Friday, 15 September 2017

Chica Worth Chancing At Gowran

Gifted Lady ran a good race for us at Listowel earlier this week, but unfortunately it wasn’t good enough. She just didn’t have the pace to get involved at the business end but she kept on well and very nearly got up for 4th. The ground can’t be soft enough for the Mick Mulvany trained filly and she will be back in the winner’s enclosure soon as she is well capable of scoring off her current rating.
 
Brendan Duke has a good crop of 2yos this season.
Saturday is St Leger day at Royal Ascot and you can find out my fancy for the race by clicking here. The flat action on Saturday in Ireland comes from Gowran Park and with heavy ground likely an ability to handle testing conditions will be key. Brendan Duke has endeared himself to plenty of racing fans with his candid interviews this season and he has been bullish about his crop of 2yos.

The likes of Warm The Voice and The Broghie Man have shown that he wasn’t bluffing and he has an interesting contender in the shape of Chica Buena in the fillies’ maiden at Gowran. This daughter of Thewayyouare ran a lovely race on debut at Down Royal (7f soft) and she stayed on very nicely in the closing stages for 7th under a considerate ride from Killian Leonard.

She was held up in the early stages of that race and 3f out she only had a couple behind. As the pace lifted she came off the bridle but she kept on well under hands and heels in the final furlong and she finished just over 6L behind the eventual winner Beach Wedding. A Jim Bolger trained horse called Vocal Music finished two places and 3L in front of her in 5th and he has placed form off 73 in a handicap and a couple of top 4 finishes in maidens too.

Killian Leonard never went near Chica Buena with the whip at Down Royal and I think she could have finished even closer under a more aggressive ride. It is encouraging to see that Ronan Whelan takes over in the saddle on Saturday and he has 2 wins and 12 top 4 finishes from 49 rides for Brendan Duke. The step up to a mile looks sure to suit Chica Buena on the evidence of her debut effort and her pedigree suggests it will suit too.

She is a half sister to a total of 4 winners on the level and 3 of those scored over 10f. Her sire has a more than respectable strike rate of 27% with his runners from 7-9f and he relished cut in the ground. His Group 1 win came on very soft ground as a 2yo at Saint Cloud and he won a Group 3 on soft. Not many of his progeny have raced on heavy, just 25 in fact, and only 2 have won but a further 8 have placed for a none too shabby frame hitting strike rate of 40%.

At Gowran the draw is absolutely crucial because of the amount of extra ground you have to cover if you are caught out wide. Chica Buena has been handed a decent starting position in stall 3 so hopefully she breaks smartly and makes use of her draw. I don’t think she will need to improve a huge amount to be involved at the finish here as plenty of her opponents that have seen the track have yet to prove themselves on ground like this. At odds of 25/1 she is worth chancing each way for small stakes.


STEVOS’ SELECTION: 14.00 GOWRAN-CHICA BUENA E/W @ 25/1

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Don’t Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth At Listowel

We finished with a flourish on Champions’ Weekend at the Curragh on Sunday with two winners and a place at 16s. Al Qahwa got us off to a good start by finishing 2nd in the opener advised e/w at 16/1. Shamreen hosed up in the Matron Stakes for the second year in a row, advised at 9/1. Verbal Dexterity also won well, advised at 13/2 but the withdrawal of the fav Gustav Klimt meant we were hit with a big rule 4.

Gorane could only manage a 6th placed finish and she looked out of her depth. Muirin ran a cracker but could only manage 4th and she looks sure to improve as that was some run on what was only her second career start. I was bitterly disappointed with First Flight’s effort and perhaps he wants better ground at this stage of his career. I am sure a few nights of being serenaded by Heather Main will help him get his head back in front.
Mick Mulvany has already had a winner at Listowel this week.
The Kerry National is the big race of the day on Wednesday and I have put up a selection for that race, and the 7f nursery at Doncaster, for Mybettingbonus. You can check them out by clicking here. I fancy another one for small stakes at a massive price at Listowel, and I think Gifted Lady could outrun her huge odds for in form Mick Mulvany with Tom Madden claiming a valuable 5lb off this 3yo filly’s back.

Gifted Lady has been badly out of form so far this season and she remains a maiden after 18 starts. However, she has yet to encounter her optimum conditions in 2017 and she will absolutely relish the bottomless ground at Listowel. When it gets testing there it is like nowhere else and it takes a special sort of horse to plough through that ground. This filly ran possibly the best race of her career when 2nd at the festival here last year in identical conditions.

She looked the winner all over in that 7f maiden but was reeled in close to home. She had previously gone very close in a handicap at Sligo off a mark of 55, again on bottomless ground, beaten just half a length by the 65 rated Duck Egg Blue, a horse that subsequently won off 71. She gets to race off a mark of 50 now and with Tom Madden’s 5lb claim she is effectively 10lb lower than for that Sligo run. I think she may have been laid out for this meeting and with Mulvany amongst the winners already this week I think Gifted Lady is well worth backing e/w at odds of 28/1.


STEVOS’ SELECTION: 14.05 LISTOWEL-GIFTED LADY E/W @ 28/1

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Champions’ Weekend Day 2 Tips

We didn’t fare too badly on opening day of Champions’ Weekend at Leopardstown on Saturday with a couple of winners. Clique travelled like the best horse in the race in the opener but he found nil and perhaps he will appreciate better ground. Nelson did the business for us in fine style in the next, advised at 15/2 and returning at 11/2. Daybreak Boy was far from disgraced in the 13f handicap, finishing 7th of 20 and he was only 1.5L behind the winner and 0.75L off a place.

It was hard work for Eziyra in the next but she got the job done and returned at 9/10 (advised at 11/8). Intricately and Custom Cut were desperately disappointing and unfortunately the ground was a bit too lively for Zhukova. Geological got boxed in on the inside in the last and Holy Cat was simply never at the races. It was a disappointing finish to the day after a promising start but at least Nelson did the business. Hopefully we can find another winner or two at the Curragh and you can find out my fancies below.
David O'Meara had a nice winner at Leopardstown.
RACE 1

A nice easy start to proceedings on Day 1 with a 23 runner 6f handicap. The one I like at a nice each way price is the David O’Meara trained 4yo son of Fast Company, Al Qahwa. O’Meara landed a nice pot with Suedois at Leopardstown on Saturday and the ground has come right for Al Qahwa at the Curragh. He is best with an ease in the ground and it is currently yielding to soft at the Kildare track.

This fella has run poorly on his last couple of starts at Goodwood and Ripon but he is likely to have been trained with this race in mind and he ran a cracker in a Group 3 on his only previous run at The Curragh. He is racing off a mark of 97, just 3lb higher than the rating off which he scored at York back in May (6f sft) and he was only beaten 2L off 97 there in July. A high draw is preferable in these races at The Curragh and from a decent starting position in Stall 18 I think Al Qahwa is well worth backing each way at odds of 16/1.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: AL QAHWA E/W @ 16/1

RACE 2

Nine fillies and mares go to post for the 10f Group 2 Blandford Stakes and one that could run well at a half decent price is Shamreen for Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen. This relatively lightly raced 4yo daughter of Dubawi scored in this race last year and she showed she was back to her best with a commanding win in first time blinkers in a Group 3 here last month (10f yld/sft).

The ground will be identical for her here and the blinkers have been discarded by Mr Weld. After her win here last time he posited that a crack at a Group 1 could be on the cards for her and that suggests that he thinks this filly has improved. However, he has decided to send her out to defend her crown in this race and though it looks a stronger renewal I can see Shamreen making a bold bid at odds of 9/1.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: SHAMREEN E/W @ 9/1

race 3

The Group 2 Flying Five stakes sees a field of 12 sprinters go to post and this race revolves around Caravaggio. It is hard to believe this fella is as big as 6/4 for a Group 2 but he has been bitterly disappointing on his last couple of starts and it remains to be seen if he can get back to his sparkling best. If he returns to the level of his spectacular Royal Ascot win he will undoubtedly be hard to beat but there are a lot of risks involved in backing him and at a bigger price I think Gorane could go well.

This 3yo daughter of Dream Ahead seemed to relish the soft ground last time when scoring in a Listed heat at Tipperary and she had Ardhoomey a length behind. That rival is 3lb better off with her here but Gorane wasn’t stopping at Tipperary and I think she can uphold the form. Declan McDonagh abandons ship and rides Caspian Prince instead but he is best on better ground than they will get here. I think 25/1 is too big about this filly and at that price she has to be worth chancing for small stakes each way.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: GORANE E/W @ 25/1

RACE 4, RACE 5 AND RACE 6

I have covered these races for Mybettingbonus and you can check what I fancy by clicking here.


RACE 7

30 2yos go to post in this Sales race and a case can be made for quite a few of them. Brendan Duke is a trainer I have a lot of time for and he has been bullish about the quality of his 2yo crop this season. Warm The Voice showed that he wasn’t talking rubbish and in The Broghie Man he looks to have another good one. His sire Cityscape handled cut in the ground and his dam is by Dutch Art so hopefully the underfoot conditions pose no problems. He has a nice draw in stall 21, he races off a low weight and with Kevin Manning in the plate a big run could be forthcoming at 11/1.

With such a big field it makes sense to have a saver on one at a huge price and perhaps Optimum Time can outrun his odds for Eve Johnson Houghton and Charles Bishop. This son of Manduro won on debut in taking fashion on easy ground at Windsor but he has struggled on faster ground the last twice. The return to softer ground could spark him back to life, he is well drawn in stall 25 and at odds of 33/1 he is worth backing each way for small stakes.

