Diary: September 1 2008


Quite a few of the horses mentioned in my preview on Friday ran well yesterday but alas no winners. Dr Sharp (10/1), Bo McGinty (6/1) Nexus (100/30) and Lang Shining (12/1) came 2nd, while Swop (6/1), Prime Mood (5/6) and Northern Fling (11/2) finished 3rd. The near thing trend continued into Sunday with Hel’s Bay (9/2) finishing runner up.

There are a few points of interest on Monday and I will as usual concentrate mainly on horses from my list to follow. Starting with the 3.50 at Hamilton the Mick Easterby trained Hurlingham heads the weights. He did my list to follow a good turn at Haydock last month winning at 10/1. He has not looked a straightforward ride but won with a bit to spare in the soft ground at Haydock. He has gone up 6 lbs in the weights but given similar underfoot conditions he should be in the shake up.

Keisha Kayleigh has had a successful campaign with 2 wins and 2 seconds. He runs in the 4.20 at Hamilton but he is now on a mark of 72 which might make life difficult for him.

Rossini’s Dancer has been a beaten favourite 4 times this season so I can’t realistically put him forward as a likely winner in the 4.50. He is on the same mark as when 3rd at the Scottish track last time.

The Gallops Lambourne

At Kempton the newcomer Rio Carnival takes the eye in the 4.30. Trained by John Gosden her dam won the French 1,000 Guineas and is a half sister to the top sprinter Oasis Dream.

Reclamation has run consistently this season with form figures reading 122. She has gone up 15 lbs since the start of the season so will need to find further improvement in the Kempton 5.30. Not out of it though.

Apache Fort is something of a Lingfield specialist. His form figures there are 01231211. He runs in the 2.40.

Today’s picture is by courtesy of the artist Matthew Hillier.


Diary: August 30 & 31 2008


I am going to tackle the weekend’s racing in alphabetical order which means starting at Bath.

If I turned the page of my racing calendar a couple of days early there would be a picture of Harlech Castle for September. Paul Cole’s 3 year old won a nursery at Newbury last season thereby keeping up a family tradition as his dam has produced 6 winners in all. Harlech Castle has not had the best of seasons this time round and is yet to win in 5 starts. He has been running over distances of 6, 7 and 8 furlongs but is dropped down to the minimum trip in the 6.45 at Bath tomorrow. He is probably on a winnable mark if he still retains his enthusiasm for the game and the drying ground is in his favour but he is not well drawn.

There is only one runner from my list to follow in action at Bath and that is the Roger Charlton trained Barricado. His form figures this year of 22433 probably tell the story as he does not seem to be 100% genuine. He runs in the 7.15 which does not look a very strong heat. He clearly has a good chance on the form book if he puts his best foot forward – but there is the rub! An interesting runner earlier on the card at 6.15 is the 12 year old Nimello. He has been predominantly an all weather type and has not run on turf for over 3 years. He won the Lincoln Handicap back in 2001 though when to be honest the draw favoured him. He came out of stall 1 that day when stalls 1 to 6 all finished in the first 7. He has won 16 races in all with 10 of them either at Wolverhampton or Southwell. Off a mark of 46 he would pick these up and carry them on his form of yesteryear.


Bo McGinty is something of an old favourite of mine and has featured on these pages many times over the years. He has found something of a new lease of life in 2008 with 3 wins this year. His last win came at Chester and he returns to the Cheshire track tomorrow for the 2.20. When he won last time he had a better draw so he may find it more difficult tomorrow. He is a bit of a character though and on a going day is capable enough. His jockey Frederick Tylacki is a talented apprentice, one of several around at the moment.

Speed Gifted has always looked a talented individual but has not always impressed with his attitude. He is probably capable of winning the 2.50 at Chester if he can overcome a poor draw and his suspect temperament. Another horse in this race that could be interesting is Solent, who dead heated for first place last season in a listed race at Ascot. He has since changed stables and is with John Quinn who won with him over hurdles at Bangor recently. I know that a win over hurdles is not necessarily an indicator for a listed race on the flat but it might just show that the horse is on good terms with himself and fighting fit.

