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Showing posts from June, 2012

Newmarket - Criterion Stakes preview

Good day of racing around the British and Irish Isles today, weather permitting, and speed figures expert Steve Lines, @sjlone1, has singled out the Criterion Stakes at Newmarket for his analysis. It's always worth a read.

John Sunley Memorial Criterion Stakes

A Group 3 race containing a Group 1 horse; Hoof It was arguably unlucky not to win the Betfred Sprint Cup when third behind Dream Ahead at Haydock. That was over 6f; today he tries further for the third time in his career - his form figures read 8, 4, and 18 beaten 11, 13 and 16 lengths respectively! The pace set up is likely to be ‘honest’ with Libranno, Bannock, Firebeam and Majestic Myles to the fore; testing any stamina doubts. Any softening of the ground would also be to the detriment of Hoof It. This is surely a ‘scouting’ mission for the July Cup and I can’t imagine he will want a hard race a fortnight before the ‘cup final’. The only other available ‘pipe opener’ would have been the Sprint Stakes on Eclipse day – a m…

Wimbledon outright previews

This fortnight, all of my content can be found on TheShark.com.au, but not all of the content will be posted online - the website owner's wife will be having a baby any moment, so he might have better things to do than post my tips! So if they don't go up, I'll try posting them here...

MEN'S DRAW PREVIEW

As unique as grass court tennis in the Grand Slams, it's probably the least likely to throw up an odd result. It has been donkey's years since anyone other than Federer, Nadal or Djokovic won it, and most recently, we have had a year of Slam finals fought out between the latter two, Wimbledon's top two seeds.

Having such an elite trio at the top of the game is fabulous to watch, but it gets a bit dull after a while - any sign of some new blood breaking into their domain? Laying the top four in the Betfair market (well, after all, you can't barrack for Murray to win it can you?) gives you about 7/1 the rest of the field.

A big serve, a forehand grip ca…

Duke of Edinburgh preview

It wouldn't be a feature meeting without a decent handicap thrown in, and there's only one man to call on in those circumstances, Dan Kelly - @muffinmannhc

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5:00 Ascot SAT 23 JUN 2012 Duke of Edinburgh Handicap

Another fiendish handicap to look over, but with the favourite 13lbs higher and in a far better race this time around, I think it may pay to look away from the market leaders in a race that has had double figure payouts over the last three years.

Mark Johnston has already struck in handicaps this week with Fennell Bay, and I feel he has a good chance this time around with Eternal Heart. Recent form doesn't look too inspiring, however I have been waiting to see him return to 1m4f since his Chester Cup run. 4 time winner on turf, 3 of those wins have came over this trip, recent one being a Conditions Stakes win over King Of Wands, but he also has an Edinburgh Cup to his name, where likes of Namibian, Mulaqen and this years Colour Vision were behind…

Hardwicke Stakes preview

Speed ratings expert Steve Lines, @sjlone1, got it spot on with his lay of Astrology on Friday, is there more success to follow?

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Hardwicke Stakes

Hopefully the weather will be kind to Black Caviar. A bog, where the draw may be a factor, is not what her sporting connections deserve, although the new straight course doesn’t get as soft as the older round course. This year, as last, being close to the rail on the round course seems to be a disadvantage; Astrology and Homecoming Queen, both short price favourites, failed to make the frame after racing close to the inside yesterday. In 2011 all the runners on the Saturday raced way from the rail.

The reasoning above makes Memphis Tennessee a risky proposition for today’s race. The likely pacemaker is ideally drawn in stall 1. Although he won on soft ground at Chester his previous form had all been on better ground; with Brown Panther running poorly (not seen since) at Chester he had only handicappers to beat. His run styl…

My look at Royal Ascot Saturday

Didn't want to steal any of my guest blogger's thunder, but since I'm heading to the track and most of Australia will be tuning in to watch the Black Caviar show, I feel duty bound to leave a few notes at least....

Chesham Stakes

Odd race, restricted to 2yo sired by horses which won over at least 1900m in their careers. The favourite is the impressive Move To Strike from the Jim Bolger stable in Ireland, who earlier in the week won the Coventry with Dawn Approach. He bolted in by 9L last time at The Curragh on soft ground. That form should make him exceptionally hard to beat here, but he will start quite short.

