Friday, 28 August 2015

Memsie Stakes preview

The first Group 1 race of the new season in Victoria, it's the Memsie Stakes. A 1400m race where not that many of them are 1400m specialists, as expected as this end of the campaign.

Time to call upon the services of Premium Racing Services, to shrewdly assess the form.

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New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes
Group 1, 1400m
$400,000 WFA
1645 local, 0745 BST
Odds comparison
Form guide


Interesting Historical Factors

INTO THE RACE:
- 9/10 winners were previous G1 winners
- Last five winners of races were first up, and seven of last nine.
- 1/31 has won this race coming from a Sydney lead up run.
- 6/8 winners were 4YOs.
- 11/16 started <$5 SP including nine favourites. Dissident last year the first double digit SP ($12) winner since 1994.

OUT OF THE RACE:
- 6/13 Cox Plate winners come out of the race.
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- From 2002-2013, the winner of at least one of the Cox Plate, Caulfield Cup & Melbourne Cup came out of this meeting. Last year broke that factor.

PRS Speed Map



The emergencies do play a significant part in the map, in particular Charmed Harmony who would want to cross and take up the lead. Other emergency Pressing is then going to have severe issues finding cover unless he goes well back.

If the expected leader does come out then it is expected that Entirely Platinum will take the lead and generate a true pace. A few backmarkers will have to settle much further back than desired as the other backmarkers drawn inside of them will dig up.

Our Market:
This market is of our system's ‘raw’ prices which is set to 100% with every runner rated >$22 eliminated. PRS clients get a market <100% on a wagering sheet which also blends in the public price of each runner to find a wagering edge.

As you can see, our raw market is open but does have some overlays present on the early corporate markets.



VOLKSTOK’N’BARRELL - First up. Produced two good runs in Sydney after coming over from NZ. Both were slower than par, in particular the 3rd in the Derby. Ruakaka trial solid recently alongside the best NZ horses. Is certainly accomplished at the trip winning 2/2 and also winning at 1300m. Will stay out of the speed battle but still not be that far away, potentially three wide with cover. Like in-form Blake Shinn riding him. Is expected to shorten and is an excellent overlay on current markets.

ENTIRELY PLATINUM - First up also. Two jumpouts been sound at Flemington. First up in Feb in Orr Stakes here over same trip ran a good 2nd behind Dissident. He also won 1st up last spring when well backed. May lead if emergency Charmed Harmony is scratched. Tough horse to run down fresh over his best distance.

SERTORIUS – No doubt there are bigger targets later in the spring for him but he presents as a significant overlay fresh. 1st up also. Two runs campaign in autumn very good, a campaign widely used now for runners attempting a tilt at the cups in spring. Got a deserving win in that 2nd run. Ran well in this race last year when ridden well back off the leaders that were the quinella in the race. Has been given that figure here again coming from well back.

Recommended Bets:
At this stage, we are not 100% sure what the track rating will be for the day which will certainly alter our market on the race, but we will be advising our clients to back the overlays present.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

AFL Round 22 preview

Can you smell those finals just around the corner? Go Tiges!

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AFL Round 22 preview from aflratings.com.au, @aflratings.

Only two weeks until finals, here are our thoughts for Round 22.

Geelong 10-2-8 v Collingwood 9-11

The Cats are in a must-win game to keep alive their slim chances of playing finals this year, a win this week v Collingwood combined with an Adelaide loss to West Coast will put it all on the line next week at Simonds Stadium when the play the Crows for the last spot in the final eight. Collingwood have been disappointing since their bye in Round 12 losing eight of their past nine matches. Prior to the Bye the Magpies conceded 77.2pts avg per game and post-bye they have conceded 92.9pts avg per game including a disastrous 147pts last week v Richmond. Expect Collingwood to be better this week amidst a little external pressure questioning a lack of on-field success in recent seasons under coach Nathan Buckley, the Cats however have more to play for and put the Magpies to the sword back in round six by 41pts. Slippery conditions are likely at the MCG on Friday night but unless there is a major downpour it may provide an opportunity for the over to hit in what could be a low total match points line, a check of the radar is recommended on Friday afternoon.

GWS Giants 10-10 v Carlton 4-16

The Giants were immensely disappointing in a must-win game last week v Sydney conceding 133pts in an 89pt defeat at Spotless Stadium, Carlton were a surprise winning just their fourth game of the season last week to lift themselves from the bottom of the ladder with two games remaining in the home & away season. The Giants have struggled since Round 9 scoring 73.5pts avg from their last 12 games compared to 97.6pts from their first eight games of 2015. Carlton are finding it even harder to hit the scoreboard averaging just 58.5pts from their last eight games with only one win. Would have to lean towards the Giants in this game but with little confidence, they are capable of running up a big number on the Blues who are only 1-4 in travel games this season.

Hawthorn 14-6 v Brisbane 3-17

There is no questioning the result in this game as the Hawks will deliver a comfortable margin at the final siren but can you mess with the quite large line of -69.5 Hawthorn with forecast wind & rain at Aurora Stadium in Launceston on Saturday. The Lions have conceded 100pts or more in four of their last five games and are on their second consecutive travel game, with such a young list a poor output is highly likely considering their high scoring opponent. Hawthorn have scored 100pts or more in 12 of 20 games this season which is the most of any team in the AFL, the Hawks have averaged 111.7pts at Aurora Stadium in three games thus far in 2015. Expecting the Hawks to hit 100pts in this game, if they do then they will be a good chance to get the large line on offer.

