Monthly Archives: August 2015


Totescoop6 Beverley Bullet Sprint Stakes (5f)


Totescoop6 Beverley Bullet Sprint Stakes (5f)

Totescoop6 Beverley Bullet Sprint Stakes (5f)
(Listed Race)
(CLASS 1) (3yo+)
Saturday, 29 August 2015

This Listed heat over the flying 5f at Beverley has not been a good race for favourite backers in recent seasons with only one winning since 2005, Pearl Secret last year. With three winners of 10/1 or bigger since 2009 it has been a tricky race for punters to solve, and this year it looks no different. Below are the runners and riders and what I believe to be their prospects.

LINE OF REASON (MIDGLEY/LEE)

Has been busy this year, and is on the go since Meydan back in January. Was a close third in this last year and is back to try and go two places better. Took a Listed heat at the Curragh back in June on good to firm, showing he is more than capable at this level, and has subsequently run well in a Group 2 at Goodwood before finding Group 1 company too hot at York last time out, where the ground was softer than ideal too.

Drops back into Listed company at a track he handles and is near the head of the market at just 6/1. Graham Lee is booked and the draw has been kind (stall 3) so it is no surprise that he is so short. Is the highest rated in the field at 111, but he has to carry a 4lb penalty which will make things tough. Place chance at best.

ALBEN STAR (FAHEY/NOLAN)

Hasn’t been seen since finishing a good 2nd to Pretend on the all weather at Lingfield back in April. Has placed form at this level, but yet to win. Has 7 career wins, but only one has come over 5f.

He is overlooked by stable jockey Tony Hamilton, and given the fact he hasn’t won over this trip since his debut in 2010 he is overlooked by me too, especially at his very skinny looking odds of just 13/2.

BROTHER TIGER (GRIFFITHS/MCDONALD)

5 wins from 14 runs in his career so far, and this 6yo looks best on the all weather, with four of those wins coming at Lingfield. Wasn’t beaten all that far in a strong handicap at Goodwood last time out, his first run back after a break, and if he improves for that run he should last a bit longer out in front here.

The big worry has to be the draw, and getting to the lead from stall 15 will not be easy for McDonald. If he gets out quickly and can grab the lead he could well run a big race at 50/1, but he does have a lot to find on the figures and from his wide draw he is probably best watched.

CONFESSIONAL (EASTERBY/ALLAN)

Maiden and 4 time handicap winner, but his last win came in 2013. Two good efforts earlier this year, off 92 at Musselburgh and off 91 at Chester, but his last couple of runs off a rapidly diminishing mark have been very disappointing. Looks up against it here and even from the plum draw in stall 1 he is overlooked. Can be backed at 50/1.

MAAREK (MCCUTCHEON/SPENCER)

Hardy and very likeable 8yo who loves to get his toe in. Has 12 career wins to his name, including a Group 1, two Group 2s and two Group 3s. His last win came over 6f on soft ground at York in a Group 2 in May 2014 but he has shown this season that he still retains plenty of ability with good efforts at the Curragh and Longchamp.

The booking of Jamie Spencer catches the eye, and his hold up style should be ideally suited to this horse. Back down in Listed company he should be a force to be reckoned with, although with very little rain forecast the ground could be a worry. If it comes up soft he will be hard to beat and he can currently be backed at 5/1.

POYLE VINNIE (APPLEBY/MULLEN)

Started out in handicaps off a lowly mark of 65, which he won off, and has progressed through the ranks quickly. Has 6 wins from 22 starts, and his last win came in a handicap off a mark of 95.

He found his new mark beyond him on his last couple of runs in valuable events at Goodwood and Ripon, and it is no surprise to see connections trying him in pattern company for the first time. A repeat of his last winning run would put him right in the picture, and he is versatile regarding ground. Looks a big price at 25/1 and is not discounted.

RED PIKE (SMART/EAVES)

5 wins from 17 starts and a repeat of his career best latest run at Doncaster (6f good) would put him right in the picture. Has only had one try over this trip of 5f, on debut (2nd to Extortionist), but he runs as if it shouldn’t pose a problem. Has won on good/good to soft so probably wouldn’t want it too quick or overly soft.

He has a few pounds to find with the likes of Maarek and Line Of Reason, but he earned an rpr of 111 on his last effort, and if he can manage to repeat or even better that he has to go close. Makes the short-list and can be backed at 12/1.

TANGERINE TREES (SMART/LYNCH)

Has been a stalwart for connections down through the years, and although now a 10yo he still has plenty of dash. Won on his seasonal return, beating another old favourite Borderlescott in a conditions event on soft at Musselburgh.

He produced a career best equalling rpr of 116 when taking this race back in 2011, and he also has another win here to his name. However, he hasn’t produced an rpr of over 100 since December 2013, and he will need to find improvement from somewhere if he is to regain his crown. Probably too big an ask, and with competition for the lead likely the old boy is overlooked at odds of 25/1.

KATAWI (WALL/HAMILTON)

Very interesting filly from the in form Chris Wall yard, who has 3 wins from 14 career starts. Started out off a mark of just 60 last summer, but proved that all wrong with two handicap wins off 65 and 75. Was stepped into pattern company after that 2nd win, and ran with credit on her first go in a Listed heat at Chantilly.

Her next three runs, including two this year, were not so good, but she repaid her trainer’s faith in her with an emphatic win at Ayr on her third start this season, winning a Listed event easily dropped to 5f on quick ground with a few of today’s rivals in behind.

Her last run at Goodwood (Group 2) over 5f was extremely eye catching, beaten just four lengths and denied a clear run a couple of times as the race was developing. She shaped as though still in form, and dropped in class she looks set for a big run, with the booking of Tony Hamilton (who presumably could have ridden Alben Star for Fahey) another positive. 16/1 looks huge and she is a serious contender granted luck in running, even if the draw could have been kinder.

NORTHGATE LAD (ELLISON/DE SOUSA)

Lightly raced 3yo with a maiden win (5f heavy) and a handicap win off 90 (5f good)from 7 starts so far. Fifth off 96 last time at Ascot (5f soft). Likes to race prominently, and De Sousa will be looking to get a flier from stall 11. Four 3yos have won since 2007 so he should not be written off on that count.

Looks likely to face competition for the lead, and from his draw he may well have to use up a lot of energy early on to get a good racing position. However, if he can get across to the rail and dominate
he could well run a big race. 16/1 looks a fair price and could run into a place at least for his in form trainer.

