Posts

Blue is the colour – It’s Appleby and Buick Again

Appleby and Buick were at it again as D’bai landed the Group Three John Of Gaunt Stakes at Haydock on Saturday.

Dutch Connection appeared to be Godolphin’s main hope of success and was sent of the 6/4 favourite. But it was the ‘boys in blue’ number two that proved superior on the day. Travelling powerfully through the race, the progressive four-year-old quickened impressively at the furlong pole before fending off the rallying Larchmont Lad, to win by a head. Tabarrak had also launched a promising challenge but faltered late on to finish a neck further back in third.

Buick, fresh from his Epsom Derby victory on Masar, said of this latest success: “He had a good winter in Dubai and won the seven-furlong handicap very well. Charlie (Appleby) used the Windsor race as a prep for this and it's worked well. He travelled really nice through and I would have liked to have had another horse to follow and to wait a little bit longer to be honest. But he stuck on well in fairness to him. He's a very talented horse.”

Appleby has his horses in tip-top shape and said: “D’bai travelled very well today and really put his head down when he had to. He holds an entry in the Group One Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot and we will keep the race on our radar, but he could also head for the Group Two Lennox Stakes at Goodwood. D’bai is a Group Three winner over seven furlongs now, so it seems logical to keep him over the same distance, but the way he travels in his races suggests that a fast run six furlongs could be right up his street. We will see how he comes out of the race and talk things over.”

Dutch Connection proved disappointing, failing to quicken as the front three kicked for home. He kept on at the one pace back in fourth, and Charlie Hills must be scratching his head. The trainer would have hoped for much more following such a promising return in the Lockinge. Larchmont Lad had been ‘put-up’ as a decent each-way punt by yours truly in my Friday piece. He ran a cracker in first time cheekpieces and looks capable of winning at this grade.

Your first 30 days for just £1

Whilst Godolphin continue to make the headlines in the UK, over in America the Bob Baffert show is once again in full swing. Silver Charm, Real Quiet, Arrogate and of course the mighty American Pharoah, are just a handful of Baffert’s equine stars to have dominated the American racing scene. Having landed the Triple Crown in 2015 (Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes), American Pharoah became the first racehorse to win the Grand Slam, completing a stunning haul of victories when landing the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Justify is his latest superstar, and on Saturday night the giant three-year-old chestnut colt completed the Triple Crown. “It was meant to be,” said Baffert. “I was just watching the clock. It was going to be my friend or the enemy. I was like, 'Oh Mike, Oh Mike, don't empty that tank.”

Of his place among Baffert’s best, the trainer added: “I wanted to see that horse's name up there (with the other greats) because we know he was brilliant from day one. And I am so happy for Mike Smith. There is no one more deserving than him.”

Smith, now 52, said of the winner: “This horse ran a tremendous race. He’s so gifted. He’s sent from heaven. He’s just amazing. I can’t describe the emotions going through my body right now.”

Unraced as a two-year-old, Justify has now won six on the spin in just 111 days. The jockey added: “To win six races in such a short amount of time like he’s just done is just an unbelievable feat on his part. Really, Bob has just done a tremendous job to get this horse to do what we just got done.”

He can now expect a well-earned rest, prior to a return in the autumn and a date with destiny at this year’s Breeders’ Cup.

Stat of the Day, 21st May 2018

Saturday's Runner was...

8.05 Uttoxeter : Northandsouth @ 11/4 BOG 7th at 11/4 (Held up in rear, modest effort 3 out, no impression, well beaten 2 out)

We start the new week via Monday's...

3.05 Redcar :

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?

Liamba @ 3/1 BOG

A 9-runner, Class 6, 5f Handicap (3yo) on Good to Firm ground worth £3493 to the winner... 

Your first 30 days for just £1

Why?

An unexposed three year old filly on handicap debut after steady progression in three outings so far, yet is dropped in class today.

Her trainer David O'Meara is no stranger to the winners' enclosure here at Redcar either, clocking up 51 winners from 308 runners over the last six seasons with that 16.6% strike rate worth 55.9pts (+18.2% ROI) to his followers and whilst backing his runners blindly here is profitable, we can do better than 18% by eliminating some losing bets via the following logical filters...

  • 2 to 4 yr olds are 42/232 (19.1%) for 80.4pts (+34.7%)
  • those rated (OR) 50 to 90 are 44/231 (19.1%) for 76.2pts (+33%)
  • those priced at 9/4 to 12/1 are 44/216 (20.4%) for 100.6pts (+46.6%)
  • handicappers are 38/207 (18.4%) for 60.4pts (+29.2%)
  • those ridden by Danny Tudhope are 28/114 (24.6%) for 54.7pts (+81.2%)
  • those last seen 4 to 15 days ago are 21/103 (20.4%) for 61.75pts (+60%)
  • Class 6 runners are 20/90 (22.2%) for 37.6 pts (+41.8%)
  • females are 13/79 (16.5%) for 66.3pts (+84%)
  • in May : 14/74 (18.9%) for 15.8pts (+21.4%)
  • last season : 12/60 (20%) for 34pts (+56.7%)
  • in 3yo races : 10/54 (18.5%) for 13.7pts (+25.3%)
  • and over this 5f course and distance : 8/44 (18.2%) for 18.6pts (+42.3%)

from which...2-4 yr old handicappers rated 50 to 90 and priced at 9/4 to 12/1 are 27/108 (25% SR) for 103.1pts (+95.5% ROI) with a 7/21 (33.3%) for 29.8pts (+141.8%) record last year.

And despite David not having any of 11 handicap debutants win so far this Flat season, he's certainly due one and it wouldn't be unusual for that to happen as over the last five Flat seasons, his runners are 31/208 (14.9% SR) for 90.8pts (+43.7% ROI) on handicap debut, including of relevance today...

