Friday, 23 September 2022

Friday 23rd & Saturday 24th September 2022: Magic to Cause Major Middle Park Mischief

Thursday’s action has truly whetted the appetite for the remainder of Newmarket’s Cambridgeshire meeting, with Friday and Saturday providing some stunning action.

The Rowley Mile is our main focus on a very busy betting weekend, with the big handicap and the Royal Lodge being admittedly fascinating watching briefs only.

Friday 23rd September 2022 

1.50 Newmarket (Rosemary Stakes – Listed Race) – ZANBAQ

The trainers, jockeys and colours in this one-mile Listed contest are all very familiar, but in truth this isn’t the strongest race of its type.

Juddmonte pair Whitebeam and Crenelle are hard to separate, while Crystal Caprice and the overpriced Thundershower join them in a similar quality bracket.

The standout is Zanbaq for Roger Varian and Shadwell. She was fancied for the Guineas at one point, put in a terrific handicap run at Royal Ascot and has everything required to outpace and/or outclass this field.

2.05 Haydock (Handicap) – VINTAGE CHOICE 

Skipping up to Haydock for a moment, we have a chance to back what just might be a handicap blot.

This is a wide-open race on the betting book, but one of Croupier, Foden or Moon Watch it seems will have to take a big jump forward to stand out. Vintage Choice however has already shown enough for me and only needs natural improvement from his second at Wolverhampton in April.

He was favourite here when last seen but was beaten after being gelded. Before that she showed good form and good speed on the Tapeta surface at Wolverhampton which may yet prove to be important in the context of this race.

William Haggas sends only this horse to Haydock and jockey Adam Farragher is on hand for a couple of rides. He hasn’t been riding any winners in the last couple of weeks, but he has five from 40 this year and still claims a handy 5lbs.

2.25 Newmarket (Princess Royal Stakes – Group 3) – ETERNAL PEARL 

A good race over the mile and a half. Sea Silk Road beat Eternal Pearl earlier in the year and now gets 3lbs, making her the clear favourite. It was a narrow win however and she had slightly more experience than her then very immature rival.

Eternal Pearl has got her head right now and was rather impressive last time in France. She will appreciate the quicker ground and can use her turn of foot to put this race to bed.

3.00 Newmarket (Rockfel Stakes – Group 2) – COMMISSIONING 

The Rockfel is getting a bit of stick for not being a strong Group 2, but the Gosdens’ Commissioning is a classy once-raced Kingman filly who could be Group 1 class. She may return in two weeks for the Fillies’ Mile.

Olivia Maralda, Rage Of Bamby, Rich, Eximius and Dance In The Grass can all make a mark.

3.35 Newmarket (Joel Stakes – Group 2) – POTAPOVA 

The Joel is always a strong race. Tempus is classy but faces different conditions, Pogo can run similarly to last year’s Joel but in a better renewal, while Oscula is admirable but this may be a step too far.

I’ve always been a fan of Mutasaabeq and see him as a 115 horse, but an on-song Potapova getting 3lbs could be too good. She hasn’t always been consistent, but she’s shown numerous times she could be top class and is still improving.

4.45 Newmarket (Godolphin Stakes – Listed Race) – SISKANY 

A competitive Listed race. Passion And Glory is consistent, Candleford is dangerous if returning to his strong handicap form and Without A Fight would have a good chance against all bar the selection if it weren’t for his penalty.

Siskany could just be different class. He was back from a long break when a beaten favourite last weekend, but he badly needed that and it’s more than a little interesting that Charlie Appleby runs him again so quickly.

6.15 Newcastle (Maiden Stakes) – STAND STRONG 

There’s been lots of talk in racing about poor prize money and bad scheduling. This race should be so much better and I’m not sure where the blame lies after only seven were declared for this unusually valuable £50,000 maiden.

Trainers may get the blame again for not going for the money they’ve been asking for, but this race being scheduled during the Cambridgeshire meeting is daft as there are more important things happening in the back yards of Haggas, Gosden, Appleby and the likes. Saeed bin Suroor is sharp though and may have the winner.

I’m backing the progeny of Cracksman and this is one of them. They tend to improve plenty from their first run and Stand Strong was best of the newcomers when third at Salisbury in July.

He was around 15lbs behind Marbaan that day, the subsequent Group 2 winner rated 109. Poetic Union was a further 10lbs worse and is now rated 91 having contested two Group 3’s. That’s strong form, he’ll get better and he will appreciate Newcastle’s stiff mile.

Saturday 24th September 2022

2.25 Newmarket (Cheveley Park Stakes – Group 1) – TRILLIUM 

Swingalong was excellent at York but needs to go on again, while No Nay Never’s daughter Meditate is the one for money for the Ballydoyle operation.

