Saturday, 13 July 2019

Flat Runners - Catch Up

LATHOM won well at Ayr and looked capable of following up yesterday at York. He made little impact in finishing midfield, but I suspect the quick ground meant he may have been taken off his feet. I'll keep him on the list for now.

HAROME won in a small field at Ayr then just missed out upped in class a bit the next day. He seems favoured by a small field, but goes for the 1.45 at Ascot today. I do feel he may pick up one of these races working his way through the field, but has something to prove.

In the same race I am interested in EEH BAH GUM who ran a decent fourth in the Gosforth Park Cup and looks the sort to pick up a big field sprint somewhere along the line. 

CHARLES KINGSLEY has been well held in Class 2 company a couple of times. This class stretches him a bit, though he's worth looking out for when running on a turning track where his best prominent running style can be put to best use.

A decent effort for second place in the Northumberland Vase (Plate Consolation) by RARE GROOVE, who stayed on up the straight to come clear of the peloton but just ran into a progressing sort in Carnwennan. He ran in snatches but his trainer seems right that he is an out and out stayer. One to keep on the right side in similar contests.

Micky Hammond’s three year old IRV showed a decent turn if foot to win a Class 3 mile handicap at York. Willing to squeeze through a gap, he hit the front a furlong out and asserted very well to break his maiden. This one appears to need quick ground and the mile looks ideal. He ran off bottom weight here so in a position to exploit further opportunities at this level.

Sunday, 23 June 2019

How they ran at Ayr

LATHOM really caught my eye with his attitude when chasing home Spirit Of Wedza* at Hamilton. He has a turn of pace at the business end and used it to great effect yesterday at Ayr, putting 2 lengths between himself and the rest. He will go up between 6 and 8lbs for that, but I can’t see that is necessarily going to stop him winning as he does no more than he has to. He can certainly step up to Class 3 on the basis of yesterday’s effort.
* Can’t find any news on Spirit Of Wedza who hasn’t appeared since. As an aside I worked through that one’s trainer Julie Camacho’s record and you could pretty much cover any of her runners over 5 and 6 furlongs in handicaps and turn a profit.
HAROME was swamped in the final furlong having shared the pace for the first four furlongs. Looking at his record he’s never won in a field of more than 9 runners and I think he needs to dominate a small field. Add to that his winning has been done almost exclusively on quick ground then we have the best circumstances identified. Roger Fell continues to churn out the winners and Club Wexford won the opening Class 2 mile handicap taking a significant step up in grade. Right now I’m keeping a close eye on anything Roger Fell runs.
CHARLES KINGSLEY ran a respectable race up in class finishing fifth. I get the impression he’s better on a turning track than on the more galloping type like Ayr. He seems taken off his feet as the pace increases down long straights.
Nothing to add to the list this time, though I will have another look at yesterday’s Ayr races just in case I’ve missed something. There are a couple of decent races at Pontefract that I will keep an eye on. Perth jump report to follow.

Saturday, 22 June 2019

Flat Runners at Ayr - June 22nd

CHARLES KINGSLEY steps up in class to contest a 1m 5f Class 2 Handicap at Ayr today. He has gone up significantly in the handicap, but while big on numbers this isn’t a particularly strong Class 2 event and Mark Johnston’s challenger is upwardly mobile.
HAROME goes for the 3.45 a Class 4 five furlong handicap and can win this if he reproduces his Epsom effort which saw him work through the field to sixth after a slow start. LATHOM goes in the same race, remains well capable in this grade off his current mark and a reverse Exacta would pay nicely if things fall into place.
Unfortunately I can’t get to Ayr today, but will be keeping an eye on the east coast action while at the jumps meeting at Perth.
MOON OF LOVE was aimed high at Ascot yesterday but it was always going to be a tough task and she was out the back in the Albany. She will be competitive when aimed lower.

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Flat Horses 2019 Update

Good start for the list with CHARLES KINGSLEY hosing up at 2/1 at Hamilton. I’ll keep him on the list as Mark Johnston generally gets his horses going in an upwardly mobile fashion. Lathom was entered in the Dash at Epsom off his old mark of 68, but had diddly-squat chance of getting in the line up! Long term I note Rare Groove is in the Northumberland Plate which suggests Jedd O’Keeffe will look to step him up in trip.

Mark Johnston has entered CHARLES KINGSLEY twice next week and interesting off top weight at Brighton on Monday, a fair looking event by Brighton standards, though there is a fairly lightly campaigned Mark Prescott improver in the entries in Final Rock, though that one ran third of 4 at Lingfield yesterday evening.

My thread on The Racing Forum led to a discussion on the patterns of trainer Roger Fell who favours racing his horses often but not overdoing things on the gallops. Though not necessarily one to follow Fell's Club Wexford has recorded 7 wins in his career and they have all been off a break of 15 days or less. Basically seems to lose his peak condition if he’s off the track for much more than 2 weeks, although I do note he’s gone close a couple of times on seasonal debut. Difficult to tie it down to the trainer as he’s only been with Roger Fell since early 2018, but Fell has prised 4 wins out of him at a good deal better percentage win than previously in the horse’s career. In that time he’s gone from a mark 76 to yesterday’s 79 which suggests good management by his trainer.

