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Chester’s May Meeting generally brings out the big guns as the flat season gets into full swing, and with trials for Epsom and Ascot on show, there are plenty of pointers around, as well as the terrific spectacle that is The Chester Cup, writes Jack Milner. This year’s renewal has brought out a stellar field, with Ireland’s raiding party this year including runners from the Willie Mullins, Dermot Weld and Aidan O’ Brien respectively. Donald McCain has won the last two with Overturn and Ile De Re, who will likely have ground too quick for his liking, similarly Thimaar, who has been novice hurdling with the likes of Tominator, Theology, Suraj and Champion Hurdle third Countrywide Flame. Marvan Koukash is renowned for having winners around Chester and he has four runners, but none really appeal that strongly, although a market move would be significant. The ground should be rock hard, and the way Olympiad won a two mile handicap at York last summer suggested he had a lot of potential. He has a good record fresh and the stable are in cracking form.
Elsewhere on the card, Limegrove was impressive in defeat on Saturday when in behind a good sort for the Richard Hannon team and it could be rather significant that the filly is turned out again rather quickly. The form of her previous maidens looks rather smart and she should run a good race, providing she can overcome a tricky wide draw.
The Cheshire Oaks provided a 50/1 shock last year when Aidan O’ Brien’s Betterbetterbetter was done on the line by Good Morning Star, and there is another strong Irish raider in Salhooda for Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen. She is bred to excel over a longer trip at three, and her two year old form saw her beating some 100 rated horses, and subsequent Group 3 winner Rehn’s Nest. Premium and The Lark are promising maidens with striking pedigree’s who look to be the strongest competition to the Irish filly.
In the Conditions Stakes, Jwala has to be a bet getting weight all round from the field, given her last piece of form from last year, running Sole Power to a couple of lengths at Doncaster. She will be stripped fitter from her reappearance at Bath, and is likely to have ground to suit. Well worth a punt.
1.45 Chester – Limegrove
2.15 Chester – Salhooda
2.45 Chester – Olympiad (Nap)
4.25 Chester – Jwala
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Cracking racing on a Wednesday, and it’s a pity that I have to spend the day looking for an apartment in the south of Spain, writes Jack Milner. As sad as it sounds, I would much prefer to spend the day at Cheltenham, Ascot or Pontefract. Not often will Ponty be thrown into the same league as the other two, but hey ho!
Cheltenham has its annual Hunter Chaser Card, and people who know their stuff will be able to make a few quid on that, but it’s not my sphere, and I won’t be backing or watching any of the action. For people reading this, a couple of people on Twitter will be able to offer more assistance – @Quevega and @Garethtopham who write the previews for such races.
Sticking to Pontefract, looking at their previous card that local trainers thrive, with winners for the Ryan, Johnston, Ford and O’ Meara yards respectively. Richard Fahey, Brian Ellison and Graham Swinbank stables have all been in good form and their runners warrant maximum respect.
A lot of the usual suspects in the 10 furlong maiden, but a stand out entry is Remote; for John Gosden and Khalid Abdullah, an exceptionally well bred three year old colt making his debut. He will have to be on top of his game going against rivals Boite and Marsh Dragon who look to have the pick of the form, but on pedigree, he could possibly be very smart indeed.
As mentioned, the Swinbank yard is in good fettle, and recent maiden winner Eutropius is thrown into a handicap off a mark of 68. He gives weight to a lot of tough seasoned rivals, but he remains open to plenty of improvement, being a four year old with two starts to his name. Blue Maisey went close over course and distance last time at a big price, and could be the danger, as could Alluring Star for the Easterby’s.
There’s a cracking fillies handicaps, with a mixtures of arguably well handicapped sorts, with Centred and Star Lahib being very well bred sorts, and Heading North going for the all-conquering Hannon team, but the most interesting runner in Abilene for Luca Cumani. To win a fillies maiden on debut for that yard, she must be half decent, and beat a decent horse of Charlie Hills’ in the process. She could be well on the road to black type, and a mark of 87 could see the handicapper give her a chance.
