Tag: Godolphin

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!

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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.

 

Wednesday

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)

 

Saturday August 12th Lucky 15

Posted Friday August 11th 5.45pm

Once more into the fray! About time I did a Lucky 15 and star*** resume. Goodwood was not a happy hunting ground! Twelve days to the York Ebor Festival and counting!

 

Ascot 1.05                   STAKE ACCLAIM                     7/1 general

Haydock 3.00             JUST HISS                                9/1 PP + Ladbrokes

Newmarket 3.05        DOLPHIN VISTA                      10/1 Coral 9/1 general

Newmarket 3.40        POETIC CHARM                             4/1 general

and here is why

Ascot 1.05                   STAKE ACCLAIM Shergar Cup is not my favourite meeting as I’m not sure every horse is ridden to achieve its best placing. Teams in a race, a tad unethical but I’m a curmudgeonly old purist and the day has “popular” appeal and we get six races on ITV!

Stake Acclaim has form over 6F, best at 5F. No issue with some juice in the ground, yard in form and Spencer on board.

Quite agree with Catching Pigeons of sportinglife.com, “Jamie Spencer takes the captain’s armband for the Great Britain and Ireland team at the Shergar Cup and the skipper could get the home side off to a flyer with Stake Acclaim in the Dash. Dean Ivory pulled a rabbit out of his hat with Lancelot Du Lac in last weekend’s Stewards’ Cup at Glorious Goodwood where Stake Acclaim trailed home a well-held 15th of the 26 runners. He’s better than that, as he consistently showed in his first six starts of 2017, and can bounce straight back.”

Haydock 3.00             JUST HISS We put him up a month ago at York when he was a very creditable 4th off this mark. He races prominently, if not leads, essential at Haydock. He’s drawn 3 out of 9, Rachel Richardson is his regular pilot and claims three pounds, the yard is on fire with fourteen winners in the last fourteen days, he has won on Good to soft….. How many more reasons do you want? One star* each way @ 9/1 PP + Ladbrokes

Newmarket 3.05        DOLPHIN VISTA Just so excited to see Dolphin Vista back on the racecourse, sent my Trackers into meltdown, he just has to go in the Lucky 15. Much has happened since he ran an excellent eye catching fifth in the Lincoln earlier in the season. He was last of nine on Good to Firm in a 9F C2 handicap on the Rowley course, next thing I know his following entry shows the owner has moved the horse to Martyn Meade at Newmarket. No problem, Meade is a trainer I like, but he is not having a great season and we haven’t seen this horse for over three months. When at Musley Bank I thought, Notebook “Top performer winning three handicaps this season and going up from OR83 to OR99 in the process. 8/10F on Good ground or softer.” Grade, ground and trip are spot on but is he fit? Oisin Murphy is a positive booking and he is drawn in stall one.

Newmarket 3.40        POETIC CHARM Over the last couple of days whilst watching the racing and getting my 2yo files together Godolphin seem to be popping up all over the place. Dubhe was a smart winner last night and he could easily be a middle distance Group horse next season. Likewise I was massively impressed by this young lady when she won her only start to date here at Newmarket over C&D albeit on quicker ground putting away Coolmore’s Sizzling. Strong form as the third, fourth and sixth have all won since and there were some beautifully bred fillies amongst the also-rans who have yet to reappear. Held up and travelling, at the 2F pole I didn’t think she was going anywhere but she picked up in some style and ran on strongly. As a daughter of Dubawi the softer ground shouldn’t be an issue and she can win here en route to G1 challenges in the autumn. Two star** win @ 4/1 general

Thursday 20th July 6pm

No I haven’t been on holiday nor have I retired! Just had a “Lydia Hislop” moment and this blog is 5,500+ words! So make a coffee and get a notepad and pencil because it is packed with future winners!

Review July 13th, 14th & 15th featuring July Meeting at HQ plus Newbury, York and extras!

An enjoyable few days racing but even after forty odd years of watching this game you are never too young to learn. Lesson No.1, the July course at Newmarket is a speed course. Thanks to the ever informative Kevin Blake (ATR & Final Furlong Podcast) in his July Cup blog, “As well as it being the first time that these top-class three-year-old sprinters had met their elders this season, the other big variable change from Royal Ascot was the course and distance. It is underappreciated just how much greater a test of speed the six furlongs of the July Course is compared to that trip at Ascot, with standard times suggesting that Newmarket is approximately 12 lengths faster.” Fact supported by ITV’s Hayley Turner, prompted by the excellent Jason Weaver, when walking the course. She explained the July course is not nearly as undulating as the Rowley version, with a long downhill stretch before that steep rise out of The Dip and the flatter final half furlong, whereas at Ascot you are on rising ground from almost three furlongs out. Am I the only person who thinks that Jason Weaver is the best of ITV’s Flat racing team? An intelligent jockey with a large collection of T-shirts, can read the formbook, excellent paddock judge and understands the betting market. I wish he did every Opening Show as he’s not a bad tipster to boot!

Thursday July 13th. Newmarket’s July meeting opened with the Bahrain Trophy over 14F for 3yo’s and the winner, Raheen House, has stamina in spades with connections suggesting he will be an even better 4yo. Possibly a Cup horse? The second, Desert Skyline, it seems may be heading to the Ebor handicap at York, a big ask for a 3yo! The third, Sofia’s Choice, remains of interest in any 3yo 14F contest which is run on a flat track that suits front runners. The Melrose Handicap at York would seem suitable, C2 0-105 14F 3yo, as long as he stays on OR100!

None of the 2yo colts in the 6F July Stakes set the pulse racing and a case could be made for Rajasinghe still being the best this side of the Irish Sea as he was a staying on third under a three pound penalty. sportinglife.com “Richard Spencer is leaning towards making the Prix Morny at Deauville the next port of call for Coventry Stakes winner Rajasinghe. Although plans remain fluid, the Newmarket handler feels the Qatar Goodwood Festival may come too soon for the son of Choisir and is instead favouring a tilt at the six-furlong Group One on August 20. Spencer said: “It’s all a bit up in the air at the moment. He is entered in the Prix Morny but we have entered him in all the high class races. He has come out of his last race fine. We’ll just see how he is over the next few weeks. I think Goodwood will probably come too soon. We could potentially go for the Morny. It is a Group One and that is the natural progression. I think we would want to step him up to seven furlongs by the end of the year, but we will keep him at six for the time being as he not short of pace as he has won a Coventry.” “

Couple of note in the 3yo 6F handicap. Ultimate Avenue, stealthily ridden by Jamie Spencer, seems to have a future in these valuable sprint pots for the next few seasons. Raised three pounds for this effort from OR97 to OR100 will guarantee an invite to all the best parties but may need the assistance of Spencer to be seen at his best. Whilst writing the last sentence it has occurred to me he has the perfect profile for a big bucks sale to Hong Hong, mind you he may not go via the sales ring as he is owned by PK Siu (Stormy Antarctic)!

The other was Mark Johnston’s lightly raced Love Dreams who was just three lengths away in sixth. Currently OR91, if the handicapper could shave off a pound C3 could beckon over six or seven furlongs. Being gelded may help as he has some growing up to do.

In Spring Cosmos Godolphin have a useful 2yo filly as there seemed some depth to the race. I wouldn’t give up on Maybride as she still has some growing to do into that substantial frame of hers. The one going into the notebook though is the Richard Hannon debutante for Chelsea Thoroughbreds, Toomer. Travelled fine, last 2F out but stayed on really well under hands and heels for eighth but only four lengths off the winner.

Possibly the most fascinating race of Day 1 at HQ was the last one, the Listed race for 3yo’s over a mile and comfortably won by Beat the Bank registering his second win at Newmarket this season and in between he was 10th in what is turning out to be a very warm G3 Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot. He has an entry in the G2 Celebration Mile at Goodwood.

These were eight 3yo’s rated from OR99 to OR107 and it will be interesting to see where they all go next. I am a big fan of Forest Ranger in #FantasticMrFahey’s care and I wonder if the Strensall at York’s Ebor meeting over 9F may be on the agenda?  OR100+ rated 3yo’s are very popular at the sales for Dubai and Far East purchasers.

At Newbury Messr’s Cumani and Spencer teamed up to win with the rapidly improving 3yo colt La Rav, making every yard! He cost £120K at the 2016 Guineas Breeze Ups and Cumani’s patience is now paying off. Up eight pounds to OR93 this son of Footstepsinthesand out of an Acclamation mare could have a couple more handicaps in him yet. Ground doesn’t seem to be an issue and 7/8F seems the trip. Cumani website, “La Rav became a dual winner in the colours of Mr Simon Capon when making a winning handicap debut off the back of his maiden win at Salisbury as he took a four runner race at Newbury on Thursday by three and a quarter lengths. He faces an 8 lb rise in the weights after that, but we are really pleased with how he is progressing and hopefully he can stay ahead of the handicapper.

At Epsom John Gosden’s 3yo Pealer won a four horse race over 8 ½ F with the RP saying Pealer “was given a positive ride and ran his rivals into the ground”. Put up seven pounds from OR85 to OR92 I think there is still some more to come. He has improved for a tongue tie and he has raced against some top colts like Monarchs Glen, Tamleek and Count Octave and his duck egg was a non-staying last in the Derby!

 

Friday July 14th. The Silver Bunbury Cup, 7F handicap, opened Fridays card and the 3yo winner Parfait gave the Jersey form another boost! The winner will stay to 7F but look for a Listed race. The second Makzeem “bumped into one” but surely has a big handicap pot in him. Up four pounds OR94 to OR98. Entered in the Gigaset International 7F at Ascot, number 45 currently, needs sixteen to come out!

The 2yo fillies G2, the Duchess of Cambridge, underlined the Coolmore strength with a comfortable winner in Clemmie.

The 10F 3yo handicap was won by Marzouq for a mildly surprised Jeremy Noseda. Leshlaa ran out of petrol with the line in sight. #FantasticMrFahey’s Cullingworth was the eye catcher having to go six wide to get a run then flew home. Remains on OR83 and I think the key with him is a strong pace and something to run at, perhaps a Johnston runner. Will win again this season and could be at a price! Tracker material.

Roly Poly’s success in the G1 Falmouth paid another compliment to her stablemate Winter and with her stepping up to 10F for the Nassau at Goodwood Roly Poly could have more 8F G1 races at her mercy. John Gosden will however something to say about it with Nathra, Daban and Dabayah, to name but three, in his Clarehaven yard.

I was fortunate to spot the potential of Richard Hannon’s 2yo Tangled prior to his run in the Nursery. Looks like he is heading to the big sales race at York’s Ebor meeting. The Racing Post analysis were spot on, “Held up well in touch in midfield, effort to challenge over 1f out, ridden to lead 1f out, ran on strongly and drew clear inside final furlong, comfortably.” Handicapper was impressed and put him up eleven pounds from OR77 to OR88!

Neither division of the 7F 2yo maidens produced anything to excite me although the fourth, Magnificent, is perhaps one for the tracker. Could take a maiden for Team Hannon but looks ideal nursery material, perhaps over a mile. He met the much touted Expert Eye of Sir Michael Stoute on debut.

York’s Friday card promised lots but delivered little. One Minute won the 6F 2yo novice race for Haggas and Cosgrave and will be back for the Lowther. All the C2 12F handicap reminded me was that you need to race prominently on the Knavesmire and apologies to HM but I couldn’t back Mainstream with stolen money! In the G3 6F fillies Summer stakes was dominated  by the 3yo’s and Queen Kindly showed a return to form, just held here by David Simcock’s 20/1 shot Mystic Dawn. However I think there is one for the tracker from the 3.45 race, C4 10F.

NOVOMAN (William Haggas) I think Novoman is now starting to deliver what the yard has long suspected. Last season as a 2yo he took three goes to break his maiden and that was in an egg and spoon 7F race at Brighton and he was a 4/11 shot to do so! Then three runs in nurseries, 532, gelded over the winter and sent off 9/2F for the valuable Royal Mile handicap on 3yo debut but well behind Cullingworth. Then ninth to Parfait and sixth to Auberge du Lac in C2 handicaps, then here to York where they have got Good to Firm ground, dropped two grades to C4, stepped up two furlongs and put on Georgia Cox, the stables five pound claimer! Novoman did it well, quickening nicely 2F out and seeing the trip out. As a 3yo his RPR’s have been 62, 80, 87 and 97 whist his handicap mark has gone 90, 88, 86 and now OR94.

On his second start as a 2yo he split Salsabeel and Law and Order now rated OR106 and OR100. Suggests there is more to come. I want to back Novoman in a C3 0-95 10F handicap on a flat track on Good ground or better preferably with Ms Cox in the saddle.

The last race the C3 3yo 7F Apprentice handicap was really painful as Silent Echo came out of the stalls like a quarter horse and was beaten by halfway. Pennsylvania Dutch made no show and lost his unbeaten tag whilst #FantasticMrFahey’s promising Sir Reginald Brown finished displaying an abnormal heart rhythm!

Ascots Friday card was fairly mediocre but three horses to note.

Rebel Streak (Andrew Balding) Travelled kindly, progress two out, looking for racing room, turned sideways in run to the furlong pole, straightened out and kept on strongly to the line beaten less than two lengths by Lethal Lunch. This was a promising first run on Turf for this Dark Angel colt. Should get 7F.

Mount Moriah (Ralph Beckett) This is one progressive staying 3yo who made most of the fourteen pounds received from the older horses, pulling away from the furlong pole to win by a comfortable four lengths. Needs “softer” ground. Won last three on Soft, Soft, Good over 8, 11 & 14F. OR73 81 93 102. The Mallard handicap, C2 14F, at Doncaster in September could be on the agenda?

You might want to keep an eye on the placed horses. The third Shabeeb according to Roger Varian his trainer “might have an entry in the Ebor”, although may struggle to get in off OR96. It wouldn’t surprise me if Richard Hughes tried to find another race back at Goodwood for the second Getback in Paris off OR92 over 14F?

Addeybb (William Haggas) A solid specimen, a 3yo gelded son of Pivotal, whose three runs have been on Soft, Good to Soft and Good and he has won the last two. Having been drawn widest on the round mile Martin Harley chose to go forward and was in the van throughout. Previously at Haydock he had got outpaced, running green, but Harley got him to extend and eventually won by a cosy half length. Obvious improver OR88 93, RPR70,93,98! Martin Harley, a stiff mile and ground no worse than good and he could be a big handicap player.

 

Saturday July 15th The first of the Flat seasons genuine Super Saturdays with racing at Newmarket (July Cup), Ascot, York and Chester with the Irish Oaks at the Curragh and a Salisbury evening card.

As is only polite let’s start with a couple of talented young ladies. Enable had no trouble adding the Irish to her Epsom Oaks success and it seems she will head to York next for the Yorkshire Oaks and not the King George at Ascot. She remains an Arc de Triomphe player. RP “Enable is to be given plenty of time before tackling her seniors for the first time on the Knavesmire on August 24, after which a crack at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is not being ruled out. Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to the owner, said: “Enable returned with a small nick to a hind joint after winning in Ireland but she’s sound now and doing well back at Clarehaven. At this point it’s more likely she’ll head to the Yorkshire Oaks next and, as chairman of York racecourse, I’m most pleased about that, although it wasn’t my decision!”

The second young lady is also housed at Clarehaven and needs to go in your tracker!

Standing Rock 3yo filly trained by John Gosden and part owned by his wife! Came to my attention as she has an entry in the Listed Coral Distaff at Sandown on Saturday. Unraced as a 2yo Standing Rock won her only start to date at Newbury in a C4 8F maiden back in May. A solidly built filly she was green initially but once the penny dropped she strode home well from the furlong pole and won “comfortably”. None of those that finished behind her have gone on to frank the form albeit they were a well-bred bunch of fillies. A daughter of Fastnet Rock out of a Halling mare Standing Rock will surely improve in time and up in trip.

Could have run in a C4 handicap at Leicester on 8th July. “Sneaks into this 10F C4 0-80 Fillies handicap off what looks a very workable OR80 and it’s only a lack of experience and running round a bend that would concern me.”

Missed both these engagements to run at Salisbury in a C3 10F Fillies handicap and duly obliged. My notebook says “Tall filly, bounced off ground. Held up, covered up, progress 3F out, led 1½F out, idled a bit, just held on, more to come.”

 

Back to the afternoon and the headline race was the G1 6F July Cup at Newmarket won by Harry Angel under an intelligent Adam Kirby ride. Much of the discussion has been around the lack of early pace in the race so what did Timeform make of it?

Simon Rowlands Timeform “The action could have been expected to be fast and furious, too, but that was true only late on. This was very much a race of two halves, and that is important to understanding what went on and why the overall time of this year’s race of 1m 11.25s was so slow in relative and historical terms. The Timeform timefigure is unlikely to be anywhere near the kind usually associated with top sprinters.  The second half of this year’s July Cup was a good deal quicker than the first half, with the resulting finishing speeds (average speed in the closing stages compared to average speed for the race overall) well above 100%. Limato had won the race 12 months earlier in a quick overall time and with a 35.62s first half and 34.35s second half, resulting in a near-perfect 101.9% finishing speed.

This year’s race was much more tactical, with a steady pace early and a flat-out sprint after halfway. Very few horses break 34.0s for the last 3f at Newmarket under any circumstances: all bar last-placed Tasleet managed that in this race.

As such, a prominent position at halfway will have been an advantage, all other things being equal, and the winner Harry Angel had a prominent position while some of his rivals did not. Then again, he won by a clear-cut margin for a sprint race, so did it really matter all that much?  

In order to unravel the race from a sectional point of view, it is necessary to compare those (fast) finishing speeds with par for the course and distance and to upgrade individual performances according to how near to optimum efficiency they were. The proximity of 100/1 chance Intelligence Cross immediately becomes easy to explain, for he was most favoured by the run of the race having led for a long way at nothing like the “solid pace” some have suggested elsewhere.

