Royal Ascot repeat?

Royal Ascot repeat?

Plenty of non-runners at Newbury, many deterred by the soft ground after the midweek ‘monsoon.’ At Ayr the going is Good to Soft and light rain is forecast this afternoon.

One race from each for us today.

1.45 Newbury Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup Stakes (Group 3)

Formerly known as the Arc trial, this 1m 3f race attracts five runners.

Hardwicke stakes winner Dartmouth is better than latest run suggests and sets the form standard. He is expected to handle today’s conditions.

Algometer is an early season noted horse returning from a break after running in the Derby. Ground conditions will suit and he can progress.

Robin Of Navan returned to form on latest start in a high class All Weather race at Kempton.

I price the five runners as follows:

Dartmouth 13/8

Algometer  7/2

Robin Of Navan 7/2

Ayrad  9/1

Tashaar  12/1

 

dartmouth
Dartmouth

 

2.00 Ayr William Hill Firth Of Clyde Stakes (Group 3)

6f sprint for 2 y.o.’s with the winner collecting over £36,000.

Bletchley will be suited by conditions and is expected to return to the form which saw her finish 2nd in the Albany at Royal Ascot.

Drumfad Bay may find this trip too short.

Partitia is progressive, comes here looking for a hat-trick of victories.

Bletchley is a best priced 3/1, which is in line with my thinking.

 

bletchley-near-side
Bletchley (near side)

 

As we saw yesterday with Clem Fandango, my early season noted horses shortlist is picking up winners. For a free copy and an information pack, go to: www.slh.co.uk

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Watch the weather

Watch the weather

Back for two races at Doncaster today including the Leger and then over to Leopardstown for the Irish Champion Stakes. After the strong winds yesterday at Doncaster the forecast is more benign. However there is there a possibility of rain and the clerk of the course has not ruled out the possibility of the ground easing from the current good conditions.

At Leopardstown the going is on the softer side of Good.

 2.00 Doncaster Champagne Stakes (Group 2)

Six to post for this 7f event for the 2y.o. boys.

Thunder Snow sets the form standard on his second in the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood.

He looks sure to go close, although the Saeed bin Suroor stable remain relatively quiet and that is a cause for concern.

Rivet impressed when winning at York. Rivet looks sure to step up significantly on that bare form and is in the ‘could be anything’ category. Partnered by Andrea Atzeni; the young Italian has already ridden five winners at this meeting so far.

2/1 joint favs on my provisional tissue.

 

rivet
Rivet

 

3.45 Doncaster St Leger Stakes (Group 1)

 

A.P. O’Brien has three of the nine entered here. His Great Voltigeur winner Idaho being the strong market leader.

With the heavy rain having missed Doncaster Idaho deserves to be at short odds. He sets a high standard with the prospect of further improvement on this step up to 14f.

Muntahaa is progressing with racing but faces a very tough task in improving past Idaho.

The market has it about right. I go:

Idaho  4/5

Muntahaa  5/1

10/1 bar

 

idaho
Idaho

 

6.45 Leopardstown Irish Champion Stakes (Group 1)

Here we have the Oaks winner taking on the Derby winner.

I favour Minding to come out on top against the highest class opposition.

Harzand may find the drop back to 10f a problem, the Arc being his target.

I price them as follows:

Minding   5/2

Harzand   7/2

10/1 bar

minding
Minding

 

It is a day of high quality where the layers have had ample time to get their markets right for the main contenders. An angle in may be a change in the conditions at Doncaster and a sharp weather eye is advised.

Yalta conference

Yalta conference

We head to Doncaster for two races this afternoon. The going is Good and a dry sunny day is forecast. I will be firming up my prices a little later once I have spoken to a number of contacts at the course.

1.55: The opening race is a Group 3 confined to fillies and mares.

With Lumiere having disappointed on latest start and Same Jurisdiction having her first start since arriving from South Africa, this is a difficult race to price with total confidence.

However Nemoralia was impressive at York. She sets a high standard and deserves to be at short odds.

With various doubts concerning the others runners Spangled can figure at big odds. Currently available at 16/1 with quite a few firms.

I provisionally price as follows:

Nemoralia evens

Lumiere    9/2

Spangled  8/1

 

nemorilia
Nemorilia

 

2.30: A 5f Group 2 with local trainer Mark Johnston holding two strong entries with The Last Lion and Yalta.

What to make of Yalta is the big question here. His impressive win in the Molecomb at Goodwood two starts ago would make him difficult to beat here.

However he finished last at York on his latest start, being beaten before half  way.

Excuses concerning the draw and a more competitive race have been put forward for that York reverse. To my eye it looked a possible physical issue. A return to that Goodwood form would set a good standard.

For me, Tis Marvellous and Afandem are the dangers in this highly competitive sprint.

I presently  make Yalta, Tis Marvellous and Afandem 4/1 co favs.

 

yalta
Yalta

 

Another very good week in the making with three winners from four bets only so far this week. Special terms for the 2016/17 main jumps campaign are now available. They include a discount on standard rates plus the remainder of this month free. See the website for full details of membership opportunities and to get your free information pack: www.slh.co.uk

 

 

 

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
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
Donjuan Triumphant

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

 

The Mr Singh conundrum

The Mr Singh conundrum

Two races to look at this afternoon, both at Goodwood, where the going is Good to Firm.

