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Stat of the Day, 22nd January 2019

Monday's Pick was...

2.05 Warwick : Ange Des Malberaux @ 7/1 BOG WON at 7/1 (Held up in rear, headway before 14th, 2nd 2 out, led before last, clear towards finish, won easily by 5 lengths)

Tuesday's pick runs in the...

5.15 Newcastle :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection in the evening before the following day's race and I then add a detailed write-up later on that night/next morning.

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Straight Right @ 7/2 BOG

...in a 9-runner, Class 2, 4yo+ A/W Handicap over 7f on Tapeta worth £15752 to the winner...

Why?

This 5 yr old gelding is pretty lightly raced with just four runs in the last year, but he did win two of them and make the frame in another, including a Class 2 course and distance success here. He's 2 from 4 on standard A/W going, all at Class 2, 2/2 at 7f and 1/1 over C&D.

He's by Siyouni, whose offspring are 23 from 106 (21.7% SR) for 55.4pts (+52.2% ROI) on A/W tracks over the last two years and these include of relevance today...

  • 11/40 (27.5%) for 23.5pts (+58.8%) over 7f
  • 4/13 (30.8%) for 22.1pts (+170.1%) at Class 2
  • and 3/8 (37.5%) for 25.8pts (+322.7%) here at Newcastle

And he's trained by Andrew Balding who is 5 from 12 (41.7% SR) for 9.4pts (+78.3% ROI) over the last 10 days including saddling up 4 winners from 7 runers over 6 to 8 furlongs, whilst more long-term, his sub-5/1 male A/W handicappers are 57 from 167 (34.1% SR) for 41.2pts (+24.7% ROI) since the start of 2014 and with today's race in mind, those 167 runners are...

  • 35/100 (35%) for 31.79pts (+31.79%) after no more than 30 days rest
  • 18/32 (56.3%) for 29.59pts (+92.5%) since the start of 2018
  • 8/21 (38.1%) for 5.52pts (+26.3%) over 7f
  • and 12 from 19 (63.2%) for 19.45pts (+102.4%) from those racing after no more than 30 days rest since the start of 2018

...giving us a 1pt win bet on Straight Right @ 7/2 BOG as was offered by half a dozen firms at 5.10pm on Monday evening, whilst Bet365 were another half point better still. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting...

...click here for the betting on the 5.15 Newcastle

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!

P.P.S. A quick headsup about the next couple of picks : I'm away for the weekend from tomorrow afternoon, so Matt's in the hotseat for Saturday's pick and I'll be doing Monday's pick when I get home, but it won't appear until after midnight Sunday at the earliest! Sorry for any inconvenience caused.

Monday Musings: Hong Kong? Phooey!

Why do people own horses? That’s a very good question in these days of high costs and, apart from at the top level, pretty ordinary prize money levels, writes Tony Stafford. In simple terms you have to love the game,  I assume, but some syndicates and racing clubs also manage to tap into social aspirations even for non- lovers.

At the higher level in that regard must be the Royal Ascot Racing Club which not only has the best facilities and catering standards available to its members, but the cachet of the Royal meeting itself to entice would-be adherents. They have also had a Derby winner, Motivator, run in their colours.

Not far behind, certainly for people of a certain vintage – and sadly perhaps racing still relies principally on that age-group – must be the Kingsclere Racing Club. This is run from Andrew Balding’s stable on the Hampshire-Berkshire borders and relies entirely on bloodstock bred by Kingsclere Stud.

Not the least of the appeal is that the Club is able to utilise the historic colours, black with a gold cross, worn by the wonderful Mill Reef, always referred to as among the top handful of thoroughbreds in the second half of the last century. Mill Reef was trained by Andrew’s father, Ian, for the colt’s American owner-breeder, Paul Mellon.

His 12 wins and two second places in 14 races included an impressive Epsom Derby success. His defeats were both at the very top level. As a juvenile he was edged out in a close finish by My Swallow, the champion European 1970 two-year-old, and then in the next year’s 2,000 Guineas when the equally brilliant Brigadier Gerard – who only ever lost once in 18 starts over three seasons’ racing – beat him and My Swallow in probably the greatest Guineas of all time.

Mill Reef would almost certainly have improved even on those figures bar a shattered leg sustained while being prepared for the 1972 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Happily, supreme care and rehabilitation meant he recovered well enough to fulfil a highly-meritorious stallion career at the National Stud in Newmarket.

Even after all these years the sight of those silks coming to the fore on the racecourse gives me a charge as it must the 25 shareholders (that’s the maximum Kingsclere Racing Club seeks according to their literature) when they appear on track.

For an interest in the stated 15 Flat horses – the odd one does run over jumps from time to time – each member pays £6,000 <hope that’s current> and in turn is entitled to one-fiftieth share of prize money, so the management keeps and underwrites at least one-half. In 2018, 14 individual Kingsclere Stud horses ran for a total of nine wins and around £180,000. I reckon that will boil down to around £110,000 of owners’ money after jockey, trainer, stable percentage and other Weatherbys deductions.

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So it should still leave in excess of two  grand to each member from the six invested – a not-unreasonable return for the excitement of seeing 71 domestic and a few overseas runs during the year, especially with the social aspect and free admission to the top enclosure on track.

I’m not sure how many of the members – or even the trainer - fancied yesterday’s jaunt up to Newcastle for their four-year-old Seasearch, a son of Passing Glance who won twice last year and stepped up to two miles in 0-65 company. Sadly the jury will still be out on his stamina as he was a one-paced sixth of eight, but the travelling costs for the horse – if not the owners – will have been partially defrayed by prizemoney of £400 for all the also-rans.

The bulk of the 2018 earnings for Kingsclere Racing Club was shared between two horses. Brorocco, who despite failing to win in seven starts, collected most with almost £60,000 from place prizes. The three-year-old Urban Aspect, a son of Cityscape out of Casual Glance, a Kingsclere stalwart, won £53,000 from four runs. After a promising debut third, he won three times, culminating in victory from a big field in a mile handicap at the York Ebor meeting in August.

Four weeks after York, Urban Aspect was gelded and the next time he appeared in a race programme was yesterday morning when he was due to make his Hong Kong debut in the concluding Lung Kung Handicap, a Class 2 race over a mile and worth £111,000 to the winner.

My former Daily Telegraph colleague, Jim McGrath, busily mopping up assignments all around the globe in his lucrative later years, penned a piece about the card in yesterday’s Racing Post. He suggested the former Richard Hannon horse Tigre du Terre was the one to be on.

