Tag: Kevin Ryan

Cambridgeshire Handicap Ante Post Newmarket 3.35 Saturday September 30th 2017



Posted Wednesday September 6th 5.00pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One Star* win @ 25/1 everyone!

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

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

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

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

Others I considered,

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

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

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

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

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

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


SimpleSimonSays Review York Ebor Festival 2017 Part 1

Posted Tuesday August 28th 4.30pm

In yesterday’s Racing Post they asked the Monday jury “What would they change at the York Ebor Festival” and unanimously they wouldn’t! I couldn’t agree more, four days of wonderful racing, well balanced between the Group races and the excellent handicaps. What is more it’s fair. A long straight, they race down the middle, it is all about pace and a jockeys judgement of it! Plenty of Yorkshire trained winners to boot.

Class acts

Three stand out performances. Ulysses in the 10F Juddmonte International got the ball rolling. Got there on the bridle but the 3yo’s rather set it up for him by racing from 3F out. Surely Barney Roy had to either sit behind or Cliffs of Moher or go past and stack them up. Didn’t understand the James Doyle ride nor the money for Cliffs of Moher in the days up to the race then his run! Good to see Churchill back to form, supposedly the Irish Champion Stakes next whilst the winner, Ulysses, has the Breeders Cup Turf on his agenda.

Cracksman romped away with the Great Voltiguer and despite the media baying for him to run again this season personally I think he’ll be on the Arc subs bench in case anything happens to Enable and then next season the Coronation Cup, King George, Arc de Triomphe will be the plan.

Of course the third star was Enable herself who waltzed away with the all age Yorkshire Oaks. In Australia they have a super mare, Winx, who hasn’t been beaten for ages but some aren’t over impressed because she beats the same horse(s) every time, namely Hartnell. In winning the Cheshire, Epsom, Irish and Yorkshire Oaks the same charge could be levelled at Enable with Alluringly, Coronet and anything Coolmore saddles following her home BUT you can’t get away from a four and a half-length victory in the King George at Ascot with the likes of Ulysses, Idaho, Highland Reel et al trailing behind.


Five races to consider the 7F G3 Acomb for colts, the 6F G2 Gimcrack for colts, the 6F G2 Lowther for fillies, the 7F C2 Convivial maiden and the valuable C2 Sales race.

In the Acomb the favourite Dee Ex Bee disappointed but I like the first four home. James Garfield was chinned on the line by Tim Easterby’s Wells Farhh Go with Lansky and Zaaki not far away and both of those will be better over the mile. The winner remains in the “could be anything” envelope. The run of James Garfield enhances the reputation of Barraquero and in turn Expert Eye.

An upset in the Gimcrack with Richard Fahey’s rapidly improving Sands of Mali winning in a convincing manner from Invincible Army and the dead heating Headway and Cardsharp. Solid form but still suggests the Goodwood 2yo form is the best of the Festivals this year. That theme was reinforced when Threading, a Goodwood maiden winner, was impressive in beating Madeline in the Lowther.

The 7F Convivial is the most valuable maiden of the season and no surprise that trainers like to run “a good’un” in it. The form rarely disappoints with the winner normally close to Group level. They had real issues this year in loading the inexperienced field with some runners being in the stalls for over five minutes and the fancied Doswell withdrawn. I’m putting the first five and the ninth in my 2yo tracker. (See below in Looking Forward)

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. All five go in the Tracker. (See below in Looking Forward).

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.

Looking Forward its Tracker Time!

Alba Power                      (Hugo Palmer) Won his maiden at Yarmouth over 6F, then 6th in the G2 July stakes just five lengths behind Cardsharp, 3rd in the Listed 7F Winkfield and fourth in York’s Sales race. Quicker ground and he is a real player at Doncaster.

Thursday, 14 September 2017 – 3:35            Doncaster Weatherbys Racing Bank £300,000 2-Y-O Stakes 6½F

Saturday, 07 October 2017 – 5:40                  Redcar totepool Two-Year-Old Trophy (Listed Race) 6F

Darkanna                    (Richard Fahey) Already a Black Type filly and she could turn up anywhere in Europe but I want to be on when she steps up to 7F! She was a £205K purchase as a daughter of Dark Angel and bloodstock agent Matt Coleman has served the Cool Silks Partnership well (Prince of Lir and of course recent Gimcrack winner Sands of Mali). She couldn’t lay up with speedster Hey Jonesy on the stands side but stayed on strongly without looking like winning.

Thursday, 14 September 2017 – 3:35            Doncaster Weatherbys Racing Bank £300,000 2-Y-O Stakes 6½F

Saturday, 30 September 2017 – 2:20             Newmarket Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes (Group 1) (Fillies) 6F

Saturday, 07 October 2017 – 5:40                 Redcar totepool Two-Year-Old Trophy (Listed Race) 6F

Commander Han          (Kevin Ryan) Slow away, moderate late progress whilst running green in the Convivial. From the Craven Breeze Ups Sales this £440K son of Siyouni was sent off at just 9/1 (from 16/1) on debut, so clearly well regarded and loads more to come especially up in trip.

Saturday, 16 September 2017 – 3:00             Doncaster Howcroft Industrial Supplies Champagne Stakes (Group 2) 7F

Saturday, 30 September 2017 – 1:50             Newmarket Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes (Group 2) (Colts & Geldings) 7F

Corrosive                          (Hugo Palmer) Another from the Craven Breeze Ups Sales he is a son of Uncle Mo with a US pedigree and cost Mr Araci £150K. James Doyle looked after him in the Convivial and this educative introduction should pay dividends. Moderately away he moved up well to be a never competitive fifth.

Dream Today                 (Mark Johnston) Hindsight is a wonderful talent but it was only afterwards I found out he was a full brother to Al Wukair! Then Braveheart goes on TV and says they had three in mind for the Convivial, put them against each other in a gallop at home and this one came out on top! Prominent, led 3F out and despite wandering a bit was professional enough on debut to see the race out.

Saturday, 02 September 2017 – 2:25             Sandown Solario Stakes (Group 3) 7F

Thursday, 14 September 2017 – 3:35            Doncaster Weatherbys Racing Bank £300,000 2-Y-O Stakes 6½F

Saturday, 16 September 2017 – 3:00             Doncaster Howcroft Industrial Supplies Champagne Stakes (Group 2) 7F

Saturday, 07 October 2017 – 5:40                  Redcar totepool Two-Year-Old Trophy (Listed Race) 6F

Dubai Empire                 (John Quinn) Put up by ATR’s top tipster Hugh Taylor he wasn’t far away. On this his second start in the Convivial he was held up, made progress in the straight but was still a couple of lengths off a podium finish and basically ran to the pound with Laugh a Minute when they were fifth and second to the Acomb winner, Wells Farhh Go. A €40K son of Motivator should make up into a 10/12F 3yo.