3.55 Goodwood Lewis Badges 1832 March Stakes (Listed Race)

Two non-runners leaving a field of seven to contest for the £28,000 first prize.

A race made harder to price because of the conundrum that is Mr Singh. He has been below form on both starts this season, including when blinkered for the first time on his latest start at York in early July.

He has since had his ‘wedding tackle’ removed and if that helps him to rediscover last season’s form, then he sets the standard.

The vibes from the yard about his recent work have been positive.

Currently a general 11/4, which looks about right in a race full of question marks.

 

mr-singh
Mr Singh

 

4.30 Goodwood Doom Bar Celebration Mile (Group 2)

 

Both the 3yo’s Thikriyaat and Zonderland are progressive – I find it difficult to split them.

Commenting on Thikriyaat, Angus Gold racing manager for Hamdan Al Maktoum said: “If he keeps progressing then obviously he could be running on Champions Day, but he’s got to take the next step at Goodwood first. He hasn’t disappointed us yet, but whether he’s up to a Group 1 only time will tell. It’s one step at a time for now – he’s won a Group 3, we’re trying a Group 2 in the Celebration Mile and then we’ll see.”

If any of the three older horses run to their best then the younger pair will need to demonstrate that progression to win.

An intriguing contest, where all five have their chance. Of the older horses Toormore showed positive signs in the Sussex Stakes and has ideal conditions today to recover past form.

I have them provisionally priced as follows:

Thikriyaat    9/4

Zonderland 9/4

Toormore 11/2

Lightning Spear 11/2

Arod  9/1

 

Thikriyaat (far side)
Thikriyaat (far side)

 

Finally, a word about the need for value. Yesterday we looked at Mediciman who I had priced at 5/1 on my private tissue.He went off as 9/4 favourite and disappointed once again. Having a target price for a horse can mean that sometimes you miss a winner, but importantly it keeps you away from backing under-priced losers. In the long term having value on your side is the most professional and profitable strategy.

No lady?

No lady?

After the rain yesterday, the York going is now Good. Intermittent showers, some heavy, are forecast during the afternoon.

We have two races to look at this afternoon, starting with the Gimcrack and then the Ebor. I will be finalising my prices after getting a course report at lunchtime.

3.25 York

Blue Point is an early season noted horse who sets the form standard. He was strongly fancied when showing inexperience and just being touched off by Mehmas at Goodwood.

After that race Charlie Appleby commented: “Blue Point has been asked to go about his business and I was really pleased when Frankie’s horse came to him and we quickened and got that neck up on him. But Mehmas just has that experience and was able to outbattle us in the end. He will come forward for that for sure. He is still a very talented horse.”

Faces unexposed and progressive opposition today but expected to go close.

My provisional tissue:

Blue Point  5/2

Mokarris    5/1

Mubtasim  5/1

 

Mehmas Blue Point
Mehmas just holds off Blue Point

 

4.00 York

Just on £175,000 on offer to the winner of this ultra-competitive handicap. With the long time ante-post favourite Ivan Grozny out  through injury, the race has an even more open feel about it.

Current favourite is Antiquarium still looks to be progressing. A favourite has not won this race since 1998.

Top Tug is a stayer who may find himself outpaced at the finish.

Heartbreak City has shown marked improvement over hurdles and is respected.

I like She Is No Lady, who ran an excellent race on latest start at Sandown early last month. The form of which is fairly solid. She can improve further. Anything double figures has been nibbled at this morning, I would wait until the market gets fully going later and we can see how the ground is riding.

 

she-is-no-lady
She Is No Lady (centre)

With luck the weather may not interfere too badly and we will have a true test of ability this afternoon.

 

Rain west, look East

Rain west, look East

After two days of sunshine and fast ground, the rain is set to descend on York from around noon today. With heavy rain forecast during racing, there could be a pronounced affect on the going. Two races for us to look at.

York 2.30: Pallasator finished a creditable second in the Goodwood Cup. From that showing he holds four of todays rivals. Wicklow Brave getting closest in a non-competitive fourth place.

Pallasator can be fractious, but if he is kept calm prior to the off, looks sure to go close. Handles all ground conditions.

Last year’s Ascot Gold Cup winner, Trip To Paris is respected after showing well on return in July following a tendon injury. Fifth in this race last year before setting off for the southern hemisphere with high profile runs in Australia and Japan.

I have the market leaders priced as follows:

Pallasator 3/1

Trip To Paris 7/2

Clever Cookie 4/1

Pallasator
Pallasator

York 3.40: Whilst the predicted rain may not have got into the firm ground for the opening races, by mid-afternoon things could look a lot different.

Mecca’s Angel won this race last year by a 2f margin. Which is quite impressive for such a 5f Group 1 sprint. Three outings this season with the latest bringing a Group 2 victory at the Curragh.

July Cup winner Limato heads the betting. Takes on 5f for the first time.

Yalta is one of two 2 y.o.’s in the race and as such gets a sizeable weight pull from his older rivals. Left the field in his wake when running away with the Molecomb at Goodwood.

I am going to price this when I have a better idea of ground conditions. Of the three studied, only Mecca’s Angel will be suited by easing ground. There was some 6/1 on offer very early this morning but that has been taken in anticipation of a going change.

Meccas Angel
Mecca’s Angel

No improvement in the weather is forecast for tomorrow when I will return to look at a few more feature races.