Monthly Archives: June 2015

Royal Ascot 2015 – Final Day

Royal Ascot 2015 – Final Day

It’s been fast ground all week at Ascot but there is a real threat of heavy rain coming on Saturday to upset the party.
This makes analysis very hard to do the day before. We could easily have a completely different surface being raced on tomorrow and that could also change the draw bias (which has seemingly favoured low numbers in most big hcaps on the straight course this week)
Thoughts are below but it’s impossible to give any recommended bets until knowing the exact conditions and I’ll be holding fire with most of my bets until as long as possible if the heavens look like opening (will add anything on Twitter during the day tomorrow)

2.30 Chesham Stakes (2yos – 7 fur)
7 furlong races for 2yos will have been very thin on the ground so far this season. Many of the runners have a ‘novicey’ look to them at this stage and will be types that improve with age and distance.
You would think a horse that bears the name of the famous stables would have to be decent and Ballydoyle is the early favourite. That has a lot to do with the Aidan O’Brien/Ryan Moore combination I’m sure. The actual form of his only start is not the best in the race but he is entitled to improve.
Tonkinese has the best form for me and should really be the favourite here. Also from Ireland, the form of his debut third has worked out very well and he has subsequently won over this trip on fast ground. If the rain does arrive it may not be such an issue as his sire Authorised is an influence for soft ground performers
Mark Johnston’s filly Dessertoflife is also worth a mention if the rains come as she has already won over this trip on soft ground. That win was only 6 days ago though so will this race come too soon?
Selection; Tonkinese (4/1 each way with firms offering 1/4 odds 123)

4.05 Wolferton Hcap (4yo+ – 1ml 2 fur)
Niceofyoutotellme is a few pounds well in here if the form of his excellent 3rd in a Sandown Group race is taken at face value. He won’t appreciate any rain that might fall though.
Mahsoob and Collaboration have been ahead of the handicapper so far this season and probably still on the upgrade. The former is 9lb higher for his latest win and hasn’t raced on anything softer than good yet. Collaboration has gone up 7lbs for his latest win and in contrast he seems more effective when the word ‘firm’ isn’t in the going description.
Mount Logan was well behind Collaboration at Epsom on his seasonal reappearance but was involved in a barging match with another runner at the back of the field. He will be a lot better for that run and I can see winning races of his mark of 100 this season. He’s another for whom a lot of rain might be a negative and this trip may just be a bit shy of his best.
I can’t really give a selection here without knowing exactly what ground they will race on

3.40 Hardwicke Stakes (Group 2 – 4yo+ – 1ml 4fur)
With only 7 runners this has now lost its appeal as an each way heat.
I don’t think there is much between Telescope, Eagle Top and Postponed if the ground remains Good or better. I certainly don’t think that Telescope should be around 5/4 while the other two sit around 7/2.
Sir Michael Stoute’s charge (impressive winner of this race last year) won very well last time at Newbury but his rivals there were not of the same class as he faces here.
Anyone who follows my blog religiously will know I like Postponed and I have backed him Ante Post for this race when it was still possible to get each way with 3 places. He’s been running over too short a trip this season and the ground hasn’t been quick enough for him. He’s back over the trip where he comfortably disposed of Snow Sky at York last season
Neither Telescope or Postponed will really want too much rain to be getting in the ground.
Eagle Top has two lengths to make up on Telescope from King George form last season but was very inexperienced then and could well bridge that gap now.
He was given considerate handling on his reappearance and although he has never raced on ground softer than good, both his sire and dam were effective on it.
He could well be the one to be on if the ground becomes softer than good
It’s hard to imagine Hillstar (hampered at a crucial stage in this race last year) being fit enough to win on his seasonal debut
Quite apart from the ground issue there is another problem with this race though – there is no obvious front runner. It could be a messy tactical affair and that would dissuade me more from getting any further involved in this race.
Selection; on Good ground or faster – Postponed but if the rain falls and there is some soft in the description it will be Eagle Top

4.20 Diamond Jubilee Stakes (Group 1 – 4yo+ – 6 fur)
Hard to know how good Australian raider Brazen Beau is who leads the betting (same applies to fellow Antipodean Wandjina). The Aussie hope in Tuesday’s King Stand only managed 13th despite being quite well fancied. I’d much rather rely on previous Ascot winner Mustajeeb but he’s a tiny bit skinny at around 5/1.
Tropics has been around a while and performed well at this level but he looked better than ever on his reappearance winning with a lot in hand despite the margin. A drop of rain will help him more than some of the others and he’ll be my main play if the forecast is right – hopefully 12/1 or more will still be available
I’ve been a fan of Music Master for a long time but he ran so badly at Haydock last time that I can’t support him here. ** since writing I’ve read a valid excuse for his last run – he was wearing a new bit and couldn’t breathe. 20/1 suddenly looks quite tempting!
Selection; Tropics (any rain increases his chances)


5.00 Wokingham Stakes (Hcap – 3yo+ – 6 fur)
Quite possibly this is the most difficult race to solve of the week. 28 runners and hard to dismiss anything totally – with only 12 lbs separating the field on official ratings.
A low draw has been favourable in big field handicaps on the straight course this week – if the rain holds off that has to be advantageous. If the rain does fall heavily who knows where the draw bias will be
I could write something equivalent of War and Peace if I summed up every horse here so will restrict to the three I have at the top of my shortlist:
Gamesome 12/1
Probably the most unexposed in the field, he got going late last time to dead heat for 5th at Newmarket. I think he has the potential to be a bit better than his mark of 100 as he gets more experience. Has a low draw which so far this week has been an advantage and he proably won’t mind a bit of rain
Dinkum Diamond 33/1
This 7yo has been a consistent type all of his life and seems to go on all surfaces. He dead heated for 5th with Gamesome at Newmarket and his mark is 1lb lower. The real standout is the jockey though with Edward Greatrex taking another 7lbs off his back. I’ve mentioned this boy before and he really is great value for his claim – a jockey going places. The claim effectively makes him bottom weight in this race with 8st 11lb on his back . He also has a low draw and I think he should be much less than the quotes of 25/1 -33/1 I have seen today
Robert le Diable 14/1
An interesting French raider who may be on the opposite side of the track in stall 20. He won’t be bothered by rain either and his mark of 104 is about 4-5lb below where I think it should be on his run behind Mecca’s Angel at Longchamp
I have backed all 3 of these each way already taking as many places as I can find offered. In such a race ¼ 12345 is a must have but take note of firms like Paddy Power who pay first 6

