Tag: Newbury

Saturday October 28th Time for some verbals!

Posted Friday 27th 6pm

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

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

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

Win Lucky 15

Doncaster 1.45           STAXTON                                @ 6/1 general

Doncaster 4.00           BOUNDSY                               @ 9/1 general

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

Newbury 3.55            HIKMAA                                  @ 11/2 general

Star* Singles (5 stars* Out)

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

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

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

 and here is why

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

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


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

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

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

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


Friday October 27th 

Posted Thursday October 26th 6.40pm

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

First though some general observations.

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

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

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

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

The maidens are essential viewing, debutantes especially.

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

Stalls: Straight course stands side Round course inside

This quicker ground could see some upsets.


Each way Lucky 15

Doncaster 3.35                       OUTBACK TRAVELLER                               8/1 PP and shortening!

Newbury 4.35                        REPTON                                              12/1 general

Doncaster 4.45                       ANDOK                                                               11/1 WH

Doncaster 5.20                       HAWRIDGE FLYER                                        11/1 general

Win Lucky 15

Doncaster 1.20                       DUBHE                                                5/2 WH + Ladbrokes

Newbury 1.40                        GEORGE OF HEARTS                                   2/1 general

Doncaster 2.25                       GRANDSCAPE                                     7/2 general                            

Newbury 3.25                        DUKE OF BRONTE                              5/1 general


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

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

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

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

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

The Price is Right!

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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


Lay of the day

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

Saturday 23rd September Lucky 15

Posted Friday 22nd September 6.30pm

Ayr’s abandonment is frustrating but I’m looking forward to going on Mastermind with the specialist subject “6F Soft ground sprinters 2017”! Move on.

Newbury’s card tomorrow is excellent but now I’ve got to get my head round Good/Good to Firm in places and it is late September. I had a few pencilled in for tomorrow then sportinglife.com puts up a weekend each way lucky 15 on Thursday and nicks two of them!

Saturdays Lucky 15

Newbury 2.50            JAMES GARFIELD

Newbury 4.35             GALACTIC PRINCE

Newmarket 5.30        DUBARA

Catterick 4.45             MONACO ROSE


Saturday Star* Selections

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

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

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

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

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

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

and here is why

Saturdays Lucky 15

Newbury 2.50 JAMES GARFIELD  Second in the Acomb, second in the Gimcrack or second in the Richmond? All solid form and I would expect one of James Garfield, Invincible Army or Nebo to take this. I believe the selection has the best back up form. A winner over 6F on Good to firm, in front of Seahenge (G2 Champagne winner) when fourth to Expert Eye in the Vintage and third to Sound and Silence in the Windsor Castle. Drops back from 7F last time and I think this strong traveller can collect here and be rewarded for his consistency.

George Scott FRI 22 SEPTEMBER 2017 “I have been very pleased with James Garfield since his terrific effort in the Acomb, where he was just collared under the shadow of the post. Since then I believe he has strengthened up, and having always thought he wanted better ground, it appears that he will get that tomorrow at Newbury. The drop back to 6f won’t be a problem as he possesses a huge amount of natural speed. The race in the previous two years has been won by exceptional horses, and there is every chance that there might be a similar horse lurking in the field tomorrow in what looks like an above average renewal of the race. Whatever happens, James has been a tremendous flag bearer for the yard this year having been 3rd in the Windsor Castle, 4th in the Vintage stakes, and 2nd in the Acomb. He has not put a foot wrong all season and I don’t envisage him doing any different tomorrow. All being well, he will then head to California for the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Turf.”

Newbury 4.35             GALACTIC PRINCE Notebook says, “Back in third behind Bin Battuta 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. Andrew Balding ATR Stable Tour “He is a consistent handicapper and he runs at Chester this week. You can forget his last run at Goodwood, he hated the (Soft) ground, and he should run better at Chester.” Personally I don’t think Chester would have suited this galloper either!

12F on good ground and the stronger the pace the better are ideal for this stamina laden 3yo, he gets seven pounds weight for age, and goes to post carrying just 8st 6lb’s which is pretty close to jockey David Probert’s minimum!

Newmarket 5.30        DUBARA This is a tight five runner fillies handicap but the selection is an improver and Panova whom she beat a neck at Goodwood re-opposes despite being worse off. Keiran Shoemark takes the ride and like trainer Luca Cumani is in fine fettle. Cumani was bullish on his chances on his website, “Dubara, who ran a career best when winning at Goodwood last time”, surely trainer talk for “progressive”? This stiff mile should suit and her second to Billesdon Bess and third to Tricorn over C&D read well.

Catterick 4.45             MONACO ROSE I should think #FantasticMrFahey is seething with Ayr being abandoned but this filly could improve his mood. I am going to try to be clever by suggesting that Franny Norton who is jocked up could be replaced by one of the yards claimers? This filly has only been to Catterick once before and she won over course and distance! She is a galloper who stays so won’t want to be far off the pace. Slipping down the handicap if MacNamara claimed three pounds she would be below her last winning mark.

Saturday Star* Selections

Newmarket 2.00                    CITY OF JOY Regular readers would be disappointed if I didn’t put up my “cliff” horse of the year. Notebook after the York Ebor Festival said, “To put it mildly, he is a bit of a monkey! He’s finished fifth to Mojito at York having walked out of the stalls and giving five lengths or more away. If he got out on terms he’s a player off OR94, he’s already been gelded so that’s not an option! Headgear? I can see this one at the Sales and rocking up next year with David O’Meara or Michael Appleby.”

Drops to C3 in a smaller field. Get him out Ted!

Newbury 3.25                        BROROCCO Notebook says, Brorocco (Andrew Balding) I am a little nervous putting this one as a horse to follow because he is a battle hardened handicapper who has run in plenty of C2’s and has a habit of finding trouble BUT he is really unlucky at York being “done” more than once. Slowly away probably intentionally, got rail and travelled, rear turning in, nowhere to go 2F out when absolutely tanking, recovered to finish fourth! Remains on OR89.

Saturday, 23 September 2017 – 3:25             Newbury Dubai Duty Free Handicap (1m2f)

Saturday, 30 September 2017 – 3:35             Newmarket Betfred Cambridgeshire Handicap (Heritage Handicap) (1m1f)

Both targets are possible especially the Newbury race. The Silver Cambridgeshire would be very feasible but he could sneak into the main event.”

Has to be a player here.

Wolverhampton 7.40            STAUNCH Jamie Spencer going to Wolverhampton for one ride on a Saturday night! He rode this $200K US bred colt on debut on turf at Lingfield and after walking out of the stalls he gave him an “educational” ride staying on well for second albeit five lengths off the useful Radio Source from the Stoute yard. Staunch is clearly talented and his pedigree suggests Wolverhampton should suit and I expect Mr Spencer to be a lot busier here.

