Saturday, 29 June 2013

Picking Up !



I was a bit dissapointed after Royal Ascot not having had a winner in the three sprints but two seconds. Still we need to move on and there are some decent sprints on today with the best probably at the Curragh in the 4.45 where a strong British contingent take on the home team. Yeeoow, Mississippi and Gabriels Lad are the improvers from these shores and I wouldnt put you off backing any of those as they all have chances and some bookmakers are paying out on the first 5 home.
Later on Morawij could continue his improvement in the Sapphire Stakes for Roger Varian with William Buick doing the steering for this speedster and over at Chester the 2.45 could be between Rusty Rocket and Sir Maximilian, the latter ran in a hot York event that has thrown up a few winners recently. Both are well drawn and they could be exacta material. 

Friday, 21 June 2013

Saturday Double !



Looking at the field there would appear to be only one possible front runner in the 29 runners and that is Poole Harbour, drawn in stall 8, although as stalls 1 and 2 are empty and Boomerang Bob id doubtful in stall 4 he may effectively be drawn 5. As Secret Witness, Ancient Cross and Mass Rally, all hold up horses, are drawn close by PH looks likely to have an uncontested lead on the far side and he may be able to get to the rail. If that is the case then he would give a toe into the race for the likes of Group winner Hitchens (20/1), Nocturn(quirky) (11/1) and Mass Rally(prefers soft)(20/1).
Over on the stands side ie in the top half of the draw we have a total of  9, possibly 10, hold up horses with jockeys such as Moore(Duke Of Firenze), Queally and Dettori closest to the rail and Hughes, Spencer, Fortune and Fallon drawn 17, 22, 23 and 24.
As there is no real front runner to take them along from the start there may be some indecision as to who is going to lead this group and this may give an early advantage to those drawn low - far side.
There is a first time hood for Ladyship and first time visor for Our Jonathan.
Historically you don't want to be drawn in the middle.
I am going to go for two against the field Hitchens and Duke Of Firenze drawn on each side of the track.
 
In the Golden Jubilee I'm going to stick with Society Rock who has the measure of most of this field and Ascot is a happy hunting ground for him having won twice here before.
 

Up a bit, down a bit - 20th June 2013



I didn't cover the racing last week due to time constraints.
Firstly the BHB site has been a little dissapointing on the blogging front over the last few weeks so I will try and give you my best shot although I am no handicapper !
At Goodwood on Friday 14th June Extrasolar won the Class 4 6f Handicap by half a length from Freddy With A Y with a further 2 lengths back to Miss Diva in third. All  three managed to record speed ratings over 80 however I cant see that the winner was raised at all for this win, whilst the second and third have been raised 3lb and 4lb respectively.
At Leicester on Saturday Tatlisu returned to form in the 6f Class 4 Handicap by beating Fortinbrass by a neck and as a result has been raised 5lbs to 78 although those racing up the rail (Antonio Gramsci) may have been disadvantaged and deserve another chance.
The Scottish Sprint Cup at Musselburgh on Saturday went to the improver Kingsgate Choice and he once again defied the draw to win a competitive handicap. He had won from stall 1 of 19 at York on his last run and he was winning from stall 1 of 17 here in beating Racy by a head, the latter having been claimed by Brian Ellison after his win in a Claimer at Brighton for ten thousand. The winner recorded a speed figure of 83 and has been raised a further 5lb to 109, the second 4lb to 95 and the third Barnet Fair, who was unlucky, 1lb to 91 The latter is best at this time of the year according to his trainer so we will need to keep an eye on where he runs next..In behind Face The Problem ran well considering he had a troubled run and connections must remain hopeful that a decent prize will come their way and he has been dropped another 2lb to 101 having started the season on 108. Confessional has also been dropped 8lb this season and he's now only 3lb above his last winning mark at Chester.
Morawij put up a decent effort from his plum draw at Sandown and set the clocks at 98 and in doing so he beat Marco Botti's improving March into second by a diminishing neck as a result the second has been raised 11lb o 97 but if being allowed to take his chance in a handicap he may be weighted to win.
The Macmillan Charity Sprint Trophy went the way of Body And Soul who had been laid out for the race and in doing so he beat the Hard Spun gelding Moviesta by a neck. The winner has been raised 6lb to 101 but this is as good a 3yo handicap as you can get so he wouldn't be out of place in an all aged handicap. In behind my other selection Hasopop, giving the winner 10lb, finished 6th which was a decent effort from his position and he also recorded the second best speed figure of 90 in the race which fits in with his trainer saying that he may be stepping him up to Listed class.

