Pretty uninspiring Saturday cards coming between an idiosyncratic Chester and the peerless Dante meeting at York on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday!
#startracking Saturday Fab Four
Haydock 1.40 DOLLAR REWARD
Ascot 4.15 GRAND INQUISITOR
Nottingham 4.55 CLAYMORE
Thirsk 7.05 EARLY BIRD
#startracking Saturday Runners
Ascot 4.15 HEAVENS GUEST Loves the trip, loves the track but he needs some cut in the ground. Getting older but still a solid classy handicapper who could do with a little help from the handicapper. Watching Brief.
Ascot 4.15 GRAND INQUISITOR Here is what I posted on Thursday “Thursday May 5th 5.15pm
You just can’t beat a 29 runner C2 Heritage handicap over Ascot’s straight 7F!! I think I’ve found one that fits the bill but let’s see if I can talk myself out of it over the course of this preview! Need to ask the “Golden Questions”?
GOING? Looks like it is going to be on the quick side of good and as fast as anything they’ll have raced on this year.
TRIP? A straight Seven Furlongs is a fairly specialist trip and I want horses who have proven form at it. Ascot has a stiff finish and would prefer coming down from a mile than up from six!
DRAW? You just can’t worry about it! What you need is PACE nearby to give you a tow into the race.
CLASS? You need form at C2 level to be considered.
IN FORM? A yard having winners is preferred and a jockey you trust is essential.
Is the PRICE right? We’ll cover this later as it’s a crucial part of the jigsaw.
So what do the STATS say? They suggest you are looking for a 4/5yo hold up horse rated OR92-96 carrying 8st 5lbs-8st 13lbs who has won or been placed in a C2 handicap and is returned 8/1-16/1 SP.
Well I’m delighted to say my selection unsurprisingly ticks every damned box and he is Sir Michael Stoute’s GRAND INQUISITOR. He has won on Good to Firm, indeed he beat My Dream Boat, the G3 Gordon Richards winner and now OR117, over Sandown’s stiff 7F at level weights! His form over the trip is 136 and the 6 was first time out this season on ground too soft and given a ride by Ryan Moore that suggested this mark was being looked after! Last season he was 5th over Ascots mile beaten just four lengths by Portage when he was slowly away on softish ground. Sir Michael Stoute has had his best start to a season for yonks and is 11 from 47 on turf with 12 seconds! Ryan Moore goes to Lingfield for Coolmore and the Classic trials so Ted Durcan gets the ride and he’s already had three winners for the yard this season. Grand Inquisitor is drawn in stall 19 and with likely pacesetter Majestic Moon in 25 I am sure there will be plenty of speed on the stands side.
So Ted, it’s don’t miss the break, get into a rhythm then fast and late please!
I make GRAND INQUISITOR a three star*** each way selection, but when do you back him? He is currently a strong 12/1 ¼ 1,2,3,4 but I think Friday teatime or first thing Saturday morning 12/1 will still be available and there will be an extra place available!
Small conspiracy theory – He is owned by Sir Alex Ferguson and Peter Done, brother of Fred Done and guess which only major bookie go 10/1, two points shorter? Got it in one….BETFRED!!
Ascot 4.15 FREE CODE Went in #startracker after his seasonal debut at Newmarkets Craven meeting, “FREE CODE didn’t get the clearest runs and could be a player in a C2 7F handicap on a flat track.” This is no flat track but this is his sort of target and we wouldn’t want to miss out. So it’s a one star* win selection @ 14/1 general.
Haydock 1.40 NOVINOPHOBIA Considering his owners, P.Timmins & A.Rhodes Haulage, are based in the city it was no surprise he had two of his first three runs at York but he must have shown something at home as he was just 9/1 on debut in a C3 event. He made his handicap debut in a C2 nursery at Goodwood running a solid 5th before dropping four grades(!!) and making every yard over 7F at Musselburgh. He closed the season with two soft ground seconds in a C5 at Salisbury, all sorts of issues at the start, and a C2 at Catterick where the ground was perhaps against him. I can see him making all on Good to Firm over a sharp 7F at the likes of Catterick, Musselburgh and possibly Chester and even York.
Opens up in a C3 3yo mile handicap at Haydock and is well drawn in stall 4. One star* each way selection @ 16/1 with Betfred.
Lingfield 4.00 ACROSS THE STARS My notes say “He was given an excellent introduction when a staying on second to a much more forward Mengli Khan over Nottingham’s 8.5F on Soft ground at C4 level. Disappointingly he was also turned over on his second run, on Tapeta over a mile at Wolverhampton when made to look one paced by Daily Bulletin (Godolphin/Gosden/Buick). Both bits of form could look useful in time. He reappears early for Stoute (had 3yo winner Pontefract April 5th) in a C5 maiden on the AW at Lingfield over 12F with Ryan Moore riding. He has entries in the Dante and the Derby and has quotes of 33/1-50/1 for the latter. Won comfortably. Keen, overaced early, led at halfway and settled better in front, challenged turning for home but quickened under hands and heels. We now know he stays 12F and handles a turning course. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him back at Lingfield for the Derby Trial.” Well he is in the Derby Trial with SDS on board, Ryan Moore rides Landofhopeandglory for Coolmore, and Across the Stars is a one star* win selection at a tasty 7/1 with WH.
