The opening handicap on the card for three-year-olds is almost always a decent race, and this year's renewal brings together an interesting mix of maiden winners open to improvement now moving into this sphere, those on an upward curve in this grade and one or two looking to bounce back from disappointing efforts - previous notable winners include Rohaani, Steele Tango and Beachfire.
The selection, trained by Jamie Osborne, is a nicely bred son of Manduro who really caught the eye on his sole outing at two in a 7f maiden here last July, sent off a wholly unfancied 40/1 chance and racing towards the rear of the field for much of the way, albeit travelling better than most as he did so, ridden along over a furlong out and making eyecatching progress under considerate handling to eventually take fourth behind Clare Island Boy (beaten 2 lengths). However, it was clear from his two runs this spring in 7f maidens at Lingfield and Newbury that connections were keeping him back for something other than maiden company, held up well off the pace on his reappearance before making some late gains (outpaced as the pace lifted) and racing keenly when again finding the trip on the sharp side at Newbury's Lockinge meeting on his third and qualifying run for a mark, far from knocked about on either occasion. It was absolutely no surprise to see this colt come good when contesting a 10f classified contest at Bath eight days ago from an opening mark of 74; made virtually all at just a steady pace, quickening the tempo passing the three furlong marker and finding plenty throughout the final two furlongs as he was persistently challenged, actually winning with a little bit in hand at the line as he saw off Hurricane In Dubai by a neck. It is perhaps fair to say he had the run of things on that occasion, but he went for home plenty soon enough yet was still able to hold off all comers under what were testing conditions, remembering it was the first time in his career he had been asked any serious questions after being given the kid glove treatment in his maidens. He has been put up 3lbs for that win, but it is highly unlikely that this son of Manduro has reached anywhere near his full potential, only just getting started and likely to rate a fair bit better than the bare form of his all-the-way win last time can communicate; could well dictate again here though unlikely that he absolutely needs to, and he also proved himself under these sort of conditions at Bath; no surprise whatsoever to see this colt follow up here now moving into handicap company.
The John Gosden trained Dark Stranger is a US-bred son of Stormy Atlantic who made his debut outing in a 1m maiden at Nottingham last October, going off a 25/1 chance but hinting at ability nevertheless, racing close to the action from the outset until ridden and proving unable to quicken over a furlong out, fading under considerate handling to come home in sixth behind Colima (beaten 9½ lengths). He duly stepped up on that debut effort and confirmed the promise shown when landing a 10f maiden at Lingfield back in March, going off a well-fancied 4/1 chance; raced a little worse than midfield on this occasion under a hold up ride, ridden over two furlongs out and making headway down the outer, staying on strongly throughout the final furlong to get up close to the finish and collar Benbecula to score by half a length. He did well to win from his position at the top of the straight, still showing signs of inexperience but tearing through to lead close to the finish, and the race has produced one or two winners since including one in a handicap off a mark of 64. This colt's opening mark of 86 does seem a little harsh on the face of things, albeit the manner in which he cut back the deficit at Lingfield, his pedigree, and powerful connections point to him making above average improvement now moving into handicaps (same owner/trainer combo won this with Beachfire a couple of years ago); likely to go on improving with time and certainly a contender if progressing as expected.