  • those ridden by Danny Tudhope : 19/90 (21.1%) for 79.3pts (+88.1%)
  • at Class 6 : 11/63 (17.5%) for 36.5pts (+57.9%)
  • in May : 11/45 (24.4%) for 74.4pts (+165.3%)
  • and here at Redcar : 3/15 (20%) for 1.65pts (+11%)

...giving us...a 1pt win bet on Liamba @ 3/1 BOG which was available from BetVictor, Paddy Power & Bet365 and Unibet at 6.45pm on Sunday. To see what your preferred bookie is offering, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 3.05 Redcar

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, 21st May 2018

Saturday's Runner was...

8.05 Uttoxeter : Northandsouth @ 11/4 BOG 7th at 11/4 (Held up in rear, modest effort 3 out, no impression, well beaten 2 out)

We start the new week via Monday's...

3.05 Redcar :

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?

Liamba @ 3/1 BOG

A 9-runner, Class 6, 5f Handicap (3yo) on Good to Firm ground worth £3493 to the winner... 

Why?

An unexposed three year old filly on handicap debut after steady progression in three outings so far, yet is dropped in class today.

Her trainer David O'Meara is no stranger to the winners' enclosure here at Redcar either, clocking up 51 winners from 308 runners over the last six seasons with that 16.6% strike rate worth 55.9pts (+18.2% ROI) to his followers and whilst backing his runners blindly here is profitable, we can do better than 18% by eliminating some losing bets via the following logical filters...

  • 2 to 4 yr olds are 42/232 (19.1%) for 80.4pts (+34.7%)
  • those rated (OR) 50 to 90 are 44/231 (19.1%) for 76.2pts (+33%)
  • those priced at 9/4 to 12/1 are 44/216 (20.4%) for 100.6pts (+46.6%)
  • handicappers are 38/207 (18.4%) for 60.4pts (+29.2%)
  • those ridden by Danny Tudhope are 28/114 (24.6%) for 54.7pts (+81.2%)
  • those last seen 4 to 15 days ago are 21/103 (20.4%) for 61.75pts (+60%)
  • Class 6 runners are 20/90 (22.2%) for 37.6 pts (+41.8%)
  • females are 13/79 (16.5%) for 66.3pts (+84%)
  • in May : 14/74 (18.9%) for 15.8pts (+21.4%)
  • last season : 12/60 (20%) for 34pts (+56.7%)
  • in 3yo races : 10/54 (18.5%) for 13.7pts (+25.3%)
  • and over this 5f course and distance : 8/44 (18.2%) for 18.6pts (+42.3%)

from which...2-4 yr old handicappers rated 50 to 90 and priced at 9/4 to 12/1 are 27/108 (25% SR) for 103.1pts (+95.5% ROI) with a 7/21 (33.3%) for 29.8pts (+141.8%) record last year.

And despite David not having any of 11 handicap debutants win so far this Flat season, he's certainly due one and it wouldn't be unusual for that to happen as over the last five Flat seasons, his runners are 31/208 (14.9% SR) for 90.8pts (+43.7% ROI) on handicap debut, including of relevance today...

  • those ridden by Danny Tudhope : 19/90 (21.1%) for 79.3pts (+88.1%)
  • at Class 6 : 11/63 (17.5%) for 36.5pts (+57.9%)
  • in May : 11/45 (24.4%) for 74.4pts (+165.3%)
  • and here at Redcar : 3/15 (20%) for 1.65pts (+11%)

...giving us...a 1pt win bet on Liamba @ 3/1 BOG which was available from BetVictor, Paddy Power & Bet365 and Unibet at 6.45pm on Sunday. To see what your preferred bookie is offering, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 3.05 Redcar

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, 12th May 2018

Friday's Runner was...

2.40 Market Rasen : The Blue Bomber @ 9/2 BOG 4th at 5/2 (Tracked leaders, went 2nd after 3 out, ridden after last, kept on towards finish, beaten by little more than a length)

We end a disappointing week with Saturday's...

6.45 Thirsk :

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?

Stonific @ 6/1 BOG

A 14-runner, Class 6,  1m4f  Flat Handicap (4yo+) on good to firm ground worth £6728 to the winner... 

Why?

This is a very lightly raced, but in-form 5 yr old gelding. Just 5 starts to date and only two on turf so far. He was only beaten by a length as a runner-up on his turf debut at Doncaster when staying on late over 1m2f before winning last time out a fortnight ago.

That was at Haydock in a Class 4 handicap where he stayed on well again to get up by a neck, once again looking like a longer trip would suit him better. He gets that (+1.5f) today and with the yard's first choice jockey booked, more is expected today.

That jockey is Danny Tudhope and he rides this Thirsk track really well, winning 42 of 217 (19.4% SR) races here since 2011, generating profits of 104.4pts (+48.1% ROI) along the way for those who like to follow certain jockeys at certain tracks.

Trainer David O'Meara's horses are in very good nick right now too, as exemplified by 11 winners from 57 (19.3% SR) for 31pts (+54.4% ROI) over the last two weeks with those running on turf winning 11 of 51 (21.6%) for 37pts (+72.5%). Of these 51 Flat (turf) runners...

  • handicappers are 9/39 (23.1%) for 38.5pts (+98.8%)
  • those ridden by Danny Tudhope are 9/25 (36%) for 43.3pts (+173.2%)
  • handicappers ridden by Danny Tudhope are 7/18 (38.9%) for 39.8pts (+221.2%)
  • here at Thirsk : 2/8 (25%) for 19.4pts (+242.5%)
  • and handicappers ridden by Danny Tudhope here at Thirsk : 1/3 (33.3%) for 16.05pts (+535%)

Those recent trainer/jockey figures are no purple patch nor a surprise, as since the start of the 2012 season, Messrs O'Meara & Tudhope have teamed up 1314 times in Flat (turf) handicaps, winning 217 (16.5% SR) of them for profits of 222.7pts at an decent ROI of 16.9%, from which...

  • here at Thirsk : 17/80 (21.25%) for 33.5pts (+41.8%)
  • and this season alone = 9/27 (33.3%) for 46.7pts (+172.9%) already!

