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Irish Racing Review: 14th August 2013

Galway Races

Galway Races

Irish Racing Review – August 14th, 2013

Jim Bolger has long had his own way of doing things – indeed it could be said that he rewrites the book on training racehorses, so much so punters find him hard to read – but last Sunday we saw what can go wrong when the Bolger method is applied too forcefully with both Dawn Approach and Scintillula disappointing after a number of quick runs.

There are few things better than watching a Bolger horse thrive through a series of wins in quick succession, with seemingly little need for rest, but – and I write this at the risk of overvaluing recent evidence – there are times when Bolger’s approach comes back and bites him in the backside, not that the ever righteous trainer would care to admit it!

Bolger campaigns group horses like handicappers, Scintillula having six runs in 52 days lately, and as a rule it’s best not to do this or at very least it is rare than a horse manages to maintain its form through a long period. In group races, horses are sternly tested; they frequently run fast with pacemakers often employed and are competing against stiff competition. It is unusual when such a horse holds it form throughout a series of these races, as Sea The Stars did, which makes such horses so memorable.

Certainly there is something admirable in the way Bolger campaigns his horses and I am all for this aggressive approach, racehorses are made to run and that is what they should do provided they are sound. But there is a limit and there are times when Bolger’s methods become more ridiculous than sublime and he gives them an extra run or two that sends them over the edge.

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Take some of his best horses of recent years as examples: Alexander Goldrun won just one of her last eleven starts, Finsceal Beo lost her last nine, Lush Lashes her last eight.

Clearly these comparisons with something like Dawn Approach are imperfect; the above trio are all fillies and few horses win their final start no more than any other start but all were multiple Group 1 winners that finished their careers on a down note and perhaps the trainer pushed things too far. When a horse starts to go wrong, the best thing is to give it a rest rather than push on as at this point injuries are more likely to occur or a previously sound temperament may go sour.

With Dawn Approach, it is possible that the trainer has already asked too much of the horse. It is mid-August and last year’s Champion Two-Year-Old has had five foreign trips with the prospect of more to come. He bounced back from a terrible run in the Derby though in hindsight he didn’t have a hard race but was then asked to back up quickly after a tough encounter in the Sussex.

He is now on a course of antibiotics following his Marois fifth and this isn’t the time of year to be meeting with a training setback with so many big races looming. It will be one of Jim Bolger’s greatest achievements if he can manage to get him back to Group 1-winning form from this.

None of this is to suggest that Bolger can change his methods; one is reminded of a comment a few years back when Peter Chapple-Hyam tried to take his focus away from getting two-year-old winners and concentrate on a more gradual approach. Instead of an increased number of three-year-old winners, Chapple-Hyam found himself with few winners at all so he reverted back to what he knew.

It is difficult for a leopard to change his spots but looking at the figures for the previous Bolger inmates that finished their careers on long losing runs, there is certainly betting value in opposing such horses in the latter part of their racing lives.

I got through the replays of the flat races for Galway in the past few days and as ever there were eye-catchers aplenty on the tricky Western track so here are five of the best.

Ravello Again was a most unlucky loser in the 3yo handicap over 7f on Monday, a race that already looks decent form. The finish was dominated by horses that raced on the pace but Ravello Again was held up; she got chopped off badly leaving the dip and lost at least 3 lengths, stayed on under an easy time in the straight, beaten little more than 3 lengths, and this on her first run since February so there should be improvement to come.

The trainer’s daughter was aboard Zip Wire in the 1m4f amateur riders maiden on Wednesday and she was little assistance from the saddle; allowed the race to get away from her leaving the dip despite having plenty of horse under her, the gelding stayed on well in the finish and should be winning a maiden soon, his previous form working out well.

Friday’s feature, the Guinness Handicap over 1m4f was fought out by a pair that shaped better than the form. A really likeable effort from the winner Curley Bill, very keen early held up off slow pace, took a couple of false steps early on, sweeping move around outer coming out of dip, really quickening up well and finding enough in closing stages, won’t be getting much of a rise for this.

The second Bayan lost position coming down the hill, finding himself nearer last than first, had to come through traffic then wide in straight, conceded first run to winner, found loads, looks on fair mark.

Considering the time of year, the 1m4f maiden for fillies on Saturday was a strong contest and it resulted in an impressive win from Exotic; came from last, raced wide, smart turn-of-foot, not easy for debutants to win here and beat the right horses, the ones open to progress.

Irish Racing Review: Naas, June 3rd 2013

Naas Review

Naas Review

Naas – Monday June 3rd

7f Maiden

A poor race that took little winning; Ramsa, one of least exposed, got first run on second, good attitude, was taped up for this and may not want the ground this quick, an opinion voiced by trainer/jockey afterwards. One True Love an unlucky loser, going well swinging into straight but got trapped on rail thereafter travelling strongly, came home very well but did show attitude at two.

Some promise in the debut of Balmont Belle, missed break, ran on well in a race that few got into. Lottie Dod was keen, possibly finding ground too quick, has long looked a dodge though. Of the Weld pair, Violet Hour got an easy time while Lapis Blue held her head awkwardly.

7f Listed

Easy win for Reply, looks much best on fast ground, good or better: 311330921, now strung two good runs together. Tobann has come from rear, belatedly building on wide-margin maiden win, but looked tricky ride in process, inclined to cock jaw and run flattened out when got close to winner, one to oppose. Off the bridle early was Parliament Square, may like further while Core Element put up a career best.

Not a bad return from Coolnagree on livelier ground than she’s used to, ran on in finish and might build on this though infrequent winner. Caprella was BTBF, travelled well and want to see her back at 6f. Ghaamer was found out in this class while Foxtrot Romeo’s career has gone badly awry.

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7f Handicap

The pace looked decent enough and it was the best time over the trip on the card; they finished in a heap. Slipper Orchid one of first off the bridle but found plenty and appears to have improved for this faster ground which is the opposite of what her breeding would say, won’t be getting much for this and likeable. Tarsille travelled best (won’t mind 6f) but is difficult to win with while Ningaloo Reef was well-backed and has a very good record at the track – 1213.

