#startracking Craven Review 2016 Sturday April 16th midday

Fact One:-           This was a Soft ground Craven meeting.

Fact Two:-           Gosden and Stoute have got their strings forward, Godolphin and Varian haven’t!

Fact Three;-        Kevin Ryan has some C2 Soft ground sprinters to go to war with!

 So what went in MY notebook?


2.10 Swiss Range is a useful filly but that hood worries me?

GOLDEN REIGN kept on well and will win, probably over further after an excellent introduction on the track from master craftsman, Ryan Moore.

The fifth DORA’S FIELD travelled well, became unbalanced in the Dip but wasn’t asked to get competitive. As that was her third run we all await her handicap mark. Fillies only, 10F, galloping track as she has a bit of size about her.

2.40 Plenty of winners to come out of this race.

Thikriyaat’s action suggested the ground suited whereas MOHAB will definitely need better ground and a flat track.

Tabarrak might just be a sprinter?

3.10 Good win for Teruntum Star who handles both course and ground and is the ideal fit for Jamie Spencer.

FREE CODE didn’t get the clearest runs and could be a player in a C2 7F handicap on a flat track.

AZAMOUR was the one for money. He travelled well but was forced to go halfway across the course to make his challenge! Interesting under similar conditions.

3.55 Don’t know what to make of the 9F Listed Fielden Stakes.

Ventura Storm Dwarfed by the other three but took trail, led 2F out and saw it out well.

Trainer Richard Hannon told the RP “”Ventura Storm is a lovely horse and Ryan Moore said he would get a mile and a quarter no problem. He liked this sort of ground and we may have a look at something like the Group 3 Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot. Mine have been needing the run but he’s got away with it and he’ll be better next time.” Middleham’s racing manager Tim Palin added: “He is in the German 2000 Guineas but that won’t happen. He’ll be in the Dante and the French Derby and the Italian Derby. He could go somewhere before the French Derby, but would go straight to Italy. As Richard said, when you’re in the promised land, it might be worth having a shot at the Dante and French Derby.”“Ventura Storm is a lovely horse and Ryan Moore said he would get a mile and a quarter no problem,” said Hannon.”He liked this sort of ground and we may have a look at something like the Group 3 Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot.

“Mine have been needing the run but he’s got away with it and he’ll be better next time.”

“Ventura Storm is a lovely horse and Ryan Moore said he would get a mile and a quarter no problem,” said Hannon.

“He liked this sort of ground and we may have a look at something like the Group 3 Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot.

“Mine have been needing the run but he’s got away with it and he’ll be better next time.”

“Ventura Storm is a lovely horse and Ryan Moore said he would get a mile and a quarter no problem,” said Hannon.

“He liked this sort of ground and we may have a look at something like the Group 3 Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot.

“Mine have been needing the run but he’s got away with it and he’ll be better next time.”

Mustajeer Beaten 1¼L. Did nothing wrong! OR95+ Trainer Owen Burrows said of Mustajeer: “He did everything right. He settled nicely and we’re very pleased. We’ll get him back and make a plan. I thought he was going to get to Ryan’s horse but he just kept finding that little bit more. I’m sure he’ll get further. I think he’s a mile and a quarter, mile and a half horse ultimately.”

Tathqeef Beaten 2½L. OR83+ ?? Hello. Hacking through race, better ground and a bit further?

Mengli Khan Beaten 3¾L. Love to take him novice hurdling! Massive, scopey creature. Trainer Hugo Palmer had said beforehand, “Maybe the Feilden or the Dante could be for him. He is in all three Derbies, possibly the French Derby on good ground in June might be the answer. He is a big horse and if he doesn’t hit the heights this year he will have a really bright future as a four-year-old.”

4.30 Run in a rainstorm. Won comfortably by Nathra who made smooth progress from the 3F to 2F poles and saw it out well. Just pays big compliment to Minding for the 1000 Guineas! Only other one to catch my eye was Epsom Icon who came from last, took a scenic route but kept on. A 10F Listed race for Fillies, with a bit of cut, could be within her range.

5.05 The winner of this C4 7F maiden, Castle Harbour for John Gosden, looked a proper racehorse, nicely balanced and there could be more to come especially as he was keen early and made all. Owners Bermuda Thoroughbred Racing through Highclere Racing put on-line Castle Harbour made all to make an impressive winning debut at Newmarket on Tuesday in The Alex Scott Maiden Stakes. It was an eye-catching performance from a debutant running against more experienced rivals and the racing post commented that he “stayed on well to assert well inside final furlong”. He is an imposing colt by Kyllachy out of the Trade Fair mare Gypsy Carnival and John Gosden who was also impressed with what he saw dropped hints that a trip to Royal Ascot could possibly be on the cards later this summer!”

Likewise the runner up Fawaareq showed plenty as he was lit up early and Paul Hanagan had to take a trail, which I don’t think was Plan A. Will improve for better ground and possibly further.

The other one I liked was Sir Michael Stoute’s debutante Commodity who “will know more next time”. Highclere Racing in their profile on Commodity say “This well-marked horse is bred to be fast, but it would be no surprise if he was also able to stretch out and stay a mile given his scope.”

5.40 Don’t wish to go overboard about this race as I did last year but you want to keep the winner, Speed Company, onside especially on Soft ground. It was a messy race with a few all over the place but the winner came from last under Ryan Moore, interesting jockey booking for John Quinn, and won snugly especially as he sweated beforehand and didn’t settle to halfway. Speed Company showed a nice turn of foot.OR89 (+7lbs?)


