-day Gold Cup meeting could start on ground that is heavy in places on Thursday if up to 15mm of rain falls overnight at the track as forecast. But a drier outlook afterwards means clerk of the course Graeme Anderson does not expect Saturday’s £200,000 William Hill Ayr Gold Cup to be run in those conditions. Anderson said on Wednesday: “It’s going to be a slow-ground meeting and at the moment we’re calling it soft. We’ve got up to 15mm of rain forecast to come from 4pm Wednesday to around 4am on Thursday, but it’ll be dry thereafter with a bit of wind. We’re hoping we might miss the majority of that rain, but it’s a waiting game.

If we get what they’re saying, then we’ll be heading towards heavy in places on Thursday unfortunately. But if the wind is right it dries out quick and I wouldn’t think we’d be like that on Saturday.”

Whilst talking Going please note that the other excellent two day card at Newbury is due to run on Good, Good to Firm in places and Saturdays Newmarket is Good to Soft but drying.

So back to Ayr and Wednesdays card. Three I fancy and no surprise they’re all residents at Musley Bank! Plus a total “co-incidence” selection.

1.40 NARCOS                                      Two star** win          @ 2/1 general

One run, One win. Changed hands since but stays in the yard. Notebook says, “Impressive winner of a 7F C4 Doncaster on Good ground. Deep chested good size son of first season sire Lethal Force. “Held up, travelled, smooth progress to lead 1F out and saw it out well, Topspeed of 62.” He was a €60K foal and the Merchants and Missionaries picked him up for £45K as a yearling and I would guess he has done his growing since. Now with Mr Arculli who normally has his horses (“Reds”) with Ed Dunlop.”

I made Valdolobo the main danger as his debut third to White Mocha is a solid piece of form and taking on Karl Burkes 2yo’s is currently a dangerous game!

2.10 NORMANDIE LADY                    One star* each way   @ 7/1 general

Very much an each way selection as she wants a galloping track, the longer the straight the better, some cut in the ground, C4/5, 8F+ which is basically what she has here. Drawn 1 should help and as long as she gets some space to stretch her legs in the straight it will be a case of whether she is good enough? We’ll see but the price is generous.

4.50 FOREST RANGER                        Three star*** win      @ 5/2 general (15/8 PP?)

The main selection of the day and very much the NAP. This race would be no more than this classy 3yo deserves. Sixth in the G2 Dante, fifth in the G1 St. James Palace, second in the Listed Henry Cecil and second in the G3 Thoroughbred at Goodwood. Last time he was runner up again, to Mustashry in the 9F G3 Strensall at York’s Ebor Festival and what a cracking run, closing all the way to the line. The ground could be an issue but he’s run on it before and I think he is still improving and this 10F will be his ideal trip. I really hope his owners, the Steel’s, resist the temptation to sell him as I think he’s a Group winner next season.


Now for the “coincidence” selection. No surprise that The Caledonian Racing Society own a racehorse called KING OF SCOTLAND. No surprise that it is running at Ayr 3.45 at Scotland’s biggest Flat meeting. What is a surprise is that it is trained by Hughie Morrison at East Ilsey in Berkshire and the furthest north King of Scotland has ever been is Leicester!

BUT his form stacks up. Three runs on the all-weather at shorter trips, bang in he goes in a Leicester 12F C5 handicap on Soft ground at 16/1. Taken out at Newbury because the Good going was “unsuitable ground”, down the field at a hilly Lingfield, recently gelded and off north of the border for soft ground, regular pilot Charlie Bennett and he’s ready to rock again! 5/1 general and there is a Lucky 15!


Meanwhile away from Ayr there are a few interesting races at Yarmouth and Pontefract.

Yarmouth 4.10 C2 14F 0-100 handicap with some interesting types. Personal favourite Theydon Grey with Ms Georgia Cox in the saddle claiming five pounds but the ground is a worry. The 3yo’s are still getting a valuable 8lbs which brings in John Gosden’s Zenon and Godolphin’s Alqamar, who are both blinkered for the first time. Add to them Nadaitak for Hamdan al Maktoum who last time he ran I recorded, “a boat of a horse who won’t do anything quickly!” Fascinating contest as Mick Quinns Great Hall has doesn’t anything wrong recently. No bet, look and learn.

Yarmouth 5.15 C3 8F 71-90 handicap for 3yo’s which should be right up Mazyoun’s street but he has been a disappointment so far after showing promise as a 2yo. Couldn’t back the inconsistent Hugin even with Jamie Spencer on board and the other three all have won at some stage this season. Trappy with a capital ‘T’ but could give clues going forward.

Yarmouth 5.50 C3 7F 76-90 the 3yo’s get 3lbs and I think Big Tour and Noble Masterpiece will make full use of it. Both seem late developers but of the two I prefer the Stoute trained Dutch Art gelding off OR83. Notebook says “Looks another Freemason Lodge slow burner or possibly a bit of a lad. £170K son of Dutch Art by a Galileo mare was unraced as a 2yo, last of ten on debut, bolted to post, and promptly gelded. Two runs over 6F, slow away in the first but ran on, Unsuited by the slow ground at Sandown and looked one paced without being bashed about. Went handicapping at Yarmouth C5 7F off OR72. Looked a racehorse showing a nice turn of foot approaching the final furlong, up 6lbs OR77 but looks progressive on good ground or better. Just touched off at Kempton having challenged on that slower (?) inside rail. Sadly up another 6lbs to OR83.” The weight rise and the “Good to soft, soft in places” ground prevent me having a bet at 15/8.

