Category Archives: Flat racing

York – Dante meeting – Day 2

Day 2 of York’s Dante meeting has the Dante itself (a major Epsom Derby trial) as it’s showpiece at 3.10 and it’s there I look for one of my two picks on tomorrow’s card
8 runners should be going to post but I think we can discount Lord Ben Stack and Medrano who have a little to find on form. I’m hopeful that one of these two will at least make sure of a decent pace in the race though.
Aidan O’Brien’s pair of John F Kennedy and Ol Man River both look to bounce back from disappointing debut efforts. Ryan Moore has chosen the former who was Derby favourite over the Winter but he’s plenty short enough at no more than 7/2 given his last lack lustre effort.
John Gosden runs two very promising types in Jack Hobbs and Golden Horn. The former is current Derby favourite virtue of an impressive win at Sandown. That was a handicap though and he gain appears short here on what he has achieved. Golden Horn is maybe slightly better value at around 5/1 but he doesn’t seem to have Epsom as his aim – and the fact that he isn’t the choice of Dettori to ride is a slight negative.
So I am looking mainly at the other two– Elm Park and Nafaqa – who were separated by a length at Newmarket last year (as pictured below).

Elm Park is officially top rated in the race at 117 ( the other main 5 rated between 109 and 113) and missed the 2,000 Guineas because of the quick ground to wait for this. This is therefore his seasonal debut and there’s every chance he could need it a little.
That could level things out a little with Nafaqa who was 2nd in the Craven Stakes when Kool Kompany had first run on them all. He missed Chester last week because of the soft ground and this 10 furlong trip should be much more his liking than Newmarket’s mile.
He went into many notebooks after his debut at Royal Ascot last year when totally missing the break and has enough form in the book to make me think he has been forgotten a bit here with a quote of 16/1 from some.
It’s most beneficial to play here with firms who offer ¼ odds first 3 (as long as nothing drops out of the race and we have 8 runners)


Rather frustratingly Medrano has been declared a non runner becuase of the ground – which by all accounts was just about perfect yesterday. This kills the each way angle a bit on this race as it’s no longer a payout on the first three and will be just the first two. The only place where first three will be available (albeit 1/5th odds will be on the Betfair Exchange and their ‘each way’ market)
0.75 pts ew Nafaqa 16/1 (Boyles, Stan James)

The Hambleton Hcap at 345 is the other play and I’m with last year’s second Fort Bastion here.
This one looked Group class in his early days with Richard Hannon but had some issues until Ruth Carr got him back on track last year. He changed stables during the season and is now with the mercurial David O’Meara – and there’s every chance he can get a bit more out of this one still.
Last year he came here after winning the Thirsk Hunt Cup. This year he made his seasonal debut in that race – missed the break – and then continually found his path blocked.
Although only 11th, he finished with plenty left in the tank and didn’t have a hard race – it will have tuned him up nicely for this though and the stable is in form already here (Algar Lad won the sprint handicap on Wednesday)


1pt ew Fort Bastion 10/1 (general)

Thanks for reading once more and good luck


(recommended prices correct at 0710 BST 13/05)


A non-runner did mean the Dante became 1st 2 only but it didn’t ultimately effect the Nafaqa bet as he finished 4th – someway behind a high class looking top 3.

Fort Bastion travelled like a winner to me but didn’t find as much as looked likely and just out of the frame. He then ran the following week at Ayr off the same mark and sluiced in! Ho hum!

The Flat season is not proving as profitable as the jumps so far – hoping for a change of fortune in coming weeks.

RUNNING BALANCE 44.53 pts (from initial bank of 50pts)


Tags: , , , , ,

York – Dante meeting – Day 1

York’s Dante meeting kicks off on Wednesday and it’s the opening handicap on the card (2.10) that sees my first recommendation for Day 1.
With 20 runners due to line up this should be a competitive race but John Gosden’s unbeaten Mahsoob dominates early exchanges at 7/2.
He’s been priced as if he’s the proverbial ‘Group horse in a handicap’ and is certainly likely to be a good deal better than his narrow win at Newbury from a mark of 89 ( got up late from a bad draw and second has run well in defeat since).
He’s on an 8lb higher mark tomorrow which means he’s 4lb worse off with the similarly unexposed Field of Fame who was 3rd in that event. That should make it close between the two on these revised terms.
With a maximum of 11/2 available on Field of Fame however, I prefer to look for another formline where there is better value and am siding with What About Carlo, a strong finishing 4th in the Lincoln earlier this season.
He was well backed to follow up subsequently at Epsom (6/1 the night before to 11/4 SP) but according to trainer Eve Johnson-Houghton he had a ‘massive sulk’ in the race. I think the ground may have been plenty quick enough there and he probably didn’t enjoy a continual barging match with Mount Logan from Tattenham Corner.
The ground ought to be a little easier at York tomorrow and there’s certainly none of Epsom’s cambers to affect him being crowded in the same way.

The Lincoln run was full of promise for the season ahead and he is on the same mark here of 98 on a trip that should suit ideally. I would be hoping for a good gallop here and a hold up ride from William Buick and then he can perhaps replicate his record from last season where he produced his best performance on his third start (after a disappointing second one).

0.75pts ew What About Carlo @16/1 (general)

Prices correct at 1730 BST 12th May

Selections in the back up races on tv:
2.40 Mass Rally needs to be held up until the very last-minute but when it all goes right he’s a very decent horse with two C&D wins from higher marks than tomorrows 97 to his name. He’s 8 now but his seasonal debut at Pontefract looked all over a warm up for this meeting. Unfortunately, others seem to have seen this too and he’s already been backed to less than 10/1 – a tad too short for me in a race where he will need plenty of luck against some decent opposition. (He never got a run and looked unlucky when 9th here last year)

3.15 Hard to discount anything readily and no surprise to see 4 of them fighting for favouritism around 5/1. If the ground does ride quick I might be backing Lucky Kristale to topple them all after an eye-catching reappearance run at Newmarket where she lost a shoe (can see there being little between her and the winner there Astaire).