The final leg of the Lucky 15 will be hopefully brought up with Theodore Gericault, who was laboured and green when winning his maiden at Lingfield, but will be suited with the longer trip in the 10 furlong handicap. The form of his debut win has worked out excellently, behind 84 and 104 rated types, and plenty of other good ones in behind. Eric The Grey, Gioia Da Vita, Kuantan One and Buckstay are all relatively unexposed rivals, but should be up against it, the Sir Michael Stoute horse looks to have up to a stone in hand. We hope.
4.30 Theodore Gericault
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Jack Milner brings us his second installment of his 2013 Cheltenham Festival tips with a look at day two of the festival, which sees the likes of warm odds-on favourite Sprinter Sacre and Willie Mullins-trained Pont Alexandre.
The second day is probably the most varied card of the week. Plenty of opportunities to make a few quid ante post here.
The National Hunt Chase
The first race is The National Hunt Chase, and I am very smug and pleased to have backed Teaforthree last year at 14/1, hopefully history repeats itself? A horse who looks an absolute out and out stayer is Vesper Bell for Willie Mullins. It is incredible looking at the market, just how ludicrous some quotes are for horses that are unlikely to run, but 10/1 seems very fair. He is very unexposed, and beat potential Jewson horse Aupcharlie on debut, and has only had seven subsequent starts, the last winning a three mile chase at Punchestown, and looked to have plenty left in the tank, he’s the one for me. Looking at the market, very few look likely to run at the moment, the two obvious possibilities would be Keppols Hill and Rival D’Estruval. Godsmejudge is an interesting one, similar profile, steadily brought along, unexposed and an out and out stayer. At 20/1, he could be a lively outsider.
The Neptune Novices Hurdle
I’ve been a bit of a busy boy here, and already backed a few at decent prices. I flagged up The New One after winning at Cheltenham in October, and William Hill stuck their necks on the line, and went stand out 16/1 – it had to be taken. Even though he was chinned by At Fishers Cross last time out, he still sets a good standard around Prestbury Park, although his current price is a bit short for me. I backed Clondaw Kaempfer prior to his run in The Challow Hurdle, and think he got beaten by the ground more than anything. I’m on him at 16/1, and could be worth another nibble at 20/1, if the reports from Donald McCain are favourable. Pont Alexander and Taquin Du Seuil are two I am opposed, and the last one I have in the arsenal is Puffin Billy. He would be my initial prospect for next year’s RSA Chase, looks a lovely prospect and could be anything. He is the saver at 10/1. I still think The New One is the one to beat on all known form, although Puffin Billy carries maximum respect.
The RSA Chase
I pick two horses to follow based on their hurdling form, and how I think they will revert to fences, and generally come close when it comes to The RSA Chase, last year my two were Grands Crus (6/1) and Bobs Worth (10/1) ante post. The two I sided with this year are Boston Bob and Fingal Bay, both at 10/1. Fingal Bay proved to me to not back Phillip Hobbs horses, but I still like Boston Bob, and his chasing debut showed he has a natural flair for jumping. He wants three miles on good ground, and the 7/1 with Ladbrokes is tempting to back again. Dynaste won’t want a slog or a battle, and is skinny from an ante post perspective, I wouldn’t rule out David Pipe sending him to The Jewson. The rest all have muddling form, Our Father and Hadrians Approach look vulnerable. Willie Mullins will likely send Back in Focus and Aupcharlie elsewhere, and I don’t like Nicholls’s Rocky Creek, Unioniste and Sire Collognes. There isn’t an awful lot out there to beat.
The Queen Mother Champion Chase
Backed Sprinter Sacre in October at 5/4, and he will win by twelve lengths, Sizing Europe second if runs.
The Coral Cup
Again, not one from an ante post perspective, but those who appear well handicapped and likely to run at this moment in time look to be the David Pipe pair of Swing Bowler and Gevrey Chambertin. Both unbeaten hurdling this season, and look to have some lenient marks, with plenty of improvement to come from the stoutly bred duo.
The Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle
Minefield. To sum up. If you’ve had a bet in this, you are clearly in the know. Call Me Bubbles and Fatcatinthehat would be an interesting for Willie Mullins, who look likely to miss other races, and are down the pecking order of his juvenile hurdlers. Definitely not one to get involved in for me at such an early stage.
