Tag: Paul Hanagan

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

Posted Monday 2nd October 12noon

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

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

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

Still plenty of room for improvement then.

Saturday Lucky 15

Haydock 2.05                         ORIGINAL CHOICE        2nd 7/2F

Newmarket 2.55                    SANDS OF MALI         12th 9/2

Haydock 3.15                         AEOLUS                       13th 9/1                      

Newmarket 5.20                    MAKZEEM                  1st 5/1

Saturday Star* Selections (14 stars* Out)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prominent early but just not competitive in the final two furlongs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Very much optional #FantasticMrFahey Saturday Lucky 15

Haydock 2.40                         BOUNDSEY                 1st 10/1

Haydock 3.50                         GEORGE BOWEN        3rd 10/1

Newmarket 4.45                    CLUBBABLE                 2nd 10/3F

Chester 4.15                           ZAP                             5th 9/4F


Friday September 6th Lucky 15 and loads more!

Posted Friday 12.15pm

Good morning to the betting brotherhood,

You are going to need to be a fully paid up member of the wide awake club today as there is lots going on! And this is just Friday!! Firstly some observations on Kempton’s AW track. Secondly four crackers in a Lucky 15 tonight. Thirdly, it is a 2yo notebook fest today and plenty of opportunities to fill that tracker, mainly with next season in mind. Fourthly, there are some trainers a long way from home and some fascinating jockey bookings!

But first a key to the next three days is going to be the Going! So here’s the morning update. Haydock is Soft, the stalls are on the inside and should favour low numbers on the straight course, although as it cuts up they may move off the rail. Remember Haydock has become a front running/prominent paradise. Ascot is Good to Soft with the stalls on the stands side on the straight course which should help high numbers. Beware Musselburgh is Good to Firm, Good in places with the stalls for the 5F races stand side and high numbers that can get that near rail are in clover. Kempton is Standard to Slow and Newcastle is Standard.


This week I put up two horses at Kempton on the Polytrack and both finished an annoying second but there were many similarities in their defeats that I would welcome your comments on. They both drifted from 7/4 in the morning to 3/1 minutes before the start, suggesting the market is fairly clued in as both winners were well supported. Secondly both made their runs up the inside and were beaten by horses swooping down the middle of the track. So is it best to be drawn in stall 7+ than in 1-6 where your tactics are limited, especially in the later races where the inside maybe churned up? Thirdly is the most valuable attribute at Kempton “an ability to quicken”, because on this surface you can certainly get some traction? Check out Keyser Soze for confirmation!!

Plenty of late developing classy 2yo’s will make their debut at the Sunbury venue.


Friday Evening’s Lucky 15

Musselburgh 5.35      HIGH WELLS                                       15/8PP 7/4 general   Two star** win

Musselburgh 6.35      THOMAS CRANMER                                   5/1 general                      One star* win

Kempton 8.20            ARAB MOON                                                  10/3 C + L                          Three star*** win

Kempton 9.20             GOOD GOLLY MISS MOLLY                6/1 general (8’s online) One star* win

and here is why

Musselburgh 5.35      HIGH WELLS Seamus Durack sends just the one from Upper Lambourn, Berkshire to Edinburgh, Scotland and it is clear to see why. He needs Good to Firm ground, which he gets here. The handicapper has put him up nine pounds for his win at Bath last Thursday but he gets to run here with just a six pound penalty. He gets to run in a 0-65 despite being on OR66 and so remains in C6. Paul Mulrennan, one of the weighing room’s most talented practitioners, has been booked. Opposition looks moderate at best for this improving son of High Chaparral.

Musselburgh 6.35      THOMAS CRANMER A good friend of mine recently aired the opinion that Mark Johnston was “mucking around” with this one and asked my opinion. This was my profile in reply.

THOMAS CRANMER    (Johnston) Solid performer but not in C2! Needs a flat, front runners track such as Musselburgh, Catterick, Haydock or Chester, a small field (8 maximum), C3 7F (possibly 8F) on ground no softer than Good and every chance he will make all. Currently OR90 so a ?-90 would be handy. Entered twice at Goodwood, can’t have him in the Betfred Mile but the 5.50 at Goodwood on Wednesday in a C3 7F 3yo+ handicap (3yo’s get 6lb) would be possible off a single figure draw. Hasn’t made the cut. Put him in the tracker.

If I’m right he has just about ideal conditions and no surprise the 11/1 with PP has gone, he has halved in price!! Second favourite at 5/1 tops!! I still think that is fair.

Kempton 8.20            ARAB MOON This one I also profiled recently.

ARAB MOON                  (William Knight) Some tool on the AW, four from four as a 3yo and since being gelded. Kempton 11F C6 OR61, Lingfield 12F C6 OR67, Kempton 11F C4 OR74 and most recently Kempton 12F C4 OR80. The last run was crazy. Stone cold last 2F out, de Sousa pulled him out to stands side and he has passed eight horses and won by two and a half lengths with the handbrake on! Got to get 8lb+ for that and maybe his future lies in Meydan and all points east but if he stays in the UK either needs to transfer his form to the Flat or maybe wait for the winter and aim at the AW Championships. Only cost £23K and surely would reach six figures at the Horses in Training sales in the Autumn.

Hugh Taylor, ATR’s top tipster has also put him up but there is still some 3/1 available. Up ten pounds but he’s at Kempton, he really quickens, he’s in stall 8 and SDS is in the saddle again.

Good race and also running and on my radar are AZAM who Michael Appleby recently acquired from John Gosden. He needs a galloping 12F and this may be a bit sharp. WESTERN DUKE I have down to win over this trip but at somewhere like Bath or Salisbury and there are a couple in here who should be too good for him. The favourite, MOUNTAIN HUNTER, is two from two for Godolphin and will make the market but he is a mountain of a horse and Mr Carson will need to get his fractions spot on to repel Arab Moon’s late charge!

Kempton 9.20             GOOD GOLLY MISS MOLLY Jeremy Gask had done a great job getting this mare’s handicap mark down to a winnable mark and Martin Bosley has reaped the rewards. If Martin Lane is really winging down from Haydock to take the one ride he must be as confident as me of racking up the C&D hat-trick.




The first three races at Ascot can’t fail to be informative with particular interest in the 2.40 and HERCULEAN. This is a C3 maiden for horses whose sire has won at 10F+. Herculean is a Frankel colt, a full brother to Fair Eva, owned and bred by Juddmonte, trained by Roger Charlton and to my amazement ridden by Ryan Moore. Amazement because if he is “G1 useful” why let Moore sit on him when further down the line Ballydoyle residents will be trying to beat him and Moore will know what he’s dealing with! He’s already ridden Expert Eye!

RP – Jack Regan being gelded since his last run but that is the case for the Chelsea Thoroughbreds’ colt. Trainer Charlie Hills adds: “He has been gelded since his last run and worked pleasingly the other day so hopefully he can fire.”

Races 2-4 at Kempton, 6.20-7.50, are essential viewing with more and more top trainers giving future Group race horses their debut here. The likes of Roaring Lion (6.20), Symbolisation, Tanseeq (both 7.20), Jousi and Poetic Charm (7.50) are already in my notebook.

Slightly more frivolously is Chief Justice in the Newcastle 1.40. Last time out he exited the stalls, went twenty yards, stopped and dumped Paul Hanagan! Talented but quirky, no headgear today, H will need to be strapped in!


Jockey/Trainer Alarm Bells!

Where to start?

Well Daniel Tudhope is at Ascot for one O’Meara inmate and two for Michael Bell of which Sacred Act (5.00) is worth a second look.

Ryan Moore rides for Charlie Appleby/Godolphin at Ascot 4.25 Alqamar.

Martin Lane is at Haydock including one for bin Suroor and then jocked up on Good Golly Miss Molly in the 9.20 at Kempton who he has ridden in her last two C&D victories for Martin Bosley.

Connor King has one ride for Brian Ellison at Haydock. Two seasons ago this boy was the next Mick Kinane/Johnny Murtagh. I think he has weight issues.

Kempton 7.20 Jamie Spencer rides for Richard Hughes. Love to earwig the riding instructions but bet it doesn’t involve, “jump out, make all”!!

So who has made the trek to Scotland for Good to Firm ground?

The red hot combo of Archie Watson and Ed Greatrex have two! Mazarain is up 11lb for a C&D win (6.05). Brandon Castle in the 7.05.

Likewise Robyn Brisland sends just one from Newmarket, 1.40 Oswald, and has employed Paul Mulrennan to ride.


Friday August 25th Day 3 York Ebor Festival

Posted Thursday 6.30pm

Tough day in the office. Financially damaging. The good news is they are racing at York again tomorrow but my it is a trappy card with a capital T!! It’s drying out on the Knavesmire. “Good, Good to Soft in Places” and the clerk of the course has just tweeted “A lovely sunny evening to end Day 2”.

Memo to ITV racing – 2.55pm That Oaks countdown is totally unnecessary and irrelevant. ITV sticking Enable on a pedestal. Nasty feeling of “tall poppy syndrome”!


York 3.35 Nunthorpe Stakes G1 5F 3yo+

This won’t take long. Blink and you could miss them. Great to watch just loath them as a betting medium! I’ll be cheering on Lady Aurelia as I enjoy Wesley Wards efforts in supporting the British summer Festivals!


York 4.15 C2 7F Convivial Maiden Stakes 2yo.

Probably my favourite race of the meeting as it will be packed with future winners and I will probably watch it twenty times. Gabr was a big Notebook horse on debut a HQ but will be in the place pot only. That noise you can here is me sharpening half a dozen pencils!


Friday Lucky 15 (probably e/w)

York 1.55                    LANDSMAN                @10/1 WH 8/1 general                    

York 2.25                    DARTMOUTH              @9/2 WH 4/1 PP      

York 3.00                    MUBTASIM                      @ 14/1 WH + PP Both also 4 places!          

York 4.50                    MOJITO                       @3/1 general


Friday Star* Selections (14 Stars)

York 1.55                    LANDSMAN                One Star* each way @10/1 WH 8/1 general

York 2.25                    DARTMOUTH              Two Star** win @9/2 WH 4/1 PP

York 3.00                    MUBTASIM                      Two Stars** each way @ 14/1 WH + PP Both also 4 places           

York 4.50                    MOJITO                       Four stars**** win @3/1 general

York 4.50                    KINGS GIFT                 One star* each way @ 25/1 Betfred + 4 places!

 and here’s why

 York 1.55                    LANDSMAN    History says the winner will be carrying 9st 4lbs or less, had three runs this season, winning form and be in Stall 8 or wider. Landsman is trained in Ireland by tony Martin who knows all about winning on the Knavesmire and I like his jumpers when they’ve had a reconnoitre, at Cheltenham for example, and Landsman ran here last October when not seeing out the 14F trip. He is good form, drawn 9, ground and trip look fine and Paul Hanagan has been booked. Solid each way material!

York 2.25                    DARTMOUTH  Has to give weight to the rest of the field, with reason because he is the best horse in the field or more to the point he has won a Group Two. Won over 14F here at York earlier in the season, will appreciate the ground and Ryan Moore does the steering.

Of the others the ground is too tacky for Dal Harraild, Sheikzayedroad and High Jinx probably have their best days behind them, Higher Power and Montaly are good handicappers which means the dangers are that man Mullins with Ascot Stakes winner Thomas Hobson and the possible improver, 4yo St. Michel, for Sir Mark Prescott. I’ll stick with the Royal runner.

York 3.00                    MUBTASIM The form of the G3 7F Jersey at Royal Ascot has been well franked since and I’ve been waiting to back the third horse there, Mubtasim, for a while. Love the draw in four, David Allen riding is a curious booking but he is in form, love the price and just hope the ground keeps drying. Started the year as a sprinter but to me 7F looks his trip.

At 7/1 the field you could make a case for most but I’m not sure Daban has trained on and was two and a half lengths behind the selection in the Jersey, Suedois and Tupi are drawn in the car park and like So Beloved are nearly horses. I’m with Mubtasim, it’s about time William Haggas came to the party!

York 4.50                    MOJITO Right here we go, NAP of the meeting. Been following this horse for a while and I think he is a Group horse waiting to happen. I have no worries with the grade, the trip or the ground. Indeed I think York will be ideal as he is a prominent racer, drawn 4, and he doesn’t quicken he just grinds it out from the furlong pole as he has done at Newmarket and Sandown most recently. Jim Crowley is riding on the crest of the wave and Haggas is due! I have to admit the price is currently skinny and I fear the other Haggas runner Battered, Luca Cumani’s La Rav and of course I personally will be having a saver on my cliff horse of the season, City of Joy, but with absolutely no confidence! As outlined below I also don’t think Kings Gift is a 25/1 shot either.

