Tag: Richard Hannon

Friday October 27th 

Posted Thursday October 26th 6.40pm

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

First though some general observations.

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

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

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

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

The maidens are essential viewing, debutantes especially.

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

Stalls: Straight course stands side Round course inside

This quicker ground could see some upsets.


Each way Lucky 15

Doncaster 3.35                       OUTBACK TRAVELLER                               8/1 PP and shortening!

Newbury 4.35                        REPTON                                              12/1 general

Doncaster 4.45                       ANDOK                                                               11/1 WH

Doncaster 5.20                       HAWRIDGE FLYER                                        11/1 general

Win Lucky 15

Doncaster 1.20                       DUBHE                                                5/2 WH + Ladbrokes

Newbury 1.40                        GEORGE OF HEARTS                                   2/1 general

Doncaster 2.25                       GRANDSCAPE                                     7/2 general                            

Newbury 3.25                        DUKE OF BRONTE                              5/1 general


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

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

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

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

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

The Price is Right!

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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


Lay of the day

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


Thursday 14th September Doncaster St.Leger Festival Day 2

Posted 5.45pm Wednesday

Nice start and then downhill! Ground seems to ride OK to me. Lahore looks better than a handicapper. Quiet start to the Festival but it will hopefully build to Saturday!

Doncaster Going

Soft, good to soft in places (GoingStick 6.9 at 6.30am on Wednesday).

Clerk of the course Roderick Duncan said at Wednesday 7.25am: “We had just 2mm of rain last night but we’ve had phenomenal winds all through the night. You could nearly walk round without getting your feet wet this morning – it’s drying. They’re not going to break any records today because this wind is blowing straight down the straight but it will be drying it.” Spoke today (Wednesday) to Simon Rowlands of Timeform about Going based on times of first two races and he replied, “No softer than “good to soft” Simon Rowlands‏ @RowleyfileRRR  Replying to @mooresthepity


I’m spitting feathers! What has happened to the field sizes at Doncaster, especially in the handicaps? Forced to take to Twitter “Simon Moore‏ @mooresthepity  @itvracing @SimonMapletoft What’s happened to the field sizes at Doncaster especially the handicaps? Thurs, Fri C2’s have 6-5-6-7-9!! #poor

 Simon Moore‏ @mooresthepity  @AtTheRaces @DoncasterRaces So why are the fields so disappointing? Frustrating as a punter but could trainers explain why the Class 2 handicaps aren’t maximum fields?

Not a dicky-bird in reply!!!


Thursday Lucky 15

Doncaster 1.20           HOOFALONG              @ 11/2 general

Doncaster 3.00           NATURAL SCENERY    @ 9/2 general

Doncaster 3.35           GREAT PROSPECTOR @ 9/2 general

Doncaster 4.05           EUGENIO                     @ 10/3 WH 3/1 general


Thursday Star* Selections

Doncaster 1.20           HOOFALONG              One star*win             @ 11/2 general

Doncaster 1.50           CLUBBABLE                 Two star** win          @ 5/2 general                       

Doncaster 2.25           DARK ROSE ANGEL    One star* win             @ 11/1 PP+Coral

Doncaster 2.25           TAJAANUS                  One star* win            @ 5/1 PP 9/2 general

Doncaster 3.00           NATURAL SCENERY    One star* win            @ 9/2 general

Doncaster 3.35           GREAT PROSPECTOR Four star**** win      @ 9/2 general

Doncaster 4.05           EUGENIO                     Two star** win          @ 10/3 WH 3/1 general


and here are my thoughts race by race


1:20 DFS Silk Series Lady Riders’ Handicap (For Pro-Am Lady Riders) Cl3 (3yo+ 0-90) 6f2y ATR

This type of race wouldn’t normally be of any interest to me under normal circumstances but there are fifteen runners in a handicap at Doncaster and I can’t let Hoofalong go un-backed.

HOOFALONG Basically he is a Class 2 horse in a Class 3 handicap. He may be a 7yo but his last run has lots to like about it. In the 5½F Symphony on Good to Soft at York behind Desert Law, the apprentice riding was slow to get the hood off (“the friction on the gelding’s blinkers had made it difficult to remove on the first attempt.”), slow away, one behind at halfway and he ran on strongly to the line finishing a closing seventh. He runs here as he is down to OR90, he won off OR94, should get away with the ground, drawn 10 and he should get a tow down the stands rail and he is ridden by the very able Joanna Mason, who is of course grand-daughter of trainer Mick Easterby.

There is a 5lb claim if any lady hasn’t ridden five winners, so jockeys such as Hayley Turner and Josephine Gordon ride on a level playing field and their mounts could be upgraded.

