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Ray Far From Toothless With The Law

In February 2007, a series of bizarre coincidences led to my eventual unlikely association as advisor to the well-known divorce lawyer and racehorse owner, Raymond Tooth, writes Tony Stafford. Being selected as the intended victim of the then prevalent “gold ring” scam in St John’s Wood, near where I first played cricket at Lord’s just after my 16th birthday in 1962, was followed later that day with an introduction to the great man after his Punjabi had run his opponents ragged in the Adonis Hurdle.

For the initial connection I have my friend Peter Ashmore to thank. As usual on a Saturday I was being conveyed on the short run to Kempton Park, always one of my favourite tracks, as I was, temporarily, without a car.

The so-called gold ring must have had some credibility as members of the Ashmore family – we went en bloc – and later Derek Hatter, a regular racegoer I’d known over the years, had not entirely condemned its authenticity.

I’d cleared out my worldly goods – something approaching £3 in cash – to get the rather fierce-looking Middle European giant to leave me alone. He reluctantly let me go having been assured that there was no cashpoint in the Kingdom that could have stretched his return for something that eventually turned out to be worthless.

But Derek, and then after the race in the champagne for the winning owner’s room, another racing friend Broderick Munro-Wilson – The Drunken Duck or The Cad to you – spontaneously ignited the touch paper that within a month earned me a place in the Tooth Organisation, as Derek always referred to it.

That first year, Ray had Indian Ink and Punjabi with Messrs Hannon and Henderson to win big races, and David Elsworth also had a number of decent horses for Ray. Indian Ink’s six-length Coronation Stakes romp was the stuff of wonder for all of us and the well-being continued when she was sold at the end of the year to Hamdan Al Maktoum.

Two years later Punjabi won the Champion Hurdle and other top races and he was followed by the  bargain buy – sourced and brilliantly trained by Nicolas Clement – French Fifteen, who won five races as a juvenile in France including a Group 1 at Saint-Cloud.

By the time he was giving the Coolmore boys and Camelot some anxious moments before being beaten a neck in the 2,000 Guineas, he was in different ownership, once again proving the maxim that often the best deal is the first deal.

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The switch to more serious breeding at the Kempsters’ Kinsale Farm in Shropshire was well under way at that point. Raymond had plenty of big winners long before my lucky adhesion to the team, notably the filly Sarcita, winner of the Portland at Doncaster and Ayr Gold Cup the following week in 1991. She produced some decent performers, including Snow Kid.

Sarcita’s descendants were initially the main element in the Tooth breeding programme, but then the filly Lawyer’s Choice, who won two races in my first year when trained by Pat Eddery, came into the equation. Her first two foals never made it to the track, but fortuitously a decision to mate her and an unraced home-bred mare, Nicoise, with Dutch Art, then at the start of his career at Cheveley Park stud, was to be significant.

Dutch Art’s first mating with Lawyer’s Choice produced a colt Ray sold for 42,000gns at Tatts Book 2. Re-sold as a breeze-up two-year-old he joined Paul Cole and, as Dutch Art Dealer, has been a nice handicapper for owner Richard Green.

The following year, his full-brother was condemned to Book 3, and a late decision was made to withdraw him, luckily, as he turned out to be Dutch Law.

I can honestly say that for all Raymond Tooth’s big-race wins since 2007, none has given me as much satisfaction as Dutch Law’s win in the £80,000 Albert Bartlett Handicap at Ascot on Saturday. This was the best win yet for a Tooth homebred and it came less than two months since he was being regarded as a serial under-achiever.

There are a number of unlikely statistics regarded this gelding. Although a winner at three on the July  Course at Newmarket, he’d often looked wayward and by the time he finished second (for the sixth time in 14 starts) under Pat Smullen at Ascot seven weeks ago, the frustration was clear, especially from his trainer.

After that race, Hughie was almost apoplectic. “It’s a waste of time,” he said. “This horse has so much speed. Very few horses have his ability, yet all he does is finish second and go up the handicap.”

Smullen’s assessment was less negative. “He feels like a Group horse when he’s in behind, but when he came to challenge, he decided before me he wasn’t going to win. You have to ride him like that – from behind – so you’re always a hostage to fortune, but I’d love to ride him again.”

Four runs later, the opportunity for Smullen to get back on again at Ascot last weekend was dashed when he was required for his boss Dermot Weld at Navan. When Smullen rode Dutch Law, he was the ninth different jockey in the saddle in the previous nine races.

Among them had been Morrison’s apprentice Charlie Bennett, who missed a winner for Johnny Portman in the boys’ race at Ascot in the spring, on Dutch Law’s return to action. Hughie understandably claimed him and Charlie ruefully watched Balmoral Castle skip clear by five lengths in a big field.

Charlie had to wait one more race for his chance, Oisin Murphy joining the Dutch Law riding clan as number ten with a last-gasp nose win back on the July Course. Oisin was elsewhere when the gelding returned to the same track for his next run and Charlie was in the saddle, conjuring a flying late run having been going nowhere fast a furlong out.

A slow pace back to a mile brought a less brilliant third, again at Newmarket, but having digested another of Smullen’s priceless thoughts – “he’ll be much better in a better race” – Hughie pointed him to Ascot.