York 4.50                    KINGS GIFT Connections I like of Michael Dods and Paul Mulrennan and this horse was fourth in the G3 Greenham at the beginning of the season just six lengths off Barney Roy! Ninth in the G1 French Guineas and then occupied the same position to Benbatl in the G3 10F Tercentenary at Royal Ascot. He then had his sights lowered and ran a cracker when third to Chiefofchiefs over course and distance before having no chance at Goodwood drawn widest in their C2 10F handicap and being eased. This race is a much more feasible option and he starts from an ideal stall 2.


Thursday Lucky 15

Ticket is in the bin!

York 1.55                    GREAT PROSPECTOR             2nd 9/2          (7/2 WH + Coral 3/1 general)

Well away this time, on the job, every chance, beaten a diminishing neck, probably better at 7F. More on this race in next week’s Review as I think Paul Hanagan was blind-sided!

York 2.30                    SPECIAL PURPOSE                 5th 6/1           (13/2 general)

Bounced around among horses early on, not as big as some of these but kept on well. More to come especially if she grows. Not sold on the form of this race but the winner, Threading, is clearly useful.

York 3.00                    EL VIP                                      17th and last (One star* each way @ 10/1 general)

Too keen early on. Needs Firm somewhere in the going description and probably best on a straight mile.

BHS Stewards Report – “The Stewards considered the running of EL VIP (IRE), ridden by Jamie Spencer and trained by Luca Cumani, which finished unplaced. They noted the trainer’s explanation that the colt was unsuited by the going which was described as Good to Soft, Good in Places, and EL VIP (IRE) would prefer a faster surface.”

York 4.50                    CARIDADE                               5th 14/1         (One star* each way @ 11/1 Coral 10/1 general)

Gutsy run. Moved to the inside, they were always going just a stride too quick for her but she has kept on well. Indeed they went flat out the whole trip here.


Thursday Star* Selections (9 Stars out 0 Stars back)

York 1.55                    GREAT PROSPECTOR             2nd 9/2          (Three star*** win @ 7/2 WH + Coral 3/1 general)

York 2.30                    SPECIAL PURPOSE                 5th 6/1                         (Two star** win @ 13/2 general)

York 3.00                    EL VIP                                      17th and last 10/1       (One star* each way @ 10/1 general)

York 4.50                    CARIDADE                               5th 14/1         (One star* each way @ 11/1 Coral 10/1 general)



Brief Thursday review

Terry Norman‏ @tjnnorman   Interesting that Tangled clocked a faster time than Threading. Hannon’s horse capable of winning listed race #York

Simon Rowlands‏ @RowleyfileRRR 

 …which happened only twice in the previous 7 years…


York 3.35        Yorkshire Oaks G1 12F 3yo+ Fillies & Mares

Well no surprises. Gosden 1-2 and Enable goes to the Arc!

York 4.10        Galtres/Sir Henry Cecil Stakes 12F 3yo+ Fillies & Mares

Mori is a major disappointment for everyone except the bookmaking fraternity and Team Fanshawe!

The Stewards considered the running of MORI, ridden by Ryan Moore and trained by Sir Michael Stoute, which started favourite and finished unplaced. They noted the trainer could offer no explanation for the filly’s performance. The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of MORI, during routine testing, failed to reveal any abnormalities.

I refer you to my opening piece yesterday. Mori “Couldn’t back her at odds on (Ground, York, inexperience, she’s a mare) but wouldn’t wish to oppose her either.”

Newmarket July Meeting Day 2 Friday Posted Thursday July 13th 5.30pm

Boy you have to be on the ball at this time of the year. Our sneaky Gallic cousins are running the G1 3yo 12F Grand Prix de Paris at Chantilly at 7.25pm on a Friday night. Messr’s Moore and Buick add to their hectic schedule by jetting in to ride Order of the Garter and Permian respectively. Aidan O’Brien also saddles Venice Beach (my disappointing Derby selection) and Spanish Steps. Racing at Newmarket, Ascot and York but has a bit of a Friday feel to it.

Newmarket GOING Good (Going Stick: 7.3 (Stand Side 7.3; Centre 7.3; Far Side 7.2) on Thursday at 09:00)

Stalls: 10f Centre Remainder Stand Side (they were Far Side on Thursday!)

York GOING Good to Firm, Good in Places (Going Stick: 7.4 overall. Home Straight: Far Side; 7.5 Centre; 7.5 Stands Side; 7.3 on Thursday at 15:30)

Ascot GOING Straight Course: Good Round Course: Good, Good to Soft in places (GoingStick: Straight: 6.8, Round: 6.1 on Thursday at 08:15)

Rails: The running rail on the round course is positioned approx 3yds out from its innermost position from the 1m4f start increasing to 9yds out at the bend entering the Home straight. The rail then finishes in a cutaway in the Home straight. Stalls: Straight Course: Standside (High numbers)

Fridays Lucky 15

Newmarket 1.50                              MAKZEEM                                           @ 9/1 with WH               

Newmarket 3.00                              LESHLAA                                              @ 6/1 PP 11/2 general                  

York 3.45                                             IN FIRST PLACE                                  @ 10/1 Ladbrokes + Coral

York 5.30                                             SILENT ECHO                                      @ 9/4 Coral 2/1 general

Fridays Star* Singles

Newmarket 1.50                              MAKZEEM                                           Two star*** win @ 9/1 with WH                            

Newmarket 1.50                              GUNMETAL                                        One star* each way @ 16/1 general

Newmarket 2.25                              DARKANNA                                        One star* each way @ 14/1 general

Newmarket 3.00                              LESHLAA                                              Two star** win @ 6/1 PP 11/2 general 

Newmarket 4.10                        TANGLED                                             One star* win @ 8/1 PP 7/1 general

Newmarket 5.50                              TIME ZONE                                         One star* win @ 10/1 PP 8/1 general

York 3.15                                             ISABELS ON IT                                    One star* each way @ 25/1 PP 20/1 general

York 3.45                                             IN FIRST PLACE                                  One star* win @ 10/1 Ladbrokes + Coral

York 5.30                                             SILENT ECHO                                      Four star**** win @ 9/4 Coral 2/1 general

(17 stars out)

and here is why

1.50 Silver Bunbury Cup handicap C2 7F This one isn’t difficult as my two fancies for the main event miss out, Makzeem (on at 50/1) missed by one! He has top weight here and Ryan Moore rides.

MAKZEEM Roger Charlton’s 4yo half-brother to Al Khazeem was a course and distance winner last time out getting a six pound penalty putting him up to OR94 which still makes him more likely to line up in the Silver Cup on Friday but his trainer said “Makzeem got a much-deserved success at Newmarket yesterday after bumping into plenty of good horses last year and getting set alight by an errant horse/rider at Sandown. Back in trip to 7f, he won well. He may not get into the Bunbury Cup but that could be the race for him.” That’s my sort of quote, fingers crossed! Number 26 on the five day list so everything crossed now.

GUNMETAL Lost his way a little in his last two runs but he fulfils all the criteria I was looking for. He’s won over 7F, he’s a 4yo, he has course form, he doesn’t seem ground dependent, he is good off the front and he is stepping up from 6F. With a mark of OR93 I expect to be backing him in the Silver Cup! Number 32 on the five day list so the Friday race looks likely.

2.25 Duchess of Cambridge Stakes G2 6F 2yo fillies Once again it is Royal Ascot form being tested. Representing the G2 5F Queen Mary are the third, Out of the Flames, the seventh, Darkanna, the thirteenth, Mamba Noire, and the twenty first, Chica La Habanna. From the 6F Listed Albany are the fourth, Mistress of Venice, and the seventh, Clemmie.

Nyaleti steps back a furlong having been beaten a length by September in the 7F Listed Chesham having made most of the running. Clemmie has since beaten Mambo Noire in the G3 6F Grangecon Stud Stakes at the Curragh. A fascinating set of ingredients. The stats and trends don’t help much either!

12/13 – Foaled in Feb (6) or March (6) – Would exclude Nyaleti (May) and Chico La Habana (April)

12/13 – Drawn in stall 7 or lower – Would exclude Clemmie (8) and Mamba Noire (9)

12/13 – Had won between 1-2 times before – Cosmopolitan Queen and Mistress of Venice both maidens

11/13 – Placed favourites 10/13 – Won by a UK-based yard 10/13 – Placed 1st or 2nd last time out

9/13 – Ran at Ascot last time out

My Royal Ascot review mentioned Darkanna (Richard Fahey) This expensive filly is now getting her act together and was doing all of her best work late on in the Queen Mary and is now ready for a sixth furlong. In the 6F G3 Albany for the fillies, Take me with you (Jeremy Noseda) and Mistress of Venice (James Given) both out ran their odds but were on the ‘wrong’ stands side and both should win at 7F+. I would like to see the Albany form franked as I’m wary of its strength. Likewise the 7F Chesham looked average at best…” On the strength of that it’s Darkanna, the eldest filly in the race, each way for me.

3.00 Bet365 C2 10F 3yo 0-105 handicap. Explain this to me, Ryan Moore rides for Mark Johnston, Josephine Gordon rides for Charlie Appleby, William Buick rides for Hugo Palmer and Oisin Murphy rides for Saeed bin Suroor????

Hopefully the ground will have dried out a bit as my selection, Leshlaa, would probably want Firm somewhere in the description! He was an excellent fifth in the Britannia at Royal Ascot having raced on the ‘wrong’ stands side. He races off the same mark here, he is a C&D winner and has a useful low draw. Simply the best horse in the race hence he gives weight away to all his rivals.

3.35 Falmouth G1 8F Fillies & Mares Wuheida makes her seasonal debut. Sea of Grace hasn’t been seen since the 13th May. Roly Poly has been runner up to Winter in her last two starts, both at Group 1 level.

No strong fancy but I’ll stick Roly Poly and Sea of Grace in the placepot and oppose Wuheida.

4.10 Price Bailey nursery 2yo 7F Never easy these early nurseries but I was impressed with Tangled on his last start when fourth over 6F here at Newmarket staying on well under hand riding behind Folk Tale. Keen early on, once he settled he travelled in the manner of a decent horse and came through horses to challenge. OR77 seems a workable mark for Richard Hannon’s son of Society Rock who will surely benefit from the extra furlong. I am wary of Godolphin’s Gold Town who on his Craven form is probably not a handicapper.

4.45 2yo Maiden 7F C4 (Div I) Notebook time. Couldn’t possibly make a selection!

Deja (Jeremy Noseda) Before embarking on a trip to Sandown on Friday – only for his two booked rides to be non-runners – Gerald Mosse did at least get to sit on a horse on the watered gallop, where Noseda was paying a rare visit. The unraced son of Youmzain knew all about the undulations having worked two furlongs on an adjacent strip before being purchased by Phoenix Thoroughbreds for 350,000gns at the Tattersalls Craven breeze-ups. RP gallop report

5.20 2yo Maiden 7F C4 (Div II) Notebook time. Couldn’t possibly make a selection!

My Royal Ascot review opined “Bustam (John Quinn) looked a candidate for a decent 7F nursery, possibly York.” Bit surprised to see him here!

5.50 Chelsea Waterfront handicap 8F 3yo 0-90 Disappointing race for this meeting. The Godolphin 3yo filly Finishing Touch could be thrown in off OR81? Time Zone appears on my tracker as a 2yo that should win as a 3yo. Not seen since April behind Beat the Bank. Big, scopey sort who wouldn’t settle. All over the place, Bambi-ish, when it quickened going into the dip. Put up seven pounds for finishing fifth!


York 3.15 Summer Stakes G3 6F Fillies

A tasty selection of young ladies in search of some valuable Black Type to enhance their value as broodmares. Three went in my notebook last season to follow as 3yo’s.

Queen Kindly Winner of last season’s G2 Lowther Stakes over C&D as a 2yo but has this daughter of Frankel trained on? Had classic aspirations but beaten in the Fred Darling, didn’t stay in the 1000 Guineas and then beaten in a 5F Listed event over 5F albeit staying on.

Eartha Kitt Hugely disappointing on 3yo debut at Lingfield in a G3 against her elders but next time won a C2 handicap over C&D. Needs to find ten pounds or so but quite possible.

Isabels On It Highly thought of by trainer William Haggas but took five goes to lose her maiden tag. Tried Listed company last time but didn’t quite get home over Carlisle’s stiff, rain-softened ground and 7F having travelled sweetly for 5½F! Clearly an improver, York should suit but probably needs to find ten pounds or so but quite possible. Jamie Spencer rides but surely Martin Harley had the choice of Haggas mounts and he has plumped for the 4yo Gravity Flow.

