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The Derby preview 2024

Here’s my preview, apologies for the formatting, posting this off my mobile at an airport! Competitive race but with the gloss off City of Troy, it doesn’t appear to be the strongest running. Of course, that might be firmly dismissed by 4.40 tomorrow! BETFRED DERBY Group 1, for 3yo colts, 1m4f Ambiente Friendly James Fanshawe Robert Havlin 6 Simply pissed in to win the Lingfield Derby Trial, beating the Ballydoyle ninth-string Illinois by four and a half-lengths, against no rivals who have continued onto the big dance. That race is never the strongest lead-in to the Derby but he did it in a fast time and needs to be respected. That RPR is 5lbs higher than Anthony Van Dyck recorded, the only Trial winner of past decade to go onto winning the Derby, and second only (by 1lb) to Military Order as the best winning performance. He relished the distance, making a big step up in rating from his fourth in the Feilden on seasonal debut. Has been in the press over the past fortnight for dumping
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The Oaks preview 2024

Ladies' Day on the Downs, that remarkable track that you'd never build if you scrapped it and started again... Love it or hate it, the Oaks is a career-defining race for the fillies and while this edition doesn't seem to be the strongest we've seen, it's still an intriguing one. Queen of Epsom: Oh So Sharp out on her own under Steve Cauthen in the 1985 Oaks. Photo: Mark Cranham /  focusonracing . com BETFRED OAKS Group 1, 1m4f, £550,000 For 3yo Fillies Epsom, Friday May 31, 1630 BST, 0130 Sat AEST   1. Caught U Looking: Trainer Noel Meade: Jockey Colin Keane: Barrier 1 Fourth in the Salsabill at Navan behind Ezeliya, had every chance but only two lengths behind coming off almost 200 days off. Well beaten twice by Ylang Ylang (was a shorter price than her in the G1 Fillies' Mile), can't see any reason to expect her in the finish but does have better form on soft tracks if the rain continues. Big price difference between her and Ezeliya, as highlighted by Robb

York Dante meeting - Friday preview

A better day on Thursday, landing Point Lynas and the forecast with Big Evs and Sommerlier later in the programme. Not enough to retire on though, we go again! 1415 Marygate Fillies' Stakes A tricky field of lightly-raced fillies with a decent spread of formlines to compare. Baileys Jubilation - ran a decent fourth in what might be the strongest 2yo race of the season so far, with a couple of winners behind her. Her dam was beaten as 2/5 fav in this race back in 2012, after arriving unbeaten in two previous starts. Drawn high which hasn't been the place to be yet this week, although Clarendon House did win from 12 on Thursday, coming down the middle. Will be a big price, not out of it at all but the usually reliable Jason Hart has ridden one winner from his last 53 rides - he's cold as ice. Betty Clover - a home-bred for Eve Johnson Houghton who specialises with budget juveniles. Won easily at Bath on debut then ran second to Running Queen at Salisbury. Seemed to have no ex

York Dante Meeting - Thursday preview

YORK Thursday Well Day 1 was a rather trying day. Track of Time ran stone motherless last, Hispanic tragically broke a leg and has gone to the big horse paddock in the sky, Showalong drifted heavily and tired out accordingly, Classical Song looked fat in the parade ring and could only finish third behind a couple of longshots, then Ziggy's Condor looked home for all money to save the day... and then got nutted on the line at 10/1. So close, yet so far...  As Yazz used to sing, the only way is up... 1415 Lindum York Handicap JM Jungle won a decent race in Bahrain in February but was disqualified for some reason (nothing in the stewards report!) so we're guessing whether it was for interference, a drug infraction or the jockey weighed in light. Last time out, he ran a decent fourth at Musselburgh after 60 days off so he'll be fitter for this. Generally runs well here, slight doubt on the form of jockey Jason Hart, winning only twice from his last 52 rides. He's much bette

