Thursday, 18 November 2021

Friday 19th & Saturday 20th November 2021: Goshen to Go the Right Way

It’s a mixed bag this week, with Flat and jumps action coming across Friday and Saturday’s racing.

We have seven very interesting, potentially great value selections across the cards too as trainer Gary Moore looks to make the most of enigmatic star hurdler Goshen’s apparent need to go right-handed.

Friday 19th November 2021

1.00 Sakhir (Bahrain International Trophy – Group 3) – ZAKOUSKI

There’s more big money still available on the international Flat racing scene, as these Group 3 runners go over a mile-and-quarter for just about as much money as the Cheltenham Gold Cup runners were chasing back in March.

There’s a first prize of around £262,000, and it can go the way of 2021’s undisputed top dogs Godolphin, Charlie Appleby and William Buick.

Their Zakouski has always been held in high regard and despite some problems along the way, the five-year-old son of Shamardal has won six races out of 9 included a pair of Group 2’s.

He made a terrific reappearance at Newmarket three weeks ago to win his second Ben Marshall Stakes in very easy fashion, he has strong form with Group 1 types and looks booked for a career best which would be good enough.

The Boys in Blue also have classy French runner Magny Cours and former top-class type Barney Roy who both hold place chances, while Fev Rover is a very fine filly and can go well once more.

2.40 Ascot (Handicap Hurdle) – CAPTAIN MORGS

The likes of Leoncavallo, Garry Clermont and Method Madness can all go well in this two-mile handicap hurdle, but Captain Morgs looks to be potentially the best handicapped horse of the lot and so is supported.

Not very many Nicky Henderson runners with genuine talent are rated 125, so one has to think there is a lot more this horse can give and the signs are all there.

His only hurdle win came over this course and distance, while he did well to run third at Cheltenham in October over a trip that was undoubtedly too far for him. A repeat of that would give him a chance, but the very much expected improvement over this trip would make him sufficiently well in at the weights.

Saturday 20th November 2021

12.35 Lingfield (Fillies’ Handicap) – TAAWFAN

After her demolition job when beating Godolphin horse Toromona by 12 lengths at Wolverhampton 40 days ago, it was no surprise to see William Haggas’ Lady Rockstar at the top of the betting.

She has a top-class trainer, terrific form, the potential for further improvement and is ridden by Derby-winning jockey Adam Kirby, so there’s nothing to dislike at first.

That said, she’s been given a mark of 85 now which isn’t overly generous at first glance, a rating gathered by winning on a very different surface (Tapeta) so there’s always the chance she will find things a bit quick here.

She also has to come from gate 8, while just inside her in 6 is the more suitable Taawfan at a much bigger price.

Owen Burrows’ four-year-old filly is rated only 79 yet has for my money already run to a mark much higher than that, while she will also appreciate the conditions at Lingfield.

Ryan Moore has been booked to ride and he’s exactly the sort of jockey needed to ensure we get the best out of the filly. Isola Rossa also made the shortlist.

1.10 Lingfield (Conditions Stakes) – DOCUMENTING

Moore could be on for a quick double at Lingfield, something he’s done before, with Kevin Frost’s Documenting in the seven-furlong conditions race.

It would be fair to say that the eight-year-old isn’t getting any quicker, but on the balance of his form, even recent form, he should be too good for a field containing Lord Of The Lodge, Highland Dress and Spycatcher.

2.25 Haydock (Betfair Exchange Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle – Grade 3) – BASS ROCK

It’s a fascinating Betfair Hurdle with 16 runners declared, all in with some kind of chance on the book and all fighting for an impressive £100,000 prize fund.

While it’s hard to be certain in a race as competitive as this, at least we know that we are likely to get the best out of the genuine contenders and one of those undoubtedly is Sandy Thomson’s Bass Rock.

Bass Rock has had a couple of breathing operations in his career, but he is seemingly always improving and comes here on the back of an impressive-looking success at Carlisle where he beat great yardstick Teescomponents Lad. He’s fit, only a five-year-old, and brings very strong form into the race.

The other horse in the field to have recently beaten Teescomponents Lad is Jonjo O’Neill’s Flight Deck. His win at Wetherby wasn’t as impressive, but it puts him on my shortlist especially when the horse that connects these two challengers won on Thursday.

2.40 Ascot (Ascot Hurdle – Grade 2) – GOSHEN

After his past Cheltenham shenanigans, much has been made of Goshen’s temperament. Not many doubt his class and ability however, while his trainer Gary Moore has been adamant that he prefers to go right-handed and so after missing his intended race at Wincanton he now tackles Ascot which should be perfect for him.

He’s up against Buzz here, a short-priced favourite of Nicky Henderson’s who gets 6lbs from the selection, but if Goshen brings his A-game then he really will be hard to beat.

He was a wide-margin winner both here and at Sandown a couple of seasons ago, before performing a complete destruction job on his Kingwell Hurdle field at Wincanton in February.

If he gets to something like that form again, not a far-fetched ask considering his age and that he can actually still get a lot better yet, then he can land this at odds that just like at Wincanton, can be made to look too generous.

3.00 Haydock (Betfair Chase – Grade 1) – ROYALE PAGAILLE

This selection for the big Grade 1 at Haydock is a little chancier for a couple of reasons, but given the price we can afford it.

Firstly, Royale Pagaille is not a certain runner, as connections think the ground may be a bit too quick, but if he does run then he will be a big price against some of the best in the business.

The other reason is that on top of predicting how well Royale Pagaille can run, we have to also expect one or two others to not be at their best.

Gold Cup runner-up A Plus Tard is one of them, but history tells us he often needs the run first time out, while a constant in this race, Bristol De Mai, is another but again he is just a tad regressive which is now to be expected.

Waiting Patiently is an interesting runner and can reach the required level, while so in theory can Imperial Aura who is heading the right way.

If the classy Royale Pagaille is allowed to take his chance however, that tells us connections think the ground is OK as they won’t risk him if it’s not, so he’s worth a bet at around 8/1+.

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