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.

Eclipse tester

Eclipse tester

Yet again the ground is the major talking point as we look at Sandown and Haydock today. At Sandown the going has eased slightly to a general Good to Soft. Clerk of the course Andrew Cooper reported: “I could show you some good ground out there but taking all things into account after a little bit of rain yesterday evening and having moved onto fresh ground I am just going to call it good to soft.” A dry fairly warm day is forecast.

In contrast the ground at Haydock has deteriorated to Soft (Heavy in places) and light showers are expected this afternoon.

As covered yesterday, the uncertainty over racing conditions between entry and raceday is a nagging problem for connections. There are plenty more non-runners today.

3.45 Sandown Coral-Eclipse (Group 1)

£525,000 in total prize money with just on £300,000 to the winner. We have seven to post with the O’Brien and Charlton yards both having likely pacemakers for The Gurkha and Time Test respectively.

Time Test and My Dream Boat are closely matched on a strict line through Western Hymn.

Time Test is a previously noted horse who I expect to go close today.

However The Gurkha was staying on strongly at the finish of the St James Palace at Ascot and the step up in trip is expected to bring further improvement.

Compared to the general odds on offer, I have the market leaders closer together on my tissue:

The Gurkha         11/10

Time Test             3/1

My Dream Boat  5/1

Hawkbill               14/1

Western Hymn   20/1


Time Test 2
Time Test


2.50 Haydock bet365 Old Newton Cup (CLASS 2)


There are a few hold-up horses amongst the market leaders.  In testing conditions it is a dangerous game to try and rapidly make up ground as the line approaches.

Penglai Pavilion is worth a look in this wide open handicap. Always behind at Ascot on latest start and never placed to challenge. His form over hurdles last season suggests he retains plenty of ability and he can figure today. Ground conditions shouldn’t be an issue.

Some 14/1 still around which would offer a bit of value.


Penglai Pavilion (left)

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Palmer double?

Palmer double?

Two races from Haydock for us this afternoon; a warm dry day is forecast. Hugo Palmer has a runner in each of our featured races, both figure prominently in my analysis.

3.10 Haydock Timeform Jury Stakes (Registered As The John of Gaunt Stakes) (Group 3) (CLASS 1

Home Of The Brave and So Beloved are the two to concentrate on.

Home Of The Brave is still progressing and must go close. Won a valuable listed race at Leicester last time out where he led for most of the race. Entered up for Royal Ascot.

So Beloved impressed when winning over C&D on latest start. That Haydock form three weeks ago gives him a solid chance.

I put the pair in as my 3/1 joint favourites.


Home Of The Brave

3.45 Haydock 188Bet Sandy Lane Stakes (Group 2) (CLASS 1)

Second of the Hugo Palmer entries to look at is Gifted Master, who comes here seeking his sixth consecutive victory. Noted at Ascot when he made all and stayed on strongly despite an arkward exit from the stalls. Expected to progress further.

Woodcote and Coventry Stakes winner Buratino should appreciate the return to sprinting after his run in the Guineas. He a live danger on last season’s form.

I go 7/4 and 5/1 respectively on my tissue.



The absurdity of current meeting planning is highlighted today as we have no afternoon racing in the south whilst Haydock and Chester compete against each other.

Appeared to progress?

Appeared to progress?

A terrific day of racing ahead both in Britain and Ireland. Two races for us to look at; the first at York where the going is Good. Heavy rain is forecast before racing commences at 2.05 with intermittent showers throughout the afternoon. We also go to Haydock, which has a similar weather forecast on ground which is already Good to Soft in places. The widespread softening of the ground has resulted in plenty of non-runners today.

 3.15 York Federation of Bloodstock Agents Stakes (Handicap) (CLASS 3)

Appeared made his turf debut for Roger Varian at the Dante meeting in a Class 4. Despite hanging and not looking a straightforward ride, the 4y.o. was most impressive when winning over today’s C&D.  Providing his temperament can be kept under control he can make further progress. He looks to have the latent talent to be a listed/group race performer.

Although expected to be effective on today’s quicker ground, any rain would be welcomed. I put him in at a provisional 2/1, which is the best price currently on offer. The whole field is priced up very similar to my tissue.


Interception Wokigham
Interception winning the 2015 Wokingham


3.40 Haydock EBF Stallions Cecil Frail Stakes (Listed Race) (Fillies´ & Mares) (CLASS 1)

Interception sets a very decent standard on last season’s form and is not expected to lack for fitness on her return to action. She has been confirmed in-foal and connections will want to get as much race success with her before she retires to the paddocks.

Difficult to price with total confidence but around 3/1 looks fair.

Morning favourite Thetis is a NR.


With Epsom and Royal Ascot on the horizon, there will be pointers today worth noting.


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.