Tag Archive for: Michael Dods

Summerghand and Great Ambassador among Ayr Gold Cup hopefuls

Summerghand heads a mammoth 163 entries for the Virgin Bet Ayr Gold Cup following the five-day confirmation stage.

David O’Meara’s popular seven-year-old sprinter has to carry a 5lb penalty for winning the Listed Hopeful Stakes at Newmarket last month.

Ante-post favourite for Saturday’s famous handicap is Great Ambassador, who also has a 5lb penalty following his victory in the Garrowby Stakes at York – another Listed event.

His trainer Ed Walker could be two-handed if Popmaster is among the 25 guaranteed a run at the 48-hour final declaration stage. There are the Silver and Bronze Cups for those below in the handicap.

Michael Dods would like to see some rain to help Commanche Falls’ cause. The four-year-old has been kept for this race since lifting the Stewards’ Cup at Glorious Goodwood.

“We’ll have a lot of entries, but we are looking at the ground,” the County Durham trainer told Racing TV.

“They are forecast rain on Friday, so we are thinking Saturday could be quite nice ground.

“We’ll have Commanche Falls in the Gold Cup and we have other entries – the likes of Pendleton, Blackrod – but really we are monitoring the ground.

“Commanche Falls likes to be off the bridle and finish. He did it well in the Stewards’ Cup.

“It’s not an easy call for the weight he’s got in the Ayr Gold Cup. But he’s in good form, and some rain would help – because he comes late, and we wouldn’t like the pace horses to get away.”

The most notable absentee on Monday from the initial entries was the Andrew Balding-trained Chil Chil, who was third in the Haydock Sprint Cup on her latest start.

Commache Falls is Stewards’ Cup hero

Commanche Falls continued his impressive progression through the ranks when winning the Unibet Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood.

Trained by Michael Dods, who excels with sprinters, the four-year-old has made giant strides this season.

A winner at Ayr in April off a mark of just 84, he has also won at Ripon before taking the Scottish Stewards’ Cup last time out.

That win earned him a 6lb penalty – but as the handicapper only saw fit to raise him 5lb for that narrow win, he was effectively racing from 1lb wrong at the weights.

Usually in such a competitive race that could be crucial, but Commanche Falls (10-1) is clearly improving at a rate of knots still.

He initially looked to be on the wrong side of the track as Major Jumbo carried the far side into an early advantage.

With a furlong to run both groups appeared neck and neck, but Connor Beasley had only been biding his time and Commanche Falls burst clear to win by a neck from the fast-finishing Gulliver. Great Ambassador was third, with Total Commitment in fourth.

Dods did not make the long journey to Goodwood from his Darlington base, but said: “It was some performance as we were a bit worried about the ground. He has won on soft, but at that level we thought he needed better ground.

“To do that with a penalty was unbelievable, he would have got in without it but you don’t know that at the time and the Hamilton race was a nice one to win.

“It’s great for the owners, it’s great for Connor and great for everyone, these are the races you want to be involved in.

“He’s a half-brother to Dakota Gold, but the two do things completely differently as he would prefer to go forward while this lad likes to be off the bridle at halfway and come through horses. For them both to be at the level they are is unbelievable.

Connor Beasley returns on Commanche Falls
Connor Beasley returns on Commanche Falls (John Walton/PA)

“He seems to be improving with every run this season, it’s incredible what he’s done so we’ll see where we go. He’s won a very competitive race nicely today so we can look forward to the future with him.

“He’ll be entered for the Ayr Gold Cup, but he’s surprised us a bit today really – we thought if he was in the first six or seven we’d be delighted in those conditions. I’ll have a chat with Connor, but Ayr would be the obvious target depending on his weight.

“He’s an exciting horse who hasn’t had a lot of racing so we can look forward to the future with him.”

David O’Meara said of Gulliver: “Gulliver has run really well. The ground was absolutely perfect for him, he loves it slow.

“He was getting there all the time late on. Slow ground really played to his strengths and Adam Kirby gave him a great run.

“He has run a blinder and there was no hard-luck stories. I just thought he was running out of time late on.

“The Ayr Gold Cup could be something we think about.”

Brunch bags Pomfret prize at Pontefract

Brunch finished with a flourish to claim top honours in the Sky Bet Go-Racing-In-Yorkshire Summer Festival Pomfret Stakes at Pontefract.

A field of six runners went to post for the Listed feature in West Yorkshire, with Sir Michael Stoute’s Regal Reality – not beaten far when third behind superstar mare Enable in the Coral-Eclipse two years ago – the even-money favourite to make the most of a drop in class.

The Michael Dods-trained Brunch was next in the betting at 7-4, having filled the runner-up spot in the Lincoln earlier in the campaign and finished seventh on his most recent appearance in the Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot.

