Weekly Eyecatchers

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For those of you have subscribed to the Eyecatcher Pro tool you would have been delighted with a big winner at York as Shared Equity deservedly got his head in front, having run so consistently this summer. A 7/1 SP isn’t to be sniffed at but hopefully you were on at 20/1 that was available in the morning with a few bookmakers. Someone mentioned that 22/1 was available in a place but I have to say that I only managed to get on at 20/1! This is what I wrote about Shared Equity after his run at Goodwood:

“In a race which will be worth looking at, as there are a couple horses that can win races in the coming weeks, I am singling out Shared Equity who has been a model of consistency this season but keeps going up in the weights without winning and this close up third place means he will likely go up in the weights again a 1lb or two. He didn’t have the best of draws out in stall 14 but still managed to get into a decent position, albeit caught out wide for most of the way. Soft ground really suits the four year old and a strongly run 7f looks his optimum distance. Connections still think he can take one of these valuable handicaps and he is another who could be aimed at the big sprint handicaps at the Western Meeting. For me he would want the ground to be pretty testing if he was to win over 6f there”.

The ground at Ayr was a shade too quick for him and the return to ground that was nearer to soft than good was just perfect for the horse. Connections had said earlier this season that he was capable of landing a decent pot when he got his ideal ground and on Saturday he did.

Once again a good example why you should put horses in trackers such as Eyecatcher Pro and get on those big priced winners.

For those of you who have subscribed to the Eyecatchers Pro tool there is a bonus of three extra horses that can win races both on the all weather and over jumps in the coming weeks

Wednesday 7th October


Mystical Sapphire – Jo Crowley – The five year old was having her first start since July and wasn’t well drawn being on the outside of the 12 strong field. The mare also wasn’t suited by the way the race was run either. There was a modest early gallop and it paid to be up with the pace. Held up at the back she also raced wide in the straight so did well finish as close as she did. All three of her career wins have come over 7f at Kempton although she hasn’t won since October 2013. Off a mark of 75 here the mare is 9lbs below her last winning mark. Well handicapped if she can build on this run and looks capable of winning a modest handicap at Kempton over the winter. All three of her wins have come between October & January.

King Massini – Evan Williams – The nine year old was returning from his summer break and was well backed before the race to make a winning seasonal reappearance. He was bang there till three out when he hit that fence fairly hard, so lost any chance he had at that point and had to settle for 4th at the finish. Another who hasn’t won for nearly two years which means the nine year old is back on a good handicap mark, 6lb lower than when last winning at Ludlow. Suited by good or good to soft going and three miles over fences he has won twice at the track and connections clearly like to see him run there. There is another handicap chase in him.

Friday 9th October

Newton Abbot

Henryville – Harry Fry – A very high class handicap hurdler who was an excellent 4th in the three mile Pertemps Handicap at the Cheltenham Festival. Won on his chase debut at Fontwell but there were only two runners and his sole opponent fell at the second so it turned into a schooling exercise for the horse. This was really his first chasing start and he did well to run the useful Irish Cavalier as close as he did. A lack of experience over fences showed when the race began in earnest but his jumping got better as the race progressed. Arguably his best form over hurdles came in big field handicaps which tend to suit his hold up style. Likely to go for a race at Cheltenham at the end of the month to gain more experience. Doesn’t like the ground soft so won’t be seen over the winter but is one to note come the spring and would be very interesting for one of the big handicaps at the Cheltenham Festival!


Materialistic – Luca Cumani – In a year where there look to be some very decent juvenile fillies around and trainer Luca Cumani seems to have his fair share. His two year olds normally need a run or two before winning so it was highly encouraging that this daughter of Oasis Dream was able to win first time up. Always up with the pace, she travelled well taking it up at the furlong point and only had to be ridden out to win with this 7f maiden race. Her trainer described her as “nice prospect for next year”. One for next season and if she winters well there should be plenty of improvement to come from her. There is stamina on the dam’s side but she looks a miler to me. Can win races at listed or even Group level next year!

Saturday 10th October


Box Office – Jonjo O’Neill – The four year old was an expensive purchase from France for connections last November. This was his 5th start since coming over from France and he caught my eye when running respectably in big field handicaps at the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals in the spring. At Cheltenham was well fancied for the Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle, when backed into favouritism, but could only finish 7th. Both those runs came on good going and he could be a better horse on softer going. He made his seasonal reappearance in the valuable two mile handicap although eventually finishing a well beaten 6th his jockey wasn’t hard on him when he knew his chance had gone. He ran once over 2m 4f back in April when finishing third on his final start of last season and he looks worth another ago at that sort of trip. There should be a handicap hurdle in him when facing 2m 4f plus and softer going which he won in France.


Mix and Mingle – Chris Wall – The daughter of Exceed and Excel followed up a recent win in a Lingfield maiden with an even better performance to take what had looked a competitive nursery on paper. Her trainer had expressed concern about the easy ground for his filly and also said she had gone in her coat but despite those reservations she ran out an impressive winner. Suited by the strong pace she travelled really powerfully and although she didn’t get the clearest of runs two furlongs out she still showed a good turn off foot inside the final furlong to win by an easy looking 1 ¼ lengths. Her half sister improved with time and racing and there is every chance she will too. Another to put in your trackers for next season and trainer indicated after the race that she will probably be at her best in the summer and on better ground. The Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot has been mooted as a possible target next year.

Steve Rogers – Roger Varian – Has been a progressive stayer for connections this season winning five races. Drawn out wide in the Cesarewitch he didn’t have much chance from his draw and then had to try to find away through the big field in the final stages. In the circumstances he did well to finish as close as he did when beaten just 3 ¼ lengths at the finish. A winner at Chester over two miles on his previous start he could well be targeted at next years Chester Cup as there shouldn’t be any problems with the trip and I think there is still a bit more to come from the horse.

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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