Tag: Pontefract

Thursday 28th September Lucky 15 Morning Update

Posted Thursday 27th September 11.30am

It’s enough to make me spit! Rain playing havoc with weekend punting plans! Haydock has already gone Heavy!! 5.5mm of rain and some drizzle(?) has changed HQ from Good (Good to Firm in places) to Good to Soft. The Going Stick suggests everybody will want to race on the Stands Side (6.4) not Far Side (6.1), High numbers favoured on straight course, and congestion awaits! First race Thursday will be massively informative and of course no ITV coverage today! Thank God for sportinglife.com.

Pontefract today had to pass an inspection and is Heavy. It will take some getting up that hill!

And where all the non-runners at 11.30am this Thursday? Of course on the AW at Chelmsford!!!!!!!!

Chester Saturday is already Soft (Heavy in places) and remember, no cutaway.

 So what is the latest information @ 11.30am Wednesday?


(Thurs. Fri. Sat.) Going/Weather/Other last updated @Thu 28 Sep 9:54am

Going Good to Soft (Going Stick: 6.3 (Stand Side 6.4; Centre 6.4; Far Side 6.1) on Thursday at 09:30)

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

Weather 5.5mm of overnight rain. Overcast & drizzling currently. Thursday; Overnight/morning rain clearing to leave a largely dry afternoon. Friday; Morning rain clearing to leave a drier & brighter afternoon. Saturday; Largely dry.


(Fri. Sat.) Going/Weather/Other last updated @Thu 28 Sep 7:55am

Going Heavy (Going Stick: 6.2 on Thursday at 07:30)

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

Weather 17mm on Wednesday. Forecast dry on Thursday, rain on Friday morning and then largely dry in the afternoon.


(Sat.) Going/Weather/Other last updated @Thu 28 Sep 8:13am

Going Soft (Going Stick: 6.4 on Thursday at 08:00)

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

Weather 12mm of rain overnight Wednesday into Thursday Thursday – Rain has cleared through, drier for the afternoon with sunny periods, 18c Friday – Partly cloudy, sunny periods, rain late morning 2-3mm, 15c Saturday – Partly cloudy, some sunny periods, 15c


(Sat.) Going/Weather/Other last updated @Thu 28 Sep 7:19am

Going – Soft, Heavy in Places (Going Stick: 5.9 on Wednesday at 07:00)

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

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

Weather 8mm of rain overnight. Forecast: Thu – Dry day with sunny spells. Fri – Dry morning turning to an afternoon of showers (4mm). Sat – Dry day with sunny spells.


(Sat. Sun.) On Racing Post entries it says “Good to Soft” ??

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


Thursday 28th September Lucky 15

Posted Wednesday 27th September 6.00pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chantilly         (Sat. Sun.)

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


Thursdays Lucky 15

Newmarket 2.35                    RASTRELLI

Newmarket 3.45                    ELARQAM

Newmarket 4.20                    UAE KING

Newmarket 5.30                    RIGOLETTO

Thursday Star* Selections (13 stars* Out)

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

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

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

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

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

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

 and here is why

Thursdays Lucky 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notebook, “He is a son of Frankel and a half-brother to Dubawi bred by Darley. Wow. However he is built like a three mile chaser! No gears but as Gosden has observed these Frankels have a real stride on them and Uae King looks a real galloper. Backward as a 2yo, midfield in a maiden. Took him three attempts to get off the mark as a 3yo but won a 12F C5 maiden at Haydock and the third has already won in a class above at HQ and the second, the US bred Festival of Ages from Godolphin, didn’t look too shabby on debut. Races prominently and will be suited by the course (Sandown) and the extra distance and goes handicapping off OR84 with Andrea Atzeni in the saddle. Ran on the Friday over 14F in a C4 and ground it out to win. Up to OR90 and the trainer thinks he’ll stay two miles.

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

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


Thursdays Lucky 15

Newmarket 3.45                    FORTUNES PEARL (See 3.45 above)

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


Saturdays Lucky 15

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

Newbury 2.50            JAMES GARFIELD                          1st 10/3

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

Newbury 4.35             GALACTIC PRINCE                  7th 5/1

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

Newmarket 5.30        DUBARA                                  3rd 5/2

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

Catterick 4.45             MONACO ROSE                      6th 4/1

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


Saturday Star* Selections (12 out 25.2 back)

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

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

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

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

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

Did it nicely. Cambridgeshire? Not for me.

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

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

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

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

Thursday 21st September Ayr we go!