3.45 Looks a two-horse race for the Musidora, a recognised Oaks trial. It’s likely to be very tactical in such a small field and I just favour Star of Seville getting 4lbs from Together Forever – but the prices don’t really appeal on either

After the Channel 4 tv coverage ends there’s another bet to be had in the 4.20 (lack of prices available for this earlier today)

Foreign Diplomat seems to have found himself on a very lenient looking mark of 81 here. I say lenient as he has 2yo form that ties up closely with Desert Force who is currently on a 94 rating. He was a promising type last year who didnt quite fulfil as much as maybe anticipated. His easy 3yo maiden win gave every encouragement that he can do better this season and it should be remembered that this one had Group 1 entries last season so was obviously well thought of. William Haggas is a very good placer of his horses and I feel it significant he’s brought this one up to the big meeting in his native Yorkshire. I think he could go off much shorter than the 6/1 currently available on him for this race


1.5pts ew Foreign Diplomat 6/1 (365, Skybet, BetVictor, Ladbrokes, Boyles)

*prices available at 2042 BST 12/05


Good luck with whatever you back

Thanks for reading – comments always welcome



What About Carlo looks one to avoid now after another performance that looked like he wasn’t in love with the game any more. The winner Mahsoob did indeed look a Group race horse of the future with the way he won.(-1.5pts)

Foreign Diplomat travelled well, was slightly hampered but then didn’t find as much as looked likely. He’s probably better than where he ultimately finished but even with an uninterrupted passage it probably didnt cost him a place.(-3pts)

RUNNING BALANCE now 48.03 pts from the initial bank of 50pts


Tags: , , , , ,

Chester Cup 2015

chester cup

Chester Cup
Wednesday May 7th
Chester’s tight turning track makes it one of the most draw dependant courses in the country and even it’s marathon distance Cup event is affected.
There’s only a furlong run to the first bend and low drawn runners can quickly secure a good position.
With the declarations and draw out today you are naturally led to look out who has secured the best spots and these are the lucky ones drawn in order from 1 to 6
1.Shu Lewis
2. Gabrials Star
3. Gabrials King
4. Buthelezi
5. Angel Gabrial
6. Mymatechris
You might be forgiven that owner Dr Marwan Koukash did the draw himself at his beloved Chester with 3 of his ‘Gabrial’ horses in the box seats.
However to make best use of this inside draw you really need a horse that can sit prominently and his two main chances – Gabrials King and Angel Gabrial appear to be horses who need to be held up and need some luck in running. I wonder if they could just throw away their advantage
Just look at last year’s run of Angel Gabrial to see how the best horse in the race can get beat – alas video link not available to witness his last to first ‘around the field’ drive only to get run down in the final furlong . I don’t think Jamie Spencer could have done much else with the position he had but he may find himself trapped again and is carrying a massive 15lbs more in this race than he did then.
Dr Koukash also has last years victor Suegioo lining up again but whereas that had an ideal draw 4 last year he is out in the car park at 16 this time round.
Looking through the whole field there are an awful lot of runners who like to come from behind and there could be traffic problems for many.
The race looks set up for something to control the pace from up front and stay out of trouble and I think there are two ideal candidates.
Shu Lewis is unproven over this trip but runs like it shouldn’t be a problem. She’s consistent and has run well enough against better animals to make me think here 100 rating is perfectly fair. At 9 she may look a veteran age but it should be remembered that she only began racing at 5.

Buthelezi has always had plenty of talent having passed through the hands of John Gosden and John Ferguson prior to joining the canny Brian Ellison. He seems to have found some consistency with his new yard. Although up to a rating of 94 after his latest win he was as high as 105 in his younger days
This horse really doesn’t mind being up front and I don’t think they will have to go that strong too early to make full use of this advantage on him.
There is rain forecast on Tuesday and Wednesday but neither selection should mind a bit of give underfoot. It’s only when there is a deluge and the ground becomes really soft that the inside berth advantage starts to be negated – and moreso later in the week as the course is more used

*Tuesday Update – 9mm of rain reported in Chester today and ground now Good to Soft – there could be more tomorrow*
Trip to Paris (drawn 11) was the one I was looking at most before the draw. With not too many pacesetters drawn inside I still wouldn’t totally rule him out. However all his form is on quicker ground and the forecast rain is a bit of a concern there.

Likely favourite Quick Jack will need to have all the breaks being a confirmed hold up horse from stall 9. I would have thought that other long distance handicaps would play more to his strengths this season. He’s bound to travel well but will have a lot of competition to get the gaps at the right time
All firms are currently ¼ odds 1234 – prices are here
There may be some who offer an extra place on the day but I feel that the low drawn will be backed before then
Some early recommendations for the race:
1 pt ew Buthelezi @16/1 (general)
1pt ew Shu Lewis 20/1 (Betfred, SportingBet)
Prices correct at 1530 BST Mon 5th May

Thanks for reading – comments always welcome



Both picks were well backed by the time of the race (17/2 and 11/1 at the off) but while Buthelezi had the earluy postion I had hoped for, neither were ultimately good enough on the day. Rather annoyingly it was Trip to Paris who was a good winner – if the ground had been a little better he might well have been a recommendation!

So the running balance is now 52.53pts from the initial bank of 50pts


Tags: , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: