Diary: August 1 2008


Winners continue to be hard to dig out at Goodwood.  Have my tips gone to the dogs?


Anyway, onward to day 4 at the Sussex track. Dandy Nicholls has trained 5 of the last 10 winners of the Stewards Sprint Stakes, the 2.50 at Goodwood tomorrow. He has 6 runners this time and it is never easy to pick the best of his when he comes into the race mob handed. My two fancies are Northern Dare and Valery Borzov, with a slight preference for the latter. I thought that Baby Strange ran a cracker when a narrow 2nd to Knot in Wood at Hamilton and he is the other one I like.

Illustrious Blue heads the weights for the Totesport Mile at 3.30. He has an excellent course record but he has not really been firing this season. I tipped him at Goodwood on Tuesday but he could only finish 10th of 17. I would very much like to see Dhaular Dhar win this. After inning at Doncaster in May at 16/1 he was runner up in the Buckingham Palace Stakes (25/1) at Ascot and then ran 2nd in the Totesport International, again at Ascot and again at 25/1. He is a course and distance winner but has a bad draw unfortunately. When Lang Shining won the Newbury Spring Cup he looked set for a successful campaign but he has not really built on that success. He has something to prove now, and there is also some doubt about his ability to handle fast ground. Unshakable won this race back in 2005 and was a good second at Epsom a couple of runs ago. He would be a decent sporting bet but I would worry about him if the ground was on the quick side.

Royal Confidence represents my list to follow in the 5.15. After starting the season well when 3rd behind Stimulation and Fat Boy in the Free Handicap at Newmarket she has been a bit disappointing. She handles fast ground and would have a chance on her best form but she will need to step up on recent efforts.

I put Cape Vale on my list to follow this season, partly because he is a half brother to Moss Vale who is a bit of a favourite sprinter of mine. Cape Vale hasn’t won this season but has put in some decent runs. He drops back to the minimum trip in the 5.50 after being campaigned over 6 and 7 furlongs this season.

The Elite Racing Club does not have quite the ammunition of a few years ago now that the likes of Soviet Song and New Seeker have retired. They had a winner yesterday with Party in the Park though and they have another runner with chances tomorrow with Harlech Castle in the Haydock 7.50. He comes from a very successful bloodline being a half brother to numerous winners. After being out of touch earlier in the season he ran a much better race when 4th last time out where he was wearing blinkers for the first time. With Paul Cole’s horses starting to find their form after a quiet period he has an each way chance.


Film Maker got off the mark when he bolted up in a maiden at Redcar. He was then upped in class when 5th of 7 in a listed race at Epsom. He makes his debut in handicap company tomorrow in the 7.30 at Newmarket. He has won on quick ground and Ryan Moore is booked to ride.

I think that Marajaa has a race in him somewhere this season. He goes in the 8.05 at Newmarket where he will be ridden by Alan Munroe. Any market move for him could be significant.

Aflaam was an eyecatching 3rd on his racecourse debut and is my selection for the 3.15 at Thirsk. The other runner from my list to follow at the Yorkshire track is Tawzeea in the 4.30.

My thanks to Dan Maudsley for his photo of "dog on the racecourse."

My thanks to Kate Tann for use of her photo of New Seeker (with Soviet Song in the background)


Diary: July 30 & 31 2008


After day 1 at Glorious Goodwood at least I can say I haven’t peaked too early with 4 days to go! I did get a tip for Finjaan (pictured below) but too late to pass it on I am afraid.


I don’t have a strong view on the opener at Goodwood. One interesting runner though is Mudawin. He is one of those horses that always seems to win at a big price. His career wins have come at 20/1, 11/1, 20/1, 5/1 and 100/1. Even though he does not have an outstanding strike rate he certainly would have made a profit if backed blindly throughout his career.

Henrythenavigator looks one of the bankers of the week in the Sussex Stakes at 3.30. Raven’s Pass looks the one to benefit should the Irish star not be at his best for any reason.

There are 3 runners from my list to follow in the 4.05. Colony and Savarain were first and second in a valuable handicap at Royal Ascot last month and they are handicapped to finish close to each other again. William Blake is tried at 12 furlongs again despite finishing last on his only previous effort at that trip. A tough one to call but I am going to go for Savarain.

In the 5.15 there is a good word for the Richard Hannon trained Dane’s World.