STEVOS’ SELECTIONS: THE BROGHIE MAN E/W @ 11/1 OPTIMUM TIME E/W @ 33/1
David Egan is great value for his 3lb claim.
 RACE 8

A tricky looking handicap to finish up with and a case can be made for quite a few of the 18 runner field. I tipped up First Flight at huge odds at York last time and with a kinder passage I think he would have gone very close. He got trapped out wide, didn’t enjoy the clearest of runs but he still stayed on nicely to grab 6th, 3.5L behind the winner and less than a length off a place.

The ground will admittedly be very different at The Curragh but this son of Invincible Spirit has run well on all three occasions that he has encountered soft ground, including when 2nd behind Air Pilot at Newbury off a mark of 96. David Egan’s claim means he is effectively 3lb lower here and with trip and ground to suit hopefully First Flight can reward each way support at odds of 20/1.


STEVOS’ SELECTION: FIRST FLIGHT E/W @ 20/1

Friday, 8 September 2017

Champions' Weekend Day 1 Tips

Lil Sophella ran a very frustrating race at Musselburgh and Jack Garrity didn’t cover himself in glory. She didn’t help her cause by being tardy from the stalls (again) and she gave them a bit of a head start. Lil Sophella was still last as they turned for home but even though she had them all to pass 3f out there were few travelling better.

Garrity switched her wide 2f out and just as she was about to be unleashed down the outside the gap he was aiming for closed. Once that happened her chance was gone, just like our money. The frustrating run continues but hopefully we can pinpoint a winner or two this weekend. Check out my selections for Day 1 of Champions Weekend at Leopardstown below.
It could be a good day for Dermot Weld.
RACE 1

A competitive looking maiden gets the action underway on what is a cracking card at Leopardstown and the Aidan O’Brien trained favourite Bye Bye Baby is sure to be popular dropping back into a maiden after a creditable run in Group 3 company last time. However, while his claims are obvious I prefer the chances of the Dermot Weld newcomer Clique, a 2yo son of sire of the moment Bated Breath.

This colt has reportedly been working extremely well on the gallops and it says a lot that Weld has chosen this weekend for him to make his debut. He is out of a Listed winner and his half brothers Convey and Stronghold both won Group 3s. His siblings all handled a bit of cut in the ground so the good to yielding surface at Leopardstown should hold no fears and at odds of 5/1 he is the selection.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: CLIQUE @ 5/1 WIN

RACE 2

Another race where the favourite is trained by Aidan O’Brien and that will be a recurring theme this weekend given the unlimited amount of ammo he has at his disposal. Delano Roosevelt is the choice of Ryan Moore for this 8f Group 3 and the son of Galileo was admittedly impressive when scoring over course and distance on debut back in July. Warm The Voice was third home that day and he has advertised the strength of the form with two wins since.

However, I prefer the chances of another O’Brien entry, Nelson, a son of Frankel who made a big impression on me when he won over course and distance last time. This son of Frankel took a couple of starts to get the hang of things but the way he got the job done suggested to me he is more than worth a crack at this level. He is out of Oaks winner Moonstone, he is a half brother to a pair of Group 3 winners and at odds of 15/2 I think he is well worth chancing each way.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: NELSON E/W @ 15/2
Henry De Bromhead has done well with his flat horses this season.
RACE 3

A very tricky looking 13f handicap and a case can be made for the vast majority of this field. In races of this nature small stakes at big odds is the way to go and at a nice each way price I think Daybreak Boy could go well for Henry De Bromhead with Pat Smullen booked. De Bromhead has been doing really well on the level this season and this 4yo son of Kingsalsa has won two of his four starts since making his debut at the tail end of last season at Gowran, both wins coming when ridden by Pat Smullen.

He was well beaten that day at Gowran but he made no mistake next time at Dundalk when hosing up in a mile maiden under Pat Smullen. He was put away after that and reappeared in June with a decent run at Gowran 9.5f gd when beaten 4L by the 100 rated Tennessee Wildcat who he was conceding 5lb to. He followed that up with a nice win upped in trip to 12f at Fairyhouse in a rated race, conceding 7lb to the 91 rated San Remo and beating him by over a length. He is a half bro to an Aussie 2mile listed winner so the extra furlong should be no issue, he has a great draw in stall 2, Smullen is unbeaten on him and off a mark of 90 he looks well worth chancing each way.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: DAYBREAK BOY E/W 20/1

RACE 4

As regular readers will know I am not a fan of tipping up favourites but sometimes the correct answer is the most obvious one and it looks to me like Eziyra will be very hard to beat in this 12f Group 3 contest with ground and trip both ideal. This lightly raced 3yo daughter of Teofilo has a fine record when there has been cut in the ground and her only below par run on an easy surface came on her seasonal reappearance here in a Listed contest back in June.

