Posts Tagged ‘ betting ’

21 Dec
2012

Mine’s A Christmas Double At Ascot & Haydock

It was hard not to be impressed by odds on winners Puffin Billy and Simonsig at Ascot on Friday afternoon, with the short price pair advertising their respective Cheltenham Festival prospects with nigh on flawless displays of jumping, with the duo likely to even better on a more sound surface.

The Arkle is threatening to be absolute dynamite, with Simonsig (now no bigger than 5/2) potentially taking on the likes of Arvika Ligeonniere, Overturn and Captain Conan…one not to be missed were the quartet all to turn up fit and firing!

Weather permitting we should get a glimpse of more quality on Saturday afternoon, though Haydock Clerk of the Course Kirkland Telwright has called a precautionary 7am inspection, concerned that the battering the course has taken as result of the torrential rain in recent days could leave it unraceable.

Fingers crossed he’ll able to give it the green light, as the Merseyside track’s seven race card usually inspires a full house, with festive revellers keen to start the party early at the Newton-le-Willows track.

Hopefully they’ll be raising a glass to a big value each way selection in the 2m 4f Bet At Bluesq.com Handicap Hurdle at 1.45pm.

Lugging a big weight is quite an ask in this sort of ground, and though Donald McCain’s Hollow Tree was massively impressive when winning the Grade 1 Future Champions Finale Juvenile Hurdle on Heavy going at Chepstow 12 months ago and might well be able to take this, I cannot resist having a few quid each way at a tempting price on a horse who’s never been beaten on Heavy.

You get the impression Alan King’s Bakbenscher would rather swim than gallop given the choice, so these conditions should be absolutely perfect – indeed, he’s unbeaten in three starts on ground officially termed Heavy.

Already a winner of two starts over hurdles, he returned to the smaller obstacles after a poor showing in the Racing Post Chase back in February, but failed to spark at Newbury last time out.

This though represents one of the rare occasions where he really does have ‘his’ ground, and reported to have worked well since Newbury he’s worth risking as an each way proposition to at least make the frame, with Stoke firm Bet365 offering 10/1 and 1/4 odds.

King has his team in good nick, as four winners in the last five days would suggest, and something of an upset could be on the cards on a day where there might be the odd surprise.

The card at Haydock is rounded off with a very good 0-140 Handicap Hurdle over three miles, and I hope I’m not barking up the wrong tree in suggesting the Haydock-loving Barafundle could be the one to give them all a headache for Jennie Candlish and Alan O’Keeffe.

I’ve already mentioned top weight isn’t ideal on a day like this, but after making a satisfactory return from 18 months off the track in November there’s a real feeling that this guy could be quite a bit better than his mark of 133.

In a field where Joseph Mercer and Alpha Victor also look to hold strong claims, you can also say there are a couple who can have a line put straight through them, hopefully simplifying the task for Barafundle.

Prior to his layoff this horse, who’s still only an eight year old, caught the eye when 10 lengths second to no less than Grands Crus on this track in November 2010, before scooting up six days later at Newbury.

He couldn’t land a blow in the 2011 Pertemps Final, but returned from the sidelines last month with a promising fourth to Long Walk Hurdle bound Trustan Times here on Betfair Chase day.

He’s won on Soft and been placed on Heavy, and besides that I would rarely hesitate to back a son of Flemensfirth over a staying trip on testing ground.

The handicapper gave this fella a chance when dropping him from 140 to 133 while he was off the track, and that could be decisive if he can rediscover his old zest.

A slice of Paddy Power’s 11/2 already has my name on it.

Meanwhile, down at Ascot they’ll be looking forward to what could be a cracking renewal of the Ladbroke Handicap Hurdle at 3.10pm (live on Channel 4).

It’s difficult to rule out many of the 21 runners with confidence, but one who appeals strongly at a big price is the Nigel Twiston-Davies runner Double Ross.

Formerly with Iain Ferguson in Ireland this horse has done really well in 13 starts since joining his current stable, failing to make the frame on just four of those outings.

Proven time and time again on Soft ground the testing conditions should pose no problem, and this is a horse who appears to have improved after his summer break.

Two runs ago he bolted up off a mark of 130 in a 2m 5f handicap on the Sunday of Cheltenham’s Open meeting, and was then ridden more aggressively when only just failing from the front at Haydock six days later.

Similar tactics and testing ground could negate the drop in trip to two miles, and with his team in form and some luck in running it’s not hard to argue the 18/1 available each way with BetVictor looks very appetising.

Finally, it wouldn’t be Saturday without a Nicky Henderson winner live on tv, and the Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle can go the way of a horse better known for his chasing exploits in Master Of The Hall.

With Big Buck’s out of the picture at least for the time being this is a race suddenly blown wide open, and though World Hurdle third Smad Place and the talented Reve De Sivola will have their fans, my hunch is it can pay to shop for the value and side with Henderson’s 8/1 shot.

Yes he has to prove he can do it over the smaller obstacles, but Master Of The Hall hails from a stable who can do little wrong, is unbeaten in two starts at Ascot, and crucially has his ideal surface underfoot.

