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York Ebor Day 2015

York Ebor Day 2015

A great triumph for Yorkshire on Day 3 of the Ebor Festival with Meccas Angel grabbing the headlines in the Nunthorpe.
I did wonder if the ground would be soft enough for her beforehand but crucially is had no jar in it and it didn’t inhibit her.
What the ground will be like tomorrow will largely depend on if rain arrives overnight. This evening the Met Office suggest a 50% chance of it for a few hours in the early hours.
This will make the difference between it staying slightly on the dead side or it drying out to good decent ground.
The opening race on Friday (run over a slightly shorter trip than Saturday’s Ebor) was dominated by prominent racers. The first three home were in the first 5 turning for home. However, they were following a relatively sedate early pace so we can’t really take this as an indication of what will happen tomorrow. Hold-up horses came good in later races when the pace was stronger.


Onto tomorrow’s big race the Ebor Handicap at 3.45
These big handicaps are never going to be easy but I do have a love for the longer distance ones and the Ebor is my favourite one of the year. It’s been won by some great favourites over the years – Sea Pigeon, Further Flight, Sergeant Cecil and Quick Ransom my favouries in descending order.
The complexion of the race has changed greatly in recent years. We just don’t get low weighted horses any more and there’s very little gap between top and bottom weight these days. Tomorrow there is only 9lbs separating top and bottom. This makes it much harder for the handicap ‘good things’ to get into the race and makes for a much more competitive and trickier to solve event.
A low draw used to be a big advantage when the field would come down the far side of the straight. Now that most races end up in the middle it’s much less of a handicap. I still wouldn’t say a high draw is ideal – particularly for a hold-up style of ride. It probably proved the undoing of favourite Pallasator last year who ended up too far out of his ground from stall 22.

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The outside berth this year is occupied by the sole 3yo in the race – Aidan O’Brien’s Fields of Athenry. This one vies for favouritism but I’m not sure he deserves to be as short as he is.
3 year olds don’t run in this race much in recent years. Because of the conditions and the allowances they get they need such a high handicap rating to get into the race.
Back in the 20th century some classy 3yos like Clerkenwell, Sapience and Protection Racket were good winners who subsequently proved themselves at Group level (the latter won the Irish St Leger in the same season) But they won carrying 7 st 11lb, 8st 4lbs and 8st 1lbs respectively.
The last 3yo to win was from the O’Brien stable in 2001. Mediterranean carried 8st 4lbs to victory then with a rating of 101. Since the 2002 renewal and the changing of the race there have been only three more three year olds competing – all from the O’Brien stable:

2009 Changingoftheguard 9st (rating 107)
2007 Honolulu 9st 2lbs (111) 2nd
2004 Mikado 8st 13lbs (106) 3rd

All 3 ran very well and then went on to contest the St Leger. Honolulu went off 13/8 fav for the Leger on the back of his fine run and came home 3rd.
Fields of Athenry is being asked to carry 9st 8lbs with his rating of 118 – a good deal more than any of these. He does have a 5lb claimer on board but that still gives him a bit of a mountain to climb.
While he looks a stayer and shouldn’t mind any cut in the ground, his form doesn’t really equate to the rating he has. His last win was beating a horse rated 21lbs lower at level weights by about 2 lengths. 3 starts ago he failed to give 22lbs to Botany Bay – a horse who runs in the 2.35 earlier as a big outsider with a rating of 85. This, and his other form tends to make me think his rating shouldn’t be any higher than about 105. I think the handicapper has given him a bit of a raw deal
It would be foolish to ignore that the O’Brien stable hope completely but history suggests to me that he will find one or two too good.
I’m also a little concerned that the Coolmore partners sold him earlier this week. If they did harbour serious St Leger claims with him would they have done that??

