Thursday, 20 April 2017

Time Could Fly At Newbury

David Menuisier is a trainer to watch this season and he has an intriguing runner in the Greenham Stakes on Saturday. He sent out Contrapposto to run a massive race in the Craven on Thursday so he evidently has his string in decent form. He runs Make Time at Newbury, and this horse made a big impression on me last season.
Make Time looks overpriced on Saturday.
I was on him at 50/1 when he made his debut in a maiden at Ascot (7f gd/fm) last September, and he missed out on the win by the width of a cigarette paper. He didn’t enjoy the clearest of passages either, and the horse that beat him holds entries in the Dante and the Derby this year. Make Time made no mistake in a 7f maiden at Salisbury next time, sluicing up on soft ground by 5L.

The form of that race has worked out well, and though the runner up was beaten next time out the 3rd home went close in a maiden next time. The 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th have all gone on to win races since, so there is a fair bit of substance to the form. Although that win came on soft, it was good to firm for his debut so the forecast fast surface at Newbury shouldn’t inconvenience him.

Make Time is a colt by Makfi, the sire of dual Group 1 winner Make Believe, and he is a stallion that I have a lot of time for. His Lomitas dam was a triple 7f fast ground winner and she is a half sister to the one and only Budapest Bullet, Overdose. It is a pedigree with a lovely mix of stamina and speed and 7f could turn out to be his optimum trip.

He is kept to 7f on Saturday and though this looks a decent renewal he looks more than worth his place. Contrapposto showed on Thursday that Menuisier knows the time of day, and he wouldn’t be running Make Time unless he thought he could be competitive. I think 16/1 looks too big, and with 10 going to post he is well worth chancing each way.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: GREENHAM STAKES-MAKE TIME E/W @ 16/1


Hot Rod Can Spring A Surprise At Newbury

Measureofmydreams was in contention for a long way in the Irish National, even if the commentators missed him completely for the vast majority of the race. He travelled nicely out wide at the head of the group behind the leading three, but a couple of mistakes at key moments cost him dearly. He ended up in 9th, beaten a short head for 8th, and if Noel Meade can find the key to this fella he will have a well handicapped horse on his hands next season.

The winner was ultra-impressive, and Jessica Harrington has a couple of serious staying chasers on her hands. Robbie Power gave Our Duke a superb ride, keeping him out of trouble and giving the relatively inexperienced 7yo son of Oscar a good sight of his fences. To win an Irish National by 14L with over 11 stone is no mean feat, and the 1-2 could be on for Jessie in the Gold Cup next year.
Oisin Murphy looks a good booking for Sir Roderic.
Oisin Murphy is riding out of his skin at the moment, and when I was looking through the entries for the Spring Handicap at Newbury I couldn’t help but notice he had been booked to ride Sir Roderic for Rod Millman. The Millmans think that Sir Roderic is a well handicapped horse and he can be forgiven his run in the consolation race for the Lincoln given that he was drawn on the wrong side. He ought to strip fitter with that run behind him and Murphy is 10/49 with 14 places when riding for Millman.

The handicapper has dropped him a pound for his last effort to a mark of 95, and he was only beaten a neck in a handicap at Newmarket (8f gd/fm) the last time he raced off that rating. All his wins have come with a bit of cut in the ground, but that run at Newmarket was a career best so the forecast ground at Newbury holds no fears. High numbers are favoured at Newbury, and he has been handed a decent draw in stall 17. It looks a competitive contest, but Sir Roderic can be backed at odds of 25/1 and at that price he looks well worth chancing each way.


STEVOS’ SELECTION: 15.40 NEWBURY-SIR RODERIC E/W @ 25/1

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Dream Looks Well Treated For Irish National

All eyes will be on Fairyhouse tomorrow for what is one of the biggest days in the Irish National Hunt calendar. The Irish Grand National is a race that every Irish owner and trainer would like to win, and with 14 runners for Gigginstown it is evidently a race that they are keen on winning for the third year in a row. Rogue Angel was the one last year for Mouse Morris, and this year I think Measureofmydreams looks overpriced for the same owners.
Measureofmydreams looks well handicapped on last year's form.
This 9yo son of Shantou is now trained by Noel Meade, and he has yet to find his best form since moving there from Willie Mullins’ yard. His recent form is more letters than numbers, but he is a better horse than he has shown this year and hopefully the return to slightly better ground can help him to revive his fortunes. He was last sighted unseating at the 15th at Aintree in the English National, but he didn’t have a hard race and he should be in good shape coming into this contest.