5.35 Queen Alexandra Stakes (4yo + 2ml 5fur)
The longest flat race in the calendar always attracts a few no hopers. There are 4 horses in the race with a hcap rating over 100 PLUS the totally unexposed Wicklow Brave from Ireland. His form is all National Hunt based but he looks highly useful when things go right for him.
Ryan Moore has an incredible strike rate riding for Willie Mullins and he may well prevail but at no more than 11/8 he is a very skinny price.
Times Up is getting quite old now and has stamina limitations beyond 2 miles. Oriental Fox hasn’t run for nearly a year so must have had some kind of setback.
We are left with Marzocco and Rawaki as the potential main rivals and I would normally be thinking of them as the each way horses to back. But with both it will be a complete stab in the dark to know if they will stay this trip and I’ll happily pass on this race

*Saturday Morning Update*

It was light drizzle at Ascot this morning but the ground had quickened a little since yesterday. With 6mm forecast before racing that really shouldnt make the ground much different from earlier this week. Hopefully what rain trhere is will just serve enough to keep the sting out of the ground so that it isn’t too firm.

This is good news for Postponed in the Hardwicke. I just hope the race isn’t too tactical and he isn’t forced into making the pace again as in his two starts this season. I do feel he is better coming from just off the pace in a strongly run race. A lack of pace will be just as much of a hinderance to him as it will the rest of the field though – this could all come down to jockeyship

Tonkinese shouldn’t mind the ground either way in the first and in the second race (after a bit more study) if I had to pick one ew at current odds it would probably be First Flight (value compared to Mahsoob on York running)

Tropics and Music Master remain bets in the Golden Jubilee with Hills paying 1/4 1234. Tropics wouldn’t have minded softer ground but hius record on Good to Firm is quite impressive. He saw too much daylight in this race last year and hope to see him pounce late on here.

Gamesome is being well backed in the Wokingham and the subject of Pricewise last night. He’s plenty short enough for such a competitive handicap but I’d really prefer to be on a low drawn horse now after what we have seen this week.

My one recommendation comes in that race with the previously mentioned Dinkum Diamond. It’s that 7lb claim that I really like and we know he is suited by this race as was 3rd in it on fast ground in 2013. He effectively carries a 4lb lower mark today and has shown no signs this season that he is on the downgrade.

I think he has a sound chance to hit the frame again from his low draw (Watchable in stall 1 likely to add some pace to that side as he did in Ayr Gold Cup)

Recommendation 0.75pts ew Dinkum Diamond – 28/1 (1/4 odds 12345 with 365, Sky, Tote/Betfred, BetVictor, Ladbrokes)

Good luck for the day and hope it’s been a successful week
Thanks for reading



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Royal Ascot 2015 – Day 4

Royal Ascot 2015 – Day 4

Despite the watering on Wednesday night , the ground remained fairly quick  today and we can expect similar on Friday’s card

The meeting is being dominated by jockey Ryan Moore so far with an unprecedented 8 wins after only 3 days. This does mean that his mounts are becoming shorter odds than they should theoretically be – and therefore bad value. On the plus side that can increase the odds on the others!

Onto Friday’s races:

2.30 Albany Stakes (Group 3 – 2yo fillies – 6 furlongs)
A relatively new race at the meeting but it’s already looking better than a Group 3. The Queen Mary is for the speedier fillies and this race is for those who look more like 1,000 Guineas types for next season.
Wesley Ward has two runners from the US – Back at The Ranch and Laxfield Road and once again its impossible to know the form of either (the latter won her only start by 11 lengths!) The Ward stable have had most success with their speedsters at this meeting however and over 6 furlongs there has been less success.
Illuminate seems to be really liked by the Hannon team but the markets are fully aware of that reputation with a price hovering just above 3/1
It’s a tricky race but I think French raider, Spanish Romance may be the one that’s a little overpriced. Eoghan O’Neill used to train in the UK with great success (Vital Equine 2nd in the 2,000 Guineas) and I doubt he would be sending this one across the Channel unless he thought she was up to the grade. She’s unbeaten in France over 5 furlongs on softish ground – but her pedigree suggests that 6 furlongs and better ground should be all the better for her
A small ew bet probably for me if 10/1 is available

(Betfred/Tote offering 1/4 1234 on this race so far while all others pay just 1st 3)

3.05 King Edward VII Stakes (Group 2 – 3yo colts & geldings – 1ml 4fur)
Stravagante was an easy winner of a good handicap on Derby Day and is the early fav here. You would think Ryan Moore had the choice to ride him again though and is on Aidan O’Brien’s Ol’Man River instead. This one has been very disappointing so far this season but the stable and jockey are in such good form this week that anything is possible with him.
Festive Fare was backed to beat subsequent Derby winner Golden Horn at Newmarket. Not surprisingly he came up short but he won’t meet anything of the same calibre here. Balios looked a very promising type on his reappearance at HQ also
I’m struggling to choose between these 4 and that’s a definite sign not to get involved in this race!
No Bet