Another race I try to not get too involved in, as there is more guess work here than at a Derren Brown episode of cloak and dagger, I did have a nibble on Golantilla after his win at Cork at 10/1, but it’s a cautious one, even though he has a massive reputation, and a cracking turn of foot. Moyle Park has form tied in with Blackmail, and both could be lively ones come closer to the day.
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Jack Milner, a.k.a The Yorkshireman, gives us his ante-post thoughts and portfolio for Day One of the 2013 Cheltenham Festival!
The Supreme Novices Hurdle
I wrote pieces on both My Tent or Yours and Waaheb, both prior to their hurdling debuts, and I am still big fans of both. My Tent or Yours has been backed at 25/1, 20/1, 16/1 and 10/1, with Waheeb being taken at 12/1, 10/1, and once again at 16/1 with the drift after his second to Jezki last time out. I still like both, with preference for Nicky Henderson’s charge. He tanks through his races, and will be well suited to the fast pace, and like Waaheb, should improve with better ground. Jezki has run well in muddling graded races in Ireland, and despite being snapped up by JP, still doesn’t appeal at the prices. Nor does Un Atout or River Maigue, very short for winning nothing races last time out. I don’t like Paul Nicholls horses, so would be opposed to Dodging Bullets, and Puffin Billy and Melodic Rendezvous are likely to go for The Neptune instead.
The Arkle Chase
This looks to be a graveyard from an ante post perspective, as my most backed horse, that I really got stuck into, doesn’t even look likely to run. Captain Conan is still the value call for me if runs, and I think he looks a very smart chaser, winning over course and distance already this year, and following up smartly at Sandown. He’s been backed at 14/1, 12/1, 10/1 and 7/1, and would love to see him take on Simonsig. I have also backed Colour Squadron and Sire De Grugy at 20/1 as savers, but it is looking bleak. Looking at the market at the moment now, it is a definite no bet. Simonsig is very short, I don’t think Overturn represents value, with nothing else likely to run. Arvika Ligeonniare fell in the Irish Arkle, and at around the 10/1 mark, if forced to have a bet, that would be the each way play.
The Festival Handicap Chase
I will be sticking with two regular selections of mine, who both ran in the race with credit last year, and both look to be still well handicapped. The Package and Fruity ‘O Rooney look to have been laid out for this race throughout the season, and although no bets at the moment, I could be tempted very shortly.
The Champion Hurdle
I was unimpressed by Hurricane Fly’s run in The Irish Champion Hurdle, it was all so very similar, beating the same horses, by the same margins, it is rather worthless form. The horse I have been backing for the best part of 18 months for this race remains my selection – Grandouet. His re-appearance after a year out in The International was a fantastic run, and bearing in mind he gave a race fit Zarkander 4lb, to lose by two lengths was an excellent effort. He has course form, will relish better ground and a quicker pace, Barry Geraghty will hit the last still on the snaff. Irrespective what happens at Cheltenham aside from this, Grandouet wins, and it’s a happy and profitable Cheltenham. Two small savers are on Darlan and Oscar Whisky, both at 16/1.
The Cross Country Chase
I wouldn’t particularly like to get involved in a race like this, and haven’t done thus far. The two likely to tempt me are Balthazar King and Uncle Junior, both have won over the Cheltenham Cross Country course in the last season, and both have a touch of class, but I won’t be getting involved ante post.
David Nicholson Mares Hurdle
Quevega wins. Lump on the day, no play ante post.
Centenary Novices Chase
I’d be lucky to back the winner on the day, let alone seven weeks before, when the usual suspects, Henderson, Pipe et al, have yet to properly have a plot for this. There are a couple of eye-catchers with entries however. JP has two of them, Colour Squadron and Cantlow. Both look to want further judging by their novices chases, and if they start being nibbled in the market, it would be a very good sign indeed.
The Yorkshireman – Jack Milner
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Blood is thicker than water, which doesn’t half help Gevrey Chambertin, who looks banker material, running in the two and a half mile handicap hurdle at Wincanton, writes Jack Milner. The half-brother to Grands Crus has excellent form tied in with the likes of Corrin Wood, Coneygree and Fourjacks, and an opening handicap mark of 130 looks extremely lenient. He should take this, en route to much greater things. Pipey’s going to pull off yet another handicap coup – you heard it here first.
