Author Archives: John Burke

Windsor Tip And Hungerford Thoughts

Morning all,

Moreira Lights Up Shergar Cup

I am not the biggest fan of the Shergar Cup. But I decided to watch it this year and I am glad I did. Not because the event got my pulse racing, it didn’t, but because of one jockey Joao Moreira.

He rode two winners on the day in Berkshire Boy and Green Power. Yet still managed to finish second to Hayley Turner in the individual competition. Both winning rides were excellent in their different ways and underlined his status as arguably the best jockey in the world.

Not only is Moreira a class jockey, he’s a class act off the track too. As we saw on TV after his win on Berkshire Boy. Given English isn’t his first language, he gave a highly enthusiastic and erudite interview to Tom Stanley from Racing UK.

What a joy it was to listen to him. Just a shame we can’t get to see him racing in Britain for a season. So, it was worth watching Ascot's Saturday racing, not for the competition itself but to see Moreira in action both on and off the track.

Apart from the Shergar Cup there weren’t many talking points from the weekend's action. At least this time next week we can look forward to the start of York’s Ebor Festival.

More on York next Monday when I will be sharing with you some of my approaches to the meeting.

Notebook Horse:

Fire Brigade, trained by Michael Bell, had been well fancied for the Lincoln Handicap (8/1) before finishing down the field. He then ran well when runner up at Haydock in April, a track he’s won twice at in the past, before having a wind operation.

This Ascot run was his second since that win surgery. Even the rain that fell on the track before racing didn’t really make the ground soft enough for the 4-year-old. In finishing 5th, just 1 ¾ length behind the winner Via Serendipity, there was plenty of encouragement in this run. But he does need plenty of ease in the ground. All his best RPR’s have come on soft or good to soft ground, as have his four career wins on turf. Indeed his record over a mile with soft in the going description is 4 wins from 9 runs 7 placed.

Still 3lb higher than for his last win (Oct 2017). There's a nice handicap in the gelding when the there’s more juice in the ground.

Sir Dancealot Looks Set For Hungerford Win

There’s a couple of decent days racing at Newbury on Friday and Saturday. The highlight of the two-day fixture is the Group 2 Hungerford Stakes over 7f. Looking at some of the race trends:

Horses aged three or four have won nine of the ten renewals

Horses rated 110+ have won nine of the last ten races.

This years runners and the going are a bit of an unknown at the time of writing. One almost certain to take his place is recent Lennox Stakes winner Sir Dancealot. He was only 5th in last years race but he’s a better horse now and may not have appreciated the soft ground.

The 4-year-old comes into the race after wins in a Newmarket Group 3. Before coming with a powerful late run to win at Goodwood. After the race, his jockey Gerald Mosse told the Racing Post, “He’s for me definitely a Group 1 horse. It is not even a question”. High praise indeed from the jockey.

He needs all the cards to fall right, as he's to be ridden for a very late run. But when they do as they did at Goodwood, he’s close to top class. If he gets a sound surface he must have a great chance of continuing his winning run on Saturday.

Monday’s Selection:

I am off to Windsor for today's selection. Revich, won a Chester Nursery from the front two starts back. The 2-year-old wasn’t able to get to the front, from his wide draw, in a valuable nursery at Goodwood 11 days ago but ran well to finish 6th of 17.

The colt needs the step up to a mile to bring out more improvement off his present mark but if he can get out in front he could be hard to peg back.

6:30 – Revich – 13/2

Until next week.

A Reckless Windsor Bet + Goodwood Eyecatchers

Morning all,

Well it’s been a tough week on the punting front this week at both ‘Glorious’ Goodwood and Galway.

A profitable day on day 1 at Goodwood having the 3rd and 5th in the Stewards Cup (both each way). Then getting the 2nd and 4th at big prices in the big handicap hurdle at Galway on Saturday. Which meant I went into Sunday’s racing just about breaking even on the week. It could have been a lot better but it could be a lot worse. Hopefully some of you were on Growl each way in the Stewards Cup at the advised 20/1.

This week’s article I highlight the claims of two handicappers from Goodwood who look worth following in the coming weeks.