But in a very competitive field he could finish only ninth, failing to build on a promising debut run last month. If any Kingsclere Racing Club member is none the wiser, I am very sad for you. Clearly a substantial price was forthcoming for their former money-spinner. At that point no doubt any ongoing pecuniary benefit would have ended in the way Motivator’s sale as a stallion did not enrich Sir Clement Freud and the rest of the Royal Ascot RC membership. I’m sure the Balding family and the club officials have that element firmly defined. This seems a very well-run and highly-successful enterprise from where I’m looking.

In the manner of Hong Kong racing, the new proud owner, Mr Leng Shek Kong, chose a “lucky” name for his investment at which point La Ying Star was born. When I looked briefly down the list yesterday morning, I could not understand why a horse with three wins to his name should be available at outsider odds in that 9.45 a.m. race.

Later, having not been professional enough to watch live – and even Jim’s wise words when I saw them had already been overtaken by actual events – I saw that the 3111- form figure horse had indeed won. I’m sure that even after the BHA hike from 93 to 104 as a result of York his previous owners would not have been dissuaded from backing him again wherever he appeared after wins at 2-1, 8-11 and 5-1.

If they were aware of his new surroundings they would have been rewarded at 29-1. If it had been me, I’m sure I’d have missed the Hong Kong wedding but tucked in at the Geordie funeral!

There were three more UK imports in the field. Sixth home Charity Go (BHA106) was also ex-Balding and this was the third Hong Kong outing for the former Fortune’s Pearl. He was a Qatar Racing “discard” if you could ever refer to the high-price Hong Kong Derby turkey shoot in that way, such are the prices received.

Ninth over the line was Classic Beauty (BHA 103) and unraced since winning easily at Naas in June for Adrian Paul Keatley. That was his third try for the one-time London Icon in the Far East where his record stands at 10/9/9. Lastly Tigre du Terre, no name change here, won three of nine for Hannon in the colours of another great ownership entity, Middleham Park.

It would be nice to think that the 25 or however many members there were last year, and will be for the new team in 2019, had their brains on at 29-1. Almost better than having 2% of the £111k!

As for New Year resolutions, I have made one in particular. Here and especially now – maybe later – might not be the place to reveal the details of a financial difficulty that has appeared in the carrying out of my usual function. What I have promised myself is that having spent the first almost 50 years of my horse-racing-aware (so 1962 on) life knowing pretty much everything about what’s running and therefore might be capable of winning each day, and latterly slipped markedly into sloth, I’m not too old or tired out to renew full attention. As someone – more than one – says from time to time, “You can still find them!” I realise, though, you have to look first. I’m looking, mark my words, and now and then I’ll feel confident enough to pass them on! Have a Happy Punting New Year.

 

 

 

Stat of the Day, 29th September 2018

Friday's Pick was...

3.00 Newmarket : Main Edition @ 10/3 BOG 3rd at 5/2 (Overall leader far side, ridden and headed entering final furlong, no extra and lost 2nd towards finish) 

Saturday's pick runs in the...

2.35 Chester :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection in the evening before the following day's race and I then add a detailed write-up later on that night/next morning.

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Intransigent @ 11/4 BOG  

In an 11-runner, Class 4, Flat Handicap for 4yo+ over 7f on Good to Soft ground, worth £6081 to the winner... 

Why?

This 9 yr old gelding was a winner last time out 15 days ago when comfortably landing the spoils over this very course and distance in a better race (Class 3) than this one, despite being poorly drawn in stall 8 of 10.

His trainer Andrew Balding has got his runners firing of late, as his Flat handicappers are 19 from 86 (22.1% SR) for 8.27pts (+9.61% ROI) over the last 30 days, whilst more long-term (ie since 2010) his record here on the Roodee stands at 61 from 265 (23% SR) for 157.4pts (+59.4% ROI).

These are excellent track records and include of relevance/note today...

  • handicappers at 42/166 (25.3%) for 116.8pts (+70.4%)
  • over the last three seasons : 29/116 (25%) for 96.8pts (+83.5%)
  • at Class 4 : 30/107 (28%) for 92.9pts (+86.8%)
  • in September : 18/67 (26.9%) for 33.5pts (+50%)
  • LTO winners are 12/54 (22.2%) for 33.7pts (+62.5%)

And that LTO winners stat isn't restricted to Chester as since 2012, Mr Balding's LTO winners are 137/664 (20.6% SR) for 142.9pts (+21.5% ROI), including 72 winners from 337 (21.4%) for 126.5pts (+37.5%) over trips of 6 to 8.5 furlongs.

Our jockey today is Joshua Bryan, who didn't have a ride yesterday, but did win both his contests on Thursday over at Pontefract, firstly landing an SotD win on Francis Xavier, before winning for Andrew Balding later on the card.

Joshua has already won three races here at Chester this season from just 12 (25% SR) handicap contests for profits of 14.72pts (+122.7% ROI) and these include...

  • over 6 to 7.5 furlongs : 3/6 (50%) for 20.72pts (+345.4%)
  • for Andrew Balding : 2/7 (28.6%) for 1.52pts (+21.7%)
  • and over 6 to 7.5f for Mr Balding : 2/4 (50%) for 4.52pts (+113%)...

...giving us... a 1pt win bet on Intransigent @ 11/4 BOG, a price offered by ten different firms at 6.00pm on Friday evening. To see what your preferred bookie will give you later...

...click here for the betting on the 2.35 Chester

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!

Stat of the Day, 15th August 2018

Tuesday's Pick was...

5.15 Ffos Las : Air of York @ 3/1 BOG 4th at 7/1 (Held up, headway over 2f out, soon chasing leaders, never able to challenge, weakened closing stages)

Wednessday's pick goes in the...

5.30 Kempton :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection in the evening before the following day's race and I then add a detailed write-up later on that night/next morning.

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Pot Luck 3/1 BOG

In a 12-runner, Class 6, A/W Nursery for 2yo over 7f on Polytrack worth £3105 to the winner...

Why?

Here we have a 2yr old filly trained by Andrew Balding, whose runners are in fine form right now (wish I was!), notching up 8 winners from 19 (42.1% SR) over the last 7 days.

More long-term, Andrew's runners making their second start in a handicap are 40 from 229 (17.5% SR) for 99.9pts (+43.6% ROI) since the start of 2014 and these runners include...