Iron Major caught the eye; held up, travelled well for inexperienced jockey, not beaten far, first run since December and has dropped to 76 having won off 84 in the past. Collingwood met some trouble but wouldn’t overdo it and hard to win with while Seanie showed HC; the fact he hasn’t been put into good races in England with a mark of 92 has to be a negative with Marnane. Prince Jock looked an awkward ride.

6f 2yo Listed

This looked slowly run – time markedly slower than the following race – which was something JPOB remarked on post-race and Stubbs did it well to come from rear, jockey never having to get serious, type to do better over strongly run 6f.

No sign of attitude from Club Wexford but there was enough in his debut run to make him one to take on and his return to maidens is something to look forward to. All Set To Go shaped well on debut but ran no sort of race and the impression is that the Sir John Hawkins maiden is not all it is cracked up to be.

6f 2yo Listed

A pretty straightforward race with no hard luck stories; Sandiva was impressive, raced more professionally than last time and the idea to give her an extra run before Royal Ascot looks a good call given how she went here; goes to the Albany next and a big player. Heart Focus hadn’t impressed previously but this was much better and she’s improving run-to-run as ones from the yard can do; step up to 7f will suit.

There would be a doubt about the strength of the Irish fillies at this point as APOB is yet to win a race with a filly so perhaps the English will have an edge at the Royal meeting. Glassatura was a bit disappointing, not really building on debut, while Adeste Fideles put up a fine debut getting among maiden winners and was unwanted in the market.

7f 3yo Handicap

They finished in a heap and the pace was moderate. Connacht Council has proved a little in-and-out but finally got his win while Zalty whose LTO form is proving strong ran much better, the soft ground seemingly against in Killarney, Lightnin Hopkins travelled best and has dropped to a good mark on his 2yo form, coming back to 6f will be no issue and seemed to like the faster ground.

The decision to switch Angela’s Dream inside about a furlong and a half down was a poor one, met some trouble afterwards and may have cost a place while Rain God met some traffic too though looked beaten at the time. Street Party looks on a harsh mark for what he has done in maidens, albeit not particularly busy in previous races.

1m2f Handicap

An interesting race but more for the negatives it threw up, the first three all showing attitude. Love And Cherish swished the tail, Drifting Mist (brought along with handicaps in mind, well-backed here, stumbled on one of ridges) looking an awkward ride and Something Graceful showing HC; want to be against all three next time.

Headford Lady didn’t run too badly but some of these were terrible: Coco Bella, Bint Nayef and Nabat Ali.

Irish Racing Review: The Curragh, May 26th 2013

The Curragh

The Curragh

Curragh – Sunday, May 26th

6f 2yo Maiden

The obvious impression is that this was a good race but I’m not so sure and they looked something of a rogue’s gallery. To start with Taanif who unshipped rider shortly after stalls; he swished the tail just before doing this and may not be one to trust. In the same colours, Mustajeeb raced very keenly but also showed HC in the process.

Intensified held the head a bit high in the finish while Muscle Beach (entered in the Railway which wouldn’t be the yard’s style) got an easy introduction though had the jaw cocked albeit meeting traffic. Sudirman was much more professional than debut (that form worked out over the weekend) but with doubts about the attitude of a few, hard to get carried away with the form of Sir John Hawkins.

Some promise in the run of All Set To Go, travelled better than most, stayed on from rear having to be switched and not given hard time; yard’s runners all improving for the run. Master Of Time (well-backed) showed speed but faded.

 

1m4f Handicap

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Beforehand this looked light on well-treated sorts and the form is probably below the grade; the pace looked even. Paddy The Celeb limitations well-known before this (likely to improve for further though, niggled early), likewise Leah Claire and surprise if not some better-handicapper middle-distance types than this lot in country. Show Court has reputation and did more to deliver on it here, decent effort, and same applies to Hold The Line from 10lbs wrong in the handicap; the fact a 3yo could run so well, being 10lbs wrong suggests maybe they will do well up in trip, the Irish 3yo middle-distance colts going well at present. Beach Of Falesa ran on from rear but finds little and is hard to win with; good run from Aladdins Cave as had a rotten draw, type to like cover but 19 of 20 here.

First off the bridle but ran on despite having every chance to throw in the towel to take sixth; likeable and should bounce back though may not be well-treated at this stage. Cul Baire was inclined to cock the jaw both ways while Rich Coast has a high HC. Top Spin not quite so bad as the result, hampered albeit losing ground at the time, but handicapper could drop again and was good flat horse in youth. Raydari wasn’t beaten up but made little inroads anyway and looks AW horse. With regard to the non-runner Justification, he met trouble in the Chester Cup but made no real progress closing stages there, at least relative to Simenon, and could be overbet NTO.

 

1m2f 3yo Group 3

This is a race that has been of little account in recent years, the pace looked slow. Leading Light an idle type, found plenty for pressure, looks like further will suit, sort to trade higher IR. Little White Cloud is slow but at least paid some sort of compliment to Battle Of Marengo. Count Of Limonade has never beaten a decent horse (in fact has only beaten yokes) while Fighter Squadron would prefer shorter. A mark of 107 overrates Sruthan who found this trip too far anyway; very keen hold and was never going to last home.

 

1m2f Group 1

Camelot found out here as mid-120s horse at best, well-beaten by Al Kazeem who was not given a hard time having travelled the better, only getting two cracks. Possibility the winner will be overrated off this though plenty have been doubted Camelot for a while but hype may still hold sway; feeling at this stage is that likes of Snow Fairy and Cirrus Des Aigles would have winner’s measure, to mention but two, though there may be more to come from Al Kazeem up in trip. This race has no business being a Group 1.

 

1m 3yo Group 1

These looked a poor crop beforehand and nothing to support a contrary view afterwards; something could improve past the winner before season’s end. Rehn’s Nest came from rear having briefly met trouble but is a bit of a thief and one to take on; the form of her sole win is terrible. The attitude concerns about Just Pretending not really an issue now, found plenty for pressure, and improving. Big Break travelled as well as anything bar the winner and this was a very good run conceding fitness all around on ground that would have been quick enough for her. Mizzava has improved run-to-run though may be difficult to place now. Maureen met plenty of trouble and is worth marking up, could well have placed with a clearer run while Dubaya travelled well to a point.