Big Fella Thanks is something of a long running problem with me, having backed him in The Grand National numerous times. I cannot get away from him however, and his runs have shown that he simply doesn’t stay the distance he has been running, in some very illustrious company. Trying the extended two and a half mile trip for the first time in four years may unlock the key to the eleven year old for Tom George and Paddy Brennan.
I tipped up and backed Teaforthree ante post in The Welsh National and even now, it can be stated that he still looks something of a good thing. Rebecca Curtis’s Cheltenham Festival winner has had two runs to get him spot on. Universal Soldier is likely to love the testing going for Charlie Longsdon, with Wayne Hutchinson a strong booking, stepping out of the shadow of Robert Thornton.
Court Minstrel has the best piece of form in the book for my money, when chasing home River Maigue and Dodging Bullets at Cheltenham in a Juvenile Hurdle. Both have won next time out in impressive fashion, and further bolster’s his claims. Nicky Henderson won this last year, and has two in the race, but Court Minstrel being from unfashionable connections will just further enhance his price, and more importantly, his value.
The form of The Hennessy has been franked in recent weeks with First Lieutenant and Tidal Bay finishing first and second in The Lexus Chase in Ireland, and Teaforthree well backed for The Welsh National. Fruity O’ Rooney, was more game than a drunk with a book full or forfeits, and his guts and determination can help him make all in the three mile handicap chase. He did so when finishing third at Cheltenham in March, with The Package, Alfie Sherrin et al. He didn’t stay The Hennessy trip, but three miles will be right up his street. If you’re a bit of a trader, treat him as a back to lay.
14.05 Wincanton – Gevrey Chambertin
14.25 Sandown – Court Minstrel
14.40 Wincanton – Big Fella Thanks
15.20 Chepstow – Teaforthree
15.40 Sandown – Fruity O’Rooney
The Yorkshireman – Jack Milner
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Jack Milner is back to help mark your card with his best bets for a competitive days racing at Haydock and Ascot!
Proper racing tomorrow, competitive action, some big fields, and more importantly; national hunt racing that is tougher than a steak cooked by Milner senior. Seriously good; tuck in.
I’ll keep Ascot brief, as it looks like “The Nicky Henderson Memorial afternoon”, with two of his heavy artillery already deployed so relatively early in the season, and are both multiple Grade 1 winners dropping down in class. Oscar Whiskey runs over the trip he loves, two and a half miles. Unfortunately, there are few of these races at the top level, bar Aintree, so he has to make do running against lesser rivals. That being said, he is still massive at around the even money mark, and should have beaten eventual Champion Hurdle second Overturn here last year bar a mishap at the last. Banker.
Finians Rainbow is a horse I have stayed loyal to ever since seeing him win a novice chase in the winter of 2010. I did my money on him in The Arkle in 2011 when won by Captain Chris (I still have no idea how he lost the race, go back and watch the replay), however I have remained loyal, and backed him ante post for The Champion Chase at 9/1, 8/1, 7/1 and 11/2. Suffices to say, the lad paid me back in spades. Here is your turn to chip in too, when he runs in The Amlin Chase, historically won by previous Champion Chase winners, hello Master Minded! He showed he relished a long trip when winning over two and a half miles at Aintree, and given his eventual aim for the first half of the season being The King George, I can see him winning this en route to further glory over there. Super banker.
Crossing over to the infamous Lancashire surroundings of Haydock Park, where the feature is the Betfair Chase, won an incredible four times by the steeplechaser of a lifetime; Kauto Star. He will be parading, and with him not running, and only five runners taking on the short priced favourite Long Run, it isn’t really something to get excited about, and not one I fancy having a punt in. The value look to lay in the handicaps and the first one of those is where CROWNING JEWEL goes for Keith and James Reveley. He looks the least exposed and ironically the best handicapped challenger as opposed to those from ‘sexier’ stables. However he finished a good third last time out go Cheltenham winner Ifandbutwhynot, what looks like a good race on paper, and a form line through that looks rather strong.