The other No Nay Never, Trillium for Richard Hannon, may be the one to be on though. She has tip-top form and may have been even better when beating Nunthorpe second The Platinum Queen last time but for soft ground. She may be the best of this bunch.

3.00 Newmarket (Middle Park Stakes – Group 1) – MISCHIEF MAGIC

The other six-furlong Group 1 for juveniles is the Middle Park and it could provide yet another top-level success for Charlie Appleby.

His Mischief Magic has been underestimated for me, with the focus going on Marshman and Blackbeard. They are both good, but our horse is improving fast and looks well capable of improving past this bunch. Appleby knows where he stands with Marshman too on a line through Noble Style.

Persian Force is solid and Zoology is also interesting in his second start.

5.25 Newmarket (Handicap) – NOBLE DYNASTY 

Noble Dynasty is four, a heavy improver, and will love coming down to seven furlongs on the Rowley Mile. He is the handicap pick for certain, with good runs perhaps coming from Alrehb, The Attorney and Zainalarab.

5.40 Chester (Fillies’ Handicap) – QABILAH

Qabilah is a winner but she has always promised more. She will be very fit now having had to chase Shaara last time who has since followed up in good company, with the selection being much better than a 77 filly. 

Friday, 16 September 2022

Friday 16th & Saturday 17th September 2022: Have a Sense of Power at Newmarket

There are some potentially important juvenile races to kick off Friday at Newbury, while there are a couple of Listed events and the Bronze Cup at Ayr.

On Saturday we witness Ayr Gold Cup day and there are some good races to back it up, while Newmarket, Newbury and North America back up that action admirably.

Friday 16th September 2022

2.53 Newbury (Nursery Handicap) – THE PARENT

Richard Hannon and Ryan Moore team up with The Parent, a horse who went from second favourite to favourite in the time I wrote this piece!

He is solid in most areas, won last time in spite of the soft ground rather than because of it, has form with Highbank and Stormbuster (who both run in the next), as well as with One Nation and Sir Laurence Graff across three different races, all of which reads well.

He could prove to be the best of this bunch, with market rival Surely Not’s prowess perhaps exaggerated by an unlucky defeat last time.

4.03 Newbury (Dubai Duty Free Cup – Listed Race) – SACRED

This is high class for a Listed race, a knock-on effect you’d say of some racing being lost last weekend.

Sacred was ready to go last week, she is the best of this bunch and gets 5lbs as opposed to Jumby who gives away seven.

Saleymm is likely to have improved past old rival Shine So Bright and Tacarib Bay would be good enough for an ordinary renewal if not for this one, but Sacred ticks the most boxes.

Saturday 17th September 2022

1.40 Newbury (Legacy Cup Stakes – Group 3) – KEMARI 

This is no longer the Arc Trial, but given the relative weakness of the big one at Longchamp this year a very good winner of this may yet put their hat into the ring.

Godolphin have three here, two of them Charlie Appleby’s. It’s hard to know the first choice, with Buick away in North America and James Doyle out.

The odds suggest Siskany is their main hope, however Kemari has in my opinion achieved more despite official ratings and he has the speed to cope with this 1m3f trip. He’s also closer to proper race fitness.

2.41 Newmarket (Handicap) – SENSE OF POWER

There are much bigger and better things happening in the racing world than this seven-furlong Class 4 handicap, however on my private ratings Sense Of Power comes out well clear, more so than any other selection.

He has form with the right types, has been gelded, and would be a short price if it weren’t for his progression stalling on the all-weather last time.

Back on turf he can run to a mark of around 95-100 under Harry Davies, making his official rating of 85 look daft.

2.50 Newbury (Mill Reef Stakes – Group 2) – SAKHEER

The Mill Reef was in danger of looking like a very poor affair and while we’ve seen deeper renewals, Roger Varian’s Sakheer does at least look quality and he can win it.

Sakheer is around 7/1 for next week’s Group 1 Middle Park Stakes and, while I’m not sure a double will be attempted, he definitely has the speed and class to take this for the St Leger winning connections.

3.25 Newbury (Handicap) – OTTOMAN FLEET 

Similar to the Legacy Cup, Charlie Appleby’s two may have been priced up all wrong and again it’s the outsider of the pair I like.

Warren Point is very much on the up and isn’t a surprising favourite, however he is of a similar ability to stablemate Ottoman Fleet who has had one race fewer and who could improve past him. To add to that, he’s 3lbs lower in the handicap as well.

Their form ties in with Special Envoy who is a danger, along with Hamaki.

3.40 Ayr (Ayr Gold Cup – Heritage Handicap) – KHANJAR

We’ve seen plenty of grand old sprinters double-up in big races and last year’s Ayr Gold Cup winner Bielsa still rates highly on my book.