Harry Angel, Limato and Caravaggio all get major upgrades, but the horse with the biggest upgrade of all is third-placed Brando, who had a near-impossible task from a position in rear for much of the way.

Brando’s calculated last 3f of 33.10s (40.8 mph) is the fastest at the track in the entire Timeform Sectional Archive, and it suggests he might well have been unlucky on the day. That said, Harry Angel had not needed the run of the race to smash the clock at Haydock in May and run the fastest timefigure of the season so far of 127, and Limato posted a 126 timefigure when winning this race in 2016. Both of them can run faster than they did here, in other words: this looks a missed opportunity for Brando.

Harry Angel is very fast, even as top sprinters go, and a race like this – which tested out-and-out speed and good jockeyship/positioning – played out perfectly for him.

Caravaggio, meanwhile, looks one for whom a good pace at 6f is required, or possibly a step up in distance. His finishing sectional is fast, but not a lot happened with him until the final 1f, which Brando ran faster (almost certainly under 11.0s) in any case.

Every horse in the July Stakes and the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes ran the first half of Newmarket’s 6f faster than every horse in the July Cup, and all of them were juveniles!”

Harry Angel stays at 6F, Carravaggio goes up to a mile (?), I’ve heard the Breeder’s Cup mile being mooted. Tasleet could have his turn on softer ground and will Brando return to Ayr and could Mr Lupton join him? Where’s Lydia Hislop when you need her?

The afternoon had started at HQ with Godolphin and Coolmore facing off with their maiden 2yo fillies. 1-0 Boys in Blue as Poetic Charm beats Sizzling. Question. Were the Godolphin horses trained specifically for this meeting as a show of strength? Big guns on show. Whereas with Coolmore it was part of a process.

Since winning her maiden at York Marie of Lyon has been asked some pretty big questions. The listed Empress, the G3 Princess Margaret, the big York Sales race and then as a 3yo the Listed Sandringham handicap at Royal Ascot and Saturdays C2 handicap at Newmarket. She’s never run badly and finds herself now with a handicap mark of just OR83 and surely #FantasticMrFahey can find her a 7/8F C3 and build from there. As she’s owned by Clipper Logistics York would be the obvious venue but I’m struggling to see a suitable race at the Ebor festival.

The C3 365BetFred mile was a personal nightmare with City of Joy throwing it away at the start (time for some headgear?), Afaak a one paced fourth, Executive Force never competitive and only Maths Prize running in credit in third and I’m convinced he would be better up in trip! Many of these could re-oppose in the 3yo 8F 0-100 handicap on the Friday of the Ebor Festival. The one who would have been best suited by York would have been the front running Masham Star but he’s gone up a pound to OR101. Ten ran in this event and I’ll stick my neck out and say I think that all ten will win again this season!

You could have given me half the field in the C2 7F Bunbury Cup and I don’t think I would have come up with David Barron’s Above the Rest! The obvious eye catcher is David Elsworths 3yo Sir Dancealot, another to have run in the Jersey at Royal Ascot, who was an excellent second. His entry at Goodwood is in the 6F Stewards Cup for which he is ten pounds well in but number 45 on the list with a max of 38 runners! There is a consolation race.

However the horse to leap into my Notebook is the sixth home Von Blucher.

VON BLUCHER (Rebecca Menzies) I have had one eye on him all season, ever since Rebecca Menzies paid £95K to get the 3yo out of John Gosden’s stables so that she had a Saturday horse, stable profile etc. not that she needs it as she has been among the winners all season. He was a close up fifth in the listed Spring Trophy over 7F at Haydock on seasonal debut, only beat four home in the Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot when the stiff mile seemed beyond him and then here when having to switch to the stands rail to get a run, staying on for sixth. He’s not in the 7F Gigaset International at Ascot or the BetFred Mile at Goodwood and it wouldn’t surprise me if Ms Menzies, who trains in Co Durham has him pencilled in for the Clipper Logistics handicap over the mile at York during the Ebor Festival.

Aidan O’Briens Gustav Klimt became the new 7/1 favourite for the 2018 2000 Guineas after winning the 7F G3 Superlative Stakes. Clearly talented and well thought of but I thought he was outpaced mid race before Ryan Moore switched to the rail and he took off. #FantasticMrFahey has an excellent 2yo in Great Prospector and he will surely be competitive in the G3 7F Acomb stakes at the Ebor Festival at York. The other eye catcher for me was the fifth Zaaki, the only maiden in the field as he was second to the G2 July stakes sixth Enjezaat on debut, who ran on well and being out of a Sadlers Well mare should get further. Zaaki is trained by Mohamed Moubarak who has returned to Newmarket after twenty five years in the US but he has one hell of a CV. Here is some background.

Moubarak looking to rise from the Ashes David Ashforth 6:00PM 4 JAN 2017

THE very last race of an ordinary midweek raceday, the 8.15 at Chelmsford, will pass by largely unnoticed. Yet it sees the appearance of an out of the ordinary figure from the past. The Lebanese trainer Mohamed Moubarak runs Out Of The Ashes. When Warba ran at Lingfield on December 17 it was Moubarak’s first runner in Britain since 1992. In those days Moubarak was Mahmoud Fustok’s British trainer, an enviable job because Fustok, also Lebanese with prosperous Saudi Arabian connections, owned a major international breeding and racing operation. In 1978 Fustok bought Buckram Oak Farm in Kentucky. He was a big player on the European stage, with champion miler Green Forest winning three Group 1 races as a two-year-old in 1981 followed by the 1982 Prix du Moulin. That year Fustok’s Silver Hawk, trained by another Lebanese, Michael Albina, finished third in the Derby then second in the Irish Derby. In 1983 and 1984 Crystal Glitters won the Prix d’Ispahan. That year Fustok sent 60 horses to Andre Fabre, a move said to have influenced Fabre’s decision to concentrate on the Flat. It was in 1988 that Moubarak, then in his early twenties and a family friend of Fustok’s, began training in Newmarket. Between 1990 and 1992 he trained over 50 winners, including Group race winners Green Line Express, Made Of Gold, Forest Wind and Magnificent Star, who won the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks in 1991. In 1992 Moubarak joined Fustok in Florida where he worked for Buckram Oak Farm as a trainer and racing manager. In 2006 – a few months after Silver Train, trained by Richard Dutrow, won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint for Fustok – he was killed in a road accident. The previous year, aged 69, he had sold Buckram Oak Farm for over $17 million. Moubarak, now 50, he has plenty of successful experience and it will be interesting to see how he fares.

Read more: https://www.racingvalue.com/ashforths-angles-moubarak-looking-to-rise-from-the-ashes/

The final race on Newmarkets card was a C3 12F handicap won by Owen Burrows’ Quloob. Hamdan al Maktoums colt showed little as a 2yo but got to start his handicapping off just OR71. He has now won three on the bounce over 10F, 12F & 12F, off OR71, OR75 & OR 87 with RPR’s of 79, 91 and 100! Now off OR94 he can shoot at decent pot. By Teofilio out of a Nayef mare 12F is fine, may even get 14F. Burrows said “Jim Crowley thought they got racing a bit too early for him and my fellow will get further, he’s a bit of a grinder. To be truthful, I thought going up twelve pounds for winning at Brighton may just have got to the bottom of him but he has surprised me. It looked a strong race but we’ll see what the handicapper gives him and go from there. He will definitely stay further, he got a bit fussy before the race but once they get racing he seems to relax and gets going, so I’m delighted with him.”

At York the form of the C2 10F John Smiths handicap may need to be treated with care. Firstly they went no pace, very unusual for this race, until 3F out and as Jason Weaver pointed out this was an old fashioned York race with the leaders keeping to the far rail turning for home. Neither of these factors helped the hold-up, dropped in horses, so I am upgrading the performances of Garcia, Victory Bond, Another Touch and Central Square. The handicapper has left the first two on OR95 and OR102, dropped Another Touch one pound to OR103 and Central Square two pounds to OR105. They could all be back on the Knavesmire for the opening 10F 0-105 handicap on Ebor day.

#FantasticMrFahey ran four in the C3 6F maiden. Most promising was Sands of Mali for the Cool Silks Partnership. A half-brother to Kadrizzi (OR100) he should collect a maiden C4/5, 6/7F. Collateral Beauty is a York nursery project. Lucky Lucky Man and Push’n’Pull needed their debut runs although there was money for the former.

Not sure that the form of the C3 stayers adds up to a lot but there are pointers to take out of the race. Firstly Georgia Cox is well worth her three pounds and an asset to the Haggas yard. Secondly Gabrials King ran creditably and I could be tempted if he ran at Chester in a C3 13½F handicap off OR88. Angel Gabrial ran a solid second recently and top weight in a northern 16F 0-85 maybe a punt. However Gabrials Star has lost the plot on Turf, AW at Wolverhampton only.