Nth Melbourne 13-7 v Western Bulldogs 13-7

It will be interesting to see if the Bulldogs are slow starters v Nth Melbourne at Etihad Stadium on Saturday, a six-day break returning from a warm Perth might leave the Bulldogs a little short in what is expected to be a highly intense and fast game. The Kangaroos have been superb in recent weeks, a seven-game winning streak albeit against only one top eight team has them well placed to play finals in two weeks. Nth Melbourne are 3-4 vs top eight teams in 2015, the Western Bulldogs have a 4-3 record vs top eight teams in 2015. The total match points line is interestingly high despite expectations of a high scoring games, both teams have conceded just one game of 100pts or more in a combined 17 games in recent weeks (Nth Melbourne: 0-7, Western Bulldogs: 1-9). A letdown may just be possible from the Bulldogs, but they are the most profitable team to bet on this year along with a 6-5 record when starting as underdog.

Essendon 5-15 v Richmond 13-7

Was not thinking too much in to an upset for the Bombers this week against a well drilled Tigers team bound for the Finals but team selection has thrown a little question of doubt in to the thoughts for this game, Trent Cotchin will miss for Richmond and based on the excellent output from Essendon last week the -39.5 Richmond betting line does seem a little on the high side considering the Tigers will be without arguably their best player. Again slippery conditions at the MCG will likely impact this game, Richmond has conceded just 65.8pts in their last 13 games whilst Essendon has averaged a miserly 66.2pts from their last 12 games. If the Bombers can hold the Tigers team to fewer than 100pts then the total match points Line of 175.5pts looks set to be an Under result, the Bombers at the +39.5 Betting Line will also likely be successful.

Gold Coast 4-1-15 v Port Adelaide 10-10

Both teams have fallen well short of expectations this year, Gold Coast were around even money to make the final eight in the pre-season and Port Adelaide were third premiership favourite heading in to the season. For the Suns they have been destroyed by injuries and off-field issues but have found a resilience to be very competitive despite the lack of quality personnel, they have had the biggest negative differential in team disposals per game (-20.9) from 2014 which underlines their missing A-Grade midfielders. The belief at the Power has been growing in recent weeks, they have averaged 106.2pts in their last six games scoring more than 100pts in five of those games. This will be a tight game in regular slippery conditions at Metricon Stadium, tough game to make a choice in most popular available markets.

Adelaide 12-1-7 v West Coast 15-1-4

The stakes are huge for both teams in a cracking game to open the Sunday AFL coverage. Adelaide can clinch a final eight spot with a win and West Coast can clinch a top two spot with a win. The Crows & Eagles have the capabilities to open up the scoring, but the Eagles have not allowed a team to score 100pts since round three and have conceded just 67.4pts AGA Rounds 4-21. For all their injury concerns to key defenders, West Coast have allowed the fewest 100pt games this season. A win for the Eagles will likely result in resting players at Home next week v St Kilda, this would be an ideal preparation leading in to the Finals. Adelaide can avoid a winner take all battle next week at Geelong if they can secure a win, a home final is still a possibility for the Crows. Fine conditions are likely to contribute to a high scoring game, the O/U 192.5 total match points line will be challenged.

St Kilda 6-1-13 v Sydney 14-6

Totally misread the Saints last week, they were outstanding in a draw v Geelong and should have actually won in the late stages of the game. Sydney are strengthened with the return of key forward Lance Franklin, the Swans will no doubt want to get him the ball as often as possible for the best Finals preparation. Sydney can’t afford a loss to the Saints otherwise their top four spot may be lost to one of the chasing pack, if last week was a precursor to this game then a win won’t come easy against an improving St Kilda. The Saints will go in to this game as heavy underdogs, they have a 1-7 record vs top eight teams this year and 4-14 record when starting as underdog.

Fremantle 16-4 v Melbourne 6-14

A win for Fremantle combined with an earlier loss by West Coast will clinch top spot, the Dockers were devastatingly good in the early part of the season setting up their high ladder position. Despite a negative outlook from the majority of opinion makers the Dockers are well place to win their first-ever premiership, this won’t be the prettiest game to watch vs Melbourne but the Dockers will get the job done early and settle in late in the game with no real urgency to score frequently. The Demons have been the talk of the town failing to be successful in recent years but they have dramatically improved under coach Paul Roos. The Demons provided a remarkable win at Geelong earlier this year, a win in this game would exceed that performance.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Ebor Handicap preview

The eponymous race of the week and a capacity field - good luck if you need this one to break square for the week. Plenty of angles here to look at, the trend for younger horses, many runners mixing hurdling and flat campaigns. To unravel the form, we turn once again to Darren Goodbody, @DarrenPGoodbody. Read more of his work here.

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Betfred Ebor Handicap
Heritage Handicap
£275,000, 1m6f
1545 local, 0045 AEST


With twenty-one entries holding their ground with the only absence being Quest for More at this stage, please make sure you look around with the high street bookies that are paying on the 1-2-3-4-5 place market as many will.

On to the race and this year's renewal has produced a strong field especially from Ireland. Aidan O'Brien has had to sit back this year with most of his entries being pulled from the meeting due to ground conditions he saddles the only three year old in the race in Fields of Athenry. With four solid runs under his belt this year he was seen winning on good to soft ground at Leopardstown by ten lengths, the third from that race Drifting Mist has a form line through Bondi Beach who equipped himself well when just failing to win the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York this week.

His first taste of pattern company came on good to firm ground when landing the Group 3 Ballyroan Stakes at Leopardstown and stayed on well over the twelve furlong trip to record a one and three quarter length victory. It is questionable form in how good is he now stepping up in trip, but he is sired by Galileo who despite having sired great winners he has never produced a Ebor winner. Three year olds though have had a good record in this race especially in the place market.