Saturday, 16 September 2017 – 3:00             Doncaster Howcroft Industrial Supplies Champagne Stakes (Group 2) 7F

Saturday, 30 September 2017 – 1:50             Newmarket Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes (Group 2) (Colts & Geldings)

Saturday, 14 October 2017 – 2:25                  Newmarket Darley Dewhurst Stakes (Group 1) (Colts & Fillies) 7F

Gabr                                     (John Gosden) Hard to know what to make of him? There isn’t a lot from front to back but clearly has an engine. Ran on late on debut at Newmarket and again in the Convivial came to challenge at the furlong pole but couldn’t get past. To me the least convincing of the front five.

Saturday, 30 September 2017 – 1:50             Newmarket Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes (Group 2) (Colts & Geldings)

Saturday, 14 October 2017 – 2:25                 Newmarket Darley Dewhurst Stakes (Group 1) (Colts & Fillies) 7F

Saturday, 02 June 2018 – 4:30                         Epsom Investec Derby (Group 1) (Entire Colts & Fillies)

Great Prospector         (Richard Fahey) He is in my opinion is a Group horse over 7/8F this season or next. Impressive on debut winning over 6f, an excellent third to Gustav Klimt in the G3 Superlative over 7F and in the York Sales race I think he was the best horse but Hanagan got blind-sided. Where he runs at Doncaster may indicate the yards opinion of the horse, especially relative to Sands of Mali. OR105

Thursday, 14 September 2017 – 3:35            Doncaster Weatherbys Racing Bank £300,000 2-Y-O Stakes 6½F

Saturday, 16 September 2017 – 3:00             Doncaster Howcroft Industrial Supplies Champagne Stakes (Group 2) 7F

Saturday, 07 October 2017 – 5:40                  Redcar totepool Two-Year-Old Trophy (Listed Race) 6F

Saturday, 14 October 2017 – 2:25                  Newmarket Darley Dewhurst Stakes (Group 1) (Colts & Fillies) 7F

Hey Jonesy                 (Kevin Ryan) Many will say that having to run a solo from a high draw cost him the race but personally I think if he had been drawn low he would just have set it up for the other two. They paid just £30K for this son of Excelebration and he looks a sprinter. OR103. He would look an attractive proposition for the Far East market at six figures plus.

Thursday, 14 September 2017 – 3:35            Doncaster Weatherbys Racing Bank £300,000 2-Y-O Stakes 6½F

Saturday, 23 September 2017 – 2:50             Newbury Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes (Group 2) 6F

Saturday, 30 September 2017 – 2:55             Newmarket Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes (Group 1) (Colts) 6F

Saturday, 07 October 2017 – 5:40                  Redcar totepool Two-Year-Old Trophy (Listed Race) 6F

Laugh a Minute         (Roger Varian) Frustrating for connections but wonderful for the handicapper and us form students Laugh a Minute has finished third to Tigre de Terre on debut, second to Wells Farhh Go and third here in the Convivial to Dream Today! The Racing Post see him as a solid 80 whilst the handicapper has given him OR82. If he was mine I could happily put him away, let him strengthen up and start next season in 7/8F 3yo handicaps because this is an OR90+ horse!

Thursday, 14 September 2017 – 3:35            Doncaster Weatherbys Racing Bank £300,000 2-Y-O Stakes 6½F

Tangled                              (Richard Hannon) How good is he? Won a Newmarket nursery off OR88, then beat Great Prospector in York’s valuable Sales race and now has a handicap mark of OR102. He travels, he quickens, he has beaten some decent types. £67K son of top sprinter Society Rock out of an American filly probably won’t get beyond a mile but has to have a go at Group company or is it another bucket of cash at Doncaster?

Saturday, 02 September 2017 – 2:25             Sandown Solario Stakes (Group 3 7F)

Thursday, 14 September 2017 – 3:35            Doncaster Weatherbys Racing Bank £300,000 2-Y-O Stakes 6½F

Thursday August 24th Day 2 York Ebor Festival

Posted Wednesday 6.30pm

Wednesday on the Knavesmire was a fabulous day’s horse racing. Like all Festivals I will do a big review of all four days at the beginning of next week. Thursday is all about the fairer sex with four of the six races restricted to Fillies and Mares.

So this blog is:-

Reviews of the G1 Yorkshire Oaks and Listed Galtres Stakes, tomorrows two 12F races.

Tomorrows selections and why!

How we did punting on Wednesday.

Brief review of Wednesdays Juddmonte International and Great Voltiguer.

A rant about the rain! Going-gate!!

Odds and sods to assist your pin sticking!


York 3.40 Yorkshire Oaks G1 12F 3yo+ Fillies & Mares.

This won’t take long. Enable. There you go. Kettle on, watch the race. No betting medium.


York 3.35 British EBF & Sir Henry Cecil Galtres Stakes Listed 12F 3yo+ Fillies & Mares.

Mori was second in the 12F G2 3yo Ribblesdale at Ascot, beaten just a neck by Coronet, who runs in the Group 1 race! Me, the handicapper and most of York think she has upward of 8lbs in hand of her opposition. Couldn’t back her at odds on (Ground, York, inexperience, she’s a mare) but wouldn’t wish to oppose her either.

The clue is in the title of the race, British EBF & Sir Henry Cecil Galtres Stakes1 Mori is owned and bred by Juddmonte, her mum is Midday and her dad is of course Frankel! How henry Cecil do you want??

Even the opposition fancy Mori. Cumani Latest News – Aljezeera another for Al Shaqab Racing, also missed Goodwood due to the ground and will take her chance at York in the Listed British EBF & Sir Henry Cecil Galtres Stakes over a mile and a half also on Thursday. She should be suited by the extra two furlongs and is well within herself at home, although the race is likely to be a competitive one with the likes of Ribblesdale second Mori in opposition.


Thursday Lucky 15

York 1.55                    GREAT PROSPECTOR             @ 7/2 WH + Coral 3/1 general

York 2.30                    SPECIAL PURPOSE                 @ 13/2 general

York 3.00                    EL VIP                                      @ 10/1 general

York 4.50                    CARIDADE                               @ 11/1 Coral 10/1 general


Thursday Star* Selections (9 Stars)

York 1.55                    GREAT PROSPECTOR             Three star*** win @ 7/2 WH + Coral 3/1 general

York 2.30                    SPECIAL PURPOSE                 Two star** win @ 13/2 general

York 3.00                    EL VIP                                      One star* each way @ 10/1 general (5 places WH/PP/BF)

York 4.50                    CARIDADE                               One star* each way @ 11/1 Coral 10/1 general


and here’s why


York 1.55                    GREAT PROSPECTOR  If he handles the ground he wins. I think the handicapper would have him about OR107, third in a G3 to Gustav Klimt and Nebo last time at HQ, massively impressive on debut. I have Great Prospector ten pounds well in here. I had him pencilled in for the G2 7F Acomb but as the excellent Richard Hoiles pointed out you couldn’t run in that race if you had won prior to July 15th. Wootton Bassett MkII?

sportinglife.com Richard Fahey blogGoffs Premier Yearling Conditions Stakes has been the target for Great Prospector since he won on debut at Nottingham. He went to Newmarket for the Superlative Stakes and ran a big race there and we’ve been very happy with him since. If he runs his race he’s got a favourite’s chance.”

