Friday, 22 August 2014

Toy Show Quality preview

Toy Show Quality Handicap
1300m for Fillies and Mares.
Group 3.


The race will be run at Randwick for the first time since 2009. Red Tracer in 2011 is the only favourite to have won in the last six years. With a deluge in Sydney over the last week the track is currently Heavy and with rain still around I am proceeding on the basis it stays that way. The rail is in the True position. I expect the ground will be best away from the fence and by Race 7 that bias could be more accentuated.

You can read more about myself Andrew Capelin and my markets for NSW racing at my website acmarkets.com.au or catch me on twitter @acmarkets. Enjoy the preview.

1 DIAMOND DRILLE Gai Waterhouse -Tommy Berry (2) 59
5yo mare who came of age last time taking out the Queen of the Turf (Group 1) at big odds. Unusually for the stable, she got better deeper into her preparation. First up here and has trialled twice again. Likes the wet. She will probably race midfield or worse near the fence which won’t be ideal. No doubt Gai will have her primed first up but I feel she has a bit against her and have assessed her longer than the current $6 quote.

2 DEAR DEMI Clarry Conners -Kerrin McEvoy (6) 58.5
5yo mare heading for the cups again I suppose. Not noted first up but last prep her first up run was her best. Has trialled twice again including a 1000m trial win at Hawkesbury. Handles the wet and races back in the field. $9 seems really short to me. I won’t be on.

3 LUCIA VALENTINA (NZ) Kris Lees -Hugh Bowman (13) 57
Boom NZ mare having 10th start. Won the Group 1 Vinery and started favourite in the Australian Oaks in the autumn. First up and given 2 soft trials at home. The draw is no problem. Will steam down the outside and be hard to hold out. I think she should be equal favourite and $6.50 looks overs to me.

4 GYPSY DIAMOND Peter & Paul Snowden -Blake Shinn (10) 56.5
Another good mare resuming. Now with the in form Snowden stable. 2 soft trials. Has a big sprint, loves Randwick and relishes the wet. She will settle back in the field. B Shinn is a big plus. She has a great chance but I can’t get her quite as short as the current $3.70 quote.

5 THUMP Kris Lees -Brenton Avdulla (11) 55.5
Good mare second up here. Last 2 second up runs for a win and placing in Group 2 Mares company. Took on the good horses last start and raced without cover. She gets a softer run here either leading or outside the lead. Her record at Randwick looks poor but this is the easiest race she has been in. Over the odds at $12 and will be in my staking plan.

6 BENNETTA Grahame Begg -Jeff Lloyd (5) 55
Comes into this off a 49 day break with one trial. Races back in the field and has never been as effective on wet ground. Has some residual fitness having competed in lesser mares races in the Brisbane winter but I’m thinking J Lloyd gets lost on her. $12 seems too short.

7 NEENA ROCK SCRATCHED (14) 54

8 INTIMATE MOMENT (NZ) Ron Quinton -Sam Clipperton 1 54
Much improved mare with a very short sharp sprint. She rose from Benchmark races last preparation to win at Group 3 level thanks to a brilliant Clipperton ride. Her best form is over longer and she wasn’t able to win provincial maidens in 3 previous first up runs. I don’t like her map position either. Current quote $13

9 KRISTY LEE Chris Waller -Tim Clark 7 54
Get back mare with poor racing manners who normally races in Benchmark company. Just back from Melbourne for this. She has too many chinks and I want to risk her.

10 ANGEL BEE (NZ) Team Hawkes -Taylor Marshall (a) 3 54
5yo Pins mare who comes here 3rd up and with the right trainer. Races on the pace and I can see her being stuck in the worst ground near the fence. I feel she will be found out in the last 100.

11 GOLD EPONA Kris Lees -Ms Kathy O'Hara 15 54
Another Benchmark mare stepping up in class. She loves the wet but will get a long way back and only has a recent win on the Kensington track to rely on. I prefer other roughies.

12 MISS PROMISCUITY Anthony Cummings -Jason Collett 9 54
Lightly raced 4yo mare who has been set for this 3rd up. She started favourite in the lead up at Rosehill 14 days ago and has two good ratings in Melbourne mares events. She settles handy but well off the fence from gate 9 and J Collett will find the best ground in the straight. I think she starts shorter than her current quote of $9 and will be at least saving on her.

13 MY SABEEL (NZ) Kevin Moses -Glyn Schofield 8 54
A much improved and very consistent mare who has risen from the midweeks to this. She will race on the pace and comes back to 1300 on a 7 day backup. If there is a boilover she could be the one. I have assessed her at half her $51 quote.

14 SUCH A PRINCESS Kerry Parker -Ms Winona Costin (a) 4 54
Provincial mare who arrives here first up with no trial. She can race handy but is severely outclassed here.

15e LESLEY’S CHOICE David Vandyke 12 54
J McDonald might go aboard here after the scratching and although promising and used to racing on the speed, he might have to pick her up and carry her the last 100 metres. She appears outclassed.

Summary: An intriguing pipe opener for the good mares coming back for the spring taking on some improved race fit types. It’s hard to ignore the class of the kiwi mare LUCIA VALENTINA and although she won’t be near her best she might have a bit on them.

Selections:

1. LUCIA VALENTINA
2. THUMP
3. GYPSY DIAMOND
4. MY SABEEL

Warwick Stakes preview

WARWICK STAKES 1400m, Group 2 WFA
RANDWICK
Preview by @PremiumPunting
www.premiumpunting.com.au

Expect the speed to be quite sluggish. Five of the 10 in the field are returning from a spell and, most importantly, are targetting races deeper into their campaign – so they will not go at a good speed or imply pressure on the front runners as their physical condition won’t allow them to.
This is crucial to the likely outcome of the race.



TIGER TEES
Ran as well as could be expected of him. He is a super 1st up horse and again proved that when winning G3 1200m up the Flemington straight. Lugged 59.5KGs and ran in an OK time. He has at times been over ridden when second up and his gas has bunt prior to the turn. He is going to have a relatively easy time leading this, but he will need to rising to 1400m second-up. That is his only knock, but provided they let him be up front, he will give a powerful kick alongside Messene.

MESSENE
Excellent return from his spell. Did have favours being camped in the box seat just behind the leader Sweet Idea who was the eventual winner. The positives however are that he, despite doing his best, didn’t put in too hard that could cause his collapse 2nd up. He is a horse who seemingly improves with running under his belt. Eliminate his failure on the wet ground in the Doncaster Mile, he had to endure a mighty hard run facing the breeze. Maps terrifically once again here and if the backmarkers leave it all too late, he might be too tough to run over.

