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Guineas weekend -Newmarket 2015

The Flat season really goes into overdrive this weekend with Newmarket hosting the first two classics of the season – Saturday’s 2,000 Guineas and Sunday’s fillies equivalent – the 1,000 Guineas.
While there is decent racing elsewhere there’s nothing that entices me too much for betting purposes so this blog will be focussing on the action at ‘Headquarters’.
Expected rain has fallen at the rack this week but not to such a degree that the ground has eased much. It was reported as Good to Firm on Thursday and with largely dry conditions forecast since we should anticipate going on the fast side of Good
Saturday 2nd May
The 2,000 Guineas at 3.45pm is the centrepiece with 19 runners due to go to post at time of writing (Elm Park may be a doubt though if fast conditions remain which could result in a small rule 4 deduction)

Prices can be found here: http://www.oddschecker.com/horse-racing/2015-05-02-newmarket/15:45/winner
In particular for each way punters note the firms who give an extra place and offer ¼ odds 1234…its worth its weight in gold as long as the win odds aren’t paltry in comparison.
Gleneagles heads the betting at no more than 3/1 and is part of a double pronged Aidan O’Brien attack with Ol Man River (about double those odds).
The former is the sort who just seems to do enough in his races – and therefore it’s hard to judge just how much he does have in reserve. With Ryan Moore seemingly having stable first choice now I have to favour him over his stablemate, who may be a better type later in the season over slightly further.
I don’t really hear the same stable confidence as with the stable’s recent runners in this race – Camelot and Australia. While both have to be respected I don’t consider them to be value prices right now
French raider Territories comes next in the list at around 6/1 and was a ready winner of France’s main trial for this the Prix Djebel. He was a late addition to this race when supplemented last week and there has to be a whiff of some last-minute panic to have a Godolphin owned runner at the event. Andre Fabre can never be underestimated when he sends one across but he looks to have a little to find on Gleneagles on 2yo form from Longchamp – and all of his best form is on a softer surface
Estidhkaar is next in the list and already a recommended bet on this blog Ante Post after his Greenham trial when a close second in a very quick time. He was 14/1 then and no more than 8/1 now. He returned injured from his one poor run last season and really looks like a horse who needs this mile trip.

estidhkaar

He had Ivawood 4 lengths behind him at Newbury and the latter’s jockey Richard Hughes has made some claims this week that his mount can improve enough to reverse those placings. This would seem to rely on Estidhkaar not having improved but I’ve little doubt he will. More of a concern for Ivawood supporters would be stamina – his sire (although bred to stay further) was a sprinter and I fell that 6 furlongs rather than a mile is where Ivawood’s future beckons.
It should be remembered that although from the same stable, Hughes would never have had the option to ride Estidhkaar as Sheikh Hamdan has his own contracted jockeys.
Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum also owns the supplemented Intilaaq – highly impressive in his one race on tha same Newbury card. It’s hard to know what he beat there but he routed them all. The time was good but didn’t match the splits of the Greenham in any way. Paul Hanagan would have had the pick but he has chosen Estidhkaar.
Elm Park comes here with similar credentials to Kingston Hill last season having looked the best 2yo around when stamina was really at a premium in the Racing Post Trophy. As previously suggested he may not run if the ground remains quick and I think will find others to outspeed him if he does turn up. The Derby appears his main aim this season in any case.
At Doncaster he looked to have a race on his hands for a while with Celestial Path until that one couldn’t go with him in the soft ground. It had already been suggested that Celestial Path would have a problem with conditions underfoot and he is now likely to be back to a surface that suits. He’s very closely related to the Group winning fillies Chachamaidee and J Wonder and a quick look through their form shows them to have a big need for Good or Good to Firm conditions.

celestial path
Sir Mark Prescott for once won’t be having a handicap coup in mind here and I think we can expect him to be ready despite no run so far this season. He appeals as a good outsider to keep on side.
Kool Kompany proved his toughness when an all the way winner in the Craven Stakes. That proved he stays this trip and goes on this course. That race was a level below the Greenham trial but he still appears slightly shunned by bookmakers who quote him at 25/1+
Lastly I have to give a mention to a favourite of mine, Glenalmond at 66/1. I really liked his chances in his debut in the Free Handicap but like so many of Karl Burke’s runners this season he appeared to need his first race. He is 5lb better off for a 4 length beating by Home of the Brave on that run which should make things much closer. I do think Home of the Brave was a lot sharper that time and that he may be the less well suited to this 1 mile trip. I do have a slight reservation about the ground being on the quick side for Glenalmond but in essence feel that he should be about the same price as his conqueror.

