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Caulfield Cup preview 2018

All eyes on Caulfield this week for the first of the traditional spring features.The influx of international raiders isn't quite as deep as initially feared but it still complicates proceedings heavily. There's a strong hand from the locally-owned runners but the foreign trainers have finally twigged this is a race worth attacking on its own (amazing what $5m will do!).

On with my preview...


Stella Artois Caulfield Cup
Group 1, AUD 5,000,000, 2400m
Caulfield 1640 local, 0640 BST

Best Solution: clearly the best horse in the race on the back of multiple European Group race wins. Stablemates arrived in great form, as displayed by Benbatl last week, so no concern about first-up in Australia. Concedes weight for narrow wins this season over Duretto and Sound Check but races in a style where he rarely does more than required to win. Drawn 15 after emergencies come out, likely to push forward, may get caught on a limb and then have to work up the hill to…
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Tabcorp pull the pin on a lemon named SunBets

In this week's least surprising news in the wagering industry, Tabcorp have decided to stop the haemorrhaging and get out of the lemon that is SunBets. For a firm to willingly pay around £40m to get out a deal, it must have an absolute shocker.

Let's examine a few of the reasons why:

1 - joint ventures between media companies and betting firms NEVER work.

Both sides think it's a licence to print money, and the deals are usually handled by people with limited knowledge of how the other business operates. In my time at Betfair, the powers at be signed two of these deals, with MSN and Yahoo. Does anyone remember those wonderful partnerships? Those from the betting firm think every reader of the site will sign up and spend lots of money, while those from the media operation are just as gullible, thinking their readers just want to piss money away with any new brand they point them at. Unrealistic expectations puts stars in the eyes on both sides and the contract becomes a disas…

Royal Ascot Day 1 previews

Jump in for all the action on day one at Royal Ascot, have gone the summary route rather than runner-by-runner with several big fields lined up!


Royal Ascot Notes Day 1

Queen Anne
I’ve never rated Rhododendron that highly but it didn’t stop her winning the G1 Lockinge last start, but she only fell in. Had the benefit of a lead-up run so you could imagine she has less upside than some of her rivals. Have to take her on as favourite.

Benbatl was impressive in Dubai but back to a mile here and Saeed Bin Suroor hasn’t won a British G1 since 2013. Not a Frankel year but even still, from a stable with bottomless cash reserves...

The French raider Recoletos arrives in top form but is he up to the standard of Goldikova or Solow? He may not need to be.

The most recent recipient of the “Looked like a superstar, now it’s just an oddball owner making excuses” trophy is Limato. Couldn’t have him over a mile down a 45deg slope.

Paul Kealy made a good case for Accidental Agent EW last w…

Belmont Stakes preview

It's time for the third leg of the American Triple Crown, and hey presto, the forecast says it's going to piss down yet again! Absolutely charmed run for the mudlarks. Justify won't quite have the attention that American Pharoah did three years ago but it's still as big as it gets in the US across mainstream media.

Over to esteemed form analyst Stephen Richardson for a quick summary of the race.


Belmont Stakes 2018

This year's field has 10 horses on Saturday competing for the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes in Elmont, New York. After winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in the last five weeks, the Bob Baffert-trained colt is attempting to become the 13th winner of the Triple Crown. Justify has drawn gate 1 and will race over the longest distance (2400m) of his racing career.

There is a reason the Belmont Stakes is nicknamed the Test of the Champion, it is an incredibly tough race and has proved the downfall of 23 Trip…

Prix Du Jockey Club preview

It's Derby weekend in Europe in case you hadn't noticed, and rather than focusing on the goat track that hosts the Investec Derby, I'll attack the French equivalent on a much fairer, flatter course at Chantilly. While the O'Brien stable seem to have their pecking order, it's difficult to line up the preferences of the local trainers. If you're not familiar with much of the French form, I've included replays for most of the major lead-up races.


Had dream run early in the Poulains then got caught up in the middle of the interference when the mad early pace suddenly stopped. Boxed in and caught flatfooted when the pace went on, it was a tough, grinding win in the end. Highly rated his whole career, and with a top jockey-trainer combination, he'll be well supported but in a big field, drawn the rail and at a tricky track like Chantilly, I wouldn't be rushing to take the current price on him. 5/1

AL ADAID (scr)
Won his maide…

NZ Harness Jewels preview

The Harness Jewels meeting is quite literally, the jewel in the crown of New Zealand harness racing. Interest and turnover in racing is quite evenly split between the galloping and trotting codes in NZ, much like France, and thus it's this meeting which gets all the attention this weekend, every race is a Group One. Previewing the card is Kiwi odds analyst extraordinaire Stephen Richardson. Welcome aboard!==========================Cambridge Harness Jewels DaySaturday, June 2.Cambridge, NZRace day prize pool NZ$1,275,000 Race 1 - 2 Year Old Fillies 1609m #1 Platinum Revolution is an Australian raider who has the draw and the right form to win but will have to break the record book as no Australian-trained runner has won a Jewels race. The favourite #8 Princess Tiffany is the runner to beat having won all four race starts and while the draw is a major concern, her trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen have dominated past Jewel races (won five from nine races at the last Jewels m…

Elitloppet 2018 preview

Worth giving a plug to blog protege Luke Humphries (@WorldRacingLuke), who is now scoring some paid work in the media. The Elitloppet is one of the premier races on the world trotting calendar, and with globalisation, it's now receiving dedicated coverage in Australia.

Luke's comprehensive preview of #Elitloppet18 can be found here.

If you fancy yourself as a bit of a writer and would like to follow in the footsteps of several guest writers on the blog who have gone onto paid work/regular employment, drop me a line. There's always a feature race somewhere worth previewing to the outside world!

Jorvik Hcp preview

The wonderful Dante meeting kicks off at York tomorrow. Let's hope we'll be able to focus on the racing rather than a bunch of tossers brawling on the lawn after a session on the turps & nose candy!

My go at the previews for the week - why not start with the opener on day one?


Sky Bet First Race Special Jorvik Hcp
Class 2, £50k, about 1m4f
14.20 local, 23.20 AEST

New to this trip but on breeding and recent runs in Dubai, I can’t see it being an issue. Placed each time in his three ‘winter’ starts since being acquired by Godolphin. Dry track suits but doesn't have the killer burst of speed to put a race to bed. Has promised plenty of the years but eternally stuck high in the weight in handicaps and not quite good to step into pattern class.

Previously trained by Jessica Harrington, likely to try a few different things to work him out in his early runs for David O’Meara. Good run at Ripon on stable debut, never turned up at Chester last week.…

Kentucky Derby preview

The first Saturday in May is synonymous with the Run for the Roses, the one day of the year that the majority of Americans hear of horse racing in mainstream news. This year takes on a special dimension with world champion trainer Aidan O'Brien pulling out all stops to land America's biggest race with leading chance Mendelssohn. By popular demand after his winning debut on the Breeders' Cup, it's the return of Nathan Cripps, @hoodooguru81, with his detailed assessment of the classic.  -------------------------- On Saturday 5th May (Sunday AEST) we will witness the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby worth $2,000,000 US. This year, unlike a few of the previous renewals, is a high quality contest. There are four or five outstanding colts that have looked dominant in their lead up races and recorded impressive ratings in doing so. Everything is in place for a brilliant spectacle and given the strength of the race, an exciting finish. We are in for a classic on Saturday! Post …