Weekly Eye-Catchers – Horse Racing

horse racing

Hi all,

This week’s column not only looks at last week’s horses for your trackers but I also will identify a trainer whose horses at the York Dante Festival must be kept onside and I have a selection for next weekend’s big race the Group 1 Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury. We had some good horse racing at Chester last week and at Ascot on Saturday.

Tempest Roars Into Ascot

The Victoria Cup was won in good style by the William Haggas trained Fastnet Tempest who was given a confident ride by Josephine Gordon. A nice winner for the column and this is what I wrote about the horse after his recent seasonal reappearance at Newbury in the Spring Cup.

“The four year old looks set to win a decent handicap this season. Lightly raced for his age this was just he is 8th career start and he looks on a handy mark based on his 3rd place in the Spring Cup. Looked like he had come with a winning run between the final two furlongs but was just run out of it in the shadow of the post, this was his first run since August so he should benefit from it although it’s worth pointing out he has run well off a lay off in the past”.

In last week’s column, I mentioned that Aiden O’Brien favourites were worth backing at Chester’s May Festival and he didn’t let us down this year. The trainer had 5 favourites and 3 of them winning for a level stakes profit of 2.8pts. Not a massive profit granted but a profit nonetheless.

Interestingly Aiden O’ Brien doesn’t have the best of records at the York’s Dante meeting. In the last ten years he is – 2 winners from 25 runners 8% -6.5 A/E 0.37 10 places 40% and looking at the last five years he is – 0 wins from 10 runners 4 places 40%. You have to go back to 2010 for his last winner.

York Dante May Festival Trainer To Follow

John Gosden is the trainer who has his runners ready and primed for a big run at this meeting. Since 2012 the trainer is 10 winners from 32 runners 31% +15.1 A/E 1.39 16 places 50%. If we focus solely on his runners between 7f and 1m 2 ½ f he is 10 winners from 23 runners 43% +24.1 A/E 1.84 14 places 61%. I would be happy to follow any of those qualifiers but for those of you looking to back his favourites, he is 5 winners from 8 runners 62% +9.22 A/E 1.71 7 places 87%. Will John Gosden enhance his excellent strike rate this year?

Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes (Group 1) – Newbury – Saturday 20th May

Trends Profile:

Looking at the 10 year trends for the race the best profile for a likely winner are:

Age: 4 or 5 year old
Official Rated: 113+
Distance Wins: 1+
Last Race Placing: 1st to 5th
Days Since Last Run: 180 to 300 Days

Ribchester trained by Richard Fahey is the ante-post favourite in most bookmaker lists. A Group 1 winner at Deauville last season over a mile, the four year old ended last season with a close-up second to Minding at Ascot and will be tough to beat if the rain comes before the weekend.

Last years 2000 Guineas winner Galileo Gold could well make his seasonal reappearance and he came to hand early last season. His form tailed off on his last two starts and he is held by Ribchester on his Ascot and Deauville runs. Better can be expected and I wouldn’t be surprised if he reversed form with the Fahey horse here.

The one that appeals to me at the prices each way is the Martyn Meade trained Aclaim. The 4 year old progressed well last season from handicap company to winning a Group 2 at Newmarket on his last start October. That win came over 7f but he did win on his sole start over a mile, albeit in a handicap. Has won on good to firm but his trainer indicated last year that he was better on ground not so fast and indeed the colt is 2 wins from 2 runners on soft. Looks the sort to do well at four and given he has a good turn of foot he could well be up to winning at Group 1 level.

Ante Post Selection: Aclaim – 12/1 available.

The Eyecatchers

This week I have four horses for your trackers this week I will be adding three more tracker horses ready to win exclusively for Eyecatcher Pro subscribers.

This week’s horses include my fancy for the Epsom Derby and it’s not the most obvious one from this powerful stable.

Wednesday 10th May


Magic Circle – Ralph Beckett – Probably the unluckiest horse in the Chester Cup. The five year old was drawn out wide in stall 18 and also made his effort out wide approaching the straight but he was staying on best off all and did really well to finish as close as he did in 5th, beaten just 2 ½ lengths. He wins his fair share of races 5 wins from 14 runs 8 places and is arguably better with some juice in the ground as he is 4 wins from 8 runs 6 places when soft appears in the going description. He can surely land a nice staying handicap this season on the evidence of this performance.

Thursday 11th May


Venice Beach – Aiden O’Brien – The colt came into the Chester Vase after an easy win in a Tipperary maiden on his seasonal reappearance. He might not have beaten the strongest field here, just finishing ahead of two of his stablemates. The three year old is improving with each race, stays 1m 4f no problem and although he was workmanlike here he doesn’t look the sort of horse who will ever win races by big margins. My instinct after the race was that he was a possible St Leger winner but after a bit of thought I am coming round to thinking he will go well in the Derby if he runs. His half sister Danedream who won an Arc and a King George and got better with experience. He handled Chester track very well and shouldn’t have any problems with Epsom. By no means is he a certain Derby runner and connections do seem to have stronger contenders in Churchill and Cliffs of Moher but I have had an each way nibble at 20s with Betfair Sportsbook in the hope he does run and there is plenty of 16s for those interested in a punt.

Friday 12th May


Lat Hawil – Keith Dalgleish – Finished 7 lengths behind his stablemate Sound Advice in this 7 ½ f Class 2 handicap but his 7th placing doesn’t do him justice as he was still travelling well enough when he didn’t get the best of runs inside the final furlong. The six year old has plenty of ability but he is on a long losing run and has yet to win in 12 starts since moving to his present trainer. On the best of last season’s form, he looks on a winnable mark when all the cards fall right for him. Both his career wins have come on good to firm as have all his best runs. Knocking on the door and a drop back to Class 3 company could pay dividends.


Oceane – Alan King – A welcome return to form for the 5 year old who had looked out of sorts on his first three starts of 2017. Under top weight of 10-3 he stayed on well to take 2nd and would probably have preferred a strong early gallop than he got here. At his best on quick ground both his flat wins have come on good to firm – 2 wins from 7 runs 5 places and he is 2 wins from 6 runs 4 places when racing 16 to 30 days since his last run. Still 4lb higher than for his last win over 2m at York back in August but he looks like he can be competitive off around this sort of mark when he gets a good test of stamina over 2m on fast ground.

All that’s left is to wish you a profitable weeks punting


John Burke

I have a MA in International Politics and having spent a number of years working in political campaigning but I eventually I realised that politics was not the world where I wanted to work I had been interested in horse racing since the late 1980s but in the early years I was merely just betting and watching racing like most people as a bit of fun and a hobby, then the hobby becomes a passion and that’s what happened to me with horse racing. I soon realised that to make money from my hobby I had to learn as much as I could about the sport and betting in general. The whole process took time but after a number of successful years of betting, I decided in 2011 to take the plunge, gave up my full time day job and decided to bet on horse racing as a part time business and I haven’t looked back since. I like to specialise in the better class of races and I love to solve the puzzles posed by big field handicaps the latter races often provide punters with great value betting opportunities. Whilst most of my time is spent reviewing previous races I like to keep things as simple as possible as even the biggest field handicaps can usually be pruned down to half a dozen strong contenders with the right sort of approach.
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