2.10 In my youth the Wood Ditton Stakes for unraced 3yo colts was just about a Classic trail! Now it’s C4 but still attracts some decent types. Trusted friends suggest the winner, Sky Kingdom trained by Willie Haggas, is a Group horse. Well supported in the market suggested he had shown plenty at home and would know the job. He raced prominently and travelled very strongly. Haggas said: “That was not a bad start. I guess having won we’ll step him up in trip and come back here at the Guineas meeting for the Listed race (Newmarket Stakes). I think that would be the sensible thing. He has beaten a lot of unraced horses so we don’t know how good the form is but he has been working nicely and he did it well enough. As with all trainers at this time of year we will take it one step at a time. We will aim him at the Listed race and see if he improves over that trip. He is a nice looking horse.”

The other two I liked were the Sir Michael Stoute pair. He has a cornucopia (look it up!) of 3yo talent this season, so much so I feel an unofficial Alternative Stable Tour coming on. Mulk got the message late but powered home for all to see and Shraaoh on whom Frankie Dettori was ensuring he learnt on the job. Both will improve for further.

2.45 Can’t really get excited by 2yo’s until after Royal Ascot but the performance from Kevin Ryan’s Dream of Dreams to finish a close up second was astonishing. Chesham?

3.55 The Free Handicap was another hard race to weigh up as Ibn Malik probably didn’t beat a lot as both Katchit and Raucous look like sprinters, if they have trained on. Hanagan got Ibn Malik out and he made all, simple. H-a-M representative Richard Hills said “He got a bit tired on that ground, but Paul gave him a lovely ride. There were a lot of fast sorts in the race and I didn’t want him to get done for speed early on as we knew he’d get the trip well. He had an issue after his last run last year and he went back to Shadwell (Stud). He had couple of little issues. They were sorted and I couldn’t be happier with him. It was only January/February time he was gelded and he’s only been back with us five or six weeks. It was a great team effort.”

Looks like the Jersey next where he should meet Gifted Master, a talented gelded villain, who made a procession of the previous race.

4.30 Nice to see Mahsoob bounce back to form in the G3 9F Sefton Stakes. He won the Wolferton handicap at Royal Ascot and then his form tailed off and we hadn’t seen him since August. Gosden reported Mahsoob to be a happy horse following a winter off, and assistant racing manager Richard Hills put more flesh on the bones. “He did well over the winter and has showed a lot of speed in his work this year,” Hills said. “This distance suited us perfectly, and to come back to a mile will not be a problem. I think the Lockinge Stakes has to be under consideration. He is a really nice horse. Physically he has done well, and looks good in his coat.”

5.05 Now here’s a fascinating maiden over 10F featuring a host of horses that will need further still and some real backward boats! The winner for Godolphin, Winning Story, is clearly useful but I can see him being too highly tried. I liked Points of View for Roger Varian and I think with a bit more experience, 10F and better ground he should win sooner rather than later. Wings of Desire also kept on well and has a completely different set of criteria. He wants this Soft ground and at least 12F!

The one I can’t have is Satish. Already in cheek-pieces he looked uninterested and lacking in ability, the RP analysis included outpaced, beaten and weakened. He’s a fine looking horse but his dam has produced dross and Lady Bamford may want to geld this one and move him on, sharpish!


Overall I thought this was the weakest of the three days and wasn’t helped by the weather deteriorating during the course of the card. Nothing in the first two fillies maidens rocked my boat.

3.20 Linguistic impressed me more watching the replay as he travelled really strongly into a race that developed into a sprint. Not sure he would get a true run 10F.

3.55 Disappointed with the withdrawal of Eastern Impact but the winner Magical Memory was better than these and should be a player in all the major 6F sprints. Tupi could easily pick up a 6F G3 especially abroad.

4.30 Disappointed Foundation was beaten but he looked moody and ill at ease and isn’t the tallest horse. Stormy Antartic won the Craven well but I can’t think Ballydoyle were quaking in their boots!

5.05 An interesting C2 7F handicap despite being run soon after a heavy thunderstorm. Flaming Spear was backed from 20/1 overnight to 4/1 favourite and showed enough in second to pick up one of these Heritage 7F handicaps on better ground, The fourth Felix Leiter was prominent throughout and showed enough to suggest he could win a C2 7F handicap. However the real eye-catcher was that man Stoute’s Mutamakkin. He had been off the course for almost a year and has been gelded but was totally outpaced for five furlongs then flew home from the Dip onwards without having much thrown at him. Currently OR92 he is my first name on Ascot Hunt Cup “possibles” list.

5.40 Aclaim and Monteverdi are a couple of sharp 3yo sprinters. The latter took time to organise himself and a flat track may help whereas Aclaim seemed to be put in the race whenever Ryan Moore wanted. York 3yo charity sprint?


So who would I put in the tracker? Well probably all of them. Sign up for a new tracker and stick just the Craven horses in and see how the form stacks up? However would definitely include:-

GOLDEN REIGN          3yo      (Haggas)

TATHQEEF                   3yo      (Gosden)

CASTLE HARBOUR      3yo      (Gosden)

FAWAAREQ                3yo      (Burrows)

SKY KINGDOM            3yo      (Haggas)

MULK                          3yo      (Stoute)

SHRAAOH                   3yo      (Stoute)

POINTS OF VIEW        3yo      (Varian)

WINGS OF DESIRE      3yo      (Gosden)

MONTEVERDI             3yo      (Osborne)

FREE CODE                  5yo      (Barron)

AZAMOUR                  4yo      (Mohammed)

MUTAMMAKIN          4yo      (Stoute)


Finally two bits of technical assistance.

Firstly if you put “Jockey Club Racecourses Replays” in the search bar you will be able to watch all the races from the Craven meeting as many times as you wish!

Secondly Simon @paddockinspecto cropped up in my twitter timeline and I found him very informative and you may like to give him a follow and a retweet.



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