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Showing posts from November, 2013

Fighting Fifth Hurdle preview

A rare venture north for top level NH horses tomorrow with the crown jewel of the North East's winter season - the Fighting Fifth Hurdle. With the ground in decent condition, a strong field has accepted. Recent addition to the list of blog contributors, local racing enthusiast and aspiring journo Daniel Knight, @danielknightt, casts a sagacious eye over the field. You can read more of his work at BritishJumpRacing.

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StanJames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle Grade 1
2 miles Newcastle, Good to Soft Ground but could be just Good, Soft in Places come Saturday.

It’s not often big names in National Hunt racing come to Newcastle Racecourse. But the first Grade 1 Hurdle of the season, the Fighting Fifth, always see’s the big stables top hurdlers travel north. Year in year out, the Champion Hurdle contenders grace the turf at Newcastle as one of their 1st stops en-route to the opening day of Cheltenham’s showpiece event. The Fighting Fifth Hurdle is just about th…

Miracle Mile preview

The Miracle Mile is the big night in Australian harness racing, north of the Murray anyway. Australasia's fastest pacers on the super fast Menangle Park circuit. Harness expert Ben Krahe, @benkrahe, assesses the form with a bit of history to boot.

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The Miracle Mile

For mine this is the race of the year. Pure speed over a mile where the quickest standardbred in Australia is crowned. All the greats have won it and although this field is probably as good as we’ve seen in the past 10 years I’m not sure the winner will go down in folklore. The race has a rich history with the inaugural winner in 1967 being Robin Dundee. That was when this fabulous race was an invitation only event for six runners around the tight Glebe circuit (the halcyon days - back when they had 40-50k fans to the track). Who can forget possibly the best MM win of all time in 1971 of Mount Eden when it lost 50m or so at the start, or 1976 when the people's horse Paleface Adios won in…

Hennessy Gold Cup preview

Close to my favourite jumps race of the season, the Hennessy at Newbury. Why? Because it's a top class handicap, something I was brought up on in Australia but are rarer than an honest politician in Britain. Where the top horses can prove their greatness by conceding weight to emerging talents and still beat them. Set weights and WFA races bore me when you have the likes of Nicky Henderson moaning about lack of opportunities so he'd rather leave his horses at home rather than run them against each other before Cheltenham or simply consult the BHA's interactive race programming facility to find suitable races. Great publicity for the industry..... The championship features are great in that format, but not all the lead up races as well - we get stuck with the farcical situation of two and four runner pattern races like at Ascot last weekend. [/rantover]

Covering this great race for the blog is a long-time contributor, Jack Milner, @jjmsports. He now appears courtesy of Be…

Clark Handicap preview

Nice timing for US racing with some Grade 1 action on the pseudo-long weekend where nobody works after Thanksgiving. Regular US racing contributor, the astute Jon da Silva, @creamontop, returns to the blog....

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Clark Handicap

9 Furlong Grade 1 Handicap Churchill Downs

You have to love the Septics no sooner do they have a season ending jamboree and then they are throwing two Grade 1s at you four weeks later. One reason this race may have two top classers is that US horses chase Horse of the Year honors (honours my UK chums). Wise Dan by mopping up over a mile on turf and only beaten once off a poor trip against lone speed on a drenched synth track will win anyway mind. Although had Wise Dan been 3rd running a better rating in the Classic (than the Mile he won) he would not - people love the win.

Nonetheless there are categories like top three year old and Will Take Charge's handler D. Wayne Lukas has barely seen a horse he did not wan…

Coral Hurdle preview

Another disappointingly small field for a feature race at Ascot, but at least there are two high-class hurdlers heading the market. Taking up the challenge is another blog debutant, aspiring young writer Daniel Knight. You can follow him via @DanielKnightt and read more of his work on his site, BritishJumpRacing.

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Coral Hurdle (Registered As The Ascot Hurdle Race) Grade 2
2 mile 3 1/2 furlongs Ascot, Good to Soft Ground but could be just Good come Saturday.