...giving us...a 1pt win bet on Stonific @ 6/1 BOG which was available from Betfair & Paddy Power at 8.25pm on Friday (although I've just taken 7/1 with Sky). To see what your preferred bookie is offering, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 6.45 Thirsk

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!

O’Meara’s Firmament can prove Victoria Cup trend buster

We look forward to another ultra-competitive handicap this weekend, as Ascot plays host to the Victoria Cup.

A maximum field of 29 are expected to go to post for this valuable cavalry charge. The race has favoured four-year-olds in recent times, with six victories in the last 10. Five-year-olds also have a decent record, but it’s rare that any above this age strike gold. Weight carrying is often an issue in such handicaps, and this race is no different. Only two from the last 10 renewals has carried more than nine stone to victory. Of the first six home in last year’s race, all bar Zhui Feng carried less (he was right on the nine-stone mark).

Keyser Soze looks likely to start favourite. Trained in Newmarket by Richard Spencer, this four-year-old ran a cracker on his seasonal return at Newbury, when third in a similarly competitive 22-runner handicap. Slow out the gate that day, he found himself stuck at the back of the field for much of the race. He gradually carved his way through the pack and looked sure to win when bursting to the front less than a furlong from home. Though chinned late on, it’s hard to believe that he would not have won had he not had such a tardy start. It’s a concern that his only visit to Ascot was disappointing, when trailing home in last year’s Britannia Stakes. He also sits on that nine-stone threshold. Nevertheless, that Newbury run was eye-catching, and this fella looks progressive.

The six-year-old, Louie De Palma, is also towards the top of the market, despite having not been sighted on racecourse for almost four years. Off since a decent juvenile campaign, it would be an astounding piece of training should Clive Cox deliver him victorious in such a competitive event. Based on that two-year-old form, his handicap mark may well be generous, but backing this fella requires a monumental leap of faith from the punter.

Your first 30 days for just £1

The David Barron-trained Kynren has the right sort of profile for this. A progressive looking four-year-old, his seasonal return at Doncaster in the Spring Mile Handicap was full of promise. Third that day, despite a poor draw, he’d battled on bravely having been isolated on the stands-rail for the first half of the race. He’s set to carry 8-11, and though his pedigree suggests he may favour softer ground, he has proved his ability to handle a quicker surface. He could go close.

Raising Sand is older than ideal at six, but his record at Ascot suggests another bold bid is likely. He’s twice a winner at the track and was placed third and fourth in his other pair of visits. He clearly performs well in these big-field events and his handicap mark (just 2lbs higher than last time) suggests he’ll go close again. He lacks a prep-run, which has proved a slight negative for this race. Nevertheless, he looks a serious contender.

Firmament would be another trend buster, but the David O’Meara-trained six-year-old is starting to look very well handicapped, and never disappoints at Ascot. He ran well off a mark of 109 throughout last year and is now down to 102. I can’t see this fella finishing out of the frame, yet he’s currently a 28/1 shot. He’s vulnerable to a young progressive sort, further down the handicap, but I’m convinced he’ll be in the shake-up.

Keyser Soze and Kynren fit the profile and look sure to go close. But I’ll be backing a pair each-way in the hope that they can become trend busters. The well-handicapped Firmament is the main bet. He loves the track, and in O’Meara and Tudhope, we have a potent combination for this type of race. I’ll also throw a few quid at Raising Sand, who also loves Ascot and remains on a fair handicap mark. Both are six-year-olds, hence vulnerable to a younger improver, but I’m convinced both will be in the mix.

Best of luck to those having a punt.

Addeybb proves a Donny Dazzler in Lincoln Romp

Addeybb proved a cut above the rest when romping to victory in the Lincoln at Doncaster.

The William Haggas-trained four-year-old cruised through the race at the head of affairs and could be named the winner from some way out. Just beyond the furlong pole James Doyle made his move and the race was quickly put to bed. Top-weight, Lord Glitters, battled on bravely to finish second, closely followed by Mitchum Swagger and old favourite Gabrial.

This was a record-equalling fourth Lincoln for Haggas, and he was clearly pleased with the performance: “The right horses were up in the front. The top-weight (Lord Glitters) is a good horse and Mitchum Swagger is a good horse, so I think the form will prove to be strong. In this ground anything can happen, but he's Pivotal and we minded him as a young horse. He won the Silver Cambridgeshire well and I hope he's going to have a good year.

“We thought we'd go for the Sandown Mile next if something like this happened, so I see no reason to change it. It's a month away and it's good timing. I think the track will suit him, it should be slow ground and it's time he got up in grade. He's done a bit at home, but he's lazy and not very good on the all-weather, so I think James got a bit of a shock today. We're trying to build a relationship with James, but he's still contracted to Godolphin. They didn't use him much last year, but they probably will this year.”

Your first 30 days for just £1

Doyle was similarly impressed, saying: “The ground was a bit of an unknown, but he had the right pedigree to do his stuff today. He's such an unassuming horse. He goes through the motions; he's not a flashy work horse at home. I wouldn't like to say how far he could go, but he's certainly a horse on the up.”

The winner was in receipt of 8lbs from the runner-up, nevertheless, the style of success suggests he could make an impact in Group races. His pedigree, by Pivotal out of a Kingmambo mare, also suggests he’ll cope with a step-up in trip. There’s sure to be further improvement physically from the youngster and the way he travelled through testing ground makes ventures to France an interesting proposition.

Much the same can be said of Lord Glitters, a five-year-old that clearly excels in heavy ground. O’Meara enjoys his jaunts abroad and it would come as no surprise to see the grey appear on the other side of the Channel, though he appears best off a strong pace, which isn’t always forthcoming in France.

This was of course merely the opening salvo of the turf flat season, and as such, it would be unwise to get too carried away with the performance of Addeybb. Penitent was probably the classiest of the recent Lincoln winners. Having won the race in 2010, it took him another two years to land a Group race. He was also trained by William Haggas, prior to switching to David O’Meara’s yard at the beginning of the 2012 campaign.

