Diary: July 1 2010


Official Style has failed to live up to the promise he showed last season, due mainly to his inability to settle in his races. He drops back in distance tomorrow in the 4.00 at Haydock where a faster pace may help him. Munsarim was well supported on his seasonal reappearance at Newmarket but didn’t get a clear run in the race. He might be worth another chance in the 4.30.

Dafeef was disappointing in a listed race last time out but had not done much wrong before that. He seeks to get back onto the winning trail in the 7.35 at Newbury. Higgy’s Ragazzo has been virtually unridable at times but there is some ability there somewhere. Ryan Moore rides him for the first time in the 9.10 and just might get the best out of him.

Silks DP

Cross Key won well on her handicap debut at Hamilton. She clearly handles fast ground and she may also benefit from the longer trip in the Redcar 9.20 tomorrow.

My only selection at Yarmouth is the Luca Cumani trained Mistoffelees.

Today’s picture is courtesy of the artist Kirsten Harris.

Diary: June 27 2010

Johnny Murtagh has chosen Cape Blanco from the 5 O’Brien entries in tomorrow’s Irish Derby and I am inclined to follow his judgement. Jan Vermeer is the obvious danger.

In the 3.50 the in form Hawkeyethenoo is well drawn and should go close while Hitchens could be the danger. He goes particularly well fresh and is having his first run of the season. I will also have a third selection in this race with Oldjoesaid who has not shown his best form for a while but has ability and just might pull off a surprise.

The 2.15 is a tricky race as there are negatives against the two horses that I am most interested in. Course specialist Benbaun (pictured below) was disappointing on his last start and he is getting on a bit at the age of 9. He does have a great record at the Curragh though with form figures of 211221111231 – quite remarkable really. The other one I like is Arctic who is unbeaten at the Curragh having won both his races there. They were both on heavy ground though and his ability to handle the going has to be taken on trust.


There are a couple of real old timers in the Salisbury 3.00 where The Tatling (pictured below) aged 13 and the 10 year old Cape Royal have won 26 races between them. I would give both an each way chance.

the tatling

Exelabration (4.10) and Mykingdomforahorse (3.35) are others to look out for at the Wiltshire track.

At Windsor Excello looks the one to beat in the 4.00 with Marlinka the likely danger. In the 4.35 The Scorching Wind is potentially well handicapped.

High Heeled impressed when 3rd to Fame and Glory at Epsom and is my selection in the 2.40 at Saint-Cloud. At Uttoxeter Ballycarney is worth a small each way interest in the 2.40.

The pictures of Benbaun and The Tatling are courtesy of the Artists Karen Davies and Lisa Miller.

Diary: JUne 26 2010


Since starting my handicap hints list the fab 4 of Harrison George, Hamish Macgonagall, Dubai Dynamo and Hanoverian Baron have really done me proud. I have decided to remove them from the list now as they have effectively done their job and in so doing moved up the handicap! I am going to stay loyal to the following quintet, Striking Spirit, Suruor, Big Noise, Mull of Killough and Webbow but I also want to add a few more. Genki has suffered from a poor draw on his last two runs but has a race in him if things fall right while Sweet Lightning can win if dropped in trip. Riggins, who was a fast finishing 3rd in the Royal Hunt Cup is the third of my new signings.

None of these will be contesting the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle tomorrow but as always the race has attracted a decent field and presents a tricky problem to solve. Mamlook is a good starting point as he has only gone up 4lbs for his win in the Chester Cup. He is consistent, we know he stays and he has Seb Sanders in the saddle who was successful on another David Pipe runner, Junior, at Royal Ascot. Mamlook was my tip at Chester and he is well worth considering again here as is Halla San who was 3rd at Chesterc and was runner up in this race in 2008 only beaten a head. He is 6 lbs higher in the ratings than he was that day. Bernie the Bolt was a leading fancy for the Chester race but was poorly drawn on the Roodeye and can be forgiven for his failure there. He has proven stamina though and handles fast ground. His stable companion Chiberta King is another to consider. He is untried at the trip but has won over 14 furlongs and likes fast ground. Mamlook and Halla San are both respected but my two against the field are the Andrew Balding pair of Bernie the Bolt and Chiberta King.


