Diary: June 1 2007

The Epsom card tomorrow boasts 3 Group 1s, including the Oaks.

  

I will start though with the 1.40, which is a Group 3 and over 1 mile with the going expected to be soft.  Echelon won the race last year and has run consistently well in this sort of company.  Her preference seems to be for faster ground and that would be the main worry. Nannina is the form horse.  She won the Coronation Stakes last season and was only beaten 2 lengths by Ouija Board in the Nassau Stakes. Like Echelon though Nannina has shown her best form on decent ground.

  

The going may well prove an important factor in this race with the best 2 horses possibly not suited by the ground.

  

The 2.10 is a very competitive looking handicap.  Plum Pudding was a nice winner for our list to follow the other week at Newmarket.  That was on good to firm though and he has gone up 5 lbs in the weights as a result.

  

Rio Riva put in an excellent effort when 2nd in the Lincoln from a bad draw. He was then short of room when 5th at Ripon.  The soft ground won’t be a problem. Ordnance Row did us a favour last season when winning at 20/1 in a Chester Handicap. He has shaped well on his last couple of starts and should handle the ground.  Unshakeable last won in 2005 in a valuable handicap at Goodwood but showed he is in good nick when 2nd last time out on the all weather.

  

Hold up merchant Uhoomagoo won this race in 2004 and was a winner at Royal Ascot last season but is unlikely to relish the soft ground.  Ordnance Row would be my selection.

  

There are two runners from our list to follow in the 2.45.  Forrager was a winner at Haydock in April but subsequently unplaced when upped in trip.  He is back to 10 furlongs tomorrow and should have the soft ground that is important to him.  Stotsfold just failed to carry top weight to victory at Chester on his last run.  He was 2nd to Temple Place on that occasion with Blythe Knight in 3rd.  Blythe Knight has since come out and won a listed race at York, franking the form in style.  Sotsfold has a very good record at Chester and should handle the Epsom track.  The only problem may be the ground as he ran poorly on the only other occasion he met soft going.

  

Both Forrager and Stotsfold should run well.

  

St Leger winner Sixties Icon was impressive when winning the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket on his return to action.  He has won on soft ground and is my selection for the 3.25.

  

The Oaks looks very tricky to solve. Both Measured Tempo and Dance of Light have only run twice and may well be open to improvement.  In addition both should handle the ground so cannot be ruled out.

  

Passage of Time won the Musidora at York and that has been a reliable trial down the years. I will go with her as my selection.

  

There are two runners from our list to follow in the listed race at 4.50.  Mofarij is a half brother to Iffraaj and won in Dubai at the beginning of March.  He folded tamely though on his subsequent start at Windsor which is a concern.  I had high hopes for Escape Route at the start of the season but he has finished 3rd in both his races thus far.  He was very unlucky behind El Bosque at Lingfield on his last run though where he met considerable trouble in running and he is worth another chance.

  

Captain Jacksparra has been a frustrating horse to follow as he has finished runner up on his last 3 starts.  He is nothing if not consistent though and should again be in the frame in the 5.25.

  

Turning to Goodwood I think that Ivy Creek may be coming back to form judged on his last run at Chester.  He looks to have a decent chance in the 7.20. 

  

At Bath old Smokin’ Beau makes his 106th racecourse appearance in the 8.30.

 

Continue reading “Diary: June 1 2007”

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Diary: May 31 2007

Looking back briefly to yesterday there was a gritty performance from the filly Allegretto to win the Henry II Stakes and thereby add another Group 2 to her CV, having won the Lancashire Oaks last season.  This was another win for the Cheveley Park Stud.  Their red and white silks have been seen aboard the likes of Russian Rhythm, Echelon and Cesare in recent times.

  

From a personal point of view I was pleased to see Eisteddfod take the 7 furlong conditions stakes at Leicester.  This was his 10th career win for the Elite Racing Club.

  

Another Elite Racing Club stalwart is fancied in the Ayr 4.20 tomorrow.  Monolith was a winner last time out and conditions look likely to suit him.  The main danger looks to be the front running Dr Sharp but hopefully he will set the race up for Monolith to nab the honours close home.

  

The lightly raced Obstructive has been placed twice at Lingfield from 3 runs at the track and should again go well there in the 2.00.

  

The Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown looks like being a tight affair.  A case could be made for most of them but I will give a tentative vote to Tam Lin.  He showed some consistent form last season when trained by Sir Michael Stoute and is now with Godolphin.  He is untried on soft ground.

