A brilliant days racing and a taste of what is to come later in the season.
1.40 Newbury (9 runners)
Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise
Stakes (Group 3) (Registered As The John Porter Stakes) 1m4f (2640 yards)
RACE SUMMARY : Impossible to see past Defoe here, 3 from 3 at the track, twice returning from a decent break, twice on soft ground and won this race last year. He went on last season to win in Group 2 Company with his only defeats since 2016 coming in Group 1 Company. Young Rascal who carries a 3lbs (2 lengths) penalty improved no end last year with his only defeat coming in the Epsom Derby, winning here 3 times all at this level and also goes well fresh. The forecast looks pretty obvious and I would be surprised if any other runner can get involved. The one I have played for third in a mixed tri-cast is Aspertar who looks best early in the season for a trainer whose top level runners have generally operated at a 28% strike rate and he may well outrun his odds.
SELECTION : Defoe
DANGER : Young Rascal
2.10 Newbury (15 runners)
Dubai Duty Free Stakes (Fillies
Group 3) (Registered As The Fred Darling Stakes) 7f (1540 yards)
I have gone for So Perfect here, generally A O’Brien runners are best avoided early season especially with his UK runners but she was only beaten a combined total of just over a length in 2 Group 1 contests last season and she won on debut this time last year.
2.40 Newbury (8 runners)
Watership Down Stud Greenham Stakes (Group 3), 7f (1540 yards)
This was a race Richard Hannon senior used to target with his early season three-year olds and it looks a similar story for Richard Hannon junior who fields 3 of the now 8 runners. I don’t think we will see any future stars coming out of today’s race and this looks best left to the stats. Silvestre De Sousa has a great record for R Hannon generally in lesser races but the thing that stands out to me is his 28.57% strike rate when riding for the trainer when he has multiple runners in a race.
A cracking card at Chelmsford this evening but the winners won’t come easy.
RACE SUMMARY 19:00
PACE VERDICT : Secret Art may get an uncontested lead and be able to dictate the speed from the front.
PACE SELECTION : Main Street
RACE SUMMARY : Secret Art looks the only confirmed front runner over this trip in the field so may well be able to dictate the speed from the front. He may need this run though plus a little help from the handicapper. He did win a similar level CD event in May last year but off a 6lbs lower mark plus having had the benefit of a couple of recent runs. Main Street is the one I like here having won over CD when with John Gosden. He later went close in a Listed Event but struggled after that when given a mark of 99. He has since left John Gosden and this is his fourth run for David Elsworth but more importantly steps back up to 10 furlongs and return to this CD after what can only be considered a recent warm up run over 7 furlongs. The benefit of 3 runs and the fact Oisin Murphy has kept the ride suggest his turn may not be far away. Swiss Storm clearly
has the talent but looks very unreliable. Nonios has won 3 times over CD latest off a 3lbs lower mark but that is negated by the Jockeys 5lbs Claim. D Hogan has recently won on this runner over today’s trip at Lingfield off a mark of 91 but he could only claim 3lbs that day, he races off 92 today but the jockey gets his full 5lbs so theoretically is 1lb well in albeit in a stronger race.
SELECTION : Main Street
DANGER : Nonios
RACE SUMMARY 20:00
PACE VERDICT : Another Angel, Bosham and Drakefell look the obvious Early Speed runners and may contest the early lead so a decent gallop looks likely which may suit a runner coming from off the speed
RACE SUMMARY : Bosham looks the best drawn of those likely to go forward but the likes of Another Angel and Drakefell do have better early speed ratings so this could be a fierce battle for the early lead. Poyle Vinnie is very well handicapped having last won off a 15lbs higher mark but that was at Southwell just over two years ago. He has gone close several times over CD off higher marks than today with his latest being a CD second off 87 in a race with an average rating of 12lbs higher than today’s race. He is back down to his lowest mark since 2014, will be suited by the likely strong gallop but will need a lot of luck in running from stall 1. From 35 runs over CD Dynamo Walt is My Top Rated winning 7 and placed 7 times with 5 of those wins coming off higher marks than today and Paddy Mathers is 5 from 17 on this horse over CD. He too should be suited by a strong gallop but it is over 3 years since he has won returning from a longer break than 27 days. Although officially still above his last winning mark Zac Brown is actually 3lbs below his last AW winning mark which came here this time last year over 6f and he won over CD a year earlier off a 13lbs higher mark (9lbs taking in to account the jockeys claim). I have a sneaky suspicion though that this drop to 5 furlongs may be part of his cycle so will watch the market closely.