York 3.45 Cakemark handicap 10F C4 0-85

In First Place Trained by #FantasticMrFahey this horse has kept some better company this season and seems to have grade, trip, ground and course in his favour and looks a good thing in C4 with Paul Hanagan on board. Not far behind the likes of City of Joy, Bless Him and Fire Brigade.

York 5.30 Sugro Apprentice Handicap 7F C3 0-95

Silent Echo This horse is top of two of my lists, “Back until it loses” and “Group horse in handicaps”, and have they found a peach of a race. Stable jockey and regular pilot Keiron Shoemark claims three pounds and this is a C3 0-95 apprentice race and Silent Echo goes off OR91. Professional, travels, quickens. Would be a maximum bet but for presence of an unbeaten Pennsylvania Dutch from the Haggas yard who will hopefully make the market. Pennsylvania Dutch picked up really well over 6F when winning at Haydock. Sir Reginald Brown will win more races for #FantasticMrFahey but he has bumped into a couple here!

6.55 Musselburgh Conditions Stakes C2 12½F

This looks a good spot in the Racing Calendar by trainer Ralph Beckett for Chemical Charge who ran well in the Hardwicke at royal Ascot. Notebook says, “Chemical Charge (Ralph Beckett) “didn’t have much racing room close home and now up to OR114 may have to go abroad to win a 12F Group race.” Must admit when I wrote abroad I was thinking of somewhere further afield than Scotland!


Thursdays Lucky 15

Non-runner always hurts but most of our stake back.

Newmarket 1.50                              RAHEEN HOUSE               1st 7/2                   (@ 4/1 general)

Solid stayer and did it off a fierce pace.

Newmarket 3.00                             UNABATED                         14th 16/1              (@ 12/1 PP + BetFred)

Thanks to weighing room madness, no chance from stall 2.

Newmarket 3.35                             POETS WORD                    Non Runner       (@ 9/2 Coral 4/1 general)

Newmarket 5.05                              FOREST RANGER              2nd 8/1                   (@ 13/2)

Always prominent, headed 1F out, well beaten. Looks his level and trip, 8F Listed.

Thursdays Star* Singles

Newmarket 1.50                              RAHEEN HOUSE               1st 7/2                   (@ 4/1 general)

Newmarket 2.25                             INVINCIBLE ARMY           4th 3/1F                 (One star* win @ 7/1 general)

Newmarket 2.25                             ENJAZAAT                           6th 14/1                 (One star* win @ 16/1 PP 14/1 general)

Newmarket 3.00                             UNABATED                         14th 16/1              (@ 12/1 PP + BetFred)

Newmarket 3.00                             DANIELSFLYER                   18th 33/1              (One star* win @ 201 general)

Newmarket 3.00                             TOMMY TAYLOR              2nd 14/1 (One star* win @ 25/1 PP)

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

Newmarket 4.35                              ORVAR                                 11th 12/1              (One star* win @ 12/1 general)                     

Newmarket 4.35                              OH SO SASSY                     6th 20/1                 (Half a star each way @      25/1 general)

Newmarket 4.35                              MONT KIARA                     14/1                       (Half a star each way @      20/1 general)

Newmarket 5.05                              FOREST RANGER              2nd 8/1   (NB)       (@ 13/2)

Newmarket 5.05                              TRICORN                              4th                           (One star* win @ 9/2

(Total 16 stars out 13 stars back)

Wednesday July 12th 12.30pm

Two important factors for finding winners this Friday and Saturday will be the Going and jockey bookings. Below are the current going reports and some key indicators on jockey bookings.



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

Watering: 10mm applied to the course on Friday.

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)



(Going Stick: 6.9 overall. Home Straight; Far Side: 7.0 Centre; 7.0 Stands Side; 6.8 on Wednesday at 08:00)

(Last updated @Wed 12 Jul 8:07am)


GOING Straight Course: Good to Soft Round Course: Good to Soft, Soft in places

(Going Stick: Straight: 6.5, Round: 5.9 on Wednesday at 08:15)

(Last updated @Wed 12 Jul 8:17am)


The Sheikhs are in town because it is “Europe’s Premier Midsummer Sale, July 12-14, Numbering 910 lots, the Tattersalls sale comprises 747 horses and fillies in/out of training and 163 broodmares, 10 of which have foals at foot. Taking place Wednesday 12th – Friday 14th July, the three-day sale features high quality consignments from many of the world’s leading owner/breeders including Cheveley Park Stud, Godolphin, Juddmonte Farms and Shadwell Estates.” Their trainers will be out to impress! Get a few winners this weekend and you may get that million quid yearling next season!

Jockey Bookings Friday & Saturday

Summary – Crowley going to Ascot on Saturday for Mutakayyef in the Group 2? Could have had Tasleet in the G1 July Cup or Tashweeq or Tabarrak in the Bunbury Cup at Newmarket?

Atzeni is interesting if he turned up at Salisbury Saturday night for Jumira Prince having been at York in the afternoon!

Buick’s lack of booked rides for Saturday suggests Godolphins plans are up in the air!

Who will Haggas use at York on Saturday? Hanagan, Tudhope, Gordon, Cosgrave?

Ryan Moore

Friday, 14 July 2017 – 1:50                Makzeem             Newmarket (July), bet365 Handicap (Silver Bunbury Cup)

Friday, 14 July 2017 – 3:00                Titi Makfi              Newmarket (July), bet365 Handicap

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 2:15          Gymnaste             Newmarket (July), Spa At Bedford Lodge EBF Stallions Fillies’ Handicap

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 2:50          City Of Joy            Newmarket (July), bet365 Mile Handicap

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 3:25          Tashweeq             Newmarket (July), bet365 Bunbury Cup Handicap

Aiden O’Brien has entries at Newmarket on both Friday and Saturday

Friday, 14 July 2017 – 2:25                Actress                  Newmarket (July), Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes (Group 2)

Friday, 14 July 2017 – 2:25                Clemmie               Newmarket (July), Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes (Group 2)

Friday, 14 July 2017 – 3:35                Roly Poly               Newmarket (July), Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes (Group 1)

Friday, 14 July 2017 – 3:35                Rain Goddess      Newmarket (July), Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes (Group 1)

Friday, 14 July 2017 – 4:45                The Pentagon      Newmarket (July), EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes (Plus 10 Race)

Friday, 14 July 2017 – 4:45                Mendelssohn       Newmarket (July), EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes (Plus 10 Race)

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 1:45          Sizzling                  Newmarket (July), EBF Stallions Maiden Fillies’ Stakes (Plus 10 Race)

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 4:00          Gustav Klimt        Newmarket (July), bet365 Superlative Stakes (Group 2)

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 4:35          Washington DC   Newmarket (July), Darley July Cup Stakes (Group 1)

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 4:35        Caravaggio          Newmarket (July), Darley July Cup Stakes (Group 1)

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 4:35          Pedestal                Newmarket (July), Darley July Cup Stakes (Group 1)

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 4:35          Cougar Mountain Newmarket (July), Darley July Cup Stakes (Group 1)

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 4:35          Intelligence Cross Newmarket (July), Darley July Cup Stakes (Group 1)

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 4:35          Peace Envoy         Newmarket (July), Darley July Cup Stakes (Group 1)

Jim Crowley

Friday, 14 July 2017 – 2:25                Mistress Of Venice Newmarket (July), Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes  (Group 2)

Friday, 14 July 2017 – 4:45                Ibraz                      Newmarket (July), EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes (Plus 10 Race)

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 2:40          Laraaib                  Ascot, Playboy Club London Handicap

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 3:15          Shaaqaaf               Ascot, Trant Engineering Fillies’ Handicap

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 3:15          Hadeeqa               Ascot, Trant Engineering Fillies’ Handicap

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 3:50        Mutakayyef        Ascot, Fred Cowley MBE Memorial Summer Mile Stakes (Group 2)

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 4:25          Alfarris                  Ascot, Woodford Reserve Handicap

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 4:25          Mudaarab            Ascot, Woodford Reserve Handicap

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 5:00          Saluti                      Ascot, GL Events UK Handicap

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 6:50          Waqt                      Salisbury, CPA Scaffolding Maiden Stakes

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 6:50          Mohsen                 Salisbury, CPA Scaffolding Maiden Stakes

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 7:20          Mamdood             Salisbury, Total Decor Ltd Handicap

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 8:50          Hadeeqa               Salisbury, British Stallion Studs EBF “Ladies’ Evening” Fillies’ Handicap

William Buick

Friday 14 July 2017 – 2:25 Nyaleti                   Newmarket (July), Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes (Group 2)

Friday, 14 July 2017 – 3:35                Wuheida               Newmarket (July), Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes (Group 1)

Friday, 14 July 2017 – 4:10                Gold Town            Newmarket (July), Price Bailey Nursery Handicap

Friday, 14 July 2017 – 4:45                Being There         Newmarket (July), EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes (Plus 10 Race)

Friday, 14 July 2017 – 4:45                Stage Magic         Newmarket (July), EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes (Plus 10 Race)

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 1:45          Poetic Charm       Newmarket (July), EBF Stallions Maiden Fillies’ Stakes (Plus 10 Race)

Andrea Atzeni

Friday, 14 July 2017 – 2:25                Mamba Noire      Newmarket (July), Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes (Group 2)

Friday, 14 July 2017 – 4:10                Red Roman          Newmarket (July), Price Bailey Nursery Handicap

Friday, 14 July 2017 – 4:45              Global Conqueror Newmarket (July), EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes (Plus 10 Race)

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 2:30        Barsanti                York, John Smith’s Silver Cup Stakes (Listed Race)

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 3:05        UAE Prince           York, 58th John Smith’s Cup Handicap

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 7:20        Jumira Prince      Salisbury, Total Decor Ltd Handicap

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 8:50          Prosper                 Salisbury, British Stallion Studs EBF “Ladies’ Evening” Fillies’ Handicap

Jamie Spencer

Friday, 14 July 2017 – 1:50                Realize                  Newmarket (July), bet365 Handicap (Silver Bunbury Cup)

Friday, 14 July 2017 – 2:40                Oasis Fantasy      York, Unibet Handicap

Friday, 14 July 2017 – 2:40                Good Omen          York, Unibet Handicap

Friday, 14 July 2017 – 3:45                Rockwood             York, Cakemark Handicap

Friday, 14 July 2017 – 4:00                Turning The Table Ascot, Cushman & Wakefield EBF “Breeders’ Series” Fillies’ Handicap Friday, 14 July 2017 – 4:45                Drill                        Newmarket (July), EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes (Plus 10 Race)

Friday, 14 July 2017 – 4:55                Majestic Hero     York, Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Handicap

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 1:45          Quargent              Newmarket (July), EBF Stallions Maiden Fillies’ Stakes (Plus 10 Race)

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 3:05          Majeed                  York, 58th John Smith’s Cup Handicap

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 5:05          Batts Rock            Newmarket (July), John Banks Renault Sport Trophy Handicap

Paul Hanagan

Friday, 14 July 2017 – 3:15                Queen Kindly        York, Unibet Summer Stakes (Group 3) (Fillies & Mares)

Friday, 14 July 2017 – 3:45                In First Place        York, Cakemark Handicap

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 4:15          Kimberella            York, John Smith’s City Walls Stakes (Listed Race)


An habitual winner at York is William Haggas and he has a glut of entries on Friday and Saturday!

Friday, 14 July 2017 – 2:05                One Minute          York, Irish EBF/ROA RP Owners Jackpot Novice Stakes (Plus 10 Race)

Friday, 14 July 2017 – 3:15                Gheedaa               York, Unibet Summer Stakes (Group 3) (Fillies & Mares)

Friday, 14 July 2017 – 3:15                Isabel’s On It       York, Unibet Summer Stakes (Group 3) (Fillies & Mares)

Friday, 14 July 2017 – 3:15                Gravity Flow         York, Unibet Summer Stakes (Group 3) (Fillies & Mares)

Friday, 14 July 2017 – 3:45                Novoman              York, Cakemark Handicap

Friday, 14 July 2017 – 4:55                Lapilli                     York, Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Handicap

Friday, 14 July 2017 – 5:30                Pennsylvania Dutch York, Wingate Centre Charity/Sugro Apprentice Handicap

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 1:55          Zwayyan               York, John Smith’s Racing Handicap

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 3:05          Victory Bond        York, 58th John Smith’s Cup Handicap

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 3:05          Zwayyan               York, 58th John Smith’s Cup Handicap

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 3:40          Mosalim                York, John Smith’s Novice Median Auction Stakes (Plus 10 Race)

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 3:40          Awesometank     York, John Smith’s Novice Median Auction Stakes (Plus 10 Race)

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 4:15          Gravity Flow         York, John Smith’s City Walls Stakes (Listed Race)

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 4:45          Theydon Grey      York, John Smith’s Stayers’ Handicap

Saturday, 15 July 2017 – 5:15          Validator               York, John Smith’s Nursery Handicap

Perhaps he shouldn’t be ignored either?

