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Racing Insights, 31st October 2020

Matt standing in for Chris again. Friday's race went largely as anticipated, though the winner - flagged here yesterday - was a rotten price in the end! Lezardrieux made him battle and Lucky Lodge came home fourth, almost completing a trifecta from four horses in the summary (the other was sent off at 66/1 and ran like it).

We'll crack on with Saturday.

It's a terrific day of racing where the jumpers really come to the fore, and the awesome TJ Combo report is the free feature.

Meanwhile, the six free races are...

  • 12.32 Ayr
  • 14.40 Newmarket
  • 15.35 Down Royal
  • 15.40 Ascot
  • 15.50 Newmarket
  • 17.30 Wolverhampton

I've set up the Course 5 Year view on the TJ Combo report and, because there is so much good racing, I've gone with an ultra-demanding IV of 2, meaning a trainer/jockey pairing must win at least twice as often as the average at the tracks in question. That narrows things down to a workable number.

 

Let's take them in order, starting with the Nicky Richards/Brian Hughes combo and their 41% hit rate at Ayr in the last five years. Clicking on the row shows today's qualifier and clicking the little 'up arrow' to the left of the trainer name reveals the historical qualifiers:

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There are more qualifiers than I'm showing in the above, but we can clearly see that a lot of these winners have occurred recently: five from eight in 2020 alone. However, note that Castle Rushen was beaten in a bumper here in March. Having looked at the race I'd say he's a very good chance to win (duh) and his price is about right. About right is not a value proposition to me, so I'll let him go.

Next is the hot Bailey/Bass team, who combine for two runners at Wetherby. Vinndication is a classy chap but he's in deep tomorrow, against Cyrname and co, and - again - his price is tight enough; in fact, it's a bit on the skinny side for my tastes.

But their other runner, Hes No Trouble, has a case to be made for him beyond the TJ Combo angle.

Below I've highlighted my Report Angles (the red '3' and accompany trio of rows) and QT Angle (the blue '1' and accompanying row). These tell me that Bailey/Bass are in great recent form as well as having great long-term course form; and I also note that Bailey is one of my trainers to mark up with runners on their first start after a wind op (see the W1 by the horse's name).

Also note the t1 - first time tongue tie - which implies this fellow has been struggling quite badly with his breathing.

Looking at his form, it might also be he's been struggling with distance and ground: after a win on a similarly flat track over a similar trip on similar ground and off a similar mark he was then beaten over half a mile further, on softer ground and in higher grade.

This is still a Class 3 race but he gets a shorter distance and faster turf; and of course he gets the wind tweaks. There's enough there to make 10/1 look big enough for all that it's a competitive race with plenty of other (shorter priced) options.

And I was able to make a value case for the McCain/Hughes partnership's Ayr runner, Goobinator, too.

This time it is because, rightly or wrongly, I want to be against 5/2 ish second choice, Calva D'Auge. The form of that one's wins has worked out terribly (note the 'Then What?' section on the right hand side) - the only winner from 39 subsequent starters from the Wincanton victory was... himself next time out; and there have been no winners from 19 from that Plumpton run since.

Of course,  it's a new season and Calva has a heavy ground score but he's making the market for me.

Similar to Bailey and Bass, Goobinator represents strong recent TJ form as well as longer term TJ track form, as can be seen from my Report Angles in the image below.

Their other runner goes in the 'newcomers' bumper, in which - as the name suggests - none of the field has run before. Not for me, thanks.

And the final contender from my strict TJ Combo shortlist is the Mark Johnston/PJ McDonald pairing at Newmarket. They saddle Reams Of Love, a nursery handicap debutant in a field full of unexposed types. We can see that both trainer and jockey have a great track record, together and individually: that's perhaps because Newmarket favours front-runners and most of Johnston's are ridden from the front.

Although it's far from assured, with so many yet to established a pattern to their preferred run style, what we do know is that the Johnston horse has led in both starts to date. He'll make a bold bid under a jockey that rides the course very well.

Summary

Even deploying a seriously demanding Impact Value parameter of 2 on the Trainer Jockey Combo report, I still get plenty with which to work. A number of these look degrees of interesting at the prices. I will be backing Hes No Trouble for small stakes each way at around 11/1, and may have a small win bet on Reams Of Love, too, the 13/2 in a place (BOG if you can get it with 365) feeling like a sliver on the generous side (and, in this case, it really is no more than a feeling).

Princess Zoe still thriving in search of famous ParisLongchamp double

Tony Mullins is hopeful Princess Zoe can go close in her bid to complete a famous Group One double in the Prix Royal-Oak at ParisLongchamp.

The remarkable mare has enjoyed a meteoric rise since being bought from Germany this year, progressing from a mark of 64 when second on her Irish debut at Navan in June to claim top-level honours in the Prix du Cadran three weeks ago.

The five-year-old will be bidding for a sixth successive win on her return to Paris on Sunday, with Seamie Heffernan taking over in the saddle from suspended apprentice Joey Sheridan.

Mullins said: “Hopefully it’s not too quick a return. We wouldn’t be here if we saw any evidence that it was, but you’re not really going to know until the last 200 metres on Sunday – that will be the acid test.

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“Everything has gone according to plan, and we don’t see any problems at the moment.

“We think we’re in as good a form as we were the last day, if not better.”

Princess Zoe is set to face seven rivals in the two-mile contest, with British hopes carried by the Mark Johnston-trained Subjectivist.

Mullins views Alain de Royer-Dupre’s Valia, winner of the Prix Chaudenay on Arc weekend, as the chief threat to his stable star.

He added: “We see the Aga Khan filly and Mark Johnston’s horse as the two dangers. I think more the Aga Khan filly, who is a possible improver.

“She’ll have to improve again, I think, but it’s very possible that she will.”

Subjectivist has enjoyed a fine campaign for the Johnston team, with a wide-margin victory in the Group Three March Stakes at Goodwood the undoubted highlight.

