Diary: March 31 2010


Fairly hum drum racing on offer tomorrow.  Rainbow Six is of interest in the 7.30 at Kempton.  If he fails to deliver tomorrow he might be worth trying over further next time as his pedigree suggests 12 furlongs could suit.

Handicap Hints

This is a new feature for the 2.10 flat season where I will try to identify horses to follow in handicaps.  The first 3 are all from the Lincoln run at Doncaster last Saturday.

Mull of Killough 3rd in the Lincoln despite stable being out of form

Mia’s Boy a solid 6th in the Lincoln off top weight.

Harrison George well fancied for the Lincoln but mile not his trip.

Diary: March 29 2010

My only selection over the jumps tomorrow is C’Monthehammers in the 4.00 at Towcester. He comes from a stable in very good form, runs over his optimum distance and is well handicapped. The only negative is the ground as I am not sure of his ability to handle soft going. Let’s hope he performs better than the men from Upton Park!

At Wolverhampton Moonbalej should go well in the 4.50

Diary: March 28 2010


Starting with the 4.10 at Doncaster Fantasy Explorer may need the run and for my selection I am going with the unexposed Jonny Mudball.

At Hexham Garleton has come down to a mark where he should be competitive. He runs in the Hexham 4.25.

At Wincanton Triggerman looks a potential good thing in the 4.00.

Diary: March 27 2010


At the start of the season I had Den of Iniquity down as a horse that could be followed blindly with a fair chance of a level stakes profit. Backing him through thick and thin was the plan but with form figures of FP over his last two starts things just got a little too thin for my confidence and I missed him today when he came in at 12/1. Such is racing I suppose.

Anyway, ever onwards and tomorrow sees the traditional start of the flat season at Doncaster with the feature race being the Lincoln Handicap. Until its closure in 1964 the race was staged at Lincoln racecourse hence the name. I don’t have a particularly strong view on the race. Past winner Smokey Oakey will handle the ground and is not badly handicapped but his middle draw in probably not ideal. Top weight Mia’s Boy is a course and distance winner in soft ground and would be my each way selection.

In the 2.00 The Osteopath has ground conditions in his favour and looks a sporting bet at 16/1.

At Bangor Nicky Henderson appears to have found Viking Rebel an easy opportunity in the 3.15.while in the 4.20 Lothian Falcon makes his first appearance for well over a year. He has gone well fresh before and he is quite tempting at big odds,

In the 2.50 at Kempton both Cairnsnmore and Dansili Dancer look reasonably handicapped and are worth a close look. The 4.00 is interesting as a couple of new sires have runners. Takeaway (Sleeping Indian) and Johnny Hancocks (Kodiac) are the pair to look out for.

Gala Evening has form figures of 1112 at Kempton and with Richard Hughes on board is of interest in the 5.40.


There is a good jumps card at Newbury where the two I like the look of in the 1.45 are Carole’s Legacy and Calusa Crystal. Carole’s Legacy is unbeaten in 3 starts over fences, was second over hurdles at the Cheltenham Festival on her latest start and has a good record when ridden by Barry Geraghty. She will do for me as Calusa Crystal may not have her favoured ground.

Donald McCain has his string in very good form after a bit of a lull and his Alegralil could represent value in the 2.15.

In the bumper at 4.25 the newcomers Kid Cassidy and Easter Meteor are both well related and worth considering.

I like to follow the careers of certain horses. Back in 2003 I had some very encouraging reports about a Michael Bell 2 year old called Temple Place who duly won at 20/1 on his second start. Four years later, by now with Donald MCCain he came to my notice again when winning on the flat at Chester at 50/1 beating the likes of Stotsfold and Blythe Knight. He has changed stables again now and runs in the Stratford 4.05 where he is the complete outsider at 33/1. Will he win? Probably not, but then you never know!

My two selections at Navan tomorrow are Gagewell Flyer (2.50) and Rare Bob (5.05).

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

Be lucky.

Review of the Flat 2009 – Part 7


So here are my top 10 flat horses of 2009.

10 – Delegator had been 5th in the Dewhurst in 2008 and started the new season well when landing the Craven Stakes. He was made favourite for the 2,000 Guineas and was only headed by Sea the Starts inside the final furlong and had to settle for the runners up spot. He made no show in the Irish Guineas at the Curragh when unsuited by the heavy ground but bounced back to form at Royal Ascot when only beaten a neck in the St James’ Palace stakes. Delegator produced a blistering display in the Celebration Mile at Goodwood on his first start for Godolphin. Frankie Dettori was forced to sit for a few strides before the gap appeared but once open he quickened up smartly.

He quickened away well to finish first past the post in the Goodwood Celebration Mile only to be later disqualified after failing a drugs test. He was a bit disappointing when 3rd of 4 in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth ll Stakes at Ascot and ended the season when 5th in the Breeders’ Cup Mile on turf at Santa Anita.