Sunday, 16 July 2017 – 3:45              Mubtasim             Curragh, Qatar Airways Minstrel Stakes (Group 2)

Lucky 15 Friday June 16th

Thursday 5.45pm Just caught some live action in the shop and well!! George Bowen drops grade and hacks up by 4 ½ lengths but he’s just not the horse you can back at 2/1! Gosden 3yo fillies are rock solid. At Newbury his debutante, Standing Rock wins 3yo maiden, then he has first and third in the Listed race. Shutter Speed on Sunday and the rest of the A team are at Ascot. Shop punters told me to look at the 2yo’s earlier so I have done and Stoute’s Expert Eye has a big future and Fahey has an above average colt in Great Prospector!

Now after serious counselling and a week on emergency rations it is time once again to delve into the murky waters of the Lucky 15. Last Saturday my biggest investment was the 5/4 about #FantasticMrFahey getting four winners from his thirty two runners. Three up with sixteen to run, happy days. Then two fourths, a third and five seconds!! The final runner was beaten a short, short head. All my selections ran OK for ninety five per cent of their race but just couldn’t get over the line and just to rub salt in a gaping wound I couldn’t see Scotland scoring a goal against England. Not a sniff for eighty seven minutes then twice in three minutes! I need to lie down again.

Fridays Lucky 15

Fingers crossed!

York 2.20                    BURGUILLOS                                                    11/2 PP 9/2 general

York 3.30                    GOD WILLING                                     20/1 general

York 4.40                    MONJENI                                            11/2 general

Goodwood 7.40         WAR AT SEA                                      8/1 PP 7/1 general

and here’s why

York 2.20                    BURGUILLOS                    Just doesn’t know how to run a bad race. Will come from off the pace, trip looks ideal, ground should suit, draw is workable and there are questions to be answered for most of his rivals. Mythical Madness, Big Country, as good on grass as sand?  Innocent Touch, in handicappers grip? Stipulate, Just Hiss, Madroos, stay the trip? Euchen Glen could be the danger.

York 3.30                    GOD WILLING             Doesn’t look good on current form but in four runs this season only got his conditions once, 7F Good to Firm, and was a running on fifth having been held up on the rail. Already down below his last winning mark, September 2016, and in the following race was second to El Vip giving him six pounds! The yard is two from twelve in the last fortnight and hopefully stall 12 of 18 will be OK for him. Might get a price here?

As for the rest; Firmdecisions and War department look AW horses to me, Penwortham needs Chester, Bertiewhittle is pensionable, the handicapper has Classic Seniority, Moonlightnavigator needs some rain. Sun Lover on seasonal debut for Varian and Atzeni will be the popular selection as the lightly raced 4yo gelding looks to repay his £360K price tag. Never come onto any radar of mine. Perhaps Ruth Carr has the danger in Chaplins Bay now he is back to the same mark he’s won off the last twice, OR74.

York 4.40                    MONJENI                           Since leaving Sir Mark Prescott’s yard Ian Williams has got Monjeni to win three out of his four races, two on the Tapeta at Wolverhampton and one at Haydock. His defeat was here on the Knavesmire over two furlongs further than he had been winning at. Monjeni is a giraffe of a horse with a daisy cutter action and despite Sir Mark thinking the horse need to go as far as possible it seems 14F on good to firm ground is the ideal. At Haydock Monjeni showed a change of gear, not easy for a gangly type and there could be more to come. I’ll forgive him his last run on grounds of trip and going. Plenty of likely opponents especially Theydon Grey for William Haggas who comes here instead of Musselburgh on Saturday for a race he’s been ante post favourite all week! Paul Hanagan rides On Fire for James Bethell and they will be trying to repeat their last time success over this distance at Nottingham. Hanagan rode Monjeni last time but I think here is a case of Atzeni getting the ride and not Hanagan having a choice.

Goodwood 7.40         WAR AT SEA   Fascinating C4 12F 3yo handicap. Let’s remove the chaff, Koeman, Galactic Prince and Fields of Fortune don’t look ready to win, 0-7 0-8 1-8, if they ever do! Road to Dubai has won two of his last three and has SDS in the saddle but has been operating at a lower grade and didn’t seem to stay when stepped up to 12F. Duke of Bronte won a dodgy Newbury maiden at 50/1 for the Millmans and the handicapper probably has him. Twenty Times, trained by Richard Hughes and owned by Sir Alex Ferguson is the sexy horse. The recent C5 soft ground 10F Chepstow handicap he won looks distinctly egg and spoon to me but hopefully he’ll make the market for the two I fancy. Luca Cumani is a trainer of patience and his 3yo’s improve with time and trip. His City Limits, by Nathanial, looks a likely time but as with many from this yard first time out is not the best time to back them. So it’s War at Sea for me. Went in the notebook when beaten by John Gosdens Garrick at Newcastle with the front two six lengths clear of the third. By Mastercraftsman out of a Galileo mare he cost Qatar Racing £105K and I’m sure David Simcock sees war at Sea’s future over middle distances, its 12F here, and with Jamie Spencer in the saddle we can be sure of a patient ride!


Saturdays Lucky 15

Not pretty reading!

Catterick 3.25             GABRIAL THE TIGER                                   8th 12/1           (25/1 PP 14/1 Skybet)

Check that price. Did exactly what I wanted him to do, got out, got the rail, led into straight then at the furlong pole fell in a hole. Jockey said he hung left!

Newmarket 4.50        REALLY SUPER                                                4th 2/1F           (15/8 general)

Travelled like a dream then when push came to shove. Zip. She was the Nap of the day.

Haydock 4.05             SO BELOVED                                       3rd 8/1             (15/2 PP general)

No complaints every chance just finished third beaten less than a length.

Chester 4.55               POWERALLIED                                   6th 16/1           (16/1 general)

Midfield, midfield, midfield. Get the drift?


Royal Ascot 2017

Latest going news Stickels said: “It certainly looks like it is going to very warm weather this coming weekend. At the moment, high pressure is dominating and is set to do so through next week. There is a small chance it could break down by the end of next week on Friday/Saturday but at the moment we are pretty settled. Temperatures this weekend should 27 or 28 degrees Celsius. It should cool down by Tuesday, with temperatures of around 24 degrees and towards the end of next week are forecast to go down to the low 20s.

At the moment, we are Good, Good to Firm in places. We are watering at the moment – we put seven millimetres on the round course overnight and are putting 10 millimetres on the straight today. The plan is not to water tomorrow and then review the situation. It is likely we will need to water during the meeting to maintain Good to Firm ground as the week goes on. The track is looking in great shape. We had a dry spring and 10 days’ ago we had 20 millimetres of rain which really helped us. I am really looking forward to next week.”

Ger Lyons Ascot plans – Irish Times June 14th The impressive Navan winner Treasuring could bid to follow in Elletelle’s hoof-prints next week by tackling the Queen Mary. “She reminds me of Elletelle a lot in that she has the speed for five, gets six, is very hardy and doesn’t show me anything at home. They’re very similar so maybe it’s written in the stars!” Lyons said. Provisional plans for next week also include the Irish Guineas fourth place Glastonbury Song running in the Jersey Stakes while the stalwart handicapper Sea Wolf is set to line up in the Royal Hunt Cup.

Up to five runners owned by Qatar Racing could go from Lyons’s Glenburnie Stables with Black Sails a possible for the Chesham, Savannah Storm going for the Duke Of Edinburgh, Lightening Fast in the Britannia and Gold Spinner a possible to join him or take in the Hampton Court instead. “Gold Spinner is very ground dependant and will probably only run if there’s soft in the ground description,” said Lyons who may also run Percy in the King George V handicap.


American Patriot is aiming to be the second successive American-trained winner of the G1 Queen Anne Stakes, run over Ascot’s straight mile, on the first day of Royal Ascot, Tuesday, June 20, following Tepin’s victory in 2016. The four-year-old War Front colt is trained by Todd Pletcher, the most successful handler in prize money terms that the USA has ever seen. American Patriot comes to Royal Ascot on the back for a first G1 victory, achieved with a late run in Keeneland’s Maker’s 46 Mile on turf on April 17. Ginny DePasquale, an assistant trainer to Pletcher, commented: “That was an absolutely amazing win – we were so thrilled.

 “We did not think he was going to win until the last few strides when he made up a lot of ground. Todd and the owner came up with the Royal Ascot plan after American Patriot ran the way he did, coming from far off the pace, European-style. We were 20/1 in the morning line at Keeneland, but we have always thought a lot of this horse from the time he was a two-year-old. He has still got to prove himself a little bit and we are hoping for the best. We have learned to bring the right horse over – one you really think can do well and compete in the prevailing conditions. American Patriot has been training and breezing very well since his Keeneland victory. He went off for a canter this morning and dealt with the open spaces very well. Winning the Kentucky Derby, which is the real premier race of the United States for three-year-olds, and then the Belmont Stakes means it has been an amazing six weeks for the stable. We are hoping American Patriot runs the best he can. Winning at Royal Ascot is very prestigious – the ultimate racing in the world as far as we are concerned – so it would definitely be a feather in our cap. This is our second trip to Royal Ascot – we came with two horses six years ago – and we will give it a shot when we have the right horse or horses.”

sportinglife.com Thursday 15 June 2017 Across The Stars will be joined at the meeting by his hat-trick seeking stable mate City Of Joy, who is on course for a tilt at the Britannia Stakes. Raymond added: “City Of Joy has done well winning his last two races and goes for the Britannia. As he is trained by Sir Michael Stoute, I am sure he will be one of the favourites.”

Harry Herbert, who is racing manager for the Royal Ascot Racing Club “Another runner for the Royal Ascot Racing Club is Projection (Roger Charlton) in the Wokingham Handicap. He is a really tough sprinter and loves the hustle and bustle. He had a good season last year without winning then went wrong. He ran a perfectly decent race at Newmarket first time out and then had a minor setback again. Hopefully, he will get a clear run with his last two pieces of work and is the sort of horse that should run very well in the Wokingham.”

McErin – G2 Norfolk Stakes. Wesley Ward declared: “I knew from the start that he would be a Norfolk contender. He has shown a lot of speed in everything he has done at home. He is a compact sprinter type of horse. He has an all-dirt pedigree but he has been much better on the grass. I think he has a really big chance.”

David Redvers, racing manager to owner Qatar Racing Limited, talked about the chances of Sheikh Fahad Al Thani’s operation at Royal Ascot. Redvers said: “We have some very exciting two-year-olds plus our old stagers as well. I am particularly looking forward to the two-year-olds although we are going to have some stiff competition – I see Twitter is alive with Mr Ward’s horses! We have some talented two-year-old fillies – Natural looks very good for Richard Hannon as does Out Of The Flames. Ger Lyons has two lovely fillies as well – Black Sails, who was very impressive in Ireland as was Treasuring, a daughter of our own Havana Gold who I think is set to have six runners at the meeting.”

Lucky 15 Tuesday June 6th

Monday 6.00pm After all my whingeing over Epsom and it’s far from level playing field the Derby itself was excellent and clean. The only hard luck story to my eyes would have been the winner had he not got up! The boys on the clock say the winner was worthy with the right horses in the places! Wings of Desire will have to repeat the dose against Cracksman in the Irish Derby whilst Cliffs of Moher and Eminent look destined for the 10F Eclipse at Sandown.

The Derby winner finished behind my selection at Chester which was a bit galling but it’s all about improvement on the day with these 3yo’s. However chuffed to say I did put up one winning 3yo on Saturday in Afaak at a cracking 12/1 with bigger prices available earlier!!

“Doncaster 5.40                AFAAK Unraced as a 2yo on 3yo debut he was everybodys eye-catcher in the 7F Alex Scott maiden at the Craven meeting when a running on fourth behind Jewel House and that race has thrown up plenty of winners. A month later he came out and won a C5 8F in Thirsk at odds on. Simples. Not quite, he missed the break, had to be pushed hard to get an early position, hung in the straight, put his head in the air and still won. Bound to improve, Hamdan al Maktoums homebred son of Oasis Dream, Afaak oozes class and like Valcartier I think he’s destined for Group success. This is a Class 4 handicap up Doncaster’s straight 8F on Good ground and he goes handicapping off OR86. Has to be backed. Now I expected 3/1 as a top price and I’m flabbergasted that Paddy Power on line as put him in at 16/1. I am now en route to see if the shops match, normally do. (They did.Ed)”

Tuesdays Lucky 15

We’ll stick with the 3yo theme and see if we can unearth a few more butterflies!