Glenalmond

There is no better Guineas jockey around than Kieran Fallon and he seemed very positive about the colt on Twitter yesterday after riding him out on the Middleham gallops.
There may be some heart ruling the head here as I was tickling away at his odds of 1000 before and after the Free Handicap run. Suffice to say that if Fallon does get his 10th Guineas win the blog may be quiet for some time!
With a big field we could well get a split of two groups in this race something that caused a controversial result when Night of Thunder beat Kingman and Australia last year. Likely pacesetters would seem to be Home of The Brave (draw 17) and Kool Kompany (draw 7) – with possibly Intilaaq (11) also prominent. Hopefully this will give an even pace on either side and there won’t be any hard luck stories (but Newmarket alas does have a few too many of these)
Recommendations:
With Gleneagles too short and having already got a solid position on Estidhkaar I’ll be adding two outsiders to the portfolio with firms offering 4 places. Kool Kompany almost makes it to the list but I feel he may be just serve to be a pacemaker for Estidhkaar in the next stall
So the other two are;
1pt ew Celestial Path @20/1 (1/4 1234 Paddy Power,365, Skybet)
0.5pts ew Glenalmond @66/1 (1/4 1234 365, Paddy Power, Skybet)

Prices correct at 1705 BST 01/05/2015

(already recommended ante post 2pts ew Estidhkaar @14/1)

The remaining tv races:

(prices correct on these at 1800 BST 01/05/2015)

2.00
Top Tug may well be an improver this season but this is his seasonal debut and his best piece of form comes on softer ground. He also may need a further. I don’t think he merits being favourite for this race. The two top weights Bronze Angel and Educate couldn’t have better C&D form having been the last two winners of the Cambridgeshire. It’s Educate who appeals by far the most on these terms. He’s back to the same mark he won that top handicap from and – he is fit and ran well in a Group 3 event last time.
The best early prices have already disappeared but I still rate him a bet where 8/1 is available
Recommendation
1.5 pts ew Educate 8/1 (365, Skybet, Ladbrokes, Corals, Betfair Sportsbook , Boyles)

2.30
Stepper Point is an old friend of mine but his Group winning penalty may find him out here on a course that I think is just a little too stiff for him. Watchable is early fav but has never competed at this trip before – there’s a world of difference between showing pace at 6 furlongs and competing with real speedballs at 5 furlongs.
I’ll be sitting this race out – NO BET


3.05
A dismal turn out of 4 runners and a short priced fav in Telescope. He looked in need of his first run last season (albeit on soft ground) and although he is the clear form pick I certainly wouldn’t want to be chancing very short odds in what could be a very tactical race. Ryan Moore is also expressing some misgivings about fast ground in his blog and I can see his price drifting – he’ll certainly be looked after with the rest of the season in mind
Pethers Moon has race fitness on his side and could well benefit. It’s just his 3lb penalty which prevents me putting him up at 3/1
I don’t think there is that much between the two outsiders Second Step and Odeon on form but as one is around 6/1 and the other 33/1+ I am drawn to a tickle on the big outsider here.
Last season Odeon showed definite ability but often ruined his chances by pulling far too hard.
He’s been gelded over the winter and I am taking a chance that this could help him realise his undoubted potential – Graham Lee is also very good at these tactical races
Recommendation
0.5pts win Odeon 40/1 (Paddy Power)

Saturday selections

2pts ew Estidhkaar 14/1 (Ante Post already advised 2 weeks ago)

1pt ew Celestial Path 20/1

0.5pts ew Glenalmond 66/1

RESULTS; No draw in the Guineas with Gleneagles running out an impressive winner. Estidhkaar was most disappointing. Celestial Path did best of the picks in 5th and might well have been closer but for an inconvenient draw. Loss of 7pts

1.5 pts ew Educate 8/1

RESULT; Educate travelled into the race well but was just beaten by two better horses. There will be some Rule 4 deductions here and some firms may pay out 1/5th odds instead of 1/4. I’ll be settling the blog recommendation at 1/4 odds with a Rule 4 of 15p as I have on bets that I have personally placed. Therefore that returns 4.05 pts and a profit of 1.05 pts

0.5 pts win Odeon 40/1

Backed into 16/1 I thought there might be something in this but Odeon was readily brushed aside. Loss 0.5pts