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Challenging for favouritism is the Willie Mullins/Frankie Dettori combo on Clondaw Warrior (also part owned by Ruby Walsh) who creeps into a race at the bottom after the withdrawal of Quest for More this morning. This combination struck with Max Dynamite on Friday and are bound to be popular picks.He’s 10 lbs higher than when successful at Royal Ascot over a much further trip. Both him and the second Fun Mac (4lbs better off for half a length ) came from near last that day suggesting they had gone a bit too fast up front.
That was run on faster ground than they’ll get here. On the face of it, Fun Mac could reverse the form on these terms but I have a feeling he may be less suited of the pair by the likely slower ground tomorrow. If he does cope with it then 14/1 Fun Mac is much better value than 6/1 Clondaw Warrior but I am swayed against both. They would both need to be ridden a bit more prominently in this race for me and I’m not sure that Ascot form is the strongest guide to this race.

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Willie Mullins also runs Wicklow Brave at around 10/1 but this horse is a complete enigma to me. When he’s good (as he showed at the Cheltenham Festival) he’s very very good…but when he’s bad he’s awful! He just seems to need everything to go right for him and I couldn’t back such a horse at such a short price. Added to that I think he could be a very tricky ride for a 7lb claimer. His form is largely over jumps and has so little flat form that it’s hard to judge whether his mark of 102 is good or bad. If he does win I would hope that Stewards have an enquiry to find out the reason for any improvement from his latest two runs.

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In his last race, Wicklow Brave was running over hurdles and well down the field behind Quick Jack. Tony Martin has already trained a winner this week and this one is 3rd in the market at around 7/1.

quickjack
For me, Quick Jack should be favourite. He’s on his highest ever mark on the flat of 101 but has been relatively lightly raced over the past 2 seasons and could still have some improvement in him. Stamina seemed to find him out when he looked likely to win the Cesarewitch last season. He won his last race easily and before that there was no disgrace in failing to beat subsequent Ascot Gold Cup hero Trip to Paris at Chester.
There are far less chinks in his armour – ground should be no problem for him if it rains or not – and I am struggling to see him out of the frame.

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Elsewhere, Astronereus is a thoroughly likeable individual whose consistency has seen him rise to a mark of 107 from 93 this season. He doesn’t seem to know how to run a bad race but he’s faced a lot of rivals already this season and formlines tie him too closely with many others for me. Ajman Bridge, Notarised, John Reel, Excellent Result, Arab Dawn (stamina and ground questions on this one)and Watersmeet are all linked on runs this season.

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I prefer to seek out something that isn’t quite so exposed on its mark and Arabian Comet fits that bill (put up as recommendation last night).
This trip looks ideal for her as long as there is a decent pace. She’s been given two pretty bad rides from the back at Goodwood this season and it’s no surprise to see Graham Lee replace Pat Cosgrave on board after his last debacle. She was narrowly beaten at this meeting last year and being by Dubawi I would expect her to be still improving – she just hasn’t had the chances to show it this season yet. Good ground seems to suit her fine – I’m not sure whether she was less suited by softer ground at Doncaster last season – or if she was just over the top by then. What we do know is that the William Haggas stable is in fine form this week so I was happy to get involved at 20/1.

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Pace of the race will be a big factor tomorrow and the key horse here is Notarised who does like to bowl along up front. Silvestre De Sousa would probably like to control things from there and if his lead was uncontested he could probably do so. However, I think he will be kept honest up front by John Reel in stall 2 – and possibly by stablemate Watersmeet – so am inclined to think that there won’t be an early crawl in the race.

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I will give a mention to two others.
Wadi Al Hatawi has never been beaten on his first starts of the season and on his last win at York he would be a contender. The problem is that is the only time he seems to win and we have to wonder if he performs best when fresh.
Nearly Caught wasn’t far behind Quick Jack in last year’s Cesarewitch and ran a fine third in the Northumberland Plate behind Quest for More and Max Dynamite. He was 8th in this race last year when staying on strongly at the finish. If the ground remains on the soft side and there is some overnight rain it will definitely suit him (it was a bit too quick for him here last year)
I find him tempting at 20/1 but if that price is still around in the morning after showers have been declared I’ll be having a saver for sure.