Usually one of the first stepping stones for either the World Hurdle or the Champion Hurdle, the Coral (Ascot) Hurdle is normally full of contenders for both races. This year’s is different. The 2014 Champion Hurdle has some serious depth and the World Hurdle isn’t short on quality either, so will many of the horses lining up on Saturday, be at the start for either race? Probably not. But one might, and she comes from Ireland.

Zarkandar:
This horse has a real shot at this year’s Coral Hurdle. After comin…

Betfair Chase preview

In the years since Betfair took over the naming rights of the Lancashire Chase, there hasn't been an edition as strong as this. Running his eye over the form and sharing his expertise is a blog debutant, Sam Tribe. You can follow Sam via @samtribe87, and hopefully read more of his work here again soon...

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‘The Mini Gold Cup’ 3 miles 1 furlong, likely going soft

The Grade 1 Showcase at Haydock this Saturday most commonly known as the Lancashire Stakes (just don’t tell the sponsors that) has been dubbed ‘The Mini Gold Cup’ due to the presence of some of the best 3 mile chasers around. The race is populated by chasing stars of the future, the past and the present as Trainers strive to get their ‘celebrities’ down the red carpet before the cold snap the tabloids have been promising properly kicks in. Celebs & the red carpet analogy is actually incredibly unfair, as these horses will have to show all of their talent, brute force, hard work and determinat…

Railway Stakes preview

It's Super Saturday at Ascot, the Western Australian version, and the feature race of the day is the $1m Railway Stakes. Taking the reins for the preview is @BrisburghPhil who writes for the ReadingThePlay website.

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Railway Stakes 2013

Winners since 2000;

2012 MR MOET 5G (4) 53.5KG
2011 LUCKYGRAY 4G (12) 53KG
2010 GATHERING 4G (6) 52KG
2009 SNIPER’S BULLET 6G (12) 53KG
2008 GILDED VENOM 4G (9) 52KG
2007 EL PRESIDENTE 4G (4) 55.5KG
2006 BELLE BIZARRE 5M (6) 54KG
2005 COVERTLY 4M (2) 51KG
2004 MODEM 6G (7) 55KG
2003 HARDRADA 4G (13) 54KG (Race staged at Belmont).
2002 OLD FASHION 5G (1) 54.5KG
2001 OLD COMRADE 4G (8) 53.5KG
2000 NORTHERLY 4G (12) 51KG

From a punting perspective it is very helpful to look at the past winners of this event, not for what they went on to do thereafter, moreso for what they had done just prior. A good historical anlayis of these winners has been of enormous benefit in finding the victor in recent years. The following can…

Amlin Chase preview

It looked like being a great weekend of National Hunt racing but cripes it's turned out to be rather lame for Ascot tomorrow. Surely they have two races with a couple of starts in each, but if I wanted to bet head-to-heads, I'd focus on golf. Regular contributor Jon da Silva @creamontop follows up with his moan...

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Amlin 2 miles 3.5 furlongs Chase Grade 2

Grade 2 races in the UK nearly as farcical as Ireland. It does seem the BHA keeps coming up with ways for easy money and schooling for top trainers. Many Grade 2s just detract from Grade 1s like last week's Morgiana or how about the big two in this travelling for the Durkan or the Down Royal race the other week? Captain Chris by his being a righty horse probably should be glad of this, the rest of us not so much. Yes those races are in Ireland but the idea UK and Irish National Hunt racing should not work together is ridiculous. This would be like an independent Scotland.

When I were a lad …

Football Form Labs weekend preview

Elite club football goes into a brief hiatus this week - the perfect opportunity to dig deep into the lower leagues backed by the expertise of Football Form Labs.

Football Form Labs provide the most effective football betting software on the market with the ability to analyse games both pre-match and in-play across 50 different leagues. You can also generate your own models and see the statistical impact players have when they are missing. Sign up today for a free 14 day trial, and follow them on Twitter @FootballFormLab

LEAGUE ONE PREVIEW

Since 1992/93 just four teams have picked up as many as 36 points after 15 games. Incredibly, both Leyton Orient (38) and Wolves (36) have managed this feat in the current campaign. Surprisingly just one of those four teams went on to win the league, with two missing out on promotion entirely.

