Well that was the week that was, dear reader, and what a rollercoaster ride it turned out to be. We all know the feeling of going racing and backing five consecutive losers, then finding a winner in the last race that almost covers our losses.
That feeling is a better one than winning a lot on the first race, slowly giving much of it back over the course of the rest of the day, and coming out in front on the day. Am I right or am I right? Isn't it bizarre how the psychology of the gambler works?
I was reminded of this over the course of the last seven days when the pageantry, punditry and punting-ry (!) of Royal Ascot's magnificent five day meeting tested my mettle to an uncomfortable degree.
The first three days were broadly carnage for me personally. I closed many a stable door after the horse had bolted (notably with Yogaroo), and my selections rarely gave me any kind of run for my money.
Friday however signalled a swing and no small roundabout in the great lottery of equine selection. I changed my tack and looked for notable trainer patterns. My logic was that if it takes a certain horse to win these races, then the trainers who have done that most often have the best handle on what attributes the horse requires.
That contention, supported by some form in the book, led me to Perfect Stride (8/1) and Holberg (7/1) in successive races (I also backed Johnston's other runner, Sabotage in the latter race). It was very much a case of feast and famine. After three and a half hungry days, I was ravenous for a 'chicken dinner', and Sir Michael Stoute's winner in the Wolferton Handicap fed me.
In actual fact, due to an accident of timing I ended up having a decent amount on the beast, which was just plain lucky, staking never having been my forte. (I try to bet to level stakes, and normally I do, but at the big festivals when I feel obligated to wager from race to race, my stakes fluctuate preposterously and with far less control or consideration than they ought to have.)
Holberg with my less fancied of the two Johnston runners and the stakes reflected that. Nevertheless, it was a healthy return and - between the two winners - they made up a lot of ground from the first three days losses.
Still in the hole approaching Saturday, and I was cautiously optimistic at best. My big hope was the Wokingham which, for such a big sprint, is remarkably consistent and lends itself exceptionally well to 'scientific' analysis. Of course, the record shows that I steamed in to High Standing (as well as Jimmy Styles), and this put me level on the week.
The icing on the cake, and the cherry on top, and the chocolate shavings, and the candles, and any other confectioners' accoutrement you can think of, was finding the winner in the Golden Jubilee.
Nobody who could remember Art Connoisseur's run in the Coventry (last to first) would have discounted this beast. Indeed, in the video below (it's at the 1min 45 second mark), you can see Art - far right - delivering the tail end of a withering run that he was to repeat a year and four days later.
But the race was highly competitive. There were champions from all over the globe, so I can no greater claim than to the fact that it was a value pick in a wide open race. The 3yo's weight allowance clearly makes a difference, as the numerous placed horses in recent years testifies.
This horse clearly needs six furlongs, a strong pace, and probably Ascot to show his best.
Watch how parallel this race was compared to the Coventry the previous year...
With the Cannonball finishing second in the race, to complete a phenomenal week for the Americans at Royal Ascot, we can expect a much larger contingent next season. If the Breeders' Cup is the dirt World Championships, there is a growing body of evidence that Royal Ascot is now the undisputed turf World Championships.
Oh, by the way, do you remember the guy who won over fifty grand following our TrainerTrackStats advice? Well, he did it again on Saturday, the lucky blighter!
Back to moderate filler fare this week, as we await the next Summer Festival meeting (July meeting at Newmarket I think).
Not much of interest for me today, though they race at Beverley, and we can often hack fields down to a more manageable size by focusing on the top three or four boxes at trips up to a mile.
In the 3.15, Island Chief looks to have a bit of improvement in him, is well drawn, in form and comes from a stable banging in winners. He'll also enjoy the fast ground. He must have a decent each way squeak.
The apprentice handicap at 5.45 is even more of a conundrum than normal, as the inexperienced pilots will not be allowed to use their whips in this race. So, you probably want a horse who stays 6f, such that its natural stamina and energy will carry it up the hill, when the rider's urgings will likely fail to cajole any further exertion from the majority of these beasts.
Assuming that theory is correct (and it may very well not be!), then Ask Jenny, who has the best of the jockeys if not the best of the draw, has a fine chance of making the frame.
She's lots of placed form at 6f, and a stiff five might be just what she needs. Tellingly, she's also gone well for apprentice riders before, though never won under such a rider. Today could be the day.
I'll be posting later this week with a follow up on the weight for age debate, including some further numbers on how it affects horses by distance and by going.
I'll also have an update on Lowlay, the short priced laying service we followed throughout much of May and early June, and I hope to be able to bring you another profitably little system from my Racing Systems Builder software, time permitting.
Finally, the Racing Trends posts will finish tomorrow so, if you want to take advantage of the free trial offer from Dave Renham's excellent stat pack, then head on over today or tomorrow, as the link will likely not be available thereafter:
Get a 30 day free trial of Racing Trends from here:
That's all for today,
p.s. A new question of the week - I'm thinking about getting a Geegeez club horse, if there's sufficient interest. I'll post more info later in the week, so for now, why not let me know whether you might be interested or not, by answering the question of the week in the top right corner? Thanks!