3.40 Commonwealth Cup (Group 1 – 3yos – 6 furlongs)
A new race to the Royal meeting that’s effectively a 3yo spring championship. The chief protagonists – Limato, Tiggy Wiggy and Hootenanny – were all fantastic 2yos who are out to prove that they have continued their progress into their 3yo season.
Hootenanny definitely had a physical advantage over his rivals when he won last year’s Windsor Castle and I expect that to be negated a lot more this year.
Tiggy Wiggy has been campaigned at longer trips so far this season. The drop back to 6 furlongs has to be a plus.
Limato is a small horse and there is a chance that others can progress past him this season. He looked so good last season and I still he is the one to beat on the form of his reappearance win at this track. He was subsequently beaten at Haydock by Adaay (who reopposes) but the ground was too soft today. Such is his action that fast ground will probably always be necessary for him and he’s got it here.
Of the bigger prices, Home of the Brave should be suited by a drop in trip – though whether he will have his own way in front is questionable. French raider Goken isn’t that far off these on 2yo form and ran well from a bad draw against his elders in last season’s Prix de l’Abbaye. 5 furlongs may just suit him better but 33/1 is a little insulting to his chance.
The recommendation is Limato with conditions back in his favour. With some firm offering ¼ odds 1234, he’s the one I really struggle to see him finishing out of the frame.


2pts ew Limato 11/2 (ladbrokes paying 1/4 1234)


5/1 with 1/4 1234 is also acceptable with several other firms – do not use firms offering 1/4 123 though as this makes a considerable difference to the value

Current prices and place terms available here

4.20 Coronation Stakes (Group 1 – 3yo fillies – 1 mile)
At the head of the market, I rate Found and Ervedya ahead of Lucida. The problem is fast ground for both of these two and it’s what dissuades me from looking at the race much further. If Found copes with the ground, she is the most likely winner in my eyes though but expect her price to be short with the Ryan Moore/O’Brien factor
Arabian Queen won very nicely at Epsom when finding plenty in front and could reach the frame if any of the principals falter on the surface.
Those behind Sperry and Yasmeen at York didn’t do much to advertise the form in the Sandringham Hcap on Wednesday
No bet

5.00 Duke of Edinburgh Stakes Hcap (3yo + 1ml 4fur)
A difficult handicap where most of the runners are exposed enough. Igider is one that certainly doesn’t fit that statement. He didn’t beat much last time and has been raised 9lbs but won with such authority that he could still be well in – some of his 3yo form is looking quite decent now.
There is a big outsider though I will take a punt on. Peter Hedger is more of a jumping trainer but his Continuum is very effective on the flat, will be much sharper for his seasonal debut and has won off his current mark of 96. That was over slightly further so I’m hoping there is some decent pace in this to let his stamina come into play. He’s closely matched with Dashing Star on a couple of pieces of form last season (including when beaten 6 lengths in this race), but with Tom Marquand’s 5lb claim tomorrow he is arguably handicapped to come out slightly ahead. Despite this he is available at nearly 3 times the price and simply too big.
1pt ew Igider @8/1 (Betfair Sportsbook/Paddy Power both paying 1/4 odds 12345)
0.5pts ew Continuum @40/1 (365,Skybet, Stan James, Ladbrokes – all paying 1/4 odds 1234)

5.35 Queens Vase (3yo – 2 miles)
3yos don’t get the chance to race at this trip until today so stamina is an unknown for all. Aloft has the highest rating in the field and is a short priced fav – especially as he has yet to race this season (pedigree on dam’s side doesn’t scream of stamina either)
Fabricate is a nicely progressive type running for The Queen. Stamina isn’t guaranteed on the sire’s side but his dam was second in the Oaks so there is some encouragement there. He still looked a bit immature when winning his last start at Haydock but is well worth this step up on grade.
The one that interest me most though is the second highest rated in the field, Great Glen, whose pedigree has stamina on both sides. He hasn’t won a race as yet but has been racing against some better sorts than he meets here and was only a whisker behind Aloft on his debut last season.
With the stamina issue all round it’s another race for small investments though but he’s worth a small dabble at anything 10/1 or above

Best of luck once more and thanks for reading

(prices correct at time of publishing 1815 BST 18/06)


Posted by on June 18, 2015 in Uncategorized


Royal Ascot 2015 – Day 3

Royal Ascot 2015 – Day 3

It’s Ladies Day on Thursday with the Royal meeting’s centrepiece – the Ascot Gold Cup – holding sway.
The ground was very fast today and so watering is planned for Wednesday night. Just how much water goes on and what it does to the going will have a major impact on some races tomorrow – particularly the showpiece.
On an already tricky card, this doubt about the going makes the scrutiny of each race no easier

2.30 Norfolk Stakes (Group 2 – 2yos – 5 furlongs)
On paper this looks a shoot out between the Richard Hannon pair of King of Rooks and Log Out Island. Both these two had the same owner earlier this season but after impressive wins have been sold to Qatar and Dubai interests respectively.
King of Rooks’ form of his last win has been advertised this week by the performances of the beaten Steady Pace, Areen and most notably Buratino. It would be dangerous to take that totally at face value though no matter how impressive he was. The winner very much had the run of the race compared to the other three – and there can be no doubt that Buratino is massively improved since.
Buratino’s form behind Log Out Island earlier this season is also no real reflection on his prowess now. There was much to like about Log Out Island’s victory though – and the time was very good.
In the run up to Ascot last week it seemed clear that team Hannon wanted to keep this pair apart. It was always going to be difficult for Godolphin to run Log Out Island in the Coventry on Tuesday though where they had other interests.
Owners must have had the final say in him running here and I think a stiff 5 furlongs is probably right for Log Out Island anyway.
I don’t see a lot between this pair but the price on Log Out Island at 11/4 is much the most attractive and he’s my pick to prevail (with his rival close to Evens in comparison)
If there’s an outsider lurking it could be James Given’s unbeaten Jazz Legend. This trainer’s charges usually improve for their debuts and he’s by the same sire (Scat Daddy) that Wesley Ward’s US juvenile stars are usually by

3.05 Tercentenary Stakes (Group 3 – 3yos – 1ml 2 fur)
Roger Charlton used the same Newbury handicap that his star Al Kazeem won as a 3yo to unleash Time Test this season. He certainly looked up to Group 3 standard there and will take some beating. His price is ludicrously low on what he has achieved though.
Bocca Bacciata, a filly from Ireland, has probably achieved most and is probably better value. I am worried that she might prefer easier ground though so much of her chance will depend on what watering is done
Unlikely I’ll be betting on this heat

3.40 Ribblesdale Stakes (Group 2 – 3yo fillies – 1ml 4fur)
While there are some nice types for the future here, the Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Pleascach is the clear standout.