In the Newcastle 2.30 Jonny Mudball has an obvious chance after finishing runner up on his last two starts. Seb Sanders rides him for the first time tomorrow and he looks sure to go close. Poet’s Place is another worth a close look. He is having only his third career starts and there could well be a lot more to come from him. These two look the most likely winners but if you fancy something a little more spicy you could try Roker Park. He is a course and distance winner and 3 of his 4 career wins have come in the month of June.

Tim Easterby’s horses have been in good form but he has not yet been able to get a win out of Antoniola who has disappointed in his 3 starts this year after ending last season with a win at Doncaster. He is slipping down the weights a little and is worth keeping an eye on. I would be tempted to suggest him each way in the 5.20 but there are only 7 runners. His win at Doncaster was with some ease in the ground and there is always the possibility that he needs some cut. All things considered I will keep a watching brief.

Off to Newmarket next where Godolphin introduce Burj Hatta, a well bred juvenile in the 1.45.

The 2.35 at Chester is a tricky looking race to weigh up. Mujdeya looks the safest bet after her win at Newbury a couple of weeks ago. The third horse that day has come out and won since franking the form. Ejteyaaz is yet to find his form since coming over from Ireland but is almost certainly better than he has looked so far and is the danger.

Blissful Moment only has one run as a juvenile finishing 4th in a maiden that has since thrown up a number of winners. Blissfull Moment runs in the 3.10 and should go close. My other selections at Chester are Layla’s Hero in the 3.45 and course specialist Embsay Craig in the 5.25.

At Doncaster My Single Malt is well regarded by connections and should come on for his run at Haydock in the 6.40.

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

Bye for now

Diary: June 25 2010


We have had 3 winners from the last 8 selections which is a respectable return. Ship’s Biscuit appreciated the step up to 12 furlongs at Goodwood and looks a progressive stayer. He has only had 3 career starts and there should be more to come from him. Mick Channon had an across the card double including the appropriately (during the World Cup) named Alf Raamsey. Not surprisingly Channon has a jumber of horses with football connections, others that spring to mind being Di Stefano and Osgood.

Slip Sliding away was a winner today and we can continue the pop theme tomorrow in several races. Sandy Shaw runs in the Chester 8.50. She is quite well drawn and the sharp track may just suit her. She has a bit of an each way chance. Those wanting to follow the musical theme could latch onto Ride a White Swan in the 9.20. All his wins thus far have come at Wolverhampton but he is another with a bit of an each way squeak. Engulf has been expensive to follow and tomorrow Kieren Fallon becomes the 5th jockey in 5 starts to try and steer him home. Engulf runs in the 5.05 at Doncaster and should win.

177991_Training on the Heath

Henry Candy has a good record with his sprinters and runs the lightly arced Flambeau in the 8.05 at Newmarket. Tyrannosaurus Rex likes fast ground and at around 10/1 has an each way chance in the 9.10. A double with Rise a White Swan anyone?

Today’s picture is courtesy of the artist Susan Shaw.

Diary: June 20 2010

I tipped Liberty Cap on his debut at Nottingham last month and although he finished last in that race I was sorely tempted to stick with him but chickened out. Needless to say he came in at 20/1 at Newmarket today!

They race at Pontefract tomorrow where Theola, a course winner has plenty of stamina and is my fancy for the Pontefract Cup at 4.10.

Dandino gave trainer James Given his first Royal Ascot winner in the week and the trainer can strike again with Yankee Bright in the 4.40.

Diary: June 19 2010

For me the highlight of tomorrow’s racing is the Wokingham, the Ascot 4.25. 28 runners and a real puzzle to solve. So where do we start? Well, Palace Moon is one with an obvious chance. Although a 5 year old he has only had 10 starts, mostly in group or listed company. He was made favourite for the Cathedral Stakes at Salisbury on his seasonal reappearance and although he finished 5th he was arguably unlucky as he missed the break and then met trouble in running. He is best on fast ground so there are no worry on that score and he has Kieren Fallon is the plate. The only potential negative is the track. He has only been out of the first 4 twice – and those were his 2 runs at Ascot!

