Right horses, wrong order again last week, but did better than I expected. Don’t know about the Ebor today, as the increased value of the race has attracted a lot of classier horses coming from the non-handicap ranks and thus unknown quantities to me. Let’s hope I’m somewhere bear right at making the frame.
Goodwood 15.15 Cl 2 Hcap 467 (98.0) 7f gd – 12 Runners
3yo = 5lbs wfa allowance
Last year – 622 (96.5) gd – 17 ran
Flaming Spear 4/1 F 6-9-10 (104) Dr 9 by 1.75l from Cape Byron 4-9-6 (100) Dr 18
Lake Volta 16/1 3-9-1 (100) Dr 5 was 1.8l 3rd
Oh This Is Us 6-9-7 (105) Dr 2 (129.9)
Not run in a hcap since winning at Lingfield in February off 110; went on to win the AW Mile Championship Stks there on Good Friday, but has since managed to massage his mark down to this level; suspect that he’s actually more at home over 8f, and is 0/3 here; chance on Chester form last September, but perhaps not the horse he once was.
Plus: class (W); going (W); distance (W); recent outing (27 days); down 3lbs (OR);
Minus: course; up 2lbs (wt);
Verdict: hard to place back in hcap company but a chance on last year’s Chester running
Salute The Soldier 4-9-0 (98) Dr 9 (130.6)
31 Jul Cl 3 Hcap (158/89.1) 7f gd Good 12/1 9-12 0.25l 2/16 off 95 – 130.6
tracked leader, every chance over 1f out, led approaching final furlong, headed and no extra close home
Won a couple of AW starts last season but yet to score in 6 turf starts; dropped to Cl 3 lto, but although he went close there was not a lot of stable confidence starting at 12/1; hard to see a chance going back up in class.
Plus: class (F); going (F); distance (W); course (F); form run lto (24 days); down 12lbs (wt);
Minus: up 3lbs (OR); yet to win on turf;
Verdict: hard to see as a contender on turf.
Lake Volta 4-8-13 (97) Dr 10 (132.1)
Winner over 6f here back at the end of May having won over 7f at Yarmouth the previous month, has run well on occasions in a busy schedule since; not disgraced when 6/27 in the Stewards Cup – 2l ahead of Kimifive (-8) – but never in the hunt at Ripon last weekend; however, has dropped to below his winning mark here in May.
Plus: class (W); going (W); distance (W); course (W); recent outing (7 days); down 2lbs (OR); down 8lbs (wt);
Verdict: an early season winner the last two years, but given a chance by the handicapper and a contender.
Kimifive 4-8-8 (92) Dr 7 (129.9)
06 Jul Cl 2 Hcap (162/93.9) 7f gd/fm Hayd 11/2 9-6 0.02l 2/7 off 92 – 129.9
held up in rear, headway over 2f out, went 2nd over 1f out, led towards finish, headed post
C&D winner here off 88 back in early May in similar conditions and has run some decent races since as when narrowly beaten by Beat Le Bon over 7f at Haydock in early July, the winner going on to take the Golden Mile at Goodwood; has since been a little overfaced in a valuable 7f at Ascot and the Stewards’ Cup lto, although not disgraced in either.
Plus: class (W); going (W); distance (W); course (W); recent outing (21 days); down 1lb (wt); up in distance;
Verdict: still off same mark as at Haydock and returned to more suitable opposition, a contender.
Others to consider would include Zhui Feng, Gossiping and Patti, although each has their own problems. From my quartet I think we can remove Salute The Soldier, and of the remainder I would be tempted to take a chance on Lake Volta from Kimmifive, both of which had winning early season turf form.