That win was almost certainly over a trip short of her best. Jim Bolger nominated the Irish Derby as her target after such is the esteem she is held in (described as the best mile and a half filly she has trained)
There may have been a bit of salesmanship in those comments as she was subsequently snapped up by Godolphin.
I still think she is someway above these and has to be the selection although betting at odds on isn’t really my thing.. Curvy and Pamona are nice types who both seemed a bit of time to find their strides last time – I’m not sure if Ascot with its short straight will be the ideal track for either
For a recommendation I’m going to combine her with my fancy in the first race

1.5pts win double (Ladbrokes slightly best as I write)

Log Out Island 11/4

Pleascach 10/11

4.20 Gold Cup (Group 1 – 4yo+ – 2ml 4fur)
The ground situation is crucial here as favourite Forgotten Rules is a doubtful starter if it’s deemed too quick.
Until we know if he’s in or out it’s hard to analyse this race.
I have backed Vent De Force ante post and think he’ll run a solid race nonetheless. He was hampered behind Mizzou and for me there isn’t much between the pair.
Mizzou is a shorter price though and I’m just a little concerned that after connections nominated Sandown as his next target after his Ascot win, he then didn’t turn up for that race

The last two races on the card are both handicaps with 3yos only and littered with improving types who could be ahead of their handicap marks.
A low draw seemed best in today’s Royal Hunt Cup so that must have a slight advantage in the Britannia at 5.00. (Again though watering could have an effect on this)
Rotherwick was the only one to try and give ‘handicap good thing’ Jack Hobbs a race on his debut. A drop in trip here maybe not quite what he needs though.
Mutarakez got going very late before winning with a bit in hand at Haydock and does looks a Group horse in the making. By not winning too far he has only gone up 6lbs for that win and could still have some room for manoeuvre off a mark of 101. He is top of my shortlist from those at the front of the betting with 10/1 currently available
At a big price I am also drawn to Room Key who might have finished closer at Sandown last time but for traffic problems. He was thought highly enough of to start off his season in the 2,000 Guineas but has enough quality about him to make me think his mark of 101 is workable for a horse who still has some improvement in him. It’s the high draw in 27 that may be an issue here but at 40/1 I would be prepared to take a small chance.
It’s no surprise on a race as hard as this that many firms offer 5 places and a couple are already ¼ odds 123456!

The final race is not much easier. A win for Time Test earlier in the day would be a boost for his Newbury victims Dissolution, Dutch Uncle and Space Age. Of the principals I prefer the progressive King Bolete however who I suspect has some pounds in hand of his current mark of 89. Taper Tantrum looked a winner waiting to happen at Epsom 12 days ago but that’s plenty soon enough to be running again.
Of the bigger odds, top weight Rocky Rider catches the eye with the excellent Edward Greatrex claiming 7lb off his back. He’s pedigree is full of stamina and so I can see improvement coming at this trip.33/1 is worth a squeak each way

Best of luck!


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Posted by on June 17, 2015 in Uncategorized


Royal Ascot 2015 – Day 2

Royal Ascot 2015 – Day 2

Quickening ground on Day 1 saw a few withdrawals – I suppose we could expect some watering tonight to try to take some sting out but wouldn’t anticipate too much change in conditions for Wednesday’s card:

A run down of the races now and two races with recommended bets:

2.30 Jersey Stakes – Group 3 (3yos only ) 7 fur
Both trainer Richard Hannon and jockey Richard Hughes have gone on record to say that Ivawood is their best chance of a winner this week. He does have the highest rating in the field but not once his 5lb penalty is applied. That honour then goes to Bossy Guest who was only half a length behind in the 2,000 Guineas.
The 7 furlong trip may well be in Ivawood’s favour but it doesn’t account for such a big price disparity. The Hannon horse may well win but having to give weight all round he makes no appeal at all at odds around 13/8.
I’m far more liking Bossy Guest at their respective prices – and also the filly Fadhayyil who looked a non-stayer in the final furlong of the 1,000 Guineas, and is the sort I can see progressing through the season.
I’ll probably be searching around for small ew bets on both of them at 10/1 or more.

3.05 Queen Mary Stakes – Group 2 (2yo fillies) 5 fur
Kurland looked quite a nice filly earlier this season at Newmarket but I have to wonder if she has had a setback as she hasn’t been seen since.
Besharah is unbeaten and disputing favouritism but I didn’t find her last win that impressive when she was a very short odd-on favourite.
Much the most impressive filly I have seen this season is Easton Angel and I’m already involved with this one Ante Post. She missed the break last time in a good race at Beverley but still won comfortably in a good time from Opal Tiara (who came out best of the stands side runners in todays Windsor Castle). A low draw of 1 in such a big field may not be a negative as that was needed in today’s Windsor Castle – and she has the very speedy Silk Bow drawn next door to give her a tow into the race. If she were from a fashionable Southern stable I would expect her to be much shorter – but Northern trainer Michael Dods already has a top flight sprinter in Meccas Angel on his cv.
The potential fly in the ointment is US raider Acapulco. Trainer Wesley Ward’s comments over the weekend make her sound a bit like Pegasus and it’s that hype (plus the booking of Ryan Moore) that has seen her price drop massively in the last few days. If she is good as is claimed they may all be playing for second place – but her form on the track is meaningless for actual analysis. (Ward’s runner in the Windsor Castle today blitzed the field for speed early before fading close home)
The other Wesley Ward runner, Bruised Orange has had a big drift on her price on exchanges today and is not being talked up in the same way by her trainer
2pts ew Easton Angel 6/1 (Paddy Power, Betfair Sportsbook….both firms offering ¼ odds 1234)

easton angel

( I wouldn’t put anyone off having a win only saver on Acapulco in case the hype is accurate)