 

6f Handicap

Looked a competitive race beforehand and the form should prove decent. Very impressed with how Via Ballycroy travelled, less so with the fact she swished the tail in the finish (has shown temperament in the past); now in foal and clearly in good heart. A step back up to 7f may suit Arbitrageur while Srucahan has run well; travelled strongly and had to weave way through from rear, Foot Perfect another that met some trouble coming from rear and has joined Halford though temperament issues in past. Lake George in better heart than LTO though not sure to back this up while Greek Canyon showed a bit albeit not any better than form, can win off this mark. Six Of Hearts another that can compete off his mark, best horse at weights here and 7f and/or softer ground might suit; streaky sort but in form now. Curly Wee got an easy time and ran on while Rummaging was off it early but kept at it; has a race in him but it will likely be over further; he tends to improve for a run. Royal Empress, not for the first time, went like a 5f horse, while the well-backed Grey Danube showed little; he’s well-treated but may need the AW. Angela’s Dream was off it early and was entitled to need it while Made In Design is out of form and was one of the first beaten.

 

1m2f Maiden

Orator went like the best horse here, Connor King riding a gradual sort of race but not really allowing for Maggie Dalton quickening up on the inner, more concerned with the others he was going better than; the horse ran on again in the closing stages. Pearl Turn was another to show up well from the Majenta form-line though showed attitude that day while Lake Nova’s debut form looked poor and had a high HC on that occasion. Manalapan has not built on his debut effort despite having conditions back in his favour here and has something to prove while Magical Steps was one of the first beaten. Street Party travelled well and got an easy ride off Lordan, better to come.

Irish Racing Review: Naas, May 15th 2013

 

Naas Review

Naas Review

Meeting Review: Naas – Wednesday, May 15th

6f 2yo Maiden

The action took place up the centre of the track. Heart Focus is one that would find the stiff 6f here her minimum and trainer of same opinion afterwards; step up to 7f will suit though had looked limited before this. Pulled clear with Bye Bye Birdie who travelled the better with Homeric Hymn getting an easy time in third; stayed on from rear (only one to get involved from off the pace), not subjected to any sort of hard race, better than the form. The John Joseph Murphy horses are going through a purple patch, Dimity another to outrun her odds. Tap Dancing was strong in the market and travelled quite well, Little Sweetheart was one that took a fierce hold. Moss Nation may not be straight forward; quite keen, head to side, inclined to hang.

6f 2yo Conditional

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Big Time another winner for the Murphy yard, pretty professional found plenty off the bridle. Fountain Of Youth travelled well and found a bit while Saakhen went best of all (hit 1.37 IR), not see it out having been a little keen, failed to build on promising debut, perhaps some better ground will suit. The one to take from it and in a negative way is Visit Wexford; clearly well thought of as heavily backed, plenty of ability as travelled well but attitude to boot, swished tail each time got the whip and only ran on when whip put down, type that is going to need finessing which he’s unlikely to get with Manning up. Sudirman was never travelling.

6f 3yo Handicap

There was plenty of predicted pace here and they looked to go a good clip; the time was much faster than the preceding 2yo races and the winner came from rear though the ones behind him were always up there. Strong pace would have suited Gathering Power and while one with ability wouldn’t be sure to reproduce this as hard to win with; Lynch is the sort of jockey that would suit. A couple of the pacesetters – Abstraction and Boom And Bloom – looked 5f horses as they travelled better than most; the first-named is particularly interesting as having first start back and marked looked stiff, this was promising. Toccata Blue is one that would have been suited by the strong pace. There was promise in the run of Yulong Baoju; strong in betting on just second start, keen and travelled well, tightened up about 2f and ran on looking like getting into frame before early exertions told and not persevered with; quite impressed with debut win and get impression a bit is thought of it. Lightnin Hopkins not show much despite handicapper giving it a chance. The form of this hasn’t worked out early with both Boom And Bloom and Wexford Opera spurning winnable opportunities soon afterwards.

1m2f Group 3

Euphrasia has gotten the run of this in front with nothing taking her on; that said, she is better than an 85 filly and her LTO run at Limerick has worked out well. Slow pace hardly have suited La Collina; keen hold in rear and the only one to make any sort of late inroads, may not be in love with soft ground either. Princess Highway has travelled like a good horse (went like one that would improve for run) but certainly she is nowhere near as good on soft ground and she’s got a patchy overall profile anyway; reputation precedes her a little but career record now reads 3 good runs, 1 decent run and 4 poor ones. Rehn’s Nest won a rotten race FTO and is one to be against.

1m2f Maiden

Good ride from Smullen on Resolute Response, put him into lead after 4f and got first run on others, notably the second Lake Nova. There might be some temperament to the winner; ran about a little here and didn’t find very much LTO. Lake Nova got shuffled back early which didn’t suit as pace was slow and winner got first run, not beaten up and certainly promise to this run. Indian Icon shaped well, travelled nicely and not given hard time while Conan’s Rock showed little even allowing for things not going right from the stalls, got messed about a bit early, knock to LTO form which looked a weak race at the time. Arch Pearl is bred for better ground.

7f Handicap

Great Ability and September Lily (travelled well on the pace, might prefer 6f but essentially one to oppose) provided a surprise boost to what looked a very poor Cork handicap they fought out LTO. Enough Is Enough had an overall patchy profile but 7f on soft ground is clearly its thing (3022 under such conditions, the 0 when totally missing the break); jockey rather let the winner get first run on him and would likely have won under stronger handling; hopefully will run under unsuitable conditions NTO and then be bigger back on suitable. Tsar Paul ran on from here but held head to side and one to take on as a rule while Glacial was very keen; Zelos Dream is very in-and-out and failed to build on promise of LTO.