The quietly confident Charlie came into the paddock looking calm beyond his experience. He said: “At the five pole I want to be pushing him. At the three, I want to be doing the same again and then at the furlong, we’ll be off!”

He did and they were, shooting past some high-class opponents so quickly that the first proper mention by the course commentator came when he was already in front, going, as Bennett related afterwards “faster than them sideways as they were going forward.”

Amazingly, for a Morrison horse, Dutch Law has run nine times this year in a 17-week spell, more than any other horse in the yard. Domestically he has won more than twice as much as any of the 50-odd horses Hughie has raced this year, but admittedly his earnings have been exceeded by dual French (Listed and Group) winner Nearly Caught. Racing Post Ratings have given him a higher mark for each successive 2016 race while Timeform were already into the 100’s before Saturday.

We’d like to go back to Ascot on October 1 and hopefully his regular rider, Corey Adamson, will be there – he missed Saturday. Hughie said: “Basically Corey trains him, telling me when he’s right and more importantly when he’s not”. Thanks Corey and the whole Morrison stable. It’s great to beat the big boys, but Ray’s been doing just that for years.

 

Stat of the Day, 1st September 2016

Wednesday's Result :

7.50 Carlisle : Ryan The Giant @ 7/2 BOG 7th at 4/1 (Slowly away, mid-division, led over 8f out, headed over 3f out, weakened over 1f out) : the stat about Keith Dalgleish handicappers still stands as his runner in the previous race was a winner!

Thursday's pick goes in the...

8.40 Chelmsford :

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?

Sarsted at 13/2 BOG

Why?

According to the excellent Trainer Snippets report, Hughie Morrison does well with handicap stayers, so I decided to take a closer look and what I found that was since the start of 2014, he has an excellent record in handicaps over 1m 3.5f to 2m.

If you've not checked this report out yet, you really should!

Anyway, numbers-wise, I found that Hughie's runners had won 38 of 176 (21.6% SR) in such conditions, recording level stakes profits of 75.1pts at an ROI of 42.7%, and of those 176 runners, I further discovered that...

  • those returning from a break of 0-45 days are 31/131 (23.7%) for 79.8pts (+60.9%)
  • those priced at 100/30 to 9/1 are 21/85 (24.7%) for 51.4pts (+60.4%)
  • those racing over this specific 1m6f trip are 13/47 (27.7%) for 59.1pts (+125.7%)
  • at Class 4, they are 9/41 (22%) for 17.7pts (+43.3%)
  • those finishing 2nd LTO are 10/28 (35.7%) for 11.8pts (+42.2%)
  • and here at Chelmsford : 7/11 (63.6%) for 17pts (+154.7%)

All of which was music to my ears (eyes?), as I already liked the look of Sarsted, as he's now 5lbs better off re-opposing his victor from last time out, having only been beaten by a length and a quarter with the switch back to Chelmsford (where he has already won) being another factor, especially as...

...Hughie Morrison's runners are 16 from 40 (40% SR) for 47.2pts (+118.1% ROI) here at Chelmsford since the venue re-opened, of which...

  • those returning from a break of 6-45 days are 14/29 (48.3%) for 46.9pts (+161.8%)
  • handicappers are 13/28 (46.4%) for 28.6pts (+102.1%)
  • those priced at 11/4 to 10/1 are 11/22 (50%) for 54pts (+245.5%)
  • over trips of 1m 5.5f to 2m : 8/16 (50%) for 14.1pts (+88.1%)
  • previous course winners are 5/11 (45.5%) for 5.54pts (+50.4%)
  • those with a top 2 finish LTO are 6/9 (66.7%) for 11.34pts (+126%)
  • and Jim Crowley has ridden 2 winners from 3 (66.7%) for 0.79pts (+26.2%)

Jim, himself, is in fine form, chasing every last winner he can get and over the last nine days from 45 rides, has 14 winners (31.1% SR) and has made the frame a further 14 times for a place strike rate of 62.2%!

In addition to his recent run of winners, his record here at Chelmsford is also decent with 20 wins from 98 (20.4% SR) for level stakes profits of 40.2pts at an ROI of some 41%.

...which give us...a 1pt win bet on Sarsted at 13/2 BOG, with either Bet365 or BetVictor who jointly headed the market at 6.15pm on Wednesday, but to see your preferred bookies' odds, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 8.40 Chelmsford.

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...

Stat of the Day, 12th August 2016

Thursday's Result :

5.05 Yarmouth : Novoman @ 5/1 BOG 2nd at 3/1 (Led, ridden when hard pressed 1f out, kept on under pressure inside final furlong, headed towards finish, no extra, beaten by half a length)

Friday's pick goes in the...

8.15 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?

Dutch Law at 4/1 BOG

Why?

Hughie Morrison has got his string in fine fettle at present, rattling up 18 winners from 78 (23.1% SR) in the last 50 days for level stakes profits of 53.9pts at an ROI of 69.1%. And of those 78 runners...

