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Johnny Drama edges Wild Flower thriller

Johnny Drama completed a four-timer with a narrow victory in Kempton’s Listed Unibet Wild Flower Stakes.

Andrew Balding’s King Power Racing five-year-old held on tenaciously when tackled deep in the final furlong by Sinjaari, who was moving back up in trip for last year’s winning combination of William Haggas and Tom Marquand.

Silvestre De Sousa always had Johnny Drama in a prominent position, close to the pace set by Sextant.

The 15-8 winner took over just after the Kempton cutaway, with market rival Sinjaari still back in sixth place, and established enough of an advantage to prevail by a short-head even as the 6-4 favourite closed with menace.

Sextant was a length further back in third.

De Sousa was riding his 99th winner of 2020 on the much-improved Johnny Drama.

He told Racing TV:  “I got myself on the inside, a mile out, and I felt the pace was just steadying up.

“But when I came to the junction, he was rolling – and I couldn’t see any dangers coming, until the last 50 yards I saw the other horse near me.

“But he fought, and really wanted to win tonight.

“I’ve found he’s really got better since he’s had his tongue tie. He still struggles a bit with his breathing – you have to fill him up every furlong – but when you ask him a question, he really wants to do it for you.”

Diamond sparkles to land Listed contest at Newmarket

Ventura Diamond capped off her season in style with a tenacious success in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF “Bosra Sham” Fillies’ Stakes at Newmarket.

The Richard Fahey-trained Dandy Man filly, who was making her seventh appearance of the campaign, saved her best until last by striking gold in the six-furlong Listed prize to form the opening leg of a double for Silvestre de Sousa.

Hitting the front approaching the final quarter-of-a-mile, the 7-2 joint favourite showed plenty of heart to get the better of a sustained late battle with Meu Amor before scoring by a neck.

Tom Palin, spokesman for winning owners Middleham Park Racing, said: “She has got a wonderful attitude and there are plenty of times she could have thrown the towel in there and wanted to quit.

“Going down, Silvestre didn’t feel the same at Leicester, so you can mark that run up massively as she still managed to do that and show that willing attitude.

“We’ve been quite hard on her in the last two months going to Doncaster, Redcar, Leicester and here and they were all in soft ground, but she has got that attitude and she keeps going, but I think we’ve now seen enough of her.”

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A return to the Rowley Mile could be on the cards for Ventura Diamond next season, with Palin earmarking the Group Three Nell Gwyn Stakes as a possible target.

He added: “We will pop her away and dream of something sexy in the spring.

“We’ve not tried her over seven yet and whether we keep her to sprinting, we will see, but it is a lovely problem to have in six months time, working out what Group Three we go for.

“She could be the type for a Nell Gwyn or Fred Darling, and she deserves being pitched into something like that.”

Hughie Morrison who was on the mark with Whitehaven in the Proud To Support British Racing Handicap
Hughie Morrison who was on the mark with Whitehaven in the Proud To Support British Racing Handicap (Mike Egerton/PA)

Whitehaven (11-10) followed up back-to-back wins at Yarmouth to complete De Sousa’s brace when prevailing by five and a half lengths in the Proud To Support British Racing Handicap.

De Sousa said of the Hughie Morrison-trained winner: “He did really well with the low weight. From a mile out I let him stretch and he loves this ground.

“I was going the speed I wanted to go and the horse responded well.”

Roger Varian celebrated a winner with his first runner for owners Opulence Thoroughbreds thanks to the debut success of Beau Jardine (4-1), who landed the Follow MansionBet On Instagram British EBF Novice Stakes by three-quarters of a length.

The Newmarket handler said: “He has done a couple of bits of work on the soft turf and he has gone well through the ground, so I didn’t think that would be a problem for him.

“Eoin Walsh said he was a bit green early on from the gates, but apart from that he tracked into the race well and did it nicely, so I’m pleased with him.

“I’m very pleased for the owners, Opulence Thoroughbreds, who are run by George Gill and he is the first horse they’ve had with me, so I’m delighted they have got off to a winning start.”

