Thursday, 18 August 2011 Handicap Stakes

Can't help but think BRAVEHEART MOVE is an absolutely massive price at about 33/1.
Firstly the booking of Robert Winston looks significant. This year he's had 7 rides for Geoffrery Harker. Resulting in 3 winners and another place.
He was trained by Sir Mark Presscot from 2008-2009 before famously being bought for 150,000 and sent to Jonjo O'Neills to go hurdler. After four defeats he was senting back to the flat last season. After being beaten out of sight on his seasonal debut he was then only beaten 4l over an inadequate 10f at Goodwood. Stepped back up to 14f he came 3rd in a very valuable end of season handicap at Haydock at 25/1.The winner Kansai Spirit is now rated 10lbs higher, the second Red Cadeux is rated 15lbs higher and Braveheart although only beaten 1l is now rated 2lbs lower than that race (91).
He was actually put up to 95 but was dropped to 91 after his first run for Harker this season. I wouldn't have been to worried about this run for many reasons though. Firstly, it was over 10f - way too short for him. Secondly he has run poorly 4 of his 5 runs first time out: 
2008 - 10/12 btn 18l, 
2009 - Won a handicap but for Sir Mark Prescott up 5f in trip so they probably would have had him fit. 
2009 hurdle - 7/9 beaten 58l, 
2010 - 12/13 btn 23l. 
2011 - 13/13 btn 11l
In fact compared to last years first run it was actually a very good effort (21lbs better according to RPRs). His improvements from his first runs have been 44lbs,-19lbs,35lbs and 36lbs so he obviously tends to come on a lot for the run. Also Geoffery Harker's horses tend to come on a lot for the run. He's only had two first time out winners this year compared to four that have won on their second run coming on a lot for the run. The fact Robert Winston wasn't on first time but is now should be seen as a positive.
Over 14f last year he stayed on really well and looked like 16f could suit (won over 13f at three). Also he's said to take a lot of driving so the step up in trip could also help in that front soon. He's said to do a lot early on, so with all the pace in the race (Exemplary and Mountain Hiker should make it a stern test), hopefully he should be able to settle in well from his plum draw of 3.
He's won off this mark before and as I've said was placed off 2lbs higher in a better race last year. Timeform give him a ? but his run in that 14f race last year was given 113 which would be 3rd highest in the field. Top rated by Timeform is CHILLY FILLY who could be worth a saver off a dwindling mark (came 5th in the 14f handicap off much higher mark) on his first run for Brian Ellison. ITLAAQ 
won a lot more easily than the distance suggests last time but has a poor draw.

0.75pt E/W Braveheart Move 33/1
0.5pt Win Chilly Filly 8/1

Addleshaw Goddard Stakes

Although the twenty go to post for the 3.05 at York today it is perhaps not as competitive as it first looks. Many of the field are thoroughly exposed, this is perhaps best shown by the fact that three of those at the top of the market, Harrison George, Pintura and Smarty Socks have had over 100 starts between them. Also there is only one last time out winner in the field in the form of Markazzi.

In the past this has gone to lightly raced 4 year olds or 3 year olds (however there are no 3 year olds in this year's renewal). In the last nine years the record of horses aged 5 or older is: 0 winners, 9 placed, 79 runners.  Taking this into account it seems the best place to start is the 4 year olds; Navajo Chief, Emirates Dream, Pintura, Mont Agel, Markazi, Masked Dance and Leviathan.

Navajo Chief (16), Markazzi (18), Leviathan (19) are all drawn out wide and will need a lot of luck from their respective draws. In fact only one of the last 9 winners have been drawn wider than 12 (with 6 coming out of the bottom 6 draws).

Masked Dance has been outclassed every time he's stepped up to this kind of a class, Pintura keeps on running well without getting his head in front and Mont Agel has to bounce back from two poor runs. This leaves me with EMIRATES DREAM who has a plum draw from 5.

An $850,000 purchase Goldophin would have expected him to make up to a bit more than a 98 rated handicapper and there still seems plenty of time for him to do so.

He won first time out as York as a 2 year old before running in two group 3s at the backend in France. In the first he finished 4th (doing all his best work late on) behind Buzzword and Siyouni, who went on to come 3rd and 1st in the Group 1 for 2 year old colts on Arc Day. Then when upped to a mile he finished only 1.5l behind Behkabad (gone on to win a group 1). He finished the season disappointingly at Newmarket, however it was commented then that he was a big horse and the track may not have suited him.