  • those on the Flat (turf) : 16/61 (26.2%) for 60.3pts (+98.8%)
  • in handicaps : 14/53 (26.4%) for 58.4pts (+110.2%)
  • and in Flat handicaps : 12/38 (31.6%) for 62.8pts (+165.3%)

With this being a Flat handicap, we should look at those 38 runners a little closer for pointers and doing so tells us that...

  • they are 7/25 (25%) for 30.1pts (+120.4%) on Good to Firm ground
  • 4 yr olds are 6/13 (46.2%) for 25.1pts (+192.9%)
  • and here at Newmarket, they are 3/6 (50%) for 8.04pts (+134%)

So, a quick scan of today's fixture shows just the one Hughie Morrison runner, the 4 yr old gelding Dutch Law, who not only benefits from the above trainer stats, his own profile suggests he'll go well today. He's already won 3 of 11 Flat handicaps himself, but the following data from those 11 runs is of particular relevance and interest today...

  • he has 3 wins and 3 places (1252211) on a straight track
  • 3 wins & 2 places (125211) from 6 Good to Firm runs
  • 3 wins & 2 places (12211) from 5 races after a top 2 finish LTO
  • 3 wins & 1 place (1211) from 4 runs here at Newmarket
  • 3 wins & 1 place (1211) from 4 runs at odds of 5/2 to 11/2
  • 2 wins & 2 places (2211) from 4 runs at Class 2/3
  • 2 wins & 1 place (211) in fields of 7 to 10 runners
  • 1 win & 1 place (21) in two outings with today's jockey
  • 1 from 1 over course and distance
  • 1 from 1 after just 1-7 days rest

And, not only do all the above apply today, Dutch Law comes here in great form, finishing 2211 in his last four runs, 3 of which were here at Newmarket (211), the most recent being a comfortable 2 lengths victory, 6 days ago in a Class 2 contest and he now takes a drop in class to run here.

...so, it's... a 1pt win bet on Dutch Law at 4/1 BOG with any of half a dozen or so firms offering that price at 6.10pm. To see your preferred bookies' odds, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 8.15 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...

Stat of the Day, 20th July 2016

Tuesday's Result :

2.45 Musselburgh : Shifting Star @ 11/4 BOG 2nd at 15/8 (Led, ridden over 1f out, headed inside final furlong, kept on same pace, eased when held close home)

Wednesday's pick goes in the...

5.20 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?

Pastoral Music at 7/2 BOG

Why?

Third when last seen 25 days ago, this 3 yr old gelding was only beaten by a length here on this track over 1m2f, finishing half a length behind a 74-rated runner-up, so a mark of 73 today seems fair for his handicap debut which sees him step up in trip by a couple of furlongs.

His yard is in good nick, as Hughie Morrison's runners are 7/16 over last fortnight and 4/9 in the last seven days (he has one to run at 8.10 Tuesday, which will slighly alter those figures) and he does well enough enough with his handicap debutants, especially under today's conditions, as we'll now see!

Since the start of 2009, Hughie's handicap debutants are 33/203 (16.3% SR) for 30.7pts (+15.2% ROI) and these are decent enough figures, but in the light of this contest, those runners are..

  • 24/159 (15.1%) for 24.3pts (+15.3%) as 3 yr olds
  • 17/113 (15%) for 34pts (+30.1%) 11 to 45 days after they last ran
  • 16/90 (17.8%) for 28.3pts (+31.4%) from his males
  • 15/83 (18.1%) for 36.8pts (+44.4%) at Class 5
  • 24/78 (30.8%) for 37.5pts (+48%) at odds of 2/1 to 5/1
  • 12/48 (25%) for 13pts (+27.1%) stepped up in trip by 1.5 to 2.5f
  • 8/41 (19.5%) for 12.6pts (+30.7%) stepping up a class
  • 8/33 (24.2%) for 16.8pts (+50.9%) from those placed 2nd or 3rd LTO

...and this all means the call is a 1pt win bet on Pastoral Music at 7/2 BOG with either of 10Bet, BetVictor and/or Paddy Power, who all headed the market at 5.55pm and to see what your preferred bookie is offering...

...click here for the betting on the 5.20 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...

Sunday Supplement: The Khee to the Cousin

Sunday supplement

By Tony Stafford

Jumping’s great at the minute, with such as Vautour edging home from a determined P’tit Zig at Ascot; and Cue Card, Silviniano Conti and Dynaste battling out the Betfair Chase at Haydock yesterday.

For good measure we also had a Harry Fry treble at Ascot featuring a 12th career victory for the 10-year-old former Champion Hurdler Rock on Ruby. His tale is a remarkable one, winning his title under the banner of Paul Nicholls even though the actual training was carried out more than a few miles from Ditcheat by Fry, who was designated only as assistant. He took out a licence for the following 2012-13 season.

For me and the boss it will quicken up again tomorrow at Kempton when Cousin Khee, aged eight rising nine and with 10 career wins from 43 appearances in a range of disciplines behind him, breaks new ground in a novice chase at Kempton.

It was just over four years ago now that Hughie Morrison called to ask if Raymond Tooth might be interested in buying him. He’d run three times in bumpers, winning first time at Exeter in Hughie’s junior “benefit” and then twice unplaced at Cheltenham, although eighth of 24 in the Festival bumper represented a good effort for a four-year-old.