The Sir Michael Stoute trained Opinion is a smartly bred son of Oasis Dream who shaped well enough without threatening in a pair of maidens at Yarmouth (7f) and Newmarket (1m), slowly away and green throughout on debut before making late progress into seventh behind Electrician, and then showing a bit more when making some headway into a fairly promising position before fading back out of things on his second start. He showed the benefit for a stiffer test of stamina and a winter on his back when making a winning reappearance in a 10f maiden at Windsor a month ago, sent off a relatively unfancied 12/1 chance; raced keenly in midfield and was nudged along with little more than half a mile left to run, making steady but sustained headway from over two furlongs to lead inside the final furlong, staying on well for hands and heels riding to see off highly regarded newcomer Biographer by 2 lengths. He made his handicap debut over 10f at Goodwood a month later, for which he was sent off a 9/2 chance; raced prominently throughout but never seemed to be going that well, ridden over three furlongs out and holding every chance until proving unable to sustain his effort entering the final furlong, fading to eventually finish fifth behind Grandeur (beaten 5¼ lengths). It was a disappointing effort from this half brother to Fox Hunt, well-fancied to come good in a major way in this sphere but failing to improve as expected at Goodwood, under the cosh from some way out and proving one paced inside the final furlong. It is possible that the drying ground on that occasion may not have suited entirely, his maiden win coming under very testing conditions, and this looks a slightly weaker race than the one he contested last time; remains to be seen whether this step back a furlong in distance is quite what is required, but far too soon to write this son of Oasis Dream off, particularly given the manner of his maiden win, and remains unexposed after just four career outings.
The Ralph Beckett trained Takeitfromalady is a son of Intikhab who proved a consistent sort who improved with racing last season, showing varying degrees of promise in 6/7f maidens before filling second spot in a pair of 1m nurseries at Leicester and Nottingham, showing improved form for a slower surface on the latter occasion. He signed off his juvenile campaign with a smooth victory over Captain Cardington in a 1m nursery at Ffos Las on desperate ground; sporting first-time blinkers, he travelled strongly throughout and make good progress on the rail to lead inside the final furlong two furlongs, ridden clear approaching the final furlong to run out a convincing 2¾ length winner. He made a winning return to action off a 5lbs higher mark when landing a 1m handicap at Windsor in May, for which he was sent off a 15/2 chance; tracked the leaders on this occasion, making headway from the two furlong marker and staying on dourly for pressure throughout the final furlong to get up in the dying strides and nab Fire Ship to score by a nose. He ran with credit from his revised mark of 79 when a staying on fourth behind Jacob Cats in 1m handicap here towards the end of last month, and followed that with another solid effort in defeat in a similar contest at Newmarket (July) last weekend, waited with until making progress on the far side from three furlongs out and holding every chance entering the final furlong, proving unable to match Fast Or Free in the run to the line as he came home 1½ lengths adrift at the line. However, it was another very solid effort in defeat from this progressive son of Intikhab, clearly at home on rain-softened ground and looking last time as though he was more than capable of winning from this sort of mark; turned out quickly and this will be his third run within a month, but on an upward curve at present and shapes as though he will stay this extra furlong, so not too hard to envisage a promising showing from this gelding here.
The Richard Hannon trained Hefner is a son of Tagula who shaped with a decent amount of promise in a trio of outings as a juvenile, staying on nicely late in the day when fifth behind Martin Chuzzlewit on his debut here before filling the same position in a markedly better maiden over 7f at Newmarket (July) next time in a race won by subsequent Dewhurst third Most Improved. He almost broke his duck at third time of asking when getting going just too late to overhaul newcomer Waterclock in a 7f maiden at Newbury, and was again noted doing all his best work late when a staying on third behind the re-opposing Dark Stranger in a 10f maiden at Lingfield in March. He was unsuited by the steady nature of the pace when making his debut in this sphere over 10f at Newmarket's Craven meeting in April, ridden over two furlongs out and unable to make any impression as he weakened inside the final furlong to beat just one home behind the high-class Main Sequence (beaten 8½ lengths). However, he came good last time when landing a deserved first career success in a 10f median auction maiden at Lingfield in early May, for which he was sent off the 11/8 market leader; raced close to the action from the outset, taking up the running over two furlongs out and staying on well throughout the final furlong to see off the staying on Handsome Ransom by half a length. It was a deserved first success for this son of Tagula, and the runner-up did at least go one better to give the form a slight boost albeit very slight as the race he went on to win was very modest; best turf effort to date came on a sound surface, so remains to be seen how he will cope with conditions now moving back in to handicap company following an inconclusive showing in this sphere at Newmarket back in April; has a bit to find with the lesser exposed Dark Stranger on their meeting at Lingfield earlier this year.