Nottingham 4.55 CLAYMORE Last season’s notes say “Enough to suggest a handicap could come his way as a 3yo, up to 8F? Went on to be a solid 3rd at Newmarket to Mootaharer (also on this list). However he finished lame and we await news.” I like David Lanigan as a trainer, especially when he puts George Baker up. There is a bit of money about for Claymore so we will ignore the word “lame” and make him a one star* win selection at 5/1 general.
Ascot 3.40 IMSHIVALLA Beaten in this race last year and no reason to think she’ll do any better this time as she goes in pursuit of Black Type. Pass.
Ascot 4.15 HEAVENS GUEST (See above)
Ascot 4.15 RENE MATHIS They are mucking about with this horse. 5F at Thirsk last Saturday, 7F handicap this week. Fahey said in his weekend preview “Marwan Koukash was keen to have a go at this and there’s no reason not to with a good pot on offer.” Tells you all you need to know! Watching Brief.
Haydock 1.40 BELL HEATHER 100K euros yearling that Dr. K picked up for £25K at the H-i-T sales from Qatar Racing. This daughter of Iffraaj won a C5 7½F maiden on the Heavy at Lingfield on debut and on her only other run was a well beaten third to Ventura Storm in a C4 8F novice event at Salisbury. She goes handicapping off OR80 and on paper looks a bargain. Has to be a Watching Brief. Looking out for her in a C4 ?-80 Fillies contest over 7F?
Haydock 1.40 NOVINOPHOBIA (See above)
Haydock 3.55 DON’T TOUCH Stable star last season when he won the Ayr Gold Cup as a 3yo on only his fifth start. Good place to start but it has to be a Watching Brief as he will have bigger fish to Fry later on this season! Nottingham 4.25 COSMIC HALO Lost the plot. Pass.
Thirsk 5.35 JOHNNY B GOODE win in his turn low grade sprinter. Pass.
Thirsk 7.05 EARLY BIRD When she ran at Ripon I posted “#FantasticMrFahey said in his sportinglife.com weekend news “Early Bird who is a filly we like. She won well on her final start at two at Catterick and she could run well here. She’s interesting.” That is enough for me to put her in #startracker.” After her run I posted “Strange. Watching in real time I thought she was going to win 1½F out! Looked to be travelling well, get a gap on the rail and home you go! Didn’t get the gap and her action went a bit in the last two hundred yards of Ripon’s undulations! Flat track, quicker ground, 5F may get 6F, C4 fillies handicap.” Well here she is in a C5 fillies handicap at a flattish Thirsk, down a pound and is one of only two rides on the day for Tony Hamilton, the other is Don’t Touch at Haydock. #FantasticMrFahey says “The run will have done her no harm and she has been working well so I’d hope for improvement in the ABF The Soldiers’ Charity Fillies’ Handicap.” Has to be a two star** win selection at 6/1 with Coral and Betfred.
Haydock 1.40 DOLLAR REWARD Green on debut in a hot Newmarket maiden has had two further runs on the AW winning the latest a C5 7F maiden at Wolverhampton last September with a nice turn of foot. Timeform sums him up nicely “Got better with each run at 2 yrs, winning 7f Wolverhampton maiden final start. Type to do even better in handicaps in 2016.” Steve donohoe keeps the ride and with the yard flying Dollar Reward is a two star** win selection @ 6/1 with Betfred.
Lingfield 4.00 ACROSS THE STARS (See above)
Nottingham 2.10 JUSTICE SMART Unraced as a 2yo, he is a £110K son of kylaachy. Bred to be quick but it has to be a Watching Brief. Steve Donohoe rides and he’s drawn 9 of 9.
Nottingham 4.55 THIRD ROCK £85K yearling by Japanese sire Hat Trick was withdrawn from last Autumn’s H-I-T sales. Had three runs as a 2yo over 6,7 and 7 furlongs showing nothing but greenness and returned 25/1 on all three occasions. Has been gelded and breeding suggests he wants 10F. Time for #SuperStoute to wave his magic wand but a Watching Brief today.
Thirsk 6.05 MUSTASHRY “Winner Waiting To Happen in an 8F maiden.” Got all excited until I went on Oddschecker and he is top priced 4/9! Much gnashing of teeth! Has to be a Watching Brief today.
Thirsk 7.05 ABERLADY After her debut last season I had this young lady on my radar but she has done nothing but disappoint since. Pass.