WEARY
He was very good in the Coolmore losing to Messene. Had reasons to not run as well as he did – the good surface, 1200m and being 1st up yet he was capable of reeling off the second fastest F200m behind stable-mate Boban. We have only seen him second up once in Australia and that was last campaign, on good ground when he lost to Messene. He has drawn well to ensure he is close enough to react to the leaders shall they slip away. Ran second in the G1 Doncaster Mile over at this track and distance at the run prior to his spell. Capable of recapturing most of that level, which is good enough to win.

ROYAL DESCENT
Is going to have admirers due to being a ‘swimmer’. Her peak performance ratings are so far superior on wet ground to that of her dry runs. She is a brilliant mare and will win a very big race throughout her career; it may well be in this campaign. I doubt that her underdone fitness plays that great of a role in her winning chances as she has the turn of speed to quickly gobble up anything in front. 1400m is better suited for her than the 1300m she resumed in last campaign. If she can park just off midfield and make a move turning, she has the closing sectional ability to blouse them.

The market shown is set to 100%, eliminating horses priced over $21.

RECOMMENDED BETS
At this stage, our market is far too similar to the public’s to be betting anything and in such instances, we are quick to by-pass the race from a betting point of view.

But, of course, things can change so keep in close contact with the public’s offerings in case overlays present.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Nunthorpe preview

Nunthorpe Stakes
5f G1 York

by Adam Webb, @adamwebb121


The Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes is Friday’s main event on the third day of York’s Ebor meeting which has had a reputation of throwing up some unexpected results including twelve months ago when the ill-fated Jwala won at odds of 33/1 and this year’s favourite Sole Power who won back in 2010 when a three year old at the almost unbelievable odds of 100/1.

The best place to start is with Edward Lynam’s sprinter who has looked better than ever on his last two starts with victories in the Palace House Stakes at Newmarket and in the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot under the coolest of rides from Richard Hughes who keeps the ride here. He is definitely worth his place at the head of the market however the vibes from his trainer seem to suggest he isn’t in as good form as he was earlier in the season plus the threat of rain at York is enough to put me off. His old rival Shea Shea re-opposes and must bounce back from his disappointing run at Royal Ascot where he wasn’t 100%. He was second in this contest a year ago with Sole Power right behind him in third. If he bounces back, it would be no surprise to see him hit the frame but he is a watching brief tomorrow.

The three year old challenge is headed by Hot Streak and Cougar Mountain who both contested the July Cup last time out. The former was disappointing but before then looked a sprinter of the highest quality, especially when showing a high cruising speed on soft ground in the Temple Stakes at Haydock when beating the same owner’s Pearl Secret. This effort was in-between two third placed efforts behind Sole Power at Newmarket and Ascot. There is no secret how much Kevin Ryan rates this horse and any rain that arrives at the Knavesmire will be welcome. The latter ran a superb race in defeat when fifth behind Slade Power considering it was only his second start after a cosy maiden success at Naas in June. The main concern tomorrow is whether five furlongs will actually suit with both previous efforts over six furlongs but whatever the result he will learn plenty from the experience and is definitely one to keep on the right side of.

The King George Stakes at Goodwood has been used in the past as a stepping stone towards the Nunthorpe with the likes of Lochsong in 1993 and Ortensia in 2012 both winning that race before coming on to win at York. The first five home from this year’s contest all reoppose here plus Monsieur Joe who was thirteenth. The winner of this year’s Take Cover has been a revelation this season. He returned in the King's Stand where he travelled really well until a lack of fitness told late on. Since then he won a Listed contest over course and distance before stepping up to Group Two level at Goodwood to record his biggest career success. He looks a solid bet in the race with him being in the form of his life plus the ground won’t be an issue for him and with James Doyle booked, he looks primed to run a huge race.

Last year’s Windsor Castle winner Extortionist could be described as an unlucky loser that day when not getting the best of rides from Ryan Moore but before that had looked a nice improver after disappointing on his first two starts this year when winning a handicap off 100 at Newmarket before being placed behind Fountain Of Youth at the Curragh. He then showed how tough he is when winning a Group Three at Sandown with that being the fourth Saturday on the bounce that he had raced. He looks overpriced especially with how close he was to Take Cover last time out. The third Moviesta ran his best race since winning the same race twelve months ago and isn’t trusted to repeat that form.

Stepper Point is another from the same race who was unlucky as he raced alone on the nearside rail and did well to finish as close as he did in fourth. He ran a career best when second to Sole Power in the King’s Stand and his trainer William Muir fancies him to run well however the main worry for him is that he’s drawn two around hold up horses and away from the pace.

G Force ran well enough at Goodwood but will need more required here to feature.

Rangali is a fascinating contender coming over from France. He beat the well-regarded Cat Call last time out at Chantilly in convincing style with Stepper Point held back in fourth. Rain would be welcome however the surface at Chantilly was the fastest he had ever encountered. He’s had a break since Chantilly and it wouldn’t be a major shock to see him in the frame.

Pearl Secret is one that will appreciate plenty of rain but looks a horse that wants six furlongs opposed to five so a race like the Sprint Cup at Haydock could be his with likely softer conditions with the news Slade Power is likely to miss it and head straight to Australia.

Steps is another who has improved this season but cannot throw away his chances at the start like he did in the Epsom Dash and last time out at Sandown in the Coral Charge plus he is drawn one which is another negative to his chances. Astaire ran well over six furlongs at the Dante meeting behind Maarek in a really confusing Duke of York Stakes in which the field finished stretched out across Yorkshire. He has since disappointed twice and looks hard to recommend whilst Monsieur Joe and dual winner in 2008 and 2009 Borderlescott both look seriously outclassed.

Conclusion
With concerns about Sole Power and having to forgive bad runs from both Shea Shea and Hot Streak last time out, TAKE COVER is taken to achieve a Group One victory as he is currently in the form of his life with Extortionist and Rangali to chase him home.

1: Take Cover
2: Extortionist
3: Rangali

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Clipper Logistics Handicap preview

Returning after tipping up Blaine to win the Festival opener at double figure odds, it's @chrisday100....

Clipper Logistics Handicap
15.05 York Class 2


For many, myself included, the real betting races of the Ebor meeting are the handicaps. A winner in one of these can pay for a nice half term break with the kids in October or a trip to the Arc.

The Clipper Logistics Handicap at 3.05 on Thursday is such a contest with the race being analysed by many with a view to finding the Cambridgeshire in early October.

