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Showing posts from March, 2012

Dubai Sheema Classic

It's my turn for this one, too good a race not to be covered!

Songcraft - The least-exposed of these with only five starts under his belt, two low-grade wins in France, followed by two wins in Meydan and then close up behind Mikhail Glinka and Cavalryman in a Group II this month, after being held up down the straight. Still improving but surely a little out of his depth at this stage of his career. Could be an ideal Melbourne Cup horse later this year.

Bold Silvano - too bad to be true here last start, I doubt De Kock would be backing him up if anything was seriously wrong on the day. Won the G1 Durban July in 2010, and then a G3 on Tapeta here last year. Couple of real stars in this, racing for place money at best.

Beaten Up - won all three starts in Britain last season, going from a lowly Ripon maiden to the GIII St Simon Stakes at Newbury by four-and-a-half lengths. Rapid improver but taking on some real class here. His first real test and being a gelding, this is as big as…

Golden Shaheen preview

James Jack returns after his work on Cheltenham to preview the elite sprint race of the night - the Golden Shaheen. Follow him @Materialista27

The Shaheen is a Group 1 for 3yo+ run over 6 furlongs on the Tapeta surface. Prior to the move from Nad Al Sheba, this race was run on the turf, but due to the constraints of the track at Meydan, the Shaheen moved to the artificial surface. Nearly £775k is the winner's purse and we have Rocket Man in the field who tasted glory last year. Runners are previewed in order of gate position.

Rocket Man
9-0
OR 125
Felix Coetzee for Patrick Shaw


This globe-trotting gelding has predominantly spent the last year in the Far East, picking up two Group 1s at Kranji, however, at seven, time must be catching up with him and there wasn't a great deal of opposition in Singapore as he was sent off at 1/16 and 1/5. His penultimate start came in the Hong Kong Sprint and he finished a disappointing 12th of 14, behind the likes of Bated Breath, Sole Powe…

Dubai World Cup preview

An excellent analysis here from Phil Derbyshire. Follow him on Twitter @Mo_Licker

Introduction

The most likely question to be asked of the contenders before the running of the 2012 Dubai World Cup in Meydan will be, ‘Will that form be translated onto Tapeta?’

As a result, a brief, but crucially important analysis of Tapeta is required if the race is going to be properly handicapped.

Tapeta has helped to eradicate the kickback seen on dirt tracks and provided sounder footing for acceleration. This is comparable in lots of ways to the racing we see on grass/turf in that the early pace will be pedestrian (hint: on the night keep an ear out for the commentator giving you the sectionals to confirm this – although I do feel that this year there will be some guaranteed pace setting a good ‘clip’) and that a lot of horses will be saved for the final kick down the straight.

As a result, the last two races have delivered blanket finishes and surprising results to many. A heavy speed bias has…

sectional times angle at the Dubai World Cup

Guest blogger Steven Lines, @sjlone1, takes a look at the Dubai World Cup meeting from a sectional timing angle, something almost totally foreign to British punters!

Dubai World Cup Sectional Times

The recent announcement of the use of sectional timing during the QIPCO Champions Series has given racing presenters and pundits much welcome alternative filler to the common fare of flawed breeding analysis. Instead of searching through a three-generation pedigree grasping to find “the one to take from the race” in a Catterick seller they will be scouring the Tuftrax sectionals for any 11 second furlongs – these will then be interpreted as “broken his/her opponents” or “went too fast “….. depending on the horses finishing position!

British sectionals, for us who only get paid when our opinions are correct, are meaningless. Our racecourses can’t even supply correct race distances – witness the course records broken at Newbury recently! Denman et al; great Hennessy winners of the past, hav…

Dubai World Cup meeting

Stay tuned for previews this weekend of the richest meeting in the world, the Dubai World Cup from Meydan. If you'd like to be a guest blogger, drop me a line on here or Twitter. At least three races covered so far, hoping to cover at least half of them and I might even get time to write one....

Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase

James Jack, @materialista27, runs through the field for the final race of the week...


The Grand Annual closes the festival on Friday and is a Grade 3 handicap for 5 year olds and older The runners will tackle 14 fences over 2 miles and a half furlong on the New Course. Despite it's position in the running order of the festival, the Grand Annual is the oldest race of the week and was first run in 1834. As the race carries the name of his father, Nicky “oh gee I've had another winner” Henderson has 6 runners in race, so if like me you haven't backed many of them, you'll have plenty of chances in this and even if he comes up dry, his smug mug will be all over the racing news for the next few weeks so we can all look forward to that. We have 1 previous winner in the field this year in the form of Oiseau De Nuit.

French Opera 11-12
Henderson's first entry was 2nd in this race 2 years ago and 3rd the year before that. Slowly getting back to form finishing 2nd at …

Martin Pipe Conditional preview

After the Gold Cup it gets very tough. Bookies hoping to cash in on the last couple of races as the Festival winds down and the one-day drinkers get right into it. Jim Kent @jkbet has lined up to take a stab at one of the toughest races of the week.


MARTIN PIPE CONDITIONAL JOCKEY'S HANDICAP HURDLE

Named after the great trainer and this being only the fourth edition, I've drawn the short straw here, as it's been notoriously difficult to crack, but I will have a go anyway.

