Good morning all,
It was raining steadily in my part of Yorkshire yesterday. Not great for outside drinking & eating or a day at the seaside. However, we haven’t had any rain here for over seven weeks and the racecourses will have really welcomed every millimetre of the wet stuff that fell.
The field sizes at Newmarket’s Guineas Festival the two Classics apart were dreadful. The 3-year-old handicaps were poor for a prestigious meeting like the Guineas Festival. Granted the good to firm ground at Newmarket didn’t help and the prize money isn’t anywhere near back to pre-Covid levels. Still, it was a worrying sign and it’s not been confined to Newmarket some other tracks have suffered from poor field sizes for Class 3 handicaps.
Maybe the lack of racecourse hospitality is putting off some owners from running their horses. You also have the problem that some courses are still unable to accommodate overnight stays. I know that’s been an issue at the likes of Ripon. Hopefully it’s simply those two reasons which are causing the lack of runners rather than something more worrying like a reduced number of horses in training due to the pandemic.
Inside today’s main piece I have several horses that caught my eye last week. Plus, I have an ante post tip for Royal Ascot and a selection from Wolverhampton’s evening fixture.
Last Week’s Notes and Eyecatchers
Friday – Goodwood
The opening race on Goodwood’s Friday card was by Atalanta's Boy, trained by David Menuisier. He really seems to like Goodwood’s 6f, as his form figures over C&D are now 11011. His sole poor run at the track came in last season’s Stewards Cup when he completely missed the start. The 6-year-old looks better than ever and surely, will be aimed at the Stewards Cup once again.
Solar Screen was having his first start since his switch to David Simcock and first since a gelding operation. The pace of the race didn’t suit him at all. He was held up at the rear but finished his race off well to finish a 1 ¾ length 3rd of 7 behind the front running Orion Swift. The 4-year-old clearly stays 1m 6f and could stay further. Sent off the 5/2 favourite suggests connections think he’s on a competitive mark. He will be seen to better effect in a more evenly run race.
Saturday – Newmarket
Came From The Dark maintained his improvement when finishing an unlucky, neck second in the Group 3 Palace House Stakes. With a clearer run inside the final furlong, he would have won. He deserves to take his chance in the King Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot. Given his liking for strongly run 5f he looks good each way value to me at the 16/1 available with BetVictor and Sky Bet.
Chindit was doing his best work at the finish when winning the Greenham Stakes over 7f on his seasonal reappearance. He was once again doing his best work when hitting the rising ground to finish 5th in the 2,000 Guineas. He didn’t seem to enjoy the track as occurred in last season's Dewhurst. He's not bred for 1m 2f but he shapes like he needs it and once again he showed a liking for a sound surface. I wouldn’t rule him out winning a Group 1 on a more galloping track.
Sunday – Newmarket
Global Storm just failed to overhaul the more prominently ridden Zabeel Champion in the 1m 4f Class 2 handicap. Zabeel Champion continues to progress but the runner-up is also worth noting going forward. He remains unexposed over 1m 4f and hold up tactics will be better suited to a more strongly run race.
Special Strength was sent off the 11/8 favourite to make a winning racecourse debut in the 5f juvenile maiden. The Mehmas colt was slowly away and ran green when asked for his effort two furlongs out. It was a promising effort to finish runner-up to Dig Two who had the benefit of run. He will know more next time and a maiden should be a formality.
We are in the flat turf season but you wouldn’t have guessed. There are five meetings in Britain today and three of them are over jumps and the other two on the all-weather. The only flat turf fixture is over the Irish Sea at Gowran Park.
I don’t have any strong fancies today, However, here are few that could be worth a second look at Gowran Park & Wolverhampton.
2:05 – Aingeal Dorcha is first reserve but if the 3-year-old gets into this 7f handicap he’s worth a second look. The gelding put in an improved performance when a head 2nd of 15 on his handicap debut over C&D 27-days ago.
3:10 – MK Drama gained her first success at the 14th attempt when winning a C&D handicap her last October (heavy). The mare returned to action with a respectable 3rd of 20 at the Curragh 44-days ago. The softer the ground the better and Siobhan Rutledge takes off a handy 7lb.
3:45 – Harbanaker is 0-10 but posted a career best effort on turf when a 5 ½ length 4th of 17 over C&D (soft) last time. Had the worst of the draw that day so his effort can be slightly marked up. Better draw in stall 3 today and shouldn’t be far away here.
4:50 – Duchess Ravenwaves beat Room To Roam by six lengths at Naas 38-days ago. The runner-up get’s 10lb from the winner here and Dylan Browne McMonagle takes off a useful 5lb which could make all the difference. A slight concern would be the form of the John McConnell yard which is 0-26 in the past 14-days.
6:00 – Zumaaty looked to have benefitted from a recent gelding operation when a head 2nd of 12 at Brighton 7-days ago. Can race off the same mark here and Joanna Mason who’s well worth her 5lb claim keeps the ride on the 3-year-old.
7:00 – Toplight’s sole career win came over C&D back in November, off 5lb lower. A decent 3rd of 7 at Lingfield last time. The 3-year-old races the first time cheekpieces and if he can overcome stall 11 shouldn’t be far away.
6:00 – Zumaaty – 6/1 @ Bet365
Good luck with your Tuesday bets.
John Burke is the tipster behind the long standing Victor Value service you can join him here – https://victorvalue.uk