This week I actually obtained permission to switch my mumblings to a Thursday (and every week from now on) after picking a couple of non-runners last week and wasting everybody’s time (especially mine)! Thursday sees the 48-hour declarations on the flat (if only the jumps folk were quite so accommodating), so we should have a few more runners – all they need to do now is win now and then!
The last week saw few fireworks on the racing front worth mentioning though I suppose I do need to share bragging rights for the winners from our podcast last week – Ron took first place (yet again) with Ayr Gold Cup winner Highland Colori (pictured winning the Ayr Gold Cup) but I did weigh in with 11/4 winner Sharestan so can I at least have a percentage of kudos? Newbury saw the better quality racing in my book (Ron loves his handicaps and if I backed as many winners as he did I would too), with the Group races the best on show on Saturday, but I am not sure what we really learned? Camborne won the Arc trial readily enough but with favourite Kassiano putting in an abysmal performance I am not sure how good the form is, though that could be sour grapes as the Godolphin beast carried my money in to last place. As mentioned in our podcast the Group Two Mill Reef Stakes looked a shadow of former renewals and although the Richard Fahey trained Supplicant showed plenty of heart to win despite Tony Hamilton losing his whip, though he hardly sent a ripple through the ante post markets and can still be backed at odds of 33/1 for the 2000 Guineas 2014, and I doubt I would be snapping up that price with somebody else’s money. Lastly for the afternoon, we did better than I though in the World Trophy, mentioning the winner (Maarek 9/2) as well as runner up York Glory, fifth placed Ballesteros and sixth placed Tickled Pink – not perfect by any stretch but not bad as they were the only runners mentioned so we know we are there or thereabouts given the right information.
On the sad side, its farewell to sprinter Dayjur, one of the best in my totally biased memory banks, and who looked sure to win at the Breeders Cup only to try and jump a shadow and throw it away at the line while carrying too much of my money. He was put down due to old age at the 26 but seems to have had a long and happy retirement – see you in the paddocks in the sky my friend?
Time to look ahead to the weekend and Newmarket are backed up by Chester Haydock Ripon and Wolverhampton on the flat plus what looks like a pretty decent National Hunt card from Market Rasen as well. Although I am part repeating my podcast input (there are only so many races worth talking about), we will start with a below par Royal Lodge Stakes that has attracted a mere five runners despite a guaranteed £100,00 in prize money and over two thousand pounds for finishing last of the five! Berkshire is even money as I wrote based on his impressive Chesham Stakes win but that was at Royal Ascot which is now over three months ago, meaning that although he may well be the best thing from the Paul Cole stable since Generous, his price is way too skinny for my liking with fitness very much an issue he needs to prove to me. For Cheveley Park suggestions please listen to our podcast (somebody has to), but as Ron and I disagree about the likely outcome of the Sun Chariot Stakes, I will state my case again here! On Newmarket form from back in July Elusive Kate narrowly hold my section Sky Lantern despite the infamous Stewards Enquiry that allowed the Gosden filly to keep the race, to some peoples amazement. A quarter length was the winning margin and at the same weights Ron will (perhaps rightly) argue that the form should be repeated, but the question is, have either or both of them gone backwards since and to what extent? Elusive Kate sat on my horses to follow list for many a month so I have no axe to grind, but she looked a shadow of her former self last time out at Deauville when close to ten lengths adrift of Moonlight Cloud in seventh, though to be fair she was eased when beaten in a very good renewal of the Jacques Le Marois, though she was last of the fancied contenders by some margin. Sky Lantern on the other and can be forgiven her last run at Goodwood when she was knocked all over the place on her first attempt at a mile and a quarter. I prefer to remember the way she quickened up in the Coronation Stakes making the other runners look as if they were standing still, and a repeat of that would be more than good enough – though tactics are yet to be decided I suspect?
Finally, although there are a zillion betting options they are too tricky to call without seeing the horses in the flesh and a close up look at the betting market, but I still might have a little on the William Haggas trained Ehtifaal in the 3.00pm at Haydock with Tom Queally doing the steering. A good looking son of Teofilo, he was weak in the market and slowly away on his debut at Newbury before running on in to fourth under tender handling, and with that race under his belt, I fully expect him to at least place this afternoon in a wide open maiden.
Selections this week:
Sky Lantern to win the Sun Chariot Stakes 3.10pm Newmarket Saturday.
Ehtifaal each way 3.00pm at Haydock Saturday.
Horses to follow:
Afortunado – unraced three year old trained by Conrad Allen who I nearly removed from the list – though we all know that would mean he wins first time out at a price!
***No current entries***
Freemason – a once raced juvenile owned by Highclere Thoroughbred Racing – Harbinger (a posh syndicate), he cost a whopping 150,000 Guineas so ought to be half decent – word is he is all that and more, so one to stay on the right side of.
***Entered at Newmarket 5th October at the time of writing***
Taayel – a nice lightly raced sort trained in Newmarket by John Gosden – should be Group class, will improve for his reappearance, and well worth adding to your little black book (ignore his last run, the ground went against him).
***No current entries***
Soft Falling Rain – needed the run last time out when losing his unbeaten record, still held in the highest regard and entered in all the top autumn sprints.
***Entered at Newmarket 27th September (TOMORROW) at the time of writing***