Weekly Eye-Catchers – Horse Racing

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A good weekend if you’re an Eyecatcher Pro subscriber as Secret Brief took the first big turf handicap of the horse racing season at 12/1 with 16/1 available with plenty of firms in the morning. Hopefully this will be the first of many more successes this summer as I will be targeting this summers big handicap’s for subscribers.

This is what I wrote in my tracker notes about Lincoln winner Secret Brief:

“Was slowly away from the stalls and did well to finish a close up 3rd on his second start at Meydan. Was finishing best of all and is handicapped to take a race of his present mark”.

He was handicapped to win and I was surprised to see him double the price of his stablemate who was a length ahead of him when they raced at Meydan last time. I had a sight concern about the really soft ground for the horse, but he was well backed before the off which assuaged my concerns. Just wish I had taken the 16s. I hope you did?

In last weeks column I also highlighted the claims of the Jedd O’Keefe trained Instant Attraction who I thought was a live outsider for the Lincoln. For those who didn’t see it last week, this is what I wrote about Instant Attraction:

“The five year old stays the mile and likes some cut in the ground, both career wins on turf have come on soft, and the horse is 2 wins 6 places from 8 runs when soft appears in the going description. Ran well to be a close up 3rd over 7f at last years Lincoln meeting and his trainer usually has his runners well forward in April. Can go well at a big price!”

He didn’t get into the Lincoln but ran in the Spring Mile and I couldn’t believe he was 40/1 with a couple of BOG bookmakers in the morning. Hopefully, like me, some of you had a nice each way bet at that price and he ran well to take 3rd at the finish. All in all then it was a great start to the flat turf!

Until the flat season really begins in earnest with the Craven Meeting at Newmarket in the middle of the month my eyecatchers will be on the low side and so it is this week but I will be adding a few extra eyecatchers for each day of the Aintree’s Grand National Festival, like I did for Cheltenham.

Before looking at this week’s eyecatchers I will begin with a brief look at Saturday’s racing at Doncaster and look at what I consider are some of the key trends for Saturday’s Grand National.

Weekend Review – Lincoln Winner No Secret For Eyecatcher Pro Subscribers!

Lord Of The Rock was gelded over the winter by trainer Michael Dods and the operation certainly looks to have done the trick as the four year old took the Spring Mile with an all the way win. Evidently well regarded by connections who think he can progress further to win more races and he clearly likes testing ground.

Secret Brief took the Lincoln for Godolphin with a battling display to just head Bravo Zola before the line. As I mentioned earlier the four year old had looked on a winnable mark before the race and showed a good attitude to win. It will now be interesting to see how much the handicapper puts him up for this win.

The listed Cammidge Trophy was won by the Mick Channon trained Mobsta. The four year old had looked a bit unlucky on his final start of last season over C&D. Lightly raced and he likes soft ground. He has an entry in the Duke of York Stakes at York’s Dante meeting in May over 6f and if we have a wet spring he can be competitive.

Grand National Pointers

For me the Grand National is the highlight of the jumps season. Always a fiercely competitive cavalry charge, you need plenty of luck to find the winner so I thought I would have a look at some of the key trends for the race.

Last years winner Many Clouds was a bit of a “trends buster” last year as he won carrying 11-09 and was an 8 year old and since 1997 no horse had carried as much as Many Clouds or was under 9 years of age. He bids for a second win in the race and could well become the first horse since Red Rum to win the race again.

Here are some of key trends:

Age – 9/10 winners were between 9 and 11 years of age and 39/40 placed horses were aged 8 to 11 – I will be surprised if a horse wins over 11 or one wins under 8 years of age!

Weight – 5/10 winners carried 11-00 plus with 14 placed horses from just 121 runners. – In recent years the race looks to be going the way of higher weighted horses.

Official Ratings – In last 7 renewals horses rated 143 or higher are: 6-17-185.

Other interesting trends:

– 10/10 winners had won a chase 3m +

– 10/10 winners had run since National weights were announced

– 10/10 winners had run in 10 + chases

– 10/10 winners had won 1 to 3 handicap chases

– 8/10 winners posted an RPR of 146+ on last chase start

I am sure this year’s winner will be horse that meets the above trends.

I have already advised the Jim Dreaper trained Goonyella for the race at 20/1. Last years Midland Grand National on heavy ground he then went on to finish 2nd in the Scottish Grand National on good ground. The nine year old isn’t a ‘mudlark’ by any means as his Ayr run showed but the more testing the ground the more its slows the others down and his trainer said after Ayr “On this sort of going he really needs eight miles”. Let’s hope the showers forecast for the area hit Aintree this week. I am happy with Goonyella although I will probably have a couple of others running for me come the day.

This Weeks Eyecatchers

Saturday 2nd April


Udododontu – Saeed Bin Suroor – I was surprised to see the four year old made favourite for the Lincoln Handicap even though he had run well in Dubai. Was bought by Godolphin after an excellent 2nd in the Britannia Handicap at Royal Ascot for his previous trainer. A good 2nd at Meydan on his previous start finishing just ahead of the Lincoln winner Secret Brief. The market suggested that he is thought capable of his career high mark. Travelled well through the race but didn’t find anything from three out and was eased up by his jockey. Clearly he didn’t like the testing ground he faced here. Has only had 9 career starts, stays a mile well but should do well on a stiff 7f as long as he gets good ground all three of his career wins have come on good or good to firm going.

Injam – Jedd O’Keeffe – Will probably have gone into plenty of notebooks after this eyecatching run in the maiden race. Having his 3rd start he was finishing best of all to take 2nd behind a useful winner. Will be interesting to see how the handicapper reacts to this run as the winner looks useful but the 4th home came into the race rated only 65 and was only beaten just over three lengths by Injam. Granted he made headway past tired horses and plenty of the field didn’t handle the going but this was still a good run as he still looked inexperienced when asked for his effort. Gelded over the winter, he has trained on from two to three and clearly is effective on soft/heavy ground. On the evidence of this run he should be capable of getting further than 1m 2f he faced here. If the handicapper is fair then his shrewd trainer will find an opening for him in the coming weeks.

All that’s left is to wish you a profitable betting week with the Grand National just days away.

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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