Diary: April 30 2011


We have the first English Classic tomorrow with the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket where the unbeaten Frankel will be a warm order. Frankel won the Greenham at Newbury but I didn’t think he was quite as impressive as I expected. He may well be a superstar and win easily tomorrow but at 8/15 he is not really backable. The Irish pair Pathfork and Roderic O’Connor are worth considering. Roderic O’Connor was beaten by Frankel at Newmarket last season but went on to win in France while Pathfork, who should relish the Newmarket mile is unbeaten. Casamento was beaten a head by Pathfork at the Curragh which was his only defeat. Fury won both his starts as a 2 year old and is a lively outsider as is Saamid who will love the ground and is too big a price at 33/1. I think you have to try and oppose the favourite and I think that Pathfork and Casimento would be the most likely to cause an upset.

Brick Red is a tentative selection in the 2.00. The ground could be a problem with him as he does not have winning form on quick ground.

Trainer James Given should have a good idea of the winner of the 2.30 as his pair of Dandino and Indian Days work together at home. I am hoping that the Elite Racing Club’s Dandino can land the spoils here.

Astrophysical Jet won 3 times last season and with ground to suit she will be hard to beat in the 3.45.

In the 4.20 Seal Rock, a winner at Doncaster on the last day of the 2010 season is an interesting runner if handling the ground.

Namibian didn’t get a clear run when 4th over course and distance at the Craven meeting and is worth another chance in the 4.55. Well Sharp drops back in trip in the 5.25 which may suit him.

Captain Carey is something of an old friend and I will stick with him in the Goodwood 4.00. King Ferdinand showed enough in his two starts last season to suggest he can win the 5.10.


King of the Celts should come on for his recent run at Ripon and looks likely to go close in the 2.25 at Ripon. My initial thoughts on the Thirsk Hunt Cup were for Our Joe Mac but ground conditions are unlikely to favour him so I will sit this one out.

I had Jade down as one to follow this season but I am a bit surprised by her entry in the 5.15 as the 6 furlong trip looks on the short side for her. She will have to be the selection though as I am sure the trainer knows best!

My only selection at Doncaster is Spinatrix in the 6.05.

Today’s picture is courtesy of the artist Ruth Buchanan.

Diary: April 24 2011


The most interesting race at Sandown tomorrow is the 4.25 for maiden fillies. Always the Lady, Arizona Jewel and Rien ne vas Plus all raced once last season and all showed considerable promise. Hard to pick one but I will go with Rien ne vas Plus. Other Sandown selections.

2.45 Joviality

3.50 Specific Gravity

4.55 Dominant

Diary: April 23 2011


Before getting stuck into tomorrow’s racing I will just take quick look back at some important results from this week’s meetings. The Great Metropolitan Handicap at Epsom went to Sunny Game who is trained by Michael Bell. It was a comfortable victory and Sunny Game looks the sort to win again. Harlestone Times, a winner twice last season came with a late run to finish 2nd but was disqualified and placed third. I think he will also pay to follow this season.

Another impressive winner on Wednesday was Danadana up at Newcastle. This 3 year old looks a very nice prospect and I will be following his progress with interest. Other winners over the last week that have gone into my notebook are Belgian Bill, World Domination, Modun and Dandino.


Tomorrow sees the last day of the UK flat season with a quality card at Sandown. The Bet365 Gold Cup (formerly the Whitbread) at 3.10 is the feature. Last Season’s winner Church Island has once again been aimed at the race. He was 4th in 2009 and clearly likes the track. He is 8 lbs higher than when successful last season but he can’t be written off. Faasel is a quirky sort but decent on his day. He was runner up in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham. There are several others with Cheltenham Festival form. Baby Run won the 2010 Fox Hunters, while Poker de Sivola won the 2010 National Hunt Chase. Others with big race form are Gentle Ranger who was 4th in the Midlands National while Maktu was 5th in the Welsh version and they both command respect. Briery Fox would have won this race two years ago but for an inspired ride by AP McCoy on the winner. The horse is 13 now but not out of it. On the stats side 7 of the last 10 winners have been priced at 10/1 or bigger and only two have carried more than 11 stone.

The two I will put forward are Aimigayle, 2nd in the Byrne Group Plate and Meanus Dandy, winner of the Badger Ales at Wincanton. They should both handle the ground.

Cityscape is a horse to follow on the flat this year but he may find the ground a bit quick in the 3.45 at Sandown so I will side with Mick Channon’s Music Show. Elsewhere on the Sandown card I like Afsare in the 4.20 and Treble Jig in the 4.50.

At Musselburgh my selections are Glen’s Diamond (3.05) and Striking Spirit (4.15)

My thanks to Sue Malkin for today’s picture.

Diary: April 18 & 19


The 7.20 at Windsor tomorrow could be worth a look. Communicator showed some promise on his seasonal reappearance at Doncaster a couple of weeks ago and should come on for the run. The other one to consider is Hawawi who made some eyecatching late progress at Yarmouth last season on his only run.


On Tuesday Quality Art is my selection in the 7.00. He had some decent form on the all weather during the winter.

Thanks to Mike Smith for the photo.

Diary: April 16 2011


Well we got it right at Aintree last week so let’s see what we can make of the Scottish National at Ayr tomorrow. Merigo won last season and is only 3 lbs higher this time round so merits consideration. Runner up for the last two years’ Gone to Lunch has actually gone down 8 lbs since last season’s race and has to have a good chance.

The Minack might find this trip a bit too far and would also probably want the ground a little softer. One that will be suited by the ground is Fredo who also jumps and travels well and might be suited by this test of stamina. Gansey is a horse I like but both trip and ground would seem a problem. In addition he does his winning in small fields. My short list would be Merigo, Gone to Lunch and Fredo.

I thought about Locked Inthepocket for the opener at 1.50. He is the only course winner in the field but the ground probably won’t be soft enough for him.

There are plenty in with chances in the 2.50. Overturn has been running in good company and will be suited by fast ground. Mille Chief finished last in the Champion Hurdle but had been in good form before that. Hunterview is a course and distance winner and seems to handle any ground while Via Gallilei has been the model of consistency this season winning twice and running well in competitive races. Tough call but Hunterview ticks most of the right boxes although I wouldn’t be surprised if any of the other 3 were to win.


Both Humbie’s wins have come on good ground and he looks to have a sound chance in the 5.05.

My main hope at Haydock is Captain Kolo who does not looks too badly weighted in the 6.00.

At Newbury Modun and Bourne stand out as the likely winners in the 1.35. Both have strong form and I can’t split them.

Cape Dollar won a Group 2 at Newmarket in October and looks the one to be on in the 2.40.

Frankel may well be a superstar and will be expected to win the 3.10 but the 3.45 is much more competitive. I had a short list of 5 for this but I have put a line through Leviathan as I think the ground will be too fast for him and he may be better att 7 furlongs. Light from Mars ran quite well in the Lincoln and has a race of this nature in him. Bravo Echo comes here on the back of a couple of wins on the all weather in January. Prime Exhibit is yet to win over a mile while Brick Red is unproven on quick ground. I am inclined to take a chance on Brick Red but it looks an open race.

The well bred Colombian is my selection in the 5.25.

Today’s picture, by the artist Jenny Lupton, of the Paris Pike winner of the 2000 Scottish National.