Saturday 19th January 2019
Author: Jordan Yates
A very warm welcome to a slightly earlier Preview on the weekends top contests which take place at Haydock and Ascot. Last weekend revealed many a festival clue with dominant displays from strong festival fancies in the likes of Ok Corall and Top Notch at Warwick and Kempton. It’s likely we’ll get more pointers this weekend so sit back and enjoy the preview.
Clarence House Chase. (Grade 1) (3.35)
The mighty Altior returns too the track this weekend at Ascot in the Clarence House Chase and unfortunately we won’t get too see the highly anticipated rematch with Un De Sceaux as the latter won’t be taking his place in the line up to attempt to retain his crown. This leaves us with just the three runners with Colin Tizzard’s Fox Norton and Paul Nicholls Diego Du Charmil concluding the line up. Both horses are solid performers at Grade 1 level on their day, Fox Norton the stronger of the two having several top flight successes to his name. It would however be a seismic shock should either of them be able to land a blow on the Seven Barrows powerhouse which reflects in his price of 1/8.
The debate surrounding these small runner events rages on. I can see it from both sides of the spectrum to be honest. From a sports fan point of view it’s really uninspiring however the reality of it is we’ve got a true great of the game who everyone is scared to take on. Pretty similar to when Frankel was about on the level.
Supreme & Champion Hurdle Trials
It’s a really good card at Haydock this Saturday and this particular day is one of my favourites at the track. The Supreme Novices Trial takes place at 2.05 and it’s a certainly an intriguing affair. I’m going to jump straight in with who I think the most likely winner will be and that’s Nicky Henderson’s MISTER FISHER (11/10). Nicky also has the potentially very smart Angels Breath in the line up who’s the current market leader for the race itself in March, however his participation was said to be unlikely when Nicky was interviewed earlier in the week. Mister Fisher won well at Kempton on Boxing Day beating several smart sorts and is a horse that’s also held in a very high regard. James Bowen looks to take the ride. I’m a big fan of Thomas Darby who’s been left in the race by Olly Murphy but has a few entries over the weekend. Bright Forecast could well be the main danger to the favourite on the day.
The Champion Hurdle Trial looks set to take place at 2.40 and this year’s renewal has thrown up a very competitive affair should all of these line up. Brain Power got back to winning ways when reverting back to hurdles last time at Cheltenham by taking the International in smart style and it’s likely he’ll be a warm order again here on the back of that success. Dan Skelton’s Mohaayed comes here off the back of a very smart victory at Ascot last time in a fiercely competitive Grade 3 Handicap Hurdle. He also won the County Hurdle at The Festival last year and is an obvious player if taking his place here. He’s currently trading at around 7/2. It’s one of my favourite horses in training that I’m going to be having a punt on here though and that’s SILVER STREAK (2/1) for Evan Williams. He’s continuously progressed over the past year and also has course form winning the Swinton Hurdle here last May. A bold showing is once again likely under Adam Wedge. Global Citizen and Western Ryder both enter the equation should they line up.
Peter Marsh Chase Fancy (3.15)
OTAGO TRAIL – (10/1) (E/W)
“Poor last time at Ascot but made a promising return on his penultimate start at Newcastle on the back of a big lay off. He’s got course form having followed Bristol De Mai home in this a couple of years ago and should this turn into a test of attrition it will be right within his comfort zone. Could play a part at a decent enough each way price.”
Thursday 17th January 2019
A big welcome to this week’s Dubai World Cup Carnival Preview as we look ahead to another fiercely competitive evening of racing under the bright lights of Meydan. Last week saw a whole host a wide margin victories including the mightily impressive Walking Thunder who bolted up to land the Preview pick. It promises to be another action packed evening of racing in Dubai this week so as ever sit back and enjoy the Preview!