The title should go to one of the top five though. All of the last 21 winners had at last 25 points by now, and they were also all in the top five at this …

The Fiorente file

With thanks to Racetrack Ralphy and Vince Accardi, this is the Fiorente file from Vince's Melbourne Cup blog. Love the format, constantly updated after reach prep run and then after the Cup barrier draw. A premium product, but worth every bit of the $19.99 it sold for - not just for the fact his only two A+ ratings were Fiorente and Mount Athos, but the depth of the detail for each runner, particularly from a different angle to basic comments of video watchers. If you'd like to read the rest of Vince's Melbourne Cup blog, the paywall has now been dropped on Ralphy's site, just click on 'Vince's Futures'.

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FIORENTE
Horse Summary & Overview
Created an immediate impression on his Australian debut on the biggest stage in last year's Melbourne Cup when 2nd to GREEN MOON. In that race, while advantaged by the moderate speed, his powerhouse finish of +9.8 lengths over the benchmark for the last 400 was of serious quality.…

First Four analysis for the Cup

I've posted enough on the Cup so it's time for a contrary view from Davy Lane, @loscharruas.

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Melbourne Cup - First Four analysis

To find the first four in the Melbourne Cup it helps to approach the handicap like an algebraic puzzle. First, simply the equation. There are 24 runners. And contrary to the clinch, not every runner has a chance.

It is generally wise in handicapping to respect the top and bottom weights. Not this year. No. 1 Dunaden won by a nostril hair two years ago. Qatar’s Sheikh Fahad subsequently aimed his prize possession at prestigious Group 1 races in Europe. The Arc was the aim, but the gelding came up a buck short. Dunaden returns to Australia now because the owner can afford the freight and more importantly it provides the astute Al Thani with networking opportunities. Sheikh Fahad must have his eye on the Asian racing market. The smart money says there will soon be an Australian barn with his name on it. Dunaden ha…

Melbourne Cup preview - the summary

Firstly, if you want the detailed runner comments, please read the three separate posts below covering each horse's chances.

PACE MAP
(rail should be at top rather than bottom, Hawkspur for example will be wide though)



BETTING SUMMARY

So now, what do I do with the bets?
I have the eternal problem of wanting to attack the trifecta heavily, but it's damn to narrow it down. Let's start with my rankings.
21 Verema
6 Fiorente
12 Seville
23 Tres Blue
13 Super Cool
4 Sea Moon
5 Brown Panther
22 Dear Demi
15 Mount Athos
19 Simenon
10 Fawkner

1 Dunaden
16 Royal Empire
8 Dandino
17 Voleuse de Coeurs
11 Mourayan
2 Green Moon
14 Masked Marvel
7 Foreteller
18 Hawkspur
24 Ruscello
3 Red Cadeaux
9 Ethiopia
20 Ibicenco

It might be a long run to the first bend but barriers make a massive difference. The only winners from wide draws in recent years have either been on a heavy track (Doriemus 1995), or a lightweight who had won on the Saturday (Shocking 2009, Brew 2000, Rogan Josh 1999).…

The Melbourne Cup preview - the foreigners

And last but not least, the horses who are still trained overseas or are yet to run in Australia despite a change in ownership.

THE FOREIGNERS

1. Dunaden - he's eight (by southern clocks), he failed last year (drew wide and after peaking in the Caulfield Cup, probably closer together of any of his career runs)and hasn't been going so well this year...or has he? Fourth in the Dubai Sheema Classic beaten 4.8L by two superstars in St Nicholas Abbey and Gentildonna, and beaten two lengths or less by gun German wfa horses in Pastorius and Novellist. Poor last time against Orfevre in a race with no pace although he didn't see any daylight down the straight. Hasn't started longer than 10/1 in any of those races. Needs to really accelerate at that level but at 3200m, it's more of a long grind. History is against old horses and topweights, but let's not write this old dog off just yet. Spencer was brilliant on Side Glance on Saturday, he'll have some work to do from …