Out of the Willie Mullins pair Frankie Dettori has chosen Clondaw Warrior over Wicklow Brave. Clondaw Warrior was last seen when winning the Guinness Handicap at Galway that was over twelve furlongs, but he has also been running around the hurdle sphere competing at the top level festivals which included a third in the Greatwood Hurdle an ran into a place at the Punchestown festival this year

He just scraps in off a reasonable weight, but I feel he is vulnerable to better handicapped entries. Tony Martin's Quick Jack landed the Galway Hurdle this year when beating Max Dynamite by two and a quarter lengths. That form got a welcoming boost with Max Dynamite landing yesterday's Londsdale Cup in fine fashion and a horse that has gone on my radar for the 2016 Cheltenham festival.

His last run on the flat came in the Chester Cup when finishing runner up to the smart Trip to Paris, he has form to find with Wicklow Brave after he defeated him in the County Hurdle this year at Cheltenham, Max Dynamite was back in fourth that day over ten lengths off the pace.

This brings me on to the selection this afternoon in WICKLOW BRAVE. He was beaten out of sight by Quick Jack in the Galway Hurdle, but his two wins on tacky ground at Galway and Listowel has to bring him into the equations.He has bags of stamina in the tank and round soundly when finishing fourth in the Queen Alexandra Stakes at the royal meeting. Winner of the County hurdle this year at the Cheltenham festival by a comfortable eight lengths, bringing him back to the dead two miles and on tacky ground he has to be the one to beat for me.

WICKLOW BRAVE : 2pts each way @10/1 BOG

Friday, 21 August 2015

Gimcrack Stakes preview

The final day of the Ebor Festival has a great spread of races, and just one of them could be described as having a clear-cut favourite. A solid reward for anyone who can find a winner.

The 2yo feature of the day is the Gimcrack Stakes, and saddling up again for the preview is Darren Goodbody, @DarrenPGoodbody. You can read more of his work here.

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Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes
Group 2, 6f, 2yo C&G
£220,000
1510 local 0010 AEST


What a week it has been on the Knavesmire, some impressive juveniles to keep on the note book especially Tasleet of William Haggas's and Wesley Ward's Acapulco who impressed me taking on older horses, but even though with the 29lb allowance he could not over come proven Group 3 winning sprinter Mecca's Angel.

Mark Johnston has not improved on his six percent average here at York and I have reservations that it is going to improve with Buratino or Ode the Evening. The Listed Woodcote Stakes and Group 3 Coventry Stakes winning juvenile Buratino looked like the season was catching up with him when only third in the Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh twelve days ago, looking very one pace in the closing stages and his short odds of 11/10 was very tight going up against Washington DC and Air Force Blue.

Wesley Ward would not be that disappointed by losing with Acapulco yesterday after his smart juvenile was taking on some proven pattern sprinters, he will be searching some compensation when he saddles his second raider Finnegan. It is good that he has decided to bring over Edgar Prado to ride the son of Unbridled's Song who was very impressive when winning at Pimlico on fast ground back in May. There has to be concerns though coming off a three-month lay off and attempting tacky ground here at York. The tactics will probably be the same, get out and blast a fast pace and hope he holds on, but very vulnerable under these conditions. (Consider setting up a pre-race lay at around 1.2 if you fancy risking him)

William Haggas comes here double-handed with Raucous and Ajaya, the latter won here over five and a half furlongs last month when winning readily under today's pilot Graham Gibbons. He was stepped up immediately in to black type company when finishing runner up to Richard Hannon's Guitifan who was partnered by Frankie Dettori that day going down by a head. On that though it is interesting that Dettori has overlooked Ajaya for King of Rooks.

Raucous is double the price of Ajaya for this, the lightly-raced son of Dream Ahead who did not mind a bit of juice in the ground was impressive when winning at Newmarket on tacky ground, he had to come off a very slow run race that day but picked up well in the closing stages to just get up on the line beating Orvar by a head, that form is still holding after the runner up ran well enough this week.

Frankie Dettori stays loyal to King of Rooks after the retirement of Richard Hughes two weeks ago, his second to Kachy at Goodwood last month in the Group 3 Molecomb Stakes, he looked very out paced over the optimum trip and would relish the step back up to six furlongs here which should give him a shout.

Saeed Bin Suroor's Steady Pace has been running well all season, held by King of Rooks and Buratino from the Listed Capital National Stakes he went into Ascot as the favorite for the Windsor Castle Stakes and failed to justify those odds when beaten by Washington DC and Areen who had reversed the Sandown form. The form was boosted when Washington DC ran a blinder to finish runner up in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes. He then bumped into the smart improving Shalaa twice in the Group 2 July Stakes and last time in the Richmond Stakes with the runner up being Tasleet who won the Yearlings race here on Thursday, you would have to give him a chance on paper with the form being extremely strong, my major concern is the ground as this will be the first time he encounters softer conditions.

There are cases to be made for a few of these, Finnegan, Buratino, Ajaya and King of Rooks all have claims with probably the obvious one being the latter, but I am going to stick with RAUCOUS here, he looks to have a good engine in him and I would not say he is second string in this field, King of Rooks looks to be the interesting danger.

RAUCOUS : 1pt each way @ 12/1 BOG
king of Rooks : 1pt each way @ 13/2 BOG


AFL Round 21 preview

Not long to go now, Spetember's coming! AFL previews from the sharp fellas at @AFLRatings.

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AFL Round 21 preview from aflratings.com.au, @aflratings.

Eight of nine AFL favourites were successful last week, 80% of Favourites have won in the last five rounds. Here are our thoughts for Round 21.