York Dante meeting Day 1 preview

 YORK Wednesday Ah, what a glorious meeting. The finest track in the country - spacious, flat, quality racing and punters don't get ripped off at the gate! Previewing the ITV races with more detailed emphasis on the opening race... 1415 Jorvik Hcp Klondike - handy colt with Magnier and Tabor in the ownership group. After an impressive win on debut last season, he subsequently ran in pattern company, only failing in his last start, when he was soon despatched for wind surgery and a break. Holds an entry in the Hardwicke at Royal Ascot so they've obviously got a high opinion of him. Haggas has a great record here (18% Win SR) and Haggas/Marquand strike here at 15.6%, and 22.5% overall. Track of Time - interesting runner making his debut for Ian Williams and Fitri Hay. Formerly trained in France, he's won at Longchamp, Lion d'Angers (gorgeous little track in central France - worth a visit!) and Chantilly (AW), so he's no slouch. Wintered in Dubai, finishing in the fron

Kentucky Derby preview 2024

 KENTUCKY DERBY 2024 With the eternally rubbish weather in Britain this year, I've been paying more attention to US racing lately, especially with the advent of the excellent Racing App with all the race replays for free. So why not have a look at the Derby... ====================== The 150th Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve Grade 1, US$5,000,000, for three-year-olds.  One mile and a quarter (~2000m). Sat 1857 local time, 2357 BST, Sun 0857 AEST 1. Dornoch - Trainer Danny Gargan, Jockey Luis Saez. Brother to the winner of last year's race, Mage. Often leads so the inside gate should be an asset, however none of these horses have raced in a 20-runner field before. So there'll be a lot more pressure from the gates, missing the kick by half-a-length isn't an issue in a small field, it can be a curse from the inside rail in the Derby. Had run only first or second in his first five starts before being blown away by Sierra Leone in the G1 Blue Grass. 20/1 in the M

Cheltenham Day 4 preview

Well done if you've lasted this long. A couple of decent results yesterday could have been a lot better if I was simply boxing my selections in trifectas. The tide might be turning... Anyhow onto the preview! TRIUMPH HURDLE Bunting - one of the seven runners for Willie Mullins. Won a maiden then ran fourth in a Mullins 1-2-3-4 in the Dublin Racing Festival G1 Juvenile Hurdle, which was where he ranked from the stable (and all of those run here). Can't see any reason to promote him. Ethical Diamond - was further behind the aforementioned quartet at Leopardstown and 50/1 that day. It's only "trained by W.Mullins" preventing him from being that price here. Highwind - beat Boodles winner Lark In the Mornin in January, but blotted his copybook in the G1 Juvenile Hurdle, running eighth and last of the six Mullins runners, with a few mistakes thrown in. Not reliable enough to put any faith in. Ithacas Arrow - 33L behind Sir Gino at Kempton over Xmas, won a C3 hurdle

Cheltenham Thursday preview

  CHELTENHAM THURSDAY Interesting card today as they switch to the New course. A few races I quite like, and others I'll be happy to skip right over... TURNERS NOVICES Colonel Harry - had been running OK in small-field novice chases until last time at Sandown, finishing 29L behind the winner in the G1 Scilly Isles, in a race where the odds-on fav was ever in it. Perhaps the unseasonal good ground caught him out? Loves the wet. Djelo - second in the Scilly Isles, achieving a career best in the process. Did well to get within 7L after the tearaway leader simply didn't come back to the field and the other jockeys banked on the odds-on fav carting them back into it (he didn't). Has had a progressive novice chasing campaign, winning three, then getting taken out at the first fence in a G2 at Lingfield. Could yet be more to come. Facile Vega - obvious favourite simply because he has started fav every start except his last one. The hype has been on this one right from the start

Cheltenham Wednesday preview

 CHELT WED Here we go again for day two, hopefully with a drying track. GALLAGHER Ballyburn is a machine and wins this in a canter, hence the price. Won his maiden on soft/heavy by 25L, and last time won a G1 at the Dublin Racing Festival ahead of Slade Steel who won the Supreme. A battle for the minors as they say... Handstands has been flying for Ben Pauling, winning four from four, but is the British form good enough? Ile Atlantique bolted in on heavy going back in November, ran second in the G1 Lawlor's in mid-January, beaten just a neck. Has class, obvious second choice. In the top five speed ratings performances of horses in this race, he is the only one that's not the favourite. Jimmy Du Seuil is another Mullins runner (he supplies five of the octet who accepted), coming straight out of maiden class. Will have talent but doubt it's G1 level, at least at this stage. Jingko Blue - has started fav at all three starts under Rules, and carried topweight to an easy wi