Weekly Eye-Catchers – Horse Racing

horse racing

Hi all,

This week’s column not only looks at last week’s horses to include in your trackers but firstly I will have a quick peek at next weekend’s Derby and Oaks pictures.

Hit The Beach On Derby Day!

Those of you who are regular readers of the column will know that I have already given selections for both races. I put the Aiden O’Brien trained Venice Beach, up ante post at 20/1 for the Derby and the Andrew Balding trained filly Horseplay at 14/1 for the Oaks. It looks like both are heading for their respective races next weekend which is good news.

I am hoping the going is good or quicker on the day for Venice Beach but it may pay to keep an eye on the weather. If the going was to have soft in the going description you would have to be interested in Godolphin’s Dubai Thunder. The colt has only had the one career start when winning a Newbury maiden by a long looking ten lengths. That win came on soft ground and all his siblings, including 1m 2f Champion Stakes winner Farrh, have been better horses with some ease in the going. The son of Dubawi should be fine over the extra distance of the Derby and on good to soft or worse would have to be on the shortlist. Mind you he may not even run and of course, it’s a massive step up from a Newbury maiden to win a Derby. Some 13 horses in the past 20 years have tried to win the race after just one start all have been beaten and just two have placed. The last one to try was another Godolphin horse Rewilding, who was 3rd in 2010 but you have to go back to Lammtarra’s win in 1995 for the last horse to win a Derby after just the one career start. Interestingly enough Lammtarra, was like Dubai Thunder, trained by Saeed Bin Suroor for the Godolphin operation.

Despite an interest in the claims of the Godolphin horse, I am still hopeful of a big run from Venice Beach on decent ground and he remains my number one Derby contender!

The Eyecatchers

I have five horses this week that I believe you should be tracking over the next coming months:

Thursday 25th May


Shady McCoy – Ian Williams – Was an eye catcher when finishing 4th at Ascot on his previous start and he was once again here when 4th of 10 in this Class 2 handicap over 7f. The 7 year old was slowly away from the stalls and held up in the rear off a moderate early pace. He likes to come with a strong late finish so has to be ridden this way, which always makes him a hostage to the draw or luck in running. He was finishing best of all at the line but he had made his effort widest of all in the straight and from just too far back. Some useful stats to note he is 5 wins from 9 runs +21.75 7 places in June to August, he is 5 wins 18 runs +13.75 10 places on good or good to firm going and he is 6 wins from 16 runs +22.25 10 places when racing 16 to 60 days since his last run. Looks on a competitive mark, being only 2lb higher than for his last win and there are races in him when all the cards fall right.


Algometer – David Simcock – The four year old was having his first start for 235 days when finishing second in the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard. I noted him staying on nicely at the finish. The ground would have been plenty quick enough for the colt that looks to have improved from three to four. He also looks like he can improve further with a step up in trip to 1m 4f plus, has already won over 1m 3f, and easier ground. Should benefit from this run and he will always appreciate coming off a good strong pace as he lacks the change of gear required to win a tactical race. Can surely win more races in Group company this season.

Friday 26th May


Vibrant Chords – Henry Candy – The four year old had no luck in the run when 6th on his seasonal reappearance at Newmarket in April but followed that up with a decisive win at Goodwood over 5f. Up to 6f here and 4lb higher in the weights, the gelding ran just as well here, staying on well inside the final furlong to finish 2nd. Has form on a soft surface but seems most effective on good or quicker ground – 2 wins from 9 runs 6 places. Now has from figures of 12 at Goodwood so maybe the trainer will look to aim him at a race like the Stewards Cup. Still looks on a workable mark when he gets his conditions.

Saturday 27th May


Medahim – Richard Hannon – The three year old was only having his 4th career start in this 7f handicap. A winner on racecourse debut at Kempton last December, he returned from a break in April to finish a good 2nd at Wolverhampton on his handicap debut before running poorly on his first start on turf at Sandown. This was a welcome return back in the right direction for the colt who ran really well considering he was held up in a moderately run race and didn’t get the best of run inside the final furlong. In the circumstances his ¾ length second can be marked up. Maybe the good to firm going sparked his return to form, the Sandown surface had been well watered before racing, and if he can build on this effort can win a handicap or two.

The Cashel Man – David Simcock – The 5 year old always seems to be finishing off his races well so it could be that he is a bit of a late headway ‘monkey’ and not to be trusted. Once again he was doing all his best work at the finish when 3rd over 1m 6f. This trip is now too short for the gelding who was 4th in last year’s Cesarewitch over 2m 2f. If he is to add to his three career wins this season, it will come when racing over 2m+ and on a sound surface being 3 wins from 12 runs 8 places on good or good to firm ground. He is one to note when he gets a thorough stamina test with the big staying handicap at Royal Ascot possibly his next race. Worth mentioning he is 2 wins from 7 runs 5 places when racing within 30 days of his last start.

All that’s left is to wish you a profitable week 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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