3.40 Duke of Cambridge Stakes – Group 2 (4yo+ fillies and mares) 1 mile
Integral is a short priced favourite to replicate her win in this race last year but she is another who has a 5lb penalty to overcome (something she didn’t have last year). That makes her price of around 11/10 too short for me.
Rizeena is held by the fav on Newmarket form last year but she has never operated well on that course and could get closer this time.
It’s Euro Charline I would give the nod to though. She was a progressive filly last season and ran well in Dubai on her reappearance. Proven at Group 1 level, I struggle to see her out of the frame at this Group 2 level and so has each way appeal at around 5/1 with those bookies offering the one quarter odds a place concession. Like the favourite she has competed well against the colts in her time and she comes out best of these when official ratings are adjusted against penalties
1.5pts ew Euro Charline 6/1 (Paddy Power)


*Weds morning update*

A Non Runner in this race (Evita Peron) leaves 7 runners and so the favourable each way terms paying 1st 3 no longer apply. This has taken the shine of this bet a little and a small win only may be the better option now

4.20 Prince of Wales’s Stakes – Group 1 (4yo +) 1ml 2 fur
A real international flavour to this race with runners from Australia (Criterion) and Japan (Spielberg) mixing it with the European contingent. Sadly US hope California Chrome had to be withdrawn from the race.
It’s hard to judge the form of the two long distance raiders and that only adds to the trickiness of this as a betting heat.
Free Eagle and Ectot both have the potential to do more than they have so far delivered on the track. Free Eagle remains very lightly raced for a 4yo while Ectot’s propensity to pull too hard is a negative. Western Hymn is the form horse so far this season but the better ground gives Cannock Chase every chance to reverse form earlier this year at Sandown.
The Grey Gatsby is the one with solid Group 1 form at this trip and normally would be the one to find any weaknesses in the others. However he seems a better horse with Ryan Moore on board and is deserted by him for this that’s a concern for me
A big puzzle to solve and one I am happy to sit out and watch.
(if I were pushed to pick one it would be Cannock Chase with the ground back in his favour)

5.00 Royal Hunt Cup (handicap) 1 mile
A seemingly impossible 30 runner handicap to solve.
I could make a shortlist of a dozen and probably still miss the winner. At the front of the betting, Ayaar, Spark Plug and GM Hopkins are all closely matched on form this season but all have risen slightly in the weights since. Chil the Kite would have a definite squeak if he could recapture the form of his second in the race last year. He would be the selection for ‘an interest’ only with each way betting at around 20/1 (look for firms offering 5 places or even 6…it’s going to be needed in a race like this!)

5.35 Sandringham Hcap (3yo fillies only) 1 mile
The card ends with another tricky handicap for fillies only. It’s not much easier than the previous race.
At the top of the handicap, Osaila and Jellicle Ball are down in grade after being fancied failures in the 1,000 Guineas.
Always Smile has gone up 11lb in the ratings after maintaining her unbeaten record at Doncaster last time out. I’m not sure she did enough there to merit a very short price of around 3/1 for a race like this.
I slightly prefer Godolphin’s other runner Risen Sun and Karl Burke’s Mothers Finest at double figure odds – but again it’s not a race to get heavily involved with.

*Wednesday morning update*

Harry Herbert seemend very keen on Osaila on C4 this morning and although she is top weight she does have the class to be a factor. She didn’t look too happy before the race in the 1,000 Guineas so if we can ignore that poor run she will have every chance. Her Newmarket defeat of New Providence in April has been boosted by the runner up since – and she has winning form on this course.

Thanks for reading – comments are always welcomed

best of luck


(prices correct at 1755 BST 16/06)


A decent day today though it would have been an excellent one without a certain American beast!

Easton Angel was up against a 2yo that looked more like a 4yo in Acapulco but was comfortably ahead of the opposition. She proved she is Group 1 standard anyway and will get her recompense later in the season I am sure.

Euro Charline was withdrawn at the start so no money was lost there.

Recommended bets therefore were stakes of 7pts and a return of 8pts (1pt profit)

Elsewhere highlighted horse Osaila won the last. Bossy Guest, Fadhayyil and Chil the Kite all reached the frame

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Posted by on June 16, 2015 in Queen Mary, Royal Ascot


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Royal Ascot 2015 – Day 1

Royal Ascot 2015 – Day 1

A very good opening card kicks off Royal Ascot 2015 on Tuesday.
Apologies but having been away for a few days this is a very brief summation of my thoughts for Day 1. I will try to go more in-depth for the rest of the week.

2.30 This could be the race of the week with 4 of the 8 runners all having a serious chance. I’d be more inclined to be lay Able Friend of the 4. A combination of travelling over from Hong Kong and this being a completely different kind of track to what he’s used to are factors against him. French ace Solow doesn’t have those concerns but the ground is likely to be quicker than he has been used to. The home team of Night of Thunder and Toormore are closely matched on Newbury form. I came away thinking that Toormore could reverse form from that next time but as the ground is a bit faster it might be in Night of Thunder’s favour now.
It all adds up to no bet but if pushed I would suggest Night of Thunder each way (Paddy Power giving money back on win part if finishing 2nd or 3rd)

3.05 Another no bet race is the Coventry Stakes. Round Two has been compared favourable to previous winner/ Guineas winner Dawn Approach by his trainer. It’s impossible to assess the US challenger Finnegan but Wesley Ward 2yos are sometimes physically ahead of their counterparts here. Air Force Blue should improve for his debut and can’t be ignored. From a price perspective, marginal choice would be Buratino at 9/1 (especially if ¼ 1234 were available at that). He didn’t beat much last time at Epsom and the time wasn’t great but he looked much improved.

