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Showing posts from October, 2013

Breeders Cup Distaff preview

The self-proclaimed world championship of thoroughbred racing, the Breeders' Cup, takes place in California this weekend at the stunning Santa Anita racecourse. A true world championship it isn't, but it's still high class racing. Whenever there's top grade US racing on the programme, then blog regular Jon da Silva is usually the man to cover it. You can follow him @CreamOnTop.

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Breeders Cup Distaff
9 Furlongs Dirt

Keep an eye on the dirt track on the night. Last year it appeared to favour speed although a bit like commentator's momentum it only needs 1 performance to make such a notion ridiculous. I'm gambling it is a fast but fair surface and excludes the plodders - as it should.

Filly and Mare racing's premier dirt event now has reverted to its original name of Distaff from the rather bland Ladies Classic. I confess when I first followed racing in the US to having no idea what a Distaff was and actually only looked it up…

Mackinnon Stakes preview

On a star-studded card at Flemington, one of the highlights is the Longines Mackinnon Stakes. In the past it has been a lead-in to the Melbourne Cup but with the transition towards European style campaigns, this race has seen smaller fields of perhaps lesser quality. Only one horse backs up from the Cox Plate and they've boosted prizemoney up to the $1m mark, not sure what else they can do? It's not an elite field, but there's still a bit of quality in it, and regular contributor, Kieran Fitzgerald, @kjob85, saddles up with the preview.

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Mackinnon Stakes
Group 1, weight-for-age, 2000m.

1. Mourayan (4)
Following a strong victory in the 3200m Sydney Cup in the Autumn, Mourayan has disappointed this spring in his two starts. The Sydney Cup seems to have been a bit of a fluke – it was this horse's only win in the last 12 months and just his fifth from 40 starts. There was a bit of a kerfuffle when Nick Williams from the Macedon Lodge stable said t…

Derby Day pointers

Derby Day at Flemington, the most magnificent day of racing in the world (yes, I am biased). Courtesy of those clever chaps @TheTrialFiles, here are some pointers for the great day. Find more of their great work on their website.

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DERBY DAY POINTERS

RACE 1 – Carbine Club Stakes – 1600M

• 2012 winner (Lunar Rise – H Bowman/B Cummings)
• Best recent lead up has been the Gothic Stakes at Caulfield and it was the race won by Hucklebuck this year.
• Form always follows onto the Sandown Guineas.
• Favourites or horses hard in the market have been tough to beat.
• Bart has won it multiple times, with Saintly the most famous although Think Big won it too.

RACE 2 – Wakeful Stakes – 2000M

• 2012 winner (Zydeco – K McEvoy/A Freedman)
• Sensational pointer to the Oaks (four dual winners since 2004) plus many other winners coming though the race.
• Dear Demi was unlucky not to win last year but was able to turn the tables on Zydeco five days later.
• Most winners come …

Paris Masters 1000 preview

The ATP season is drawing to a close and the last large draw event of note is the Paris Masters 1000. This time of year is a tricky one for punters - most players have their mind on a long overdue break before they get back into heavy training aiming at the Australian Open, the elite few have to keep something up their sleeve for London and those around the 30-50 mark will be doing their best to lock in a seeding in Melbourne. But mostly, players are knackered and needing a holiday.

Time to bring in a top class tennis analyst, Dan Weston, @tennisratings. Follow his work on his website - Tennisratings and make sure you take a look at his magnificent new piece of work, the 'Ultimate In-Play Spreadsheet'. I wish I had the time and dedication to produce something like that!

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Paris Masters preview

The Masters 1000 event in Paris is the final event on the regular ATP calendar each year and with many players’ eyes on a beach somewhere there’s plenty o…

Cox Plate preview

The greatest Aussie race of all, at least if you are a purist loving the weight-for-age system rather than the everyone gets a chance method of the big handicaps which make up many of Australia's feature races. The Cox Plate has a long honour roll of champions, and none better the legendary 1986 contest, replayed here with the immortal words of 'The Accurate One', Bill Collins....

Supplying the preview for this year's classic is the sharpest analyst in Melbourne, Racetrack Ralphy, @rtralphy. His record on this blog this carnival is impeccable! Subscribe to his premium service on his website, Racetrack Ralphy, now featuring Vince Accardi's Melbourne Cup blog assessment...