SkyBet Ebor Preview Night Great Expectations Sadly Richard wasn’t at the preview evening on Wednesday as he was at Deauville, but Tony Hamilton stepped in as Musley Bank representative and if he did have a similar golden nugget I missed it. He did, however, say the yard’s best chance of the week, by far, was Great Prospector in the Goffs Premier Yearling Stakes, the opening race on Thursday. Third in the Superlative Stakes at Newmarket’s July Meeting last time, Great Prospector will have a great chance on ratings and he’ll be relatively short in the betting as well. And Hamilton reports the Fahey team are happy with him at home. “He’d have a really good chance,” said Hamilton. “I’d be a little bit worried about the drop back to six, but staying further can be a good asset if they go fast so it might not be a bad thing at all. Richard targets these races 100 per cent as they are valuable and he’d have a good chance.”

York 2.30                    SPECIAL PURPOSE An unbeaten William Haggas 2yo filly with form on the soft just has to be of interest and she ticks every box at the top of the trends list. 14/15 – Won by a Jan, Feb or March foal 14/15 – Had won over 5 or 6f before 14/15 – Had won at least once before 14/15 – Had 2 or more previous runs that season 13/15 – Had not run at York before 12/15  – Drawn in stall 4 or higher 12/15 – Returned 11/2 or shorter in the betting 12/15 – Finished 1st or 2nd last time out 11/15 – Won last time out. Roll the dice!

York 3.00                    EL VIP Off OR99 he has every chance of picking up one of these Heritage handicaps. When he’s good he is Group class! The ground will be the issue but I thought they went through it OK today and I’ll take a chance that Jamie Spencer can right the wrong that was the Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot when they ALL came across to the stands rail! Would have need a helicopter after two furlongs. Surely they’ll race up the middle here at York. Just a hunch Spencer will hold him up and might track Ryan Moore through on Ronald R, then pounce!

Cumani Latest News –El Vip was taken out a Glorious Goodwood due to the wet conditions but should be able to take his chance this week in the Clipper Logistics Handicap over a mile on Thursday. He is in great form at home and is working well, so provided he gets luck in running and with the draw, he should give a good account of himself.

York 4.50                    CARIDADE Haggas and Moore combining on a class dropper will make the market but I fancy one further down the handicap. Kevin Ryan paid just £20K for this Godolphin cast off who was unraced as a 2yo. Just had the three runs, won on Good to soft, 7F looks her trip and Jimmy Quinn can weigh out at just 8st 2lbs and Caridade looks an improver to me with the yard now rocking!                       


Wednesday Lucky 15

Not a great start with just a quid back for our £15, little more if you played each way!

York 1.55                    EDWARD LEWIS                     2nd 6/1F           (8/1 general)

Best of the closers but Desert Law had first run. First four home drawn 8-5-2-9. Last four 12-20-13-18! Time 62.4 seconds suggest no worse than Good to Soft.

York 2.25                    ZAAKI                                      4th 20/1          (One Star* each way @ 18/1 PP 14/1 general)

Held up, progress two out, couldn’t quite get to first two. Super run.

York 4.15                    THEYDON GREY                      Non runner!   (Two Star**win @ 7/1 general)

York 4.50                    KALAGIA                                 9th 16/1           (14/1 general)

Outpaced early, progress halfway but never competitive, looked after. The amount of morning rain did for us here.


Wednesday Star* Selections (11 Stars out 22.5 stars in +11.5 stars)

York 1.55                    EDWARD LEWIS                     2nd 6/1F           (One Star*win @ 8/1 general)

York 2.25                    ZAAKI                                      4th 20/1          (One Star* each way @ 18/1 PP 14/1 general)

York 2.25                    WELLS FARHH GO                  1st 10/1           (One Star*win @ 16/1 general)

sportinglife.com “Tim Easterby looks proud as punch and rightly so, he’s got a good one on his hands here. He says: “He could go for the Royal Lodge next, or he could run in France. He’s a got a great temperament. He’s a proper horse. He had a hard race though, I won’t be pushing him. I bought him at the sales, at Tatts, and he’s just a big, nice horse. The type of horse I like to buy. I could’ve easily cut him and put him away but he showed me a lot of speed early on. Next year’s his year. He’s very exciting.”

BHA Stewards reports “The Stewards held an enquiry into the use of the whip by David Allan, the rider of the winner, WELLS FARHH GO (IRE), from 1 ½ furlongs out. Having heard his evidence and viewed recordings of the race, they found him in breach of Schedule (B)6 Part 2 in that he had used his whip above the permitted level. The Stewards suspended Allan for 7 days as follows: Wednesday 6 to Tuesday 12 September 2017. Under Rule (B)54 the Stewards also fined the rider £700.”

York 3.00                    MIRAGE DANCER                   3rd 5/1           (One Star*win @ 11/2 Ladbrokes 5/1 general)

Not ready for this level yet. Tried to follow the excellent Cracksman through but not good enough. Could have done without the morning’s rain. Did he actually stay 12F? Eclipse 2018? Juddmonte International 2018?

York 4.15                    THEYDON GREY                      Non Runner   (Two Star**win @ 7/1 general)

York 4.15                    MY REWARD                          2nd 11/1           (One Star*win @ 14/1 PP 12/1 WH)

Poo! No complaints though, horse and jockey did exactly what I expected, just one too good!

York 4.50                    KALAGIA                                 9th 16/1           (14/1 general)

York 4.50                    AREEN FAISAL                                    3rd 10/1         (One Star* each way @ 11/1 WH 10/1 general)

Excellent run from stall 18. Winner just wasn’t for catching!            


Brief Wednesday review

York 3.35        Juddmonte International G1 10F

Review – Well done Jim Crowley. I don’t understand the rides on Cliffs of Moher or Barney Roy. The 3yo’s beat each other up and Crowley ended up with TWO to aim at?

Preview – “Fantastic line up but a mine field of a race. Who leads? This race could be won by the jockey as much as the horse. I want to take the 3yo’s colts on. I am not convinced Churchill’s form adds up to a lot and I don’t think Barney Roy is as good as Richard Hannon does! Shutter Speed is quality but she isn’t Enable! Either Decorated Knight or My Dream Boat would constitute a surprise but not a shock. Recent money suggests Cliffs of Moher is a player not a pacemaker and Eclipse winner Ulysses needs something to aim at, which brings me back to “where is the pace”?”

Ulysses next target is the Breeders Cup Turf and they will work backwards from there.

York 3.00        Great Voltigeur Stakes G2 12F 3yo colts & geldings

Top performance from Cracksman. Gosden says: “Whether he runs again, I’ll discuss with the owner. His main programme is next year and that’s really what it’s about. He may well run in the autumn, we will see. He was only a shell of a horse when he ran in the Derby. He has two engagements and they’re only possibilities at this time, not probabilities.” Arc de Triomphe candidate?