The Kings Stand - Tuesday

Thursday, 20 June 2013

The Wokingham Handicap - Facts, figures and early thoughts.



This Saturday sees the competitive Wokingham Handicap take place at Royal Ascot and it looks a very competitive race as always and the runners will be spread right across the track.

Looking at the field there would appear to be only one confirmed front runner in the 31 (3 reserves) and that is Poole Harbour, who is currently the first reserve, drawn in stall 8. Secret Witness, Ancient Cross and Mass Rally, all hold up horses, are drawn close by so if he does run then he looks likely to have an uncontested lead on the far side. If this is the case then Poole Harbour would give a toe into the race for the likes of Hitchens, Nocturn and Mass Rally and we may see the high drawn horses moving over to join up.
Over on the stands side ie in the top half of the draw we have a total of  9, possibly 10, hold up horses with jockeys such as Moore, Queally and Dettori closest to the rail and Hughes, Spencer, Fortune and Fallon drawn 17, 22, 23 and 24 so it's going to be competitive as to who gets what run and there may be some hard luck stories if the field splits into two groups like last season and many times before.
At this stage I feel it is vital to the whole shape of the race whether Poole Harbour runs or not because if he doesn't and there's no real front runner in the race it may all come down to who has got the best finishing kick. With that in mind the way Duke Of Firenze finished at Epsom and that he is positioned bang on the stands rail for this you would have to give him a real chance of winning.
Still it may be prudent to wait until we know the exact field before staking any money.
There is also first time hood for Ladyship and visor for Our Jonathan.


History : First run on 21st July 1813 it was named after the town near the course. It was in this race that Lester Piggott recorded his first Royal Ascot win on Malka's Boy in 1952. 
Draw Record last 5 years :
2012 : 15, 23, 16, 6 (28) Good
2011 : 11, 16, 15, 3 (25) Soft
2010 : 31, 20, 28, 18 (27) Good to Firm
2009 : 4, 5, 7, 24 (26) Good to Firm
2008 : 1, 26, 6, 23 (27) Good to Firm
Age of Winner : 6, 4, 5, 4, 4
2012 Result - 1st Dandy Boy, 2nd Waffle, 3rd Hawkeyethenoo, 4th Morache Music
2011 : 1st Deacon Blues, 2nd Waffle, 3rd Pastoral Player, 4th Anne of Kiev
2010 : 1st Laddies Poker Two, 2nd Striking Spirit, 3rd Palace Moon, 4th Knot in Wood
2012 Review - The field unsurprisingly soon split into two, with 15 going far side and 13 coming stands´ side. Although there didn´t seem to be that much between the two groups, the far-side were always just ahead and five of the first six home raced on that flank. The winning time was 0.23 seconds faster than Black Caviar took to win the Diamond Jubilee.
The winner raced on the far side, held up, he made headway 2f out, he switched left over 1f out and ran on inside final furlong to win by 1 1/4 lengths.
17 of the last 19 winners had run no more than 4 times earlier in the season. Dandy Boy was the second 6 year old to win in the last 10 years the other being Baltic King in 2006 and the race tends to go to a progressive 4 or 5 year old. Since 2002 six winners have been in the top 2 in the betting.
Time - 1 min 13.87s

Monday, 17 June 2013

The Kings Stand Stakes


Sorry for the late post tonight but didn't get home from work until 8.30pm, no rest for the wicked !

The Kings Stand Stakes - Ascot
History : First run in 1860 as the The Queens Stand Stakes/Plate over the 2 year old course of about 6f. The distance was reduced to 5f in 1907 with the name of the race having changed to The Kings Stand Stakes in 1901.
Draw Record last 5 years :
2012 : 7, 8, 22, 3 (22 ran) Good to Soft
2011 : 14, 18, 10, 15 (19 ran) Gd
2010 : 11, 4, 3, 5 (12) Gd
2009 : 1, 15, 14, 9 (15) Good to Firm
2008 : 11, 9, 12, 1 (13) Good to Firm
Age of Winner - 6, 6, 5, 5, 3
2012 Result - 1st Little Bridge, 2nd Bated Breath, 3rd Sole Power, 4th Medicean Man
2011 : 1st Prohibit, 2nd Star Witness, 3rd Sweet Sanette, 4th Overdose
2010 : 1st Equiano, 2nd Markab, 3rd Borderlescott, 4th Nicconi
2012 Review - The whole field came up the centre of the track. The winner took up the lead a furlong out and was always holding the second.
Time - 59.69s

