Weekly Eyecatchers – 70

horse racing

Not as high class horse racing as last weekend but there were some notable performances on Saturday that are worth looking at in a bit of detail. Again, not too many eyecatchers this week, just three, but I have got an ante post selection for next months Champion Sprint at Ascot and I will add a couple of eye-catching two year old performances for subscribers. Before looking at this week’s eyecatchers, I will have a quick look back at Saturday’s action.

Saturday Review

There were some really good performances on the final day of Ayr’s Western Meeting and also a couple of performances that merit a good mention at Newmarket and Newbury.

Brando Acts like a Group 1 Sprinter!


Ayr Gold Cup day and the historic 6f handicap went once again to trainer Kevin Ryan, who has now one the race four times in the past 10 years, with the four year old Brando. Trainer has rated this horse since the start of the year and was convinced that the horse could win a valuable sprint handicap like this when he got a bit of cut in the ground which he did here. Off a mark of 110 and joint top weight on 9-10, make no mistake this was a top class performance by the horse that travelled well through the race and will now be heading back into Group company. The gap between top handicappers and Group 1 level isn’t that great. Entered in the Champion Sprint on Champion’s Day it will be interesting to see whether he goes for that race or is put away for the season. There is a good chance he will have his ground next month. At his best with juice in the ground, with a career record of 4/9 7 places when soft is in the going description. Was an excellent 2nd in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot so we know he handles the track well. I have had a nibble on the horse for that race at 33/1 on the back of that win, and those odds are still available with SkyBet and Stan James at the time of writing, Brando is now as low as 12/1 with William Hill and 10/1 with Coral! The well backed favourite Growl continues to progress with racing but couldn’t match the winners turn of foot inside the final furlong.

Ante Post Selection – Brando – 33/1 for the Champion Sprint at Ascot!

There were three other horses that put up notable performances Ayr. Now Children trained by Iain Jardine, who had won his maiden at Hamilton, took the nursery in taking style. The colt is bred for middle distances. He wasn’t suited by the slow early pace but ran on strongly and the further they went the better he looked. After the race his trainer described the juvenile “as a lovely horse and he could be as good as I’ve ever trained. He moved strongly into the race and is very exciting for the future. I don’t think he’ll run much more this time and what he’s already achieved is a bonus. Give those very positive trainer comments he is clearly one to keep onside next year. Another good performance came from the Roger Varian trained Morando, who made it 3 from just 4 starts in the mile handicap. Having his first run since June 11th He won far more easily than the 2 ½ lengths suggests and now heads for a big 7f handicap at Ascot next month and he will take all the beating in that race under his penalty, as he looks capable of holding his own in Group company next year sooner rather than later. The final performance to take my eye at Ayr was from the filly Delectation in the Group 3 Firth of Clyde Stakes over 6f. Ran really well when winning on her racecourse debut at Thirsk and was pitched in highly here. Showed signs of greenness at the start, as she was slowly away from stalls, but jockey Paul Mulrennan rode her confidently and she picked up really well when asked for her effort two furlongs from home and she had pulled clear of her rivals at the line. Not probably that good a race but she won it in good style and could really do well for the stable as a three year old. Trained by Bryan Smart who has now won this race three times in the past 10 years, connections can now dream of a tilt at next years 1,000 Guineas.

Newbury & Newmarket

Two performances stood out for me at Newbury on Saturday. Clive Cox looks like he has a nice three year old in the making with Harry Angel who took the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes. The juvenile was only just touched off on his first start at Ascot and was well fancied here to break his maiden tag. Might not be the most straight forward of horses but he has a real ‘engine’ and is clearly a horse with a big future if his temperament doesn’t get the better of him. The race was won in a really fast time so the future does look bright for him as he can probably improve further given he has only had a couple of starts.

The other good performance on the day came from the Hugo Palmer trained Baydar in the ultra competitive looking 1m 2f handicap. The three year old made it 5 wins from just 7 starts when winning here. Was the first off the bridle and looked to be going nowhere three furlongs out but he was really galvanized by the talented Josephine Gordon and the further they went the better he looked. The pace was very strong from the off and the winner looks capable of winning again with a step up to 1m 4f looking like it’s needed now. Special mention for, a former eyecatcher in Autocratic from the Sir Michael Stoute stable. A big heavy topped horse who hits the ground very hard he seemed set to be suited by dig in the ground and he travelled well on it for most of the race. Got hampered two furlongs out and was never really contention after that and Ryan Moore eased the horse down when all chance had gone. Beaten 11 lengths into 11th he ran better than his finishing position suggests. Has only had six starts so there could be more to come from the colt and he is one to keep onside.

At Newmarket we saw an incredible performance from the Charlie Appleby trained Sobetsu who showed the benefit of her first run when 3rd on the July Course in August, in a race that really is working out well. The 2nd won at Lingfield by 7 lengths and the 4th won an Ascot maiden on their next starts. The daughter of Dubawi made all to win this race in very impressive style by 10 (Ten) lengths and she was also eased up inside the final furlong or that winning margin would have been even greater. Looks set to head for the Fillies Mile on Future Champions Day at Newmarket were she will take on the horse who beat her first time up. I think she can beat her old rival next time if she continues to progress as she should. One for Godolphn to look forward to next year!

Godolphin and Charlie Appleby also won the 2m 2f Cesarewitch Trial when Penglai Pavilion made all to take that marathon handicap. Oceane my ante post selection for this years Cesarewitch was well backed before the race but clearly didn’t like the rain softened ground. Be interesting to see if he still goes for next months race but he shouldn’t be underestimated if he does but he will need much quicker ground than he faced here if he is to win it.

This Weeks Eyecatchers

Two of this week’s eyecatchers come from the Richard Fahey stable and the other is a two year old from the Sir Michael Stoute stable.


Thursday 15th September

Miss Van Gogh – Richard Fahey – The filly was a taking winner at Nottingham back in April and although she hasn’t won in six subsequent runs she is still 3lb higher than her last winning mark. There is, however, another handicap in her before the season ends on the evidence of her 4th placing her. She appreciated the drop back to a mile, liked the going, and was finishing her race off with some purpose at the finish. It’s worth mentioning she is 5/10 7 places on good to soft or soft ground, 4/11 7 places at around a mile and 5/12 7 places when racing within 30 days of her last start.

Friday 16th September

Re Run – Richard Fahey – Was very well backed to make a winning first start for the stable but although he broke well from his wide draw and managed to get a decent position early in the race but was very green when the race really began in earnest three furlongs out but was noted staying onto some purpose at the end of the race. The talk before racing was this was Richard Fahey’s best unraced two year old and he was sent off just 9/4 at the off. There are clearly races to be had with the juvenile who will come on well for the experience.

Saturday 17th September

Crystal Ocean – Sir Michael Stoute – Ran a cracker to finish 2nd on his racecourse debut. The going was testing for unraced two year olds on Friday and Saturday so this performance can be marked up. Running on well at the end of 7f, the half brother, to Hillstar and Crystal Cappella is from a family that do better as they get older and do better over middle distances. This was a very encouraging first run from the son of Sea The Stars. Will win races and make a better three year old then a two year old. Next years Epsom Derby is a long way off but he is already in the notebook for that race.

That all for now and I hope you have 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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