Totescoop6 Beverley Bullet Sprint Stakes (5f)
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
1. KATAWI 16/1 (E/W)
2. DIKTA DEL MAR 12/1
3. RED PIKE 12/1
4. MAAREK 5/1