Investec Derby Betting Tips

Investec Derby Betting Tips 12f Epsom Saturday

The 237th renewal of the Derby looks to be one of the widest open for many years and it would come as no surprise to see the winner returned at double figures. Both Sir Michael Stoute and Aidan O’Brien are seeking an amazing sixth success in the great race so their contenders are worth serious consideration.

O’Briens Galileo colt U.S Army Ranger was prominent in the ante post market, even before making his racecourse debut, which was in the same Curragh maiden in April that Aidan had introduced his 2013 Derby winner Rule The World. Unraced as a 2yo, U.S Army Ranger was only second choice in the market behind Dermot Weld’s 11/10 favourite, Aasheq, and ran very green. However the penny dropped late on and he showed an impressive turn of speed to collar the Weld horse close home in this 10f contest which was run on an unsuitably heavy surface. Mixed messages have come from the form of the contest, but the winner did impress with that change of gear. Many were not impressed by his next performance over 12 1/2f at Chester when holding on by a short head from stable companion, Port Douglas, but his trainer didn’t share this view, pointing out how far ahead of the third the two Ballydoyle colts finished. Pilot, Moore, was also very positive, saying that the horse was still pretty green and would have learnt a lot from the contest. His dam, Moonstone, won the 2005 Irish Oaks, so with the promise of a lot more to come U.S Army Ranger has plenty to recommend him.

Read the Oddsguru’s 2015 Epsom Derby preview.

If Aidan chooses to run his French Guineas winner, The Gurkha, and Moore transfers his allegiance, punters take note, because that performance in France was far and away the most impressive of any 3yo colt this year. Unraced as a 2yo,he finished third on his debut over 8f at Leopardstown in April, and then won easily at Navan eleven days later. Sharply up in class next time in the Group1 Poule D’essai des Poulains, (French Guineas May 15th) he destroyed a high class field, accelerating clear inside the final furlong to win going away by 5 1/2L. The question about him is will he stay? By Galileo, who has already sired three Derby winners, there is no problem, but on the distaff there are questions to be answered. His dam Chintz, by Danehill Dancer was best at 7f and neither of her two previous offspring by Galileo stayed beyond a mile. However The Gurkha certainly wasn’t stopping at the end of that 1600m race in France and it was a stunning performance.

Sir Michael Stoute’s colt Ulysses, has been all the rage in recent weeks and we have seen his price plunge from 50/1 to 7/1. It would be great to see the veteran trainer, whose star has been in decline in recent years, bring up the six timer, and with this very progressive son of Galileo it is certainly possible. Out of the 2007 Oaks winner, Light Shift he is certainly bred to win a Derby but there were few signs of future glory in his first two races, at Newbury last October, and at Leicester in April. Last time however at Newbury, May 13th he looked a bit special when trotting up by 8L at odds of 4/11. Saturday represents a huge step up in class, but in the hands of maestro Stoute it will come as no surprise to see this colt involved at the business end.

Jim Bolger, who won with New Approach in 2008, is quite bullish about his Cape Cross colt, Moonlight Magic. He won both starts as a 2yo and was sent off at 3/1 for his seasonal debut, but unsuited by the heavy ground finished 5th of seven. Four weeks later he was sent off at 6/1 for the Derrinstown stud Derby trial at Leopardstown and in a battling performance got the better of the O’Brien pair, Shogun and Idaho. The “Derrinstown” has provided three previous winners of the Derby, High Chaparall, Galileo, and Sindar, and last years winner, Fame and Glory, finished second at Epsom. Bolger compares his well balanced colt favourably with his previous “Derrinstown” winner St Jovite (1992) at this stage of his career, high praise indeed! His breeding leaves nothing to be desired as his sire Cape Cross has already got the winner of 21 Group1 races worldwide, including the Oaks and multiple Group1 winner, Ouija Board, and the two Derby winners, Sea the Stars (2009) and Golden Horne last year. The dam, Melikah, is a real blue blood. She is a daughter of the 1995 Derby winner Lammtara and out of that brood mare celebrity, Urban Sea, dam of Galileo and Sea the Stars. Given decent ground at the weekend Jim Bolger’s Colt is well worth considering.

John Gosden is trying for two in a row with his Pivotal colt Wings of Desire, and he is another unraced as a 2yo. Only third on his racecourse debut in April, he won a Class5 contest on the all weather at Wolverhampton ten days later, hardly the preparation you would expect for an aspiring Derby winner. However his Epsom prospects took a giant leap forwards when winning the Dante Stakes at York nineteen days later, beating Deauville and Foundation who had fought out the finish of last years Royal lodge. It is worth noting that Midterm, the 5/4 favourite sustained an injury during the course of the race and was never in contention. Stamina shouldn’t be a problem as the dams two previous foals by Pivotal stayed really well, The Lark won the 14f Parkhill stakes, and Eagle Top won the Group2 12f King Edward V11 Stakes.