A win prize of almost £50000 ensures that entrants will be taking Thursday’s race seriously though and you can bet there’ll be at least 6 fighting it out at the furlong marker, meaning you’ll need a few pounds in hand to land it.

In predicted order of SP, Sir Michael Stoute fields favourite Russian Realm, who was made favourite for the Royal Hunt Cup, a race I’m sure he’d have gone very well in after scooting up at Goodwood in May but inexplicably he went for the wrong race, opting to try seven furlongs instead. He had a bad draw then and the same at Sandown last time when shaping as if still in form and must go well. The trouble with him, like so many of his trainer’s older handicappers, is his price and he’s passed over for that reason. My feeling is also that 10 furlongs will suit him even better.

Parbold, from a stable who love to have winners here, was second in last year’s Coventry before going off 4-1 off a 6lbs higher mark than Thursday’s in the Free Handicap at Newmarket since when his form has seemed to stall but 105 is a winnable mark and the weight for age allowance makes him look attractively weighted. Price the only snag again so we’ll look elsewhere.

Third in the betting is Short Squeeze, who looked a horse to follow when dotting up at this meeting off 82 last season but now 20lbs higher and not really shaping as if coming to form. In a stable tour the trainer stated that he needs to settle in front to show his best, a tactic likely to be hard to achieve from stall 18 but, if he does manage it, an in running play after a couple of furlongs could pay dividends.

Top Notch Tonto could be a handicap blot off 108 with a 7lb claimer on board on his 2nd in last year’s QE11 but he’s not looked the same horse this season and 10-1 for an out of form horse who could run well is too short for me.

Gabrial’s Kaka was second on his only run at the track and won the Spring Cup at Newbury in April which he followed up with a creditable 2nd in a big Haydock handicap. He clearly enjoys flat left handed tracks and has a solid chance from just a 2lbs higher mark.

Laffan has surprisingly never run at York but is 7lbs higher than winning a less competitive event at Newcastle last time out and would have to be better than ever to win this and Boom And Bust is reasonably handicapped but 7 years old and unlikely to have the necessary improvement in him at this stage.

Ed Dunlop’s Red Avenger did me a favour at Goodwood last time and must go well off just a 3lbs higher mark, his earlier Epsom 3rd being extremely solid handicap form but I just wonder if he’ll need a stiffer test at the trip and not many win two big ones in a row.

Kieren Fallon has been booked to ride Navajo Chief, a horse with a three from eight record at the track and likely to go well with Fallon’s judgement of pace on the round track such an asset at York.

Anyway, down to selections and, as the going is unknown at this stage, I’m going to take two against the field.

If the ground turns soft, John Quinn’s Levitate is arguably thrown in, back on the same mark as when taking a Doncaster handicap last November. To illustrate the point, Laffan reopposes on the same terms yet was over five lengths back on that occasion . He’s had a break since running down the field on ground far too quick at Ascot and won last year’s Lincoln after a 182 day break so fitness shouldn’t be an issue. He’s forecast at over 25-1 and that looks an attractive each way play.

On faster ground, a horse who’s done me a couple of favours, Prince Of Johanne, looks primed to run well off a mark just slightly higher than his Royal Hunt Cup and Sandown victories from the last couple of seasons. He’s finished second and third in the mile handicap at the May meeting here for the last two seasons and, if they go too quick here, nothing will be staying on better and he’s forecast at odds over 20-1 again which makes solid each way sense.

Both are drawn to be able to get a tow into the race with enough cover to unleash a finishing kick in the last furlong and should give us a run for our money once ground conditions become apparent.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Juddmonte International preview

Juddmonte International
Group 1, 10.5f, York
by Jon da Silva, @creamontop

This is a level weights race supposedly but weight is the starting point here.

Weight for Age (WFA) will mean Australia gets 8 pounds off the older fellas. However that is less than he would have got last month - WFA will mean that he is expected to keep improving and when RPR has him 2nd top rated that assumes he has made several pounds of improvement since Epsom where his rating comes from. Of course he could have made more or less. There is talk of getting rid of WFA but what do we then do have a separate program for three year olds? Make the Voltigeur a Group 1 and make this race if it happened this year a match between Mukhadram and Telescope? WFA not ideal but neither are the alternatives.

Also listed in weighty matters Joseph O'Brien has to get down to his lowest weight of the year at 8st12. Now that might seem only a pound below his lowest weight this last year but given the height of him at ~6ft it's hard. In addition as anyone who witnessed his brutal stick handling on Magician on Saturday will know he has flown across the pond and back. Tough breed jockeys.

Each of JO'B's big rides tend to end up as a referendum on his ability with no shade of grey tolerated - the most routine win or marginal mistake the difference between ride of the year and worst rider ever. Personally I don't mind him on a horse I back.

One angle I won't explore is what would happen with a late downpour given the top three in the market are all better on top of the ground by most estimations. Indeed not sure who it would favour but a lay of top two on genuinely soft may not be wrong but it would all be guesswork.

The Old Boys

Telescope
Nearly as hyped as Australia before finding his pitch with a demolition of the Hardwicke field. Turned for home swinging in the King George and fought Mukhadram all the way to the wire in what would have been a great contest had Taghrooda not pissed all over both of them. Two best races at Ascot, rest of form not so good.

Mukhadram
A course and distance winner in a Group 2 who broke through at the top level with a win in the Eclipse beating the Derby second and lots of hype. Handled 12 furlongs OK at Ascot and even fought back against Telescope. Given his love of Sandown and his win from fellow long straight horse Grandeur over course and distance plus likely nice trip as pacemaker or stalker in a small field figures to be a key figure here.

The Sophomores

ARod
Named after a game but limited tennis player or a drug-taking cheat of a baseball player or maybe something totally different altogether. Second in the Dante to The Grey Gatsby and eight wickets behind Australia in the Derby.

The Grey Gatsby
Won the course and distance Dante from ARod and True Story meaning we could have yardsticker handicapper's heaven here if we wanted to as True Story was behind Mukhadram in the Eclipse and ARod well beaten by Australia but all confused because the Derby second was just in front of True Story at Sandown and True Story has run like a yak since then. The Grey Gatsby went on to be a facile winner of the French Derby over this distance before flopping in the bottomless in the Grand Prix de Paris. Look through the beaten horses he does not appear quite good enough to me. Hence ditto ARod.

Kingfisher
Grossly flattered in the Irish Derby and his 15L crushing at Epsom surely screams pacemaker here.