CORDIAL (S.WILLIAMS/GOLAM)

Fairly consistent filly in the main, rated 89 and with 2 wins from 16 runs, a maiden and a handicap. Has been highly tried on occasion, and has run with credit at both Group 3 and Listed level without looking like a winner in waiting. Has a lot to find with the principals and is overlooked on this occasion. She can be backed at 25/1.

HOLLEY SHIFTWELL (S.WILLIAMS/GIBBONS)

5yo mare with 4 wins from 19 starts, 3 handicaps and a maiden. Been knocking on the door at Listed level this season, with two excellent runner up efforts at Bath (5f firm) and behind Katawi at Ayr (5f good to firm). Bombed out last time stepped up to 6f at Goodwood, but the trip didn’t suit and the drop back to 5f here will be more up her street.

She is drawn in stall 7, and is a straightforward mare that likes to race close to the pace. Graham Gibbons knows this course well and if he can get a good early position behind the early leaders she should be finishing as strongly as anything else. Looks too big a price at 14/1 and is another to make the short-list.

IFFRANESIA (COWELL/MORRIS)

Robert Cowell has had a smashing year so far with his team of sprinters, and he sends Iffranesia out to try and add another victory here. She is rated 102, and with her sex allowance she gets a handy few pounds from her male rivals. She has a solid chance of making the frame on the figures, and her form this year has been mostly good.

She has 8 wins, all handicaps (the last off 86 at Lingfield (5f good)), to her name and has been tried at Listed level on her last three runs. Two runner up efforts at Chantilly and Tipperary sandwich an eighth place behind Katawi and Holley Shiftwell at Ayr, and it is difficult to see any reason why she should reverse that form with those two. She had no excuses, and for a prominent racer she is poorly drawn in stall 14. Looks way too short at 9/1 and is overlooked.

RIDGE RANGER (ALSTON/FARLEY)

Unexposed 4yo filly that is 4 from 10 so far, three handicaps and a maiden. Her last win came at Goodwood over 5f (good to soft) off 89, and she looks well worth a shot at this level. Now rated 98 and gets the same sex weight allowance as Iffranesia. Seems best on genuine good ground, and has struggled on good to firm/heavy.

Her owner said the plan was to win a Listed race before the end of the year after her Goodwood win, but she has found herself a hot little contest for her first try at this level. Her half sister managed to win one, so she is bred for the job, but with very little rain forecast drying ground could pose a big problem. Likes to race prominently, so will need to get a quick start from stall 10. She can be backed at 9/1, but anyone tempted to have a go would be well advised to wait until the day and see what sort of ground they get. If there is no firm in the description she should go well.

WILLBEME (BYCROFT/SWIFT)

Lightly raced 7yo mare with 5 handicap wins at trips ranging from 5f to 7f from just 23 runs. Her last win came off 86 at York in June 2014, but she has run plenty of solid races in defeat since, including a decent 5th in this race last year beaten less than three lengths. Also ran well in a Group 3 at York, so deserves her place in this field.

The big negative is the draw, and from out in the car park in stall 16 it is difficult to see her getting her own way in front. Will pop up in one of these contests some day, but is up against it from her wide draw and even odds of 33/1 aren’t enough to tempt.

DIKTA DEL MAR (HOGAN/CURTIS)

French Listed winner on her final run as a 2yo last October, and has been highly tried since. Ran a cracker behind Katawi and Holley Shiftwell at Ayr back in June, and is better off at the weights to the tune of 4lb with Katawi for a two length defeat.

Ran a cracker against the older horses in the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes at the Curragh (just behind Meccas Angel) and that form has been franked since. Seems to handle any ground, and getting weight from all her rivals she looks a huge threat. The 12/1 available is too big, and from her good draw in stall 5 she looks to have a big chance.

CONCLUSION:

As the betting suggests this is a treacherously tricky puzzle to solve, and any amount of the runners could have a case made for them. Line Of Reason has been running well at a higher level, and looks sure to go well from his good draw. He has to give weight away to all though, and that might prove his undoing. Maarek would want it soft, and Ridge Ranger looks very ground dependent too.

However, one horse that won’t mind the likely quick ground, and who also drops in class after a good run at a higher level last time is KATAWI and at 16/1 she looks to represent excellent value. There is plenty of pace in the race, and if she can sit in behind and the gaps come at the right times she should be bang there at the finish.

The form of her Listed Ayr win could hold the key to this, and both Holley Shiftwell and Dikta Del Mar are weighted to get closer to her today, with clear preference for the latter given her progressive profile. Red Pike is another to keep an eye on, though he will be looking for a bit of rain to arrive, just like Maarek, who would come right into the reckoning if it came up soft or worse. Poyle Vinnie could make the frame at a huge price too if the rain arrives.

STEVOS’ SELECTIONS:
1. KATAWI 16/1 (E/W)
2. DIKTA DEL MAR 12/1
3. RED PIKE 12/1
4. MAAREK 5/1






Middlesbrough v Bristol City Preview


Middlesbrough v Bristol City Preview

Competition: Football League Championship
Fixture: Middlesbrough v Bristol City
Date: Saturday, August 22, 2015
Venue: Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough
Kick off time: 15:00 hrs GMT

Middlesbrough are to welcome Bristol City to the Riverside Stadium this weekend in the Championship.

Middlesbrough’s form: W-D-W-W-D

Middlesbrough drew at Derby County in the last round of fixtures. It was a contest between two promotion hopefuls and Aitor Karanka set up his side to defend after taking an early lead through Kike. However, The Rams had luck on their side as they equalized in the 88th minute.

The side have made a decent start to the campaign and are in fifth position in the standings. Although they were held to a goalless draw at Preston North End on the opening weekend, they beat Bolton Wanderers 3-0 at home the following weekend after having defeated Oldham 3-1 on the road in the League Cup.

Bristol City’s form: L-L-L-L-D

The visitors are coming off a 2-2 home draw against Leeds United in midweek. They were staring at a 2-0 loss until the 89th minute when Kieran Agard gave them some hope with a goal. Aden Flint levelled the scores in extra time with a well taken goal.

The side were beaten 4-2 at home by Brentford last weekend while Sheffield Wednesday beat Bristol 2-0 on the opening weekend. The visitors were also chucked out of the League Cup by Luton Town in a miserable few weeks for the team.