The Ed Dunlop trained Spirit Of The Law is a son of Lawman who came to life in this sphere last term following a trio of outings in maiden over inadequate trips, bagging himself a pair of nurseries at Leicester and Kempton, really impressing in the latter of those wins with the way he travelled and quickened to quickly seal matters. He went very close to making it a hat trick of victories when contesting a nursery at Ripon 10 days later, taking up the running approaching the final furlong and still leading until the dying strides when overhauled by Repeater, going down by a head. He perhaps needed his first run back when only fourth to Apothecary at Wolverhampton, duly improving for that outing when staying on well to reel in brave front runner Beyond Conceit to land a decent 10f handicap at Doncaster towards the end of April, coping well with very testing ground to score by a neck at the line. He couldn't last out when finishing second behind improver Last Shadow in a soft ground 10f handicap at Nottingham next time, making good headway to lead over a furlong out and still held the advantage deep inside the final furlong, but he was easily brushed aside by the eventual winner, going down by 1½ lengths at the line. His latest outing saw him contest a competitive 12f handicap at Musselburgh earlier this month, for which he was sent off the 3/1 market leader; raced a little worse than midfield under a waiting ride, pushed along with half a mile left to run and making no impact on the principals whatsoever, making some modest late gains to come home in eighth behind Rocktherunway (beaten 14 lengths). It was a very tame effort from this generally progressive sort, perhaps finding his busy schedule catching up with him; manner in which he was brushed aside by an unexposed sort the time before last suggests he is vulnerable to improvers off his current mark, and needs to bounce back quickly after his muted effort a fortnight ago; handles testing ground at least. _________________ Horses To Follow 2013 - Flat
Not won since 2009 and has only ran twice this year with 6 months brake be for returning. Both times running on well but never seem to catch but holds on. 1st time out this year came 3rd at Bath om 20th of April out of 17 horses and even though no chance with 1st and 2nd horse and was 6lengths away he still kept on and tried and also same when 4th last time out and was fav at 7/2odds. Some times higher numbers is best here and is drawn high of 16 so this today is in favour. Always seem to chase leaders and drop but on the odd occation he can get placed and with last 2 runs showing more effort he might place again today. Ground should suite as last 2 times been on the softerside and again is good to soft. _________________ I stake low on bets.
If i had a double headed coin I would still loose and if i had a lucky rabbits foot it would bring as much luck as it did the rabbit.
Last edited by nelix847 on Sat Jun 16, 2012 9:41 am; edited 1 time in total
A large field for the Queen Mother's Cup for Lady amateur riders but despite the number of runners there are only a few which appeal to me in any way as likely winners of the contest ; and there also appears to be enough ' deadwood ' that can be virtually dismissed. Eagle Rock is sure to be popular and is entitled to play a big hand on the back his run here last month but at around 6/1 he is probably priced accordingly. Crackentorp too is another with leading claims but any further rain may just be againt Tim Easterby's charge. Lexington Bay & Scrapper Smith are two which should be vying for place money - but for the bet I'm going for Troopingthecolour at a generous looking 9/1 with Coral & Boylesports. With the assistance of leading Lady rider Serena Brotherton the son of Nayef appears to have as good a chance as any - has a couple of placed efforts over the trip and three wins over ten furlongs and should be suited by underfoot conditions. It's very difficult to see Troopingthecolour not being involved at the business of of things. Personally I'd be around 6/1 Jt fv with Eagle Rock so at that 9/1 top quote he rates a full strength Each Way value punt. Interesting to see also that Serena's only other ride for the stable was a winner ( at 5/1 ) anybody on at the earlier 10/1 with Betfred is a lucky chappie indeed - me thinks.
