Sorry it’s a bit late! Todays cards would be perfectly respectable on any Saturday of the season! Tomorrow is Super Saturday which is a bit like having four days of Cheltenham in one afternoon. Two choices go for a long walk and pretend it didn’t happen or go in all guns blazing! Much prefer my betting boots to my hiking boots!!
Due to Fahey having 26 runners, Stoute has three strong fancies and half a dozen from #startracking itself I will start with the bets then hopefully have time for those under the “Watching Brief” banner and the “NotWithMyMoney” brigade.
Going @Ascot today is Good to Firm, Good in places. Going Stick Straight: 8.6, Round: 7.8 on Fri at 08:00
Going @yorkracecourse for today is Good, Good to Firm in places. Going Stick: 7.1
Going @NewmarketRace for Gentleman’s Day today is Good to Firm. Going Stick: 8.4 on Friday at 09:30
7.33 – Going @ChesterRaces is Good, Good to Soft in places. 2mm rain overnight, dry and sunny day expected.
7.36 – Going @MusselburghRace for their Bicentenary Raceday is Good, Good to Soft in places.
#startracking Todays Selections
Newmarket 2.40 BLAIR HOUSE Son of Pivotal and although Godolphin didn’t race him as a 2yo but he won over 8½F at Nottingham on debut and for his second outing contested a C3 handicap at Musselburgh. Dwelt, ran green, was second beaten less than two lengths and went into everyone’s notebook. Timeform’s Jamie Lynch said “There’s unlikely to be a better-treated runner, and there certainly won’t be a less-exposed one, if Blair House takes up his engagement on Friday. If his debut win was a surprise, at 14/1, the only surprise about his second run was that he didn’t win, but he should have done, asked a lot for one so inexperienced, too much to catch the front runner, but shaping very well again. By Pivotal out of a sister to Poet’s Voice, Blair House is destined for bigger and better things, and this bigger and better field on Friday will only help him show his true colours all the more.”
Two star** win @ 7/2 with BH.
Newmarket 3.10 ARISTOCRATIC Trained by the in-form Sir Michael Stoute this homebred daughter of Exceed and Excel out of a Pivotal mare makes her seasonal reappearance in a C5 7F maiden on the sand at Chelmsford. Her form in two C4 7F Newmarket maidens last season is strong. On debut she was third to Promising Run doing best of those racing for the first time. Sent off at 7/1 she was keen early and although towards the rear she had no cover but kept on well from two furlongs out to get a place under hands and heels riding. On her second visit to HQ she was made 5/4F and despite leading early she was headed after 1F and travelled well enough, she came to challenge going into The Dip but couldn’t match the pace of First Victory and Wholesome and again had to settle for third, the three of them pulling six lengths clear of the fourth. The winner has a host of G1 entries and a couple behind have already won giving the form depth.
This season she was third to War Story on the sand at Chelmsford taking on the boys and then second to the progressive Persuasive over a mile at Goodwood and here she drops a furlong, is in fillies own handicap company and gets weight from all her rivals. Don’t worry about Joe Fanning riding, Ryan Moore can’t do 8st 2lbs!!
Two star** win @ 11/2 with WH.
York 4.00 MAYFAIR LADY Last June on her second run over 5F at Haydock she was beaten just a neck by Mr Lupton! She received 10lb, five for being a filly and five as SammyJo Bell’s claim. Last August at York’s Ebor meeting she hosed up by five lengths off OR87 under Jack Garrity in the C2 6F nursery. Last Friday (June 10th) on her return to York she once again made every yard in a C2 6F handicap off OR100 with young Adam MacNamara, taking seven pounds off, in the saddle. Helen Steels home bred daughter of Holy Roman Emperor is quick, loves York, 6F is ideal and surely wants some black type? I wrote a fortnight ago “On Friday 10th July at York at 4:00pm there is the 888sport Summer Stakes, Group 3 for 3yo+ fillies and mares over 6 furlongs. Would seem an ideal next race!” And there she is!! Three star*** win @ 10/3 with PP.
Ascot 4.10 PELOPONNESE Pre season notes said “Niarchos homebred colt by Montjeu who will probably want 12F+ in time. Three runs as a 2yo in C4/5 maidens showing limited promise but starts off life handicapping off just OR67. 2nd 6/1 Kept on fine and is a C5 12F handicap winner waiting to happen. Further the better? Put up 3lbs but this daughter of Montjeu is still on a tasty OR70!!” We put her in the #startracker for three runs and she won her next two, Pontefract 10F C5 by five lengths and C3 12F at Goodwood by five lengths again! She has gone up to OR90 but she’s improving, stays, goes on any ground, Uncle Ted rides and we will keep the faith!