1:50 EBF British Stallion Studs “Carrie Red” Fillies’ Nursery Handicap Cl2 (2yo) 6f111y ITV4

When you write in your notes “Every chance, couldn’t get to winner. Fillies nursery?” and the horse turns up in a fillies nursery over 111 yards further she cannot be ignored.

CLUBBABLE The comment was made after finishing second in the £20K Foodservice Final at Hamilton on a filthy night and this Cheveley Park daughter of Musley Bank favourite, Mayson, will love the ground and trip and the last run was in this grade. She is progressive and OR75 looks lenient.

The danger looks to be The Mums for Gosden and Dettori who is going the right way but has to give the selection ten pounds.

2:25 William Hill May Hill Stakes (Group 2) (Fillies) Cl1 (2yo) 1m ITV4

This looks a fine renewal of this Group 2 over a mile and could produce a serious 2018 Oaks contender. A case could be made for most of these but I like two in particular. I was very impressed with Dark Rose Angel over C&D and she could be special and I will have a smaller bet on the improving, form in the book, Tajaanus.

TAJAANUS Clearly the best filly in the G3 7F Sweet Solera but this was an odd race as in The Dip the whole field was across the track and two lengths front to back. That would make me doubt the strength of the form but it has been franked, not at Group level, but Tajaanus looked physically ahead of her rivals and she had the run of the race up the Stands rail. As in Ireland there is no standout 2yo filly, Billesdon Brook, Nyaleti and Tajaanus are much of a muchness.

Hannon/SJames blogThis filly (Tajaanus) will love any give in the ground and stays very well too. I loved her attitude at Sandown last time when she won her Listed race and it’s hard to knock what she’s done so far.”

DARK ROSE ANGEL Simon Crisford trains this £60K yearling daughter of Dark Angel. Visually impressive winning over 8F C5 good to firm at Doncaster. “Out well, settled, led. Quickened, lengthened, to win by four lengths and two lengths.” Topspeed 66, form yet to be franked. On debut had been an educational fifth to Dathanna at Newmarket 7F C4 on Soft in a novice event.

RP Keith Melrose, Doncaster “It is probably unusual for a trainer in their third season to have had more than a third of their winners come from juveniles, but Simon Crisford is no ordinary trainer. Godolphin’s former racing manager has enjoyed excellent patronage but has more than repaid his investors so far. All he needs now is a Group horse for his yard to really break through, and it could just be that Doncaster winner Dark Rose Angel is the filly to do it. There were a couple of well-touted fillies from big yards against her on Town Moor and, while there is reason to think neither put their best foot forward, it would also be reasonable to say Dark Rose Angel could have been more emphatic had Paul Mulrennan asked her. A step up in grade beckons, maybe even back here for the May Hill at the St Leger meeting.”

3:00 DFS Park Hill Stakes (Group 2) (Fillies & Mares) Cl1 (3yo+) 1m6f115y ITV4

Had Coronet pencilled in for this for a while but looks like she’ll take on the boys in the St. Leger itself. Ten go to post and can the 3yo’s make use of the ten pounds they receive from the older mares? I don’t think so and with the Lillie Langtry at Goodwood a reliable signpost for this race I’ll go with two who ran there before they both took part in the Ebor handicap, Dubka and Natural Scenery, just favouring the latter.

DUBKA She was my Ebor selection but I’m not sure she got the trip. This race won’t be as helter-skelter, she’ll relish this softer ground and was only beaten a neck in the 14F G3 Lillie Langtry. She has twice been second at G3 level and has won on Town Moor on Soft ground over 12F and has the valuable assistance of Ryan Moore.

NATURAL SCENERY Is she could enough to win a Group 2? Second in the Northumberland Plate, fourth in the Lillie Langtry and a desperately unlucky third in the Ebor when I put in my Ebor festival review, “The one “unlucky” horse in that messy part of the Ebor handicap around the 2F pole and Ed Greatrex ended up having to go round the houses to get a run and she flew to grab third. The handicapper has put her up three pounds OR104 to 107 and it will be interesting to see where Godolphin go with her. The obvious long term target would be back to the AW Stayers Championship at Lingfield next Easter, she was sent off 4/1F last April but had a troubled run there last year. Typical of Godolphin her current entries are “ambitious”.”

As for a bet and it’s 9/2 the field, it’s Natural Scenery to get a clear run and outstay them all with Jim Crowley doing the business for Godolphin.

