Diary: June 18 2007

As we move into Royal Ascot week the superstars of the racing game will get full coverage in the press.  I will take the chance to give a mention to some of the sport’s lesser lights.


The other week I mentioned the retirement of Peeress and Dancing Bay.  I see that old Ionian Spring was also retired recently.  “Onion” as he was nicknamed was a grand servant to his connections and he retired at the age of 12 having won 12 times.  He also bowed out on a high, winning his last ever start on the 15th February 2007 at Southwell, his first win having come back in August 1998.


Gilded Cove would have to go into the “lesser lights” category but I have always had a soft spot for him, partly I suppose because he only has one eye.  He has notched up 12 wins on the all weather over the years, 10 of them coming at Wolverhampton where he is a standing dish.  The other day he won his first race on turf, at the age of 7, at Bath, beating another old favourite, Harrison’s Flyer, by a neck.  Harrison’s Flyer is one of those horses that always seems to win at a decent price.  Among his 8 successes he has won at 25s and 16s and his shortest winning odds are 3/1.  He has paid for his keep over the years as apart from the races he has won he has also been 2nd 7 times and 3rd on 8 occasions.


It wouldn’t be fair to call Machinist a lesser light really as he is a former winner of an Ascot Heritage handicap as well as the Ayr Silver Cup.  Anyhow, he is a horse whose career I have followed and I was pleased to see him win nicely over 6 furlongs last week at Hamilton.  He is a half brother to Greek Renaissance, another horse to have figured in these pages in the past.  Second in the Hamilton race was Trojan Flight who ran on late as he usually does.  He needs the cards to fall right for him as he is a slow starter. He used to be trained by the Ramsdens but is now with Richard Fahey.


Looking back to Saturday Transcend looked the best chance of a winner from my list to follow but he was a big disappointment on ground that in theory should have been right for him.  I did get a winner from the list courtesy of Black Rock who surprised me slightly by winning at Sandown.  This race was virtually a match between Black Rock and the Godolphin runner Spring City.  When they met before Spring City had come out on top but Black Rock did well to reverse the form.  This demonstrates that form study is not an exact science.


I had hopes that either Cape or Swinbrook would land the 3.20 at Folkestone today but they managed to bump into each other and finished 5th and 6th respectively.  Sakhee’s Secret kept the flag flying for my list to follow with a most impressive burst of acceleration to win at Salisbury.  That was his 3rd win of the season which makes him the most successful “lister” along with another sprinter, Tax Free who is also on 3 wins for the season.


Turning to tomorrow’s cards I will start with Carlisle where former Ayr Gold Cup winner Funfair Wane runs in the 3.15.  He is running off a mark of 57 having once won off 105.


I quite fancy Portal for the 8.45 at Warwick.  She was a good 3rd on her comeback run and is a horse I like.  The worry would be the going as ideally I think she prefers fast ground.


There are two runners from our list to follow in the 8.05 at Windsor, Imperial Gain and Fisberry.  Both have a bit to prove after below par recent efforts but both come from stables that know the time of day when it comes to sprinters.


In the 9.05 Ballet Boy is potentially well handicapped for Sir Mark Prescott.


Continue reading “Diary: June 18 2007”

Diary: June 16 & 17

With York washed out I will start tonight’s deliberations at Sandown.


John Gosden’s Transcend pulled clear of his field last time at Newmarket and should be suited by the track at Sandown.  He goes in the 3.00 and should handle the ground OK.


The 4.45 should be between Spring City and Black Rock who were 2nd and third over course and distance behind Winter Sunrise.  In similar ground you would think they would finish in the same order, especially at that was Spring City’s debut run.


We had a winner from Henry Candy’s stable last Saturday and another from the same stable, Oldjoesaid looks the likely winner of the 7.45 at Leicester.


The horses from our list to follow have had a lean time of late but I am hoping for a winner in the 3.20 at Folkestone.  Cape was a market drifter last Saturday at Goodwood and in any event didn’t get a clear run.  She remains a bright prospect and can bounce back from that setback.  Swinbrook ran an encouraging race at Newbury on his seasonal reappearance and should strip fitter on Sunday.  Handles give in the ground.  For those of you that enjoy a bit of pointless trivia, Pawan has won 6 times in his career but never by more than half a length.


In the 2.30 at Salisbury I will be watching Ballaista.  This will be her 3rd run which will qualify her for handicaps.  She could be interesting in that sphere.


