Weekly Eyecatchers

In this weeks notebook I have once again concentrated on horses that ran in some of last weeks big handicaps although there is a filly that ran well in the Oaks that is worth having in your trackers.

Monday June 1st

Windsor – Boomerang Bob (Charlie Hills)

The six year old caught my eye when finishing a close up second at Wolverhampton in March and he did so again here in this 6f handicap. He was slow to leave the stalls and given he was only beaten a neck by an improving sprinter it probably cost him the win. A 2-23 win record isn’t great but he has plenty of ability and has run well in defeat on numerous occasions. He is best suited by good to firm going and a sharp 6f. There is a decent handicap in him when he gets his optimum conditions.

Friday 5th June

Epsom – Diamondsandrubies (Aiden O’Brien)

Winner of the Cheshire Oaks on her previous start the filly was always up close to the pace. She didn’t get the clearest of runs two furlongs out and then was badly hampered when making her effort between the final two furlongs, despite this she stayed on well to finish a 5 ¾ lengths 4th. Without her troubled passage she would have finished much closer to the first two. She handled the quicker ground fine here but she will probably be at her best with a bit of give in the ground. This tough sort will be major player in Group 1 fillies races when she gets her ground.

Saturday 6th June


There are usually a few eycatchers or hard luck stories in the Epsom Dash and there were two that are worth backing when they get their optimum conditions.

Steps (Roger Varian)

A hold up performer he needs all the cards to fall right if he is to get his head in front. Has now finished fourth in the last two renewals of the race and once again was staying on well at the finish despite not getting the best of runs. The harder they go up front the better for the seven year old and he is at his best on slower ground than he faced here.

Seeking Magic (Clive Cox)

A close up second in the race last year, he is now on a very good handicap mark and although he was staying on at the finish he never had the pace to trouble the principals at the finish, He needs 6f now on a sharp track but is on a good mark to land a good handicap before the season is out, Interestingly all his wins have come after 30 days + break so he seems best when fresh.

Taper Tantrum (Michael Bell)

Was no match for the potentially Group class Stravagante but still ran a good race to finish third in what looked a good handicap. He was expected to need his seasonal reappearance and he was weak in the market beforehand which seemed to underline that fact. Despite having to be switched two furlongs out to make his run he was finishing strongly at the finish. He looks on a good handicap mark and there should be a decent handicap in him.

Montaly (Andrew Balding)

This four year old son of Yeats was running in the first time hood and was a never nearer than at the finish 6th beaten under three lengths in this competitive 1m 4f handicap. Given he looks a better horse with give in the ground (0-3 on good to firm) this was a good performance on ground plenty quick enough for him. He looks on a good handicap mark and can win a handicap or two over 1m 4f+ when the ground eases.

Smidgen (Ed De Giles)

This front runner was drawn out wide and was going to need a fast break to get to the front but he completely missed the start when badly stumbling when leaving the stalls. He had no chance after that but still ran a good race in the circumstances. In May he ran the improving Bushcraft to ½ length at Windsor before disappointing at Ascot. Both his wins have come on the synthetics and he is now 0-7 on turf but there is a turf handicap in him with a slight drop in grade and when he can get to the front from the start.


Fray (Jim Goldie)

A winner twice for Roger Charlton last year the filly was having her second start for Jim Goldie and like on her first run for her new trainer she ran a race of real promise for the future. Held up at the back of the field she made some good headway two furlongs out and was running on well at the finish. Effective over 7f and a mile and on quick going she can surely win more races this summer on the evidence of this run.

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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