It was Goodwood all over again! How can these Clerks of the Course get it SO wrong? Surely they pay for professional meterological advice? OK so it’s the British Weather bur 15mm is not under 5mm!

Here’s a time line for my rising anger!

sportinglife.com Ebor Festival blog 10.29am: At the York preview evening last night our editor Dave Ord unwittingly had a pop at clerks of the courses up and down the land, not knowing that York supremo William Derby was still in attendance. Dave said something like, and I am paraphrasing here: ‘They always play it down, there will be more than 5mm tomorrow.’

Derby asked Ord to clarify his comments at half-time, and, to be fair Dave, he didn’t back down. A friendly £5 wager between the two followed, with Dave cheering on more than 5mm and Derby 5mm or less.

York Races Clerks‏ @YorkClerk  10.47am 6mms rain to 10.45am @yorkracecourse Going now Good. Thunder showers continue to noon. Will update Going again when rain through

TurfTrax‏ @TurfTrax

1107am Going update @yorkracecourse is now Good following 10mm rain this morning to 10:45

Totepool Racing‏ @TotepoolRacing

11.35am #EborFestival 12mm of rain in last hour – going now Good – stopped raining – talk of Sunshine later !!!

Racing Post‏ @RacingPost 

11.45 am “It feels like the track has taken the rain very well but we will make an assessment and issue an update at 12.30” – York’s William Derby

York Races Clerks‏ @YorkClerk 

Going @yorkracecourse at 12.20pm Good to Soft, soft in places after 15mm of rain. Now stopped and cloud lifting.

Simon Rowlands‏ @RowleyfileRRR

Around 64.2s for opener at York          Soft side of Good?

Wouldn’t be surprised if they water Friday night!


Odds & Sods

This came through on my Twitter during Wednesday

FlatStats‏ @FlatStats   Mark Johnston at the York Ebor Meeting:

Wins: 4 Runs: 141 Win%: 2.8% A/E: 0.31 ROI: 66% loss That’s a Stokell sized strike rate there.

Didn’t do much on Wednesday to improve it either!

Newmarket July Meeting Day 1 Thursday

Posted Wednesday July 12th 3.30pm

Plenty to look forward to on the first day of the July meeting at HQ. Let’s see if we can make a couple of quid?

Newmarket GOING Good

Stalls: Stand Side Course 12f and 13f Centre Remainder Far Side

WEATHER 16.5mm of rain on Tuesday & overnight. Wednesday; Overnight rain clearing to leave a largely dry day. Thursday; Sunny spells and light afternoon/evening showers 22C. Friday; Largely dry 20C. Saturday; Largely dry and warmer 25C. (Going/Weather/Other last updated @Wed 12 Jul 7:11am)

Thursdays Lucky 15

Newmarket 1.50                              RAHEEN HOUSE               @ 4/1 general

Newmarket 3.00                             UNABATED                         @ 12/1 PP + BetFred

Newmarket 3.35                             POETS WORD                    @ 9/2 Coral 4/1 general

Newmarket 5.05                              FOREST RANGER              @ 13/2

Star* Singles

Newmarket 1.50                              RAHEEN HOUSE               Two star** win @ 4/1 general

Newmarket 2.25                             INVINCIBLE ARMY           One star* win @ 7/1 general

Newmarket 2.25                             ENJAZAAT                           One star* win @ 16/1 PP 14/1 general

Newmarket 3.00                             UNABATED                         One star* win @ 12/1 PP + BetFred

Newmarket 3.00                             DANIELSFLYER                   One star* win @ 201 general

Newmarket 3.00                             TOMMY TAYLOR              One star* win @ 25/1 PP (20/1 BF, as low as 14/1!!)

Newmarket 3.35                             POETS WORD                    (NAP) Three star*** win @ 9/2 Coral 4/1 general          

Only High Street bookie to have last two races priced up on-line is Paddy Power. So shop around.

Newmarket 4.35                              ORVAR                                 One star* win @ 12/1 general                  

Newmarket 4.35                              OH SO SASSY                     Half a star each way @  25/1 general

Newmarket 4.35                              MONT KIARA                     Half a star each way @  20/1 general

Newmarket 5.05                              FOREST RANGER              (NB) Two star** win @ 13/2

Newmarket 5.05                              TRICORN                              One star* win @ 9/2

(Total 16 stars)

and here is why

1.50 Bahrain Trophy G3 3yo 13F

One of the serious St.Leger trials and basically brings together most of the middle distance 3yo form from Royal Ascot.

The “Ascot Derby”, the G2 12F Edward VII, was won by Permian with Raheen House a hanging, staying on fourth. That looks the best bit of form on offer to me. Connections felt this colt was good enough to run in the G1 Racing Post Trophy as a 2yo. However Raheen House doesn’t look a straight forward conveyance.

At Ascot Jamie Spencer had him out smart-ish but by halfway he had been shuffled back to last before staying on. The Listed Cocked Hat at Goodwood was a difficult race as Monarchs Glen went twelve lengths clear and Raheen House had to tow the field up and then got done for toe by Khalidi. On seasonal debut he had split the fillies Shutter Speed and Enable and that doesn’t look too shabby. The field looks big enough to find cover and Jamie Spencer should have plenty of room to manoeuvre at HQ, trip and ground look OK and connections seem bullish “Trainer Brian Ellison said: Raheen House is entered in the Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket on Thursday and we will see what the ground is like as we don’t want it too firm. It was fine at Ascot and I am sure it will be fine at the July Course and I hope we can run there. He is a St Leger horse and that is the ideal race for him. He is in great order and in tip-top shape.”

In the C2 12F King George V handicap Atty Persse overcame a wide draw racing in the van throughout and this son of Frankel had enough left to overcome the cavalry in the home straight and now steps up to Group company over a furlong further. Sofia’s Rock was in behind having had a troubled passage throughout and although ten pounds better off with the winner this is his first venture into Group class as well.

Desert Skyline and Face the Facts took part in a messy G2 Queens Vase, this year over 14F, finishing sixth and eighth after both met interference then doing their best work in the final furlong and both looked out and out stayers for whom even this 13F may be too short. Neither has won beyond C4 level. Wisconsin was wayward and has been beaten at the Curragh since but does represent Coolmore/O’Brien/Moore. Tamleek ran behind Benbatl in the G3 10F Hampton Court and steps up a full three furlongs here. He has looked one paced since moving into Group class.

Crowned Eagle hasn’t been seen since disappointing in the Derby itself and Wolf Country was behind Permian in the Dante. Both now have questions to answer. Trip for the former, quick ground for the latter?

2.25 Arqana July Stakes G2 6f Colts & Geldings

Once again it’s Royal Ascot form being tested. Rajasinghe did us proud when winning the G2 6F Coventry stakes at Ascot and gets a three pound penalty here for his troubles. One would struggle to see either US Army Flag or Denaar turning the form around. Bigger dangers may come from the G2 5F Norfolk and the Listed 5F Windsor Castle Stakes. Card Sharp and It Don’t Come Easy were third and fifth in the Norfolk while Sound of Silence was the winner of the Listed race.