William Haggas is enjoying a successful season and I like the look of one of his in the Kempton 6.00. Silvanus has the best form on offer and should prevail.

Premio Loco has won 2 of his 6 career starts and should be all the better for his first outing of the season where he ran with some promise while looking as though he needed the race. He looks to have a chance in the 8.30. I would also like the prospects of The Fifth Member if taking his place in the line up. He is a dual course and distance winner.

Kiwi Bay’s apparent inconsistent form might be due to a dislike of soft going. Providing he gets fast ground he would be in with a shout in the Redcar 3.55.

Moving on to Thursday Arthur’s Girl represents our list to follow in the 2.15 at Goodwood. I was very disappointed with her last run when 4th at Newmarket in the Plantation Stakes. I can’t put her forward on the basis of that run.

On form our list runner Rowe Park has no chance in the 2.50. His runs this season have given supporters no encouragement at all. The only glimmer of light is that he won on his only previous visit to Goodwood.

It is impossible to oppose Yeats in the Goodwood Cup at 3.30. There are 3 runners from our list to follow in the race, Mad Rush, Regal Flush and Sagara. All with a fair bit to do though.


Mark Johnston does well at Goodwood and I quite fancy Hawaas in the 4.05. This horse has only run 3 times winning twice, both on good to firm ground. There are two other runners from our list to follow, Age of Reason, also trained by Mark Johnston, and Dr Faustus. Neither of these has been done any favours by the handicapper.

Dr Faustus is trained by Sir Michael Stoute who runs Chester winner Adversity in the 4.40. He has gone up in the weights for his win at the Roodeye but may be capable of further improvement and has an each way chance.

In the 5.50 Hereford Boy is a runner from our list to follow. He is a course and distance winner but has never won with an “F” in the going description.

Full Speed was a winner at York in may on fast ground. He didn’r run a bad race subsequently when 5th at Haydock. He goes in the 3.55 at Nottingham.

Rock Peak is still a maiden but has shown signs of ability in most of his races. His trainer Hughie Morrison tries him at 14 furlongs in the 8.35 at Sandown which might bring out further improvement in him.


Picture of Finjaan by kind permission of British 2YO Racing


Diary: July 29 2008


I am not going into Goodwood on particularly “glorious” tipping form, but there have been some near misses, for example Dan Chillingworth who was 2nd at 12/1 today.

Goodwood is never easy as some horses just don’t handle the track, which makes previous course form an important factor. If we look at the opening race at 2.15 I see that Mr Aviator has form figures at Goodwood of 122. He comes here on form having won the Royal Hunt Cup and he has won on good and good to firm. He is 5 lbs higher than when winning at Ascot so it is possible that the weight will beat him but he is well drawn and must have a chance. Illustrious Blue has a marvellous record at Goodwood. His form figures at the Sussex track read 31311114. All his 7 career wins have come on good ground and he is now on a mark 2 lbs lower than his last win. Sir Mark Prescott’s Caraval is the bottom weight and should be all the better for a recent 3rd at Sandown. Championship Point won the race last year but is only 1 lb higher in the ratings and is another to consider. I would go for the course specialist Illustrious Blue.


Conduit only went down by three parts of a length to Campanologist in a Group 2 at Royal Ascot and that form should be good enough to see him win the 2.50.

There are 3 runners from my list to follow in the 3.30. King of Dixie is yet to finish out of the first 3 in his career. He takes a step up in class in the Lennox Stakes at 3.30 but is certainly not out of it. Stimulation is a tough sort that has been running consistently well but may find this just a little too hot for him. He may well run into a place however. Infallible deserves to get her head in front. She finished 4th to Natagora in the 1,000 Guineas, and runner up in both the Coronation Stakes and the Falmouth. 7 furlongs looks to be her ideal trip and she gets my selection.

duffield gallops

I have been following the fortunes of Mrs Kipling this season, partly because she is by the first season sire Exceed and Excel. She duly won a little race at Lingfield but then came last in the Cherry Hinton. She runs in the 4.05 and might not want the ground too firm.