This horse was sent off at just 8/1 for the Scottish National last season but he fell at the third fence. He had previously run a massive race in the 4 miler at Cheltenham behind Minella Rocco and Native River off level weights, and he was only 6L behind the subsequent Gold Cup 2nd and 3rd placed finishers. The ground was good to soft for that contest, and he should get a similar sort of racing surface on Monday. Rain is forecast, and while I would prefer better ground he has won a Grade 2 on heavy before.

He will be ridden by talented young claimer Dylan Robinson who will take off a handy 5lb. That means that Measureofmydreams effectively races off a mark of 138, and if he can get back to the form of his Cheltenham run he has the ability to be very dangerous off that sort of rating. Robinson will be having just his 5th ride for Gigginstown, and of his previous four rides for the owners he has won on three for a very impressive 75% strike rate.

Obviously, given this horse’s recent form it is hard to be super confident about his chances, so stakes should be kept low. However, he has undoubtedly got the talent to figure and if he puts his best foot forward I think he is capable of running a big race. Noel Meade has his string in decent shape too, and he has already won this race with The Bunny Boiler back in 2002. Measureofmydreams can be backed at odds of 40/1, and at that sort of price he has to be worth chancing each way in a wide open looking race.


STEVOS’ SELECTION: MEASUREOFMYDREAMS E/W @ 40/1

Friday, 14 April 2017

Floresco Can Flourish At Haydock

It wasn’t a great day for us at Lingfield on Friday, but it wasn’t a complete disaster either. Winning Story was the obvious highlight, and Tomily ran a cracker. None of my bigger priced fancies hit the frame unfortunately though and most of them, especially Metropol, weren’t given much assistance from the saddle. I like the look of one at tasty odds at Haydock on Saturday, and I reckon Floresco looks well overpriced in the 2 mile handicap hurdle at 15.15.
Hopefully the blinkers do the trick for Floresco.
Regular readers of the blog will know how highly I rate Richard Woollacott as a trainer, and these very colours were in the winner’s enclosure at Aintree last week when Lalor won impressively in the bumper. Hopefully Floresco can keep the good run going, though he does need to bounce back from a couple of uncharacteristic poor efforts on his last couple of starts.

This 7yo son of Santiago has been a fun horse for connections, and his best run by far this season came when I tipped him up here at 40/1 at Cheltenham (17f gd). He was beaten just over 8L in that class 3 contest in 4th off a mark of 130, and after two poor subsequent runs he has been dropped to a rating of 125. That is just 2lb above his last winning mark, and 5lb higher than the mark off which he was 4th in this race last year, beaten 6L despite being hampered at the start.

The cheek-pieces were applied last time when he was well beaten at Wincanton (16f soft) and now blinkers are tried along with the usual tongue tie. Daryl Jacob is back on board, and Floresco has form figures of 52146 when Jacob is in the plate. The 6th place came over a trip that stretches this horse, so apart from that run Floresco has usually produced his best for Jacob. The ground is perfect and a fast run race over this trip should suit. 25/1 looks an attractive price to me, and he is the each way selection.


STEVOS’ SELECTION: 15.15 HAYDOCK-FLORESCO E/W @ 25/1

Thursday, 13 April 2017

All Weather Championship Final Selections

Throughout the winter the aim for most horses was to qualify to run at this meeting at Lingfield on Good Friday. The All-Weather Championships have gone from strength to strength since their introduction in 2013, and this year’s event promises to be the best yet. I have already put up two selections for Mybettingbonus, and below are my thoughts on the other five races.

Saeed Bin Suroor has his string in stupendous form.
RACE 1

I fancy one at a decent price for this contest and you can find out why here.

RACE 2

The stayers race looks a very competitive contest and a case can be made for plenty. One that appeals as possibly being overpriced is the Saeed Bin Suroor trained Winning Story. He comes into the race on a rating of 104, and he pulled too hard when he was beaten by Watersmeet at Chelmsford last month. He was also returning from a 3 month break that day, so he will strip fitter tomorrow.

However, he was mightily impressive on his previous start when he beat First Mohican by almost 2L at Newcastle (16.5f) and this 4yo gelded son of New Approach could well have more to come at this trip. This should be a truly run race, and that should enable De Sousa to settle Winning Story. If he can get a decent start from his wide draw he could be dangerous, and at odds of 9/1 he looks a solid each way bet.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: WINNING STORY E/W @ 9/1 NAP

RACE 3

I have already put up a selection for this race and you can find out what it is here.