The value could be one of the Godolphin runners in Lovely Pass. Very impressive but incredibly green (immature) on debut at Lingfield when she won easily. De Sousa retains the ride, not necessarily because she is second string, possibly because his knowledge of the horse will be an asset. If she has learned a bit more about what to do in recent weeks, she will give…

Saturday summary from Jack Milner

Need a quick summary of Saturday's Royal Ascot card? Then take a look at this....

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The fifth and final day of Royal Ascot, and thankfully we are in the fortunate position of not having to chase profits, so no desperate lumping, we hope anyway, unless the dreaded thought of not a bean from the first five races, but that doesn’t even bare thinking about! It has been intense so far, and the pressure has been on, hopefully if you’re reading this, you’ve made a few quid and are either playing with Billy Hills, Joe Coral, Paddy Power or Mr Ladbrokes money!

The Chesham Stakes is a listed race over the specialist seven furlongs open for two year old colts and fillies. The race has a long history of going over to the Irish Sea, and they have the favourite once more with the Jim Bolger trained Move to Strike. She hacked up in a six furlong maiden at The Curragh last time out and is respected, but she looks plenty short in a race where many others are open to further improvement. …

Wokingham Stakes preview

For me Saturday will be all about Black Caviar, but she's not really a betting option, so we need to look a bit wider. Examining the conundrum which is the Wokingham Handicap is a first-previewer on my blog, Sunday Independent writer Ronan Groome. You can follow him on Twitter @ronangroome20

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If, by the time the Wokingham Stakes comes round, you’re still looking for your first winner at this year’s Royal Ascot meeting, there is a good chance you’re not going to find it in this 29-runner field. On the flip side if you do manage to unlock the code, there is every chance your punting week could be turned right around.

Double figure odds the field, with most firms offering ¼ the odds first five each way terms, there is some cracking value to be found in this the last big handicap race of the week.

By far the most interesting runner in the race is ex-Aussie sprinter Scarf. This son of Lonhro moved to Godolphin earlier this year and started his campaign with a couple o…

Queen's Vase preview

A two mile race for horses only midway through their three-year-old season seems a bit early for me, but what would I know? It's called the Queen's Vase and Dan Kelly, @muffinmannhc, cast a close eye over the field and came up with this....

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17:00 Queen's Vase (Group 3) 3yo only, 2m

A race that has been farmed by Mark Johnston in recent years it is strange to see a field without a runner of his, but this years field does look a high class renewal.

1(12) 13-4153 Athens (IRE) A P O'Brien J P O'Brien
Closely related to Admiralofthefleet, he has looked to be shy of Group class on starts so far back in Ireland and France where he has yet to place in 5 attempts, once as a juvenile, and 4 times at 3yo. A confirmed front runner he looks like he could get all his own way up front which could be dangerous, but if you delve further through pedigree isn’t laden with stamina. Admiralofthefleet was tried over 6f on second last run, and Dam Rafina hasn’t produced a …

King Edward VII Stakes preview

One of the features on Friday's card is "Ascot's Derby", and covering it for the blog is speed ratings expert, Steve Lines - @sjlone1

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King Edward VII Stakes

The Friday of Royal Ascot will be the first time the media and journalists have to ‘engage brain’. The previous headlines have written themselves: Timeform have achieved their aim of rating Frankel the best horse of all time. That’s another tick off their ‘bucket’ list; the ratings will be invaluable next time Frankel lines up against Brigadier Gerard……… So You Think continued to prove what we all know – he’s good but not great. Frankie won the Gold Cup; so copy submitted and back in the bar in time for the football.

Noble Mission would help provide some copy due to being Frankel’s brother. A resolute galloper he will be suited by further softening of the ground, being 2 from 2 on ground with soft in the description. He doesn’t do anything quickly, and although he will be suited by the step up…

King George V Stakes preview

Dan Kelly waited for the overnight rain, now he follows up with the tricky handicap which ends the day. @muffinmannhc

5:35 Ascot THU 21 JUN 2012 King George V Stakes (Handicap)

Best 3yo handicap of the season so far, and it's no surprise we are looking at 8s the field. Rougemont running has caused changes all over the places, with nothing rated within 10lbs on ratings, it has resulted in many trainers looking around for jockeys. Using Gabrial The Great and Commitment as examples, last year and 2010 a mark of 85 would see a weight of 8-7, today 8--1, so that has seen Franny Norton get the ride on Gabrial as Jamie Spencer can only do 8-5. JP Guillabert and Fallon can only do 8-6, so Commitment is ridden by Darren Egan.

