Friday 16 May 2014

5.00 York – Racing At York

INNOCENT TOUCH’s last time out win at Redcar suggested that he may be a step or two ahead of the handicapper. A Redcar handicap will be a far cry from what he’ll experience today, but he looked to have a fair bit up his sleeve when scoring.

The form of that race isn’t great and he was in the right position off a slow gallop, but he looked to finish full of running while idling up the home straight. The handicapper has raised him three pounds for that win and that looks fair.

A mark of 70 is probably not what connections envisaged him running off given his nice pedigree and 55,000 guineas price tag. A half-brother to a listed winner in Gabriel it may be that he’s been a slow burner and can now improve.

The son of Intense Focus steps up a full three furlongs today and on much quicker ground. Both have to be a concern given a career best came on soft ground over nine furlongs, but there are potential positives for the step up in trip bringing out improvement as his dam was a ten furlong winner and, Innocent Touch’s half-brother (by Beat Hollow) won over 12 furlongs.

In terms of the ground, he has run well on quickish surfaces before. His half-brother Gabriel has won on firm going and his action suggests it shouldn’t bother him. If he can improve further again in today’s conditions, with me thinking he’s a step of the handicapper he could go close for a trainer and jockey that have plenty of winners at York.


1pt each-way INNOCENT TOUCH @12/1 (general)

Wednesday 14 May 2014

8.45 Naas – Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Fillies Maiden

I’ll have to make this quick as the price is going about DIYLAWA. This nicely bred Aga Khan owned filly made her belated debut at Limerick 18 days ago and she made a beautiful introduction in a hot fillies maiden.

The winner that day, Afternoon Sunlight has gone on to score in a Group Three while the second, fourth and fifth were officially rated 96, 90 (with claim) and 78. This daughter of Mastercraftsman spilt the 96 and 90 rated rivals and given it was her first ever run, it must go down as an excellent effort.

She stayed on really well at the end and while Naas’ easier track is a worry given she has a stout pedigree, a positive ride from stall one can see her at least hit the frame with normal improvement expected.


1pt each-way DIYLAWA @8/1 (Sky Bet) 6/1 (Coral)

5.25 Chepstow – 32Red Maiden Auction Stakes

The 12/1 on offer about CORNWALLVILLE looks very big on the opening race of tonight’s Chepstow card. On first inspection he looks to have little chance, but I felt he ran far better than his final finishing position suggests last time out at Doncaster.

He ran in the first juvenile race of the year, the Brocklesby and was sent off a 25/1. Having been a touch slow away, he seemed to look pretty clueless early and was maybe too green to do himself justice.

He got behind from the get-go and from there, was fighting a losing battle on a track that favoured those on the speed. This was the case for the entire meeting and given he made up a nice bit of ground late on, I feel his effort can be marked up.

The race is working out OK and if he has learned from his opening start he may be able to show his true colours here. His dam was a nicely bred five furlong success and his first season sire, Makfi got his first winner recently.

A piece of collateral form that may be key, which involves the 2/5 favourite, relates to a horse called Escalating. The selection was two lengths behind the aforementioned horse at Doncaster and given Escalating raced far handier, it may be the case that Cornwallville is of a similar ability, but just didn’t show it on the day.

Last time out Escalating saw off the favourite, Be Bold, by two-and-a-half lengths and while dangerous, on that form, there is no way Cornwallville is a 12/1 shot. I’m going to suggest a bet in two markets; the open market and in the ‘betting without’.


1pt win CORNWALLVILLE @12/1 (bet365)

2pts win CORNWALLVILLE ‘betting without Be Bold’ @3/1 (Ladbrokes)

Sunday 11 May 2014

3.25 Leopardstown – Derrinstown Stud 1,000 Guineas Trial

I’m not sure the market has got it right at the top for this Derrinstown Stud 1,000 Guineas Trial as I would’ve had HARRY’S PRINCESS a bit shorter given her good run last time out. It was the daughter of Strategic Prince’s second ever career start after winning her maiden at the backend of 2013.

John Oxx’s filly ran fourth in a Grade Three last time out, and on paper it looked a strong event going in. Having raced with zest early on she still managed to keep on without threatening the main principals.