Key Players and Team News

Middlesbrough: Kike has been the stand out player for this side so far this season. The Spaniard has scored some important goals for Karanka this season and the 25-year-old will look to improve his goals tally this weekend.

Bristol City: The side have scored five separate goals this season and all these goals have come from different players across the pitch. However, after scoring two crucial goals in the last game, Agard and Flint will start as the most crucial players for the visitors on Saturday.

Betting Advice

Bristol City beat Middlesbrough twice in the 2012/13 season in the Championship despite being relegated at the end of that season. In the meantime Middlesbrough had a decent tilt at promotion and were thwarted at the last hurdle.

The hosts definitely start as favourites to win this upcoming game at home and although Bristol City showed good fight to get the draw against Leeds United, taking some points off Middlesbrough will take some doing and it is a possibility that looks far too remote at this juncture. I will put my money on the hosts (1.61 with Coral). I will also back Kike to hit the back of the net against Bristol at odds of 2.5 with Stan James.






Charlton Athletic v Hull City Preview


Charlton Athletic v Hull City Preview

Competition: Football League Championship
Fixture: Charlton Athletic v Hull City
Date: Saturday, August 22, 2015
Venue: The Valley, London
Kick off time: 15:00 hrs GMT

Hull City are to travel to London this weekend as they take on Charlton Athletic in the upcoming round of matches in the English Championship.

Charlton Athletic’s form: D-W-W-D-D

The hosts are in fifth position in the league standings currently with 5 points from 3 matches this season. Charlton started their campaign in the Championship with a 2-0 home win over Queens Park Rangers, who were relegated from the Premier League. Tony Watt and Morgan Fox’s scored the goals on that occasion at The Valley.

Charlton were pitted against Dagenham & Redbridge FC in the League Cup and had no difficulty getting into the next round. Charlton won 4-1 at home with goals from four different goal scorers including Watt. The side have drawn their last two league games on the road at Derby County and Nottingham Forest. While the match against Derby finished 1-1, the game at Forest finished goalless.

Hull City’s form: D-W-W-D-W

Steve Bruce’s Hull City have moved into second place with a 2-1 win over Fulham in midweek. Ahmed El Mohamady gave them the lead in the first half and Sone Aluko scored the decider in the 86th minute of the game.

Hull had beaten Huddersfield 2-0 at home on the opening weekend and were held to a 1-1 draw at Wolves last weekend. They also beat Accrington Stanley via penalties in the League Cup fixture after it ended 2-2 at full time.

Key Players and Team News

Charlton Athletic: Tony Watt has scored in every game so far this season for Charlton except for the last game at Nottingham Forest. The 21-year-old Scottish striker is facing a crucial season in which he will have the opportunity to make a real name for himself. At the rate at which he is going and the kind of determination that he has shown in the games so far, it would not be surprising if he were to become one of the top scorers in this division at the end of the season.

Hull City: Chuba Akpom, who is on loan from Arsenal, had made waves with his goal scoring prowess. He has a great opportunity to show what he can do at his new club and Hull will hope that Akpom fires them back into the big time at the end of the season.

Betting Advice

The two sides last met in the Championship during the 2012-13 season with Hull winning at home and the other game ending in a draw.

Hull City are in good form but Charlton will hope to take their chances at home turf. However, Hull have better quality of players and should be able to get their first away win (2.05 with bet365) of the season.






Birmingham City v Derby County Preview


Birmingham City v Derby County Preview

Competition: Football League Championship
Fixture: Birmingham City v Derby County
Date: Friday, August 21, 2015
Venue: St. Andrew’s Stadium, Birmingham
Kick off time: 19:45 hrs GMT

Birmingham City are set to welcome Derby County to the St. Andrew’s this week as the two sides kick off the fourth round of matches in the English Championship.

Birmingham’s form: L-L-W-W-D

Hosts Birmingham are currently ninth in the league standings with 4 points from 2 games. They kick started their campaign with a 2-1 win over Reading. David Cotterill and Jan Toral scored either side of half-time as Birmingham went on to win.

Birmingham’s next fixture saw them clash against Bristol Rovers in the League Cup. The game saw three goals scored in eleven minutes in the second half. Andrew Shinnie scored what proved to be the decisive goal for Birmingham in the 68th minute. The side played Burnley in the last round of fixtures with the match ending in a 2-2 draw. Toral and Paul Caddis hit the back of the net for Birmingham on that occasion.

Derby County’s form: W-D-L-D-D

Derby’s season thus far has been quite mediocre. They are unbeaten in the league but have failed to win any of their matches. They were also dumped out of the League Cup by Portsmouth.

The Rams started with a goalless draw on the road at Bolton Wanderers and followed it up with a 1-1 draw at home against Charlton Athletic. Chris Martin’s equalizer in the 68th minute rescued the point for Derby on August 15. Derby were at home against Middlesbrough last weekend and as expected, it turned out to be a cagey affair with Middlesbrough contend to defend after taking an early lead. It proved to be their undoing as Johnny Russell equalized in the 88th minute.

Key Players and Team News

Birmingham City: Toral is their top-scorer in all competitions so far this season and he will look to make an impact once again on Friday. Birmingham could go top with a win and this is an opportunity that they would not like to miss.

Derby County: Chris Martin will be the man who will be tasked with the tough job of getting goals for the side. The former Norwich striker has a decent track-record and he would be relishing at the challenge.

Betting Advice:

Both sides have been playing in the Championship for a while now and have met each other quite regularly. Four of the last five fixtures between the two sides have been high scoring affairs.

Three of the last five games between the two sides have ended in a draw and while both sides have won one game each during this period. Birmingham’s last win in this fixture came back in 2013. I will be going with a high scoring draw (3.35 with Unibet) for this fixture.






Gimcrack Stakes Preview – Ebor Festival


Gimcrack Stakes Preview – Ebor Festival

SATURDAY 22 AUGUST 2015
IRISH THOROUGHBRED MARKETING GIMCRACK STAKES (Group 2)
(Colts & Geldings)
(CLASS 1) (2yo) (6F)

Kevin Ryan has been the most successful trainer in this race in recent times,with three wins since 2005. William Haggas had also had a couple of winners in the same period, and both trainers are represented today.

