Weekly Eye-catchers – Horse Racing

Spark Plug Fires in Cambridgeshire For Eyecatcher Subscribers!

horse racing

What a week of horse racing for the column as Spark Plug landed the valuable Cambridgeshire Handicap. Hopefully plenty of Eyecatcher Pro subscribers took my advice and got on him at the 33/1 with Coral that I recommended after the horses run at York. Spark Plug was one of 6 winners for the service last week, including winners at 16/1 & 11/1 to give us a fantastic profit on the week.

The start of October is almost with us and it’s a transition month for me as my betting and race reading starts to concentrate more and more on the National Hunt sphere and any eyecatchers on the flat will look at horses being targeted at the big races between now and the end of the turf season or two year olds races with an eye to next year. For those of you who like your all weather eyecatchers I will be focusing this winter on Kempton and any all weather tracker horse will be exclusively for Pro subscribers, as will occasional selections from my all weather micro systems that I will share with you. If you want to be part of what looks like could a very exciting all weather campaign then you need to join the Pro service.

There was some top quality two year old racing on offer last week at Newmarket three day Cambridgeshire meeting with five significant juvenile Group races taking place alongside plenty of interesting maiden races. Between now an the end of the season it will pay to keep an eye on the many two year old maiden races that will be run on the Rowley Mile Course in the next few weeks.

Let’s start with a looking back at some of the performance that caught this pundits eye at Newmarket.

Newmarket Review

Thursday 22nd September

The meeting began on good to firm going and stayed like that for all of the meeting. Two performances stand out for me.

Eminent – Martyn Meade – The trainer enhanced his already excellent win strike rate with his two year olds at headquarters to 5 winners from 10 runners in the past 5 years with a taking display by this son of Frankel. An expensive purchase at 150,000gns the colt was making his racecourse debut here and showed a really nice change of gear at the furlong point to out the race out of his rivals reach and won by 2 ½ lengths at the finish. Looks an exciting prospect for his trainer and it looks like he will go for Group race next. Whilst he handled the quick going really well, good ground could be even better for him. Should stay a mile and a quarter and maybe further next year. One to watch out for wherever he lines up next! The second home Vantage Point looked less street wise then the winner and the John Gosden trained son of Galileo is one to keep onside next year. Like the winner he was making his racecourse debut and although no match for the winner on this occasion he has the pedigree that suggests middle distances will be his trip next year. I think this was an above average maiden and the form should pay to follow.

Frontiersman – Charlie Appleby – A good winner of Newbury maiden in July but the three year old ran below form on his handicap debut when well fancied in the market to make it a winning one. That clearly wasn’t his true running as he showed here. A son of Dubawi, out of the great race mare Ouija Board and a half brother to Derby winner Australia is bred to be better than a 90 rated horse and he showed by winning this 1m 4f handicap that he can rate a lot higher with more experience. Travelling powerfully for most of the race he took the lead at the furlong mark and soon showed a good turn of foot to win by an easy looking 4 1/2 lengths at the finish. He will be out of handicap company after this impressive win but connections see the horse as being better as a four year old and he will likely be aimed at the Cup races next year. Quick ground looks essential for the horse that is now 2/3 on good to firm.

Friday 23rd September

Two performances that stood out for me on Day 2 of the meeting both came from fillies.

Journey – John Gosden – The filly had been off the track since winning at Haydock back in May. At the start of the season the trainer had indicated that the Fillies & Mares race on Champions Day was her target for the end of the season, a race that she had finished a ¾ length 2nd in last year. Travelling well out in front the four year old she stayed onto strongly for her rivals at the finish here and goes into her next race very much still on the upgrade. There was a lot like about her attitude when her rivals were starting to close at the furlong mark. This was a good prep for Ascot and I am sure that the trainer will have left something to work on with that race in mind. The 8/1 available about her chance for the Fillies & Mares Stakes on Champions Day looks worth taking although the race could be deeper than last year if the likes of Seventh Heaven and Zhukova do go to post next month