Trainer Comments :
Mike De Kock - Shea Shea "His work has always been good. In Dubai when we worked him he flew. He was also training while in quarantine, albeit not as hard as normal. I actually think the uphill finish might suit him as he gets going late. Ascot will be different to what he's used to but he has been to the July Course to work and up the Long Hill gallop so he has had a good go at undulations. Horses cope with most of things we throw at them. He's happy, his coat is good, he's eating well and his work has been exceptional. I'm hoping he is in good form. His best form has been on fast ground, though I'm told he has won on soft. Dubai was very fast and firm and he liked that. Christophe Soumillon has a good feel for the horse. It would be great to have the win on the CV but if you look at his form, including in South Africa, he's either won or come nowhere. There's no grey area in between so we hope it's another win at Ascot."

Danny O'Brien - Shamexpress "He's a horse in a really good space and I think he is still improving - on an upward spiral. I expect him to show that on Tuesday and his next few runs should be the best of his career. We were close enough when running second (with Star Witness) to know that we had got most of the preparation right. We are sticking to a similar formula and hoping we can go one better. He is going for the July Cup at Newmarket as well and therefore we thought one run at Ascot would be what he needs. The reason we have chosen the King's Stand Stakes over the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot is because he has not run for three and a months and will be a bit fresh. It is also a stiff five furlongs which will be ideal for him at this stage."

Clive Cox - Reckless Abandon "We've got that run (at Haydock) under our belt now, which I think is important, especially from a sprinter's point of view. From a sprinting mentality more than physically it does them the world of good. I'm really pleased that's put him on his game. From the end of June and July onwards three-year-olds get a bit of help with weight for age from their elders, but there aren't that many opportunities early in the year. For that reason the Temple was the logical place to go and he acquitted himself really well. The ground looks as though it will be near good for the first day and he's a course and distance winner."

Edward Lynam - Sole Power "Last year it was good to soft at Ascot and he ran well, which people forget, so as he gets older he's less ground dependent. He loves a fast pace, looking at the draw (stall 14) he has pace around him in Bungleinthejungle and Reckless Abandon, the one negative if I could pick the draw is I'd rather have Shea Shea (stall five) on our side. If Shea Shea brings his Dubai form to Ascot it won't matter what the rest of us do. The first time we met him at Meydan he broke the track record, then he went and smashed it the second time. We actually broke the old track record both times but one time we were only fourth. If he turns up like that at Ascot I can't see him getting beat but we'll give it a go, our horse is in good form. I think Johnny (Murtagh) is the key to him, his improved consistency is down to him and they'll be going for three in a row in England together."

David Redvers - Pearl Secret "Jamie Spencer rode Pearl Secret in a pretty serious piece of work last week and he really couldn't have been more impressed. It's obviously a huge call running him in a race like this first time out, but the only two opportunities we've had to run him was on the road (fast ground) and being by Compton Place, that's not what he wants. David Barron is keen to run him, he should get his ground and we think he is going to run a very big race.

Robert Cowell - Kingsgate Native, Prohibit and Spirit Quartz "All three of them are ready to go and are in good order. Spirit Quartz is as fit as a flea and looks fantastic at the moment. He's a very straightforward horse and Joseph O'Brien rides him. He's ridden him before and it won't be a problem. Kingsgate Native was very good in the Temple Stakes and with him it all boils down to how he behaves in the pre-parade ring and the parade ring beforehand. If he's on his best behaviour and stays calm, we know he'll run a massive race. If he gets upset, you can pretty much put a line through it. Prohibit only ran the other day and it's a day out for him as much as anything. We're not expecting too much. I hope both Spirit Quartz and Kingsgate Native can finish in the first four or five and maybe do even better than that, we'll see."

Jeremy Gask - Medicean Man "I'm very happy with him and I'm happy with the draw (stall nine) and the track conditions. He did well out in Dubai earlier in the year, but I think by the time it came round to World Cup night, he'd had enough. He seems in really good form at the moment and I think he deserves to take his chance. If Shea Shea turns up in the same form he did in Dubai, he's going to be very hard to beat, but this is Ascot, it's a different track for him, so we'll see. We know our horse loves it there."