Selection : U.S Army Ranger

E.W.    : Moonlight Magic

Temple Stakes Betting Tips

Temple Stakes Betting Tips 5f Group2 Haydock Saturday.

I hope you were on last week’s selection, Belardo, the 8/1 winner of the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes. Slowly out of the gate, he went left and was soon behind. However Andrea Atzeni always had the field covered, and when he pressed the button inside the final furlong the response was immediate, and he took the lead in the style of a top class animal. This was reminiscent of his victory in the Group1 Dewhurst as a 2yo, when Atzeni was also on top, and he does seem to have an excellent rapport with the horse. Belardo’s action does require some give in the surface for him to perform to his optimum, and given such conditions on the first day of Royal Ascot, he would definitely appeal in the opening heat, The Queen Anne Stakes.

Mecca’s Angel is another animal who loves to get her toe in, and I’m sure connections would love to see the heavens open in advance of Saturday’s Temple Stakes at Haydock. Last year she made her seasonal debut in a Longchamp Group3, winning comfortably on easy ground. She was found out ten weeks later at the Curragh on good ground, going down by a neck to the useful Stepper Point, but next time, back on good-soft ground she covered herself in glory winning the Group1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York in some style. The flying American 2yo filly, Acapulco, who had earlier won the Queen Mary Stakes at the Royal, meeting was sent off the 13/8 favourite, but even in receipt of 24lbs she couldn’t resist Mecca’s Angel’s devastating late burst inside the last 100 yards and was beaten 2L. She didn’t run in the Prix D’Labbaye because of the fast ground and was put away for the season. Having won in the Spring in all three of her campaigns, and indeed finished in front first time out for the last two seasons, she is clearly a mare who comes to hand early, so with plenty of wet weather forecast, she has to be fancied and it may be worth availing of the 3/1 currently on offer.

Top trainer of sprinters, Robert Cowell, is mob handed with five entered at the time of writing. They include the 2013 winner Kingsgate Native and it would be wonderful to see this 11yo veteran do it again, but realistically his best chance lies with the 7yo Oasis Dream gelding, Goldream. Another proverbial “Fine Wine” he didn’t try his hand at group class until last May when he won the Group3 Palace House Stakes at Newmarket. Better was to come with two Group1 victories, in the Kings Stand at Royal Ascot, and The Prix D’ Labbaye at Longchamp. He has been disappointing in his two outings so far this term, both in Dubai in March, but his trainer now reports him back to his best. However he is another who is ground dependant, needing a fast surface to show his best and the current forecast is not in his favour. Also he has a Group1 penalty to carry so perhaps he is one for later in the season.

Clive Cox’s 4yo Invincible Spirit colt, Profitable demonstrated that he is a sprinter on the “up” last time when winning the Palace House Stakes in taking fashion where he stayed on strongly to get the better of Jungle Cat, and Waady. As the Cox horse drifted from 16/1 to 20/1 and Waady was backed in to 9/2 favourite it is reasonable to suppose that Profitable has the greater scope for improvement and is likely to confirm the form. Partnered again by Adam Kirby, who has been in the plate for all three of his victories he is well worth considering.

Edward Lynam’s super old warrior Sole Power won this five years ago and judging by his run at Meydan at the beginning of March it wouldn’t come as a great surprise to see him do it again. As always held up he came with a great run and only failed by a nose and a short head to get up to beat Fityaan and Jungle Cat. Both subsequent efforts have been less encouraging but given good ground you ignore this 5f specialist and winner of over £2,000,000 in prize money at your peril.

The 7yo entire, Pearl Secret, having been second to Hot Streak in this in 2014, he took the main prize last year. He failed to hit the back of the net in his next six races but put in some great efforts in defeat, not least when finishing 4th in the Prix D’Labbaye at Longchamp in October. Drawn out with the washing in stall fifteen jockey Atzeni had little choice but to drop him in and he travelled in last place until approaching the final furlong where he finished well to finish fourth. Oisin Murphy is in the plate at the weekend and his chance is respected but it is worth noting that this is his first run of the season and his previous win and second in the event were preceded by a race. Is he match fit?

Selection : Mecca’s Angel

E.W.      :  Profitable

Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes Betting Tips

Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes Group1 1m (Str) Newbury Saturday

Since the race was elevated to the top level in 1995 some strong trends have been evident, not least the dominance of four year olds. They have won thirteen of the twenty renewals, with five year old’s collecting five times, and six year olds twice. Winning form at the top level has also been most significant, with sixteen of the twenty victors boasting a Group1 victory. Considering how few fillies or mares have contested the race their record is quite impressive, with three wins in the last twelve years, so their two representatives Amazing Maria, and Euro Charline are of interest.

