Skip to main content

Posts

The Kentucky Derby preview

It's the big day in US horse racing, the one day of the year when racing is truly in the public eye. Conscious of the stain on the sport when a winner returns a positive test, the powers that be at Churchill Downs have banned trainer Bob Baffert from competing this year, and understandably, that hasn't gone down well. Too bad, how sad... The field this year looks particularly even with only a couple I'd class as having absolutely no hope. As the 12th Man would say, this is harder to pick than a broken nose! ------------------ THE KENTUCKY DERBY presented by Woodford Reserve 1 1/4 miles (~2000m), 3yos, Grade 1 US$3,000,000 Churchill Downs, Saturday May 7 1857 local, 2357 BST, 0857 AEST. 1. Mo Donegal - Todd Pletcher, Irad Ortiz Jr. - narrowly beat today's favourite Zandon in the Remsen Stakes last December, ran third behind White Abarrio and Simplification in the Holy Bull in early Feb. After nine weeks off, he then beat a field with no other Derby runners in the Woo
Recent posts

The National preview!

The Grand National - every year you say don't get too excited, it's just another race to bet on, but every year we all get excited about it. Bring out the dartboard for your selections, or take some note of my comments below. Entirely up to you... :) Just be thankful we've got a full crowd this year, and may every horse return to their stable afterwards safe and sound. ======================= The Randox Grand National Handicap Chase £1million, Grade 3, 4m2f74yds Aintree, Saturday, 1715 local, 1815 CET, 0215 Sunday AEST Expected going Good-to-Soft. 1. Minella Times - defending champ ridden by the superstar Rachael Blackmore. Now burdened with topweight, carrying 21lbs more than last year. No doubt campaigned quietly as not to be given any additional pounds but two runs this season of fell and pulled up (over much shorter distances) don't inspire. But anything in the last 363 days is irrelevant when it comes to McManus, de Bromhead & Blackmore. Very few horses win th

Cheltenham Day 4 summary preview

13.30 TRIUMPH HURDLE - The Irish juveniles seem to have the edge here and arrive mob-handed. Vauban is supposedly the no.1 seed for Mullins, 'has been working as well as Gaelic Warrior', - but that one couldn't win the handicap on Tuesday. He sets the standard running a close second to Pied Piper on hurdling debut followed by a 3L win over Fil D'Or in the G1 Juvenile Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival. Third on that day was Il Etait Temps who was thrown into a G1 on jumping debut, starting at 40/1. He tanked along at the rear of the field, looked green at times and worked home well to take third, recording an RPR better than all bar the top three in today's market. A more positive ride should put him right in contention - 12/1 EW all day! The Queen's former horse Pied Piper beat Vauban on debut and followed it up with an 8L win in a canter here on Trials Day. What's in the tank when he lets him go? Porticello was beaten by Knight Salute in December but

Cheltenham Gold Cup preview

BOODLES CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP CHASE Grade 1, £625,000, 3m2f70yds Cheltenham Friday, 1530 GMT, 1630 CET, 0230 Sat AEDST Expected Going: Soft/Good to Soft 1. Al Boum Photo - lost his crown when running on late for third here last year, and only Kauto Star has ever won the Cup, lost it and then come back and won it again. Since that day 12 months ago, he was runner-up in Punchestown's version of the Gold Cup and won his traditional New Year's Day season opener at Tramore, albeit with a lower RPR than in the previous three years. Four 10yos won between 1988 and 1998, but none since. 2. A Plus Tard - sets a high standard, winning or a close-up second in his last four races, all top Grade 1s. Won the Savills Chase 2020, beaten 1.25L in the Gold Cup last year, destroyed the field to win the Betfair Chase in November by 22L (usually builds fitness through the season, this time he was set for the race), and most recently being touched off on the line by Galvin in the Savills of Dec 21.

