#startracking Monday 18th July 2pm

Sometimes as a punter you have to take a step back because you just can’t understand why selections are running a stone under par, why your “go to jockeys” are finding every cul-de-sac available, why your favoured trainers are winning with the ones you couldn’t give a prayer to coming in at double figure odds! That was me last week, hence inactivity on the blog last week.

So it was back to the notebook, back to the form book and loads of video replays.

Keep an eye on the weather for racing this weekend. York Friday and Saturday, every chance of thunderstorms Friday afternoon/evening. Newmarket Friday and Saturday, heavy showers during Friday afternoon. Ascot Friday and Saturday, light showers and possibly heavy on Friday afternoon. All on WATERED ground!! Can see Firm staying in the going description at Ascot on Saturday but the other two, especially York, could be on Soft ground, again, Saturday.

#FantasticMrFahey He’s still having winners and at big prices but following #FantasticMrFahey to a level stake is an expensive business! I am not sure #FantasticMrFahey knows where he is with his 2yo’s, winners yes, well backed winners no! He’s struggling to place his 3yo’s and I am not sure the variety of going is helping. As for his older horses in those Saturday handicaps, many of them are around OR100 because of last season’s success and although running well just can’t win. I can’t explain the recent runs from the likes of George Bowen, Penwortham, Don’t Touch, Tatlisu, Gin in the Inn, Bell Heather, Miss van Gogh, Patrick, Intiwin and the list goes on. Every one running 10lb+ below previous best, let alone improve!

Next is my annual midsummer moan. Tony Hamilton is simply not good enough to be stable jockey to a yard as strong as that of #FantasticMrFahey. He is poor at the starting gate, too often just goes with the flow and isn’t strong enough at the finish. He has had 51 rides in July and had just four winners, three of them were 2yo’s. #FantasticMrFahey is going through claiming jockeys at a rate of knots, George Chaloner, Jack Garritty, SammyJo Bell, currently Adam MacNamara and I understand the need for a claimer or three in the yard but #FantasticMrFahey needs to sort out his riding arrangements. He needs a top jock who is hungry to be called “Champion”, forget Paul Hanagan and Ryan Moore unless they want the gig full time, someone who will put in the miles, the hours and the winners. Struggling to think of someone who fits the bill, perhaps Martin Harley (26 year old ex-champion apprentice). Love to see him sign up Jamie Spencer or slightly more left field, go and get Conor King from Ireland!

It’s maybe that Adam MacNamara is the real deal, he’s booting home a winner every seven rides. He has improved immensely over the course of the season, especially in the final 200 yards. He seems to have had more outside rides (33%) than the normal Fahey apprentice, indeed he is 4 from 9 for John Quinn, rode Basem for Godolphin in the £150K John Smiths Cup and has been put up by the likes of David Pipe and Tim Easterby.


Have the wheels come off at Freemason Lodge in July?

April 2016  13-57  23% +1.26  May  17-73  23% -15.09  June  18-73  25% +39.48  July  5-37  14% -24.50

In the last fourteen days #SuperStoute has had three winners, eleven seconds and four thirds plus ten beaten favourites! Has the handicapper caught up with his three year olds? Are his Group horses good enough?

Monitoring the situation closely!


So what trainers are in form? Timeform make three suggestions a week and they mentioned Keith Dalgleish and he is interesting. In the last fourteen days he has sent out twenty runners returned at odds of 5/1 and less, nine of them have won and eight of them won in Scotland!!

Racing today at Ayr and Dalgleish has 4.40 Falcon Fire (6/4) and 5.10 Toffee Apple (5/4) and possibly 2.30 Forever a Lady (5/1 ish), tomorrow he has runners at Musselburgh.


Here is a piece I wrote last week but didn’t get round to posting, still relevant.

#startracking Midsummer AntePost Special Wednesday July 13th

I have got three C2 handicaps in my sights, the 7F International at Ascot on Saturday July 23rd, the 8F Betfred Mile at glorious Good wood on Friday 29th July and 6F Stewards Cup a day later at the same meeting.

My normal modus operandi is to try to find an improver with ten pounds in hand who will go on to success at Group level. That method still underpins my selections but they are becoming increasingly difficult to find for a series of reasons. Firstly improvers tend to be 3yo’s and they are finding it increasingly more difficult to get into these C2 all age handicaps with the weight for age allowances. Secondly many of the horses running in these races are geldings and the prize money on offer makes it more sensible to go for the big handicaps than try Listed/Group company. Thirdly to get a run you are probably looking at an Official Rating of 95+ which means you have already had a 10lb rise if not more somewhere along the line.

For instance looking at the 7F form it would be no surprise if Majestic Moon and/or Mutawathea set the race up for the likes of Heavens Steps, Flash Fire, Buckstay or Heavens Guest but they are all OR100+ horses now and if you backed one you could just as easily make a case for the other five! So I’m looking for some new kids on the block.