  • June-October : 24/143 (16.8%) for 114pts (+79.7%)
  • 7f/1m : 13/76 (17.1%) for 62.8pts (+82.7%)
  • females : 13/66 (19.7%) for 52.8pts (+80%)
  • in 2018 : 10/36 (27.8%) for 69.5pts (+192.9%)
  • Class 6 : 8/34 (23.5%) for 2.9pts (+8.6%)
  • at Kempton : 8/33 (24.2%) for 22.4pts (+68%)

...AND... females at 7f/1m in June-October = 4/15 (26.7% SR) for 53.9pts (+359.6% ROI) including 2 wins from 3 this year so far.

Joshua Bryan takes the ride today and takes 3lbs off our girl's back with his claim and Andrew Balding + A/W handicaps + 3lb claimers = 14/59 (23.7% SR) for 26.3pts (+44.6% ROI) since the start of 2013, including of relevance today...

  • on Polytrack : 13/48 (27.1%) for 14.5pts (+30.1%)
  • over 7f to 8.5f : 7/27 (25.9%) for 9.04pts (+33.5%)
  • Sub-5/1 shots are 11/25 (44%) for 19pts (+76%)
  • and here at Kempton : 5/14 (35.7%) for 19.4pts (+138.5%)

...AND...at odds shorter than 5/1 on Polytrack over 7f to 8.5f = 6/10 (60% SR) for 14.87pts (+148.7% ROI) with one winner from two here at Kempton showing 3.75pts profit.

...giving us...a 1pt win bet on Pot Luck 3/1 BOGa price offered by Bet365, Betfair & Paddy Power at 5.00pm on Tuesday. To see what your preferred bookie is offering, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 5.30 Kempton

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!

Stat of the Day, 28th September 2017

Wednesday's Result :

8.10 Kempton : Banish @ 8/1 BOG (6.4/1 after 20p R4) WON at 5/1 : Switched right after start, took keen hold towards rear, travelling strongly on inside 3f out, headway over 2f out, went 2nd over 1f out, driven to lead inside final furlong, stayed on op...

Thursday's pick goes in the...

3.10 Newmarket :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection in the evening before the following day's race and I then add a detailed write-up later on that night/next morning.

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Summer Chorus @ 7/2 BOG

Why?

This 4yr old filly has finished 322 in her last three outings and was only beaten by half a length last time out. That was 26 days ago, when behind Big Tour who has since won again off a mark 4lbs higher and up in class, so if the form holds out, we could be well in.

She's got 1 win and 1 place from 2 starts here and possesses the same record under today's jockey Oisin Murphy and her trainer Andrew Balding is in good form right now, saddling up 8 winners from 37 (21.6% SR) over the last fortnight.

More long-term, the Balding yard is 18/93 (19.4% SR) for 58.7pts (+63.1% ROI) with handicappers priced at 12/1 and shorter on the Rowley track here since 2009, from which...

  • those last seen 11-30 days ago are 13/45 (28.9%) for 49.9pts (+110.8%)
  • 4 yr olds are 7/28 (25%) for 38pts (+135.6%)
  • at Class 3  : 5/27 (18.5%) for 26.3pts (+97.2%)
  • females are 4/15 (26.7%) for 16.6pts (+110.9%)
  • and over 7 furlongs : 3/12 (25%) for 172pts (+143.7%)

And then there's the matter of 3 to 5 yr olds running over 7/7.5 furlongs on the Flat after three consecutive top 3 placings. Such horses that were 2nd or 3rd last time out 6-30 days earlier are 96/442 (21.7% SR) for 177.8pts (+40.2% ROI) over the last six seasons, including...

  • those last seen 11-30 days ago : 80/355 (22.5%) for 181.4pts (+51.1%)
  • females are 40/145 (27.6%) for 164.5pts (+113.4%)
  • at Class 3 : 18/49 (36.7%) for 80.8pts (+164.9%)
  • and on the Rowley : 3/6 950%) for 49.3pts (+821.8%)

...giving us... a 1pt win bet on Summer Chorus @ 7/2 BOG, which was offered by Bet365, BetVictor, Coral & Ladbrokes at 5.50pm on Wednesday. To see what your preferred bookie is offering, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 3.10 Newmarket

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!

Leading Stayers prepare for the historic Doncaster Cup

I’ve failed to give Flat’s long-distance runners the publicity they deserve during this campaign, and I thought it was time to rectify that, especially as the historic Doncaster Cup takes place on Friday.

The event, established in 1766, actually pre-dates the St Leger and has been run at its current distance of 2m2f since 1927. Sir Henry Cecil proved dominant in the late 70s and early 80s, when training several outstanding stayers. Bucksin, Le Moss and Ardross captured the Doncaster marathon during a dazzling period.

Bucksin was originally trained in France, but transferred to England in 1978. He had physical issues which made him tricky to train. Softer ground suited the fragile horse, who at his best could deliver devastating performances. He took the Prix Du Cadran in 77 and 78, and when moved to Henry Cecil’s yard during the latter part of 1978 captured the Doncaster Cup, winning the race by a staggering eight lengths. The following year he romped to victory in the Henry II Stakes on soft ground at Sandown. But he was famously unable to defeat his stablemate Le Moss on unsuitable quick ground in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.

Bucksin was retired after that Gold Cup defeat and became a hugely successful stallion in the National Hunt sphere, with his name common in the pedigree of staying chasers.

As for Le Moss, he inherited the mantle as Cecil’s top stayer, completing the Stayers’ Triple Crown (Ascot Gold Cup, Goodwood Cup and Doncaster Cup) in 1979 and 1980. His clashes with Ardross during the 1980 campaign were exceptional, defeating the then Irish-trained challenger by less than a length on three occasions. Like Bucksin, Le Moss became a Jumps stallion of substance, notably becoming the damsire of Gold Cup winner Imperial Commander.

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Exit Le Moss stage left, enter Ardross stage right. Sir Henry took over training duties of the latter in 1981 and set-about dominating staying events once again. The Yorkshire Cup, Ascot Gold Cup and Goodwood Cup were all landed, before being switched back in trip to contest the Geoffrey Freer. A stunning success launched a crack at the Arc in France. He finished a creditable fifth, and a year later at the age of six having won the Doncaster Cup, came within a neck of landing the prestigious Longchamp event. He was an exceptional racehorse, and like those before, became a terrific National Hunt stallion.