Sakhee’s Secret has won both his starts this season but takes on his toughest assignment to date in the listed race at 3.30.


Continue reading “Diary: June 16 & 17”

Diary: June 15 2007

On the 24th August 2003 I developed a complex theory about a horse called What-A-Dancer ridden by a certain K Fallon.  It was a winning bet (those were the days) but since then both horse and rider have rather suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.  What-A-Dancer runs in the 7.00 at Chepstow tomorrow, a race he won in 2005.  In fact he is a dual course and distance winner.  There is no Kieren Fallon of course and 5 lbs claimer James Millman has the ride.  At 16/1 the 10 year old gelding has an each way chance.


Coup D’Etat is hardly the form horse in the 8.10 as he is on a 16 run losing sequence.  He is running off a mark of 72 having been as high as 91 at one time.  I am working on the basis that he has a win in him somewhere.  His last success came on 11 June 2005 so he has won at this time of year if you subscribe to that sort of theory.


In the 8.00 at Goodwood I see that Vanquisher has a first time visor.  He has finished second in half of his 6 starts and it might be now or never tomorrow.


In the 3.15 at Sandown the well regarded Revivalism represents trainer John Gosden who has won the race twice in the last 3 years.  Raincoat won last years running.


There are two runners from our list to follow in the 3.50.  Monte Alto should be al the better for the step up in distance after finishing 3rd at Leicester.  Magic Mountain has been running better than his form figures suggest.  Tried in blinkers for the first time here.


The 4.25 is a nice little race.  The giant Clear Sailing is well related and I am hopeful that he can build on the promise shown last season. The main danger will be the talented Greek Well a recent winner over course and distance.  He was favourite for the Derby at one stage last season.


The lightly raced Prince Evelith would be my fancy for the 2.50 at York.  The soft ground could be a problem though as his 3 wins have all come on good to firm.


In the 3.50 both Dr Sharp and Macorville should appreciate the soft ground.


We have two runners from our list to follow in the sprint at 4.35, Pacific Pride and that old rogue Bo McGinty.  John Quinn does well with his sprinters and his Pacific Pride has shown form at York before.  He is possibly better at 6 furlongs but is not out of it here.  Bo McGinty has been running well and has a good draw. He is probably better on fast ground though.  The other one that looks interesting is the well handicapped River Kirov.  He ran well when 2nd at Windsor a couple of runs ago and his last run was too bad to be true and is best ignored.




Continue reading “Diary: June 15 2007”

Diary: June 14 2007

I will start tonight’s ramblings with a look at the 5.25 at Newbury where there are 3 runners from our list to follow.  Mujahaz won here a few weeks ago over 1 mile 3. The extra furlong tomorrow should not pose a problem and he looks a contender.  He has never run on anything firmer than good.  Sunley Peace is still a maiden but has done enough in two runs this season to suggest he can take a hand in this.  Composing tackles handicap company for the first time and is also stepped up in trip.  Could be a bit of a dark horse here but stable form a slight concern.


Pairumani Princess, the only other runner from our list, won a mile maiden on the AW her final start at two but was disappointing when a beaten favourite for a 1m2f handicap sand last month, struggling from long way out; longer trip might help in the 5.05 at Yarmouth.


That is about all for tonight.


Continue reading “Diary: June 14 2007”

Diary: June 13 2007

Our list to follow is providing quite a steady supply of winners recently, Obstructive (7/1) and Diamond Diva(5/2) being the latest successes.  Things did not go so well this afternoon though!


There is no shortage of meetings on Wednesday and our list a represented by the following.


In the 3.30 at Brighton Copernican, a winner 6 days ago seeks to follow up under a 6 lbs penalty.  Sir Mark Prescott is adept at squeezing further improvement from his 3 year olds and this one must have a god chance.


Dig Deep faces some familiar names such as Machinist, Trojan Flight and Kenmore in the 9.10 at Hamilton. He should get the ground he likes and although most of his wins have some over 7 furlongs this is a stiff 6.


In the 9.20 at Kempton Sagredo, another Prescott 3 year old should benefit for the step up in trip and is worth a close look.


Our 4th representative is Flores Sea who runs in the 2.40 at Nottingham.  He was a winner at Thirsk and then may not have handled the track at Hamilton.  Jamie Spencer rides him for the first time.


Sister Act, a full sister to high class miler Soviet Song, made a most promising debut when 2nd at Newbury.  She must have an outstanding chance of going one better in the 4.40 at Nottingham.


