Donjuan to score?

Donjuan to score?

The arrival time of the bands of rain sweeping across the country will be an added factor this afternoon. Ascot should get a relatively clear run before arrival but Haydock is already seeing the first wave.

3.10 Ascot Appletiser Stakes (Heritage Handicap) (CLASS 2)

Richest race on the card with £100,000 in prize money for the twelve declared to contest.

Stargazer was noted on latest start at Goodwood over 10f. He stayed on well after having to race wide on the track. Steps up to 12f today which is expected to bring further improvement.

Although there are a few other possible improvers in the opposition, I would be surprised if Stargazer doesn’t go very close. On my provisional tissue below I have him the same as the general price on offer. Not value enough for me in a competitive handicap:

Stargazer       5/2

Dal Harraild  11/2

10/1 bar


Stargazer leads the way

4.30 Haydock 32Red Sprint Cup Stakes (British Champions Series) (Group 1)


As things stand by the time we get to this race, Haydock will have been at the centre of the rainband as it passes east. Haydock does not drain as easily as many other courses. Until we see the extent and depth of the heavy rain forecast it is not possible to accurately price this race. Also we could lose the favourite should the conditions be too soft.

Looking at a few of the contenders and their preferred conditions:

Limato’s prospects depend on the ground staying good – softer ground will lessen his chance. For me the 9/4 favourite on good and a drifter on a slower surface.

Quiet Reflection will be suited by easing ground, and must go very close.

Donjuan Triumphant is expected to go well at double figure odds if the forecast rains arrive.


Donjuan Triumphant

Provisionally pricing on good to soft – soft ground, I go: Quiet Refection 5/1, Donjuan Triumphant  14/1.


Not so fantastic Friday

Not so fantastic Friday

Unappealing days racing with modest maidens and tightly knit handicaps. Tomorrow’s cards hold much greater appeal.

We are going to quickly look at two races:

 Ascot 2.35: Harwoods Volante has been gradually returning to his best and looks sure to go well in an open race. He was just touched off at Leicester last week after pulling hard early on. I don’t anticipate the drop to 6f from 7f to prove an issue.

Cases can be made for half this field, but I would be surprised if Harwoods Volante doesn’t run well.   5/1 on my provisional tissue.


Harwoods Volante
Harwoods Volante


Haydock 4.30: El Vip heads the market and looks sure to improve. However I am always suspicious of ‘One start – One win’ horses immediately moving into competitive handicaps.

In time El Vip may prove to be a higher class animal than this opposition, but experience counts for a great deal and he makes limited appeal at the current 7/4. I rate him more like a 3/1 chance.


Very good week so far with both of our highest strength bets being successful. A profitable lay at 2.1 and a 3/1 winner from our only bet yesterday. For your free information pack go to: Introductory membership terms now available.


Back tomorrow.

Reel deal today?

Reel deal today?

Two major races for us this afternoon at York and Ascot respectively. Good to Firm at both courses and watering has taken place. There is a common theme in both races – a reversal of form from that experienced in the testing conditions endured from a few weeks back. Most notably at Royal Ascot and at the Sandown Eclipse meeting. As we have already seen recently, some of that form can have a line drawn through it now we are back to more customary mid-summer ground.

3.35 York Sky Bet York Stakes (Group 2)

Although Time Test sets the standard on the best of his form, odds of 2/5-4/11 are prohibitive. Ground conditions weren’t suitable in the Eclipse, but that was still a disappointing run. A return to the imperious Royal Ascot form of 2015 would be worth the admission money.

As his trainer Roger Charlton reported: “He’s come out of Sandown well and he’s in good form,” His best performances have been on fast ground and he hasn’t really had it like this since Royal Ascot last year. We take each race as it comes but the Juddmonte would be a natural follow-on from this race.”

Commenting on stablemate Countermeasure who set the pace in the Eclipse and lines up against Time Test today: “Countermeasure has always run from the front and he’ll do it again at York.  A good pace is important for Time Test, but then it is for all of them. It’s a small field and we don’t want a messy race.”

With only 5 runners I can’t see any great betting angle into this race.


Time Test 2
Time Test

I price the race as follows:

Time Test      1/2

Mahsoob      6/1

Air Pilot         10/1

Mondialiste  10/1

Counterm     100/1


4.30 Ascot King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Sponsored by Qipco) (Group 1)

Despite sweating up before the start of the Hardwicke, racing arkwardly and Seamie Heffernan dropping the whip, Highland Reel was just held by Dartmouth in a duelling finish.