The pace of the race is likely to be sound enough, going has not eased considerably so it won't be such as slog as they thought it'd be after looking at forecast on Tuesday morning when declaring. Seen the likes of Rocktherunway (1), Samba King (11), Anomaly…

In-running analysis for Royal Ascot

If you fancy some in-running trading on Royal Ascot, or are just keen to get an idea of how the pace will pan out, then you must read Andy Richmond's daily In-Running Guides being posted on the PatternandProfiles website. Andy's a good mate of mine, we used to run the Betfair Academy training seminars and now he's a pundit on Racing UK.

Here's the link for a selection of races on Tuesday.

Here's the link for a selection of races on Wednesday.

Here's the link for a selection of races on Thursday.

Norfolk Stakes analysis

A new contributor this week, Sam Preen, owner of the impressive Soft in Places blog, with plenty of his own content. You can also follow him on Twitter - @sampreen

Norfolk Stakes (Royal Ascot - 2:30 Thursday)

A small but select about of 2 year olds line up for the Norfolk Stakes, with impressive maiden winner Ahern heads straight to Group 2 company after winning a small field conditions stake at Musselburgh earlier this month. A clear winner over similar conditions, this looks much tougher but he can't be ruled out of a place.

One of the more experienced runners in the field, Annunciation heads the market for Richard Hughes and Hannon. Last seen hosing up in a small field maiden at Windsor last month, he appreciated the new tactics of making all the running after breaking well from the stall and didn't see another rival. This looks tougher but with an inside draw and the experience, he should be difficult to beat.

Second favourite and course & distance winner Cay Verde co…

Tercentenary Stakes preview

Late in the day we have Group 3 stakes race and a distance handicap, both restricted to 3yo and both wide open in the betting. Best we call in our handicap specialist, Dan Kelly. Follow him on Twitter @muffinmannhc

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The Tercentenary Stakes, Group III, 1m2f.

Crius - Richard Hughes / Richard Hannon
Form: 11221-26

Had a decent looking profile at 2 where arguably should have won first three starts but he's paying for that end of season win in the Tattersall Stakes with both his last run and this being run under a penalty. Disappointed at the Curragh after racing so keenly and with only Goldoni the other confirmed front runner in the field, chances are he may fail to settle again. Craven run possibly flattered by having the rail, others preferred.

Cavaleiro - Hayley Turner / Marcus Tregoning
Form: 33211-39

Improving 2yo profile which ended with a win over Harvard N Yale at Newbury on Good to Soft ground. Tregoning thought that he would be a late developing type, and campai…

Gold Cup preview

The feature on Thursday's card at Royal Ascot is the Gold Cup for Europe's best stayers. Regular contributor James Jack, @materialista27, returns with a detailed look at this great race.

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The Gold Cup

The Gold Cup is a Group 1 race open to horses aged four years or older. It is run over a distance of 2 miles and 4 furlongs. It is Britain's most prestigious staying race. Contrary to popular belief the actual title of the race does not include the word "Ascot".

The Gold Cup is the first leg of Britain's Stayers‘ Triple Crown, followed by the Goodwood Cup and the Doncaster Cup. The last horse to win all three races in the same year was Double Trigger in 1995.

The Gold Cup is one of three perpetual trophies at the Royal Ascot meeting, along with the Royal Hunt Cup and the Queen‘s Vase, which can be kept permanently by the winning owners. A number of horses have won it more than once, and the most successful is the majestic Yeats who recorded his fourth …

Ribblesdale Stakes preview

One of the highlights of the Thursday card at Royal Ascot is always the Group II fillies' race over a mile a half. Jon Thompson, @jaytee6666 previews the Ribblesdale Stakes.

The Ribblesdale has long been a favourite race for yours truly at the Royal meeting and a race that has thrown up a surprise package or two over the years yet has been dominated by the front end of the market for the past 5 years. Not since Mont Etoile in 2006 and Thakafaat a year earlier has the winner returned a double digit SP.

There are some interesting trends to observe when assessing the race. Godolphin have featured heavily in the winners enclosure with success 5 times in the past 15 years. Kailani represents the 'Boys In Blue' this year from the Al Zarooni yard with Mickael Barzalona again getting the nod over Frankie Dettori. Kailani remains unexposed but she will need to step forward from her 7th in the Oaks where she was never a real threat to the main contenders.