RACE 4

Stuart Williams is one of the shrewdest operators around, and he runs two in this. Royal Birth beat Lancelot Du Lac here in a listed contest (5F) last time out, and he should have no problem with the extra furlong in this 6f contest. However, I think Realize could be capable of producing a big run, and he was only beaten around 3L in this race in 2016.

This 7yo son of Zafeen has been a tremendous horse for connections, and he has a fine record on the all-weather. He has had 25 starts on artificial surfaces, winning 10 and placing in 6. Sean Levey takes the ride and he has been on board for 3 of his last 4 victories. This horse is probably best at 7f, but there is loads of early pace in this race and that could bring his stamina into play if they go off too hard. He can be backed at odds of 22/1 and he is the each way selection.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: REALIZE E/W 22/1

RACE 5

The milers take centre stage in this race, and if Ennaadd is in peak condition after a few months off the track he will be hard to beat as he goes in search of a five timer. He is versatile tactically, he is well drawn and he deserves to be the 6/4 favourite. However, at a much bigger price I think Steel Train might be of interest for Lincoln winning trainer David O’Meara and Shelley Birkett.

This fella also ran in the Lincoln, and given he was drawn on the wrong side on the day he ran a cracking race to be 7th, staying on well to be eventually beaten less than 3L. He has yet to run at Lingfield, but he has won on the all weather at Newcastle so he should be fine on the surface. He is admittedly the lowest rated in the race on 99, but he should be finishing fast when others have cried enough, and hopefully he can sneak a place at odds of 40/1 with Paddy Power.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: STEEL TRAIN E/W @ 40/1

RACE 6

Tomily is the one that appeals at a half decent price here, and this son of Canford Cliffs won his only previous start over this course and distance. Richard Hannon’s 3yo lowered the colours of Sutter County that day, and I am surprised to see that horse has been priced up at just 9/2, whereas Tomily can be backed at odds of 15/2.

Sutter County had the run of the race that day, and he went on to win next time out. Tomily, on the other hand, headed to Tyneside for his next run, and he wasn’t suited by the patient tactics employed by Sean Levey in that contest. He is drawn wide enough in stall 8 so he can’t afford to be tardy at the start, but if he gets away quick he could make a bold bid. At odds of 15/2 he looks overpriced and he is the each way suggestion in an open looking race.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: TOMILY E/W @ 15/2

RACE 7

Grendisar won this race at odds of just 4/6 last season, but he hasn’t been in the same form this year and his odds of 13/2 reflect that. The 3rd home that day, Metropol, is back for another crack and the 6yo son of Holy Roman Emperor shouldn’t be discounted. He was beaten only a length in this last season, and he also ran a cracker when 5th here in a Listed contest back in November (10f).

He was only beaten 2.75L that day behind Team Talk, and he was only a head behind Grendisar who finished 4th. He was given an outing over an inadequate trip of 7f at Chantilly last time, and that will have put him spot on for tomorrow. He likes to race prominently so he will need to break smartly, and if he does I think he is more than capable of giving each way backers a run for their money at odds of 22/1.


STEVOS’ SELECTION: METROPOL E/W @ 22/1

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Saturday’s Selection Aintree

You Gotta Move broke like a scalded cat from stall 11 at Dundalk and Leigh Roche decided to sit just in behind a fairly searching pace. I fully expected him to drop the horse out and come with a late run, but as they turned for home it looked like the new tactics might pay dividends. However, the strong early pace took its toll in the closing stages, and You Gotta Move faded into 4th. It was a frustrating day overall, but hopefully this 18/1 fancy at Aintree can get us back into the winner’s enclosure.
Good ground is essential for Full Cry.
Henry De Bromhead does well on his raids across the Irish Sea, and he has a fascinating contender in the 25f handicap chase at 15.40. Full Cry, a 7yo son of Milan, has won 2 of his 10 chase starts, and his last victory came back in August in a 22f chase at Tramore. He is making his handicap debut off a mark of 138, and he has bits and pieces of form that suggest he could be very well treated.

He split the 140 rated Heron Heights and 155 rated Tiger Roll on his penultimate start at Cheltenham back in October (24.5f gd), 2L behind the winner and almost 3L ahead of festival winner Tiger Roll. He was sent on his Winter break after that fine run and he bombed out on soft ground on his return to action at Thurles in a Listed chase. However, the ground was a valid excuse that day and Full Cry is a different proposition on the sort of ground he gets tomorrow.