Friday 22nd September Lucky 15 or not!!

Posted Thursday 21st September 6.30pm

Rain stopped play! Ayr’s abandonment is a headache, punting there Friday and Saturday will be tentative at best. More attention to be spent on Newbury (Friday & Saturday) and Newmarket on Saturday. There is going to be Heavy in the Going description at Ayr but the further South you go the quicker the ground gets.

Newbury Going/Track Good/Good to Firm in places (Going Stick: 6.4 on Thursday at 07:45)

Rails: The inside rail on the 5f & 7f bend is 4yds from the inside line.All round course races will be 14.5yds longer

Stalls: Centre of the course straight course Inside rail round course.

Weather Last 24hrs Dry Thurs Overcast with rain late morning into the afternoon Fri Misty start dry and bright later Sat Misty start dry and bright later Going/Weather/Other last updated @Thu 21 Sep 7:49am

Newmarket Going/Track Good to Soft (Going Stick: 6.5 on Wednesday at 17:00)

Stalls: Stand Side Course 12f and 18f Centre Remainder Far Side

Weather 33mm of rain Friday-Sunday. A further 3.5mm of rain on Monday. Dry on Tuesday & Wednesday. Thursday; Dry for much of the day followed by approximately 2mm of late afternoon/early evening rain. Friday & Saturday; Largely dry & with sunny spells. Going/Weather/Other last updated @Thu 21 Sep 8:01am


It is a real blow with Ayr going the same way as Goodwood and what should have been a few days enjoyable punting is now a lottery! For what it is worth, at Ayr I couldn’t back anything at a short price, if at all, and the only interest I have personally had is a small one in the Bronze Cup.

Ayr 3.50 KHELMAN He is inconsistent and he is really a C4 sprinter but he has form on heavy ground and he stays 7F. The fact that Sam James rides him suggests I have more confidence than the yard! However at 25/1 I think it’s worth the chance he is on a going day!


So what is on offer at Newbury? The first two races are 6F 2yo maidens and the second division looks deeper to me, Notebook at the ready. The Nursery has disappointingly only seven runners, Dragons Tail is a Dascombe runner a fair way from home but I’ll pass.

Newbury 2.55 WILD HACKED Maybe he saves his best performances for the AW but on better ground here I think this is his trip and grade and off OR100 I think he can be competitive and trainer Marco Botti has secured the services of fellow countryman Frankie Dettori. One star* win @ 11/2 PP.

I would be stronger on him but there are two other runners in here very much on my radar. Blakeney Point tops my list for next seasons Ebor but this 12F test looks on the short side, and the other is Dance the Dream who was at one stage my idea of this year’s Ebor winner until Marcus Tregoning told me she wouldn’t be ready and was having an Autumn campaign. She probably wants Soft in the Going description and a bit further, so not here.

Again just seven in the C2 2yo Conditions event that normally throws up a good horse or two. White Mocha is on my list of 2yo’s to back as a 3yo but easily could put his experience to good use here. 5/2 seems skinny.

Newbury 4.00 PRINCESS DE LUNE I have waited 154 days for this young lady to reappear. She was massively impressive when winning a maiden at the Greenham meeting back in April. Won without doing anything, just galloped! She gets all the allowances as a 3yo filly in this Listed race and isn’t going unbacked! One star* win @ 7/1 WH.

Newbury 4.00 DREAM OF DREAMS Reviewing last weekend I put him in the Notebook, “ Lingfield 3.40 C3 7F Soft. Tanked through the race, looked in trouble running to 1F out but found plenty and won by five lengths. Now I remember the horse! Ex Kevin Ryan and this was second start for Stoute, flashy chestnut who made an amazing debut as a 2yo behind Sutter County at HQ, finishing like a train. 7F with Soft in the going looks his bag and as he is now on OR109 looks destined for Group company. Friday, 22 September 2017 – 4:00 Newbury Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships Cup Stakes (Listed Race) (7f) Right race but ground may be a bit lively.” Another Stoute backs up quickly, unlike him, and the ground maybe a tad lively but like Dance the Dream destined for the winners enclosure before the season closes.

I am not inspires by the 7F C2 2yo Fillies Conditions stakes, not as a betting medium anyway. I think a 3yo will win the closing C4 10F handicap but no idea which one!


The only other horse to be backed is in the opening race on the Newcastle tapeta.

Newcastle 5.45 CHOCOLATE BOX Luke Morris partners this Luca Cumani 3yo colt and he is all about stamina and should relish this step to 16F. Her trainer seems bullish on her chances, “Chocolate Box got off the mark at Chelmsford earlier this month, running a career best when pulling well clear of the rest of the field with the second placed horse. He is up 7 lb in the weights, but should have more to offer, especially at two miles considering the way he saw out a mile and three quarters that day. He has options at Newcastle and Wolverhampton this week.” C4 0-85 looks well within his scope!

One star* win @ 11/2 Ladbrokes + Coral.

Saturday August 19th Lucky 15

Posted Friday August 18th 5.45pm

Let’s have another go this Saturday and see if we can supplement our betting bank for next week’s action at York when we make a killing on the Knavesmire! Gone for a few familiar faces and a rare four star fancy!

Newmarket 2.45        SILENT ECHO                          11/1 PP 10/1WH                   

Newbury 3.35            DABAN                                    9/1 PP+WH                            

Ripon 5.00                  TWO FOR TWO                      8/1 Lads+Coral                      

Newmarket 5.05        OKOOL                                                7/1 PP 6/1 general

and here is why

Newmarket 2.45        SILENT ECHO  It’s all about “will he settle”? Connections have reached for the first time visor and dropped this son of Oasis Dream a furlong. With the stalls Stands side and drawn in stall 1 surely Keiron Shoemark can take a pull early and get some cover which would be ideal over this speedy 6F with a stiff finish. May I remind you how talented this horse is. When he won at Haydock he hardly broke sweat in beating Chessman and Mojito and they are now OR97 & OR95 and Silent Echo runs here off OR91. Prior to the K-nightmare on the Knavesmire last time I had blogged “This horse is top of two of my lists, “Back until it loses” and “Group horse in handicaps”. Professional, travels, quickens.” This is a deep race with plenty of potential dangers, indeed Tommy Taylor, and Danielsflyer have already carried my cash this season and Merlin is very much on the radar but I’ll keep the faith with Silent Echo one more time.