3:35 Weatherbys Racing Bank £300,000 2-Y-O Stakes Cl2 (2yo) 6f111y ITV4

GREAT PROSPECTOR He was my next best bet for the whole York Ebor Festival when in my opinion he was a desperately unlucky second in the Sales race there. As I whinged in my Ebor review, “Right, now the valuable 6F Sales race. Tangled beat Great Prospector and Hey Jonesy a neck and half a length. The fourth Alba Power a length and a half away and a further three lengths to the fifth, the filly Darkanna. I am convinced Paul Hanagan has been blind-sided here! He straightens Great Prospector up a furlong out and to him it’s just the rapid and unfortunately high drawn Hey Jonesy he has to pick up and he feels quite happy about that so delays his attack and drifts towards the stands side. Meanwhile Tangled has burst between horses and nicked a length and Great Prospector now has to chase him down on the far side and fails by just a neck with the pair of them beating Hey Jonesy. The Official handicapper has given the first three marks of OR102 (up a stone since winning his nursery), OR105 and OR103 and that would have put all three right in the thick of the action in the G3 Acomb and with the time quicker than Threading’s victory in the Lowther half an hour later if the first five in the Sales race met the first four in the Acomb I would be all over Great Prospector.”

I am convinced this horse is Group 2 material, he has an extra half furlong here and he is drawn next door to Tangled this time. Not surprisingly Great Prospector heads the market and with Tangled and Alba Power next in I have Great Prospector as a good thing!! I think he will be even better over 7/8F and it wouldn’t surprise me if he wins this race he appears in G1 PRIX JEAN-LUC LAGARDERE (GRAND CRITERIUM) at Chantilly on Arc weekend!

4:05 crownhotel-bawtry.com Handicap Cl2 (3yo+ 0-105) 1m2f43y ATR

EUGINIO Thought this looked an ideal race for Euginio who has really strong form in the book and was looking forward to getting stuck into him at 6/1 and upwards. I can’t believe there is a field of just FIVE for a C2 handicap!

Euginio was second to the classy but currently AWOL Middle Kingdom at HQ on seasonal debut, won well at Sandown in this grade over today’s trip, a solid third to Frankuus in the G3 Rose of Lancaster when Frankuus nicked it off the front and most recently a hampered fifth to Thundering home back at Sandown. Hopefully the ground will keep drying as Euginio was withdrawn at the Goodwood Festival for “unsuitable ground”. Town Moor specialist Andrea Atzeni rides and I’m sweet on their chances but the iffy ground and a five runner field mean a reduced stake.

4:35 Breeders’ Series EBF Fillies’ Handicap Cl2 (3yo+ 0-100) 1m3f197y ATR

No play. Now down to just six runners I just can’t have any enthusiasm for the contest with no Notebook/Radar entries.



Doncaster 2.20           SHABAABY                  1st 13/8           Two star** win          @15/8 Lad+Coral

Travelled easily on the ground (Favourite Demons Rock didn’t), led two out and hacked up. John Kirkup ran on to be a distant, seven length, second and we open the Festival with a 1-2, £8.53 sfc.

Doncaster 2.50           GUZMAN                    4th 8/1                         One star*each way    @ 9/1 general

Probably just needs to grow up mentally. Still too keen early, even in the hood, one pace final furlong, should have grabbed third. Maybe the ground wasn’t ideal, stays firmly on the radar! BHA Stewards “ Following the race, the Veterinary Officer reported that GUZMAN, placed fourth, and TOOMER, unplaced, had both lost right fore shoes”

Doncaster 4.20           HYDE PARK                 5th 11/2           One star* win            @13/2 BF +PP

Every chance 2F out but one pace. Winner, Lahore, clearly useful.

Doncaster 4.20           SIX STRINGS               7th 6/1             One star* win            @ 8/1 general

Lost race in first two furlongs when just didn’t settle and although every chance 2F out fuel gauge was on red! Better ground, bigger field? Winner, Lahore, clearly useful.

Doncaster 4.50           MIRAGE DANCER       4th 11/10F       Two star** win          @15/8 BF+Coral 15p in £ R4

Small field nightmare! Oisin Murphy may not be “strong enough” but here he’s done Ryan Moore up like a kipper!

(8 stars out – 5.75 stars back)


SimpleSimonSays Review York Ebor Festival 2017 Part 2

Posted Wednesday August 29th 6.00pm

The fun part of these Festivals is always the handicaps and those at York are no exception. There is always more form in the book here than at Royal Ascot and York is a much fairer course than Goodwood. I want to concentrate on two handicaps in particular. The 8F 3yo handicap that closes the Friday because many of those taking part have a high enough handicap mark to make them big players in the major handicaps from 7-10F next season when they are those very attractive 4yo’s. I will profile thirteen that took part with a long term view.

The other handicap is of course the Ebor itself. Get the winner in this is a major target of the four days every year and there were lessons to be learnt from the 2017 edition.