I can’t say he’s betting better though, with similar comments applying to the likes of Commanche Falls, Escobar and Gulliver, so they are all vulnerable to the improving three-year-old Khanjar who can prove to be the best handicapped horse in the race for William Haggas.

9.22 Woodbine (Summer Stakes – Grade 1) – MYSTERIOUS NIGHT

Albahr won this $500,000 race last year for Charlie Appleby and Godolphin and the team may well win it again.

The winner won his place in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf but was withdrawn at the start, though the team won it anyway with Modern Games, and now Mysterious Night can book his place in the gates at Keeneland on November 4. 

There is little to choose between Appraise, Philip My Dear and Stayhonor Goodside in behind.

10.35 Woodbine (Woodbine Mile – Grade 1) – MODERN GAMES

The $1million Woodbine Mile is a great opportunity for Breeders’ Cup winner, French Guineas winner and Sussex runner-up Modern Games to score under Will Buick.

He will love the fast conditions here, is genuinely top class, and is looking to get into the Breeders’ Cup Mile in November.

Ivar is the big danger, while Finest Sound may go well at a price.

10.45 Belmont at the Big A (Jockey Club Derby – Grade 3) – NATIONS PRIDE

No sooner will the Woodbine Mile be over, the Jockey Club Invitational starts.

To avoid confusion; there is work being done at Belmont and so this race is run at Aqueduct as ‘Belmont at the Big A’.

A $1million event, Yibir won this race last year en route to the scoring in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. For the same connections, Nations Pride is looking to do the same in a race that was ungraded last year, now carries Grade 3 status, and is on its way to becoming a Grade 1.

I’ve no idea of prices at the time of writing, however it’s 1-1 now between Nations Pride and Classic Causeway and I’m hoping that keeps the betting competitive. On his first American jaunt this horse got a bad ride from Frankie Dettori and a much better one next time in victory by William Buick.

As long as Frankie has learned something, he should beat his old foe for the second time.



Friday, 9 September 2022

Saturday 10th & Sunday 11th September 2022: Enter the Dragon in Flying Five

After the awful news of the Queen’s passing filtered through on Thursday evening, the decision was taken to cancel racing in Britain on Friday and Saturday.

Many within the sport as well as the vast majority of punters shared the view that, at least from the outside looking in, we think the Queen would have wanted her favourite sport to continue.

Sunday then brings a quick regathering, Doncaster putting on a nine-race card which includes the best of the action due on Friday and Saturday, including the last Classic of the season, the St Leger.

We also still get to see the Irish Champion Stakes, Flying Childers, Doncaster Cup, Champagne Stakes and Arc Trials Day over in France, though we have no bet in these races. Here’s our revised weekend betting line-up:

Saturday 10th September 2022 

1.30 Leopardstown (Ingabelle Stakes – Listed Race) – ZARINSK

With more rain having fallen at Leopardstown turning the going soft, I think there is more of a chance that a hopefully more mature Zarinsk can win for the first time since her debut in May.

Ger Lyons’ Juddmonte filly is the most experienced of the leading lights and, but for stumbling badly and missing starts, could have already climbed through the levels and been racing in Group 1’s by now.

She hasn’t run for 51 days and should have been worked on, meaning she can make her experience count against Easy, Kayhana and Library. Colin Keane rides.

4.55 Leopardstown (Matron Stakes – Group 1) – LIGHTS ON (each-way) 

This is a very high-quality fillies’ Group 1 over the mile.

With the rain having hit, Sir Michael Stoute’s Lights On could relish the conditions at Leopardstown and put in one of her fleeting big-hitting performances. In fact, she’s capable of better than what we’ve seen so far.

Though improvement is expected, we can’t forget that she started this season by beating Mutasaabeq and Alcohol Free on unsuitable ground before being sent to the Queen Anne.

She didn’t perform at Ascot, but she could easily have gone for the Group 2 fillies’ race instead which shows what the team think about her.

She has Christophe Soumillon on board for this race which could be a great move, and while she may or may not cause a shock up against Homeless Songs and Saffron Beach, I reckon she’s better in the conditions than Tenebrism and so at around 25/1 she’s worth an each-way bet for sure.

Sunday 11th September 2022

2.10 Doncaster (Portland Handicap) – DUSKY LORD 

The Portland is always a fascinating race – a unique 5½-furlong sprint which can be won from more or less anywhere across the track.

Burning Cash was of interest along with Lord Riddiford, but at huge odds Roger Varian’s four-year-old Dusky Lord is the one backed to scoot up the stands rail and claim the prize.

2.25 Curragh (Flying Five Stakes – Group 1) – DRAGON SYMBOL 

Dragon Symbol seems to have been around forever. We must remember of course that he hasn’t, and horses like him improve for time and not just for racing. Despite his vast experience then he is still not at his best but will be soon.