Delving a little deeper, a quick check of Fell’s record suggests this is a case of trainer pattern meets horse pattern. You would have made 18% profit since 2015 blind backing Roger Fell’s horses turning out within 2 weeks of their last run, and even better just sticking to handicaps. On this basis I marked up Mulligatawny to a work colleague for a visit to Musselburgh yesterday, and I hope she backed it since the horse obliged at 4/1. 

Staying on the Roger Fell theme, keep an eye out for HAROME appearing in the next couple of works. Slowly away in the Epsom Dash, this one came from right at the back halfway to finish sixth. Certainly one that could follow the Fell ‘quick return’ pattern and should pick up a decent five furlong sprint somewhere along the line, despite current ‘unspiring’ form figures.

Another northern horse to note from this was EEH BAH GUM, Tim Easterby’s charge picking his way through late on to finish fifth. Easterby should be able place this one to advantage before long.

Summary of list horses at this point

CHARLES KINGSLEY - Mark Johnston (entered Brighton tomorrow June 3rd)
RARE GROOVE - Jedd O'Keeffe
LATHOM - Paul Midgley (entered over 5f at Haydock - Thursday June 6th)
MR DIAMOND - Richard Fahey
HAROME - Roger Fell (added confidence if running off a break of 2 weeks or less)
EEH BAH GUM - Tim Easterby

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Kelso Ladies Day Summary

KELSO – Sunday May 26th

Other commitments kept me away from Kelso for Ladies’ Day, but kept up with the action via race replays on . Replays are free via Skybet and they generally post them up quite quickly.

The opening novices’ hurdle was won comfortably by Some Day Soon from the other main contender Valentino Dancer. However, the one that caught my eye was the third BROKOPONDO. Given just enough encouragement to finish a comfortable third he was last of the remaining three to come off the bridle and showed enough to suggest he will make a mark once handicapped.

The novices’ handicap chase over the minimum distance (2m 1f) was won by FELIX MENDELSSOHN who started for Aidan O’Brien in Ireland and raced in Listed company for David Simcock on the Flat in 2015. He’s dropped back from that level but has done what was required to win at Perth and then here. There a fast pace but even then the winner looked to idle a bit in front late on. His mark will still be low enough to seek out similar events at the likes of Perth and Cartmel in the coming weeks.
LOVELY SCHTUFF plugged on for second and should give the Stephen stable some fun in low level two milers. LYCIDAS jumped extravagantly but not always accurately in front and paid for a number of howlers as he weakened after two out.

The 2m Coppola Family Handicap Hurdle looked a decent event if only attracting six runners. ST GALLEN was having only his fourth race, won a maiden last time, and looks a nice type to progress over the summer for Olly Murphy. The winner got first run on MANAMITE who has proved a decent handicap hurdler, was tapped for speed as they quickened after two out but then saw his race out well enough to suggest he can win again before long.

The next event was a 2m 7f Class 3 Handicap Chase, a contest landed by Olly Murphy’s BEAU SANCY to give the stable a quick fire double. The winner eased to the front at the last and won with any amount to spare and Murphy will have an eye on the better staying handicap chases over the summer.
VIENS CHERCHER had an uncontested lead for most of the way but was quickly outpointed by the winner. Of those behind, Cultram Abbey and Lowanbehold ran their race but are well exposed veterans. Elusive Theatre is a temperamental sort, and was fighting a losing battle when decanting his rider two out, while Blue Kascade jumped scruffily and was beaten four out.

The four runner staying novices’ handicap chase was won by CAKE DE L’ISLE, the most fluent jumper of the three that finished. I’m not quite sure how much the winner achieved as Petite Ganache laboured a bit in finishing second though plodding on to the end. Fly Rory Fly jumped sketchily and was well beaten from three out. Potters Story was pulled up after clouting the second fence down the side first time round.

The Hunters’ Chase boasted the biggest field for such an event in Scotland this season, justifying the £7,000 first prize. A waiting race of the highest order ridden by Jamie Alexander on RACING PULSE who made headway steadily on the last circuit, coming to take it up after the last and forging on. Alexander gave a few years and more to the other pilots but his years of race experience clearly made a difference, though he did have to ‘summon a taxi’ after his mount made a clumsy leap at the first!
MR MERCURIAL looked the most obvious choice and looked the likely winner approaching the last, but was outpointed on the run to the line and held into third.
SHIMLA DAWN led or disputed most of the way and was still there with every chance at the last, while NINE ALTARS was another performing most creditably having taken on the leader for much of the second circuit and kept on well for second place.