This being the case it is surprising that his last 4 runs have come at undulating tracks Newmarket and Goodwood. At the beginning of his 3 year old career he ran three non staying races over 11f,10f and 12f. The 10f run was especially encouraging as he ran well for a long way behind 110 rated Myplacelater and 106 rated Desert Myth.

When finally dropped to 8f with a bit of cut in the ground he bolted up at Goodwood off a 5lb lower mark with the admirable and consistent Dunno in 2nd. Two disappointing runs followed but again they were both at Newmarket. Back on a more conventional track there is every chance he can improve.

Frankie Dettori shuns him today for Invisible Man and the worry is perhaps that he runs first time out. However he won first time out as a 2yo and as a 3yo was running over a trip way too far. Saeed Bin Suroor's record this year with horses making their seasonal debut in the UK in a handicap is 4/15. However if you only look at those since the beginning of June (given more time to settle down from Dubai) the record is 041121 (50%).

At 25/1 he makes plenty of appeal. Another angle would be to perhaps take the 20/1 Paddy Power offer without Markazzi. However I am keen to take Markazzi on from his wide draw.

Another one worth a mention is Lovelace who has gone well in the hustle and bustle of these big fields in the past and has dropped to an extremely good mark. He's run OK a few times this year and it has been reported that he had a knee operation last season, so perhaps he has just been struggling on quick ground and a bit more cut will suit him. However, Dandy's horses aren't running that well at the moment, so I will probably just keep an eye on him for another day. Prime Exhibit also has a big chance on some of his form, including his second in the Lincoln last season. However, he is drawn widest of all, so although I can't put him up as a bet, I may have a couple of quid saver at 28/1.

Emirates Dream - 1pt E/W 25/1

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Wednesday 20th July 2011 - Arganil

*** Another pretty infuriating result. In fact it couldn't have been much worse. Arganil was heavily backed into 4/1 (1/3 of the odds advised). There were two non runners meaning the E/W placing went down from 3 (when advised) to 2 with Arganil of course coming in 3rd***

So it hasn't been going to well recently and that's probably being generous. There's part of me that wishes it could be mid-winter again and getting stuck into some big field handicaps over the sticks (which is what this blog was set up for initially). In the meantime tomorrow though I have one more whom seems just to be overpriced. That horse is ARGANIL who is 12/1 and outsider of the field in the 3.40 Catterick. I'm slightly weary as it seems I've been follwing these old boys perhaps a bit too far over the edge recently but he really seems to have everything in his favour and put up a good run at the turn of year when conditions were in his favour.

The key to ARGANIL seems to be that he needs cut in the ground (or AW) which he will most certainly get tomorrow. The ground earlier today was described as Good to Soft (Soft in places) and with all the rain we're having it looks like it will turn soft all over. Also he seems to be at his best over 5f and in many of his recent runs over 6f he is described as 'weakening in the final furlong'.

His form over 5f with the word 'soft' or AW in the going description is 1112411111 (2/2 at Southwell, which I think is more suited to horses who prefer to get there toe in?). Yes that is 8 wins from 10 runs. One second off a handicap mark of 100 trying to give 9lbs to Cheveton, and a 4th in a Group 2 (btn just under 3l) when he missed the break.

The RPRs in those 10 runs have been 105, 113, 106, 109, 101, 110, 108, 100, 95, 89. Those on turf were 109, 101, 89 (Won easily). A reproduction of any those efforts really should be enough

He may seem 'out of form', but he managed to run to an RPR of 105 when last met with these conditions in January and his run wasn't too bad 4 runs back when he was second on his side. Off a mark of 82 in this surely he has to go close if he can run within a stone of that sort of RPR. The odds suggest he has 7.5% chance of winning but I think his form suggests he has a much better chance than that.

He has a good record when being dropped back to this kind of class and all of his wins have come in fields of 12 or less runners,  so perhaps this smaller field will suit him better than his last couple of runs. Kevin Ryan is in good form and Phillip Makin has got on OK with him so far (1/1 over 5f). There's already been a bit of money about for him tonight and has been cut to as low as 9s but he is still available at 12/1 with Will Hill, Boylesports and Bet 365. With the rain set to stay overnight I can see him being around top price 8/1 in 12 hours time and win, lose or draw the price is simply wrong.