A deal was quickly struck and since then he has won further races over hurdles (three), jumpers’ bumpers (two), all-weather Flat (two) and Turf Flat, also two.

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Of his 23 rivals in that Cheltenham bumper, only 21st home Felix Yonger has done markedly better. A 66-1 shot that day for the Wylies and previous trainer Howard Johnson, he has since moved to Willie Mullins and has a tally of ten wins in 21 starts with a rating of 160. Six of the wins have come in 12 chases.

All the contestants in that Festival bumper won at least one race and the next best tally is the eight from 34 of Dark Glacier. He was 11th of the 24 that day and is the winner of four races each for original trainer Chris Grant and present handler Peter Bowen.

It’s fair to say that Cousin Khee enjoyed the good fortune of winning a couple of jumpers’ bumpers when bad winter weather caused multiple abandonments of jumps cards a couple of seasons ago. Equally Morrison was sharp enough to take advantage where others didn’t. Critics, especially among the media, regard him as inconsistent and Mark Winstanley offered that opinion when I bumped into him at Ascot yesterday.

On consideration, I think it’s a fair assessment. Over time Hughie and the jockeys have worked out that he doesn’t like being crowded and that tendency contributed to his poor position turning for home in the November Handicap at Doncaster last time. When he got clear, miles behind, on the wide outside turning for home, he rallied past 12 horses. If he’d had another furlong to go, he’d have been close to the frame, although nowhere near brilliant winner Litigant.

It’s interesting to look at the figures for the Betfair Chase, in which four of the five runners were aged nine and Holywell a year younger. Cue Card, who also announced his arrival in a Festival Bumper – he won it as a four-year-old the year before Cousin Khee’s run - is now winner of 12 of his 27 starts, eight of 20 since going chasing. Silviniano Conti has been even more productive with 15 wins from 28 – ten of 20 in chases. Five of Dynaste’s seven victories have come over fences in a career spanning 26 starts, while Holywell has seven from 23 (five chases) and Ballynagour, badly outrun yesterday, has three chase wins in his tally of five wins in 23.

Nicholls went close with P’tit Zig – overall eight from 20 – behind Vautour, won collected his ninth win from 12 runs and these highly-progressive six-year-olds have time to get near the Silviniano Conti and Cue Card heights.

But if Cousin Khee shows the same liking for fences as he has schooling under Tom O’Brien at home, who’s to say what he can eventually do? At time of writing the declarations for Kempton are unknown, but lurking among the 14 entries lie a number of dangerous-looking opponents with Dan Skelton particularly liking the chance of his mare Stephanie Frances.

When Cousin Khee ran in the November, Emily Weber, one of the most experienced of their form experts pointed out he had recorded his best Racing Post Rating (RPR) for each of all-weather Flat (sixth, beaten less than three lengths) in Lingfield’s All-Weather Marathon Championship race, Flat turf and Hurdles this year. Hughie, whose Alcazar won a French Group 1 aged ten, thinks he might have a squeak in next year’s Cesarewitch!

We had a great trip up to Shropshire on Monday, principally for Ray to see his three home-bred yearlings before they departed to their trainers later in the week. Rachael and Richard Kempster and all at Kinsale Farm got full marks for preparation when Hughie, Hugo Palmer and our new man George Scott (until now Lady Cecil’s assistant) took charge of yearlings respectively by Stormy River, Mount Nelson (filly) and Equiano.

Quite a few of Ray’s under-performers have found new owners with my long-time friend Wilf Storey in darkest Co. Durham. Two of his home-breds, Nelson’s Bay and Nonagon, have been among Wilf’s seven winners in 2015.

Sadly, Wilf recently slipped on a wet concrete slope collecting two footballers’ injuries in one go, rupturing the tendons behind each knee. He’s been on his back since but with daughter Stella now doing the work of six men instead of five, the show goes on as Wilf recovers in hospital.

[Get well soon, Wilf – Ed.]

Their best season since 2000 in number of winners and 1997 for prizemoney has come from just seven horses and 203rd in the trainers’ table – 499 listed – represented dizzy heights for the old boy. He’ll have three more to work on (well Stella will anyway) next year and he’s hoping that his daughter’s super-human efforts over many years – riding, box-driving, feeding, mucking out and leading up at the races – might get her one of the Godolphin awards this winter. I hope so, too.

 

Hugo Palmer – Stable Continues To Thrive

Hugo Palmer

Hugo Palmer

Hugo Palmer yearned to train horses from a relatively young age. Lammtarra’s Epsom Derby success sparked the passion for racing. As a schoolboy he was privileged to work with the Queen’s private trainer Lord Huntington at West Ilsley.

From school Palmer was employed at the largest English owned Stud – Cheveley Park. His work there broadened his knowledge of the thoroughbred, gaining valuable experience of the early life of a future racehorse. Whilst at University in Newcastle he spent time working with John Warren, bloodstock advisor to Her Majesty The Queen. During that period he was fortunate enough to witness the purchase of a beautiful young colt by the name of Montjeu.

