1,000 Guineas Day

Yesterday certainly didn’t disappoint with what was a very entertaining days racing. The blog did well and it would have been even better had Son Of The Stars remotely handled the dip, he went down a head in the end but was value for more than that.

1:50 Newmarket – Qatar Racing Handicap (Frontiersman 9/2)

There is a chance that Big Country is still very well handicapped after his win at Kempton last time, that has been boosted with the second winning next time out and the third Prince Of Arran running second in a Group 3 at Ascot during the week. But he’s gone up a further 10lb and to be honest I would like to think there is a better horse in here than him. Frontiersman in my opinion is a Group horse and his pedigree could hardly be any better, by Dubawi out of 7 time Group 1 winner Ouija Board and therefore is a half brother to Epsom Derby winner Australia. He didn’t set the world alight as a three year old by only getting his head in front twice, but I have no doubt that the key to this horse is quick ground. Both his wins have come on Good To Firm and the second of those was over this course and distance where saying he bolted up would probably be an understatement. His reappearance wasn’t ideal as himself and Muntahaa took each other on far too early and emptied the tank a couple of furlongs out. That form has been boosted with the aforementioned Muntahaa and the winner Chemical Charge fighting out the finish of a Group 3 subsequently. He does have to shoulder top weight and that will make it difficult, but if he’s not better than a 101 rated horse I would be very surprised.

2:20 Newmarket – Charm Spirit Dahlia Stakes

Preview here.

2:25 Newmarket – Longholes Handicap (Eastern Impact 5/1)

This is by no means a strong fancy but he certainly has as good a chance as any. He won this race in 2015 of 2lb higher than todays mark and is 2 from 3 over course and distance (His other runs at Newmarket have come on the July course). This ground should suit him and having put in an encouraging run on the all weather last time that should have put him spot on for this. I would imagine he’s been trained with this race in mind and if he can rediscover some old form he is in with a bold shout.

3:35 Newmarket – Qipco 1000 Guineas Stakes (Urban Fox 50/1 Each Way)

Rhododendron will be bidding to emulate her stablemate Minding in winning the Fillies Mile and following that up with 1,000 Guineas success. If you got on at a reasonable price prior to today then good luck to you, but I wouldn’t be touching the 11/8 on offer now. I’d like to see Fair Eva win as I think James Doyle deserves a Guineas success after a couple of near misses and she looked so good when winning the Princess Margaret last season, if she has done well over the winter then she’s got a great chance. But if anything has a chance to place at a huge price it’s Urban Fox. She is super consistent and her comeback run in the Fred Darling was very encouraging when second to the promising Dabyah. This shows she may have improved over the winter and trainer James Tate said he was extremely happy with that last run as she had an interrupted preparation. Obviously the price gives you an idea of her chance and she has plenty to find with the favourite, but she could land a place.

4:10 Newmarket – Havana Gold Maiden Stakes

We have five unraced horses against one that has raced once, I don’t much about these at all and your guess is as good as mine.

4:45 Newmarket – Tweenhills Pretty Polly Stakes (Horseplay 5/1)

This race has produced some decent horses in recent years, most notably the great Taghrooda back in 2014. John Gosden is aiming to win it for the fourth year in a row and has hot favourite Astronomy’s Choice, but nothing has come out of her maiden win and I prefer Horseplay. She was behind the reopposing Kazimiera on debut but came on bundles for that and hosed up by 13 lengths next time out, albeit on soft ground. This step up in distance will definitely suit and if she handles the quicker surface then I think she could play a big part.

5:20 Newmarket – Qipco Supporting British Racing Handicap (Mister Manduro 2/1)

The form of Oasis Charm’s Leicester win looks pretty good to me, but the way Mister Manduro’s reappearance at Bath is working out I simply have to go with him. He finished runner up and the third, fourth and fifth have all won impressively since and he should prove to be better than a rating of 86. He was caught late in the day in that race and if this drop in trip doesn’t pose any problems then he has to go close.

2,000 Guineas Day

It’s the first classic of the season and what a race it is mounting up to be, three unbeaten colts taking on the O’Brien hotpot Churchill. It seems by most of my selections I’m going for a bit of an each way day, so I’m keeping stakes small and not expecting too much in the way of profit, but it’s nice to be involved y’know.