  

In the 7.50 New Jersey seems to have the best form on offer.

  

The Temple Stakes looks a tasty sprint with the in form trio of Moss Vale, Firenze and Sierra Vista my shortlist.  Narrow preference for Moss Vale.

  

My best offer at Yarmouth is Moody Tunes in the 3.40.

  

Bye for now

 

Continue reading “Diary: May 31 2007”

Going, going

GOING, GOING by Philip Larkin. (January 1972)

I thought it would last my time –
The sense that, beyond the town,
There would always be fields and farms,
Where the village louts could climb
Such trees as were not cut down;
I knew there'd be false alarms

In the papers about old streets
And split level shopping, but some
Have always been left so far;
And when the old part retreats
As the bleak high-risers come
We can always escape in the car.

Things are tougher than we are, just
As earth will always respond
However we mess it about;
Chuck filth in the sea, if you must:
The tides will be clean beyond.
– But what do I feel now? Doubt?

Or age, simply? The crowd
Is young in the M1 cafe;
Their kids are screaming for more –
More houses, more parking allowed,
More caravan sites, more pay.
On the Business Page, a score

Of spectacled grins approve
Some takeover bid that entails
Five per cent profit (and ten
Per cent more in the estuaries): move
Your works to the unspoilt dales
(Grey area grants)! And when

You try to get near the sea
In summer . . .
        It seems, just now,
To be happening so very fast;
Despite all the land left free
For the first time I feel somehow
That it isn't going to last,

That before I snuff it, the whole
Boiling will be bricked in
Except for the tourist parts –
First slum of Europe: a role
It won't be hard to win,
With a cast of crooks and tarts.

And that will be England gone,
The shadows, the meadows, the lanes,
The guildhalls, the carved choirs.
There'll be books; it will linger on
In galleries; but all that remains
For us will be concrete and tyres.

Most things are never meant.
This won't be, most likely; but greeds
And garbage are too thick-strewn
To be swept up now, or invent
Excuses that make them all needs.
I just think it will happen, soon.

Continue reading “Going, going”

Diary: May 29 2007

There has been news in the last few days of some retirements. Dancing Bay is a member of the fairly exclusive club of horses that have won on the flat, over hurdles and fences. He has recently been retired after a career that started in 1999.  He won 11 races in total but ran his best in defeat.  He was runner up to Mac’s Joy in the 2004 Swinton Hurdle and 2nd in the Coral Cup the following year.  On the flat he was 2nd in the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2004.

  

The high class filly Peeress has also been retired this week.  She won 7 times including a couple of Group 1 races, The Sun Chariot in 2005 and the Lockinge in 2006.

  

Lastly and on a rather sadder note serious injury looks to have ended the career of Henry Daly’s top hurdler Mighty Man.  The injury was sustained at Punchestown in April.  Although twice placed in the World Hurdle it is for his exploits at Aintree that he will best be remembered.  He won the John Smith’s Liverpool Hurdle in 2006 and 2007 and on both occasions beat the reigning World Hurdle champion. Until he was pulled up injured in Ireland he had only been out of the first two twice in 14 races.

   

I have been keeping an eye on the 3 year old races in the early part of the season and the following horses have caught my eye.

  

Elusive Dreams (J Gosden),  Flavious (M Stoute), Fondled (J Fanshawe), Gold Prospect (M Bell), Hazytoo (N Callaghan), Jamboretta (M Stoute), King’s Event (M Stoute), Lucarno (J Gosden), Manbar (M Stoute), Praxiteles (M Stoute), Riggins (L Cumani), Spice Route (M Bell), Sister Act (J Fanshawe), Wing Express (L Cumani).

  

Looking at tomorrow’s racing there is not a lot that makes much appeal.  In the 6.10 at Sandown Tatbeeq is a half sister to several winners including Crosspeace and So Sweet and is one to watch out for.

  

In the 6.40 the lightly raced Queen’s Best will handle the ground and looks to have strong claims.

  

In the 7.50 Mount Kilimanjaro represents our list to follow.  He won a tactical affair at Nottingham last time out and has winning form on soft ground.  He should go well.  Among his rivals is Allegretto, winner of last season’s Lancashire Oaks who has a first time visor, and last years winner Tungsten Strike.

  

Magic Mountain tried to make all at Chester last time but was swallowed up.  The extra distance in the 8.20 should not be a problem tomorrow but he is unproven on soft ground.

