Apologies for my later than normal musings this week but I am down with the old “man flu”, and am hoping that a day wrapped up has got the little grey cells working again at last.
Lots to mention this week starting with Cigar who Ron and I talked about in length on the podcast yesterday (though he is worthy of another write up here), and who sadly passed away this week.. Thanks to the way horse racing is run, we do have a habit of building up horses out of all recognition to get the publicity for the sport, but here we had a genuine superstar with four legs – all be it on the other side of the ocean. Nineteen consecutive wins at the highest level including the first ever Dubai World Cup, and retiring as the record earner in the history of the Sport of Kings, he was a genuine goliath of the sport, though sadly he will be best remembered for the over the top American commentary we mostly associate with the dreaded Matt Chapman over here these days!
Meanwhile, it looks like we have a two horse race going on in the press between The Racing Post in one corner and ARC (Arena Racing Company) in the other. No love lost by the look of it with each accusing the other of skullduggery. In a nutshell, The Racing Post claim ARC did not put in the prize money increases they trumpeted last season, ARC claim The Racing Post will not sign up to the agreement to pay a fair price for receiving official pre-race data and thus have an ulterior motive to attack ARC – I will leave you to read the articles and make your own decisions, though it is more than a little interesting to see where the one and only serious trade paper stands when it comes to a war – like it or hate it, I would not want to try and do my work without it?
Thirdly and lastly for the snippets section, I feel sorry for the legendary AP McCoy who misses a few days racing after a fall, but did anyone else see the funny side that he was hurt in the Injured Jockeys Fund 50th Anniversary Maiden Hurdle? I suppose adding the two together does at least publicize the brilliant work they do, and the dangers to those who make a living from the saddle, but I still made me chuckle even if I know I shouldn’t. Talking of injured jockeys, Bryan Cooper returns following seven months out of the saddle after breaking his leg at Cheltenham in March and we can but hope he returns to the weighing room intact all day. A formidable talent and an all round decent bloke as well, fingers crossed he gets through the season injury free because if he does, watch out for winners next March back at Cheltenham.
Waffle over, and on to the racing this weekend and what do we all make of some pretty poor cards from Newmarket and York added to a decent enough card from Chepstow where we have to second guess the well being of various yards until the statistics start to fall in to place? After two late non runners and a disqualified winner last week (thanks for nothing Joseph O’Brien), I will stick to a couple this weekend and leave Ron to tell me who has the best chance in the Cesarewitch, a thirty-four runner handicap that is just not my cup of tea. I prefer to start earlier in the day at Newmarket when the Luca Cumani yard expect a winning run from Bartholomew Fair in the 2.05pm. Considered by many to be their best chance of a classic success next season, he won his maiden with ease at Yarmouth and they expect him to step up to this Group Three event with ease. Sadly, there are plenty of decent sorts in opposition (Commemorative and Mukhayyam worry me the most), but if he is Guineas bound he ought to win this and with a bit in hand.
For my other bet, those who listen to the podcast will hear me ask Ron what he thinks of Frankie Dettori in the saddle these days – the answer was not exactly positive, but no more or less than I expected. The reason I asked was that he is riding Rewaaya in the 3.10pm and as well as one of my horses to follow, she is my main bet this weekend despite the 23 opponents. As the season started we were told she was a possible Oaks filly and although that is now clearly over the top, even her nine-pound weight rise might not be enough to stop her in this Class Two handicap. After winning her maiden by nine lengths at Leicester she disappeared from sight (maybe waiting for some cut in the ground at a guess), before returning at Newmarket for an easy four length win. Yes she has been put up in the weights but I expect improvement after nearly four months off and still feel she is Group class – unless Frankie messes it up of course!
Selections this week:
Bartholomew Fair 2.05pm Newmarket Saturday
Rewaaya 3.10pm Newmarket Saturday
Horses to follow:
Creepy – well supported on his debut over fences this week at Chepstow when making all and jumping well throughout to score by twenty lengths easing down. Trainer Martin Keighley thinks a lot of him and he will surely add more races to that success this season with the Sun Alliance Chase at Cheltenham presumably his long-term objective.
***No current entries***
I backed her last minute last week after being told she was pretty decent and was rewarded with an 8/1 starting price. She won with plenty in hand despite drifting from 4/1 in the morning and will improve hand over fist for the run – next stop will mean a step up in class but she could be way better than average.
***No current entries***
Enraptured – a lovely looking progressive daughter of Oasis Dream whose two-year-old form would put her in to Listed class as a minimum assuming she has trained on. Her handicap return at Newbury disappointed me to be fair as I thought she was thrown in at the weights, but she was far too buzzy for her own good and the betting suggested she will improve considerably for the run – her first in eleven months. Update – she was beaten on Thursday 21 August at York where the weight of my money seemed enough to stop her but I still feel she will win a race soon.
***No current entries***
Toronado – could be absolutely top class and looked to ease up in front at Ascot in the Queen Anne Stakes for a cozy victory. Bound to improve again for the run he will be aimed at the top all aged mile events this season and will hopefully mop up and boost our profit margins! Finished second in the Sussex Stakes but was anything but disgraced and well worth leaving on our list.
*** Entered at Ascot on 18th October ***
Rewaaya – word at the John Gosden yard is that she is better than we have seen so far and certainly Group class – be that here or possibly abroad as the three-year-old options start to run out. She was talked of as an Oaks filly so no great shock to see her win her maiden with ease at odds on but she still showed all the customary signs of inexperience and I am sure there is more to come. *Won last weekend at 5/1
***Entered at Newmarket 3.10pm Saturday***
Mutakayyef– trained by William Haggas I had a quandary this week – do I or don’t I back the son of Sea The Stars? As with all the stable juveniles he was a shoe in to improve for the run but he is spoken of in glowing terms by gallop watchers in Newmarket. Fact is he ran as expected – slowly away, green as grass, and hampered as well, he will learn plenty from the experience and can be ignored at your peril.
***No current entries***