I would then like to make some observations about the draw on the Knavesmire.

Next it will be Looking Forward its Tracker Time! A series of prospective winners from the other races except the 3yo handicap covered earlier. I am writing this section deliberately without reading the “eye catchers” from other on-line journalists. I expect they may similar but the following are MY observations.

Finally I have a whole list of “twilight” horses and I would love your opinions on them.

So let’s get cracking.

Friday 4.50 Nationwide Accident Repair Services Handicap 1m, Class 2,

Obviously I love watching this race over and over again as I put up Mojito as my four star**** nap of the meeting who did everything I had written in my review and William Haggas has an improving 3yo on his hands who will surely have a go at Group company before the end of the season. In the race itself Kings Gift has set the solid fractions and kept on strongly with only Mojito and his stable mate Battered, who had come from nearly last, getting past him. The winner had travelled powerfully throughout, if a little keen early on, just behind the pace and quickened going to the furlong pole and put the race to bed. Plenty of others just behind ran perfectly well but it was really only the front three involved in the final furlong.

Before I profile this Bakers Dozen of prospective C2 4yo handicap winners I need to put in some small print! You will need to keep an eye on the upcoming Horses in Training sales as3yo’s rated close to OR100 are very attractive propositions to race in Dubai and the Far East not to mention possible targets for the NH fraternity. So these profiles will be fairly brief and those that get through to April 2018 I will expand upon.

Mojito                         (William Haggas) Now won three on the bounce and his handicap mark has gone from OR83 to OR104. He has won at 7 & 8F on all types of ground. What next? Well I found a 2016 interview in the Irish Field with the owner. She had Toronado (sold to Al Shaqab), Havana Gold (sold to Qatar Racing) and Ivawood who now stands at Coolmore Stud. Mojito was not cheap at €320K and although the owners are not short of a bob or two, Jersey residents and they have a “small plane”, it wouldn’t surprise me if we see Mojito in new colours once he steps up to Group company.  Fiona and Ian Carmichael-Jennings strike me as lucky owners. They also have Wall of Fire and Alba Power (in the 2yo section of Review Part 1) with Hugo Palmer, a gelded colt with Gay Kelleway, Uber Kool, who has won his last two and Signe who has recently moved from Haggas to Jesse Harrington supposedly en route to a visit to Ivawood. The interview mentioned previously revealed “We have got into the breeding side of things now…”.

Battered                     (William Haggas) Gelded early and owned by the trainers dad. Unless they get offered silly money I think this one will be about next season and having won his maiden at Yarmouth and 7F handicaps at York and Goodwood and as he stayed on well here you could see him being a player off OR98 in the 8F Hambleton handicap back at York, not to mention the likes of the Bunbury Cup and the Gigaset International on a stiff 7F.

Kings Gift                          (Michael Dods) Stays on OR100 and I would love to see him at Haydock or Chester over 8F, a course that suits a front runner. Remember he was fourth in the G3 Greenham at the start of the season just six lengths behind Barney Roy off levels! Has an entry in the Cambridgeshire but that would be up a furlong and a tough place, HQ, to make all. Could see this one going East.

Medahim                          (Richard Hannon) Stays on OR100 and two observations on Al Shaqab’s Kodiac colt, firstly it looks like he’s best on quick ground and the AW and secondly the handicapper probably has him on his current mark. Could see him wintering in Qatar and Dubai.

Saturday, 02 September 2017 – 7:50 Chelmsford (AW) Chelmsford City Cup Handicap

City of Joy                  (Sir Michael Stoute) To put it mildly, he is a bit of a monkey! He’s finished fifth to Mojito at York having walked out of the stalls and giving five lengths or more away. If he got out on terms he’s a player off OR94, he’s already been gelded so that’s not an option! Headgear? I can see this one at the Sales and rocking up next year with David O’Meara or Michael Appleby.

Zymyran                            (David Simcock) OR85 Interesting horse. Nurlan Bizakov owned and bred (under his Hesmonds Stud banner) but he couldn’t sell him so put him into training with Mr Simcock. Won three out of seven as a 2yo, gelded prior to his 3yo campaign which didn’t seem to be going anywhere so put him in the July Horses in Training sale and he went for £20K to the Khat Partnership who put him in training with, you’ve guessed it, Mr Simcock! On goes the hood and bang he wins a C3 at Newmarket. Then at York behind Mojito he’s been held up right out the back but kept on really well in the straight. Probably best with some give in the ground, in C3 and possibly 10F?