16.15 (GMT) (Group 2) (7f)
The feature race on this Thursday’s card comes at 4.15 (GMT) and it’s a Group 2 contest for fillies and mares that’s ridden over a distance of a mile. As expected there’s a strong Godolphin presence in the race and the current market leader Poetic Charm sports the famous blue silks in her case for Charlie Appleby. She’s a smart filly who’s form peaked when claiming a Listed event at Longchamp last term, she can be found trading at a best priced of around 5/4 to replicate said victory in this particular assignment with James Doyle is in the saddle. Saeed bin Suroor is responsible for the other two Godolphin representatives in the line up and these come in the form of Asoof and Victory Wave. The former Asoof is a useful filly who’s no stranger to the winners enclosure as she’s an ultra consistent sort. She hasn’t been seen for 103 days but there’s every chance she’ll continue said consistent form here under Christophe Soumillon. Victory Wave has already had an outing here having finished a respectable sixth a couple of weeks ago in a handicap at the course. It’s likely she’ll be a lot fitter for that outing and the experience could stand her in good stead. Kevin Stott takes the ride.
Furia Cruzada is no stranger to this course and takes her place as the current second favourite behind the market principal. She’s on a fairly sizeable losing run that stretches back to 2017 and will need to bounce back from a slightly below par effort here last time. I actually spoke to Antonio Fresu on the site last year and there’s no hiding his affection for this horse and the partnership is once again renewed here and she’s certainly a player. Charlie Fellows’ Mia Tesoro will have to overcome a 111 day break from the track here and she’s the mount of Stevie Donohoe at around the 12/1 mark. Peri Lina and Monza conclude the line up.
I think Poetic Charm will probably win this if turning up on a going day and if Furia Cruzada turns up in form also she’s likely to give the jolly most to think about as the betting suggests. However if either of the above mentioned don’t fire for whatever reason i’d be happy to side with VICTORY WAVE at the prices. It was a nice enough introduction to this track last time and there’s every chance she’ll build on that here and prove she can be competitive at this level.
VICTORY WAVE – (7/1)
Ispolini will be a tough nut to crack here on the back of that fine second placed effort here last time, he’s a tad short though in the betting and i’ve tried to take him on with RED GALILEO (7/2) for Saeed bin Suroor. He’s got a 9 month absence to overcome however he’s a course and distance winner who also finished 6th in a Dubai Gold Cup behind Vazirabad.
This is an extremely competitive contest of which a case could be made for the majority of the field. I found it tough to separate two picks but I’ve decided to take a chance on DRACO (9/2). He looks a lot more unexposed than a lot of them and won both of his starts last term. He’ll need to step up on the form of those victories but he could well have a lot more to come. I certainly wouldn’t put you off backing Doug Watson’s Thegreatcollection who was the other horse in question for me.
Another very competitive affair of which Godolphin have many representatives in the line up and look to have a real grip on the contest. The one i’m going to side with is a Godolphin contender and that’s MOUNTAIN HUNTER (7/2) for Saeed bin Suroor. Very poor when last seen at Newmarket however he is a course and distance winner and if back on song he could make somewhat of a mockery of this mark under Soumillon.
It will come as no surprise that the card is signed off with another competitive looking handicap and that’s exactly the case here. Another race where the majority of the contenders have genuine chances and the one i’m taking a tentative alliance with is SUYOOF (8/1) for Mike de Kock. He’s a course winner who ran a mediocre race last time however said run was said to be a prep for this, he’ll likely play his hand late and try to pick up the pieces under Dane O’Neil.
Saturday 12th January 2019
(Author: Jordan Yates)
A warm welcome to this week’s Saturday Preview where the attention turns to a top class card at Warwick with the Classic Chase being the centre piece. As well as some smart looking contests on offer at Kempton which include the Lanzarote Hurdle. Enjoy!