Milne Graden is unbeaten in his 3 starts and comes into the “could be anything” category. He is trained by Jeremy Noseda whose horses may be coming back into a bit of form and he would be my suggestion in the 4.40. The remarkable Birkside also lines up in this. He has won an amazing 13 races since last May and seems to run a couple of times a week. The other one I quite like is Sandbuch who appeared to not quite see out the 2 miles at Ascot earlier in the month. This drop back to a mile and three quarters could be ideal.


Mountain Pride did my list to follow a bit of good when he won at 20/1 at Sandown in June. He could be a major player in the 5.15 although there is a slight doubt about his ability to handle fast ground. The Fifth Member is another to have done this column proud this season justifying my selection twice. Both those wins came on the all weather at Kempton but he has run well at Goodwood before and certainly comes here in good form. Swop is a 5 year old but has only had 3 runs in his life. He is a good looking sort that may just be a blot on the handicap as the assessor does not have much to go on.

Up at Beverley I fancy Bryan Smart’ 2 year old filly Positivity in the 3.10 at Beverley while the other one I like at the East Yorkshire course is Richard Fahey’s Trip the Light in the 4.20. The stable won this race a couple of years ago with Halla San.

Pictures are by kind permission of Ann Duffield Racing

Good luck


Diary: July 28 2008


I usually enjoy a fair return from following Sir Mark Prescott’s 3 year olds but this season the strategy has not worked as well. Aleatricis has won 5 times but apart from him most of the others that I have followed have disappointed, the latest being General Ting yesterday. Iron Cross looked a typical potential improver from his stable having run 3 times as a juvenile over inadequate trips. He has shown nothing in his 2 runs over a mile and a half this season and there seems no reason to support him tomorrow in the Southwell 3.45.


I had a “hot tip” for Tyrannosaurus Rex at Wolverhampton last November but luckily I didn’t have a monster bet on him as he could only finish 6th. He remains a maiden but did show some signs of ability last time out when he was runner up over 6 furlongs at Ripon. He runs in the 4.15 at Southwell. Another interesting runner in this race is Dan Chillingworth who is named after a footballer who plies his trade with Cambridge United. He has run 4 times finishing 5th on each occasion but may be a bit better than the bare form figures suggest.

At Yarmouth Stuart Williams saddles Itshim in the 3.00 and Itsher in the 3.30. The former is owned by Itsthem and the latter by Itsus. What is that all about I wonder?

Picture by kind permission of the artist Jane Dunn.

See you tomorrow.

Diary: July 26 & 27 2008


There were some winners for the site on Thursday. Aleatricis duly completed his 5 timer and I see he is entered at Kempton on the 30th so he could yet make it 6 on the bounce. Dvinski kept up his good record at Kempton winning at 11/2 under a well judged front running ride from Jimmy Quinn. I was disappointed to have missed out on Dream Lodge though. I have been following him all season and the minute I don’t flag him up he comes in at 20/1! Such is racing.

The big race tomorrow is of course the King George at Ascot (4.20) where Duke of Marmalade may well continue the Group 1 dominance by the Aiden O’Brien team. You can’t knock his 3 wins this season and he has won on both soft and firm so seems to handle any ground. He has never run over 12 furlongs before so it is possible that stamina could be a chink in his armour. I don’t really have any strong views about this race but I was quite taken by Lucarno’s win at Newmarket the other week and he might be able to test out any doubts about Duke of Marmalade’s stamina. Ask was well beaten by Duke of Marmalade when they met in the Prince of Wales Stakes last month but that was over 10 furlongs and the extra distance tomorrow may enable Sir Michael Stoute’s runner to get closer. I see that Ryan Moore has elected to ride Ask rather than Papal Bull which might be a pointer. If we get a strong pace then Youmzain would be interesting as he has a telling finish in him. Lucarno and Youmzain would be my main fancies.

The Totesport International is one of the most competitive handicaps of the season and the winner will take some finding in a field of 29. Redford is a major fancy for the race, having won 2 of his 3 starts this season. He needs to be held up and produced late so Jamie Spencer will have to be at his best in such a big field. William Haggas is having an excellent season and has two fancied runners in King’s Apostle and Musaalem. The latter is unbeaten in 3 starts, all on good to firm, but has risen steeply in the weights as a result. Kings Apostle finished 3rd in the Wokingham and the way he races he may well be able to win over 7 furlongs. He is best on fast ground.