One star win* @ 11/1 PP

Newbury 3.35            DABAN Another horse on a retrieval mission as she was my Next Best at Royal Ascot when only sixth to Le Brivido in the Jersey Stakes over todays trip of 7F. I was disappointed at the time with her sixth, looked good 2F out but one pace, beaten five lengths but that form line has been franked time after time since and as she gets all the allowances as a 3yo filly I’m happy to go in again. Daban was just over two lengths behind Winter when third in the G1 1000 Guineas, 7F is her trip and she is trained by the best “ladies man” in John Gosden. He also saddles the year older Nathra for the same connections. With Dettori suspended Josephine Gordon gets the ride.

Pace in this G2 7F will be key. I can’t see too many too keen to blaze along as two of the main contenders, Librisa Breeze and Breton Rock, like to rocket home off a collapsing pace.

One star* win @ 9/1 PP+WH  

Ripon 5.00                  TWO FOR TWO Just couldn’t leave this one out! Some of you may have seen an e-mail twenty four hours ago, if not it said, “Gentleman I have a horse for Saturday! My notebook says “In form and still on OR90. 8F C3 Ayr or Ripon, 0-90 would be nice” He runs at Ripon on Saturday at 5.00pm in a C3 0-90 8F hcp. He is drawn 2 which is ideal for this hold up horse, however the icing on the cake is that in form trainer Roger Fell (5 from last 28) has booked Jamie Spencer for the ride! Sweet!! The horse is Two for Two. I expect your stake will be decided by your opinion of Frank as a jockey and me as a pundit. Somewhere between total plonker and absolute genius?” Nuff said!

Four star win**** @ 8/1 Lads+Coral

Newmarket 5.05        OKOOL I have been waiting for Okool to get 12F on a galloping course and it was a run at Newmarket, a hampered sixth to Eminent no less, that first got him in my Notebook. He opened his season with a two length second to G3 Gordon Stakes winner, Mirage Dancer, over 10F at Nottingham. Won his maiden over the same C&D keeping on well. Totally unsuited by Chester then staying on over 10F at Sandown behind wide margin winner Eynhallow.

Trip, track, grade, ground are fine and now he’s gelded this galloping mile and a half is spot on. Surely better than a C4 handicapper off OR80.

Two star** win @ 7/1 PP

Last Saturday’s Lucky 15

Great start but just couldn’t top it up. Still £22 back for our £15!

Ascot 1.05                   STAKE ACCLAIM                     1st 4/1JF          (7/1 general)

Not only did we get the price but a masterclass from young Mr Spencer as well!

Haydock 3.00             JUST HISS                                5th 15/2           (9/1 PP + Ladbrokes)

Prominent, squeezed against rail inside the final 2F but wouldn’t have been much closer anyway. Useful C3 10F handicap on GS ground which could throw up a few winners. The winner El Cap is certainly going the right way. I’m a fan of Dark Devil and of course the third horse was Two for Two!

Newmarket 3.05        DOLPHIN VISTA                      6th 14/1           (10/1 Coral 9/1 general)

Market told the story. Keep him in your tracker. Still think he could be a Cambridgeshire player?

Newmarket 3.40        POETIC CHARM                             5th 11/4               (4/1 general)

Got the price not the performance! Note to Godolphin: Give your novices two runs before a Group race! Odd race the Sweet Solera G3 7F 2yo fillies, as about ten in line across the track at the furlong pole! In fairness best horse won in Tajaanus.

Lucky 15 Saturday May 20th  

Friday 6.10pm Tough to find winners with Wednesdays deluge causing havoc with the ground conditions especially when one is trying to find winners at the 48 hour declarations stage. So I’m passing on tomorrow’s Lucky 15 and will post another Monday night for Tuesday when the Goings may have stabilised.

Fridays Lucky 15

Simply hopeless!

Newbury 2.35            SCRUTINEER                                   11th Last! 8/1      (14/1PP 12/1 general)

Effort 1F out, weakened just beating the ambulance home!

York 4.05                    GIBBS HILL                                      3rd 15/8 Fav      (2/1 PP 15/8 general)

Slow away, progress at top of straight but an impossible task in this ground.

Newbury 4.45            WASATCH RANGE                       8th 5/2 Fav        (11/4 general)

The Stewards considered the running of WASATCH RANGE, ridden by Frankie Dettori, and trained by John Gosden, which started favourite and finished unplaced. The Stewards noted the trainer’s representative’s explanation that the colt was unsuited by the soft, good to soft in places, ground and would prefer it faster.

York 5.35                    BEDOUIN                                        4th 9/1                             (6/1 PP 5/1 general)

Friendless in market. Held up. Progress 3F out, never competitive.


#FantasticMrFahey Saturday runner’s courtesy of sportinglife.com  May 19 2017, 13:59

It’s a busy Saturday for our star columnist Richard Fahey, including Ribchester’s bid for Lockinge glory at Newbury.

I’m very happy with Ribchester going into Saturday’s Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury. He did great over the winter and ran really well in Dubai. His preparation since has gone without a hitch, he’ll handle the ground and I just hope he runs his race as he’s in with a real shout.

We also run Toscanini who is primarily in there to make sure they go a nice even gallop. That said if he handles the ground he wouldn’t be without a chance of grabbing a place.

Private Matter will love the ground in the Shalaa Carnarvon Stakes – the slower, the better for him. He’s in good form but has a 3lb penalty to contend with and that makes things tougher.

I was disappointed with Andok at Newmarket on his reappearance. We’re stepping him up in trip for the Al Zubarah London Gold Cup Handicap and hope that does the trick as he’s a horse I like.

Withernsea is what he is and didn’t run badly in the Victoria Cup last week. A mile on decent ground will really suit him in the Toronado Handicap. I’ve said before I think he’s going to pop up and win a nice pot one day but I’m struggling to predict when with him at the moment.

We’ve three runners at Newmarket.

Queen Penn never rose a gallop at all first time up at Nottingham which was very disappointing. We don’t know what happened but she never took part. I hope she’ll bounce back in the Betway EBF Fillies’ Novice Stakes as she’s quite nice. We like her.

Seven furlongs in this ground will be absolutely ideal for Ballymore Castle in the Betway Download The App Handicap. I’d love to see him get his head in front again for the owners.

I fell out with Paddy Power some time ago. He’s the definition of a morning glory and has been very disappointing. We’ve decided not to over-race him now and he ran okay at Newcastle on his reappearance. He’s been freshened up since and on what we see at home it wouldn’t be a surprise if he won the Betway Handicap but he just keeps disappointing on the track.

We run three in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes at Thirsk. Ajwan goes well at home, her work is good, and she’s ready for her debut. Collateral Beauty probably needs to go down the handicap route but is ready to run now as is Foxxy Brown, for whom similar comments apply.