I'm narrowing my runners down to a big field experience, with preferably a half decent run at the course, and a jockey with some experience.

First port of call is with the Great Man's son, David.

STREET ENTERTAINER
Looks to be Pipe's best chance here, some good past hurdle form on good ground with this jockey on board.

OPEN HEARTED
This fella seems to me, to be the Man of the moments best chance. 3 wins on the bounce and a jockey who rode a lovely race to notch a 40/1 winner on Wednesd…

Albert Bartlett preview

The Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle is a tough test, three miles for the out-and-out novice stayers. Andy Charles, @capitalgull, lines up the form.


American Spin – A late comer to the hurdling ranks at eight, and did win an egg and spoon race at Fontwell, but well and truly up against it in this grade.

Benheir – Asking a lot to progress from being beaten at Ffos Las (easy winner there on debut) last month and needs to find a couple of stones to challenge the leading lights.

Big Occasion – Couldn’t fault this one’s attitude in his most recent victory at Carlisle but that form is well over a stone off the quality needed for this. Likely to be up front early but staying there is a different matter.

Boston Bob – There will be many Irish punters heading home before the Gold Cup if this Willie Mullins charge is beaten. Opted for the longer trip of this race over the Neptune where speed could have been a concern. His form is top class but this will be the first time he has encounter…

Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle

A top class handicap race named after possibly the greatest ever trainer to set foot on a British racecourse. And typically, it looks damn hard to solve. Solving the puzzle is Richard Skeen, whose blog can be found here.

Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle (Grade 3)

A right old cavalry charge of a race run over 2m 1f for five year olds and older. The race tends to feature runners who have met previously throughout the season notably at the Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot, the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury and the Boylesports Hurdle in Ireland – where Final Approach who won this race last year had his run prior to winning. Paul Nicholls and Irish trainers have been responsible for the last five winners so these runners should be noted. 27 runners line up so to find the winner will be an element of luck.

Quickly on trends – no horse has carried more than 11st 8lb to win since 1960, while only one horse has carried more than that weight to place since 1979. Horses rated between 128 to 135 have won 7…

Triumph Hurdle preview

The big juvenile race of the week is the Triumph, and stepping up to the plate is Andy Charles, @capitalgull


Triumph Hurdle

Arctic Reach – Plating class on the flat but made hay last summer when the ground was quick, although well beaten by Countrywide Flame even back then. Off (bar a jumpers bumper) for a while now and wouldn’t have the class to win this.

Asaid – Two low grade wins wouldn’t be enough to win this, although he did split those with a fourth behind Hisaabaat in a Grade 1 in Ireland. Godolphin cast-off from a shrewd yard but up against it.

Baby Mix – Boasts an in-and-out record since arriving in the United Kingdom, winning impressively on debut at Cheltenham before a flop at the same course when he went out like a light after a bad mistake two out. Bounced back at Kempton last time but that race was run to suit more than rival Sadler’s Risk and tables could be turned.

Balder Succes – Three-time winner since, like Baby Mix, coming over from France but his victories do no…

the big one - Cheltenham Gold Cup

Big race coverage comes from Clint Smith, better known on Twitter as @snipersnipes

Cheltenham 15:20
Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase (Grade 1)
£500000.00 added, 5yo plus, 3m 2f 110y, Class 1


Here we have possibly the most prestigious race of the week, a culmination of months of work and preparation, a lifetime of dreams and aspirations; everyone wants a Gold Cup Winner!

To the purist it looks a fairly straightforward fight with Long Run holding all the aces, can anyone turn a river card to bust the hand...let's see.....

1.BURTON PORT
A wonderful Bob Back bay gelding with some very competitive form in the bank, last time out (LTO) he ran Long Run to within 1/2L in an oddly run race over 3m, on that occasion he did seem to hit one or two flat spots and at 5f was being pushed along only to find his gears again. In a race with a lot more competition and a lot more pace I feel he will get found out, he will always be up there and challenging but he will also falter. It's…

political move for Betfair in California

Interesting move here by Betfair just when they are working hard to strike a deal with the Horsemen's Group in order to get exchange wagering off the ground in California. It's already passed through legislature, it just needs approval by industry stakeholders to get going. This isn't the first time they've bought the naming rights to a racecourse, Sandown in Melbourne, Australia, was called Betfair Park for three years (2009-2011) until the deal was recently taken over by Sportingbet.

Betfair signs five year Hollywood Park deal

Betfair has increased its burgeoning American presence with a five-year naming rights deal for Hollywood Park, which will be known as Betfair Hollywood Park.

Betfair, which owns the TVG televised racing and betting network in the States, has pledged to make "significant infrastructure investments and improvements" to the track, which hosted the first Breeders' Cup in 1984 but has been in decline for several years.

Betfair US chi…

Byrne Group Plate Handicap Chase preview

Once again it's Dan Kelly attacking a wide open handicap..