Lightning Strikes At Goodwood

Well Goodwood had glorious weather and some glorious action on the track. My highlight of the week was Lightning Spear’s win in the Sussex Stakes. Yes, there were better performances during the week, Battaash’s back to back wins in the Group 2 King George Stakes being one. But I had backed Lightning Spear at 11/1 in the morning.

The 7-year-old deserved to win a Group 1 race. He had run in 15 Group 1 races round the world before Goodwood without winning. Although he's gone close this season to breaking his hoodoo beaten a short head in this year’s Lockinge Stakes ¾ length in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.

I suppose if the son of Pivotal was to break his Group hoodoo it was likely to be over a mile at Goodwood. Twice a winner at the course. His form figures over C&D now read 61311 and his August form figures are now 11311.

This years Sussex Stakes wasn’t the strongest and the winner got the race run to suit on going that he likes. Jockey Osin Murphy got the horse to settle well in the early part of the race and got the cover he needed before producing a nice turn of foot to lead inside the final furlong.

It was a second Group 1 win in the UK for the jockey and the owners Qatar Racing this year after Roaring Lion’s success in the Coral Eclipse.

The third home Lord Glitters was arguably a bit unfortunate. The 5-year-old wasn’t suited by the slow early pace, having to make his effort out wide. He finished off his race strongly and did well to get within 2 lengths of the winner at the line. He’s certainly up with the best older milers in Europe and there is a Group 1 race in the horse, most probably abroad.

Goodwood Notebook Horses:

As ever the big field handicaps at Goodwood have their fair share of hard luck stories and two horses who look worth putting in the tracker are Firmament and Glenamoy Lad.

Firmament hasn’t won for two years but has run plenty of good races in big field handicaps in that time. It was more of the same in the Unibet Golden Mile handicap on Friday as the 6-year-old hit trouble two furlongs out when making his effort, before staying on well, to finish 7th, beaten 3 ½ lengths, behind the winner Seniority.

His last win came at York’s Ebor meeting and he also finished 3rd in the same handicap last year. He’s dropped down to winning mark when all the cards fall right. He’s one to note at the Ebor Meeting.

Glenamoy Lad trained by Michael Wigham, had gone into my tracker after a comfortable win at Newcastle back in November. That Newcastle win made it 3 wins from 4 runs in handicaps since switching to the trainer.

The 4-year-old was making his seasonal reappearance in the Stewards Cup, from a 10lb higher mark than for his last win. He travelled well for most of the race and looked sure to play a part in the finish when not getting no sort of run two furlongs from home. That ended any chance he had and he eventually finished three lengths behind the winner in 10th.

He looks the sort to follow in these big handicap sprints between now and the end of the season. With races like the Portland Handicap and Ayr Gold Cup likely to be on his radar.

Monday’s Racing & Selection:

It’s a Bank Holiday in Ireland today so there are race meetings at Cork (jumps) and the flat at the Curragh. Over this side of Irish Sea there’s flat racing from Windsor and Carlisle and a jumps card at Newton Abbot.

Windsor

6:30 – Considering the good to firm ground this 6f Class 3 handicap has attracted a big field of 13. I am not sure how many of these will actually run but it still looks a competitive race. Daschas trained by Stuart Williams won here over C&D three starts back before a disappointing run at York when sent off the 4/1 favourite. Bounced back to win at Ascot 24 days ago. The 4-year-old remains a progressive sprinter and is just 3lb higher than at Ascot.

As much as I respect the Williams horse, I prefer the win chances of the John Quinn trained Shaheen. The 3-year-old is another progressive sprinter. At his best on good to firm ground. All four of his wins have gone on quick ground with form figures 13112. He’s also 2 wins from 2 runs in Class 3 handicaps. As long as the going remains on the quick side he looks capable of going close. Trainer John Quinn has his horses in great form with 8 winners from 28 runners 29% +34.50. He’s also 1 win from 3 runners at the track in the past 5-years.

At a really big price I wouldn’t rule out Reckless Endeavour, trained by Jamie Osborne. The trainer's horses are really going well – 5 winners from 8 runners 63% +28.75 in the past 14. days. He also has a decent record here with his 3yo+ horses – 10 winners from 34 runners 29% +46.85 A/E 1.99 13 placed 38%.