The 3.25 is a bit of a frustrating race as the horses that I fancy are all badly drawn. The last two winners of the race, Vanderlin and Ordnance Row both line up again. Vanderlin is 9 now and perhaps past his best but Ordnance Row is a definite contender. He comes here on the back of a Group 3 success at Salisbury but as a result carries top weight. He runs off a mark of 109 which could make this a tall order from stall 12. When he won the race in 2006 he was off a mark of 89.

Celtic Sultan likes to front run and won at the May Chester meeting and is off the same mark tomorrow. He is probably best on quickish ground, unlike Ordnance Row who prefers some give underfoot.

Adversity justified favouritism to win at Chester in June but went up 12 lbs as a result and could only finish 8th next time out at Goodwood. He has a 5 lbs claimer on board tomorrow which may indicate that the stable think he is a bit high in the weights. Dream Lodge was 3rd behind Celtic Sultan at Chester and has since run well in non handicap company. He is much worse off at the weights with Celtic Sultan and he is drawn 17 of 17. Pawan would be a popular victor for his trainer/jockey Ann Stokell and he is not badly drawn in stall 3. He is high enough in the weights though.

Carcinetti is perhaps best known as an all weather horse having won 6 times at Wolverhampton. She won on turf at Newmarket last month though and was far from disgraced in a listed race at Chester when 5th behind Green Manalishi over 6 furlongs. She ran yesterday when 3rd at Great Leighs over 6 furlongs. This is a tricky race and I wouldn’t be surprised if any of those mentioned were to win. If pushed for a tip I would just favour Adversity, with the tough mare Carcinetto an each way shot at a bigger price.

I thought about Dr Sharp for the 5.05. He is a course and distance winner and well handicapped on the pick of his form. He must have soft ground though.

Moving on to Ripon Bryan Smart’s Prime Mood should finally break his duck in the 2.10 after finishing runner up on both his starts so far.

In the sprint handicap at 3.50 you have to respect the chances of the Dandy Nicholls team. Northern Fling is a course and distance winner and ran well from a bad draw when 8th in the Stewards Cup, where his stable companion Machinist was 4th. Joseph Henry has only won once since 2004 but you just get the feeling that he is about to pop up at a big price. His form has been a bit in and out this season but he has put in some creditable efforts, including a 4th behind the in form Valery Borzov at Haydock. Apart from the Nicholls trained trio you can’t rule out Barney McGrew who has Valery Borzov behind him when 4th in a valuable handicap at Hamilton in July.

The 3 year old Nexus makes his debut for Godolphin in the 4.55 at Ripon. He is a half brother to George Washington so it will be interesting to see how he gets on.


Lang Shining started the season in style winning the Newbury Spring Cup but he has been on a downward spiral since then. He is not getting any respite from the handicapper and it is difficult to drum up a case for him. One possible line to take is that he could be unsuited by the fast ground he has encountered since his Newbury win so rain might help his chances in the 3.10 at Sandown. Another interesting runner in the same race is the Luca Cumani trained Swop, a lightly raced 5 year old who is yet to finish out of the first 2. The drying ground should suit him and if he gets the trip he should go well.

I am going to take a bit of a chance in the 3.45 with Matsunosuke each way. He likes fast ground, is a course and distance winner and has come down a few pounds in the handicap.

Moving on to the meetings on Sunday, I had hopes for Regal Step at the start of the season but she has failed to sparkle. She runs in the Folkestone 2.40 and I notice that the handicapper has dropped her 5 lbs which may enable her to get a bit closer to the business end of the race.

Banjo Patterson is named after the man who wrote the words to Waltzing Matilda. His supporters have had little to sing about in recent times though and he is not the force of a few years back. He runs in sellers these days but his last run when 2nd at Brighton puts him in with a shout in the 3.40.

Free Offer seeks to repeat his success last season in the 5.10 where he is 5 lbs higher in the weights, while in the 5.40 his stable companion Fearless Warrior represents my list to follow. I am hoping that first time blinkers will enable him to improve on recent efforts.