The 1.50 at Warwick is where i’ll kick things off and that’s the Listed Novices Chase which is contested over a trip of three miles. The one i’m siding with here comes in the form of OK CORRAL (2/1) for Nicky Henderson in the JP silks. Derek O’Connor is over to ride and he got off to the perfect start over the larger obstacles on his last outing when winning at very shorts odds at Doncaster. This is a hot small runner race and Rocky’s Treasure is a worthy favourite and a likely tough nut to crack, Secret Investor and White Moon conclude the line up, both smart sorts and highly touted of whom could well play a part.
Onto the 2.25 which is the ‘Ballymore Leamington Novices Hurdle’ which is a Grade 2 affair ridden over two miles and five furlongs and the one i’ve had a go on here is TIDAL FLOW (11/10) for Phillip Hobbs partnered up with the champ Richard Johnson. Unfortunately the price has somewhat crashed now from the 5/2 of which it was earlier on Friday as the Hobbs charge finds himself clear favourite following the withdrawal Nicky Henderson’s Birchdale. Rockpoint is a solid contender and won well last time at Cheltenham and one to keep an eye on as well as could be Beakstown who looks a potential each way play.
The Classic Chase takes centre stage at Warwick, a Grade 3 Handicap Chase that’s contested over a distance of three miles and five furlongs. It’s normally a fiercely competitive affair of which this year is no different. You could go through the majority of the field and state each runner with a fair chance and the one i’m taking somewhat of a tentative chance on is DUEL AT DAWN (7/1 EW). He was last seen when finishing slightly down the field at Haydock last time behind Daklondike in what was a decent race. He’ll likely be a lot better off for that run here and I can see a much improved effort if getting a clear round. Kielan Woods is in the saddle.
Kempton Lanzarote Hurdle:
KLOUD GATE – (7/2)
“Unfortuatnely the price has crashed throughout the week on this well fancied Gary Moore charge, but as this is a page primarily to share with you who i’m betting on Kloud Gate is my Lanzarote selection. Winner of his last two starts over hurdles he looks a very nice fit for this race, his win at Doncaster last time was particularly impressive despite him going off at a short price.”
DOUX PRETENDER – (7/1) (E/W)
“A bigger price for those who don’t fancy taking the now slightly skinny priced favourite. Doux Pretender ran slightly below par last time at Cheltenham when well fancied, however conditions should be more in his favour here at a track that should also be more to his taking. Noel Fehily is in the saddle.”
Thursday 10th January
(Author: Jordan Yates)
A big welcome to this week’s Dubai World Cup Carnival Preview as we look set for another cracking evening’s racing under the bright lights of Meydan. So for those of you who are getting a bit tired of 2-4 runner National Hunt contests at home, sit back, relax and enjoy some of the world’s best jockeys on the level and some not too bad horses either, do battle at one of the finest racecourses on the planet.
The first race i’ll be taking a look at in this week’s Preview is the 3.40 (GMT) which is the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial over a mile. The race see’s the exciting prospect that is Royal Marine head affairs for Saeed bin Suroor, he was last seen when winning a Group 1 contest at the Arc Meeting at Longhamp and before that he won a maiden at Doncaster which the form has worked out very well. I’ve actually seen both of those victories live on course and he’s a horse that certainly gives the impression that there’s a lot more to come within the highest level. This reflects in his price here at odds on in most places at around 8/11, a bold showing is likely under the wining machine that is Christophe Soumillon. There’s a few familiar names in the line up for the fans of the level at home, bin Suroor is also represented Burj, and Dark Thunder formerly of Tom Dascombe currently lines up also. Whilst I think if he takes to the track and turns up anywhere near his best Royal Marine wins, as a betting proposition he’s very much on the skinny side and i’d be willing to chance an each way play on WALKING THUNDER (15/2 E/W), I’ve been impressed with both of his victories to date around here and there’s no telling where the limit to his ability might be. He could well be up for this step up in class sporting the colours of the Phoenix Ladies Syndicate who have enjoyed their fair share of success at the track in recent months.