Carnageo doesn’t have a great draw in the Marion Gibson Brown Memorial Handicap and doesn’t have much in hand of the assessor which means he’ll find it difficult, for all he’s in good form.

Full Of Promise has been disappointing. He works as though he should be winning more races and on ability would be capable of landing something like the Book For Ladies’ Day – Saturday 9th September Handicap but needs to put his best foot forward.

Monaco Rose worked extremely well this week. She’s got stronger and won well at Catterick last time. She should run a big race in the opening crownhotel-bawtry.com Apprentice Handicap at Doncaster.

Flo’s Melody hadn’t shown a lot at home prior to her debut at Ripon but ran well to finish third. She seems to have come forward for the experience and is one of three runners for us in the Howcroft Industrial Supplies Ltd Novice Auction Stakes. Jedi Master has been disappointing on both his starts as he shows ability at home. Hopefully he’d have place claims here. Our final runner is Mabo, a newcomer who should improve with experience. He could be one for handicaps later on.

Imshivalla hasn’t really hit form yet. She runs herself into it every year. She’s always been like it, she decides when she’s going to fire and we’ll see what happens in the EBF Breeders’ Series Chase Medical Fillies’ Handicap.

Party Tiger has been a little disappointing, as he has always gone nicely at home. On his best form he’d have a chance in the sunbets.co.uk Bet 5 & Get 10 Handicap but needs everything to drop right. We also run Lady In Question who has been working extremely well. She’s really strengthened up over the winter and I’d expect to win races this season – and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see her go very well here.

Our final runner is Khelman in the closing Bet & Watch At sunbets.co.uk Handicap. He is what he is and it’s all there to see in the formbook. He’s another who decides when and where he does it but he likes the track here which offers hope.


I know he is not everybodies favourite but Jamie Spencer’s blog with 32Red is always worth a read. May 19, 2017

2.20pm Newbury Visionary I wouldn’t read too much into the fact that he has been racing on the all-weather of late and, being a Dream Ahead, I think conditions will suit him here. I rode him when he won on his debut at Brighton last season on good to soft ground and, although it will be more testing here, I have ridden him at home in more testing conditions and he is a big, strong horse who will go through it. It’s a competitive race and Koropick and Private Matter are the form horses, but my colt is improving on the evidence of his good second at Lingfield last time and he doesn’t have that much to find to have a winning chance in an open contest.

2.55pm Newbury Glorious Forever He has won on good to soft but, on pedigree, I am not sure about him in ground this testing, and he could be badly drawn in 13. But, while this is obviously very competitive, this is not as strong a race as we have had in the past – Al Kazeem, Time Test and Cannock Chase have won this in recent years – and my colt comes here on the back of a good second on his return at Doncaster. He has chances but I think Century Dream could prove tough to beat. He raced too keenly on the lead at Sandown last time and, if he proves more amenable, I think he has the potential to progress a fair bit in ground that may suit him.

3.30pm Newbury Aclaim The fact that he has won over Ascot’s stiff 1m, albeit on fast ground and only off a mark of 97, gives me hope that he can see out this trip in this company. And he will handle the ground. He lost his way a little bit in the middle of the season but he won well for me at Ascot and over 7f here in the soft for me in September, and ended off his campaign strongly with a defeat of Lumiere in the Challenge Stakes. He needs to have progressed 7lb over the winter to make himself competitive in this company, but soft ground is a big plus and I give him an each-way chance in a race in which a few won’t find the ground ideal. Lightning Spear may be one of those, for all his Queen Anne third came in the soft, and while Somehow has won on heavy her most impressive performance to date came on fast ground last time. I definitely think Ribchester is the one to beat. I’ve always rated him and he has form on course and on the ground, and his second to Minding, after proving keen early on, in the QEII on Champions’ Day makes him the one we all have to fear.


The Epsom Derby 2017

Racing Post Lee Mottershead and Lewis Porteous 8:20PM, MAY 18 2017

O’Brien’s comments came after stablemate Exemplar had finished eighth in the Dante Stakes at York on Thursday, the last key trial before the Classic in 16 days’ time. O’Brien has Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial principals, Douglas Macarthur, Yucatan and Capri, Chester Vase 1-2-3 Venice Beach, Wings Of Eagles and The Anvil, plus Dee Stakes winner Cliffs Of Moher, in the mix for the Derby, in addition to the exceptional Churchill.

“The lads will decide,” said O’Brien of his possible Epsom team. “We’ve got the seven horses from the trials – the three from Leopardstown, the three from the Chester Vase and Cliffs Of Moher. The eighth would be Churchill, but there’s a big chance the lads will keep him at a mile. He has a lot of speed and is very comfortable at a mile. He relaxes so well you’d think he would have no problem getting a mile and a quarter, but you never know about a mile and a half.”

While Churchill still heads some Derby markets, stablemate and Dee Stakes winner Cliffs Of Moher is a shorter price elsewhere and O’Brien did nothing to dishearten his supporters. He added: It’s going to be very interesting, especially if the lads decide to keep Churchill at a mile. The way I saw it, the three Leopardstown horses progressed from their first run to their second. The three Chester Vase horses were horses we always thought would stay very well. Going into Chester, Cliffs Of Moher was probably the rawest of ours. He was just ready to start and we felt if he did win we’d be very happy. Although he was very green that day he went to the line really well and probably learned a lot. Ryan [Moore] felt there could be a lot of improvement to come after Chester. He’s started working again and everything looks lovely. I don’t think there’s any doubt there’s great room for improvement with him.”

Lucky 15 Friday May 18th  

Thursday 6.10pm Tough day trying to find winners at York but I’m looking forward to doing the meeting review as the boys with the stopwatches are suggesting some of those times today were pretty decent so how much are we going to be able to blame on the ground?

Pretty sure I saw the winner of the Ascot Royal Hunt Cup and the John Smiths today! Watch this space.

Going at YORK – Good to Soft, Soft in Places.

(GoingStick: 6.2 overall. Goingstick readings in home straight: farside 6.3; centre 6.2; standside 6.3.)

Stalls: Stalls positions for Friday 19 May: Race 1 5f – stand side rail Race 2 7f192yrds – inside rail

Race 3 1m5f188yrds – inside rail Race 4 1m3f188yrds – centre Race 5 7f – far side rail

Race 6 5f – centre Race 7 1m3f188yrds – centre. Interesting, they’ll be all over the course tomorrow!

Going at NEWBURY – Good to soft, Soft in places

(GoingStick: 6.1 on Thursday at 15:45)

Stalls: Centre of the course straight course. Inside rail round course.


Fridays Lucky 15

Let’s finish the Dante meeting with a few winners!