John Gosden is another …

other races for today, Day 2 Royal Ascot

Not out at the track today and limited time for the form, so just a couple of short mentions below. As always, these races are mighty hard - when the best come to town, it doesn't get any easier.

15.05 - Nahrain - really rate this horse, got me out of jail so to speak on Arc day. Undefeated in Europe, reckon she will win this race.

17.00 - Ceiling Kitty - one of Bert Black (Betfair founder)'s horses and she is pretty quick. Have won on her before and there's still more left in the tank. Tough field though, Andy Richmond, Racing UK expert was very keen on Mironica in our preview panel on Sunday.

and naturally, I'll be cheering So You Think in the Prince of Wales, despite what Jack Milner said in his preview.

Jersey Stakes preview

The very insightful Calum Madell takes the reins for today's opening event.
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JERSEY STAKES


A huge field lines up for this race and although it lacks a little depth in places, it is still a cracking race with a number of extremely exciting rivals taking.

None fit in that category more than Sentaril who has caught the eye in a huge way on her first two starts to date. She was a hugely impressive maiden winner at Newbury although the form has taken a bit of a knock with the runner-up failing to win his last two starts and nothing else coming out of it. She then readily thrashed Silverheels who since finished last in the King Charles II Stakes won by ALJAMAAHEER.

Roger Varian's colt is seriously well regarded at home and after a poor run on terrible ground on his reappearance, a race won by today's St James's Palace third Gregorian. He was then a taking winner of the King Charles when showing a really smart turn of foot to readily run away from the ill-…

Prince of Wales Stakes preview

Jack Milner returns with a look at the feature race on Day 2

The Prince of Wales Stakes is the centrepiece around the dinner table that is day two on Wednesday, and has an absolute abundance of talent at disposal, and a field that looks a minefield is the race slips into another one of these ridiculous crawl, then sprint tactical affairs.

Aidan O’ Brien has a good record in this race, and has the hot favourite, So You Think, who I did my absolute coconuts on in this last year, when a narrow second to Godolphin’s Rewilding, under a stellar ride from Frankie Dettori, whip bans notwithstanding. Last year he had Jan Vermeer used as a pacemaker, who quite frankly did a shocking job, and this year, Seamie Heffernan does the duties on Robin Hood this time, look after them fractions son. I am still financially and emotionally burnt by that, at a shade of odds-on, I have to oppose him.

Carlton House looks an interesting prospect, as we stumble another ante post disaster for me, after finishi…

quick look at Day 1's other races

Royal Ascot comes upon us once more and it is the first real test of the ‘classic generation’ going up against the big boys, their older, more experienced rivals. The pageantry, the spectacle, and most importantly Her Majesty, who will no doubt fully immerse herself in the Jubilee celebrations, with a sherry or two during the week. She has couple of interesting runners herself, including Set to Music, Momentary, and her most fancied runner, Carlton House in the Prince of Wales Stakes.

The meeting kicks off with the Queen Anne Stakes, they don’t mess around, and it goes off with quite the bang. The race is steeped in history, and the last two winners were Canford Cliffs and Goldikova, two of the best milers in decades. A horse even better will saunter home in this; FRANKEL, officially the greatest horse currently on the planet. The only question mark is over who will chase him home, with Excelebration likely to do the honours ahead of Strong Suit, for only what, the umpteenth time in …

Coventry Stakes preview

My turn to have a go and I do love the juvenile races at Royal Ascot. So many horses coming in off one or two very promising runs, and you know there will be several being backed. I doubt there have been many ordinary 2yos win the Coventry Stakes. To do the form properly on 2yos, I strongly urge you to watch replays - you can get them all for free on AtTheRaces.com for their tracks, and SportingLife.com for the Racing UK courses.

Coventry Stakes

Artigiano- third on debut behind Funk Soul Brother at York, then took a significant step forward with a facile win at Leicester. Not sure what he beat, but it was impressive. In three seasons of training in Britain, Mahmood Al Zarooni's record with 2yos is top notch - strike rate of 19% with a level stake profit of £82.79 (344 runners).

Baddilini - not up to these, as noted in his price.

Cristoforo Columbo - Ballydoyle hype horse, decent win on debut but they did run very slow time for a good track. First choice from a stable with great juv…