It has been a treacherous race for favourite backers, with only one winning in the last ten, but with only one winner priced bigger than 8/1 in that time it has usually paid to side with horses near the head of the market. Buratino and American raider Finnegan are currently vying for favouritism, and with plenty more in the field with chances it should prove to be an exciting renewal.

BURATINO (JOHNSTON/BUICK)

Mark Johnston took this race back in 2008 with the unfancied Shaweel at 16/1, but his contender this year couldn’t have a more different profile. He is a maiden, novice, listed and Group 2 winner and comes here as one of the leading fancies.

That Group 2 win came in the Coventry at Royal Ascot (6F good to firm), and he looked a near certainty to follow up in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes at The Curragh, only for Air Force Blue to burst his bubble and turn a 2 length defeat in the Coventry into an almost 3 length win on this occasion.

Buratino could only manage 3rd, and it was a relatively disappointing effort given his performance at Ascot. Perhaps the slight bit of juice in the ground blunted his speed, and with similar ground, possibly even softer, forecast for Saturday it could be a similar story again. Is the current joint favourite at 11/4 with Finnegan, and unless the ground firms up he is probably best left alone at that price. Also has to give 3lbs to all of his rivals.

AJAYA (HAGGAS/GIBBONS)

Just failed last time out in France, going down by a head in a Group 2 (5.5F good) and the form has been franked with the 6th going on to romp home in a Listed race next time out at Deauville. Scored here in a maiden (5.5F good) on his penultimate run, landing the odds with the minimum of fuss, so there are no doubts about his ability to handle the track.

He also ran well on debut at Nottingham on good to soft ground which bodes well for his prospects if there is juice in the ground on Saturday. He was tried in Group 2 company at Royal Ascot after that encouraging debut effort, and shaped as though 6F would be ideal, even if he did finish 7th of 10. He wasn’t beaten far at all though, still looking green at times, and it was an effort full of promise.

He looks well worth his place in this company, and at odds of 6/1 he ought to run a big race stepped up to 6F for the first time, and with his trainer boasting a good record in this race he is shortlisted.

AREEN (RYAN/LEE)

Represents the yard that won this in 2005, 2012 and 2013 with horses priced at 7/1, 6/1 and 5/1 respectively. Entitled to respect for that fact alone, but he looks to have a lot on his plate in this contest if the form is to be believed, and Ajaya had him a couple of lengths behind in France last time out, with no apparent excuses for Areen. Also boasts a head second to Washington DC at Royal Ascot among his form, and that piece of form would leave him with nothing to find with Buratino, who was behind the O’Brien horse at The Curragh.

His very best form has come on good to firm ground, although he has yet to be tried on anything softer than good. He is by Kodiac though, so a slight ease might not worry him. Is entitled to respect coming from these quarters but he has looked just below this level on both his runs at Group level so far, and a place is probably the very best he can hope for today. Can be backed at 16/1.

FINNEGAN (WARD/PRADO)

Fascinating colt, owned by Coolmore and trained by Wesley Ward, a man who is no stranger to plundering pattern races on foreign soil, particularly with precocious two year olds. This colt, a half brother to Kentucky Derby runner up Bodemeister, was beaten on debut on the dirt (4.5F) but looked a different proposition switched to grass, bolting up in a maiden on the Preakness card (5F firm).

Speaking before Royal Ascot, as Finnegan was scheduled to go in the Coventry, Ward waxed lyrical about this colt’s ability, and earmarked him as his Kentucky Derby horse for next year. He unfortunately missed Ascot with a bout of colic, but his trainer reports him to be in superb shape ahead of his tilt at this prize.

His trainer’s view of him as a Derby horse is a positive regarding his ability to get the 6F trip, and with loads of natural speed to go with his stout pedigree he looks to be a live contender here. The big worry would be a lot of rain, but if conditions are top of the ground this horse is one of the main contenders and is currently joint favourite at 11/4.

KING OF ROOKS (HANNON/DETTORI)

Been admirably consistent this season, and having slammed Buratino among others in a Listed race at Sandown (5F good to firm) by 5 lengths he tried his luck in the Group 2 Norfolk at Ascot, finishing a creditable 3rd to Waterloo Bridge and Log Out Island, just a length behind the winner (Ajaya 7th 2 lengths back).

He again tried his luck in Group 2 company last time out at Goodwood (5F good) and went down by just under a length to Kachy in a surprise defeat. He won his maiden over 6F on good ground at Newbury but his last two runs haven’t exactly indicated that a return to that trip would suit.

His half brother handled cut, as did his dam so soft ground should be ok for him. However, it could well stretch his stamina if it does come up testing and with his form slightly below the level of some of the other contenders he is overlooked on this occasion.

ODE TO EVENING (JOHNSTON/DE SOUSA)

Another contender from the Johnston stable, and he will be ridden by man of the moment Silvestre De Sousa. Only had the three runs so far, starting out with a 5th place in a maiden here back in May (6F good). Stepped up on that bare form dropped in class next time out with an authoritative win on easy ground at Ripon (6F).

Subsequently took the Royal Ascot route, his last run, and came home a creditable 5th behind Buratino in the Coventry. Been put away since then, reportedly after suffering a couple of niggles, and he comes here a fresh horse.

He is out of a champion Brazilian filly (won Brazilian 1000 Guineas/Oaks) and is by Poets Voice, who has looked to be a big speed influence in his short career at stud so far. Handles cut in the ground, has been given a break since Ascot and at his current odds of 16/1 he looks to represent huge value. Dark horse with place prospects at least if in top condition.

RAUCOUS (HAGGAS/COSGRAVE)

Second of the Haggas representatives who is unbeaten in two, but has only beaten a combined total of four horses home in those contests, a two runner maiden at Sandown (5F good to firm) and a four runner conditions event on soft ground at Newmarket (6F). The second home that day is rated 101 so it wasn’t a bad performance, and he also showed that soft ground holds no fears.

Haggas described him as a ‘very nice colt’ after that Newmarket win,and earmarked this race as a possible target. His dam was group placed at two, and he is by Dream Ahead, so he has a speedy pedigree. However, this will be a much different test to anything he has experienced before, and at odds of 14/1 he is possibly best watched. Soft ground would increase his chance.

RIBCHESTER (FAHEY/HAMILTON)

Represents connections who are always respected in these races, particularly around here, but this colt looks to be getting pitched in at the deep end on just his second start, and it will be surprising if he is good enough to figure.