The Lincoln – O’Meara to show that all that Glitters is Gold

I’d be lying if I said the Cheltenham Festival went well from a punting perspective. I spent the week siding with favourites that lost and opposing those that romped home. But like a phoenix rising from a Prestbury Park Pyre, I intend to get back on track, with the aid of a change of code.

The curtain lifts on a new turf flat season, with the Lincoln Handicap Saturday’s highlight at Doncaster. Run over a straight mile, the race has a habit of producing upsets. Four of the last six renewals have gone to those at odds of 20/1 or greater. There’s only been two successful favourites in the last dozen years. Richard Fahey has a strong recent record with a couple of wins in the last six. He often arrives mob-handed with his most prominent pair last year finishing fourth and fifth.

The Malton handler sends three into battle this time round, with last year’s fourth Gabrial having another crack. A former winner of the race, he’s now a nine-year-old and arrives on a 4lb lower mark than 12 months ago. He was a cracking fifth in the valuable Balmoral Handicap on Champions Day back in October. That performance came on this type of ground and a repeat would see him terrific value at 33/1. It’s four, five and six-year-olds that tend to win the Lincoln, though this fella looks sure to go close again.

Stamp Hill appears to be Fahey’s other major hope. The five-year-old needs to improve off a career high mark but will love the ground, and his trainer sounded more than hopeful in his Sporting Life column yesterday. A course winner, he needs to see out the trip and is another 33/1 shot with a fair chance.

Michael Bell’s Fire Brigade has been all the rage at the head of the market. He put in a string of solid performances as a three-year-old when only out of the frame twice in 10 starts. Up just 4lbs from last season’s concluding mark, you’d be hopeful that he’s strengthened physically since October and with ground in his favour he looks a major player.

Your first 30 days for just £1

On last year’s form he’s closely matched with the William Haggas-trained Addeybb. This four-year-old by Pivotal will also appreciate ground conditions and finished just ahead of Fire Brigade when winning over a furlong further at Newmarket back in September. The pair are closely matched in the betting and look sure to finish close on the track. It’s pretty much guesswork as to who will have improved the most for a winter’s break. They’re hard to split on known form.

Lord Glitters was an emphatic winner of the Balmoral on this type of ground and followed that performance with a close second in a listed event at Newmarket, when probably not favoured by a small field. Winning top-weights are rare, with Babodana in 2004 the last. Yet David O’Meara’s five-year-old still looks unexposed to me and the ground looks key to his chances. I’d be surprised if he didn’t go very close.

Dark Red is capable of a big run having gone close in the Balmoral behind Lord Glitters. The ground isn’t an issue and he’s better off at the weights with his Ascot nemesis. I’d be surprised if he won but he’s another 33/1 shot with a fair chance at placing.

The James Tate-trained Via Via also looks over-priced on his performance behind Lord Glitters at Newmarket. This six-year-old, by Lope De Vega, is lightly raced and should enjoy both track and ground. His handicap mark of 101 is 6lb lower than Lord Glitters and I fancy he’ll go very close.

Taking on favourites has not gone well for me in recent weeks but I’ll be doing so again tomorrow. Lord Glitters will be tucked away in this big field and delivered as late as possible. I take him to defy top-weight and add to that impressive Balmoral success. I fancy Via Via is far to big at 33s and he’ll be my each-way punt.

Best of luck to all those having a crack at this prestigious and valuable handicap.

Stat of the Day, 8th March 2018

Wednesday's Result :

3.40 Fontwell : Cabernet D'Alene @ 3/1 BOG PU at 4/1 Never travelled and always towards rear, tailed off 3 out, pulled up before last.

Next up is Thursday's...

6.45 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?

Montague @ 4/1 BOG

A Class 5, 6f handicap (3yo) on tapeta worth £3,752 to the winner...

Why?

This 3 yr old colt has been running well of late, making the frame in each of his last three outings. he won a claimer at Wolverhampton at the end of January in what turned out to be his last run for Jamie Osborne, before finishing as a runner-up in each of his two starts for new handler David O'Meara since.

David's yard has been unusually on the cold list this winter, but with 5 of his 9 runners over the last two weeks making the frame, it does look like a corner is due to be turned and a winner should be on the horizon, hopefully Montague!

It should be noted that our boy is now dropping down a grade after those two Class 4 runner-up finishes and he might well be considered a tad unlucky to have bumped into a fast improving sort completing a 4-timer last out five days ago.

There's nothing of that ilk here today and added confidence comes from the fact that since the start of 2014, David O'Meara's runners turned back out just 4 to 7 days after top 4 finish are 39/186 (21% SR) for 33.74pts (+18.1% ROI) and with today's contest in mind, those include...

  • handicappers at 34/153 (22.2%) for 33.12pts (+21.7%)
  • over trips of 5f to 9f : 33/153 (21.6%) for 37.23pts (+24.3%)
  • at odds of 9/4 to 6/1 : 26/85 (30.6%) for 55pts (+64.7%)
  • those beaten by 1 to 5 lengths LTO are 19/79 (24.1%) for 38.6pts (+48.9%)

AND...horses ticking all four of the above boxes are 11 from 28 (39.3% SR) for 30.6pts (+109.1% ROI) profit...

...giving us...a 1pt win bet on Montague @ 4/1 BOG which was widely available at 5.10pm on Wednesday. To see what your preferred bookie is offering, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 6.45 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!

Stat of the Day, 21st November 2017

Monday's Result :

2.40 Plumpton : Chef D'Equipe @ 9/4 BOG 6th at 15/8 Keen, held up in last pair, pushed along after 3 out, plugged on, never on terms. Held up way too far off the pace IMO and was never really put into the race. Seems like trial & error tactics going on with this horse, as opposed to any real plan.

Next up is Tuesday's...

1.40 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?

Short Work @ 7/2 BOG

A Class 4, 3yo+, A/W handicap sprint over 6f on Polytrack worth £4,690 to the winner.