Chepstow 3.00                       TIS WONDERFUL                                          14/1 PP 12/1 general

Chepstow 5.30                       KNIGHT DESTROYER                          2/1 general

Wetherby 3.10                       SNOOKERED                                       3/1 general

Wetherby 4.40                       DAN TROOP                                      9/2 Ladbrokes + Coral

and here’s why

Chepstow 3.00                       TIS WONDERFUL This is all about what could be! Clive Cox ran this son of Casamento thrice as a 2yo with the horse showing hints of ability but also weakness and immaturity. Gelded over the winter he gets to go 8F handicapping off just OR65 and his trainer couldn’t have found him any worse a race which to me looks a seller in all but name with a field of exposed “trees”! The only other one I could consider was John Flint’s Love and be Loved with William Cox (Georgia’s brother?) taking 7lbs off, guaranteed to stay and a modicum of depth to the form of this Lawman filly.

Chepstow 5.30                       KNIGHT DESTROYER With 3yo’s receiving a generous 15lbs in this low grade C5 handicap over 12F it has to be a toss-up between Jonjo O’Neill’s Knight Destroyer and Ed Walkers Kings Coinage, both finishing solid second’s last time out. Neither horse according to their sires, Dark Angel and Holy Roman Emperor, should stay this trip without a horsebox but they are both stoutly bred on the dam’s side, Galileo and Halling! Having looked at the replays I’m going for the mediocre big’un over the mediocre littl’un! Knights Destroyer was caught in a box when Mirzam kicked on 2F out over C&D but stayed on strongly. Kings Coinage may well have bumped into one in Canberra Cliffs, now rated a stone higher, but showed terrier like tenacity in grabbing second.

Wetherby 3.10                       SNOOKERED This is hardly a handicap with just six pounds from top to bottom in this C6 3yo 8F contest but competitive all the same. I think the winner comes from the top six with little scope amongst the exposed bottom four. Mark Johnston’s Pennington looks a rogue so we’ll cross him off and I’m not sure England Expects will see the trip out even in a first time hood. Casaclare has the classic 3yo profile with three runs at 6F, staying on, gelded over the winter and goes handicapping over a mile off just OR60, more Sir Mark Prescott than Jonjo O’Neill! However not seen for nine months and may well need the run. I’m not sure that Brother McConagall will do any better stepping up fron six to eight furlongs though it’s possible. Treagus had the run of the race last time at Wolverhampton and still didn’t get home. Charlie Fellowes colt may well come on for that but it won’t be easy from Stall 11 although as a son of Mayson he should enjoy the easing ground. Surprise, surprise I’ve gone for the Fahey horse. I just think Paul Hanagan can take this race by the scruff of the neck, jump Snookered out of stall 4, grab the rail before the bend, stack them up then gradually increase the pace up Wetherby’s punishing straight as Snookered will stay. If anything goes by, well done them. Going left handed will help and I can see an issue with a drop of rain.

Wetherby 4.40                       DAN TROOP   Definitely saved the best until last, C4 7F 61-80, with a 90 degree left hand bend at halfway! You could make a case for half the field here but I’m going for the Fahey/Hanagan double. Dan Troop has been on my radar from his 2yo days and now he has been gelded and stepped up in trip he should climb the handicap ladder. I can’t see the ground being an issue, he’s well boxed in stall 3 and Paul Hanagan rides him for the first time. Dan Troop is a long, rangy type and when he got himself organised on seasonal debut over this trip at Musselburgh he powered home. Put up just three pounds he gets weight from all of his rivals and he can win again.

Fridays Lucky 15

Neither Brorocco or Spring Offensive got a run, the former was murdered! Enable hacked up in the style of a class filly and Zamjar wasn’t good enough! Still £19 back for £15.

Epsom 2.35                           SPRING OFFENSIVE            6th 7/1           (10/1WH 9/1 general)

Partly Atzeni’s fault as he had got himself in a position where he had to take the inside route. BHA STEWARDS “they found that in the first incident, FORECFUL APPEAL (USA), placed fourth, ridden by David Egan, had interfered with SPRING OFFENSIVE (IRE), placed sixth, ridden by Andrea Atzeni. Being a 7lb claimer, Egan was offered a representative in the enquiry but declined. It was found that this interference was accidental as FOREFUL APPEAL (USA) had shifted quickly left-handed away from the whip before being corrected by Egan, causing Atzeni to have to take a check.” Eased near finish. Line through form!

Epsom 3.45                             BROROCCO                             5th 11/4F         (9/2 general)

Came from the back went down the camber but just couldn’t get back up it with it being really messy up front, until too late when he finished strongly.

Epsom 4.30                             ENABLE                                   1st 6/1             (7/1 PP 6/1 general)

Saw the trip out better than Rhododendron but two classy fillies.

Epsom 5.50                             ZAMJAR                                  9th 20/1           (10/1 general)

Prominent on inside but weakened final furlong.

Racing News

Master trainer Andre Fabre is likely to have a small but select team of three for Royal Ascot – headed by Cloth Of Stars. The Godolphin-owned four-year-old has been in rude health this season, winning a Group Three at Saint-Cloud, a Group Two at Chantilly and the Group One Prix Ganay back at Saint-Cloud. Fabre has done a great job rebuilding Cloth Of Stars’ confidence since he finished eighth behind Harzand in last year’s Derby and the Prince of Wales’s Stakes now beckons.

Cloth Of Stars will be going to Ascot,” said Fabre. “I won’t have many runners there. It’s possible Usherette will be supplemented for the Duke of Cambridge. I’ll also take Le Brivido for the Jersey Stakes. He was only just caught by (subsequent Prix du Jockey Club winner) Brametot in the Guineas and seven furlongs should suit.”

One horse not on the Ascot team is Al Wukair, third to Churchill in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket. He was forced to miss the Prix du Jockey Club with a late setback. “He’s not too bad and will resume work on Tuesday,” said Fabre. “It was the equivalent of a twisted ankle, I suppose – not serious, but just bad timing. He won’t go to Ascot but he could go for the Prix Jean Prat in July.”

Le Brivido was narrowly denied in the French Guineas by Brametot and the same fate befell Fabre in the French Derby on Sunday as Waldgeist was caught in the dying strides. Fabre said: “I would think the Irish Derby is a good option for him. He took a big step forward from his first run of the year.”

Lucky 15 Wednesday May 31st

Tuesday 6.15pm The Epsom Derby meeting approach’s and I’ve no strong fancy in either Classic but #FantasticMrFahey likes the handicaps, two 25/1 winners in the last four seasons and Atteq goes for the 3yo one that Heavens Guest won at 9/2 back in the day. Indeed Musley bank is in rude health especialy with market leading 2yo’s. Indeed #FantasticMrFahey is currently top UK based trainer for money won, most winners and most 2yo’s winners. Sort the wheat from the chaff and he’s a money factory!

The Epsom Derby 2017

Epsom going turns good to soft following 15mm of rain Keith Melrose Racing Post  9:09AM, MONDAY MAY 29 2017

The band of rain that swept across south-east England on Sunday evening deposited more than half an inch of rain on Epsom, where the Derby meeting begins on Friday. Clerk of the course Andrew Cooper reported on Monday morning: “We’ve just been out for a walk on the course and if we were racing today I’d call it good to soft. The rain started about 4pm yesterday and got heaviest between around midnight and 2pm. It has softened the ground quite a bit, but we were pretty quick before that.” Nearby Windsor, where racing takes place on Monday, reported little more than half the amount (8.7mm) of rain Epsom received on Sunday, but Cooper had no concerns about getting the worst of the weather. “I was pleased to get the rain, it was fairly timely, I was starting to get a bit twitchy yesterday. We were calling it good to firm, but it wasn’t too far off being firm.” The Oaks takes place on day one of the Derby meeting on Friday and Cooper suggested that the weather is likely to be more settled in the days leading up to racing. “We might get a few more showers today, according to the forecast, but we’re due to be dry Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, we might get a bit more rain on Friday night into Saturday.”

Gosden supplements Khalidi to take his team to five Racing Post Graham Dench 6:34PM, MAY 29 2017

John Gosden’s addition of Friday’s Goodwood winner Khalidi to the Investec Derby field at a cost of £85,000 caught many by surprise, but while he would have preferred more time between races he feels the colt merits his place in an open race. Gosden, who has never previously had more than two runners, could have as many as five on Saturday, with Windsor handicap winner Crowned Eagle, runaway Southwell maiden winner Pealer, and Lingfield Derby Trial second Glencadam Glory in the mix alongside general 4-1 favourite Cracksman and 25-1 chance Khalidi, who landed the Listed Cocked Hat Stakes last week. Gosden said: “It’s a very open race and it’s a great race, which means people can be bold and have a go. All of mine are in different ownership, and it’s the Derby. We like to be part of it, although we go there more in hope than certainty. It’s a pity Cracksman didn’t get another run, but he goes there with two runs and two wins and he has been to Epsom twice, which helps. He’ll stay well, so he’s a legitimate 4-1 chance. Crowned Eagle comes off a nice win and will definitely appreciate the step up in trip. Pealer has gone very nicely with Cracksman twice, both at home and at Breakfast With The Stars and he’ll stay well too. Glencadam Glory has always had the pedigree of a proper mile and a half horse and has been better at the gate since Lingfield, while Khalidi’s owner [Nizar Anwar] called on Sunday to say he would like to supplement. Although I had been thinking of the King Edward VII, Khalidi is a grand horse who broke the track record, and he has taken his race well.”

Racing Post Maddy Playle 8:22PM, MAY 26 2017

Aidan O’Brien’s Derby team will be minus a member as the Ballydoyle trainer ruled out 12-1 shot Yucatan on Friday evening.  O’Brien, who won the Classic for three consecutive years starting with Camelot’s win in 2012, will not be relying on Flaxman Stables’s colt, who finished a narrow second behind stablemate Douglas Macarthur in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial Stakes at Leopardstown earlier this month. Following Order Of St George’s win in the Saval Beg Stakes, O’Brien revealed: “Yucatan is going to be left alone. We’ll give him a little break now and hopefully he’ll be back for the autumn and if not he’ll be a smashing four-year-old. Of the horses we were looking at for the Derby, he’s the one we’re going to leave at the moment. We always really liked him and were very happy with him last time and were looking forward to him running, but he just needed a bit of time and we felt it was the right thing to do to give him that time.”

Wednesdays Lucky 15

Little different today in as much as I’ve chosen the races first then looked for the horse.

Beverley 3.30                         ARCANE DANCER                  4/1 general

Nottingham 3.50                   ANOTHER TOUCH                  11/4 general

Kempton 7.50                         KEYSER SOZE                          10/1 general

Kempton 8.20                        DARK DEVIL                            6/1 Coral 11/2 general

and here’s why

Beverley 3.30                         ARCANE DANCER Two to choose from in a race where not many have obvious chances. Some with no ability and those that have the handicapper has by the short and curly’s. As the Racing Post website points out about Arcane Dancer, “Two C&D wins last year and went close back here on seasonal return; major player.” Add to that Paul Hanagan in the saddle and a draw in stall 1 and that’s plenty of positives. The other runner of note for me, at a price, was SpecialV who is down to a winning mark and two runs ago hinted that his turn could be near but that draw in stall 13 will make life tough for Ben Curtis.

Nottingham 3.50                   ANOTHER TOUCH A cracking 8F+ C2 handicap for a Wednesday and plenty of Saturday horses looking to pick up a nice prize on a Wednesday!

Out go;- White Lake won the Convivial at York three years ago but nothing since. Poeta Litta, zilch since arriving from Italy. One Word More, usually good on seasonal debut but this is tough for a 7yo who hasn’t won since April 2015. Dragon Mall, whose only win was two seasons ago as a 2yo. Consistent without winning and getting no respite from the handicapper. Big Baz has done his connections proud, winning two Listed races and this contest two seasons ago but nothing recently to suggest he’s about to return to winning ways although the handicapper has relented somewhat. Kaspersky was a Group 2+3 winner in Italy but seems high in the handicap for the actual strength of that form.

So I’m down to two again. Hamdam al Maktoum’s Algairth was always thought to be better than a handicapper, he was 9th in the Cambridgeshire as a 3yo but has been hard to train and this will only be the 5yo’s fourth race since and in the meantime he has moved yards and been gelded. His last run when fourth in a Listed race at Ascot suggested the fire still burned but is he in the shape to win this?