Pontefract 2.50 C4 66-80 8F handicap on Good to Soft, Good in places ground. The interesting horse here is #FantasticMrFahey’s 3yo Mushaireb for Al Shaqab who won his only start as a 2yo but was a huge disappointment on his 3yo debut in April finishing a long last of ten at HQ. He was gelded and off until a fortnight ago when he ran better in an 8F C3 handicap at Thirsk although held up and never competitive. This son of Invincible spirit who cost £105K as a yearling has questions to answer. Could be ridiculously well handicapped on OR79.

Pontefract 4.00 C2 6F Fillies handicap and there are some speedy ladies in here. #FantasticMrFahey asks Marie of Lyon to go again having won at Brighton on Monday and she is joined by stable mate Megan Lily. Kassia has swum in deeper waters than this and Clon Coulis has already gone up a stone and looks the most progressive. Blink and you’ll miss it!

Saturday September 16th Lucky 15

Posted Friday 6.30pm

Really struggling with Doncaster. Lack of runners in the handicaps, sticky, drying ground and a knack for avoiding the obvious! Not much better tomorrow. One horse I fancy and I’ll still have to have a saver against it and then the best I can manage is a half star* each way Lucky 15.

Going to try to profile the Doncaster 3.00 G2 2yo Champagne Stakes but that will probably be tomorrow morning and up at noon. Nice types involved.

Whilst finishing this blog off Dark Devil has gone in at Chester and dug us out of a hole! Took 10’s last night, 10p in £ R4, but way better than the returned SP of 9/2! Confidence restored.


Saturdays Lucky 15

Doncaster 1.50           LEXINGTON ABBEY                            12/1 Coral+Lads                                            

Doncaster 3.35           REKINDLING                                       12/1 PP+BF                                                    

Chester 3.15               SHORANOUR                                      16/1 Coral+Lads                                            

Musselburgh 4.40      WHAT WONDERS WEAVE                 11/1 Coral 10/1 general


Saturdays Star* Selections

Doncaster 4.45           SINFONIETTA                                      5/1 Coral+BF  Two star**win

Doncaster 4.45           BATTERED                                           3/1 general     One star* win

 and here is why

Doncaster 1.50           LEXINGTON ABBEY                                                   

Trip and grade are fine, ground should be OK, competitive mark, Ryan Moore rides for Kevin Ryan and on the stands side Amomentofmadness should give him a tow into the race. Perhaps it is just his turn?

Doncaster 3.35           REKINDLING                                                                          

Take away his Epsom Derby run and his form bears the closest scrutiny. Won the 10F Ballysax G2, fourth in the Dante, beat Wicklow Brave over 14F in the G2 Curragh Cup and second to Order of St. George in the Irish St.Leger trial. The fifth Classic was mentioned very soon after his Epsom failure and his guaranteed stamina should get him into a place at worst.

Chester 3.15               SHORANOUR                                                                         

You will have to bear with me here. I really wanted to back Dan Troop after his victory here last time out in an apprentice race but he has gone up thirteen pounds! Even with Connor Murtagh claiming seven here instead of three last time that is a huge nine pound rise in a deeper race. Then I thought Heir to the Throne was the value option but he was withdrawn from a race today because of the ground and it is now Heavy so I can’t see him lining up! So Shoranour is the pick. Goes on the ground, is drawn 2, has course form and Josh Doyle claiming three has won on him before.

Musselburgh 4.40      WHAT WONDERS WEAVE

I like this combination of Irish trainer John PatricK Shanahan and five pound claimer Rowan Scott, especially in Scotland! This is the right trip, grade and ground for this progressive 3yo filly and stall 5 will do nicely. Double figure price is a bonus.


Doncaster 4.45           SINFONIETTA                                                  Two star** win

From the inform yard of David Menuisier a straight mile on Good to soft should be exactly what the doctor ordered. Indeed he opened the season with those conditions and was second to no less than Ballet Concerto in the Consolation Lincoln and he runs off just a pound higher. However Richard Hughes’s top apprentice, Finlay Marsh, has been booked and he can claim five pounds! Since that run Sinfonietta was a disappointing favourite behind Withernsea at Newbury, “going up and down on the spot”. The yard had got a low grade bug and hardly had a runner for six weeks. Sinfonietta returned with a solid fourth at Ascot over 10F then God knows what happened at Goodwood as no one could see the race ran in atrocious conditions and last time out was an excellent third in the Irish Cambridgeshire. Today is the day!

Doncaster 4.45           BATTERED                                                       One star* win

Any horse that bustled up Mojito and has won twice on the Soft can’t be ignored!