10.5 pts staked in total on the day – 4.05pts returned – a loss of 6.45 pts

*****************************

SUNDAY 3rd May

While quick conditions were prevalent on Saturday there is rain forecast this evening which could have an effect on the going for Sunday’s card
My thoughts on the main race below

1,000 Guineas (3.40)
Often a tricky race and it can produce surprise results – for the fillies more so than the colts this race may be run too early in the season before they come to hand.
Odds can be found here: http://www.oddschecker.com/horse-racing/2015-05-03-newmarket/15:40/winner
Considering there are only 13 runners there’s a notable bonus being offered by http://www.paddypower.com who pay out on 4 places

There have been some shocks in recent years . Homecoming Queen 25/1 in 2012 was a clear winner and showed little afterwards – in 2010 Jacqueline Quest was first past the post at 66/1 but subsequently disqualified (in possibly Newmarket’s worst ever showing of a draw bias in a Classic in recent years).
All 13 declared runners have a chance of some sort but I feel the trip may be too far for last year’s juvenile speedball Tiggy Wiggy – and too short for Irish raider Legatissimo
Lucida is at the head of the betting and was a consistently good performer last year until her final start (possibly over the top then – or maybe soft ground was to blame?) She is closely matched with Fadhayyil (beaten a length here in the Rockfel) , Malabar and Osaila (also both a length to find on Curragh form. Qualify was further back in that Curragh race and seemingly held.
I would think the winner would most likely comes from this group of 4 and Osaila has some edge in that she has had a run (and a winning one on this course) this season.
Jim Bolger and Barry Hills the respective trainers of Lucida and Fadhayyil have both won this race before with seasonal debutantes (Finsceal Beo and Ghanaati) so they must still be greatly feared.
Fadhayyil is the one I think could be the best of this quartet – she still looked very raw when beaten by Lucida and was the one who really stuck out as having the scope to progress most at 3.

fadhayyil

Like Ghanaati, it was always the plan of her trainer to have no prep for this and to come here after just a racecourse gallop. It’s a question of if she is fully tuned up and if she is I think she will take some beating.
Malabar also comes here without a run and was a bit unlucky both at The Curragh and subsequently on here final start at Longchamp. I just have a feeling that she doesn’t have the same scope as some of her rivals
Redstart and Jellicle Ball were the 1-2 in the Fred Darling trial at Newbury and represent a completely different form line. Ralph Beckett does seem to train his fillies to be ready for that race and so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Jellicle Ball improve past her here over an extra furlong.
Local Time has carried all before her in Dubai already this year ( a similar warm up to last year’s 3rd Ihtimal). She hasn’t beaten anything of the standard that runs here though and her form on this course last season – while it was a win – looks a bit below what may be required here.

I don’t think predicted rain will alter my thoughts on this race if it comes or not so I’ll give these two recommendations

2pts win Fadhayyil @13/2 (general)

1.5pts ew Osaila @8/1 (Paddy Power 1/4 1234)

I do fancy Fadhayyil as the likelier winner but with her proven fitness Osaial as s stronger place banker – hence why only one is recommended each way

Of the back up races in the card there are a few possible bets but all of them in some way are dependent on the degree of rain that falls overnight.
Therefore I’ll post any of these in an update tomorrow morning

***** SUNDAY MORNING UPDATE*****
While rain has fallen it doesn’t appear there has been that much and ground will still be quick like yesterday (while some times didn’t reflect this that was probably down to a strong headwind)

Thoughts on the back up races (except the two year old maiden at 4.15)

1.50 I have my eye on Astronereus as a horse who could win something decent this year but both he and likely fav Gothic may have wanted a bit more rain – this prevents me from making a recommendation here

*
2.25 I’m a bit surprised to see Rizeena being chanced over a mile and on a course where she doesn’t always seem to show her best form. Fintry is the form pick but has never raced on a surface this quick.

*
3.0 A very competitive sprint handicap but am backing two here with firms who offer ¼ odds 1st 5.