#FantasticMrFahey had The Right Choice in the C2 6F nursery and how the hell did Patrick Mathers get him into third beaten less than a length. The horse was slow from the stalls, squeezed at the start, slow to gather pace, pushed for about every yard, ran on then looked to hang left when brought to challenge! Off OR68 a shoo-in for a 0-70 C3/4 nursery. Headgear may be necessary!

At Ascot Owen Burrows had another Hamdam al Maktoum 3yo, Larraib, complete a hat-trick. This son of Pivotal was unraced as a 2yo, won his maiden over 10F at Chepstow, won a C3 10F handicap at Haydock beating Atty Persse off OR83, then 10F here at Ascot off OR95 in the style of a useful horse. Now OR103 and surely will next be seen in Listed/G3 company. Burrows said prior to the race: “Laraaib is a massive great raw horse. There is the three-year-old mile-and- a-half handicap at Royal Ascot, but we decided not to give him an entry there. He will get that trip in time, but I am not sure he has the experience yet for a race like that. He did quite a bit of work last year and he nearly got to the racetrack. He showed greenness when he won at Chepstow. From what he has shown, I would certainly be hopeful he will be up to Group-race level, whether that is this year or next year, only time will tell.”

Behind Larraib were two horses trained by David Menusier, Sinfonietta and Saunter. Based in half of Guy Harwoods old yard at Coombelands in Sussex he is a trainer I really like. Talented young man with an impressive CV. However from mid-May to mid-July he reveals “he’s had a yard virus” and didn’t get his first seasonal winner until the 18th July and doubled his total with his next runner, the talented Make Time. Others from the yard to watch include Corpus Chorister, Sinfonietta, Havre De Paix, Contrapposto, Thundering Blue and Saunter.

In Division II of the 7F 2yo race Richard Hannon introduced a smart type in Tigre du Terre who won comfortably. Speaking at the Qatar Goodwood Festival launch he said “I know he was quite a big price, but I can promise you that we already knew he was quite decent. It was a funny day as we were struggling to get a jockey and we called up Martin Harley, who is a good lad, but he doesn’t usually ride for us and I think people might have thought we didn’t fancy him because of that, but I wasn’t surprised, although there’s no doubt that most of our two-year-olds have really come on for their first starts this season and I wasn’t expecting him to win like that. He’s come out of that well and we’re looking at the Vintage which we won for the same owners (Middleham Park Racing) with Toormore in 2013. It’s going to be much tougher but I think he’s all right – he might just be a Guineas horse next year, but there’s a way to go yet.” However Tim Palin representing his owners Middleham Park Racing had said post-race “He’s a Group horse, it’s just a case of which number Group! We’ll think about either the Washington Singer at Newbury (Listed) or the Group 3 Acomb Stakes at York as targets for him.”

Bin Battuta did me, Saeed bin Suroor and Godolphin a favour when defying top weight to win the 12F C2 3yo handicap. Held up, he quickened sharply from the 2F pole, led 1F out and despite first time cheek-pieces hung right, then just held on. Talented but quirky. Does not want Firm in the going. OR93 to OR98. Entries in Goodwood Cup and Great Voltiguer seem a tad optimistic.

Back in third was a staying on Galactic Prince. For a 3yo gelding by Dubawi out of Opera Gal (OR105) a Galileo mare, surely Andrew Balding can place him to win another staying handicap 12/14F off OR80. There is an 11F 0-90 C3 3yo handicap that closes the Friday of the Qatar Goodwood Festival. #FantasticMrFahey ran Society Red up in trip for the first time but James Sullivan raced three wide with no cover. Did he stay? Jury’s out. However surely Society Red is a “winner waiting to happen” off OR81. I think he is an OR90+ horse.

At the end of last week I flagged up seven pound claimer Connor Murtagh having four rides for #FantasticMrFahey at Chester on a Sturday. He returned two winners @ 10/1 and 5/1 plus a 16/1 second. Not bad. His first winner, The Wagon Wheel, may have won by three lengths but she ended up on the near rail! Not surprisingly the handicapper has raised her eight pounds from OR90 and OR98 and it would be no surprise to see her at York in the 7F Fillies handicap on the Thursday of the Yorkshire Ebor Festival with young Murtagh back on board to take seven pounds off!

The other race that has to be reviewed is the 7F listed City Plate stakes won by 20/1 shot Viscount Barfield, trained by Andrew Balding, ridden by Rob Hornby. Pumped along at half way, back on the bridle two out, threaded his way through and held off the wider running Jungle Cat. The handicapper has put him up thirteen pounds to OR107 but he can run in the 7F Gigaset International handicap at Ascot on July 29th off his old mark with just a three pound penalty! So the official handicapper is telling us he is TEN pounds well in. I’ll let you mull over that situation as my blog for that race will be out next Monday evening, 24th July.

Saturday July 8th ITV7 Preview Part II

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)

 

 

Royal Ascot 2017 Review Part 2 Wednesday June 28th

The handicappers – Gimme the money!

I think it would be fair to say the bookies got the better of the handicaps last week at Royal Ascot with victories for 25/1 shots Bless Him, Snoano and Feng Zhui 20/1 Con Te Partiro and Rare Rhythm with Atty Persse at 7/1 and the well backed Thomas Hobson the only favourite to oblige courtesy of the omnipresent Willie Mullins and a super-patient Ryan Moore.  These are the handicappers that went into my Notebook.

Wednesday – Hunt Cup

GM HOPKINS There is life in the old dog yet! Recently been having problems rearing as the stalls open but they seem to have sorted that and he flew out here, got outpaced but nothing was finishing stronger on the Stands side. Currently on OR104 I could see him running a big race in the Cambridgeshire if he hasn’t landed one of these big handicaps before then. (John Gosden)

FASTNET TEMPEST Remains on OR99 and I’m not sure the handicapper has him fully yet. Hold up horse so you are always a hostage to fortune but surely the total lack of pace that allowed Feng Zhui to make all put paid to all the “something to aim at” horses. Preference for a fast 7F over 8F, has to be a player in the Bunbury Cup at Newmarket on July 15 and/or the Gigaset International at Ascot on July 29. (William Haggas)

ANOTHER TOUCH Rather ran away with Connor Murtagh and was front rank for the first 6F then hung right under pressure. I’m dead keen on this horse for the John Smiths over 10F at York on July 15th, just think York and 10F will be right up his street. Horse is in form this season and never thought I would write this but Tony Hamilton might be the man for the job! (#FantasticMrFahey)

EL VIP Jamie Spencer got off Banksea to ride this one who’s mark of OR99, down from the OR102 he has in the John Smiths, looks workable. Never involved here as he had a ‘Taurean Star’ experience namely two thirds of the field came across him and Spencer could never find a racing seam until it was all over. (Luca Cumani)

Wednesday – Sandringham

DANCING BREEZE Solid effort here having been drawn on the wing with little cover on the far side when the race was down the middle and her OR drops from 90 to 87. Her turn isn’t far away. Might be worth a try in a C3 10F 3yo filly’s only handicap? (John Gosden)

Thursday Britannia

Love this race and there will be a shed load of winners coming out of it which I hope will include the following!

The first three were three lengths clear of the rest and the handicapper has punished them accordingly.

BLESS HIM Quite sure this was a case of Jamie Spencer being in the right place at the right time with this winning reserve. Up ten pounds from OR90 to OR100 and if he was mine I would be touting for a Far East purchaser whilst here I would put him in Group company just in case he was that good! No bet for me. (David Simcock)
RONALD R
Wrong race to bump into one and is now up to 104 which could spell the end of handicaps. However down to run at Yarmouth in an 8F C2 (0-105) on Friday and surely has to take part as he is nine pounds well in! Non-runner! (Michael Bell)
TRICORN
Just doesn’t know how to run a bad race. In his six races his Racing Post Rating has gone 72-76-90-100-101-107 suggesting he could improve further and make into a Group horse. Now rated OR105 on Turf only OR99 on the AW so is there a handicap at Chelmsford? (John Gosden)
INDIAN DANDY
In real time I never saw this horse fly from last to first on the stands side to finish fourth overall. However when you sit back and watch the replay objectively he is the first horse you notice! Handicapper has put him up one pound to OR93 and he has gone into many notebooks, to the point where he will be too short next time because everybody saw the last run! Currently 10lbs above his last winning mark, beware. (Marco Botti)

SENATOR Cracker of a run on only his second outing of the season, in the van throughout on the favoured far side and only faded in the final furlong. Handicapper has dropped him a pound to OR90 which should provide a winning opportunity knowing his shrewd connections. York in a couple of weeks? (#FantasticMrFahey)

The next three all stay on what I believe are winning marks, just didn’t happen for them at Ascot, close but no cigar!