Growl                                        Bought out of the Hannon yard at the end of last season. A useful 2yo, second in a G2, he had rather lost his way as a 3yo. One of four Fahey inmates to run in the C2 6F sprint at Ripon. Had a coming together with stablemate Eccleston out of the stalls which put them at the back of the main group and did well to weave a passage through. Of Fahey’s runners the newcomer to the yard, Growl (OR89), did best. He has some interesting 3yo form, 5L off Limato in a G3 at Ascot! Quicker ground, stiffer track and he could be a player. He won on debut at two but hasn’t won in ten runs since. A nice 0-90 C3 6F on quicker ground could restore confidence. He’s a hold up horse so hopefully Dr K. won’t take him to Chester!! He got his conditions at Leicester and won well, followed it up in good style at Windsor on ground I thought would be too soft for him and then when returned to the big time handicaps ran a cracking fourth in the C2 7F Bunbury Cup on Newmarkets July course on really quick ground. Now rated OR100 he could choose between the 7F International or the 6F Stewards Cup. He is a horse in cracking form and if it was my choice I would run him at Ascot with MacNamara claiming 5lbs in the saddle.

Currently 20/1 with Betfred and WH ¼ 1,2,3,4 for the International at Ascot and I will suggest a one star* each way Ante Post wager!

Hold Tight                Godolphin owned 4yo gelded son of Exceed and Excel. Just had six career starts, he won on debut over 7F at Leicester on Soft ground last October, went straight into a C2 7F handicap on the sand at Lingfield off OR86 finishing second to Crazy Chic, returned to the leafy Surrey venue to win a C3 6F handicap in January

Next seen at Ascot in May for the 7F C2 Victoria Cup and the form book says he finished last of 26. However that doesn’t tell half the story. He was sent off just 8/1 third favourite suggesting he had being doing something at home, he was squeezed for room at the furlong pole and then heavily eased and such a competitive race may have come just a little too soon. His penultimate start was on the Tapeta at Newcastle in a C2 &F handicap when wearing a hood for the first time he kept on well to be second to Miss bossy Boots. Last time out he was sixth at Newmarket to Swift Approval in the C2 7F Silver Bunbury Cup beaten less than three lengths and hooded again sent off 11/4 favourite. With his current OR 97 he is number 36 on the International list and number 46 on the Stewards Cup list. He is 16/1 with Coral and Betfred ¼ 1,2,3,4 for the Stewards Cup at Goodwood and I will suggest a one star* each way Ante Post wager! I could see him at Goodwood most probably in the Stewards Consolation!

Tabarrak                       Here is a radar horse that has everything I am looking for! A potential Group horse whose only two entries are in handicaps, the International and the Betfred Mile. At the end of last season I put in my notebook “ Tabarrak was 2nd to Tashweeq (Listed winner since) on debut and was a convincing winner of a 7F maiden at Newbury. Richard Hannon could have a useful miler on his hands. OR97” He opened up this season with a neck second off level weights to Thikriyaat who went on to win the G2 Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot! Tabarrak was collared late on after leading for most of the seven-furlong contest and a drop back to six could be in the offing for him. “It looked like he got outstayed,” said Angus Gold, racing manager to owner Hamdan Al Maktoum. “His pedigree and his size and his shape all suggest he has the speed for six so perhaps that’s the way he’ll go.” Well he didn’t he went to Ascot for a C2 7F 3yo handicap and my trusty notebook says Hasn’t finished out of the first two in four starts to date but has only won once. Tip top form at Newmarket last time and I think he could be a Group horse in a handicap off OR97. My only doubt is whether his optimum trip may be a furlong shorter? I fancy him here.

1st           3/1 Raced on own in middle of track. Led from 4F out, quickened 1F out and just held on. OR97104 may have put an end to his handicapping days. Holds an entry in the 6F G1 Commonwealth Cup.”

Tabarrak races prominently, can quicken, then guts it out. Sounds ideal Heritage handicap material! He is number 24 on the International list and number 36 on the Betfred Mile list. So where is he going to run? He is already a course and distance winner at Ascot on quick ground, he hasn’t run since May suggesting they are looking after that mark (or he has had an issue?), they were thinking of going back to 6F suggesting the Betfred Mile would be the least likely option. The stats throw up a word of caution inasmuch that 3yo’s are 0 from 27 in the last 10 years but with four placed with a lack of experience counting against them in a big field competitive handicap at that stage of their career. Currently 16/1 general ¼ 1,2,3,4 for the International at Ascot and I will suggest a two star** each way Ante Post wager!


Going Update: Ascot Racecourse ‏@Ascot  · Monday 12 noon

Going is Good to Firm, Good in places, watering ahead of #KingGeorge VI w/e


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