Good morning all,
A review from the paddock side at Nottingham last night, which I hope proves of some use to you in the near future.
Plus a selection from Bath, where I have written the card up for the Sporting Life.
5.25 – 6f Median Auction Stakes
Sadly we weren't here in time to see these in the paddock but course bookmaker Paul Johnson, who likes to have a look when there's 2yos in the paddock, liked favourite Sir Boris best but did put in a word for Order Of St John. Given they have finished 1-2, I'd say he was about spot on! The second now qualifies for nurseries, where he'll be of some interest if stepped up in trip.
6.00 1m 1/2f Nursery
Not a lot to shout about here. Favourite Gallaside looked well but grinds his teeth and got a bit warm. He was still too good for these and may win again. Second home G For Gabrial still has some growing to do but ran on takingly late on and is getting the hang of things. The rest really were much of a muchness, but maybe International Lion, who hasn't fully grown into his frame yet, could win a race later in the season.
6.30 1m 1/2f Handicap
Paddock got this spot on. The two best were winner Saikung, who was very fit and has loads of scope about her. She's done well to win this, as it's not easy to come from off the pace on the round course at Nottingham, and she's one you'd want onside for the rest of the year.
Second home Dubai Acclaim split opinion somewhat but I liked him. Not the best of lookers, maybe, but was fit and is quite athletic. He could win one soon. The ones I wasn't keen on were Desert Lion, who is surprisingly plain, and rank outsider Orobas, who I thought looked dreadful. Recondite has scope but I thought he would sharpen up for a run – don't give up on him yet.
7.00 1m2f Novice Stakes
The big disappointment here was Omnivega, who was on my tracker as one to follow this year. I saw him on debut at Newmarket last year and thought he'd be one to follow this season, but he's really not grown that much and was unfit here anyway. The front two left him behind easily enough and although he'll now qualify for handicaps, I'd be thinking twice before getting involved. We will see.
Unsurprisingly both Last Look and Narynkol looked well, as the market suggested they would, and they pulled clear. I really thought Last Look would come right away late on but she had to be kept right up to her work. Maybe this ground was plenty soft enough for her. Regardless, she has plenty of scope and should improve. As should Narynkol, who was almost match fit but not quite, and he'll tighten up for this.
Paintball Wizard, who is related to a few winners, was by no means the worst looking horse of the night (has a slight stringholt) but was very raw and green here. He will develop with time and I've stuck him in a tracker to see how he gets on next time, now he knows a bit more. He was well beaten but the penny was dropping in the last 200yds with him and he ran on a little when it was all over.
7.30 1m2f Handicap
A moderate lot on looks. Molotov has plenty about him but was basically in a muck sweat by the time they went out of the paddock and is basically to be avoided until he learns to settle down. Winner Crystal Tiara was fine, but I chanced a place lay on the ground and got that badly wrong. She handled it fine and became yet another all-the-way winner on the round course at Nottingham this year.
I backed Tattenhams each-way on paddock looks and for a while at the 2f pole looked like copping the lot. By the time they had reached the furlong pole I'm hanging on for a place, and didn't even get that. I'd like to see him try front running tactics rather than just held up behind the pace. There might be a little race in him if he does.
8.00 1m2f Handicap
You knew Cuban Sun, who was already a C&D winner with cut, would lead these and so I tried a back-to-lay on him. He touched odds-on in running but my fat fingers were too slow and I didn't make enough out of him, in truth. He looked well again, but the paddock picks were once again the front pair in the market, although I'd just have Lady Scatterley, who has plenty of size about her for a 3yo filly, over Spanish Aria. Sadly neither performed on the night (ground?) and Capriolette, who had got a bit warm beforehand, took advantage to get on top late. What this form is worth though, is open to debate.
8.30 6f Handicap
Another modest lot, and there's no way you'd have Gregorian Girl on looks. If you didn't know she'd run four days earlier and was fit, you'd have said she was carrying condition but that's the shape she is. Quite compact and round, she's run her race again but is finding winning hard.
I was with Edgewood here but it didn't take long to realise he wasn't fit after a short break here, and he ran like that as well. Don't give up on him just yet, but he's got a fair bit to prove now.
Paddock best was Constant and I threw a few quid at him, but he just looks sour at the moment and the cheekpieces did nothing. Avoid.
On to Bath today and I'm hoping Ramatuelle (3.10) improves on what she's done so far, which isn't a lot. But she did drop a hint that she could do better last time and the big clue for me is the fact that she's entered up in handicaps on Friday, Saturday and Sunday – is Sir Mark about to go on the rampage under penalties with another of these well-handicapped ones? If she wins today, that could happen…
Good luck with all your bets today,