The 5-year-old has been doing most of his running of the all-weather of late but wasn’t disgraced when 11th in the Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot, before running poorly in the Bunbury Cup on his last start. Drops in class here and is on a competitive mark if he can recapture his best. Given the trainer’s recent form and course record, I can’t resist an each way play on his chance here.

Reckless Endeavour – Each way

All that’s left is to wish you a profitable weeks punting.

Goodwood Stewards Cup Tip and Monday Selection

Morning all,

The heatwave came to end over the weekend with racing at York and Newmarket taking place on soft. Yes, soft going. That said it looks set to warm up again. Which is good news for those heading to the south coast for Goodwood.

Well its’s the start of the Galway Festival today and tomorrow see’s the start of “Glorious” Goodwood. What a cracking week of high class racing we can look forward too. I have tip for later in the week from Goodwood as well as Monday’s selection.

Stoute 1-2 In King George Thriller

Poet’s Word and Crystal Ocean provided racegoers with pulsating finish to the King George VI on Saturday. It was a first & second for Sir Michael Stoute stable and gave the trainer a 6th win the race.

The winner wasn’t in a promising position coming into Swinley Bottom and it looked like his stablemate had stolen the race when going into the lead two furlongs out.

Given the eventual runner-up stays further than 1m 4f. It wasn’t difficult to think he would he would hold on at the finish. That was to underestimate the game winner who found plenty for pressure to overhaul Crystal Ocean in the final strides. Any doubts about Poet’s Word’s stamina in a strongly run 1m 4f where unfounded as his strong finish showed.

The first two pulled nine lengths clear of the third. Granted it may not have been the strongest renewals of the race but the winner and the runner-up are top class horses. Surely it was the Group 1 finish of the season so far.

My only slight criticism of the race was the very late withdrawal of Cracksman which really altered the shape of the race from a betting perspective. Connections had said he wouldn’t run on good to firm although if the times are right the going was more good than good to firm. But maybe I am being too harsh on connections.

Growl Looks Set For Stewards Cup

Over at York another trainer had a 1-2 in a big race. As Tim Easterby had the first two home in the Sky Bet Dash Handicap. The rain that had turned the York going soft, really suited the winner Flying Pursuit who had been running on unsuitable ground this season. Once the 5-year-old gets to the front he’s a tough customer to reel back as he showed once again here.

The one to take out of the race is Growl. The 6-year-old hadn’t been at his best on his two previous starts this season but he bounced back to form. He’s a well handicapped horse now. Now racing 10lb lower than when finishing 4th, beaten just a length, in last years Goodwood Stewards Cup. Provided the horse comes out of the race well, he will surely be hard to keep out of the places in that race once again. He’s available at 20/1 for this year’s Stewards Cup which looks solid each way value to me.

Notebook Horse:

Simply Breathless, trained by Clive Cox, a winner already twice this season, showed she might not have finished winning yet. The filly was only beaten 2 lengths into 5th in a strong looking 1m handicap at Ascot on Saturday. Racing on the near side when the action was happening more towards centre. She did well in the circumstance to get as close at the finish as she did

Monday’s Racing & Selection

Last weeks Monday selection Tripartite, finished 3rd and goes again today in the 5:35 at Windsor. A race he seems to have good chance in although he steps up a furlong in distance.

Today we have flat turf racing at Ayr and Windsor, all-weather action at Lingfield & Wolverhampton and a jumps card at Newton Abbot. The highlight though has to be the start of the Galway Festival.

As you would expect big fields are the order of the day and the racing looks as competitive as ever. Hence why I am heading to Ayr for today’s selection.

4:00 – Rare runners at Ayr from the Saeed Bin Suroor & Hugo Palmer stables in this handicap. But I am going to take a chance with one from the inform John Quinn stable. Speed Company is 2 wins from 3 runs at Ayr and can race off a 6lb lower mark than for his last win over C&D last June. Not at his best on his two starts this turf season but he’s been given a 63-day break to freshen up. Well handicapped if he can bounce back to form and looks worth a play today.