Another Touch is the selection and is top of my short list for the very valuable 10F John Smiths handicap at York later this summer and a win here wouldn’t go amiss. So far this season he has been second, mugged by Banksea in that very strong Newbury Spring Cup and a running on fourth recently at York in the Listed Hambleton handicap. Up just 2lbs he needs to get his head back in front and Tony Hamilton who knows him well will just want something to shoot at in the last hundred yards, maybe Algaith, maybe Big Baz, maybe both!

Kempton 7.50                         KEYSER SOZE Simply this race revolves around whether Gymnaste can give the weight away? She is another of John Gosden’s excellent team of 3yo fillies and was a comfortable winner over this trip at the recent Chester meeting. I’m taking her on as I think she lacks experience and I didn’t think that Chester race had any depth to it. However I accept this Cheveley Park daughter of Shamardal could be Group class in two races time especially over further.

Keyser Soze is the selection who was placed in two hot 2yo maidens before competing in the two big 6F sales races, both times running on to be just behind the places. Gelded over the winter it was no surprise that he won comfortably over 7F at Thirsk on seasonal debut despite being keen and green. In the hands of new talented kid on the block, Richard Spencer, I think a mark of OR83 seriously underestimates the horse’s ability. Noticeably Stevie Donohoe retains the ride.

Kempton 8.20                        DARK DEVIL Initial thought is that Classic Villager has first run for Dean ivory having left Michael Appleby’s, a trainer who paid Mr Fung Lok Li £110K for him and called him “the best horse I’ve trained” blah blah but didn’t stop him being moved out of the yard!! Barge pole territory.

I put up Dark Devil last week but he was a non-runner because the ground firmed up and I wrote on the blog “Delighted to see he opens his campaign over a mile and I think #FantasticMrFahey has found him a ‘soft’ race, a C4 71-85 8F handicap and he is rated OR86! Hanagan goes to Scotland for just two rides and this is the fancied one. At the start of the 2016 season I blogged “Two promising seconds in C4 maidens before narrowly getting home in a C5 maiden over 7F at Redcar. Travels well and looks a trier. He has already been gelded and 3yo mile handicaps look to be his bag.” Just hasn’t bagged one! C4 stiff 8F or possibly 9F, just doesn’t get 10F. He has now! Nolan gave him a great ride at Goodwood to win a C4 8F on Good ground.” This race is tougher being a C3 76-90 race and it will be first time on the AW for Dark Devil but I think he looks just about the only improver in the field with the possible exception of top weight, Ballard Down, but he has to give the selection six pounds. David Nolan keeps the ride.


Saturdays Lucky 15

Horray a winner! Nothing to go with it sadly but most of our stake back.

York 2.40                                DAL HARRAILD           1st 3/1F            (6/1 PP 11/2 general) (3.85/1 after rule 4’s)

In pouring rain saw it out well coming from off the pace and there is talk of the Ascot Gold Cup.

Haydock 2.55                         MUSTARRID                5th 7/2F           (8/1 PP 7/1 general)

Not sure that Mustarrid stayed the mile although connections blamed the ground “The representative of Richard Hannon, the trainer of MUSTARRID (IRE), placed fifth, was unsuited by the Firm, Good to Firm in places going on this occasion, and would prefer a slower surface.” BHA Stewards. Every chance two furlongs out then hung left.

Goodwood 3.10                     AARDWOLF                10th 8/1           (8/1 general)

Annoyingly the other Mark Johnston horse, Sutter County, doing exactly from the front what I had predicted the selection would do! Fade badly from the furlong pole

Chester 5.20                           OKOOL                                    4th 2/1             (7/4 general)

Quite simply the horse didn’t handle the course, he hung off every bend and there are plenty of those at Chester. Next time back on an orthodox flat galloping track please!

Dr Marwan Koukash old boys

Turned out to be a fun each way bet for the afternoon with Suegioo only just nabbed and Gabrials King coming from out of the clouds to grab third. Seeing the prices were 10/1 and 16/1 no financial damage done.

Chester 3.05                           GABRIALS KAKA            8th 20/1

Connor Murtagh had him in position A throughout, horse just not good enough from the furlong pole. Does he need a bit more rain perhaps.

Chester 4.50                           GABRIALS KING             3rd 16/1

Slow away but travelled then flew around the outside off the home bend to snatch third. BHA Stewards Reports “Adam McNamara, the rider of GABRIAL’S KING (IRE), placed third, reported that the gelding was slowly away.”

Haydock 2.20                         SUEGIOO                     2nd 10/1

Another excellent ride. Held up last but not far away, sneaked up the inside rail from 2F out and I thought he had got it only to be chinned by Yorkidding!

Goodwood 4.20                     ANGEL GABRIAL            6th 7/1

Odd ride Pat Dobbs. Held up out the back, right out the back. Overtook half a dozen in the home straight!

Lucky 15 Saturday May 27th

Friday 6.00pm Winners or not I hope this blog is worth the read. Struggling!?! If any acquaintance of yours has just taken delivery of a new Bentley you either know my bookmaker or a bloke who has been laying all my selections this week! In my current form I’d give Richard Birch and/or @racingblogger a run for their money. Spending too much time reading Stewards reports and not race reports!

BUT last Saturday got me out of a deep hole and let’s hope it can do it again.

What is more I’m giving you two Lucky 15’s!!


Anthea L Morshead‏ @AntheaLMorshead  Clerk of the Course 4.00pm “Sunny @yorkracecourse Going for first Saturday of the season now Good to Firm, Good in places. Will water tonight to replace moisture lost”

Haydock – Good to Firm. Thundery showers forecast for the morning on Saturday, but clearing from midday.

Goodwood –Good  (Good to Firm in Places on the round course).

Chester – Good to Firm (Good in Places) (watered). Sat – Dry morning turning an afternoon of sunshine and showers.


Saturdays Lucky 15

York 2.40                                DAL HARRAILD           6/1 PP 11/2 general

Haydock 2.55                         MUSTARRID                8/1 PP 7/1 general

Goodwood 3.10                     AARDWOLF                8/1 general

Chester 5.20                           OKOOL                                    7/4 general

and here’s why

York 2.40                                DAL HARRAILD Two people I like to stay on the right side of on the Knavesmire are Paul Hanagan and William Haggas and they combine here in what looks to me to be a serious Ebor trial, making it all the more annoying that Wall of Fire is a non-runner with a temperature. Dal Harraild has to concede three pounds or more to all of his rivals but with an extra two furlongs surely in his favour, his prominent style of racing and the fact he’s had a run already are all positives. Is it far enough or soft enough for Clever Cookie? Is it too far for Frontiersman (if not he’s a definite Ebor player)?

Haydock 2.55                         MUSTARRID My early selection was Stoute’s City of Joy who was entered here and in the valuable 7F 3yo contest at Goodwood but runs in neither. So I want to be with the horse he just chinned at Doncaster in a similar event but a class lower. No issues with the draw, the ground, the grade or the trip and as I made Graphite Storm the danger I would simply rather have Jim Crowley in the saddle than Sam Hitchcott. Trainer Richard Hannon is in form as he said on his blog with stanjames, “The horses are absolutely flying and I couldn’t be happier with the way things are going at present.” He seems keen on this one, “This horse has a great chance. He’s in great form and this is a very good race for him. I’m very happy with his draw in 6 and I think there is more to come. He’s classy.”

I have also backed #FantasticMrFahey’s Society Red each way as I think this horse is much better than OR80 and off just 8st could well run into a place or even win! Two others I’m watching closely are Naval Warfare for an in-form Andrew Balding and Oisin Murphy and Maths Prize from Roger Charlton’s yard ridden by three pound claimer Keiran Shoemark. I thought the latter wanted to step up in trip and I’m mildly surprised to see him back at a mile.

Race will need watching a few times as should throw up plenty of bets, maybe even at Royal Ascot.

Goodwood 3.10                     AARDWOLF The top weight in this £100K 3yo 7F handicap was beaten just under four lengths when 7th in the 2000 Guineas behind Churchill. That’s real form but he has to give lumps of weight away even with top claimer, George Wood’s five pounds allowance. Aardwolf is improving with every run and although his form is solid I’m persuaded by his running style and the topography of Goodwood tomorrow! The excellent cutaway that has been present for Thursday and Friday has gone and I’m hoping the tactically aware Joe Fanning can bounce Aardwolf out of stall 11 get the lead, stack them up turning for home, then wind it up in the straight with the normal chaos behind!  Will be a little upset if it’s The Wagon Wheel who picks him up for the #FantasticMrFahey!

Chester 5.20                           OKOOL            Second selection for Hamdan al Maktoum and I like this improving 3yo son of Cape Cross from the Charlie Hills stable. Okool ran in some serious maidens as a 2yo often with little luck, he was murdered at Newmarket in the race won by Eminent. An improving 3yo second to Crystal Ocean over 10F at Nottingham before returning three weeks later to get off the mark. The further step up in trip should help further and hopefully Voski will give something for Dane O’Neill to aim at.


This is not my normal modus operandi to put up four horses for either the same trainer or owner but at first glance of the Saturday runners I noticed that maybe the handicapper had given a few of Dr Marwan Koukash old boys a winning opportunity. On deeper research I am even more convinced and I shall play the Lucky 15 each way and definitely do Gabrials Kaka as the biggest single. Last time I did anything like this was when the “Touch’s” went in at Ayr and Innocent Touch would have put us in for £7K off thirty quid, three winners was OK though.

Chester 3.05   GABRIALS KAKA A terrific servant to the yard and I think the 7yo has a great chance in this race and could get Marwan Koukash on the scoreboard for 2017 at his favourite track going one better than his second in this race last year. My notebook says “So when to back him? C2, 8F, OR95 or less, no Soft in going, 8/1 or bigger, each way and as many places as you can get!” Well its 7½F on Good to Firm, he races off OR91, he’s well drawn in stall 3 and Connor Murtagh, on his only ride of the day, takes 7lbs off. He opened his 2017 campaign in the Lincoln Consolation on ground too soft and Adam McNamara took him all over the course and never got the cover he needs. Last time out was more worrying as from the same draw over C&D he “missed” the break although Paul Hanagan wasn’t too busy! Always on the back hoof he started to close at the top of the straight but at the furlong pole had a wall of horses in front of him and wasn’t pursued with. His trainer Richard Fahey says in his sportinglife.com blog “To be at his best Gabrial’s Kaka needs rain ahead of the MBNA Handicap. It is forecast to come at some stage on Saturday but Marwan Koukash likes Chester and he’ll run whether it arrives before the race or not.” I’d be happy with the forecast shower but not a thunderstorm! Murtagh just needs to be busy at the start and get on the tail of probable leader Hillbilly Boy, wait for the cutaway and every chance. He is in effect 9lbs lower than that last run a fortnight ago! 6.30pm 16/1 PP 14/1 general

Chester 4.50   GABRIALS KING Another fantastic horse for Dr K and in a C3 over his favourite trip off OR89 with Adam McNamara taking three pounds off must be competitive. He has been fourth in the Chester Cup but in C3 his form is 8231, his form over this C&D is 4221 and all his wins have been on Good ground or faster. He has been second in this race twice before and with trip, grade, ground all in his favour he must go close. He hacked up at Thirsk on seasonal debut off OR86 which is in effect his mark here, was poor at Ripon not staying the two miles, then dropped almost six furlongs here at Chester last time keeping on but getting nowhere near the improving Khairaat. This is much more his cup of tea even from stall 8 of 10 as he’s a hold up horse. Richard Fahey says in his sportinglife.com blog “Gabrial’s King is a funny horse who has two ways of running but he’s won here before and would have a big chance in the Mionetto Prosecco Handicap if it was a going day.  He’s in great form at home and looks really well.” 6.30pm 16/1 PP 14/1 general

Haydock 2.20 SUEGIOO Perhaps this selection is a little more adventurous as 8yo Suegioo has only won twice in thirty nine attempts but one of those was a much coveted Chester Cup win for the good doctor! He hasn’t run off OR100 since May 2015 when he was fourth over C&D, such is the horse’s consistency. Trainer Richard Fahey gives cause for optimism in his sportinglife.com blog “I thought Suegioo ran well in the Chester Cup – he flew home up the straight that day from a terrible draw. Haydock should suit him and the handicapper has started to give him a chance, I hope he runs well.” Suegioo has been placed thirteen times from 38 turf starts, nine places from twenty nine runs on the forecast ground and eight places from 21 starts in this grade. What really attracted me to him is the fact that dropping to OR100 gets him in this 81-100 contest and probably the weakest opponents he’s faced in a couple of years. Can Tony Hamilton, on his first ride on the horse, nurse him round, get him close enough at the two furlong pole to let his stamina come into play and find space to use his finishing kick? Let’s hope so! 6.30pm 14/1 Ladbrokes + Coral

Talking of Tony Hamilton, it would seem he is the regular morning rider of Ribchester which perhaps sheds a bit more light on his value to the Musley Bank set up. This is the first season for a while, with or without Hanagan, I can remember Hamilton having almost as many outside rides, especially for Derek Shaw and Roger Fell, as he has had for Fahey.