During the 1990s another exceptional stayer became the dominant force, proving particularly potent in the Goodwood and Doncaster Cups. The Mark Johnston-trained Double Trigger was so special to the Town Moor faithful that the course erected a Bronze statue to commemorate his illustrious career. He landed their stayers’ showpiece on three occasions from 1995 to 1998, and matched the achievement in the Goodwood Cup with a trio of victories during the same period.

His best campaign was as a four-year-old in 1995 when winning the Sagaro and Henry II Stakes, before landing the Stayers' Triple Crown. He was particularly impressive at Ascot, when demolishing the St Leger winner Moonax by a yawning five-lengths. Still on stud duty at Clarendon Farm in Wiltshire, he was a much-loved racehorse.

The best of the current crop is arguably the first two from the Ascot Gold Cup, Big Orange and Order Of St George. Sadly, neither are in attendance here, though we do have York’s Lonsdale Cup winner Montaly. He’s had an outstanding campaign to date, winning the Chester Cup and only just losing out at Sandown in the Coral Marathon. The win at York was a huge step forward, and he had several of Friday’s opponents behind him. He has a 3lb penalty to overcome, but he remains the form horse.

Pallasator and Sheikhzayedroad have won the last two renewals, and both return to Doncaster for another crack. Lightly raced this term, the former finished sixth in the Goodwood Cup at the beginning of August, and won the Doncaster Cup on his only previous visit to the track.

Sheikhzayedroad was a close fourth at York behind Montaly last time, having disappointed in the Goodwood Cup. Like Pallasator he is now an eight-year-old, and horses over the age of seven have a dreadful record in the race. Whether the pair retain enough zip to replicate previous victories is a serious doubt.

The Irish have won three of the last 10, and Willie Mullins attempts to maintain that impressive record. Thomas Hobson and Max Dynamite both carry the familiar Rich Ricci silks, though it appears that the latter is the main contender with Ryan Moore booked to ride. Niggling issues mean that the seven-year-old has had little racing in the last couple of years, though he was certainly impressive at Killarney last month. Runner-up in a Northumberland Plate and the Melbourne Cup, he also has a win in the Lonsdale Cup to his name. He’s a classy sort.

Three-year-olds have a poor record in the race, with just two wins in the last 20 years. David Elsworth sends Desert Skyline into the fray, with his third-place finish in the Goodwood Cup giving hope of a strong showing here. Big Orange was the only horse from the older brigade to beat him at Goodwood, and he has run well at Deauville since. He looks a major player, and is likely to appreciate any rain that falls.

Several of these will head to Ascot next month for the Champions Series finale, and likely be joined by Order Of St George and Big Orange. Sheikhzayedroad landed the big-one at Ascot last October, having won at Town Moor a month earlier. His trainer David Simcock will be praying for more of the same.

Stat of the Day, 5th September 2017

Monday's Result :

5.00 Brighton : Black Caesar @ 11/2 BOG (3.85/1 after 30p R4)- WON at 7/2 : Led early, chased leader, switched right 2f out, led entering final furlong, soon clear, comfortably home by 6 lengths...

Tuesday's pick goes in the...

3.15 Goodwood :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection in the evening before the following day's race and I then add a detailed write-up later on that night/next morning.

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Golden Salute @ 5/2 BOG

Why?

A fourth start for this progressive-looking filly, who is 2 from 2 after finishing 7th on debut earlier in "the summer" (as some people still like to call the middle part of the year!), more is needed on handicap/nursery debut of course, but the signs are good, for...

...trainer Andrew Balding's late season 2 yr olds are something I look out for. Well, more specifically, I look for runners to fulfil the following criteria...

...2009-17 / Flat / Class 1 to 4 / 5 to 7 furlongs / July to October / just 0-3 career runs to date - this sounds quite restrictive, but it's a nice little micro good for around 35 bets a season and to date stands at 39/303 (12.9% SR) for 38.2pts (+126.1% ROI) profit.

Those numbers are then backed up by Mr Balding's record since 2010 with 2 to 4 yr olds making a handicap debut after at least one career win and such beasts are 24/113 (21.2% SR) for 46.5pts (+41.2% ROI) in the 6/4 to 12/1 broad odds range, with today's jockey, Geegeez-sponsored, David Probert riding 14 of those of 24 winners from just 41 attempts (34.2% SR) for profits of 45.4pts (+110.8% ROI).

Lucky pants?

Lucky pants?

So, if the "lucky Geegeez pants" work their magic again today...

...we're well set with... a 1pt win bet on Golden Salute @ 5/2 BOG, which was widely available at 8.30pm on Monday: the choice is yours! For what it's worth, I'm on with Sky again. To see what your preferred bookie is offering, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 3.15 Goodwood

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!

PJ fast becoming a Big Mc

PJ McDonald continues his inexorable rise through the ranks, with another impressive campaign in the saddle.

He completed a stunning double at York’s Ebor meeting last Friday, including a thrilling success in the Group Two Lonsdale Cup aboard relatively unfancied Montaly. Andrew Balding’s six-year-old is known to be a tricky customer, and PJ was seen at his talented best to nail the favourite Dartmouth on the line in a thrilling finish.

High times indeed for McDonald, who switched codes a decade ago, having won the Scottish National as a 5lb claimer on-board the Ferdy Murphy-trained Hot Weld. Murphy’s Yorkshire base was at West Witton, in the heart of the Middleham racing scene, and a mere furlong or two from PJ’s home at Leyburn. As one of the top local conditional jocks, he was the ideal choice when the ride came up for grabs. He certainly made the most of the opportunity.

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Still at home in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales with wife Amelia and the kids, the last 10 years has been a period of gradual progression, supported by many of the Dales finest trainers, including Ann Duffield and Micky Hammond. However, it’s over the last few years that PJ has started to land the big rides, and with them a few prestigious pots. He’s becoming something of a supersub, should a stable jockey be unavailable.

Peter Niven was more than happy to put his trust in the Leyburn lad, and at York in 2016 it certainly paid-off when Clever Cookie landed the Group Two Yorkshire Cup. It was a huge moment for McDonald, and has undoubtedly brought further opportunities, with high-profile northern trainers such as Karl Burke and Mark Johnston regularly calling on his services.

Teaming up with Burke has provided the opportunity of riding one of the leading juveniles in Havana Grey. Winner of the Group Three Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood, McDonald was again aboard at Deauville when the young horse ran another cracker in finishing runner-up in the Group One Prix Morny. It’s possible the six-furlong trip stretched him a little that day, but under PJ’s urgings he battled on bravely to hold on to second spot from the Royal Ascot winner Different League.