A fairly brief back to basics style approach today with a 4 yr old gelding who already has 5 wins and a place from 6 starts over today's 6 furlong trip, whilst in the 5 races with jockey Danny Tudhope on his back, he has 4 wins and a place, so the task ahead should be right up his street.

He's trained by David O'Meara, whose best figures are admittedly achieved in the North and in Scotland, but there is a niche where he excels here too. And that's with runners priced at 4/1 and shorter on the A/W here. We are only looking at 17 runners in recent times, but with 9 winners (52.9% SR) producing 16.6pts (+97.6% ROI) profit, they cannot be ignored. Nor can the fact that of those 17 runners, Danny Tudhope has 4 winners from 6 (66.6%) for 10.47pts (+174.6%).

My final point of reference is possibly normally one of your own starting points, ie the Geegeez racecards. And I'm looking at the pace first and it tells me that horses who lead fare best over this course and distance and our boy is one of three runners with the joint highest pace ranking.

These three "pacesetters" are drawn in 6, 7 and 8, so we're in the pace pocket and the pace/draw heatmap suggests leaders drawn higher get the best results, so from stall 8, we should be well placed.

...all of which points to ... a 1pt win bet on Short Work @ 7/2 BOG which was available from Bet365, Betfair, Paddy Power, Skybet & Sunbets at 5.40pm on Monday. To see what your preferred bookie is offering, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 1.40 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 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!

Cracksman Shines Brightest on a Grey Day

It was a case of ‘like father like son’, as Cracksman provided the show-stopping performance of Champions Day 2017, to capture the Champion Stakes.

So often during his illustrious career we witnessed Frankel powering clear of the opposition, winning his races by a country-mile. And so, what a thrill to see Cracksman mimic his ‘old man’ at Ascot yesterday. It wasn’t always that way for Gosden’s talented colt, but this late season version has packed on the power and is able to maintain a relentless gallop despite testing conditions.

The question is whether he possesses the gears to be as effective on a sounder surface, but there’s no doubting that he is a machine in the mud.

Frankie Dettori had him tucked in behind the leaders in the early stages yesterday, but on turning for home the jockey struck-out for glory. Cracksman immediately put lengths between himself and the field, and with stamina aplenty powered clear in devastating fashion. He hit the line a yawning seven lengths clear of Poet’s Word, with Highland Reel third.

“He’s improved through the year and grown up a lot,” said a thrilled John Gosden. “If he was a middleweight earlier in the season, he is a light heavyweight now. He's really progressed and to do this against older horses, he's a fast-improving horse.”

Dettori was completing a stunning Champions Day double, and said of Cracksman: “I’m thrilled for everyone. It’s Frankel’s first Group One [in Europe], my first Champion Stakes, a lot of firsts and a great performance. The Champion Stakes is a colossal race, my father came close, I came close a couple of times, it’s been bugging me a long time to put it to bed with a great performance.”

He went on: “I didn’t expect Persuasive to win, I didn’t sleep very well because of Cracksman, I really felt the horse was in tip-top shape. When the rain came I was delighted because I knew it would make it a test of stamina, the headwind helped because it makes it even harder to get to the end, it stacked up towards my side, but the horse still had to deliver, and he did. I’m made up.”

When asked of next season’s selection dilemma, Dettori added: “To have Enable and Cracksman in the same year, well done John Gosden, he’s a genius. We’ll tackle the bridge next year. It’s Cracksman’s day today, let him have the glory!”

It proved to be a sensational day for Gosden and Dettori. They caused something of an upset earlier in the day, when Persuasive swooped late to take the QEII. Ribchester had looked the likely winner at the two-furlong pole, when moving stylishly to the front. But he began to flounder in the testing ground and approaching the furlong mark Dettori launched an attack aboard the grey filly. She handled conditions better than the rest for a huge victory, with Ribchester and Churchill chasing her home.

Your first 30 days for just £1

Thrilled, though clearly surprised to have won, Dettori said: “To be honest, looking at the line-up I thought God, she'll have to run well as there were Group One winners all over the place. But the key thing was that she had got the ground.”

Gosden said of the winning filly: “He (Frankie) was saving and saving, trying to keep her together. He went for a run on the inside and got blocked, so had to take her back and swing out. She'd have been an unlucky loser. When she got out she flew down the middle of the track.”

Richard Fahey, trainer of runner-up Ribchester, cursed the ground for the defeat: “It's deja vu, the ground has beaten him again. He's a horse that's won on soft ground, but he's such a good moving horse. William (Buick) felt he came there to win and win well and he just gets blunted in the dead ground. He just doesn't put it to bed and the winner coped with the conditions better. That's twice he's been beaten in desperate conditions.”

A successful Champions Day is the icing on the cake for Gosden, having had a glorious 2017 campaign. The firepower at his disposal can only be surpassed by one other trainer. And many Flat racing fans had arrived at Ascot in the hope of seeing Aidan O’Brien break Bobby Frankel’s Group One winning tally. Team Ballydoyle have yet again set the standard for others to follow, and though Caravaggio and Churchill came mighty close, it was another outstanding filly that gave them the Group One success they so desperately sought.

Hydrangea, like Cracksman, is another talented racehorse from a Pivotal mare, and as such had no problem coping with the testing ground. The issue was whether she would see-out the trip, having never previously attempted the mile and a half. When French filly Bateel loomed large at the furlong pole, Hydrangea’s stamina was put to the test, and she responded admirably to Ryan Moore’s urgings. Pulling out plenty for pressure, she battled on bravely to win by two-lengths.

On drawing level with the record, O'Brien said: “It's incredible for everyone, they all put in so much hard work, day in day out. We're a small link in a big chain and I'm delighted for everyone, it's a magic, special day. She's by Galileo and they will not stop, their will to win is incredible. She pulled out more and it was Ryan's idea to run her as he thought there was a chance she'd get the trip. We weren't sure, but she did.”