The rest are a bunch of Yarmouth/Windsor C4/5 maiden winners, any of which could improve but it’s a fair sized leap. However some of the stats suggest taking a second look. 6/15 – Ran at Royal Ascot in their last race 10/15 – Won their last race 14/15 – Had won over 5 or 6f previously 11/15 – Won by either a Feb or March foal 10/15 – Won their last race

6/15 – Ran at Royal Ascot in their last race. Just 40% of the last fifteen winners had their last race at Royal Ascot!! That brings Enjizaat and Invincible Army into play. The former was professional looking impressive when hacking up on a miserable afternoon. The latter is a real good looker did a quick time when winning over C&D

Rajasinghe is trading at around 13/8 which is skinny for a penalised horse on a different course to Ascot’s carpet and Newcastle’s Tapeta! Don’t really want to oppose him but Enjizaat and Invincible Army may be the way to go.

3.00 Bet365 C2 6F 3yo 0-105 handicap.

Now here is an easy one! Twenty 3yo sprinters. I’ll put up three against the field with the rider that I backed all three last time with varied results.

UNABATED OR104 Just how good is Marco Botti’s Bated Breath colt? As a 2yo he ran in the G2 Gymcrack on his second outing, the third in the G3 Solaria on the AW at Kempton and finally fifth to Harry Angel in the G2 Mill Reef. In March he went to Newcastle on the Tapeta over 6F and beat a bunch of 3yo’s off OR94 then four months later over he repeated the dose against his elders off OR99, “smooth headway, kept on strongly”. Could well be a Group horse. Initially concerned about the ground but he won his maiden on the Soft at Newmarket.

DANIELSFLYER OR101 Another course winner and over the trip as well, he was put up eight pounds for his May success when he showed a tidy turn of foot out of The Dip. Well backed for the valuable Charity Sprint at York he ran flatter than the proverbial pancake, indeed his two career poor runs have been on the Knavesmire. So in forgiving mood I’ll give Brian Ellisons smart Dandy Man colt another chance with Adam Kirby taking over from SDS.

TOMMY TAYLOR OR95 Went into my Craven report “Looks a surefire sprint winner for Kevin Ryan as he tanked through the C2 6F 3yo handicap on the Craven Thursday. Now dropped 2lb to OR95 I could see him turning up at York for the valuable 3yo 6F Charity Sprint.” The yards health problems and temporary closure scuppered that plan and I’ve no idea how or if he was affected or how fit he is but he looked a talented handicap sprinter, the type Ryan has always done well with. The same owner has had the likes of Brando and Bogart.

3.35 Prince of Wales Stakes G2 12F

Frontiersman v Poets Word. Is the ground soft enough for Hawkbill?

As regular readers know I fancied Poets Word for the Hardwicke but Dartmouth got Sir Michaels nod whilst Godolphin put forward Prize Money. Both were well behind a resurgent Idaho as were Wings of Desire (fifth) and Western Hymn (seventh) who both run here. Here’s my Hardwicke blog as I still stand by it! “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. 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 and 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.”

Add to that Ryan Moore is in the saddle and this is my nap of the day.

4.05 Maiden Fillies 2yo 6F Put the kettle on and get the notebook ready. Obviously I hope Moore on Maybride for Cheveley Park and #FantasticMrFahey can win the race but they will be hideously overbet! Quite interested in the two Hannon Jnr entries, Lamya and Toomer.

4.35 John Deere handicap 5F C2 0-100 Not my favourite betting medium these older sprint handicaps over the minimum trip. Let’s see if we can find whose turn it is here? Three against the field.

ORVAR OR92 Minimum trip is synonymous with Robert Cowell. Highly tried as a 2yo running in the G2 July Stakes and running Raucous to a neck off level weights over C&D. Has since left Richard Hannon and his mark has slipped from OR101 to OR92. In reasonable current form, placed in last two races, and wears cheek-pieces for the first time.

OH SO SASSY OR88 Chris Wall’s 7yo mare could probably run this track on her own as four of her last eight races have been over C&D and she is never far away, getting within a half-length of winning behind El Astronaute earlier this season. Has form on all sorts of ground and Fran Berry should have the far rail to help being drawn 1.

MONT KIARA OR84 His form at HQ is 25194 and he handles the ups and downs well and enjoys the stiff finish. One of Kevin Ryan’s that has had a run since his all clear from quarantine and hopefully has put him spot on for this contest. Tom Eaves rides and like Oh So Sassy will be up against that far rail and if he is to be played it is likely to be late.

5.05 Robinsons Mercedes-Benz Sir Henry Cecil Stakes 8F Listed Race 3yo Two I really like in this Listed race.

FOREST RANGER Hugely impressive when he cruised past a decent field in an 8F C2 Conditions contest on the Tapeta at Newcastle back in April and to say he’s been highly tried since is an under-statement! Sixth to Permian in the G2 10F Dante when he clearly didn’t stay and then an eight length fifth to Barney Roy in the G1 8F St. James Palace Stakes. This is a big class drop and I put in my Royal Ascot preview “Forest Ranger (Richard Fahey) struck me as up in trip, 8-10F, down in grade, G3?, could see him back to winning ways.”  Same trip and softer ground should be fine at this stage of his career. Tony Hamilton keeps the ride.

TRICORN Another to make my Royal Ascot notebook “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)” So Gosden “rolls the big dice” and has a shot at a Listed contest with James Doyle once again in the saddle.

Lucky 15 Wednesday May 17th  

Tuesday 6.10pm If you say you love horse racing but the York Dante meeting doesn’t get the juices flowing, as a good friend would say, I can only presume you wear tweed underpants and your season is four days in Gloucestershire in March!

Me, I love both and the Knavesmire is one of my favourite places on planet earth. Change in the going has made punting a little trappier but this season really looking forward to the Dante itself on Thursday.

Going at YORK – Anthea L Morshead‏ @AntheaLMorshead  Clerk of the course @3.30pm Tuesday

Going now Good to Soft, Good in places. Currently dry, mild & breezy. 4mms rain today @yorkracecourse

(GoingStick: 6.9 overall. Home Straight; Far Side; 6.9 Centre; 6.8 Stands Side; 6.9 on Tuesday at 07:30)

Wednesday – band of rain, possibly heavy at times, passing through region.

Thursday and Friday – mixture of sunshine and showers.

Going/Weather/Other last updated @Tue 16 May 8:19am

Wednesdays Lucky 15

At these rather exciting prices you may want to play half stake each way? Get shopping!

York 2.20                    SAUNTER                                    12/1 PP 11/1 general

York 2.50                    MUNTADAB                                 9/1 Coral? 13/2 Ladbrokes+WH? 