Newbury 2.35            SCRUTINEER                                   14/1PP 12/1 general

York 4.05                    GIBBS HILL                                      2/1 PP 15/8 general

Newbury 4.45            WASATCH RANGE                       11/4 general

York 5.35                    BEDOUIN                                        6/1 PP 5/1 general

and here’s why

Newbury 2.35            SCRUTINEER Perfectly capable 6F sprinter who has spent much of his time in Listed company or better, indeed this is only his fourth handicap and much the easiest. All his best form for this hold up horse has come on Soft ground, hopefully Newbury has had sufficient rain to bring the fliers back to him. Scrutineer has a bit to find with Captain Colby on Cammidge form from six weeks ago but he didn’t get the clearest run that day. John Egan rides for the first time and will probably need to bring Mick Channons charge stand side to make his challenge. Off OR98 with his favoured ground he should be competitive.

York 4.05                    GIBBS HILL      I like the profile of this horse. A progressive son of Mastercraftsman who seems to be getting better the further he goes. Given time to develop he is now up two grades and up 9lbs but in his last race he showed a nice change of gear when trying this trip for the first time. Messrs Varian and Atzeni are in fine form, the horse has soft ground form and I could see Gibbs Hill developing into an Ebor candidate.

Newbury 4.45            WASATCH RANGE Came from way off the pace to win a 10F C5 maiden at Windsor under hands and heels from a confident Robert Tart. It’s no surprise that this son of High Chaparral is improving as he steps up in trip and the extra furlong here can only help. He makes his debut in a handicap off a lenient looking OR85, gallop reports are good, Messrs Gosden and Dettori are hardly strangers to the winners circle and the only question mark would be the softer ground. Plenty of other improvers, indeed over the field won last time out, and the race could through up plenty of future handicap winners. Outcrop should ensure a solid pace and I’ll have one eye on Richard Hannon’s Whip Nae Nae who went in my notebook at Chester wanting this sort of trip.

York 5.35                    BEDOUIN Another improver as he steps up in trip as becoming a son of High Chaparrel. Gelded at 2yo before getting to the racecourse he showed midfield promise in three warm maidens as a 2yo and went 3yo handicapping for Luca Cumani off a very workable mark of just OR72. Over 10F at Nottingham he was a staying on second to Outcrop, for which he has gone up 3lbs, for today’s jockey Jamie Spencer and it’s no surprise to see first time blinkers as he wasn’t the easiest conveyance that day although clearly has an engine. Probably needs to grow up mentally more than physically, that’s the horse not the jockey!


#FantasticMrFahey Friday runner’s courtesy of sportinglife.com May 18 2017, 16:57

“Maggies Angel is our first runner at York on Friday in the Langleys Solicitors British EBF Marygate Fillies’ Stakes. The form of her maiden at Ripon hasn’t worked out well but all they can do is win and she absolutely trotted up. This is a great race to be involved in but any one of seven or eight could win it.

I’m a little worried about the going for Shypen in the Irish EBF Frank Whittle Partnership Fillies’ Handicap, she doesn’t have any form on it. It’s very frustrating as on quick ground I’d have given her a big chance.

We’re double handed in the Yorkshire Equine Practice Handicap. Boundsy ran well on his reappearance at Nottingham and has come out of it well. The ground won’t bother him either.

It is a bit of a concern for Megan Lilly who I thought ran ok at Chester last week. She just half missed a beat at the start that day but still finished third and is in good form if handling the surface.

We also run two in the closing 7IM Supports Cystic Fibrosis Care Handicap. We’ve had discussions over whether Lord Commander is going to stay the trip but we’ll find out here and he’s in good order. Sue’s Angel can be very funny in the stalls but the step up to a mile-and-a-half here is going to really suit her. I’d love her to run a big race for her owner and she is one who won’t mind the ground.”

No winners for Musley Bank at Chester but at least he has one on the board at York with Zap in the 2yo maiden but I think he’ll be gutted by Brian the Snails performance. BHA Stewards “The Stewards considered the running of BRIAN THE SNAIL (IRE), ridden by William Buick and trained by Richard Fahey, which started favourite and finished unplaced. They noted the trainer could offer no explanation for the colt’s performance. They ordered BRIAN THE SNAIL (IRE) to be routine tested.”


Thursdays Lucky 15

“A HUGE payout on @Betfred Dante Day at @yorkracecourse! Six placed horses today paid £10,865 to a £1 stake!”

Tells you how hard it was finding winners on the Knavesmire yesterday. My selections basically ran to their price and position in the market.

York 2.20                    MOVE IN TIME                       10th 17/2            (20/1 WH 16/1 general)

Looks like Father Time has caught up. Disappointing.

York 3.30                    FOREST RANGER                    6th 8/1                 (20/1PP 16/1 general)

Either he didn’t stay or that’s as good as he is in what was a “hard to get a handle on” Dante. Plans going forward will be interesting.

York 4.05                    BRAVERY                                8th 20/1           (16/1 PP+Coral 14/1 general)

Too far back for me in a hot handicap, progress running to the final furlong got hopes up but got no closer.

York 5.35                    GRACELAND                           2nd 4/1Fav         (3/1 general)

Led inside final furlong but didn’t quite see it out on the rain softened ground. How annoying!


The Epsom Derby 2017

Godolphin chief executive John Ferguson confirms they will pay the £85,000 to supplement Permian for the Derby. He told ITV Racing: “It was a genuinely-run race. William (Buick) was keen to make it on Wolf Country and gave Franny a chance to sit in. Permian finished it off really well, with Benbatl at his girths all the way down the straight. We’re delighted with the two horses there. I’ve already spoken to Sheikh Mohammed and he is as thrilled as we are and is very keen to have this horse supplemented for the Derby. Permian will be supplemented. Saeed (Bin Suroor) had Best Solution win the Lingfield Derby Trial and Benbatl finish second in the Dante so we have to sit down, think, decide and talk to Sheikh Mohammed about that and what he thinks is the right thing to do.”

 “With the way Benbatl has run on there, there’s every chance (could go to the Derby). The Epsom Derby is the Epsom Derby. If you look at the form leading up into this race, there’s a lot of respect for Aidan’s (O’Brien) horse who won the Dee Stakes (Cliffs Of Moher) and he was followed home by Bay Of Poets, who wasn’t far behind this horse and Cracksman at Epsom. Luckily there are still cards, not to play, but to analyse. It’s just great to be in a season where so many three-year-olds have a live chance and no doubt in time we will find out exactly where they stand. If Churchill stays the mile and a half he is going to be a very tough nut to crack, but these horses all deserve to take their chances and it’s just great to be going to the party.”