Dragon Symbol warmed up for the Nunthorpe Stakes with an easy soft-ground win at Hamilton and I expected him to go quite close.

As it turns out, he was out the back early on and had to fight his way into the race. He stayed on very well into fifth place and did well in the circumstances.

Highfield Princess (1st), Platinum Queen (2nd) and Khaadem (4th) were all prominent and were suited by how the race was run. Emaraaty Ana had to come from a bad place and has subsequently run a stormer in the Sprint Cup, Dragon Symbol hopefully being the next to prove that the Nunthorpe wasn’t run to suit.

Highfield Princess is excellent but arguably not as good on this ground, while Flotus is capable of more. Romantic Proposal, Mooniesta and Ladies Church can all go well, but the one most likely to show a turn of foot on slower ground is the Varian horse who gets the nod.

3.20 Doncaster (Park Stakes – Group 2) – SACRED

We really need a Group 1 race in this country over seven furlongs, this being one of many Group 2’s to attract a strong field.

The Park Stakes is high quality, close and competitive at first glance, but Sacred is getting to her best again and her turn of foot could be decisive.

Garrus can handle the trip and has recent form behind Highfield Princess and Minzaal, while Al Suhail has been there and done that at this level. Double Or Bubble and Kinross are also not far down the list.

3.55 Doncaster (St Leger – Group 1) – NEW LONDON

In the final Classic of the season the team of Godolphin, Charlie Appleby and William Buick may be set to repeat their success of twelve months ago with Hurricane Lane, this time via their New London.

It’s been a strange week for Appleby. Having lost 2000 Guineas winner Coroebus, he saw 2021 Derby winner Adayar return to the track in style on Thursday and now he may win another Classic.

New London was initially on the Derby trail himself earlier in the season and he is strong in so many areas. If this had been a better Leger then I’d be worried, but if New London’s price creeps above even-money he could be worth a bet.

In behind, the main challengers are Eldar Eldarov who won at Royal Ascot and will improve plenty, as well as Hoo Ya Mal who was second in the Derby. The filly Haskoy, tipped on this column, was a good winner at York last time and has been supplemented by Juddmonte – she is the other realistic danger.

Thursday, 8 September 2022

Friday 9th & Saturday 10th September 2022: Sacred Task in Park Stakes

What a weekend the racing world has in store!

Doncaster finishes off it’s four-day St Leger meeting with the big race itself coming at 3.30 on Saturday, while it is also Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown featuring six Group 1’s. In France, it’s Arc Trials Day on Sunday too.

Despite the good-looking programme, it’s not worth us having a bet in the Doncaster Cup or Flying Childers on Friday, nor in the Champagne Stakes or Irish Champion on Saturday though they are all fascinating races.

Instead, we have these beauties to keep an eye on over the weekend:

Friday 9th September 2022

Please note - racing has been cancelled for Friday due to the death of Queen Elizabeth.

2.00 Doncaster (Flying Scotsman Stakes – Listed Race) – DESERT ORDER

Fair do’s, Sir Michael Stoute’s Nostrum made an excellent debut and it could be that he is a superstar.

At least one from in behind him that day has won since and on a line through Golden Speech he looks well placed to beat main rival Desert Order here.

The last-named horse however is improving and wants this seven-furlong trip. If a change of pace is key to the race, then he may be better placed to provide it so he looks reasonable value under star man William Buick.

4.55 Doncaster (Nursery Handicap) – PRINCEVILLE 

An interesting nursery over six furlongs. Zaman Jemil was impressive last time, but others are going into handicap company for the first time and may improve past him.

Mutaany hasn’t won yet but is improving fast and has form with Group 2 winner Marbaan, but Princeville remains of interest for the all-powerful Godolphin/Charlie Appleby team.

Based on what he’s beaten, he can prove to be much better than the figures suggest and especially so back up over this distance.

4.33 Chester (Handicap) – STAR CALIBER

Something caught my eye in this race. Those at the top of the market, namely Frankenstella, Emiyn and Alpine Stroll, deserve to be there but are handicapped more or less right. They are 1-2lbs ahead of the assessors at the most, leaving the door open. Andrew Balding’s Star Caliber is a horse who can slip through it.

Star Caliber has run well at Chester in the past and loves to front-run, a great tactic at the Roodee anyway. He is drawn 3 and won’t use up much energy getting to the front if breaking well, so has things to suit.

He has had a later and slower than ideal start to this season, but is clearly coming to himself now and as a four-year-old has not peaked yet. He has a big chance at these odds, around 10/1 at the time of writing.

5.43 Chester (Handicap) – CHIMED

Sir Michael Stoute’s Chimed was noticeably going very well at Newcastle last time, but was beaten by an even better handicapped horse.