The next contest the 4.15 (GMT) is a much more competitive looking affair this time contested over six furlongs however it does see the same connections at the top of the betting with Major Partnership heading things for Saeed bin Suroor and Godolphin. He doesn’t quite have as high of a profile as Royal Marine however he’s still a horse with a likely big future ahead of him and he’s as short as 11/8 to take this particular affair once again under the reliable partner that is Christophe Soumillon. A lot like his stablemate in the previous race, a bold showing would once again be no real surprise. Godolphin are also represented here by Roussel who takes his place in the line up for Charlie Appleby, his form is very much hit and miss and whilst he’s a smart enough performer on his day its trying to find that day is often the problem, he certainly has the ability to be competitive within this field though and can be found trading at around 7/1. As ever when looking at runners from a betting proposition I like to find something with a bit of ‘value’ the infamous word, and I’m going to try and do that here with David Barron’s ABOVE THE REST (7/1 E/W). He was slightly below par here last week on the dirt within Group 3 company but a return to this sort of level off this mark could see him put in a much better showing. It’s likely he’ll be a lot more tuned up on that back of that effort also with Ben Curtis in the saddle. Intisaab and Mujaafy are also ones to note.
The feature race of the day comes in the form of the 4.50 (GMT) which is the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge race and it really has thrown up quite the renewal. There’s a whole host of proven top level performers currently at the top of the market and heading these is the very smart Heavy Metal. This is a horse that has 8 wins to his name on this track which include 4 within Group company, he won this last year and also went on to win the Godolphin Mile. One of the most solid contenders you can find around here and deservedly takes his place at the top of the market at a general 2/1. North America just follows him in the betting at around 10/3, he was poor when last seen here in March when finishing last in the World Cup when being fancied. This is a considerably easier assignment however he sometimes needs a run. Charlie Appleby’s Gold Town is set to make his return to the track for the first time since finishing fourth in the UAE Derby. Before that he dismantled a couple of decent enough fields in trials and will be looking to return to that sort of form again here. James Doyle is in the saddle. KIMBEAR (9/2) made his return to the track last month when finishing a decent third within Listed company over a trip that was slightly on the short side. It is hard to get away from the solid credentials of Heavy Metal here however Kimbear did get the better of him on one occasion here last year and at the prices i’m going to chance him to give the market leader something to think about once again here. A very likeable sort and a decent price here at 9/2 if you fancy going against the market leader.
Saturday 5th January 2019
A big welcome to this week’s Saturday Preview on what is far from a vintage day’s racing but a solid enough card is on offer at Sandown with it being Tolworth day. Starting off we give a mention to the 1.50 which is a Listed Mares hurdle the reason said race deserves a mention is because it see’s the returning Laurina make her long awaited seasonal appearance. Connections have been suposedly waiting for a bit of cut in the ground and she’ll get that here however what she wont get is much opposition. Only four runners will go to post and she finds herself at a best priced of 1/6. She took all before her last season culminating with a victory in the Mares Novice race at Cheltenham and then followed up with Grade 1 success at Fairyhouse. So lets be honest, it would be a major shock should she not win here. Sensulano (8/1), Smaoineamh Alainn (18/1) and Got Away (40/1) make up the line up.
Thankfully the racing does get more competitive and onto the feature event of the afternoon which is of course the Tolworth Hurdle which takes place at 2.25. A Grade 1 affair that’s contested over a trip of just shy of two miles and it see’s Nicky Henderson’s highly thought of Rathhill head the market at a best price of 5/4. He was last seen when winning a maiden at Newbury last month in pretty comfortable style and you’d like to think that connections believe there is a lot of ability in his locker to be pitching him straight in Grade 1 company following a maiden success. A bold showing is very much likely to be on the cards. Paul Nicholls has two runners in the line up and the come first of these is Southfield Stone (8/1) who’s the mount of Harry Cobden. Winner of the last three of his races which include two over hurdles this is clearly a horse with ability despite having to take a step up in class for this particular assignment. The second of the Nicholls contenders is none other than Grand Sancy (9/1), this is a horse i’ve become a big fan of this season, an ultra consistent as well as tough sort who’s won several times and finished a solid fourth within a hot handicap the last day at Ascot. Sam Twiston-Davies is in the saddle.