Subjectivist comes home clear in the March Stakes
Subjectivist comes home clear in the March Stakes (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

The Teofilo colt was last seen finishing seventh in the St Leger at Doncaster.

Charlie Johnston, assistant to his father, said: “If you had asked me a month ago where he was going to go, I would have said the Long Distance Cup at Ascot last weekend – that was Plan A.

“But then when Stradivarius turned up and Aidan (O’Brien) declared everything he did, it looked a deeper field than we expected it to be, so at the last minute we decided to give it a swerve and go for the Royal-Oak. Looking at it, I think it’s the right decision.

“The trip is a little bit of an unknown – you are always a little bit hesitant with him because of his run style and how he likes to get on with things.

“Princess Zoe needed every yard of the two and a half miles last time, and I would like to think over this trip we might have too much class for her. Our horse will handle the conditions and goes there with a good chance.”

Van Gogh bidding to add further lustre O’Brien’s Criterium record

Van Gogh bids to provide Aidan O’Brien with a record fifth victory in the Criterium International at Saint-Cloud on Saturday.

In a Group One inaugurated in 2001, the Ballydoyle trainer first struck gold with Mount Nelson in 2006. He has since added to his tally with Jan Vermeer (2009), Roderic O’Connor (2010) and Johannes Vermeer (2015).

Van Gogh heads to France with plenty of experience under his belt from six career outings and has been placed three times at Pattern level, most recently chasing home Charlie Appleby’s One Ruler in the Autumn Stakes at Newmarket a fortnight ago.

“We were delighted with Van Gogh at Newmarket,” said O’Brien.

“We took our time on him, and he came home very well.

“It was a good performance – he looked like he was finishing his race off well, and we are looking forward to seeing him run.”

After electing to run the aforementioned One Ruler in the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster on the same afternoon, Appleby instead sends the unbeaten La Barrosa across the Channel to take on Van Gogh.

The Lope De Vega colt looked a high-class prospect when winning on racecourse debut at Ascot in early September, and furthered that impression with a Group Three success in Newmarket’s Tattersalls Stakes three weeks later.

La Barrosa is another exciting prospect for Charlie Appleby
La Barrosa is another exciting prospect for Charlie Appleby (Alan Crowhurst/PA)
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Appleby said: “La Barrosa won the Tattersalls Stakes, which turned into a little tactical affair, but he got the job done.

“It’s going to be very testing ground at Saint-Cloud, but we are confident with his pedigree that should suit him.

“He did show his class to win from the position he was in at Newmarket, but he has got to improve again stepping up to a Group One. I think going up to a mile will help him, for sure.”

Simon and Ed Crisford’s dual winner Jadoomi is the other British challenger in a seven-strong field.

The other Group One contest on the card is the Criterium de Saint-Cloud, which is run over a mile and a quarter.

O’Brien has also claimed this prize on four occasions, most recently with Recital in 2010, and this year relies on Bolshoi Ballet – who was third on his Newmarket debut before opening his account in some style at Leopardstown just last week.

“He ran green at Newmarket first time out, but then he won well at Leopardstown the next day,” said O’Brien.

“There’s lots of stamina in the pedigree, so you wouldn’t be too worried about stepping up to 10 furlongs.

“Hopefully he runs well.”

British hopes are carried by David Menuisier’s Belloccio and Gear Up from Mark Johnston’s yard.

David Menuisier is enjoying an excellent campaign
David Menuisier is enjoying an excellent campaign (Simon Cooper/PA)

Belloccio faces a significant step up in class after winning on his introduction at Salisbury a few weeks ago, and bids to provide his French-born trainer with a second Group One in as many weeks following Wonderful Tonight’s success at Ascot last weekend.

Menuisier said: “He’s a horse we like. He won on pure ability at Salisbury, because he was still raw and has come on big time for the run.

“We feel he’s a good horse, and at this time of the year you don’t have much to lose. If he runs well it would be fantastic, and he could well do that. If he doesn’t, what would we have lost?

“I really don’t think either the trip or the conditions will bother him – he might even handle them better than some.

“I’m intrigued to see how he runs, more than confident, but if he runs well I wouldn’t be surprised – because he’s a horse we love.”

Gear Up won on his debut at York and returned to the Knavesmire to win the Group Three Acomb Stakes, before finishing fourth in last month’s Royal Lodge at Newmarket.

Charlie Johnston, assistant to his father, said: “Judged on his run at Newmarket, you would be hopeful the step up to a mile and a quarter would see more improvement in him.

“We left Newmarket a bit frustrated. I felt they didn’t go very quick through the middle part of the race; Frankie (Dettori) sprinted into the dip on New Mandate (winner), and we were quite a long way out of our ground two furlongs out, then we were beaten only a couple of lengths.

“It will be bottomless ground on Saturday, but he has won on good to soft at York – and he goes there with a live chance.”

Elarqam bounces back to form with Legacy win

Elarqam got his career back on track with a front-running victory in the Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup at Newbury.

A son of Frankel out of the yard’s brilliant racemare Attraction, Mark Johnston’s has largely upheld family honour well, with Group Three and Group Two triumphs featuring among his five previous career wins.

However, since a promising start to the season when touched off by Lord North at Haydock, the five-year-old has disappointed in both the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot and when bidding for back-to-back successes in the York Stakes.

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Jim Crowley’s mount was a 2-1 shot for his latest assignment and led his three rivals from the off.

Admirable veteran Desert Encounter – winner of this Group Three contest in 2017 and 12 months ago – emerged as the biggest threat in the final furlong, but Elarqam dug deep to see him off by a length and a half.

Market leader Extra Elusive (6-4) was third, with Gifts Of Gold last of the quartet.

Elarqam (centre) proved too good at Newbury
Elarqam (centre) proved too good at Newbury (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Johnston said: “It is great to see him back winning. It’s a shame it hasn’t been on a big day this year.