Notebook says “(William Haggas) Gelded early and owned by the trainers dad. Unless they get offered silly money I think this one will be about next season and having won his maiden at Yarmouth and 7F handicaps at York and Goodwood and as he stayed on well here you could see him being a player off OR98 in the 8F Hambleton handicap back at York, not to mention the likes of the Bunbury Cup and the Gigaset International on a stiff 7F.”

Last Saturdays Lucky 15 & Star* selections

Ascot 2.45                   MJJACK                       2nd 11/2           8/1 WH 7/1 general   Two star**win

Ascot 3.20                   HAVRE DE PAIX             2nd 3/1F           9/1 Coral 7/1 general            One star* win

Ascot 3.55                   MAM’SELLE                3rd 14/1           10/1 general               Two star** win

Leopardstown 4.35    MACHINE LEARNER   2nd 8/1             20/1 with BF + PP      One star* each way

Don’t think I’ll ever be so close and end up with nothing off a win Lucky 15!

Seven stars out six stars back. So bloody close!!


Friday Star* Selections

Doncaster 1.20           ZAAKI                          5th        11/2 Two star** win @7/2 general

Drifting 3/1 to 11/2, as big as 6/1. Slow away, deliberately? Every chance 2F out, hung left? One pace.

BHA Stewards reports –The Veterinary Officer reported that the representative of Mohamed Moubarak, the trainer of ZAAKI, was in possession of Ice-o-gel, a post-race muscle cooling gel. The representative, the Equine Welfare and Integrity Officer and the Veterinary Officer were interviewed. The representative’s explanation that the substance was unopened and had not been used was noted. Being satisfied that the colt had received only normal food and water by mouth on the day of racing, the Stewards allowed ZAAKI to run and the colt was routine tested. They further confiscated the substance and referred the matter to the Head Office of the British Horseracing Authority.

Approaching the final furlong, ZAAKI, placed fifth, hung quickly left despite the rider’s best efforts, causing interference to DE BRUYNE HORSE, unplaced, which in turn caused interference to MAJOR PEIRSON (IRE), placed sixth, but after viewing a recording of the incident, it was found that no riding offence was involved and that it had not improved the placing of ZAAKI. Following the race, Stevie Donohoe reported that ZAAKI hung left in the final 1 ½ furlongs.

Doncaster 2.25           ROLAND ROCKS         5th 20/1           One star* each way   @ 28/1 WH

In rear, headway well over 1f out, soon ridden, kept on final furlong

Doncaster 3.00           ELIDOR                        5th 20/1           One star* win            @ 14/1 WH

Held up last, threatened 3F out but never competitive.

Doncaster 3.35           FUN MAC        Last of 9 22/1             One star* each way   @ 16/1 WH

Prominent until 3F out when he promptly engaged reverse!

Chester 3.55               PENWORTHAM          3rd 3/1F           One star* win            @5/1 Coral 9/2 general

Every chance, waited for cutaway, quickened up but not as well as first two.

Chester 5.40              DARK DEVIL                1st 9/2             One star* each way   @ 10/1 general

“Tracked leaders, not much room briefly 7f out, challenged from 3f out, led over 2f out, held on well”


Thursday 14th September Doncaster St.Leger Festival Day 2

Posted 5.45pm Wednesday

Nice start and then downhill! Ground seems to ride OK to me. Lahore looks better than a handicapper. Quiet start to the Festival but it will hopefully build to Saturday!

Doncaster Going

Soft, good to soft in places (GoingStick 6.9 at 6.30am on Wednesday).

Clerk of the course Roderick Duncan said at Wednesday 7.25am: “We had just 2mm of rain last night but we’ve had phenomenal winds all through the night. You could nearly walk round without getting your feet wet this morning – it’s drying. They’re not going to break any records today because this wind is blowing straight down the straight but it will be drying it.” Spoke today (Wednesday) to Simon Rowlands of Timeform about Going based on times of first two races and he replied, “No softer than “good to soft” Simon Rowlands‏ @RowleyfileRRR  Replying to @mooresthepity


I’m spitting feathers! What has happened to the field sizes at Doncaster, especially in the handicaps? Forced to take to Twitter “Simon Moore‏ @mooresthepity  @itvracing @SimonMapletoft What’s happened to the field sizes at Doncaster especially the handicaps? Thurs, Fri C2’s have 6-5-6-7-9!! #poor

 Simon Moore‏ @mooresthepity  @AtTheRaces @DoncasterRaces So why are the fields so disappointing? Frustrating as a punter but could trainers explain why the Class 2 handicaps aren’t maximum fields?

Not a dicky-bird in reply!!!