SELECTION : Dynamo Walt
DANGER : Zac Brown
OTHER CHELMSFORD SELECTIONS:
- 18:30 – Able Jack
- 19:30 – Sharp Operator
- 20:30 – Masters Apprentice/Heron
As we move to the end of another AW season it is time once again for me to focus my attention on the Juveniles and Group Races on turf.
As far as today goes a very tricky day and not one in which I intend to be getting too involved in. Southwell can be left to those with the inside edge as usual but Kempton offers up a very interesting if not difficult card.
4.40 Kempton (9 runners)
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EBF Fillies Novice Stakes (Plus 10)
A interesting Juvenile race to start off the card. The Archie Watson trained Lady Kermit has attracted plenty of support which is not surprising considering he sent out he generally operates at around a 25% strike rate on the AW with his two-year olds on debut and unleashed another yesterday. Lady Kermit also looks the type on paper A January foal by Starspangledbanner who himself won over 5 furlongs on debut going on to be a Group 1 winner from 6-8 furlongs but all on turf. His Juvenile progeny have a very moderate 2 from 25 strike rate on the AW which is a slight concern as is stall 10. Over 5 furlongs at Kempton there is a very short run to the first turn and although I am certain the trainer will have her well rehearsed Lady Kermit can not afford to lose much ground from the stalls. She does have a few later entries but at such a short price I am happy to take her on. The one I will take her on with is Perfect Rose, a February foal looks the best on pedigree in my opinion by Group 1 winning sprinter Oasis Dream and although she is most probably a longer term project as the Sire’s progeny generally improve for the run they have still shown a decent 14.67% strike rate on debut during April/May. The trainer can get them ready as we know and shows a 4 from 10 record with his Juvenile debutantes over CD.
7.15 Kempton (11 runners)
1m3f (2419 yards)
Class 4, Standard To Slow, 4yo+, Win: £6469
I have taken a rather speculative punt on Baydar here dropping from a 0-95 last time out back in to a more suitable 0-80 Handicap. He had decent form last year running against the likes of Watersmeet. The drop back in trip will also suit as all of his winning form apart from an AW Maiden win over 8 furlongs is on Turf over 10 furlongs. I am slightly worried that this is a cycle race to get him ready for a turf campaign but he his back to his lowest ever mark and fits a few trainer profiles in that he has a 22.86% strike rate in AW handicaps with his top weights having 2 or 3 seasonal runs a 50% (6 from 12) placed strike rate when also dropped in class so at 20/1 I thought was worth a small interest especially at around 3/1 for 4 places.
There does look to be some strong favourites on the card but a few I fancy that may outrun their odds are:
5.10 Kempton (Race 2) Red Skye Delight
5.45 Kempton (Race 3) Secret Magic
6.15 Kempton (Race 4) Balata Bay
6.15 Kempton (Race 4) Gold At Midnight
7.15 Kempton (Race 6) Baydar
8.15 Kempton (Race 8) Optima Petamus
The first day of the Turf Flat season but I will be concentrating on a decent AW card at Kempton.