ZAKHAROVA made experience pay in winning the closing mares’ bumper. That was a third win and she should make hay in mares’ novice hurdle company going forward. It was a fairly narrow win, but her rider used no more than hands and heels and I suspect there was a fair bit more in the tank.
Nicky Richards introduced three and by far the best performance came from HEADSCARF LIL, the only one to give the winner the hurry up. She stayed on strongly up the straight and must surely win a bumper.
The rest were soundly beaten though another Richards newcomer KITTY HALL went well enough to the home turn. Lack of condition seemed to tell from that point and there was more than a hint of greenness. I suspect there will be better to come in time.

Kelso now takes a rest for the summer before a September return. In meantime I expect to take in two or three of the meetings at Perth alongside a few flat meetings. I can't guarantee a full report each time but will flag up horses to follow.

Flat horses to keep an eye on.

I’ve been caught up with commitments to other activities lately so not able to do as much horse racing stuff as I would like. The local Rotary Club has taken up a fair bit of time, but does give me a excuse to run a race night which was very popular and also taken parties to Perth and Hamilton in recent times.
I thought I would try to put up a few horses that I spot this season on the northern flat circuit.
My flat season started with a visit to Hamilton where I picked up a couple of interesting horses both of which have run since.
RARE GROOVE came clear in good style in the 1m 5f Class 3 Buttonhook Handicap. He subsequently ran midfield in a hot looking Class 2 event over 1m 4f at York which doesn’t look bad form as he was held up and unable to get in a blow. He’s currently on a mark of 94 which should be workable for a Class 3 event of the weaker Class 2 handicaps. Well held when running over 1m 6f, but I see no reason why he shouldn’t be suited by the slightly stiffer test.
Second in the above race was CHARLES KINGSLEY who has yet to win a race, but might be a typical Mark Jophnston horse that toughs it out and wins races by having more determination than his rivals. Currently on a mark of 87 and there should be a handicap or two to be won in the coming months on the northern circuit.
Six-year-old sprinters are not normally my cup of tea, but LATHOM caught my eye chasing home Spirit Of Wedza in the opening Class 5 sprint handicap. He hasn’t won a race since the Super Sprint at Newbury in 2015, and was off the track last season. He stuck his head down determinedly and chased home a winner that got a jump on him, clearly retaining ability and enthusiasm. He subsequently ran a cracker when a neck second to rejuvenated Duke Of Firenze at Thirsk and the latter franked the form impressively in better company at York yesterday. Lathom really ought to pick up a 0-75 or 0-80 event to start with and may progress from there.
Fourth horse to keep an eye on is Richard Fahey’s MR DIAMOND who opened the season with a narrow win a 7 furlong Class 4 handicap at Wetherby. He then ran a creditable fifth in a Class 2 event at Goodwood. He was held up and his rider looked for the gap at the cutaway two out, but the end result favoured those coming down the centre so the form might be better than initial impression suggests. A mark of 82 gives room for manoeuvre class wise so his trainer should find another race soon.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Musselburgh - First December Meeting

MUSSELBURGH - Monday December 3rd

Graciously granted one day off work in December aside from the christmas holidays I didn't wish to waste it and took myself along to Musselburgh for their first December fixture.

A rather sombre end to the day as we found that four horses had perished during the meeting. The four died under different circumstances, Kensuke's Kingdom broke down after the finish, Smart Ruler had a heart attack, Sierra Oscar went wrong after three out, and Leatherbelly seemed to suffer a serious leg break on the home turn. No particular reason to link the four but nevertheless a tough day for the course and the sport. The course sadly didn't keep us up to date with the fate of Kensuke's Kingdom after announcing that the vet was attending the horse on the track. I did tweet when I spotted the horse ambulance attending but the great unwashed are apparently not worthy of news on a horse's well being, be it good or bad.

A low quality card so I will concentrate on just a few markers for the future.

GLENLORA led for a long way in the staying novices' hurdle before fading to finish fourth of four finishers. Showed enough promise to suggest Sandy Thomson can find a race for her in time. Not sure if there's a mares only staying novice programmed in the coming weeks but Glenlora would have a chance.

THOMAS TODD stayed on encouragingly to win the staying novices' handicap chase. A winner of a maiden point, he didn't seem a stand-out, but his manner of victory suggested more to come. SIMONE is my 'follow over a cliff' horse and the mare was once again very weak when push came to shove having jumped well in front to four out.

LIFE KNOWLEDGE led for a long way in the Class 5 two mile handicap hurled. He looked a bit headstrong, but kept on admirably once passed by Spin Of A Coin. Twice a flat winner but lightly raced over hurdles, it wouldn't be out of the question that he could land a similar contest.

NENDRUM was clear and had the 2m 4f Class 4 handicap hurdle at his mercy when stepping at two out and coming down. He's a tad frustrating but has won before, goes well here and there should be a race to be won with him soon.

The four runner bumper looked an interesting event but was marred by the horrible injury suffered by poor Leatherbelly. The first two are worth following and YES NO MAYBE SO forged clear from WEAPONS OUT in the final furlong. Breeding and make up suggest both can turn into jumpers.