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At Highclere, Palmer’s understanding of the industry was significantly enhanced. He was able to expand his knowledge of a race-horses development in their early years. Those lessons were invaluable, but the burning passion to become a successful trainer remained. A post as assistant to Patrick Chamings followed. The yard had around 40 horses in training, with the star of the stable being National Hunt horse Self Defence.

Progression continued with a move to Hughie Morrison’s yard when taking up post as his assistant. Three successful seasons at East Ilsley followed before Palmer decided that a spell abroad was called for. Fortunate enough to gain a post with one of Australia’s great trainers Gai Waterhouse, he was entrusted to set up a satellite yard in Melbourne. The opportunity of working with one of Flat racing’s prominent figures will have afforded Palmer a huge amount of knowledge and experience as he embarked on his own training career.

Finally taking the plunge back in England in 2011, he took charge at Kremlin Cottage Stables in Newmarket. Starting out with just a handful of horses, the yard is now home to around 70. The stock continues to improve and last season Palmer enjoyed Group success when Aktabantay took the Group 3 Solario Stakes.

New Providence is set to be one of the stars for the yard this summer. Second in the Nell Gwyn in April, she followed up that performance with two further placed finishes in Group races, before a slightly disappointing run at Royal Ascot. Her proximity to Limato at Haydock in the Sandy Lane Stakes gives hope that a few valuable wins lie ahead.

At Haydock yesterday it was the two-year-old Galileo Gold providing the excitement for Palmer and his team. Handsomely bred by Paco Boy out of a Galileo mare, he could prove a very useful colt. Gifted Master is another talented juvenile with a bright future. He chased home Royal Ascot winner Buratino at Newmarket in May and followed that with a commanding display at Newcastle last week.

With over a 20% strike-rate this summer the yard is thriving, and the flow of winners continues at a pace. Hugo Palmer may have had a privileged start to his racing career, but his drive and ambition have ensured that he has the necessary foundations to craft a successful and exciting career.

The Northumberland Plate – A Splash of Koukash

Dr Koukash targets repeat success

Dr Koukash targets repeat success

Established in 1833 the Northumberland Plate from Newcastle Racecourse is the showpiece event on Saturday.

The race started life on Town Moor in Newcastle before moving to Gosforth Park just north of the city in 1882. The ‘Plate’ is the richest two mile handicap in the world, and is often on the schedule for those who’ve had a crack at the Chester Cup in May.

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The last three winners at Gosforth all warmed up with prominent finishes in the Chester handicap. Angel Gabrial won the Northumberland Plate in 2014 having finished runner-up in the Chester Cup a month earlier. In 2013 Tominator won at Newcastle after finishing third at Chester whilst in 2012 Ile De Re completed the double with success in both races.

National Hunt trainers have a decent record in recent years with four wins in the last seven renewals. As one would expect for a two mile handicap, allocated weight is an important factor when looking for a winner of the race. Only two horses have carried more than nine stone to victory since 2003. Tominator hauled top-weight to victory in 2013, though the handicaps were very much compressed that year.

That certainly isn’t the case this time round with Clever Cookie rated 10lbs superior to his nearest handicap rivals Max Dynamite and Quest For More. Peter Niven’s top-weight has been a revelation this spring having won a Group 3 at Chester before a stunning win in a listed event at York. He’s a class act and though having to give huge amounts of weight all-round, he cannot be discarded.

Mullins’ Max Dynamite is an interesting contender. He had run in group races as a three-year-old in France before his switch to Ireland. A solid fourth in the Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, when just behind Quick Jack, shows how talented he is. The trip should not be an issue and he carries the silks of jump racings dominant force, Rich Ricci.

One owner who thrives in this type of race is Dr Marwan Koukash. His Angel Gabrial won last year and again he arrives ‘mob-handed’ in an attempt for a repeat success. Richard Fahey trains three of his four entrants, with Gabrial’s King the shortest priced. Fourth in the Chester Cup in May, he is very closely matched with stable companion Gabrial’s Star, who was slightly unlucky in running at Chester. These two look less exposed than Angel Gabrial and the 2014 Chester Cup winner Suegioo.

Dual-purpose trainer Brian Ellison has a string of horses entered including the well-fancied Seamour. The four-year-old is still relatively inexperienced and was last seen staying on well to win at Haydock over two miles. There’s sure to be more improvement to come, though he has to cope with an 8lb rise for the Haydock win. He defeated Hughie Morrison’s Nearly Caught on that occasion, though may struggle to do so again off his revised handicap mark.

The famous race is one hell of a puzzle to solve. The wide-open affair is as competitive as ever with any number of the 20 plus runners in with a shout. Expect a splash of Koukash at the business end, though you’d be a Clever Cookie to opt for the right one.

Stat of the Day, 18th October 2013

Stat of the Day

Stat of the Day

Stat of the Day, 18th October 2013

No joy, but no disgrace yesterday as Duchess of Seville fared better than the bare 6th place would suggest. We backed her at 8/1 E/W looking for at least a place and she only missed out on the money by a length after being outpaced late on.

In fact, the race was so tight that she was only 2 lengths away from the winner! She was well backed during the day down from our 8/1 advised odds to a low of 3/1 at one point, before the market settled down and sent her off as 9/2 second favourite, so we did at least beat the book.