Gamesome has long been highly regarded by his trainer and I feel could prove better than a handicapper this term – his reappearance run in Group 3 company was highly encouraging.
Foxtrot Romeo is more exposed but will be fitter than most here having been on the all weather this winter. He is 5lbs better off for 3 lenghts with Huntsmans Close on their Ayr running last year. That should make it close now but Foxtrot Romeo wasn’t racing on that golden patch of ground next to the rail that day as the winner did. I think he can reverse that form and is the better value pick
Recommendations
1pt ew Gamesome 10/1 (365, Skybet, Paddy Power – all1/4 odds 12345)
0.75 pts ew Foxtrot Romeo 18/1 (365)

*

4.50 No bet here but Forte is worth bearing in mind as her family is littered with an Oaks theme. She’s a half sister to Talent (winner of this race 2 years ago) and a descendant of Bireme, both Epsom winners – and her grand dam Yawl was favourite for the same race. I won’t bet on here here as the ground is a concern and there are some nice looking unexposed types in the field.

*

5.25 Last bet of the day here. There is little to separate Muqtaser and Lostock Hall on their form at the last meeting here but they are now best prices of 3/1 and 14/1 respectively.
This makes little sense to me and I have to back the latter as Karl Burke’s runners have mostly seemed to need their initial runs this year. The lack of heavyt rain is a definite plus point in the selections favour here.
The one niggle is that all the runners finished in a heap in that race they both contended – and so maybe the form isn’t strong – but there’s nothing jumping out at me from the rest of the field
Recommendation
0.75pts ew Lostock Hall 14/1 (Hills)

Thanks for reading – comments always welcome

Paul

Sunday selections 10pts staked

1pt ew Gamesome 10/1*

0.75pts ew Foxtrot Romeo 18/1*

2pts win Fadhayyil 13/2

1.5pts ew Osaila 8/1*

0.75pts ew Lostock Hall

* recommended where special place terms available

RESULTS

A fairly bruising weekend with only Gamesome giving any returns (1.75 pts for a 5th place dead heat).

The Betfair drift on Fadhayil pre race was ominous and Osaila was very disappointing after racing too keenly

Sunday returned a loss of 8.25 pts

RUNNING TOTAL

From the initial bank of 50pts the balance is 56.53 pts (11.3% ahead)

This was a disappointing weekend which I hope we can bounce back from in coming weeks. The Chester meeting may give some opportunities next week when the blog may return on Wednesday

 

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Scottish Grand National day 18 April (+ 2000 Guineas Antepost update)

Saturday’s cards see some quality jump racing at Ayr and some high class flat racing at Newbury
Some brief thoughts below with my best offerings for the day:

The main event
Scottish Grand National 3.45 AYR
I have some doubts about effectiveness of Gallant Oscar over this extreme trip and if ground maybe on the quick side for him.
My two against the field are Sego Success and Trustan Times
Sego Success is having a very similar preparation to Alan King’s Godsmejudge who won this 2 years ago. He looks all about stamina and will be much better suited by the pace here than at Cheltenham last time where it all developed into a bit of a sprint. I can see him reversing form with Broadway Buffalo from that run here in race that will be run at a true gallop from the off
Trustan Times has also had a similar preparation to when he came here last year and finished 3rd behind Al Co (latter reopposes but a negative for me that he was probably trained for the Grand National instead last week where he fell at the first). He ran well to a point at Cheltenham and when it was clear he wouldn’t be placed the foot was taken right off the pedal
Both horses should be effective on this ever drying ground in Scotland
I could see Harry the Viking running into a place on this ground as well as he’s been very consistent of late and I have a lot of time for his trainer. He keeps going up in the weights without winning which just puts me of him as a recommendation but wouldn’t put anyone off at 25/1+

Recommendations
1pt ew each
Sego Success 14/1 (take ¼ odds 12345 with 365, Coral or Betfair Sportsbook)
Trustan Times 16/1 (365, Coral)

3.10 Ayr
The preceding race has the best bet of the day for me in Duke Of Navan.
He looked a really good recruit when winning on his debut this season but then seemed to disappoint when beaten at odds-on on the last two occasions. Those defeats don’t look bad at all now as his conqueror Just Cameron easily won a handicap off 140 at Haydock since. That makes Duke of Navan’s mark of 139 look very workable now and he is back on ground that suits him so much better now.
There should be some pace in this race with Strongpoint and Dunraven Storm in the field which will suit his hold up style. Nicky Richards could have upped him in grade at Aintree last week but I think has kept him back specifically for this.

duke of navan
Recommendation
3pts win Duke Of Navan 7/2 (Skybet, Ladbrokes)