I'm going to be uncontroversial and go for Shea Shea who proved himself to be a top sprinter in South Africa and showed that he was the best at the Dubai Carnival, winning the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint in course record time and in doing so setting the best time figure on offer here. In a race won seven times in last 10 years by overseas challengers he looks like the likely winner from a good draw in stall 5 and the 5/2 with Paddy Power could look generous tomorrow when the race has finished.
 

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Lazy Sunday !



There are a few sprint races on today but I'm not looking to get involved in any. Maarek has a penalty kick over at Cork but is long odds on, at Doncaster Mississippi has been pulled out of few races over the last few weeks but now appears to be going to run in the 6f Class 3. He was just beaten by Enrol here last time out and he in turn was then just beaten by Nocturn at Newmarket so the form is stacking up.
At Salisbury the Cathedral Stakes looks a tricky puzzle with 2 improving 3yos's in Professor, ran last Saturday, and Intibaah up against the 5yo Hallelujah who put in a good time figure at Newmarket FTO on ground that his trainer was worried may be have been too fast - if that was the case then it's even faster here which tempers my enthusiasm - but if I was going to have a bet, which I'm not, I would probably have gone with the lightly raced Hallelujah as she seems better value at 7/2.

On another note anyone interested in getting involved in a 2yo could have a lease share in a Hard Spun colt through Middleham Park Racing. There aren't too many by this sire around but one that is, is Moviesta who was second to Body And Soul yesterday and the breeze up video on their website is worth a look.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Macmillan Charity Sprint Trophy Handicap 6f - 3yo C2 York



This looks a typically competitive 3yo handicap at York where the draw could have a crucial effect on the race, horses drawn 19 and 18 finished 1st and 3rd in the 5f handicap on Friday.
There only appears to be one real leader in the race and that is Lucky Beggar drawn in stall 12, and with over half the field prominent racers it could pay to follow a hold up horse like Rivellino, Body and Soul, Hasopop, Ahern, Graphic Guest or Odooj.
Speed figures so far this season would have us following Hasopop who has recorded two of the best when winning, after travelling strongly, at Newmarket on 18th May and when 3rd to Ninjago at Ascot on 1st May. He had a number of these behind on both occasions and he looks sure to be there or thereabouts.
The12/1 with William Hill looks good value for Hasopop as does the 14/1 for Body and Soul with Bet365, who was the progressive winner of 4 races last season including the 2yo trophy and he looks to have been laid our for this having had a prep run at Ripon on 19th May when 5th.

Trainer Comments :

Richard Fahey - Heaven's Guest, Polski Max and Mary's Daughter "Heaven's Guest couldn't be in any better order, but a drop of rain would probably help him. I'm not saying he needs it soft as he's run well on all sorts of ground, but a bit of rain would just slow them down a bit. It's a sharp six furlongs at York and he's coming back from seven. I've walked the track and it's beautiful ground - as good as I've ever known at York - so we won't be making any excuses."
"Polski Max is in good order and likes the track. A drop of rain wouldn't do him any harm, either,"
"Mary's Daughter is a law unto herself. She loves the track and will like the ground but has two ways of running. If she turns up and it's a going day she's pretty smart.
Heaven's Guest is right on the button at home and he'd be my pick of the three. That said we're claiming five off Polski Max with George Chaloner and, while he's as high as he wants to be in the ratings, he's tough and knows how to win.
David Barron - Cosmic Chatter and Ahern "Cosmic Chatter is in very good form at home and we're looking forward to running him again. He's got to get the six furlongs, but if you're going to get it anywhere you'll get it at York. If you don't stay six furlongs at York, you don't get it - it's as simple as that. I'd rather the ground didn't get any slower, but then he surprised me with how well he handled it last time, so we'll see what happens.
"Ahern is a good horse, but he's just lost his way a little bit. Hopefully we can get him back on target.
"He jumped out of the stalls like he was running in a three-mile chase at Ascot last time, so we're putting the blinkers on him in the hope that they'll wake him up a bit."
Ron Harris-Vincenti "I would like to think he's going there with a great chance,
"He's in great form and I think six furlongs will suit him better than five. All his form is on soft ground because we never had chance to run him on quicker ground last year, but looking at him, I think he could be even better on it. He's beautifully bred and has matured into a really nice horse. It's a valuable race and you've got to take your chance in it."
Duran Fentiman - Body And Soul "Hopefully she'll run really well, we were happy with her first run back at Ripon. I think she just needed it a little bit and she's been good and well since. I think she's fairly versatile ground-wise. She's won on all sorts of ground and as long as it's not rock hard, I'm sure we'll be fine. She did really well last year, but it's obviously tougher for her this season as she doesn't get all the allowances. She has a lot of ability though and this is a good pot to win, so we'll see how we get on."
Karl Burke - Rivellino "He's in great form and his last piece of work suggested he was right back to his best. He hasn't had the run of the race for his two runs on turf this year, getting blocked in on both occasions. I don't think he really took to the contours of Newmarket last time either, so I'm looking forward to seeing him run. If he gets a bit of luck in running, I hope he can run a really big race.
"I wouldn't want to see too much rain for him."
Tom Dascombe - Barracuda Boy "He ran really well at Sandown and the form has taken a boost with Smoothtalkinrascal (runner-up) running well a few times since. I hope they don't get too much rain as our horse will only run if the ground is quick. He looks well enough drawn (stall 16), he's in good form and I hope he'll put up a bold show. I think stepping back up to six furlongs will be in his favour, especially on a quick track like York."
Bryan Smart - Moviesta "We are very hopeful. He has won his last two races, including at the track and goes there in very good form. Although it was soft last time, I feel he is better on fast ground so I hope the rain stays away. He gave the lads a great day at York in May and we hope he can go close again. I love having runners at York, it's a great place to have winners."