Of those ahead of her in the market, she’s the only filly to run in graded company and while she too needs to take a step forward, so do the market leaders, and arguably their step is bigger. The three-year-old is entitled to come forward fitness wise and her pedigree suggests this step-up in trip will help.

It’s a tough race, but she’s lightly raced, represents a good trainer, is in good form and is a big price compared to those ahead of her. There looks to be a bit of pace on so I’m hoping she can pick the pieces up late under Niall McCullough.


1pt each-way HARRY’S PRINCESS @9/1 (bet365, Stan James)

3.55 Leopardstown – Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial Stakes

Another runner of John Oxx’s runners that looks over-priced is EBANORAN. There was plenty of talk about before his maiden win at the Curragh last year and the talk was justified when winning on debut.

Given his late maturing type of pedigree it was a good win for a juvenile and it signalled the ability was there to potentially go on to bigger things. On his second career start he competed in the 2000 Guineas Trial here at Leopardstown at the end of March. Once more he acquitted himself well.

In fact I thought he did better than that given he made up a hell of a lot of ground late on, eventually finishing third. He couldn’t trouble the front pair, who were far better positioned than him to win the race, but his late staying burst was impressive.

Now, it might be the case that he was slightly flattered, but at today’s prices I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. The step-up in trip looks like it will prove ideal for him and with the favourites ahead of him in the market looking pretty short, he is worth chancing at a nice price.


1pt each-way EBANORAN @10/1 (Bet Victor, Sky Bet)

4.25 Leopardstown – PFH Technology Group Handicap

A number of horses made the shortlist here; the lightly raced Shipyard and the consistent Kanes Pass, but a closer inspection of BALMONT BLAST’s form sees him potentially well treated.

Handicaps were always going to be his forte after his got his mark from the first three runs. His first handicap effort came here at Leopardstown, at the end of the 2013 season, in a nursery. He ran really well, just failing to give weight to a Dermot Weld horse (now rated 88) pulling three lengths clear of the third.

Balmont Blast now races off 75 and that mark looks workable given the above form. He did disappoint last time out and I’m not a fan of younger horses taking on their elders this early in the season, but he gets a lot of weight from those above him and is open to more improvement than most.

It’s encouraging the first time visor is now reached for and it’s another plus his best career run came at this track. Drawn in eight, if on song, he should run well.


1pt each-way BALMONT BLAST @12/1 (Boylesports, Stan James, William Hill)

Saturday 10 May 2014

4.05 Haydock – Pertemps Network Spring Trophy Stakes

The ratings suggest CUSTOM CUT has his work cut out to win this and while that may be true he still interests me at a price of 5/1. That looks a little big given he seems to have plenty in his favour today.

David O’Meara’s charge will enjoy the rain that has fallen around the track in recent days and the more it rains the better. His forward going style should also be suited to this speed track and there is a chance he may get his own way out front, allowing him to set his own fractions.

Current favourite, Lockwood returns after a break and wants the ground faster so I’m prepared to take him on at the price. He can be held up too and that won’t be ideal in a race that may be run at a crawl. Highland Colori too returns from a break and at the prices I’ll take him on.

The selection will have a strong fitness advantage over the two market leaders having run twice this campaign. Both runs were good efforts and this race fitness may be edge he needs to scrap home today.


1pt win CUSTOM CUT @5/1 (Bet Victor, Coral, Ladbrokes)

4.30 Nottingham – Family Fun Day Sunday 1st June Handicap

Since being gelded and having blinkers applied, ARTFUL PRINCE has been turned inside out and I’m hoping he can continue his progression after a fantastic 2013. The son of Dutch Art won five times for connections last year and if summering well he may be able to continue that, this campaign.

Despite being by a speedy sire he has excelled over ten furlongs on ground with a bit of cut. He will get that today and should step-up on his disappointing seasonal reappearance. Over an inadequate mile, on fast ground with the blinkers off, on his first run in six months, he trailed in 15 of 18 at Redcar.

On paper it was a bad run, and it was, but he now steps up to ten furlongs again and more importantly has the blinkers back on. Graham Lee, who has won twice on him, is too back aboard and that’s another plus. His course and distance winning form is another string to his bow.

It doesn’t look a great race numerically, but it may well prove the likes of Saigon City and Putra Eton are ahead of their marks, especially the latter. That said, the former must carry top-weight and Putra Eton might be a candidate to bounce, and a bigger danger may come from the inform Handheld.