York 4.35                    MAZYOUN                                        16/1 WH 14/1 general

York 5.35                    ST MALO                                     11/2 PP+WH

and here’s why

York 2.20                    SAUNTER Possibly the most interesting part of this race will be as the field enters the straight and where they choose to race?  The selection will appreciate the trip and the give in the ground, has had a seasonal pipe opener and this lightly raced gelded 4yo could still be open to improvement. Drawn well in stall 7, races prominently, doesn’t do anything quickly but keeps on galloping. I like this trainer, David Menusier, and he sends a select team of just three north to the Knavesmire for the Dante meeting from his Pulborough base in Sussex, the yard made famous by Guy Harwood. The other two are Contrapposto in the Dante and Havre de Paix in the Hambleton, both on Thursday.

When Saunter ran in a Listed race in France last November Menusier said about the left handed track, “It does favour front-runners, however, especially on soft ground, which it will be and which should suit Saunter. He found the fast ground against him and the mile and a half a bit far at Newmarket last time. Like Saunter, all of the opposition are stepping up into Listed company rather than being already proven at that level and I expect our horse to go well. He’s a progressive type who should be even better next year.” Sounds like York tomorrow will be spot on!

York 2.50                    MUNTADAB Sometimes when I start going through these big meeting handicaps anything up to a week previous the selection is double figures and then when I get to post the blog they are favourite! Ho hum it’s the nature of the beast. It has to be a low draw for me on the 6F course whatever the going. Like my horse to race prominently, a bit of York form doesn’t go amiss and a horse in form. Muntadeb covers all that although I have a nagging doubt that he could set it all up for a finisher and two in particular.

George Bowen has his ground, is down to OR88, Hanagan rides but stall 13 won’t help and has the horse forgotten how to win? Kevin Ryan has an unexposed top weight in Ride Like the Wind who will be familiar to blog regulars. He had a “bruised foot” last Thursday and we did our money in the Victoria Cup. Surprisingly he drops a furlong here, should appreciate softer ground and if anyone can bring one from off the pace out of stall 12 Spencer can, Mr Lupton remains a master class in the Charity Sprint over C&D last season.

York 4.35                    MAZYOUN A seventeen runner 3yo 7F handicap on uncertain ground. Not the best medium for a punt perhaps! So the positives are he drops in class, Dettori rides, the softer ground (he’s by mudloving Mayson), crucially he’s drawn in stall 3 and this 7F should be spot on for this blinkered gelding. Concerns are Hugo palmer hasn’t landed any big fish this season. Winners yes but Home of the Brave in a Listed at Leicester probably the biggest. Mr Palmer now has two yards to operate and one on Newmarket’s biggest strings and perhaps he’s still coming to terms with the logistics? His thoughts on Mayzoun in today’s ATR stable tour “He should win when things go his way. He is a little bit of a nearly horse as he has won a fair bit of prize money but only one race and made heavy weather of that. He might run at York this week over seven furlongs.” At the price I’ll take the chance “things go his way” at York!

Loads of dangers with so many improving 3yo’s. Fahey’s three are surely beaten by the draw as I put on twitter “Investigation at York please. Fahey runs 3 in 18 runner 4.35. Gets stalls 16,17 18. Come on! 4000/1+”. Chessman and Battered are both in the notebook but at 5/2 and 7/1 IMO offer no value.

York 5.35                    ST MALO Owned by the China Horse Club tells me he wasn’t cheap, indeed a £200K yearling, but they don’t seem to buy too many duds. This 4yo son of Street Cry has obviously had a few ‘issues’ as he was unraced on turf as a 2 and 3yo, was gelded last July then had three runs on the AW in October, improving each time and won the third over this trip at Newcastle. This opening mark looks most workable. Love to know his long term target, Ebor, Melbourne Cup, Ludlow novice hurdle?

Catching Pigeons on sportinglife.com sum it up nicely “St Malo can start his second season off on the right note in the York Data Services Internet Cloud Solutions Handicap. Roger Varian won this race 12 months ago with Appeared, and looks to have another unexposed four year old for what is always a fascinating race. St Malo improved with each of his three outings last season, and ended the campaign with an easy six-length win over subsequent winner Mutadaffeq. The runner-up started his campaign with a three and a quarter length win off 73 in a Thirsk handicap last weekend, and that suggests St Malo may be underestimated by the handicapper with a mark of 82.”

The 6/1 on offer could look a steal in a couple of month’s time!?


Richard Fahey May 16 2017 Dante (1)

Innocent Touch is our first runner of the York Dante Festival in the opening Sky Bet First Race Special Handicap. He has nothing hidden from the handicapper and was a little disappointing at Epsom last time and we don’t know why.

He’s in good form heading into this though.

George Bowen is an extremely disappointing horse. We’ve stuck a hood on him in the Infinity Tyres Handicap to try and find the key. We’re very happy with him at home – as we always are – but he just hasn’t raised a gallop in his last five starts. He’s extremely well handicapped on what we see on the gallops – but not on the racecourse at the moment.

The recent rain at York is great news for Growl going into the Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes as I was just a fraction worried a sharp six furlongs here could just have him a little on his head. The more it rains the better and he is working very well ahead of his reappearance. He’ll need to be at the top of his game though as this looks a Group One in all but name and is very competitive.

We’ve three in the Conundrum HR Consulting Handicap and they’ve drawn 16, 17 and 18. I’m sure a mathematician could tell me what the statistical chance of that happening was but it will be a huge number. It’s far from ideal.

Senator is a horse we like and he will stay further in time but we want to get a run into him. We’re very happy with him at home but it will be a big performance to win from out there under top weight. It wasn’t a massive shock to see Sir Reginald Brown win at Redcar on debut and he’s come on a ton for the experience. He’ll win more races but again the draw is a worry – although it can sometimes be negated a little by them coming towards the stands’ rail in soft ground. It would be a good sign if he was up to winning a race as competitive as this on only his second start.

Starlight Romance did well to win at Beverley the last day but I’m a little worried about the ground for her, ideally she’d want it good or faster. We like to have winners at York so we’re firing our all bullets at this. If I had to pick one it would be Senator but the draw is the worry and we’ll need luck.

It Don’t Come Easy is a nice horse who makes his debut in the British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes. He’s not fully tuned up and the run will do him no harm but he goes very well at home and is a horse with a future.

The Right Choice ran at Beverley on Tuesday. He was put in both races in case it got too soft there – but the rain came at York so he went to the other track.

Island Flame is our final runner in the closing York Data Services Internet Cloud Solutions Handicap. He had a great season last year and as a consequence is another with nothing hidden from the assessor. The soft ground won’t bother him but I’m just a little concerned he could need it on his reappearance.


Saturdays Lucky 15

A non-runner, two nightmares and an upwardly mobile winner! £9 back for our £15. Considering I was struggling to pick my nose on Saturday that is almost a result!

Ascot 2.15                   MORNINGTON                           Non runner

Ascot 3.25                   ARISTOCRATIC                               6th 9/2                             (3/1 general)

Friendless in market. Led to 3F out, fell in a hole 2F out!

Haydock 3.45             BIRCHWOOD                                   6th 11/2           (4/1 general)

Déjà vu, just about! Friendless in market. Led to 1F out, fell in a hole!