He was rated 89 before but is still a very young and lightly-raced animal. On his latest running and with the promise of more to come, he can get back to the late 80’s swiftly and yet gets in this off a mark of only 79.

Saturday 10th September 2022

1.45 Doncaster (Portland Handicap) – DUSKY LORD 

The Portland is always a fascinating race – a unique 5½-furlong sprint which can be won from more or less anywhere on the track.

Burning Cash was of interest along with Lord Riddiford, but at huge odds Roger Varian’s four-year-old Dusky Lord is the one backed to scoot up the stands rail and claim the prize.

2.55 Doncaster (Park Stakes – Group 2) – SACRED

We really need a Group 1 race in this country over seven furlongs, this being one of many Group 2’s to attract a strong field.

The Park Stakes is high quality, close and competitive at first glance, but Sacred is getting to her best again and her turn of foot could be decisive.

Garrus can handle the trip and has recent form behind Highfield Princess and Minzaal, while Al Suhail has been there and done that at this level. Double Or Bubble and Kinross are also not far down the list.

3.30 Doncaster (St Leger – Group 1) – NEW LONDON

In the final Classic of the season the team of Godolphin, Charlie Appleby and William Buick may be set to repeat their success of twelve months ago with Hurricane Lane, this time via their New London.

It’s been a strange week for Appleby. Having lost 2000 Guineas winner Coroebus, he saw 2021 Derby winner Adayar return to the track in style on Thursday and now he may win another Classic.

New London was initially on the Derby trail himself earlier in the season and he is strong in so many areas. If this had been a better Leger I’d be worried, but if New London’s price creeps above even-money he could be worth a bet.

In behind, the main challengers are Eldar Eldarov who won at Royal Ascot and will improve plenty, as well as Hoo Ya Mal who was second in the Derby. The filly Haskoy, tipped on this column, was a good winner at York last time and has been supplemented by Juddmonte – she is the other realistic danger.

4.55 Leopardstown (Matron Stakes – Group 1) – LIGHTS ON (each-way) 

This is a very high-quality fillies’ Group 1 over the mile.

With the rain having hit, Sir Michael Stoute’s Lights On could relish the conditions at Leopardstown and put in one of her fleeting big-hitting performances. In fact, she’s capable of better than what we’ve seen so far.

Though improvement is expected, we can’t forget that she started this season by beating Mutasaabeq and Alcohol Free on unsuitable ground before being sent to the Queen Anne.

She didn’t perform at Ascot, but she could easily have gone for the Group 2 fillies’ race instead which shows what the team think about her.

She has Christophe Soumillon on board for this race which could be a great move, and while she may or may not cause a shock up against Homeless Songs and Saffron Beach, I reckon she’s better in the conditions than Tenebrism and so at around 25/1 she’s worth an each-way bet for sure.





Friday, 2 September 2022

Friday 2nd & Saturday 3rd September 2022

It’s a Group 1 weekend with the Sprint Cup at Haydock being the highlight.

We begin on Friday at Ascot however with two solid bets to kick off the fun.

Friday 2nd September 2022

2.35 Ascot (Maiden Stakes) - CITY OF KINGS

There are some newcomers to the game who will need to be watched carefully in the market for this race, so we need to keep that in mind.

Burnish is a Kingman trained by William Haggas, Lion Tamer is the latest Roaring Lion to hit the track trained by the Gosdens, while Paddington represents Aidan O’Brien and Coolmore.

There are others too, but City Of Kings has crucial racetrack experience now and could be too strong.

His debut was solid enough at Sandown, his run in fact was interrupted, he stayed on well and was favourite to win. He can go in this time.

4.20 Ascot (Handicap) - GREATGADIAN

An interesting handicap over the mile. Positive can improve for his comeback run at Goodwood in late July, though even if he gets back to previous levels then he may not be the best handicapped horse in the race.

Of more interest is Saeed bin Suroor’s Dubai Image, a three-time winner who is in fine form. Having been rated 97 for 10 of his last 15 runs going back to 2020 and now to have to run off 102 means he may also not have anything in hand however.

The door could be left open then for Greatgadian, a four-year-old with improvement to come. Roger Varian’s gelding has done well this season, winning twice at Chelmsford and looking a tad unlucky in third at Ascot last time.

The handicapper most likely hasn’t got to him yet and he looks the best prospect under Ray Dawson.

Saturday 3rd September 2022

2.20 Haydock (Handicap) - OPEN CHAMPION

Tamilla will be popular once again for the increasingly powerful William Haggas yard having won her last two, though off a mark of 85 she needs to improve again.

Both Adjuvant and Inverness also make the list, however it’s Roger Varian’s Open Champion who is most appealing.