Moore echoed the thoughts of his trainer, when saying: “What Aidan O'Brien has done this year is remarkable and it is a massive team effort. Everyone who looks after these horses, they put in so much time. The filly has been on the go all year and has got better and better. I thought she had a good chance. I'm delighted for Aidan.”

O’Brien also landed the opener, when Order Of St George produced a battling performance to take the Long Distance Cup. He needed every yard of the straight to get his nose ahead of Jess Harrington’s Torcedor. John Gosden’s well-fancied three-year-old Stradivarius, produced another performance full of promise in finishing strongly to take third. He remains a young horse with a huge future.

Harry Angel’s Ascot hoodoo continued when he made it 0-4 at the track in the Champions Sprint Stakes. He’d travelled wonderfully well through the race, but possibly struck for home a little early at the two-pole. The writing was on the wall as he entered the final furlong, with Tasleet attacking to his right and Librisa Breeze to his left. As Harry crumbled it was Dean Ivory’s grey Librisa, that found plenty for pressure, pulling a length clear of Tasleet at the post. Caravaggio got going too late, but managed to pip Harry A for third.

Winning jockey Robert Winston told ITV Racing: “It means a hell of a lot. My career was finished, only for this horse, and that's being honest. I was packing up last year, I gave my notice to Dean, but this horse and Mr Bloom have kept me going. Dean is a great man to ride for, he has great staff and brilliant owners, including Mr Bloom.” Of the winner, Winston added: “He'd get a mile-plus, but has so much natural speed and is so genuine. I know I have been criticised a couple of times this year when he should have won, but that's the way you have to ride him.”

For Ivory, a winner on Champions Day was clearly a huge thrill: “I could not believe it. The ground and everything went right for us. He has been off a long time, seven weeks, and he has been so unlucky this year. We have got the luck when it mattered. That was the hardest field in the last 10 years and to come out and do it like that, I'm thrilled. He is a horse that has never had a clean run. This year is his year and I've seen him grow into a proper horse. Robert Winston believes in the horse as much as we do.”

The final race of the day went to yet another grey, when Lord Glitters came with a thrilling late rattle to nab Europe’s most valuable handicap, the Balmoral. Stuck out the back with nowhere to go, Daniel Tudhope switched the David O’Meara trained four-year-old to the wide outside with just a furlong remaining. In the clear, he thundered home, hitting the line a neck ahead of yet another Gosden runner, Gm Hopkins.

It was a suitably thrilling finale to an exhilarating Champions Day.

Daniel Tudhope – Follow the North Star

I spoke last week of the burgeoning reputation of Patrick Joseph McDonald on the northern racing circuit. I also gave a brief mention for Daniel Tudhope, and I thought I’d expand on that a little with today’s piece.

Tudhope grew up in Irvine, Ayrshire, an area famed for its golf courses and views from the coast of the beautiful Isle of Arran. In previous interviews he has spoken of his disappointing academic performance at school, and of a surprising suggestion from a career’s officer that resulted in a move from Scotland to Yorkshire.

Despite there being no family connection with horses, Tudhope headed to the Northern Racing College at Doncaster. He saw it as a great opportunity, with a severe lack of job prospects back at home. Having never sat on a horse, it was quite a culture shock for the young 16-year-old, but he certainly grabbed the chance with both hands.

He became a successful apprentice with Declan Carroll in Yorkshire, though a broken collar-bone cost him the opportunity of becoming Champion Apprentice in 2005.

He had a terrific campaign in 2006 when breaking through the half-century winners mark. But by 2010 the jock had struck on hard times, and without a stable position he could easily have slipped out of the industry. A conversation with Silvestre de Sousa led to him riding-out at David O’Meara’s yard, and the rest as they say is history.

Your first 30 days for just £1

The wonderful Blue Bajan gave both Tudhope and O’Meara their break-through top level victory, when winning the Group Two Henry II Stakes at Sandown. He had previously finished a close second in the Yorkshire Cup on the Knavesmire.

Penitent brought further Group success when arriving at the yard in 2012. Formerly with William Haggas, the switch to Middleham Park Racing took the six-year-olds form to a new level. O’Meara and Tudhope headed south to land the Group Two Bet365 Mile at Sandown, and later that year captured another Group Two, this time at Newmarket, when winning the Nayef Joel Stakes. Penitent then travelled to France and ran a cracker at the highest level, finishing runner-up to Gordon Lord Byron in the Prix de la Foret.

With Haydock’s Sprint Cup just a few days away, it was that race that took the partnership to the next level. O’Meara produced the classy three-year-old G Force to win the Group One in 2014, defeating an older, yet no less talented Gordon Lord Byron in the process. Tudhope timed his challenge to perfection, having held the youngster towards the rear of the field for most of the race.

Just a month later the pair were at it again, the horse on this occasion was Move In Time. Tudhope rode the six-year-old sprinter to a thrilling victory in the Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp, getting his nose in front just yards from the line.

Last year it was Mondialiste that brought International success, with a stunning victory in the Arlington Million. Under a power-packed ride from Tudhope, the six-year-old got the better of Deauville down the home-straight to win by a neck. It was a truly thrilling experience for jockey and trainer, enhancing the reputation of both on the international stage.

On a personal level, Tudhope is having another cracking season in the saddle. He currently lies third in the title race, with an 18% strike-rate and exceptional level-stake profit per rides. He’s the man to follow in the north, whether saddling up with boss O’Meara, or guesting for others, such as Tim Easterby on Monday, when partnering the 10/1 winner Hope Solo at Ripon. Indeed, his record on three-year-olds is eye-popping, with a 31% winning strike-rate from just 125 rides.

Like many jockeys, at 5ft 8ins Tudhope is a slave to scales, and time spent sweating in the sauna has become a daily ritual. But in recent years the effort has paid huge dividends. His partnership with David O’Meara goes from strength to strength. He’s rapidly become one of Yorkshire’s finest in the saddle. And long may it last.