What’s more, Master Of The Hall’s hurdles record reads two wins and a third from just three starts!

Like Bakbenscher he’s unbeaten on Heavy, and this is a horse who is a strong stayer and who has class in abundance.

The 8/1 available with firms such as Blue Square and William Hill looks a great bet.

Good luck!

Saturday’s best bets:

1.45 Haydock Park – Bet At Bluesq.com Handicap Hurdle – 6 Bakbenscher (each way) @ 10/1 (Bet365)

2.00 Ascot – Long Walk Hurdle – 4 Master Of The Hall (win) @ 8/1 (Blue Square and William Hill)

3.10 Ascot – The Ladbroke (Handicap Hurdle) – 8 Double Ross (each way) @ 18/1 (BetVictor)

3.25 Haydock Park – Blue Square Bet Handicap Hurdle – 1 Barafundle (win) @ 11/2 (Paddy Power)

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Posted 4 years, 11 months ago

21 Jan
2012

Fine Filly Salley Primed For Ascot Honours Among Saturday’s Best Bets

I don’t suppose Prunella Dobbs and her team have sent Our Girl Salley across from Ireland from their Dunganstown, County Wicklow base for a breath of the Berkshire air, and she can defy a penalty to take the spoils in this afternoon’s Grade 2 1942 Was A Vintage Year Mares’ Hurdle at Ascot, 2.05pm live on Channel 4.

Having stumped up the Euros to take their seven year old daughter of 1989 Arc de Triomphe winner Carroll House across the Irish Sea, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see them go floating back tomorrow night with a cheque for £22,780 in the back burner plus a decent celebratory hangover to tide them by too.

James ‘Cracknell’ Griffin, the rising star of the Irish commentary ranks and heir apparent to Irish calling legend Tony O’Hehir, has been over to ride her out on the track and he reportedly got a great feel from her, the mare having travelled across and acclimatised well.

The winner of four of her eight starts over hurdles she was seen to best effect at Leopardstown at Christmas, bouncing back to peak form to take a Grade 3 event at Leopardstown with a bit to spare.

It’s no mistake that she has earned a mark of 139, she has quality stamped through her like a stick of rock, and despite the weight concession she can give them all something to think about, especially as Barry Geraghty (on board for all four of her hurdles wins) is clearly a vital compenent and is available to take a mount he clearly enjoys.

Question marks about the remainder bolster confidence, and at half the price I wouldn’t be rushing to back Kentford Grey Lady, despite her convincing win over a staying trip last time given that there wasn’t huge strength in depth to the race she won.

The burning question is will Our Girl Salley have enough petrol in the tank at the business end of the race to get the job done since this is her first attempt at three miles?

I thought she stayed on really well for pressure at Christmas time over two and a half miles, and certainly wasn’t emptying by any stretch of the imagination.

The better ground will help in that respect, and given she’s now seven I can see her staying every inch.

You’d have to think she’d be shorter than the 3/1 available with any of Bet365, Betfred or Stan James if she were trained by someone more fashionable, but don’t let that deter you from trying to back a winner, especially as Ladbrokes clearly fancy her and are ducking the issue with a quote of just 9/4, a tip in itself.

Also at Ascot the feature event arrives at 3.10pm with the 25th running of the Victor Chandler Chase, and what a cracker it could turn out to be, not least because the sponsors, Bet Victor, have come up with a real beauty of an offer to mark the occasion – new and existing customers get their money back (in the form of a free bet) for a £25 stake win or lose on any selection in the race.

Under those circumstances it seems a shame not to take advantage, and we could do worse than keep the faith with Philip Hobbs’s Wishfull Thinking in the colours of owner Diana Whateley.

Clearly he’ll have to return to his very best to chin the market leaders, but he was only just run out of it by the re-opposing Finian’s Rainbow at Kempton latest, and if connections can get him to run less free in the early stages he’ll be a danger to all.

Given that there’s a risk free £25 at 13/2 going begging with Bet Victor you can afford to take that chance.

Victor Chandler Chase Odds Comparison

By some miracle Haydock has passed its inspection, and I thought David Pipe’s proven mudlark Consigliere was worthy of further attention in the feature Peter Marsh Chase at 3.30pm.

The winner of six of his 24 chase starts he’ll love the prevailing conditions, is bang in form after a spell in the doldrums, and has proven he can be competitive off a mark of 145.

Rather like Our Girl Salley he’s maturing and looks worth a try at a longer trip, and though there are no guarantees he shapes as though he’ll stay three miles at this stage of his career.

In a race with no standout solution Consigliere looks worthy of an each way nibble at 10/1 with Boylesports or Coral.

Good luck!