3.40 Mecca’s Angel would be hard to beat on soft ground but on this surface I could see here being taken out and Rule 4s hitting the rest. Sole Power should have his conditions to suit but at 8 isn’t getting any younger. I opposed him last year to no avail. I won’t be doing the same this time but won’t be betting him either. Shamal Wind represents Australia and is impossible to assess. It’s surprising to see G Force running here instead of the 6 furlong race on Saturday but I can see him hitting the frame and has some appeal with firms offering 4 places each way at odds in excess of 10/1

4.20 Least competitive race of the day and I struggle to see beyond double 2,000 Guineas winner Gleneagles – as long as he’s over his exertions from his last win. Not a bet at odds on though

5.00 Ray Ward got hopelessly hampered in this race last year and would have gone close to winning otherwise. He was given a warm up over a totally inadequate trip last time which should tee him up nicely for this. The odds have got skimpy though after some initial quotes of 12/1 to 14/1 at the 5 day decs. He is top of my shortlist along with Broxbourne who has a very similar profile to Nicky Henderson’s recent winner of this race, Veiled.

5.35 The one betting recommendation race of the day. Soapy Aitken missed the break and ran very green last time but was still far too good for the useful Silver Wings. I think he would have been very competitive in the better class Norfolk Stakes on Thursday so this race should theoretically be easier pickings. I would be stronger on him again but for the large number of runners and a possibly poor draw. On the other side of the track I’m backing my bet up with Opal Tiara who I think was beaten by a real good ‘un in Easton Angel at Beverley last time ( time better than Lathom on the same card). Take the winner out and she would have beaten a decent field by 4 lengths and I’m hopeful she can show that formline to be strong
Backing with firms who offer 4 places here the recommendation is :
1.5 pts ew Soapy Aitken @6/1 (Paddy Power, Skybet, Betfair Sportsbook)
0.75pts ew Opal Tiara @20/1 (Paddy Power, Ladbrokes)

Best of luck all with whatever you back



Although not a recommended bet Buratino’s chances were highlighted so hopefully a few followed that one in.

In the last, Soapy Aitken held every chance before finishing 4th to pick up place money. Opal Tiara won her own private race on the stands side of the track but the draw was all against her

Recommended stakes 4.5 pts, returns 3.75pts

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Posted by on June 15, 2015 in Royal Ascot, Wesley Ward


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Epsom Classics weekend

It’s Classics weekend at Epsom as the cream of middle distance 3yos battle it out over the Epsom Downs. The fillies start it off on Friday in the Oaks and then the colts do battle in Saturday’s Derby.
Epsom has been hosting both races since the late 18th century and it’s a course that has it quirks. It’s a fairly sharp track and the sweeping downhill turn into Tattenham Corner, plus a constant camber down the home straight, require a horse with good balance. Inability to handle the track isn’t uncommon and can be the downfall of some (perhaps none more so than when joint fav Lyphard nearly ended up on the stands side in 1972).
It’s also a big test of a horse’s temperament with the huge crowds beside the rails throughout .
Stamina is the other main factor to consider as this will be the first time many have attempted the 12 furlong trip before now. A few will already be proven but most trail races are over shorter so there is always an unknown element. Breeding will be the biggest clue but if the pedigree is loaded too much with stamina it can also be a negative as horses may not possess enough speed to hold the handy position they will need into the home stretch
At the moment (on Thursday afternoon) the ground is described as Good which should be fair to all. There is a risk of thunderstorms on Friday and whether or not they arrive could have a significant impact on Saturday’s race – more of that later

Onto Friday’s big race:
4.30 Investec Oaks 1ml 4fur
The 3yo fillies look a good bunch this year and the division could well be stronger than the colts for once.
11 runners are due to go to post and it’s possible to give theoretical chances to all – though I am inclined to rule out the two outsiders – Bellajeu and Qualify – as their form doesn’t match up to the others’ standards.
Highest official rating belongs to 1,000 Guineas heroine Legatissimo who outstayed her rivals at Newmarket. She has already proven herself over further than a mile (winner over 9.5 furlongs) but isn’t a guaranteed stayer at this trip on her sire’s side.
I’m also not sure if this was the strongest of Guineas this year and that the Irish equivalent may have had more strength in-depth (Malabar ran in both and was beaten further at The Curragh).
Ryan Moore has chosen her in advance of the candidates from the Aidan O’Brien stable so that has to count against them but it would have been hard for him to pass by a Classics winner.
Jack Naylor represents the Irish 1,000 Guineas form and also holds Legatissimo on 2yo form. At their respective prices I would prefer her but it is a worry that the Irish race was less than 2 weeks previous and she may not have had enough time to get over it.
The Musidora at York looked a good trail to me at the time with Star of Seville edging out Together Forever. I backed the latter immediately after as she was having her debut and giving the winner 4 lbs. Stamina isn’t guaranteed on the dam’s side but she looked like she had inherited her sire’s staying powers more there. She seems to go on all ground so I am still hopeful she can reach the frame and reverse form with Star Of Seville on level terms
It was a surprise however that Frankie Dettori chose to ride Jazzi Top for John Gosden instead of Star of Seville and that does make me wonder about the York form a little more. Jazzi Top’s half sister Izzi Top was 3rd in this race but subsequently looked more of a 10 furlong filly. She’s certainly a decent filly but I’m inclined to think this trip may just be over Jazzi Top’s optimum distance also.
Diamondsandrubies is the perceived second string of Aidan O’brien on jockey bookings. Having Seamie Heffernan on board should not be a negative as he steered the stable’s 20/1 outsider Was to victory in this race in 2012. More of a problem for Diamondsandrubies could be the ground. All of her best form is on softer ground – her mother Quarter Moon was second in this race and also preferred some give. If the heavens opened and there was any great deterioration on Friday it should be greatly to her benefit.
Lady Of Dubai and Al Naamah are from respected stables but both need to step up a little on what they have achieved so far.
Last but not least is the one contender who displayed a real ‘wow’ factor on her only run this year – Crystal Zvezda.
Sir Michael Stoute hasn’t won this race since 1987 (his 1989 runaway winner Aliysa later disqualified) but I think it highly significant he has pitched this filly in this grade so early.
She comes from a good family and has two siblings who have been close to Group One level – Crystal Cappella and Hillstar.
Like them she started this season on a very workable handicap rating. Unlike them this wasn’t exploited and she was thrown straight into listed company at Newbury. She showed an electric change of pace to go from last to first in a few strides there.
The two siblings improved throughout their 3yo careers to reach Group level and if Crystal Zvezda shows anything like the same improvement as them (her sire Dubawi also produces stock who tend to progress as they age) she really could be quite a really exciting filly at the highest level.
She ran as straight as gun barrel at Newbury- a good sign that she is well balanced enough for Epsom. She has also a win to her name at Lingfield – a course fairly similar in characteristic to Epsom .


