New BDH squad member: "He always runs while others walk"...
A couple of things to cover today here on BDH with a quick look back at the weather decimated Ebor Handicap from Saturday and a new addition to our BDH forward line, in the shape of a runner who will be looking for the rain to continue... Ebor Handicap Debrief... Safe to say the Ebor was a royal pain in the ass for me! I went into the morning with 3 fairly solid strings to my bow (including what I thought was a rather tasty 25-1 Ante-Post shot) and by lunchtime (4 hours from the race) I was left with a rather feeble 1 strong attack line!!
It's very rare that I play ante-post (it doesn't really fit with my punting style) so you can imagine how happy/smug I was feeling with my 25-1 ticket on Tropical Beat, who in some places was trading as low as single figures, thanks to a certain Mr Pricewise. You can then imagine my overwhelming sense of utter deflation when I heard he was a non-runner!!! Safe to say I turned the air a nasty colour of blue for a few minutes in the BDH office! If I'm honest I think a number of the Non-Runners were a bit hasty. The track wasn't actually riding that slow/soft, visually or on the clock. In fact I had a look at the results in my Proform database on Sunday and it told me the track was riding more like Good to Soft than Soft. I'm assuming connections walked the track before pulling their runners from the race and I can only assume it then felt softer than it actually was. Anyhoo it's a moot point now and the result was that I was left with a threadbare attack from my initial selections. Best thing to do then is revert to my shortlist...
Here is how the shortlist from the FREE analysis guide fared...
TIGER CLIFF 18/19 - 1st @ BFSP 7.06
NO HERETIC 18/19 - NON-RUNNER
OPINION 16/19 - 10th @ BFSP 6.57
GUARANTEE 16/19 - 7th @ BFSP 18
SHEIKHZAYEDROAD 15/19 - 9th @ BFSP 25.97
CARAVAN ROLLS ON 15/19 - 11th @ BFSP 8
SUN CENTRAL 15/19 - NON_RUNNER
With the withdrawal of No Heretic Lady Cecil's Tiger Cliff was left clear on his own at the top of the shortlist and he went on to justify his top ranking on the BDH figures with a well timed victory under Tom Queally.
It's a minor reward for what was a bit of a bugger of a race and hopefully some of you reverted to the figures once the runners started dropping like flies.
There has been word in the past that the winner may eventually end up going hurdling and although I am a dyed in the wool National Hunt man I don't think I would be too keen on that option, he surely has enough to offer on the flat without going pot-hunting over timber?
I'm stepping back 2 Saturday's to seek out our new squad member...
Race in focus: 3.30 Ripon (17-08-2013): William Hill Great St Wilfrid Stakes – 6f, Class 2 Handicap (20 ran)
How the race played out…
Pace wise this was all about the low numbers. As mentioned in my race analysis for the Great St Wilf the pace looked to be coming from middle to low and large field sprints over the Ripon 6f weigh heavily in favour of those drawn in the low stalls. The field split into 2 groups (as is the norm in this contest) with 8 staying high and the rest sticking to the far rail. Confirmed front-runner and track specialist SPINATRIX was the one to pull the field along from her 1 stall, closely followed by RODRIGO DE TORRES from his 7 stall. SPINATRIX held the front spot for most of the contest and it was her strong front-running tactics that were one of the main contributing factors to the low to middle dominance of this race. There were also a large group of the low-middle runners that were sitting close to the pace and this again made sure that the high numbers had their work cut out to get involved. From up high it was DR RED EYE that tried to lead his side along but despite his valiant effort he was always up against it.
The end result clearly showed that it was an advantage to be drawn low with the first 4 home being drawn in stall 9 or below, anything finishing in the ball park from up high deserves our utmost attention.
The end result…
We know all about the winner BACCARAT. He was on our BDH list, he was in the prime spot throughout the race and was able to pick up the pace-setting Spinatrix in the final 50 or so yards. The Fahey youngster probably has more to come and it will be very interesting to see where they go from here. 2nd placed SPINATRIX ran a career best on the figures and although she may still just be improving her new mark of 105 could start to make life pretty tricky. If she doesn't prove up to that mark then it will be interesting if her mark drops back down enough to be competitive in the 2014 renewal of this race (*makes a mental note for August 2014!). 3rd placed RODRIGO DE TORRES ran a highly credible race and he is on a mark he can score from if conditions are correct. 4th home REGAL PARADE easily did best of those that tried to come from out the back and although he was under the pump fairly early on he did keep responding and was doing his best work late on. He is a 9yo now but his mark is creeping down all the time and he has been producing some consistent figures, it would be no surprise to see him pop into the winners enclosure before the season is out. 5th home SUMMERINTHECITY was the first home from the high numbers and that may be simply due to the fact his jockey shifted him closer to the middle of the track at the 3f pole. He looks on a tricky handicap mark at the minute and my personal feeling is that he needs to drop at least a few lbs before winning again. Next home from the top group, and filling 6th spot overall, was the Scott Dixon trained THUNDERBALL. This would have been ground he wouldn't have appreciated and from his extremely tricky draw in stall 17 he put in a very eye-catching performance.
BDH to follow…
THUNDERBALL (6th) (S Dixon)
As already mentioned in detail those drawn high were at a significant disadvantage. THUNDERBALL in box 17 had no choice really but to stay high and essentially his cards were marked as soon as Spinatrix in stall 1 blasted off in the lead. He is also very much a horse that relies on Soft underfoot conditions to produce his best and as such the Good ground he met was also unlikely to suit him. With those 2 major factors against him his 6 length 6th is a very eye-catching performance indeed.
Staying with his ground preferences here is the breakdown of his form figures on different conditions...
Heavy - 0 wins from 2 starts
Soft - 4 wins from 9 starts
Good to Soft or better - 1 win from 40 starts
A/W - 5 wins from 29
Interestingly all 4 of his turf victories have been over 6 furlongs and all 5 of his A/W victories have been over 7f or 8f; a clear indicator that on the turf his ideal trip is 6f.
As it is the turf we are really concerned with here lets take a bit of a closer look...
First up his Soft ground form line reads an impressive 323611011; clearly he loves running when the ground is officially described as Soft.
On the distance side of things here are the breakdowns over the different trips...
6f - 5 wins from 19 starts
6 1/2f or further - 0 wins from 32 starts
6 furlongs the ideal trip? I'd say that's an affirmative!
If we squeeze things up just a touch more and look ONLY at his 6f form on Soft ground we get a rather impressive form line of 1111. Those 4 wins were gained from handicap marks of 91-86-90-85. He currently sits on OR 90 and the figures and visual evidence tells us that is a mark he is more than capable of running well from, indeed he is more than capable of winning from.
Conditions – Essentially we are looking for 6 furlongs and soft! Simple! He is currently on a mark that he has proven he can win from in the past so from a handicapping perspective this mark or below is where we want him.
He is yet to prove he is up to winning a really valuable contest (20k+) but if he gets his conditions it would not be hard to see him running well in such a race. 4 of his 5 turf wins have come on a straight track and although that condition isn't a necessity it probably is preferable.
In summary we want 6 furlongs on soft from a mark of 90 or below. The probable area for him to strike will be in a less than 20k to the winner race on a straight track although I would be flexible on that score.
THUNDERBALL now enters my Proform ‘Horse Watcher’ tool and I will post on the Blog when he is due to run next.
p.s. Thanks to those of you that joined my SkyBet Super 6 mini league. We can at least try and beat each other as we try and nail that £250,000 first prize!
p.p.s I will have a free guide available soon to all members of the FREE service. It concerns an angle that I follow that can generate huge priced winners! If you are not on the Free service then you won't get the guide.