AFAAK OR92. Still raw, seventh here and room for one better handicap prize before he goes into Group Company. Probably wouldn’t want to go further than a mile. (Charles Hills)
LEADERS LEGACY
OR94 Mile on Good ground or better looks ideal and just like Afaak room for one more good handicap prize before he goes into Group company. (Saeed bin Suroor)
CITY OF JOY
Remains on OR94. He was my nap of the meeting and in hindsight could have been beaten before the race started. Did the preliminaries upset him? He was certainly more than awkward at stalls entrance. Held up as expected but Ryan Moore just couldn’t find any racing room on the stands side until the race was over. Certainly not giving up on him yet. (Sir Michael Stoute)

 

Friday – King George V

ATTY PERSSE Kicking myself, wrote in Fridays blog Wanted desperately to put up Atty Persse but concerned that 3lb claimer, Keiron Shoemark, rides for Godolphin? He’s drawn 22 and as one of the smallest Frankels I’ve seen he could get bashed about and he’s Favourite!” He may not be the biggest in stature but he’s a fighter. Overcoming Stall 22, over racing early on but still enough to repel all comers! Goes up from OR93 to OR102 and wouldn’t be surprised if Frankel’s first Royal Ascot winner was pointed towards the Great Voltiguer at York’s Ebor meeting and a tilt at the St. Leger. (Roger Charlton)

DROCHAID Probably too keen early on but still full of running in the home straight but just couldn’t get through when he needed to but did run on well for fourth. Up two pounds to OR95 and there is a good 3yo C2 12F handicap at Newmarket I would be keen to see him in. (Andrew Balding)

SOFIAS ROCK Remains on OR100 and had no sort of run here. Taken left out of the stalls, always travelling three wide then bounced around in the straight. Line through race and move on. Went off at just 7/1 here so front runners track like Haydock, Chester, Musselburgh etc. under the same conditions. Just needs to have a chance to lead. (Mark Johnston)

Friday – Duke of Edinburgh

RARE RHYTHM Some performance this. This was only the 5yo’s sixth appearance on a racecourse, he hadn’t been out since this race twelve months previously and in between this £650K son of Dubawi had been gelded. Drawn with just two horses outside him on ground probably quicker than ideal William Buick gave him a masterful ride. Though Buick had already displayed his ‘winning from a wide draw over 12F’ skill on Space Age two years ago!

Charlie Appleby declared: “Rare Rhythm has been off a long time, but we knew we had got him right. I was confident coming into this race last year coming off another layoff but it didn’t pan out for us as it was a bit of a messy race. I thought the ground was key for this horse and that he would like decent ground. He met with a soft tissue injury after last year and it knocked us out of running him in the November Handicap at Doncaster. He has twice been to Chelmsford (Racecourse) for a gallop recently and he has also been gelded which has helped him get fitter. It was a great performance from the team and it is a big team effort – these are the days we are all here for, we haven’t thought of any races for him beyond this stage.”

 William Buick added: “This was a very good training performance. Rare Rhythm has always had the engine but he got gelded and it’s ended up lighting the horse up a little bit. He just seems more athletic after it. He was fit and well coming in to the race and they didn’t go an awfully strong gallop either so I suppose we were in the right place.”

Rare Rhythm has an entry in the two furlong shorter John Smiths Cup for which he gets a five pound penalty but as the handicapper has put him up eight pounds he would in effect be three pounds well in. Looks a better horse over 12F and I wouldn’t be surprised if Godolphin move him into Group company over that trip, he certainly looks capable of winning at least a G3. (Charlie Appleby)

WADIGOR Backed off the boards into 4/1 favourite, SDS riding for Roger Varian. Dear Silvestre, not sighted at Ascot in nineteen rides, held up the inexperienced but unbeaten Wadigor way out the back and at the 2F pole just as he was about to ask for his finishing kick Adam Kirby on another punted horse, Sixties Groove, turned him sideways and it was race over. The culprit ran on strongly but was a rapidly closing fifth and I wonder how many more rides will Adam Kirby have for Mr Noseda? Wadigor remains on OR104 and has to be given another chance under similar conditions. (Roger Varian)

Saturday  – Wolferton

SNOANO The Wolferton handicap was odd in as much that the strong pace looked like it collapsed at the furlong pole then parted like the Red Sea for David Allen on the winner followed through by a grateful Jamie Spencer on runner up, 7yo Majeed. Not sure how much I trust this form.

One of my favourite handicappers but as I have more than one quote from young Mr Easterby stating that “it just can’t be soft enough” for this horse, on quick ground I just didn’t have a penny on! Another who could show up in the John Smiths at York off OR102+5lbs penalty, although the handicapper has only put him up three pounds to OR105. (Tim Easterby)

“He’s come out of it good. I’ve had winners at Royal Ascot so I know what it takes. I won’t run them unless they have a chance,” said Easterby. “It was a nice surprise because he if it had been softer ground I’d have been fairly optimistic. It was fast so I was a bit iffy. He runs in the John Smith’s Cup. That’s been his aim all year. This was a bonus.”
MAJEED
Opportunist ride by Spencer who got on the quarters of the right horse and nearly stole the main prize. So was he flattered or is Majeed back in business going up just two pounds to OR102? I’m definitely with the former as his highest winning mark is OR97 a year ago and his form figures with a three figure handicap mark are 9983204802. Has to be opposed. (David Simcock)
KIDMENEVER
Another Godolphin horse back from a break not having been seen since Meydan in February. Mildly surprised at his position in the market, second favourite, however this was a highly meritorious run as he was in the van throughout and saw it out very well. His mark remains on OR104 and he’s an interesting Godolphin horse as they paid €130K for him as a twenty times raced 3yo! Entered in the John Smiths and the G3 9F Meld stakes at Leopardstown. Will surely appreciate a bit of cut in the ground and I thought up in trip from 10F? (Charlie Appleby)

Found this on line from last Augusts Thoroughbred Owner and Breeder 16 August, 2016

Europe’s busiest horse gears up for raid on Autumn showpiece

Three-year-old colt Kidmenever has been making a striking impression on the continent since his move from the UK at the end of last year. Now racing in the colours of Gerard Augustin-Normand, owner of Poule d’Essai des Pouliches and Prix de Diane heroine La Cressonniere, Kidmenever has raced no fewer than 11 times since February, almost twice a month for two different trainers. The son of Baltic King’s progression reach a high point on June 12 in the €69,000 Swiss Derby at Frauenfeld when trying a mile and a half for the first time. Under former Italian champion jockey Cristian Demuro, Kidmenever galloped to a comfortable two and a half-length victory over the Alain de Royer-Dupre-trained Black Sea.

Kidmenever was first picked up at the Goresbridge Sales by Lambourn-based trainer Stan Moore for what would turn out to be a bargain price of €10,000. After two starts at Salisbury and Lingfield, Moore decided to take his charge across to Deauville and won on what was to be his fifth and final start for the yard on Deauville’s polytrack, with none other than Christophe Soumillon on board. He was claimed after that race by Xavier Nakkachdji for a sum of €34,500. The Chantilly-based trainer stepped him up to Listed level straight away which proved a step too far at that stage. He ran a further five times, which included a win and two seconds, before being sold once again in March to Augustin-Normand. Since joining his current trainer Fabrice Vermeulen, Kidmenever’s form has hit a new level. Last time out in the Listed Prix Frederic de Lagrange at Vichy at the end of July, he finished a creditable second to Al Shaqab Racing’s smart performer Doha Dream, trained by Andre Fabre. Two runs prior to the Swiss Derby success, he was a close third in the Group 2 Prix Greffulhe behind Robin Of Navan and Godolphin’s Cloth Of Stars, when he was supposedly the stable’s pacemaker for Apilobar, who finished behind him in fourth. The Kidmenever story is far from over as Vermeulen has now entered him in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly on October 2.

Stan Moore, who continues to make profitable excursions across the Channel, has not been surprised by his former inmate’s recent upsurge. The handler felt he would be more of a 1m1f type – Kidmenever’s unraced dam, Pepys Tillergirl, is a daughter of the smart miler Tillerman – but believes the style of French racing has helped him to stay 12 furlongs. “He was always going to be a better three- and four-year-old than a two-year-old as he was a big horse,” reflected Moore. “He’s been quite a busy horse, the man said on the racing channel the other day he’s the busiest horse in Europe! We’re all dreaming of getting a Group horse, so I didn’t think he’d be a Group horse, but he is there, anyway.”

AYRAD Considering this was his first run of the season and Ryan Moore has come widest of all to make his challenge he has performed creditably to finish fifth beaten just two lengths in his first ever handicap. 10F was the distance here but is his trip 12F? Listed is his level but are they aiming the 6yo for a big handicap? The 12F G3 Glorious Stakes at Goodwood in which he was second last season would be a more obvious target but keep an eye on his entries.

In the early season ATR stable tour trainer Roger Charlton said “He just lost his form a little bit towards the end of last year having been pretty consistent in listed and Group 3 races up to a mile and a half. He has been gelded over the Winter and I hope we can resume sometime in May.” (Roger Charlton)

Saturday – Wokingham

The Wokingham sadly did split into two races sadly won by the far side.