We all know that beating the book price is important and although no reward came yesterday, it is the key to long-term success.

The North West beckons today and a 10 furlong maiden for two year olds in the...

2.20 Haydock

Where Richard Hughes rides Fun Mac for Hughie Morrison and the horse is currently best priced at 4/1 BOG with several firms.

Fun Mac was a very creditable third last time out over this same trip (allaying any stamina concerns) at Pontefract eleven days ago and takes a drop down in Class to compete here today. This is a tactic often used by Hughie Morrison to good effect.

In the 2011/13 period, Hughie Morrison's runners dropping down one class to compete have won 15 of 58 races (25.9% SR) when sent off at SPs of between 6/4 and 12/1. This has produced 46pts level stakes profits, a return of 79.3% ROI.

If we're a little more restrictive in the odds to fall in line with our usual selections here at SotD, we see 9 winners from 28 (32.1% SR) for 22.15pts (+79.1% ROI) from those horses priced between 5/2 and 5/1, showing a consistent level of return.

Fun Mac comes here after running well enough last time out and despite not winning managed to put a good 14 lengths between himself and the following pack and with no disrespect to Robert Havlin, who rode him on his two outings to date, but it is expected that the booking of Richard Hughes is likely to draw further improvement from this horse.

I mentioned in a previous SotD post that certain trainers will switch to one of the "big three" to get a little more out of a horse and the move often pays dividends. The fact is that when Hughie Morrison books one of Messrs Moore, Fallon or Hughes to ride a horse they didn't ride last time out, there are profits to be made.

In the same 2011/13 timeframe as above, Mr Morrison has drafted one of these three jockeys in on 71 occasions, resulting in 21 winners (29.6% SR) and 29.5pts (+41.5% ROI) profits. And when those horses attracted market support (ie were priced at 9/2 or under), the figures are 17 winners from 36 (47.22% SR) for 20.55pts (+57.1% ROI)

When Richard Hughes was the chosen jockey, his record reads as 10 winners from 22 (45.45% SR) for 8.9pts (+40.5% ROI) profit.

And finally, we should just remind you that although Richard has ridden 775 2yr olds in the last three seasons, it is profitable to back him blindly on them! He has a strike rate of over 26% at all odds (31% below 5/1) and generates around 16% profit above stakes.

In my opinion, Fun Mac is only as big as 4/1 because there has been some money for the favourite Newmarket Warrior, who remains a maiden after five attempts and also seems to find one (or two!) too good for him and I expect that to be the case again today, so it's a 1pt win bet on Fun Mac for me and I've taken the 4/1 BOG on offer from BetVictor, but this price is fairly widely available, so why not ...

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Prix Chaudenay 2013 Preview / Tips

Prix Chaudenay 2013 Preview / Tips

Chaudenay #12 for Fabre?

Chaudenay #12 for Fabre?

The Prix Chaudenay is the first of four Group 2's to be run on the Saturday of Longchamp's Arc weekend, and it's a staying race over a furlong shy of two miles for three year olds only.

Akin to a French St Leger, the Chaudenay traditionally brings together the best vintage stayers with those not quite quick enough to land one of the big middle distance Group 1's, the Prix du Jockey Club or the Grand Prix de Paris. And therein often lies the value...

Those horses which have run well at shorter distances generally make the market in the Chaudenay, but it's the proven stayers which come out on top more often than not. Indeed, seven of the last nine winners of the Chaudenay had run in the Prix de Lutece over course and distance four weeks earlier.

After two years where the winner did not exit the Lutece, last year saw a reversion to the recent norm, as Canticum - a neck second in the Lutece - reversed the form with Verema to win at a juicy 11/1. And that's an important point: it is not always the Lutece winner that prevails in the Chaudenay.

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The main reasons for that are 1) the Lutece is a prep race whereas the Chaudenay is the big day, and 2) the Lutece is almost always run at a crawl followed by a sprint finish. In such circumstances, freak results can occur.

For instance, this year's favourite, Montclair, was way too far out of his ground and couldn't quite close the gap, eventually finishing third, two short necks behind the winner. The two that beat him vied for the lead throughout. With a more prominent position on Saturday I'd expect Montclair to see off his two vanquishers from the Lutece, even given a pedestrian gallop.

There is British interest in the race, as there is in most of the Group races across the Arc card. But it's been a terrible race for the channel-hoppers historically. The last winner from overseas was Wareed back in 2001, and before that Dick Hern's Family Friend, as far back as 1986.

Indeed, in the last ten years, seventeen British or Irish-trained horses have run in the Chaudenay, nine of them sent off 10/1 or shorter, and the best finish was third (three times). In the last seven years, there has been just one third placed finisher, from eleven runners, seven of which were 11/1 or shorter.

Of course, Hughie Morrison's Nearly Caught, the sole British raider this time, could win. But history doesn't support his case. Nor especially does his form profile: stepping up out of handicaps into a well contested Group 2 overseas.