Hawthorn 14-5 v Port Adelaide 9-10

The Hawks should be in cruise control for the remainder of the 2015 Home & Away season, despite a hiccup vs Richmond a few weeks ago they have won ten of their last 11 games and sit in third position on the AFL ladder. Port Adelaide has to be one of the bigger disappointments this year, they were amongst the pre-season predictions for Premiership success in 2015. The Power will need to be at the top of their game if they are to compete with the Hawks on Friday Night, the betting line looks quite large at -51.5 in favour of Hawthorn but Port Adelaide have not cleared their line in four of the last five games. The Hawks should be good to collect a win with so much on the line for a top two position still up for grabs.

Collingwood 9-10 v Richmond 12-7

Richmond are not yet confirmed as a finals contender, a win against the Magpies will secure a position in the final eight and a chance at breaking a 35 year premiership drought. Collingwood will almost certainly not play Finals this year, they would need some serious help along with a three-game winning streak to sneak in but the reality could be no mathematical chance to make it after this week. The Magpies have lost seven of their last eight games, whilst they have been competitive in most of those games they don’t hand out ribbons for second place. The Tigers have been good defensively conceding 67.3pts from their last eight games, they are Ranked third in the AFL this year in points conceded. Collingwood won’t be an easy push over for Richmond, expect this to be a close game.

GWS Giants 10-9 v Sydney 13-6

The Giants have had their chances this year but seem to be a little short of experienced at crucial times during the season, a poor injury list has likely crippled their chances of playing Finals this year. Sydney have not exactly lit it up this season but still remain a very good chance to finish fourth on the AFL Ladder, injuries are starting to hurt the Swans so they will need to be super careful not to drop this game against their cross town rival. Sydney have steadied the ship defensively in the last three weeks conceding 78.7pts per game, the Giants conceded 100pts for the first time in seven games vs Adelaide last week. Rain could impact this game which could likely impact the scoring chances for both teams, expect a closely fought contest for the entire game.

Gold Coast 3-1-15 v Essendon 5-14

Will the relief of a coaching change at Essendon spark the players in to being more competitive? The answer is not as simple in this situation as the Bombers players are still mindful of potential action from WADA in the coming months that could critically harm their careers, Essendon have conceded 130.0pts average in their last four games which provides a little insight in to their lack of effort. As mentioned in previous previews, Gold Coast despite their own injury and off-field issues have been extremely competitive in the majority of games for quite a few weeks now. Essendon have firmed this week following the departure of James Hird as coach, but expect the Suns to be fully in to this game with positions on their playing list up for grabs.

St Kilda 6-13 v Geelong 10-1-8

The Saints have exceeded most expectations leading in to the 2015 home & away season, they have unearthed some genuine talent in to their team and will continue to do so in their remaining three games of the season which does represent a little raising of a white flag for winning chances. Geelong are desperate to stay in the hunt for a Finals spot and are in a must win situation, the Cats did press the Hawks for long periods of the game last week but ultimately fell a long way short of winning. St Kilda have conceded 109.3pts from their last three games, this provides an opportunity at reasonable value for Geelong to secure a comfortable win for favourite punters on Saturday night at Etihad Stadium.

Adelaide 11-1-7 v Brisbane 3-16

This result is going to go one-way and one-way only in a big way, expect Adelaide to open up the scoring on Saturday night at the Adelaide Oval even in potential slippery conditions. The Crows have averaged 111.8pts from their last five games having won four, they are charging towards the Finals and it is extremely unlikely the Lions can disrupt their momentum. Brisbane finally ended an 11 game losing streak last week against the hapless Blues in Brisbane, prior to their win last week the Lions had conceded 112.3pts from their previous three games. Expect an Adelaide victory in a very comfortable way.

Nth Melbourne 12-7 v Fremantle 16-3

As expected Fremantle are intending to rest their players of age in travel games to finish off the Home & Away season, they are getting fully prepared for Finals which could impact their success in games for the short term. The beneficiary this week could be Nth Melbourne, they are in a desperate need of wins with an extremely tough finish to their season ahead. The Head to Head odds in this game have flipped to Nth Melbourne starting as favourite, it might be wise to let this game begin at Etihad Stadium on Sunday prior to making any type of investment, the unknown of how Fremantle will perform does provide a highly risky situation for punters. Just because Fremantle are resting some of their players doesn’t mean they can’t win, we have been down this track before under Ross Lyon coached teams.

Carlton 3-16 v Melbourne 6-13

Carlton are almost ensuring little on-field success with team selection this week, they are now in last position on the AFL Ladder and if they don’t win another game they will receive the No.1 Overall Draft pick this off-season. Melbourne were embarrassed last week by the Bulldogs, fully expecting a solid response from the Demons in an attempt to record their seventh win of the season. The Blues have been largely uncompetitive conceding 131.8pts from their last four games, if that form plays true again then the Demons could be in for a big day at the MCG. Can’t see the Blues winning this game.

West Coast 14-1-4 v Western Bulldogs 13-6

Very interesting team selection for the Bulldogs this week resting two of their slower type quality players for a game in Perth against West Coast coming off consecutive fierce contests including a Derby win last week, the Eagles do have their injury/suspension concerns again which does provide an opportunity for the Bulldogs to shock the footy world in to believing they are the real deal. Domain Stadium is a fast track in dry conditions and the Bulldogs have the running game to match it with the Eagles, but will they be good enough to deliver the upset? No way would be touching West Coast at the -22.5pt Betting Line, the Bulldogs are every chance in the final game on Sunday for a small value investment.