1m Maiden

Pace looked steady here and there were few pointers from this. Hanky Panky travelled well but is hardly up to her mark of 93; Nabat Sultan another that travelled well and found a bit; she could improve for this (first run since June) and might be underrated, seemingly having left 2yo efforts behind; dam won on GF and by Invincible Spirit, decent siblings in dam’s family. Sharp Crisp Air looks limited and Say is one that needs to find stones to compete in the Oaks; Morga is a thief (awkward under pressure here) and showed attitude at two.

1m Handicap

More than a few suspect attitudes in here; things didn’t go right for Snakes And Ladders in terms of not getting a clear run early straight but being trapped wide probably suited here as got to come at best of ground along stands’ rail and he’s been dropped on the line which was ideal as his HC is pretty poor; could be one to oppose NTO though won’t be getting much for this. Las Encinas was a little lairy when asked for his effort; Rock On Coco travelled well on the pace but hung terribly when asked to race. Good run from Indy Gal who likely was racing on the worst of the ground nearest to the far side; made good more to get into race midway up straight and nutted on line; 65 looked harsh enough so good run; her yard is streaky but have had a few run well at big prices lately. Stephen Hero was off it sooner than most but came home well; the Oliver horses have been behind but he can win a race on this evidence. Annagh Haven has a terrible HC.

Irish Racing Review: Leopardstown, May 12th 2013

 

Leopardstown Review

Leopardstown Review

Meeting Review: Leopardstown – Sunday, May 12th

6f 2yo Maiden

This was slowly-run like many other races on the card and it was pretty boring to watch in truth; the first four in the same positions throughout. Sacred Aspect has come from the Focus On Venice race over course-and-distance and trainer was at pains to point out after the race that that race had a number of horses that connections liked; I remain to be convinced about how good that race was though. Disappointing that Ealain Aibrean couldn’t winning getting lumps of weight; bit keen but had the run of it and gives a knock to the form of Najm Suhail though that one will be better over 6f. Heart Focus is limited while Pleasant Bay travelled quite well though that may not have been much of an achievement in a race such as this. Third Dimension was very strong in the market from a yard not known for punting theirs and Lyons has history with this race, often starting a good type here as it’s restricted in terms of sales prices; his runner here broke badly but showed little in truth, well-beaten and could be one to take on as might be punted NTO too.

1m Group 3

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The run of the race was interesting with Murtagh trying something new on Sweet Lightening by making it; it didn’t work out and he’s just one that isn’t suited by a small field and his mark flatters him especially as he can’t run to it under conditions as this; had a soft lead when Custom Cut was settled in (jockey hardly wanted to get into a battle with his suspect stamina at the trip) and one to keep opposing in this sort of race. Duntle travelled well in the manner of one that is better than these (which she is), didn’t pick up brilliantly but she’s not a flashy type and never getting beaten, type to improve for this. Trainer said afterwards she wants a strong pace and better ground (formbook backs this up) and no surprise to see her get 10f; might be a touch overrated but keeps winning and was part of a very strong crop of Irish 3yo fillies last year and could well have the measure of this year’s 3yos later in the season. Both Custom Cut and Bold Thady Quill are very likeable and being from smaller yards are likely to be overpriced in races such as this for rest of season; they’re in the form of their lives at present; Custom Cut likely prove best at 7f, Bold Thady the first off it here but ran on well and will do better on deeper ground and/or stronger pace.

1m Group 3

Pace looked stronger here than most races on the card, We’ll Go Walking seems to have only one way of going – hard – and the first five were all dropped out to one degree or other. Very dubious about the form of this with the two fancied ones running no race; We’ll Go Walking dropping out completely and Rawaaq running to about 80, the latter likely best fresh and/or wants softer ground. Consequently, this took little winning and two with dubious attitudes fought it out; Just Pretending has been called tricky by the trainer but in fairness found plenty for the whip, she may just be one the APOB fillies whose form has just taken off; Hint Of A Tint showed temperament as a 2yo. Presence of 80 rated yokes just behind holds the form down and the handicapper hiking Wannabe Better 12lbs to 92 looks harsh; that one wants further on breeding and went like it too, first off it but staying on. Talitha Kum might have done a bit much too soon as part of the pace but isn’t up to this class anyway.

1m2f Group 2

Nothing impressive about Battle Of Marengo especially in light of some wide-margin wins for his stable-mates in England in the previous days; there are some things that suggest he is the pick of them though: has taken the Ballysax/Derrinstown route, was hammered in the betting here (2/13 from 4/9) and APOB may well have done nothing with him since the last day (when he was more impressive and the form worked out), training him only with Epsom in mind; he travelled best here and keeps winning. Loch Garman showed temperament, awkward HC and hanging, his French Group 1 win was a Group 1 in name only and could be flattered by 114. Little White Cloud ran well for one so inexperienced and a tilt at a Royal Ascot handicap looks a good call though he’ll have plenty of weight there; Don’t Bother Me doesn’t get this trip. First Cornerstone was a non-runner but was likely to be sent off at 12/1 plus which suggests he’ll be underrated when he does run though missing this is hardly ideal; the form of his Irish wins is rank but the Racing Post Trophy effort is anything but.

1m Handicap

In a race with few likeable types, the winner Reposer is certainly one; he’s a surprise improver but there is a reason with trainer stating his feed has been changed and he did it very well even getting a soft lead, raced keenly and had this won entering the straight; advantage was reduced in closing stages but that masks his superiority and with this sort of speed will prefer 7f as may not have entirely seen this out; has clearly improved a ton and took the rise out of the bottom grade in his stride. Brown Butterfly never wins and Waydownsouth is similar; off it early he stayed on but is hardly screamingly well-treated. Stronger Than Me had a troubled run, checked early and then ridden to hold position before straight, in rear meeting some trouble in straight but came home well; as a hold-up type needs luck in running but can win off this mark. Bendzoldan showed more than lately; lost position early straight but picked up afterwards not getting clearest run. Little Arrows had to weave way through but is hardly well-handicapped while Danzerini showed little, may need better ground. Pc Henry not show much either but mark likely to drop for this and may have a day as being brought back slowly.