Improving in lumps, Open Champion’s debut was nothing to write home about but he’s since run second at Newmarket and won with plenty to spare last time. His mark looks reasonable and this should bring out the best in him.

2.35 Ascot (Nursery Handicap) - COURAGEOUS KNIGHT

Despite starting the day at around 10/1 and having the second choice jockey on board, Courteous Knight was well fancied and very well backed at York last time out.

Having missed the start there, the experienced and improving Dubawi colt got into the race nicely and was only pushed out for third place after James Doyle dropped his whip.

This chap evokes memories of Modern Games for the same team, who went through the handicap route and ended up winning Group 1’s. He may not reach that level of course, but he looks to be ahead of the handicapper and can be backed.

3.15 Kempton (Sirenia Stakes - Group 3) - MISCHIEF MAGIC

Flag Flying is interesting in this six furlong Group 3 event after a very nice debut performance for the Juddmonte team.

Harry & Roger Charlton’s filly got to an extremely impressive level for her first start when winning at Goodwood in June, but it could be that a lack of experience just holds her back in this higher grade.

Mischief Magic made a less auspicious start to racing life when third on debut in May, but came on a ton to win next time out back at Goodwood under a smart William Buick ride. 

He improved again to win a novice race at Newmarket in mid-August and did it so easily as to suggest he has so very much more to come. If he reaches the level expected of him in this race then he should prove to be hard to beat.

3.30 Haydock (Sprint Cup - Group 1) - NAVAL CROWN

Some good sprinters have come and gone this season, but this still looks like a particularly competitive Group 1 event.

Go Bears Go is improving nicely and is very close now to the level required, while Art Power has had just the one run this season and will be much sharper now.

Kinross looked very smart when winning last time at York, though that was over his favoured seven furlongs.

Brad The Brief is on a hat-trick and is now a Group 2 scorer, while last year’s winner Emaraaty Ana ran on beautifully in the Nunthorpe and was named right then and there as the likely winner of this race by many.

For me however there are two classy horses who stand out and who are reaching their peak.

Minzaal first of all was a taking Gimcrack winner two years ago, ran third in the British Champions Sprint last October, won the Hackwood this season and was unsuited by things when runner-up in the Prix Maurice de Gheest.

He has a great chance, but Naval Crown has achieved more this season and gets the vote.

Charlie Appleby’s four year old was just learning to sprint in Dubai during the spring, but put it all together at Royal Ascot when winning the Platinum Jubilee.  He was a solid second in the July Cup too, and can reverse placings with Minzaal from France.

3.45 Ascot (Handicap) - FIRST RULER 

This is an incredibly competitive 1m4f handicap and one in which Charlie Appleby holds a very strong hand.

His First Ruler, Al Nafir, Wild Crusade and Blue Trail are all strong but are ably challenged by La Yakel, Mandobi and Frantastic.

Whatever happens, keep an eye on the form as it’s bound to be strong, though the one with more wiggle room in the weights and who looks the best bet is First Ruler, ridden by Ryan Moore.

4.20 Ascot (Handicap) - TARRABB

Two horses on hat-tricks, Crystal Caprice and Tarrabb, are the ones to watch here and I’m hoping the first named takes the bigger chunk out of the market.

The latter is better placed to win for my money howrver, Owen Burrows’ filly being the best value proposition.

Friday, 26 August 2022

Friday 26th & Saturday 27th August 2022: Derby Contender to Come Good

It’s Celebration Mile day at Goodwood on Saturday.

In the feature race we may see another one of those ‘coming of age’ performances, this time from Mutasaabeq who has strong form and who has long since threatened to challenge in Group 1 company. Don’t be surprised if he ends up at that level in the autumn.

There are also two big Melbourne Cup candidates running on Saturday for those interested. Hoo Ya Mal is vulnerable at long odds-on at Goodwood, while Duais runs in Australia early in the morning.

We aren’t betting in these races, or in the fascinating Beverley Bullet, though we do still have a busy punting weekend beginning at Goodwood on Friday.

Friday 26th August 2022

6.10 Goodwood (Handicap) – OUR JESTER

After five wins on the bounce Mostly Cloudy will be well backed, though he was beaten last time albeit in the Lonsdale Cup at York.

Despite the ability shown by the likely favourite, he may have been just about caught and tagged by the handicapper so he is vulnerable to something that has been undervalued.

One such type is Our Jester and he is the suggestion. His top trainer Hughie Morrison is in great form and, based especially on his spring form, he is particularly well in at the weights if putting it all together.

6.53 Hamilton (Lanark Silver Bell – Heritage Handicap) – CORMIER 

Previously a Class 3 having been reborn once already, the Lanark Silver Bell is now a £100,000 heritage handicap and should be given far more attention.