York 15.40 Cl 2 Hcap 1600 (108.8) 14f gd/fm – 22 Runners
Last year – 3112 (105.6) gd/fm – 20 ran
Muntahaa 11/1 6-9-9 (109) Dr 21 by 3.25l from Weekender 15/2 4-9-12 (112) Dr 13
Mustajeer 33/1 5-9-8 (108) Dr 20 was 5.25l 4th
King’s Advice 5-9-9 (112) Dr 19 (128.1)
03 Aug Cl 2 Hcap (622/100.9) 14f gd/fm Good 7/2 F 9-10 0.25l 1/13 off 108 – 128.1
tracked leaders, went 2nd 2f out, led on inside approaching final furlong, stayed on gamely
12 Jul Cl 2 Hcap (747/95.7) 14f gd/fm Nwmkt 10/1 9-4 2.5l 1/17 off 101 – 116.9
with leaders, led 2f out, soon ridden, kept on well
Has been nothing short of miraculous this season since joining the Johnston yard from Germany winning 8 of 9, his only ‘failure’ being a close 6/19 in the Northumberland Plate; has bounced back since then returned to 14f, beating Caliburn (-4) and Desert Skyline (+6) at Newmarket with Ben Vrackie (+3) down the field, and then staying on gamely to outduel Outbox (-6) at Goodwood; carries a 4lbs penalty for that, bur never seems to know when he’s beaten and likely to be thereabouts again.
Plus: class (W); going (W); distance (W); form run lto (21 days); down 1lb (wt);
Minus: course (?); 4lbs penalty;
Verdict: continues to improve and mightn’t be done yet, a contender.
Ben Vrackie 4-9-5 (108) Dr 22 (126.3)
12 Jul Cl 2 Hcap (747/95.7) 14f gd/fm Nwmkt 3/1 F 9-7 14l 13/17 off 104 -
behind, pushed along over 2f out, never dangerous
21 Jun Cl 2 Hcap (660/101.2) 12f gd Ascot 7/1 9-8 0.05l 2/19 off 104 – 126.3
slowly away in rear, pushed along over 2f out, ridden and ran on final furlong, not quite reach winner
Lightly-raced sort whose only success to date was a 12f novice on the AW at Lingfield last year; has shown progress since, however, only just being denied by Baghdad (level) in the Duke Of Edinburgh on his return; subsequently made no sort of show when down the field to King’s Advice (-3) and Desert Skyline (+3) over 14f at Newmarket; could be the race came too soon, although previous runs at 14f and beyond have seen him one-paced or weakening in the final furlong, yet Gosden saddled the first two home last year!
Plus: class (F); going (F); distance (F); recent outing (43 days); down 2lbs (wt);
Minus: York (?); up 4lbs (OR);
Verdict: improving sort, but not entirely convinced 14f is his trip, especially off a 4lb higher mark than for dismal effort lto; however, not entirely dismissed.
Baghdad 4-9-6 (109) Dr 18 (126.4)
02 Aug Gr 3 Stks (567/) 12f gd/fm Good 5/2 9-1 3.75l 3/5 off 109
led, pushed along and quickened tempo 3f out, ridden and headed entering final furlong, no extra
21 Jun Cl 2 Hcap (560/101.2) 12f gd Ascot 7/2 F 9-8 0.05l 1/19 off 104 – 126.4
in touch, wide and headway over 2f out, led over 1f out, all out
Has won 5 of 10 starts since joining the Johnston yard as a 2yo, including over 12f here last season; has continued to improved this season winning at Newmarket in early May prior to taking the Duke Of Edinburgh Stks at Royal Ascot where he held on from the fast-finishing Ben Vrackie (level); made no impression in a Gr 2 at Newmarket 3 weeks later though, and then saw Desert Encounter and Mirage Dancer run past him in the final furlong in a Gr 3 at the Goodwood festival; drops back in class today and thus carries 5lbs more weight back in hcap company, although 2lbs less than when winning at Ascot off a 5lbs lower mark; one would suspect, however, that he’s the stable’s second string.
Plus: class (W); going (W); course (W); recent outing (22 days); down in class;
Minus: distance (?); up in trip;
Verdict: interesting upped in trip, but suspect stable’s second string and thus not the strongest contender.