1:50 Newmarket – Spring Lodge Stakes (Berkshire 14/1 Each Way)

We have joint favourites at 3/1 but they look plenty short enough when you see that Group 2 winner Berkshire is 14/1. He was well below form last year after nearly two years off the track, but he did manage to win a Listed race at Windsor. So I’m taking a risk in hoping that this six year old retains plenty of ability. He has raced at Newmarket twice and won both, the first was the Group 2 Royal Lodge and the second was the Group 3 Darley Stakes where he beat Mutakayyef. If the ground stays quick that will help him, he does have to shoulder top weight but it doesn’t cost you much to find out if he’s still up to this level at a tasty 14/1.

2:20 Newmarket – Palace House Stakes (Goldream 18/1 Each Way)

A highly competitive race where the now Godolphin owned Profitable is defending his crown from last year, but I’ve sided with the old boy Goldream at a nice price. His best performances have come on quick ground and it’s looking like being that here providing they don’t water it. He only got those conditions once last season and it produced his best result as he was third in the King George at Goodwood. A dual Group 1 winner who won this in 2015 I think he is a generous price. He may be past his best and the younger horses could be far better than him now, but I’ll take the chance he can bounce back.

2:55 Newmarket – Jockey Club Stakes

Preview here.

3:35 Newmarket – Qipco 2000 Guineas (Dream Castle 16/1 Each Way)

To be honest, I could make a case for each of the top four in the market and back any of them without batting an eye lid. But I simply can’t pick just one, so I’m going to pick none. I’m happy to watch any of them win and admire what is poised to be a great spectacle. Ordinarily I wouldn’t have a bet, but the more I look at it the more I think Dream Castle is way overpriced. It’s obviously supremely competitive but he looked all class when travelling all over his rivals in the Greenham before being overtaken by Barney Roy. He was very free that day and has a hood applied for this which should settle him down, the fact he is four times the price of Barney Roy just doesn’t seem right. Chances are he might not even stay a mile, but once again it doesn’t cost much to find out at a nice each way price.

4:10 Newmarket – Hot Streak Handicap (Eqtiraan 13/2)

I’m going for a straight win in this one, crazy I know. A lot of these are unexposed and could be anything but Eqtiraan has some seriously hot juvenile form. He won on debut beating the Racing Post Trophy winner Rivet, that was his only run on Good to Firm ground and judging by his action I think that kind of surface is a huge help to him. Behind South Seas in a Group 3 subsequently and then behind Smokey Lane on soft ground, he looked green on both occasions and has since been gelded. His reappearance over a mile was encouraging when he set out to make all but looked weak near the finish and came third. This drop in trip shouldn’t be a problem and I think despite having top weight he can give a good account of himself.

4:45 Newmarket – Havana Gold Newmarket Stakes (Permian 15/8)

I’m generally a big fan of Mark Johnston and the way he readies his horses for this time of year. They are usually given a positive ride and you often get a run for your money. Permian is a horse who is on the up and seems to love quick ground, he won easily on Good to Firm at Windsor last season and made a solid reappearance at Bath where the ground was Firm. He was giving upwards of a stone to the whole field that day and the form has been franked with the fourth going on to win by ten lengths next time out and the fifth also winning subsequently. A third at this track at the end of last season reads well with the winner Coronet towards the head of the market for the Oaks and the second, Cunco, winning the Classic Trial at Sandown last weekend. Permian was a short head behind Cracksman at Epsom last time and with that one on target for the Derby, Mark Johnston’s colt can go very close here, especially with services of Ryan Moore.

5:20 Newmarket – Qipco Racing Welfare Handicap (Son Of The Stars 6/4)

This son of Delegator has impressed in two starts so far and the form of both those wins has been boosted. The second and third of his debut victory have both come out and won since and his latest win at Chelmsford came at the expense of Prosper who won a strong looking fillies race at Ascot during the week. With more improvement to come Son Of The Stars could well be ahead of his mark of 89.