3.25 Newbury
A very competitive handicap but Buckstay is so consistent in this grade I have to have a nibble at 8/1 with 5 places being paid out by some.
Lincoln winner Gabrial should be his chief opponent and at bigger prices I give ew squeaks to Santefisio and Mister Music who both have performed well on higher marks. The latter was behind Buckstay last time but travelled well into that race and could have just needed it
Recommendation;
1pt ew Buckstay 8/1 (365, Paddy Power both paying 5 places)

2.15 Newbury
Not recommending a bet directly in this race but it’s going to make very interesting watching. Last season’s brilliant two-year old Tiggy Wiggy has stamina to prove and a very interesting rival in Jellicle Ball who had time analysts in raptures on her splits on her debut.
With Ryan Moore booked I wouldn’t be surprised to see the latter run very well and there could be something in 365’s 50/1 for her to win this race and the 1,000 Guineas for those who can get on with that firm

Thanks for reading and best of luck

Paul

Saturday’s recommended bets 9pts staked

Results

Duke of Navan 1st 7/2 ( +10.5 pts)

All went beautifully here once the selection just managed to avoid an early disaster with two fallers at the first fence

Buckstay unplaced (-2pts)

A fairly exaggerated hold up ride here and he was ultimately on the wrong side of the course anyway. Never involved in finish

Trustan Times and Sego Success both unplaced (-4pts)

Trustan Times made a few too many jumping errors – he had an outside place chance at the home turn before running into a faller and then it was race over. Sego Success was a disappointment, travelling well until the final circuit and then unable to compete as the heat was turned up

This leaves the blog with a 4.5pt profit on the day and a running balance of 67.48 pts from the initial 50pt bank

…..

2000 GUINEAS

There’s a further bet for me to be had now after watching today’s Classics trials.

Despite narrow defeat I was very impressed with Estidhkaar‘s effort from the front in the Greenham. Paul Hanagan was probably aware others may have had more pace in behind over this 7 furlong trip but he beat them all off comfortable except Muharrar and wasn’t done at the finishing line at all. A course record shows the result in very good light and I can see him doing far better over a mile in the Guineas where he should be able to sit just off a decent pace. Improvement must be expected from today and he wouldn’t be the first to be defeated in the Greenham and to come back and win the colts classic. The one thing I wouldn’t want to see is soft ground at Newmarket in 2 weeks time on which he seems to be less effective. He seems definitely to be going for the race from what I have read since and this also leaves the owner’s Zawraq to be free to be aimed at the Derby now he has another bona fide contender for the race.

I would expect Paul Hanagan to be riding again and think he should be a single figure price now. Hence I’m happy to take the 14s generally now offered

Recommendation

2pts ew Estidhkaar @14/1 2,000 Guineas

(Tote/Betfred, Boyles, BetVictor. Corals, Betfair Sportsbook, SportingBet)

 

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Free Handicap – Newmarket Apr 15

Wednesday’s Newmarket Craven meeting sees the first real clues for home contenders in the forthcoming Classics.
The European Free Handicap doesn’t always have the biggest influence on the 2,000 Guineas but that could change this year with John Gosden’s Faydhan in the line-up.
He’s currently a top price of 5/1 2nd fav for the Guineas and his presence here has frightened off all but 4 opponents over this 7 furlong trip.
All eyes will probably be on him and if he’s as good as his home reputation he may well dot up. It’s the hype in Newmarket that makes him no more than about 4/9 tomorrow – a skinny price for just one win. On paper that 6 length win over subsequent Group winner Dutch Connection is certainly impressive but nearly impossible to rate properly. The second improved drastically afterwards evidenced by the fact that the 3rd and 4th who were just behind were plying their trade in handicaps afterwards from marks in the 70s (Faydhan given 102 tomorrow)
But this race is also seeing the reappearance of another highly promising type in Glenalmond and I think that’s where the value lies in this race.
Glenalmond first sprang to prominence when he was significantly upped in grade for his second start last year and ran very green to finish 4th in York’s Gimcrack Stakes. His inexperience was all too obvious but he looked to me the best horse in the race. He is 3lb better off for a length beating by Jungle Cat in that – but I would have expected him to beat that one again on level weights on what I saw. Gimcrack winner Muharrar later went on to prove the form was not far behind the best of his generation when 3rd in the Middle Park Stakes.
He then ran in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster where a disappointing last behind Estidhkaar. That looked a backward step until it transpired he had pulled a muscle and was practically walking on 3 legs after the race. I’m therefore happy to ignore that run but it seems he has been priced up tomorrow as if that were his true form.
If the Doncaster run had been ignored I really think he would be about the 6 or 7/1 mark for this race.
Of the other two in the race tomorrow, Home of the Brave is also more about potential than form. He was soundly beaten when upped in grade at Kempton after running too freely – something which must be a concern when running fresh on his debut again here – and there must also be some stamina concern over this 7 furlong trip.
Tupi gets weight from all but didn’t do enough to suggest that he was Group race level – something that the selection certainly did to me.
Glenalmond will almost certainly not be 100% ready tomorrow with a possible tilt at the 2,000 Guineas in mind – Karl Burke will have left something to work on with the season ahead. However, the same should probably be true of all 5 runners so they should start on a fairly level playing field here – only paddock inspection will start to reveal which are more forward than others and I can’t build that factor into an early price selection

