Hunt Cup didn’t go as planned, so we’ll try this one!
Ascot 17.35 Cl 2 Hcap 560 (105) 12d gd/fm – 18 Run
Last year – 498 (105) gd/fm – 19 ran
Rare Rhythm 20/1 5-9-2 (97) Dr 19 by 2.25l from Appeared 13/2 5-9-6 (101) Dr 18
Top Tug 8/1 6-9-10 (105) Dr 17 was 3.5l 4th
Eddystone Rock 50/1 5-9-4 (99) Dr 4 was 5.5l 10th
Manjaam 25/1 4-9-2 (97) Dr 6 was 9.25l 14th
Walton Street 4-9-9 (104) Dr 9
22 Feb Hcap (556 s) 12f gd Meyd 7/2 2l 1/12 off 99
Tracked leaders; led 1 1/2f out; ran on well
Lightly-raced sort (7th start), but looks to be swiftly improving, beating stable companion Eynhallo over 12f in Meydan in February; raised 5lbs for that and stable jockey remains faithful to him; untried on fast ground, so that a question.
Plus: class (W); distance (W); trainer (14d); trainer (C); form run lto; career best lto;
Minus: going (?); course (?); 120-day break; up 5lbs; single digit draw;
Verdict: (51) 3-month break a worry, as is fast ground, so a contender with questions;
Dash Of Spice 4-9-3 (98) Dr 14
02 Jun Cl 2 Hcap (310 u) 12f gd Epsom 11/4 F 6l 1/17 off 87
made all, came clear final 2f, stayed on strongly, unchallenged
Another lightly-raced sort (7th start) who got off the mark at Lingfield in December; returned this season to be 2nd in the City & Suburban at Epsom in April and after occupying the same position behind Buzz at Kempton last month; came out to run away from the field in a career best when upped to this trip for the first time at Epsom at the start of the month; raised 11lbs for that, but could yet be more to come even though the fast ground will offer a fresh test.
Plus: class (W); distance (W); trainer (14d); form run lto (20 days); career best lto;
Minus: going (?); course (?); up 11lbs;
Verdict: (47) still unexposed at this trip and a possible contender despite the rise in the weights.
Count Calabash 4-9-1 (96) Dr 5
12 May Cl 3 Hcap (160 u) 12fr gd/fm Ascot 9/2 F 1.75l 1/14 off 90
pulled hard tracking leader, led over 2f out, ridden over 1f out, clear inside final furlong, stayed on strongly
Picked up a hat-trick of wins as a 2yo, but drew a blank last year; back to his best this term winning at Kempton and then over C&D here last month in yet another career best; has been raised 6lbs for that, plus is up in class, but could be more to c ome and he’s proven on fast ground.
Plus: going (W); distance (W); course (W); trainer (C); form run lto (41 days); career best lto;
Minus: class; up 6lbs; up in class; single digit draw;
Verdict: (45) looks to be improving again this year and a contender up in class;
Eynhallow 4-9-2 (96) Dr 16
22 Feb Hcap (556 s) 12f gd Meyd 22/1 2l 2/12 off 95
Settled in rear; ran on well final 2f; nearest finish
Twice a winner over 10f and placed over 12f on final outing when with Roger Charlton last year; moved to current yard in January and produced a couple of useful hcap efforts over 12f in Meydan the following month, the latest when beaten 2l by stable companion Walton Street (+4); 3lbs pull in the weights today, but stable jockey Buick still prefers WS.
Plus: class (F); going (F); distance (F); trainer (14d); trainer (C); form run lto;
Minus: course (?); 120-day break; up 1lb;
Verdict: (42) long break a negative and stable jockey does not expect him to reverse Meydan running with Walton Street; not a strong contender.
Thundering Blue 5-9-5 (100) Dr 20
18 May Cl 2 Hcap (190 d) 10.5f gd/fm York 3/1 F 1.25l 1/11 off 93
held up towards rear, closed from 3f out, but kept covered up until switched right 2f out, led entering final furlong, nudged out, readily
Progressive last year winning 3 times and has started in good heart this time round following up 5th placed finish in the City & Suburban on his return at Epsom in April, by scoring over the extended 10f at York on fast ground; has been raised 7lbs for that and steps up to this trip for the first time; nevertheless, wasn’t weakening at York lto.
Plus: class (W); going (W); trainer (14d); form run lto (35 days); career best lto;
Minus: distance (?); course (?); up 7lbs;
Verdict: (39) improvement possible for rise in trip and thus a contender.
Manjaam 5-9-1 (96) Dr 21
26 May Cl 3 Hcap (100 d) 12f gd York 11/1 0.25l 1/11 off 92
mid-division, headway over 2f out, chased leaders over 1f out, every chance inside final furlong, led closing stages, stayed on well
Runs off 1lb lower mark than when down the field in last year’s renewal, but has been gelded since and after finishing 5l 5th to Count Calabash (-2) over C&D here went up to York to record his first win in 23 months in a career best; has been raised 4lbs for that, but could be more to come now that he’s back on track.
Plus: class (W); going (W); distance (W); course (W); trainer (C); form run lto (27 days); career best lto;
Minus: up 4lbs; up in class;
Verdict: (39) in form and certainly has chances of making the frame, a contender.
Seeing as how the past 15 renewals have all been won by 4yos or 5yos, I’ve discarded the chances of older horses getting into the act. Similarly, the last 11 winners had made the frame lto, and all but one of the last dozen winners had run between 14 to 48 days previously. Just to add to the trends, 9 of the last 12 winners had been drawn in double figures. Both Walton Street and Eynhallow have not run since Meydan in February, and I’m always wary of horses returning from the Gulf as they seem to take a while to get re-acclimatized to UK track conditions, so I’ll pass on both. Count Calabash looks to be improving again, but he does have a low draw and is up in class, so he goes too. That leaves me with the well-fancied Dash Of Spice, Thundering Blue and Manjaam. I’m pretty sure Dash Of Spice will make the frame, but he’s a little short in price so I’ll go with Thundering Blue to prevail from Dash Of Spice and Manjaam as a live outsider for the frame.
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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