AMAZOUR Everybody’s idea of an eye catcher but to me he looked like a horse that gets outpaced mid-race then keeps on strongly as this isn’t the first time he has looked an “eye-catcher”. However having looked at his dance card the place TO back him is over 6F at Newcastle on the Tapeta and lo and behold he is entered in two 6F races there this Saturday, Northumberland Plate Day. The 1.50 is the 6F C2 handicap off OR98 down a pound from Royal Ascot but just two pounds above his last winning mark here over C&D, then thirty five minutes later in the 6F G3 Chipchase stakes. Backable in the handicap and he’s currently 25/1 for the Group race! (Ismail Mohammed)

RAUCOUS William Haggas had a frustrating week epitomised by this chap. Having secured the services of the peerless Ryan Moore and wearing blinkers for the first time Raucous was backed in to 11/2 favourite. As expected he was held up and from 2F out every avenue he went down was closed up and when he did get room he flew home to grab third. Sadly that was on the slower side and he finished eighth overall! The handicapper has dropped him a pound to OR104 and you would have to think the gelding will be back for the Stewards Cup on August 5th at Goodwood where he was third last year off two pounds lower as a 3yo. He has a very interesting entry in the Gigaset International handicap back at Ascot on July 29th which is over the straight 7F! (William Haggas)

Royal Ascot 2017 G1 10F Prince of Wales & G2 12F Hardwicke

Started Friday June 16th finished Monday 19th June

Wednesday 4.20pm G1 Prince of Wales 10F 4yo+

I believe this race was meant to be a clash between Minding OR122 RPR123, So Mi Dar OR114 RPR118 and Cloth of Stars  OR?? RPR118 but all three are on the sidelines currently and for the powerhose connections of Godolphin, Coolmore and Gosden this is Plan B. The richest race of the five days and looks destined to stay in Europe.

So who are the big hitters for this 10F showpiece:-

Highland Reel Aidan O’Briens top money spinner, who has been supported in the last few days, will adore the fast ground and will no doubt try to make every post a winning post. However he hasn’t won over 10F for a couple of years with all his best form being over two furlongs further including the King George last season over this course. Ryan Moore will have the job of getting the fractions right. OR123 RPR123

Jack Hobbs Another G1 winner who steps back 2F, indeed the only win he has had at this trip was in a handicap in his 3yo days! He is an Irish Derby winner and is supposedly using this as a warm up for the King Gerorge back here over 12F. Not only is the trip an issue but the fast ground may be as well? Gosden said: “He will go on anything except firm ground. He travelled out there (Dubai) well and has come back well. We will point him towards Royal Ascot as most of the big middle-distance races are not until June.” OR123 RPR123

Ulysses Lightly raced 4yo but was Stoute’s Derby horse last year but was slow to come to hand and is probably going to show his true colours this season but yet to prove it in G1. Won the 10F G3 Brigadier Gerard at a similar Sandown beating Deauville and, last year’s big price Soft ground winner of this race, My Dream Boat. Trip and ground should be fine. OR116 RPR119

Decorated Knight Recently won the G1 10F Tattersalls Gold Cup at THE Curragh and this is one horse who ticks both the ground and trip boxes. Good campaign in Meydan over the winter, winning the Jebel Hatta then undone by the Soft ground in the Dubai Turf. Could still be improving. Connections trainer Roger Charlton and jockey Andrea Atzeni were bullish after that latest victory, “Atzeni said: “It went very smoothly. We had a good draw, we had a good position all the way and he travelled beautifully into the race. Two (furlongs) out, I was very confident it was going take a decent horse to beat him today. He got to the front easily enough. In the last 100 yards he got a bit lonely, but when the second horse came he went again. He’s very brave, he’s got a big heart and he’s going the right way.” Charlton said: “I was very worried when I saw the ground yesterday. I knew the forecast was for heavy showers, but not like an inch or whatever they had. People kept tactfully sending me photographs of flooded car parks and puddles everywhere and I thought it was getting bad. The surface was a bit dead, it’s good to soft, but the course is in fantastic condition. They’ve opened up a new strip. I walked the course and was very pleasantly surprised how good it was. He doesn’t have to have rattling quick ground. In Dubai it affected him quite badly. This horse has improved and improved. The Group One race he won in Meydan wouldn’t have been the strongest race and this is a stronger race. He keeps on improving. If Minding had turned up it would have been a different story, but he won with his ears pricked and was pulling up in front. He has a very classy pedigree. He’s a very close relation to Gleneagles and his dam is a half-sister to Giants Causeway, so he has a stallion career.” The Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot looks Decorated Knight’s likely next port of call. We were looking to go abroad a bit but you would have to run at Ascot. It’s worked for us before so hopefully it will work again,” the trainer added.   OR118 RPR117

Mekhtaal Looks an improver, despite already having won at G1 level, representing Jean-Claude Rouget and Al Shaqab Racing, this son of Sea the Stars seems best at this trip and although this would be the quickest ground he’s encountered he should cope, indeed he may be better on it. OR115 RPR115

Nigel Keeling put his case neatly on geegeez.co.uk “Rouget also has interest in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, with Mekhtaal fancied by many to go well. The French have enjoyed plenty of success in the recent past, with Manduro, Vision D’Etat and Byword, all winners during a dazzling period from 2007 to 2010. Andre Fabre was responsible for two of those victories, and has a leading contender in Cloth Of Stars (non-runner). Fabre’s colt clashed with Mekhtaal at Chantilly in April, and edged it in a thriller. He had fitness on his side and the pair look closely matched on all known form. Rouget’s fella needs decent ground, and looks sure to get it. In a hugely competitive renewal, both have a realistic chance at a trip that looks ideal.”

More recently connections have said “”Mekhtaal is on course for the Prince of Wales’s,” said Al Shaqab’s Rupert Pritchard-Gordon. “He looks well and fit and has run recently. He runs well fresh so will do only one more very routine piece of work. Everyone is very happy with him and the one thing we’ll be hoping for is that the weather isn’t like last year. We’d want nice fast ground.”

Hawkbill Wen the G1 10F Eclipse as a 3yo but surely needs to get his toe in. OR115 RPR114 Godolphin obviously have Jack Hobbs as well as Moonlight Magic, Prize Money and Scottish all entered as well. Last three don’t look good enough.

Conclusion – Jack Hobbs and Highland Reel are global performers who have been there, seen it, done it and have more than one T-shirt but I’m not sure Jack Hobbs will even turn up on this ground and Highland Reel could be done for toe. I’m keen on the French challenger and with no Cloth the stars I’m going for Mekhtaal  to find the seven pound improvement necessary. One star* each way Mekhtaal @ 14/1 with WH 123 1/5

Saturday 3.40pm G2 Hardwicke 12F 4yo+

I believe this is the race that should have seen Highland Reel and Jack Hobbs in as they built up for a clash in the King George. So how much is it going to take to win this?

Dartmouth returns to defend his crown for HM the Queen and you can be sure Sir Michael Stoute will have him trained to the moment. Dartmouth obviously gets the trip, acts on the course, is up to the grade but the question is the ground. So is he “value” currently priced at a general 3/1? Maybe. Probably. Opposition looks thin on the ground with those two big guns missing.

You know this is coming BUT I think there is a 4yo in here who has all the correct conditions to break into the big time. The problem is Sir Michael Stoute trains him as well! Every time I see a Newmarket gallops report he’s always ‘best’ or ‘impressive. The horse is Poets Word. He is going to love this ground, however his second to Deauville in the Huxley Stakes at Chester was his first race out of Maiden or handicap company but this horse has a classic Sir Michael Stoute, brought along steadily profile and Saturday could well be his day.

I can only see two other rivals of note. Frontiersman may well have won the G1 12F Coronation Cup if he hadn’t hung down the camber but to me looked another classic example of Godolphin promoting their horses too quickly, C2 handicap to Epsom G1. He was in my notebook as I thought he could win the Ebor, i.e I think he’s a handicapper who could do with a bit further. Poets Word is already a seven pound better according to the Official Handicapper but twice the price. Journey is more dangerous being a Gosden filly in receipt of three pounds who won the Mares race on Champions Day on quick ground over C&D. Her recent fifth place in the Coronation Cup will have set her up nicely and she is going to be very popular with the stats boys.

Poets Word is a two star** win @ 7/1 general and Journey is a one star* win @ 10/1 with WH.

Lucky 15 Friday June 9th

Thursday 5.45pm Absolute tosh on Friday, even the Haydock and Goodwood cards are full of Class 5’s! So no Lucky 15 on Friday I’m just going to look at two races, the 3yo handicap at Carlisle at 4.40 and the Listed 5F sprint at Haydock at 7.25.

Carlisle 4.40 C4 11F 3yo handicap. GOING Good to Soft, Soft in places.

Initial thought is “that’s a long way for Sir Michael Stoute so send a Juddmonte horse”! Melting Dew won his 8F+ maiden as a 2yo at Lingfield on the AW at the third attempt. Won on debut as a 3yo in a 10F C4 handicap again on the sand but at Chelmsford. Clearly improving, stays well and showed a willing attitude to get up late to beat Alfarris a short head. So does 13/8 represent value?