We are interested, as there is definitely a betting opportunity here which comes in the shape of Cormier.

Hamilton, the stiff track, the ground and the trip should all bring about the best in Brian Ellison’s horse, which should also be a career best given the way he’s been improving on the Flat having run well over hurdles during the last jumps season.

Based on several factors it seems Cormier is likely to be a 95 horse, making him better handicapped than even the four-year-olds in this race and he’s good value too.

Haveyoumissedme, Southern Voyage and Forza Orta are all of interest, while Strawberri and Pride Of Priory will attract attention in the betting market.

Saturday 27th August 2022 

1.50 Goodwood (Prestige Stakes – Group 3) – FAIRY CROSS

Bright Diamond, Fairy Cross, Mottisfont and Queen Olly are the main protagonists in this juvenile fillies’ Group race over seven furlongs.

Fairy Cross is the safest choice, not that we’re forced to have a bet, but we know she has definite ability and some experience to go along with it.

She is a fair price, in fact the favourites may even flip-flop by race time as the money continues to come in for Bright Diamond.

Karl Burke’s horse is interesting after an excellent debut, but Fairy Cross is improving, is still learning having raced freely and is in both the Rockfel and the Fillies’ Mile later in the season.

2.10 Newmarket (Handicap) – ROACH POWER

This is a tight three-year-old handicap over seven furlongs, one in which Wowzers, Spinaround, Space Tracker and Chola Empire can all be considered to have similar chances at the weights.

Roach Power on the other hand may just have that x-factor. He gained a belated first win over an unsuitable five furlongs last time out, he is now very fit, and Tim Easterby never wastes a trip south! Hollie Doyle rides.

3.15 Newmarket (Hopeful Stakes – Listed Race) – DANEH 

This is not a particularly strong bunch for a Listed race at Newmarket, which is why there is a betting opportunity.

Simon and Ed Crisford’s Daneh, off for almost a year to the day, was very impressive on debut as a two-year-old, kept good company in three races and was very much heading the right way.

She could just outclass this field if being fully ready first time up with a weight allowance, given that Manaccan, Great Ambassador and Summerghand for example are no great shakes in truth.

3.50 Newmarket (Handicap) – NAHANNI

Charlie Appleby’s Nahanni made great strides between January when he made his debut and June when he contested the Derby.

Much more was expected of him than he gave in the Derby, though that happens, and he has been gelded now.

Although he won the Blue Riband Trial afterwards, Nahanni was most impressive when winning at Leicester on April 1 on softer ground in a race that has worked out very well, one he won very easily too.

He is a classy type who can prove to be very well handicapped now and who will no doubt go back into Group company soon, this 1¾ miles also looking ideal. Derby rider Adam Kirby takes the mount.

Liverpool Knight is interesting, as is Soapy Stevens in what is a tight enough race in behind the selection.

6.05 Windsor (August Stakes – Listed Race) – MAKSUD

There are some very familiar names in the 1m3½f August Stakes, not least Desert Encounter, but the one that ticks the most boxes is Maksud.

One of three 3yo’s in the race he is going the right way, has the right attributes, has a trainer in form (Hughie Morrison) who we’ve mentioned already and has a top jockey on board in Tom Marquand, though he is certainly here to ride Grocer Jack for William Haggas.

9.32 Saratoga (Personal Ensign Stakes – Grade 1) – MALATHAAT

Malathaat has been a star in the States for the Shadwell team, winning last year’s Kentucky Oaks and Alabama Stakes at the top level.

She has had to settle for second place twice this season behind Clairiere, who is likely to be a short-priced favourite in this contest.

The first time in the Ogden Phipps Stakes Malathaat gave her rival 2lbs and was beaten a head, and the second time jockey John Velazquez had to lean down mid-race to adjust a stirrup before coming home 1½ lengths behind.

She is most likely the better filly on balance and has more Grade 1 glory in her. Search Results and Letruska were also considered.

Friday, 19 August 2022

Friday 19th & Saturday 20th August 2022: Enter the Dragon on Massive Ebor Weekend

York’s 2022 Ebor Festival has already been fantastic and now it has proven impossible to shorten down our betting list any more for the Friday and Saturday. We have a huge weekend in store.

Friday 19th August 2022

3.00 York (Gimcrack Stakes – Group 2) – NOBLE STYLE 

There are no Group 1 races for the juveniles just yet, but events like this one are often Group 1’s in all but name. This is a fascinating race therefore, one in which Noble Style may outclass his rivals.

He needed the run when winning last time out after a slight setback which forced him to miss his date in the Coventry at Royal Ascot, but his debut was spectacular.

The pace he showed over five furlongs early on was incredible given his breeding and this colt could be anything at this stage.

Marshman was visually spectacular but beat nothing last time, while Royal Scotsman is penalised and was well beaten by Noble Style on debut.