Sandown – Friday 28th April

1:50 bet365 Esher Cup Handicap – Atty Persse (11/4)

Atty Persse made a striking impression when winning on debut over this course and distance in September. He finished the race off really strongly and was well in command of the second Hamada who went on to win a maiden by six lengths. Having subsequently been bought by Godolphin I wouldn’t be surprised if he is a group horse in a handicap. One to watch out for is First Up who boasts strong form from last season behind Rivet and Zainhom, he won at Kempton comfortably after those two runs and is an attractive each way price at 10/1.

2:20 bet365 Gordon Richards Stakes (Group 3) – Royal Artillery (5/2)

John Gosden and Frankie Dettori are in fine form at present and they combine here with Royal Artillery. For a lightly raced 4 year old he possesses some really strong form from last season. He won a Group 3 at Haydock where he beat subsequent Group 3 winners Scottish and Arab Spring, he then went on to Deauville and ran a blinder only 2¼ lengths behind Almanzor. Based on that form and with ground conditions looking to suit him more than last years winner My Dream Boat, he has to go close.

2:55 bet365 Classic Trial (Group 3) – Monarchs Glen (10/11)

The battle of the Frankels. Out of the three of them it’s clear to see that Monarchs Glen is open to the most improvement, he put his latest race at Kempton to bed in a matter of strides and stayed on strongly to the line. This will likely be the fastest ground he has been on but that shouldn’t be an issue I would expect him to improve past his rivals.

3:30 bet365 Mile (Group 2) – Dawn Of Hope (5/1)

This looks like a really competitive race that could go the way of any of them. But Dawn Of Hope is unexposed and wouldn’t need to find much improvement to get the better of the favourite and her Doncaster conquerer Kool Kompany. It pays to look near the top of the market as no horse bigger than 5/1 has won this race in 13 years and receiving weight from the field, Dawn Of Hope looks the value option.

4:05 bet365.com Handicap – Queen In Waiting (5/2)

Queen In Waiting beat Nuclear Power off level weights on just her second start and that one is now rated 98. She won her reappearance comfortably off a mark of 80 and has a 6lb penalty to contend with today, but she should be well capable of defying that and I think she is probably a Listed class horse racing in a handicap.

4:35 Nordoff Robbins Sir George Martin Memorial Maiden Fillies’ Stakes – Neshmeya (5/2)

This is a tough race to call with them all being unexposed and some unraced, but of what we have got to go on Neshmeya looks like the pick. The form of her two runs last season is stacking up well, with Talaayeb who she was second to on debut a general 14/1 shot for the 1,000 Guineas. She then wasn’t too far behind Shutter Speed in October who cemented her Oaks claims a week ago.

5:10 bet365 Handicap – Century Dream (9/2)

It took Century Dream three efforts to get off the mark, but the form of his second attempt looks strong with the winner going on to run a respectable fifth in the Greenham. His maiden win has already been franked with the third and fourth both winning since and with Andrea Atzeni on board I think he could be overpriced. He really appreciated the step up to a mile last time and so this extra couple of furlongs should play to his strengths.

Saturday 22nd April – Ayr and Newbury

1.40 Ayr – Minella On Line (16/1 Each Way)
This handicap is obviously competitive with so many of these having won on multiple occasions this season, but Minella On Line is 2-2 when completing for Oliver Sherwood and the last of those wins was as easy as you like. On his penultimate start he was still travelling well when unseating alongside the very useful Royal Vacation and looked to be giving that one a bit to think about that day. If he stays on his feat then he looks like a decent each way bet.

2.45 Ayr – Sceau Royal (9/1 Each Way)
I just think Sceau Royal is way overpriced here. He ran in the Champion Hurdle last time out when Alan King’s horses weren’t firing and he lines up in what is a handicap with a 10lb claimer on board. So effectively he is competing off a mark of 145, which is mental. He won the Elite Hurdle comfortably at the start of the season before not being able to quicken on the soft ground in the Fighting Fifth. He may find a couple too good but on sheer ability he looks worth a go.