“If you look at his form last year, you would have said he should be winning a Group One this year and unfortunately it hasn’t fallen his way. We were running out of opportunities and that is why we came here, as there wasn’t really anywhere else to go. Everything has gone his way today, so it was good to see.

“It has been a frustrating season. When you look at his run in the Juddmonte last year, you would have said he showed there he was well and truly a Group One horse.

“With a pedigree like his, you would expect to see him get a Group One for a good stud job. I’m sure he will get a good stud job, but we want to see him get a good one, that is why it has been frustrating.

“I don’t think it matters where you run him. He is a bit lazy. If you think back to his best run this year at Haydock, given another 100 yards he would have got back up. He just gets a bit idle in front and needs something to aim at. If they sprint at him too quickly, it doesn’t give him time to respond.

“I don’t know what we do now to be honest. I just wanted to get another win back under his belt, but we are running out of opportunities.”

Stat of the Day, 11th September 2020

Thursday's pick was...

3.25 Chepstow : Under Curfew @ 9/2 BOG 3rd at 9/2 (Raced keenly, chased leaders in centre, led over 1f out, headed close home, lost 2nd at post)

Friday's pick runs in the...

5.00 Salisbury :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Normally, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.30am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

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?

Julie Johnston @ 7/2 BOG

...in an 8-runner, Class 3,  Flat Handicap Nursery for 2yo fillies over 6f on Good ground worth £9,704 to the winner...

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Why?...

We start with the unique Geegeez interactive racecard...

...and a 2 yr old filly (obviously) who has won twice and placed twice in her five outings beyond 5 furlongs, only failing to make the frame on a three-length defeat at a higher grade at Goodwood six weeks ago. She's 1152 at 6f, has a win and a place from two good ground runs, is 131 at 7-28 days rest and tops the Geegeez Speed ratings today.

Jockey Jack Mitchell's 12-month record here at Salisbury is shown above, whilst over the last 16 months, his numbers here are...

including of relevance today...

  • 7/25 (28%) for 15.94pts (+63.8%) in races worth less than £10k
  • 5/13 (38.5%) for 2.35pts (+18%) at odds of 4/1 and shorter
  • 4/12 933.3%) for 15.81pts (+131.7%) on 2 yr olds
  • and 3/13 (23.1%) for 22.59pts (+173.8%) on female runners...

...whilst trainer Mark Johnston is also no slouch around this neck of the woods either. He doesn't actually send many runners here, but they do well enough for at least a second glance, as since 2014, they are...

with a near 1 in 6 strike rate producing a yield just shy of 10%. A satisfactory return for a long-term investment, I suppose, but it's not sexy or exciting, is it? So where should we focus our Johnston/Salisbury betting, Chris?

Well, you could stick to 2 year olds running at Classes 1 to 3, sent off at Evens to 16/1, who are...

...which almost doubles our strike rate, multiplies our profit more than fives times over and also includes of note today...

  • 5/13 (38.5%) for 30.18pts (+232.2%) in fields of 5-10 runners
  • 4/7 (57.1%) for 12.09pts (+172.7%) were placed LTO
  • 2/7 (28.6%) for 22.46pts (+320.9%) at Class 3
  • and 2/6 (33.3%) for 20.65pts (+344.2%) over this 6f C&D...

...whilst in fields of 5-10 runners, horses who made the frame LTO are also 4/7 (57.1% SR) for 12.09pts (+172.7% ROI), including a win and a place from two Class 3 efforts and a win and a place from two over this 6f C&D...

...giving us... a 1pt win bet on Julie Johnston @ 7/2 BOG as was widely available at 7.45am Friday, but as always please check your own BOG status (*some firms are not BOG until later in the morning)To see a small sample of odds offered on this race...

...click here for the betting on the 5.00 Salisbury

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

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

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

Stat of the Day, 17th June 2020

Tuesday's pick was...

4.00 Chelmsford : Seneca Chief @ 11/4 BOG (2.34/1 after 15p Rule 4) WON at 6/4 (Tracked leader, pushed into lead over 1f out, pulled clear final furlong to win by three and a half lengths)

Wednesday's pick runs in the...

6.50 Chelmsford :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Currently, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.30am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

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?

Huraiz @ 4/1 BOG

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...in a 6-runner, Class 3, A/W handicap for 3yo over 7f on Polytrack worth £6,728 to the winner...

Why?...

Well, as usual, the racecard should be your starting point...

...and we can instantly see a 3yr old horse dropping in class for his second run in a handicap and trained by someone with a good record at this venue. He's priced at odds we can get some reasonable value from, is the top rated (OR) runner in the race and also is top of our SR ratings.

Starting with that green C5 icon denoting that Mark Johnston has a good record here at Chelmsford. This is, of course, true, but for terms of relevance today, this is what's interesting about this runner...

An excellent recent course and distance record with horses deemed to have at least a chance by the market, and of those 50 runners...

  • 12/29 (41.4%) for 5.77pts (+19.9%) in races worth £4k to £8k
  • 10/22 (45.5%) for 24.13pts (+109.7%) in fields of 5-8 runners
  • 6/19 (31.6%) for 5.96pts (+31.4%) were unplaced last time out
  • and 4/10 (40%) with Franny Norton in the saddle...

...whilst in 5-8 runner contests worth less than £8k, they are 7 from 14 (50% SR) for 7.69pts (+54.9% ROI).

And now onto that HC2  icon denoting a second run in a handicap and in particular this Mark Johnston angle...


...and those 51 runners include the following ten profitable angles...