RACE SUMMARY 14:05 Matchbook Magnolia Stakes (Listed)
PACE VERDICT : Matterhorn, Mootasadir and Big Country look the obvious Early Speed runners and may contest the early lead. A decent gallop looks likely which may suit a runner coming from off the speed
PACE SELECTION : Fabricate. Master Of The World or Extra Elusive
RACE SUMMARY : A fascinating renewal that is made even more interesting by the presence of last years winner Fabricate taking on multiple winner and clear CD Top Rated Matterhorn. From stall 1 Matterhorn is likely to try and make the running which looks likely considering his early speed rating over this CD last time out is clear of the field. I generally ignore Lingfield and Chelmsford form when studying for this track except over this trip and 5 furlongs as they are run on the similarly sharp inner track. This is a big step up in Class considering the average rating last time out was 10lbs lower than today’s race, in saying that he could not have been any more impressive. Mootasdir has the Form/Class to win this and is my Last Time Out Top Rated for his win in a decent handicap at Wolverhampton off 105 to make it 5 from 5 on the AW when returning from a break of 157 days. He looks versatile regarding run style and does have the early speed to stay in touch. The form of his Dundalk Group 3 win looks strong with the second going on to win a Listed Race next time. Master Of The World and Big Country had no chance in the Winter Derby finishing behind Wissahickon but the proximity to Pactolus suggests it is the percentage call to discount them here. Fabricate won this last year when returning from a similar break and can not truly be discounted but I just think he has a little to find with Matterhorn on My Ratings. Victory Bond looked like he was having a prep run last time out at Wolverhampton when intentionally run wide. The booking of Richard Kingscote stands out to me that connections are expecting more today as he has only ridden 10 times on the AW for this yard, winning 5 of them. He returns to 10 furlongs a trip at which his AW record reads 1,2,2,1 but unfortunately those seconds were at Listed Level. Extra Elusive is interesting one for me. He is 1 from 1 on the AW winning very impressively here over 12 furlongs and he looks certain to be suited by a decent gallop as I expect him to tuck in just behind the early speed. The trainer employs the hood for the first time which appears to be a strategy the trainer utilizes well especially with his runners returning from a break who return a 46.67% strike rate. The market does look to have this spot on especially with Matterhorn drawn in stall 1 and Mootasdir now drawn just on his outer so I expect him and Victory Bond to to be pushed forward to sit just behind the leader with Big Country the pace enigma as he may well be pushed along from stall 8 to take on the leader as he is the only runner with early speed ratings to match Matterhorn and it is this that I am gambling on as this in my opinion will suit Extra Elusive which is where my money is going.
SELECTION : Extra Elusive
DANGER : No early speed competition
Other Kempton Selections:
- 14:40 – Soldiers Minute/Pipers Note could out run his odds
- 15:15 – Count Calabash/Cosmeapolitan
- 16:25 – Uncle Jerry
- 17:00 – Archimento
A fairly quiet week punting wise as we build up to the forthcoming Turf Flat season. Today’s card at Lingfield looks a cracker if not very tricky.
RACE SUMMARY 14:00
PACE VERDICT : In The Red May get an uncontested lead and be able to dictate the speed from the front
RACE SUMMARY : In The Red just failed over CD earlier this month in what looked a slightly tougher race than this. He showed enough early speed to get over from stall 7 that day and with very little obvious early speed competition should have no difficulty
doing the same here. He is only 1lb higher today but remains relatively well handicapped still on some past form. A danger may be the CD Top Rated Dark Alliance who won a shade easily over CD in January 2018 admittedly in a weaker race but off only 3lbs lower and has won recently off a 1lb higher mark albeit on Tapeta in a Claiming Race. The Warrior is lurking back on a decent mark but would be better suited with a slightly stronger gallop than he may get today. Bin Daahir is a very interesting runner based on pedigree and losing form. His last race has produced 9 winners and 25 placed efforts with 4 of the runners now rated 80+ with the second placed that day now rated 94, his penultimate race also looks very strong again producing 9 future winners with the winner that day now rated 106 finishing third in Group 1 Company. My main worry is the sire’s progeny have a poor record over this CD and he may be being prepared for the turf. Golden Guest is another runner that is becoming well handicapped having gone close over CD off 72(69 including jockey’s claim), he races off 67 (60 including jockey’s claim) today with the very capable C Fallon taking the ride. I just have a sneaky suspicion connections may want a few more pounds off his back but a market watch is recommended.
SELECTION : In The Red
DANGER : Bin Daahir
RACE SUMMARY 15:05
PACE VERDICT : Warriors Valley, Captain Lars and Drakefell look the obvious Early Speed runners and may contest the early lead so a decent gallop looks likely which may suit a runner coming from off the speed.