He has a brilliant record on good ground or better, and his form figures on such a surface read 162321123. That includes a 2L defeat by 144 rated Colour Squadron, a very useful performer on his day. The good ground will suit at Aintree on Saturday, as will the flatter track. Andrew Lynch, on board for all Full Cry’s wins is in the plate, and his aggressive style suits this horse. Owners, the Garristown Aintree Syndicate are sure to be out in full force, and at odds of 18/1 hopefully Full Cry gives them something to shout about.


STEVOS’ SELECTION: 15.40 AINTREE-FULL CRY E/W @ 18/1

Friday, 7 April 2017

Move Has Gotta Be Worth A Bet At Dundalk

We were out of luck with Poetic Choice at Leopardstown on Sunday, but to be fair to the horse she didn’t get the best of rides. Sunday obviously wasn’t the day, and with her mark likely to be lowered she remains of interest on her next couple of starts. Tomorrow most of the focus will be on Aintree, but I like the look of one at nice odds at Dundalk.
Leigh Roche knows how to win at Dundalk. 
Regular readers of the blog may well remember me tipping up a horse called Shelbe a few months back, and You Gotta Move hails from the same yard. This 4yo son of Bushranger has yet to get his head in front after 8 career starts, but he has shown enough ability to suggest he is capable of winning a small handicap.

His best run came here over 7f in October 2015, when he stayed on very well late in the day for 2nd of a mark of 57, beaten just over a length. He was off for over a year after that decent run, and he made a low key return here in November last year, beaten 5L off a mark of 50 (7f). He was again kept to 7f on his next run, and this time he was beaten twice as far off 49.

He was stepped up to a mile on his penultimate run, and off a mark of 47 he kept on well late in the day to be beaten just 4L under a very tender ride. He was reined back early and his jockey saw fit to take a couple of pulls too, as well as declining to use his whip. You Gotta Move still finished off his race pretty well, shaping as if well worth another crack over a mile.

He steps back up to that distance this evening, and Quinn has booked a top class jockey in Leigh Roche. You Gotta Move hasn’t been handed the best of draws for this evening, but he will likely be dropped in and produced with a late run so it shouldn’t be too much of an inconvenience. Alans Pride and Elusive Approach should ensure the race is run at a decent clip, and if the gaps come at the right time I think You Gotta Move is capable of going close at odds of 20/1.


STEVOS’ SELECTION: 19.55 DUNDALK-YOU GOTTA MOVE E/W @ 20/1

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Aintree Grand National Festival Day 1

Poetic Choice ran a strange race at Leopardstown, and she didn’t enjoy the clearest of passages. She wasn’t given much assistance from the saddle, and despite a fast finish she could only manage 9th. She was well behind Bainne at the finish, and she is definitely better than that. She could be dangerous next time out off a likely reduced mark.

I have already posted predictions for the four Grade 1 races on Day 1 of the Grand National Festival for Mybettingbonus and you can read them here. I have no strong opinion on the Hunter Chase or the mares’ bumper, so that just leaves the Grade 3 handicap. You can read my thoughts on that race below.
Parsnip Pete is capable of going close. 
Red Rum Handicap Chase

The one that appeals in this contest at a price is the Tom George trained Parsnip Pete. This 11yo has an excellent record at this track, and he is likely to have been trained to the minute for this race. His form figures at Aintree from 5 starts read 11013, and off a mark of 138 he has the ability to be competitive if age hasn’t caught up with him. His last win came here off 133 last June (16d gd sft) and before that his last win came off a mark of 141 in October of 2014.

He won this race in 2014 off a rating of 134, and he is only 4lb higher today. Paddy Brennan has been on board for every one of his 7 career victories, so his presence in the saddle has to be considered a big positive. 6 of Tom George’s last 15 runners have finished in the first three (3 winners), and at odds of 18/1 hopefully Parsnip Pete can continue that good run back over a course and distance that he loves.


STEVOS’ SELECTION: 16.40 AINTREE-PARSNIP PETE E/W @ 18/1 

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

The Betway Bowl Chase: The Stats That Matter

The Betway Bowl Chase: The Stats That Matter

The big race on Day 1 of the Aintree Grand National Festival is the Grade 1 Betway Bowl Chase, and they are off at 14.50. The ‘People’s Champion’ Cue Card will be back to defend the crown he won in spectacular style 12 months ago, but it might not be plain sailing for the old boy.