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Posted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 1:25 am Post subject:
2.50 Sandown WEAPON OF CHOICE 7/1, NAP A 4 times winner from 1m to 1m1f over good to heavy ground. His form over 1m is good with 3 wins 2 2nds and 3 3rds. His 2 latest runs have been at Sandown with a win in April in a class 2 and a 3rd in May. The win 2 months ago was a key race for me over 1m and on heavy ground, grasping the lead in the closing stages, battling well against strong competition and staying on well. His 3rd lto was in similar style, but lacked the pace the firm ground required. His best form has all been on good/soft ground and with rain forecast tomorrow, conditions shouldnt be to far from that of his c&d win 2 runs ago. Another plus to add is that Ian Mongan is onboard today who over his last 10 runs has won 4 times and placed 9 times. Trainer Stuart Kittow was also 2/2 yesterday, and has a decent 18% win rate for 2012, 25% at Sandown. Stage Attraction holds favouritsm, his only race in class 2 was a 10th and is unlikely to run well on the heavy ground.
3.10 York PRICELESS JEWEL 6/1, Comes into this race bang in form, with 2 wins from her 3 races all over 6f. Her last race was 38 days ago at Kempton on the polytrack winning comfortably in a class 4. Initially taking some time to settle, she seemed happy to sit towards the rear, approaching the final turn she began to get into her stride and moved through the field with ease, showing the makings of a classy sprinter. James Doyle makes a 3rd appearence on board missing out lto, though he was present for her 1st win at Newbury last October, making all the running that day. Questions may arouse around suitable ground, but there is little form from the competition over soft/heavy ground with the majority gaining success on the all-weather. A fairly large field with 20 runners it may take some courage to back a horse on the nose, if your looking for an e/w bet Nameitwhatyoulike 15/1 is one with ok form on the ground and has a c&d win to its name.
Value E/W bets:
5.15 LITTLE JIMMY ODSOX 15/1, Form over 5 & 6f is 1,1,3,2,1,8,2 , 2 wins were over soft ground. Has 2 2nds in this class both over soft ground. Jockey and trainer also gained a 2nd yesterday at York amongst others over this distance in a similar sized field and at a similar price.
Lightly raced but constant here but only 1 win to give him course win out of 31 runs. Only ran 3 times last year which was when he had the 1st at 7 furlong but same class here. Been close since for place and still not bad effort last time out when 5th. Jockey Jim Crowley on form too having 10 1st in last 14 days out of 45 runs and is up both last 14 days and season but has been running in smaller fields but should be fine as is on form and been running in better classes then this.
StrikeForce Lingfield 20:35
Another old fav of mine but there are a few in here today what i like. Ran 3 times this year twice here. Out of the 3 times has had 2 close 4ths for 3rd only beat by a neck and short head for a place and tried for them as well. Lower in the weights then last time out here when 7th and was 11-0 and now down to 9-5 and less distance then last time out too. Jockey on form too having 2 places here back in june and is also up both last 14 days and season with a few decent EW claims too. _________________ I stake low on bets.
If i had a double headed coin I would still loose and if i had a lucky rabbits foot it would bring as much luck as it did the rabbit.
Last edited by nelix847 on Sat Jun 16, 2012 6:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
Not the best race to find a winner in but think i have found a bit of value in the above selection which i see before i have posted this has been backed from from slightly bigger odds into the current 10/1 avaliable at this time.
With 17 runners going to post it is probably not the easiest contest to predict but this event can probably be reduced to just 4 or 5 runners who look to have some sort of chance.
VALMINA is the obvious starting point and i would not be surprised if this one proved good enough to win having won his last two races over todays c/d and i would not want to put anyone off backing this one as he must have a big chance to land the hat trick today.
But at sightly bigger odds i will take a chance on PEACE SEEKER bouncing back to form.
The selection has shown very little in both starts this year but in both of those races he has been held up near the rear a style he is not best suited by.
The selection is better suited when front running tactics are enployed as when used in his last three races last season where he duly landed a hat trick.
Looks to have a good draw today in stall two and if returning to last seasons front running tactics he should go close.
The risk i am takeing is not knowing which way they will run this one today because if he is held up he will finish nearer last than first but if reverting to his front running tactics i give this one a big chance .