I expect Highland Reel with Ryan Moore now on board to reverse the Ascot form. Heffernan takes the ride on AP O’Brien’s other entry, Sir Isaac Newton.

Wings Of Desire ran well to finish a creditable fourth in the Derby and can progress.

Erupt caught the eye on latest start at Saint-Cloud, where never nearer than at the finish in a slowly run race.

Just on £700, 000 to the winner alone and prize money goes down to sixth place.

My prices are:

Highland Reel  5/2

Dartmouth  7/2

Erupt 9/2

Wings Of Desire 9/2

Sir Isaac Newton 10/1

33/1 Bar


Highland Reel
Highland Reel

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Making Plans For Nigel

Making Plans For Nigel

Five British turf meetings for us today with good ground at all of them.

We start this afternoon at Market Rasen with Detour Ahead in the 2.50. After a long absence she hinted at a return to form last time at Bangor having been pulled up on her two return outings. Steps up in grade today and has winning form on good ground.

I make her 4/1 on my private tissue.

Ascot racecourse

Our next race is the opener from this evening’s card at Ascot. Nigel is a horse I noted early last year. He failed to deliver on the promise shown despite being a warm order in the market on a number of occasions.

Has recently moved from the John Gosden yard to Richard Hughes in Upper Lambourn. Steps up in distance to 2 miles and is worth a look.

Difficult race to price accurately. The bookmakers are going a cautious 9/2.

Back tomorrow morning when we have Ascot and Haydock as the highlights.

Mrs Brown’s Boy

Mrs Brown’s Boy

Quick look at the 2.30 from Ascot this afternoon. A pretty competitive race in which a case can be made for the major players.

Le Mercurey won well at Plumpton on his seasonal reappearance as did Thomas Brown four days later. The latter’s performance that day over today’s course caught the eye.

He is not a horse I would oppose lightly but the negative for me is the skinny price currently on offer.

Presently a general 11/8 and as low as 5/4 with Hills. I have him in at 9/4 on my tissue.

Thomas Brown
Thomas Brown on a winning chasing debut at Ascot last month.

Back tomorrow with a look at Saturday’s action.

Fun Boy Three

Fun Boy Three

Good end to the week with the cards from Ascot and Haydock today with the same venues plus Huntingdon tomorrow.

Silviniaco Conti
Silviniaco Conti looks to win The Betfair Chase again tomorrow

Shades of the old ITV7 on Saturday as the cameras go to seven races from Ascot and Haydock. Some of the big stars are in action including double King George VI winner, Silviniaco Conti.

The most intriguing race today contains just three runners as Minella Rocco makes his chasing debut at Haydock. Given his experience in Irish points, the bigger obstacles should not be too daunting. A horse with a big future.

Given the strengths of the opposition and his chase debut, I cannot get him at the current odds-on in my pricing.

Finally a word of praise for Andrew Thornton’s excellent ride on Alder Mairi yesterday. Broke the left-hand stirrup leather at the 4th, but his determination and skill saw him home to a not so comfortable 17 length victory. On this occasion it paid to be a taller jockey who could physically cope with the problem presented to him.

Back tomorrow with the regular Saturday preview.

Champions Day

Champions Day

Six races from Ascot on Channel 4 tomorrow on Champions Day, starting from 12.45 with the Group 2 Long Distance Cup.

This 2 miler attracts some of the best from both the flat and National hunt. Willie Mullins sends over three horses from his County Carlow yard including Cheltenham Festival winner Wicklow Brave.

Leading the market are last years’ winner Forgotten Rules, trained by Dermot Weld and Brian Meehan’s Agent Murphy. The latter taking on this extended distance for the first time.

There are a few running tomorrow who have done us some favours this season, Gm Hopkins and Twilight Son spring readily to mind.

Gm Hopkins edges out Temptress to give us a 12/1 victory in the Royal Hunt Cup
Gm Hopkins edges out Temptress to give us a 12/1 victory in the Royal Hunt Cup

The rest of tomorrow’s fixtures contain a flat meeting at Catterick plus three jumps cards.

It is going to be a long hard evening and morning of study plus collating information from various sources.

Back tomorrow with the regular Saturday preview.