Stat of the Day, 18th July 2017

Monday's Result :

5.00 Ayr : Donnachies Girl @ 7/2 BOG 2nd at 10/3 Led narrowly, edged right over 2f out, ridden over 1f out, headed when carried left inside final furlong, kept on, no extra towards finish.

Tuesday's pick goes in the...

5.15 Beverley...

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?

Clenymistra @ 9/2 BOG

Why?

This 3 yr old filly steps back up to 1m2f here, a trip she has only run at twice before, finishing 2nd on the A/W at Chelmsford last October and then winning on Good to Firm (like today) at Redcar on her return from a 214 day break from racing.

That win at Redcar was also the only previous time she'd been ridden by today's jockey, Danny Tudhope. So we've got positives re: trip, going and jockey, what about her trainer?

Well, if Danny Tudhope's riding, you won't be overly surprised to find she's trained by David O'Meara, who has an excellent record in handicap contests here at Beverley, standing at 39 winners from 204 (19.1% SR) for profits of 39.2pts (+19.2% ROI)...

And with today's contest in mind, those 204 runners include...

  • since 2013 : 33/158 (20.9%) for 68.74pts at an ROI of 43.5%
  • those priced at 9/1 and shorter : 37/155 (23.9%) for 50.82pts (+32.8%)
  • on Good to Firm ground : 23/120 (19.2%) for 20.86pts (+17.4%)
  • those ridden by Danny Tudhope are 18/84 (21.4%) for 10.67pts (+12.7%)
  • those last seen 6 to 10 days ago : 15/44 (34.1%) for 25.87pts (+58.8%)
  • over the 1m2f course and distance : 8/43 (18.6%) for 14.59pts (+33.9%)

AND...since 2013 at odds of 9/1 and shorter on Good/Good to Firm : 26/112 (23.2% SR) for 50.34pts (+45% ROI), from which...

  • Danny Tudhope is 13/52 (25%) for 15.81pts (+30.4%)
  • those who last ran 6-10 days earlier are 10/25 (40%) for 30.24pts (+121%)
  • over this 1m2f trip : 4/21 (19.1%) for 3.84pts (+18.3%)

...quantifying...a 1pt win bet on Clenymistra @ 9/2 BOG which was widely available at 5.40pm on Monday. To see what your preferred bookie is offering, simply...

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

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!

Hannon and Moore to Score at Donny

Doncaster gate-crashes the pre-Aintree party, as this year’s Flat season gets underway, with the Lincoln Handicap the all-to-familiar curtain raiser.

The switch of codes always feels a little strange, with the Grand National yet to be run. But the running of the Lincoln reminds racing fans that winter is well and truly over, and that we should have at least one eye on the forthcoming Flat campaign, with Newmarket’s Guineas meeting little more than a month away.

The original Lincolnshire Handicap was established in 1849, and was run at Lincoln over a trip of two miles. In 1853, the Lincoln Spring Handicap came into being, at one and a half miles. Finally, in 1855 the race was shortened to its current distance of a mile. When Lincoln Racecourse closed in 1964, the race was moved up the A1 to Doncaster, and became known simply as the Lincoln Handicap.

Horses aged four, five and six have proved the dominant force, with Hunters Of Brora in 1998, the last to win from outside this age group. That’s bad news for seven of tomorrow’s intended runners, including the well-fancied Top Notch Tonto.

Favourites have also struggled in recent times, with just three successful from the last dozen renewals. This doesn’t bode particularly well for Roger Charlton’s Yuften, who looks sure to be sent off a relatively short-priced market leader. His handicap mark of 105 is also a little high for trends followers. Only two horses have won this race from a mark above 102 in the last 20 years, and that’s despite the handicap becoming more compressed in recent times.

Your first 30 days for just £1

As mentioned, Yuften heads the market for this year’s race. The six-year-old moved to Charlton’s yard towards the end of last season. He was a fast finishing third at Wolverhampton earlier in the month, and may well have improved for the run. He won the valuable Balmoral Handicap at Ascot on Champions Day, finishing strongly to get on top late-on. He looks sure to go close, though he’ll probably need to improve again, to win off his current mark.

Donncha is second in the market, and was runner-up in this 12 months ago. He was consistent throughout the last campaign, without ever getting his head in front. He’ll likely run well, but I’m struggling to see how he could have improved enough to win.

Richard Hannon Snr took this race in 1996, and Team Hannon have a strong contender in Oh This Is Us. The four-year-old looks progressive, and arrives after a winter at Meydan; something that worked for last year’s winner Secret Brief. Ryan Moore takes the ride, and I fancy he’ll go very close, despite his handicap mark being at the top end of ‘trends acceptable’. He has course form, having won at the track in November.

Bravery is an intriguing contender, having been transferred from Ballydoyle to David O’Meara during the winter. The Yorkshire trainer has a habit of performing minor miracles with new recruits, and Bravery certainly has the pedigree to impress at this level. He’d been tried over further by O’Brien, having failed to make the grade at a mile, though there were glimpses of talent earlier in the campaign. He’s something of an unknown quantity at this level, and may be worth a small wager at 12s.

Master Carpenter is also worth a mention. The six-year-old looks to be on a winning handicap mark, having spent much of last season running in listed and Group events. This trip looks the bare minimum nowadays, but his run behind Convey at Pontefract last July suggests he’s not without a chance. His odds of 33/1 look tempting.

These 20-plus runner handicaps are always a nightmare to call, and being the opening day of the Flat season certainly doesn’t help. But I find myself drawn to Hannon’s Oh This Is Us. He’s a progressive four-year-old, who should benefit from his couple of spins at Meydan over the winter. I’ll also be having a few quid on Master Carpenter at 33s, off a lenient looking handicap mark. I do fear Bravery under his new handler David O’Meara.

Best of luck to those having a punt.

Stat of the Day, 21st March 2017

Monday's Result :

5.30 Kempton : Athassel @ 4/1 BOG 3rd at 3/1 Went left start mid-division, headway entering final 2f, soon switched right, effort inside final furlong, not quicken towards finish, beaten by less than a length.

