Monthly Archives: October 2014

Sat 11 Oct 2014

Wide open handicaps take centre stage this weekend at Newmarket and York, with the centrepiece being the Cesarewitch , a long distance marathon at 3.50

It’s always a surprise to see how a race over 18 furlongs on a relatively straight course can be thought of as having a draw bias but stats will point towards a low draw having an edge in this race and those that got a high number have seen prices pushed out.

While there might be a slight advantage/disadvantage for those wanting a prominent position, I don’t see why prices should be pushed out quite so much here, and wouldn’t be put off backing a high drawn runner.

Never Can Tell (2011) and Tom Sharp (1984) both won the race from wide outside draws by racing prominently – both were excellent rides – but generally I’d be more in favour of a horse who has a high numbered box that needs to be held up and doesn’t waste excess energy in getting to the front before the one real bend in the race..

Last year, Scatter Dice won from 18, but started so poorly and came wide round the field that it’s hard to imagine she wouldn’t have won from any draw. Lieutenant Miller was just behind in 3rd from stall 32 after holding every chance.

King Revo in 2005 was given the perfect hold up ride to look all over the winner from stall 36, only to be caught close home by the phenomenon that was Sergeant Cecil (Inchnadamph out of stall 33 chasing them both home)

As I’ve discounted the draw angle a bit, time to pinpoint a few runners on some criteria that I think matter more

Last years race:

It’s often noticeable to see horses running in this more than once and consistently performing well. Aaim to Prosper was a real race specialist; Caracciola in 2008 also seemed to thrive here, and we can find others in past results who have won / run well in the race more than once – Distant Prospect, Mamlook, Inchnadamph immediately spring to mind. It’s probably because it’s the only real long distance handicap of the year that is guaranteed a good gallop throughout that brings out their best performances

From last year therefore the main candidate would appear to be the second, Waterclock (draw 3). He’s on a 6lb lower mark this year but this is where the positives end. He changed stables after this race and hasn’t shown any form since to suggest he has retained that ability. Not far behind were Jonny Delta (draw 16 – similar mark this year) and Moidore (draw 4 – slightly hampered and could have finished closer –likes soft ground)

I’m less inclined to use the ‘Cesarewitch Trial’ race as a pointer since its usually a smaller field and (like this year’s renewal) run at a slower pace. This year, Big Easy (draw 2)and Ray Ward (draw 32) both ran well in the race (Mubaraza didn’t perform at all well) – at least it shows their ability to act on the track


With a good pace highly likely , the ability to stay further than this 2ml 2furlong trip is paramount. A few good dual purpose horse have won the race but commonly most of them were effective over 2.5 – 3 miles over hurdles

This sort of puts me off the fav Quick Jack (draw 12) a little who hasn’t really convinced that he wants further than 2 miles over flat or hurdles as yet. His price is no doubt influenced by a fear factor involving his trainer Tony Martin (well known for a plot) –and he isn’t certain to confirm Galway form with Swnymor (draw 34 – another who has to prove himself on the stamina front and may have a preference for softer ground). Tony Martin did land the race with Leg Spinner in 2007 (an expensive race for the bookies) but that one was effective at further over hurdles

Nearly Caught (draw 5) and Rhombus (35) are others who have stamina to prove amongst the favs though both have looked like they could get further than 2 miles in the past. De Rigueur and Communicator will also be stepping into some unknown territory.

The Ascot Hcap and Goodwood Hcap are the two most similar events in the calendar that would advertise stamina. We can take Sohar ( draw 36) and Ray Ward from the former race this year (latter very unlucky in running) ; Teak (draw 27) and Ray Ward from the latter (pictured fighting that one out)



It looked like the rain would have an effect in this earlier this week and soft ground was likely. It’s currently good with both sunshine and scattered showers possible so could go either way

Those with a big preference for softer ground; Big Easy, Moidore, Swnymor

Chances decreased by rain; Ray Ward, Teak


The one that ticks most boxes for me is Ray Ward. His draw at 32 might be perceived as a negative but he needs holding up anyway. Last time he wasn’t suited by the slow pace and some late rain and under current conditions I expect him to reverse form with Big Easy. His stamina is guaranteed and he could well have gone close to winning the Ascot Stakes earlier in the season but for being terribly hampered on the home turn. He gets a 5lb pull with Teak on Goodwood running – and has Newmarket course form which that rival doesnt

As long as good ground (or faster remains) he looks the best value having been pushed out to 16/1 for his draw. If the rains were to come and the ground to soften then his chance would diminish.

(In this scenario Big Easy and Moidore may become bigger players – though on current ground I do have a little niggle that Moidore wont have quite the pace to stay prominent from his low draw)

For a big priced outsider I look to last years 7th Jonny Delta. A replication of that effort should see him figure in the finish again. He advertised good recent form at Ayr and the same connections came very close to winning this race in 2010 with La Vecchia Scuola – I suspect they have had the race in mind again for some time and he has just scraped in with a nice low weight

Whatever you back though look for the place terms carefully!