Saturday’s best bets:

2.05 Ascot – 1942 Was A Vintage Year Mares’ Hurdle – 1 Our Girl Salley (win) @ 3/1 (Bet365, Betfred or Stan James)

3.10 Ascot – Victor Chandler Chase – 8 Wishfull Thinking (win) @ 13/2 (Bet Victor – n.b. £25 free bet to same stake irrespective of result)

3.30 Haydock Park – Peter Marsh Chase (H’Cap) – 3 Consigliere (each way) @ 10/1 (Boylesports or Coral)

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Posted 5 years, 10 months ago

16 Dec
2011

Grounds For Confidence On Ladbroke Hurdle Day

With a bit of luck both Ascot and Haydock can escape the worst of the wintery weather to make up a cracking six race double bill live on Channel 4 on Saturday afternoon.

It’s an early start for yours truly in front of the Morning Line cameras, and it should be a show well worth tuning in for with guest contributions from the BHA’s Director of Security Paul Scotney, plus top rider Christian Williams.

I’ll also be out and about chatting to Ascot Clerk of the Course Chris Stickels, plus Ladbrokes very own David Cameron look and sound-a-like David Williams who’ll be unveiling news of their best punter friendly concessions on one of the key days in the Magic Sign’s sponsorship portfolio.

At the time of writing rumour has it that’ll mean Ladbrokes offering to refund stakes on the horse who finishes second to Big Bucks in the Long Walk, which essentially for many people will mean a bet to nothing on the improving Dynaste. Not bad.

Out on the track there’s plenty to say about Saturday’s racing, but both main cards will be hugely influenced by the weather and indeed the relatively testing conditions if they get the go ahead.

Ascot’s ground was changed to Soft ahead of Friday’s card, while Haydock is Heavy having absorbed a lot of rain, but also threatened by snow and frost.

Fingers crossed they can survive at the Newton-le-Willows track, as I’ve got their 2m 4f handicap hurdle scheduled for 2.10pm down to just two options, both of whom will thrive on the ground while others are dropping like flies.

Both are towards the head of the weights, but both are sizeable prices and certainly worth chancing on a day which could throw up some decent priced winners.

First up is Philip Hobbs’ six-year-old Priolo gelding Pateese, who isn’t well treated off 140 but does have decent Conditional Matt Griffiths on top to alleviate some of his big weight.

He looked a totally different animal on Soft ground when scooting up in a Sandown handicap off 128 at the start of November, and off the back of that effort went off favourite for the Greatwood no less (which may have come too quick).

He has only been out of the frame twice in nine starts over hurdles, and can take advantage of these conditions to run a big race at 9/1 each way with Victor Chandler.

Backing two in the same race isn’t my ideal approach, but sometimes it can be considered a necessary evil, as it is in the case of Venetia Williams’ mud lover Houblon Des Obeaux.

There were whispers from within his stable that he might have a genuine chance at the top level in the Triumph Hurdle after he got the job done in deep ground in the Victor Ludorum at Haydock in February, but this will be the first time since then he’s had his ground and only his third handicap, and even that’s from a reduced mark.

As a course winner he deserves respect, and at 12/1 each way with Ladbrokes i’d be in no way surprised if he popped up here.

I’m sure you’ve already read that Donald McCain has given Peddlers Cross the day off rather than risk him on bottomless ground at Haydock, but one stable star making the short journey from Cheshire is Wymott, who’ll be fully revved up for his attempt at the feature Tommy Whittle Handicap Chase at 2.45pm.

On ground he’ll love he has a favourite’s chance, and can net his first win since February.

Down at Ascot had the ground remained Good I’d have been gearing up for a tilt at Massini’s Maguire in the Silver Cup on just his second run for David Pipe, but leaving that contest well alone I’ll fast forward to the final race on the card, Europe’s most valuable Handicap Hurdle no less, in the shape of the Ladbroke Hurdle at 3.35pm.

Favourite Prospect Wells joined Paul Nicholls from Howard Johnson in the summer, and has hit the ground running with a pair of wins at Chepstow and Newbury sandwiching a highly creditable effort at Cheltenham, when he was worn down in the dying strides by Steps To Freedom.

He was very handy on the Flat, and might be a good thing with Ruby up and mark of 142 guaranteeing a lovely racing weight (10.9), but 4/1 is short enough for one with so little experience (only three starts over timber), and there is a chance he might find it happening all a bit too fast against seasoned pros.

Over the last few campaigns the stats are rotten for the four year olds, with a recent record of 0-27 enough to concern anyone thinking of backing fancied contenders such as Prospect Wells’ stablemate Brampour (who’s technically nine pounds well in but has top weight), sole Irish challenger Sailors Warn, or northern contender Abergavenny.

Interestingly the stats also show that the last eight winners were aged between five and seven, and most had run no more than ten times in this discipline.

One who conforms, acts on the ground, and might be a shorter price if he hailed from a more fashionable stable is Lucy Wadham’s Alarazi, who was smart on the Flat when with John Oxx, has had a run to sharpen him up, and might think Christmas has come early with a feather weight to carry and the great Richard Johnson on his back.

You don’t need a long memory to recall him hacking up in the Imperial Cup in March, and though he hasn’t won since he has been highly tried, and to me it seems far too soon to write off this good looking son of Spectrum, which freely available quotes of 20/1 appear to.