  • 11/35 (31.4%) for 19.78pts (+56.5%) from male runners
  • 9/29 (31%) for 12.69pts (+43.8%) over 6 to 8 furlongs
  • 8/30 (26.7%) for 14.07pts (+46.9%) were unplaced last time out
  • 8/22 (36.4%) for 10.86pts (+49.4%) on Polytrack
  • 7/17 (41.2%) for 17.01pts (+100.1%) in races worth £4k to £8k
  • 7/15 (46.7%) for 34.3pts (+228.7%) in fields of 5-6 runners
  • 6/19 (31.6%) for 19.9pts (+104.7%) after a break of just 11-20 days
  • 5/25 (20%) for 13.3pts (+53.2%) in 3 yo races
  • 4/14 (28.6%) for 15.17pts (+108.3%) for jockey Franny Norton
  • and 3/6 (50%) for 6.27pts (+104.5%) here at Chelmsford

...steering us towards...a 1pt win bet on Huraiz @ 4/1 BOG as was offered by Bet365, Coral & Ladbrokes amongst others at 8.15am Wednesday, but as always please check your BOG status. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting...

...click here for the betting on the 6.50 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

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

Stat of the Day, 15th June 2020

Saturday's pick was...

1.15 Newbury : Singing Sheriff @ 5/1 BOG 6th at 3/1 (Awkwardly and lost ground start, held up in last pair, headway on far rail over 2f out, ridden and hung left 2f out, weakened final furlong)

Monday's pick runs in the...

3.25 Pontefract :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Currently, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.30am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

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.

Your first 30 days for just £1

Who?

My Girl Maggie @ 11/4 BOG

...in a 7-runner, Class 5, Flat handicap for 3yo over 1m4f on Good ground worth £3,493 to the winner...

Why?...

In my haste this morning to get out to my aunt's funeral, I inadvertently quoted Mark Johnston's Goodwood stats! So, much later than planned/usual (approaching 12.30pm!), here are the correct details for today...

Mark Johnston + Pontefract + Classes 2-5 + 1m2f and beyond + 9/1 max SP + 2016-20 = 16 from 55 (29.1% SR) for 10.03pts (+18.2% ROI), from which...

  • 10/27 (37%) for 10.23pts (+37.9%) were placed LTO
  • 7/18 (38.9%) for 7.09pts (+39.4%) with those with a run in the previous 10 days
  • 6/14 (42.9%) for 3.13pts (+22.4%) in 3yo contests
  • 4/13 (30.8%) for 10.05pts (+77.3%) with females
  • 4/11 (36.4%) for 2.18pts (+19.8%) in June
  • and 4/10 (40%) for 16.84pts (+168.4%) with Joe Fanning in the saddle

Plus from the unique Geegeez racecard pace/draw heatmap...

...which is why I placed...a 1pt win bet on My Girl Maggie @ 11/4 BOG as was widely available at 8.00am Monday, but as always please check your BOG status. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting...

...click here for the betting on the 3.25 Pontefract

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

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

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

Stat of the Day, 15th June 2020

Saturday's pick was...

1.15 Newbury : Singing Sheriff @ 5/1 BOG 6th at 3/1 (Awkwardly and lost ground start, held up in last pair, headway on far rail over 2f out, ridden and hung left 2f out, weakened final furlong)

Monday's pick runs in the...

3.25 Pontefract :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Currently, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.30am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

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.

Your first 30 days for just £1

Who?

My Girl Maggie @ 11/4 BOG

...in a 7-runner, Class 5, Flat handicap for 3yo over 1m4f on Good ground worth £3,493 to the winner...

Why?...

In my haste this morning to get out to my aunt's funeral, I inadvertently quoted Mark Johnston's Goodwood stats! So, much later than planned/usual (approaching 12.30pm!), here are the correct details for today...

Mark Johnston + Pontefract + Classes 2-5 + 1m2f and beyond + 9/1 max SP + 2016-20 = 16 from 55 (29.1% SR) for 10.03pts (+18.2% ROI), from which...

  • 10/27 (37%) for 10.23pts (+37.9%) were placed LTO
  • 7/18 (38.9%) for 7.09pts (+39.4%) with those with a run in the previous 10 days
  • 6/14 (42.9%) for 3.13pts (+22.4%) in 3yo contests
  • 4/13 (30.8%) for 10.05pts (+77.3%) with females
  • 4/11 (36.4%) for 2.18pts (+19.8%) in June
  • and 4/10 (40%) for 16.84pts (+168.4%) with Joe Fanning in the saddle

Plus from the unique Geegeez racecard pace/draw heatmap...

...which is why I placed...a 1pt win bet on My Girl Maggie @ 11/4 BOG as was widely available at 8.00am Monday, but as always please check your BOG status. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting...

...click here for the betting on the 3.25 Pontefract

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

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

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

Stat of the Day, 11th June 2020

Wednesday's pick was...

5.20 Wolverhampton : Bavardages @ 10/3 BOG 2nd at 5/2 (Raced wide prominent, led 2f out, ridden and headed inside final furlong, edged left towards finish and beaten by a neck) : I'd say he was forced left rather than him edging over, but the neck margin of defeat wasn't as close as it seems.

Thursday's pick runs in the...

5.40 Lingfield :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Currently, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.30am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

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?

Almqvist @ 11/4 non-BOG or 5/2 BOG

Your first 30 days for just £1

...in a 9-runner, Class 5, A/W handicap for 3yo over 6f on Polytrack worth £3,493 to the winner...

Why?...

We start with the entry in the racecard...

...which tells us instantly that both trainer and jockey have decent records at the track (green C5 icon), so I won't labour those individual points today and move straight on the horse itself, a 3 yr old Colt who was a course and distance winner under today's jockey when last seen 90 days ago. This makes him another qualifier for this angle I used yesterday that almost bagged us another winner...

...yesterday's losing selection hasn't been added to the stats just yet, but that doesn't alter the numbers too much and of those 52 (now 53, of course!) qualifiers...