Lonsdale Cup preview

Staying races play a large part at the latter end of the Ebor Festival, with the set weights and penalties of the Lonsdale Cup today and the time-honoured Ebor Handicap tomorrow. The Lonsdale Cup is also part of the British Champions Series, adding to the prestige of the race.

Casting the magnifying glass over the field is regular contributor Chris Day, @chrisday100. This was sent through before a couple of withdrawals, so please allow for non-runners and Rule 4s in the analysis.

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Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup
Group 2, 2m 88y (again, why have non-standard distances?!)
£160,000
1430 local, 2330 AEST


The latest episode in the flat season’s staying calendar, the Lonsdale Cup, takes place on Friday, a race which is likely to be a war of attrition with the best stayers in England taking on a couple of decent Irish horses and another cracking race in prospect.

Gold Cup winner, Trip To Paris, tries to do what has been done in recent years by Millenary, Opinion Poll and Ahzeemah, namely carry a 4lb penalty for his Ascot success to victory. His meteoric rise from Lingfield All Weather handicap winner from a mark off 88 to the country’s premier stayer via Ripon and Chester Cup successes has been well documented and he lost nothing in defeat when failing by a neck to concede the penalty to Big Orange and Quest For More in the Goodwood Cup last time. All ground seems to come alike but the main concern with him is that he’s been to every party this year and could have had a hard enough race last time although I do expect Graham Lee to try to hold on to him longer this time and put him into battle very late in proceedings.

Big Orange, the winner at Goodwood following a surprise victory over 12 furlongs in Newmarket’s Prince of Wales Stakes, has always promised a lot and is now delivering. With stamina assured, he could press on from some way out and try to grind it out up the long unforgiving straight. Another who doesn’t seem fazed by underfoot conditions, he cannot be left out of calculations.

The runner-up at Goodwood, Quest For More - NON-RUNNER, has been a revelation since stepping up in trip this season, winning the Northumberland Plate on his run before Goodwood. Incredible to think he was beaten off 85 at this meeting last year but was carrying the penalty of my money that day.

From a form point of view, all three clearly have big chances but that’s been incorporated into their prices and I thought the Goodwood race was a grueller to say the least so, as a value punter, I prefer to look elsewhere.

Willie Mullins has booked Dettori to ride Plate runner up, Max Dynamite but he seems held on that form by Quest For More and could be interesting back over hurdles after his Galway second to Quick Jack, while the stable’s other representative, Simenon, has regularly mixed it at this level without appearing to quite have the boot to beat the best.

Times Up is a grand old stayer with wins aplenty at this level on his CV, including this race three years ago but his current form suggests he is nowhere near that level any more. Could be interesting off an even lower mark in the Cesarewitch if that is his end of season target.

Hughie Morrison has freshened up last year’s Melrose winner, Vent De Force, since flopping on lightning quick ground at Royal Ascot, having previously been the benefactor of a peach of a ride from Richard Hughes in winning the Henry 11 at Sandown, Earlier second to Mizzou in the Sagaro at Ascot, the suspicion remains that he is better with give underfoot and, if rain arrives before the race, his current double-figure odds would make some appeal.

Mizzou, trained with typical patience by Cumani, has also been given time since not running his race in the Gold Cup but he should have liked the ground there and Ascot is his course so the run is slightly harder to forgive. He had earlier been very impressive in the Sagaro and his breeding suggests that quick ground is what he wants. The trainer sounds confident but he’s priced up as though he ran well in the Gold Cup and therefore represents little value to these eyes.

Lillie Langtry runner-up, Hidden Gold is surely not up to this even in receipt of the fillies’ allowance and the fact that she’s the best Godolphin can muster speaks volumes for the state that operation are in when it comes to the best races.

Clever Cookie, once rated a decent handicap hurdle prospect by iron man former jump jockey, Chris Grant, is now one of the country’s best staying flat horses and went off just 4-1 for our best middle distance race, the King George, at Ascot last time. He was never seriously put into that race, running on for fifth once the principals had flown and consequently should come here fresh having been spared the heat of battle in the Gold Cup and Goodwood Cup due to unsuitably quick ground. He’d earlier won a Listed event over 14 furlongs at York on the bridle and beaten Tac De Boistron in Chester’s Ormonde Stakes over even shorter in soft ground in the spring. It’s hard to find any negatives about him, although his regular pilot, Graham Lee, prefers Trip To Paris here. If they go hard up front and the ground is good or slower, expect to see him on the bridle in behind two out looking for the right moment to strike.

Finally, the top rated horse here, is the aforementioned Tac De Boistron - NON-RUNNER of Marco Botti, who has no penalty to carry despite being a Group 1 winner earlier in his career. Now an eight year old, he may well be on the way down but was sent off 11-10 to beat Clever Cookie at Chester conceding 7lbs over a trip way short of his best and that looks strong form before finding quick ground against him at Ascot. If the rain arrives, I’d be very keen to get on at around 15-2.

The stats say that four year olds with course winning and Group race form over two miles who ran in the Gold Cup are likely to go well here so my main play will be Vent De Force each-way at around the 14-1 mark (before NRs and Rule 4).

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Yorkshire Oaks preview

Feature event of the day is the Yorkshire Oaks, a race twice won by Barshiba, the dam of yesterday's surprise Juddmonte winner, Arabian Queen. Unlike most traditional Oaks races, this is also open to older fillies and mares.

Taking up the challenge is international racecalling prodigy Luke Humphreys, @WorldRacingLuke.

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Darley Yorkshire Oaks
3yo+ F&M 12f
Group 1, £335,000

1 Lustrous (33/1 generally): Fourth beaten ten lengths in the race last year. Best run this year a ¾ length second to Lady Tiana in the G2 Lancashire Oaks. Outclassed.