No, this looks best left to the Lutece 1-2-3 of Valirann, Lucky Look, and Montclair. The last named is trained by Andre Fabre, who can lay claim to a staggering eleven wins in this race, since his first - Rutheford - in 1983. Whilst that is of immediate interest, it is worth noting he's gone five years without a win in the race now. And, though he was unrepresented in two of those years, he also saddled the favourite in two more renewals.

Montclair may be short enough on the day and, if he is, I'll have no qualms in switching allegiance to Valirann, who himself has a progressive profile and could well get first run on the Fabre horse again.

If there's a dark horse in the race then it may be the Darbadar-k horse. He's run just thrice, and had improved with each spin, getting off the mark last time under hands and heels. This is a big step up in trip and class, but he's a colt with plenty of improvement to come. On balance, I'll look elsewhere though, unless he's a double digit price.

Tactics will be crucial in the Chaudenay, and I have it between Montclair and Valirann, with preference for the former at a price above 2/1, and the latter otherwise.

Most likely Chaudenay winner: Montclair
Value Chaudenay play: Valirann

Stat of the Day, 19th September 2013

Stat of the Day

Stat of the Day

Stat of the Day, 19th September 2013

No joy, but no disgrace yesterday for Srucahan, who finished 5th of the 12 runners at an SP of 12/1, after we'd taken 14's earlier in the day. The result was far closer than it seems, as our selection was only beaten by a length in an exciting finish.

The forecasted heavy ground had dried out a little and was officially soft and I think that had the going not improved, the leaders wouldn't have been able to go as quick late on and we'd be celebrating a place at the very least.

Regardless of that, Srucahan gave us a great run for our money at odds longer than I'd usually go for and I should also note that Paul Deegan's other runner at Listowel was second at 16/1.

Back to England today and more specifically Yorkshire for the...

4.00 Pontefract

Where Hughie Morrison runs Jubilante in this Class 3 Fillies handicap over six furlongs. On the face of things, she's not the obvious pick in this race: in fact our excellent interactive racecard suggests that there a few others best suited today.

However, the going is good to firm with further rain expected and an easing of the ground back to Good would play into her hands, as she has one win and one second place from her two efforts on good ground. She also has some decent efforts behind her on good to soft, but I doubt it'll get that wet!

(Incidentally, you can find all this out via the drop down buttons on the Race Analysis section of the racecard).

Closer inspection of her record to date shows that this is her first effort in this grade, but she's actually stepping down in class to compete here, after having contested a couple of decent Class 2 handicaps at Newmarket over the summer.

She was only beaten by a neck over today's 6f trip in the first of those races and she went down by just over 2 lengths when finishing 5th of 11 over 7 furlongs, where she didn't quite see the trip out.

Hughie Morrison is quite adept at dropping horses down a class in handicap events, as he has done so with 71 horses in the last three years, of which 14 (19.72%) have been returned as winners, generating 28.4pts (+40% ROI) profit in the process.

Those results are from backing all his runners blindly when dropped in class in a handicap race, but closer inspection shows that the bulk of the winners are priced in what I loosely see as SotD territory, ie 5/2 or over, but below 12/1.

I do this, because there's little profit to be made from the shorties and the longer shots don't win often enough to keep the scoreboard ticking.

If you're happy to stick with some rigid odds parameters, then the 5/2 to 11/1 bracket has yielded 13 of those 14 winners from above, but has eliminated 25 losing horses, taking the record to 13 from 46 (28.3% SR) for 50.6pts (+110% ROI) profits: figures that are music to my ears.

Jubilante has improved greatly over the last 12 months and has been consistent, if not prolific, as her record of 321235 shows. She's drawn well today and the drop in both class and trip are sure to help her in her bid to take this one today. I expect this to be a strongly run race, which will also be of benefit to us today, she seems to perform better when there's some early pace for her to follow.

She's been off the track for a couple of months and should be fresh and ready to go. If she shows anything like the form from Newmarket in the summer, then a 1pt win bet on Jubilante at 4/1 BOG with Stan James should us drawing from the well again. That 4/1 price is the best on offer, but I'm aware of the volatility of these markets, so please...

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The card for today's race is right here!

 

Stat of the Day, 29th August 2013

Stat of the Day

Stat of the Day

Stat of the Day, 29th August 2013

Nothing went right for us yesterday at all. Our cause wasn't helped by the jockey, Steve Drowne declaring 2lbs overweight, but that wasn't the reason our horse ran so poorly. He seemed to get out OK and got him self over to th rail just behind the leaders, but that was as close as he got all race.

He had to be ridden hard from a long way out, showed little/no response and trailed home last of the eight runners at an SP of 6/1: the same as we'd advised, although he did trade as low as 4/1 earlier in the day.

We're off to "Leafy" today, as we tackle the...

5.10 Lingfield

Which is a five furlong, Class 6  handicap featuring the Hughie Morrison-trained Josefa Goya.

Today will be only this horse's fourth race, as she never competed as a two-year old and she makes her 2nd handicap start today after a win over today's trip and two fourth placed finishes (at 5f and 6f): all three races were Class 5 contests and she drops down a Class today.

Hughie Morrison is very good at getting horses to win when dropped down a class. In the last three seasons, Mr Morrison has had 17 winners from 69 horses dropping down and priced at under 12/1. That 24.6% strike rate has produced level stakes profits of 37.85pts, a return of almost 55%. The strike rate for horses 4/1 or under is over 28%.