At time of writing ¼ 123456 is available with some, 1st 5 with others…those offering ¼ 1234 should be avoided unless the win odds are noticeably higher


1pt ew Ray Ward (BetVictor 18/1 ¼ 12345 or Betfair Sportsbook 16/1 ¼ 123456)

0.5pts ew Jonny Delta (50/1 with 365/Skybet offering ¼ 12345; 40/1 Betfair Sportsbook ¼ 123456)

*RESULT – Neither got too competitive – Ray Ward crept into the race to have a chance but then couldnt quicken with the principals. I was a little unnerved in the morning that his trainer David Simcock didnt tip him on C4 and picked his stablemate and a horse from another stable in front of him! Maybe he was aware that Ray wasn’t in same form as earlier in year? I did think the winner, Big Easy was a big contender idf there was cut in the ground so did get caught by surprise a little as the rains hadn’t arrived. He has a very workable mark when going back over hurdles but this won’t have been missed by anyone so I don’t think we will see hiom overpriced for anything for a while *

LOSS 3pts

For the other big handicap at York at 3.30 Coral Sprint Trophy

A highly competitive race with many capable at listed or even Group 3 level. Aetna has good course form and is bound to be popular but too skinny for me in such a race at around 7/2.

With soft ground looking likely, I am swayed towards my Ayr Gold Cup pick Supplicant, back on the sort of ground which suits him most. He lost all his low draw advantage at Ayr with a tardy start and never got into the race but showed shortly afterwards at Ripon that his time wasn’t far off. A Group 2 winner as a 2yo when conditions were soft, his mark has gradually slipped this season and Jack Garrity’s 5lb claim is an added bonus


At even bigger odds I can’t ignore the price about Arnold Lane who was rated 107 this time last year and gets 97 here. 7 furlongs is probably more his trip but the softer ground might blunt a few others. He won’t have been suited by the small field and having to make the running last time, and earlier season form over 6 furlongs and fast ground was always going to see him at a disadvantage

I would have preferred to see one of his regular riders on board but 50/1 is very big when you see how much better off he is with Spinatrix and Highland Colori from Doncaster on soft ground last year (16lbs for 4 lengths and 12lb for 5.5 lengths respectively)


1pt ew Supplicant 16/1 (365)

0.5 pts ew Arnold Lane 50/1 (Betfair Sportsbook)


Supplicant was moutning a challenge when become embroiled in a barging match and losing position. In truth I’m not sure it cost him a place anyway. Arnold Lane ran ok but just out of the money – 7 furlongs on this mark should see him returning to the winners enclosure but not sure if there is a race left for him this year *

LOSS 3pts

Thanks for reading and wishing a profitable weekend to all

Comments as usual most welcome


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Posted by on October 10, 2014 in Uncategorized


Arc weekend 2014

A bumper weekend in store and too much to tweet so thoughts for the main races that take my eye over Arc weekend

2.05 Ascot
Hard to escape the claims of Muthmir even at his short price here having skipped a Group 1 race for this. He looked a Group 1 horse last time and should be a level above the opposition here. Justice Day is a nice type at this grade but has a tough ask for a 3yo in not getting any weight from the year older selection
Selection: Muthmir 4pts 5/4 or better

UPDATE * The rains came and Muthmir became a Non Runner* (stakes returned)
3.50 Ascot
Highland Acclaim was always in the wrong place last time at Ayr – having to come from behind away from the stands rail never gave him much chance but he still looked the one to take out of the race for the future. The extra furlong here should suit and he’s just preferred over American Hope who has also been unlucky this season and has run well here twice in defeat.
Selection; Highland Acclaim 1 pt ew 7/1 or better

UPDATE: Softer ground didnt help Highland Acclaim’s chances and he never got very competitive – needs a return to decent ground or that may be his season over (loss 2 pts)
2.55 Newmarket
I backed a different horse when Local Time won last time and was surprised how easily she won. Immediate impression was that she was a Group class filly and although it’s a furlong less here and this is not an all weather track, I think she should be vying for favouritism with Godolphin’s other runner Yodelling
She opened at 6/1 earlier today and as I write 4/1 is beginning to disappear so the value is starting to wain
Selection; Local Time 2pts win 4/1 or better if still available

UPDATE: Local Time didn the business but it was a close call and had me sweating until close home. Two withdrawals at the start meant a R4 deuction of 25p in £ – 4/1 becoming 3/1 but still somewhat better than the SP return of 7/4 (profit 6pts)
3.05 Redcar
Limato stands some way ahead of these on form and despite the big field seems a solid fav at 7/4. The only threat I can really see is one he has to give weight to – Mattmu. Some firms offer ¼ odds 1234 here but I will struggle to get on with any of them – or else I would be availing myself of some of their 7/1 with those terms
Selection ; Limato 2pts 7/4 or better (dont ignore Mattmu ew ¼ 1234 7/1 or better if available)

UPDATE; No sweating here as Limato cruised home to get 3.5 pts profit. As high as 9/4 was avaialble in morning with softer ground expected but this didnt really materialise and he was punted heavily on the track to end up with a 6/5 SP return

