Weekly Eye-catchers – Horse Racing

horse racing

As I write this the Galway Festival is about to get underway with the first of five days at ‘Glorious Goodwood’ about to begin on Tuesday. What a really great weeks horse racing and punting to be had at the end of this article I will look at a trainer whose horses have to be kept on side at Goodwood and an interesting micro angle for his horses that has proved profitable over the last four years.

In my review of Newmarket’s July meeting I highlighted an eyecatcher of the day from Day 1. The horse was the Kevin Ryan trained Mont Kiara and this is what I wrote:

“The six furlong handicap for three year olds has produced some good winners in the past, including last year’s winner the useful Magical Memory. On paper this years renewal looked as good as ever and I think the form can be followed/ Mont Kiara had run well to finish 2nd on his previous start here over 5f and he produced an even better effort returned to six. Held up, he didn’t get the clearest of passages at the furlong pole and had to be switched to make his effort. He was staying on well at he finish to be beaten just 1 ¾ lengths into 5th. A winner of his maiden last year at Newcastle on good to soft ground he showed here that he handles much quicker going as well. Has only had 8 career starts and can win a nice pot over 6f before the season is out”.

Mont Kiara was a good winner back at Newmarket on Saturday, at a very generous 11/2; I hope you all filled your boots!

Before looking at this week’s eye-catchers I will take a brief look at some of the best performances from Ascot and York.

Saturday Review


On Saturday it was the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes over 1m 4f. What was once Europe’s Premier Summer middle distance race is sadly now in decline. Derby winners who would have this race as their target are nowhere to be seen these days. This year’s renewal looked more Group 2 standard than Group 1 and the late defection from the contest of Postponed robbed the race of its one true Group 1 performer. HM The Queen supplemented her gelding Dartmouth who ran an honest race to finish third but had no chance as Ryan Moore led from the start on Highland Reel and the others could never get to the Aiden O’Brien trained four year old. Not wanting to take anything away from the winner Highland Reel but is he really in the top ten middle distance horses in Europe? No I don’t think so!

Performance of the Day – Fair Eva – Had been an eyecatcher for the service on her first career start when winning impressively at Haydock back at the beginning of June. Connections resisted the temptation to go to Royal Ascot with the filly and gave her time to develop further and she has certainly has. The daughter of Frankel gave her sire a first Group win when taking the Group 3 Princess Margaret Stakes over 6f in impressive style. Travelling well she took up the lead at the furlong mark and her jockey pushed her clear to win by an easy looking 4 lengths. The Group 1 Moyglare Stakes at the Curragh in September is thought to be a target although trainer Roger Charlton indicated after the race that he wouldn’t want the filly to race on soft ground. Not surprisingly she was made ante post favourite for next year’s 1000 Guineas. If she trains on next year she could be top class.

Eyecatcher of the Day – Jack Dexter and Nuno Tristan – The big field 7f handicap provided a couple of horses to keep onside:

Jack Dexter – Jim Goldie – The seven year old as been running with credit in handicaps on ground that has been too quick for him. He is 0/21 on good or good to firm ground but 8/15 11 places on soft and heavy going. Trainer Jim Goldie has always wanted to win the Ayr Gold Cup with this one and although he has run well in that race for the past 2 years he just hasn’t had his ground. If it comes up soft or heavy at Ayr in September he would take some beating as he is a well handicapped horse at present. Still retains the ability to win a good race this year when he gets his going whatever happens at Ayr.

Nuno Tristan – Richard Fahey – Was the more obvious eyecatcher of the pair when finishing 5th in the same race. Was only beaten 2 ¾ lengths at the finish and didn’t’ get the best of runs a furlong out. Would have finished 2nd in all likelihood with a clear passage. A winner at Redcar on his previous start on good to soft he showed he could handle the step up in class here and also good to firm going. May not be the easiest horse to keep sound and maybe needs a break between his races. The four year old is on the upgrade and one to keep in mind for a big field 7f handicap, maybe back here in the autumn. Has also won twice over 6f on the all weather!


Performance of the Day – Time Test – A lot of people were disappointed by the performance of the Roger Charlton trained horse but I wasn’t. The four year old travelled supremely well and when he took it up between the final two furlongs it looked like he would with more in hand than he did. At the finish he was all out to hold the smart Mondialiste. After the race his jockey Pat Smullen “I think he’s the type of horse who’ll be better in a better race”. I tend to agree with that assessment and he still looks capable of winning the Juddmonte International over C&D next month.

Eyecatcher of the Day – Gabrial’s King – Richard Fahey – The seven year old wasn’t suited by the slow gallop in this 2m mile handicap. Held up he wasn’t able to get a challenge in but was staying on steadily at the finish when the race was all over. Now racing off a 3lb lower mark than when winning at Chester back last August last year. He is well suited by good or quicker ground on turf and is a multiple winner on the all weather. There is a handicap in the gelding off his present mark when he gets a good pace to chase.

This Weeks Eyecatchers

Another couple of eyecatchers from Newbury Thursday card.

Thursday 21st July


Juanito Chico – William Jarvis – The two year old had been noted running on nicely on his 3rd maiden start over 6f at Ascot at the beginning of July. The colt was making his nursery debut once again over 6f. Slowly away once again he was making steady headway inside the final furlong and stayed on best of all to finish a 2 ¾ length 4th at the line. By Derby winner Pour Moi, his half brother Celestial Path won over a mile as two year old so there is plenty of stamina in the pedigree. Looks to be crying out for an extra furlong on the way he finished his races but he has to learn to settle better in the early stages of his race. A mark of 75 looks more than workable when he does.

Bedrock – William Haggas – Won a maiden on his 3rd start at Newbury last October as a juvenile. Took four starts to get another win under his belt, when making almost all to win a Haydock handicap over a mile back in June. Stepping up to 1m 2f, he attempted to make all again but was no match for the winner on this ground. He is 2/2 on good to soft so looks at his best with a bit of juice in the ground and 1m 2f should be fine when he gets his favoured going. Only 3lb higher than for narrow Haydock win, it’s not hard to think the gelding can he can win another race of his present mark of 82.

As ever I will be adding a couple of further horses to the software for Eyecatcher Pro subscribers both are well handicapped and look capable of winning handicaps in the coming weeks.

Finally, the Goodwood trainer micro system that I promised you at the beginning of the article.

Trainer: Mark Johnston
Glorious Goodwood only
Race type: Handicaps Class 2 only
3 to 5 year olds
20/1 & under in betting
Placing – Finished outside the 1st 5 last time out

Since 2011 he is 6 wins/20 bets 30% +60.5 8 places 40% +72.12 betting each way
+71.88 when betting to Betfair SP

That’s it for now, and now all that’s left is to wish you a profitable weeks betting at Goodwood and Galway.

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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