Ainsdale made light work of testing conditions on his return to six furlongs to open his account for the campaign in the MansionBet Watch And Bet Conditions Stakes.

Clifford Lee, winning rider, said of the Karl Burke trained 11-8 shot: “He loves these conditions.

“We didn’t go quick early doors which suited him as he does run over five, but he has done it well in the end. “

Power is with former champion De Sousa at Newmarket

Silvestre de Sousa rode a Power-packed 214-1 treble at Newmarket on Friday – with all his winners owned by his King Power Racing bosses.

King Power was the brainchild of Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who tragically died in a helicopter crash two years ago.

Former champion De Sousa got off the mark for the afternoon aboard Tim Easterby’s filly Winter Power in the Group Three Newmarket Academy Godolphin Beacon Project Cornwallis Stakes.

Following up a recent win in a Listed race at Ayr, the daughter of Bungle Inthejungle ran out a clear-cut three-length winner at 10-1.

“She won quite well at Ayr and has bounced back in great form. She has done really well and won very easily,” said De Sousa.

Happy Power comes away to win the Challenge Stakes
Happy Power comes away to win the Challenge Stakes (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Happy Power (7-2) was next on the scoresheet for the Brazilian, in the Group Two Godolphin Stud & Stable Staff Awards Challenge Stakes.

Andrew Balding’s grey was winning for the third time in succession.

“I was really disappointed with him at the beginning of the year as I thought I had a really good horse for this year, but he has just taken a long time to get going. He now feels like he is flying and is in top form,” said De Sousa.

De Sousa then closed the card in great fashion when winning on Roger Varian’s Angel Power (100-30 favourite) in the Group Three Darley Pride Stakes.

Trebles for jockeys are not that rare – but it is certainly out of the ordinary for all three to be Group races and all to come with similar names.

Many of the King Power string have ‘Power’ in their name and it was undoubtedly a day for De Sousa to remember fondly.

He said: “It is good for the boss and King Power Racing.

“I never get many rides in Group races so when they come I have to make the most of them.”

Power too strong for Challenge rivals

Happy Power streaked clear of Pogo up the hill to win the Godolphin Stud & Stable Staff Awards Challenge Stakes at Newmarket.

Silvestre de Sousa, already on the scoreboard with Winter Power in the Cornwallis Stakes, was keen not to let Pogo get loose on the front end.

That looked a wise decision as the front two dictated the race throughout, with De Sousa always looking confident on Andrew Balding’s grey.

The 7-2 chance arrived at HQ on the back of winning his two most recent races, at Salisbury and a Group Three at Goodwood.

Up in grade again to a Group Two, he assumed control from Pogo with over a furlong to run and streaked clear up the hill to win by a length and a half.

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Glorious Journey stayed on from the rear to claim third.

De Sousa said: “I was really disappointed with him at the beginning of the year as I thought I had a really good horse for this year, but he has just taken a long time to get going. He now feels like he is flying and is in top form.

“Andrew’s horses are running well and he is just following the wagon. We’ve always liked him and Andrew had found a couple of easy options for him, but today he has proved he is a nice horse.

“We thought we had him right at the beginning of the year, but he is a horse that has probably taken a long time to get 100 per cent fit. He ran really well first time, then his next couple of runs were disappointing. He wasn’t tailed off, but he wasn’t good enough to win – since Salisbury it looks like he has found his way.

“He likes the ground. It is soft and on the slow side and it maybe just tired the other horses out. That race at Salisbury made you realise there was a little more in the tank than what he had been giving.

“Mentally there is always huge improvement when a horse wins their first race easily. When they come home and enjoy the race, you know there is improvement.

“He is in top form and he probably shouldn’t miss the chance to go there (Champions Sprint at Ascot on October 17).”

Balding believes a swift return at Ascot next week is a “possibility”.

He said: “I’m delighted with that. It has just taken him a little bit of time to find his feet at the beginning of the season, but that is three excellent wins now and he has really got his mojo back.

“He got stuck in the ground at Haydock first time out and we probably ran him a bit quick back on his third start, but he has come right now and is high class.