At Musselburgh Ann Duffield’s Hel’s Angel (picture below courtesy of Ann Duffield Racing) deserves to win a small race after finishing 3rd on both starts so far.

hels angel

Aleatricis won 5 races in July in the space of 24 days but then came unstuck at Windsor when beaten into second spot. With Seb Sanders back in the saddle he might be able to pick up the winning thread in the 3.20.

Rossini’s Dancer has been a frustrating horse to follow this season and has been a beaten favourite in 4 of his last 8 starts. He runs in the 5.20 where he will be looking to lose his maiden tag but he does not look one to trust.

Paintings displayed by kind permission of the artist Nick Fegan.

That is about all for tonight. Have a good weekend.


Diary: August 29 2008


There are two runners from my list to follow in the Chester 4.40 and both look likely to start at big prices. Navajo Joe was a winner at Lingfield in June but then finished last in a valuable handicap at Ascot where he showed some signs of temperament. He is a full brother to Indian Ink and as such is likely to be best suited by soft ground. Bigfanofthat won his only start as a juvenile on quickish ground at Ayr but then suffered a setback. He returned to the track in April when he finished way down the field behind Perks at Doncaster. He showed signs of ability in that race at Ayr but has clearly had his problems.

The only runner from my list to follow up at Hamilton is Scanno in the 3.40. He is named after a rather attractive little town in Italy but on form he does not have much to commend him.

Rock Peak is still without a win after 7 attempts but has shown some promise, especially when 3rd at Windsor over a mile and a half. He has run over 14 furlongs twice since then without really showing any great improvement but stays over that longer trip in the 7.40 at Salisbury tomorrow. He has dropped a few pounds in the handicap which may enable him to get more competitive. This does not look a particularly strong contest and he has an each way chance.


Glass Harmonium makes his debut for Sir Michael Stoute in the 3.20 at Sandown, a race that the stable won last season. This colt is related to such useful types as Hard Top and Conduit.

There is an evening meeting on the all weather at Wolverhampton where the one eyed Gilded Cove runs in the 7.20. The 8 year old has won 13 times in his career with 10 of those successes coming at Wolverhampton.

Over in Ireland the meeting at Wexford goes ahead after an inspection. The very first race staged at Wexford was a handicap hurdle and the winning jockey was Jimmy Eddery, father of Pat. Today’s picture, appropriately entitled “Wexford Races” is courtesy of the artist Lisa Miller.


Diary: August 28 2008

The Woolston Ferry was a sort of floating bridge across the River Itchen in Southampton – in fact it might still be there for all I know as it is many years since I lived in that neck of the woods. I remember watching “You only live twice” at the old Woolston Cinema (that has probably gone) just up the road from the ferry – one of the better Bond theme songs nicely done by Nancy Sinatra. Anyway the horse Woolston Ferry, appropriately trained by the former hero of The Dell Mick Channon, carries top weight in the 4.50 at Lingfield. He has been gelded since his last rather disappointing run at Haydock. Based on some of his earlier placed efforts he comes into this race with a chance.

I have been following the progress of the 5 year old Charles Parnell all season but although he has ran well enough on occasions he is yet to record a win. He was second on his latest run at Newcastle and he is proving difficult to win with as he is going up the weights without actually getting his head in front. He runs in the Ayr 4.40 tomorrow where he has usually run well in the past. He has an each way chance.


Tighnabruaich won a Newbury maiden in April and then ran creditably when 4th at Chester before disappointing in a handicap at Haydock. He returns to action in the 3.30 at Great Leighs tomorrow after a break of 54 days over a trip of 14 furlongs. He is lightly raced and as his dam was a half sister to two Gold Cup winners he should appreciate the extra distance. If we ignore his last run as being too bad to be true he would ceratinly come into the reckoning here.

There is racing at Bellewstown and Tipperary in Ireland. Bellewstown, which is about 23 miles north of Dublin, has a strong connection with the great Arkle, as his dam, Bright Cherry, won the Drogheda Tradesman’s Chase there in 1950.  Tipperary also has its claims to fame – not least that both Hawk Wing and High Chaparral won their maidens there.

Today’s picture is courtesy of the artist Karen Davies.

Bye for now


Diary: August 27 2008


Most of the horses mentioned on last night’s preview finished in the frame and some of them actually won! Flushed with such unprecedented success let’s have a look at the prospects for Wednesday.