2 Miss Marjurie (20/1): Has improved, from this year compared to last, with two victories at LR level at Goodwood and Haydock over 12f on good ground in the Daisy Warwick Stakes and Pinnacle Stakes. However only third in the G2 Lancashire Oaks behind Lady Tiana and Lustrous last time, on good to soft however, so obviously likes the ground quick however today it is likely to be good to soft. Place.

3 Covert Love (7/2): Has been a huge improver that was a top winner of the G1 Irish Oaks last time after LR win at Newcastle in the Hoppings Stakes. Ground could be a concern and not sure if she’s the best filly/mare in Europe but with no standout in this year’s renewal of this race, Taghrooda/Tapestry 2014, The Fugue 2013 etc, she’s gonna be hard to catch.

4 Crystal Zvezda (12/1): Extremely easy winner of the LR Fillies’ Trial Stakes before pulling extremely hard in The Oaks, which over 12f at Epsom you quite frankly can’t do, and subsequently ran a 46 Length tenth of 11. Now maybe that took something out of her as she was only second in the LR Lyric Fillies’ Stakes, which on her Newbury form she should’ve won easily. Each-Way is the safe way with her.

5 Curvy (5/1): Top 3YO filly who beat the boys, including Giovanni Canaletto although maybe luckily, in the G3 Gallinule Stakes and then won the G2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot strongly before every chance in the G1 Irish Oaks when a two length third when favourite. Fair chance and ground should be fine for her.

6 Easter (16/1): LR Hurry Harriet Stakes winner last time at Gowran Park however looks outclassed in all honesty.

7 Jack Naylor (6/1): Always had a nice opinion of this filly. Third to Found in the G1 Prix Marcel Boussac last year and this year has run a top fourth in the G1 Irish 1000 Guineas, an unlucky sixth in The Oaks and a second to Covert Love in the Irish Oaks. Could reverse form with Covert Love and she handles ground and is very consistent and will run well.

8 Lady Of Dubai (7/1): Easy winner of the LR Height of Fashion Stakes at Goodwood before a good third to Qualify and Legatissimo in The Oaks but was only sixth of nine in the G1 Nassau Stakes beaten 5.25 lengths by Legatissimo. Each-Way.

9 Outstanding (20/1): LR Naas Oaks Trial winner in June before a top third to superstar US 3YO Filly Lady Eli in the G1 Belmont Oaks. 20/1 looks nice odds on that form.

10 Pleascach (7/1): G1 Irish 1000 Guineas winner, although hasn’t really raced to the same form since. Second to Curvy in the Ribblesdale and only fifth of nine in the G1 Pretty Polly Stakes. Slightly overrated.

11 Sea Calisi (12/1): Really interesting French runner. Mickael Barzalona rides for Francois Doumen, doesn’t have too many UK runners with the last time he brought a horse to England being Top Trip’s third to Estimate in the 2013 Gold Cup. Narrow second to Kataniya in the G3 Prix de Royaumont but then easily reversed form with her in the G2 Prix de Malleret last time, both times over 12f, however Kataniya was a clear last of six in the G2 Prix de la Nonette on Tuesday as favourite, unsuitable distance though. It was interesting to see her skip that for this however. Fascinating and don’t discount.

Not an overly strong renewal of the Yorkshire Oaks where (3) Covert Love was a strong winner of the Irish Oaks and can follow up here even though she’s no standout. (7) Jack Naylor is really consistent and deserves to win and certainly can do that. (9) Outstanding looks nice E-W value at 20/1 and can run well. (5) Curvy was ordinary I thought, compared to previous form, in the Irish Oaks but can bounce back. (11) Sea Calisi is a very interesting runner but will her form hold up? (8) Lady Of Dubai was average in the Nassau but if she runs to her previous form she can be in it. (2) Miss Marjurie looks outclassed but is in form. (4) Crystal Zvezda was awesome at Newbury but has disappointed since. (10) Pleascach was good in the Irish Guineas but has disappointed since. (1) Lustrous is outclassed.

Selections
(3) Covert Love - (7) Jack Naylor - (9) Outstanding - (5) Curvy - (11) Sea Calisi - (8) Lady Of Dubai - (2) Miss Marjurie - (4) Crystal Zvezda - (10) Pleascach - (1) Lustrous

The Bet
(3) Covert Love looks the one to beat but (9) OUTSTANDING looks good Each-Way odds at 20/1 as she has nice form from the Belmont Oaks.

Lowther Stakes preview

The caravan rolls onto day two at York after the huge shock of Golden Horn being trumped by a 50/1 shot in the Juddmonte. It's another great card today, and kicking off the previews is Darren Goodbody, @DarrenPGoodbody with his take on the Lowther Stakes.

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Pinsent Masons Lowther Stakes
Group 2 for 2yo fillies
£160,000, 6f
1430 local, 2330 AEST


The juvenile fillies take center stage here in the Group 2 Lowther Stakes, over the years we have seen the likes of Tiggy Wiggy, Cape Verdi and Russian Rhythm land the prize in recent years. This year's renewal looks competitive enough with William Haggas already on the board on day one with a double with Recorder and Storm the Stars he saddles his daughter of Kodiac here in Besharah.

She has done nothing wrong this season winning three of her five encounters at Ascot and Windsor. Besharah looked more impressive when winning the Group 3 Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot last time out when beating Richard Hannon's Great Page. The form got a respectable boost when the third Whatdoiwantthatfor when on to win at Newbury in the Listed St Hugh's Stakes. She has to be respected being by an in-form trainer who notched up winner 13 and 14 at the Knavesmire meeting.