Bin Suroor: “It looks like a 1m2f may be the best trip for Benbatl. He needs to relax more in races for a 1m4f.” Seems unlikely for Derby.

Stoute expressed doubts about Crystal Ocean’s Derby claims before the race and when asked about Epsom, he said: “I wouldn’t (run), but he has an owner that might want to.”

Review of the 2017 Craven and Greenham meetings

Thursday May 4th 6.30pm

I know it’s late but I hope it’s worth it. Here is my Review of the 2017 Craven and Greenham meetings. If this doesn’t fill your Tracker(s) up nothing will.

It won’t be easy writing anything original concerning the Craven and Greenham meetings so this is very much a gut piece on what I felt on the Sunday immeadiately afterwards then with a second view of the races that I had courtesy of sportinglife.com and jockeyclubvideos. IOverall I thought the Greenham meeting form will turn out to be stronger than the Cravens.

Big Johnny G! John Gosden clearly has his string well forward and a strong corps of 3yo’s especially his fillies. He won with six of his sixteen runners at Newmarket and five from twelve at Newbury. Five of the eleven winners were 3yo fillies. Five of the winners had already had a run, one in March, four in April. Who impressed me most?

One has to start with Shutter Speed who won the C2 Dubai Duty Free Conditions Stakes over 10F with her stablemate Enable staying on to grab third. “Shutter Speed is a good filly and has always looked our best middle-distance three-year-old filly. She ran well last year when it was soft and we are heading towards the Musidora at York with her,” said Gosden. “Her pedigree is quick. The mother is by Oasis Dream and a mile and a quarter may be her perfect trip, but we will see.” Shutter Speed is all class but I’m not sure she’s an Oaks filly, indeed for that race I would be more interested in the third, Enable, being by Nathaniel out of a Sadlers Wells mare. Maybe further down the line the Park Hill stakes at Doncaster.

I was also massively taken by Gracious Diana who won the following race on the Friday, a C4 maiden for fillies. She is a big, scopey girl who travelled well, was pulled out 2F from home and showed some gears to put the race to bed running to the furlong pole. By leading Australian sire Foxwedge out of a Generous mare she cost just £65K. Gosden said “Gracious Diana is a lovely filly and I think she is a Ribblesdale filly. We hope to go back to Newbury with her for the Oaks trial (Swettenham) there.” This race saw the debut of the Juddmonte owned, regally bred Mori (Frankel-Midday) who was slowly away and given an “educational” ride by Ryan Moore for Sir Michael Stoute and was doing all her best work at the end, fifth as 5/2F. Likewise the Ralph Beckett filly Inconceivable, who was third, should go in your tracker.

Gosden also had two winning fillies owned by Abdullah Saeed Al Naboodah, Daban and Dubaiyah, both with Guineas aspirations. Gosden said “I don’t think there is any point for an owner with two fillies who’ve won their trial to be taking each other on in a Classic, which is why Dabyah is pointing towards Deauville and Daban towards Newmarket.” As for the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket I am in the Rhododenhron camp until persuaded otherwise.

Previously in the week Gosden had introduced the 3yo daughter of New Approach, Dancing Breeze, who beat Roger Charlton’s Natavia, herself on debut. Both have a future as this C4 8F maiden, with the assistance of Aftertime Ansell, looks as though it may have some depth. The first two pulled over three lengths clear of the pack but already two behind have won. The sixth Mouille Point (C5 10F handicap off OR73 at Nottingham) and the tenth Vice Versa (C5 8F+ maiden at Wolverhampton). For fillies handicaps 8-10F I would make Crimson Rosette (OR78),Tranquil Star and particularly Hadeeqa of interest. Dancing Breeze has a G1 8F Coronation stakes whereas Natavia has entries in the G1 12F Oaks and the G2 12F Ribblesdale at Ascot.

John Gosden told Racing UK “I thought last year our fillies were better than our colts and is proving to be the case this spring.”

As for the Gosden colts I am a big fan of Middle Kingdom who did us a favour at Newmarket winning a C3 10f handicap off OR87 and he is a talented horse. I am convinced he quickened out of The Dip to get competitive and then went again in sight of the post to win the race. The handicapper has put him up 7lbs to OR93 and it doesn’t surprise me that Gosden says “I am going to have a go at the Dante with Middle Kingdom and find out where we stand. He is a War Front and has a good attitude, so we will see where we go.”

Gosden ran a couple of colts in the Wood Ditton (Tuesday 18th April 1.50). The money was for Damocles but it was the Godolphin colt Mark of Approval, USA bred by Lemon Drop Kid, who goes in the Notebook. He fluffed the start but under hands and heels from James Doyle settled and worked into the race and thundered up the hill. Entry at Royal Ascot in the St James Palace stakes. In recent years Wood Ditton form can be a bit hit and miss, tread carefully.

Chessman had impressed me winning on debut at Kempton on the AW last November and he was a 7/4 favourite to win the C2 7F 3yo handicap on the Friday at Newbury off OR87 but his strong finish failed by a neck. He’s up 3lbs to OR90 and has a Royal Ascot entry in the 6F Commonwealth Cup, personally I see him more of a Britannia candidate, the 3yo handicap over the straight mile. The eye-catcher from the race was Pivione who was beaten just six lengths back in ninth having been dropped in at the back by Ryan Moore before being outpaced the 3F pole then making rattling late progress. His mark of OR81 looks very manageable and he has an entry in a C3 10F handicap at Newmarket on Sunday 7th May. He also has entries in the Derby and the 12F G2 Edward VII at Royal Ascot which suggests we may see the best of him up in trip and probably over 12F.



Godolphin look like they mean business this season and at the Craven meeting the Boys in Blue hit the ground running. Although I’m struggling to see a Group 1 winning 3yo and when their Frankel filly, Extra Mile, is beaten in a C5 maiden at Beverley not everything

is rosy in their English garden! They seem to be all conquering in Australia and successful in France, Ireland and OK in the USA but here at home?

Back to their good news. On the Tuesday at Newmarket Sound and Silence looked a 2yo Royal Ascot candidate and likewise they opened up the Greenham meeting with another smart 2yo in Gold Town.

Salsabeel looks a proper racehorse but is either still green or a screw loose? Once his mental attitude matches his physical good looks he could be useful. More about the winner, Beat the Bank, later.