Its interesting Handheld has been well supported, but on a line through a horse named Dark Ruler, there isn’t a whole pile between them, yet, the selection is (around) four times his price.

Artful Prince isn’t a confident pick given his last run, but he looks worth chancing. It should be noted that the selection is 20/1 in the open market, but 18/1 in a market without Putra Eton. For the sake of two points, given Putra Eton could easily win this, this is the way I’m going to play this race, in the ‘without Putra Eton’ market.


1pt each-way ARTFUL PRINCE @18/1 ‘betting without Putra Eton’ (Coral, Paddy Power)

5.05 Nottingham – The Odds On Favourite DG Taxis 01159500500 Handicap

Karl Burke has his string in superb order and his ARAN SKY may be able to defy a potentially lenient handicap mark now back on turf. He went straight into my At The Races Tracker on his seasonal debut when he was beaten a long way at Doncaster over five weeks ago.

That was a maiden event, his third run and it looked as if another day was in mind as he was dropped out the rear and not asked too many tough questions. While beaten a long way, this race could hardly be working out any better and he did show ability.

He was possibly slightly disappointing last time out on the all-weather. His sire has a below average record on artificial surfaces and the son of Arakan has at least been dropped a further three pounds.

He now runs off a mark of 65 and will also have the assistance of Rob J Fitzpatrick, a capable seven pounds claimer who has ridden three winners from his last eight rides.

Now in lowly handicap company back on grass he may prove to be well-handicapped in a race where there appears to be plenty horses more exposed than him and others that may struggle with the trip.

I was going to suggest a higher confidence bet, but I just don’t know what the weather is going to do in Nottingham. He wouldn’t want too much more rain, but on the other hand, may get away with it as I feel he is handicapped to win, if on song.


1pt each-way ARAN SKY @7/1 (bet365, William Hill)

Friday 9 May 2014

7.00 Ripon – Theakston of Masham Paradise Ale Handicap

The 4/1 on offer about HADAJ could only be described as fair in this six furlong handicap, but he looks to have an awful lot going for him to make him of betting interest.

Ruth Carr’s son of Green Desert has been in good form this campaign, all three efforts showing promise. At Doncaster, on his seasonal debut, he ran well on ground probably too soft having been drawn on the wrong side of the track. Plenty went against him, but it was a sound run and the race is working out.

At Beverley, and Newmarket last time out he again ran well, but looked a touch high in the weights. Today’s race looks less competitive and he now has the services of a good five pound claimer, Kevin Stott.

These two elements along with Hadaj having an ideal draw in 11 means he should run well, with his early pace complimenting this speed track. The one worry is this will be his first run at Ripon and some horses just don’t act here.


1pt win HADAJ @4/1 (Bet Victor, Boylesports, Paddy Power)

7.15 Ascot – Miles & Morrison Handicap

Andrea Atzeni is back aboard HILLBILLYBOY this evening and that may be the key to this progressive sprinter getting back to winning ways. He’s been on the go a little while now, but still seems to be holding his form well.

12113 are his figures for his last five runs and while again competing in a big field handicap, the draw and his early speed running style suggest he may be able to get his head in front again.

There appears to be pace towards the stand side, of which he is included, and if getting out quick once more I can see him taking plenty catching late on as he is one horse that won’t be wilting up the stiff finish.

Hopefully the excellent Atzeni gets him out quick and beats off all late challengers.


1pt win HILLBILLYBOY @5/1 (Bet Fred, Bet Victor)

Thursday 8 May 2014

1.45 Chester – IG Handicap

THAT´S PLENTY is a horse that comes here at the top of his game and odds of 7/1 maybe underestimate his chance today. After a December break he returned to the track six weeks ago at the Curragh, before another outing at Musselburgh 20 days ago.

An excellent second on heavy ground over a mile was followed by a sound seven furlong win last time out, on good ground off top weight where he was a comfortable winner. The son of Dr Fong, a cheaply bought but well-bred type, now steps up a full three furlongs, and some, but he has won over this trip before.

That came on an all-weather surface, but he’s won on grass and Chester is hardly a track that stretches horses with suspect stamina doubts. The key to him going well is quite simple; it’s his draw in stall two and his fantastic early pace.