Thursday Lucky 15

Doncaster 1.20           HOOFALONG              @ 11/2 general

Doncaster 3.00           NATURAL SCENERY    @ 9/2 general

Doncaster 3.35           GREAT PROSPECTOR @ 9/2 general

Doncaster 4.05           EUGENIO                     @ 10/3 WH 3/1 general


Thursday Star* Selections

Doncaster 1.20           HOOFALONG              One star*win             @ 11/2 general

Doncaster 1.50           CLUBBABLE                 Two star** win          @ 5/2 general                       

Doncaster 2.25           DARK ROSE ANGEL    One star* win             @ 11/1 PP+Coral

Doncaster 2.25           TAJAANUS                  One star* win            @ 5/1 PP 9/2 general

Doncaster 3.00           NATURAL SCENERY    One star* win            @ 9/2 general

Doncaster 3.35           GREAT PROSPECTOR Four star**** win      @ 9/2 general

Doncaster 4.05           EUGENIO                     Two star** win          @ 10/3 WH 3/1 general


and here are my thoughts race by race


1:20 DFS Silk Series Lady Riders’ Handicap (For Pro-Am Lady Riders) Cl3 (3yo+ 0-90) 6f2y ATR

This type of race wouldn’t normally be of any interest to me under normal circumstances but there are fifteen runners in a handicap at Doncaster and I can’t let Hoofalong go un-backed.

HOOFALONG Basically he is a Class 2 horse in a Class 3 handicap. He may be a 7yo but his last run has lots to like about it. In the 5½F Symphony on Good to Soft at York behind Desert Law, the apprentice riding was slow to get the hood off (“the friction on the gelding’s blinkers had made it difficult to remove on the first attempt.”), slow away, one behind at halfway and he ran on strongly to the line finishing a closing seventh. He runs here as he is down to OR90, he won off OR94, should get away with the ground, drawn 10 and he should get a tow down the stands rail and he is ridden by the very able Joanna Mason, who is of course grand-daughter of trainer Mick Easterby.

There is a 5lb claim if any lady hasn’t ridden five winners, so jockeys such as Hayley Turner and Josephine Gordon ride on a level playing field and their mounts could be upgraded.

1:50 EBF British Stallion Studs “Carrie Red” Fillies’ Nursery Handicap Cl2 (2yo) 6f111y ITV4

When you write in your notes “Every chance, couldn’t get to winner. Fillies nursery?” and the horse turns up in a fillies nursery over 111 yards further she cannot be ignored.

CLUBBABLE The comment was made after finishing second in the £20K Foodservice Final at Hamilton on a filthy night and this Cheveley Park daughter of Musley Bank favourite, Mayson, will love the ground and trip and the last run was in this grade. She is progressive and OR75 looks lenient.

The danger looks to be The Mums for Gosden and Dettori who is going the right way but has to give the selection ten pounds.

2:25 William Hill May Hill Stakes (Group 2) (Fillies) Cl1 (2yo) 1m ITV4

This looks a fine renewal of this Group 2 over a mile and could produce a serious 2018 Oaks contender. A case could be made for most of these but I like two in particular. I was very impressed with Dark Rose Angel over C&D and she could be special and I will have a smaller bet on the improving, form in the book, Tajaanus.

TAJAANUS Clearly the best filly in the G3 7F Sweet Solera but this was an odd race as in The Dip the whole field was across the track and two lengths front to back. That would make me doubt the strength of the form but it has been franked, not at Group level, but Tajaanus looked physically ahead of her rivals and she had the run of the race up the Stands rail. As in Ireland there is no standout 2yo filly, Billesdon Brook, Nyaleti and Tajaanus are much of a muchness.

Hannon/SJames blogThis filly (Tajaanus) will love any give in the ground and stays very well too. I loved her attitude at Sandown last time when she won her Listed race and it’s hard to knock what she’s done so far.”

DARK ROSE ANGEL Simon Crisford trains this £60K yearling daughter of Dark Angel. Visually impressive winning over 8F C5 good to firm at Doncaster. “Out well, settled, led. Quickened, lengthened, to win by four lengths and two lengths.” Topspeed 66, form yet to be franked. On debut had been an educational fifth to Dathanna at Newmarket 7F C4 on Soft in a novice event.

RP Keith Melrose, Doncaster “It is probably unusual for a trainer in their third season to have had more than a third of their winners come from juveniles, but Simon Crisford is no ordinary trainer. Godolphin’s former racing manager has enjoyed excellent patronage but has more than repaid his investors so far. All he needs now is a Group horse for his yard to really break through, and it could just be that Doncaster winner Dark Rose Angel is the filly to do it. There were a couple of well-touted fillies from big yards against her on Town Moor and, while there is reason to think neither put their best foot forward, it would also be reasonable to say Dark Rose Angel could have been more emphatic had Paul Mulrennan asked her. A step up in grade beckons, maybe even back here for the May Hill at the St Leger meeting.”

3:00 DFS Park Hill Stakes (Group 2) (Fillies & Mares) Cl1 (3yo+) 1m6f115y ITV4

Had Coronet pencilled in for this for a while but looks like she’ll take on the boys in the St. Leger itself. Ten go to post and can the 3yo’s make use of the ten pounds they receive from the older mares? I don’t think so and with the Lillie Langtry at Goodwood a reliable signpost for this race I’ll go with two who ran there before they both took part in the Ebor handicap, Dubka and Natural Scenery, just favouring the latter.

DUBKA She was my Ebor selection but I’m not sure she got the trip. This race won’t be as helter-skelter, she’ll relish this softer ground and was only beaten a neck in the 14F G3 Lillie Langtry. She has twice been second at G3 level and has won on Town Moor on Soft ground over 12F and has the valuable assistance of Ryan Moore.