Selections
Quick Jack 1.5 pts ew @7/1 (BetVictor, Corals, Betfair Sportsbook..later pay out on first 5 if you can get on with them)
Arabian Comet already recommended 0.75 pts ew @20/1
(and keep an eye on the going for Nearly Caught in the morning!)

latest prices can be found here: http://www.oddschecker.com/horse-racing/2015-08-22-york/14:35/winner


Elsewhere the 2.35 is even more competitive than the Ebor but I’ve been waiting for King Bolete to get away from fast ground and will be supporting at 14/1. He just took an age to quicken up at Haydock last time when strongly supported. I think he needs good ground or slightly softer and the extra 2 furlongs should also help. Luca Cumani is always very positive about this horse on his website and I suspect he’s thought of as a 100+ performer going forward.

Happy Ebor day to all

Thanks for reading

Paul

 

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York Ebor Meeting 2015 – Day 3

A very short post for Day 3 of the York Ebor meeting I’m afraid with my time available.
It’s a tricky meeting to assess so far. Day 1 strongly favoured prominent racers but after only 2mm of rain on Wednesday night the ground had livened up a little (although still slightly on the soft side of good). Despite a tailwind this seemed enough to give the hold-up performers much more of a chance on Thursday’s card.
With little rain forecast it could well be genuinely good ground by tomorrow.
There are no recommendations for me on Friday’s card but an early one is given for Saturday. The races are generally too competitive and I’m struggling to see any value.


My thoughts for the main race of the day – the Nunthorpe Stakes at 3.40:

A large 20 runner field with some strong early pace likely on both sides. Justineo (stall 1), Cotai Glory (8), Take Cover (19) and Stepper Point (20) are the likely early trailblazers. I’d still be a little concerned that there may be some dead ground in the first couple of furlongs on the stands side which could favour the pace coming from the lower draws.
That should favour the favourite Acapulco in box 4. The American 2yo – who more closely resembles a 4yo – was a Royal Ascot sensation when she ran away with the Queen Mary. Wesley Ward’s filly was physically some way ahead of her rivals then and although up against her elders then she has a huge weight allowance on her side in this event to counteract that.
I’m sure she is on a similar level to previous 2yo winners of this race (Kingsgate Native was a similar type) and is definitely the one to beat in my mind.
The ground may have been a bit of a worry a few days ago but it seems to be coming back in her favour. Her American pedigree wouldn’t have screamed out that she would be suited by cut but it should be noted that No Nay Never (probably the best known progeny of Scat Daddy to race on these shores in recent years) did win on Good to Soft in France as a 2yo.
It’s probably more of a concern for me that she is ridden by a jockey with no experience of English tracks.
If the ground does still look to be on the soft side then I’m quite sure that Mecca’s Angel would be the main danger. The more it dries out the less she is favoured though.
It’s unlikely to get fast enough for Goldream or the veteran Sole Power. I had an ante post interest at a very big price on Line of Reason after his Goodwood effort (would have been much closer but for being drawn on wrong side of the track). Likewise he needs fast ground though and so I have almost written that bet off now.
Muthmir won that Goodwood race but he’s plenty short enough for me now on the overall level of his form this season. The sensational strike rate of his trainer William Haggas this week should keep his price low.
Acapulco is the selection but not a strong one given the low price of around 2/1 in such a big field where traffic problems could be an issue.

acapulco


Elsewhere on the card I’m a little surprised to see Brian Meehan’s Perkunas chalked up at around 8/1 in the 4.20.
This is often a hot 2yo maiden and there look to be several decent types entered here. Meehan did make a point of saying he considered this one as his best chance of the week on Channel 4 last weekend and continues to be very positive about him on his website. His 2yos generally improve a lot on their debuts and Perkunas showed plenty of promise on his. I expected him to be shorter given the obvious heads up we have been given.