Glenalmond
I think his trainer remains severely underrated – the fact that of his 21 juveniles last season he got 20 of them to win races- is a massive pointer as to his skill. But while he remains underrated the prices on his runners may be over generous.
Toocoolforschool was his highest rated juvenile last season but Glenalmond wasn’t far behind, and this full brother to Group 1 winning Wootton Bassett can start to reveal he is a top quality colt this season.
I remain full of respect for the favourite so only a small bet is recommended on the selection to win the race itself – but it’s the market where we don’t include Faydhan where I think the real value is to be had.
Betting without the favourite markets are usually worked out by automation from the race win odds. But using this method instead of working out manually can give out some anomalies.
As Glenalmond is marked up at over double the odds of the second fav with some firms he comes out far too high for me on this special market (in reality I think he should be fav or joint fav when Faydhan is ignored)
Recommendations
0.5 pts ew Glenalmond 14/1 (365)
2pts Glenalmond @7/2 (Betfair Sportsbook ) – betting without favourite

Thanks for reading and good luck

Paul

RESULT: Glenalmond seemed plenty fresh enough on his debut throwing his head around in the first furlong despite a strongly run race. He didnt have the pace to get with the two who raced up front but ran through to the line and I suspect will improve a bit on this performance. The winner Home of The Brave looked to have improved significantly from 2 to 3 but I think we can judge that Hugo Palmer’s team are well forward judged on both his and stablemates runs today. Despite being 4 lenghts behind, my selection was giving at least 5lbs away to those in front and gives me enough reason to think he can improve on that this season – possibly over a mile or over 7 furlongs when the ground isn’t quite as quick

A 3pt loss on the blog today leaves us with a balance of 62.98 pts from an initial bank of 50pts at the start of the year

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2015 in Horse Racing, Newmarket

 

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Guineas weekend picks

Time for the first Classics this weekend with Newmarket’s Guineas meeting.

Some quick thoughts on the main races below plus a few selections at other races on the main weekend cards.

SATURDAY
2.40 Newmkt
Not a betting race for me but very interested to see the reappearance of Hot Streak who recorded a fabulous time when winning a Group 3 at Ascot last year. Entirely likely he may need this (and may find ground a tad too quick) and by jockey booking’s appears to be owner’s second string behind the fragile but very talented Pearl Secret.. One to watch with a view to the Kings Stand at Royal Ascot
3.10
Trading Leather and Penglai Pavilion some way ahead on ratings but struggling to think of any ex-Fabre inmate who has kept a similar level after moving stables for Godolphin (Sky Hunter already disappointing this season) which turns me agains the latter. Trading Leather is the form horse but always looks the sort who may need a run to put him right. He may be too good for these despite this but looks too short to take that chance on.

3.50
The 2,000 Guineas has not been kind to me for Ante Post betting with Berkshire and Be Ready both disappointing on their comebacks and not reaching the race.
Kingman looks unquestionably the horse to beat after his reappearance run ( Gosden horses seemed well forward that weekend he won so others could catch up a little) and is starting to get into value territory at 7/4