Bet365, Boylesports, Ladbrokes or Stan James will all lay you the top price.

Good luck!

Saturday’s best bets:

2.10 Haydock – Maxilead Metals Supports Alder Hey Imagine Appeal Handicap Hurdle – 2 Pateese (each way) @ 9/1 (Victor Chandler)

2.10 Haydock – Maxilead Metals Supports Alder Hey Imagine Appeal Handicap Hurdle – 3 Houblon Des Obeaux (each way) @ 12/1 (Ladbrokes)

2.45 Haydock – Maxilead Metals Tommy Whittle Handicap Chase – 2 Wymott (win) @ 7/2 (Boylesports or William Hill)

3.35 Ascot – The Ladbroke Handicap Hurdle – 11 Alarazi (each way) @ 20/1 (Bet365, Boylesports, Ladbrokes or Stan James)

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Posted 5 years, 11 months ago

23 Sep
2011

Hannon At The Double Amongst Saturday’s Best Bets

There’s stacks of good racing to enjoy all over the country on Saturday afternoon, not least at Newmarket where the Cheveley Park – Sun Chariot – Cambridgeshire fixture takes centre stage live on Channel 4.

Richard Hannon’s lightning quick Exceed And Excel filly Best Terms ought to prove very hard to beat in the Group 1 Jaguar Cars Cheveley Park Stakes over six furlongs 2.35pm, especially in light of how easily she saw off the re-opposing quintet Hello Glory, Sunday Times, Angels Will Fall, Lady Gorgeous and Shumoos on her first try at this trip in the Lowther at York.

Proven on faster ground she has been massively impressive in a four race career so far, winning every time in the manner of a classy animal.

First up in April she saw off a very attractive filly Heyward Girl at Windsor, before following up in a four horse race at Newbury in mid-May.

She built on that with a win in Royal Ascot’s Queen Mary back in June, and having added the Lowther to her CV I expect her unbeaten record to remain intact come Saturday night.

A win bet at the generally available 5/4, including Bet365 and Paddy Power is the advice.

The other Group 1 on the card at HQ arrives via the Kingdom Of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes at 3.10pm, a race I also expect to fall to the market leader as Rod Collet’s Saphresa goes for her third win on the bounce in this contest.

Her form this season is rock solid, with a Group 3 win at Longchamp complimented by a second to Timepiece (who runs here) in the Falmouth at the July Meeting, as well as a second to Goldikova in the Prix Rothschild (Timepiece was third) and a third to Immortal Verse in the Jacques Le Marois.

An in form mare at the top of her game boasting a 66% strike rate on the Rowley Mile has to be a danger to all, and as long as there’s at least some pace on I expect her to complete the hat-trick.

Christophe Lemaire will surely be alive to the danger posed by Timepiece nicking a cheeky advantage, while Alanza has to improve on everything she’s done so far to figure, though she is very fast and John Oxx isn’t one to tilt at windmills.

Alanza is respected, but Saphresa should have too many guns for them, and the 9/4 with Coral looks worth taking.

If you’re hungry for one at a bigger price then head to Market Raspberry for their feature Handicap Chase at 2.50pm – the one I like in a wide open race is Peter Bowen’s North Island, a 16/1 shot with any of Betfred, Coral or Victor Chandler.

A course and distance winner in July the nine year old has won three of his ten starts over fences, hails from a stable who’ve won this three times since 2007 (sole representative for them!), goes on the ground and is only four pounds above his last winning mark.

Jamie Moore clearly gets a good tune out of him, and from the bottom of the weights he can make an impression at a big each way price.

I mentioned in the title of this article my expectation of a Hannon double on Saturday afternoon, and that can be realised in Milan where his top miler Dick Turpin lines up in the Group 1 Premio Vittorio Di Capua at 3.15pm.

Already a scorer at this level after his win in the Prix Jean Prat last summer, more Group 1 glory beckons for July’s Summer Mile winner, and this looks a weak race for the prize money. Win bet.

Good luck!

Saturday’s best bets:

2.35 Newmarket – Jaguar Cars Cheveley Park Stakes – 2 Best Terms (win) @ 5/4 (Bet365, William Hill, Ladbrokes or Paddy Power)

2.50 Market Rasen – Totepool “Prelude” Handicap Chase – 15 North Island (each way) @ 16/1 (Betfred, Coral or Victor Chandler)

3.10 Newmarket – Kingdom Of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes – 4 Saphresa (win) @ 9/4 (Coral)

3.15 San Siro – Premio Vittorio Di Capua – 2 Dick Turpin (win)

http://tips.betting-directory.com/out.php?url=16

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Posted 6 years, 1 month ago

17 Aug
2011

Time To Turn The Air Blue In Darley Yorkshire Oaks – Thursday’s Tips

York’s four day Ebor Meeting got off to a flyer on Wednesday afternoon, and more of the same will do very nicely with three days of top notch action lined up and ready to go.

Thursday’s big race is the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks (3.40pm, live on C4), and after she did this column a huge favour when getting up to deny Banimpire in the Irish Oaks at the Curragh a month ago, there’s no way I can advise anything other than a win bet on Blue Bunting for Godolphin and Frankie Dettori.