NATURAL SCENERY Is she could enough to win a Group 2? Second in the Northumberland Plate, fourth in the Lillie Langtry and a desperately unlucky third in the Ebor when I put in my Ebor festival review, “The one “unlucky” horse in that messy part of the Ebor handicap around the 2F pole and Ed Greatrex ended up having to go round the houses to get a run and she flew to grab third. The handicapper has put her up three pounds OR104 to 107 and it will be interesting to see where Godolphin go with her. The obvious long term target would be back to the AW Stayers Championship at Lingfield next Easter, she was sent off 4/1F last April but had a troubled run there last year. Typical of Godolphin her current entries are “ambitious”.”

As for a bet and it’s 9/2 the field, it’s Natural Scenery to get a clear run and outstay them all with Jim Crowley doing the business for Godolphin.

3:35 Weatherbys Racing Bank £300,000 2-Y-O Stakes Cl2 (2yo) 6f111y ITV4

GREAT PROSPECTOR He was my next best bet for the whole York Ebor Festival when in my opinion he was a desperately unlucky second in the Sales race there. As I whinged in my Ebor review, “Right, now the valuable 6F Sales race. Tangled beat Great Prospector and Hey Jonesy a neck and half a length. The fourth Alba Power a length and a half away and a further three lengths to the fifth, the filly Darkanna. I am convinced Paul Hanagan has been blind-sided here! He straightens Great Prospector up a furlong out and to him it’s just the rapid and unfortunately high drawn Hey Jonesy he has to pick up and he feels quite happy about that so delays his attack and drifts towards the stands side. Meanwhile Tangled has burst between horses and nicked a length and Great Prospector now has to chase him down on the far side and fails by just a neck with the pair of them beating Hey Jonesy. The Official handicapper has given the first three marks of OR102 (up a stone since winning his nursery), OR105 and OR103 and that would have put all three right in the thick of the action in the G3 Acomb and with the time quicker than Threading’s victory in the Lowther half an hour later if the first five in the Sales race met the first four in the Acomb I would be all over Great Prospector.”

I am convinced this horse is Group 2 material, he has an extra half furlong here and he is drawn next door to Tangled this time. Not surprisingly Great Prospector heads the market and with Tangled and Alba Power next in I have Great Prospector as a good thing!! I think he will be even better over 7/8F and it wouldn’t surprise me if he wins this race he appears in G1 PRIX JEAN-LUC LAGARDERE (GRAND CRITERIUM) at Chantilly on Arc weekend!

4:05 crownhotel-bawtry.com Handicap Cl2 (3yo+ 0-105) 1m2f43y ATR

EUGINIO Thought this looked an ideal race for Euginio who has really strong form in the book and was looking forward to getting stuck into him at 6/1 and upwards. I can’t believe there is a field of just FIVE for a C2 handicap!

Euginio was second to the classy but currently AWOL Middle Kingdom at HQ on seasonal debut, won well at Sandown in this grade over today’s trip, a solid third to Frankuus in the G3 Rose of Lancaster when Frankuus nicked it off the front and most recently a hampered fifth to Thundering home back at Sandown. Hopefully the ground will keep drying as Euginio was withdrawn at the Goodwood Festival for “unsuitable ground”. Town Moor specialist Andrea Atzeni rides and I’m sweet on their chances but the iffy ground and a five runner field mean a reduced stake.

4:35 Breeders’ Series EBF Fillies’ Handicap Cl2 (3yo+ 0-100) 1m3f197y ATR

No play. Now down to just six runners I just can’t have any enthusiasm for the contest with no Notebook/Radar entries.



Doncaster 2.20           SHABAABY                  1st 13/8           Two star** win          @15/8 Lad+Coral

Travelled easily on the ground (Favourite Demons Rock didn’t), led two out and hacked up. John Kirkup ran on to be a distant, seven length, second and we open the Festival with a 1-2, £8.53 sfc.

Doncaster 2.50           GUZMAN                    4th 8/1                         One star*each way    @ 9/1 general

Probably just needs to grow up mentally. Still too keen early, even in the hood, one pace final furlong, should have grabbed third. Maybe the ground wasn’t ideal, stays firmly on the radar! BHA Stewards “ Following the race, the Veterinary Officer reported that GUZMAN, placed fourth, and TOOMER, unplaced, had both lost right fore shoes”

Doncaster 4.20           HYDE PARK                 5th 11/2           One star* win            @13/2 BF +PP

Every chance 2F out but one pace. Winner, Lahore, clearly useful.

Doncaster 4.20           SIX STRINGS               7th 6/1             One star* win            @ 8/1 general

Lost race in first two furlongs when just didn’t settle and although every chance 2F out fuel gauge was on red! Better ground, bigger field? Winner, Lahore, clearly useful.

Doncaster 4.50           MIRAGE DANCER       4th 11/10F       Two star** win          @15/8 BF+Coral 15p in £ R4

Small field nightmare! Oisin Murphy may not be “strong enough” but here he’s done Ryan Moore up like a kipper!