Godolphin had a fine result in the C4 colts 10F maiden on the Craven Thursday finishing 1st, dead heat 2nd and 5th. The winner and race favourite, Tamleek, tanked through the race and picked up well to win “takingly” and surely has a future in Group races although an OR93 could see him in a valuable handicap. Oasis Charm on debut made his ground up well but was second best on the run out of The Dip but surely a maiden has his name on it sooner rather than later. Their third representative, Greig Hall, in the care of John Gosden came from further back but was clearly learning his job and has the size and scope to do well. Being a son of Halling suggests he will improve with age and may be better still at four. The other one to take out of the race is Gosdens other runner, Pealer, who ran much better here in a first time tongue tie than when beaten on the AW at 1/6! He kept on well and now with a mark of OR83 I can see him being competitive handicapping. How soon will they geld him?

Obviously the highlight of trials week for the Boys in Blue was the G3 Greenham Stakes where they had the first and second in Barney Roy and Dream Castle and both are now among the final declarations for the 2000 Guineas this Saturday. A case could be made for both to upset Churchill with dream castle having no cover and tanking along and Barney Roy had to find three lengths from the furlong pole to reel him in. However the Hannon trained Barney Roy looks the more mature of the two and will surely benefit more from the extra furlong and stiff finish at Newmarket. In my notebook I wrote Jersey Stakes, Royal Ascot alongside Dream Castle.


Hats off for HM On the Saturday at Newbury the mile maiden was split into two divisions and the Queen had two live William Haggas trained chances both on debut and this time Ryan Moore was able to give her a belated birthday present and some real hope for the coming season. The early market moves suggested that Musical Terms in the second division was the more likely but it was Call to Mind who came gift wrapped.

Call to Mind travelled with ease but took some time to find top stride but the further they went the better he looked. You would have to say the same about the second Commander, a £670K son of Frankel owned by the China Racing Club and trained by Roger Varian, who was beaten only a neck. Onwards and upwards for both of them although I’m amazed that Call to Mind is as short as 16/1 for the Derby with PP, 25/1 general seems nearer the mark.

Musical Terms was greener on debut, having to be pushed to gather race pace. The penny took a while to drop and he didn’t get going until the three furlong pole and despite having to weave his way through finished off strongly but couldn’t beat the 100/1 winner. More educational than inspirational.

The second division was run over a second quicker and perhaps as a son of Shamardal Musical Terms may be the better long term prospect. Call to Mind has entries in the Dante, the Derby and the King Edward VII at Royal Ascot suggesting 12F will be his peak distance whereas Musical Terms is entered in the G1 St. James Palace over 8F at Royal Ascot. I would expect to see both in Berkshire in June.


Top of the Bill? It’s the Craven meeting headlined by the G3 8F Craven Stakes for 3yo colts but what to make of the 2017 edition? Looked average to me with the front five all too close and I’ll be amazed if the Guineas winner took part. The third Benbatl, for Godolphin, looks to be improving taking a major step forward from winning a C5 maiden on Doncaster on debut just three weeks earlier. He has entries in the Dante, Derby, St James Palace and the King Edward VII at Royal Ascot. Suggests they don’t know how good he is nor what his trip is! I’ll revisit this race post Guineas.


Beware the Wood Ditton form! The advantage of being on the drag with this review is that I can enlist the help of Aftertime Ansell! The second Jalela beaten in a C5 maiden at Wolverhampton and the fourth Damocles beaten in a C5 at Windsor!


Charlton scores If there is one trainer really catching my eye at the start of this Flat season it is the master of Beckhampton, Roger Charlton. For us more mature racing fans he is of course Jeremy Tree Mark II! He always has dined at the top table but he seems to have some real depth in 2017. Add to that the faith he has placed in Keiron Shoemark who despite being a 3lb claimer seems to be the stable jocket. Juddmonte seem to share the trainers faith and the Charlton/Shoemark combination will feature heavily in my summer punting plans. They introduced a smart filly in the last race at Newbury in the C4 7f fillies maiden in the shape of Princess de Lune. In disposing of eight other unraced fillies on debut she showed some real gears in winning by four lengths. Charlton put in his stable tour prior to the race “She is a filly with a nice pedigree and is closely related to Rizeena of Clive Brittain’s. She is a tall filly that has needed a lot of time and patience and she will probably appreciate quicker ground rather than soft. She is likely to start over seven furlongs, will stay a mile and she has shown promise.” This grey daughter of Shamardal cost £300K as a yearling. She has an entry in the G1 8F Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot but I would expect her to run again before then.

#FantasticMrFahey introduced a couple of two year old colts at Newmarket apparently bought with Royal Ascot in mind. Particularly liked Areen Faisal who could be tasty over 6F (Coventry). Form of this race suggests #FantasticMrFahey may have a sharp 2yo in Requinto Dawn.

Private Matter made a solid reappearance as a 3yo when fourth in the Free Handicap. Hung left on the Good to firm ground. May be difficult to place off OR106 until we get Soft in the going. France, Germany perhaps?


Mutarakez                             (Meehan) Late progress in the mile handicap behind Next Stage (Godolphin) having been held up but travelling well but the 7lb claimer couldn’t find a racing seam. Ex Hamdan Al Maktoum horse, sent to the sales and bought for £28K by Sam sangster (Meehan’s landlord) before being passed on to the current  owners. Has ALWAYS been trained by Meehan. Needs a mile on good ground, buried away, settled and a late surge. Has been as high as OR101, went off just 15/2 in the Britannia as a 3yo, but now just OR89. Still only a 5yo and has won three from nine on Turf.


Middle Kingdom, mentioned in the Johnny G section, has been put up 7lbs to OR93 but is off to the Dante at York and I expect that will have been his only ever run in a handicap. However five behind him remain of handicapping interest.

Eugenio Up 5lbs to OR100 has to be competitive under these conditions (8F. Good to firm, stiff track. C2/3) if kept to handicaps.

Bin Battuta Remains on OR93 and for this son of Dubawi 12F would seem ideal. Entered in similar 10F race over C&D on Sunday May 7th but also has entries in Dante, Derby and King Edward VII at Royal Ascot. If he did go to Ascot but in the 12F 3yo King George V 0-105 handicap you would have to take note.

Count Calabash Tried to make all, hampered in the final furlong. 10F on a flat conventional course would suit and I could see him running well at York, Leicester or even Chester and Epsom! Paul Cole’s gelding remains on an appealing OR89. Entered in same race as Bin Battuta on Sunday May 7th.

Azam That exaggerated knee action screams Soft ground to me and as a son of Dansili another two furlongs wouldn’t go amiss. OR87

Western Duke Now dropped 4lbs to OR85 and could see him winning a C3 10-12F 0-85 handicap at somewhere like Salisbury or Bath.


Tommy Taylor                      (Ryan) Looks a sure fire 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.