Withhold 6-9-10 (113) Dr 6 (124.6)
20 Jul Cl 2 Hcap (622/97.4) 16.5f gd/sf Newb 17/2 9-10 1.75l 1/16 off 107 – 124.6
made virtually all, pushed along 3f out, stayed on gamely final furlong
Incredible record since moving to the Charlton yard winning the 2017 Cesarewitch, 2018 Northumberland Plate and 2019 Marsh Cup from just 5 starts; led them all a merry dance on his return at Newbury last month., for which he’s been raised 6lbs, although carries the same physical weight today; however, not sure the drop in trip will suit and he may well be taken on for the lead; nevertheless, won’t be far away at the finish.
Plus: class (W); going (F); form run lto (35 days);
Minus: distance (?); course (?); up 6lbs (wt); down in trip (?);
Verdict: not sure the drop in trip will help and has to give weight to some useful horses here, some of which would likely have higher marks had they been running in hcaps; not the strongest contender for the win.
Raheen House 5-9-8 (111) Dr 9
13 Jul Gr 3 Stks (369/) 14f gd/fm York 15/8 F 9-0 0.15l 3/8 off 109
steadied start, waited with in rear, good headway near side of group 2f out, ridden chasing leaders over 1f out, stayed on, just held
Has had a good look at the C&D this term having been placed in listed and Gr 3 company for his new yard, the latest only going down a hd and shd to Red Verdon with Weekender a further 2.5l and Kelly’s Dino another 2l further back, all at level weights; gets 1lb from RV, is level with W and gives KD (a winner since) just 2lbs; one suspects this has been the target even though he won the Gr 3 Bahrain Trophy back in 2017 when with Brian Meehan; sadly for me though, he makes his hcap debut today, so not mathematical data to rely on.
Plus: class (W+); going (F); distance (W); course (W); form run lto (42 days); down in class;
Minus: up 2lbs (OR); up 8lbs (wt);
Verdict: C&D certainly no problem and must be considered a contender.
Money talks and this is not the race it once was. The average OR in 2017 was 104.6, last year 105.6 and this year it has jumped to 108.8 as the prize money has attracted runners that normally earn their living in listed and group class. Makes life difficult for me, as my methodology is based on form in hcaps, which is the reason the likes of Wells Farhh Go and last year’s runner-up Weekender aren’t on my list. It’s also the reason I’ve paid no attention to the conventional wisdom of a few years ago that one should ignore horses carrying more than 9-4. Another somewhat illogical thing to note is that horses drawn high do better than those drawn in single digits. In fact, horses drawn in the 7 highest stalls have won 11 of the last 13 renewals!
Thus with that in mind, among other things, I’ve restricted my initial shortlist to just five horses. Of these, it’s not weight that sees me drop Withhold from the list of possible winners but rather the belief that he needs at least 16f nowadays, plus the single digit draw, of course. Raheen House is another drawn in single digits (just), but looks to have been targeted at this race. However, this is one of the few major northern races that Haggas has yet to win. Now you can look at that two ways, but I’ll stick with those higher drawn this year. I have to think that this has been the ultimate target for King’s Advice and he looks to have a better chance than Baghdad. Ben Vrackie represents Gosden who saddled the first two home a year go and surely won’t be far away. Thus for me it’s King’s Advice from Ben Vrackie and Baghdad with Raheen House best of those on the other side.
York 15.40 Cl 2 Hcap 436 (91.8) 10.5f gd/fm – 17 Runners (14 at best)
3yo = 7lbs wfa allowance
Last year – 436 (94.3) gd/fm – 15 run
Pivoine 6/1 4-9-4 (98) Dr 12 by 2.5l from Alfarris 9/2 Jt F 4-9-10 (101) Dr 20
Society Red 12/1 4-9-3 (94) Dr 2 was 60+ l L of 15
Three non-runners and the betting suggests that Forest Of Dean is home and hosed. He would certainly be among my thoughts for the race, but then so would Rise Hall and Beringe, plus perhaps Johnny Drama. Not only have I run out of time though, but the presence of Tudor City who won the Galway Hurdle lto, also clouds the issue. So I’ll leave it.
Any comments on today's racing. Please don't just put in selections ... please add some reason why you think a runner will win
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