3.20 Ayr – Mixboy (9/1 Each Way)
If Double W’s is in the same mood as when winning the Red Rum at Aintree then I think he will be hard to stop off just 5lb higher. But it could be worth taking a chance on Mixboy who was running well before rapidly fading over two and a half miles at the Cheltenham Festival and this drop back to two miles should be in his favour. He impressed in three starts before that by winning comfortably on each occasion, this is a big step up but he’s a decent price.

3.55 Ayr: Scottish Grand National – Alvarado (22/1 Each Way)
Now this is by no means a confident selection, as it is a Grand National after all. But with Alvarado you know what you are going to get, he was second in this last year off 6lb higher. He has also been fourth in not one but two Aintree Grand National’s and off a low weight, you never know!

4.30 Ayr – The Dutchman (6/1 Each Way)
Another competitive handicap where many of these have plenty of wins to their names, The Dutchman hasn’t won many races but has been model of consistency. He has been over fences this season and has been okay, nothing more than that and his form is solid. But over hurdles last season he beat No Comment who is now rated 137 (the same as The Dutchman is today) and was subsequently second in a Grade 2 behind Le Prezien. Those runs are of interest and the booking of Nico de Boinville is eye-catching. He was 9/1 when I was looking at the race last night so he has clearly been backed which is a good sign.

1.55 Newbury – Crimean Tatar (11/2 Each Way)
To be honest I’d like to see Midterm win, as horses with pedigree’s such as his should be winning Group 3s. However, he picked up an injury during the Dante and wasn’t as good as I thought he would be in the Champion Stakes. Therefore Crimean Tatar looks more attractive at the prices. He made his belated debut in a Newmarket maiden in July on fast ground and couldn’t have been more impressive in winning by seven lengths, then in winning a Listed race at Kempton showed he could be something special.

2.30 Newbury – Dabyah (5/4)
John Gosden’s yard are in flying form at the moment and after Daban won the Nell Gwyn so well this week, connections may have two 1,000 Guineas hopes if Dabyah wins today. She won her first two races easily before finishing third in the Prix Marcel Boussac behind Wuheida (who was my fancy for the Guineas before she suffered a setback) and that form has been boosted with the fourth winning a Group 3 in France last week.

3.05 Newbury – Barney Roy (7/2)
A few of these are very lightly raced so it is a bit tricky, but Barney Roy won his maiden nicely and the second and third have both won since. Zainhom was second in a Group 3 at the end of last season and is the highest rated which makes him look a little overpriced at 6/1. Dream Castle is a Frankel who like many others won his maiden with ease and could be anything.

3.40 Newbury – Donncha (8/1 Each Way)
It seems that I’m starting to follow this horse off a cliff, but he deserves to land one of these big handicaps. His third in the Lincoln last time is a good piece of form and this firmer ground is sure to suit him.

Saturday 15th April

4:40 Musselburgh: What’s The Story (11/4)

War Of Succession is a very short price for this but Andrew Balding hasn’t flown out of the gate at the start of this campaign and with the yard not fully firing I’m keen to take this favourite on. What’s The Story finished runner up on all three starts last season, but behind very useful rivals in Love Dreams, Montataire and Leontes. Currently rated 83 I wouldn’t be surprised if that was up into the nineties at the end of the season with this being the perfect start.

Aintree Day 2

Alder Hey Children’s Charity Handicap Hurdle
Allee Bleue seems to either bomb out or perform well and I’m hoping he fancies it here. On his best form he should have a good shout, he got the better of Air Horse One (giving him almost a stone) last season who was fourth in this years County Hurdle. The aggregate margin of victory of his last two wins is 53 lengths, but he has also been beaten 114 lengths and 34 lengths this season. Nevertheless at 33/1 it doesn’t cost us much to find out if he’s on a going day. Harry Fry is in flying form at the moment with 6 wins from 16 runners in the last couple of weeks and he saddles Dashing Oscar in this. He began the campaign with two victories and followed them up with a third and a second behind subsequent winners. Off a mark of 132 he might be slightly underestimated and can give a good account of himself.

