Friday nearly started with a flyer, thanks to Martin Chuzzlewit putting his best foot forward to run far better than he has ever done before. He finished second in the end, beaten by just half-a-length and did best of those who raced up with the pace, by a long way as well. It took him an age to pick up in the straight and he didn't really want to know once taking over, looking awkward under pressure. The way that he galloped on to the line after that was impressive though and it's easy to see why he has a visor on, as he's certainly not giving it his all. There's more to come from him, with experience likely to help bring it out. Good effort.
Dubai Prince showed just how useful he is on his day by scoring cosily in the Group 3 Strensall Stakes, enhancing Godolphin's already brilliant record in the race. The way that he travelled into contention was good and once set down for the drive, he picked up nicely to hit the front, then changed his legs and put a gap between him and the rest. At that point he idled, but had the race in safe keeping and wasn't going to be for catching. A step back up in grade is on the agenda and hopefully he can go on to prove that this was no fluke, but he does seem to need everything going for him. He's class on occasions and was here.
There was oceans of money for Bonnie Charlie at Newmarket but he got little cover on the wide-outside and was one-paced under pressure having tried to get into contention. He looked all at sea on the track and it may be the case that he's a real flat track performer nowadays, so is worthy of consideration when returning to such a place. Hopefully that will be at Ayr, as I am convinced that he'll be winning again soon.
Jeannie Galloway was backed under the assumption that she'd be bang there on the speed, so I can't tell you how annoying it was to see Joe Fanning hold her up. She was never going to be seen to best effect under such tactics and I'd guess that connections are delighted with the run, as she'll stay on the same mark and go back for the Ayr Bronze Cup off a rating that she can be victorious. She came home in fourth place, which is very decent under the circumstances and it will be a perfect tune-up for Ayr's meet.
+2.00pts on the day. Form of last 10 selections; 8-2-0-0-4-1-2-1-0-4 (2 winners & 3 places).
Not overly keen on anything today but have still found three who are worth backing at the prices. Hopefully one of them could oblige and with me turning a year older today, a bit of luck might come about, please! I usually never pick winners on consecutive days though, never mind three in a row, so the signs could be ominous. Would be nice to prove that wrong and at least things are starting to look up over the past few weeks. Only problem is that we're awful unlucky to have landed on 5 seconds from the last 23 selections, and at fancy odds too (11/1, 14/1, 20/1, 20/1 & 25/1). During another month, a couple of those could have went in and we'd be laughing. I suppose that, at the end of the day, it's a long-term venture and there will come runs where everything goes our way, which I'm hoping isn't too far off returning. Patience always led us well in the past and like everyone on a bad run in the punting game, we just have to bide our time. The last few weeks have been encouraging though and, more importantly, I have got my confidence back, so let's hope that we can keep it going into September and beyond. Have a good day folks and take it handy.
Beacon Lodge, as a betting proposition, comes with an ocean of risk as it's pretty impossible to gauge his current well-being on what will be his first outing for over three months. Added to that is the fact that this 7-year-old gelding has shown nothing on his pair of 2012 outings, since joining the Dandy Nicholls stable. However, he was the model of consistency when trained by Clive Cox, posting 17 RPR's of 101 or above, consecutively, between May of '09 and the end of last season. That means nothing here but his current connections will eventually have him back performing at something like his best and hopefully that will be now. I can't even make excuses for the horse as to why he performed so dismally on his first two outings for the yard but at least he's coming here as a fresh animal and may be showing more at home again. Connections now reach for an eye-shield as well, which is a strange move, and the yard are going a lot better now than in the months which he last raced. He is a very good Group 3 performer at his best, borderline Group 2 standard, and if Dandy has managed to coax him back to form then he could easily outclass many of this field, though it is obviously not as simple as that. Beacon Lodge has no problem with going well when fresh either and York is his sort of track (first run here; sire stats positive), so there can be no excuses as long as he's back to something like his form of last year. Rain will do his chances no harm either and despite being a risky selection, he's worthy of taking a chance on at the current prices.
Sir Michael Stoute is pulling out the visor again and Monshak is the hopeful beneficiary this time around. The thrice-raced 3-year-old filly looks just the type to relish today's test, with a big-field event over 1m 6f at a galloping track likely to be something around her optimum and she gives the impression that she's a potentially well-handicapped animal off 87, for when everything pans out to suit. As a €350,000 yearling, big things will have been hoped for the filly and so far, she has shaped like she will make up into a really good stayer in time. Her first outing came May, in which she was 3-lengths behind Great Heavens over a trip too short and although you cannot take that form literally, the victor has since went on to win a Listed event, a Group 2 and a Group 1, all easily. The path of Soute's charge hasn't been so glamorous but she won her maiden next time out, again shaping like a real stayer, before jumping up to an extended 1m 6f for her handicap debut. That was at Chester, in a race that developed into a sprint for home and I have no idea how she managed to win it, and win a shade cosily too. Everything that could have been wrong, went wrong, and it was only her game attitude that managed to see her win, becoming the first animal on the card to leave victorious having been held up. The bare form is nothing special, but the performance was. Today, she'll have the added benefit of the visor, which is an interesting move from connections given that she's completely unexposed and this more galloping track will be right up her street as well, with Chester being the sort of place where she was never going to be seen to best effect. The ground should pose no issues either and the race looks sure to be run to suit. Being berthed in stall 4 will help and she seems to have all the attributes to be highly suited by how this will pan out. Graham Lee is a grand booking and it is all pointing toward a big run. She'll have to beat her more fancied stablemate if she's to leave victorious but that doesn't look like an impossible task to me and being priced up at around the 10/1 mark is simply wrong. Regardless of what she does here, she's a filly to follow in staying events for some time to come.
This is a lottery but Harrison's Cave has sneaked in at the bottom of the weights and looks to be a lively contender for the powerful Ballydoyle outfit. The 4-year-old son of Galileo looks rather exposed, having lined up on 18 occasions but he has improved quite a lot over the past year and may not be finished yet, especially if his penultimate outing is anything to go by. That came over 1m 4f in a very hot Royal Ascot handicap, the Duke Of Edinburgh, and he ran a career-best to finish 3-lengths behind the winner in third. He would have been closer if it wasn't for not getting a run through for a whole furlong in the straight and the winner, for whom he's 7lbs better off here, made him edge right when going past. The way that he travelled through the race was quite eye-catching to say the least but he's a horse who usually takes a while to organise himself and I don't believe that the Ascot track was entirely suitable for him, so the effort may well be worthy of marking up. It also confirmed that he was still improving and could bounce back from a poor run, as he showed nothing at the Curragh on his run there a month previous. It's a similar scenario here, because he's returning from nearly two-months off the racecourse, having been last seen finishing out the back at the same venue (eased right off once beaten). This will have been his long-term target though and despite not being seen for a while, his masterful trainer will surely have him ready. The ground should be fine, the track almost certainly will suit and he'll get a race run to favour him as well. It seems as if there is no need to doubt his ability to stay either, despite how well he can travel, and it all looks perfectly set for a big run. At odds of 14/1, he is worthy of a bet and should go well, with some luck.
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