1m4f Handicap

Fairview Star got the run of this in front, a soft lead, and looks flattered. The best horse in this was Aladdins Cave; raced in mid-division, off it over 3f out but came home well and would likely have won with a stronger pace. He’s the definition of likeable: never wins far, never seems to be punted and consistent; had no record fresh before this so improvement likely and could be one for the 1m4f premier handicap on Guineas weekend where sure to be taking on a few hyped yokes. Beach Of Falesa met trouble but is the type to find little while Brog Deas looked awkward under pressure. The slow pace would not have suited Rossvoss and he didn’t run badly in the circumstances; that said, he rarely wins and isn’t likeable. Shadow Eile got hampered in the straight but its chance was gone at the time and isn’t well-treated on the flat while Cebuano looks like proving an all-weather specialist, not that there’s anything wrong with that but it could be a while until you get paid on him with no upcoming fixtures at Dundalk. Salam Alaykhum may have needed it.

1m4f Maiden

Ralston Road is slow (off it early again here) but keeps finding and is likeable; will do better up in trip. There has to be an attitude doubt with Mourani; travelled better than the winner but not find as much, hung in and not really going forward when asked to lead in straight and the blinkers going on so early with Oxx would be a negative. Rae’s Creek improved for the hood (keen-goer) and the run, got plenty to do here and can be rated a bit BTBF. Waver ran a fair race on debut with little help from the saddle, sure to improve, while Teoirim looks very limited.

 

Irish Racing Review: The Curragh, May 6th 2013

 

The Curragh

The Curragh

Curragh – Monday, May 6th

5f 2yo Maiden

Far from impressive from Michaelmas in a very weak race, looked to hold head slightly to side too and not totally helping jockey, likely aided by going from the front; his LTO form from Leopardstown is not working out despite looking a decent race at the time. Good debut from Candy Apples whose stable is in good form while The Organ Grinder doesn’t look like living up to his Phoenix entry. Bru More was the first ridden and would prefer further.

6f Maiden

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Drop in trip suited Scotland Forever after running over 7f LTO (possibly made too much use of); showed attitude that day and likely suited by making it and chance handicapper could take evasive action with him beating a pair of 90 horses. Manning seemed more than happy to anchor Wexford Opera from the stalls, not adopting his trademark pace chasing tactics; strongly suspect he has a kink or two as he came to win his race but got worried out of it by one that may not be genuine either; everything was right here with trip and fitness on his side and still couldn’t win, one to oppose at short prices. True Verdict just isn’t up to her mark while Wannabe Better did come home well having been held up and had to weave way through; not totally sure about HC though it may have been down to meeting slight trouble. Sherzam tightened up a bit and ran on but frustrating type while the definite eye-catcher was Red All Star; raced on wide outside and jockey just gave up closing stages having already been giving it an easy, could well have finished in the frame with a ride. Illustrate was off it from an early stage.

1m2f Group 3

We learned nothing new about Camelot; confidently ridden, travelled well but not really impressive in winning especially with second favourite not running his race; one would expect a Group 1 horse to win more easily even allowing for penalty and lack of run; head possibly a little high; still, he’s a 125 horse and solid at this point but likely to be priced up like a 130 horse in coming runs, yet to face anything much from outside last year’s 3yos, the Arc excepted and we saw what happened there. Triumphant hold his head high but that’s hardly an issue if he’s going to pace-make while Parish Hall didn’t run to form; beaten 3f out, only plugged on, possibly bounced but bit to prove now. Macbeth may prove better down in trip but mark likely to suffer off this.

1m2f Handicap

Run three seconds quicker than the preceding Group 3, the pace looked strong, too strong indeed; Saga Eiger (raced keenly) and General Bunching went at it and headed two front-runners in Benbecula and Bualadh Croi, going particularly hard in the middle part of the race when they went clear; this has suited the hold-up horses. Valbucca travelled well and looks improved for blinkers – 3411 in them – and would have improvement in her for run, weak in betting. The Fox Tully travelled even better than the winner and is a hound, everything right here with fitness, ground/trip to suit and strong pace but didn’t find much and one to oppose. Coco Bella has run well from 2lbs wrong at the weights; travelled well in first time hood and blinds, didn’t get as clear a run as some and can drop in class; belatedly delivered on promise of return for this yard and no problem with drop back in trip, likely suited by run of this but a good effort nonetheless. Strong pace suited Lonan who was off it early, came home well but showed some attitude LTO; wants further. Smoke Charger slightly less keen than has been but not well-handicapped while Benbecula did best of those to race on pace but still well-beaten. Wrekin Rock is one that struggles to hold form and could do with a break and it’s worth forgiving the front-runners their efforts here.

7f 3yo Listed

This took no winning, 95 at very best would have done it; that said, Sruthan did it well, travelled nicely and found plenty on just second start; the Jersey Stakes is too ambitious and would be better going for a good handicap though likely to get an inflated mark for this. Fortify ran on well when headed but is a dodge; Pop Art met trouble but didn’t exactly fly home afterwards and there’s no way she’d be beating the winner on this evidence even allowing for her momentum being halted. Tobann is limited and was soon beaten while Uleavemebreathless is more out than in and was never travelling.

7f Group 3

Pace didn’t look great and Viztoria has come from rear; beat little here but impressive, Murtagh not asking for anything like full effort and quickened up well; will have no problem with a mile on breeding and trainer may still be a bit underrated in better races but has done well with likes of Sole Power. Improved effort from Bunairgead in first time blinkers, not the only mare to boost the form of the Ondeafears races from Gowran over the weekend. Caprella might do better down in trip (goes well at Naas and there are suitable races over 6f for her) and trainer has said she will be put in foal shortly while Roseraie seems paceless regardless of distance. Dubaya is an interesting one as she was supplemented for this (had an entry in the Tetrarch) despite her breeding and runs last year suggesting stamina was her thing; trainer said she’d started showing more speed lately and keen hold here, not given hard time when beaten; one to watch reading between the lines. Infanta Branca appears not to have trained on.