(8 stars out – 5.75 stars back)


Wednesday 13th September Doncaster St.Leger Festival Day 1

Posted 5.45pm Tuesday

GOING SOFT (GoingStick 6.0)

(Rail movements: R6 +6y) (Showers) STALLS Straight course – Stands’ side; Round course – Inside

Doncaster 2.20           SHABAABY                  Two star** win          @15/8 Lad+Coral

Doncaster 2.50           GUZMAN                    One star*each way    @ 9/1 general

Doncaster 4.20           HYDE PARK                 One star* win            @13/2 BF +PP

Doncaster 4.20           SIX STRINGS               One star* win            @8/1 general

Doncaster 4.50           MIRAGE DANCER       Two star** win          @15/8 BF+Coral

2:20 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Conditions Stakes (Plus 10 Race) Cl2 (2yo) 6f2y ATR

So do you want the horse in form who is way ahead on time figures or the horse unlucky in running behind him last time or the improver? I’m with the improver, Shabaaby.

SHABAABY £270K son of Kylacchy, bred to be quick. Showed promise on debut behind the filly Nyaleti at Salisbury and got off the mark at Newmarket in a C4 6F Soft ground maiden showing a nice turn of foot to beat Cardsharp and the disappointing Rebel Streak.
Modestly named value purchase at £16 who is three from six, handles soft ground but has it all to do to turn round the form with point and go 6F specialist, Demons Rock, who is on a five timer in just about as many weeks! However John Kirkup was severely hampered once if not twice in his last race at York and if he stayed the sixth furlong had to go close to Demons Rock.

The two horses who split Demons Rock and John Kirkup, Queen’s Sargent and Areen Faisal, are both entered in the big Sales race on Friday.


2:50 Owlerton Greyhound Stadium Nursery Handicap Cl2 (2yo) 7f6y ATR

Genuine handicap with twenty one pounds from top to bottom but I’ll be amazed if the top weight runs on genuine Soft ground. Guzman each way for me but I fear Rum Runner and Toomer.

RUM RUNNER Owned by Michael Geoghegan (Machine Learner, Saturday!), so is he still on holiday and will he be in attendance? Won well at Sandown twelve days ago and as I’ve put the next three home in my notebook (Enzemble, History Writer and Emaraty) I would like to think it was a decent maiden. So was the Sandown win the target and this is a bonus or is the horse thrown in on OR84 as he has no issues with ground, grade or trip?

CROWNTHORPE Showed a ready turn of foot to win a C4 nursery off OR82 at Sandown over 7F on Good ground off OR73 and the handicapper has responded by putting him up a hefty nine pounds to OR82 and he goes up two grades to C2 as well. Both SDS and Hanagan seem to have passed the opportunity to ride him here.

GUZMAN Of the three #FantasticMrFahey entries Paul Hanagan plumps for this one. An ability to handle the Soft ground will have to be taken on trust but is form is rock solid and this looks his grade and trip. He won his first two starts, was fifth in a hot Newmarket nursery behind Tangled when done no favours in The Dip and then mid pack in the valuable York sales race with his chances compromised by being drawn 19 and no chance of laying up with Hey Jonesie. He was flat out for much of the way but kept on over the 6F without looking too busy! Since Newmarket he has been gelded and appropriately the handicapper has dropped him two pounds!

INVIOABLE SPIRIT Another trained by the #FantasticMrFahey who ran in the York Sales race. Outpaced, he kept on well under Jamie Spencer and although never nearer in the final furlong he wasn’t too busy! Both of his last two runs have suggested that a seventh furlong would be beneficial but it would need to bring significant improvement as he was beaten off this mark, OR78, at Chester behind the speedy Demon Rocks (see the 1.20 race). However since he won his maiden in C5 he has run in the Super Sprint, the York Sales race and three C2 contests so must be thought by connections to be up to this grade.

TOOMER Had this one in the Notebook since his debut, “Travelled fine, last 2F out but stayed really well under hands and heels for eighth but only four lengths off the winner (Spring Cosmos).” Ran in two more hot maidens behind Threading and Dark Rose Angel and then a keeping on fourth in a Goodwood nursery 6F on Soft ground. This filly trained by Richard Hannon has similar connections to Tangled and I can’t get away from the fact she has only 8st to carry, even if she is two pounds out of the handicap, it’s an extra furlong and it will be testing conditions.


3:20 Pepsi Max Scarbrough Stakes (Listed Race) Cl1 (2yo+) 5f3y ATR

THESME Nigel Tinkler’s flying filly was second in this race last year to Priceless and I can’t see anything of that class in this field. Her third in the 5½F Symphony handicap at York behind todays rival, Desert Law, last time shows she is bang in form and she is twelve pounds better off for a length and a quarter. Frankie Dettori is again in the saddle and I would expect them to make every yard in what looks a cheap Listed race.

I wonder if Desert Law will turn out again on Saturday in the Portland handicap over half a furlong further?


3:50 Clipper Logistics Leger Legends Classified Stakes Cl5 (3yo+ 0-70) 1m ATR

Time for tea.


4:20 William Hill Get The App On Google Play Handicap Cl2 (3yo 0-100) 7f6y ATR

Really like the look of this handicap as plenty of these could be on a mark high enough to be players in the big Heritage handicaps as 4yo’s next season. At the prices I’ll take Hyde Park and Six Strings against the field.