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Sportingbet Cox Plate

Race Overview

Basic numbers: 11-3-8-9-14 Best roughy: (if not 9) 4-12

Three World Class horses become two with the scratching of ATLANTIC JEWEL. I've taken a massive opinion play here on IT'S A DUNDEEL as I believe that the…

Queensland Pacing Championship preview

Harness racing in Australia steps into the spotlight this weekend, not only with the Kilmore Cup previewed earlier, but also the Queensland Pacing Championship, the first race in the Australasian Grand Circuit. Making his debut on the blog is astute harness racing analyst, Darren Clayton. You can follow him via @Dashman01.

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Queensland Pacing Championship

Track: Albion Park
Distance: 2680m
Starts: Frontline 7


The Garrards Queensland Pacing Championship (QPC) is the first leg of the Australian Grand Circuit and to be fair, it is disappointing that a race of this stature can only attract two interstate trained horses.

Regardless of the reasons, the locals will be out in force to protect the crown and no trainer will play a bigger hand than the Major General of the Black and White Army, Grant Dixon. In a career that has seen Dixon either train or drive the winner of nearly every major race in Queensland, the QPC is one that still eludes the premier…

Kilmore Pacing Cup preview

While the Australian thoroughbred attention is currently focused on Moonee Valley, the Sunday after the Cox Plate is traditionally one of harness racing's biggest days - Kilmore Cup Day. As new contributor Matt Nicholls, @mattnicholls29, says below, it's a race steeped in tradition.

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Kilmore Pacing Cup

One of the greatest races in harness racing history is the Kilmore Pacing Cup. The home of many top former pacers and trotters, the stand-start event boasts a magnificent honour roll and has provided some of the biggest highlights in harness history. While the $70,000 Group 2 race has lost some of its nostalgia and Group 1 rating over the years, it’s still a ballot-exempt race from the Hunter Cup and is still much adored by the harness public. Sunday’s 3150-metre stand-start race should be another classic, with Bitobliss aiming to make it three Kilmore Cup wins in a row. He’s going to have to do it off a 20-metre handicap, though.

1. JADAHSON…

Showcase Trophy Handicap Chase preview

Flat racing dominates the TV coverage in Britain this weekend but National Hunt fans are salivating at the return of racing at Cheltenham. Fans such as Billy Blakeman, @five2tenracing. Billy writes and broadcasts for BetRacingNation TV and his blogs can be found at OLBG.

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Showcase Trophy Handicap Chase

It was the Wednesday at Glorious Goodwood this year and I was standing by the paddock sipping a glass of Veuve Clicquot on a warm summer’s day. A roast beef dinner had gone down nicely, a couple of winners had thickened the wallet enough for me to be walking slightly lopsided and the sun was shining off the coats of the maiden fillies, seemingly parading for my personal gratification.

Now Goodwood racecourse is special to my heart but despite the idyllic circumstances into which I have managed to manoeuvre myself, I knew in the back of my mind that something was missing. Don’t get me wrong, I like a maiden filly as much as the next man but whe…

Qipco Champion Stakes

In the last of my Champions' Day previews, Owen Alsop takes to the biggest race of the day, the £1.3m Champions Stakes. Follow him via @owenalsop.

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The Champion Stakes

The grand finale of the British flat season takes place with the Champion Stakes, the Group 1 feature race, on British Champions Day. Won by the mighty Frankel in his final appearance 12 months ago, this year’s renewal see the evergreen Cirrus Des Aigles, a pretender to the throne that day; stake his claim for top billing on Saturday.

There has been a gargantuan amount of money for the French gelding since his victory in the Prix Dollar on Arc weekend and with conditions to his liking, we are sure to see another dazzling display. Christophe Soumillon claimed he could have won the Prix Dollar by “ten lengths” if he had not wanted to look after the gelding for Ascot’s showpiece. There will be no relenting tomorrow and Cirrus Des Aigles can sign off his campaign in style, av…

Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (sponsored by Qipco) preview

Next up on the Champions Day preview programme is the QE II Stakes. Plenty of class in this race, let's see what Owen Alsop has to say about it. Follow him via @owenalsop.

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The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes

The cream of the milers crop will step out at Ascot on Saturday for the final time this season, to determine who will be crowned as champion of the division.

The market is headed by the tenacious Dawn Approach who is looking to bow out on the highest of highs in what will be his last racecourse appearance.

Having been off since finishing down the field, with mucus on his lungs, in the Prix Jacques Le Marois, Dawn Approach has had plenty of time to recover from his busy early season schedule that took in the 2000 Guineas, the Derby, St James Palace Stakes, Sussex Stakes and the Marois and master handler Jim Bolger is sure to have his star right as rain come Saturday.

