Weekly Eyecatchers

Not as many winners this week for the notebook but Karaka Jack won the Silver Cambridgeshire on Friday at 14/1. I had him in mind for a race next month at Redcar but this race cut up and it probably was about as competitive as the Redcar one will be. It’s been a long time between drinks for Shootingsta who was only having his third race since been put in my notebook at the beginning June but he was a good winner at 5/1 at Musselburgh on Sunday. It seems so long since I put him in the notebook. This is what I wrote after his run at Pontefract:

“A winner at Redcar over 6f on his previous start. This was his first run in a handicap again over 6f. Doing all his best work at the finish he ran better that his finishing position of 6th suggests. Really needs an extra furlong but is still lightly raced and can win more races as a three year old”

A reader recently asked me if I do my eyecatchers over the winter. Yes, I tend to concentrate on the jumps over the winter, in particular I like three mile plus handicap chases but I also like to keep an eye on the all weather, with Kempton’s evening meetings during the winter being a particular favourite of mine. So although most of the weekly eyecatchers will be from the National Hunt sphere there will be one or two each week from the all weather meetings.

A slight change in emphasis this week as I have added five juveniles who ran in Newmarket maiden races last week. As I mentioned in last week column the flat season is now entering its final phase and I am looking to add horses for next year. There still will be the odd flat turf eyecatcher for this season but they are very much on the decrease now.

Thursday 24th September


Two Hugo Palmer trained newcomers caught my eye in the one mile maiden race that opened the card at last weeks Cambridgeshire meeting. In a race where it paid to be handy both ran well considering their positions at the back of the field

Mengli Khan – Hugo Palmer – A son of Lope De Vega and a half brother to the smart two year old filly Chriselliam. The colt was well fancied before the race going off only 7/1. He ran very green in the early part of the race but was staying nicely inside the final furlong to finish a close up 3rd. Entered for the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster and next years Derby. He is clearly held in high regard and will win races.

To Be Wild – Hugo Palmer – Drifted in the market before the race going off at 33/1. Like his stablemate he holds Racing Post Trophy and Derby entries. A son of Big Bad Bob he also was very green during the race but he was another to stay on nicely inside the final furlong to take 5th. The colt wasn’t given a hard time and will improve a lot for this tender introduction to racing.

Friday 25th September


C Note – Martyn Meade – A trainer who I rate highly and he usually send his best juveniles to Newmarket. In the past 5 years he is 4-8 with his juveniles at the course and if you had backed them all you would have made 72pts level stakes profit. He doesn’t have a lot of horses in his yard and his two year olds to tend to go under the radar when running here as far as the betting public is concerned. C Note has plenty of speed in his pedigree so it was a bit of a surprise to see him make his debut over 7f. Only beaten a short head and head into 3rd. He seemed to get the trip well enough and this was a race of real promise for the future. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him run here again later in the season. A maiden should be a formality for the son Iffraaj and he is definitely one to have in your trackers for next year.

Saturday 26th September


A couple of fillies who should get better with racing caught my eye in the two divisions of 7f fillies maiden race.

Aristocratic – Sir Michael Stoute – Was well fancied to win this race after her debut 3rd to Rockfel winner Promising Run. She was unable to repay her backers and had to settle for a staying on third, the first three pulled clear of the rest so I think the form of this division looks decent. The daughter of Exceed and Excel, a half sister to the same connections Ladyship is highly regarded by her trainer. He described her after the race as “a lovely, scopey filly…..a bit leggy and a bit weak at the moment, but we like her. It´s too early to tell what she´ll turn into, but she´s nice”. She looks one for next year!

Malmoosa – Brian Meehan – Ran in the second division of the fillies race and this daughter of Shamardal shaped with a good deal of promise on her racecourse debut. She was slow away but made some steady headway inside the final furlong to finish a never nearer 8th at the finish. Given a nice introduction she wasn’t given a hard time and as a half sister to a couple of middle distance winners she should do better with time and when facing a longer trip. Looks a potential handicap project in the making!


Zalty – Ismail Mohammed – The five year old had yet to hit form for his new trainer on his previous starts and indeed hasn’t won since he was a three year old. A talented individual who is now well handicapped on his best form of last year which included a ½ length second to Line of Reason at the Curragh, a close up 4th to Muthmir at York and then a head second to Watchable once again in a valuable handicap at the Curragh. He was running off a 5lb lower mark than for that run here and ran his best race in some time when finishing strongly to take 3rd at the finish. His previous best form had come on quicker ground but he showed here he can handle soft ground too. Like last year he shaped like fast run big field 7f or 6f on a stiff track will suit. His three best runs last year came in blinkers which he hasn’t worn for his new trainer! A 2-4 record on the all weather in Ireland shows he is also effective on the synthetics. Given his connections we could see him go to Meydan for the Carnival.

Good luck with your betting this week and as ever if you have any questions or comments leave a message and I will reply to them in next week’s article.

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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