  • those competing for less than £8k are 18/43 (41.9%) for 42.1pts (+98%)
  • on Polytrack : 12/27 (44.4%) for 24.1pts (+89.1%)
  • ridden by Joe Fanning : 10/26 (38.5%) for 16.3pts (+62.6%)
  • at Class 5 : 8/17 (47.1%) for 21.75pts (+128%)
  • here at Lingfield : 8/13 (61.5%) for 22.9pts (+176%)
  • LTO Winners are 6/10 960%) for 15.03pts (+150.3%)
  • and those coming back from 60-90 days off track are 4 from 8 (50%) for 11.5pts (+143.6%)

I wasn't surprised to see good numbers above for the jockey and track filters, because according to a simple angle I have stored in my Geegeez Query Tool...

this has happened...

and the above impressive 81% ROI at SP (which nobody should be using) is transformed to a brilliant 107.8% at Betfair SP! And of these 71 qualifiers from a really simple angle...

  • male runners are 16/45 (35.6%) for 45.4pts (+100.8%)
  • those racing in fields of 7-9 runners are 12/31 (38.7%) for 68.8pts (+222.1%)
  • those competing for prizes less than £4k are 10/34 (29.4%) for 48.8pts (+143.5%)
  • whilst Class 5 runners are 7/21 (33.3%) for 32.3pts (+153.7%)

...giving us...a 1pt win bet on Almqvist @ 11/4 non-BOG or 5/2 BOG as was offered generally at 8.10am Thursday, but as always please check your BOG status. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting...

...click here for the betting on the 5.40 Lingfield

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

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

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

Stat of the Day, 10th June 2020

Tuesday's pick was...

2.15 Haydock : Mountain Brave @ 5/1 BOG 2nd at 8/1 (Led, driven and headed 1f out, held towards finish) : right on the pace as expected, but couldn't hold on.

Wednesday's pick runs in the...

5.20 Wolverhampton :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Currently, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.30am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

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?

Bavardages @ 10/3 or 3/1 BOG

Your first 30 days for just £1

...in a 9-runner, Class 5, A/W handicap for 3yo over 1m½f on Tapeta worth £4,690 to the winner...

Why?...

This 3yr old colt has finished 112 in his last three starts, all in A/W handicaps and he has the benefit of having had a pipe-opener this season already, when a half-length runner-up on Newcastle's Tapeta six days ago. That was coming off a break of 198 days and I'd expect him to come on for the run.

PJ McDonald rides for Mark Johnston here and the pair have already had 4 winners from 14 together since the resumption and they make a pretty good team in A/W handicaps as is best shown as follows...

...and those figures include of relevance today...

  • 20/109 (18.4%) for 44.7pts (+41%) in races worth up to £8k
  • 17/61 (27.9%) for 74.4pts (+122%) on horses raced in the previous 6 to 20 days
  • 15/78 (19.2%) for 44.8pts (+57.4%) with 3 yr olds
  • 6/34 (17.7%) for 7.6pts (+22.2%) at class 5
  • and 5/32 (15.6%) for 25.8pts (+80.5%) here at Wolverhampton

Of the above, it makes sense to me to focus on the first three subsets of data and since the start of 2017, combining the three gives us this workable angle...

*

Bavardages' recent run was as I said, his first in over six months and trainer Mark Johnston has a good recent record with A/W handicappers at the sharper end of the market, who have only had 1 other handicap outing in the previous 90 days. It's not as complicated as it sounds, but a picture often illustrates better ie

...from which we can again apply some logical/relevant filters like...

  • 18 from 43 (41.9%) for 42.1pts (+98%) in races worth up to £8k
  • 10/20 (50%) for 27.7pts (+138.7%) for those who ran on Tapeta LTO
  • 8/17 (47.1%) for 21.75pts (+128%) at Class 5
  • 4/7 (57.1%) for 13.1pts (+186.8%) with PJ McDonald in the saddle
  • and 3/10 (30%) for 4pts (+40%) here at Wolverhampton

I won't combine the above into an angle for fear of over-diluting the sample size, but I think I've enough grounds...

...to suggest...a 1pt win bet on Bavardages @ 10/3 or 3/1 BOG as was offered by Coral and Bet365 respectively at 8.10am Wednesday, but as always please check your BOG status. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting...

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

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

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

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

Stat of the Day, 9th June 2020

Monday's pick was...

1.00 Chelmsford : Kath's Lustre @ 4/1 BOG WON at 11/4 (Went left start, disputed lead until went on over 2f out, clear over 1f out, ran on strongly to win by three lengths)

Tuesday's pick runs in the...

2.15 Haydock :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Currently, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.30am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

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?

Mountain Brave @ 5/1 BOG

Your first 30 days for just £1

...in a 12-runner, Class 4, Flat handicap for 3yo over 7f on Good to Soft ground worth £4,690 to the winner...

Why?...

A relatively simple approach today with a 3 yr old filly seeking a hat trick (albeit after 102 days off track) after wins over both this 7f trip and also at 6f on the tapeta earlier this year. 102 days is a decent break and you do worry if horses are rusty after a layoff, but the rest of the field have all been inactive for at least ten weeks longer than our pick and our girl is trained by Mark Johnston, who has certainly hit the ground running as shown by this graphic...

...but I think that's fairly common knowledge right now.

As with yesterday, my way in to the race was once again the Geegeez racecard and a highlighted Query Tool angle of mine...

So we see our filly is in good form as I said at the start, both trainer have jockey have the green C5 icon denoting a good record at this venue and this is backed up by my own imaginatively-titled angle "Haydock Flat". This essentially highlights whenever any of a half dozen of trainers including Mark Johnston have runners in handicaps here at Haydock.

And Mark makes this list because his runners in such contests over trips of 7 to 12 furlongs have the following record over the last six seasons...

...from which, the following is relevant today...