Syphax                                    (Kevin Ryan) Won the G3 Acomb at this meeting last season, promptly bought by Godolphin, but hasn’t really run to that level since, although trainer Kevin Ryan’s yard hasn’t had the healthiest season, closed for six weeks. Syphax was a solid second to Forest Ranger on seasonal debut, unsighted in the G3 10F Dante, last of eight to Beat the Bank in the Listed Sir Henry Cecil stakes at HQ and this looks a more realistic level. At York he was ridden to be prominent from stall 10, led early, headed on home turn, every chance two out, faded. Won the Acomb with a hold up ride which probably suits him best. If he was mine I would geld him, give him a couple of goes on the AW or in Meydan, then have a go at all those Ascot straight 7/8F handicaps under hold up tactics!

Areen Heart                    (Richard Fahey) OR88 87 At York on his latest start he gave up the outside to nobody and ran the whole turn for home three wide, perhaps not a lot of choice as he was drawn widest in stall 15! Never runs badly and he’s kept some decent company but only won one in eight. I expect to see him in the sale ring as the owner is a glory seeker! If he was mine I would geld him, put him away from the winter, drop into C3 and then try to get into the best 7F handicaps I could especially at Haydock and Chester.

Wahash                              (Richard Hannon) OR90 98 94  Let’s be honest they haven’t got a clue with this horse. Took seven goes to break his maiden as a 2yo and that was at Lingfield over 8f on the AW and the handicapper put him up eleven pounds to OR90!! Started his 3yo season with a cracking fourth to Middle Kingdom in that C3 10F handicap at the Craven meeting. Since then he’s been all over the place racing on ground from Good to firm to Heavy, from 6F to 10F and finds himself up four pounds courtesy to a second at Epsom in a 7F C2 handicap. Basically the handicapper has him, still.

He was a £150K yearling and as he’s by Dark Angel shouldn’t get a yard over 7F. Would be an ideal Dr. Koukash horse! Geld him, Chester/Epsom 7F, try to get a soft lead off a low draw, then kick two out!

La Rav                                 (Luca Cumani) OR94 Trust me, this is a winner waiting to happen. He’s run a cracker at York behind Mojito as Jamie Spencer told the Stewards, “the colt ran too free and stumbled approaching the line.” Trainer Cumani said on his excellent website, “La Rav gave himself no chance in his race on Friday considering how hard he pulled in the early stages.” Absolutely no surprise to see he has entries over further.

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

Starlight Romance     (Richard Fahey) OR89 She’s had a cracking 3yo campaign and has gone up a stone and is finding life difficult in C2 but once she gets back into C3, 7-8F, any ground she’ll be back in the winners enclosure and one more win could see her have a go at some decent C2 fillies handicaps as a 4yo.

Appointed                        (Tim Easterby) OR92 91 This daughter of Delegator is probably best in C3 over 10F with a bit of cut in the ground and the handicapper may have her at the moment. In Mojito’s race she travelled then made a promising move 3F out and looked dangerous 2f out but needed to come later.

Horoob                       (Roger Varian) OR93 90 In his last run at York behind Mojito was always among horses and although keen got a rough trip, travelling two out but didn’t get the gap when he wanted then got into more trouble than Denis the Menace, Jack Mitchell eased him off. Maybe he’s best on the AW or in fields of twelve or less but I would persist with him in these big field C2 8F handicaps, he has the ability.

Saturday 3.55 Betfred Ebor Handicap  1m6f,

Fabulous race but watching live it looked carnage between the 2F and 1F poles and at the time I could see suspensions all over the place and a lengthy Stewards Enquiry! However on replay when Nakeeta comes through he squeezes a few to his left, Flytothestars (who has run a cracker for a 3yo!) makes his own gap but a lot of the trouble is Lord Yeats running out of petrol and falling back into the lap of those behind! Clever Cookie seems to be hanging left all the way up the street and Wild Hacked didn’t get the clearest run and the only horse I can see with a genuine hard luck story is the third, Natural Scenery, who I will cover below in Looking Forward its Tracker Time!

Two points of note on the Ebor. Firstly you needed to be on OR101 to get a run in this year’s event and secondly as pointed out by a senior rails bookmaker to Matt Chapman on ITV,  the value of an apprentices claim can be the difference between winning and not!

Finally a horse who missed the cut by two was Blakeney Point, currently on OR97, and one more win should book his ticket for 2018 and as long as Firm isn’t in the going I think he is a major candidate for next years Ebor!

The Draw

Wiser men than me have said that if the horse is good enough you can win from anywhere. Well for me at York over 5F, 6F & 7F I want to be drawn in a single figure stall, from 8F to 10.5F I want 4-12 and any further I don’t think it makes a blind bit of difference. It’s all about getting the position you want, however it’s worth noting in the 2m handicap, the 14F Melrose and the 14F Ebor the winners all came from way off the pace!