Two star** win@ 11/4 general.
Ascot 4.40 VALLEY OF FIRE Lightly raced, 4yo gelded son of Firebreak. Won his 2yo maiden at York over 6F and was 3rd in the big Sales race at the Ebor meeting. Finished his 2yo campaign off with a last of eight in the G3 Tattersalls Somerville Stakes but sent off 4/1 third favourite. Only two runs as a 3yo, both over 6F and both at Newmarket in July 2015. Reappeared as a 4yo when unsighted in the Victoria Cup off OR 96 at Ascot a fortnight ago. Prior to that race trainer William Haggas had told the RP his horses “.. are a bit short of work and will come on for the run.” Currently has an OR93 and C2/3, 6/7F probably York very much on the agenda. Failed to see the 7F out last time at York so strange he steps up to a mile here at Chester. I am going to wait until he is down to OR90 in a C3 over 7F. They then stepped him down to 6F at Epsom in rain softened ground and no show 10th 16/1. Then he went to York over 7F in a C3 handicap off OR86 and he ran a solid second at 16/1. Up just 2lbs to OR88 and surely a winner wait to happen. C3 0-95 at Ascot on ground Good to Firm, Good in places, Pat Cosgrave rides, that’ll do me!
Two star** each way selection @ 10/1 with Ladbrokes.
Newmarket 4.45 MIDHMAAR I wasn’t surprised to see Midhmaar at Royal Ascot but I didn’t expect it to be this race! As my pre season notes suggested “Won once from six starts as a 2yo but now as a gelded 3yo he could be a handicapping money spinner. He was green on debut, ground was Soft on his second run and on his third run in a maiden on the AW at Lingfield ran into two OR90+ horses! He comfortably made all in a C3 8F nursery on Good to Firm at Salisbury. Stepped up to C2 8F at Doncaster, he was too keen early and wouldn’t settle but was still only beaten 1¼L in fifth. On his final run in a C4 nursery over Ripon’s 8F round a bend he was last away in a field of 13, intended or not, but he settled, travelled and stormed up the straight, only to be blocked twice and still got to second beaten only by the progressive Move Up. Ideal conditions for this son of Iffraaj would be 8F on Good to Firm with some pace on and the chance of cover. His current rating is 84 and very workable. An early season win and he could be an Ascot Britannia candidate.” As a son of Iffraaj this 12F was going to really stretch his stamina especially as the ground was Soft. In the circumstances he ran really well, slowly away, he lobbed along on the rail in the rear of midfield and as the field swung for home he had no racing room when he needed it and although in with a squeak he didn’t see the trip out. The upside is that he remains on the attractive handicap mark of OR90 and a C3 0-90 10F, even a stiff 10F, on good ground or better should have him in the winners enclosure. His previous runs at Sandown, second to Listed winner Czabo and Primitivo, winner of that race at Ascot, suggest the Esher course suits him well. There is a suitable race at Sandown on the Friday before the Eclipse, July 1st.
Can’t let him go unbacked even if it is at Newmarket, just take a tug Mr Hanagan, fast and late please!
Two stars** each way @ 12/1 general.
Ascot 5.15 WAR STORY Came to my attention when giving a hiding to a #SuperStoute filly, Aristocratic, I fancied at Chelmsford. OR85 could seriously underestimate his talent. Ears prick up when Cumani is asking about a handicap mark! Luca Cumani Website 26th April “We have liked War Story for a while and it will be interesting to see what handicap mark he is given.”
Alan Thomson Eyecatchers ATR “WAR STORY (Newmarket, 21 May) Brought some useful all-weather form into this competitive one-mile handicap and looked perfectly at home on turf. Racing keenly and wide, War Story struck the front coming out of the Dip but faded quite tamely into sixth place behind well-backed Chelsea Lad. It would come as no surprise to see Luca Cumani dropping his three-year-old back in trip, although the lack of cover probably contributed to his capitulation.”
OR85 First run on turf at Newmarket over 8F on Good to Firm ground over a mile C3 saw him lead in The Dip but not get home. 6th 4/1 OR85 Next time out same grade at Sandown over a furlong shorter, despite showing signs of greenness, he finished strongly and was beaten just a head and half a length and goes up a pound . OR85 86 His astute trainer will place him shrewdly and this could win a big race at nice price before the season ends.
Two star** win @ 3/1 general.
Chester 9.20 ENGLISH SUMMER This is an OnlyIf.. horse. “Only If… C3 or less, Chester/Epsom 12F. OR92 and probably needs to come down 7lbs. MacNamara’s claim could help?” Here he is in a 12F C3 off OR89 with MacNamara riding and claiming 5lbs and even the draw is favourable, 4 out of 9! Here we go!