QUARTZ DE THAIX travelled so strongly last time out for the in form Venetia Williams stable, and I can’t see any reason why the eight year old can’t follow up next time out in the 2.00. Although up 9lb, watching the race live, I was seriously impressed with the ease of the victory, an eventual seven lengths win, and although the hike in the weights, he should be fresher and fitter for the outing.
I was tempted to get stuck into SIVOLA DE SIVOLA in the week, when double his current price, but the continued support, as well as stable form, has even further enhanced his chances in the big handicap over the infamous fixed brush hurdles. He finished a good fourth last time out in a competitive handicap hurdle when well backed on the day, and considering the third has since come out and run well, with Viking Blond performing with aplomb in the big handicap chase last Saturday.
The David Pipe team are coming off the back of a tremendous time of things, with three winners and two seconds at The Paddy Power meeting, and he can continue the trend with MASTER OVERSEER. He was a winner of the Midlands Grand National under a great ride from Tom Scudamore, in the manner of a very progressive animal. He has form on soft and also heavy going, and will take a lot of beating in the gruelling contest given he stays longer than the proverbial mother in law.
Ascot – Finians Rainbow (2.10) & Oscar Whisky (2.45) – Nap Double
Haydock 12.55 – Crowning Jewel
Haydock 14.00 – Quartz De Thaix
Haydock 14.30 – Sivola De Sivola
Haydock 15.40 – Master Overseer
Bet advised – Each Way Lucky 15
The Yorkshireman – Jack Milner
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Jack Milner gives us his best bets and tips for racing at Ascot and Wetherby on Saturday afternoon!
Looking at the cards for Saturday the message is clear – the jumps are back. We have a terrific spread of cards at Uttoxeter, Ayr, Ascot and a strong renewal of The Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby. There may be some two year olds running around a dirt covered oval across the pond, but let’s be honest, the people there would much rather be in wet West Yorkshire seeing some excellent three mile chasers duel out a tough and uncompromising finish! The Charlie Hall Chase is usually a precursor to bigger races throughout the season, whether it is The Hennessy, The Betfair Chase, The King George, or indeed, the Gold Cup. That notwithstanding, it is still a terrific race, with some tremendous prize money on offer, the Grade 2 contest having £100,000 in the kitty for the six participants, and they will all cover the expenses.
The outsider of the field is Wayward Prince who looks to have it all do to, despite receiving weight all round from the field, and was once a promising novice chaser, with good efforts in the Cheltenham and Aintree’s three mile novice chases. He went off well fancied for The Hennessy last year, but badly disappointed and tailed off towards the end of the season. He has form when fresh, but would be more of a watching brief. A similar story applies to Planet of Sound, who ran a good second on his seasonal appearance last year in The Hennessy, and then third in a Kempton Grade 3 before completing the Grand National in twelfth place. He looks to be a plodder however, and may be caught wanting in a classy race like this, with his long term aims towards the English and Scottish National’s. Midnight Chase is a devout Cheltenham specialist, whose form away from Prestbury Park is often found wanting. His form away from the hallowed grounds in the last two seasons reads F3 – whereas at Cheltenham 111517 – although top rated, he doesn’t appeal to me. Time for Rupert is an interesting runner for the Paul Webber team, and was a good second here last season. Beaten thirteen lengths behind Midnight Chase last season before travelling well in The Gold Cup before tiring late on, his run suggested that the return to three miles would suit. He goes well fresh, and if the market vibes were supportive, he would be more appealing than the favourite Silviano Conti at the prices. He will no doubt go off shorter than he should due to the Walsh/Nicholls Saturday punters tucking into their multiples. His second in The Feltham is the stand out piece of form. But his fourth in the Reynoldstown was highly disappointing. The Aintree novice chase was a nothing event, with Champion Court tiring from his race at Cheltenham, and the rest of the field being simply not good enough. That leaves MASTER OF THE HALL as the most interesting runner for Nicky Henderson and Andrew Tinkler and looks severely overpriced for my money. I was really impressed by his win at Kelso last March, when albeit beating horses with others targets in mind, but won well, coming away at the finish. He then finished sixth at Aintree, but behind all very good horses, Hunt Ball, Burton Port, Nacarat, Medermit and winner Follow The Plan. He goes well fresh, from an outstanding stable, and at around the 9/1 mark, he looks distinctly overpriced, if Barry Geraghty was on board he would be no doubt half the price. At the prices, it could be worth a saver on the reverse forecast with Silviano Conti, he could be anything, and Paul Nicholls thinks he could be a King George horse, but then again, you rarely see him talk down one of his horses, do you?