Mastership is owned by the very shrewd Marten Julian. He has what looks like a nice draw in stall one and comes here on the back of a good 4th in the Bunbury Cup. He is another suited by fast ground. Dhaular Dhar has done well for these pages this season winning at 16/1 and then just going down by half a length in the Buckingham Palace Stakes. Zaahid landed the Victoria Cup over course and distance back in May but is now 6 lbs higher, while James Fanshawe’s Artimino, ridden by Johnny Murtagh is another for my ever growing short list!

On the face of it 3 year olds don’t seem to have a good record in the race but in fact only 13 have come to post in the last 5 years and they have produced a winner and a runner up, so from a trends point of view Redford cannot be eliminated. His claims are respected but his price will be short so I will take a chance with Mastership from the in form stable of John Quinn.

The 2.35 at Ascot Rose Diamond takes a big step up in class to Group 3 level after winning a Newmarket maiden. She is a filly whose progress I will watch with interest as her dam, Tante Rose, was a favourite of mine.

There are two runners from my list to follow in the 3.05. Lazy Days certainly takes the eye on looks and might be of interest to a jumps trainer one day. He has put in some decent efforts this season including a 5th behind Redford at Doncaster. It is possible that Jamie Spencer just overdid the waiting tactics on him last time at Newmarket and he could be worth another chance. He has won on good to firm. Navajo Joe has only run 3 times so is a possible improver. He got off the mark on his last run beating Visions of Johanna, who was himself a winner this week. One problem could be the going as his full sister Indian Ink has only shown form with some give in the ground.

Tiger Dream, a winner over a mile on good to firm at Thirsk in May represents my list to follow in the ladies race at 4.55.

Turning to Newcastle and the handicap at 4.30 Hurlingham’s two wins have come on the all weather and he didn’t look at all an easy ride when tried in blinkers for the first time at Ripon last time out. The blinkers stay and although he clearly has ability I am not sure he is one we can rely on. Inspector Clouseau is another with questions to answer. Runner up on his first two starts this season he was a disappointing favourite last time at Redcar. I am going to burden Kaisha Kayleigh with my selection. Brian Ellison’s 5 year old mare has been in grand form this season but as a result has gone up a bit in the weights. She might not be that well handicapped but an apprentice jockey takes off 7 lbs, this is her optimum trip and as long as the ground does not ride too firm she should give us a run for our money.

Missioner got off to a good start to the season with a win at Haydock and a couple of very creditable seconds but things have rather gone wrong since then. If first time blinkers work the oracles then he would have an each way chance in the Newmarket 2.25. In the 2.55 my suggestion is for the unexposed Roaring Forte from William Haggas’ yard.

In the York 3.15, you have to respect the chances of the evergreen Blythe Knight and also the Godolphin runner Campanologist. The two that most appeal to me though are Pipedreamer and Tajaweed. Last year’s Cambridgeshire winner Pipedreamer deserves to win one of these as he has been running most consistently in good company all season. In fact he has been 3rd on all 4 of his starts this season, the last couple at Group 1 level. Tajaweed has only ever raced 4 times so further improvement is possible. He won the Dee Stakes before finishing 8 in the Epsom Derby.

katy york

Knot in Wood represents my list to follow in the 3.45. He has gone up 5 lbs for a recent win at Hamilton. I tipped him there but I juts feel that the rise in the weights might prove too much for him here.

Sir Mark Prescott has run up a sequence of wins with Aleatricis and may well be able to do something similar with General Ting. He has only been raised 3 lbs for his win at Nottingham and looks the type to improve. He is my selection in the Salisbury 8.10.

Moving on to Ascot on Sunday Sugar Ray will carry top weight in the competitive handicap at 2.50. His win over course and distance last month has been franked by the runner up, Mad Rush, who went on to win the Old Newton Cup at Haydock with some ease. Pevensey, who finished 4th in that Haydock race runs in a first time visor and is another to consider.

The 2.50 at Ascot is a very open race. Northern Dare and Aegean Dancer have wins in them I feel but I will give Oldjoesaid a tentative selection. He ran well from a nigh on impossible draw at Chester last time out. Ebraam has been running consistently, likes fast ground and may not be far away.

miller heads down

6 unraced 2 year olds line up in the 3.25. John Gosden’s Euston Square is by Oasis Dream and is a half brother to July Cup winner Continent.