Theoretically, stepping up in trip, he takes on slower horses so I’ll be disappointed if he can’t make full use of his stall allocation and good ability to jump from the gates, to get the perfect early position.

The slight softening of the ground is another plus as is the booking of Ronan Whelan, who takes a valuable three pounds off his back.  That’s Plenty will need to improve, but conditions look ideal for him today so hopefully he can run well.


1pt each-way THAT´S PLENTY @7/1 (bet365, Ladbrokes, Stan James)

3.50 Chester – T&L Leasing EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes

We know the story now at Chester; a low draw and early pace goes a long way and it seems COME UPPENCE has the tools to outrun his price of 12/1. A son of Captain Gerard I thought he made a highly satisfactory debut at Leicester 34 days ago.

In a race that appears to be working out quite well he showed nice early speed before maybe running a touch green. As well as showing pace, it was encouraging he jumped smartly and both those traits will be positives today.

John Egan is also a jockey booking I like. Egan has caught my eye a number of times when riding horses that show good early pace and/or make the running. He’s a nice judge of pace.

It is a race full of unknowns, but Come Uppence has plenty in his favour and if jumping smartly from stall one, can outrun his value price of 12/1.

I’m not quite sure why he is two times the price of London Life (beat him by four lengths at Leicester and has a better draw today) although he does now race on three pounds worse terms with the latter having had another run. Still, their price discrepancy is far too big and the favourite is simply too short to get involved with.

Hopefully he jumps smart today.


1pt each-way COME UPPENCE @12/1 (Bet Victor, William Hill)

Wednesday 7 May 2014


2.45 Chester – Chester Cup

The last time COMMUNICATOR scored was on the Rodee and I’m hoping he can put his good course knowledge to use and at least hit the frame in the Chester Cup. Trained by the still in form Andrew Balding and to be ridden by top apprentice, Oisin Murphy the son of Montjeu looks like he has plenty in favour to run well in an open race.

As well as the above he is nicely drawn in stall two and can hopefully obtain a sound early position to set himself up for a late attack. A return to grass, after an extensive all-weather campaign, may also be deemed a plus, as will the extra yardage in this marathon test.

Last time out he once again ran well despite having a hugely troubled passage through. He wasn’t in the best position to get a significant blow in and all things considered, the five-year-old ran well. With a better ride, a stronger pace and some luck in running Communicator should be right on the premises.


1pt each-way COMMUNICATOR @11/1 (Paddy Power)

3.50 Chester – Boodles Diamond Maiden Stakes

There is a fair chance Prince Of Stars and Computer may prove too good for the majority of this field, but at the prices DURSEY ISLAND rates the race value bet. Quite simply, he is priced up on his run last time out where he trailed in a long way second last. If the son of Elusive Quality had come here straight from his previous debut effort, he’d surely be a lot shorter.

That debut run came at Lingfield where he travelled well, but was just outstayed late on to finish second. The winner had the benefit of experience and maybe that just told late on. First, third and fifth in that race are now all rated in the 80s and given Dursey Island was two lengths clear of the third, the form rates as more than useful with him open to further progression.

The progression didn’t come last time out, where sent off second favourite for a competitive Newbury maiden. On track he was backed from 8s into 6s so more was obviously expected. Ryan Moore reported he lost his action, hence why he stopped quickly.

To my eye he can be forgiven that run, especially at his current price and if improving on his first run of his career, it should outrun his price of 16/1. More positives come in the shape of Ryan Moore being booked, as well as having an ideal draw in stall one.

I do have doubts about his stamina and the run last time out has to be a concern, but at the prices I’m willing to have a small play.


0.5pt each-way DURSEY ISLAND @16/1 (Bet Victor, William Hill)

Thursday 1 May 2014

3.25 Redcar – Redcar Racecourse Conference & Wedding Venue Handicap

Richard Guest’s JOHNNY CAVAGIN ran a fantastic race on seasonal debut at Doncaster last month to make him of interest in this Redcar handicap. He has a good record fresh and further added to that 32 days ago when filling the runner-up spot behind a Richard Fahey inmate, pulling three-and-a-half lengths clear of the third.