HYDE PARK Won his maiden here over C&D last October at his second attempt. Opened his 3yo campaign with a creditable third at Goodwood in a 7F 3yo handicap in late May that has produced a host of C2 winners. The Britannia over a mile at Royal Ascot was a write off, wrong group, drawn 26, prominent, no cover, didn’t stay. Then dropped 2F at Newmarket for just about the hottest 3yo 6F handicap of the season behind Ekhityaar when nothing went right. No cover early, running solo between two groups and then when they merged as he was about to launch a challenge the gap closed and he was eased down. Got his head in front at Yarmouth off OR94 in a C3 handicap at Yarmouth over 7f with a first time tongue tie despite still looking a bit green. Up 4lb to OR98 but now they have decided 7F is his trip he could continue to improve. Has been withdrawn before because of unsuitably Soft ground so will Mr Gosden deem it quick enough?

SIX STRINGS Absolutely convinced we haven’t seen the best of this horse yet, he still looks a work in progrees. He’s run well in some decent races this season and his mark hasn’t moved from OR87 until going up a pound for his last run when third over C&D beaten half a length. That was probably his best of the season and he still looked green. The day he learns to put his head down he hacks up. 7F looks his trip and he could be a force to be reckoned with as a 4yo.

#FantasticMrFahey ATR Stable Tour Sept.2017 “He is a progressive horse and hasn’t had much racing. On a going day he could easily win and let’s hope he gets his head in front before the end of the year.”

LAHORE Unraced as a 2yo and just three starts as a 3yo. Won the first two, a 5F maiden here at Doncaster on Good to Firm and showed resilience in beating Quench Dolly over 6F at Windsor in a C3 handicap on good ground before being outclassed in a G3 over 6F at Deauville on his most recent start. Is this his trip and grade? Is OR86, three pounds higher than Windsor, a fair mark? Prior to Deauville his trainer told ATR “He is two from two and he could step up in grade in the Lennox Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.” That suggests the answers may be yes, yes and yes.

IMPORTANT MISSION American pedigree, won two out of three on the AW, Ryan Moore for William Haggas and has gone up ten pounds for a pillar to post victory over 7F at Chelmsford last time. Bound to be popular in the market but loads of questions to answer back on Turf on Soft ground?


4:50 Sports ID – Strength In Sport Conditions Stakes Cl2 (3yo+) 1m2f43y ATR

Strictly on the book Mirage Dancer has upwards of five pounds in hand BUT ……………… In just a five runner field where is the pace coming from? Will it be a sprint from the 3F pole? Who actually wants Soft ground?

MOUNT LOGAN Become very difficult to win with. Surely you would have to fancy one of the 3yo’s to beat him in receipt of six pounds.

BEST OF DAYS One time Godolphin Derby horse but has he trained on?

MIRAGE DANCER Looked a real Derby player after his fourth in the Dee Stakes to Cliffs of Moher at Chester. Trainer Sir Michael Stoute however chose to miss Epsom and Mirage Dancer was third in the 10F G3 Tercentenary at Royal Ascot and then third to Cracksman in the 12F G2 Great Voltiguer, not seeming to stay at York. This son of Frankel has bags of talent but methinks we won’t see him in against the big boys until next season. This looks very winnable.


5:20 1stsecuritysolutions.co.uk Handicap Cl4 (3yo+ 0-85) 5f3y ATR

These all age 5F dashes are not my betting medium of choice but two catch my eye.

BOGART 8yo now and he has been a stalwart in these 5/6F cavalry charges in Yorkshire for most of his career. Should never be written off although the ground maybe too soft for him.
Ex Godolphin who started his 3yo campaign off OR99. Runs here off OR82, SDS booked and have they “done his wind”? Looked a short runner over C&D last time.

Cambridgeshire Handicap Ante Post Newmarket 3.35 Saturday September 30th 2017



Posted Wednesday September 6th 5.00pm

As handicaps go they don’t come any harder than the thirty five runner Cambridgeshire over the odd nine furlong trip on a course that doesn’t suit every horse! I don’t expect the race to look any easier three minutes from the off as it does three weeks away! So why now? Well the weights are out today and Tom Segal (Pricewise) will have his say tomorrow in the Racing Post and so this blog needs to be on line by 6pm tonight when a couple of lines of blue on Oddschecker will tell us all Tom’s selections! So I’m suggesting you have a look at three horses now and when the final declarations are out we’ll look to top up and go each way, if there is any value.

To win the first leg of the Autumn Double I’m looking for a horse no older than six and it would have to be a very special 3yo to be recommended. I like some course form, I like a horse that has won somewhere over ten furlongs, I quite like a sparse campaign with at least one piece of form to recommend their selection, should be able to operate on Good to Soft ground and be with a trainer who is “a man with a plan” and could easily have targeted this race.

DOLPHIN VISTA                             (Martyn Meade) Regular readers won’t be surprised at the selection but may be at who trains him. Now a four year old, at the end of last season I had concluded, “Top performer winning three handicaps this season and going up from OR83 to OR99 in the process. 8/10F on Good ground or softer.”