I’m running short of time so I’m going to post this blog now (6pm Wednesday) and put Looking Forward its Tracker Time! and “Twilight” Horses, Stuck in the middle? In a Part III I’ll post tomorrow, Thursday August 30th.

SimpleSimonSays Review York Ebor Festival 2017 Part 1

Posted Tuesday August 28th 4.30pm

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

Class acts

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Right, now the valuable 6F Sales race. Tangled beat Great Prospector and Hey Jonesy a neck and half a length. The fourth Alba Power a length and a half away and a further three lengths to the fifth, the filly Darkanna. All five go in the Tracker. (See below in Looking Forward).

I am convinced Paul Hanagan has been blind-sided here! He straightens Great Prospector up a furlong out and to him it’s just the rapid and unfortunately high drawn Hey Jonesy he has to pick up and he feels quite happy about that so delays his attack and drifts towards the stands side. Meanwhile Tangled has burst between horses and nicked a length and Great Prospector now has to chase him down on the far side and fails by just a neck with the pair of them beating Hey Jonesy. The Official handicapper has given the first three marks of OR102 (up a stone since winning his nursery), OR105 and OR103 and that would have put all three right in the thick of the action in the G3 Acomb and with the time quicker than Threading’s victory in the Lowther half an hour later if the first five in the Sales race met the first four in the Acomb I would be all over Great Prospector.

Looking Forward its Tracker Time!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday August 2nd Goodwood

Posted: Tuesday August 1st 6.30pm

Never easy on the Downs! I’ll give a brief summary of the Festival each day then a more detailed report post-Festival. Goodwood Tuesday. First race was classic Goodwood. Total mess. Expert Eye looked the real deal in the 7F 2yo Vintage. 50/1 wins Lennox, nuff said! Nice run from Desert Skyline third in the Goodwood Cup.


GOING/TRACK Good (Straight Good to Soft in places) (GoingStick: 7.2 on Tuesday at 11:30)

Stalls: Straight course Stand side Round course Inside except 1m 4f which is outside. 2m 5f race flip start.

WEATHER Dry over the last 48 hours. A dry day forecast today. Rain moving into the area late morning tomorrow.

Going/Weather/Other last updated @Tue 01 Aug 12:04pm


Ribchester will need to bring his ‘A’ game to Goodwood if he is to give seven pounds to dual Guineas winner and four times G1 winner Churchill in the Sussex Stakes although the 3yo has a few questions to answer after Royal Ascot. Come on #FantasticMrFahey!

Fahey on sportinglife.com “Everything has gone according to plan since Royal Ascot, there haven’t been any hiccups at all and we have no excuses. He was very good in the Queen Anne and I hope he’ll be just as good. He was touched off in the race last season and that means I’m confident he’ll handle the track perfectly well. We’re in a privileged position regarding the ground too – there are no worries on that front. If there’s more rain he’ll handle the cut – if it dries out he’ll be fine too. It’s very rare a trainer can say that about any horse – let alone a top-class one. This is a big test for him though and I have an awful lot of respect for Churchill.”


Wednesdays Lucky 15

Goodwood 2.25                     WOLF COUNTRY                     16/1 WH + Ladbrokes               

Goodwood 4.45                     EBBESBOURNE                       6/1 general                  

Goodwood 5.50                     SUN LOVER                             5/1 general                  

Galway 5.35                            SANDYMOUNT DUKE             14/1 PP 12/1 general    


and heres why


Goodwood 2.25                     WOLF COUNTRY Plenty of horses I’m Tracking run here.

Sofia’s Rock Mark Johnstone/Ryan Moore. I think he wants further and quicker ground although Goodwood is a front runners track. “The third, Sofia’s Choice, remains of interest in any 3yo 14F contest which is run on a flat track that suits front runners. The Melrose Handicap at York would seem suitable, C2 0-105 14F 3yo, as long as he stays on OR100!”

Galactic Prince Andrew Balding/David Probert I’ll bet connections are delighted to have squeezed into this race and although four pounds wrong in the handicap only has 8st on his back. However I think there is a bit too much class in opposition for him in this race. “Back in third behind Bin Battuta was a staying on Galactic Prince. For a 3yo gelding by Dubawi out of Opera Gal (OR105) a Galileo mare, surely Andrew Balding can place him to win another staying handicap 12/14F off OR80. There is an 11F 0-90 C3 3yo handicap that closes the Friday of the Qatar Goodwood Festival.”