Haydock 5.25             LEADERS LEGACY                       1st 2/1F            (3/1 Ladbrokes 11/4 general)

Like this chap. Looks a proper horse for Godolphin and I will stick with him until he is beaten. Up 5lb from OR89 to OR94 for this win. Royal Ascot handicap such as the Britannia or will it be the normal Godolphin overfacing inexperienced horses in Group company?


Here’s a reminder of the Ante Post piece I put up last Tuesday.

If my maths is right that’s 14 stars out and seventeen stars back. Got them all to post bar one. Got some great prices and George William would have topped it off nicely.

Wednesday 3.35 Chester Cup

Who Dares Win                                       4th 5/1                 two star** win   7/1 WH+Coral

Would have won for Marquand but Murphy beat him to the gap 1F out.

Montaly                                               1st 16/1           one star* win     16/1 WH+Betfred

Gutsy ride from Oisin Murphy with a willing partner. Looked outpaced 3F out but got the breaks in the straight and put his head in front in the shadow of the post.

Blakeney Point                                   12th 4/1F            one star* win     7/1 WH+Betfred

Too much too soon for this improver? Should be back next year.

Saturday 3.10 Swinton Hurdle Haydock

London Prize                                      8th 8/1                  two star**win    12/1 PP+WH

Prominent to two out, one paced.

Traditional Dancer                            11th 40/1               one star* each way          33/1 PP+WH 1234 ¼

Midfield, weakened three out.

Saturday 4.00 Victoria Cup Ascot

George William                                  2nd 8/1                 one star*win      16/1 PP 12/1 general

Tad unlucky in what was a messy and at times confusing race.

Ride Like The Wind                           Non Runner   one star* each way 25/1 BetFred+WH 1234 ¼

Taken out with “bruised foot”. Loser. Runs at York less than a week later? Obviously a small bruise!

Taurean Star                                       16th 8/1           two star** each way selection (16/1 PP+BetFred 1234 ¼)

Could see what Spencer was trying to do but don’t think he nor me expected the whole bloody field to come to the stands rail!! Needed a helicopter from 2F out.


The Epsom Derby 2017

When a horse wins a C4 handicap at Windsor, just, and gets a 20/1 quote for The Derby you know the market hasn’t a clue and to me that says “VALUE”. Will the Dante at York on Thursday sort it out? It will certainly shuffle the market. My two each ways over the winter were Sir John Lavery, awful at Lingfield but Coolmore are telling me not to give up, and Mirage Dancer who was fourth in the Dee Stakes at Chester but his price has halved! Crazy.

Which of the trails will prove relevant? The Dee, the Derrinstown (Is Yucatan the chosen one?), the Epsom Trail, the Dante or is it the 2000 Guineas all along and Churchill turns up and hacks up at evens?

Here are a couple of guys I respect on line and their take on the situation.

Monday 15 May 2017 Kevin Blake At The Races Trying to make sense of the Derby

The Derby is less than three weeks away, but with most of the trials that have been run thus far having proven inconclusive at best and the leading form pick being a far from certain runner, the race has yet to really take shape. So, will the Derby winner emerge from this week’s Dante at York, or is he already hiding in plain sight?

The first horse that has to be discussed is CHURCHILL, as both the race and the market for it revolve around the question of his participation. While some may feel that he is now more likely to line up after what have been a series of inconclusive trials, I still strongly suspect that he won’t be asked to run in the race.

The commercial reasons for this were discussed in this space last week and even though it looks far from a vintage Derby right now, there just doesn’t seem to be enough for his connections to gain from venturing into unknown territory with him at this stage. What many considered to be the inconclusive nature of the 2000 Guineas means that there is plenty of upside to him being kept at a mile for the time being and I will be surprised if that doesn’t prove to be the case.

Of those that faced Churchill at Newmarket, BARNEY ROY remains in some bookmaker’s lists for the Derby despite needing to be supplemented for the race. In the unlikely event that he was added to the field, I would have major concerns about both his stamina for the longer trip and his ability to handle the track given that he got lost on the descent into the dip at Newmarket.

A more likely Derby runner from the Guineas field is perhaps EMINENT. While he was perhaps a bit disappointing in the Guineas after getting caught wide throughout, his Craven form received a boost with the runner-up Rivet finishing third in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains at Deauville on Sunday. He has given the impression that a longer trip will suit and he isn’t a forlorn hope.

The Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown has produced more than its share of Derby winners over the years, but plenty were understandably reluctant to get behind the form of this year’s renewal given that three Ballydoyle horses hit the line with just a head separating them. That said, while the finish being so compressed hardly inspires confidence, it should be remembered that all three of those involved put Group 1 form in the book as juveniles.

Indeed, all three are likely to have achieved more in the Derrinstown than many of the horses involved in the finishes of the other Derby trials involving less exposed runners. With that in mind, it may be ill-advised to write off YUCATAN in particular as a Derby contender, given that shaped the best of the three on the day.

CLIFFS OF MOHER was the big Ballydoyle hope going into Chester and while he duly won the Dee Stakes, it was an undeniably workmanlike performance. It seems likely that he will improve from that first run of the season and while it may be ill-advised to judge him too harshly on his performance around a track such as Chester which is unlikely to have played to his strengths, it wasn’t a performance that screamed Derby.

Indeed, the eye was drawn just as quickly to the performance of MIRAGE DANCER back in fourth who flew home after getting caught in a poor position. While he may be too raw for a race such as the Derby at this stage, he is a high-class prospect going forward.

The apparent lesser of the trials at Chester was the Chester Vase and it produced a 1-2-3 for Ballydoyle led home by VENICE BEACH. A half-brother to the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Danedream, it had taken him three starts and a step up to a mile-and-a-half for him to break his maiden at Tipperary last month, but he has been improving with each start and this was another step in the right direction. While the race is not being given as much prominence as the other trials, Venice Beach is an improving, well-balanced colt that should have no problem with the test that the Derby presents and shouldn’t be underestimated.

The Lingfield Derby Trial presented an opportunity for SIR JOHN LAVERY to throw his hat in the Derby ring, but he ultimately proved very disappointing. A month ago Aidan O’Brien had revealed in his At The Races stable tour that Sir John Lavery had a setback that had held up his preparation and perhaps it was a case of Lingfield coming too soon for him, but it was undoubtedly a poor effort from him.

As it transpired, it was the Saeed Bin Suroor-trained BEST SOLUTION that took the spoils in good style on the day. While it is natural to underestimate one that has been beaten six times, including on the dirt at Meydan in February, he has Group 1 form in the book and has more than earned his place in the Derby.