I’ll be back to focus on my favourite handicap race of the year, Saturday’s Ebor, tomorrow
Arabian Comet is my early recommendation which I will expand on more tomorrow.
She has been given some pretty mediocre rides this season by Pat Cosgrave and now that Graham Lee is taking over I think she is overpriced at a general 20/1 given the excellent form of the Haggas stable
Recommendation
0.75pts ew Arabian Comet 20/1 (generally available)

arabian comet

Thanks for reading
Paul

 
 

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Ladies Day – Glorious Goodwood 2015

Ladies Day – Glorious Goodwood 2015

Ladies day at Goodwood on Thursday has a couple of interesting betting opportunities for me and prompts me to write a short blog piece. (Too long for Twitter to handle)
Goodwood is a lovely course to look at or to sit and have a picnic at but its intricacies can make it a prime venue to find ‘unlucky losers’. While staying on the inside is the shortest route, gaps can be hard to come if you are on a hold-up runner.
It’s a course where Arabian Comet has shown her best form and she returns to the Lillie Langtry Stakes at 345 in which she finished a close second last year. Her reappearance run at this track this season saw her be one of those ‘unlucky losers’ when the gaps didn’t appear quite right. However that was over 12 furlongs (as was her last run when being held up behind a relatively slow pace was all against her)
She’s back over a trip that suits her very well, a course we know that suits her and the drying ground is all in her favour. In short I feel these are her optimum conditions and this is a fine chance for her to record a Group race victory.
Old rival Jordan Princess had the run of the race last time. She is probably the main danger but this trip is unknown territory and I’m not sure will be to her advantage
That bit of luck on this track will of course be needed but in a big field there really ought to be some pace in this race to make it a decent stamina test (and in so doing lessen the chances of traffic issues)

arabian comet
Recommendation
2pts ew Arabian Comet 3.45 Goodwood @5/1 (hills, Ladbrokes, BetVictor)

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The feature race at 3.10, The Goodwood Cup is a tight looking affair in which I can just about make a case of all of the field. I’ll be passing that by but the opener at 2.05 does have some possibilities.
In its former guise as the Extel Handicap in the 70s and 80s this used to be a breeding ground for future Group race winners.
Racing History looks the most obvious type to make it to that grade. He’s still relatively unexposed and this full brother to Farrh and Basem could be somewhat better than his mark of 99.
It is the history of those two siblings that does prompt some caution though. They both started to reveal their potential at the age of 4. Racing History still looked a bit green last time and it could be that a competitive race like this might be just a bit too far at this stage.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him win but at around 7/2 I think there is more value to be had with Paul Cole’s Rotherwick.
This one tried his best to mix it with subsequent Irish Derby winner Jack Hobbs at Sandown earlier in the season. The effort almost cost him second place but I feel he could be rated better than what the bare form appears there.
At Royal Ascot he found the trip a bit sharp in the Britannia and last time at Newmarket, he was well and truly caught out by Resonant poaching a lead that couldn’t be caught. He probably should have been third but for Adam Kirby taking it a bit too easy on him close home. On revised terms I think he has every chance to reverse form with Resonant and the second Gibeon (also raced more prominently as seemed to be advantageous that day)
It’s a shame we are down to 15 runners in this now as that means 4 places aren’t widely available for each way betting. Luckily there are a few bookies offering a concession and so that’s the go to place for the second recommendation
0.75 pts ew Rotherwick 2.05 Goodwood –  take 16/1 with Betfair Sportsbook/Betfred/Tote all offering ¼ 1234

(odds can be found here http://www.oddschecker.com/horse-racing/2015-07-30-goodwood/14:05/winner)

Good luck one and all

Paul

(odds correct at time of publishing 1730 BST 29/07)

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2015 in Goodwood

 

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