2pt E/W Arganil 12/1

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Saturday 16/7/2011

2.55 Newbury - Matula

A fillies handicap which may not seem as competitive as first seems. Much of the field struggle off their respective marks; Bahati (0 from 10 in handicaps), Belle Royale (0 from 5 in handicaps off a handicap mark over 85), Byrony (0 from 3 in handicaps all off this mark), Sonning Rose (0/4), Rosedale (Run in 14 handicaps and never progressed beyond a mark of 71, so hard to see her winning off 70), Dorice May (Hammered in 2 handicaps off a 1lb higher mark), Imaginary World (0 from 10 in handicaps, 8 off lower marks).

This leaves you with Heavenly Dawn, Watneya, Al Maysah and Matula. Al Maysah doesn't look well handicapped and connections have always said she'll be a 10f horse, so the drop to a mile is worrying. Watneya was very disappointing last time with no obvious excuses. Heavenly Dawn is an obvious one being a typical Stoute unexposed older horse and is a sister to group performer Heaven Sent. She is the one to beat, but with it yet to be seen how much rain Newbury will get (apparently needs it) the top price 13/8 available is easily opposed.

Matula to me is the one horse in the field apart from Heavenly Dawn who has the potential to be much better than her mark. First time up last year she bolted up in a Ffos Las maiden. That day she left such horses as Charles Camoin and Census in her wake. She was then stepped up to Listed Class behind Blue Bunting. That day she ran well desite racing keenly, quickening with the principals initially before weakening. RP commented after the run that 'there's much more to come from her next year and she should be well up to winning at this level'.

This year she has had two disappointing runs, but she's a big filly and she will have come on plenty for his first run so that can be forgiven. Last time out she was disappointing, but like her seasonal debut that was over 10f and perhaps she's better suited by a mile (weakened on her final start as a 2 year old over a mile, so hardly looks crying out for 10f). Also her trainer now reaches for the cheekpieces.  Interestingly he has quite a good record with 3 year olds in cheekpieces. He's 4 from 24 with them first time out with winners at 11/2, 16/1, 9/1 and 11/4.

All her form is on good or slower, so any rain shouldn't be a problem for her.

At 20/1 she makes appeal E/W. Also it may perhaps be worth having a saver on her without the favourite at 9/1 with Paddy Power

Matula - 1pt E/W 20/1 Stan James, 0.5pt Win (W/O Heavenly Dawn) 9/1

3.40 Newmarket - Guided Missile

Guided Missile is a full sister and looks thoroughly progressive. The rain should not be a problem at all for her having won on soft last time and her sister Dark Missile won the Wokingham on good to soft. The form of her last race hasn't worked out badly and with the Balding string in decent form the 10/3 available looks massive with a lot of the field yet to prove they go on the ground.

Guided Missile - 3pt Win 10/3 Bet 365

7.40 Haydock - Ingleby Exceed

Another well bred filly like Guided Missile who is starting to make her mark in handicaps. Won well last time over 7f and this trip is only going to suit her more based on both her running style and pedigree (mare won a listed 1m event). She's only been put up 6 pounds for her easy winning last time and with the man of the moment Silvestre De Sousa on board another big run has to be expected.

Ingleby Exceed - 1.5pt Win 7/2 Bet 365

1pt E/W Double on the two at 7/2 and 10/3 with Bet365

5.10 Newbury - Baltimore Clipper

Baltimore Clipper now looks ready strike being both back to a winning mark and also putting in an eyecatching run last time at Sandown. That day he stayed on strongly when in the clear and the step up to 2 miles looks like it could well suit him. Around this time last year he won over 12f in a race that has worked out very well. He gave Nave a 3lb and 3/4l beating (now rated 88) and a further 3/4l back was Giants Play (has since won a Gr2 in America). The trio pulled 6l clear of the fourth and he is now back to the same mark, 75. Another bit of form that makes him look well handicapped is when he came 3l 2nd behind Mount Athos (now rated 103) off level weights, the pair 11l clear. All his best form is on Good, so the rain shouldn't be much off a problem.

Baltimore Clipper - 1pt E/W 14/1 - General

8.40 Haydock - Balletlou

At 25/1 I just can't resist giving Balletlou one more chance. The first time out last year she won her maiden in the style of a very exciting horse, especially as it seemed she didn't have a clue what she was doing. Next time out she was sent off just 5/1 for a warm 3yo handicap on King George day at Ascot (off a 8lb higher mark than today). Even though she was beaten easily (8l) it shows they must hold her in some regard for her to go off so short. She has disappointed twice since but last time she stumbled and lost her action so it is probably best to forgive her the run. With Art Scholar out it looks and open and weak contest and 25/1 is too big.