I am going to start with the meeting at Ayr tomorrow and the 2 year old maiden at 2.10. 10 of the 14 starters have already had a run and therefore have the considerable advantage of previous experience. One of the unraced horses that catches my eye though is Olympian Order. Trainer Alan Swinbank picked this one out as a horse to follow in a stable interview at the start of the season. Now Alan Swinbank always used to develop his horses slowly and debut juvenile winners were pretty scarce. However that trend has changed recently and he has started to have some winners first time out, often at big prices. He is an interesting runner and one to keep an eye on win or lose tomorrow.

In the 2.40 Fantastic Lass has an each way chance. She has winning form on soft ground, is not badly handicapped and has an apprentice on board taking off 7 lbs.

Moheeb won 3 times last season but after some placed efforts early on this season has had a few disappointing performances. He did win this time last year (August 22) and has come down the weights so may be in with some sort of chance in the 3.40.

Tarkheena Prince has done well for my list to follow stats winning 2 of his 4 starts at rewarding odds of 6/1 and 11/2. He runs in the 4.10 but will need to overcome the trends as no 3 year old has won the race in recent times. The stable won the race in 2006 though and the horse has proven form on soft ground.

workriders1 sally martin

Moving south a little there is also flat racing at Catterick where Mr Crystal represents my list to follow in the 3.20. He won first time out this season and was subsequently placed on his next 2 starts. He is higher in the weights as a result of his win but still looks to be in with a shout after having had a break. One word of caution though; all his winning form has come on good to firm going.

As a member of the Elite Racing Club I will be hoping that Harlech Castle can return to form in the 3.30 at Great Leighs although a poor draw, 15 of 15, is not going to help his cause. There is also a runner from my list to follow in this, Film Maker who was an easy winner of a Redcar maiden earlier in the season. He seems to be in the grip of the handicapper at the moment though.

Riggins won on his debut at Wolverhampton last year but then suffered a broken pastern. He returns to the track tomorrow in the 4.30 at Great Leighs. He was held in high regard by his trainer and looks an interesting runner.

Trip the Light has been one of the successes from my list to follow with 3 wins to date. He runs in the 5.00 tomorrow and although he is going up in the handicap he is tackling 2 miles for the first time which may well suit him. Not without a chance.

That is about all for now.

Today’s picture is by kind permission of the artist Sally Martin


Diary: August 26 2008


After a busy weekend in the world of horse racing things quieten down a shade for the remainder of the week. There is racing at Ripon tomorrow though, as well as all weather action at Great Leighs and racing in the north west of Ireland in the evening at Sligo, the town where the poet W B Yeats spent his childhood.

Sligo stages the Terry Casey Memorial Maiden Hurdle at 7.35. Casey is best remembered for training the winner of the 1996 Grand National, Rough Quest. He also rode another Grand National winner, Grittar, twice successfully over hurdles. He sadly died in 2001. The likely winner of the race looks to be Caim Hill who won a competitive bumper at Galway earlier this month.  If he jumps OK he will be hard to beat.


Great Leigh’s became the first new racecourse in the UK since Taunton in 1927 when the track opened earlier this year. The course is situated in Essex, near Chelmsford. Racing is not new to the area as there used to be a race track at Chelmsford in times gone by, well two miles south of the town in truth, in a village called Galleywood. The great Golden Miller ran there twice in 1931, not surprisingly winning on both occasions.

Back to the present there is a runner from my list to follow entered in the 3.30 at Great Leighs. City Stable ran 3 times as a juvenile and was placed each time. As his dam is a half sister to the high class Gamut he looked a fair bet to improve as a 3 year old when tackling middle distances. In the event he is probably only moderate and on his second start this season was second in a maiden at Catterick. He should be up to winning a race somewhere but following Sir Michael Stoute maidens at Great Leighs is unlikely to make anyone rich.  Quite the opposite I would imagine!