Goodwood 4.20         ANGEL GABRIAL Let’s start with the cold truth Angel Gabrial hasn’t won since he won the Northumberland Plate off OR96 in June 2014, getting on for three years and twenty two runs ago. However he’s been running in the likes of the Goodwood Cup, Chester Cup and Cesarewitch which this race certainly isn’t! Like Suegioo he’s an 8yo with an awful win to run ratio but has landed a biggie. Looking at his recent runs there are two bits of form that suggest he isn’t a lost cause here. Last September off OR98 over this 14F trip in this grade on Good ground he was third having been given a scenic ride by Sophie Killoran and a ton of lead. On seasonal debut this season he was an excellent staying on fourth despite having travelled wide throughout at Musselburgh in C2 off OR96, again over this trip on ground maybe a tad quick for him, suggests he still retains enough ability. As his trainer Richard Fahey points out in his sportinglife.com blog “The handicapper is starting to give Angel Gabriel a bit of a chance. While we dropped Suegioo in during the Chester Cup we had to go forward with this fellow and he ended up doing a lot of the donkey work through nobody’s fault. He’s getting dangerously well handicapped now so must have a small chance in the Gentleman’s Measure IMO Phil Wiggins Handicap.” There wasn’t a lot wrong with his run in the Chester Cup. Pat Dobbs is an interesting jockey booking, he certainly knows Goodwood, and if he could pop Angel Gabrial out of stall 4 and grab the box seat just behind the pace he could be a real player. 6.30pm 14/1 Ladbrokes + PP


Fridays Lucky 15

Goodwood 3.10                     ALNAAS                      4th 2/1Fav       (3/1 Ladbrokes + Coral)

Too keen. Ran her race in the first two furlongs not the last two.

Goodwood 3.45                     RAHEEN HOUSE         3rd 6/4 Fav      (15/8 general)

Not good enough. Did he stay?

Haydock 3.30                         DAGONET                   12th 12/1         (6/1 BetFred + PP)

BHA Stewards report “Jim Crowley, the rider of DAGONET (IRE), unplaced, reported that the gelding stopped quickly approximately two furlongs out as though something was amiss. The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of the gelding failed to reveal any abnormalities.”

TwitterCallum Connochie‏ @Connochie7  Very poor from Dagonet. Market did suggest he wasn’t fully wound up.”

Haydock 4.40                         IN FIRST PLACE           6th 8/1             (11/1 general)

One pace.


Racing News

Here’s an interesting little stat from geegeez .co.uk

“Track Bias Diary – Friday 26 May ANDREW MOUNT 10:09am, Fri 26 May 2017

When the field doesn’t stretch across the whole width of the track, it helps to be drawn low-to-middle and race towards the centre of the track in sprint handicaps at Goodwood. Since the draw was reversed in 2011 we’ve had 55 sprint handicaps featuring 12-16 runners and those drawn 11 or higher have a 0-99 record.”

Chris Cook reveals in the Guardian “John Gosden putting Josephine Gordon on a runner at Goodwood tomorrow. First time he’s used a female jockey in Britain for at least 4 years”

Mori to Ribblesdale. Lord Grimthorpe “When she won at Ascot, she was doing her best work in the last furlong and really today it was pretty much the same thing. I think all being well we will head to Royal Ascot for the Ribblesdale and take it from there. On that, you’d be pretty confident she’d have no problems getting a mile and a half. She was green first time out at Newbury, and it was a learning curve at Ascot, but she was quite professional today. She was really well balanced and relaxed.”

Aidan O’Brien – Minding to miss Tattersalls Gold Cup this weekend and Royal Ascot after setback. Aidan O’Brien now planning an autumn campaign.


The Epsom Derby 2017

David Milnes 11:56AM, MAY 26 2017 Godolphin’s Best Of Days, a general 20-1 chance for next Saturday’s Investec Derby at Epsom, will miss the Classic. Speaking on Friday morning, trainer Hugo Palmer said the Royal Lodge Stakes winner needed more time to develop, with the focus switching to targets later in the season. “Best Of Days won’t be ready to run in the Derby in eight days as he just needs more time,” said Palmer after watching the colt work on Newmarket’s Limekilns gallop under Derby-winning rider Michael Hills. “He’s coming along fine but the race at Epsom would come a bit soon for him and we’ll look for something later on.”



Came across this on Twitter written by Kevin Blake (ATR+Final Furlong Podcast) September 2016.

“The betting world has unquestionably undergone significant change in the last 15 years or so, primarily due to the popularity of the internet and online betting. This has made it easier for bookmakers to monitor their customers, but it has also led to bettors becoming more informed and aware of the importance of value. In that time there has also been a notable change in bookmaker behaviour that has led the betting industry to the situation it now finds itself in.

In the past, bookmakers took pride in their bravery in taking on all comers, being willing to take losses from individuals in the hope that they would beat that customer in the long run. However, the modern reality for bookmakers is that the bean-counting accountants have taken over. The type of customer they primarily want to deal with is the small-staking recreational bettor that will bet all day long without any regard for value, strategy or discipline.

How they seek to achieve this is by either closing the accounts or more commonly severely restricting the permitted betting stakes of any of their customers that show competency in their betting.

The danger of this policy should be obvious to all. Horse racing is an incredibly complex sport in which the betting odds are fundamentally fixed in the favour of the bookmakers. Becoming skilled and disciplined enough to have a chance at making a long-term profit by betting on it takes thousands of hours of work and only a very small percentage of people that bet on horse racing make it pay. With the modern reality for successful bettors being that placing meaningful stakes at fair prices is often a bigger challenge than finding winners, one could understand why intelligent, hard-working sports enthusiasts would rather dedicate themselves to getting good at betting on a sport in which they can at least bet in big stakes if they wish to without undue hassle, such as football.”

Contrast with today’s news via the Racing Post.  Bill Barber 1:48PM, MAY 25 2017

“The amount of money lost on betting shop gaming machines increased to a high of £1.8 billion in the year to September 2016, according to the latest statistics released by the Gambling Commission.

The share of betting shop gross gambling yield (GGY) – the amount kept by operators after winnings have been paid out – provided by gaming machines was 56 per cent compared to traditional over-the-counter betting.

Gaming machines, also known as fixed odds betting terminals or FOBTs, are the subject of a government review announced last autumn, the results of which have been delayed by the general election campaign. Both the Labour and Liberal Democrat manifestos have called for the stakes on machines to be cut to £2 from the current maximum of £100.

The findings of the government review, which many expect to recommend a cut in stakes, had not been expected to be published until the autumn.

The latest total gross gambling yield (GGY) of the British gambling sector was £13.8bn, up from £13.4bn in the year to March 2016. Remote gambling, mainly made up of the online industry, remains the largest sector in British gambling and constitutes 32 per cent of the overall market with GGY of £4.5bn, up from £4.2bn. Within the remote sector, casino games generated £2.4bn of GGY, while remote betting, including betting exchanges and pool betting, totalled £1.9bn of GGY dominated by football and horseracing.

Racing’s remote GGY increased to £352 million from £342m, while football GGY stood at £619m.

In betting shops, turnover on horseracing, which in March 2009 stood at £5.74bn, fell to £4.6bn in September 2016 from £4.79bn in March 2016. However, GGY increased slightly to £600.5m from £598.6m.

Total betting shop numbers fell again to 8,788, meaning numbers have fallen by one per cent for each of the last three periods covered by the commission’s statistics.

Gambling Commission Statistics Headline Figures

£13.8bn Total GGY of British gambling industry

£4.5bn Total GGY of remote sector

32% Market share of remote sector

106,678 Total number of people employed in the British gambling industry

8,788 Number of betting shops in Britain

1.8bn Total GGY of betting shop gaming machines

56% Share of gaming machine GGY in betting shops compared to over-the-counter”



Station Master sale caps big week for fledgling Fahey

Son of Scorpion provided the trainer with first Rules success James Thomas RP Bloodstock  2:28PM, MAY 25 2017

“By anyone’s standards, the last seven days have been particularly eventful for Peter Fahey, son of leading Flat trainer Richard. Not only did he witness his father’s Ribchester run out a mightily impressive winner of the Lockinge Stakes on Saturday, but less than 24 hours earlier he had saddled the first Rules winner of his own nascent training career – with his very first runner outside of the amateur game.

Station Master, who landed the Aintree point-to-point bumper by no fewer than 11 lengths, also provided jockey Billy Garritty with a first win under Rules. And, in a neat twist of fate, it came at the very same course – and almost ten years to the day – where Garritty’s father Russ had brought down the curtain on his own illustrious riding career, with a third-place finish on Lease Lend.

Nor was this the only time Station Master had provided Fahey with a first, as he provided the 23-year-old with his maiden success as a jockey when landing an Askham Bryan point-to-point back in February. While a first winner would seem assured of an eternal place in the heart of all trainers, there is far less of a guarantee about a place in their stable – especially when they are cut from particularly shrewd cloth. And so it was that Fahey offloaded the six-year-old son of Scorpion during Wednesday’s session of the Goffs UK Spring Sale. The horse was purchased by Aiden Murphy, acting on behalf of Kim Bailey, for £48,000.

“He was bought for me to ride, before my bottle went!” quipped Fahey on how he came to train Station Master. “The Aintree race had always been the plan – point form can be a little hard to weigh up but we knew it would take a fair one to beat him that day. We hadn’t really looked beyond that race, so it wasn’t a difficult decision to sell.”

Thanks to his association with his father’s formidable string, Fahey is no stranger to success. But he says that having his own name in the racecard makes it all the more enjoyable. “It was the best feeling,” he says. “Obviously Ribchester was pretty special too, but it’s nice when it’s in your own name. The plan is to have four or five more pointers next season. I’d like to be competitive in hunter chases before I think about taking out a full license. I’ve had three winners now and hopefully I can have a few more next season, it would be nice to bring a couple back here to sell next year as well.” The boost to the Fahey coffers from Friday’s success and Wednesday’s sale could hardly be more timely. For if the previous week had not provided enough excitement, Donna Mackay will soon be able to call herself a trainer’s wife: the couple’s wedding is scheduled to take place on Saturday.”

Lucky 15 Wednesday May 24th

Tuesday 6.10pm Think we might have some fun from Thursday onwards. Horrible feeling that Atty Persse may scare the opposition away from Haydock on Friday night but the Silver Bowl Saturday looks ultra-competitive, as does the Sandy Lane and a good friend tells me that if Quiet Reflection doesn’t turn up the Temple is wide open and that’s just Haydock! Juicy handicaps all over Goodwood, York and Chester, three courses that couldn’t be more different! Jockey bookings Saturday could be crucial indicators.

Wednesdays Lucky 15

Lingfield (Turf) 3.10               UNDER ATTACK             7/2 general

Ayr 4.20                                  DARK DEVIL                     9/2 Ladbrokes 4/1 general

Ayr 4.50                                  ARITHMETIC                    6/1 general

Kempton (AW) 7.40               MR KHALID                      7/2 general

and here’s why

Lingfield 3.10                          UNDER ATTACK Far from straight forward, Monty Robert’s rug for stall entry and the hood is retained but this gelded son of Dubawi has ability and it was a pleasing run when he was sixth at Newbury after a year off. Here he steps up a furlong+ but goes down a grade and I like top weights racing off the top mark in a limited handicap, here 66-80. Keiran Shoemark rides, claiming 3lbs, and he is a talented and sympathetic jockey with a good race brain. Roger Charlton Stable tour “He is another horse who is new to the yard and a horse that has, in the past, been a worrier and rather nervous. With his pedigree he is bred to improve and stay well and I hope with patience we can get him back to the races and start picking up races.”

Ayr 4.20                                  DARK DEVIL     Delighted to see he opens his campaign over a mile and I think #FantasticMrFahey has found him a ‘soft’ race, a C4 71-85 8F handicap and he is rated OR86! Hanagan goes to Scotland for just two rides and this is the fancied one. At the start of the 2016 season I blogged “Two promising seconds in C4 maidens before narrowly getting home in a C5 maiden over 7F at Redcar. Travels well and looks a trier. He has already been gelded and 3yo mile handicaps look to be his bag.” Just hasn’t bagged one! C4 stiff 8F or possibly 9F, just doesn’t get 10F. He has now! Nolan gave him a great ride at Goodwood to win a C4 8F on Good ground.”