Mark Johnston runs two. I can’t have Voski who won on debut in an egg and spoon maiden on the AW at Lingfield and then looked one paced at Chester. May do better if given an uncontested lead but looks like the hare to me. His second string, Addicted to You, made his debut as a 2yo at Musselburgh finishing eighth of eight and since has run five times on the AW winning at Lingfield, oddly beating the same horse as Voski did! Will stay the trip, gets weight but surely not good enough. Something Brewing cost £40K as a seven raced, twice winning 2yo from France and debuts for Ian Jardine whilst stepping up 3F. Not screaming winner to me but he does at least have a French handicap mark!! Shymkent is something I loathe, a 50/1 maiden winner. Obviously not expected when winning, backward on debut and beaten a long way in a Listed event since. O’Meara and Tudhope always have to be respected but I want to see a bit more from Shymkent first. That just leaves Karl Burkes Frankel colt, Immortalised. Unraced as a 2yo he hasn’t shone too brightly in three maidens as a 3yo, although his 4L fourth to Crystal Ocean over 10F at Nottingham is noteworthy, and goes handicapping off just OR77.

So Melting Dew looks the winner to me. A well-bred improver from a yard in form deserves his place in the market. The doubt is will his form hold up on Turf? The same applies to a couple of the others so I’m taking the 13/8.

Three star *** win Melting Dew @ 13/8 with Coral or BetFred.

Looked at that 5F Listed sprint and wanted to put up the 3yo filly Rosie Briar with the allowances but it would be a fair leap of faith. Mind you if you can get some 20/1, why not!

Be Lucky.

Thursdays Lucky 15

Ripon 3.30                  STAMP HILL                          8th 9/1                 (14/1 Ladbrokes + Coral)

Far too keen early on, still not sure he stayed the mile.

Sandown 6.30                        SPLASH AROUND                   5/2 Betfred 9/4 general

Sandown 7.00                        DANCING BREEZE                  9/2 Ladbrokes + Coral

Sandown 7.35                        FRONTISPIECE                                   2/1 Ladbrokes + Coral

Wednesdays Lucky 15

Pitifully blank! Two that could have won were tactically inept and the two that gave themselves a chance weren’t good enough!

Ripon 7.35                  DANDY HIGHWAYMAN            2nd 3/1F               (9/2 PP as low as 10/3 Coral)

Just had to hold the rail! Gave it up at halfway, then had to sit and suffer and still almost got up!

Ripon 8.05                  SCRUTINEER                           8th 8/1             (14/1 Coral 12/1 general)

Everything going fine until the final furlong when it looked like his action went, again! Avoid.

Kempton 7.25             PLY                                          5th 11/2           (9/2 general)

Held up, move at the top of straight, not good enough, beaten just two lengths. Keep in tracker.

Kempton 7.55            CAPTAIN PEACOCK                6th 11/4F         (5/1 PP + BetFred)

Surely Jim Crowley overdid the waiting tactics? Never got competitive.

Tracker Talk Whilst watching the evening racing I saw the C5 10F maiden, the 9.05 at Ripon and it’s worth a look. Godolphin introduced a useful 3yo gelded son of Cape Cross, Strong Belief, who could be a handicap snip at around OR85 and #FantasticMrFahey introduced a son of Galileo, and he doesn’t have many of those, homebred by Sir Robert Ogden called Northwest Frontier. Notebook says “Really green, just about clueless for the first mile. Kept on really well and grabbed third.”

Talking of #FantasticMrFahey 3yo Night Law made her debut from Musley Bank having been bought out of Andrew Balding’s yard by the Merchants and Missionaries (those men of mystery rarely buy a dud!) for £21K and this young lady could have a future. Hopefully finishing fourth here beaten just half a length won’t affect her handicap mark of OR75. Notebook said “Worst of draw, struggled for cover, rear, progress 2F out, kept on well, fourth beaten just half a length. WWTH”

Racing News

June 8th sportinglife.com John Gosden is ready willing Enable for Irish Oaks bid at Curragh

The John Gosden-trained daughter of Nathaniel is being readied to follow up her victory in the Epsom Oaks last Friday at the Curragh on July 15. Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for owner Khalid Abdullah, said: “She has come out of the race really well and John Gosden is very pleased with her and she looks in good form. We will look towards the Irish Oaks now. The King George is a long way away and obviously we will look at the various options, but at the moment she will go for the Irish Oaks. While Grimthorpe was not surprised by the victory of Enable in the mile-and-a-half Group One, he was taken back by the manner in which it was achieved. “She showed a huge amount of class and ran unbelievably well to beat a top-class filly (Rhododendron). We expected a big run from her as we were confident that she would stay so, to that extent, it was not a great surprise. If you win a Classic by five lengths, though, that has got to be very unexpected and is one for the very-pleasant-surprise box.”

Stablemate Shutter Speed will try to maintain her unbeaten record in the Prix de Diane at Chantilly on June 18 after she brilliantly won the Musidora at York. Grimthorpe said: “Shutter Speed is in good shape after the Musidora and heads for the Diane the Sunday before Royal Ascot. We have won four out of the five Oaks trials this season and obviously we have converted one. It would be nice now if we could convert another.”

The Roger Charlton-trained Natavia also runs in the famous Abdullah silks but will be given a short break after she trailed home last in the Oaks. Grimthorpe added: “We are a bit mystified by her. She seemed to be travelling well. Possibly she didn’t stay or possibly she didn’t handle the downhill part of the race. She was going well until the top of Tattenham Corner then all of a sudden she was off the bridle struggling. We will give her a bit of a break.”

Mori is another classy filly for the Abdullah team and she is set to step up to Pattern company in the Ribblesdale Stakes following her victory in the Height of Fashion Stakes. A daughter of Frankel out of multiple Group One winner Midday, Mori will also be switching up in trip to 12 furlongs for the first time at Royal Ascot. Grimthorpe said: “She worked nicely (on Wednesday morning) and she will now head to the Ribblesdale. I would think that the mile and a half would suit her. In both races she has won (over 10 furlongs), she has been doing her best work late on so you would have to think another couple of furlongs would be fine.”

Mori is likely to be joined at the Royal meeting by fellow Sir Michael Stoute inmate Mirage Dancer, who sidestepped an outing in the Derby, with connections favouring a tilt at the Hampton Court Stakes. The son of Frankel won on his sole juvenile outing at Doncaster, but then had to settle for fourth behind subsequent Derby runner-up Cliffs Of Moher in the Dee Stakes on his seasonal bow. “We are looking at the Hampton Court. He is entered in the King Edward VII, but I think we will head to the Hampton Court. He is out of a mare (Heat Haze) who is a Group One-winning miler by Green Desert and the family have strong mile and mile and a quarter links. The galloping space at Ascot will suit him better than Chester. It is only his third start and he is still a work in progress.”

June 8th sportinglife.com 16.20 Flaxman Stables @ Royal Ascot (Correct me if I’m wrong but that’s the Niarchos family to you and me!)

Ulysses remains on target for a crack at the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot. Sir Michael Stoute’s four-year-old won the Gordon Richards Stakes on his return to action this season but has been kept fresh for the big meeting. Regally bred, by Galileo out of an Oaks winner in Light Shift, Ulysses has won over both 10 and 12 furlongs. “The Prince of Wales’s is definitely the plan and all is well with him at the moment,” said Alan Cooper, racing manager for the owners, Flaxman Stables. “Sir Michael has indicated he is happy to stay over 10 furlongs for now, but he can do both if we need him to. We know he stays further, though. It was always the plan to go straight to Ascot. The Brigadier Gerard was looked at, but Sir Michael decided it would be better to keep him fresh.”

Jessica Harrington’s exciting juvenile Alpha Centauri, ante-post favourite for the Albany Stakes, is set to be another notable runner for the owner. “She has a lovely stride. For a big filly, she is very well balanced,” said Cooper.

 “Jessica has stated she wouldn’t want to run her on firm ground, but good ground would be fine.”

Another contender in the famous silks will be George Scott’s Gilgamesh in the Britannia Stakes for three-year-olds.

“Gilgamesh will head for the Britannia. He started off at a low level but George has brought him along lovely and he’s now four from five,” said Cooper. “Obviously this requires another step up, but he’s going there at the top of his game.”

Lucky 15 Wednesday June 7th update

6.10pm Tuesday. Prices for Wednesday and todays Lucky 15 updated.

John Ferguson has announced his resignation as Godolphin chief executive following Monday’s revelations that his relationship with the operation’s longest-serving trainer Saeed Bin Suroor had broken down.

Ferguson told the Racing Post his parting with Sheikh Mohammed’s global racing and bloodstock superpower was “best for everyone”, admitting his employment within the organisation had become “untenable”.

My CV is on its way!

Royal Ascot: Are these favourites Bankers or Blowouts? sportinglife.com June 06 2017, 13:40

Ian Ogg and Ben Linfoot look at five of the hottest favourites for Royal Ascot and ask whether they are bankers or blowouts.

Ribchester – Queen Anne Stakes. 10/11 (NRNB)

Ian Ogg: Top class three-year-old who won the Group One Jacques Le Marois as well as placing in the Guineas, Sussex Stakes and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. Slightly disappointing when only third at the Dubai World Cup over nine furlongs but impressive back over a mile in the Lockinge at Newbury. A winner of the Jersey Stakes at last year’s Royal meeting and hard to see what’s going to beat him in the curtain raiser. BANKER.