Selections – Allee Bleue (33/1 each way) Dashing Oscar (16/1 each way)

Top Novices’ Hurdle
Champion Bumper winner Moon Racer disappointed in the Champion Hurdle and given how difficult he clearly is to train I couldn’t be trusting him for this. The Unit has been consistent this year having racked up three wins, he deserves this step up but has to improve. Mount Mews has put in some breathtaking performances and really could be anything for Malcolm Jefferson. A 49-length winner of a Grade 2 last time out he gave us a glimpse of what he could be. Nicky Henderson has won 5 of the last 7 renewals and his Supreme runners tend to be the ones to side with in this. River Wylde finished third at Cheltenham, the same as Buveur D’air last year who went on to win this. This flat track should suit him along with the ground. After much deliberation I have tentatively sided with the potential as opposed to the proven, but I may be wrong.

Selection – Mount Mews (3/1)

Mildmay Novices’ Chase
I’m not going to spend very long on this, Might Bite, Might Bite, and Might Bite again. He was so good at Cheltenham despite losing concentration and I’ll be shocked if he’s beaten here. However, I’ll happily watch him win this unless a tasty distance bet grabs my attention.

JLT Melling Chase
Your choice in this contest probably comes down to what piece of form you value more, Champion Chase or Ryanair. This time around I am siding with the latter, I backed Sub Lieutenant at Cheltenham and he ran a great race in defeat. His form is so solid, he’s competed closely with Outlander, Djakadam and Sizing John this season and I’m thinking that if he produces a performance of that level that will be good enough to win. God’s Own made a howler two from home in the Champion Chase and won this race last year so obviously is one to consider, alongside Fox Norton who rattled home last month and based on that this step up in distance should suit him.

Selection – Sub Lieutenant (3/1)

Topham Handicap Chase
You could make a case for most of these and I have already given words for Go Conquer and Third Intention so I’m going to stand my ground and stick with them. The former ran well in the Ultima at Cheltenham and this drop back in trip will probably suit him, he also wears a first time tongue tie. Last time he raced over this distance he was a neck behind Present Man who has since won twice, including a Grade 2. Third Intention has Aintree form reading 4231 and is 7lb lower than when third in this race last year. He has had a muddling season with runs over fences, hurdles and a couple of spins on Cheltenham’s Cross Country track and I’m hoping he can rediscover some form back at this track over the national fences.

Selections – Go Conquer (8/1 each way) Third Intention (20/1 each way)

Sefton Novices’ Hurdle
West Approach has had a long season with some tough races and I think he was feeling the effects of that in the Stayers Hurdle last time out so I believe some of his more lightly raced rivals will come to the fore. The Worlds End was travelling really well when coming down at the second last in the Albert Bartlett, if that hasn’t left its mark then you would think based on his 9 length defeat of No Hassle Hoff he can go close here. In falling at Cheltenham he severely hampered Constantine Bay who lost all chance but stayed on really well to be fourth. He wasn’t travelling as well as his reopposing rival that day and only beat No Hassle Hoff by a head at Doncaster so based on collateral form has a bit to find with the favourite. Beyond Conceit was outpaced in the Supreme and is drastically upped in trip, he wears a hood for the first time which should help him settle.

Selection – The Worlds End (5/2)

Claimantakinforgan was third in the Champion Bumper and he should give another good account of himself for Nicky Henderson, but he has already had four runs this season and he has many lightly raced rivals to contend with here. Black Op was ahead of him at Doncaster, albeit receiving weight. He won his first point to point and comes into this fresh. As does If The Cap Fits who scored comfortably at Taunton, but I do wonder what he beat that day. If continuing to progress then he might be slightly overpriced.

Selection – Black Op (4/1)

Aintree Day 1

Manifesto Novices’ Chase
A small but select field sees the runner ups from the Arkle and JLT go head to head. Cloudy Dream’s effort behind Altior really was admirable and he was only out-sped after the final fence and this step up in distance may see him to good affect. Top Notch has been busy this season and this will be his seventh run, his best performance was when he ran out a ready winner of the Grade 1 Scilly Isles at Sandown and is a worthy favourite. Racking up six wins from eight efforts this campaign, Frodon has been a lucrative money-pot for Paul Nicholls and having skipped Cheltenham will be fresh for this. Flying Angel was terribly unluckily in the JLT by being badly hampered by a faller and lost all chance from there. Max Ward won well at Kempton last time but this is a huge step up and Cyrus Moriviere hasn’t completed the course in his four chase starts.