Josefa Goya was a winner at Wolverhampton in her second race despite pulling hard (5f) and was a 6 lengths fourth on handicap debut at Beverley last time out. That was actually a very decent effort, considering she had to run from stall 10 of 10. The first two home were drawn in 3 and 2, but she has a much better draw today in 11 of 12.

The reopposing Friendship of Love was ahead of her in 3rd place that day, but our selection is 3lbs better off today and this allied with the better draw, should be enough to redress the balance with that one.

Our selection is expected to improve as time goes on, she's a half-sister to the yard's veteran sprinter Intrepid Jack, a multiple winner over 6 furlongs and if she doesn't encounter the same traffic problems she faced at Beverley, she'll be there or thereabouts today.

One last thing to consider is the interesting booking of Kieran Fallon today. Kieran can be a bit of a Marmite character, but I do like him and there's no questioning his ability. Hughie Morrison doesn't use Mr Fallon all that often and especially not if he didn't ride the horse last time out.

From a stat taken from one of the bonus reports in Matt's Winning Trainers service: Kieran Fallon has ridden just eight horses for Mr Morrison in the last three years that he didn't ride last time out. He has however been successful on four of those eight horses for a level stakes profit of 8.96pts.

All eight horses were priced at under 4/1, as is Josefa Goya today. The best we can get is the 9/4 BOG currently widely available. My 1pt win bet is going with BetVictor today, but to see what your preferred bookmaker is offering...

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Royal Ascot – Trainer Watch……

Aidan O'Brien

Follow Aidan's 4+YO's At Ascot......

As we gear up for Royal Ascot this week Andy Newton’s takes a look at which trainers to keep on your side through the five days….. Read more

Stat of the Day, 19th March 2013

Stat of the Day: 17/03/13

Stat of the Day: 19/03/13

Stat of the Day, 19th March 2013

At last. A winner yesterday, and at 6/1. Cracking ride from Geraghty, looking for better ground all the way, and winning with a bit in hand despite the weight concessions pretty much all round.

Trappier today, and I'm taking a chance with a beach boy, in the...

2.50 Southwell

Hughie Morrison is a man to side with at Southwell, and his three year olds do especially well. In fact, in the last five seasons, Morrison has won with 21 of his 69 3yo runners here (30%), for a level stakes profit of 26.38 units.

He's sending just the one beast up there today, in the maiden, and it's a race which doesn't look like it will take a lot of winning. The favourite has had three goes and keeps finding one too good, and the second choice is having a bit of a 'chalk and cheese' experience, given that he made his (duck egg) debut at Ascot!

Burgoyne has been nibbled already this morning, and should certainly improve both for his debut run at Kempton, and for the first time fitting of a hood. He's a US-bred horse, and those seem to do very well at Southwell, but that's maybe more coincidental than something to go to war with.

The market vibe, allied to the trainer's record, and the fact that it's a bad race, mean I'm going each way on Burgoyne, at 6/1 with Paddy Power (Best Odds Guaranteed). [PP will also match your first bet up to £50, with a free bet.]

Of course, do make sure you...

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Drowne comes up from the deep

Drowne - nightmare over

Drowne - nightmare over

Steve Drowne’s no driving nightmare looks as if it is about to come to an end. That means he will be free to resume riding, and could do so as early as next week. He’s eager to be fully fit when the turf season starts next month. Read more

Stat of the Day, 6th November 2012

Stat of the Day, 6th November 2012

Stat of the Day

Stat of the Day

Mush Mir ran better than his finishing position suggests yesterday, and will be winning again soon (in a small field when he can lead).

Today it's the fibresand, an excellent trainer with a brilliant record at the course, and the…

3.40 Southwell

One of the most under-rated and under-stated of flat trainers, is Hughie Morrison. His record, in handicaps especially, in recent years bears close scrutiny, despite a leaner time this term.

On Southwell's deep surface, his record is second to none, with 28 winners from 89 runners (30.34%) since 2005. Those winners have netted profits of 48.77 units at SP.

Today he saddles the lightly raced maiden, Place That Face, and she looks to have her best chance of victory yet. So far, in a five race career, she's finished second twice and third twice. Her latest run was a silver medal over course and distance in a similar race to this, where she was no match for the winner but had everything else a length and a half and more behind.

That was her first run since February and she's entitled to be a lick fitter here. The opposition is typically modest - we rarely see a future top class racer exit a Southwell maiden -  and Gaelic Wizard might be the chief threat. But that fellow gives the impression he's a weak finisher as he's been beaten by a neck or less on his last three starts.

This will also be the Wizard's first attempt at Southwell's more testing strip, and I'd prefer to side with a filly which has shown she can act on it, as not all horses do. Place That Face looks like she does.

It's not a two horse race, though, as both Ella Fitzgerald and Finefrenzyrolling offer a fair level of form.

But Hughie knows what he's doing, and his filly has improvement on her second start off a break, and I'm betting win only Place That Face. No odds at time of writing, but I'm expecting around 11/4 to be available (as it is on Betfair currently).

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