Weekly Eye-Catchers – Horse Racing

horse racing

Hi all,

The World’s Greatest Flat Racing Festival Is Here…

Royal Ascot is with us and with it five days of top class horse racing. To me it’s the best and of course most famous flat racing festival in the world and we can enjoy it from the comfort of our armchairs or sun loungers. It seems likely that the first few days will be held in sweltering heat, which won’t make it much fun for male racegoers in their top hats and morning suits nor for the equine stars who we will see race this week. But the week according to the weather forecasters is set to be mostly dry, so the ground will be on the fast side of good. Ideal flat racing ground and just what you want at a showpiece meeting like this.

Last weeks racing was high on quantity but lacking in quality as is usually the case in the period between The Derby Meeting and Royal Ascot. That said for those of us who like big field handicaps there were plenty of them around the country on Saturday most notably at Musselburgh and York.

This week’s column is slightly different before looking at last weeks horses for your trackers I will share with you another of my Royal Ascot trainer micro angles to go alongside the Sir Michael Stoute one I gave you last week.

Royal Ascot Trainer Stats: John Gosden Micro Angle

This weeks Royal Ascot trainer in focus is John Gosden. In the past 5 years he has had 95 runners at the Royal meeting, with 14 of them getting into the winners enclosure for a level stakes profit of 15.23pts and a win & place strike rate of 37%. Ten of his winners share three things in common and have provided punters with decent value betting opportunities:

Trainer: John Gosden
Odds SP: 20/1 & under
Distance Move: Same or Down ½ f
Last Time Out Placing: 1st or 2nd

Here are the results from this simple micro angle:

10 winners from 24 runners 42% +45.96 A/E 2.55 14 placed 58% +56.76 (profit to Betfair SP 64.85)

In the period under focus there have been an average of 5 bets per meeting and a profit has been made in 4 of the 5 years. Only 2013 was disappointing one with 0 wins from 3 runners 1 placed.

People often ask me how I approach Royal Ascot. Well, I will be concentrating on trainers for most of selections this week, as well as horses that I have put in my tracker as possible runners at the meeting. This very simple approach at least helps to cut down on the amount of form study and allows me time to enjoy the spectacle that is unfolding. It’s an approach that won’t appeal to everyone but it suits me just fine.

This Weeks Eyecatchers

There are just four horses to follow this week partly due to Royal Ascot research and also the family issue that I mentioned in last weeks column.

Thursday June 15th


Wind In My Sails – Ed de Giles – The five year old hadn’t shown much on his two previous starts of the season but he bounced back here with a good effort in finishing 3rd in this class4 handicap. Held up in the rear he was still travelling strongly two furlongs out but jockey Jamie Spencer couldn’t get a clear run but once he was clear inside the final furlong he stayed on well but the two who finished in front of him had got first run and were not for catching. Quick ground really suits the gelding all four of his career wins have come on good or quicker and he is 3 wins from 5 runs 4 placed on good to firm or firm going. Mid summer is his time of year with all four career wins coming between June & August – 4 winners from 10 40% +15.50 7 places 70% on good or quicker going in the months of June, July & August. Still 2lb higher than his last winning mark but on the evidence of this run there is another handicap in him before the end of August.

Friday June 16th


Dance King – Tim Easterby – The 7 year old has been running with promise since the start of the season but this was his best performance so far. Given the slow early gallop wouldn’t have suited him he did well to finish a ½ third to the useful Big Country. Held up probably wasn’t the place to be and he also wasn’t helped by not getting a clear run when making headway at the furlong mark. Once in the clear he was staying on strongly to the line. The gelding is 3lb lower than last years winning mark and although the handicapper will nudge him up a couple of pounds for this performance, he can remain competitive off this sort of mark and has a race in him sooner rather than later probably with a slight ease in class.

Saturday June 17th


Impart – David O’Meara – A winner at Navan for previous trainer Dermot Weld the three year old hasn’t been with his present trainer long but did win a small handicap at Ripon three starts back. Put behind a poor run, when dropped back to 5f, at Chester last time out, with a really good run in this valuable 6f Class 2 handicap. Sent off at odds of 40/1 the three year old certainly outran his odds when beaten just 3 ½ lengths into 6th. The high draw he had in 18 wasn’t ideal but he was still travelling as well as anything two furlongs out and was still in with a chance well inside the final furlong before his effort flattened out just before the line. Has only had 9 career starts, winning 2 of them, and there should be more races in the gelding particularly if eased slightly in grade. He is now 2 wins from 2 runs when racing 16 to 30 days since his last start.


Hidden Rebel – Alistair Whillans – In a race where the first two home were prominent all the way, being held up wasn’t really the place to be in this fillies handicap. The mare did best of those coming from off the pace in taking 3rd and did well to get within 3 lengths of the winner. This effort can be slightly marked up in the circumstances. The five year old hold no secrets from the handicapper but she is consistent and can be relied upon to run her race. All her best form has come on good or quicker, she looks a better filly going right handed 4 wins from 10 runs, including two here at Musselburgh, she is 5 wins from 21 runs when racing between 8 & 30 days since here last start and is 5 wins from 15 runs 33% +5.88 9 places 60% between June & September. For those of you who like to back horses when they get their optimum conditions these are the mares:

Track Direction: Not Left handed
Months: June to September
Race Distance: 1m & 1m ½ f
Days Since Last Run: 11 to 25

5 wins from 10 runs 50% +10.88 8 placed 80%

Granted she is still 4lb higher than for her last win and may need to drop a 1lb or two to get into the winners enclosure but when she gets her optimism conditions she won’t be far away.

Just to let you know all my Royal Ascot selections will be available by 10am each morning exclusively for Eyecatcher Pro Subscribers.

All that’s left is to wish you a profitable Royal Ascot.

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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