It’s A Struggle

Good morning all,

Quick post this morning as the electric has been off after last night's thunderstorms and I've not had much chance to look at anything so far today. Apologies for the brevity of it.

I had started an article about trainers that seem to find it a struggle at the moment in the jumping field, I'll post the first couple and then hopefully finish it off later today.

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The Week Ahead

Good morning all,

Not much on today and I'm going to make a decision in the next hour about whether to go to Bath today, and tick another course I've never been to off the list. I could crack on with the weekend's work but the temptation of visiting a new course is proving a big pull…

Anyway, not much to talk about today so a look ahead to one or two that I've seen in the entries for the coming week, plus today's selection at the end. Continue Reading

Is horse racing in trouble?….

Good morning all,

Well ‘Super Saturday’ is out of the way for another year. Certainly the day provides a feast of betting opportunities but for me it’s too much of a good thing and considering there is no flat racing in the UK today surely it would be better to have moved either Ascot or Chester to the Sunday. After all it is summer and three jumps meetings looks a shade over the top to me. I don’t see anything changing in the short terms so Super Saturday looks here to stay.

Of more pressing concern would be what Tom Segal talked about in his Sunday Column in the Racing Post. Two of the biggest handicaps of the summer the John Smith’s Cup and the Bunbury Cup were messy affairs. The former turned out to be one of the slowest renewals of recent years and turned into a four furlong sprint. Given the slow early pace those who were held up had no chance whatsoever and you have to feel for the owners of a number of horses who couldn’t get competitive.

As Tom points out “The point is these heritage handicaps are so difficult anyway that if they are slowly run or contests where no-one has a clue where the horses are going to race, they are virtually impossible”.

Not long after we had the Bunbury Cup at Newmarket which was another race run in unsatisfactory circumstances. As all the runners decided to head down the middle with, for me anyway, the low numbers at a disadvantage, especially those that were dropped in and held up. If they had gone stands side then I think the ground would have been better.

I have to agree with Tom when he says “if no one has a clue how the race is going to be run, or even where they are going to run, then punters are going to be leaving in droves, if they haven’t already”. This is a bigger problem for the sport than whether ‘Super Saturday’ is good for the game or not!

This isn’t me talking out of my pocket either as I came out of Saturday slightly ahead and the July Festival provided a very healthy profit for me and my subscribers albeit courtesy of a cracking opening day.

Angel Wings To July Cup Glory

The Caravaggio bubble was burst as he wasn’t able to follow up his impressive Commonwealth Cup win with the July Cup on Saturday. He sweated up before the race and didn’t run up to that form but that shouldn’t take away from the performance of the winner Harry’s Angel, who had finished 2nd behind Caravaggio at Royal Ascot, showed great speed and really there was only going to be one winner from two furlongs out. He showed he is a Group 1 horse, it will be interesting to see what his next race will be but he is such a speedy horse that the 5f Nunthorpe Stakes at York must now come under consideration. Aiden O’Brien trainer of the beaten favourite said after the race that he wouldn’t have any problem with running Caravaggio in the Nunthorpe and sprinting still looks the way connections are going with the colt but for me a step up in trip would be the way to go after all it was stamina that won him the race at Royal Ascot.

One For The Tracker:

As I mentioned earlier there were a few runners in the John Smith’s Cup who didn’t really have a chance the way the race was run such as Eddystone Rock and Garcia but for me I am happy to settle with the race favourite.

Victory Bond trained by William Haggas ended up going off the 6/1 favourite for the race after the rain that fell in the morning. The four year old had to be dropped in from his wide draw and was always going to be a hostage of fortune to the pace of the race. He made good headway out wide in the straight and did well in the circumstances to get within 2 ¾ lengths in 7th. Well regarded by his trainer the four year old had run well enough on his seasonal reappearance at York over a mile and the return to 1m 2f was expected to be ideal for him. He has only had six career starts so there is more to come from him especially when gets to some ease in the ground. One to follow on his next three starts when he gets his going.

Stat Corner:

Listening to a pundit on Racing UK, talking about Franny Norton’s record at Chester got me thinking a bit more on the subject of jockey’s records at a course and their best distances. Looking at Ripon, who incidentally have a meeting this coming Saturday, and two jockey’s David Allan and Graham Lee whose track records are worth a second look.

Ripon Jockeys

Since 2014 jockey David Allan’s record in handicaps at Ripon is 18 winners from 107 runners 17% -15.18 A/E 1.03 44 placed 41% but if you focus in on his record in races run over 1m 2f to 1m 4f he is 12 winners from 28 runners 43% +22.32 A/E 1.69 22 placed 79% +35.98. The win & place strike rate is very impressive indeed! Digging a bit further over 1m 4f he is 8 winners from 14 runners 57% +8.69 A/E 1.76 12 placed 86% +10.02.

Jockey Graham Lee’s record at the track in all races since 2014 is – 16 winners from 103 runners 16% +3.06 A/E 0.89 42 placed 41%. The former jump jockey really excels at the minimum trip. Over Ripon’s 5f distance he has had 7 winners from 17 runners 41% +48.42 A/E 2.41 12 places 71% +61.21.

I will be noting these two jockeys' rides at the weekend. By the way, I will take a look at Franny Norton’s Chester record in more detail in next weeks column.

Trainer Saeed Bin Suroor has an excellent win strike rate in Wolverhampton handicaps being 15 winners from 40 runners 38% +13.07 A/E 1.36 25 placed 63% since 2014. If we look at his runners going off at odds of 7/1 & under and had finished 1st or 2nd in at least one of their last three runs he is 14 winners from 28 runners 50 +21.57 24 placed 86% +32.79 A/E 1.55. The booking of a claiming jockey should also be seen a positive as he is 6 winners from 11 runners 55% +14.75 A/E 1.83 10 placed 91% +20.64 with horses ridden by apprentices. He has one such runner at Wolverhampton today Desert Rain (6:40) to be ridden by 3lb claimer Edward Greatrex.

Trainer Ralph Beckett has enjoyed plenty of success in Windsor handicaps and since 2014 he has had 13 winners from 47 runners 28% +15.47 A/E 1.5 21 placed 45%. That record can be improved when we look at his record with his three year olds, going off at an SP of 8/1 & under in Windsor handicaps – 12 winners from 29 runners 41% +26.47 A/E 1.87 17 placed 59% + 32.83 and he has one such runner in the 5:50.

Monday Selection:

I have two Monday selections for you today but neither at big prices.

Windsor – 5:50 – Secret Soul – 7/2 or better

Wolverhampton – 6:40 – Desert Rain – 11/4 or better

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

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Super Saturday

Good morning all,

It's the so-called Super Saturday today with great races every 10 minutes. By 5 o'clock tonight your head will be spinning with the amount of racing crammed into this afternoon. I still can't help but think that one of these meetings would be better served by being moved to the Sunday – tomorrow we have three jump meetings and not one on the Flat.

Anyway, we press on regardless and I've done my best to have a look at all the TV races for you. Last couple of Saturday's have been pretty good, so here's hoping for more of the same. Continue Reading

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