This latest day to remember at York, will again go some way to promote PJ’s ability in the saddle, and likely result in further high-profile bookings. Currently standing eighth in the jockeys’ championship, McDonald has smashed the 50 winners’ barrier, and fast approaches 60. With a 15% strike-rate he is one of the few leading jocks with a level-stake profit. Indeed, he and fellow northern jockey Daniel Tudhope, are a pair worth following from a punting prospective.

PJ drew a blank at Ripon yesterday, but will be confident of better fortunes today at Catterick, with a full book of rides including Mambo Dancer for Mark Johnston. The three-year-old has twice finished second this term and looks to have a great opportunity of going one better today. McDonald also has rides for Rebecca Menzies, and though his 11% strike-rate for the trainer this year is nothing to shout about, he does have a decent level-stake profit for the Durham handler.

PJ looks sure to set a personal best for winners in a single season, and there’s no doubting that his appeal among trainers is growing. Expect more of the same for the remainder of the campaign, with the likelihood of further high-profile victories at major tracks.

A not-so Glorious Goodwood

It’s hard not to feel deflated after yesterday’s washout at Goodwood.

The heavens opened, and at the eleventh hour, Aidan O’Brien decided to protect a major asset, removing Churchill from the battlefield. It was probably a wise decision, as the remainder waded through mud, posting a winning time some 10 seconds slower than The Gurkha 12 months ago.

The seven-year-old Here Comes When caused an upset in defeating the red-hot favourite Ribchester, with Lightning Spear back in third. The favourite had loomed large a couple of furlongs out, but then appeared to almost pull himself up. Jim Crowley struck for home on the eventual winner, and looked to have the race in safe keeping, only for William Buick to summon a renewed effort from Ribchester. The line arrived too soon for the Godolphin colt, and it was Andrew Balding’s experienced campaigner that lifted the prestigious pot.

After the surprise victory, the winning trainer said: “He is here for a reason. We just prayed we got the rain and it's come in time. He is a very decent horse on this sort of ground. I think he has come back this season in better form than ever. When he won at York it was impressive on the time figures. He is stones better on this sort of ground.”

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Fahey was philosophical in defeat, saying: “Its extreme conditions out there, I was very worried - it's not for a Flat horse to be racing on, it's National Hunt horses. But he's run a mighty race and he showed good heart to nearly get back up. Maybe he was a bit lonely in front and half-pulled up a bit, but that's racing, we live to fight another day. I'm disappointed, you come here expecting to win and you don't, so you are disappointed. It was a strange race. You see him now, he is hardly having a blow. He is in France in 11 days' time and we will see how he is.”

Aidan O’Brien was also left mulling over future options, and the possibility of that much anticipated clash with Ribchester, when saying: “It's extreme out there now. There are other races coming up for him. If he stays at a mile he will go to France (Prix Jacques le Marois, August 13), if he steps up to a mile and a quarter he will go for the Juddmonte (International, at York on August 23). We came here wanting to run and we're very disappointed that we're not running.

“The year is long and hopefully there'll be other chances. The ground didn't walk too bad, but there was a lot of water on top of it and it was loose and sloppy. It's probably going to get near heavy as they must have had nearly an inch of rain.”

That has to be a concern for the rest of the meeting. Other eagerly anticipated clashes are sure to be at risk, with conditions extremely testing. Today’s Nassau Stakes has already lost some of its sparkle with the withdrawal of Shutter Speed. Queen’s Trust is at her best on quick ground, and has to be a doubt. What looked a classy field of fillies, could very quickly be whittled down to less than a handful, with Ballydoyle’s Winter a virtual certainty.

With conditions likely to improve somewhat by Friday, it is hoped that the exciting field of sprinters in the Group Two King George Stakes, take their place at the start. Battaash has looked an exciting youngster, though his trainer Charlie Hills had voiced concerns over the prospect of testing ground. He looked incredibly quick in his two victories at Sandown, and it’s hoped he’ll take his chance. The Clive Cox trained Profitable is set to oppose. Runner-up in the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot last month, he’ll love the ground and should run a huge race.

Marsha is another for who conditions will prove something of an unknown. She’s a rapidly improving filly, but has yet to encounter soft ground in 11 starts on turf. She finished a head behind Profitable at Ascot, and has since run well in defeat at the Curragh.

Other notable entries for this tasty looking sprint are Priceless, Kachy, Washington DC and Take Cover. The last two were first and second 12 months ago, though that renewal was run on lightning quick ground.

Lacklustre UK but Pletcher shows the way in USA

The weekend’s action proved rather lacklustre, but thankfully Royal Ascot looms large on the horizon.

The Group 3 John Of Gaunt Stakes was as good as it got at Haydock on Saturday. Brecon Rock failed in his attempt to give 5lbs and a beating to an array of decent seven-furlong sorts. Andrew Balding’s Absolutely So enjoyed the rain-softened ground, and came out on top in a bunch finish. The thoroughly exposed seven-year-old got the better of Jallota for his first pattern success. The runner-up had to give the winner 3lbs, and came so close to doing so successfully. The Charlie Hills six-year-old is probably the one to take from the race, and likely to strike again in Group company sooner, rather than later.

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If the action proved rather tepid for many at Haydock, then Godolphin were certainly welcoming an upturn in fortunes at Newmarket. Earlier in the week they had parted company with Chief Executive John Ferguson. His resignation came after an alleged breakdown in relationship with elements of the team. Nevertheless, the ‘Boys in Blue’ ran-in a hattrick of winners on the July Course, thanks to trainer Charlie Appleby. Culturati was arguably the star performer, returning from a tendon injury to win well, and likely book his place in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot.

The team will be keen to paper over the cracks as soon as possible, especially as they head into the royal meeting with several outstanding chances. Ribchester is a short-priced favourite for the Queen Anne on the opening day, and will be tough to beat. Barney Roy is likely to be Churchill’s main challenger in the St James’s Palace Stakes, and their latest recruit, Harry Angel, will join Blue Point in a powerful looking assault on the Commonwealth Cup. With little more than a week to go before the greatest Flat meeting of the season, unrest, though untimely, is unlikely to prevent Godolphin from having a highly productive Royal Ascot.

Whilst action was rather underwhelming in the UK, over in America, Todd Pletcher was once again making headlines as he captured the third leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes. The victory was thanks to a gutsy performance from Tapwrit. The three-year-old is a son of leading American stallion Tapit, and proved a powerful stayer, seemingly improving plenty for a step-up in trip having finished back in sixth in the Kentucky Derby in May.