Posted Wednesday 20th September 6.30pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Lucky 15 Wednesday May 3rd

Tuesday 6.30pm All hail Family Mullins!! That 4/1 about Mullins to retain his Irish trainers Championship crown may not have been my biggest win financially but it was certainly right up there with the most satisfying. Hard work really does pay and Open Eagle was certainly a sizeable cherry on a fairly large cake.

Right let’s get back to business and it’s time to switch our full attention to the Flat with a solid Ascot card tomorrow (Wednesday), the Guineas Newmarket meeting at the weekend, three days at Chester, Victoria Cup at Ascot the following Saturday and then three of my favourite days of York’s Dante meeting!

The thrills of Punchestown and the lack of a server for four days have rather put me on the back foot! So the aim is to get tomorrows Lucky 15 up and then complete a long overdue Craven/Greenham Review. My list of 2016 Notebook 2yo’s is already paying dividends and I would rather like to get that in the public domain before the end of the week, to what extent only time will tell.

Wednesdays Lucky 15

Ascot 2.35                   ICESPIRE                                            15/8 Coral + Ladbrokes

Ascot 3.10                   HARBOUR LAW                             15/2 PP (Low as 6/1 Coral + Ladbrokes)

Ascot 3.45                   SEVEN HEAVENS                    8/1 general

Ascot 4.55                   OASIS SPEAR                          14/1 general

and here’s why

Ascot 2.35                   ICESPIRE Of all the Frankel fillies I saw last year as 2yo’s this one impressed me the most. Slow away, three lengths last at the three furlong pole, on debut she came through horses, got to the front at the furlong pole and strode away! Massively impressive and with trainer John Gosden saying “I gave her an entry in the Coronation Stakes, but she hints she will go further. The interesting thing about these Frankels – they have an extraordinary stride on them and she is one of those”, it is no surprise to see her open her season here at Ascot!

Ascot 3.10                   HARBOUR LAW Last season’s romantic St.Leger winner has to give weight to some seasoned stayers here and that won’t be easy but every one of his opponents has a question to answer. Not only did Harbour Law win the St.Leger but he was a solid second over C&D in the Queens Vase at the Royal Meeting and at the price I think it’s worth taking the chance that as a Classic winner he might just be better than these!

Ascot 3.45                   SEVEN HEAVENS Ever since the end of the 2016 Flat season I’ve had in my head that Frankel was more likely to sire a superstar sprinter than he was a Classic winner. Frankel’s time as a 3yo to ^f in his 2000 Guineas victory would have won most July Cups! Don’t know if it will be Seven Heavens but he’s as headstrong as his Dad, certainly has a bit of class and it will be interesting if Frankie Dettori adopts point and go tactics! On debut last season he beat Lockheed over C&D on Good to Firm ground, can he repeat the feat as a 3yo?

Ascot 4.55                   OASIS SPEAR Stalls are on the stand side for this straight mile contest and Oasis Spear is drawn furthest away from the rail which I hope will be beneficial if things get a bit messy on the near rail. He was fifth in this contest last year on much softer ground but has form on a quicker surface, he’ll get the trip, Chris Wall has had a couple of winners in the past fortnight and apprentice Gabriele Malune has appeared in my notes in a positive manner before. Worth a go at a double figure price.


#FantasticMrFahey sends an interesting team to Pontefract tomorrow (Wednesday).

In the 2.15 debut winner Jasi tries to give weight to seven others although Adam McNamara reduces it by 3lbs although he’ll need to have his wits about him at the start as he’s drawn widest in stall 8. Ventura Dragon also represents the yard with Paul Hanagan on board. Middleham Park paid £60K for this son of the speedy Dragon Pulse and his mum was a tad rapid too. No surprise to see him put in at just 10/3.

Luna Mare makes her seasonal debut at 4.00 in a C4 10F Fillies handicap but will have her work cut out giving weight to 3yo’s from the Stoute, Beckett and Johnston yards. Adam McNamara saves a valuable 3lbs.

Gin in the Inn will try to defy a 7lb rise by the handicapper in the 4.35. On the plus side Paul Hanagan gets on very well with him coming wide and late. On the down side he’s drawn 2 and for a hold up horse over Pontefract’s 6f that’s not really the best place to be.

#FantasticMrFahey is double handed in the 5.10, a C5 6F sprint for 3yo’s. Springforth is a really consistent type over  this trip and grade but I feel the more progressive of the pair is the Hanagan ridden Yarmouk. My notebook says “I am sure this horse was a £165K purchase at the Tatts Guineas Breeze Up’s when he was called “Tumbulgum”! French pedigree by Siyouni. Taking time to get the hang of racing but a good second to the improving Mutahaady on handicap debut. OR70 probably underestimates his talent. Could be a progressive, gelded 3yo.” Has been gelded and runs here off OR68 and at 14/1 with PP I could be tempted into a small each way wager.