Spain Burg – Xavier Thomas-Demeaulte – The French trained runner caused a surprise when winning the 7f Group 2 Rockel Stakes at 14/1. The filly had been running in the French Provinces this year and came into the race with 3 wins from 4 runs. In a very steadily run race the winner did well considering she was held up at the back of the field for most of the race and she should a good change of pace to win a shade cosily at the finish. This was the quickest ground she had faced but she clearly improved for it and she also handled the Newmarket dip which will be useful for next year. Who knows whether she will still be with her present connections for much longer as this performance will no doubt persuade the big owners to get their cheque books out! Trainer wants to bring her back for next years 1000 Guineas and there is every chance she will train on and be better as a three year old. The Qipco 1000 Guineas is long time away but I have added her to my ante post portfolio for that race already. The 16/1 still available with Ladbrokes looks more than fair, as I think she would be much shorter on the back of this run, if she was trained by one of the big named trainers. Fair Eva who had looked so good when winning her first two starts ran better than she did in the Lowther at York but was no match for the winner on the day. It’s too early to rule out of calculations for next year but this could be as good as she is and if there is a future classic winner it’s the winner.

Saturday 24th September

On a day which was very much a win for the bookmakers as the two Group 1 juvenile races the Middle Park Stakes for the colts and the Cheveley Park Stakes for the fillies were won by 25/1 shots but at least the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes went to the well backed favourite

Best of Days who was a very generous 5/2 with some books in the morning. The performance was more workmanlike than spectacular but he possibly found the ground a shade too quick on this occasion. He should make up into a smart three year old and I would be surprised if those who finished behind him were to beat him next year. Will stay a 1m 4f on breeding and as trainer Hugo Palmer said after the race “We can dream of the Derby now” and why not.

With all due respect to tough and consistent The Last Lion, the winner of the Middle Park and Brave Anna the surprise winner of the Cheveley Park but I doubt either will be classic winners in 2017!

On a day when the ground quickened up even more than it was on the first two days my performances of the day came from a juvenile filly having her first ever run.

Talaayeb – Owen Burrows – The daughter of Dansili was wearing the second colours of Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum on her racecourse debut in this 7f maiden fillies race, as retained jockey opted for the Charlie Hills trained Neshmeya, but she outpointed the owners first string, who was sent off the well backed 7/4 favourite at the off. Racing from stall 1 is never easy for two year old making their debut out on the wing, so in the circumstances it was an even better run than the final margin suggests. From a good family the winner should train on as a three year old and connections will be hoping she can reach Group level next year. The runner up was no match for the winner on the day but the market expected big things from the daughter of Lawman who also made a good first start to her racing career. She should train on and will be suited by 1m 2f next year. Hamdan Al Maktoum has a couple of really nice fillies for next year.

This Weeks Eyecatchers

This week’s two eyecatchers are my first National Hunt horses and they come from Saturdays valuable Market Rasen card. I will also be adding a couple of two years olds who can win races for Pro Subscribers

Saturday 24th September

Market Rasen

Cloonacool – Stuart Edmunds – Was having his first run since March, but has won after a lay off in the past, in a race which he had won last year off a 4lb lower mark. Was travelling really well for most of the race and made good progress three out but sadly he took what looked a heavy fall two out when looking the likely winner of the race. Worth noting the final few months of the year is very much is time, as he is 4/10 7 places between September & December. He is 3/8 5 places when racing between 16 and 30 days since his last run although interestingly he is also 2/4 2 places when racing off a 121+ day lay off. He clearly can win races off this sort of mark, if none the worse for this mishap.

Fox Appeal – Emma Lavelle – I am taking a bit of a chance with the nine year old who hasn’t won a race since November 2014 and is on a losing run of 12. Wasn’t able to go with the principals when the race began in earnest and after losing his place was at least staying on to the finish to take 4th, albeit a well beaten 4th. This was his first run since April and he just found the 2m 5f in this company two short and looks like he need another try at further over fences. I have always had the horse as a good ground performer but all six of his career wins have come with soft in the going description and he is 0/10 on good! If he is to land a handicap chase I am sure it will be going right handed as he is 5/17 7 places going that direction and 1/13 4 places going left handed. The first part of the winter season is the time to catch him as he is 6/18 11 places between October and January. Compare that with his record in the second part of the season between February & May where he is 0/11 1 place. On a winnable handicap mark if he gets his optimum conditions, mind you I think I did say that last year too!

There you have it a couple of horses that you should put in your trackers with next year in mind, a couple of ante post bets and finally the first two National Hunt runners of the autumn all in all a nice variety of horses this week

All that’s left now is to wish you a profitable weeks betting!

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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