Whereas yesterday was a day for the market leaders this race most certainly hasn't been punter friendly with last 4 winners being priced 25/1 18/1 33/1 66/1 and I fancy an upset here. These are my 3 against the field:

Matuhi ran a good 6th in this race last year off 135, and even though here rated 144 I feel he has a better chance round this time round. He finished third behind Calgary Bay and Hectors Choice back here on New Years Day, both have gone on to bigger and better things, Calgary Bay winning the Skybet Chase, and Hectors Choice running a gallant second to Nacarat in the Racing Plus Chase. What is the clincher for me is Tom Bellamy in the saddle. Not only does he take 10lbs off his back, this claimer is 3 from 7 over fences, and won at this track back in November on Swing Bill.

As per my thoughts on the Jewson, Micheal Flips is running in the wrong race, and on the back of that I think the drop back in…

Jewson Novices Chase preview

Back for more after tipping Son of Flicka today is Dan Kelly, @muffinmannhc. Thursday kicks off with the newest Grade 2 race on the schedule, the Jewson Novices Chase which has attracted quite a handy field. A month ago Peddlers Cross was bombproof, now he's severely on the nose...


Well this little number has certainly livened up in recent weeks. Sprinter Sacre, or the lack of work, has seen Peddlers Cross' target shifted, and Sir Des Champs, well with Mullins any declaration he makes, is always the right one. This much loved addition to the festival roster has a quality look to it.

Yesterday we saw Bobs Worth, Finians Rainbow, Simonsig and even the bumper winner either make it or most certainly sit just off the pace, but this race has a number of runners who will be up there.

Bold Sir Brian has been winning chases in the north fairly convincingly, and this Grade 2 winner over the smaller obstacles has to be respected. He certainly improved for the better ground at Muss…

Ryanair Chase preview

The Ryanair Chase is one of the newer races at the Festival but it has certainly been accepted quickly. This year's field is top class and very tough to split. Back again for another crack at a preview is David Plane, blogger extraordinaire.


Ryanair is an airline associated with insufficient legroom and hidden extra costs. Michael O’Leary is a man whose name is synonymous with garish behaviour and a boss who encourages his employees to steal pens from hotels so they don’t have to spend petty cash money buying them.

Thursday’s Ryanair Chase, by comparison, couldn’t be further from the cheap lipstick and polyester uniform donned by the budget airline’s cabin crew. Instead it offers a first class, turn-left-at-the-aircraft-door, champagne-on-arrival treatment, and national hunt fans will feel their punting pillows being perfectly plumped by this high quality field.

Two hundred and sixty grand is up for grabs for 5yo + horses rated 130 or higher, but with 11 of the 17 entered rat…

Champion Bumper preview

Some people love it, others hate it - it's the Champion Bumper. I quite like it as there are no obstacles to get in the way! The team at @cheltofestival have helped me out again with this thorough preview:

Mathew Waters previews the Champion Bumper
note - written before final declarations, so runners and prices may differ.

In the 19 runnings of this race, significant trends have emerged. It has been a strong race for the Irish, with 14 Irish winners (6 from Willie Mullins alone), from only around a third of the runners. It has also generally been a race for fancied runners with 14 of the 19 coming from the top 6 in the betting. Unlike other races at the Festival, horses put away for this race have fared very well, with 5 of the last 9 races won by horses that had not run since previous Boxing Day. 16 of the 19 winners had won at least one previous bumper with 14 or more runners.

Moscow Mannon (8/1) – Possesses the highest RPR and Topspeed ratings in the field. More experienc…

Coral Cup preview

These handicaps are far too hard for my liking, but some people love them. Here's Dan Kelly's take on the time-honoured Coral Cup.

Coral Cup - three against the field

This year's Coral Cup is one of the classiest renewals we've seen in years, and with six last time out winners in the field, many come into the race on the upgrade. That is the usual make up of winners as shown by Carlito Brigante and Spirit River in recent years, however here are my three against the field.

Form of F9090 wouldn't inspire many, if any, yet at the festival last year Son Of Flicka finished a good second to Sir Des Champs off 140. Running here 135 after a generous 7lb drop in the weights following a lacklustre perfomance in the Lanzarote, it takes a leap of faith to expect a return to form, but Donald McCain and Jason Maguire continue to pull out spectacular efforts from their runners with Cinders and Ashes, Our Mick and Overturn doing connections proud.

Again it's to the Lanzarot…

Queen Mother Champion Chase preview

Another excellent piece of work from @marcowenbanks who will be writing a few previews for the blog this week.

Sizing Europe will be defending his Champion Chase crown in 2012, and Big Zeb will be looking to emulate Moscow Flyer in regaining his 2010 title. Henry De Bromheads 10yo is arguably the best 2 mile chaser at the game at present, but the best don't always win races. Certainly the stats could be viewed as against his chance.The "Irish" too, are defending this crown. In addition to the 1-2-3-4 they scored last year, have had 1-2's in four of the previous ten renewals but in 2012 will be relying on the big two to return the spoils. Master Minded defended his crown and won in consecutive years in 2008-2009, but he has been the only one to manage the feat from the past eleven defending Champions. Whilst Big Zeb would become only the third in the history of the race to regain the crown. Whilst these two head the markets, we have to scour down the book to find Noel…