Just the one run so far, 2nd to a Haggas horse that has since been beaten in a handicap off a mark of 80. That form is well below what will be required here and judging by his pedigree he will be of interest when stepped up in trip later on in his career. Probably biting off a bit more than he can chew, and is best watched at 25/1.

STEADY PACE (BIN SUROOR/DOYLE)

Five starts so far and just the one win to his name, a debut success at Ascot back in May (5F good to firm) Twice placed at Listed level subsequently before stepping into Group 2 company at Newmarket and running a huge race in 2nd behind Shalaa beaten just a length (6F good to firm). The renewed acquaintances next time at Goodwood, and Shalaa increased the margin between them to 4 lengths, but that came on good ground which was perhaps against the Godolphin horse.

He is by Dark Angel, so theoretically he should handle some cut, and while his dam relished quick ground she is related to a couple of decent soft ground winners, including Atlantis Crossing who won a Group 2 on soft. May well need further to be seen at his best, but his run behind Washington DC at Ascot would put him right in the mix here. Could well be staying on when others have cried enough, and might sneak a place at 7/1.

CONCLUSION

If the ground is quick, which looks unlikely at this stage, then the safest bets to run well look to be Buratino and Finnegan. This is reflected in their prices though, and with rain forecast it might well pay to look elsewhere. If it does turn up soft the likes of Raucous and in particular Ajaya will come right into the reckoning.

However, a chance is taken on the Mark Johnston trained Ode To Evening, who hasn’t been seen since finishing 5th behind Buratino at Ascot. He won easily the only time he has had easy ground, he will be a lot fresher than most of his rivals and with De Sousa in the plate he is sure to be primed for a big run here. His Ascot run showed he handles quick ground too, and with more improvement likely to come he looks to be a solid each way bet at 16/1.

STEVOS’ SELECTIONS:
ODE TO EVENING (E/W) 16/1
AJAYA (7/1)
FINNEGAN (11/4)
STEADY PACE (7/1)






Juddmonte International Stakes Preview


Juddmonte International Stakes Preview

3.40 YORK
JUDDMONTE INTERNATIONAL STAKES
19 AUGUST 2015
(British Champions Series)
(Group 1)
(CLASS 1) (3yo+) (1m2F88y)

Aidan O’Brien, as is so often the case in these Group 1s, is the trainer to follow with four winners since 2008. John Oxx and the late Sir Henry Cecil are the only other trainers to have tasted success in that period but neither are represented this year.

It has been a happy hunting ground for favourites, with six of the last eight obliging, and some real superstars have won it, including Frankel in 2012 and Sea The Stars back in 2009. The big question this year is whether Golden Horn can cement his place among such illustrious company and maintain his perfect unbeaten record.

1. COUGAR MOUTAIN (A O’BRIEN/HEFFERNAN)

Seen as a potential Group 1 horse by connections, but has come up short on his seven runs so far at that level. Only added to his 3yo debut win at Leopardstown this month, landing the odds in a Group 3 at Leopardstown.

His best run came over a mile at Royal Ascot behind Solow in the Queen Anne, and he shaped as though he was crying out for a step up in trip on that occasion. However, he got that step up in trip next time out in the Eclipse at Sandown, and was firmly put in his place behind today’s favourite Golden Horn. It is difficult to see him reversing the form, and even if he produces his best a place is probably the best he can hope for. 40/1 an accurate reflection of his chance.

2. CRITERION (HAYES/BUICK)

Classy Aussie 5yo who has three Group 1 wins to his name, all on soft ground, and two at today’s trip of 10F (the other came at 12F). Plenty of high class form on quick ground too, including a good run behind Free Eagle in the Prince Of Wales at Royal Ascot (10F good to firm), so is versatile when it comes to underfoot conditions.

Only rated a couple of pounds lower than the likes of Gleneagles and The Grey Gatsby so theoretically he doesn’t have to find much to get close to those two rivals. If the rains were to arrive and conditions deteriorate this horse will come right into the reckoning. The forecast is dry though, and if the ground is good or quicker the best Criterion can hope for is a place. Can currently be backed at 28/1, and at that sort of price he represents a little bit of value from an each way perspective, particularly if there is any moisture in the ground.

3. DICK DOUGHTYWYLIE (GOSDEN/HAVLIN)

Rank outsider who represents the same connections as Golden Horn. This will be his first start in over a year and he couldn’t have found a more difficult race to make his comeback in. He has heaps to find on the ratings, and is likely here to ensure a strong pace for his stable mate Golden Horn. Can be backed at odds of 150/1 and that is an accurate reflection of his chance.

4. THE GREY GATSBY (RYAN/SPENCER)

Gutsy grey 4yo colt that has assumed the role of bridesmaid on three of his four runs this season. Desperately unlucky not to lower the colours of Free Eagle at Ascot (Criterion and The Corsican well behind) when he was denied a clear run at a vital time. Dual Group 1 winner last year, including a brilliant defeat of Australia in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.

Took on Golden Horn last time out in the Eclipse at Sandown, and was beaten fair and square, with no apparent excuses. Is 3lbs better off at the weights today, but it will take more than that if he is to reverse the form with the Gosden horse. A supporting role looks the most likely outcome for The Grey Gatsby again today, and he has each way claims at 11/1.

5. GLENEAGLES (AIDAN O’BRIEN/JOSEPH O’BRIEN)

The second representative from Ballydoyle, and is a fascinating contender. First past the post on all eight starts since his debut defeat in a maiden, and the last five of those have come at the highest level. Looked ultra-impressive when he easily landed the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on his first run over a mile, and followed up in the Irish equivalent. He was kept to that trip in the St James Palace at Royal Ascot, and again ran out an easy winner.

The big unknown with this horse is the trip, as today will be his first run beyond a mile. His full sister Marvellous, also an Irish Guineas winner, struggled when stepped up to 12F for the Irish and English Oaks. His dam was probably best over a mile too, but her brother, Giants Causeway, was a triple Group 1 winner over 10F, including this race in 2000.

If he stays the trip he will be the biggest threat to Golden Horn, but he still has a fair few pounds to find if the official ratings are to be believed. Gosden is running a pacemaker to ensure the race doesn’t turn into a tactical affair, which would play into Gleneagles’ hands as he possesses a scintillating turn of foot. A searching gallop over this trip will expose any stamina issues, if they exist, and it will be interesting to see if Gleneagles has the same finishing burst of speed over 10F as he does over 8F. His current price of 7/2 looks a bit skinny to me given the issues outlined above, but if he follows in Giants Causeway’s hoof prints and gets the trip he will be a massive danger to all.