She followed that up with a fine effort behind superstar filly Enable in the Irish Oaks on ground plenty quick enough for her and at a time when Weld’s horses were struggling for form. Eziyra was mightily impressive last time out when hosing up in a soft ground 12f Group 3 at Cork and in receipt of weight from the likes of US Army Ranger and Spanish Steps I think she is definitely the one to beat at odds of 11/8.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: EZIYRA @ 11/8 WIN

RACE 5

I have tipped one up for this race for Mybettingbonus and you can see what I fancy by clicking here.

David O'Meara holds a strong hand in this race.
RACE 6

Seven horses go to post for the Group 2 Boomerang Stakes and the one I keep coming back to (excuse the pun!!) at a nice price is the admirably consistent Custom Cut. David O’Meara fires two bullets at this race and Suedois is the more fancied runner and the choice of stable jockey Danny Tudhope. The former French performer has obvious claims and ran a cracker at York last time, but he has yet to win at further than 7f and I am not sure he will get a mile.

Custom Cut, on the other hand, won this very race two years ago and he ran a cracker in 2nd last year. He had to give best to Alexios Komnenos here last time out when 3rd beaten 1.5L but he was conceding 9lb to that rival that day and he is 4lb better off now. From 8 visits to Leopardstown he has finished outside the first four just once and with an ease in the ground here his form figures read 2112. The 8yo son of Notnowcato isn’t getting any younger but he showed last time that plenty of ability still remains and at odds of 12/1 he looks well worth chancing each way.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: CUSTOM CUT E/W @ 12/1

RACE 7

The big one, The Champion Stakes, and I have tipped one up already for Mybettingbonus. Find out my selection by clicking here.

RACE 8

A nice and easy 18 runner handicap closes proceedings on Day 1 of Champions Weekend and a case can be made for plenty in this 7f battle charge. If the ground was good or better I would be very sweet on the chances of Geological for Damian English as he is on a winnable mark and he is drawn to attack in stall 2. If there isn’t a huge amount of rain and conditions dry out he could definitely be worth a flutter at odds of 40/1 (paddy power 5 places). He is probably worth having a small each way saver on in what looks a wide open race.

Over 7f at Leopardstown the draw is absolutely crucial and if you are drawn high it is a massive disadvantage. One at a big price that could go well from a decent draw in stall 4 is Holy Cat for Qatar Racing and Michael O’Callaghan. This 3yo filly has been highly tried at times since her debut win here (6f gd/fm) and she was only beaten 4L in a Group 3 on her second start. She has failed to hit those heights this season but she ran a nice enough race after a slow start at Dundalk last time (6f). She stayed on well that day off a mark of 93 so 7f should be okay, her half sister won on soft and off 8 pounds lower (Sean Davis claims 7lb) with the first time visor applied I think she looks a potential improver at odds of 18/1.


STEVOS’ SELECTIONS: HOLY CAT E/W @ 18/1 GEOLOGICAL E/W @ 40/1 5 PLACES

Soph Worth A Lil Each Way Interest At Musselburgh

Fenagh was bitterly disappointing for us yesterday, never travelling throughout the race and looking a very awkward ride at times. Harry Bentley just couldn’t get her going and she never got into it. I remain convinced this tricky filly has ability on the evidence of her second maiden run and she is not one to lose faith in just yet. She is likely to be dropped another few pounds after yesterday’s run and she could be one to be on when the money comes.
 
Lil Sophella has a fine record at Musselburgh.
This evening I am backing one up at Musselburgh and I think Lil Sophella in the 6.05 looks handicapped to go well for Pat Holmes with Jack Garrity back in the plate. This 8yo daughter of Indian Haven didn’t put her best hoof forward when 4th here last time behind Masarzain, but she was slowly away and she was left with far too much to do by Neil Farley. She is now 11lb better off with the winner and that should allow her to get a lot closer.

She ran a lovely race on her penultimate start at Thirsk, the last time Garrity rode, when staying on strongly for 4th off a mark of 69, beaten just over 2L and she is 2lb lower here off a mark of 67. That is a full 11lb below the mark off which she last won at York in May 2016 so there is no doubt that she is feasibly treated. The return of Jack Garrity to the saddle has to be viewed as a positive as he has ridden Lil Sophella to victory twice before, including at York last year.

This 8yo daughter of Indian Haven has also shown a liking for Musselburgh down through the years and she has often run well here. Her form figures over this course and distance read 25221384 and her best performances have come on good to firm ground. She was beaten just over 2L here off 81 last June and while she isn’t getting any younger a repeat of that run would see her go very close this evening. She may well struggle to reverse the form with Masarzain from last time, but she is capable of running a big race and at odds of 20/1 I think she is worth chancing each way.