Speed, stamina and an abundance of grit mark this daughter of Dynamformer down as a special filly, and she needed all of those qualities and more when seeing off the re-opposing Banimpire on Yielding ground in Ireland 32 days previously.

The short head winning margin suggests there isn’t much between them, but I fancy them to fight out a decent finish and Blue Bunting to prevail once again, especially as this is a home game for her whereas as Banimpire has to travel here from Ireland.

It’s been some season for Mahmood Al Zarooni’s flagbearer, with an English Guineas to go on the mantelpiece alongside her top level Irish win, and at 3/1 with William Hill I’m very keen on the idea of her adding a third Group 1 to her haul for the 2011 campaign.

Of the opposition Banimpire is clearly made of a sturdy stuff and isn’t one to throw the towel in when a scrap is in the offing, but a series of hard races could have left their mark.

Of the older mares Crystal Capella is the obvious one, but she rarely manages to put it together at this rarified level, and what’s more the challenge of conceding 10lbs to three years olds as good as these looks beyond her if you ask me.

Keep it simple: a decent sized bet on Blue Bunting to win the Darley Yorkshire Oaks at 3/1 with Hills is the way forward.

York should suit her and the ground will be perfect.

Elsewhere on the card some very good juvenile fillies line up in the Group 2 Lowther Stakes over six furlongs at 2.30pm, and the one that stands out in my eyes is Barry Hills’ unbeaten Angels Will Fall, who arrives here in great nick after scorching the turf on her debut at Windsor (over five furlongs), and then successfully stepping up to six when a winner at Ascot in July.

Like several in what looks an above average renewal of the contest she looks to have bags of scope for improvement, but I really liked the way she went about her business on similar ground at Ascot, and at 4/1 with Bet365 or Paddy Power she looks worthy of an interest.

If you’re looking for one at bigger odds don’t be afraid to throw a few quid each way at Tony Newcombe’s Leviathan in the 20 runner Addleshaw Goddard Handicap at 3.05pm.

I’m absolutely convinced this fella has got one of these in him, and with a lovely low racing weight (the handicapper dropped him a pound to 91 after his last outing) I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Steve Drowne was able to put his nose in front when it matters, and at 20/1 with either Victor Chandler or Paddy Power I’m looking forward to seeing if he can.

Here he steps back up to a mile after failing to run his race at Ascot over shorter last time out, but if you think back to his Salisbury win in June off 89, or his unlucky seventh at Sandown on Eclipse day then he must have a squeak in this.

Having run respectably there in the past the track won’t hold any surprises for him, and an each way investment beckons.

Good luck!

Thursday’s best bets at York:

2.30 – Jaguar Cars Lowther Stakes – 4 Angels Will Fall (win) @ 4/1 (Bet365 or Paddy Power)

3.05 – Addleshaw Goddard Stakes (Handicap) – 16 Leviathan (each way) @ 20/1 (Victor Chandler or Paddy Power)

3.40 – Darley Yorkshire Oaks – 6 Blue Bunting (win) @ 3/1 (William Hill)

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Posted 6 years, 3 months ago

13 Aug
2011

I Need A Dollar – Saturday’s Newbury Tips

It’s threatening to be a lovely day here in Newbury, with an early band of rain clearing away to reveal blue skies and even a hint of sunshine.

If you saw Morning Line earlier on today you’ll know we reported just 2.5mm of rain overnight; happily it seems to have bypassed the racecourse given that John Francome tells me it ‘lashed down all night’ in nearby Lambourn.

Either way, Clerk of the Course Richard Osgood reports the ground to be unchanged from yesterday at Good, but if it does ease between now and this afternoon I’m happy to be with a pair of horses who both boast form on rain softened going.

If you were watching this morning you’ll know I was keen to be with a selection in both of the Group races, the first of which is the CGA Geoffrey Freer Stakes at 3.05pm, live on Channel 4.

It’s a contest in which, of the older horses, Meeznah must have a big shout with the mares’ allowance, especially on the back of her convincing Goodwood Group 3 win last time out.

My feeling is though that she may have to give best to one of the three year olds (who are all in receipt of a handy 11lbs), notably runaway Royal Ascot winner Brown Panther.

He won the King George V Handicap at the Royal Meeting by a whopping six lengths despite being eased close home (Good to Soft), beating the re-opposing Census into second when receiving three pounds, and although he was perhaps a shade disappointing when only fifth in the German Derby at Hamburg when sent off 7/4 market leader on heavy ground, he definitely strikes me as a horse from whom there’s stacks more to come.

I find it fascinating that bookmakers have him at 14/1 for the St Leger when Census is only 12/1, though in fairness Richard Hannon’s horse did go on to finish an excellent second to Masked Marvel in a Newmarket Group 3 at the July Meeting.

The step up in trip and any rain don’t do any damage to Brown Panther’s chances, and though I have an inkling lightly-raced Yaseer might run a big race in first time blinkers, I’m very happy to take 5/1 with any of Bet365, Ladbrokes, Stan James or William Hill.