Another interesting runner is Hitchens. He is having his first run of the season but for him this is not a negative as he has won first time out in both 2008 and 2009. Another point about Hitchens is his liking for fast ground. He may be a little high in the weights but he could just come in at a big price. The other David Barron runner, Ingleby Lady is also worth a close look. Five furlongs at Musselburgh last time was no good to her, so she probably did extremely well to make third. She can race off the same mark of 97 and I expect to see her finish thereabouts.

Both Dandy Nicholls and Richard Fahey are well represented as always in these big handicaps. Evens and Odds will like the ground and 6 furlongs is his trip but the trainer’s son Adrian has chosen to ride Striking Spirit instead. Striking Spirit went into my notebook when a neck second to the in form Hamish McGonagall in the Musselburgh race where Ingleby Lady was 3rd.

Richard Fahey has 4 runners. The admirable Knot in Wood has plenty of weight although his rider can claim 7 lbs. Some ease in the ground would probably suit this one better though. Johannes won well at York 2 runs ago and acts on the ground unlike Valery Borzov who needs cut in the ground. Stable jockey Paul Hanagan rides Kaldoun Kingdom who has winning form in big field handicaps but is another that has shown his best from on easier ground.

Laddies Poker Two is an interesting runner. He has only had 4 career starts and although he has not run since October 2008 he will be difficult for the handicapper to assess and with J Murtagh booked to ride there may well be some stable confidence behind him.

The first 4 home in the Ayr Gold Cup all appear. Knot in Wood and Evens and Odds were 3rd and 4th with the first two positions filled by Jimmy Styles and Barney McGrew. Jimmy Styles is on a career high make but does have Frankie Dettori in the saddle. Barney McGrew hasn’t shown much of late but does act on the ground and likes these big field races.

You have to discount some runners in such a big field as this and I am going to knock out Redford (ground) and Sohraab (trip). Genki is one for the short list however. He won the Stewards Cup last season, acts on any ground, has won twice at Ascot before and was an encouraging 4th at Newmarket on his last start. Genki, Palace Moon, Ingleby Lady and Striking Spirit are my main fancies.


I have the 3.05 down to a short list of 4. I have decided to eliminate Crowded House and Jukebox Jury as both were a bit disappointing on their most recent starts which leaves me with Alainmaar and Harbinger. The former is most progressive and has won his last 4 starts. He takes on much better opposition here than he has encountered before. He may well be up to the task but he will need to step up a fair bit on what he has done so far to beat Harbinger whose form is rock solid. He has won both his starts this season beating quality opposition each time. The 3.50 has an international flavour and I fancy War Artist to be the strongest of the overseas challengers. Of the home side Fleeting Spirit has a good record at Ascot and goes well fresh. Hr looks sure to be on the premises. High Standing won the Wokingham last season over course and distance and comes here on the back of a recent win at Windsor. Showcasing is lightly raced and the nature of his 2nd at York indicated that there should be plenty of improvement to come. He looks sure to be suited by the track at Ascot. Total Gallery would be an interesting outsider if recapturing his best form while Sayif is another that could pull off a surprise. He is another course and distance winner. Fleeting Spirit ticks all the right boxes and along with Showcasing looks the most likely winner. High Standing and War Artist look the pick of those at bigger prices.

karen davies1

I have a short list of 3 for the 5.00, Dangerous Midge, Shamali and Sweet Lightning. Dangerous Midge was a beaten favourite last time out but judged on his previous run when he won at Doncaster he comes into the equation. Shamali is held in high regard by connections and has a good record at Ascot having won there twice last season. For my selection though I am going for Sweet Lightning who has a progressive profile and probably met a bit of a tartar when beaten at Redcar.

I will have a quick look round at the other meetings on tomorrow. Up at Ayr Cosmic Sun and Cool Strike look the pair to concentrate on in the 3.30.

At Haydock Taste the Victory is my best bet. He runs in the 9.05. Earlier on the card Richard Fahey can supply the answer to the 6.35 with the 4 year old High Office.

Racy has been running well without winning but can get off the mark for the season in the Newmarket 3.35. My only selection at Redcar is San Cassiano in the 4.45.

Today’s pictures are courtesy of the artist Karen Davies.