STEVOS’ SELECTION: 18.05 MUSSELBURGH-LIL SOPHELLA E/W @ 20/1

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

All Ireland Football Final Preview: Dublin vs Mayo

It has been a great September so far for the West of Ireland with Galway bringing home the bacon in the senior and minor All Ireland hurling finals. Mayo will be hoping that they can complete the hat trick in the All Ireland football final but they are up against one of the best, if not the best, team of all time. Mayo had Dublin on the rack in the 2016 final but couldn’t finish the job, and that has been a recurring theme with them down through the years. It is admirable that they keep bouncing back, but they will probably come up short yet again against the Dubs.
 
Andy Moran will find life tougher against Dublin.

Andy Moran has been their main man up front this season and he caused Kerry all sorts of problems. However, Kerry’s full back line looked slow and laboured and I don’t think he will have near as much joy against the Dubs. Either Mick Fitzsimons or Philly McMahon will be handed the task of marking Moran and they have a lot more pace than Shane Enright. In fact, I would go as far to say that Kerry’s full back line was way below the level required and it is an area they need to strengthen considerably if they want to contend for Sam Maguire in future seasons.

A big part of Mayo’s performance against Kerry in the replay were the forays forward of Kevin McLoughlin, Colm Boyle and Keith Higgins from deep. Kerry just didn’t have the pace to deal with those three but Dublin can call upon Jack McCaffrey and Johnny Cooper in the half back line and those two are quick enough to nullify the threat caused by the Mayo trio. Mayo will also have to deal with the problems posed by those two going forward, something that they didn’t have to worry about against Kerry. John Small will hold court in the middle and Mayo won’t find the goal chances coming so easily against this Dublin rear guard.
 
Jim Gavin has lost just one Championship match with Dublin.
Seamie O’Shea and Tom Parsons played really well in the engine room against Kerry but it is doubtful that they will be as dominant against Brian Fenton and James McCarthy. Those two are at least equally as mobile as the Mayo pair and they are a big danger going forward. Parsons and O’Shea will have their hands full trying to mark the two of them and that could lessen their influence on proceedings at the other end of the pitch. Both McCarthy and Fenton are as effective in defence as they are in attack and the fact that Mick MacAuley barely gets a look in tells you a lot about the strength in depth in this Dublin squad.

The biggest difference between Dublin and Mayo is scoring power. Dublin have unearthed another gem in Con O’Callaghan and they have barely missed the suspended Diarmuid Connolly thanks to the Cuala man. His goal against Tyrone brought back memories of Ciaran Duff at his majestic best and he has the potential to be a superstar in the coming years. Ciaran Kilkenny plays a bit too laterally for my liking at times but he is never afraid to look for the ball and he will link up the play at the business end for the Dubs.

Dean Rock’s ability from placed balls is a big asset for Dublin, though Cillian O’Connor is equally as accurate for Mayo. Paul Mannion’s pace is another weapon for The Dubs and Peadar Andrews is lethal with both feet. With messrs Connolly, McManamon and Bernard Brogan laying in wait on the sidelines Dublin have no shortage of firepower in reserve and Mayo will have their hands full trying to contain the Dublin forward line for the full 70 minutes.
Stephen Cluxton has revolutionised the role of goalkeepers.
Another area where Dublin have a distinct advantage is their ability to retain possession from their own kick outs. As a former ‘keeper I have huge admiration for the saves David Clarke has pulled off this year, and only for him Mayo would have been eliminated already. He has proved his manager totally wrong after the daft decision to drop him for last year’s final replay but the nagging doubt still remains as to how effective his kick outs are, and will be, against an extremely mobile Dublin front 6.

Stephen Cluxton is just as good a shot stopper as Clarke and when it comes to distribution there is nobody better than the Dublin custodian. Clarke has been guilty of some wayward kick outs at times and Dublin will punish him if he misplaces one. Cluxton, on the other hand, has been as accurate as ever and he is one of the main reasons for Dublin’s success in the past decade. He broke Tyrone’s hearts with his variation of delivery from the 13m line and he is surgeon like with his precision. 

I don’t think it can be underestimated how influential Cluxton is, and has always been, for this Dublin team and the longer he plays the longer Dublin’s domination will last. He has revolutionised the role of the goalkeeper in modern football and he deserves every accolade that comes his way. He isn’t getting any younger, but he has looked better than ever this season and you get the feeling he could go on for quite a few years yet. 
There could  be more heartbreak on the cards for Stephen Rochford.
So, from a betting perspective, where is the money to be made? Students of form will look at last year’s drawn match and replay and the obvious conclusion is that Mayo are overpriced at odds of 3/1. If you look solely at the results in last year’s final then yes, they do look too big. However, if you look at who Mayo have beaten and how they have played throughout the year then 3/1 looks pretty skinny. They lost to Galway, almost lost to Derry and Roscommon and they beat a bad Kerry team at the second attempt.