With the first two in the market held up for late runs, the front-running Azano still had a couple of lengths in hand rounding the home turn before being strongly challenged by stablemate Rhoscolyn.

Just when it looked like David O’Meara might saddle a one-two, William Buick – whose treble at Ascot on Saturday including winning the King George on Adayar – conjured a late rattle out of Brunch and he was good value for the winning margin of three-quarters of a length.

Regal Reality briefly threatened alongside Brunch, but his effort petered out and he passed the post in fourth.

Dods said of the winner: “He’s been unlucky this season. He was second in the Lincoln, second at York and then he was boxed in at Royal Ascot in the Hunt Cup, otherwise he might have finished second or third.

“He came here today and to be fair to Pontefract, they’ve done a tremendous job with the ground. It’s fast, summer ground, but it’s safe and he let himself down on it.

“He got a terrific ride from William Buick and we couldn’t be more delighted for the owners and everyone in the yard.”

The scene at Pontefract on Sunday
The scene at Pontefract on Sunday (Tim Goode/PA)

Brunch could be set for another step up in class on his next start, with the Group Three Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury on August 12 viewed as a suitable target.

“There’s a possibility we might send him to Salisbury. We have pencilled in that race, anyway,” Dods added.

“He’s a tremendous horse who tries hard. It’s great to win a Listed race with him and I think he’s quite capable of going on from this and winning again.”

Dakota Gold completes hat-trick with Wentworth Stakes romp

Dakota Gold recorded a third successive victory with an explosive performance from the front in the Listed Betfair Wentworth Stakes at Doncaster.

Michael Dods’ gelding has enjoyed a stellar run of form, taking both the re-routed Group Three Bengough Stakes at York and the Listed Rous Stakes at Nottingham on his last two starts.

The six-year-old was last to enter the stalls and first to exit them as he shot to the head of the field to establish a lead he maintained throughout, holding off 20-1 shot Aberama Gold by three-quarters of a length – with Zim Baby a further length and a quarter back in third, at 40-1.

Paul Mulrennan took the ride from usual jockey Connor Beasley, who is otherwise engaged in Dubai, partnering Dakota Gold for the first time – with detailed instructions from his usual pilot.

“He’s a grand old horse – he’s been a real warrior this year,” Mulrennan said of the 4-1 winner.

“He wears his heart on his sleeve. Unfortunately for Connor Beasley, he’s away in Dubai, but it’s his ride.

“Connor sent me a message last night and gave me the instructions, told me how to ride him – and I’ve done exactly that.

“He’s very tough, he loves that ground. It’s a great performance, carrying that penalty, and obviously he’s done nothing but improve all year. He’s a lovely old horse.”

Dods praised Dakota Gold’s tenacity at the end of a busy and fruitful season.

“They were coming to him. But he’s dug deep, he’s dug very deep – and he’s done it well.”

“That’s it, he’s finished for the season now, so we’ll look forward to next year.

“He’s had a tough season. We nearly finished him after his last run but we decided to wait, because of the soft ground, for today.

“He’s getting better – I really think he’s improving. I think he’ll definitely be looking at more Group races next season.”

Chamade (second right) and Richard Kingscote on their way to victory in the Betfair Exchange British EBF Gillies Fillies’ Stakes at Doncaster
Chamade (second right) and Richard Kingscote on their way to victory in the Betfair Exchange British EBF Gillies Fillies’ Stakes at Doncaster (Tim Goode/PA)

Ralph Beckett’s Chamade returned to form to take the Listed Betfair Exchange British EBF Gillies Fillies’ Stakes, under a front-running ride from Richard Kingscote.

The three-year-old outran odds of 12-1 to see off stablemate Trefoil (7-1) and William Haggas’ Ice Sprite (6-1) by three-quarters of a length and a head.

After a career-best victory in a Goodwood handicap two starts ago, Chamade employed the same tactics and made much of the running to return to the winner’s enclosure – having finished sixth at York last time out.

Kingscote explained he was following the trainer’s instructions.

“Mr Beckett just said be positive and make it from the front if you can,” he said.

“Both her decent wins now have come from the front, both here and Goodwood. She showed a very good attitude and deserves to win a nice race.

“She was in a lovely rhythm.

“I was pretty happy with the way she was going, and she didn’t stop – so it was a really tough performance in what aren’t easy conditions.

“It’s deep ground, but you wouldn’t expect anything else at this time of year. She’s done her job.”

Dakota completes quickfire double with Rous strike

Dakota Gold claimed his second big-race success in the space of five days with a dominant display in the rearranged Rous Stakes at Nottingham.

Winner of the five-furlong Listed contest at Ascot last season, the six-year-old was declared to defend his crown in Berkshire earlier this month, only for the meeting to be called off due to a waterlogged track.