Monday's pick goes in the...

5.35 Southwell...

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?

State Residence10/3 BOG

Why?

6th on handicap debut LTO 25 days ago, but a little unlucky to be that far back after experiencing traffic problems and is interesting now he has been eased a couple of pounds.

Since the start of 2014, in Class 5/6 handicaps at odd of 5/2 to 15/2, jockey Josh Doyle has 12 winners from 54 rides (22.2% SR) for trainer David O'Meara recording level stakes profits of 21.4pts (+39.6% ROI) and of these 54 rides...

  • 3yr olds are 7/18 (38.9%) for 29.4pts (+163.5%)
  • in apprentice handicaps : 5/17 (29.4%) for 17.2pts (+100.9%)
  • and on 3 yr olds in apprentice handicaps : 2/6 (33.3%) for 8.62pts (+143.6%)

Yet, despite this being only his second crack at a handicap and him being lowered a couple of pounds State Residence still finds himself at the head of the weights/official ratings here, but that's not necessarily a hindrance, as (and this isn't as complicated as in looks in text form!)...

...since 2010 / Southwell All-Weather / 6f to 1m4f / males aged 3 to 6 yrs old / ran 6 to 60 days ago / now top rated in a Class 5/6 race and priced shorter than 7/1 = 184/588 (31.3% SR) for 69pts (+11.7% ROI) profit, from which...

  • those who ran in a hcp LTO : 133/434 (31%) for 66.4pts (+15.3%)
  • those now running in a hcp : 127/423 (30%) for 65.7pts (+15.5%)
  • those who last ran 21 to 60 days back : 75/223 (33.6%) for 52.4pts (+23.5%)
  • and in apprentices' races : 13/33 (39.4%) for 32.2pts (+97.6%)

AND...those running in a handicap 21 to 60 after a handicap run last time out are 44/132 (33.3%) for 52.8pts (+40% ROI) with a 3/10 (30%) record in apprentice handicaps producing 8.4pts (+84%) profit.

...giving us...a 1pt win bet on State Residence 10/3 BOG which was offered by Bet365, Betfred & Totesport at 5.55pm on Monday. To see what your preferred bookie is offering, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 5.35 Southwell

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.

Fahey favourite to take Ayr Sprint

First run in 1804, the Ayr Gold Cup became a handicap in 1855 and was run at Ayr’s former racecourse Belleisle.

That track closed in 1907, and when the race arrived at its new venue it became a sprint, run over a trip of six furlongs.

It’s no great surprise that a Scottish race has been dominated by northern trainers. With 25 going to post tomorrow, the likes of Nicholls, Fahey, O’Meara and Ryan will be hoping for that particular trend to continue.

Richard Fahey was successful 12 months ago, when his classy sprinter Don’t Touch continued his rapid rise through the ranks. That was Fahey’s second victory in the past 10 years. In that time Kevin Ryan has won the race on three occasions, and David Nicholls on two. David O’Meara was successful in 2014.

Though Don’t Touch landed the prize last year, three-year-olds tend to have a poor record in the race, with just a pair of victories in the past 20 years. Four, five and six-year-olds pretty much share the spoils in the Ayr Gold Cup, and with no three-year-olds even entered in tomorrow’s showpiece, that particular trend looks sure to continue.

Richard Fahey trains race favourite Growl, a four-year-old who has been wonderfully consistent in handicaps throughout the summer. As rain continues to fall all over the UK, Growl is proven on testing ground, having won well at Windsor in June. His last run in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood was eye-catching, when a fast-finishing fourth behind Dancing Star. A repeat of that performance should see him go very close.

Your first 30 days for just £1

Though the standard of contenders in the Ayr Gold Cup continues to improve, it remains difficult to win from the top end of the weights. Only two horses have won in the past 10 years off a handicap mark of more than 104. Both were trained by Kevin Ryan, with Advanced successful in 2007 on a mark of 109. Ryan has another fancied contender tomorrow with the 110 rated Brando.

Also a four-year-old, Brando has been running in Group company of late, and was by no means disgraced in the Nunthorpe last time out. He was second in the Wokingham Stakes at Ascot over this trip, though is now on a 9lbs higher handicap mark. He’s by Pivotal which suggests the ground will not be an issue. He’s won on soft in the past and is definitely a classy sort. Tom Eaves again takes the ride and knows him well. He should run a big race.

Absolutely So joins Brando at the top of the weights, and was just behind that rival last time at Ascot. He’s another classy sort who’s likely to be doing his best work late on. He’s better off at the weights with Brando, though whether he’ll act as well on the ground is questionable. He ought to be in the mix, though this is an incredibly competitive renewal.

David Nicholls has a number of contenders, and possibly his best chance will come with Orion’s Bow. Another by Pivotal, he was second in the Stewards’ Cup, though failed to build on that promise in the Great St Wilfrid at Ripon last time. He won the Scottish Stewards’ Cup on this sort of ground back in July, though this is infinitely more difficult, and he’s gone up almost 10lbs since that run. He’s tough to fancy after that Ripon performance.

Watchable is another classy and consistent sort, though rarely gets his head in front. David O’Meara will be hoping that this son of Pivotal will cope with conditions, having spent most of his career running on a sounder surface. He has the form to run well in this, and his handicap mark looks a fair one. His odds of 25s look generous, as long as he acts on the ground. I fancy he’ll go close.

Finally, a mention for last year’s runner-up Poyle Vinnie. Trained in Newark by Michael Appleby, he was a 50/1 shot when chasing home Don’t Touch 12 months ago. He’s 4lbs lower in the handicap and has form on testing ground. He’s a 20/1 shot this time around, but that makes him a fair each-way proposition.

Growl looks the obvious choice, and I’ll be having a few quid on him. But I also fancy Brando and Poyle Vinnie as each-way shots, and will be throwing a little cash at both. It’s a cracking renewal, and I wish those taking a punt the best of luck.