Dublin strolled through Leinster, hammered Monaghan and knocked the socks off a well regarded Tyrone team. Their entire bench would walk straight onto the majority of intercounty teams in Ireland and their manager has lost just one championship game during his tenure, vs Donegal in 2014. Okay, they lost the League Final to Kerry but I reckon Gavin has them trained to the minute this season and they will be in peak condition on the 3rd Sunday in September.  

Romantics and dreamers, it is time to look elsewhere for your happy ending. Just like Mayweather vs McGregor there is only going to be one outcome here. I think Dublin could make a real statement of intent against this Mayo team as regards their intentions for the future. Dublin -5 at odds of 6/4 is the recommendation. Sam Maguire is staying put for another year at the very least. 


ALL IRELAND FINAL TIP: DUBLIN VS MAYO:  DUBLIN -5 @ 6/4

Fenagh Could Fire On Handicap Debut At Salisbury

Bo Bridget ran a cracking race for us at Navan at the weekend and a furlong out I thought she was going to go on and win. Colin Keane angled her out wide to chase down the eventual winner Happy Company but her effort just flattened out in the final 75 yards or so and she had to settle for 3rd. Perhaps the stiff uphill finish at Navan just stretched her stamina and returned to a flatter track she can get her head in front.
 
David Loughnane is 2/3 at Salisbury.
This Thursday I like the look of one at Salisbury and regular readers of the blog might remember me tipping up this filly a few weeks ago on her third maiden start when she was upped in trip to 7f. Fenagh ran a very disappointing race that day at Kempton but I don’t think she is one to write off just yet and on the form of her penultimate run over 6f at Chepstow (gd) she looks well worth giving another chance to off an opening mark of 67.

She was badly outpaced in the first half of that race at Chepstow and a couple of furlongs out she only had one behind. However, the penny seemed to drop inside the last 2f and she made up ground quickly on the leaders in the closing stages. She ended up in 4th, beaten just 2L for the win and the way she stayed on suggested that a step up to 7f would be absolutely ideal.

She got that step up in trip on her next start on the all weather at Kempton when tried over 7f for the first time but the way she was ridden suggested she was there for her mark rather than to win. Her jockey posted her very wide throughout and she must have travelled an extra furlong in comparison to her rivals. It was no surprise to see her fade into last in the closing stages and I think it makes sense to put a line through that run.

She should be much better suited by the straight 7f at Salisbury and her trainer David Loughnane applies the cheek pieces for the first time. They will hopefully sharpen her up in the early stages and get her to travel better for Harry Bentley. Another cause for optimism is Loughnane’s record at Salisbury. He has had just three runners at the track and two of those have won for a strike rate of 66%.

From a handicapping perspective, I think an opening mark of 67 is more than fair if you look at the form of her run at Chepstow. The winner of that race, She Believes, was 2L ahead of Fenagh and she won successive handicaps afterwards off marks of 74 and 79 and she is now rated 95. The runner up was 2nd beaten just over 2L off 77 on his next outing and the 3rd won a Novice next time out and is now rated 74.

Fenagh has a nice pedigree too, by a sire that has made a good start with his first crop of 2yos this year and out of a King’s Best mare whose dam is a half sister to top class sprinter Dandy Man. The ground is likely to dry out from the current description of good to soft with a warm breezy forecast for Thursday, so Fenagh should encounter identical ground to what she ran on at Chepstow. If she can reproduce that Chepstow run here I can see her running a big race and at odds of 20/1 she is worth chancing each way.


STEVOS’ SELECTION: 14.20 SALISBURY-FENAGH E/W @ 20/1 (4 places Ladbrokes)

Friday, 1 September 2017

Bo Can Bounce Back At Navan

I was delighted with how History Writer acquitted himself for us at Sandown on Friday, particularly after he drifted like a barge half an hour before the race. He was backed into as short as 8/1 and I must admit I was worried when he was sent off at 20/1. However, there was no need for alarm as he ran an absolute cracker from a pox of a draw to stay on eye catchingly late on for 3rd. Given his pedigree and that performance he looks nailed on to get further and he should be well up to winning a maiden upped in trip next time out.
 
Colin Keane looks a significant booking on Bo Bridget.
Tomorrow I like the look of one at tasty odds at Navan and I think Bo Bridget looks way overpriced for my old mate Adrian Murray in the 10f handicap at 17.45. Murray is best known for his exploits over timber with horses like Cass Bligh and Killaro Boy, but as he has showed with Shes Ranger this season he is well able to ready them for the flat too. This 4yo daughter of Mastercraftsman has had three starts for the Westmeath trainer and the first two were cracking runs.

