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Newmarket Tale

Good morning all,

Apologies for the weekend's mix-ups, not sure what happened myself but hopefully it won't happen again.

I'm off to Cheltenham today – no, don't worry, you're not missing a meeting or anything, but I'm having a meeting with a couple of people that might lead to something exciting. It might not, but I'm going in with an open mind, let's see how things pan out!

The rain is well and truly set in, and I expect we will lose a meeting or two this week. How is Ascot going to ride, I wonder….? Anyway, here's my weekend adventures, plus a selection from Carlisle.

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Pontefract Blue and Royal Ascot Juveniles

If you were at Haydock on Saturday, you could have been forgiven for thinking it was October rather than June. The ground was heavy and the weather wet and cold.

It’s supposed to be “flaming June”! Let’s hope the summer weather has only deserted us for a short time and returns for Royal Ascot.

Saturday’s racing won’t last long in the memory bank but there were a couple of juvenile performances worth highlighting.

You can read about those, plus my thoughts on ITV Racing and the retirement of Jeremy Noseda inside.

Another Royal Ascot Juvenile for John Quinn

Liberty Beach created a decent impression when winning on her racecourse debut at Redcar last month. Taking a step up in class on Saturday for the Hillary Needler Trophy at Beverley held no terrors for the filly, as she came from behind with a power packed finish to win going away by 2 ½ lengths.

Another step up in class beckons for the daughter of Cable Bay, as she’s heading to Royal Ascot for the Queen Mary Stakes. She will need to improve further to place in a Group 2 but there’s no doubt she’s going the right way.

Trainer John Quinn’s record at Royal Ascot with last time out winning juveniles – 2 winners from 4 runners +28 is in her favour. He also knows the sort of filly needed to win a Queen Mary having won last year's race with 25/1 chance Signora Cabello.

Aidan O’Brien Unleashes Exciting Juveniles

Aidan O’Brien is starting to send out plenty of nice 2-year-olds. He introduced two potentially smart ones in Lope Y Fernandez & Kipling who finished first and second in a 7f maiden at the Curragh on Friday evening.

The best of them, however, could be Royal Lytham who made his debut at Navan over 6f on Saturday. The son of Gleneagles caused a bit of shock when beating his stablemate United Front into 4th.

Travelling well on the inner, the colt had to be switched to challenge but he had enough speed to go through a gap that opened between horses inside the final furlong. He got his head in front in the final 50 yds and wasn’t stopping as they hit the line.

An extra furlong can bring out further improvement in the colt. Who has the potential to be a top class 2-year-old.

ITV Racing

ITV Racing’s Derby coverage was a big talking point in print and social media last week.

In his Monday Daily Telegraph column, Charlie Brookes described the coverage as “lacking substance” as it didn’t provide viewers with sectional timings.

Later in the week we had Bruce Millington’s riposte to Brooks in the Racing Post.

As Millington wrote, “If you wanted to find a type of content to sail over the head of as many ITV viewers as possible and get them reaching for the remote, a clinical presentation of sectional analysis would probably be it… It is a bone-dry topic that has yet to win over most of the mainstream racing media that it is worth bothering with so it would be laughable to try to push it to ITV’s more casual audience”.

I find Millington’s perspective persuasive. Those criticising ITV’s coverage for lacking substance forget what ITV’s role is. They are a gateway into the sport, as they were for me back in the days of the World of Sport.

There's a place for sectional timings, that’s for sure, but it's not on ITV Racing.

Jeremy Calls It A Day

No, not Jeremy Corbyn but trainer Jeremy Noseda

On Thursday Noseda brought down the curtain on a 23-year training career.

Prior to beginning his own training career Noseda had been heavily involved with the establishment of the Godolphin training operation in the early 90s,

His biggest training successes came in 2006 when he trained Sixties Icon to win the St Leger and Araafa to win the Irish 2,000 Guineas and St James Palace Stakes.

The writing has been on the wall in recent seasons with the number of winners well down on what they were in 2011. He was also hit by the departure of the Phoenix Thoroughbred owned horses in 2018.

In 2019 he’s had just 4 winners from 32 runners, with two of those coming at York’s Dante Festival. He will have his last two runners at Royal Ascot. It’s a meeting he’s had nine winners at and you wouldn’t rule him out retiring with a winner on the biggest stage in flat racing.

The period between 2005 and 2007 was his high water mark.  However, he didn’t really kick on and break through into the very top echelon of the training ranks.  For me he ends his career a bit of underachiever. Others may disagree.

Monday Selection:

Pontefract

7:35 – An interesting Class 2 handicap over 1m 4f.  David O’Meara saddles ex-French recruit Isidor Bonheur Yes. The 5-year-old could be well handicapped on his French form. The market will tell you more. We do know the trainer does well with such horses.

My Reward won this last year and races off 8lb lower. Not so good so far on his three starts this season but he could get an uncontested lead and if he does, he’s a tough one to get past.

Blue Laureate made good seasonal reapperance when runner-up to Sextant at Ascot two starts back. He was only 5th of 6 at Goodwood 16-days ago but he drops back to 1m 4f which will be in his favour. Trainer Ian Williams horses could be in better form but the selection looks on a competitive mark. If he reproduces his Ascot run he shouldn't be far away.

Blue Laureate – 7/1

Next Monday I will be concentrating the column on Royal Ascot.

Until next week

Saturday Preview

Good morning all,

Not many bets to be had today I don't think, and with Newmarket not having the rain as I go to press, I'm happy to leave that alone for the time being too.

So just the one at Beverley and two at Chepstow to keep the show rolling along today.

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Stop The Music

Good morning all,

The concert season starts to get into full swing this month, starting with Madness at Market Rasen and Jess Glynne at Haydock tonight. But are the music events still all they are cracked up to be, from the bookmakers perspective?

My take, plus today's selection from Brighton, are on the main piece.

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