3.35 York (Nunthorpe Stakes – Group 1) – DRAGON SYMBOL 

Not a vintage renewal of this massive £533,000 sprint, at least not on paper, and with that in mind the Nunthorpe could be ripe to be taken out by one at a bigger price.

Though their form is decent, those at the top of the market really haven’t earned their stripes in Group 1 races and that lack of experience could catch them out.

Of those at big prices, Dragon Symbol is rather going under the radar. He’s just four, had a great time as a three-year-old, and with more patient training may well have won what was a stronger renewal of this race last year.

He is getting better all the time with his new trainer and his prep at Hamilton was ideal. He, along with Lazuli and Flotus, is a great each-way betting option.

5.20 York (Handicap) – BAY OF HONOUR

At the end of a brilliant day’s racing there is one more betting opportunity with Bay Of Honour.

Operating should take out the bulk of the betting market, given that he represents Coolmore, the Gosdens, Ryan Moore and is on a hat-trick, while Leuven Power is very interesting after slamming his rivals last time.

Bay Of Honour’s win thirteen days ago was so easy though and the form is solid. He could outclass this field under the no.1 jockey.

Saturday 20th August 2022 

1.50 York (Strensall Stakes – Group 3) – BASHKIROVA

Generally speaking, I really like the form of Mighty Ulysses and Alflaila, however the three-year-olds have a terrible record in this race which makes you wonder about weights etc.

Of the older horses, Bashkirova is penalised for her excellent win at Epsom but taking her form at face value still makes her a top contender in this event, while the speed figures she posted on Derby day where also excellent.

She was punted off the boards at Ascot last time and has now had a break; she looks good enough.

2.05 Sandown (Atalanta Stakes – Group 3) – LAUREL 

In the first of two fascinating Group 3’s at Sandown, we may see a newcomer emerge in the top-level fillies and mares’ mile division.

Potapova is interesting at a big price, though it would have been nice to see her run before Bashkirova to check the Epsom form, while Fonteyn has gone well in Group 1 company.

Grande Dame is a lovely type and can run well again, but within the Gosden stable she is second choice to the once-raced Laurel who appears to have some real star quality.

The daughter of Kingman was spectacular on debut at Newmarket and holds an entry in the Sun Chariot Stakes.

2.25 York (Melrose Handicap) – WILD CRUSADE

Back at York, the Melrose is essentially the Ebor for three-year-olds and as such is hard to solve given how progressive the field is.

Inverness, Caius Chorister, Nusret, Soulcombe and Godolphin’s Al Nafir (second choice) may all be backed, but Wild Crusade is definitely an improving type and represents value.

That Al Nafir is second choice certainly doesn’t harm confidence given that William Buick has chosen our horse over him, one who was short of room when racing here before and who beat Warren Point. Solid.

2.40 Sandown (Solario Stakes – Group 3) – SILVER KNOTT 

In the Solario, Defence Port has a chance and on the book Desert Hero looks the most likely winner.

The latter-named however did well on soft ground and faces a different task this time, while the master of these races Charlie Appleby throws National Stakes entry Silver Knott in who has been very green and has a ton of improvement to come despite being a last time out winner.

3.00 York (City of York Stakes – Group 2) – SACRED

William Haggas’ Sacred is often forced to wait around for these fast-ground seven-furlong races, despite having run very well in Group 1 company at Ascot over six.

She has her conditions here and she is the most solid of this bunch, though Al Suhail, Brad The Brief and Art Power may be fighting for places.

3.35 York (Ebor Handicap) – TRAWLERMAN 

We’ve successfully gone for Trawlerman before and there’s no reason at all to ditch him now.

His first win as a three-year-old marked him out as a future Group horse, he won first time out at four, was given no chance at Ascot and was eased when his chance went at Newmarket.

He predictably came back to form in great style when landing a similar race to this at Glorious Goodwood, he’s not finished yet and in fact was entered in the Lonsdale Cup against Stradivarius and co.

Candleford is an obvious danger, while Okita Soushi, Licence, Earl Of Tyrone and Gaassee are all live contenders in a massive race.

5.20 York (Finale Handicap) – SPECIAL ENVOY

If Trawlerman wins then we’ll be left hoping for a big handicap double for the Gosdens, the second leg being this Special Envoy in the Finale.

The Frankel colt only made his debut this year, really taking the eye at 9/1 in behind Warren Point, which is form that ties him in with the likes of Wild Crusade, Israr and Blue Trail. Ebor runners Aimeric and Soulcombe were also in behind that day.

Since then, Special Envoy has won twice at Windsor, he’s a work in progress and you’d think 98 doesn’t represent his true ability so he could be well in. Phantom Flight is the big danger.