3.15 Newbury – GT Exhibitions Hackwood Stakes
Sprint races are generally events I try to steer clear of, given race circumstances nearly always have to go your way to get your head in front. Plenty needs to drop right, but as ever, if I feel a horse offers value in the market I’m usually willing to play.
That’s the case in GT Exhibitions Hackwood Stakes at Newbury tomorrow where Bahraini raider, KRYPTON FACTOR runs. In the care of the well-spoken Fawzi Abdulla Nass, I feel this son Kylllachy offers value in a race which appears to be lacking his class. The now five-year-old has been steadily progressive throughout his career but now campaigns at the highest level around the world.
The majority of his runs have come in Dubai, not surprising given the prize money that’s usually on offer, but each and every time he’s come to Britain (since his switch out to the far east) he has run with the upmost credit. Before winning the Group One, yes Group One, Golden Shaheen in Dubai last year he squared up with the likes of Black Caviar, Moonlight Cloud, and Society Rock at Royal Ascot in the Diamond Jubilee. He ran well to finish sixth, beaten just over two lengths on ground that was probably too soft for him.
That was his last start in over eight months before he returned to Dubai to try and defend his Golden Shaheen title. Two outings before the race were needed to put him right in the run up to his defence. He once again ran well and was placed, beaten under a length, but his draw and trip scuppered any real chances of him winning and in the circumstances he ran superbly well. That was his last start before shipping to Britain for another crack at the Diamond Jubilee this year.
Again he ran well without winning, this time finishing third behind the best sprinters Europe can offer in Lethal Force and Society Rock. That form has obviously been boosted again in the July Cup, where the selection was an intended runner. Just before the start however he burst through the stalls and was declared a non-runner. Because of that mishap he now takes in this much weaker Group Three.
On all known form only three horses can win this prize; the selection, Hamza and Heeraat. Now, while the latter pair mentioned are on an upward curve and improving it still has to be said that not even a listed contest has been won by either. They’ve come through the handicap ranks and now take in a Group Three against a horse who has won a Group One (hard to evaluate real form given it was ran in Dubai on a surface not used in Great Britain) and been placed and run well in ‘proper’ top-class events.
While Krypton Factor is that bit better on an artificial surface he has shown time and time again he has gone well on turf. He also has plenty of form in small fields of less than 8 runners which reads 12111. He’s tactically versatile too as he has shown he can sit just off the leaders or make the running. Regardless of how the race is run he should be able to adapt – I’m hoping his jockey will be alive to all possible scenarios.
I’d also make the point that he comes here fresher than his main market rivals who had tough races last weekend. There is also the possibility of him improving on his 2013 Royal Ascot run and if that’s the case I can’t see him losing. Here’s hoping, but for me, he will take all the beating and should be significantly shorter than 9-4.
Advice: 4pts win Krypton Factor @9-4 (Coral)
3.35 Curragh – Darley European Breeders Fund Maiden
This blog has gone from the solid to the ridiculous if prices are anything to be concerned about today. The day’s first two selections were put up at 9-4 and 3-1, but I’m going to suggest a very small play on Jessica Harrington’s BILLBOARD in the opener at the Curragh.
This son of Big Bad Bob cost €55,000 at the Goffs 2011 sale and is a half-brother to the useful Grade Two American scorer Dark Islander. Considering his breeding and the money connections paid for him he must have a touch of quality about him. Now, it doesn’t always work out like that, but it’s a positive sign.
He runs in a hot maiden this afternoon at the Curragh after one career outing which came on this very course 55 days ago. That race was won by Ballydoyle’s Sir John Hawkins, the Coventry Stakes third. The second is a solid type too while the third home has gone on to win a small runner Group Two event. The sixth home has too won a maiden giving the overall profile of the race a pretty solid look.
The selection was beaten just under ten lengths, but I feel he ran a much sounder race than that. After breaking nicely it was soon apparent he was a touch outpaced. He also ran with no cover, away from the favoured rail and was repeatedly bumped and pushed wide by other rivals during. Given the class of horses ahead I felt it was a sound run and worth marking up.
He now steps up in trip which will suit. His trainer has her string running really well and it’s interesting to note from two runners in this very race over the last three years she has had a winner and a second.
It’s a tough race, but a 40-1 I’m willing to have a little tickle on a horse who has shown ability. Hopefully he has strengthened up and learned on his 55 day break.
0.5pt each-way Billboard @40-1 (Bet Victor, Ladbrokes)
3.40 Newmarket – Tamdown Group EBF Fillies´ Handicap
With the Classic generation taking five of the last ten and three of the last four in this handicap it may well be an idea to follow the progressive looking MIDNIGHT FLOWER. David Simcock’s filly saw the track four times as a juvenile and seemed to progress with each start over six furlongs, her form reading 421. While plenty about her suggests seven is within range for this daughter of Haafhd, six furlongs is proving her niche at the moment.
Her two runs over a furlong longer have been the two most disappointing efforts of her career. One came two starts back at Kempton where she was too fresh and keen to do herself justice on debut. Her last start, which saw her win nicely came with a drop to six where she was a cosy winner of a decent fillies’ event over the course and distance. The first and second in that race were giving her plenty of weight, but it’s a positive sign that the pair have since held up the form and given it a solid look.
This race has been the plan since that win and in her 43 days off, given the good weather I’m hoping she has thrived and progressed further. It’s not easy taking on these older fillies, but she is the most progressive one in the field and may well be significantly better than her mark 82.
The ground will be perfect, her course and distance form has to be a positive and ever reliable Darren Egan takes three pounds off her back which will further aid her cause. She’s not a big price which I do apologise about, but it may be one of those days where the obvious is the place to go. She should go close. Clive Cox’s Poetic Dancer is the one I fear most.
2pts win Midnight Flower @3-1 (general)