He fell at the exact same stage in the Gold Cup in 2017 as he did last year, but he wasn’t travelling as kindly this time around. It remains to be seen whether that mishap has taken its toll, and below you can find out if the stats are in his favour for a repeat bid in this race 2017.
Betway Bowl Last 5 Winners
Year
Horse
Trainer
Jockey
Age
SP
2016
Cue Card
Colin Tizzard
Paddy Brennan
9
6/5fav
2015
Silviniaco Conti
Paul Nicholls
Noel Fehily
8
7/4fav
2014
Silviniaco Conti
Paul Nicholls
Noel Fehily
8
9/4
2013
First Lieutenant
Mouse Morris
Bryan Cooper
8
7/2
2012
Follow The Plan
Oliver McKiernan
Tom Doyle
9
50/1

Avoid Golden Oldies
The bad news for Cue Card supporters is that he falls at the first fence, as does former dual winner Silviniaco Conti. No 11yo has won since Grey Abbey back in 2005, and no horse younger than 7yo has won since Escartfigue back in 1998. Consequently, that means a line can also be put through 6yo Bristol De Mai.

It is rare that three of the top four in the betting market for a race like this are cut so early on, but the stats clearly state that all three are up against it. With only seven runners going to post that leaves us with just four possible winners, and we will try to pinpoint the most likely victor below.

Starting Price Is Paramount
Since 2006 only two horses priced up at 12/1 or bigger have triumphed in the Betway Bowl. The last two favourites have obliged, and the biggest priced winner in recent times was Follow The Plan back in 2012 for Oliver McKiernan at odds of 50/1.

That means, at the current odds, we can discount three of the remaining four contenders. As a result, Aso (25/1), Smad Place (18/1) and Tea For Two (16/1) are all discounted for winning purposes because of their prices. At 11/4 with William Hill, the Gordon Elliott trained and Gigginstown owned Empire Of Dirt is the last horse standing.

Conclusion
Empire Of Dirt produced a pretty disappointing effort in the Ryanair, but that 2m 5f trip might be a bit sharp for him nowadays. Gordon Elliott repeatedly stated in the run up to the Cheltenham Festival that he would have run him in the Gold Cup if it was up to him, but he was overruled by owner Michael O’Leary.

In hindsight, Sizing John’s victory probably proved Elliott right as Empire Of Dirt was only 0.75L behind the Gold Cup hero when they met over 24.5f at Leopardstown back in February. Aso had Empire Of Dirt’s measure when they met in the Ryanair last month, and at 20/1 he could be the one to chase the selection home over this longer trip. Tea For Two should be suited by the return to better ground and a flatter track, and he can fill third spot in what should be an exciting race.


Verdict: 1. Empire Of Dirt 11/4. 2. Aso 25/1. 3. Tea For Two 16/1.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Poetic Looks The Right Choice At Leopardstown

Master Carpenter wasn’t actually beaten that far at all for us in the Lincoln on Saturday (4L), and it was Sod’s Law that the low numbers were favoured by the draw. High numbers had triumphed for the previous two seasons, and though Bravery started in stall 20, just outside Master Carpenter, his jockey’s decision to switch across to the far side right after the start paid dividends. At least our old friend Seskinane put a gloss on the weekend, and hopefully we can continue in the same vein on Wednesday.
Poetic Choice likes it at Leopardstown
The one I like goes in the penultimate race at Leopardstown, and I think Poetic Choice looks handicapped to run a big race for Keith Clarke and Robbie Downey. This 6yo daughter of Byron has run well on both previous visits to Leopardstown, and she is 2lb lower than when running a cracker behind Tribal Path here last season. In hindsight, she did well to get anywhere near Damian English’s stable star given that she was conceding over a stone to that rival.

She was less than 3L behind Tribal Path that day, and the second home Bainne was 2L ahead of her. She was also conceding 7lb to that rival, and now Poetic Choice is 4lb better off when both jockeys’ claims are considered. She was ridden by a very inexperienced claimer at Dundalk last time, and it is encouraging to see Downey back in the plate. He knows this mare inside out and he has been on board for her last two victories.

Her last two wins came off marks of 74 and 72, but she has gone close off as high as 81 in the past year so she should be capable of getting involved at the finish off her current rating of 77. She has a decent draw in 6, but she is a hold up horse so Downey will need the gaps to come at the right times. If they do, I think she looks well overpriced at 16/1 and granted luck in running, she could well reward each way support at a track where she has claimed third on both previous visits.


STEVOS’ SELECTION: 18.00 LEOPARDSTOWN-POETIC CHOICE E/W @ 16/1