The Horse Who Would Be King

Australia
Named after a land down under where women glow and men chunder so will we hear the thunder? On form he is the best middle distance three year old male and in the Guineas showed plenty of pace. There is the famous quote of him pulling four straight 11 second furlongs but quite whether that was 11.0 11.2 11.4 11.5 Aiden O'Brien never said. AOB also has said that a horse who ran a month ago and is trained by one of the greats might not be fit. I'd put the former comment down to a trainer talking up his horse and the latter a trainer getting his excuses in. Against the same two older horses can he match Taghrooda and dismiss the old boys.

Conclusion

On the book one can not definitively say Australia is the best horse in this race coming in with same Official Rating as Telescope and 1 behind on RPR. We can probably all agree if there is a 135+ superstar in this race it is him but ceiling is only a hope until fulfilled. As pointed out his rating has been achieved in 3yo only races and presumes normal improvement. I think he should be fav and we should heed AOB's bullishness but at 4/6 not for me. The Grey Gatsby may be under rated but I just can't make his form add up to Australia's of the three-year-olds but this is his distance clearly.

Which leaves the older horses who we know will likely run to 120+ and are the same horse based on the King George. The long straight, more top class form and maybe a tactical advantage make me favour Mukhadram at the prices. A Mukhadram Grey Gatsby forecast might be worth it too.

Mukhadram 5/1 or better

Monday, 18 August 2014

Symphony Group Handicap preview - Ebor Festival Day 1

Symphony Group Handicap
by Chris Day, @chrisday100

Volunteering to preview the opening race of this year’s Ebor Festival, the 5f 89 yards (Ed. - why not a standard distance so times are relevant and comparable ffs?!?!) Symphony Group Handicap, when I could have chosen the smaller fields of the International or Great Voltigeur, probably says more about my own form this flat season.

A visit to the last chance saloon or just the kick up the backside I need to get back to making some extra income at the sport I love?

York, especially over sprint distances, is a specialists’ track and often the previous year’s race can have a major bearing on the outcome.

Interestingly, Kevin Ryan, who has such a great record at this meeting and with sprinters in general, won last year’s contest with Bogart, now 14lbs better off with the paper favourite, Goldream having beaten him ¾ length but his form since has been dire (10th his best effort since) and he’s passed over for that reason.

Goldream also likes York, his three appearances yielding 2nds off marks of 90, 91 and 96 and, now 103, he’s short enough whilst acknowledging his trainer is a master with sprinters. He beat Move In Time a head at Ascot last time and that one has also been well found in the market despite never excelling in three runs at the track.

Robot Boy has won twice this season off 87 and 92 but now finds himself off 102. His trainer always rated him and knows a good horse but his predicted odds are short enough considering his current rating. He too has run below expectations on his only two visits to the track.

An old favourite of mine, Mass Rally will surely go well in something this Autumn as his rating comes down and the ground softens and the Ayr Gold Cup, or more likely the Coral Sprint Trophy at this track could offer better options over further. He’s passed over here but is a talented horse who they just can’t go quick enough for.

See The Sun won a very hot three-year-old sprint over six furlongs in June here and is unlikely to be found wanting for pace. Like so many of these he’s difficult to discount but I’ll let him run at forecast odds, Ashpan Sam could be high enough in the weights having run really well here in May then won in facile fashion at Epsom and Monsieur Joe is only 3lbs higher than when winning that race.

Another who loves the Knavesmire is Secret Witness, off the same mark as when a neck and nose third to Top Boy over course and distance earlier in the season and likely to go close if getting the breaks.

However, we have to pick one and the selection here is Blaine, a former Gimcrack winner whose form over the course reads 113, his third over six furlongs here in May reading very well in the light of the second, Baccarat going on to win the Wokingham next time out. He was with that horse at the furlong marker before being run out of it close home. Two runs ago, he beat Tatlisu and Out Do, third and first respectively in Saturday’s Great St Wilfrid Handicap at Ripon before running no sort of race at Goodwood last time out. At Hamilton he didn’t look short of pace on good to firm ground where he led two out and stayed on from what we now know were two very well-treated rivals.

In short, he’ll love the track, could improve for the drop to the minimum distance, has won at the meeting as a two-year-old and is highly likely to have been primed by a trainer who targets this meeting.
Quotes of around 16-1 each way offer some value to get the meeting off to a flying start.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

previews for the Ebor Festival

Back after a short break, time to resume normal service. It's the historic Ebor Festival at York this week, and delighted to say I'll finally be attending for the first time! If anyone fancies their hand at writing a preview for any of the feature races during the week, please drop me a line - via the comments, by the email address on the right or on Twitter.

I can't pay you but am happy to plug your blog/website/service in return. Use it as an opportunity to do the form a bit deeper, or to be seen by a wider audience if you are keen to become a writer.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Racing NSW and the punter's right to a decent bet

The big news is betting circles lately is the Racing NSW decision to force all wagering organisations licensed to bet on NSW racing to lay a decent bet! This is to be enforced via the racefields legislation which allows the governing body of NSW Racing to control who bets on their product. The debate has gotten louder over recent years as traditional bookmaking has gone out the window, replaced by European corporate beancounters who only want to lay bets to people who lose money hand over fist, aka mugs.

RacingNSW set new minimum bet guidelines for corporate bookmakers from September 1

AUSTRALIA’S biggest corporate bookmakers will be made to stand to lose a minimum of $2000 in a single wager on a NSW metropolitan thoroughbred race, RacingNSW has announced.

In response to claims corporate bookmakers are refusing to accept bets from successful punters, RacingNSW will impose a minimum bet limit from September 1.

Wagering operators with turnover of more than $5 million will have to bet a punter to lose $2000 at a city meeting and $1000 at provincial and country fixtures.

Bookmakers with less than $5 million turnover will have to bet their customers to lose $1000 on all thoroughbred meetings.

....

Under the terms of the minimum bet guidelines, wagering operators will not be able to close a punter’s betting account, refuse to accept a new account or restrict a punter to avoid complying with the new rules.

“All punters should be able to place a legitimate bet on NSW thoroughbred races and should not be discriminated against by having their accounts closed or bets refused simply because they are successful,” V’landys said.



The Australian betting industry operates differently to envious nations abroad - the racing industry holds the power. All bookmakers are licensed by government departments which are responsible for racing and wagering - it's in the name of the minister's portfolio, just slightly different from state to state. Racing holds no such power in the UK, in fact it failed in the European Court a decade ago when it tried to charge for its data.