Up until May of this year he was of course trained at Musley Bank by the #FantasticMrFahey who prepared him for the Lincoln when he was an excellent fifth off OR99 with the likes of Zhui Feng, Eddystone Rock and Withernsea behind. He was prominent early but with little cover, he was outpaced over 3F out then rattled home suggesting the Cambridgeshire’s nine furlong trip was spot on. He was then a last of nine to Playful Sound on ground too quick for him.

Next thing you know he has been moved to Newmarket! Martyn Meade has plateaued at best this season and could be seen as a one-horse yard with his Group 1 winning Frankel colt, Eminent. Just fifty seven runners in 2017 with nine winners suggests all has not been well at the yard. Back in April he told Chris Cook of the Guardian “We had a torrid time with it (dose of the virus)” said Martyn Meade, whose 50-box Sefton Lodge yard on the Bury Road is close to Newmarket’s heart. “When I ran Ernststavroblofeld the second time, he seemed to be completely clear and everything but he ran a stinker and it can only be the virus. It was one of those things that didn’t show up on the blood tests, didn’t show up on a scope and the only thing you can put it down to is a low-grade infection.”

Dolphin Vista reappeared three months later and clearly needed the run having travelled well before not picking up out of The Dip in the race Thundering Blue crashed into Eddystone Rock and those two have recently won big C2 handicaps!

I think he is well handicapped on OR96 and he is number 46 on the list and has an excellent chance of getting in.

One star* win @ 50/1 Ladbrokes & Coral 40/1 WH

 GM HOPKINS                                  (John Gosden) Just looks his race. Backed him in this last year when running off OR112 and his race lasted about two yards as he reared as the stalls opened and he was always on the back hoof! Indeed getting started is his Achilles heel but when he gets out anywhere like on terms he is a class act as he showed when winning the 2015 Hunt Cup at Ascot and twice this season he has rattled home from unpromising positions in the Coral Challenge and the Hunt Cup and the 9F of this race should be ideal and this season he turns up on OR107 and I wonder if Ryan Moore will ride him again? Cut and paste for the Balmoral at Ascot in October!

One Star* win @ 25/1 everyone!

WEEKEND OFFENDER                        (Kevin Ryan) Last October Weekend Offender beat Another Touch a neck in a 3yo C2 handicap at York and I put in my notebook, “Long term, John Smiths at York—Cambridgeshire 2017? Similar to Weekend Offender/Kevin Ryan”. Well for the John Smiths Weekend Offender was in quarantine and Another Touch ran on well having been drawn in the car park for a race with no pace and they stuck to the far rail at York!!

(Another Touch has since won a Listed race at Pontefract and I expect the 10F Listed Doonside Cup on Day one at Ayr’s Festival is top of his agenda.)

Weekender Offender gets in here on OR98 and at number 29 is guaranteed a stall if declared. After his unplanned mid-season break Kevin Ryan is right back in the winner producing swing! Weekend Offender bolted up at Ayr in a C3 10F handicap on Good to Soft ground and with the handicapper putting him up six pounds to guarantee his place in this field it was no surprise to see him run flat at York just twelve days later!

One Star* win @ 33/1 SkyBet 25/1 Ladbrokes & Coral

Others I considered,

Leshlaa                                               (Saeed bin Suroor) Of all the 3yo’s entered I think this one has some cracking form in the book and is probably a Group horse waiting to happen. Fourth in the Listed Fairway Stakes on this course, fifth in the Brittania to Bless Him and most recently winner of an AW Listed race in Turkey! Number 31 on the list so guaranteed a run if they want, indeed only top weight Carry on Deryck is in that position for the “Boys in Blue”.

El Vip                                                   (Luca Cumani) He will win one of these Heritage handicaps at 8-10F and Jamie Spencer will be in the saddle. Ground would be my biggest concern in the Cambridgeshire, can’t have Soft in the going and I think he’s best coming late off a rapid mile. Please can I have a price for 2018 Hunt Cup on Good to Firm, single figure draw and “Frank” riding?

Uae Prince                              (Roger Varian) After his run in the first race at the Goodwood Festival I had him down as a winner without a penalty but he was disappointingly flat at York and maybe the handicapper has him? OR97 and another who would prefer Good ground or better.

Qassem                                   (Hugo Palmer) Ran a cracker in the Clipper Logistics over 8F at York and in my Review of the meeting I wrote “Owned by Al Shaqab Qassem was originally with Andre Fabre in France, unraced as a 2yo, ran five times (22123) at three from 6F to 8F then transferred to Hugo Palmer stepped up to 12F and was a 14/1 eighth of fifteen in the November Handicap, OR95!  Over the winter he was gelded, pretty big shout for a €300K yearling, and this season has been fifth in a York 10½F C2 handicap OR94, won at Chelmsford in C2, OR93, dropped again back to a mile and second to Flaming Spear in the C2 8F Clipper Logistics at the York Ebor Festival off OR98. The last run was terrific as he was in the van throughout, the handicapper has put him up just one pound OR99.

Why is this horse screaming Balmoral to me? That is the £150K 8F handicap on Champions Day, Ascot October 21st!

I think 8F will suit him better and I’ll pass here.