The one I like is Godolphins Wolf Country. Went on my “2yo’s to follow as 3yo’s list” when he hacked up in his maiden on easy ground at Yarmouth last backend. He was fifth in the 13F G3 Bahrain Trophy at HQ, fifth in the G2 10F Dante at York and opened his 3yo season with a Listed 10F win on Good to Soft at Saint Cloud. As a front runner he has the plum draw in stall 1. Adam Kirby has an excellent record in Goodwood handicaps, won this year’s Festival opener albeit with the assistance of the stewards! This is Wolf Country’s trip, he’ll act on this slower ground and this stoutly bred son of Dubawi makes his handicap mark off OR103. Every post a winning post please Adam.

One star* each way @ 16/1 with WH + Ladbrokes

Goodwood 4.45                     EBBESBOURNE Lightly raced, home bred daughter of Teofilio out of an Oasis Dream mare who has won two of her four starts and as a 2yo who won on debut for this yard makes her of particular interest. Not the biggest but a talented filly who sits off the pace and finishes strongly. Won well at York in a C3 10F fillies handicap in a first time hood and was a tad unlucky when she had her run checked when second to Newbury in a fillies listed race over 10F. She goes back into handicap company for an all aged fillies C2 10F handicap with Jim Crowley riding and they come from stall 2. That’s an awful lot to like.

Two star** win @ 6/1 general

Goodwood 5.50                     SUN LOVER £360K yearling out of Tatts Book 1 by Oasis Dream out of an unraced dam, herself bred in the purple albeit US influenced,and now owned by Obaid. Lightly raced, twice as a 2yo then moved from Cumani to Varian, then twice as a 3yo. Gelded then twice second this season, he may have only won once but he’s consistent, 62-21-22. He started handicapping off OR85 and is currently on OR89. He is a barrel chested, enthusiastic unit and seems to be strengthening up. Ground doesn’t seem a concern, C3 7F seem within his scope currently so no surprise to see him entered in the 5.50 at Goodwood on Wednesday in a C3 7F 3yo+ handicap (3yo’s get 6lb), Atzeni is jocked up. He doesn’t do anything quickly, when he won he made all, so ridden prominently from a low draw would be ideal.

Two star** win @ 5/1 general

Galway 5.35                            SANDYMOUNT DUKE This is a fantastic race over a tough track, last two fences close together in the dip on the home turn and none in the straight! I am going for the class angle with sandymount Duke who thrives in the summer, has won on his last three visits to the racecourse, he’s won a novice hurdle at Galway, he was good enough to finish third to Bellshill in the G1 3m hurdle at the Punchestown Festival, he’s won four of his seven chase starts, this is his best trip and Danny Mullins rides. Here’s what mercurial trainer said after his prep race win in a Flat maiden!

“Jessica Harrington has set her sights on the Galway Plate with Sandymount Duke after he claimed a third win on the bounce at Leopardstown on Thursday evening. The eight-year-old, who races in the colours of owner-breeder Ronnie Wood (Yes, that one! Ed.), made a successful switch to the Flat to win in the hands of Harrington’s daughter Kate, supplementing recent chase victories at Punchestown and Down Royal. Sandymount Duke triumphed by five lengths and Harrington is now looking forward to the feature event at Galway on August 2. She said: “I thought a mile and seven (furlongs) might be a bit short for him and the only way to ride him is to bowl along. I think he got such a fright coming out of the stalls that it took a little while to get in front, but she said he was super all the way. He loves that ground and bounces off it. It’s the Galway Plate now and we’ll see what happens. He won’t mind if the ground is a bit slower. He’s won 10 races now – a flat race, bumper, hurdles and chases. He’s become a part of the furniture. I think Ronnie is going to come to Galway. I was talking to him there (by phone) and he’s thrilled.”

One star* each way @ 14/1 PP 12/1 general


TOOMER            (Richard Hannon) In my Newmarket July review “The one going into the notebook though is the Richard Hannon debutante for Chelsea Thoroughbreds, Toomer. Travelled fine, last 2F out but stayed on really well under hands and heels for eighth but only four lengths off the winner.” Runs in the 6F 4.10 fillies maiden and @ 16/1 general is worth one star* each way.

Lucky 15 Tuesday June 13th

Monday 5.45pm Saturday was a nightmare. It’s bean on toast this week for me. With Royal Ascot occupying me full time at the moment there will be no Lucky 15 until Wednesday for Thursday at Newbury et al.

The Racing Post is featuring the 2yo Ascot races on Tuesday so I’m going to have my say tonight in case any prices disappear.

Royal Ascot 2017 2yo’s.

I have no more than one eye on the juveniles up until Royal Ascot as I like to see some form lines develop before I invest. Two races to concentrate on, the G2 Coventry for the colts and the G3 Albany for the fillies, both over 6F. The two 5F dashes, the Norfolk and the Queen Mary, never appeal although I’m backing McErin (4/1) in the former as from what I have seen on line and read in the press he is huge and his work on the grass was impressive. US trainer Wesley Ward couldn’t be more bullish, “got a nice colt going for the Norfolk called McErin. He’s done his racing on dirt, but when we’ve galloped him on the grass he’s been much better, I’m looking forward to him“.