On-course bookmakers in Australia have always been forced to lay a bet to any individual to lose X, an amount which varies by the strength of the meeting and their position in the ring. As the industry evolved and telephone bookmakers started up in lower-tax jurisdictions such as the Northern Territory, corporate bookmakers were never bound by such restrictions. The NT Govt tried to enforce one but bookies just found ways around it, by removing certain product types for winning clients or simply closing accounts. When punters pushed for the NT Dept of Gaming and Racing to have some balls and stick up for punters, after all, they are there to protect the rights of punters, the corporate bookies lobbied against it and quelle surprise, the paper-shufflers caved in and dropped the rule altogether.

Racing NSW supremo Peter V'Landys, whom I have previously criticised heavily, has to be admired for his stance here. The rules seem fair - at $2000, the risk amount on a single bet to anyone is less than a 'rails' bookmaker has to stand on raceday. The restrictions only apply from 9am on raceday (2pm for night meetings), not to early trading - and in Australia with the brilliant system of 72hr decs, markets go up as early as Wednesday afternoon for the major Aussie raceday of Saturday - which will allow bookmakers to let punters hammer the market into place before they are compelled to lay the larger wagers. (Note that on-course bookies are only subject to these rules once they open their market - usually 30mins before a race). A bookmaker cannot close/refuse an account from anyone unless they have a criminal record (doubt that would stop them unless it was an integrity risk) or they were a 'bowler' - someone betting for another to hide their identity. Why they chose $2000 is interesting - bookies pitched lower, the punters' lobby group pitched lower, while the racecourse 'rails' bookie must bet to $5000. Was V'Landys gunning for higher turnover or trying to find a level which would annoy the corporate bookies but not enough to bring in the lawyers? Hat tip to Racetrack Ralphy for that last hypothesis.

Bookies will moan this is too hard, the industry is different now etc... They're right. It is different. But they made it different. They spent mega-millions on advertising to bring in the mugs, tempting them with the dream of actually winning a few bets while discriminating against those who actually had the discipline to carry it out. A bookmakers licence is a privilege not a right and the enforcement that all customers must be served to at least a minimum level of service is fair and just. Modern technology is fast enough and complex enough to deal with this. One Australian firm specialising in 'Best Tote' business has a laying off system which allows big bets to be split up across the various state totes to flatten out any pool anomalies, up to the final seconds before a race. The customer management system of factoring up punters on some sports where they bet recreationally and down where they win (or don't lose enough) consistently is highly advanced. They can deal with this, but they were never going to do it willingly. My major argument in their favour is the lack of consultation and notice - if this was a government policy being changed, affected bodies would have 6-12 months or more to prepare for it. A racecourse bookie only needs to deal with a handful of punters asking for the same price at once, the online bookie could have dozens.

As in any political fight, there has been some utter drivel churned out in response to this announcement. The Australian Wagering Council has been formed to represent the corporate bookmakers of Australia, and produced this gemstone of gibberish. Click on the link if you can stomach the lot...

AWC CALLS FOR FREEZE ON MINIMUM BET RULE PROPOSAL

'there have been frequent and persistent complaints by punters about online wagering operators refusing to take their bets. These complaints appear to be driven by professional punters who are looking after their own business interests...'

1. It's a hell of a lot more than pros, it's most people who consider themselves remotely advanced in their wagering.

2. Looking after business interests.... pot, kettle....

3. Delays in bet acceptance? How about, stop hiring bean counters and screen watchers, and go back to the proper bookmaking ways of hiring expert compilers and risk managers. Big change in bookmaking in recent years is automating everything and sacking most of the expertise.

'the implementation of a minimum bet rule on a state-by-state or code-by-code basis will result in regulatory uncertainty...'

Why? Anything that speeds up consistency across states and improves transparency is a positive step for the industry.

'Practical complexities of compliance and enforcement may also prove difficult for state (racing) authorities...'

Man has walked on the Moon, Australia won the America's Cup - nothing worthwhile is easy. The NT Racing & Gaming Dept are a lazy bunch who want to sponge off other states for the tax revenue but do very little to protect them. The ACT equivalent allowed the SportsAlive fiasco to occur under their watch when it was well known they'd had cash flow issues for over two years. They can't just take the cash and not be expected to work for it. And this further highlights the need for national regulation for both racing and wagering.

'on-course bookmakers are effectively servicing customers of the race club..'

Maybe 20 yrs ago, vast majority of their business now is via phones & other technology, so this point is no longer valid.

'online wagering operators who are servicing their own customers and are entitled to manage risk as they see fit'

They are licensed to conduct business under the terms of the regulator, and also the owner of any product they are licensed to wager on (eg AFL restricting certain bet types, Betfair not being permitted to operate in-running betting on Australian jumps races or protests & photo finishes - very different to the UK). If those regulations change, then they have to abide by them, so all that needs to happen here is that the regulator recognises the demands of the governing body.

Every person betting on racing is a customer of racing, directly or indirectly. If a bookie shafts a punter on racing, that has a flow-on effect. There are so many other form of gambling entertainment these days - sport, casinos, pokies/FOBTs - that it is crucial racing has a say here.

'Leakage of customers to illegal and unregulated offshore providers'

That old chestnut. Smaller now than ever before, yet they wheel it out to support a lame argument and make the uneducated think it's actually a factor.

For debate:

Do Racing NSW really have the power to do this? It's one thing controlling the intellectual property, but controlling how operates conduct their business once they have paid for that data is a step further and one which will no doubt make a bunch of rich lawyers even richer. Australian state law is a bloody mess, and should all be scrapped, it's not all as simple as whatever Sydney thinks can happen.

The link with Commonwealth Anti Money Laundering/Counter Terrorism Financing legislation isn't that ridiculous - Bronwyn Bishop famously accused Betfair of laundering money for al-Qaeda under the protection of speaking in the Senate, and the biggest piece of legislation which shut down most US-facing Caribbean bookmakers was a backhanded measure attached to this type of legislation.

That said, it hasn't been a problem for corporate bookmakers to accept $100k+ bets when it suits their PR machine, so where there's a will there's a way. Allowing punters to win $3k at any time isn't going to affect this unless the govt drops the threshold much lower (last I heard it was $10k, may have changed in recent years)

Racing NSW shouldn't have the power to force firms to deal with customers they don't like - that's the responsibility of government regulators who should have some balls, rather than just being taxpayer-funded papershufflers.

Concern about 'bowlers' - they've operated since betting was invented and a big chunk of wagering comes via commission agents like Steve Fletcher, Neville Clements etc. The bookie rarely knows who is behind them and it's not an issue....