Yesterday’s winner Dream Lodge is entered in the 3.50 at Pontefract. Having missed him yesterday I had better tip him this time, although he must be a doubtful starter. Another interesting runner is Calming Influence, who won a listed race at Newmarket earlier in the season beating Stimulation before finishing down the field in the Jersey Stakes at Ascot.

This page features the work of 3 super equine artists.  In the order that they appear on the page, my thanks to Jane Dunn, Katy Sodeau and Lisa Miller, for allowing me to use their work.

Diary: July 25 2008


I am going to start Friday’s preview with a look at the 4.30 at Ascot, a race where Mark Johnston has trained 3 of the last 10 winners. He saddles William Blake this time, a winner twice on the all weather and also at Beverley earlier in the year. He didn’t make much show off his current mark of 88 on his first two starts after being reassessed but his last run, when 3rd over course and distance was more encouraging. The trainer’s record in the race certainly cannot be ignored.

Earlier on the Ascot card there is a good word for the unraced 2 year old Almiqdaad in the 2.45.

Houghton was sent off favourite on his first run this season and Newbury back in April but could only finished a rather one paced 4th. His stable was not going particularly well at the time and the fact that he has been given a long break may indicate that there was a problem with him. He is related to various winners, such at the high class Yellowstone, Londoner who was once a fancy for the Triumph hurdle and Groom’s Affection who I backed successfully to win at 10/1 in 2004! Houghton is worth another chance in the 6.10 at Newmarket.


Richard Fahey has his runners in great form and he sends Trojan Flight down to Newmarket for the 7.40. Trojan Flight was an unlucky loser at York last month and then didn’t get his favoured fast ground when down the field at Newcastle. He is a tricky to win with as he needs to be held up but if everything falls right for him he is well capable of winning this.

Sheer Bluff and Merrion Tiger represent out list to follow in the 8.45. The former has tended to pull rather hard. Merion Tiger has a bit of an each way chance on ground that he should appreciate.

Our list to follow is represented in the 6.30 at York by Pacific Pride. After winning first time out he has not shown much spark since.

In the 8.00 Peruvian Prince is just preferred to course and distance winner Birkside.

My thanks to Paul Turner for the use of his photo of a close finish at Cartmel.  Just a reminder that the jumps season is not too far away!


Diary: July 24 2008


The Yorkshire Festival of Racing moves on to Doncaster tomorrow evening where Another Decree lines up in the Yorkshire Racing Festival Handicap at 7.40. This son of Diktat did my list to follow a bit of good when winning a Pontefract maiden at odds of 16/1 back in May. A mark of 72 might not be unreasonable and at around 7/1 he has an each way chance. A sound surface is likely to suit Another Decree, and the same can be said of Smarterthanuthink in the 12 furlong handicap at 8.30. He probably isn’t entirely straightforward but won on good to firm at Hamilton 2 runs ago and comes from an in form yard.

There is no better trainer at placing his horses to run up a sequence than Sir Mark Prescott. His 3 year old Aleatricis goes for a 5 timer in the 6.30 at Folkestone. Young 19 year old Rosie Jessop takes the ride and she has already won on the horse. Two little bits of trivia for those that like that sort of thing. The dam actually won over course and distance back in 2003, and the horse comes from the family of Derby runner up Dragon Dancer.


Talking of trivia the line up for the Folkestone 8.40 has a distinctly sporty look. Outside Edge is owned by the Cricketers Racing Group, while New Balls Please is in the ownership of The Tennis Boys.

Dvinski has a very good record at Kempton and may be worth a second look there in the 7.15.

I had hopes for Regal Step at the start of the season but in 3 races thus far he has only managed to beat one horse! He has come down 10 lbs in the ratings in the process. He runs in the Sandown 2.45. Another cracking piece of information for the trivia minded, Frankie Dettori rides Regal Step tomorrow which means that the horse has never yet been ridden by the same jockey twice.

Visions of Johanna, named after a Bob Dylan song, ran well when runner up to good thing Navajo Joe last time out at Lingfield and could break his duck at the third attempt in the Sandown 3.55.

Picture by king permission of the artist Jo Stockdale.

Be lucky!


Diary: July 23 2008


I haven’t had much time to reflect on the racing last weekend. I fancied Knot in Wood for the sprint at Musselburgh on Friday night and he won well, albeit not quite as easily as last year. Valery Borzov again showed plenty of early dash and there may well be another race in him this summer.