Ryan Moore rode that day but is claimed by owners elsewhere here. Richard Hughes has secured a plum ride in his final season and I would expect a similar late flourish as he produced on Talent to win this in 2013
The one negative is here is most definitely the odds. A day after her Newbury win 8/1 was widely available. She has since contracted to such an extent that no more than 7/2 currently.
This is very skinny on what she has actually achieved on a pure form basis. She is my selection for the race as I think she is the one in the field who has the potential to be exceptional – but I cannot put her up as a recommendation as I don’t think the price is of sufficient value any more
Selection ; Crystal Zvezda


There is one recommendation on Friday’s back-up card in the opener at 2pm.
Odeliz has performed consistently well at Gorp 2/3 level without winning but has been found a golden opportunity to rectify that here. This may be a Group 3 race but it has the general look of a lower level Listed Race in the field it has attracted
She was a close second in this race this year to a horse that would be comfortably better than anything she’ll meet this time. That came after a good run at York and Odeliz has had the same preparation this year. At York she travelled very well but looked to be outstayed – this shorter trip should be ideal and she is proven over the course.
There is only one rival on a similar rating in the field (all the rest rated 7lb or more behind). That one is last year’s 1,000 Guineas runner up Lightning Thunder.
Lightning Thunder does have a regressive profile though and hasn’t matched her Guineas form since. The form has been going downhill and there was very little fizz to be seen on her seasonal debut when well down the field at Lingfield.
I think Odeliz is overpriced at 3/1 as she is probably perceived to be a ‘professional runner-up’ to some. I think that’s unfair and she is in no way unreliable – she has just run consistently well against horses who have had better ratings.

She’s recommended as I think she should be 2/1 or less for this race
Recommended bet
3pts win Odeliz 3/1 (generally available at 1520 BST 04/06/2015)

Onto Saturday’s card now:
Thunderstorms did arrive on Friday morning and enough rain fell to take any sting out of the ground but without making the going soft.
No further watering seems to be planned and so with the forecast largely clear now it’s possible the ground could be a bit quicker tomorrow.
The Derby is due to start at 4.30pm and here are my thoughts on the 12 declared runners (with best price available at time of writing 1710 GMT 06/05/2015))
Carbon Dating 250/1
Terimon reached the frame at a whopping 500/1 in 1989 but at least he had won a race prior to running here. Carbon Dating’s best effort has been 3rd of 4 and his form is some way behind the rest of these. 1000/1 would be nearer the mark.
Elm Park 8/1
One of the winter favourites for the race virtue of two solid wins in the Racing Post Trophy and the Royal Lodge. That marked him down as the best staying 2yo last season. He was withdrawn from the 2,000 Guineas because of fast ground and made a good reappearance at York behind Golden Horn. I doubt fast ground will see a non-appearance here as this was always his big aim rather than the Guineas. Should improve on York run but did cause some concern with watchers when working on the track last week – changing his legs continually. I have seen quotes from rider Andrea Atzeni likening it to ‘riding a snake’ which doesn’t bode well. Trainer Andrew Balding didn’t seem too worried in that he often does this anyway but it’s a concern that has seen his price drift a little in the last week
Epicuris 20/1
French raider who has had problems with the starting stalls – so much so that it prevented him from running in the French Derby and he had to be rerouted here. Has a Group 1 win to his name as a 2yo although probably didn’t beat a lot that day. His form on his return was let down by the winner in the French Derby but that was on much softer ground. Could improve for the better ground but may well need to. His temperament will be under test here as well.
Giovanni Canaletto 9/1
The choice of Ryan Moore makes him the number one challenger from the powerful Aidan O’Brien stable. A setback prevented him from making his seasonal debut in the Chester Vase (replaced by Hans Holbein) and he didn’t reappear until 2 weeks ago when a close second at The Curragh.
He still looked a ‘work in progress’ there and it wasn’t clear at the time if he would be running at Epsom. He must be showing the right signs at home though as he’s now considered a strong contender and was heavily backed down from 14/1 earlier this week.
Has a high head carriage in his races but while that can be a mark of not being totally genuine it appears to be more babyishness in his case.
He’s a full brother to 2013 winner Ruler of the World and in terms of pedigree has perhaps the most ideal fit for a Derby winner. His sire Galileo also won the race – as did that one’s half brother Sea The Stars. (Siblings Morston and Blakeney also victorious in the 1970s).
Improvement is needed to win but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him making it. A worry would be if the ground got much quicker than Good– his brother was disappointing on Good to Firm ground – and Giovanni Canaletto has yet to race in such conditions.
His price is now low on a strict form basis and the Ryan Moore factor will keep it weighed down

Golden Horn 7/4
The favourite for the race since an impressive win in York’s Dante beating Jack Hobbs and Elm Park. This unbeaten horse had still looked quite green on his reappearance run at Newmarket but looked much more professional last time when readily outpacing his rivals.
He wasn’t entered for the Derby at the time and owners stumped up a £75,000 supplementary fee to get him in. Therein lies his main issue as he wasn’t entered as connections thought he may have a stamina issue.
He wasn’t stopping at York and has another 1.5 furlongs to cover here. He looks a relaxed and well-balanced horse and that should aid his chances.Here is a video of the race in question:

Has the strongest form in the book and will be hard to beat if he lasts home.