“He was fourth in the Sussex Stakes last year and he won a Ganton very well, so we knew he was a talented horse – he just had that slow start to the year.

“We will confirm him for the Champions Sprint on Monday and make a decision later in the week, but it’s a possibility. I think a stiff six on soft ground would be fine for him.”

Wichita prevails in Park Stakes thriller

Wichita and Frankie Dettori edged a thrilling duel with One Master to win the bet365 Park Stakes by short head at Doncaster.

Dettori, riding for Aidan O’Brien in the famous Coolmore silks, just edged the verdict in a photo finish after Wichita and One Master had served up a terrific tussle in the final furlong of the Group Two contest on Town Moor.

Wichita was narrowly denied himself at this meeting 12 months ago, when a half-length runner-up to the reopposing Molatham in the Listed Flying Scotsman Stakes.

He was also a close second in this year’s 2000 Guineas – but this time, it was Wichita’s turn as he doubled his Group tally, winning as the 11-4 favourite.

Dettori, who had finished only eighth on Wichita in the Prix Maurice de Gheest last time out, said: “He ran a bit flat in Deauville, but he was a fresh horse today – he was bucking going to the start.

“I was always confident, but when (One Master’s jockey) Tom (Marquand) jumped so quickly at me I wasn’t so sure on the line.

“He deserves it – he was second in the Guineas and has been a model of consistency. I’m pleased he’s put his head in front today.

“I think seven (furlongs) is spot on for him.”

One Master, a previous Group One winner for William Haggas, had to settle for second at 7-2, with Molatham (3-1) back in third.

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Stone Of Destiny had earlier produced a telling late rattle up the stands side to deny the well-backed Danzeno in the bet365 Portland Handicap.

Andrew Balding’s sprinter, drawn high in stall 18, still had some running to do when the 11-2 favourite scampered clear a furlong out in a typically-competitive renewal of the historic race.

But Silvestre de Sousa had things in hand as Stone Of Destiny got to the front and stayed on for an emphatic success at 16-1 – by a length and a quarter from Danzeno, with 25-1 shot Yimou and Arecibo (15-2) a further two lengths and three-quarters of a length back in third and fourth.

Stone Of Destiny, making his 27th racecourse appearance, was visiting Doncaster for the first time.

Balding said: “Everything needs to drop right for him, as it does with a lot of these sprint handicappers.

“We felt this would be his type of race – his ideal distance and a strong pace – and it’s worked out well. Silvestre gave him a lovely ride.”

De Sousa added: “He’s run in a lot of these competitive sprint handicaps in the past.

“I didn’t want to get there too soon, but I knew I had a clear run travelling on the right-hand side. I could see I was going to get there.”

Matthew Flinders justified 5-2 favouritism in the opening Sky Sport Racing HD Virgin 535 Handicap.

Ridden by Marquand for Ed Walker, Matthew Flinders was previously a course winner over 10 furlongs back in June.

Reverting to a mile this time, the three-year-old arrived from off the pace to lead in the last furlong and comfortably keep Magical Morning and Frankie Dettori at bay by a length and a quarter.

Marquand was impressed with the winner, and anticipates significant further improvement.

“He still showed signs of relative immaturity,” he said.

“He’s such a big horse he’s not quite learnt where all his toes are yet.

“I could have ridden him any which way, and he still would have won. He’s a nice horse with a big future.”

Lone Eagle (3-1) gave De Sousa a double with a game victory in the Matthew Clark Nursery Handicap.

The Martyn Meade-trained youngster made most of the running and rallied splendidly when headed, to outstay 11-8 favourite Legend Of Dubai by a length and a quarter.

Jim Crowley was out of luck in the St Leger with Hukum, but at least ended the day with victory on Away He Goes (100-30) in the Magners Dark Fruit Cider Handicap.

Ismail Mohammed’s four-year-old strode past Mankayan in the last half-furlong to score by three lengths.

Crowley said: “It was lovely. He got a nice toe round and the race fell into his lap nicely.

“He likes the quick ground and he’d stay further.”

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

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...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!