One of the interesting things about the flat racing season is to see how the first season sires get on. Needwood Blade was a decent sprinter without being out of the top drawer and is now at stud. There are 65 of his progeny in training this season and there are a couple of them in action at Ripon tomorrow. Needwood Lad runs in the 2.45 and looks likely to start favourite on the basis of his win in a Newcastle maiden on soft ground. Looking at the opposition the Ann Duffield runner Firebet (pictured below) caught my eye. He won on his debut on soft ground at Carlisle before running too freely in better company at Newbury. Joint champion jockey Seb Sanders is booked to ride this one which may be significant.


In the maiden at 4.15 Blades Princess, a daughter of Needwood Blade, looks to have the best form having finished runner up on her debut on fast ground at Beverley. She is a late foal and may have scope for further improvement. She also showed a battling attitude at Beverley and could well go one better tomorrow. Once again Ann Duffield provides one of the main dangers in the shape of Whispering Spirit (pictured below) who was second at Carlisle on her racecourse debut.

whispering spirit

The two photographs today are by courtesy of Ann Duffield Racing and I am also grateful to the artist Nick Fegan for allowing me to use his painting "The Final Furlong." (See links)

Diary: August 25 2008


I was pleased to see the 9 year old Unshakable take the 10 furlong handicap at Newmarket on Saturday. He is one of those horses that always seem to win at a decent price, his last 5 wins coming at 8/1, 7/1, 7/1, 10/1 & now 20/1. This might have something to do with the fact that he comes from an unfashionable stable.

Although there are plenty of meetings tomorrow there isn’t much that catches my eye. Dan Chillingworth was runner up the last time he ran on the all weather over 6 furlongs and has an each way chance back at that trip in the Kempton 3.20.

The 3.55 looks a competitive handicap and the 3 on my shortlist would be Oldjoesaid, Mastership and Chrystany. Oldjoesaid has plenty of ability but has not won at 6 furlongs before. Mastership is proven on the all weather and with a first time visor might well come good. Chrystany has been shaping well this season. She has recently moved from Henry Cecil to Ed Dunlop. Like Mastership she is well drawn and at 14/1 looks a little overpriced. Mastership would be my first choice.

Mountain Pride has done well for my list to follow as he has already won at 20/1. He runs in the Ripon Rowels Handicap at 4.10 tomorrow. He has won twice over a mile and is probably each way value at 12/1.

Today’s illustration is courtesy of the artist Julie Whitwham.

Diary: August 23 & 24 2008


There is racing at Beverley tomorrow where the card gets under way with a valuable 10 furlong handicap at 2.20. Drill Sergeant should appreciate the conditions as he has won with some ease in the ground and was runner up, albeit beaten 6 lengths, behind Perks at Haydock in heavy ground at Haydock on his latest start. He may well start favourite and should be in the shake up. By Command was an impressive winner at Windsor in April but has not built on that success since. Whilst not ruling him out he does have something to prove now. Tiger Dream won a maiden at Thirsk on fast ground in April but has not won since and is possibly a little high in the weights. Unbreak My Heart is quite an interesting runner. He shaped well last season winning a couple of nursery handicaps at Windsor and Goodwood. He was runner up last time out at Haydock and his record with an “s” in the going description reads 1122. He would be my each way selection. Before leaving Beverley I must point out, for the benefit of his “fan club” that old Legal Set runs in the 3.55 but he has a miserable draw and he is miles out of the handicap.

Luca Cumani’s Sandbuch has featured in these pages several times this season and has generally not let his supporters down. He was runner up in the Doncaster November Handicap at the end of last season and he was a winner at Goodwood on his last run. He returns to the Sussex track tomorrow where he tackles listed company for the first time in the 2.45. It will be interesting to see if he can step up in class successfully. One of his main rivals might be the front running Tungsten Strike who won this race last year. These would be my two against the field on a track where the ability to act of the course can be very important.


Raven’s Pass has had the misfortune to run into Henrythenavigator three times this season and to his great credit he ran him pretty close on the last occasion. He has run really well this season at the highest level without actually winning. He should have too much class for the opposition in the 3.15 as long as his exertions already this season haven’t taken their toll. One word of caution though, no 3 year old has won the race since 2001 and there could be a doubt about Ravens Pass on soft ground. Of the opposition Bankable looks the main danger. After winning an Ascot handicap and a listed race at Goodwood he was 5th from an impossible draw in the Royal Hunt Cup. He then ran a close second to Passage of Time in a listed race at Newbury over 10 furlongs. Back to a mile tomorrow, he acts on both the track and the going and is by no means out of it. Docofthebay was second to Pipedreamer in the Cambridgeshire last season only getting 4 lbs and then was second in the Royal Hunt Cup. He is another with chances but I will stick with Raven’s Pass as my selection.