The John Smith’s hurdle race is just as puzzling, and last year’s winner Restless Harry turns out again, although considering his record on good ground, you would assume he would have it all to do under a penalty. Unless however it really threw it down, which being a native of West Yorkshire, I wouldn’t rule out. He comfortably despatched Fair Along last season, and I can see the pair of then being vulnerable to younger rivals. As is Tidal Bay, who looks to have The Grand National and other valuable staying chases as his target, and as such, this will be most likely a tune up for the eleven year old. Crack Away Jack was highly flattered by finishing second to Big Bucks at Aintree last year, when Restless Harry and Smad Place both came down, leaving the race a pretty much no contest, if it was a boxing match, it would have been a round two knockout for Paul Nicholls’s phenomenal hurdler. Smad Place did go off a well backed second favourite though that day and it is interesting that he is still hurdling, when he looks built to go chasing. The yard is going well, but I have in the back of my mind the idea that this will be used to tee his season up, with the ultimate aim being The RSA Chase at Cheltenham. A horse who has had a prep to get him cherry ripe for this is CAPE TRIBULATION who loyal followers will have seen me tip up on both his victories at Cheltenham and Aintree festivals last year, in what was a tremendous training performance from Malcolm Jefferson. He was out battled in an outstanding finish at York three weeks ago over two miles, and on better ground and over three miles, he will take all the beating with Denis O’ Regan back in the plate.
Switching tracks to Ascot, there are a couple of interesting runners that catch the eye, most notably MY TENT OR YOURS in the novice hurdle at 2.00. I backed him in all three bumper runs last season, and the form of his second in the Aintree champion bumper is already working out well with The New One winning a good novice hurdle at Cheltenham two weeks ago. He will appreciate the drop back to two miles, and will have perfect ground to suit. He could eventually shape up to be a horse that has the class for something along the lines of The Supreme Novices Hurdle; he looks to be a Nicky Henderson prototype.
As said previously, the Alan King stable have started off really well this season, and it would be no surprise to see RAYA STAR run a big race in the two mile listed handicap hurdle, with Wayne Hutchinson in the saddle. He had a blinding season, running well behind Rock on Ruby at Newbury, winning the Ladbroke Hurdle, and sealing off his campaign winning the Scottish Champion Hurdle, Scottish National day at Ayr. He goes well fresh, looks well handicapped, has a progressive profile and is likely to be a price due to the fancied runners of Ile De Re and Cape Express.
Ascot 2.00 – My Tent or Yours (Nb)
Ascot 2.35 – Raya Star
Wetherby 2.50 – Cape Tribulation (Nap)
Wetherby 3.25 – Master of the Hall
The Yorkshireman – Jack Milner
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SEPTEMBER LILY is a very game and consistent sort, and is a filly that goes against her Cape Cross pedigree, having her best runs over seven furlongs and soft ground. The filly gets 5lb from the field, and has Wayne Lordan on her back, enjoying a fine season. The Ballydoyle debutant SidereusNuncius is massively short due to the Weld non runner, and if anything September Lily could be a back to lay option, or perhaps an each way bet to nothing in a weak field.
JP Murtagh has built up a great relationship with Man of Erin, and whilst he is up 7lb for a recent win, their form figures when combining of 121 highlight the strength of the partnership. The Invincible Spirit gelding is up against rivals with very patchy and inconsistent form, whereas Man of Erin, since switching to handicaps has form figures of 112317, and is one who will handle the conditions better than most.
MOSCOW CHANCER was one to follow when switching to novice handicap chases last season, and providing that he is fully wound up for his season beau, he looks on a good mark to run a big race. The two stand out freelance jockeys last year for me were Paddy Brennan and Denis O’ Regan, who both formed decent partnerships with some ‘lesser’ yards, Paddy in particular with Fergal O’ Brien and Tom George. Since handicapping, Moscow Chancer’s form reads 323314, his best form coming on better ground, and unbelievably, with Newcastle abandoned, and Curragh riding heavy; Huntingdon has good ground. We’ll take it.