Ayr 4.50                                  ARITHMETIC sportinglife.com sum my thoughts exactly “Just the type that this yard do well with and he shaped well last time out over C&D (Strummer well beaten) showing that he was capable of winning off this mark. Did best of those were positioned close up and off the same mark here must enter the equation.” The yard in question is that of the very different Ruth Carr, they live in a field, and her horses are rarely out of the first four and the long reined James Sullivan is the stable jockey. Her last three winners have been 3/1F, 6/1 and 4/1 suggesting her winners don’t go unbacked!

Kempton 7.40                        MR KHALID      Steps up in grade and trip but I think we are yet to see the best of him and my only fears are he is drawn widest of all and the dreaded ‘bounce’ on a second run back from a long lay-off. When he won he was keen early but quickened in the style of a quality horse at the 2F pole then had a good look around and just got home. Experience can only do him good. Like the top weighted favourite he is still unexposed and the selection in effect gets ten pounds. Keiran Shoemark, claiming 3lbs, makes the short hop from Kempton for hopefully a double on the day. Roger Charlton Stable tour “He is new to us and joined us in the Winter from Marco Botti. He is a rather highly strung horse and he won readily on his second start at Nottingham as a two-year-old and was rated 85. He needs to relax a bit and should stay a mile and a quarter and maybe a mile and a half. He is still a little bit of an unknown quantity to us.” Prior to his win at Windsor on April 12th Charlton put on his website “it appears he is going to stay well, and this is a fact-finding mission for us. He has done plenty of work.” After he said “Mr Khalid defied a long layoff to get his head in front at Windsor, under a good ride from Kieran. He has had a few problems in the past and it’s always nice to see them retain their ability.”

Tuesdays Lucky 15 All four supported at some stage once the markets opened and not one involved at the business end. Excuses for some, others just poor!

Nottingham 2.30                   ABIENTO                            4th 5/1                 (6/1 general)

Unable to use good draw along stands rail. Pulled four wide, didn’t get a racing seam until the race was over! Win is imminent but may need some luck. 0-75 C5 6F+. BHA Stewards reports “Adam McNamara, the rider of ABIENTO (IRE), placed fourth, reported that the gelding was denied a clear run.”

Nottingham 3.30                   CELESTATION                 8th of 8! 4/1      (9/2 general)

Got to the front after a furlong. Led to 3F pole then back pedalled rapidly. Small, lacks scope but surely better than this.

Newcastle 3.10                       BOLLIHOPE                       5th 6/1                 (7/1 general)

Completely missed break giving away the five lengths or so that he was beaten by! BHA Stewards reports “The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination during routine testing revealed that BOLLIHOPE, unplaced, trained by Richard Guest, had spread a right front shoe.”

Newcastle 4.10                       INAAM                                4th 6/1                 (8/1 general)

Midfield and another that didn’t get any room. Don’t think he would have won but would have been placed.


The Epsom Derby 2017 Breakfast with the Stars – ATR Tuesday 23 May 2017

“John Gosden admits Cracksman might lack the requisite experience to win the Investec Derby at Epsom on June 3 – but that the colt is far from alone on that score. With Aidan O’Brien deciding to keep Churchill at home for the Irish 2,000 Guineas, the Derby picture remains a little muddy, with the twice-raced Cracksman and Cliffs Of Moher, who has only had three outings, at the head of the betting.

The son of Frankel was one of a handful of horses to work on the track at the annual Breakfast with the Stars event, a route Gosden took with his 2015 Derby winner Golden Horn. Cracksman, who defeated subsequent Dante scorer Permian in the Derby Trial at Epsom in April, was partnered by big-race jockey Frankie Dettori as the pair worked over a mile in company with the Rab Havlin-ridden Pealer. Gosden only decided to come to the Epsom event after he abandoned plans to run Cracksman in last week’s Dante because he felt it was the right call not to run on soft ground. The Clarehaven handler said: “I’ve been lucky enough to come here and do a nice old breeze with him – not fast, flat-out work, more to get him to see the place again, have a day out. That makes a very big difference and I am pleased we are able to do that. It is a good opportunity but it is not the same as a race. He goes there a fit, happy horse – a touch light on experience, but he is not the only one. I didn’t fancy running him 16 days out in the Dante in testing conditions. The result was positive from our point of view (Permian won), though I was happy with how this morning went and he’s full of himself down at the stables. I think the mile and half will be right up his alley and we didn’t supplement him for fun in April.”

Permian was not at Epsom on Tuesday, but Godolphin racing manager John Ferguson was on hand to watch the action on the track and they may have five runners. While the Mark Johnston-trained Permian does not run in the Godolphin blue, he is owned by Sheikh Mohammed’s son and falls under Ferguson’s remit. Best Of Days, Best Solution, Dubai Thunder and Benbatl are also in the Derby mix. Permian was beaten just a short head by Cracksman in the Derby Trial and has since won a Listed race at Newmarket, as well as the Dante. After his York triumph, connections immediately stated their intention to supplement the horse at a cost of £85,000. Ferguson said: “He’s improved so much from when he ran here. He improved again when he won the Newmarket Stakes and improved again when he won the Dante. I think he’s a horse with a really big chance. At this stage we have five names on the team sheet and we have still got 10 days to go and we will see what happens. All five have genuine legitimate chances.”

Aidan O’Brien expects to be mob-handed in the Derby, with Dee Stakes winner Cliffs Of Moher leading the way. The Ballydoyle handler said: “I think there’s a good chance of having seven runners. The lads (Coolmore) will have to discuss that, but there’s a very good chance that could happen. The next 10 days will be very interesting. They are all on their own separate programmes. There is a programme gone out for each horse, race to race. Some take a lot of work, some take very little work and some take no work. They are all on their programmes. We are all very happy with what we see at the moment.”

Twenty-six horses remain in the Derby, but Dante third Crystal Ocean is no longer involved.


Heres the sportinglife.com take on Breakfast with the Stars May 23 2017, 12:23

Moore a ‘definite possible’ for Cliffs “I thought Aidan’s interview was as good as ever, charged with the ministry of disinformation,” joked John Gosden, after the Ballydoyle handler had finished on the phone at the ‘Breakfast With The Stars’ event at Epsom on Tuesday morning. True, we had an understated ‘definite possible’ when Aidan O’Brien was loosely talking about potential jockey bookings for his Derby team and the possibility that Ryan Moore would ride ante-post favourite Cliffs Of Moher. “Ryan will get all the information and talk to everybody, but I wouldn’t say it’s a foregone conclusion, though it is a definite possible,” said O’Brien. That’s about as close as we are going to get to O’Brien admitting Cliffs Of Moher is his number one Derby hope, and the feeling is the son of Galileo has been giving his handler all of the right signals following his victory in the Dee Stakes at Chester earlier in the month. “Before Chester we weren’t even sure he’d get a mile and a quarter. He’s out of a fast mare and we were extra happy with him at Chester as he was relaxed and then went to the line very strong.” As for the rest of his Derby team ‘they should all come forward again’.  As for his Oaks team Rhododendron and Alluringly are the two he is happy with at the moment.

When it comes to actual news regarding O’Brien’s team and Epsom it came when he was discussing the Investec Coronation Cup, as Seventh Heaven, 9/4 favourite in the ante-post betting with Sky Bet, has been ruled out for most of the season. “Seventh Heaven has had a setback so she will be out until the autumn,” said O’Brien. “We’re thinking the brothers Highland Reel and Idaho will go to the Coronation Cup. Idaho is probably stronger and bigger than Highland Reel and we think he is progressing all the time and will progress through the year.”

Cracksman team wary of big field “Ratings have never concerned me,” says John Gosden, when responding to Oli Bell’s question over whether Cracksman could be considered good enough off a rating of 107 going into the Derby. He is up to 109 now, on the back of collateral form following Permian’s Dante win, but if ratings towards the top end don’t bother Gosden perhaps the numbers towards the lower end of the scale do.

Jane Chapple-Hyam’s Diore Lia will become the first filly to run in the race since Cape Verdi in 1992 and is running for charity, as her breeder Richard Aylward is donating any winnings to Great Ormond Street Hospital. She has only beaten four horses in two starts, however, and perhaps she was on Gosden’s mind when he said: “The biggest challenge is for the jockeys to get a clear run. It will be a big field, they’ll be one or two in the field wheeling backwards that probably shouldn’t have been in there and I think the jockeys have a bigger challenge than us trainers.” As far as Cracksman is concerned, though, confidence appears to be growing. “I think the mile and a half will be right up his alley,” said Gosden. “We didn’t supplement him for fun in April, Mr Oppenheimer was in the Galapagos and he gave me permission. We put him in at that stage as it is quite expensive.” Anthony Oppenheimer himself was in more confident mood than he appeared to be pre-Dante and hopes are high Cracksman can give him, Gosden and jockey Frankie Dettori their second Derby success in three years following on from Golden Horn in 2015.

“He’ll definitely stay,” Oppenheimer said. “He’s quite laid back, but he’s woken up since Epsom.”

As for Dettori, an appearance on Loose Women later in the day appeared to be the furthest thing from his mind as he reflected on Golden Horn, while reiterating his trainer’s concerns about the large field. “In my 30 year career it’s the biggest emotion I ever had for many reasons [winning the Derby on Golden Horn].  Everybody says is it the best racing day of the year? Well, it’s only the best racing day of the year if you win it.  Epsom is a unique track and it looks like we’ll have a full field this year as well, so we’ll have to take that into consideration.”

Eminent delights Meade If you’ve glanced at Oddschecker on Tuesday morning you’ll have noticed Eminent has been cut across the board for the Investec Derby. Indeed, he’s 8/1 from 10s with Sky Bet. That’s because he was the one that impressed onlookers the most in his piece of work on the Downs before breakfast, and his trainer was delighted with his son of Frankel as well. “I was absolutely thrilled,” said trainer Martyn Meade. “He did exactly what we wanted him to do, it couldn’t have gone any better. It didn’t go according to plan in the Guineas, but I think this is his distance (1m4f). He hasn’t been away from Newmarket in his entire life so I thought it was important to give him a new experience. He’ll have one more small piece of work now.”

Big-race jockey Jim Crowley partnered Eminent in his work on the track and he too thinks the step up in trip will benefit his mount. “Not so much in the Guineas, but in the Craven he was [crying out for step up in trip],” said Crowley. “Coming here this morning, there’s a little bit of juice in the ground and he loved it. He’s a big horse and I think he’s probably best with a little bit of cut.  They always say Guineas form is the best form for a Derby and this horse finished close to the rest of them. I’m pretty confident he’ll stay. I think he’ll go close.”

Johnston: ‘Permian deserves his place’ There aren’t many Derby horses that begin their Classic campaign with a defeat in a Bath handicap in April, but Permian’s rapid rise to towards the top continues to surprise even those closest to him. But while Mark Johnston openly admits he didn’t think he was a Derby horse six weeks ago, he’s convinced he could well be now and says he fully deserves his billing as a fancied Dante winner that sits in the top five in the betting for Epsom. “We started out in a handicap this year and there’s not many Derby horses that do that, but it was a very good handicap and he’s improved since,” said Johnston. “Newmarket was a step up and the Dante was another step up. We deserve to be there and go there with a live chance.”

With just 16 days between the Dante and Derby this year it has been mentioned that the small gap might be a concern for those that ran at York. But Godolphin Racing Manager John Ferguson joked that such a timeframe was a holiday for a Mark Johnston-trained horse and the man himself quashed suggestions that it might not be an ideal gap between races. “Absolutely not,” said Johnston. “We’re a firm believer in galloping our horses on the racetrack and he won’t gallop again until the Derby. Two and a half weeks is perfect. He’s a very straightforward horse. He is absolutely great. He’s taken all races in his stride and lost just 9kgs after the Dante.  At the beginning of the year we were not thinking about the Derby for this horse, but I look at the bare form and the horse has answered every question. He deserves to be there.”

Cooper delighted with the track The jockeys and trainers were universal in their praise for the condition of the track at Epsom and the course seems to have taken the recent rain really well. After a dry spring last week’s rainfall was welcome and, though there’s a risk of more showers early next week, clerk of the course Andrew Cooper is happy in the build up to the Oaks on June 2. “We had 42 millimetres in the period (last week) and then it’s been dry since Friday,” he said.I’d say we’re the slow side of good, or good to soft good in places maybe. I’ve not been in the best form of calling Flat ground this season. April was difficult as it was dry, but the spring meeting was okay. We raced on the fast side of good ground, but getting that rain last week was important.”