7f Handicap

Slipper Orchid, typical of family, has improved with age and won this nicely enough. Coakley (not much value for his 7lbs) might have made his effort a bit early on Core Element; looks a bit improved for stable switch. Not for the first time, Man Of Erin has fought back after being headed which is something to note for in-running. Little Arrows improved for his first start of the year and does like 7f with some ease while Footprint shaped quite well second time up, travelled well and not beaten up. Winning Impact has met trouble but wasn’t really picking up at the time for a few cracks and this could be overdone; LTO form is not working out. Imaginationrunwild is as disappointing a horse as one will find while Elusive In Paris is out of form.

Irish Racing Review: Gowran Park, April 28th 2013

Gowran Park Racecourse

Gowran Park Racecourse

Gowran Park – Sunday, April 28th

7f Maiden

This form came out of nowhere with Tobann and hard to know whether to trust it; was ponied to the start and head a bit high, not the only wide-margin winner on the day. Silver Lightening’s debut form not worked out and looks limited while Scotland Forever was keen and had the head a bit high too. Hard to like this form and Cocktail Hour has become disappointing; PC Henry in fairness would have more improvement in him than most given the length of time he’s been off. Drifting Mist was one that when with promise on the AW and now has a mark; her trainer very much one with an eye to handicaps.

7f Handicap

Handicapper can’t put Ondeafears up much for this and she could be a Halford improver; shaped like wouldn’t mind 8f here (off it early, came home well) as did LTO though failed over that trip in youth and not bred for it. This might have been an improved effort from Core Element off stable switch; fought on well and new trainer an upgrade on old. Flic Flac hard to win with while this suggests Bunairgead is too high on 92; her maiden win not worked out. Nini Ok travelled nicely (more suited to sprint trips) but never wins while this trip would have been on the sharp side for Maude Adams though her LTO win not really worked out.

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1m Handicap

Hurricane Sky got a pig of a ride over this course last July when heavily backed and his form with Daigreen worked out well in this context; he is one that will like further (by Hurricane Run, dam by sire with SI of 11.6f) but picked up well in the closing stages having been off it early in the manner of one that is well-treated. The second Only Exception wants dropping in trip and might even be a sprinter; shaped that way last year and has a race in him off this mark; wide draw here, had to be used to get early position and trapped wide yet still looked like winning this for a long time. Smoke Charger was keen but has had plenty of chances at this point. Certainly promise from Zelos Dream on first start for new yard; he looked like one that could win off mid-50s mark last summer and has now dropped to 51; could improve for this. Confident Cub is hardly well-treated off his revised mark.

1m Handicap

Quite impressed with how Benalex Park travelled and Conor King certainly looked competent for a 7lb claimer; the 0-70 he was fifth in last time is working out quite well. Busalla is keeping a bit back for himself as was Mamma Rose down the field. Killena Boy is better than the bare form; made effort soon enough and led until under 1f out; sixth doesn’t do him justice and has competed well here off a right hike in the weights. Dragon Khan has ability and recent acquisition for JP though type to be overbet. Carvelas is completely out of form and was off it after a couple of furlongs.

1m 3yo Handicap

Action took place up to stands side of the centre which is unusual for flat racing at the track. Much improved effort from Lucky Kitten, first time blinds, off a mark that looked stiff on maiden runs. Lake Louise improved from debut run (that form starting to work out) while Kiss Goodnight went well off a mark that looked very harsh; her breeding (by Papal Bull) suggested this trip would suit and her best previous effort came over a mile too. Terrible ride on Snake And Ladders; missed break but put into race too early, mid-race move on outer to lead into straight, ask for effort too soon, did well to finish so close, better than form. Miller Beach not build on debut promise.

1m1f Listed

Caponata, typical Weld older horse, tends to have them ready FTO, talking post-race about Group 1 races; looked very promising last year before losing form. Good effort from We’ll Go Walking, pulling clear with winner on just second start. 107 flatters Aloof, that figure achieved in a bad Group 3. Cleofila could prove difficult to place and no surprise to see the two 3yo fillies from last year that ran in pattern races as juveniles well-beaten as that looked a poor crop; Coolibah was awkward under pressure and may have a kink.

1m1f Maiden

Suspect things have fallen right for An Saincheann, eased to front 4f out, unchallenged and never had to get into fight as nothing got into it; looked ungenuine last year and probably still the same even allowing for application of hood; one to be against NTO; may have ability but kinky. Sharp Crisp air an early knock to form of the Kerisa maiden at Leopardstown while Teochrios showed HC in fourth and would be one to oppose in maidens.

1m1f Maiden

Early pace looked slow with a few keen; Safe Home has done very well to come from off it on debut and this was a fine performance. Ghaamer travelled well and should improve for this, won’t mind drop in trip and should win his maiden. League Of Nations looks limited while Manalapan not build on debut promise; Stephen Hero one with HC down the field.

Irish Racing Review: Naas April 20th 2013

Naas Review

Naas Review

Meeting Review: Naas – Saturday, April 20th

1m Maiden

The pace here looked very strong for an ordinary maiden; time much the fastest over the trip on the day, spread out from an early stage and many well off it turning out of the back. Pay The Kitten put up a likeable show, finding plenty in the manner of one that will improve for further; on breeding fast ground will suit. Hold The Line is a different proposition this season after moving to Shanahan; briefly held head off to side when asked to challenge but ran all the way to the line, pulling clear with winner and can win a maiden.

King Of The Romans cut out the running and went hard but found little when asked; maybe 6/7f will suit but might be empty type. There was money for Shouranour and he’s an obvious ‘notebook’ horse given connections but at best he ran to 70 and was well-beaten. Zadawan was clueless on debut, never travelling and it was the same here. There might be something for Harbin down the line; his breeding, price-tag and owners are all interesting given the trainer.