As fate would have it, Ascot’s abandonment worked in Dakota Gold’s favour, as both the Rous Stakes and the Bengough Stakes were saved from the same fixture and the Michael Dods-trained sprinter has ended up winning both.

Having claimed a first win at Group Three level in the rescheduled Bengough at York last Saturday, the gelded son of Equiano was the 7-4 favourite to give weight and a beating to his rivals in Listed company.

Soon bowling in front under his regular partner Connor Beasley, Dakota Gold completely outclassed his rivals, coming home three and a half lengths clear of Aljady.

Dods said: “That soft ground helps him and five furlongs suits him, so he could really force it today. Over six furlongs, like at York the other day, you have to sort of steady him, but over five you just go.

“I thought he was quite impressive really. He’s a very tough horse and Connor gets on well with him.”

The Darlington-based trainer decided against a shot at Group One glory with his charge in the Prix de l’Abbaye earlier this month, but hopes he might be able to make his mark at the highest level in 2021.

He added: “He has his restrictions as my wife Carole has to load him, so it would have been a bit awkward to take him to France with all the travel restrictions and everything. That is what put us off, but he’s certainly not getting slower with age – he’s improving.

“I’m not sure if he’ll run again this year, I’ll have to discuss it with the owners. He’s had a great season, so even if we don’t run him again this year, we can look forward to next year with him.

“The ground is the key to him. He ran on faster ground earlier in the year and he’s just not the same horse, but his natural speed on soft ground just burns horses off, without actually being pushed to do it.”

Dakota Gold shines once again at York

Dakota Gold landed the first Group Three race of his career with a pillar-to-post success in the rearranged Coral Bengough Stakes at York.

Saved over from last weekend’s waterlogged Ascot card, Michael Dods’ consistent sprinter never saw another rival in registering a fifth win on the Knavesmire.

While the six-year-old has not been as prolific this year as last, when he won the Great St Wilfrid, two big handicaps and a Listed race at York as well as a Listed race at Ascot, he is back in great form again now.

Connor Beasley bounced him out of the stalls and he proved his versatility by seeing out the six-furlong trip in testing ground very stoutly.

James Fanshawe’s veteran The Tin Man had travelled noticeably strongly throughout, but briefly had nowhere to go when Dakota Gold quickened and when he eventually got in the clear it was too late, with a length and three-quarters the winning margin for the 13-8 favourite.

“It was a plus when Stormy Girl came out (non runner), that was the only front-runner I could see in the race. It meant that he could dictate, get a breather and go from there,” said Dods.

“Connor gave him a good ride and he just loves it here, I couldn’t tell you why. It’s a good flat track, the best track in the country. He’s never run a bad race here and Connor gets on well with him.

“It’s just played into our hands a bit, we had him in the two races at Ascot, went for the Rous (which he won last year) and it was abandoned. As soon as they moved the Group Three race to here then it was the obvious race to go for, especially with the conditions the way they are.”

There is also a chance Dakota Gold could be back out as quickly as Wednesday in the Rous Stakes, which will now be at Nottingham.

“I’m not ruling it out (running again), I’ll monitor it. There’s only the Listed race at Doncaster at the end of the season, coming into November, I think there’s a possibility we could go for next Wednesday and then call it a day for this season,” said Dods.

The Tin Man drops in class for Bengough challenge

Veteran sprinter The Tin Man has his sights lowered for the rescheduled Coral Bengough Stakes at York on Saturday.

It has been over two years since James Fanshawe’s stable stalwart claimed the third of his three wins at Group One level in the Sprint Cup at Haydock, adding to his previous wins in top-level company in the Qipco British Champions Sprint and the Diamond Jubilee at Ascot.

However, he has run some fine races in defeat since – most recently finishing sixth in his latest tilt at Sprint Cup glory – and drops to a Group Three for a race that was saved from last Saturday’s abandoned meeting at Ascot.

“He’s coming back from a Group One to a Group Three. He’s seems in really good form – the obvious question mark is the going, but he has handled soft ground before,” said Fanshawe.

“He’s been running really well this year. Before the Sprint Cup he was narrowly beaten in a Group Three (Hackwood Stakes) at Newbury and he is still enjoying it.

“We’ll see how he gets on this weekend and take it from there.”

The Tin Man’s seven rivals include David O’Meara’s Stewards’ Cup hero Summerghand, Kevin Ryan’s Brando and the Michael Dods-trained Dakota Gold, who has won four times from seven appearances at York and finished second on two other occasions.

Dods said: “He was actually meant to run in the Rous Stakes at Ascot last weekend, but obviously that meeting was called off and when they switched the Bengough to York, we thought it made sense to run him.

“He seems in good form. It’s a very competitive race, but hopefully he’ll run well.”

Fresh from saddling an across-the-card four-timer at Sedgefield and Newcastle on Wednesday, Rebecca Menzies is looking forward to running Stormy Girl, who claimed a Listed prize at Pontefract in August.