When looking for Royal Ascot 2yo winners four trainers to concentrate on. Aidan O’Brien, Richard Hannon, Charlie Appleby and this season Jessica Harrington. June 7th Jessica Harrington told The Irish Times, “A Royal Ascot winner is the next ambition. I’ve had only a couple of runners there in the past but I’d like a winner.”  Spearheading the Harrington assault on Ascot could be promising juveniles Alpha Centauri in the Albany Stakes and Coventry Stakes-bound Brother Bear. Alpha Centauri is currently 2/1 to land the Albany Stakes on 23rd June. The daughter of Mastercraftsman has been very impressive in winning both starts over six furlongs at Naas so far and her trainer feels ground conditions are now likely to suit at Ascot. “The one thing I didn’t want for her was that real Ascot firm. But the weather looks so broken over there at the moment that it shouldn’t be a problem,” she added. “Alpha Centauri will run in the Albany and Whitefountainfairy could run in that too or she might wait for the Chesham on the Saturday. I haven’t decided yet. But Brother Bear will go for the Coventry.”

Mention there of the Listed 7F Chesham, we’ve only had a handful of 2yo races over that trip this season, and the other Listed race, the 5F Windsor Castle. Both are just too difficult, won too often by big improvers at big prices.

Tues. 3.05 Coventry Stakes G2 6F

POSITIVES Unbeaten (preferably one run). Trained by Aidan O’Brien or Richard Hannon. The favourite.

NEGATIVES Beaten last time out. Outside the front five in the betting. Once-raced.

A week away there is no clear favourite. The top rated (RPR) colt is Jessica Harrington’s Brother Bear, unbeaten in two and heads the market but there is plenty of 11/2 about. Brother Bear has shown plenty of pace and a willing attitude but as he was a drifting 9/1 on debut suggests he wasn’t burning up the home gallops and he isn’t an imposing colt.

So what have Messr’s Hannon and O’Brien got towards the top of the market? Richard Hannon’s top rated colt is the improving De Bruyne Horse but he looks Division Two to me. Denaar won well at Newbury but he lacks size and has a scratchy action, not for me. Aidan O’Brien has two to mention, Murillo, who has a US pedigree as a son of Scat Daddy, was beaten on debut but quickened to win an egg and spoon maiden at Tipperary. He would need strong market support, Firm in the going and Ryan Moore on board to carry my money but I think Ryan Moore will be on the winner and that will be Declarationofpeace. Good sized son of War Front running for Coolmore, ideal Royal Ascot profile, beaten on debut at Navan, despite the dogs barking in the ring, when a tad green was seen to much better effect on the sand at Dundalk. With quicker ground expected at Ascot I’m quite happy to take the 8/1 on offer with William Hill and Declarationofpeace is a two star** win selection. As for a main danger? When reviewing the videos the horse with the size and scope who impressed me most was Richard Spencer’s Rajasinghe for upwardly mobile Rebel Racing who strode away in the final furlong in the style of a classy horse and is another who would look to appreciate the anticipated Good to Firm (watered to maintain?!) ground. Rajasinghe is a one star* selection @ a general 10/1.

Fri. 2.30 Albany Stakes G3 6F Fillies

POSITIVES Won a maiden last time out. Had just one career start. Trained by Mick Channon/Jeremy Noseda Sandown form

NEGATIVES Failed to contest a maiden last time out

This one looks harder to solve than the boys race, the Coventry. Jessica Harrington (see above) has the market leader in the enormous, unbeaten in two, Alpha Centauri (9/4 tops PP) and Wesley Ward has the second favourite in Fairyland, a Scat Daddy filly owned by Coolmore.

Alpha Centauri has won both her races very easily, beating Actress (20/1) both times, by 2½ and then 5 lengths. Could be the real deal as the good big’un beats the good little’uns but the filly I’m attracted to is the Qatar Racing owned, Ger Lyons trained Black Sails. She beat the boys at the Curragh and she wouldn’t be without a chance in the Coventry. She is a long and rangy daughter of Lope de Vega and I can’t see her having a problem with the ground or the trip and she looked very professional. Richard Hannon is very excited by his €305K daughter of Kodiac, Natural, and she is also owned by Qatar Racing. She won a 6½F maiden at Doncaster on Soft ground when well supported on debut.

The bet is Black Sails one star* win @ 14/1 general. We may go in again each way when she’s a confirmed runner.

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.”