Dar Re Mi had really solid claims in the listed contest at Newmarket and she stayed on well under Richard Mullen on ground that was probably quicker than ideal. A couple of other runners from my list to follow, Corrybrough and Bankable ran with credit in defeat. Corrybrough was 2nd to Intrepid Jack over 6 furlongs. He will revert to the minimum trip according to his trainer Henry Candy, and he will win more races. Time may well show that Bankable’s close second behind Passage of Time was a pretty decent effort and he should be placed to win at Group level before too long.

This week sees plenty of racing at the Yorkshire tracks as it is their festival of racing. Tomorrow the show moves to Catterick where there are some interesting runners in the maiden at 2.20. Of special interest to me is the Mark Johnston newcomer Proclaim. He is a a half brother to Dhaular Dhar, a horse that has won at least once each season he has run and he is now a 6 year old. The horse with the best form in the book is Sir Mark Prescott’s Starry Sky, who was 4th on his debut at Kempton recently. Prescott trained the dam’s half sister to win 3 times so he knows the family. Ann Duffield saddles two runners in this maiden, including the previously unraced Hawk Wing filly Star of Sophia (pictured), who is appropriately enough, a half sister to Queen of Bulgaria, a winner as a juvenile.

star of sofia

Sticking with the two year olds there have been good reports about Ralph Beckett’s Hesketh, an early foal by Nayef. Seb Sanders has the ride in the 6.15 at Leicester.

Wing Play was doing his best work at the finish last time at Warwick and should appreciate the extra furlong in the 2.30 at Lingfield. He was a winner on the all weather at Wolverhampton last November beating a horse called Martyr that has won twice since. You will need to watch your bets in the 5.00 as trainer Peter Grayson runs both Stoneacre Chris and Stoneacre Sarah.

My only suggestion yesterday, Aleatrisic duly completed his four timer at odds of 4/5 at Yarmouth.

Picture by courtesy of Ann Duffield Racing.

Bye for now

Diary: July 22 2008


The only runner from my list to follow in action tomorrow is Aleatricis, a typical Sir Mark Prescott 3 year old, who goes for a 4 timer in the 3.15 at Yarmouth.  The horse seems to be improving at a rate of knots and should be able to defy a penalty.  His last win came at 1/8 though and another skinny price is likely.

Diary: July 21 2008


The big race at Ayr tomorrow is the valuable sprint handicap at 4.30. There are plenty in with chances including two previous winners of the race, Fantasy Explorer and Fullandby. Fullandby carries top weight and is 9 lbs higher than winning last year. Fantasy Explorer is actually on the same mark as last season but he probably hasn’t the best draw and seems to be best on fast ground which he may not get.

Richard Fahey has his horses in good form and jockey Paul Hanagan, who presumably had the pick of the two Fahey runners, has chosen to ride the 7 year old Bo McGinty. Bo McGinty has enjoyed a bit of resurgence this year, winning 3 races in 2008 so far. He is another that is best suited by fast ground. Aegean Dancer is a horse I have always liked. He has had his problems but is very capable on his day. He is drawn in stall 1 which has provided the winner a couple of times in recent years and he could go well. He probably wouldn’t want the ground to be on the soft side though. I would just about give Aegean Dancer as my selection.

miller unsaddling

Scanno and Piverina are runners from my list to follow in a very ordinary looking handicap at 5.00. Neither has done enough to warrant my support, but Scanno has taken a big tumble in the weights.

At Yarmouth in the 2.45 John Gosden introduces Teeky, a half sister to the classy Sleeping Indian and also to a horse called La Paz that won a couple of times as a 3 year old, albeit once on a disqualification.

Handsome Falcon has won 2 of his 5 starts at Beverley and is looking to repeat his win last season in the 7.30. He is not badly handicapped and has a decent 7 lbs claimer riding. He is not the most consistent but certainly has a chance on his best form.

Runners from my list to follow at Beverley are:. Charles Parnell, who has a bad draw in the 8.00, and Rivington Pike, General Tufto and Astrodome in the 8.30. Astrodome is a half brother to the multiple winner Alambic and may be better than he has shown so far, especially as he now tackles 2 miles for the first time.

Picture courtesy of the artist Lisa Miller