Four star**** win @ 5/1 Coral and Betfred
Keep an eye on these, Intiwin York 3.30, Masterpaver Ascot 3.35, Drifting Spirit Newm 3.10, Carnageo Chester 7.50, Lathom York 2.55 plus all the field 2.30 Ascot.
Apologies to sportinglife.co but here is their Fahey article courtesy of “Cut and Paste”.
It’s a busy day, not just at the races but at the Tattersalls Sales where we have sold and bought a few. That means I’m down at Newmarket for the last couple of days of the July Festival and I’ll obviously be hoping to get into the winner’s enclosure, although every race at the meeting is always red-hot.In an ideal world, Drifting Spirit would have been out before now this season, but she’s had one or two problems with her sinuses. She’s fine again, but I just have a worry she might be in need of the run as she returns in the Price Bailey EBF Stallions Fillies’ Handicap.
Withernsea missed the cut for the Bunbury Cup, so runs in the consolation event, the Pegasus Group Town & Country Planning Handicap. Obviously, he’d probably be a little happier with some juice in the ground, but he’s in great form and I still believe that he’s going to win one of these nice prizes again soon.
The races are competitive at Newmarket, they aren’t much less so at York. I’ve two in the opening maiden and I’d be surprised if Yorkshire Bounty was good enough to win a race like this. Rubiesnpearls ran a really nice race first time out at this track and if she has come on for that, as I think she has done, she should run well. That said, there look to be one or two possible hotpots in the final field so it won’t be easy.
Vona is going to find the Garbutt + Elliott Nursery a lot easier than the Queen Mary, in which she was well beaten last time. She just couldn’t lay up there. She isn’t the biggest and carrying top-weight is a question for her, but having won the Marygate already this season, it’s all just a bonus now.
Rosebride did the job well at Ripon last time and hopefully she’s got a chance off her mark here. She probably needs to have come on again, but she seems to be doing everything nicely.
I’ve three in the five-furlong handicap, but I couldn’t be anything more than hopeful. I keep saying Arctic Feeling is badly-handicapped but he wins a couple every year. Personally, I think he needs to come down a little more in the weights. Celebration is only three but he is as tough as old boots and still going the right way, hopefully. He won in cheekpieces last time, so we’ve kept them on. The ground doesn’t seem to be an issue with him.
Paddy Power hasn’t quite delivered on what we might have expected on his homework, so we’re trying him in cheekpieces too to see if they can squeeze out a little bit of improvement.
I’ve also got three runners in the Raylor’s – 70 Years In York Handicap and I couldn’t split them, although I’d be prepared to forgive Normandy Knight‘s last run and I could see him running well. The same owners run Intiwin. He’s been struggling a bit with the handicapper and we’re trying him at a longer trip. Siren’s Cove was busy on the all-weather at the end of last year, but it didn’t quite work out, and she’s coming back from a break.
I expected Mayfair Lady to run well on her reappearance, but I perhaps didn’t quite expect her to win, so that was encouraging. We don’t have many options now with her, as she’s rated 107, so we have to try her in Group Three company in the 188Bet Summer Stakes. The only previous time she ran in a Group race at Salisbury, she was well beaten, but the ground was very soft that day. I don’t think she will be disgraced at all here.
Back To Bond disappointed last time, but he seems to run his best races at York, so we’re back to try again in the Acturis Apprentice Handicap. It looks tough, but hopefully he’ll have a squeak.
Down at Ascot, Masterpaver was a little bit unlucky last time in the Cumberland Plate and I think he’s capable of a big run in the Close Brothers Property Finance Handicap, although there are some decent horses in opposition. He’s up another 1lb in the handicap, but he should run well.
Young John represents the same owners and won nicely at Windsor last time, but I suspect he would prefer slower ground than he’s going to get in the Long Harbour Handicap. My other runner there is Chiswick Bey, who showed a bit more last time having been a shade disappointing earlier in the season. He needs to find even more now.
I’ve got another batch of runners going to Chester in the evening. As ever, Marwan Koukash is keen to see his horses running there and hopefully we might be able to give him a winner. Gabrial The Tiger is one I’d pick out as he’s been in great form recently, but my heart sunk a bit when I saw he was drawn in stall 10 in the Russian Standard Handicap. Modernism is probably the most obvious one of my three in the closing mile-and-a-half race. The handicapper has him where he wants him, but he’s a solid horse in good form and hopefully it’s his turn to get his head in front again.