Just 35 minutes later it’s time for the feature Group 2 CGA Hungerford Stakes, a race in which there’s support on the exchanges for Richard Hannon’s Dubawi Gold after he was tipped up by our studio guest Richard Hughes this morning.

It’s a cracking contest, especially as Delegator returns following his Lennox Stakes disappointment trying to concede weight to all comers, but as with the Geoffrey Freer I’m sweet on one of the Classic generation, with Marco Botti’s talented Excelebration the one to be with for my money.

Twice thwarted by Frankel this season, first when second in the Greenham over the seven furlong course and distance, and then when third at Royal Ascot in the St James’s Palace Stakes, he has no such roadblock to contend with this afternoon.

Rated 117, those creditable displays bookended an easy win at Cologne on Soft ground in the German 2,000 Guineas, and at 5/2 with Bet365 I expect him to stamp his authority later today.

Good luck!

Saturday’s best bets at Newbury:

3.05 – CGA Geoffrey Freer Stakes – 8 Brown Panther (win) @ 5/1 (Bet365, Ladbrokes, Stan James or William Hill)

3.40 – CGA Hungerford Stakes – 10 Excelebration (win) @ 5/2 (Bet365)

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Posted 6 years, 3 months ago

17 Jul
2011

Keep The Blue Flying High In Sunday’s Irish Oaks

Four times in the last 10 years the Darley Irish Oaks has gone the way of an English visitor, with Ed Dunlop’s Lailani doing the business in 2001, the great Ouija Board following up for the same stable in 2004 as part of an English-Irish Oaks double, while Michael Bell’s Sariska also did the double in 2009………if that wasn’t enough Dunlop returned with Snow Fairy 12 months ago, as she too did the Oaks double.

This afternoon Dancing Rain attempts to complete the very same swoop for William Haggas and Johnny Murtagh, but having taken a slowly run race at Epsom I’m far from convinced she’ll be able to repeat the trick, especially with a couple of confirmed front runners likely to go off at a fair lick.

I’m not sure Haggas and connections could believe their luck at at the start of June – but punters have short memories, prior to the Oaks Dancing Rain was beaten in a listed race at Newbury by eventual Epsom third Izzi Top, and others make more appeal.

A huge variable which could change the dynamics of this afternoon’s race arrived with yesterday’s persistent rain, with the ground changed to Yielding with further downpours predicted for today.

Cheshire Oaks winner Wonder Of Wonders is they key element of the ‘home’ team for Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore, but she is drifting violently on the exchanges this morning (5/4 from 10/11), and with the rain softened ground not certain to suit perhaps that will be her undoing.

She’ll certainly appreciate a better pace than when second to Dancing Rain in the English Classic, but she had multiple chances to go and win her race that day, and although the winner got a masterful ride you can’t escape the fact she was unable to win what might turn out to be a modest Epsom race.

At around even money with the firms I wouldn’t be rushing to get involved, especially as the one I’m keen to back is available at far bigger odds, with Godolphin filly Blue Bunting a 9/2 poke with Ladbrokes or William Hill to add to her Newmarket Guineas victory back in May.

She looked very much the real deal when winning under Frankie Dettori at Newmarket, but nothing went her way at Epsom – she pulled hard as they dawdled early on, and was clearly unable to deal with the unique demands of Epsom as she was shuffled back through the pack on the downhill turn, having to be switched three furlongs from home.

It was hard not to feel a degree of sympathy for her that day, and with the Curragh likely to provide a much fairer verdict she is worth another squeak to redeem herself, having gone off favourite for the Epsom version.

Bred to stay every inch, she has winning form on Good to Soft, and can serve it up to them here as long as the ground doesn’t become a quagmire.

I wouldn’t put a line straight through tough as teak Ribblesdale winner Banimpire either, but whether or not she will quite have the class to go with these is open to debate, especially as this is her eighth race of a very hard season.

Laughing Lashes was a top class two year old and has found her way into today’s Pricewise column, but she surely has stamina doubts to answer despite staying on well to take third in the Irish Guineas, and at 9/2 I’ll happily roll with Blue Bunting.

Good luck!

Sunday’s best bet at the Curragh:

3.45 – Darley Irish Oaks – 3 Blue Bunting (win) @ 9/2 (Ladbrokes or William Hill)

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Posted 6 years, 4 months ago

09 Jul
2011

Mais Oui, Monsieur – Help Yourself To The Darley July Cup

Too much racing, too little racing, it seems you really never can keep everyone happy all of the time, but there does seem to be an enormous amount of sport to try and wade through on a bumper Saturday in the racing calendar.

With Channel 4 betting ring duties being delivered with her customary ease by my solid as a rock colleague Tanya Stevenson this week it’s a trip to Chester for yours truly, and with it an opportunity to back a winner around the Roodee’s tightly knit left-handed circuit, with rookie trainer Roger Varian’s Long Awaited the one that caught my eye in the six furlong 0-90 handicap at 3.25pm.