  • 16 from 65 (24.6%) for 29.8pts (+45.8%) sent off at 7/4 to 7/1
  • 15/90 (16.6%) for 28.5pts (+31.6%) from 3 yr olds
  • 15/79 (19%) for 47.7pts (+60.4%) in races worth up to £10.5k
  • 13/74 (17.6%) for 36.5pts (+49.3%) in 3yo only contests
  • 11/46 (23.9%) for 23.85pts (+51.8%) during the last two seasons
  • 6/35 (17.1%) for 10.3pts (+29.4%) from those stepping up in class
  • 6/27 (22.2%) for 46.9pts (+173.8%) from females
  • 6/19 (31.8%) for 27.4pts (+144.4%) with LTO winners
  • and 3/7 942.9%) for 17.1pts (+244.4%) with Silvestre de Sousa in the saddle.

Now I do like to combine sets of data like those above to form a composite angle, but you have to be careful not to dilute the sample size too far. The smaller that sample becomes, the more open you become to the figures being distorted by chance, so I'm just going to look at the first three subsets since the start of the 2017 campaign, which looks like...

...and with an A/E of 1.69, as trike rate of 35%, a Betfair SP ROI in excess of 70% and an average win price in our ballpark, this is something I'm happy with, especially as those numbers include 6 winners from 18 in 3yo handicaps and 3 winners from 6 for the female runners...

...which all pointed me towards...a 1pt win bet on Mountain Brave @ 5/1 BOG as was offered by BetVictor, SkyBet and Hills at 8.05am Tuesday, but as always please check your BOG status. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting...

...click here for the betting on the 2.15 Haydock

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

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

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

Monday Musings: Rapid Start Far From Flat

The two unbeaten favourites didn’t collect the first two Classics of the UK racing season as many, including the bookmakers, were expecting, writes Tony Stafford. Pinatubo was a slightly one-paced third as Kameko gave Andrew Balding a second UK Classic in the 2,000 Guineas, 17 years after Casual Look was his first in the Oaks. Yesterday, Love made it six 1,000 Guineas triumphs for Aidan O’Brien, four in the last six years, as the Roger Charlton filly Quadrilateral also had to be content with third place.

For quite a while in Saturday’s big event, staged behind closed doors of course, it looked as though O’Brien would be celebrating an 11th “2,000” – from back home in Ireland as he left on-course matters to be attended to by his accomplished satellite team. Wichita, turning around last October’s Dewhurst form both with Pinatubo and his lesser-fancied-on-the-day stable companion Arizona, went into what had looked a winning advantage under super-sub Frankie Dettori until close home when the Balding colt was produced fast, late and wide by Oisin Murphy.

The young Irishman might already be the champion jockey, but the first week of the new season, begun eight months after that initial coronation last autumn, suggests he has a new confidence and maturity built no doubt of his great winter success in Japan and elsewhere. A wide range of differing winning rides were showcased over the past few days and Messrs Dettori and Moore, Buick, Doyle and De Sousa clearly have an equal to contend with.

It was Dettori rather than Moore who rode Wichita, possibly because of the relative form in that Dewhurst when Wichita under Ryan got going too late. This time Arizona got his lines wrong and he had already been seen off when he seemed to get unbalanced in the last quarter-mile. Kameko will almost certainly turn up at Epsom now. Balding was keen to run Bangkok in the race last year despite that colt’s possible stamina deficiency. The way Kameko saw out the last uphill stages, he could indeed get the trip around Epsom a month from now.

The 2020 Guineas weekend follows closely the example of its immediate predecessor. Last year there was also a big team of O’Brien colts, including the winner Magna Grecia, and none was by their perennial Classic producer, Galileo. The following afternoon, the 14-1 winner Hermosa, was Galileo’s only representative in their quartet in the fillies’ race. This weekend, again there were four Ballydoyle colts in their race, and none by Galileo. Two, including Wichita, are sons of No Nay Never. As last year, there was a single daughter of Galileo in yesterday’s race, the winner Love. Her four and a quarter length margin must make it pretty much a formality that she will pitch up at Epsom next month.

Love was unusually O’Brien’s only representative yesterday which rather simplified Ryan Moore’s choice. It will surely be hard to prise her from him at Epsom whatever the other Coolmore-owned fillies show at The Curragh and elsewhere in the interim.

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With Irish racing resuming at Naas this afternoon, attention will be switching immediately to the Irish Classics next weekend. What with those races, which Ryan will sit out under the 14-day regulations, the Coolmore owners and their trainer will have a clear course to formulate their Derby team and Oaks back-up squad. It would appear that the good weather enjoyed in the UK after which so many big stables, notably Messrs Johnston, Gosden and Balding, have made a flying start on the resumption, has also been kind to Irish trainers.

I know that sometimes in the spring the grass gallops at Ballydoyle have barely been usable by the time of the first month of action. The delayed and truncated first phase should continue to be to the benefit of the more powerful yards and maiden races, just as those in the UK, are already looking like virtual group races, especially on the big tracks.

Aidan O’Brien has 11 runners on today’s opening card, including four in the second event for juveniles, where Lippizaner, who managed a run in one of the Irish Flat meetings squeezed in before the shutdown, is sure to be well fancied. A son of Uncle Mo, he was beaten half a length first time out and the experience, which is his alone in the field, should not be lost on him.

The shutdown has been a contributor to a denial of one of my annual pleasures, a leisurely look at the Horses in Training book which I normally buy during the Cheltenham Festival but forgot to search for at this year’s meeting. The usual fall-back option of Tindalls bookshop in Newmarket High Street has also been ruled out, and inexplicably I waited until last week before thinking to order it on-line.

There are some notable absentees from the book and it has become a growing practice for some of the bigger trainers to follow the example of Richard Fahey who for some years has left out his two-year-olds. John Gosden has joined him in that regard otherwise they both would have revealed teams comfortably beyond 250.

Charlie Appleby, William Haggas, Mark Johnston, Richard Hannon and Andrew Balding all have strings of more than 200 and all five have been quick off the mark, each taking advantage of a one-off new rule instigated by the BHA. In late May trainers wishing to nominate two-year-olds they believed might be suitable to run at Royal Ascot, which begins a week tomorrow, could nominate them and thereby get priority status to avoid elimination with the inevitable over-subscription in the early fixtures.