Cheltenham Day 3 summary preview

13.30 TURNER - A piss-poor turnout of just four runners here for a Grade 1 race at the Festival. Yes the top two are bloody good but it's disappointing few others are prepared to take them on. And yet they want to dilute the programme even further and look at a fifth day... Bob Olinger has been beaten only once, on a heavy track, by Ferny Hollow, who is high class, so I'm not too concerned about that. He has also won a G1 in the heavy and other races in soft and soft/heavy so there's no issue there. Galopin Des champs ran on heavy or soft/heavy three times early in his career and been beaten each time, although he won on debut on 'very soft' in France. Has he matured enough to overcome that? El Barra doesn't mind swimming but is a long way behind on the ratings. A no bet race for me. BOB OLINGER (11/10)  14.10 PERTEMPS FINAL - In difficult territory here with a nightmare of a handicap to unravel and the weather. It appears as though the rain will have ended ov

Stayers Hurdle preview - Day 3

PADDY POWER STAYERS HURDLE Grade 1, £325,000, Three Miles Cheltenham Thursday 1530 local, 1630 CET, 0230 Thurs AEDST Going - Soft to Heavy 1. Champ - went back to hurdling after failing in the Gold Cup last year, and considering his record of six wins and three seconds from nine starts, it's no great surprise. Beat Thyme Hill at Ascot in the Long Walk but then couldn't match Paisley Park up the hill here in the Cleeve. 10yo, gets his chance but probably leaning to younger rivals. 2. Flooring Porter - very consistent stayer who emerged last season to win the Irish Xmas Hurdle and this race, and ran second in the Xmas Hurdle again (2L behind Klassical Dream) this time in. His RPRs have been within 3lbs for his last four completions (pulled up at Punchestown Festival), so he sets a high bar. Goes very close. 3. Home By The Lee - second at big odds behind Royal Kahala at Gowran Park last time (ahead of Klassical Dream). Hasn't had a lot of starts so there's probably stil

Cheltenham Wednesday summary preview

13.30 BALLYMORE - Sir Gerhard sets the standard here. Pointed towards this one because there was no hope of Dysart Dynamo settling to run 2.5 miles, he should have the stamina to run this trip without too much fuss. Has been beaten once in his life, by Kilcruit in the Punchestown Champion Bumper. His main rival might come from this side of the Irish Sea, the Owners Group-owned Stage Star who has been untroubled in his three hurdle runs to date, winning the G1 Challow at Newbury easily over Xmas. All of those wins have been at this trip, so that certainly won't phase him. Three Stripe Life was beaten six lengths last time behind Sir Gerhard, which should see him run a place if he repeats that here. On breeding he certainly should stay all day. The fav should win but odds-on, look on. 8/1 EW on Stage Star is worth a go. SIR GERHARD (4/6), Stage Star (back 8/1 EW), Three Stripe Life (7/1) 14.10 BROWN ADVISORY - see preview here 14.50 CORAL CUP - 26 runners but not a lot of live hop

Brown Advisory Novices Chase preview - day 2

BROWN ADVISORY NOVICES' CHASE Grade 1, £175,000, 3m80y Cheltenham Wednesday, 1410 local, 1510 CET, 0110 AEDST Going - Good, Good to Soft in places. 1. Ahoy Senor - beat Bravemansgame in the G1 Sefton Novices Hurdle at Aintree last season. Since switching to fences, he has unseated, won a G2 by 31L, finished second to Bravemansgame at Kempton after numerous mistakes, and then won the G2 Towton at Wetherby. He goes fast but you'll have your heart in your mouth as he jumps. Take on trust. 2. Beacon Edge - won the G1 Drinmore Novice Chase back in October ahead of Gabynako (second yesterday) and Fury Road, but then fell at the Dublin Racing Festival and ran a narrow second behind Farouk D'Alene (conceding 7lbs) a fortnight later when then obviously needed to run him to get him fitter. One of the many very good Gigginstown horses that are honest but I can't ever see winning a big race. 3. Bravemansgame - four from four over fences, recording some big performance figures al

Cheltenham Tuesday summary preview

13.30  SUPREME - see separate preview 14.10 ARKLE - it's Edwardstone vs the Irish here. Alan King's 8yo would be the first of his age group to win for over a decade but he's lightly raced and flying since he switched to fences. Three G1/G2 wins on the bounce, he has recorded an RPR of 164 each time - so is that his level? He's good but not infallible, so this all comes down to price. I reckon bookies will be prepared to take him on so 11/4 or 3/1 I'm prepared to back him, but 2/1 or 9/4 I'll be against. The Irish contingent are closely matched. In the Irish Arkle last month, there wasn't much between Blue Lord , Riviere d'Etel, Saint Sam and Haut En Couleurs in the betting, and they ran 1st, 2nd (unlucky, beaten 1/2L), third (beaten 4.5L) and fell early. Blue Lord just seems to do enough, Riviere D'Etel is always keen and on an occasion like this I fear she'll get fizzed up before the start, while Saint Sam might have more scope for improvement