9 – Monitor Closely ran creditably all season despite only winning once. He was only beaten a head in the valuable Timeform Trophy at Newmarket before finishing 8th in a pretty strong 2,000 Guineas. He was 4th in the Dante and 3rd behind Glass Harmonium in the listed Hampton Court Stakes. He was then 5th of 9 in a Group 2 at York where he was the only 3 year old in the field. He was included in Timeform’s 50 to follow but many punters had probably given up on his by the time he won the Great Voltigeur at York at 28/1. Looking back this was a pretty generous price given his proximity to some class opposition in his previous starts. Not surprisingly perhaps he was supplemented to the St Leger but finished 3rd in a race where he probably didn’t quite get the trip.

8 – Aqlaam, a 5 year old started the season with only 3 previous runs, his career being seriously disrupted with injury problems. He earned his place on this list with wins in the Group 2 Summer Mile at Ascot and the Prix du Moulin de Longchamp, a Group 1.

7 – Borderlescott is one of the most popular flat horses in training, his success story made all the more romantic by the fact that he is trained at a small family run yard. He rarely runs a bad race and put in a number of sterling performances during 2009. He was 3rd to Amour Propre in Newmarket’s Palace House Stakes early in the season before chasing home Look Busy in the Temple Stakes in heavy ground at Haydock. Sandwiched between a 5th in the King’s Stand at Ascot and a 4th in the Audi Stakes at Goodwood was a win in listed company at Chester. The seven year old has done tremendously well for his small West Yorkshire yard.

6 – Twice Over posted some decent efforts early in the season, not least when 3rd to Virtual in the Lockinge, but he hit a real purple patch in the Autumn running up a memorable hat trick. Wins in a Conditions Stakes at Doncaster and a listed race at Goodwood clearly gave his confidence a real boost as he went on to land the Champion Stakes at Newmarket in October, a race he had finished 2nd in the previous season. He ran a fine race in defeat when 3rd in the Breeder’s Cup Classic at Santa Anita.

5 – Midday, like Twice Over is trained by Henry Cecil. She proved a most consistent filly finishing in the first 3 in all her 7 starts. After winning the Lingfield Oaks Trial she only went down in the Epsom Classic after a thrilling battle with Sariska. She was no match for that rival in testing conditions in the Irish Oaks but in August she won the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood beating Rainbow View proving that she is as good over 10 furlongs as she is over 12. She was a little below her best when 3rd in the Prix de L’Opera at Longchamp but ended the season in fine style winning the Breeders Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

4 – Rip Van Winkle suffered a slight setback prior to the 2,000 Guineas but still finished 4th and the first of the O’Brien runners. He occupied the same finishing position in the Epsom Derby and dropped back to 10 furlongs he beat all bar Sea the Stars.

He deserved Group 1 success and duly got it with an impressive display back at a mile in the Sussex Stakes and also won the Queen Elizabeth ii Stakes at Ascot before disappointing in the Breeder’s Cup at Santa Anita.

3 – Sariska earned her place in the top 10 with wins in the Musidora at York and both the English and Irish Oaks. At Epsom she just got the better of Midday in a tight finish but at the Curragh she won in a canter, in one of the easiest classic victories I have ever seen. Back at York for the Yorkshire Oaks she had to settle for the runners up spot after just being worried out of it by the 4 year old Dar Re Mi. She ran a blinder on her last start when 3rd to Twice Over in the Champion Stakes.

2 – Conduit competed in handicaps before tackling Group company, with his first win coming in a heritage handicap at Epsom in June 2008. He enjoyed a successful campaign in 2009 winning the King George Vl and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot from his stable companions Tartan Bearer and Ask and went on to win the Breeder’s Cup Turf for the second year in a row. He also ran well in defeat a number of times, notably when 3rd in the Eclipse.

1 – Sea the Stars completed a perfect 3 year old campaign, winning 6 Group 1 races in 6 months, including 2 English Classic races and 1 French Classic race. His 3 year old record is puts him right up there with the all times greats, if not the best ever.

His first win came in the 2,000 Guineas where he pulled clear of his field to score by a length. Despite doubts about his stamina and a strong field, notably from Ballydoyle who fielded 6 of the 12 runners, Sea the Stars won the 2009 Epsom Derby beating the favourite Fame and Glory, and Masterofthehorse (making it a 1-2-3 to Ireland). Wins in the Eclipse and the Juddmonte International were followed by success back in Ireland in their Champion Stakes.

Some pundits expressed doubts about his ability to add the Arc to his tally of group 1 wins but he unleashed a devastating turn of foot to maintain his perfect record.

Diary: March 24 2010

There seems to be a lot of rain about tonight and if it gets into the ground at Haydock I would give The Vicar a chance in the 3.50. He is a course winner on heavy ground and has come down to a fair mark. Although the trip looks on the short side for him Jass could also go well.

At Warwick in the 2.20 I fancy Pliny while William Hogarth is very much the form pick in the 3.30.

Diary: March 23 2010

My only selection today won at 16/1.

Having got off the mark over fences at Taunton on his last start I am hoping that Vodka Brook can build on that success and go in again in the 3.15 at Exeter.

The 3.50 features four horses that I have been following this season. A case could be made for Sir Winston, Vamizi and Qualypso D’Allier but War Footing looks the safest option having been only narrowly beaten off the same handicap mark last time out.