History :
Draw Record last 5 years :
2012 - 4, 12, 9, 17 (17 ran) Sft
2011 - 18, 16, 2, 15 (20) Gd
2010 - 5, 3, 19, 11 (20) Gd
2009 - 2, 6, 19, 4 (20) Gd
2008 - 8, 4, 17, 18 (19) Gd
2012 Result - 1st Sholaan, 2nd Gabriel's Lad, 3rd Glen Moss, 4th Boris Grigoriev
2011 - 1st Lexi's Hero, 2nd Cocktail Charlie, 3rd Acclamazing, 4th Swiss Dream
2010 - 1st Victoire De Lyphar, 2nd Iver Bridge Lad, 3rd Singeur, 4th Pastoral Player
2012 Review - The winner won easily by 5 lengths. He was wearing blinkers for the first time and was dropping down in trip and he clearly handled the going. He took the lead over 2f out and was clear a furlong out. He went on to finish 4th in the Ayr Gold Cup and remains open to improvement.
Time - 1 min 15.78s

YEARWINNERAGEWGTSPTRAINERJOCKEYRPR
 
2012 Sholaan38-910/1William HaggasLiam Jones106
2011 Lexi's Hero38-1120/1Kevin RyanJamie Spencer103
2010 Victoire De Lyphar38-79/1David NichollsAdrian Nicholls97
2009 Swiss Diva39-110/1David ElsworthRyan Moore104
2008 Brave Prospector39-012/1Peter Chapple-HyamAlan Munro108
2006 Prince Tamino38-139/1Hughie MorrisonSteve Drowne106
2005 Tax Free38-99/4FDavid NichollsAdrian Nicholls107
2004 Two Step Kid38-914/1Jeremy NosedaShane Kelly101
2003 Dazzling Bay38-24/1FTim EasterbyJ F Egan104
2002 Artie37-1025/1Tim EasterbyDale Gibson91

Its that Friday feeling !



I'm off work today so I have chance to have a look at some of the racing midweek for a change.

Over at York we have the Class 3 Handicap over 5f in which 19 runners go to post.
In the sprint handicaps at the track this season, were there have been more than 15 runners, high numbers have been favoured save for when Kingsgate Choice won from stall 2 at the last meeting.
In that race were the likes of York Glory 2nd, Elusivity 4th and Duke Of Firenze 5th and only 6 lengths covered the first 17 of 19 home.
Back in 8th was Silvanus(1lb overweight) under Russ Kennemore who travelled well throughout but just didn't have enough at the business end in that hot Class 2.
He's now back in Class 3, in which class he was third to Ajjaadd at Epsom recently, and he is also down 2lb in the handicap ratings with Shirley Teasdale claiming 5lb so you could say he was now running off 81, ie 8lb lower than York last time out and in a much weaker field - so at 22/1 from stall 16 he has a realistic ew chance at decent odds in a race in which there are 4 places to be paid out.