Risks to the integrity of the event - valid but another chestnut. How many truly rigged races are there? Do the bookies report every race they flag up as a boat race? NSW Harness Racing would never get anything done if every suspicious race was reported by corporate bookies!

Account closures should be allowed - but only in cases of corruption (authorities often want these accts kept open to monitor their activity), problem gambling or staff abuse. And for these cases, there should be proper paperwork and an appeals process available.

WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

If V'Landys pulls this off - it begins September 1 and most of the loopholes seem to have been addressed - then I must put my hands up and bow to him. Racing's view that since wagering firms generate the lion's share of funding for the industry and also provide the avenue to get involved for the vast majority (there are only so many owners, jockeys, trainers, stablehands etc. but many times more punters) then it is bad for the industry if those firms controlling those pathways to enjoying racing restrict them simply because they like racing so much, they invest time into form study and the discipline to win more often than most.

Other states will no doubt follow suit in some form. Racing Victoria have discussed it, but their approach is to consult with their wagering partners rather than rule with an iron fist. There is no doubt that V'Landys has an increase in turnover in his sights, which in turn will drive greater returns to Racing NSW through the racefields turnover fee. He has never shown any regard for punters at all; 'punters are not price sensitive', 'a reduction in tote takeout would benefit nobody except a few professionals', turning a great betting ring into an afterthought at the new Randwick; so to claim this new policy is solely for the benefit of Australian punters is a bit rich. Racing Victoria is said to be looking at a pricing model to incentivise corporate bookmakers to service the sharper/higher-staking punters without hammering them on solely a turnover model which gets very costly once low margin, high staking, winning punters are guaranteed service.

Will Queensland follow suit? The Sunshine State has been home of the betting ring rort since Bernborough was a foal. Bookies forcing prices out for the official fluctuations and then hammering off-course/interstate outlets betting on those live or SP prices. If it was the financial industry, most of them would have been locked up for market manipulation. So would the racing authorities in Qld follow suit? Initially I thought not as they've not done anything to ruffle feathers with local bookies in decades, but this doesn't affect the on-course layer at all (already bound to bet to lose at least that much), it only hurts the corporates so it's a no-brainer.

In the RNSW legislation, there is nothing to force a bookie to bet the same punter twice. So if they back a horse to win two bags of sand at 10/1, they have the right to refuse the punter who comes back again (either to win more or if trying to push the odds down) at that price or a lower one. That's fair enough.

There is also no compulsion for the online bookmaker to offer the same set of prices, as highlighted by Shane Anderson on Racing Ahead. So instead of having your account factored (industry term for setting a customer to half/third/quarter/tenth stakes of the standard customer. Rich mugs might go the other way 2x, 5x etc.), if you're sharp they can put you onto a different price feed, no doubt with fatter margins.

Bookmakers have one month to prepare for it. My guess is on day one, they'll go into damage control mode and add a few % points to the market to create a buffer zone. But, that can create a false economy where they only lay the one horse at the 'right' price rather than several which would create the healthy book they aspire to. If they are smart, they'll start doing it quietly over the next few weeks to test the water.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Galway Plate preview

thetote.com GALWAY PLATE
2m6f Handicap Chase
Galway

by Sam Preen, @sampreen, originally published here

So for today’s post, I’ve decided to jump ship, away from the fashion-infested week of Glorious Goodwood, to Glorious Galway. By the time you’re reading this, Kingman will have probably beaten Toronado by about four lengths, and all eyes will be on the Galway Plate, which has attracted a hefty field, as usual. Here’s the line-up…

Kid Cassidy
Form; 7/177-. Jockey; Jody McGarvey (5). Trainer; Christy Roche.

Aside from his exploits over fences, including claiming the notable scalp of Sire De Grugy last November, Kid Cassidy will forever be known as one of the horses to be electrocuted at Newbury, way back in 2011. He’s only been seen once on the course this year, in the Champion Chase, when a detached seventh behind old foe Sire De Grugy, in what was to be his final start for Nicky Henderson. It’s interesting to see if Christy’s got him primed for this, having being off since March, but looks up against it stepping up to this trip.

Alderwood
Form; 1213P/4-. Jockey; AP McCoy. Trainer; Thomas Mullins.

This would be some training performance to get Alderwood back in the winners enclosure. Last year’s Grand Annual winner, he hardly lost anything in defeat the following month at Aintree, but was no match for Arvika Ligeonniere at Punchestown, in ground which would have suited him perfectly. He’s been off since a disappointing fourth at Naas last October, and missed previous engagements, including Cheltenham, and with all the market support, he’s an interesting runner despite being off such a long time.

Road to Riches
Form; 13P41-2. Jockey; Shane Shortall (7). Trainer; Noel Meade.

Still fairly lightly raced, Road to Riches hasn’t lived up to his early expectations of his hurdling days, but has found his form in novice chases, especially when he gets the right ground. Second at Punchestown on his last start under the promising pilot Ger Fox, he finished ahead of The Romford Pele, who has since boosted the form with a smashing Listed win. He should have no problem tackling this extra furlong, and remains of interest.

Spring Heeled
Form; 28015. Jockey; Davy Russell. Trainer; Jim Culloty.

Cheltenham Festival winner Spring Heeled didn’t live up to his name in the Bet365 Gold Cup, when he could only manage a detached fifth (staying on past beaten rivals). He takes a significant drop in trip to tackle this, and although beaten favorite over course and distance last August in a beginners chase (won by Golden Wonder), he won his racecourse debut here way back in 2011. Has conditions to suit, but must prove his Cheltenham win wasn’t a fluke.


Vulcanite
Form; 001-11. Jockey; Noel Fehily. Trainer; Charlie Longsdon.

Continues to run over both hurdles and fences these days, which saw him fire off a hat trick of wins this year, starting at Stratford. Caught the eye when staying on strongly under Ger Fox when upped to 2m4f, though the form hasn’t worked out as good as one would hope. Warrants respect for the connections he represents, but probably remains best watched as he heads back over fences.

Aupcharlie
Form; 0F/F1-4. Jockey; Andrew Lynch. Trainer; Henry De Bromhead.

Done most of his running for Willie Mullins, but was moved to Henry De Bromhead’s yard last July, and didn’t make an appearance until February the following year. Showed promise at the end of 2012 in Novice Chases, twice finishing second in Graded events, but went on a downward spiral since then, twice falling, before landing a minor event at Clonmel in horrific ground. Stayed on well enough in a valuable handicap at Punchestown at the end of April, and looks dangerous on potentially better ground.

