Friday, July 26, 2013

The Prince and The King

Prince George Monday, King George Saturday.

As a betting medium Ascot's mid-summer showpiece makes less appeal than a Prince George souvenir mug, with Cirrus Des Aigles rated some twelve pounds clear of his field. The best racehorse currently in training anywhere in the world is likely to start at a price that reflects that fact; the favourite has obliged on six occasions in the past decade.

In search of a bit of value, I chanced upon the two mile Handicap, the 4.40 at York. Moidore and Crackentorp head the weights - the pair clashed in the Northumberland Plate four weeks ago, the former finishing sixth, the latter tenth. Crackentrop is three pounds better off here - they look very closely matched.

All The Aces finished sixth behind Eagle Rock over course and distance last time, Art History eighth. Nicky Henderson's dual-purpose gelding was rated as high as 134 over hurdles and will appreciate the rain that has been forecast.

I like to follow jumpers running on the Flat - All The Aces is a speculative selection.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Market Rasen Summer Plate 2013

Peter Bowen won three consecutive renewals from 2006 to 2008 with Yes Sir, Iron Man, Snoopy Loopy and regularly targets this race; he saddles just the one tomorrow, Dineur, but that one could start favourite on the day. The gelding jumps well and went in at Stratford last Sunday despite my concern he may not prefer the prevailing fast ground. He carries a five pound penalty for that victory.

Dr Richard Newland has declared three - Paddy The Hare, Pineau De Re and Bobowen. The first-named won over course and distance 13 days ago and according to the market is the stable's best chance but it would be unwise to disregard Pineau De Re who finished sixth behind Storm Survivor over a longer trip at Uttoxeter on his first run for the yard. That day he displayed a tendency to jump out right so this right-handed track and step back in trip should help the cause.

Both Brian Ellison and Jonjo O'Neill saddle two - Ellison Bocciani and Viva Colonia, O'Neill Galaxy Rock and Finger On the Pulse. McCoy rides Galaxy Rock who finished ahead of Pineau De Re and Problema Tic in Storm Survivor's race at Uttoxeter.

The market tells us that, as usual, this a very open race; I looked at Galaxy Rock (11/1 Stan James) but his last win was November 2011 and he may just need a bit further these days.

From Dr Newland's runners I prefer Pineau De Re to Paddy The Hare - Pineau De Re is the each-way suggestion (9/1 Paddy Power).

In the Summer Hurdle (2.55) I have to have a bet on Barizan, an old favourite; his heart-breaking second to Soldatino in the 2010 Triumph Hurdle still sticks in the mind. He seems to have been around for ever but is still only seven and won the Swinton Hurdle at Haydock last time out - he's 8/1 with Betfred and totesport.

Every now and again the opener throws up an interesting one - Countrywide Flame took the 2011 renewal before going on to win the Triumph Hurdle the following March.

Friday, July 12, 2013

NHotes and a beer

A very quick glance through the weekend cards...

Peter Bowen's dual-purpose mare Big Time Billy goes for an astonishing seventh consecutive win in the Stayers' Handicap at York (4.50) tomorrow. On Sunday the same handler sends Kian's Delight to Perth (2.30) while Dineur goes to Stratford for The Stratford Summer Cup (3.50), a very tight-looking handicap indeed. My concern about Dineur's chance would be that firm ground may not suit.

Writing in the Weekender Marcus Buckland makes a solid case for Solaras Exhibition in The Stratford Summer Salver (3.20) at the same meeting. This one was considered a 'lively outsider' by connections for the Fred Winter at Cheltenham; Solaras Exhibition would represent a value play should previous course and distance winner Castlemorris King be sent off favourite, as seems likely.

Finally I see The Times, in conjunction with Marston's brewery, is running a competition around The Ashes Series to win a year's supply of beer - and the brewer's Pedigree product would seem an appropriate tipple for any racing fan.

'Howzat for a great prize?' asks the blurb.

Well, not too impressive I'm afraid - the small print indicates the prize consists of 96 bottles of the aforementioned beer.

According to my miserable calculations, that equates to just 1.85 bottles per week. Now, I'm making no claims to be the world's biggest beer drinker but that allowance would barely cover one calendar month, never mind one calendar year.

'Enjoy responsibly' is what they like to tell us...

Friday, July 05, 2013

Coral Eclipse 2013

I think this year's Eclipse looks closer than the layers' prices would have us believe.

Al Kazeem's neck defeat of Mukhadram in The Prince of Wales's Stakes, with filly The Fugue three and three quarter lengths back in third, is a key piece of form. That day The Fugue was ridden well off the pace and can be expected to finish closer; in recent days Willie Haggas has sounded bullish about his charge's chance of reversing placings with the favourite.

Coolmore saddles two - Mars finished sixth in the Derby and then three lengths third behind Dawn Approach in the St James's Palace Stakes over a mile at Royal Ascot while Declaration Of War won the Queen Anne at the same meeting. The latter-named could be underestimated as Animal Kingdom, the 5/4 favourite that day, failed to run his race but on official ratings the colt has a bit to find.

It would be dangerous to totally write off Prix Ganay winner Pastorius on the back of a disappointing effort at Kranji last time.

Fillies have a terrible record; just two have obliged (Pebbles 1985 and Kooyonga 1992) since the inaugural running in 1886 while the Classic generation benefits from its weight allowance but has only come out on top five times in the past twenty years (Compton Admiral 1999, Giant's Causeway 2000, Hawk Wing 2002, Oratorio 2005 and Sea The Stars 2009).

Paul Hanagan is likely to try and make all again on Mukhadram; the colt doesn't possess the same turn of foot as the favourite but I like a tough front-runner so, at the prices, previous course and distance winner Mukhadram (8/1 with Paddy Power at the time of writing) is the selection.