Sharper than a very sharp object Chester doesn’t suit all comers, but if this three year old son of Pivotal does handle the unique demands in store then a second career win is well within reach.

We know for certain he’ll handle the softish ground (officially Good to Soft at the time of writing), and following the customary three runs he’s been put in with a mark of 83 for his handicap debut against some thoroughly exposed older stagers.

As the only three year old in the race he receives a chunky weight allowance, is unexposed and looked full of potential when hacking up over this trip in a Ripon maiden last time out.

I see the Racing Post tissue make him clear favourite, and rightly so. Win bet.

Couch potatoes among you are in for a rare treat with the Channel 4 cameras all over the shop, including the Group 2 totesport.com Summer Mile in which I’m nailing my colours firmly the mast of old favourite Dick Turpin.

It could be very close between him and Cityscape given that Dick Turpin has to concede three pounds, especially in light of the two and a quarter length margin of victory recorded by Richard Hannon’s charge when the pair met at level weights at Sandown in April.

Bookmakers make Cityscape favourite given that he arrives off the back of a magnificent display when third behind Canford Cliffs and Goldikova in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot, whereas Dick Turpin is trying to get back to his sparkling best after a pair of disappointments in the Lockinge and the Prix D’Ispahan.

It isn’t just a two horse race either, with in-form Side Glance and reliable sort Red Jazz also in the mix, but although there may be a degree of sentimentality attached to this selection I’d want Dick Turpin on my side every time against these, and if he’s back to his proven Group 1 winning best (connections bullish after a good break) then he will win.

It’s a risk I’m happy to indulge. Win bet at 3/1 with William Hill.

Much has been made of Newmarket’s determination to run their July Cup card on a Saturday for the first time, and I have a lot of sympathy for racing professionals having to try and service so much key racing on one day, but in the short term it’s here to stay, so let’s at least try and mark the occasion with a winner or two.

They open at 2.20pm with the 32red.com Superlative Stakes, and the field of 11 contains some potentially top class juveniles, not least market leader Fort Bastion for Richard Hannon and Olivier Peslier.

Peslier endeared himself to nobody at all when putting up two pounds overweight only to then be beaten a length on Goldikova in the aforementioned Queen Anne, but hopefully he can make some headlines for rather more positive reasons on this occasion.

Fort Bastion’s performed with huge credit at Royal Ascot, going clear with Maybe in the Chesham Stakes and eventually going down a couple of lengths when conceding five pounds to a very good filly.

Take her out and he’d have won easily that day, and having been very well supported in the market that day you get the impression this Lawman colt won’t have to wait long to grace a winner’s enclosure.

A repeat effort will see him go mighty close. Win bet.

The Darley July Cup is the gem on a richly decorated Newmarket schedule, and though it has a look about as wide open as Kevin Keegan’s bizarre nine men up front tactics when Newcastle blundered away the title in 1996, I thought a little bit each way on yet another Richard Hannon inmate Monsieur Chevalier would give us a very good chance of collecting.

Six times a winner in his juvenile season, everything is in place for a bold show under Kieren Fallon.

Half a length second to Society Rock in Royal Ascot’s Golden Jubilee on what was only his third run back after a bad injury, he isn’t so much knocking as hammering on the door, and with a bit of luck in running on a track which will suit he can go close.

The list of dangers is never ending, but I really do think Monsieur Chevalier is going to win a big one, and at 11/1 with Sportingbet or 10/1 with Ladbrokes (who are betting 1/3 odds 1-2-3) I’d kick my self if this the day and I’m not on.

Good luck!

Saturday’s best bets:

2.20 Newmarket – 32red.com Superlative Stakes – 3 Fort Bastion (win) @ 9/4 with Coral

3.25 Chester – Totequickpick Handicap – 13 Long Awaited (win) @ 9/4 with Skybet

3.35 Newmarket – Darley July Cup – 8 Monsieur Chevalier (each way) @ 11/1 (Sportingbet)

3.45 Ascot – totesport.com Summer Mile – 1 Dick Turpin (win) @ 3/1 (William Hill)

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Posted 6 years, 4 months ago

08 Jul
2011

Saphresa To Rule The Roost In Friday’s Falmouth Stakes

I’ll be keeping it simple on the July course on Friday afternoon, with my only fiscal involvement a win bet on Falmouth Stakes jolly Saphresa, as she bids for her third win from five appearances on English soil.

Fingers crossed connections of Rod Collet’s top class mare will be facing the enviable problem of converting the £90,000 winnner’s cheque into Euros – if the six year old can arrive in the form which has seen her bag back to back runnings of the Sun Chariot Stakes across town on the Rowley Mile.

The big race, live on Channel 4 at 3pm, has attracted a quality field of 11 fillies and mares, but there’s no doubting the strongest credentials lie with Christophe Lemaire’s mount:

Boasting career earnings of a whopping £814,308 after 16 starts she has blossomed into a serious money spinner, twice laying down the law in Newmarket’s big end of season mares’ race, as well as hugely lucrative third in the Hong Kong Mile at Sha Tin back in December.