6. GOLDEN HORN (GOSDEN/DETTORI)

Unbeaten 3yo colt by Cape Cross who has won the Epsom Derby and the Eclipse on his last two starts. Had a few of today’s rivals behind in the Eclipse, where he won with the authority expected of him. Is the highest rated in the field by quite some distance, and is a worthy favourite. Gets a handy few pounds from his older rivals too, as if their task wasn’t difficult enough already!

The only worry would be if the race was slowly run and became tactical, as it is doubtful that would suit this relentless galloper. However, the presence of his stable companion Dick Doughtywylie should ensure that scenario doesn’t unfold, and barring accidents he should be very difficult to beat. Is currently a best priced 8/11, and he is well deserving of his place at the head of the market.

7. TIME TEST (CHARLTON/SMULLEN)

3yo son of Dubawi who was one of the most visually impressive winners at Royal Ascot on his first run at Group 3 level (10F good to firm). He travelled beautifully that day and quickened up in the manner of a useful sort, leaving the field trailing in his wake. He has three wins from five starts, and is unbeaten in two this year.

However, the form of that Ascot race has been let down by a few of those in behind, with the likes of Disegno, Mustadeem and Maftool all running poorly since. Time Test can’t be blamed for that though and he could do no more than beat what was in front of him on the day. His dam won the Musidora here, and is a half-sister to Timepiece, so there is plenty of encouragement to be gleaned from his pedigree. It is a big step up in class for him in this race though, and it remains to be seen if he belongs at this level. Can be backed at 11/2 but is probably best watched on his first run in a Group 1 contest.

8. ARABIAN QUEEN (ELSWORTH/DE SOUSA)

The sole filly in the race who comes here on the back of a super run in third behind Legatissimo in the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood (10F good to firm). That was her first run over the trip, and she showed she stays it well, despite the fact that she proved difficult to settle early on in the race. That has been a recurring theme with this filly, and she needs to sort that problem out if she is to get her head in front again.

However, she looks to have bitten off more than she can chew in this event, and even if she does settle it is difficult to see her troubling the best of these. She can be backed at 66/1 and this looks to be an accurate reflection of her chance.

CONCLUSION

This is all about one horse according to the bookies, and for once it is difficult to disagree with them. GOLDEN HORN will go off an odds on favourite, and it is difficult to find any negatives regarding his chances. Ground and trip are both ideal, he is the highest rated by some distance and with his weight for age allowance he will be a tough nut to crack.

Of the opposition Gleneagles is a most interesting contender, and it will be fascinating to see how this top notch miler gets on over the extra two furlongs. With a searching pace almost guaranteed a watching brief is advised, as there are enough doubts raised regarding stamina in his pedigree . Time Test takes a big step up in class, whilst The Grey Gatsby looks sure to run his usual solid race.

Criterion looks the most likely of the outsiders to run well, and punters looking for an each way alternative to the favourite could do worse than have a small interest on the Aussie raider, especially if there is rain.

STEVOS’ SELECTIONS:
GOLDEN HORN (8/11)
THE GREY GATSBY (11/1)
CRITERION (28/1)
GLENEAGLES (10/3)






Man City v Chelsea – Super Sunday


Man City v Chelsea – Super Sunday

Competition: Premier League
Fixture: Man City v Chelsea
Date: Sunday Aug 16, 2015
Venue: The Etihad Stadium
Kick off time: 16:00 hrs BST

The first English Super Sunday sees the two teams who most will expect to be finish up one and two this season ,battle it out for early supremacy. It’s a good chance for City to build on their impressive display away at West Brom against a disrupted Chelsea side who will need to improve on their lacklustre display against Swansea.

Man City

City seem to have that drive back that saw them clinch the title 3 season ago. Yaya Tore looks sharper and more focussed and David Silva was simply maginificent in the way he controlled the game against West Brom. Aguero made an appearance from the bench and although he needs more games to get back to his best you feel that it won’t take him long.

Chelsea

Last week was the first time we’d seen a Chelsea side under Mourinho struggle against pace and trickery for a long time. Ivanovic was clueless against Montero and the two centre backs, Terry and Cahill did not want to run towards their own goal. Even Mourinho seems to have lost his focus and has somewhat lost the plot with this whole physio debacle.

It wasn’t just Chelsea’s defence that was lacking though and the midfield was somewhat going through the motions. Cesc Fabregas put in one of his worst ever Premier League efforts and you have to feel for WIllian who seemed to be the only one putting in the effort. Hazard looked his usual dangerous self but he certainly needs more support than he got last week if Chelsea re to retain the title.

Key Players and Team News

Raheem Sterling showed what a superb signing he could be for City and linked up well with Silva. Sergio Aguero and Pablo Zabelleta are expected to return to the starting line up.

For Chelsea, Mourinho’s men will likely need to hope that Eden Hazard turns it on and doesn’t call for the medical staff. Thibaut Cortois is suspended after last week’s sending off and failed appeal, so Asmir Begovic will make his full debut.

Betting Advice

The bookies aren’t stupid and judging by the odds, their assessment of the Man City and Chelsea’s first matches was exactly the same as mine. They also take into account that City won 14 of their 19 league matches at the Etihad last season.

City are therefore a pretty strong favourite for this match up at just over even money (2.15). There’s probably no value in that price long term however and Chelsea do have players who can produce moments of magic when needed,

So in terms of match odds, the draw looks the best value at 3.4 especially as the last two meetings have both finished in a tie. The best bet in this one though is under 2.5 goals at 1.8, with this bet having been a winner in 6 out of the last 8 meetings.

Back under 2.5 goals at 1.8 with Bet365






Betfred Ebor Handicap Ante Post Preview


Betfred Ebor Handicap Ante Post Preview

Betfred Ebor Handicap Ante Post Preview
YORK 22/8/2015

It looks as if the bookmakers have struggled to make any horse favourite in they’re ANTE-POST books with four horses at head of the market between the 10 and 12/1 mark with the majority of bookmakers.