RACE SUMMARY : Captain Lars and George Dryden are dangerously well handicapped with the latter possibly the most interesting if not for today. He is now 7lbs below his last win which was over CD back in February 2018. This is his second run after a wind operation so may just need this. The booking of Oisin Murphy for CD Top Rated Captain Lars catches the eye, he generally operates at a 25% strike rate for this yard and has 3 wins and another placed effort from 5 rides on this runner.
SELECTION : Captain Lars
DANGER : George Dryden
Lingfield other interests:
16:40 – Follow A Dream is a full sister to three Group Race winners including one at Group 1 and four at Group 2 Level. She cost $625,000 as a Yearling and will need to win this and win it well to justify that fee.
Over at Newcastle there are a few I am interested in and have backed mainly in a few multiples.
17:55 – I have backed Up Ten Down Two who although not one for the mortgage at 8/1 I did think he was worth an interest. The ten-year old is 3 from 5 on Tapeta, 2 from 4 here including 1 over CD. He generally goes well after a decent break with a record of 3 from 4 on the back of a 90+ days break.
19:00 – Astonished looks a big price at 5/2 especially if you consider her sire’s 36 runners operate at a 44.44/63.89% Win/Place strike rate at the track and 10 from 6 over CD, 2 from 2 with his fillies.
19:30 – The form of Thaayer CD win last time out stands out here. He beat some decent rivals a shade cosily including the previous winner Matterhorn who has since won a further five races on the bounce and now rated 112. A further 5¼ lengths back in second was the John Gosden runner Holy Heart who has since won twice and finished second to become now rated 86. I am actually shocked and worried that Thaayer is available at odds against.
As we approach the forthcoming Flat Turf season I generally become very more selective with my races on the All Weather. On a personal level I have found winners more difficult to come by at this stage of the season as many of the good All Weather races have already been run with those winners saved for finals day, that combined with the fact the many trainers use these late season All Weather races as merely warm up races for future Turf engagements. The only race that interests me today is the first race at Lingfield.
2:10 Lingfield (AW)
1m (1m1y) Ladbrokes Home Of The Odds Boost Handicap (Class 5) (3yo 0-75
Without doubt the most interesting runner is the well-bred Azets, by Dubawi out of a four times Listed Race (including over this CD) 107 Rated winning mare. Azets cost connections 300,000 Guineas as a yearling and was last seen 13 days ago when making eye-catching late progress on his AW debut at Kempton. Personally I have my doubts as to the strength of that form and if he was not just staying on past moderate beaten horses. There is no doubt he is bred to be useful and should really take all of the beating on Handicap debut in what looks a very moderate race, I am also sure that connections will be extremely disappointed if he is not better than a Rating of 69 but the fact that the Dam as only produced 1 winner coupled with Dubawi’s unprofitable record on polytrack I am happy to let him win at current odds. The one I like is the Hugo Palmer colt On The Line. Admittedly he is still a Maiden after 6 runs and cost current connections a fraction of Azets fee but I do have a few reasons to think he may go close today. This is his third run of the season and after wind surgery, he appears to be taking a step forward since and improved last time in the first time blinkers, the trainers runners generally operate at a 16.22% strike rate in the second time headgear. His last two runs appear to have been fitness runs, dropped back to 6 furlongs and then stepped back up to 7 furlongs last time out. He went close over this trip at Chelmsford when finishing third as a Juvenile in what looked a decent Novice Stakes with the first and second running with credit in Group Company since. James Doyle was riding him that day and gets back in the saddle for the first time since. The Jockey and Trainer have a decent strike rate together especially on the AW where they have operated at a profitable 34.33% strike rate in the last two seasons, that strike rate increases when narrowed down to three-year olds at which they have been operating at a very encouraging 41.38/65.52%. I am not sure where connections will go if he can not go close at this level but at 7/1 I personally believe he is worth chancing especially for me in the place market.
Thought I would take a look at the final All Weather Championship Qualifier for 2019. The basic rules are as follows.