Art Of Logistics
Form; 40-211. Jockey; Mark Enright. Trainer; Dessie Hughes.

Bidding for the hat-trick is Art Of Logistics. Won a handicap chase well enough in the middle of May, reversing the form with Mallowney, and followed that up with a comfortable victory in a four runner event in June. Struggled in a Novices’ Chase at the Festival back in March over 21 furlongs, but was earmarked for this after his last run. Will have being trained for this, and could run a big race now upped in trip once more.

Caid Du Berlais
Form; 21532-. Jockey; Sam Twiston-Davies. Trainer; Paul Nicholls.

Another British raider, this time coming from Ditcheat. Had useful form in France, but never won over hurdles on these shorts, although he did finish a length and quarter second to Ruacana in last year’s Future Champion Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow, and finished runner up to Jezki at Down Royal, before making a winning debut in a novice chase. Flopped when dropped in trip to Valdez at Doncaster earlier in the year, but bounced back when upped to 21 furlongs when staying on to close in on Thomas Crapper in the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham, and capped off his season to finish runner up in a Grade 3 hurdle, sacrificing his lead by idling close home. Remains of interest considering the connections, especially as he’s still only had two races over fences.

Quantitativeeasing
Form; 2030-4. Jockey; Barry Geraghty. Trainer; Enda Bolger.

Hasn’t won since the end of 2011, when in training with Nicky Henderson, but showed a spark of old form when runner up in this last year. Failed to follow that up in the Kerry National, and after finishing third in a point to point, he was a disappointing runner in Cheltenham’s Cross Country at the Festival, having seen out the race in the rear, but showed some promise over Punchestown’s cross country race last time out. Warrants respect after finishing runner up last year, but remains to be seen if he can repeat that feat again this year.

Rum And Butter
Form; 20-111. Jockey; Richie McLernon. Trainer; Jonjo O’Neill.

Much better since the application of cheekpieces, finishing out of the money only once in 9 starts, and has “won all” three starts over fences (awarded race at Stratford). Stays this trip well enough, and probably would’ve finished closer at Newton Abbot last September on his sole start over this trip, had he not blundered the last. Faces his first real test over fences, but not one to rule out entirely.

Terminal
Form; 5U/0P9. Jockey; David Casey. Trainer; Willie Mullins.

Fairly promising when landing a Grade 2 in the mud on his chasing debut, but failed to follow up in the RSA behind future Gold Cup winner Lord Windermere, and tipped up at Punchestown, before finishing tenth in last year’s plate, wearing cheekpieces. Pulled up when upped back in trip at Listowel, and hardly disappointed when ninth in last year’s Hennessy. Has been off since then, but he’s been known to go well fresh, and now dropping in trip, with good ground looking likely (3-4 on good), he looks capable of springing a surprise, especially coming from Mullins’ stable.

Golden Wonder
Form; 12542. Jockey; Roger Loughran. Trainer; Dessie Hughes.

Foul crisps, but a nice horse to keep on side. Won a beginners chase over course and distance last year, beating Spring Heeled by three and a half lengths, and proved himself a useful handicapper, which he showed when he was desperately unlucky not to win the Irish National, going down three quarters of a length to Shutthefrontdoor. Takes a fair drop in trip for this, but ideally would prefer slightly softer ground, having previously missed an engagement due to good ground.

Away We Go
Form; 3/9-61. Jockey; Paul Townend. Trainer; Willie Mullins.

Became a useful stayer last year, finishing runner up in the Irish National, and third to Quentin Collonges in the Bet365 Gold Cup. Hardly disgraced himself in this year’s Irish National, considering he’d been off for nearly a year, and did well when dropped to this trip at Punchestown, showing real guts for an 11 year old. Warrants respect on the back of that, and not ruled out if capable of repeating his Irish National run.

Grandads Horse
Form; 08-528. Jockey; Kielan Woods. Trainer; Charlie Longsdon.

A fair hurdler, and useful chaser in his day, he’s often struggled in Listed company, showed a hint of old promise when fitted with blinkers at Market Rasen in June, but failed to follow that when upped back into Listed company over this trip. Certainly wouldn’t fancy him as my main hope, and looks difficult to recommend for each way punters.

It’s A Gimme
Form; 2-211. Jockey; Alan Crowe. Trainer; Jonjo O’Neill.

Landed a listed event over this trip, and will have a special place in AP’s heart, after the gelding was the horse to topple Martin Pipe’s record of wins. Fairly versatile when it comes to the ground, but has done most of his winning on good to soft. Deserves his place in this, but this is far tougher than a Market Rasen Listed event.

Lord Ben
Form; 32-811. Jockey; Brian Hayes (3). Trainer; Henry De Bromhead.

Been a hit and miss horse, but came to his own over shorter distances, winning both at Listowel and Wexford. Much improved now he’s allowed to bowl along in front, and knuckled down to win well on his latest start. Should get to dictate things from the front, but unlikely he’ll run them into the ground.

Burn And Turn
Form; 2553-1. Jockey; Robbie Power. Trainer; Jessica Harrington.

Beat the ironically named She’s Got Grit last time out at Punchestown, and showed that the wind operation she had last year is paying off well enough, finishing third in a Grade 3, and she was earmarked for this after her win in May. Will certainly appreciate the step up in trip, and has the ground to suit. Likely player.

Balnaslow
Form; 3441-P. Jockey; Johnny Burke (5). Trainer; Willie Mullins.

Notched his first win in a year and a half over this trip at Thurles last October, before a few creditable efforts in defeat. Won a shade cosily in April over this trip, but pulled up in a novice handicap chase at Punchestown in May (Road To Riches second, The Romford Pele third). Warrants respect on the back of his Gowran run, back in January, but could find a few too good.

Golden Kite
Form; 21P-41. Jockey; Kevin Sexton (5). Trainer; Adrian Maguire.

It would be some feat to get the 12 year old into the winners enclosure, but having only raced twice this season, he looks up against it. Has raced over a variety of trips in his time, but held on by three quarters of a length at Roscommon over 24 furlongs. Trainer Adrian Maguire said it’d be an ideal race, but the ground would be too well watered, so fairly surprising to see him in the line up.

Shanpallas
Form; 31568-. Jockey; Paul Moloney. Trainer; Charlies Byrnes.

Has his ideal good ground, which he is unbeaten on, but leaves a lot to be desired having being winless in nearly a year. Off since January, where he jumped without any spark and finished 50 lengths behind the winner, and although likely to have being aimed for this, he’s very difficult to recommend.