Ben Linfoot: Ribchester’s superb win in the Lockinge was a clear hint that he’s ready to win more Group One races in the Godolphin blue this summer and he could well do so in a Queen Anne Stakes that is lacking star quality beyond himself. Perhaps Lightning Spear could reverse the Newbury form on faster ground, but he has been beaten on four occasions by Ribchester now, while Qemah might be better going around a bend. BANKER.

Churchill – St James’s Palace Stakes 4/6 – non-runner no bet

Ian Ogg: Undefeated in seven races since finishing third on debut, adding the Irish 2,000 Guineas to his victory at Newmarket in the English version this season while last year’s run included victory at this meeting in the Chesham Stakes. The horses that chased him home in both Classics are likely to re-oppose and although Thunder Snow looks to have something to find, connections of Barney Roy will be more than hopeful that they can bridge the gap. BLOWOUT.

Ben Linfoot: It took me a while to believe in Churchill but it seems to me he’s one of those top-class Ballydoyle horses that just gets the job done without doing anything spectacularly. His last win in the Irish 2,000 Guineas was a career-best and the way he finished off his race powerfully suggests those that followed him home off a slow pace in the Guineas might have just as tough a task if the gallop is stronger at Ascot. He’s versatile when it comes to ground, he has the course form from the Chesham. I’m a believer, now. BANKER.

Order Of St George – Ascot Gold Cup, 5/4 (NRNB)

Ian Ogg: Sent off at 10/11 when winning last year’s renewal, the seventh time that Aidan O’Brien has saddled the winner in 11 years with Yeats making the race his own between 2004-09. Order Of St George was beaten on British Champions Day but that came just two weeks after he had finished a fine third in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. He lost again on his reappearance but obliged at cramped odds last time and he’s a fair price to better old rivals that he has the beating of. BANKER.

Ben Linfoot: A resolute stayer going for his second consecutive win in this contest, Order Of St George will be a banker for many but there is word of caution for those having a go at skinny prices. He sweated up markedly before two of his four consecutive defeats at the end of 2016 and the start of the current season, while he proved vulnerable off a steady gallop in the Long Distance Cup at Ascot on Champions Day when only fourth. Vazirabad would be a very interesting rival should the ground (wouldn’t want it fast) be deemed okay for him to take his chance, too. BLOWOUT

Caravaggio – Commonwealth Cup, Evens (NRNB)

Ian Ogg: Brilliantly fast juvenile who steered an unusual path to victory in the Coventry Stakes last year. Suitably impressive in winning two starts since and could be a sprinter out of the very top drawer. Has a couple of likely looking sorts in Harry Angel and Blue Point snapping at his heels but that does mean that his price has held up and it’s one worth taking advantage of. BANKER.

Ben Linfoot: This is a really tough one. I’m very much a big fan of Caravaggio but I really like Harry Angel as well and Blue Point shouldn’t be dismissed, either. This is shaping up to be the race of the week and I just hope the big three all get there fit and healthy as this could define the sprinting division for the rest of the year. You fancy the winner of this could easily go and beat his elders in the July Cup. On balance, I tend to agree with Ian that the depth of the race is holding up Caravaggio’s price quite nicely, so, for that reason… BANKER.

Winter – Coronation Stakes, 4/6 (NRNB)

Ian Ogg: Like stablemate Churchill, Winter completed the Newmarket / Curragh Guineas double and it’s hard to see why those behind her on either occasion should reverse the form. However, French handler Jean-Claude Rouget has saddled the last two winners and the runners from the Poulains could pose the main threat. Winner Precieuse could be supplemented (she also has the Prix de Diane as an option) while runner-up Sea Of Grace is in the mix along as is Fred Darling Stakes winner Dabyah who was Group One-placed last season. B…, just hold your horses until the opposition is clear!

Ben Linfoot: With Rhododendron likely to go the 10-furlong route in the Pretty Polly and the Nassau the door has been left open for Winter take this before perhaps taking on the colts in the Sussex Stakes or QEII, or both. Highly impressive on fast ground in the Guineas and yielding conditions in the Irish version at the Curragh, she can light up Ascot in the Coronation Stakes just as her dam, Laddies Poker Two, did when landing a huge gamble in the 2010 Wokingham. BANKER.

Lucky 15 Saturday June 3rd  

Friday 6.00pm Every year I try to convince myself that Epsom’s history means that Epsom deserves its place in the racing calendar. However I’m sorry but the course is awful. Racing is in no way fair. Too often the best horse doesn’t win. It is a punting graveyard. The only place the form may transfer to is Brighton and that is probably in two grades lower. Absolute anachronism. Can the Jockey Club keep Kempton and sell this one?

Indeed for a Saturday, tomorrows cards are poor. Hardly any runners at Musselburgh although there is plenty of prize money and Paul Hanagan. Lingfield is full of Class 5’s on a Saturday and ARC aren’t exactly splashing the prize money at Newcastle in the evening. Catterick has some C4’s but generally mediocre. So on the Flat that’s Doncaster and Epsom. Epsoms handicaps include The Dash which is nineteen horses hurtling down a hill and lasts about 56 seconds! No thanks. Just can’t find enough for a Lucky 15, I’ve two at Doncaster I like I will profile and for what it’s worth I will stick Simon’s lucky pin in the Derby field.

Doncaster 5.10           VALCARTIER I am totally convinced that this green, long, rangy son of top Australian sire Redoute’s Choice will be a Group winner for John Gosden and Godolphin sooner rather than later. Connections probably thought the same prior to his 2yo debut last season as he was heavily backed. However he was not ready physically nor mentally, finished eighth and was put away for the winter. He revealed more of his talent when reappearing in a C5 8.5F maiden at Nottingham, just about made all and he may have beaten trees but he gave them a hiding! The fact he holds an entry in the G1 10F Eclipse tells me the regard he is held in and this 10F Conditions race looks an ideal stepping stone. A must for your tracker. The 5/4 with Betfred is finding money in the street!

Doncaster 5.40           AFAAK Unraced as a 2yo on 3yo debut he was everybodies eye-catcher in the 7F Alex Scott maiden at the Craven meeting when a running on fourth behind Jewel House and that race has thrown up plenty of winners. A month later he came out and won a C5 8F in Thirsk at odds on. Simples. Not quite, he missed the break, had to be pushed hard to get an early position, hung in the straight, put his head in the air and still won. Bound to improve, Hamdan al Maktoums homebred son of Oasis Dream, Afaak oozes class and like Valcartier I think he’s destined for Group success. This is a Class 4 handicap up Doncaster’s straight 8F on Good ground and he goes handicapping off OR86. Has to be backed.

Now I expected 3/1 as a top price and I’m flabbergasted that Paddy Power on line as put him in at 16/1. I am now en route to see if the shops match, normally do. (They did.Ed)

Will do the Derby when I get back. Then post the blog.

The Epsom Derby 2017

I could put half a dozen up but still not get in the frame. So the selection is Venice Beach @ 14/1 with four places.

Why because I am totally persuaded by something I read on twitter. On May 25th Aiden O’Brian had ten left in the Derby and Dazzler‏ @Dazzler38217947, clearly a stats fan, put on twitter that O’Briens Derby winners all met the following criteria- Racecourse debut not before June 20th, Maximum of three runs as a juvenile, not beaten more than once as a juvenile, never raced under 7 furlongs, already a Group race winner going into the Derby, had at least one career run at either Leopardstown or the Curragh, must have run in either the Guineas, Derrinstown Derby Trial or the Chester Vase. Only one ticked every box, Venice Beach.

So he is a son of Galileo out of a Danehill mare who produced Danedream who won the King George and the Arc de Triomphe, last time out he won a recognised Derby trial, the G3 Chester Vase over 12F, he’s drawn in a promising stall 9, races prominently and he’s ridden by Donccha O’Brien (Aidans younger son and as good as Joseph!).

Why not?

 

Thursdays Lucky 15

Off to a slow start today. City of Joy does the biz but it’s only £11 for our £15.

Wolverhampton 3.50                                    PAVILLON                                         3rd 9/4F           (4/1 PP 7/2 general)

Travelled well in midfield, wide into straight, couldn’t quicken sufficiently, stayed on.

Hamilton 4.30                                    BILLY BOND                            5th 4/1             (9/2 general)

Slowly away, never competitive, one pace at best and one to avoid I’m afraid!

Chelmsford 7.10                                 CITY OF JOY                            1st 10/3           (5/2  general)

Ride of beauty from Ryan Moore. Held up last until turning for home and as they fanned out he bought City of Joy through the middle like a hot knife through butter, Serious Britannia player.

Newcastle 7.50                                   INSTANT ATTRACTION          9th 7/1             (7/1 general)

Worst fears realised as Jamie Spencer gave a masterclass on El Vip as only he can. As for Instant Attraction, led at the furlong pole and didn’t get home.