Given there is so much uncertainty surrounding the Derby at present, the hope for many is that the Dante will reveal a stand-out contender for the race and looking at the likely runners, it could well do so. The likeliest candidate for that role is considered to be the John Gosden-trained CRACKSMAN. The son of Frankel didn’t score value highly in the style stakes when overcoming some trouble in running and an unsuitably tactical race tempo to win the Derby Trial at Epsom by a short-head in April, but that effort looks better now than it did at the time with the runner-up Permian bolting up in a Listed race at Newmarket and the third home Bay Of Poets finishing second Cliffs Of Moher in the Dee Stakes. Just as importantly, what Cracksman’s performance at Epsom showed was that he handled the track. He has his own way of moving, with his action being quite wide in front, but for him to handle the unique undulations of Epsom so well on just his second start in what was a tactical race showed that balance is not an issue for him and that can only be considered a positive for his Derby prospects. A more truly-run race in the Dante will suit him and he could well find significant improvement.

One that has emerged as a potential Derby contender in recent days is the Sir Michael Stoute-trained CRYSTAL OCEAN and his credentials will be tested in the Dante. However, while he did look promising in beating a subsequent winner in a maiden at Nottingham in April, he looked green and his action suggests that Epsom on quick ground may not be to his liking, so for me at least, he will need to show substantial improvement at York to put himself in the mix.

The biggest danger to Cracksman is likely to come from the horse that is perhaps being underestimated the most in the Derby build-up, the Joseph O’Brien-trained REKINDLING. Trained by David Wachman to win a maiden at Gowran Park last year, he made a successful start for O’Brien when winning the Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown in April, beating what would go to be the aforementioned first three home in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial. It was a performance that had plenty to like about it, with him travelling nicely and showing a good attitude to pick up into a tight gap in the closing stages. His pedigree suggests that a step up to a mile-and-a-half could well bring about improvement. Indeed, his full-brother Golden Sword made a bold bid from the front in the Derby in 2009 only to weaken close home to finish fifth behind Sea The Stars. Not only is it surprising that there hasn’t been more chat about Rekindling given his clear form claims, the fact that he is trained by a man that will have only just turned 24 at the time of the Derby and has already won the race on two occasions as a rider is a story that should be getting more attention than it is. That is likely to change very quickly if Rekindling can indeed shake up Cracksman and announce his arrival as a leading contender for the Derby.


Sunday 07 May 2017 ATR Ante-post expert Gary Nutting has a speculative selection with analysis for this years Epsom Derby now online.

ATTY PERSSE is almost certainly a lot better than the bare bones of his narrow Esher Cup success might suggest and worth backing at big odds for the Investec Derby ahead of his scheduled next run in the Dee Stakes at Chester this week. Roger Charlton’s colt looked an above-average maiden winner on his only start last year and it was interesting the trainer elected to go back to Sandown and remain over a mile, rather than go for the ten-furlong handicap there on the same day.

Pedigree wise the son of Frankel has reasonable prospects of staying a mile and a half (dam Dorcas Lane, a Pretty Polly winner, was placed in the Ribblesdale and Lancashire Oaks) and on both starts he’s looked more stamina than speed.

In some ways, although the trip nearly got Atty Persse beat, the Esher Cup could hardly have worked out better because he learned barrel-loads in a rough race, which is sure to stand him in good stead as he goes up in grade.

James Doyle could have made better use of his inside draw going into the bend but as he explained afterwards he was minded to keep a hold of the colt’s head as he wanted to teach him to come through horses and didn’t want him over-racing on his first run back. Despite getting into three separate barging matches during the course of the race, and being short of room for most of the straight, Atty Perse showed great determination to go through a gap when one finally appeared and get up on the line.Raised just 4lb for that victory to a mark of 91, he would be some bet if going for another handicap but Charlton knows he is destined for much better things (currently holds three Group-race entries) and has opted for the Listed trial round the Roodeye for the next stage of his education. The extra two furlongs there should see him in a better light and physically he looks the sort to cope well with the tight turns (likewise the gradients at Epsom).


GG.Co.UK Tips Den Ante-Post: Best Of Days could be a Derby gem at 33/1 KEVIN O’MALLEY 9:57am, Mon 8 May 2017

The Derby picture was made a little clearer by virtue of an underwhelming Derrinstown Derby Trial on Sunday, where Douglas Macarthur was a gutsy winner over Capri and Yucatan; all three failing to scream “Epsom”. The 2000 Guineas on Saturday, as it always is, was also quite revealing in regards to the Investec Derby on June 3rd.

Churchill was a fluent winner, benefitting (along with his obvious quality) from a near-on perfect run through the race near the inside rail. He is favourite for the Derby and understandably so, but a pre-season stable tour comment (credit: ATR) from Aidan O’Brien throws into question whether he is really thought of as a Derby horse: ”In terms of trip, I always thought he’d be fine at a mile and maybe up to a mile-and-a-quarter. I wouldn’t be sure about a mile-and-a-half for him, but his temperament will give him every chance if he’s ever asked to try it.” So, there we are. Churchill is the best horse in the race and is likely to run as a result of that. Class alone may well be good enough to see him complete the double, but at the same time a) he still may not run and b) if he does run, he may not stay and although he’d go off considerably shorter than the 5/1 on offer by a few bookmakers now, Churchill doesn’t appeal as the bet to be had.

Barney Roy looks a miler, Eminent is likely to take his chance in the Derby but he too will surely struggle to fully appreciate the 1m4f Derby challenge. Cracksman is a solid candidate for Epsom glory and his trial form is already working out promisingly with Permian securing a fluent Listed win at Newmarket on Saturday. John Gosden’ charge is an 8/1 chance and solid, but doesn’t set the pulses racing for a long range punt.

Essentially, the pool of horses who’re glaringly obviously suited to the Derby in profile and being targeted at it as such is very thin on the ground, so perhaps we’re yet to see the Derby winner this year.

As soon as Best Of Days won his Sandown maiden on July 20th of last year, I immediately tweeted “Best Of Days looks a Derby horse…..discuss”. It got no interaction, but I wasn’t the only one to be taken by this handsome son of Azamour and perhaps most importantly, it was his trainer Hugo Palmer who immediately started talk of Epsom for this horse after that Sandown win and again after his victory in the Royal Lodge Stakes two months later. He is yet to race beyond a mile, but 12f should not just be within his compass, it should bring about significant improvement. The concern is, Palmer has said he is proving difficult to get fit and may well miss the Dante, in which case the only trial left for him is at Goodwood. Nevertheless, the thick end of a year has passed since the Newmarket trainer first mentioned dreams of Epsom for this horse and the latest news tells us that plan remains the same. He is available to back at 33/1 with several firms and if he were to make a winning return at Goodwood, you can be sure that would set the wheels in motion for a collapse in price.

In terms of ground, he won’t want it to be rattling fast, but it rarely becomes too quick at Epsom so Best Of Days should be fine. Any rain would see his chances increase.

Hopefully this 3yo colt can begin to find his fitness at home over the next couple of weeks and strip sharp enough to take in one of the few trials left. It is leaving it all a little late, but he is a lovely prospect and at 33/1, I’m willing to take a chance on him given the water that went under the bridge over the weekend, which in my view cleared the way for an attempt at unearthing a dark horse gem. Best Of Days certainly fits that profile, in part – it remains to be seen just what type of gem he is – but I’m excited to have him on side.