1m Conditional

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Talitha Kum has got the absolute run of this from the front, it was a crawl with a number keen early; flattered in a big way. Fortify found less than nothing, high HC as had been at Cork LTO and one to be against. Manning was poor on Caesaria considering he went forward on him LTO and should have been wiser to the possible slow pace; even so, he showed little considering he had the run and was in form. Not so the last and second last; Mouteab was never going to be suited by the slow pace (likely to improve for up in trip/stronger pace) and Smullen was negative on him considering he had been ridden quite prominently last year; certainly he got no great assistance from the saddle and the blinkers he won in last year were left off; he was keen too. Hard Core Debt was better than the form; very keen but moved up into race from 2f out looking a big danger before lack of run told; trainer has said his horses are behind this week and running as such; he might do something later on.

1m Handicap

Confident Cub might be best on turf; goes well on soft at least. Stoichkhov was a touch unlucky here; lost position after turning into the straight but ran on well in the finish; this ground wouldn’t have looked ideal beforehand but there’s ability there and he’s found consistency for the move in yards. King’s Wharf is not without ability having won twice over hurdles; this wasn’t a bad run. There was shuffling for Big Bad Billy Bob off the turn and he came home well but HC isn’t great and he’s a serial loser. Poor run from Smoke Charger for all that he wasn’t best positioned; no promise despite drop in class. Gold Tantrum would prefer a drop in trip on this evidence (mark looks high enough) while Jennys Lane was a horrible ride, looked rotten.

5f Listed

There can hardly be a more likeable horse in training than Maarek; being a contrary sort, I wouldn’t absolutely rule out him going on good ground and he could be a touch underbet on it should he be given his chance despite his trainer’s utterances on the subject. Hell of a run from Scream Blue Murder off the back of a maiden win at Bellewstown; she’d be more entitled than most to improve for it as it was her first start since April and was third string. Doc Hay travelled as well as any in rear but may not be back in Ireland for a while; this should bring him on. The HC on Leitir Mor isn’t great while things were going badly for Cape Of Approval from the start; squeezed out from stalls and not run to form. My Girl Anna didn’t travel like she can, one of first off it, while Nero Emperor looks an empty sort; bags of toe but possibly doesn’t get the trip.

6f Handicap

Allegra Tak isn’t the easiest to predict but does go well here, 3 from 5 at the track. Definite promise from Theyturnedmedown on return from 2lbs out of the handicap; he finished last term off poorly having looked good on previous starts but this suggests can win off this mark and is a pointer to Ningaloo Reef who ran with promise last weekend. A faster surface would suit Arbitrageur better while An Saighduir is likely handicapped to the hilt; Flic Flac is always one to take on for win purposes. Bird’s Eye View doesn’t look well-treated on this evidence and carries its head high while Kateeva lost any chance at the start when rearing.

7f Handicap

This Damian English lad can train a bit and has done some job with Cash Or Casualty; if I had a middling handicapper to go into training right now he’d be near top of the list. Ondeafears wasn’t helped by Seanie messing around in the early stages (running around) but has gone like one that would like further here; seemingly unable to go the pace early, off it before most, needing to be switched and coming home well; might be worth a try over a mile. Star Links is in good heart while Imaginationrunwild travelled well (not like the same yard’s Hard Core Debt earlier on the card) in the manner of one that would improve for the run; jockey looked around 2f out like he had plenty under him but not pick up and mark has dropped. Qasser is not well-treated off 81 and has shown temperament while Gunner Lindley finds 7f too sharp and is harshly handicapped. Seanie was having a prep run for the Victoria Cup and went as such, not given a hard time while Hurricane Twister showed nothing on conditions that suit.

7f Maiden

Poor race and it was slowly-run, the first three up there throughout. Suspect the first and third are dodges, the winner the lesser as ‘only’ hung LTO while Lake District looked very bad previously. Montferrat was keen and might be more of a sprinter but on the whole hard to like any of these.

Irish Racing Review: Leopardstown April 14th 2013

Leopardstown Review

Leopardstown Review

Leopardstown – Saturday, April 14th

6f 2yo Maiden

Sedate pace here and Tom Dooley looks flattered having made it. Focus On Venice didn’t look much on breeding but Bolger can make a fool of pedigree and tends to run a good one in the race; he travelled worst of the first three but was professional. Not so Michaelmas who ran about a bit under pressure but picked up well when asked and closed to the line. Glory Boy the one to take from it and another example of Weld keeping his good horses for this track; he travelled nearly as well as the second and was tightened up quite badly on the rail over 1f out when coming with his run before running on again afterwards. Fine Cut was keen enough.

1m 3yo Listed

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There looked a proper pace on; Fort Knox has been very impressive and shown a sharp turn-of-foot for the second time in as many races, classy prospect and weak in the betting for a yard that tend to know what they’re at so there could be improvement; excellent performance albeit with lots of dogs down the field but he has really flew home. No fluke about the effort of Don’t Bother Me and he might prove better over 7f. High Octane has a very high HC (as had on debut) while Dibayani looked awkward too, particularly on the turn, one to oppose. O’Brien might use the headgear to good effect on handicappers and maidens but cheek-pieces going on a stallion prospect like The United States FTO were a big negative and he has a lot to prove. Move To Strike was keen and is another with lots to prove.

1m Listed

Hate to go down the road of ‘vibes’ but get the feeling that Declaration Of War is very good albeit that he hasn’t really shown it from a form point of view yet; travelled nicely here and certainly not the first that Ballydoyle have got from another yard and improved plenty. Bold Thady Quill has improved this season while Sweet Lightening just isn’t suited by this sort of race; indeed he looked like a dodge, head high and not going forward. Big field handicaps are his thing but next to impossible to win one off 112. Paene Magnus looks a polytrack horse.

7f 3yo Group 3

General impression that this was a poor race if Rawaaq (well-exposed as below the best last year; possibly best fresh) could win it; Liberating also a bit close up in fourth for it to be a decent race. That is a negative for all field and the only positive could be that Weld has plenty at home that would have been perceived as better than the winner; in fairness to her, she does go well on bad ground. What Style has improvement in her for going up in trip but everything went right in the race (good position off a slow enough pace) and wasn’t good enough.