I feel David Brown has an interesting contender in Continental Lady, she looks over priced at 20/1 after her debut win at Leicester on good to soft ground. She traveled well on the pace that day before picking it up a furlong out to record a two length win. She is by Medicean who was far better over eight furlongs in his career winning the Lockinge on soft ground, she would have a live chance from what looks a good draw.

Mark Johnston's record on the Knavesmire over the past five seasons reads only fourteen winners from 214 entries just a 6% return, his juveniles have seen him record seven winners form seventy eight entries just 9%, it looks a track he does not have much success on and his entry here Lumiere has been put in as the 6/4 favorite to land this Group 2. His sole run saw her winning on debut at Newmarket when winning her maiden by a very impressive six lengths. The maiden is not holding up to anything special with some of the field already beaten comfortably and feel she is far too short in the market for a competitive juvenile contest.

From the outright winner's angle I would like to side with Michael Dods' EASTON ANGEL who won on her debut on soft ground at Musselburgh. Since then she has won on good to firm at Beverley, and two excellent runs against two impressive winners in Acapulco and Illuminate. Her fourth in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes when behind Besharah was probably the most unlucky story to take out of the race. She found all sorts of trouble just before the furlong pole, when she got a true line and found the room she stayed on powerfully to go down by just two and a quarter lengths. Despite having two lengths to find with Besharah she is still improving with every run and now she has her ground and obviously luck in running in this smaller field she looks the one to beat under Paul Mulrennan.

From an each way angle, Continental Lady looks worthy of a punt at 20s, her debut was open to improvement and surely is well thought of now tackling pattern company sooner than later and deserves to take her chances here.

EASTON ANGEL : 2pt Win @ 9/2 BOG
Continental Lady : 1pt each way @ 20/1


Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Great Voltigeur Stakes preview

Classic generation mid-distance races are a feature of the May and August York Festivals. At this end of the season it's the Great Voltigeur. Stepping in to analyse the field is Darren Goodbody, @DarrenPGoodbody.

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Betway Great Voltigeur Stakes
Group 2, 3yo C&G
£160k, 1m4f
1505 local, 0005 AEST


On Wednesday we will see the 65th running of the Great Voltigeur, the race was named after Derby and St Leger winner Voltigeur and has become over the years a guideline for the St Leger later next month.

First inaugurated back in 1950 there have been some great names to land the race, names like Youmzain who was probably one of the unluckiest horse to run in the Arc finishing runner-up on three occasions to the likes of Dylan Thomas, Zarkava and Sea The Stars. Other winners to grace the race were Pentire, Sea Moon, Dushyantor and last year's winner Postponed who went on to win this years King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

Seven go to post this year and the betting is extremely tight, with the current favorite being William Haggas's Storm the Stars. Since finishing runner-up to Golden Horn as a juvenile his transition has been pleasing, running big races taking his earnings almost past the half a million barrier. With two wins this season under his belt, one being the Listed Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood back in May, he has handled the hype considerably well with placed runs in the Epsom Derby behind Golden Horn once more and ran well again behind Jack Hobbs in the Irish equivalent.

His run back in July when venturing over to Longchamp in the Grand Prix de Paris was disappointing for me, even though the unbeaten Erupt is a good yardstick who had already beaten Big Blue this year and that form was boosted when Big Blue came out and won the Prix Michel Houyvet at Deauville last weekend. He seemed to get caught very flat-footed two out, but stayed on and just prevailed third.

Storm the Stars probably looking back at all of his runs in 2015 he deserves to be at the head of the market and will be another big day for jockey Pat Cosgrave who landed his first Group race for three years guiding Besharah home to win the Princess Margaret Stakes at Goodwood last month.

Ballydoyle have sent over three entries for the race, Aloft, Bondi Beach and the upper coming Giovanni Canaletto. Firstly I like to preview the Queen's Vase winner Aloft. He has already beaten Storm the Stars as a juvenile when landing his maiden at Newmarket to a margin of a neck, since then he has been stepped up to middle distances which has seen him finishing runner up to Elm Park in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy and more recently this year winning the Queen's Vase over two miles. Never finishing out the first two on all four career starts he comes into this as the interesting one for Aidan O'Brien, but looking on jockey bookings he could be the pacemaker of the three.

Bondi Beach is another that got is career off to a good start when winning his maiden at Leopardstown and has gone onto land the Group 3 Curragh Cup. He would probably won a shade cosily than the short head win when the rider lost his whip over a furlong from home, he is one of three entries by Galileo, he has to be feared now the heavens have opened, already a winner on dead ground this year and looks to like a bit of cut underneath he could run a big race under recent Secretariat winning jockey Seamus Heffernan.

On to the more interesting one of Ballydoyle's entries Giovanni Canaletto, they have been extremely patient with him and won't mind so give under foot here. He has contended the likes Gallinule Stakes when behind Curvy, who went on to win the Ribblesdale Stakes before running below par in the Irish Oaks. He has adapted himself well enough in two Derbys finishing behind Storm the Stars in Ireland. He looks a quirky sort with a lot of talent and if the rain gets into the ground he is going to be a major player with Joseph choosing over the other two entries is interesting.

Two that are shorter than I expected in the betting is Richard Hannon's Tashaar and David Simcock's Balios.

Jamie Spencer rides the latter after losing the Beverley D Stakes on Secret Gesture at Arlington in the stewards room in a very questionable decision. Balios beat Mr Singh in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes at the Royal meeting, who has won the Group 3 Bahrain Trophy at Chester. The last run came in the Grand Prix de Paris when finishing behind Erupt, Storm the Stars was two lengths in front of him that day. He did not run badly as the fifth suggests and I can see why he is as short as 4/1 in the market. He is entered in the St Leger which could be a staying race right up his street, as for this race a good run will get him there. As the winner of this race I just cannot see it.