Count Salazar
Form; 33-942. Jockey; Brian O’Connell. Trainer; Eoin Doyle.

Won over course and distance in the mud last October, and ran some creditable efforts back over hurdles, since. Unlucky not to land the spoils at Limerick after running out of steam close home, and should have no trouble stepping back up in trip. Only won once on good-ish ground, though.

Wise Old Owl
Form; 2229/8. Jockey; Mark Walsh. Trainer; John E Kiely.

Sneaking in near the bottom is useful chaser Wise Old Owl, who didn’t make his racecourse debut until he was 6. Desperately unlucky not to fire off a hat trick in 2010, and only ran twice in 2011, which saw him finish as a runner up twice, including in this race. Finished ninth after over a year off in the 2012 running, and was off until April of this year when running a moderate eighth at Punchestown. Claims on his old form, but hard to recommend against more race-fit rivals.

Orpheus Valley Form; 0B20-1. Jockey; Reserve 1. Trainer; Thomas Gibney.

Notched his first win in a year and a half at Punchestown on soft-ish ground, when running in a fair handicap chase, claiming the scalp of many of these. Has a potential prep run for this at Killarney when running way down the field on the flat, but will need to run things his way from the front if he’s able to win this. RESERVE.

Jacksonlady
Form; 0P08-1. Jockey; Reserve 2. Trainer; J P Dempsey.

Notched a win over course and distance yesterday (or today, if you’re reading on Monday) when getting the better of Cailin Annamh, her first win since Boxing Day 2012. Almost certainly won’t run, and will definitely need a break after her win. RESERVE.

Usuel Smurfer
Form; 3441-3. Jockey; Reserve 3. Trainer; John Joseph Hanlon.

A surprising winner over this trip at Fairyhouse, but failed to follow that up when seeing out most of the Killarney race at the back, and was already set for third, despite a dodgy jump at the last. A fairly infrequent winner, but has his ideal ground, should be make the cut. RESERVE.

Conclusion:
Plenty of runners with lively chances, and last year went to the favorite, and JP McManus, who has SEVEN runners in this year's race. Rum And Butter makes a bit of appeal on his handicap chase debut, as does Vulcanite, who runs back over fences. I’m siding with the “home team”, and Henry De Bromhead’s AUPCHARLIE gets the nod. Followed up a minor event with a creditable effort in a fair race at Punchestown, staying on for fourth, and despite connections reaching for cheekpieces, he should run a huge race.

Lightly raced over fences, the British raider Caid Du Berlais remains of interest for Paul Nicholls, and it would be foolish to ignore any Willie Mullins sends in, too. Away We Go makes the most appeal, but for those who are tempted for an each way price, Terminal could run better than he did last year, when he finished tenth. He’s been off since finishing ninth in the Hennessy, but has gone well fresh in the past, and no doubt Willie will have him primed for a big run. Road To Riches heads here having run well in a similar event, beating main hope Aupcharlie, who finished fourth, back in May. He beat home The Romford Pele, who boosted the form with a Listed win, and providing Road to Riches can handle the extra furlong, he could live up to his name.

Aupcharlie @ 25/1 E/W
Terminal @ 25/1 E/W
Road To Riches @ 16/1 E/W

Vintage Stakes preview

Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes
Group Two, 7f
Glorious Goodwood

Preview by @twoyearoldtips, originally published here.

Ahlan Emarati- Ready winner on debut at Bath and has followed that up with two creditable placed efforts in Group company since, his second to Kool Kompany having been well franked by that horse taking the Papin on his next start. As likeable as he is, he is no megastar and it would a touch disappointing were he to prove good enough. Looks short enough in the market, and opposable.

Chadic- Won impressively from the front at the third time of asking at Ayr but the form is modest in the context of this race. Jockey bookings suggest he is the weaker of the Johnston pair and looks to have it all to do.

Dr No- Richard Hannon-trained individual who was all the rage on debut before running disappointingly at Nottingham. Has proved that form to be all wrong since however, firstly when besting the July Stakes runner up at the same venue and then with a solid 7th in the Coventry Stakes. That form has a solid look to it, but it must be significant that he has been passed over by Richard Hughes. Another who looks tight at the current prices.

Faithful Creek- Bushranger Colt who is a half brother to last years useful juvenile Peter Mac. Has been improving for the experience and won in decent style last time out. However he will need to take another massive leap forward to take this.

Highland Reel- Aidan O Brien raider who arrives here with a massive reputation following a twelve length romp at Gowran Park on his second start. That performance was visually impressive and the third has since downed his highly rated stable mate John F Kennedy. The drop in trip is a slight concern, he hails from a family choc full of top grade middle distance performers in Australia, as is the fact he takes up his engagement here. This isn't a race that O Brien targets very often and Duke Of Marmalade was the last top class horse he ran here in 2006. He was beaten before proving himself a superstar and it would be no surprise to see this horse follow a similar path. May well prove a class above but all things considered he cannot be a play at the odds.

Pallister- Improving son of Punctilious, who comes here searching for a hat trick. Both of those wins were over six furlongs and very likely the extra distance today will bring out further improvement. He done plenty wrong when winning last time and he will need to be less green if he is to prosper over this course. However looks to have plenty of latent talent and looks overpriced for a trainer who targets this meeting and won this with the brilliant Shamardal in 2004.

Room Key- A winner at Salisbury on debut before finishing second in a Novices Stakes on his second start at the same venue. The winner of that contest has since been well beaten in a listed contest and he will need to improve plenty to take this.

Tupi- £100k son of Tamayuz who looked a colt with a bright future when winning on debut at Sandown. The form of those in behind has been mixed but he is still unexposed and is the choice of Richard Hughes, who is looking for a fifth consecutive win in this contest. Looks to have been saved for this contest and rates a big danger to the favourite.

Verdict- A race that revolves around Highland Reel, who looked every inch the Ballydoyle superstar when romping home be a dozen lengths on his second start. It is therefore quite surprising he ends up here with his trainer having never won the race and not having had a representative since Cornish in 2008. The team that have farmed this race of late, winning the last four renewals, appear to have the main danger in the unbeaten Tupi. He has only won a maiden, but was well fancied for that race and won it in impressive style. He looks a great chance of making five in a row for the East Everleigh outfit. Pallister is bred to be useful and hails from a stable who make good at this meeting and he looks overpriced and could reach the frame

1 Tupi
2 Highland Reel
3 Pallister