Weekly Eyecatchers

With Royal Ascot now out of the way there is a little hole in the racing this week but hopefully my latest list of eyecatchers will help the void. I wasn’t going to but as an extra bonus I have added some tracker horses from last weeks Royal Ascot which means your are now fully up to date with all the horses that have caught my eye and will go on to win races when they get their optimum conditions.

Monday June 8th


Shootingsta  (Bryan Smart)

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.

Bashiba (Nigel Tinkler)

Didn’t get a run when making his effort a furlong out and was soon eased by his jockey when his chance had gone. Four from thirteen over the minimum trip and 4-9 on good going shows the four year olds optimum conditions. All his wins have come in class 5 & 6 and his shrewd trainer can place him to advantage in lower grade handicaps.

Friday 12th June


Rex Imperator – (David O’Meara)

The six year old hasn’t won since taking the Stewards Cup at Glorious Goodwood in 2013 for his former trainer. Pulled to hard over 7f here and only ran on at the one pace inside the final furlong. Not convinced he is a 7f horse on his last two starts. Both his handicap wins have come over a sharp 6f and in fields with 16+ runners and I think once his shrewd trainer puts him back in to a big field 6f handicap he can go close. Not one to take a short price about but he is 20lb lower than for his last win and he has shaped this year like there is a handicap in him when the cards fall right.

Saved By The Bell (David O’Meara)

I wasn’t convinced that the he was 1m 6f horse but he stayed on well to win here. After the race his trainer said his horse will get 2m maybe even 2m 2f. Given he is unexposed over those sort marathon distances, he could still be a nicely handicapped horse. It’s worth noting he is 0-8 racing after June but now he’s back in form there is another handicap in him in the next few weeks.

Saturday 13th June


So Beloved (David O’Meara)

Had looked a much improved horse when winning over C&D last time out. Seems suited by going round a bend, has underperformed over a straight track, good ground and a plenty of cover in his races. This run can be ignored due to the rain that fell before post time. He had showed a good turn of foot on his previous run and the five year old clearly has the ability to win more races when he gets the right conditions.

Squats (William Haggas)

The speedy three year old seemed too returned to form here on ground that would have been plenty soft enough for him. Running down the stands side, when the four who finished in front of him came down the middle, he was staying on well at the finish. He seems to be effective over 5 & 6f and when he gets quick going he could be worth a bet now he is running back in to form.


Sharp Sailor (Marco Botti)

Got a ground saving ride on the rail but didn’t get the clearest of runs at the furlong mark, he was staying on well at the finish and was only beaten about 3 ¼ lengths into 6th. This performance can be marked up! He could just be an all weather horse, his only win came on the polytrack, but he has shown he can be effective on turf now. His trainer has had a quite season so far but there is surely handicap in this son of Henrythenavigator sooner rather than later, probably on good ground.

Royal Ascot

Here is a brief look at half a dozen horses that ran better than their final position suggests at the Royal Meeting.


Orvar (Richard Hannon)

The two year old ran on well to take 6th at the finish. The colt was running down the middle but all the pace was on the far side and he would have gone close to winning if had been racing on that side of the track. He will get a 6f and looks a two year old capable of winning in pattern company.

Broxbourne (Nicky Henderson)

Needs even further than 2m 4f, the mare wasn’t able to go the pace when the race began in earnest but was noted staying on strongly when the race was over. She won the 2m 5f handicap at Glorious Goodwood in 2013 and that looks the ideal next race for her.


Chill The Kite (Hughie Morrison)

Had been laid out for the Royal Hunt Cup after second place in the same race last year. Like in the previous year he didn’t get the clearest of runs when challenging a furlong out. Well suited by good quick going and effective in a big field handicap over 7f and a mile. Not one to rake a short price about in small field but there is a big handicap in the six year old off his present handicap mark but he does need plenty of luck in his races.

The Corsican (David Simcock)

Thrown into the deep end here against the likes of Free Eagle and The Grey Gatsby, the four year old was stepping up from Listed company to Group 1 class here. He was staying on well from off the pace and was only beaten 3 ¼ length at the finish. He is still on the upgrade and could well stay 1m 4f. There is definitely a Group race in this son of Galileo.


Mount Logan (Luca Cumani)

There where a couple of hard luck stories behind the smart Mahsoob in this 1m 2f handicap. Many eyes will have been on the Sir Micheal Stoute trained filly Provenance who had a luckless run but was staying on strongly at the finish to take 5th at the finish. The other that took my eye was the 4 year old Mount Logan who also didn’t get the best of runs before finishing 4th. A winner last year over 1m 4f at Doncaster and a return to that distance should be on the agenda. After he won last year his trainer’s representative had said that the horse was better suited to carrying smaller weights. A 1m 4f handicap carrying less that 9st could be ideal for him!

Music Master (Henry Candy)

Finished 4th in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes for the second year running. Probably wasn’t ideally drawn high but once again ran a good race, looking like he would make a big challenge 2f out before his effort flattened out well inside the final furlong. Well suited by good ground or better I really would like to see him given a try at 5f. He will no doubt go for the July Cup at Newmarket for his next race but I would like to see him go for the 5f Nunthorpe Stakes at York in August. I think a strongly run race at the minimum trip could be perfect for him.

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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