Unfortunately a poor run, jockey basically got run away with and offered very little assistance from the saddle at the business end either, try again when better jockey booked and dropped in handicap again. 

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Sir Henry Cecil - Everyone's favourite trainer



A very sad day for racing with the passing away of Sir Henry Cecil, a true genius.

He was the trainer every trainer aspired to be and he was what every punter dreamt of being.
He was adored by the racing public and words such as legend and icon somehow fall short of describing who he was.
He had been a constant force through every racing lovers lifetime and if your horse finished second to one of his you didn't mind, because Sir Henry had won !
He had a tremendous racing record over the years and the horses that had passed through his hands are like a whose who of the racing world.
He had his own way of dealing with the press and those famous after race interviews, head tilted on one side and each sentence ended with "You Know", he delivered his thoughts on each winner without actually telling us anything, but he was loved for it.
It was fitting too that his greatest horse, Frankel, accompanied him at the end of his career and he will remind us through his offspring for many years to come of Sir Henry's magic.

Speaking about his 2yo half sister to Frankel Joyeuse earlier this year he said to Steve Taplin "A nice filly and a very good mover, she'll make a 2yo and I like her". I am not sure who will take over the reigns at Warren Place but whoever it is they have not only been left an enormous pair of shoes to fill but in the stables they have the bullets to make their mark.

It is unlikely that we will ever witness another trainer quite like Sir Henry and he will be missed greatly by one and all.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Up a bit, down a bit - 5th June 2013



Time stops for no man and we are into June already which means Royal Ascot is on the horizon, The blog has had some good results lately and Duke Of Firenze was another big winner last Saturday, however as usual I am suffering from a lack of community spirit from the followers of my blog in that although you are all keen to see what I'm selecting you are not so keen to click the donate button above, which is a shame for you followers as it means I'm less likely to share all the information that I have, but on the plus side for me it's more betting profits !

I'm off to Haydock racing on Friday evening and there is a decent listed sprint at 8.15 with Jiroft, Nocturnal Affair and Doc Hay going to post amongst others. Jiroft looks sure to set a very good pace having run well at Epsom in the Dash for Robert Cowell and he may improve further on this second run for the sprint trainer. In addition I have a share in one of the 2yo's in the 7.45 so hoping for a run of promise there.

Anyway on to last weeks improvers and we start with Leicester on Monday 27th May where Equity Risk beat Sejalaat by 1 1/2 lengths in the Class 4 Handicap over 6f with a neck back to Rene Mathis back in third. The first 3 had topspeed figures of 84, 80 and 80 and they have been raised in finishing order by 7lb to 84, 3lb to 82 and 2lb to 82.Neil Callan reprted that there is more to come from the winner.

Over at Windsor Marco Botti's March beat The Art Of Racing by half a length recording a topspeed of 87 and he has been raised 4lb to a rating of 86, the second is up 2lb to 84. Marco Botti revealed that the winner is capable of improving again and may eventually get some black type so there is some room for that with the rating.

At Beverley on Wednesday Hamza won what was effectively a match with Heeraat as they were the best two in the race and he did so by 1 1/4 lengths in a good time recording a topspeed of 94. The second had a topspeed of 89 and both look capable of continuing there run of good form in the coming weeks.

A claimer features this week because Racy in winning the 4 runner Class 6 Claimer recorded a decent topspeed of 88 in beating Noverre To Go by 3 1/4 lengths and he has now been switched to Brian Ellison's stable and he remains on a rating of 91.

On Friday at Goodwood the 6f fillies handicap went the way of Links Drive Lady by 3/4 of a length from Picabo with a head to Charlotte Rosina in third. The winner recorded a topspeed of 88 and has been raised 4lb to 85, the second TS96 and is up 1lb to 93 and the third TS92 and is up 1lb to 90. Fallon was impressed with the winner and Dean Ivory's charge should be capable of winning again as she was produced to win where it matters.