She was well backed at silly odds on her first run for the yard at Naas (8f gd) and she ran a huge race for an inexperienced claimer off a mark of 52, beaten just a length and doing all her best work at the finish. Colin Keane took over in the plate next time out at Tipperary when Bo Bridget was sent off the 9/2 fav (7.5f yld) and she again stayed on well late in the day, just failing to land the odds in 3rd, beaten less than a length for the victory.

She got the step up in trip that it looked like she was crying out for last time out at the Curragh but unfortunately the very soft ground didn’t bring out the best in her. Her dam showed a distinct preference for decent ground and while her sire handled bottomless ground he produced his very best runs on good to firm and good to yielding ground. Now, with a rating of 55 it is obvious that this filly is not in the same class as either of her parents but she has shown enough on two of her last three starts to suggest she is capable of winning a race.

She was claimer ridden last time so it is encouraging that Murray has turned to Keane again as he went so close on her at Tipperary. I have checked the forecast and there is no rain due so hopefully the ground continues to dry out. If the rain does stay away I can see Bo Bridget running a massive race and at odds of 20/1 she has to be worth chancing each way in a wide open heat.


STEVOS’ SELECTION: 17.45 NAVAN-BO BRIDGET E/W @ 20/1 

Writer Could Make Fairytale Start At Sandown

This is my first blog post since the final day of the York Ebor Festival which ended on a frustrating note. My strongest fancy of the day, and probably the whole week, was First Flight in the last race but he got trapped out wide, didn’t enjoy the clearest of runs and when he did find daylight he flew home. However, he just left it too late and he could only manage 6th, beaten less than a length for 4th. What made it even worse was that I was waiting on him for the placepot (for £2.50) and it paid over £900. If he had been placed at 25s God knows what it would have paid, and I wasn’t a happy bunny on Saturday evening.
 
David Menuisier's 2yos have gone well this season.
I am sure regular readers know by now the high regard in which I hold David Menuisier, and indeed I tipped up Make Time in the Strensall Stakes last Saturday. The horse ran a stinker but it subsequently emerged post race that he sustained an injury that severely curtailed his performance. He is still a horse to keep onside, as is Contrapposto once he returns from injury. Vintager was an impressive winner of a 2yo maiden a couple of weeks ago and he goes in the Solario on Saturday at Sandown. It would be no surprise to see him produce a big run at odds of 9/1.

Menuisier has another interesting debutant at Sandown on Friday and I think History Writer could be worth a small e/w bet in the 7f maiden at 14.45. This 2yo son of Canford Cliffs has a lovely pedigree, out of a Hawk Wing half sister to Group 3 12f winner Sub Rose and Listed 12f winner Astonishing. Her grand dam Magic Gleam was a Group 2 mile winner and History Writer should have no issues starting out over a trip of 7f.

His sire Canford Cliffs is a good source of speed and though he perhaps hasn’t become the sire that some may have expected, he still has a more than respectable strike rate with his 2yo runners, 40 winning from 112 runners (36%). He also has a 33% strike rate with his runners at 7f-9f so History Writer’s pedigree suggests that a good run could be on the cards on debut. Menuisier has had 3 2yo runners so far this season with one winner and one runner up. He also has a fine record at Sandown, and from 5 runners he has had 1 winner with a couple of 2nds and a couple of 4ths.

The booking of Richard Kingscote catches the eye as it will be only his second ride for this yard. However, it has to be viewed as a positive given his uncanny knack of riding winning 2yos for his boss Tom Dascombe. There are soft ground winners on the dam side of History Writer’s pedigree so the good to soft ground is not a worry, and he has entries in the Group 2 Royal Lodge and the Group 1 Dewhurst. He must have been showing Menuisier plenty at home for him to give him those lofty entries and at odds of 16/1 History Writer could be worth chancing each way.


STEVOS’ SELECTION: 14.45 SANDOWN-HISTORY WRITER E/W @ 16/1 He

Friday, 25 August 2017

York Ebor Festival Day 4 Tips

Day 4 was a complete disaster with none of our horses getting their heads in front. Dance King ran a creditable race in the opener but he could only manage 6th. Dartmouth was in front before and after the line, but he lost out on the nod. Aeolus ran an absolute stinker and Profitable wasn’t much better in the big one.

Broken Force drifted like a barge but he did show a bit of promise and he could be one to back next time out. Syphax was backed off the boards and sent off at 6/1 but he ran a very poor race and he looks to be money poorly spent by Godolphin. The only way is up after that day so hopefully the final day sees us back in the winner’s enclosure.
Cohesion could go well for David Bridgwater.
RACE 1, RACE 2 AND RACE 3

I have covered the first three races for Mybettingbonus and you can find out what I fancy by clicking here.