That Triple Crown opener had also gone the way of Pletcher, when Always Dreaming romped to an impressive success. The horse failed to land the second leg a few weeks later when fading to a disappointing eighth place finish in the Preakness. Nevertheless, landing two from three of America’s famous trio is another outstanding training achievement for Pletcher and his team.

He will next be turning his attention to the UK, and specifically Royal Ascot, as he looks to send over American Patriot to contest the Queen Anne Stakes. The four-year-old colt by War Front was an impressive winner at Keeneland in April, and would be looking to emulate last year’s successful American raider Tepin. He’s not without a chance, though would have to defeat the Godolphin hotshot, Ribchester.

Expect plenty more Royal Ascot ‘chit-chat’ between now and June 20. There’s no meeting quite like it, and it is undoubtedly the highlight of the summer racing calendar.

Stat of the Day, 19th May 2017

Thursday's Result :

4.15 Perth : Caius Marcius @ 4/1 BOG WON at 13/8 Held up in touch, effort to chase leader after 3 out, led just before last, ridden out to win by the best part of three lengths.

Friday's pick goes in the...

2.10 Newmarket...

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection in the evening before the following day's race and I then add a detailed write-up later on that night/next morning.

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Passcode9/2 BOG

Why?

A 3 yr old filly, 3rd on debut over 7f on good to soft, but outpaced late on, stepped up to this 1m trip for her next/last run some 181 days later (31 days ago) and was a winner by a short head.

I'd expect her to improve for having had the pipe opener last month and confidence will be high at home, as trainer Andrew Balding is 4 from 8 this week already and his Class 5 handicappers having only their 2nd run inside a 90 day period are 31/137 (22.6% SR) for 92.6pts (+67.6% ROI) since 2008, from which...

  • those last seen 11-45 days back are 26/105 (24.8%) for 97.4pts (+92.8%)
  • over 6f to 1m2f : 21/95 (22.1%) for 79.3pts (+83.4%)
  • 3 yr olds are 19/79 (24.1%) for 82.3pts (+104.2%)
  • females are 10/40 (25%) for 48pts (+120%)
  • those on hcp debut are 10/32 (31.25%) for 50.5pts (+157.8%)
  • and LTO winners are 6/14 (42.9%) for 14.2pts (+101.5%)

That handicap debut stat above is unsurprising to be honest, as his 3 yr old handicap debutants priced shorter than 5/1 are 17 from 50 (34% SR) for 20.1pts (+40.2% ROI) profit since the start of 2014...

...which give us...a 1pt win bet on Passcode9/2 BOG which was widely available at 8.05pm on Thursday, but to see what your preferred bookie is offering, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 2.10 Newmarket

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats are to Betfair SP, as (i) I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you and (ii) although inferior to the BOG odds we secure, BFSP is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns quoted.

Some thoughts for Chester’s May meeting

Chester's May meeting is an early season highlight, offering socialites, more serious racegoers and the occasional Derby aspirant the chance to peacock around the Roodee. The famous bullring circuit, just nine furlongs in circumference, is fiendishly tight and there is a commensurate bias to those who are agile - and fast - enough to slide around the inside banister.

geegeez.co.uk has more information on Chester racecourse here. But what can we say specifically about the May meeting at Chester?

Chester May Meeting: Trainers

Using geegeez.co.uk's new Query Tool (QT) enables us to look at recent trainer form for a specific event like this. To do so, select the month of May, and Chester in the course area:

Specifying Chester's May meeting in geegeez's Query Tool

Specifying Chester's May meeting in geegeez's Query Tool

 

By placing a check in the circle to the left of the 'TRAINER' parameter and clicking 'Generate Report' again, we can see trainer performance for the Chester May meeting. I've sorted by number of wins in the image below.

Outstanding training performances by Aidan O'Brien and John Gosden at Chester in recent years

Outstanding training performances by Aidan O'Brien and John Gosden at Chester in recent years

 

The performance of Messrs. O'Brien and Gosden is spectacular, the former recording a 43.5% win strike rate, the latter a 63% in the frame record. And that from approximately five runners each per year.

 

Handicap trainers

But what of the handicaps only? There are some super competitive heats over the three days and, at that slightly lower level, different training names come to the fore. Let's add HANDICAP to our list of filters, and do the same 'Group by Trainer' report:

Andrew Balding and Ed Dunlop have excellent records, and Sir Michael Stoute has been very unlucky in Chester May handicaps

Andrew Balding and Ed Dunlop have excellent records, and Sir Michael Stoute has been very unlucky in Chester May handicaps

 

It is easy to see that Ed Dunlop and, from a larger sample, Andrew Balding have fared really well in Chester May meeting handicaps. But it is also worth noting Sir Michael Stoute: his two from fifteen record is unremarkable, until we note that more than half of them have hit the board. It would be no surprise to see Sir Michael's fortunes change this week.

What about the top races?

Selecting Class 1 (i.e. Listed or Group) races only confirms the stranglehold that Team Ballydoyle has on the big races at Chester's May meeting.

Aidan O'Brien has a mighty record in Class 1 events at Chester's May meeting

Aidan O'Brien has a mighty record in Class 1 events at Chester's May meeting

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Aidan O'Brien has won 16 of the 40 Pattern races run at Chester in May since 2009. That's 40% of them, from just 34 runners. His performance is incredible and looks set to continue this week with a typically strong hand of three-year-olds and older horses.

 

Chester May Meeting: Draw

As alluded to in my introduction, the draw at Chester has a huge bearing on how races are run, especially over sprint distances. Using geegeez.co.uk's Draw Analyser tool, we can see just how relevant a good draw generally is, especially when the going is on the quick side. The forecast is largely dry for the week and the current going description is good, good to firm in places.

Five furlong handicaps

Let's plug that into our Draw Analyser, along with a selection of handicap races only and 10+ runners; and we'll initially look at five to five and a half furlong races.

Low is heavily favoured at the shortest trips; and high is heavily UNfavoured

Low is heavily favoured at the shortest trips; and high is heavily UNfavoured

 

I wanted to include the constituent draw table so that you could see the strong linearity in the place percentages of finishers by stall position. That stall 1 has made the frame in two-thirds of all five and five-and-a-half furlong sprints in big fields on quick ground since 2009 is telling. No wonder so many absentees emerge from the car park post positions.