Monday Selection – Speed Company 

All that’s left is to wish you a profitable weeks punting at Goodwood & Galway.

Off To Windsor

Morning all,

Well it looks like the heat will continue through this week.  It's all a bit frustrating as I have plenty of horses in my trackers who really want more in the ground.

This weeks Monday column looks at two of Saturday’s big races the Irish Oaks and the new JLT Cup at Newbury. The latter race produced a back to form performance from a horse who will now head to York’s Ebor Handicap.

This week’s eyecatcher is a filly who ran a cracker in the Wetherbys Super Sprint at Newbury, despite being very slowly away and can win races.

Class Wins Irish Oaks

I was slightly critical of James Doyle’s ride on Dreamfield in the Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot but there was no faulting his ride on Sea Of Class in winning the Irish Oaks.

It was great to watch the nicely bred daughter of Sea The Stars snatch the race in the final strides. Trainer William Haggas instructed the jockey to settle the filly in the rear and her jockey produced the filly with a perfectly timed run to beat Oaks winner Forever Together by a neck. It was also nice to see Doyle not having to resort to the whip, as he just used his strength in the saddle and the filly’s class to get her home.

Having highlighted the claims of Sea Of Class for the Oaks in this column after her win at Newbury back in May. Last week I put up Magic Wand as good value at 11/4 for the Irish Oaks. Well I got the value part right as the O’Brien filly went off the odds-on favourite. Magic Wand who had looked well in the paddock before the race, looked laboured in the race and eventually finished a well beaten 5th. This was surely not her true running.

Sea Of Class now has a chance to cement her position as the best 3-year-old middle distance filly of this years classic generation. She has a good turn of foot and showed that she gets 1m 4f.

Where next for her? Well she’s fresher than most, as this was her first start since May, and the Yorkshire Oaks would seem to be the logical next target, with a possible tilt at the Arc also now a realistic option.

Stratum Has To Much Speed For JLT Rivals

Newbury racecourse introduced a new 2m handicap to the racing calendar and they will have been delighted with the field size the race attracted.

The first three home had all ran in the Ascot Stakes which highlights the strength of that races form. Stratum who had finished 4th at Royal Ascot clearly benefited from the use of the first-time hood as he settled well and showed a decent turn of foot for a stayer to win by a comfortable 3 lengths. The 5-year-old will now head for the Ebor for which he is now as low as 5/1 with some firms. The handicapper will now have his say and it will be interesting to see how much he puts the horse up for this win.

For those of us wanting to oppose him in the Ebor we might have to take into account the words of his jockey Robert Winston who told the Racing Post “This is a stepping stone to, I think, the Ebor. I don't think dropping in trip will be a problem and I don't think we've seen the best of him yet”.

Last years Ebor Winner and Melbourne Cup 5th Nakeeta seems to be hitting form at the right time. Compared to his two previous starts this season this was an improved performance.   Beaten just under four lengths, he will have a decent chance of getting closer at York. Especially with the winner likely to go up 7lb or 8lb. At around 20/1 he looks a fair each way price for a second successive win in the Ebor.

Notebook Horse:

A fair few winners should come out of the Wetherbys Super Sprint. The one that caught my eye was Blame Roberta. The Robert Cowell trained filly made a dreadful start but was keeping on well to finish in 11th just 3 ½ lengths behind the winner at the line.

This was just her third career run. She had run well in finishing 3rd at Windsor on her previous start behind Second Generation, who has since won a listed race in France, and Come On Leicester, who had finished a close up 5th in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot on her previous start.

The Cowell filly is clearly effective on quick ground and she should have no trouble in winning a race. As long as she breaks on level terms.

Monday Selection

Last weeks selection Sultan Baybars continues to disappoint. This week I am off to Windsor for today’s selection.

Windsor

5:40 – Tripartite is back down to his last winning mark. The 5-year-old wasn’t disgraced when 5th of 13 over C&D on his return to the flat 14 days ago. Set plenty to do that day, he was never competitive but was keeping on at the end of the race from out wide. If all eight go to post he has each way claims.

All that’s left is to wish you a profitable weeks punting.

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