Hans Holbein 16/1
Not really considered as a Derby prospect for the O’Brien stable until he became the late replacement for them in the Chester Vase and won (beating Storm the Stars).
That win on soft ground confirmed his stamina – if anything he may have too much of it for Epsom and longer races mat be for him in the future. His best form is also on softer ground.
His stamina should be used to keep the others honest from the front but I’d be surprised if something can’t outpace him in the home straight

Jack Hobbs 5/1
The ‘second string’ of the Gosden stable behind the fav Golden Horn. Beaten comprehensively by that horse at York but did look the more immature of the two (both on only their 3rd runs there) and could improve.
He looked to hang a bit under pressure there and that might be a concern on this track although he did seem to please connections when working on the course last week.
It had been mooted that he wasn’t a certain runner if conditions get quick but hopefully today’s rain will be enough to see him turn up. The more the ground dries up the less it may favour him though

Kilimanjaro 20/1
The third of the O’Brien runners won a weak looking Lingfield Trial and Aidan doesn’t normally send one of his A Team to compete in that. Stamina again isn’t a problem but he needs to improve a lot on what he’s achieved to prove a threat to me. I do find it interesting that Joseph O’Brien seems to have picked him in preference to Hans Holbein though.
Moheet 50/1
8th in the 2,000 Guineas. He ran quite well there considering it all went wrong at the start and had it not been for that could well have been 4th or 5th.
He should improve for increasing from a mile but while his sire is a strong influence for stamina, his dam was a sprinter so stamina at this trip is far from guaranteed.
Has the ability to outrun his price if his stamina can hold out
Rogue Runner 100/1
A German raider but in same ownership as Elm Park. Impossible to assess the form of his two wins in Germany but it looks to be well below what is required here. His likely role is pacemaker to make sure it’s a proper test for Elm Park’s cause. And because of that he would be my favourite to finish last over Carbon Dating (who should at least be ridden to get his best possible position)
Storm the Stars 22/1
A close runner-up to Golden Horn as a 2yo he’s been described a ‘bit of a baby’ by trainer William Haggas this season. He looked to get unbalanced a bit both at Chester (2nd to Hans Holbein) and when winning at Goodwood last time.
His last win confirmed his upward curve but the trainer didn’t seem to pinpoint the Derby immediately after that race.
I do have concerns that this track won’t be ideal for him as he still looks immature and I think his inclusion here could be more to do with the wishes of the owner rather than the trainer.
Stamina isn’t an issue (expect to see him ridden positively near the front)and I can see him reversing Chester form with Hans Holbein nonetheless
Winning the race could be step too far but can see this one being the one most people take from the race as a St Leger candidate
Success Days 18/1
This Irish challenger is the race’s other supplementary entry.
Unbeaten this season he has readily won two of Ireland’s main Derby trials. They were on soft ground though and it is questionable what he has actually beaten.
Neither sire or dam is an influence for stamina but in winning over 10 furlongs he has already won over a lot further than he should.
Still faces an uphill task for me

The Dante seems the key race and Golden Horn won that convincingly making him the one to beat here. It’s just that stamina issue that is a slight concern but the way he won last time makes me think he could get away with it. 7/4 doesn’t scream out as value but expect some firms to push his price out for promotional purposes tomorrow and anything at 5/2 or above should be taken
Elm Park would have been a solid each way pick for me if it weren’t for the reports of how he acted on the track.
Giovanni Canaletto was definitely interesting at around 14/1 when he was confirmed earlier in the week ( I did have an interest then) but all value has now disappeared as he is single figure odds.
Of the big prices, Storm the Stars and Moheet would appeal for those looking for a small each way punt. Storm the Stars is sure to stay – Moheet isn’t but at 50/1 that factor is built into the odds.
These two would be of even more interest if any firm offers ¼ odds 1234 on the race tomorrow so check for any such promos
With nothing screaming out as a ‘value price’ I have no recommendation but my idea of the likeliest winner has to be Golden Horn

Up-to-date prices for the race can be found here


3.10 Coronation Cup
Looks a duel between Dolniya and Flintshire. The latter came out best in last year’s Arc but Dolniya has improved this year and beaten the colt both times they have faced one another.
Quickening ground will suit Flintshire and he is proven over the course unlike Dolniya.
I think Dolniya is the better horse but there remains a slight question over course and maybe ground so I won’t be backing her at odds on in what should be a tactically run affair with only 6 runners (expect Romsdal to make the pace a sensible one)

3.45 Epsom Dash
5 furlong handicap over the quickest sprint track in the world.
Many runners have previous form in this. Caspian Prince won it last year by nostrils from Seeking Magic with Steps very close in 4th.
It’s the second who comes out best at the weights tomorrow and his seasonal debut run at Newmarket looked a proper warm up for this.
Luck in running is always going to be needed in a race like this so it’s only a small interest that I’ll be having on him at 8/1 – expect some firms to offer 5 places rather than 4 in this heat
I’ll also be chancing a little on Normal Equilibrium at bigger odds. Robert Cowell is a specialist trainer of sprinters and its notable he has secured highly promising young rider Edward Greatrex for this one. As proved at Epsom today he is huge value for his 7lb claim (effectively makes him 12lb better off with Monsieur Joe for 3.5 lengths on last run)

Thanks for reading and good luck



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