 

Six and seven furlong handicaps

So far so obvious, perhaps, though it is always interesting to note the concrete evidence data provides to support or resist a general perception. But what of longer sprint trips? What of six- and seven furlong handicaps? A quick change to the distance ranges and we have our answer:

Still an inside draw bias, but it is less pronounced over 6 and 7furlongs at Chester

Still an inside draw bias, but it is less pronounced over 6 and 7furlongs at Chester

 

As you can see, there is still a bias towards those drawn low but it is not nearly as pronounced as over the shortest distances. Indeed, middle drawn horses have fared pretty much as well as those on the inside, but it is still the case that a high draw is a very difficult condition to overcome.

Notice at the bottom the Heat Map. This is a simple chart that attempts to overlay the historical draw positions against a horse's run style. The arrow formation top right in the chart implies a bias towards early speed and an inside to middle draw.

Conversely, note the relatively poor performance of those drawn high, regardless of run style; and it also looks difficult to overcome a low draw if you're a hold up sort racing at six or seven furlongs in a double digit field.

None of the sample sizes used here are particularly big, so keep in mind that the above is indicative rather than assertive. But it confirms what is often said: it is very difficult to overcome a wide draw in a big field on fast ground at Chester.

 

Chester May Meeting: Jockeys

Can a jockey make a difference at Chester? Most riders are, to a large extent, hostages to the fortunes of their trainers and horses; but at the more unconventional courses, can it be an advantage to have an experienced pilot in one's corner?

Although the answer is probably yes, there is a degree of cause and effect in that if a jockey gets a reputation as being skilled over a certain circuit he is more likely to pick up the plum rides. The flip side is that, if a jockey is retained by a particular stable, he will be susceptible to the form of that yard.

Regardless, here is QT on Chester May meeting jockey performance, in handicaps only.

The top handicap jockeys at Chester's May meeting since 2009

The top handicap jockeys at Chester's May meeting since 2009

 

Some interesting gen comes to light here. First, that example of positive discrimination: Francis Norton is widely held as the 'go to guy' for Chester, and he certainly does ride the track very well as can be seen from his seven handicap winners at this meeting since 2009. But they've come from 64 rides, an 11% clip, and just 0.85 on the A/E scale.

Compare that with Jamie Spencer, supposedly a hold up rider on a speed-favouring track. His nine winners have come from just 48 rides at an A/E of 1.54. Not only that but he can back up a 19% win rate with a 44% place rate. Jamie Spencer, in fact, is one of the best judges of pace in the weighing room, from the back or the front of the field. He gets it wrong sometimes - that's an occupational hazard - but I'd never be put off a bet at any track with Spencer in the plate (and yes, I have changed my position on this in recent years!)

Lower down, Steve Donohoe is an interesting name. His three handicap winners from 20 rides is fine - good even - but nine podium finishes is a very solid effort. He could be worth keeping onside.

 

Chester May meeting: Summary

We're all set for three excellent days of racing on the Roodee. With a little luck we'll come out in front by noting the above. In some ways, there is nothing new in trumpeting the form of Aidan O'Brien in Class 1 races at the meeting, nor in flagging that inside draws have the best of it in bigger field sprints on fast ground.

But such awareness can become the cornerstone of a betting strategy for the week. If playing placepots or intra-race bets like exactas and trifectas, knowing that Jamie Spencer is a high strike rate handicap jockey, or that Andrew Balding and Ed Dunlop should always be in mind in Chester handicaps, or even that Aidan's horse probably will win the Derby trial, will help frame decisions about when to go narrow and when to go deep.

Good luck with your Chester May meeting wagers - it should be a terrific three days!

Matt

p.s. if you'd like more race-by-race statistical lowdown, check out these Chester TV Trends: Wednesday

 

Stat of the Day, 8th March 2017

Tuesday's Result :

2.00 Southwell : Crosse Fire @ 11/4 BOG 3rd at 9/4 Prominent, ridden over 1f out, every chance inside final furlong, stayed on, beaten by just over half a length.

Wednesday's pick goes in the...

4.30 Lingfield...

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection in the evening before the following day's race and I then add a detailed write-up later on that night/next morning.

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Make Music13/2 BOG

Why?

Well, on another day that's hardly brimming with decent statistical options, I'm going to keep it fairly simple with a 4yr old who has 3 wins and a place from just 5 visits to Lingfield (2 wins from 3 on the A/W) and has a 2 from 6 record under today's jockey David Probert.

She's trained by Andrew Balding whose runners have won 48 of their 280 A/W races here at Lingfield since the start of 2013 and that 17.1% strike rate is good for level stakes profits of 76.1pts at an ROI of 27.2%. These are decent enough figures to base a bet on, especially when I feel the horse is overpriced at as high as 7/1 (she was actually 12's at one point!).

More confidence is gained from breaking the trainer's record down into components of today's race, because those 280 Andrew Balding Lingfield runners have achieved the following under today's conditions...

  • over 6f to 1m : 27/170 (15.9%) for 115.6pts (+68%)
  • running 16-30 days after last run : 18/97 (18.6%) for 123pts (+126.8%)
  • ridden by David Probert : 19/96 (19.8%) for 73.3pts (+76.4%)
  • 4 yr olds are 14/50 (28%) for 35.5pts (+71%)
  • and at Class 4 : 8/26 (30.8%) for 28.8pts (+110.6%)

...providing...a 1pt win bet on Make Music 13/2 BOG which was available with Hills, Betbright, BetVictor and/or Coral at 6.35pm on Tuesday, but if you can, DO take the 7/1 BOG-plus on offer from Betway. To see what your preferred bookie is offering, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 4.30 Lingfield

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all returns quoted are to Betfair SP, as (i) I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you and (ii) although inferior to the BOG odds we secure, BFSP is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns quoted.

Stat of the Day, 4th February 2017

Friday's Result :

3.20 Catterick : Actinpieces @ 4/1 BOG WON at 5/1 Held up in touch in last pair, steady headway tracking leaders 4 out, 3rd next, ridden and went 2nd last, stayed on to lead final 110 yards to win by 3.25 lengths.

Saturday's pick goes in the...

2.30 Lingfield :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection in the evening before the following day's race and I then add a detailed write-up later on that night/next morning.

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Verne Castle @ 9/2 BOG

Why?

This 4yr old gelding has won three of his last four, over over this 5f trip on the A/W and was 5th last time out 30 days ago, when probably needing the run after 15 weeks off the track.