GIFTED GIRL has ran smart races in defeat to group horses Coquet and Fallen For You, and back after a break, she can get back on track in the 3,40, a conditions race over a mile. The Azamour filly should handle the soft ground fine, and ran well enough before tiring last time out in a good Ascot handicap, her first run for 156 days. My Queenie is respected down in grade, as is Crystal Gal.
A trainer making giant strides already this season is Fergal O’ Brien who has been teaming up to have a host of winners with Paddy Brennan. Timmy Murphy takes the ride on WELL METT who goes unpenalised for a narrow neck defeat last time out over course and distance just nine days ago. The form of both his last two runs has been franked, and although there is a well in horse of a similar nature in Victor Echo for David Evans, Well Mett gets the nod ahead at the prices.
HISAABAAT won the four year old grade one hurdle at Punchestown last season, and although over a trip that doesn’t exactly stretch his stamina, he has enough class to win the mile and a quarter handicap off a handy mark for Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen. He should win this on the way to winning much better things this season over hurdles.
BEDOUIN INVADER comes from a very smart family, for Sir Michael Stoute and Ryan Moore in those familiar colours of Mr Saheed Suhail. Out of a very smart mare, who run in plenty of black type races, yet acquiring her only two wins on soft ground. The yard can ready a newcomer, especially in the autumn and with Hard Spun and Deficit looking severely lacking in any value whatsoever, we shall rely on Ryan Moore booting the colt home.
2.15 Curragh – September Lily
2.45 Curragh – Man of Erin (Nb)
2.50 Huntingdon – Moscow Chancer
3.40 Leicester – Gifted Girl
4.20 Huntingdon – Well Mett
4.40 Leicester – Bedouin Invader
4.45 Curragh – Hisaabaat (Nap)
The Yorkshireman – Jack Milner
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York have a solid card to round off another tremendous flat season on The Knavesmire with numerous highlights, writes Jack Milner. The north in particular dominating the key fixtures and races, the highlight for me personally was Ortensia’s win in The Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes.
BOND CLUB looks overpriced in the first, a six furlongs nursery, with the official going now on the softer side of soft, and heavier than an Andy Fordham knuckle sandwich, it will be treacherous out there. He handled the conditions in fine style two weeks ago, winning a Haydock maiden, beating a next time out winner, and off an unchanged mark has to be a player. Bachoteque is respected, but is plenty short enough under a plenty for the Easterby stable.
BEATEN UP is yet to run on soft ground, but he has a chance to get back to the scintillating form he showed last year, where he had the looks of a prospective group one animal.Graham Lee rides for the first time, and bringing that jumps background to the party, cane dictate the fractions to a tee. He stayed on well under hands and heels in a messy conditions race at Doncaster last time out, and back after a break, he should be fitter and fresher.
The mile handicap is a very difficult nut to crack, there are a host of protagonists, and it looks a very trappy field. NoPoppy and Jo’Burg both run with pounds in hand to the handicapper, and are both respected for local connections. The conditions will be testing, and those who have handled the ground are the ones to stay on the right side of, which immediately makes OSTEOPATHIC REMEDY a big player, given his win on heavy ground at Ayr three weeks ago. He is up 3lb, but just loves the juice, young claimer Connor Nichol takes 7lb off his back, but he still looks on a good mark and will love the ground, unlike many of his rivals.
ANDERTON looks the best bet of the day, an Invincible Spirit colt that has made good progression in two maidens this season. Owned by Mr David Armstrong, who has a host of horses with the stable, that invariably like cut in the ground, most notably his star performer Mayson. He was still very green last time out at Beverley, and I have a feeling the conditions underfoot will really help this colt shed the maiden tag at the third attempt.
Another horse that was impressive last time out in shocking conditions was NATURAL BLOOM for the in form Sir Henry Cecil stable in the colours of Sir Robert Ogden. The filly turned over a Godolphin odds on shot in tremendous style under Paul Hanagan, clearly appreciating the going, winning by six lengths. She is up 7lb for that, but in good heart, will run a very strong race from a favourable draw.