The one at the front of the market that attracts my attention is the Tony Martin trained QUICK JACK the recent winner of the Galway hurdle over in Ireland who stormed home under Denis O’Regan, to land a big prize. This horse hasn’t run on the flat since the Chester Cup at the start of May and run of a mark of 97 and finished second to Ascot Gold Cup winner TRIP TO PARIS. The handicapper has only but Quick Jack up by 4lbs for his second in the Chester Cup, the ground was good to soft that day which wasn’t a massive problem for QUICK JACK however his better form is when the going is good.

I think he will relish the step back to 1mile and 6 furlongs, and will have easily improved the 4lbs put up by the handicapper he has some excellent flat form being 3rd in a CESAREWITCH at Newmarket last October and winning a flat handicap at the 2014 Galway festival over 2 miles. The 12/1 with Boylesports is worth taking now as I can see it being half the price on the day of the race.

Another horse that also caught my eye when looking at the race was QUICK JACK’S stable mate CASSELLS ROCK. Another horse that’s been placed in competitive jumps races throughout the season and came 2nd in a competitive handicap at the PUNCHESTOWN festival in April.

CASSELLS’S ROCK hasn’t run on the flat since last September, when he ran in a flat handicap at LEOPARDSTOWN over the same trip as the YORK EBOR for a prize of 75000 Euros and finished 2nd that day running of a mark of 85.

Tony Martins 5 year old will have improved significantly throughout this season and runs in the YORK EBOR of the same mark of 85. I should imagine this horse will have improved a lot throughout the summer and there is no better trainer than Tony Martin at getting his horses at peak form for a certain race especially a staying handicap.

The bookmakers offering the best price are currently 40/1 for CASSELLS ROCK for the YORK EBOR. A massive price for a very well handicapped horse. The problem is at the moment you don’t know if the horse is guaranteed to run, so it wouldn’t be a betting proposition just yet but come the day of the race the 40/1 would be a cracking each way bet.

This year’s renewal of the race is an open betting heat there is quite a few horses with strong claims. HAVANA BEAT, SEAMOUR and WICKLOW BRAVE where all on my short list when first looking at the race. The one that interests me the most is the Amanda PERRET trained ASTRONEREUS.

Amanda Perrett won this race in the year 2000 with a horse called GIVE THE SLIP, so she knows exactly what it takes to win this sort of contest.

ASTRONEREUS recently won the john smiths silver cup at YORK over the same distance giving weight away to some other progressive horses. This horse must be showing lots of promise and ability at home as ASTRONEREUS also has been entered in the group 1 IRISH ST LEGER at the CURRAGH on September the 13th.

Pedigree wise ASTRONEREUS sire is 2009 Epsom Derby and L ’arc de Triomphe winner SEE THE STARS, so this horse is bred to be successful and the 14/1 offered is more than worth taking a chance on.

ADVICE:
Cassells Rock 12/1 Boylesports 1 point win
Astronereus 14/1 Generally 1 point win






16.25 Salisbury – Totepool Sovereign Stakes


16.25 Salisbury – Totepool Sovereign Stakes

13 AUGUST 2015
TOTEPOOL SOVEREIGN STAKES(Group 3)
(CLASS 1) (3yo+) (1 MILE)

Thursday’s highlight comes from Salisbury, where Captain Cat is back to defend his crown in the Group 3 Sovereign Stakes for Roger Charlton, with the enigmatic Jamie Spencer booked for the ride. Tullius, the 2013 winner, is also back for another go and there are plenty more with chances in an open looking race. With only one winner at odds bigger than 11/2 since 2005 it has usually paid to side with horses near the head of the market. The ground is currently described as good to firm, but there is rain forecast so that could change.

1. CUSTOM CUT (O’MEARA/TUDHOPE)

This 6yo gelded son of Notnowcato is the highest rated horse in the field at 117 and has been a grand servant to connections since arriving from Ireland. Multiple winner at up to Group 2 level on all sorts of ground. The step up to Group 1 level has proved beyond him so far, but he should find things a bit easier dropped back to Group 3 level today.

Was behind Tullius at York over 10.5F, a trip that stretches him, and he is best judged on his previous effort behind Arod at Epsom (8.5F) over a much more suitable trip when Tullius was a further length behind. He carries a Group 2 winner’s penalty, but the step back down to a mile today will suit, he is versatile regarding ground and he cannot be safely discounted for a trainer that is having yet another outstanding season.

2. TULLIUS (BALDING/FORTUNE)

Gelded 7yo who took this race back in 2013. Joint 2nd highest rated at 114, and has looked as good as ever this year, landing the odds in a Listed contest (8F good) on his seasonal return and last time out bagging a Group 2 at York (10.5F good to firm) when he reversed previous Epsom form with Custom Cut. Multiple winner at up to Group 2 level during his career.

Looks versatile regarding ground and the forecast rain will not worry him. However, he was behind Custom Cut when they last clashed over this sort of trip at Epsom, and the extra couple of furlongs they faced at York would have suited Tullius a lot more. He also carries a Group 2 penalty, and he could struggle to confirm his superiority over Custom Cut off level weights back at this trip (Custom Cut conceded 5lb to him at Epsom).

3. CAPTAIN CAT (CHARLTON/SPENCER)

6yo gelding back to defend his crown in a race he won very impressively last season. Is a dual Group 3 winner, and has also run well at both Group 1 and 2 level, including a good effort off level weights behind Custom Cut at Newmarket (8F good). He was beaten just two lengths by the O’Meara horse that day, and in receipt of 5lbs today he should get a lot closer.

The big worry is his below par form so far this year. His seasonal return was a decent enough run at Lingfield behind Tryster (10F standard) when he didn’t get a clear run, but his two runs since have been very disappointing, finishing well down the field at both Newbury (8F good) and Haydock (7F good). However he has been freshened up since then and I am sure Mr. Charlton will have him in peak condition for his repeat bid. Serious chance of making it two in a row.

4. DARK EMERALD (POWELL/KIRBY)

5yo gelding that proved a revelation when sent to Dubai by his shrewd handler Brendan Powell. Bagged a couple of valuable handicaps in impressive fashion over there (6F and 7F good) before stepping up to a mile in a Group 2 and emerging with huge credit in second place behind Safety Check. Obviously hated the dirt on his next start over there, and was put away until reappearing in June with a respectable handicap run behind Gm Hopkins off 111 at Ascot (8 good to firm).