To date, he's 3/5 on standard, 3/5 @ 5f, 3/5 going left handed, 3/4 in a hood and 3/3 within 30 days of his last run, so he's certainly got optimum conditions here.

The Andrew Balding / David Probert / Lingfield AW handicap angle is a good one, as since 2009 with runners priced at 14/1 or shorter, they are 12/60 (20% SR) for 14.2pts (+23.6% ROI) profit, including...

  • 3-5 yr olds : 12/53 (22.6%) for 21.2pts (+40%)
  • 6-30 days since last run : 8/39 (20.5%) for 12.2pts (+31.3%)
  • and at Class 4 : 4/13 (30.8%) for 22.9pts (+175.8%)

In addition to the above, there's another angle suggesting a good run today, as since 2008, Andrew Balding / Class 4&5 handicappers / only 1 previous run in the past 90 days = 52/290 (17.9% SR) for 118.7pts (+40.9% ROI), with the following of interest/relevance...

  • 6-30 dslr : 42/206 (20.4%) for 140.7pts (+68.3%)
  • on the A/W : 21/109 (19.3%) for 31.5pts (+28.9%)
  • 4 yr olds are 16/70 (22.9%) for 46.1pts (+65.8%)
  • at Lingfield : 10/39 (25.6%) for 24.1pts (+61.9%)
  • and over the minimum 5f trip : 3/10 (30%) for 2.23pts (+22.3%)

...so for Saturday...a 1pt win bet on Verne Castle @ 9/2 BOG which was pretty widely available at 7.00pm on Friday To see what your preferred bookie is offering, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 2.30 Lingfield

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

If ‘Sprint King’ Candy Can’t – Maybe Kachy Can Can

He came off second best at York, thanks to a stunning performance from the magnificent mare Mecca’s Angel. Yet there’s no denying that the sprint King of 2016 has to be Oxfordshire trainer Henry Candy.

Having one ace in the pack has to be thrilling for the ‘glass half empty’ trainer. But to be blessed with two top level sprinters must leave someone as circumspect as Candy brimming with confidence. If he is, he certainly keeps it well hidden when interviewed, and though he will no longer be double-handed for the Haydock Sprint Cup, he remains in pole position thanks to arguably the best six-furlong runner in Europe.

Limato is at his best on a fast surface, possessing a stunning change of gear when asked. Yet should the ground remain on the sound side, and Haydock avoid the worst of the showery forecast, then Candy’s ace will surely take all the beating on Saturday.

Candy has twice captured this event in the past six years, and is having another cracking campaign with his sprinters. He lifted the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot with Twilight Son, and then saw Limato trounce a high-class field in the Darley July Cup. The same horse came close to winning the Nunthorpe, only losing out to the aforementioned magnificent mare.

So can the ‘Candy Man’ grab the spoils once again, further enhancing his dominance over the division?
As ever, much will depend on the weather. Forecasts vary, with Haydock’s three-day meeting opening yesterday on good ground. Times appeared to bear out the going description. If the North-West avoid a deluge, then it looks certain that the July Cup winner will take his spot on the start line.

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As with all these showpiece sprints, the roll of honour is stacked with the great and even greater. If I had a pound for every time I’ve said Dayjur this year. Green Desert, Danehill and Invincible Spirit, always have their names on the list. In recent times, Dream Ahead and Gordon Lord Byron struck Gold. It’s fair to say that Limato would not be out of place among such an illustrious group.

However, he’s no ‘shoe-in’, especially if rain arrives and tips the balance toward the soft side of good. So just who can lower Candy’s colours?

The bookies would have us believe that a pair of three-year-old fillies are Limato’s toughest opponents. Quiet Reflection certainly has proven high-class form, often a prerequisite if a horse is to capture this particular sprint. Karl Burke’s Commonwealth Cup winner, came home third behind Candy’s star at Newmarket last time, when seemingly unable to cope with the acceleration at the winner’s disposal. Her Royal Ascot win came on softer ground, and there’s every chance she’ll be closer to Limato should conditions ease. As good as she is, and she’s very good, I just can’t see her beating Candy’s charge, and her odds of 5/1, though fair enough, make her impossible to back each-way.

Andrew Balding’s Dancing Star on the other hand, is totally unproven at this level. She’s followed a similar course through the handicaps as last year’s third Magical Memory, who also won the Stewards’ Cup en route to this. She was beaten by Mr Lupton in June, and that form looks light of what is required to win this. She was impressive when winning at Goodwood, but this is a huge step up the ladder, and her odds of 8/1 are pretty stingy. She’s undoubtedly a progressive and classy sort, but I’d be surprised if she wins. Actually I’d be stunned.

Paul Kealy ‘tips-up’ Suedois in this week’s Weekender. It looks a solid shout, for a horse that has proven himself at the highest level. He was second to Limato at Newmarket, and faded late on to fourth in the Maurice de Gheest at Deauville. This trip and track should prove perfect, and he has to be in with a great chance. With 14s still available, he is a serious each-way proposition. David O’Meara took this race in 2014 with G Force.

The aforementioned Magical Memory is another that ought to be thereabouts at the business end. He’s a consistent performer, who possibly lacks that touch of class required to win. I’d expect him to be ‘toughing it out’ late on, and possibly making the frame. Odds of 10/1 are probably fair, though I fancy he’ll find a few of these just a little too quick for him.

As a huge ‘Wizard of Oz’ fan, my heart is understandably drawn to The Tin Man. He was very impressive last time at Newbury, having flopped in top company at Royal Ascot. This track will likely suit him more than Ascot, but he has to prove he has ‘the heart’ for a battle at the highest level. He’ll be delivered as late as possible, but he’s not for me. He could prove me wrong, and I wouldn’t be gutted if he did.

Of the horses at bigger odds I really fancy Kachy. He’d been busy prior to a slightly disappointing run in the King George Stakes at Goodwood, and was duly given August off. His trainer Tom Dascombe, has campaigned him over five furlongs for much of the season, though he pushed Quiet Reflection all the way in the Commonwealth Cup at Ascot over six, despite hanging badly. He got the trip that day, on softish ground. Haydock should not be a problem. He’s a big framed colt, and I’m hopeful that he’ll strip fresher and stronger after his mini-break. His odds of 25/1 are simply too tempting.

It’s difficult to look past Limato should the ground stay sound. But I’ll have a little each-way on Kachy in the hope that he can shake-up the favourite.