The horse i’m going to side with here though is Colin Tizzard’s ELIXIR DE NUTZ (2/1). He doesn’t quite fit the bill for your average winner of this race but like Grand Sancy i’ve become a big fan of his this term and seen him win on a couple of occasions at Cheltenham. His most recent win at said track came last month where he was given a sizeable amount of weight away to a rival who has since gone on to win in commanding style at the same track. This Henderson hotpot is likely going to be a tough one to get the better of but I think Colin Tizzard’s charge will certainly be up for the fight.
(1.20) – WESTERN MILLER (8/1) (E/W)
“Hasn’t been at his best for some time but is on a very workable mark should he return to form. Gone well over track and trip before off higher.”
Thursday 3rd January 2019
It’s finally time for what I think is the best part of the Winter and that’s of course the Dubai World Cup Carnival over at Meydan, as it’s all set to kick off this Thursday with what is an enticing card of racing to say the least. I have far from the most prolific of betting records at Meydan so if you are following my punts I wouldn’t be booking your own Dubai adventure just yet, I just absolutely love it and genuinely can’t wait for this.
The action gets under way with the 2.30 which is a handicap contested over a distance of just over a mile and four furlongs and it’s a race which Godolphin look to hold the answer too, with the top three in the betting currently at their disposal. Im going to try and take them on though and do that with BASATEEN (8/1 E/W). He bounced back to form last time with a second placed effort and won here off this mark back in 2016. He could well get involved if any of the big three aren’t on a going day.
Next up is the UAE 1000 Guineas Trial at 3.05, a contest just shy of seven furlongs of which Godolphin have the market leader once again in the form of Saeed bin Suroor’s Dubai Beauty. She’s been disappointing in her last two outings however she’s likely been laid out for this with bin Suroor having such a fine record in the race, three wins in the last five renewals no less. A bold showing would be no surprise. I’d like to try and take her on though at the prices and i’ll have a go on AL SHAMKAH (15/2 E/W). She won a ten runner maiden over course and distance here back in October and that experience may well stand her in good stead.
The 3.40 is another Handicap over the sprint trip of marginally shorter than five furlongs and this a race that will likely see Hit The Bid and Faatinah set the standard and sit at the top of the market as the one’s to beat. The one I’m going to take a chance on though is IBN MALIK (7/1 EW) who hasn’t won since 2016 however ran a cracker when just being denied last time by a potentially smart one for Doug Watson. He’ll have to step up again if he is to play a part at the business end but he could well be up for it.
The first bit of Group action comes at 4.15 and it’s the Group 3 Dubawi Stakes that’s contested over a distance of 5 furlongs and 212 yards and Doug Watson seems to hold a strong hand and it’s his representative DRAFTED (5/2) that I think can go well here. Last seen when holding on in a decent race here from Ibn Malik the last day I think there’s a lot more to come from this smart gelding who’s no stranger to the winners enclosure.
Another Group 3 up next at 4.50 and it’s the Singspeil Stakes ridden over a mile and 209 yards an this is a race of whom I think Godolphin’s KEY VICTORY (2/1) can go well. He only ran three times last season winning one of them but it’s likely he’ll come into his own over here for powerhouse connections that have a well known solid record at the track. James Doyle is in the saddle and it would be somewhat of a surprise should a bold showing not be had. The former Aiden O’Brien trained Deauville looks the chief threat.
The page will return for next weekend’s action at Sandown on the 5th January.
In the meantime, have a fantastic New Year and thanks for all the support during 2018.
I’ll see you in January.