In all, 163 horses were nominated with Johnston leading the way with 11; Charlie Appleby and Fahey had eight each; Hannon and Archie Watson seven and Haggas five. All those teams have been fast away in all regards but notably with juveniles. The plan, aimed at giving Ascot candidates racecourse experience in the limited time available, has clearly achieved its objective.

Among the trainers with a single nominated juvenile, Hughie Morrison took the chance to run his colt Rooster at Newmarket. Beforehand he was regretting that he hadn’t realised he could have taken him to a track when lockdown rules could apparently have been “legally bent” if not actually transgressed. Rooster should improve on his close seventh behind a clutch of other Ascot-bound youngsters when he reappears.

When I spoke to Hughie before the 1,000 Guineas he was adamant that the 200-1 shot Romsey “would outrun those odds”. In the event Romsey was the only other “finisher” in the 15-horse field apart from Love and, in getting to the line a rapidly-closing fifth, she was only a length and a half behind Quadrilateral. So fast was she moving at that stage, she would surely have passed the favourite in another half furlong. The Racing Post “analysis” which said she “lacked the pace of some but kept on for a good showing” was indeed damning with faint praise. Hughie also could be pleased yesterday with a promising revival for Telecaster, a close third behind Lord North and Elarqam in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Haydock despite getting very warm beforehand.

No doubt I’ll be returning to Horses in Training quite a lot in the coming weeks, but just as the long list of Galileo colts and fillies was dominant among the Ballydoyle juveniles for many years, the numerical power of Dubawi among Charlie Appleby’s team is now rivalling it. Last year, when I admit I didn’t really notice it, there were 40 Dubawi juveniles: this year the number has grown to an eye-opening 55. At the same time the yard has gone well past 200, reflecting his upward trajectory ever since taking over the main Godolphin job ten years ago. I’m sure Pinatubo has some more big wins in his locker.

I always look forward to seeing the team of Nicolas Clement, French Fifteen’s trainer, in the book, and he is there as usual with his middling-strength team. Nowadays much of what used to pass for free time for this greatly-admired man is taken up with his role as the head of the French trainers. He confessed that carrying out his duties over the weeks in lockdown and then the changes in the areas in France where racing could be allowed had been very demanding.

This weekend, Nicolas along with everyone in racing had a dreadful shock when his younger brother Christophe, who has been training with great success in the US for many years, suffered a terrible tragedy. On Saturday a Sallee company horsebox, transporting ten Clement horses from Florida to race in New York burst into flames on the New Jersey Turnpike, killing all ten animals. One report suggested that the horsebox had collided with a concrete stanchion. It added that the two drivers attempted to free the horses but were unable to do so.

At the top level, where both Clement brothers have been accustomed to operating on their respective sides of the pond, the rewards can be great. But as this incident graphically and starkly shows, there is often a downside for trainers and owners, though rarely one of quite this horrific finality.

- TS

Monday Musings: Time Flying By

Logic told me time would pass slowly during lock-down. Five weeks in, it’s definitely speeded up, writes Tony Stafford. I spoke to my son twice last week, briefly on Sunday and then again for a few minutes more on Friday and I swore that there could only have been a couple of days between the two contacts.

Twin came around on BBC4 again on Saturday evening in my favourite 9 p.m. international drama slot and will already be finished by next weekend. Thankfully I’ve now joined BBC I-Player so I can have a second look on the confusing bits of that rapidly-evolving and brain-challenging eight-part (two each week) Norwegian epic when I get some time. I was very disappointed that Spiral, a series of series I most wanted to see and that motivated my joining, is not on the list.

The other evening it was still light when the Thursday 8 p.m. clapping reverberated from the flats all around. Racing fans in the UK, denied so much since the shut-down on March 18 and more so in Ireland, will have lost most markedly; along with the mainstream we all are aware of, the accelerating number of evening meetings, many of them over jumps, that bolster the normal spring racing menu have also been cancelled. Just to let you know, the days start getting shorter in nine weeks’ time!

The Racing Post’s online-only newspaper carries the cards, like Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay, that have kept racing going in Florida. Like everyone else, the Post included, I expected the Wesley Ward juveniles on show at Gulfstream on successive early evenings last week to do a Lady Aurelia and blow away the opposition.

But both on Thursday and Friday, first the 30-100 shot Lime, a daughter of Iqbaal, and then Golden Pal, 1-2 (by Uncle Mo), contrived to show the trademark Ward early pace only to succumb in almost identical fashion to a single stronger finisher even though their races were over only four and a half furlongs.

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This pair was reportedly among the planned Ward annual contingent for Royal Ascot but first that spectator-free entity needs to be confirmed as does secondly that overseas runners may be accepted if it does. Should they come, I’m sure the traditional fear in which they are held by home trainers may have been a little diluted, although there’s plenty of time for Wesley to build some of that extra physical maturity that his juvenile challengers always seem to display.

I’ve been intrigued by the identity of today’s evening offering at Will Rogers Downs and thought it might justify a little investigating. I wasn’t at all prepared for what I readily discovered on the web. Will Rogers Downs is a gaming (principally, of course) and horse racing venue in Rogers County, close to Tulsa, Oklahoma, and is operated by the Cherokee Nation.

That administrative area encompasses 14 counties in North-East Oklahoma and a local population of around 200,000 in one way or another descended mainly from Cherokee and two other Native American tribes.

If that wasn’t unusual enough, the jockeys and trainers will be totally unknown to most of us, unlike the stars who descend on Florida each winter and spring, especially with New York firmly shut down. For the record, Floyd Wethey, Jr. is the top rider so far in 2020 and Scott Young is leading trainer. Tonight’s 10-race card offers one quite valuable prize, a near £25k to the winner fillies and mares race. I won’t put forward a potential winner.