The highest rated horse in the field, Dawn Approach is unbeaten in two st…

Qipco British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes preview

The flat season ends in a grand finale at Ascot tomorrow with the much touted Qipco British Champions Day. There's no Frankel or a flood of ticket giveaways this year, let's see what sort of crowd they pull. The programme is strong enough, but will it get the paying public through the gates?

There are five Championship races on the day, and taking care of the Fillies& Mares division is long-time contributor, Jon da Silva, @creamontop, who has no problem calling a spade a spade....

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Qipco British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes
12 furlongs Ascot Soft Ground Likely

The pattern for all age 12 furlong Colts after the King George is the Arc. Fillies and Mares get the Yorkshire Oaks, Vermeille and this and if they are good enough get three pounds off the boys and can run in the Arc. Thus I preface this as yet another 12 furlong Group 1 for Fillies and Mares and this one lacks Treve and The Fugue sorta Group 1a. Indeed if Her Maj's Estimate …

Caulfield Cup preview

Great race we have in store here. Many say Chris Waller has a mortgage on the race with his four runners, form guru Dominic Beirne says it's very open, rating just two lengths between nine horses, meaning it will come down to luck.

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The $2.5m Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup
2400m handicap
1745 local time, 0745 BST.



1. Manighar - after the passing of highly respected owner and racing administrator Andrew Ramsden this week, there will be plenty of tears if this horse, one of the many he part-owned, was successful in Caulfield's premier race. Never got into the race in the Turnbull but was only 1.2L behind It's A Dundeel and Atlantic Jewel the start before. 45% win record at 2400m, three-time Group 1 winner, ignore last start and he'd be no more than half the price. Luke Nolan only has three winners in his last 50 rides, he's off the boil at the moment.

2. Dandino - drawn the car park but so was Dunaden last year (same jockey). Can't believe th…

Thousand Guineas preview

The Victorian fillies' classic is the Thousand Guineas at Caulfield, traditionally held on the Wednesday between the Caulfield Guineas and the Caulfield Cup. In charge of the preview is a new contributor, Trent Masenhelder, @tmase04. Not just any old blogger, but a panelist on Horse Talk, a radio show on Dubai Eye 103.8 and International reporter for SEN 1116 in Melbourne. Welcome aboard Trent!

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Thousand Guineas

1. GUELPH ($1.40) – Sensational filly from the Peter Snowden yard looking to emulate success of stablemate Long John, who won the Caulfield Guineas on Saturday. Clearly the best three-year-old filly in the land and deserving of short quote. Has been set for this race and unbeaten at the mile (1600m). Jockey Kerrin McEvoy can do what he likes with her from perfect draw (barrier five) and the only thing that can beat her is bad luck.

2. GREGERS ($12) – Talented filly from the David Hayes stable who won well last time out thanks to a brilliant…

The Cesarewitch

Winter weather has arrived and the flat season is drawing to a close. Tomorrow is billed as 'Future Champions Day' at Newmarket, but to most, the highlight is still the Cesarewitch, the monster staying handicap which will test any punter or racecaller. @five2tenracing specialise in all-aged handicaps and here, chief analyst Billy Blakeman breezes through the capacity field. Billy writes for a number of sites and his work can be found at BetRacingNation and his OLBG blog.

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3.50 NEWMARKET - BETFRED CESAREWITCH 2M2F

This famous old race is most notable for the fact that it crosses the county line, as they might say in the States. I believe also that with a modern day maximum of 36-runners, it is the largest single assembly of flat handicappers.

Were this a sprint down some abnormally wide straight, the field would doubtless split into groups but here we have a bend. Not a series of bends, not a course where laps are i…

Toorak Handicap preview

Caulfield's great day of racing doesn't stop with the 'stallion maker' race, the Toorak Handicap is one of Melbourne's great races. A traditionally tough mile race under handicap conditions. Providing the preview for this great contest is Melbourne form expert Racetrack Ralphy Horowitz, @rtralphy, whose work can be found on his iPhone app, or now via his website which offers a lot more premium content - Racetrack Ralphy.

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Toorak Handicap G1 1600m

1. Linton $12 Was a monster-looking run first-up here last start when fifth after covering ground near the speed over 1400, and notionally should be improved second up over the mile. That race wasn't overly quick early, and for mine covering ground for him as a strong fresh horse wasn't a disadvantage. As such second-up and still under the big weight, he'll need all the breaks to go his way.

2. Solzhenitsyn $5 Just didn't get a chance to roll with his usual strength and m…