Back against her own sex she should be hard to beat, especially as she’s proven her versatility on a wide range of going, and performed with distinction in her warm up race.

Dropping down in trip to seven furlongs, she gave a stone and a comprehensive thrashing to Freddie Head’s Moonlight Cloud (the filly sent off favourite for the English Guineas!) in a Longchamp Group 3 at the start of June.

Moonlight Cloud has since franked that form by winning in Group company, and it gives further credence to the suggestion Saphresa is not just as good as ever, but might even be improving even further….

If she is you’d have to fear for her 10 opponents, especially with question marks surrounding Maqaasid over a mile, as well as the undercurrent of feeling that River Jetez might not be fully wound up for this, with greater international targets in mind later in the year.

I’m a big Saphresa fan, and I think she’ll win.

Good luck!

Friday’s best bet at Newmarket:

3.00 – Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes – 6 Saphresa (win) @ 3/1 (Bet365, Boylesports, Paddy Power, Victor Chandler or William Hill)

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Posted 6 years, 4 months ago

15 Jun
2011

It’s Time For A Field Day – Wednesday’s Royal Ascot Tips

We should be in for a treat on Wednesday afternoon as my long range fancy for the Arc sits a thorough examination of his Group 1 credentials – the scene is set for a humdinger in the feature Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (live on BBC2, 3.45pm) as Australian import So You Think lines up against some of the highest calibre opponents around in Planteur and Twice Over.

With Aidan O’Brien’s charge a 1/2 shot to pass his latest examination it’s a race to savour, but with feet up and funds invested elswhere, and there are a couple of big prices on the card which could well pay dividends:

All Wednesday’s

A field of 13 high class fillies and mares line up in the Group 2 Windsor Forest Stakes at 3.05pm, and it’s a race in which I’m very keen to have an each way interest in Brian Meehan’s Field Day, a daughter of Cape Cross who has plenty going for her in that she’s the winner of three of her eight starts and benefits from the assistance of Ryan Moore in the saddle, but is freely available at 25/1 with Victor Chandler, Stan James or SkyBet.

It’s an open looking contest, and although I think the bookmakers are correct in going for ex-Michael Jarvis filly Sajjhaa at the front of the market (now with Godolphin she got to within two lengths of Midday at York in receipt of five pounds) it’s a race in which we might just see a shock result.

For the price of a betting slip bearing the name of Field Day you get a very strong stayer who’ll go on the ground, and is already a course winner.

Her course win came last summer in the listed Valiant Stakes, a contest in which she comfortably beat the re-opposing Chachamaidee (2nd trying to concede four pounds), and I’m A Dreamer (5th at level weights beaten over five lengths!), a run which was followed by a very good Group 3 second at Deauville.

Looking again at that Ascot race in July a filly she beat easily in the shape of I’m A Dreamer is now 5/1 for the Windsor Forest, but we can back Field Day at five times the price.

Albeit at the start of this campaign the pair met again in the Group 3 Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket and the placings were reversed (I’m A Dreamer 10/1 1st, Field Day beaten eight lengths back in 4th but sent off 5/1 co-fav), but on a different day on a different track who’s to say Field Day won’t bounce back and re-assert her previous authority?

After all, she’s got proven for in the book which says she can….

Encouragingly last season Meehan saw fit to aim for the skies by running Field Day in the Group 1 Prix De L’Opera on Arc weekend, and she certainly didn’t disappoint with a pleasing fourth placed finish in exalted company.

Her two runs this season haven’t been quite up to scratch, but if she can bounce back to her best on a more suitable track in the hands of the best pilot, then there’s no way in the world she should be written off as a 25/1 rag.

Perhaps you can also suggest that Brian Meehan’s horses haven’t been firing on all cylinders, but he did have a winner at Leicester on Saturday, plus a Doncaster treble the week before.

At the price I’m very happy to back her each way.

The Royal Hunt Cup (4.25pm) is as fiendishly difficult as ever, but however many times I go through it the one I keep coming back to is County Tyrone handler Andrew Oliver’s Super Say, a five year old gelding making his first start in this country who has bags of scope for improvement, and looks a cracking bet each way at a generally available 16/1.

Up seven pounds for his latest win at the Curragh he arrives here with a nice racing weight off a mark of 98, and simply loves the hustle and bustle of these big field handicaps.

I saw him run a couple of times last summer and you couldn’t fail to be impressed.

He remains progressive and can play a part at a sensible price, though make sure you bet with the firms offering five places each way (Bet365, Victor Chandler, Paddy Power) and don’t be suckered into surrendering a place for a couple of extra points.

Good luck!

Wednesday’s best bets at Royal Ascot:

3.05 – Windsor Forest Stakes – 4 Field Day (each way) @ 25/1 (Victor Chandler, Stan James or SkyBet)

4.25 – Royal Hunt Cup (Handicap) – 7 Super Say (each way) @ 16/1 (Bet365, Victor Chandler, Paddy Power)

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Posted 6 years, 5 months ago