The gaming provides the prizemoney and the track keeps a chunk of all the race wagering. Gaming is also keeping the UK bookmaking companies going, and if the number of advertisements for casino betting that we see in the commercial breaks on most channels nowadays is indicative of betting levels in these odd times, gambling is probably going off the charts.

How the BHA must wish it could get its claws on even a small percentage of that massive cake, not that it would be right to do so (as we saw with the FOBT fiasco). Maybe they should ask Captain Tom to do a sponsored walking-frame-push around the Ascot paddock on his 100th birthday on Thursday next week while singing his chart-topping duet with Michael Ball of You’ll Never Walk Alone? The £23 million (probably more by the time you read this) by which his exploits will be aiding the NHS efforts exceeds the not-insignificant £22 million that the Levy Board is targeting to help racecourses and others through their troubled financial times.

Yesterday we went for a fourth walk of the lockdown, this time forsaking the Olympic Park, for the newly (at Easter) re-opened Victoria Park, which is in the opposite direction. The park had been closed for some time after that initial period when sunbathing and all the other indicators of holidays in good weather in the summertime caused a Government re-think. Everyone was doing the keep-out-of-the-way six-feet walk yesterday; there is no cycling and all the dogs including our Yorkie Josephina were on a lead.

What was obvious, though, was that while the ground is not yet showing any real suggestion of much new growth, the five weeks of drought, following hard on the months of near waterlogging, has already brought great cracks in the turf at some places.

Hughie Morrison has been kindly sending me a brief video every Friday of Ray Tooth’s big homebred and still unraced three-year-old Bogeyman going through his paces. Each week they have been working on the wonderful grass gallops, developed over many years by the Cundell family but now owned and managed by Sir James Dyson.

The Victoria Park phenomenon is extending into Berkshire as the colour of the terrain seems to be lightening week on week. How ironic, with barely a day’s racing after the turn of the year and before Cheltenham being staged on anything but soft or heavy ground, unless we get some rain soon, it will be firm or as near as makes no difference when we resume. Expect to see stand-pipes in the streets by July.

Finally, after hearing that he thinks racing should start as soon as possible – Nick Rust’s line at the weekend too – it was salutary that Mark Johnston has subsequently revealed he is in isolation at home after being quite ill after contracting Covid-19. It must be so frustrating, frightening even, with the Flat season still to start, for Britain’s winning-most trainer that the new norm is so alien. I’m sure that everyone in racing will be wishing Mark, wife Deirdre and their family and staff all the best in the coming trying days.

- TS

Time for a Middleham Derby

The Flying Dutchman

The Flying Dutchman

The decision of trainer Mark Johnston and owner Sheikh Hamdan to stump up the £85k to supplement Permian for tomorrow's Derby opens the door to a rare event in racing: a Derby winner trained at Middleham, in the heart of Wensleydale. Indeed, so unusual would it be that I can assure you that none of you, your parents, or your grandparents would have been able to remember the previous occasion.

The 1840s was the decade when the first postage stamp, the Penny Black, was issued; the first Morse code transmission took place, and Jane Eyre was published. In 1843 Richard Wagner conducted the premiere of his opera, The Flying Dutchman, and in 1848 a horse of the same name began his racing career. Unbeaten in five races as a two year old, The Flying Dutchman faced a tough task in the Derby the following year, not least because it was his first race of the season and took place at an Epsom racecourse that had been drenched with three days of rain beforehand.

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The Flying Dutchman went straight into the lead and continued in front for the first mile. Then he was to be tested. Hotspur was the strongest of his 26 (!) rivals, and appeared to have settled the race as he took over and pulled a length clear. It was time to see what the Dutchman was made of. He had never really been extended in his juvenile races, so when jockey Charlie Marlow picked up his whip, nobody could be sure how the horse would respond. Two taps showed the onlookers, and close to the finish The Flying Dutchman put his nose in front once more.

The Rubbing House

The Rubbing House

The most unusual feature of his success was the approach taken by trainer John Fobert. His stables, Spigot Lodge, where Karl Burke now trains, lay midway between the Low and High Moor gallops. Go to the High Moor now and you can see the Rubbing Houses, a block of five stalls, one now fallen down, where horses were subjected to the Yorkshire Sweats. An explanation of them can be seen on a panel close by.

"The main use of the Rubbing Houses was during the training of the horses and the method known as the Yorkshire Sweats. The horses would be well wrapped in blankets and galloped over long distances before returning to the Rubbing House to have sweat removed and blankets replaced.

In the 18th century horses did not run just one race on race day. They ran in heats. Rubbing Houses were used between the heats when the sweat was scrubbed off and horses were kept warm until the next heat.

The Rubbing Houses were used for this purpose for a very short period of time as the Yorkshire Sweats method of training fell into disfavour and was replaced by other more favourable training routines."

Running a horse in more than one race a day continued for many years, and The Flying Dutchman had won two of his juvenile races on the same day.

What of this year's Wensleydale contender, Permian? I have to own up to hoping he wins, as I was staying in Middleham barely 100 yards from Mark Johnston's base when Permian won the Dante the other week. It's a connection of the heart for sure, but there are good racing reasons to support him. He knows the track and has no bother with the expected good ground. It won't bother him if it firms up or if there's rain.

Permian is priced at 11/1, whereas Cracksman, who beat Permian by only a short head in the Epsom Derby Trial in April, is only 4/1. And Cracksman missed the Dante because of the soft ground, and so comes to Epsom after only one race last season and one this. I'm with Permian to join the likes of St Paddy, Shirley Heights, Reference Point and Golden Horn and complete the Dante/Derby double.

Oh, and by the way, if you are at Epsom, you can visit The Rubbing House for yourself. It's the pub on the inside of the track just beyond the winning post. Have one for me.

- Ian Sutherland