Balletlou - 0.5pt E/W 25/1 Boylesports

Friday, 15 July 2011


***Another frustrating result with Catalina's Diamond being backed into 16/1 before trading at 1.35 in-running on the win market and 1.02 to place, before weakening close home to come a close 4th***

4.45 Newbury - Catalina's Diamond - 22/1

Another filly on a free falling mark, runs of 65, which seems more than fair judged on some of her form.

Last year over 5f she showed blistering amounts of speed when both chasing home Crying Lightening in 3rd at Leicester and also coming 5th in the Queen Mary (6l behind Group 1 performed Maqaasid). Since then she has been upped in trip but has shaped most the time as if she will be even better suited dropping back to the minimum.

Racing Post have said of her runs over further since.

10/7/2010 - She might be better ging back to 5f for the time being.

29/4/2011 - Probably a sprinter and might come on for this

19/5/2011 -Left her reappearance behind, doing it all too easily for a long way. She's retained plenty of speed and won't have a problem dropping back to 5f

Seeing as she's from an American pedigree she may need very quick ground to be at her best on turf, so we can forgive her the 2 disappointment on good ground.

Her one run over 6f on quick ground this year resulted in a decent second in a maiden where the 1st,3rd and 5th have one since and where also RP suggested she might be better over 5f.

Tackling that trip for the first time since the Queen Mary, 22/1 is probably worth an E/W bet also.

1pt E/W 22/1

Saturday, 2 July 2011


*** Like to think I was proved somewhat right about the price by the fact that Catalyze was heavily gambled on into an SP of 8/1. However after travelling well (hit 7/2 IR) he faded and finished towards the back of the field***

Things haven't been going to well recently, but hopefully the corner shall turn soon. Got another one today which for the life of me I can't work out why he is 33/1. Maybe the fact the bookies are offering that price is saying something though.

The horse is CATALYZE in the 4.50 at Sandown today at a big price. 33/1 E/W 1/4 the Odds seems massive with Skybet.

Trainer said in the stable tour about him "He did nothing wrong last year and has done well over the winter. We’ll probably start him off over 7f and see where we go, but he could be one for the Britannia at Royal Ascot. He wants fast ground and there’s certainly a decent race in him"

His 2 year old form was decent. Balding says he wants fast ground and on his only run on GF (after debut on AW) he beat SAGRAMOR by 4l off level weights when winning a maiden. Sagramor of course won the Brittania and is now rated 99. Catalyze runs today off 83.

Next start he ran in a nursery off 85 on GS (so softer than ideal) and ran very well to come a close 3rd. The form of that race has worked out extremely well.

1st - Whisper Louise - Now rated 12lbs higher in UK, since that rating has come 2nd in Gr2 in America
2nd - Byonic - Hasn't run
3rd - Catalyze
4th - Reroute - Now rated 19lbs higher
5th - Fred Willets - Now rated 19lbs higher

He then ran on softer ground than ideal again in a race at Ascot. Off level weights he was only beaten 7l by Dubawi Gold (OR 117 now) 4l by Tazahum (OR 107) and 3.5l by Big Issue (OR 106)

He's had two starts this year both disappointing. But the trainer commented beforehand that he'd need the race first time out (came on a 25lbs for his first run as a 2yo on Racing Post ratings) and last time at Ascot the ground would have been too soft for him.

As a consequence he has dropped 4lbs to 83. Considering the trainer said he should have a decent race in him when he was rated 87, surely in this weaker race he should go close at 33/1.

33/1 too big E/W

1.5pt E/W @ 33/1 Skybet (1/4 the odds, top 3)

Friday, 27 May 2011

5 horses who should pay their way over the summmer months

1. Satwa Pearl - 5yo Mare - Ed Dunlop

Satwa Pearl as a yearling cost 500,000 Euros and I believe that this summer she can finally start to pay her way. At the beginning of this season she was trained in France by Jean De Roualle and opened up her campaign with an easy win in a lady riders race at Deauville. Second that day was Sand Skier of Mark Johnston who is a capable 90 horse on this day (hasn't shown it in his two starts since though). 4th Ideology has since improved by 19lbs according to RPRs, the 5th Darizi ran a 13lb better race next time (only beaten 3l in a Grade 3 last time). Though rather than all these horses improving drastically, I believe this form has been underestimated by the handicapper.