Finally the progressive Noah Amor looks to double up in the apprentice handicap at 5.45 with winning jockey Connor Murtagh keeping the ride. Well drawn in stall 2 this looks a bit of canny placement to me! The 4/1 with PP looks a bit of value to me!


For all of you who are already going through the weekend’s Newmarket cards, not to mention looking at later Ante Post bets Johnny G was recently very revealing about where his big guns were going! Never had him down as a “Man with a Plan”. May have to rethink that!

John Gosden mapping out path to Classic riches with powerful three-year-old team Tuesday 25 April 2017

After a week stacked full of Classic trial winners, John Gosden has been attempting to find the next logical steps for his three-year-olds. Shutter Speed, Daban, Dabyah, Middle Kingdom and Gracious Diana all put their names into the hat for future honours, with Daban and Dabyah set at this stage for the English and French 1000 Guineas respectively.

Shutter Speed is a good filly and has always looked our best middle-distance three-year-old filly. She ran well last year when it was soft and we are heading towards the Musidora at York with her,” said Gosden. “Her pedigree is quick. The mother is by Oasis Dream and a mile and a quarter may be her perfect trip, but we will see.

Gracious Diana is a lovely filly and I think she is a Ribblesdale filly. We hope to go back to Newbury with her for the Oaks trial (Swettenham) there.

“I am going to have a go at the Dante with Middle Kingdom and find out where we stand. He is a War Front and has a good attitude, so we will see where we go.”

Gosden said of Daban and Dabyah, who run in the colours of Abdullah Saeed Al Naboodah: “I don’t think there is any point for an owner with two fillies who’ve won their trial to be taking each other on in a Classic, which is why Dabyah is pointing towards Deauville and Daban towards Newmarket.

“In the Pretty Polly (at the Guineas meeting) we have a nice filly called Astronomy’s Choice and also Precious Ramotswe. She won her only start at Kempton and Astronomy’s Choice won her only start at Newmarket, both are pointing towards the Pretty Polly.

“We have a nice filly that won the Zetland last year called Coronet. The plan with her at the moment having spoken to the owner is that she looks towards the Prix Saint-Alary.”

One who will not be running anywhere soon is Utmost, third at Newcastle on his reappearance behind Forest Ranger. “The spring has been a little hard on Utmost and he is looking a bit light in himself. We are backing right off him and are not rushing him anywhere,” said Gosden. “I am just going to give him time off and you won’t see him until mid-season onwards. He is perfectly sound, he just wants backing off. The smartest thing a trainer can do is hit the pause button, the worst thing you can do is push on with them.”

Gosden’s patience in Jack Hobbs was rewarded with success in the Sheema Classic and his mid-season target is the King George at Ascot, with the Royal meeting first, while the likes So Mi Dar and Journey are also working towards a return. “Jack Hobbs is pointing towards the Hardwicke. He started cantering yesterday. We are going for the Hardwicke as a prep for the King George,” said Gosden. “So Mi Dar is in great form and we looking towards the Middleton (at York in May).

“We are pointing Journey towards the Coronation Cup (Epsom). She is in good form and has not run since Champions Day last year.

“There is not much for Nathra at the moment. She won the Nell Gwyn and was second in the French 1000 Guineas. She will be waiting for races later on. She could possibly go for the Duke Of Cambridge at Ascot.

“The plan is to run Western Hymn in the Jockey Club Stakes. He is in great order, the old boy. The old chap likes a little more distance now. So he will like going a mile and a half rather than a mile and a quarter.

“There is the Lockinge for Persuasive, but it is a tough race for a filly. She is in good order and we could well be looking at a Group race in Ireland (Lanwades Stud) that Chris Richardson (racing manager) was keen that she was put in. She could go there, then the Duke Of Cambridge. She had a good winter and, a bit like me, she did too well.”

The Godolphin-owned pair of three-year-olds Dreamfield and Valcartier both have Royal Ascot targets.

“Dreamfield we will point towards the Commonwealth Cup and that sort of direction. I’ve not decided where to start him off yet. You could look at the Pavilion or the race at Newbury, the Caernarvon. That is most likely,” said Gosden.

“Valcartier is in great form and I want to go the longer route with him. We will step up to a mile and a quarter and see if he is good enough for the Tercentenary. He is a nice horse, he was always a bit mentally slow and delicate but he has done well.”