Continue reading “Diary: June 13 2007”

Diary: June 11 & 12 2007

There were mixed fortunes for our horses to follow on Saturday. The good news was that there were 3 winners.


Dunelight made all to beat a hot Godolphin favourite in the mile listed race at Goodwood.  He was runner up in a heritage handicap on his only other visit to the Sussex track.  He seems to like the place which is something to keep in mind.  He also acts best on fast ground.


How’s She Cuttin’ is an admirably consistent type and kept up her remarkable record at Musselburgh with a win over 5 furlongs.  Not for the first time she hung badly to the right and almost lost out to the fast finishing Blazing Heights.  She is genuine enough but tends to veer to the right in her races.


River Alhaarth was sent off favourite for Haydock’s 2 miles handicap but was no match for Colloquial who hit the front a couple of furlongs out and galloped all the way to the line. One thing the 3 winners had in common – they all wore headgear.


Of the other list horses Cape was a serious market drifter and didn’t get a clear run anyway in the opener at Goodwood.  Supersonic Dave was 4th of 5 behind Dunelight but you can probably ignore that run.  I have a feeling that the mile was too sharp for him and also the stable have not had a winner lately.  Over further and with the stable in better form I am sure he will win races.

Our only list runner today was John Gosden's Asperity who won at Chantilly under Frankie Dettori.



So to Monday and as usual I will concentrate mainly on the runners from my list to follow.  Passion Fruit runs in the 8.15 at Pontefract.  She is not exactly favoured by the race conditions.


In the 8.05 Obstructive has her first ever run on turf, having shown consistent if somewhat frustrating form on the all weather.  She also tries 5 furlongs for the first time and is likely to try and make all.


Another dropped down to the minimum trip is Diamond Diva in the 3.15 at Wolverhampton having been a slightly disappointing beaten favourite last time over 7 furlongs at Newbury.  Has an each way chance I would say.


On Tuesday I will probably be putting a small wager of Harlech Castle in the 6.45 at Chester.  Trained by Paul Cole, Harlech Castle showed promise when 4th on his debut.  He is related to several winners, including Tredegar and Brecon Beacon.


Luca Cumani’s Pentatonic made no show on her seasonal reappearance at Leicester last month but I am hoping she will improve on that run in the 4.15 at Salisbury. She is lightly arced and may well be capable of better than she showed at Leicester.


Dumas is by the sire Iron Mask and might as well have been running in one at Nottingham last time when he was 14th of 14.  To be honest his career record thus far is not anything to write home about but I haven’t given up on him yet. He is yet another dropping down in trip, from 8 to 6 furlongs in the 5.15 at Salisbury.


Imperial Gain is the other runner from the list to follow on Tuesday.  He is entered to run in the 5.45.

Continue reading “Diary: June 11 & 12 2007”

Epitaph on a hare

Epitaph on a Hare

Here lies, whom hound did ne’er pursue,
  Nor swiftewd greyhound follow,
Whose foot ne’er tainted morning dew,
  Nor ear heard huntsman’s hallo’,

Old Tiney, surliest of his kind,
  Who, nurs’d with tender care,
And to domestic bounds confin’d,
  Was still a wild Jack-hare.

Though duly from my hand he took
  His pittance ev’ry night,
He did it with a jealous look,
  And, when he could, would bite.

His diet was of wheaten bread,
  And milk, and oats, and straw,
Thistles, or lettuces instead,
  With sand to scour his maw.

On twigs of hawthorn he regal’d,
  On pippins’ russet peel;
And, when his juicy salads fail’d,
  Slic’d carrot pleas’d him well.

A Turkey carpet was his lawn,  
  Whereon he lov’d to bound,
To skip and gambol like a fawn,
  And swing his rump around.

His frisking wa at evening hours,
  For then he lost his fear;
But most before approaching show’rs,
  Or when a storm drew near.

Eight years and five round rolling moons
  He thus saw steal away,
Dozing out all his idle noons,
  And  ev’ry night at play.

I kept him for his humour’s sake,
  For he would oft beguile
My heart of thoughts that made it ache,
  And force me to a smile.

But now, beneath this walnut-shade
  He finds his long, last home,
And waits inn snug concealment laid,
  ‘Till gentler puss shall come.

He, still more aged, feels the shocks
  From which no care can save,
And, partner once of Tiney’s box,
  Must soon partake his grave.

William Cowper

Continue reading “Epitaph on a hare”