Selection – Cloudy Dream (3/1)

4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle
This race is probably very simple, Defi Du Seuil wins. He isn’t a betting proposition though so it’s probably better to look at the without markets. Forth Bridge skipped Cheltenham and comes here fresh on the back of two victories, in the latter win he had Project Bluebook 1¼ lengths back in third. That one was 5½ lengths behind Flying Tiger and Divin Bere in the Fred Winter so the Queen’s horse does have a bit to find on collateral form, but is very generously priced. A 5lb swing in the weights should see the Fred Winter form reversed between Divin Bere and Flying Tiger. Bedrock was behind the latter in the Adonis receiving weight so he has plenty to find and it looks like the remainder of the field are very much up against it.

Selection – Divin Bere W/O Defi Du Seuil (1/1)

Betway Bowl
Cue Card fell in the Gold Cup last year and bolted up in this race and bids to do the same again here, but I believe he needs a bit of cut now and this good ground may not suit him. Empire Of Dirt didn’t run his race in the Ryanair and if back to his Irish Gold Cup form where he was second to Sizing John he should go close here. Aso was ahead of the Gigginstown horse at Cheltenham and this increase in trip shouldn’t be a problem and the fact he is eight times the price doesn’t make sense. Silviniaco Conti is a duel winner of this race and back at this track on decent ground I think he could outrun his odds and roll back the years. Tea For Two wasn’t beaten far in the King George and if reproducing that could hit the frame, Smad Place hasn’t been at it this season and Bristol De Mai would have been closer in the Gold Cup had he not have belted the final fence.

Selection – Silviniaco Conti (9/1)

Aintree Hurdle
Another race low in quantity and Buveur D’air should win this after being mightily impressive in the Champion Hurdle. My Tent Or Yours and The New One were behind that day and it’s very hard to envisage them getting any closer here. Identity Thief hasn’t particularly taken to chasing, two wins were followed by a couple of non finishes and he was subsequently fourth last time out. A return to hurdles might be the best option but I doubt he is anywhere near as good as the favourite. Old Guard is very much up against it here so I have fallen upon Rashaan. A stand-out performance this year was when he beat Apple’s Jade and Petit Mouchoir at Down Royal, those two may not have been tuned up for that but nonetheless it was a good race. He will like the ground and may well run better than his odds suggest.

Selection – Rashaan W/O Buveur D’air (15/2)

Foxhunters’ Chase
I will take two against the field in this race. On The Fringe was given a lot to do at Cheltenham and I’m hoping he can improve on that and win this for the third year running. As an each way angle I like the chances of Distime who has Katy Walsh on board. He was fourth in the Topham last year and has also finished second three times at the track.

Selections – On The Fringe (2/1) Distime (20/1 each way)

Red Rum Handicap Chase
Due to there being 15 runners, we are only getting the 3 places which is a right kick in the teeth. My first selection is Double W’s who faded into ninth late on at Cheltenham and this return to two miles will suit him perfectly along with the good ground. He ran well off this mark at Doncaster in January and should give another good account of himself. Gino Trail may be a 10 year old but he is very lightly raced and has been superb this season. He has racked up three wins and has produced seconds to Buveur D’air, Zamdy Man and Flying Angel. Going from the front he serves it up to his rivals and might be hard to peg back.

Selections – Double W’s (7/1) Gino Trail (14/1)

Mares Bumper
Daphne Du Clos and Cap Soleil have both been very impressive this season but unfortunately don’t figure here. The next best behind them looks to be Petticoat Tails for Warren Greatrex. She won her first two starts before coming up against a superbly judged Paddy Brennan ride on Cap Soleil at Sandown to deny her a hat-trick. Cheekpieces are applied for the first time here and might help her travel a little bit better, but she does find plenty for pressure. Irish Roe and Shearling have both won three of their fourth starts and will probably give the selection most to do.

Selection – Petticoat Tails (3/1)