Stepped up on that with a good effort behind Home Of The Brave at the Curragh (7F good/yielding) in the Group 3 Minstrel Stakes and that should have put him cherry ripe for this. Handles an ease in the ground too, which could be crucial given the forecast, although he certainly wouldn’t want it bottomless. Is a reliable and consistent sort that should give his running, but it is hard to see him getting his first Pattern level victory in this field. Each way claims.

5. MOOHAARIB (BOTTI/HARLEY)

4yo colt who has won a handicap off 93 and also bagged a Listed race on his penultimate run back in April. Rated 114, and gets in off 5lb lower than Custom Cut who he would be meeting off level weights in a handicap. Dam is related to a host of Group 1 winners and he is by Oasis Dream, so pedigree wise he certainly has the credentials to succeed at this level.

However, he ran no sort of race upped to the highest level in the Lockinge at Newbury, beating only one home and with a couple of today’s rivals well ahead of him. Hasn’t looked the most straightforward of rides on occasion, and seems to be a bit of a quirky customer. Claims if he returns to the sort of form he showed when winning at Ascot, but his run at Newbury remains fresh in the memory and he is probably best watched today.

6. SHIFTING POWER (HANNON/DOBBS)

4yo colt with some of the strongest form on offer in this field, including a good fourth to stable-mate Night Of Thunder in the 2000 Guineas, and subsequently proved that wasn’t a fluke by filling the runner up berth behind Kingman in the Irish equivalent, on heavy ground. For all that high class form though he has only won two races at pattern level, his first being a Listed handicap, and his last one being a Listed event at Windsor (8.5F good to firm) back in May. Is also rated 114.

The big worry has to be his race fitness, as he was pulled up and dismounted on his last run, when well fancied for the Group 3 contested by Custom Cut and Tullius at Epsom. He was reported lame by the vet, and one has to wonder how much work he has missed and how long he has taken to get right again. Will more than likely need the run, but if he is ready to go and at the top of his game he would have a serious chance. All things considered probably best watched unless the market suggests a big run is expected.

7. SHORT SQUEEZE (PALMER/BENTLEY)

5yo gelded son of Cape Cross with four handicap wins to his name, the last off a mark of 103. He has run well in Listed company since, including a close second to today’s rival Kodi Bear at Windsor (8.5F good to firm) when he had to concede 10lbs to the winner. Is 4lbs better off with that rival today and that could be enough to see him reverse the form.

However, he was well held behind Mondialiste on his last run at Pontefract in another Listed contest, and given that he was well beaten behind Captain Cat in the Group 3 he won at Haydock the doubts have to remain regarding his capability at this level. Wouldn’t want too much rain either.

8. WANNABE YOURS (GOSDEN/HAVLIN)

4yo colt rated 107 that showed massive improvement from his 2yo season when coming out and winning his first three races as a 3yo, culminating in a Group 3 win at Goodwood (8F good to firm). Previously landed a handicap by 9 lengths off 84 at Doncaster on soft ground, so won’t mind if conditions deteriorate.

The big worry has to be his form so far this year as he has finished well beaten on both starts, on good to soft in a Listed heat at York, and then well behind Arod in a Group 2 at Ascot on good to firm. A line through Arod would give him a lot to find with some of his rivals, and he needs to show more before he could be considered as a viable punting proposition. Best watched.

9. FANCIFUL ANGEL (BOTTI/LANE)

3yo colt that has tasted victory in a maiden and a Listed race during his nine race career and is rated 105. Gets a handy weight for age allowance from some of his rivals. Has run well at Group 2 and 3 level on a couple of occasions, including behind Dutch Connection when not beaten all that far in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot (7F good to firm).

He shaped as though the step back up to a mile would suit that day, and indeed he looked as if he needed every inch of the eight furlongs when he won his Listed race at Lingfield. Also ran well over 8F at Cologne in the German 2000 Guineas, so today’s trip is perfect for him. Unproven on ground softer than good to soft, so the forecast rain could be a worry. Has a fair bit to find on form in any case, so probably has each way possibilities at best.

10. KODI BEAR (COX/MOSSE)

3yo colt that was quickly stepped into pattern company last season after a superb debut effort behind subsequent Group 2 winner Adaay at Newbury (6F good). Ran well at Royal Ascot over the same trip, and won his third start at the same track in a Listed contest, lowering the colours of the useful Disegno (7F good). An admirable 2nd to Belardo followed in the Dewhurst (7F soft), which showed he can handle cut in the ground.

Defeated Short Squeeze by 3/4 of a length at Windsor back in June on his first run of the season (8.5 good to firm) and his second and most recent start saw him back at the top table, running a decent race in 4th behind Territories at Chantilly in the Prix Jean Prat. He gets a handy weight for age allowance from some of his main rivals and on the figures he looks to have an obvious chance. However, as was pointed out earlier, I’m not sure Short Squeeze is quite up to this sort of level, and he will need to show more than he did when beating the Palmer horse at Windsor if he is to win here. Rain would be a major boost to his chances.

11. MUSTADEEM (MEEHAN/HANAGAN)

Last but not least, is another promising 3yo colt who hails from the Brian Meehan yard. Rated 108 he has a fair but to find with the principals here, and he has yet to win in four runs since winning his maiden at the third attempt. Three of those came at Listed level, the other in a Group 3, and his best run came behind the ultra-impressive Time Test in the Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot (10F good to firm).

Bombed out in a Listed race (10F) last time out, finishing stone last beaten over twenty lengths. Did way too much too soon that day and surely he is better judged on his previous effort behind Time Test. Even a repeat of that would still not suffice here though, and hopes are pinned on the drop back in trip eking out the necessary improvement.

CONCLUSION

A chance is taken on last year’s winner CAPTAIN CAT, who is proven at the course, over the trip and at this level. His last couple of runs have been poor, but he could be set to return to form back at this track. Custom Cut looks the biggest danger and the consistent Dark Emerald can fill the places.

Three year old horses have traditionally struggled in this race, and it could well be a similar story this year, unless the rain arrives in time for Kodi Bear. Moohaarib and Shifting Power will be dangers to all if in top form, but that is far from guaranteed.

 

STEVO’S PREDICTION:
1. CAPTAIN CAT
2. CUSTOM CUT
3. DARK EMERALD
4. SHORT SQUEEZE






Football-Data.co.uk


Football-Data.co.uk

Football Data Homepage

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