Image
Toormore and War Command look the most viable each way picks. The former always just does enough in races – a decent trait to have and we probably don’t know his full potential yet. The latter was a stunning winner at Royal Ascot last year but didn’t quite match the same standard after.
I’m not a follower of O’Brien stable hype horses and Australia far too short for me despite the ‘stable vibes’. I’m afraid I don’t rate Joseph O’Brien as highly as others either – and often think there’s value in backing Ryan Moore or Seamie Heffernan on perceived stable 2nd or 3rd strings instead (Ruler of the World, Was, War Command –all recent examples).
Kingston Hill looks like he is using this race as a springboard for the Derby so wouldn’t be surprised to see him being a bit short of 100% tomorrow
Noozhoh Canarias is another worthy of mention who travels from Spain for this. I don’t doubt he has the class for this level on what we saw at Longchamp last year but his style of running doesn’t scream out that he is a miler and 6-7 furlongs may be his optimum. If he can settle early his chances increase of getting a place are increased
So while it’s no recommendation it’s Kingman likeliest winner for me but Toormore and War Command both making some each way appeal at around 8/1 or 9/1 with ¼ odds widely available

 

4.25
Stars Above Me could have been let in slightly lightly here with a mark of 88 but firms take no chances around 3/1 mark. Meritocracy was given far too much to do in his comeback run by Jamie Spencer and can be rated somewhat better – expecting him to come on for that run as well he rates a bet at 10/1
Recommendation
1pt ew Meritocracy @10/1 (BetVictor, Tote, Betfred)

 

5.00
Having put up Postponed as a value outsider for the Derby, he needs to win this to cement that and I would expect plenty of improvement over this 10 furlong trip. Cloudscape is most feared as he won what looked a very hot hcap on this course last time (expect to see a few winners come out of that – the second has already franked the form)
I think Postponed is definitely the one to beat though and overpriced at 7/2 with some firms

Recommendation
2pts Postponed 7/2 (Corals) – 3/1 also acceptable

 

3.45 Punchestown
I’m always more of a viewer than a backer at this meeting but with Glens Melody having run already this week there is a real ‘filthy’ ew here on Cockney Sparrow behind the fav.
Granted, Annie Power is clearly the one to beat but we’ve already had shocks here this week. The emphasis is clearly on the place side of the bet as value though and even if Glens Melody were to pull out the case would be even stronger with only a small rule 4 deduction

Recommendation
2pts ew Cockney Sparrow 7/1 or better (but be warned because of the nature of this race – some bookies may impose ew limits as it’s not really the sort of bet it would be in their best interests to take- so take what you can!)

 

5.30 Punchestown
Regal Encore has the look of a bit of plot here and 10/1 early show with Ladbrokes looks a bit big. Stable form has been a concern all season but he’s always looked better than a 130 horse and worth taking a bit of a chance on
Recommendation
0.75 pts ew Regal Encore 10/1 (Ladbrokes)

 

SUNDAY
More exaggerated waiting tactics from Jamie Spencer could have cost Café Society two wins last season and he could be a horse to follow this season. He runs in the 2.05 Newmarket and will be of interest but as its first time up this season wouldn’t want to see him too short when prices go up

The 3.50 is the 1,000 Guineas and a much more open looking affair than the colts equivalent.
Clive Brittain’s typically bullish comments about his Rizeena have seen her price halve in recent weeks despite only having racecourse gallops. She is a lovely filly but I do have this big doubt in my mind concerning the trip. Her pedigree screams out 7 furlongs and although she did finish 2nd over a mile on her last start – the first half of that race was slowly run and it wasn’t a true test. A strongly run mile could leave her a tiny bit vulnerable close home (worth also noting that in 3 attempts so far at hq – one on July course – she hasn’t yet won) . I would also have much preferred to see a jockey on board who has her ridden before.
Winter fav Miss France has to overcome a below par reappearance run. Andre Fabre always has to be respected whatever he sends across the channel but her price looks skinny now.
Ihtimal is my principal hope. She wouldn’t have been suited by the slow early gallop when behind Rizeena last year and was catching on her close home. She is fit from runs in Dubai and maybe more forward than most at this time of year. A slight concern is a couple of points walk in the market on Betfair in last couple of days – I hope that isn’t due to anything she did in a gallop a couple of days ago.

Image
I make another O’Brien ‘second string’ with Ryan Moore on board the principle danger. Again fit from a run, Bracelet got better the further she went over 7 furlongs at Leopardstown and this trip seems sure to suit much more on pedigree
Both Ihtimal and Bracelet are horse who should stay further than this mile and that is going to be important for me with a strong pace likely. (Apart from Rizeena, Lucky Kristale and Vorda are two others who may have distinct stamina limitations)

Recommendations
1pt ew each Ihtimal 10/1 or better; Bracelet 12/1 or better

 

Good luck over the weekend and thanks for reading

Paul
(blog back by special request of one follower on Tues night for Chester Cup day)

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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