Will they employ tactics again that do not suit to again get his handicap mark down further is the question but i think if not today then soon this one will be back in the winners enclosure when they revert to front running ???????
Think this one will either finish last or first _________________ Racing Challenge Winner Feb 2008/ July 2009/ Nov 2009/ March 2010
Racing Challenge runner Up July 2008/ March 2011
Racing Challenge Cup winner Aug 2008 / Sept 2009 / April 2011
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Posted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 12:46 pm Post subject:
2.20 SANDOWN - OPINION This sandown opener is definitely an intriguing handicap and contest and the selection has to be the Sir Michael Stoute trained Opinion who in my own opinion has been faring well in better contests. The horse came back this season to win its maiden, quiet comfortably in the end and that run at Windsor over 1m2f in soft conditions suggested to me that this horse was well handicapped off a mark of 85. Now while i was expecting the horse to perform well last time out in that class two handicap, hindsight is a brilliant thing as Grandeur is seriously respected as a horse that could gain some black type having a rating of 99, while Trader Jack the horse in second is also rated in the high 90s so it is definitely a contest worth following in my opinion. The ground if anything on that occasion was a little bit quick for Opinion so it was interesting that they run the horse. But the mark of 85 is definitely a winnable one if the maiden effort is anything to go by. The horse has clearly trained on from two to three and i would be dissapointed if the horse is out of the first two here as for me the horse has strong claims as in my opinion this horse is well ahead of the handicapper, and back on suitable going against slightly weaker opposition, a win can be gained.
2.35 YORK - HALFSIN When looking at the market for this contest i was surprised to not see Halfsin leading the market and retaining favouritism at around 5/1 as he was in my tissue with 8/1 the opposition. However, when looking at the odds i can clearly see that on my tissue he is the horse with the most value in with the highest percentage of chance as well at 13/2 currently with most bookmakers. The horse trained by Marco Botti proved to be a progressive handicapper before stepping out of that company in a conditions event when throwing his chance away off a mark of 98. Clearly he is better than that mark as he should have own that day. This season however has not gone all to play. His first run was at Epsom where he would have hated the heavy conditions there and as a result would have been tired, having his first run since last season. However, freshened up for that he came back at Goodwood over the trip but lost but was valiant in defeat as Jet Away and co in that contest are very good yardsticks that are probably up to group three level nowadays. Halfsin however was still a progressive handicapper and in my opinion is of at least conditions level. So we could see the horse return to some major form here with not only the ability edge in a handicap but also the class edge. And i dont think that a mark of 97 is too bad considering how progressive the horse was as a 3yo. Return to form is imminent.
2.50 SANDOWN - STANDING STRONG (NAP) Too dangerous is an unexposed runner in a handicap field especially towards the bottom of the weights and this is exactly what Robert Mills has tried to execute here. The notable thing to analyse however is the form of the yard. He has had two winners out of five runners in the last fourteen days and that is clearly a very good strike rate and while he is in such a rich vein of form, why risk sending a horse that could easily win a maiden into a strong handicap unless you know that horse is extremely well handicapped on what it has shown at home, and you are happy with the mark. If we go on the maiden form that we saw last time out from this horse he finished second only just to Tawaasul who a lot of people keenly follow as a handicapper to follow. However that horse has been given a rating of 77 which is clearly a decent mark. But looking at the form, Standing Strong was giving a stone and 1lbs to the winner. So we are looking at around a 14lb weight receipt. Now using that transfer into this contest then that should mean on running to form that Standing Strong finished a length behind so remove a 1lb for that length and we have a 13lb receipt. Add 13lb to the mark of 77 and that should be the potential rating for Standing Strong. Which is 90. Now the horse is in this handicap off a mark of 78. In my opinion this horse is going to hose up. _________________ Follow Me On Twitter
Drops in class and near the foot of the handicap, and with only 5lb between the field every pound will help.
Fallon won only previous ride aboard this gelding who is stepping back up in distance having won 4 from 11 at the trip.
Drawn in 2 so has the option of going for the far rail and should have no excuses on the ground
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