It’s not ideal he has gone up three pounds for not winning, but the form of that race is at least looking solid now. His style of running should be suited to Redcar and the slightly easier track is also a positive. Jockey Tom Eaves replaces Barry McHugh, another plus, given Eaves has been aboard Johnny Cavagin for his last two successes.

The five-year-old can be keen so hopefully there is enough pace on to give him a lead. Tucked in behind the leading horses with a bit of cover would be ideal so fingers crossed he doesn’t see too much daylight early.

Soft ground should be fine for the son of Superior Premium despite all his wins coming on a faster surface. Last time out the field were five seconds over standard and he coped well so let’s hope for more of the same.


1pt each-way JOHNNY CAVAGIN @13/2 (Paddy Power)

5.05 Redcar – Download New Racing UK iPad App Handicap

It’s low grade stuff, but PETERGATE possibly ran better than the distance implies over course and distance 24 days ago to make him of interest in this 0-60 handicap. Having been held-up early the son of Alhaarth could never get in a telling blow, as those that raced handy were much more suited to how the race panned out.

Despite this though, he showed enough, given it was his seasonal debut and also in a better race.  As well as having a less than ideal race position he possibly made his challenge on the wrong side too, so the bare form maybe better than it looks.

Looking at his pedigree the soft ground may help him more than most today, the Pivotal bloodline on his dam’s side suggesting this. Petergate’s pedigree also indicates he may be a better horse with time so hopefully he’s improved over the summer and for his seasonal return.


1pt each-way PETERGATE @16/1 (general)

Wednesday 30th April 2014

4.25 Pontefract – Northern Racing College Handicap

MR GALLIVANTER looks more than a fair price in this ten furlong handicap given there are plenty question marks about the majority of today’s field. John Quinn’s lightly-raced type made a nice start to his season when runner-up in a soft ground Doncaster handicap last time out.

He was picked off close home by the winner having done a lot of the donkey work. Now, racing closer to the pace may have proved ideal, given this particular Doncaster meeting saw plenty horses struggle to make ground up from the back. Either way though, it was a good first run of the year and he’s shown himself to be in form.

As well as being in form he showed his gritty attitude from his juvenile campaign is still intact and that is always a big plus in this game. While a switch to good to firm ground is a bit of unknown, at his price I’m willing to chance it given there are positive signs in his pedigree, suggesting fast terrain will hold no fears.

His prominent style of racing will be suited to this track and he clearly stays well so I’m hoping for a good run.

In terms of his opposition, the two horses to worry about are the Godolphin favourite, Dullingham and Richard Fahey’s Latenightrequest. While a touch dangerous, on collateral form lines through a horse, Notarised, the selection’s price (and Latenightrequest’s price) looks big in comparison to the former, while he just finished in front of the latter last time out, but is open to more improvement.

Should Dullingham fluff his lines first time out, it may mean the door is open for the forecast and at current prices (5/1 Mr Gallivanter – 7/1 Latenightrequest) that’s another bet I’m willing to play.


1pt win MR GALLIVANTER @5/1 (Bet Victor), 9/2 (general)


Monday 28 April 2014

5.25 Naas – English Comprehension Testing Apprentice Handicap

It’s low grade stuff here, but I’m hoping an inform trainer and jockey can boot APACHE GOLD home today. The son of Golden Snake ran an eyecatching race on his seasonal debut at Limerick last time out, when showing good early speed from an adequate draw to get a nice position.

Turning for home he held every chance, but just faltered at the one pole maybe indicating a drop in trip was needed. He gets that today as he is down to six furlongs and should also strip fitter. In a race where there doesn’t appear to be a whole lot of pace on, his running style could be key.

All ground comes alike to him and while now six-years-old and not open to as much improvement as some, he is in form and has a number of variables in his favour today. 15/2 with William Hill, the first four places, seems fair and an each-way bet is advised given the lack of pace means plenty will find it tough to pass him late. It’s also encouraging, historically, his second run after two seasonal breaks (when finding his grade) have produced form figures of 12.

I’m also going to suggest a saver of BEAU SATCHEL who represents another in form trainer. 16/1 is a big price on some of last year’s runs and is basically priced up on his return run where he was disappointing, but also very weak in the market.


1pt each-way APACHE GOLD @15/2 (William Hill)

0.5pt win BEAU SATCHEL @16/1 (general)