Since then she has been transferred to Ed Dunlop and came 2nd first time out behind Piano. That day however she completely blew start and lost many lengths before staying on at the death when the winner had flown. Only up 2lbs for that to 79, I think she's more than capable of winning a few races off that kind of mark. Her two siblings achieved RPRs of 98 and 107, another reason to expect improvement from her.

Entries: Sandown - 2nd June

2. Damask - 2yo Filly - Richard Hannon

Damask made her debut this afternoon at Newmarket and although she finished down the field, there was plenty to take from the performance. Backed before hand from 6/1 into 9/2 she traveled strongly and was possibly last off the bridle before being allowed to come home under hands and heels. However, this does not tell the whole story. This afternoon there has been a dreadful draw bias at Newmarket with all the winners over sprint trips coming from low draws. Those drawn high have had no chance and in my opinion Damask put in the best performance of anything drawn high all afternoon. She has no chance from her draw and could be a bigger price than expected next time as many people looking at the bare form will say she "flopped". A 110,000 Euro yearling, 3 of her 4 siblings have achieved RPRs of at least 97 (97, 103 and 114) and a maiden looks a formality before possibly going onto better things.

3. Balcarce Nov - 6yo Horse - Tom Tate

I have put him in the list as I think he has a big handicap written all over him when he gets his favoured ground. He's rated 96 at the moment which is some 9lbs below his top form in this country. Tom Tate has often stated he needs it like a road and his form on Good to Firm ground stands up to close inspection. His form on GF since reaching these shores is 523203. Achieving RPRs of 107,110, 109, 109, 76 and 106 - which suggests he has something to spare over the handicapper when he next runs on it.

For example on his one start on it this year he finished 3rd beaten only 1/2l off level weights by St Moritz who is now rated 107 after a listed 2nd and a big handicap win off 104. 2nd that day was Off Chance who was only beaten 2l off a mark of 100 at York last time. Both these point to Balcarce Nov running to a mark of 105. Since then he flopped on Good ground at Ripon (trainer blamed watered ground) and then ran a nice race on softer ground than ideal at Chester last time.

Obvious targets for him would be the Royal Hunt Cup (though he has flopped twice at Ascot before, so it might not be the ideal target) or perhaps the big 1 mile handicaps at Glorious Goodwood or York's Ebor meeting. The totesport handicap mile (?) at Goodwood would be of particular interest as it has a great record for front runners.

Entries: Nottingham - 1st June

4. Bobbie Magern - 6yo Gelding - Nigel Twiston-Davies

The first of two horses over jumps I'm going to mention and he is down to run in the next hour in the 19.55 at Stratford. However, I'm not 100% this will be his day due to T-D shocking form at present, but he is definitely a lot better than his mark of 106. I will still be getting involved to a medium stake though E/W.

He is of course a sibling to both Ollie and Billy Magern as well as the game Petit Margot. This is a family who love quick ground. He has been handicapped on soft ground form and hence I believe he is very well handicapped. He has only encountered good ground so far once when he was only beaten a short head on his first hurdle start. Since then he has disappointed three times on soft ground but I can easily forgive these runs, especially last time (has dropped 7lbs in weight). His full siblings were rated 163, 137 and 128 at their peak. They also appreciated 3 mile+ trips so the 27f tonight should be up his trip.

Interestingly he's entered up a few times over the next week, so maybe they're trying to get in a win and then run under a penalty next week.

Entries: Stratford - Tonight, Cartmel - 30th May, 1st June

5. Nostringsattached - 10yo Gelding - Jonjo O'Neill

Another horse who needs good ground, he's very well handicapped after 3 runs in soft ground in the winter. His OR now is 119, which looks very favourable as he's placed off 136 before and won a Listed handicap off 127. He made his comeback at Worcester last week and was noticeably very easy to back in the 5 minutes before the off, drifting alarmingly.

During the race he cruised into contention under AP after hunting his way through the pack. He looked all over the winner before AP, lets just say, took it very easy on him, not resorting to the whip at all. Putting two and two together, I'd imagine he wasn't fit that day and connections have an eye on something else this summer. It's not as if he doesn't find much either as he had the benefit of a McCoy never say die attitude when taking a big race in the summer of 2009 at Market Rasen.

Now he's had a run to put him fit, he should go very close next time and even if he doesn't, with his connections I'd definitely keep an eye on him over the summer months.

Entries: Ffos Las - 31st May