Tashaar represents Richard Hannon, the unbeaten son of Sea The Stars who is just one of two entries for the sire with the other being Storm the Stars comes here with two wins from two starts, his last run saw him pick up handicap stakes win at Goodwood in good style when beating Rhythmical by one and a half lengths, that form is looking really good as he took the scalp of recent Shergar Cup winner Shell Bay, but as i am not a fan of the Shergar Cup weekend i cannot use that as form. He has been hit with a 12lb penalty to get into this, and will be attempting black type company for the first time.

David Barron's Medrano has been on the go more than most of these, already beaten by Storm the Stars this year in the Cocked Ht Stakes to two lengths he will have to step up once more since his win in the Glasgow Stakes at Hamilton last month. His last run saw him finish just over four lengths behind recent runaway winner of the Secretariat Stakes Highland Reel in the Gordon Stakes and he looks another one that will relish a step up in trip, he gets a quote of 25/1 for the St Leger and looks a nice stayer for next year.

With all the previews aside, this is a tough race but STORM THE STARS has been doing everything right this season to suggest that this a race that he can win for William Haggas. It has been eleven years since an Irish winner landed this race which was Aidan O'Brien with Powerscourt back in 2003 who finished his career off when winning the Arlington Million.

Richard Hannon is looking to land this race for the first time and Tashaar probably looks one for next season and is not entered in the St Leger at present. With Aloft looking to be the out and out stayer in the race he looks the obvious pace setter for the other O'Brien entries, and it would be no surprise to be fair to them all that Bondi Beach runs the better, with Giovanni Canaletto wanting softer ground and if getting it could be the surprise package.

STORM THE STARS : 2pt win @ 3/1 (with most firms)

Acomb Stakes preview

The juveniles get an early run on the Knavesmire, under rather odd conditions, not having won a race before July 10. Not sure why they should get a group race for that...?

Anyway, it's time to hand over to the juvenile expert, @twoyearoldtips, to line up the form. This preview was originally published here.

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Tattersalls Acomb Stakes
£85k Group 3
7f for 2yo which had not won a race before July 10
1430 local 2330 AEST


Adventurous- Useful Colt who brings the highest official rating into this, having finished fourth behind the impressive Shalaa in the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood. Looks sure to appreciate the extra furlong today and his trainer has been sensational in the Juvenile department this year. For all that it would rate as disappointing were he to prove good enough against some exciting unexposed rivals.

Bing Bang Bong- Unlucky not to be unbeaten, having met all kinds of trouble of debut at Pontefract before making no mistake in a weak maiden auction event at Newmarket on his second start. The bare form doesn't amount too much, but it is interesting that his shrewd trainer is willing to sacrifice a mark of 85 to run here [the 50k Nursery later in the card was an attractive alternative] Could offer a bit of value and not ruled out.

Cymric- Expensive son of Kittens Joy who made his debut in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot. He predictably found that too tough a task before striking on his second start at Sandown. He was perhaps fortunate to win that day [the runner up was wildly unlucky] and will need another step forward if he is to take this.

Dream Mover- Expensive breeze up purchase who took a Nottingham maiden on his second start in taking fashion under today's jockey. The owners don't often swim in waters too deep and his entries in the Mill Reef and the Dewhurst need noting. Looks overs in the market and could be capable of running into the frame.

Humphrey Bogart- Improved for the step up the seven furlongs when winning a Doncaster maiden last time. That form has been let down since and he is likely to need a mile plus sooner rather than later. Makes minimal appeal in such a deep event.

Jaadu- Beat a useful rival in a deep Goodwood Nursery last time, but that was off a mark of 71 and he looks to be flying too high here.

Kentuckyconnection- Was very well backed on debut and duly made no mistake when easing to a near three length victory at Redcar. Knew his job that day [was a 60k breeze up purchase] and was found a weak maiden in which to land a touch. A seventh furlong should be in his favour, but he needs a big leap in performance from first to second start if he is to contend here.

Lieutenant General- Aidan O'Brien raider who is disputing for market supremacy. He took four attempts to break the maiden and doesn't appear to be one of Coolmores leading lights. That is why he heads here and he needs to be taken on at the prices against a strong home challenge.

Mohab- Exciting son of Sir Percy who was well touted on debut over course and distance when finishing third as a short-priced favourite. Was a bit green that day but looked far more professional when waltzing in by eight lengths on his 2nd start at Catterick. His trainer often targets this race with his better juveniles and nominated this as the target straight after that facile win. He looks a colt full of potential and should be bang there at the finish.

Recorder- Bred in the purple and announced himself as a colt with a future with a debut full of promise at Newbury. He finished hard on the steel that day and with a better run would have almost certainly prevailed. He was much more streetwise on his second run when taking a useful Newmarket maiden in soft ground. The booking of Frankie Dettori is eye-catching and everything points to a big run.

Verdict- An intriguing renewal in which no less than nine of the ten participants arrive here on the back of a victory. The two to concentrate on appear to be Recorder and Mohab, with slight preference for the latter who appeals a fraction more for the here and now. He was well found on the market on debut and made no mistake second up when bolting up by a wide margin at Catterick. His trainer is not adverse to running his top juveniles here and everything is geared to a big display. Recorder is well respected under Dettori and he appeals as the one to take out of the race going forward. Of the rest Big Bang Bong makes some appeal, with his shrewd trainer willing to sacrifice a favourable handicap mark by pointing here. Dream Mover is another to consider

1 Mohab
2 Recorder
3 Dream Mover