I thought that Rose Diamond ran well in 5th at Ascot on her last outing and given that the extra distance of the 3.45 should be in her favour I would give her an each way chance.

The last race on the card, a 6 furlong handicap, has not been a lucky one for 3 year olds, with only one winner from that age group in the last decade. Despite that I fancy Film Maker to buck the trend tomorrow. I thought he ran quite well at Newmarket on the first of this month and if he handles the going he could give us a run for our money.

Duke of Marmalade is the form pick in the Newmarket 3.35. He accounted for both Pipedreamer and Phoenix Tower at Royal Ascot and should finish in front of that pair again. I am going to take a chance with the younger generation in the shape of New Approach though. He comes here a fresh horse and should handle the ground.

There are a couple more runners from my list to follow on the Newmarket card; Floristry (3.05) and Amaakin (4.45).

I put Marajaa on my list to follow at the start of the season and I feel he could be one to pop up at a decent price. He runs tomorrow in the Windsor 7.20.


Moving on to Sunday there is just one runner from my list to follow in action at Beverley. Piverina runs in the 4.50 for trainer Julie Camacho. This 3 year old is no world beater but based on her 3rd at Carlisle on her last run might be worth a small each way interest.

There are a couple of runners from my list to follow in the 2.10 at Goodwood. Since winning at Haydock back in May on fast ground Missioner appears to have gone backwards. It is hard to fancy him on recent form but Roaring Forte has a better chance. He has been a beaten favourite on both his runs this season but it may be that he needs ground of the soft side and if getting those conditions on Sunday is worth another chance.

In the 5.05 Amanda Perrett gives a debut run to Wilfred Pickles. This colt’s dam is a half sister to a horse called Shield that won the Sandown Classic Trial in 2003 before coming 10th in the Derby of that year. Sadly he then suffered a fatal accident and in fact only ran 4 times.

In the 2.30 at Yarmouth Celtic Rebel makes his debut. He is a half brother to Celtic Sultan who won a handicap at the May meeting at Chester this season. He is trained by Simon Callaghan.

Today’s pictures are by kind permission of the artist Karen Davies.

Bye for now.


Diary: August 22 2008


The weather forecast for the weekend seems a little better but unfortunately we have already lost racing at Newcastle tomorrow. On the positive side some of the races from the abandoned York card have been relocated elsewhere and will add to the interest tomorrow.

I will go through Friday’s meetings in alphabetical order, so first stop will be Bath. I have done quite well over the years following John Dunlop’s 3 year olds and Fearless Warrior went on my list to follow at the start of the season. I am always reluctant to give up on horses like this one as in the past they have tended to improve with time, but in truth Fearless Warrior has not shown much in his recent runs. He has come down in the weights and wears first time blinkers so I wouldn’t rule him out in the Bath 7.00.

There are a couple of runners from my list to follow in action up at Hamilton, Scanno (7.50) and Rossini’s Dancer (8.20). The latter has the better chance having finished 3rd at Beverley last week.

Art Connoisseur lost his unbeaten record at The Curragh but may have been beaten by a really top class horse. He may be able to regain winning ways in the 1.45 at Newbury.

Sweet Lilly won 4 times as a two year old for Mick Channon and I see that her full brother Eddie Boy makes his debut in the 3.20 for trainer Michael Bell.

Proclaim gave me a winning tip when he won at Chester last month and I think I will stick with him tomorrow in the Newbury 2.50. He is a half brother to the decent handicapper Dhaular Dhar.