On Saturday it was the Dash at Epsom and looking at the topspeed ratings for the race 14 of the 17 runners recorded figures above 84 with Ballesteros (TS84), who finished last, being dropped 2lb which always makes me wonder how this fits in with other sprints such as the 6f Class 2 Handicap on the same card where   not one of the 16 runner field recorded a topspeed figure of above 64 yet the winner has been raised 5lb - ie1lb more than the winner of the Dash - who recorded a TS of 102.
Below are the comments of the BHB Handicapper on their blog post :

FIRENZE DASHES HOME

One of the feature 5f handicap races of the season is the Investec Dash at Epsom on Derby day. It is usually an action packed race and the 2013 renewal was no different, writes Chris Nash.

The race was a cracking spectacle and produced a finish where the result only took shape in the last 30 yards. This contest is famed as a speed test and is frequently won by horses ridden handy – indeed the last three winners (Stone Of Folca, Captain Dunne and Bertoliver) were all ridden in that way. Deep inside the final furlong it looked like that pattern would be repeated with Fair Value in front and seemingly in control only to be swamped late on by horses who rocketed home from nowhere. Duke Of Firenze took the spoils by a neck from Smoothtalkinrascal with a further neck back to Dinkum Diamond. Fair Value crossed the line in fourth just a short-head behind the third and the first 12 home were covered by less than three lengths – a handicappers delight.

The first two were still in the last four at the furlong marker and the way they scythed through the field made tremendous viewing. Duke Of Firenze ran off a mark of 97 and the narrow margin of his victory means that he can only be reassessed 4lb higher to 101. Smoothtalkinrascal was burdened with a penalty for winning his previous race at York and so lined up off 103 even though his current rating was only 100. He will be raised to 106. Both horses have shown progressive form this season and both returned career best efforts on Saturday. As has been pointed out in this feature on a few occasions the difference between top class sprint handicap form and the level required to be competitive in Listed and Group races is very marginal and there is every chance that the first two will make their mark at a higher level before the season is out. The presence of Dinkum Diamond in third gives substance to that argument as in 2011 he was placed four times in Listed sprints and once in a Group 3 reaching a peak rating of 108. His run on Saturday will see him rated 103. Fair Value goes up 1lb from 90 to 91 and the nature of the finish means that only slight alterations (if any) are needed to the ratings of the 5th – 12th placed finishers.

Finally at Chantilly on Sunday Robert Cowell's Spirit Quartz won the Group 2 Prix Du Gros-Chene by half a length from Catcall and in doing so recorded a topspeed of 99. 

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Derby Day !



The Derby looks a fascinating affair and I will be hoping for the Burke's to win with Libertarian having won the Dante.

However this is a sprint based blog so on to the dash. Firstly there are plenty of horses on the stand side that will be pushing to lead namely last years winner Stone Of Folca drawn 15, 2011 winner Captain Dunne drawn 18, Top Cop drawn 20 and Fair Value drawn 13. On the far side there is Robert Cowell's new challenge Jiroft, drawn 2 and also La Fortunata drawn 6 and we have to work out which side is going to take them along into  the race. I'm going to plump with the historical stand side which has had an advantage in the past although this has been tapered recently.
Bang in the middle of the field there appears to be a group of hold up horses Ajjaadd, Doctor Parkes, Confessional and Humidor so they will allow those drawn low to maybe move over to join the others but I can see Stone Of Folca and Captain Dunne leading with prominent racers Long Awaited and Duke of Firenze waiting to pounce.
Sir Michael Stoute's only runner on Derby day is Duke Of Firenze and Stoute isnt usually known to be associated with sprinters but this year he has a few in that sphere and Fallon was impressed with his speed at Goodwood, another fast track, when winning on his run before last. Last time out at York he finished 5th behind Kingsgate Choice  beaten 1 3/4 lengths but he was a little unlucky there and the stable will be keen to win something today.
Long Awaited is another that has solid credentials having won well here last season and he goes well fresh so David Barron is sure to have him ready for this which must have been a target for sometime.
Two trainers with good records in the race are Stuart Williams and David Nichols, however the former probably has a numerical better record with 6 runners in the last 10 years or so providing 2 winners and 2 placed and his entry today is Doctor Parkes who beat Captain Dunne a length at Chester in 2011 receiving 15lb, receives 7lb today.
It's going to be a blanket finish with several involved at the line and I'm hoping Ryan Moore can get Duke Of Firenze (1st 5/1 adv at 8/1) in the front where it matters.
For any tote pool bets I would be looking at Duke Of Firenze, Long Awaited, Stone Of Folca and Captain Dunne who are all well drawn.