Maths Prize                           (Charlton) Owned by the Queen he ran at Newbury on HM’s birthday and he was a well beaten fifth behind Shutter Speed trying to give her 8lbs but his OR90 handicap mark and the fact he was keeping on here screams the King George V handicap at Royal Ascot to me although his breeding suggests the Britannia over a mile would be more likely! Didn’t think young Mr Moore was too busy on him.


No Lucky 15 Friday

Thursday 6.30pm No Lucky 15 today for Friday for two reasons. Firstly the racing tomorrow is dreadful for a Friday and secondly you’re about to get my Craven/Greenham review at last.

Not even time to tell you we had three winners and a fourth on todays Lucky 15. All in tomorrows thrilling blog as we have some purlers for the weekend!!

Lucky 15 Friday March 24th

Friday 6.30pm Looking forward to the weekend racing from Scotland to Dubai, the start of the Irish turf Flat season and please a couple of winners on the Lucky 15!!

Amused to see what I suggested we discuss in last night’s blog was a major article on the subject, Mullins v Elliott, in today’s Racing Post. Glad they took the hint.

Saturdays Lucky 15

Newbury 1.50                        VIEUX LILLE                             6/1 general       

Newbury 3.35                        HYGROVE PERCY                    11/1 general 9/1 PP       

Newbury 4.10                        SIR ANTHONY BROWNE        7/4 general 

Bangor 4.35                            THREE WAYS                          13/2 Ladbrokes 6/1 general       

and hopefully this is why

Newbury 1.50                        VIEUX LILLE Ever since Vieux Lille was a running on second albeit at a respectable distance to Yala Enki in the Tommy Whittle Chase at Haydock I’ve had him down to win a decent 3m+ staying chase. Good to Soft on fresh ground should be ideal and the Hobbs yard are flying post Cheltenham, four winners and five seconds, and a trade mark creepy, creepy ride from Richard Johnson should do the trick.

Newbury 3.35                        HYGROVE PERCY Keeps cropping up in form lines as I looked back at Cheltenham. Could easily have won five out of the last six but twice he got the final flight wrong. Has a racing weight and the peerless Noel Fehily in the saddle. The trainer seems fairly bullish.  Neil Mulholland blog http://www.jumpsracing.co.uk “We were pleased with Hygrove Percy on his re-appearance last time out and he wouldn’t have to improve much to be in the mix at Newbury on Saturday in the juvenile handicap hurdle.

Newbury 4.10                        SIR ANTHONY BROWNE Disappointing to be beaten last time at Fontwell, probably didn’t see out the extra 3f but steps back to two miles here on a galloping track on better ground. At the start of the season Sir Anthony Browne was expected to be a leading novice at Barbury Castle but not everything has gone to plan and this is an ideal opportunity to get back to winning ways.

Bangor 4.35                            THREE WAYS Possibly the best horse in Jamie Snowdens yard but he just missed the cut in the Pertemps eight days ago so he should be as fit as a butchers dog and he goes to Bangor for a C3 instead of Kelso for C2. Ms Page Fuller, who rode him to victory last time, takes off 7lb giving him a racing weight. From his blog it is implied that he had a chance at the Festival and his owner, Mr David Brownlow (Made his money through the Huntswood Recruitment Agency then “In 2013 David founded Havisham Group, an investment and trading group that invests in both new and established business in the UK and overseas” and according to his website is “Philanthropist, mentor, friend”. He is apparently on the Rich List.) forked out £190K for this son of Flemensfirth and Jamie Snowden won’t have too many of those in his yard! Three Ways stayed on well to win at Doncaster last time and can take this en route to a successful chasing career.

Jamie Snowden News on Website “Having been placed in a Grade 2 at Chepstow and a Class 2 novice at Cheltenham earlier this season, I was delighted to get Three Ways into the winners enclosure in a competitive handicap at Doncaster last week. Page Fuller took 7lbs off top weight and gave him a terrific ride as he stayed on genuinely to the line when the second horse came to him. They pulled a mile clear of the 3rd horse home, who in turn was a mile clear of the remainder – so it was a decent performance. He will now go to the Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham Festival.”


Across the cards there are a few others worth considering. Considering what I’ve said about Vieuyx Lille a solid run would be expected from Yala Enki in the televised 3.15 at Kelso. At Newbury it’s notebooks at the ready for the valuable bumper at 4.45 with plenty of lightly raced types from big yards. Meanwhile over in Ireland there is a reappearance from a horse that’s been in my tracker for372 days, Open Eagle, a wide margin November handicap winner before sent hurdling with Willie Mullins. It’s a watching brief as I’m sure he’s being prepped for Punchestown. However Ruby Walsh does ride so maybe he’s a trier? “I’d rather be starting him off over a shorter trip but the conditions of the race suit him and we’re hoping for a good performance

Talking of Irishmen and horses off a long break, Aiden O’Brien saddles Kingfisher in Meydan after 508 days off! Ryan Moore rides looking to make amends for the nightmare he had in the Ascot Gold Cup. Would be some training feat. Meanwhile back at Thurles at 3.55 there is a Listed novice chase with the likes of Great Field and Diamond King taking apart.

The Irish turf Flat season starts at Naas on Sunday. Paul Hanagan rides four for Richard Fahey. That’s all I’m saying! Fahey is in Dubai on Saturday hoping to see Ribchester and William Buick pocket a cool £2.8million for winning the Dubai Turf. Nice work if you can get it.

 Fridays Lucky 15

Doesn’t get much worse! No tea tonight, sitting on the naughty step, must do better!!

Newbury 2.30                        MIDNIGHT MONTY                PU 9/1             (8/1 general) 

I can only apologise, that was awful!  BHA Stewards Report “Nico de Boinville, the rider of MIDNIGHT MONTY, which was pulled up, reported that the gelding was never travelling.”   

Newbury 3.05                        SCOOBY                                              PU 7/1             (8/1 general)   

Opened on course at 11’s and backed in to 7’s. didn’t even make two out!   BHA Stewards Report “Kielan Woods, the rider of SCOOBY (IRE), which was pulled up, reported that the gelding was hampered by the faller.”

Newbury 3.40                        VINNIE RED                            PU 7/4F           (10/3 Lads + BetFred)

Has an engine but jumping went to pot again and pulled up top of home straight. BHA Stewards Report “Paddy Brennan, the rider of VINNIE RED (IRE), the beaten favourite which was pulled up, reported that the gelding jumped poorly. The gelding’s trainer, Fergal O’Brien, added that VINNIE RED (IRE) had a breathing problem.” Back to the drawing board and probably a wind op?

Newbury 4.10                        I’M A GAME CHANGER          4th 13/8F         (7/4 Lads + BetFred) 

Every chance from two out but well beaten. Looks a chaser in the making.