GABRIAL THE THUG ran a good first race on debut at Chester, when owner Marvan Koukash had a memorable 1-2-3 where the first three home were all Gabrial’s, outstanding stuff. The winner that day won a good conditions race at Epsom the run after, and the third came from an outrageous position to run on for second, despite nearly being pulled up. The form looks good, and he should build on that debut promise. Being a son of Azamour, the heavy ground shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
Unless we have done our cogones in all afternoon, I wouldn’t bother with the amateur rider’s race, although Allied Answer looks a smart type. A well bred son of Danehill Dancer, he has performed best for David Wachman in Ireland in soft conditions, winning last time out on heavy going.
2.00 York – Bond Club
2.30 York – Beaten Up
3.05 York – Osteopathic Remedy
4.15 York – Natural Bloom (Nb)
4.50 York – Gabrial the Thug
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The Yorkshireman – Jack Milner
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Jack Milner is back with his latest to review and tips for a quality card at Newmarket on Friday!
The Oh So Sharp Stakes kicks off Newmarket’s Fillies Mile Day on Friday, on a card where the females are in thespotlight and with some prospective classic fillies for next year. Godolphin have a firm grip on many of the races, including the favourite in the Fillies mile, and they also have POWER OF LIGHT, an impressive maiden winner on debut, absolutely bolting up two weeks ago at Newcastle, winning by seven lengths. Exceptionally bred, there are questions surrounding all of her rivals, and with Mikael Barzalona in the plate on The Rowley Mile, and she looks to be a filly going places. She could turn out to be a prospective 1000 Guineas horse in the making.
The 1.45 listed contest is the most competitive race on the card, with a host of improving fillies competing, many of whom that are running down in class. Thistle Bird was a good winner last time out, beating Fulbright, who beat another horse I fancy in Tazahum, at Sandown. Godolphin always have a strong hand, and have Irish History and Falls of Lora, but both seem to be going the wrong way, as opposed to progressive types. Dank won a Group Three impressively at Sandown last time out, beating Lady’s First and Moonies My Name. The most interesting runner looks to be CHIGUN, who was tipped up on the blog last time out when romping home in a strong Ascot handicap. The Oasis Dream filly made all to win by four lengths, and in doing so got a revised mark of 99. She is clearly progressing at a rate of knots, and there could be much more to come, and if able to dictate things, could nick the race from the front.
The Nayef Joel Stakes is an impressive gathering of milers, many of whom have either been dodging Frankel, or been battered and bruised by him, for the best part of a season and a half. Most Improved won an awful St James Palace Stakes, but the three year olds look a bad crop this year, and that would similarly rule out Stipulate, Trumpet Major, Saigon and Sovereign Debt too. Fanunalter is much travelled, but has flopped twice on the course, and the filly Joviality has yet to win on the course at three attempts. Premier Loco was a good second in this last year, and is respected after a good effort winning The Celebration Mile. He was last however when Side Glance was third in The York Stakes, and both have trouble with their consistency. An interesting runner is TAZAHUM for Paul Hanagan and Sir Michael Stoute, on the back of an unlucky second last time out at Sandown. He got bumped and checked by Fulbright, and was unlucky to not have The Stewards overturn the decision, and is quickly turned out again, so obviously in good heart at home. Fourth in the race last year, he has settled better, and travels much smoother than last year, and has been brought on a lot more patiently. The colt looks open to further improvement, and is a course and distance winner as well.
Certify looks a worthy favourite for The Fillies Mile, and it’s a race that Godolphin have an excellent record in. She is the only filly in the race to have won over a mile before, and beat subsequent Group One winner Sky Lantern over the course in The Sweet Solero Stakes, She will take all the beating, but one I like at the prices is WINSILI for William Buick and John Gosden. An impressively bred filly by Juddmonte Farms, she ran on well on debut to win over the course, staying well over seven furlongs. Stepped up to a mile, she a ridiculous amount of trouble in running. Godolphin had three runners that day, and each one did a number on the filly, forcing her to go widest of all, before staying on well towards the finish, under hands and heels. She will likely run a strong race at a price, and I expect her to if not win, finish second to Certify.
1.15 Newmarket – Power of Light
1.45 Newmarket – Chigun
2.20 Newmarket – Tazahum