“She’s a very good filly who will also have a big year next year as well, I hope,” said the County Durham-based trainer.

“She’s a big, strong filly who will definitely hold her own as a four-year-old.

“She’s already proved that she can be competitive in Group races and hopefully a Group Three is within reach.”

Brad The Brief (Tom Dascombe), Hareem Queen (Karl Burke) and Kurious (Henry Candy) complete the line-up.

Listed honours are up for grabs in the coral.co.uk Rockingham Stakes.

Dods is represented by Blackrod, who steps up in class after a dominant display at Hamilton a few weeks ago.

“He’s a very nice horse,” Dods added.

“It’s a warm race and he has a bit to find on ratings, but he’s an improver and I don’t think he’ll disgrace himself.”

Simon and Ed Crisford’s French Group Three runner-up Legal Attack, Richard Fahey’s pair of Internationaldream and Regional and the Queen’s Light Refrain, trained by William Haggas, also feature.

The most valuable race on the final day of the season on the Knavesmire is the £75,000 Coral Sprint Trophy.

The weights are headed by Mr Lupton and Kynren, third and fifth respectively in the Ayr Gold Cup three weeks ago.

Further down the field is Kevin Ryan’s Magical Spirit, who received a hefty rise for a runaway victory in the Ayr Silver Cup.

Cosmo Charlton, racing manager for Magical Spirit’s owners Hambleton Racing, said: “He seems in great form and Kevin thought it was worth giving him another run in handicap company for some good prize-money.

“It’s a very competitive race and he’s gone up 12lb for winning at Ayr, so it won’t be easy, but I think the track should suit him as you generally need to be on the pace at York and he certainly has plenty of boot.

“Kevin thinks he could be a Pattern-race performer next year, so hopefully he’ll run another big race this weekend.”

Stat of the Day, 1st August 2020

Friday's pick was...

2.55 Pontefract : Single @ 9/2 BOG 2nd at 11/4 (Towards rear, headway from over 2f out, stayed on to go 2nd towards finish, no threat to winner) 

Saturday's pick runs in the...

8.45 Hamilton :

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.


Antico Lady @ 4/1 BOG

...in a 14-runner, Class 5 Flat Handicap for 3yo+ over 1m½f on Good to Soft ground worth £3,493 to the winner... 


Starting from the racecard...

...we see a 4 yr old filly who won last time out (over class, course and distance on good to soft under today's jockey) 20 days ago. She has top billing on our speed ratings and hails from a yard with a good record at this track (C5), as does her jockey, Paul Mulrennan (C1 C5), so let's look at all three, starting with...

...the horse, a 4 yr old filly who has 3 wins and 2 places from 6 efforts at odds shorter than 5/1, she's 2 from 2 at this trip and also 2 from 2 in fields bigger than 12 runners.

Next, our jockey, Paul Mulrennan who is 17 from 96 (17.7% SR) for 40pts (+41.6% ROI) here at Hamilton since the start of the 2017 season and has ridden 7 winners from 46 (15.2% SR) for 15.6pts (+33.8% ROI) this year alone for...

...today's trainer, Michael Dods who has a good record here with runners to deemed to "have a chance". Basically, since the start of 2015, his horses sent off at odds of 7/4 to 17/2 (an odds range where most of my personal betting takes place) at Hamilton are 14 from 56 (25% SR) for 29.3pts (+52.3% ROI), including the following of relevance today...

  • 13/39 (33.3%) for 38.64pts (+99.1%) during July to September
  • 12/40 (30%) for 38pts (+95.1%) over 6f to 1m4f
  • 11/40 (27.5%) for 22.6pts (+56.6%) in handicaps
  • 9/20 (45%) for 33.1pts (+165.5%) at 11-20 dslr
  • 8/25 (32%) for 28.3pts (+113.2%) in races worth less than £4,000
  • 5/19 (26.3%) for 5.7pts (+29.9%) with Paul Mulrennan in the saddle
  • 5/16 (31.25%) for 16pts (+100%) on Good to Soft
  • and 4/9 (44.4%) for 21.3pts (+236.4%) with 4 yr olds...

...whilst handicappers running during July to September over 6f-1m4f at 11-20 dslr are 6 from 9 (66.6% SR) for 22.8pts (+253.3% ROI), including Antico Lady's run/win last time out.

...giving us... a 1pt win bet on Antico Lady @ 4/1 BOG as was widely available (inc at least a couple BOGs, whilst a couple of firms were slightly bigger) at 5.40am Saturday, 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 8.45 Hamilton

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


Here is today's racecard

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

P.P.S. Please note I left for Greece on Monday 20/07 for two weeks to look at some hotels for my travel agency business and to get some R&R, so whilst I'll still be posting each day (except 04/08 when cover has been arranged), the timings may well be different to normal.