  

Black Rock was 3rd to Diamond Tycoon at Newbury and the form of that race is working out very well.  He is likely to be favourite for the 8.50 where the main concern would be the trip as he is bred along miling lines.

  

See you tomorrow.

 

Continue reading “Diary: May 29 2007”

Diary: May 28 2007

Reg Hollinshead’s one eyed sprinter Gilded Cove has run 61 times in his career but only 7 of these have been on turf.  His 12 wins have some at Wolverhampton (10) and Southwell (2).  He runs in the 2.50 at Carlisle tomorrow, his first ever visit to that track.  He runs off a rating of 64 – he has won off 70.

  

Prince Evelith has won 3 of his last 4 starts and I would be hopeful that he can add to that tally this season for canny trainer Alan Swinbank.  He holds a good chance in the Carlisle 3.25.

  

Passion Fruit certainly does her winning normally north of Watford Gap as her wins thus far have come at Carlisle, Ayr, Newcastle and Thirst.  She tries her luck in the 3.10 as far south as Leicester where distance and ground look ideal.

  

Imperial Gain only has one career win to his credit but his move to the stable of Milton Bradley may well bring about some improvement.  The horse has shown ability in the past and finished strongly in 3rd place two runs ago at Sandown.  He has a win in him possibly at decent odds.  He runs in the 4.55 at Leicester.

  

Up at Redcar Salaasa represents our list to follow in the 3.15.  Salaasa was last of 9 at Sandown after winning at Pontefract.  There may have been something amiss at Sandown and worth another chance.

  

Hasaad won at the start of the month at Ascot The step up to 10 furlongs for the Zetland Gold Cup (Redcar 3.50) should not be a problem and he looks a leading contender.

  

Currahee is related to a few winners but is yet to show a great deal on the racecourse himself. He runs in the 5.30 for trainer Julie Camacho.  Some rain would help his cause.

  

That is about all for today.

 

Continue reading “Diary: May 28 2007”

Diary: May 27 2007

After Pam Sly’s success with Speciosa last season Cockney Rebel is flying the flag for the smaller yards.  He became only the 6th horse to land the Newmarket/Curragh 2,000 Guineas double today.

  

It was not a particularly good day for my list to follow with only Artimino managing a win.  Artimino, trained by James Fanshawe and running in the red and white of the Cheveley Park Stud looks a progressive sort and one to keep on the right side.  Of the rest, Supersonic Dave ran a cracker behind the impressive Lucano.  Brian Meehan clearly thinks a lot of Supersonic Dave and as this was only his second appearance on a racecourse further improvement looks assured.

  

Elsewhere our old friend Sierra Vista set a blistering pace in the opening sprint at Haydock and none of her rivals could land a blow.  This was her 11th career win and her 4th at Haydock.

 

Staying with the sprinters old rivals Moss Vale and Benbaun clashed at the Curragh.  Almost a year ago to the day Moss Vale beat Benbaun by 2 lengths at Chantilly but this time Benbaun managed to reverse the placing.

  

Al a lower level Million Percent is a horse I have features from time to time in these pages. His win this afternoon from the plum number 1 stall at Catterick was the 10th of his career, the last 3 have now come at 25/1, 12/1 and 8/1.

  

Looking forward to tomorrow Dylan Thomas, last season’s Irish Derby winner looks the one to beat in the 3.00 at The Curragh.  Mick Channon’s Youmzain looks the one to give the Irish horse most to do.

  

The big race at The Curragh is the 1,000 Guineas at 3.35.  Finsceal Beo was an impressive winner of the English Guineas before being caught on the line in the French version.  The main danger may come from Arch Swing who finished 2nd to Finsceal Beo at Newmarket despite having to run up the middle of the track.  The John Oxx trained filly might well get closer this time and if the favourite has not fully recovered from her efforts in France Arch Swing could possibly reverse the placings.  The 3rd horse from our list to follow is Offbeat Fashion who will need to improve on previous efforts to take a hand in the finish.

  

At Newmarket Notepad, who makes her debut in the 2.45 is the subject of encouraging reports and is one to watch.

  

I never seem to have much luck tipping Sir Michael Stoute’s runners so you might want to lay this one!  Anyway I am going for Ladies Best, a progressive 2 year old last season and ridden by the in form Kerrin McEvoy to land the 3.15.

  

Transcend has been knocking on the door in her two runs so far this season and looks like starting favourite in the 4.25.  The once raced Destour showed enough promise when 4th at Goodwood to suggest she has an each way claim.

  

Good luck

 

Continue reading “Diary: May 27 2007”