Not for the first time I have talked myself out of bets. On Saturday it was Golden Apollo at Ayr and Caradoc at Newbury and I can honestly say its frustrating beyond belief.
It’s that time of the flat season when the juveniles start to take centre stage. We saw two interesting juvenile performances at Newbury. Whilst this week’s Cambridgeshire Festival features more top 2-year-old races such as the Middle Park and Cheveley Park Stakes
Inside this week’s column. I look back at Ayr’s Western meeting and those two juvenile performances.
Plus, I have had a looked at next Saturday’s big betting race the Cambridgeshire Handicap and there’s a Monday selection running at Leicester.
You can read my thoughts overleaf.
Ayr’s Western Meeting
A big Saturday north of the border with the Ayr Gold Cup as the centrepiece. The race took place under sunny skies and warm weather more akin to mid-July than mid-September.
Kynren pays for William Hill Christmas party
Kynren is probably the worst handicapped horse in training. Despite a losing run which stretches back to Sept 2017, he races off a career high mark of 101. Sadly the 5-year-old is just too consistent for his own good.
He's been a beaten favourite on his last three starts it didn’t stop punters from backing off him the boards again at Ayr.
Saturday’s handicap was probably the easiest race he’s contested all season but could you really take a short price about a horse that hasn’t managed to win for 2-years? Plenty of punters were happy to do so but they got their fingers burnt again.
This years William Hill Christmas party should be a good one.
Its bronze & silver but not gold for Easterby
Golden Apollo did break a long losing run with victory in the Silver Cup. A well handicapped horse if all the cards fell right and they did so on Saturday.
Golden Apollo’s win was a notable big handicap sprint double for trainer Tim Easterby who also won the Bronze Cup on Friday with Music Society.
Sadly, he couldn’t make it gold, as his runner in the Ayr Gold Cup, Saxton, could only finish 10th of 24 in the big one.
Alexander Scores For Owen
Bookies got another result in the Ayr Gold Cup. As Europe’s richest sprint handicap went to Angel Alexander at a relatively unfancied 28/1.
Trained by Tom Dascombe and part owned by a certain Michael Owen, Angel Alexander was always up with the pace in the small group of six runners that headed to the stands side.
Despite hanging towards the centre inside the final furlong., the 3-year-old put in a storming performance, given most of the action developed middle to far side, to beat Growl and the O’Meara pair of Gulliver and Summerghand in a close finish.
The winner had been doing most of his running around a bend at Chester and on softer ground, so was relatively unexposed over a straight 6f. Well done if you managed to find him but he didn’t appear on my radar for the race.
Favourite hit’s Ayr buffers
Only two winning favourites in the Ayr Gold Cup in the past 30-years but there was plenty of confidence behind recent Curragh winner Buffer Zone.
Sent off the shortest priced favourite in the race for 20-years. He could never got competitive and his backers knew their fate at halfway.
It was a flat performance from Buffer Zone and in hindsight the race just came too quick for the 4-year-old. This wasn’t his true running and he’s not one to give up on just yet.
It’s All About The Juveniles
It was the 2-year-old’s who took centre stage at Newbury.
On Friday it was Quadrilateral, trained by Roger Charlton, who stole the headlines . The daughter of Frankel put in a visually impressive performance to make it 2 from 2 at Newbury when winning the 7f fillies conditions race by nine lengths.
There was a difference of opinion of the filly’s performance in the Racing Post. Racing Post Ratings gave her a figure of 101 but Topspeed gave her a rating of just 72.
I have no doubt she can rate higher than 101 but whether this performance was at that level I have my doubts.
Clearly a nice run and she’s obviously capable of running faster in better company than she faced on Friday. However, I think the bookies overreacted in making her favourite for next years 1,000 Guineas.
Pierre Lapin Overcomes Absence To Land Mill Reef
The feature race on Newbury’s Saturday card was the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes.
Pierre Lapin, trained by Roger Varian, had been off the track since winning on his racecourse debut back in May. The colt was a bit ‘gassy’ in the early stages of the race but proved too strong for his seven rivals.
It probably wasn’t the strongest renewal of the race but this half-brother to Harry Angel could only beat what's put in front of him.
He’s got the scope to make up into a high class three-year-old but looking at his racing style and pedigree it will probably be at sprint trips rather than a mile.
On Saturday, it’s the first leg of the ‘Autumn Double’, the second leg being the Cesarewitch. Run over an intermediate distance of 1m 1f and with an average of 30 runners its some spectacle.
Cambridgeshire Heads North?
Lord North, trained by John Gosden, heads the market. Gosden has won the race twice since 2008. Both his winners had raced no more than eight times during their career and Lord North has just had the four runs.
The 3-year-old ran a decent trial for this when runner-up to the inform Bless Him at Ascot 22-days ago. Given his profile you can see why he's the race ante post favourite. I wouldn’t put anyone him off him at all. He could be the proverbial Group horse in a handicap.
Charlton Has Lively Outsider
I like Blue Mist but I'm not sure if he will run. The 4-year-old who was third to Raising Sand at Ascot two starts back, found 7f at Chelmsford too short last time but wasn’t disgraced in finishing 2 ½ length, 6th of 15.
His best form has come at Ascot, form figures 153, and he may well be aimed at a handicap there but if there’s give underfoot, I can see him going well should he take up his place here.
Two of his career wins have come at mile and he’s seems well suited a big field. Saturday’s extra furlong should be within range, at 25/1, he looks decent value. He probably won't run if there is firm in the going description.
Don’t Rule Out Beringer & Jazeel
Beringer is another contender. The 4-year-old’s form figures on the Rowley Mile are 21. He’s won twice at 1m 2f and his best RPR came when beaten a short head by Jazeel at Sandown over that distance, off 1lb higher, back in July.
He can meet Jazeel on 6lb better terms here and is arguably one of the better handicapped horses in the field.
The intermediate 1m 1f could be ideal for the gelding who finished 4th of 19 in the Lincoln Handicap.
His best form so far has come on good or quicker ground so he’s the opposite of Blue Mist in regard to underfoot conditions.
Jazeel has been in great form since joining Jedd O’Keefe. The 4-year-old won last years Silver Cambridgeshire over C&D for his previous trainer and this has been his target all season.
I would like to see the trainer among the winners this week though as he’s 0 winners from 19 runners in the past 14-days and has gone 36 days since his last winner.
Today’s selection carry’s a wealth warning as I couldn’t pick my nose at present.
3:25 – Four Wheel Drive – The 3-year-old has been in great form over recent months with his last six form figures being 211311. Last win came at Thirsk 16-days ago, when finding plenty for pressure to hold on by a head. Up another 4lb but he remains on a competitive mark if he is in the same form as last time. He will do for me.
Four Wheel Drive
Until next week
John Burke is the tipster behind the long standing Victor Value service you can join him here – https://victorvalue.uk