1m2f Group 3

There is nothing remotely flashy about Battle Of Marengo but he’s very likeable and has slipped below the radar for an open Derby; has the best form on offer in that race. Beat the right horse here in Sugar Boy (keen) giving it weight and looks like one that will have no problem with 12f, never looked like getting beaten and well on top at the line. Imperial Concorde has travelled best and should have a race in him while Beyond Thankful travelled well enough too. Alpinist was poor but his form was too; he was found to be lame.

7f Handicap

Suspect Fastidious got a soft lead here and is not as good as he looked; hike in the weights away and he doesn’t win too often so one to oppose NTO as this was a bad one. September Lily is 0/16 career with 9 places so is one to be against and likewise Lily Of Kenmare; not harshly dealt with by the handicapper, she was off it early in the manner of one not liking the ground and/or finding the trip too sharp, her HC says her attitude will hold her back. Little Arrows might improve for his first run since July and would prefer a better pace; 7f on good or slower appears to be his thing, in handicaps of this type he is now:1133431 and the form of his last win worked out well. Ningaloo Reef might be the one to take from it; keen early and was conceding fitness to most of these, did best of those held up and would be eligible for 0-75s with his mark. The ground would hardly have suited Cluin Aine while Bendzoldan is out of form.

1m6f Handicap

This hardly took much winning with a number of the ‘potential’ horses coming out because of the ground, Ozeta not running a race, and most of these, with the notable exception of Leroy Parker, were well off it before turning in; of that one, he either wasn’t getting home or is a dodge or a combination of the two. Justification won’t mind further on this evidence while Rossvoss stayed on well but on the whole I’d take a pretty dim view of this form.

Irish Racing Review: Curragh April 7th 2013

Leopardstown review

Leopardstown review

Curragh Review – Sunday, April 7th

5f 2yo Maiden

Fast In The Wind had a bit of breeding to him, costing 45k and a half to Maybe Grace; had a clear run of things when switched wide from rear and his trainer’s horses have started the season well as has often been the case. Coach House was strong in the market and very well-bred out of Lesson In Humility; travelled just about best and one that is likely to be better for the run. With where Saakhen raced in rear, he was always likely to get trouble trapped in a pocket and came home well when finally extricated from it; in contrast to the winner, he had a troubled run. I get the impression that the Prendergast runners are being underrated by the market at the moment, perhaps working off the belief that he is finished, but despite only having had one winner this season a lot of them have outrun their odds. Highland Falcon ran poorly, beaten more than twice as far as in the first race of the year and that is an early knock to that form.

7f Maiden

They walked here and while Moth has done well to come from off a slow pace and quickened it up she has beaten very little (only the horse she raced with in Naas last backend) and is hard to get carried away with; Guineas prices are far-fetched. Bethany Bay and Tobann had the run of this from the front but could make little impact; neither has the most endearing head-carriage; the former holding it off to the side in the finish while the latter held it to the side mid-race. Sea Shadow failed to build on a promising debut.

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7f Group 3

Things likely went the way of Custom Cut, getting an easy one in front, but he deserves credit all the same, fighting on well in the closing stages as higher rated horses came at him; whether he is good enough to win again at this level remains to be seen. Hard to be anything but positive about Nephrite; came off a long break here, given an exaggerated hold-up ride off a slow pace and travelled best; won’t mind cutting back to 6f and his breeding would support him being a sprinter. La Collina was off the bridle earlier than most but kept finding; she is one that would not have been suited by a slowly-run 7f and will do better back at a mile; the Ridgewood Pearl on Guineas weekend is the obvious race for her. Bold Thady Quill is in the form of his life though whether he is any better than this is doubtful. Carmody said Foxtrot Romeo was nowhere near fit but the market said otherwise (move for him on-course as is often the case with this crowd); he ran poorly and has it to prove as does Lady Wingshot who tends to improve for the run but will need to step up markedly from this.

1m Handicap

Another slowly-run affair and Maude Adams is worth marking up; came from rear with a good run and won with a bit in hand in the end; got 7lbs up to 84 but no surprise if she can win off that again as looks on the improve. Winning Impact doesn’t get this trip but can certainly win off this sort of mark at 7f. Miller Beach met some trouble entering the final furlong and is value for more than this; both his good runs have come on turf with a slight ease. Smoke Charger ran really well from a pound out of the handicap; he got shuffled back at a key stage by fading leaders but came home well and with a mark of 52 on the turf can surely win in the bottom grade. Bendzoldan looks out of form while Daring Man got a poor ride; a dubious stayer at this trip as well as a hound, he was in front over 2f out but didn’t get home and got little cover either; he’s also one that goes well fresh so is not sure to be in the same heart next time.

1m2f Listed

The pace was slow enough early but it lifted soon enough; the front-running Inis Meain is likeable and still improving on the flat and beat some higher rated horses here; he provided another boost to the Lincoln form. Like Nephrite earlier, hard to be negative on Parish Hall; raced keenly and coming off a long break (also reportedly met a setback when being prepped for Dubai), he did wander in the closing stages and held head a bit awkwardly but appeared to be going forward. The bounce would be a worry next time but he could improve coming into this off a setback. Steps To Freedom is an open book, not good enough in this grade and better conceding weight against inferiors; his figures in listed races or better are:433793, other flat races:12211. Ernest Hemingway’s mark overrates him. Montebell was strong in the market and raced keenly; she would be better off running in a handicap with her mark of 95.

1m4f Handicap

A race full of badly-handicapped horses as indicated by Tantalising winning and first six being covered by about 2 lengths. Fantasy King travelled well in rear and came home strongly but he’s one that could bounce next time and has never been straightforward. Beach Of Falesa was another than travelled well but she found little and can’t be excused this as it was her second run; she is hardly well-treated at this point. It is worth taking a negative view of this form.

1m2f Maiden

Worth taking a reasonably positive view of the form of the front two, particularly Manalapan who travelled better than Ruler Of The World and won’t mind cutting back in trip; this was a fine debut and his small yard means he might be underbet next time. Hudson’s Bay was fiercely disappointing especially given the form of the yard.