RACE 4-THE EBOR

This is my favourite flat handicap of the year, mostly because I managed to find Litigant a couple of years ago at a massive price. Big priced winners are a regular occurrence in this 14f Heritage Handicap and hopefully there is another one in 2017. With 20 horses going to post it makes sense to back a couple for small stakes at massive odds in this race and I think Maleficent Queen could outrun her odds for Scottish handler Keith Dalgleish. This 5yo daughter of Mount Nelson has won 5 of her 16 starts on turf, including a win at Listed level at Ayr back in May.

She has been highly tried at times and she ran a blinder in a Group 3 at Ascot (16f) earlier this season when beaten just over 5L by Sweet Selection on quick ground. She handles any type of ground and she has won on good to soft, good and good to firm. She has yet to win beyond 12f but she clearly stays well and a fast run race over 14f could bring out the best in her. She admittedly wasn’t at her best last time in a class 2 conditions race at Musselburgh but she has been given a nice break and if the cheekpieces bring about a bit of improvement she could outrun her odds of 50/1.

Another one that could go well at a tasty price is Cohesion, a 4yo son of Champs Elysees who is trained by David Bridgwater. This gelding has looked a serious horse on his first four stats for Bridgwater after moving from France and he had the likes of Fabricate and Mistiroc in behind when winning a class 2 12f handicap at Wolverhampton back in March. He followed that up with an excellent run behind Winning Story on All Weather Championships day at Lingfield over 16f and with a clearer run he would have gone very close.

That run proved he has no shortage of stamina and he probably did too much too soon when running poorly in a Group 3 at Chantilly on his last outing in April. He has been dropped a pound to 104 for that run so he is just 3lb above his last winning mark. He has a 4lb swing in the weights with Winning Story on their Lingfield meeting and George Wood claims another 3lb off his back. Bridgwater is a trainer best known for his exploits with star chaser The Giant Bolster, but Cohesion could be the horse to help him make his mark on the level. At odds of 40/1 he is worth chancing e/w.

STEVOS’ SELECTIONS: MALEFICENT QUEEN E/W 50/1 COHESION E/W 40/1

RACE 5

The final pattern race of the Ebor Festival is the Listed Roses Stakes over 5f and I think the Richard Hannon trained filly Out Of The Flames looks overpriced at odds of 10/1. This daughter of Showcasing has been running well at a higher level than this and bar a poor run on easy ground at Newbury last time she has been very consistent. She will appreciate the drying ground at York and her trainer has already had a good 2yo winner here this week.

She won her maiden in fine style on her second start at Windsor back in May and she was pitched straight into Group 2 company at Royal Ascot next time (5f gd/fm). She ran a massive race in 3rd, 3L behind the winner Heartache and just half a length behind Happy Like A Fool. She gets a nice weight allowance from her male rivals and as Oisin Murphy is engaged in a Group 2 at Goodwood Martin Lane will come in for the ride. Her official rating of 96 leaves her with a bit to find, but I think there could be more to come from Out Of The Flames and at odds of 10/1 she is the each way selection.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: OUT OF THE FLAMES E/W @ 10/1

RACE 6

One horse looks criminally overpriced to me in this race and that is First Flight. Heather Main is a trainer that I have a huge amount of time for and she does exceptionally well with a small string. This 6yo son of Invincible Spirt is an ex Godolphin horse and he evidently had some issues as he was off the track for two years. He has since changed hands and his reappearance run at Newmarket was a cracking effort last month. He was beaten just a length off a mark of 95 and it showed that plenty of the old ability remained.

He wasn’t quite as good last time at Yarmouth but that came only 9 days after his Newmarket run so perhaps it came too soon. He was still only beaten 3L though so it wasn’t a complete disaster. He has been given a nice break since that run. He had strong form at York when trained by Bin Suroor, including a good 3rd beaten less than a length off 98. He is a pound lower now, quality claimer David Egan takes off another 5lb and at odds of 40/1 he has to be worth chancing each way.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: FIRST FLIGHT E/W @ 40/1

RACE 7


The one I like at a nice price here is Tahoo for Karl Burke and young apprentice Jack Duern. This 3yo former course and distance winner races off a mark of 84, just 3lb above the mark off which she won last season. Her last win came at Windsor last month off a mark of 80 and she has been off for over a month since a rare below par effort at Sandown.

I am hoping that break has sweetened her up as she is more than capable of making an impact here off  a mark of 84. Jack Duern is a jockey that has won plenty of races and from 5 rides at York he has a win and 3 top 4 finishes. Tahoo is a filly that likes to get on with things out in front and she has a decent enough draw in stall 9. If she pings the gates she is capable of making a bold bid and at odds of 22/1 hopefully she can hit the frame.

STEVOS’ SELECTION: TAHOO E/W @ 22/1