Prix de l’Abbaye (1.00)
I think some firms have overreacted to the effect of the draw here in the idea that low numbers have a big advantage. That may be true on soft ground but when it’s Good( like it most probably will be on Sunday) the evidence doesn’t support this so much
In the last 10 years when ground has been similar, Desert Lord and Var both made all from stalls 12 and 13 respectively (with similar drawn horses following them home).
With a lot of pace coming from the higher draws again this year I am sticking with old friend Stepper Point (stall 14) who has been pushed out to a nice double figure price because of his perceived disadvantage. Can expect to see him and Cotai Glory forcing it early from the higher numbers and on a course that favours front runners I hope he will stay there. Sole Power and Catcall both have to be covered up to arrive late on the scene – they have to be potent dangers but on this course they will both need that bit of luck in running to get there
With some firms offering ¼ odds 1234 that is the play here
Selection; Stepper Point 1 pt ew 10/1 (Hills ¼ 1234)

RESULT ; Stepper Point got to the front as planned but couldnt maintain it and finished unplaced – possibly went too fast too early LOSS 2pts

Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (3.30)
The centrepiece of the weekend and a really difficult conundrum to solve – risking the house is not advised!
Some firms do offer ¼ 1234 and that must be used for ew plays
The draw has again affected prices today with history on the side of a single figure box.
With just one likely front runner in Montviron, tactical awareness could come to the fore, and I think that is against the three Japanese raiders who come here without having run a trial this year and don’t use local jockeys. (Just A Way looked ultra smart earlier in year but stamina here is a big question mark)
I have a feeling that Taghrooda may have left her chances behind after a hard race at York last time when losing here unbeaten record so the shortlist comes down to these 4 in their betting order:
ECTOT. Chosen by Benoist instead of the stamina questionable Avenir Certain. His trial looked the most impressive with a telling bust of pace to go from last to first. Rated as better than his previous Arc winner Helissio by his trainer Elie Lellouche, the one main question mark is will he get into trouble trying to come from the back of the pack here. Draw 10
TREVE. Last year’s impressive winner hasn’t been herself this year but has started to please Criquette Head in the final build up. Thierry Jarnet has won the race 3 times and his experience could be vital. Her win last year is still the best piece of form in the race so she can’t be totally discounted here. Draw 3
RULER OF THE WORLD. Last year’s Derby winner was a bit of a forgotten horse until winning his trial in the Prix Foy. It would be ironic to see him and Frankie Dettori to win after both have been previously discounted from the race. Dettori is the most successful Arc winning jockey in the race and now that Ruler of the World has proved he can perform well from the front of a race, I think Frankie can use his stall 6 to optimum use. If the pace isn’t furious he could have the perfect position to kick on for home early and try to steal it
Beaten by jockeyship in the Prix Foy and the representative of always to be feared Andre Fabre ( 7 wins in this race). He was easily beaten here last year when the ground was too soft but should have the ground to his liking this time. He had looked really good prior to that and would expect his trainer to have him cherry ripe for this. Being beaten in a trial isn’t a handicap to winning the Arc for Fabre runners as Subotica and Peinter Celebre have previously proved. Draw 4

Given their respective prices selections are both with Hills who again offer the necessary ¼ 1234
Ruler of the World 15/1
Flintshire 25/1

1pt ew each


Treve recaptured last year’s form so at least the shortlist gave out the winner. Flintshire ran a fine race to claim second and provide some profit. Ruler of the World had ideal positioning early but just wasnt good enough at the business end of the race. Looking forward to next year, Kingston Hill ran a fine race from a really bad draw – given a better draw and softer ground he seems tohe immediate one to take out of the race for 2015!

Profit 3.25 pts


Bonne chance to all over the weekend!

Thanks for reading – comments as always most welcome


Saturday evening update:

One small bet to add to the portfolio tomorrow at Longchamp

2.45 Prix de’ Opera

A Group 1 for fillies only but no obvious star in the line up. Ribbons and Sultanina have already won at this Group 1 level but it has to be said that both races were an even lower level than this (Ribbons also raciong on much softer going)

At a big price I’m taking a chance on LAVENDER LANE who hasnt raced on decent going like this since a rather unlucky run in the French Oaks. She wouldnt have beaten the winner that day but would certainly have been closer but for running into a wall of horses in the final furlong. There certainly wouldnt have been much between her and Shamkala who reopposes here but the prices don’t reflect that. I’m willing to forgive her efforts since on much softer ground with the odds available.

Suggestion 0.5pts ew Lavender Lane 22/1 (Hills, Ladbrokes – both offering 1/4 odds 123 on this race)

RESULT; Again Lavender Lane got behind horses and ran into trouble, otherwise she might well have placed. Unfortunately 1pt loss but one to keep in notebook in hopew one day she gets good ground and a good gallop.

Overall Weekend Performance

17 pts staked

24.75 pts returned

7.75 pts profit

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Posted by on October 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

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