1. Either a horse must run a minimum of three times on the all-weather surfaces in Great Britain, Ireland or France (or twice on the all-weather surfaces in Britain, Ireland or France and once on the dirt at Meydan in Dubai).
2. Or a horse can win a specific Fast-Track Qualifier which will qualify for free and guaranteed entry into a specific race on finals day.
- Above The Rest. Top Rating 94.78, No CD Rating. Should be rated high enough to qualify. He clearly has the class to win this having won a Group 3 on Newcastle’s Tapeta surface. He should be suited by the likely strong gallop.
- Apex King. Top Rating 92.2, No CD Rating. Has already had the 3 qualifying runs but is only rated 86 so will not qualify unless winning this, in my opinion though, it would take a massive leap in form to even go close against this field.
- Arcanada. Top Rating 94.51, Top CD Rating 89.37. Should be qualified on Official Ratings and needs today’s run. He looks the most likely to go forward but looks better suited by an extra furlong so this looks a prep run for finals day.
- Cardsharp. Top Rating 85.26, No CD Rating. A very interesting runner has he should easily qualify on Official Ratings but is yet to run during the qualifying period so needs to win this in order to qualify for finals day. With only one run on the AW which was over a straight 6 furlongs at Newcastle it is interesting that Mark Johnston has pitched him in at this level especially over a distance that he has appeared to struggle at. He may well be on to go forward and contest the early speed.
- Documenting. Top Rating 95.69, Top CD Rating 93.11. One of only 2 CD winners in the field. Looks guaranteed a place on finals day already and looked impressive last time out winning a CD 0-95 with embarrassing ease although that field did look a great deal weaker than today’s. He should be suited by the likely strong gallop.
- Island Of Life. Top Rating 93.99, Top CD Rating 90.08. The only other CD winner in the field but also the only female in the race so receives 5lbs from the males. She is guaranteed a place in the Fillies And Mares race on finals day after winning a Fast Track Qualifier over CD. She should be suited by the likely strong gallop.
- Keystroke. Top Rating 96.74, Top CD Rating 93.37. Has a great record from his 3 runs at the track resulting in a second over CD in this race last year and 2 wins over 1½ miles. He has the best final pace rating in the field so will be suited by the likely strong gallop.
- Oh This Is Us. Top Rating 93.42, No CD Rating. The highest rated runner on Official Ratings and Racing Post Ratings and only needs to turn up today to guarantee a place on finals day. His form though does look a little suspect in my opinion. He beat inferior rivals last time out and the proximity of Apex King is a worry. He should be suited by the likely strong gallop but does look short enough to me.
Conclusion: I am expecting this to be contested at a decent gallop with Cardsharp and Arcanada likely to cut across from their draws in 9 and 7 respectively. Oh This Is Us may be inconvenienced by Cardsharp so will need a deliberate move to pull him back in behind. Stall 1 is a worry for Above The Rest as he will need plenty of luck in running so that leaves it between Island Of Life and Keystroke. It is Keystroke that just shades it for me.
This is not out of desperation it is a play I feel that looks slightly over-priced. I generally do not look too deeply at Dundalk merely due to time restraints but religiously compile the ratings.
RACE SUMMARY 17:00:00
Yuften looks the obvious one at the weights but I just have a sneaky suspicion That Is The Spirit may turn around the form of their last meeting which was in a similar race here back in November when Yuften romped home beating My selection by over 11 lengths but there are a few reasons I think That Is The Spirit can get much closer today. The main reason is that last run was over 8 furlongs a trip at which Yuften is clearly superior but today we race over the specialist trip of 7 furlongs for which That Is The Spirit is head and shoulders in front on form with wins off 90,95,105, 99 and 90. His last two runs over this CD can be forgiven as he was returning from an absence of 117 days and 116 days, both times in strong handicap, 0-95 and 0-90. The other reason I think he can improve today is he looks more than likely to get an uncontested lead from stall 3 with a far superior Early Speed Rating to anything else in the race. This is his third run after a break so should strip much fitter the main question is how much ability does he retain.
SELECTION : That Is The Spirit at 10/1