At the Races

The 3.25 is one of the races that have been rerouted from York. Luca Cumani was the winning trainer last season and this year he is represented by Bauer. He has a big chance here with the one worry being the ground. He has yet to win a race with an “s” in the going description. Milne Graden is in the “could be anything” category. He is inexperienced for a race of this calibre but has only run 4 times in his career, winning 3, and is certainly open to improvement. He is by Montjeu and should handle some ease in the ground. He was disappointing when losing his unbeaten record at Goodwood last time out when 6th behind Sandbuch, a stable companion of Bauer. It is too soon to rule him out yet though.

Pippa Greene was an impressive winner at Ascot last month over 12 furlongs. He shaped as though the extra distance tomorrow would not inconvenience him and he does appear to handle any ground.

Pevensey has run some good races this year without actually winning. He finished well when runner up at York in May and was then 4th in the Old Newton Cup at Haydock. He could only finish 14th of 15 on his last run in the race won by Pippa Greene. He wore a visor on that occasion but it is left off tomorrow. He is a winner over hurdles so the distance tomorrow shouldn’t be a problem. Good ground suits him well but his form has been rather in and out.

Course and distance winner Tropical Strait is interesting as he comes into this race on the back of a win here only last week, for which he has a 4 lbs penalty. If he has fully recovered from that race he would be in with a chance.

Luca Cumani is very shrewd when preparing horses for these big handicaps and Bauer would be my choice if the ground dries out sufficiently.

Sovereign’s Honour has been contesting Group races but remains a maiden after 4 starts. She ought to win the 4.15 but will start at a very short price.

The Yorkshire Oaks has been switched to Newmarket tomorrow (2.05). Sir Michael Stoute has supplied the winner of this race 4 times in the last 10 years and his Allegretto is very much respected. Three year olds do have a good record in the race though and I am tempted to side with Lush Lashes who looked unlucky when 2nd at Good wood last time. I would also expect Dar Re Mi to run well, but Lush Lashes gets the nod.

The Nunthorpe (3.05), another race rescheduled from York could well go to Kingsgate Naïve who won the race last season as a 2 year old. Sakhee’s Secret was most disappointing on his last run at Ascot, but taking the line that something must have been amiss that day it wouldn’t surprise me to see him bounce back to form tomorrow particularly on fast ground. The King’s Stand winner Equiano would be a big danger as well.

Pacific Pride and Tudor Prince represent my list to follow in the 4.10, which looks a very open contest, while the admirable Birkside is another runner from the list in the 5.15 where he will be looking for his 14th win since the 30th of May last year.

My thanks to John Thurm for today’s photograph.

I am off to follow the Olympics on the TV. See you tomorrow!


Diary: August 21 2008


For those of you following the Olympics there will be an equestrian element to the sports on show over the next couple of days thanks to the Modern Pentathlon. 

The Modern Pentathlon became an Olympic event in 1912, with a separate competition for women introduced in 2000.

The 5 sports of modern pentathlon are shooting, fencing, swimming, show jumping and running.  They represent the daring adventures of a French cavalry officer whose horse was brought down in enemy territory while he was delivering a message.  He defended himself with his pistol and sword, then swam across a raging river before delivering his message on foot.

Back home tomorrow’s racing has again been decimated by the weather but it does look as if Chester’s evening meeting should survive as well as some all weather action at Great Leighs.

Montjeu has made a successful start to his stud career and is the sire of such stars as Authorized, Hurricane Run and Motivator. He is also the sire of First Avenue who runs in the 6.10 at Chester tomorrow. First Avenue has form figures this season of 3322 but there are reasons to hope that he might be able to get his head in front tomorrow. Montjeu’s progeny tend to prefer soft ground and indeed First Avenue won as a 2 year old in good to soft going at Yarmouth. His main danger could come from Leslingtaylor, a versatile sort that boasts 12 career wins including 4 over hurdles and 2 over fences.


If you are thinking of having a flutter on the 8.10 you will need to watch your bets as both Madam Hoi and Madam Rio are entered.

Formation, trained by Ed Dunlop was a winner at Pontefract earlier in the season but has been beaten twice since. He is clearly a horse with plenty of ability but does look like a bit of a character and needs to be cajoled along a bit. He runs in the 5.00 at Great Leighs tomorrow. He has won on the all weather before, at Wolverhampton as a 2 year old.

Today’s picture is by courtesy of the artist Jo Stockdale.