12 months ago the Oddsguru tipped Integral to win the Newbury showpiece.

Amazing Maria won a Group3 at Goodwood for previous trainer Ed Dunlop, but since her owner, Sir Robert Ogden, transferred her to David O’Meara at the end of her three year old career, her progress has been phenomenal. Having won the Group2 Prince of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot, in June last year, she became her hugely talented trainer’s first Group1 success the following month at Newmarket. She followed up three weeks later with further top level success at Deauville. Her last race of the season was disappointing, finishing 10L seventh, on yielding ground at Leopardstown, but she seemed to be back on track on her reappearance at Newmarket three weeks ago. She finished third over 9f, probably not aided by the extended trip, so given good ground or better at the weekend she must have a serious chance.

Euro Charline has been enjoying the Dubai sunshine, and collected some very nice prize money in her last race there, when finishing 1/2L behind Real Steel in a Group1 contest over 9f, worth nearly two and a half million pounds. She was running on strongly at Meydan and probably now, needs further than Saturday’s mile to show her best.

Limato is one of the current market leaders, but was slightly disappointing in his last race, a 7f Group1 contest at Longchamp on October 4th. Slow to break, he was held up by Ryan Moore, but when asked to close couldn’t get to the winner, hanging left under pressure inside the final furlong. He had previously looked at Doncaster, when winning easily over 7f, as if the step up to a mile would suit, but to this observer the jury is still out.

Roger Varian’s (pictured above) 4yo Belardo looked a really impressive animal when winning the 2014 Dewhurst as a 2yo, but was most disappointing in his 3yo campaign, until getting his act together in the Group1 Queen Elizabeth11 stakes last October, where he finished second, 3/4L behind the winner Solow. He won a listed race easily on reappearing at the beginning of April, and was sent off the favourite for a Group2 at Sandown three weeks later, but could only finish 4th, behind Toormore, Dutch Connection, and Breton Rocks. “3lbs worse off with Toormore on Saturday he does seem to have a mountain to climb now. However the Sandown race may not be that reliable as the pacemaker Barchan didn’t set fast enough a pace, and James Doyle gave Belardo too much to do. He was at least a dozen lengths off the winner turning in. The memory of his scintillating victory in the Dewhurst still lingers, and if in that form is going to make them all go.

Following a recent sale, the 4yo Dutch Connection is now racing, like Belardo, under the Godolphin banner, and he did seem to get the mile well enough at Sandown. However he has now had four attempts at the trip without hitting the back of the net and I suspect is likely to be found wanting again at the weekend.

According to handler Clive Cox his 4yo Kodi Bear is lucky to have survived a horrendous infection, acquired after a knee injury sustained last Spring. He was a revelation, only weeks after this traumatic illness, when winning a Windsor listed race in June, (1m1/2f) followed by a Group3 at Salisbury in August, and a Group2 the same month at Goodwood. He disappointed in the Queen Elizabeth11, where he ran too freely, but after his trials and tribulations earlier in the season, is easily forgiven. His talented trainer reports him in fine fettle for his reappearance and is shortlisted.

Richard Hannon’s Toormore is towards the head of the market and showed his wellbeing with that win at Sandown. However the 5yo’s lack of success at the top level, since his Group1 victory at The Curragh in 2013 is a concern, and I feel that he may come up short again.

There has been some support for his stable companion, Estidhkaar, and it would be no surprise to see him play a prominent role. He looked top class when winning the 7f Group2 Champagne stakes at Doncaster in September 2014, and was sent off favourite for the Dewhurst five weeks later. He finished a well beaten 4th behind Belardo but was found to be suffering from a hairline fracture, probably sustained before the race. He only ran three times as a 3yo, finishing second in the Greenham at Newbury in April, but disappointed in the 2000Guineas,and later in a Group1 at Deauville. If recapturing his top class 2yo form he would certainly be a player.

Selection : Belardo (if abs Amazing Maria)

E.W. : Kodi bear.

Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle Tips

Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle (Swinton Hurdle) 1m 7 1/2f Haydock Saturday

Last week’s selection in the 1000gns, Lumiere, ran no sort of race, and looked as if she didn’t stay, but fortunately, our E.W. selection, Alice Springs ran a super race to finish 3rd at odds of 16/1. She has grown into a big impressive looking filly and with her pedigree is certainly one to keep in mind when tackling further. (The Irish Oaks?)

We are back over the sticks this week with a look at the Swinton Hurdle and it looks a wide open contest.

Philip Hobbs, who has won the race twice before, (including last year) has three entries and at the time of writing the two to concentrate on are last year’s hero, War Sound, and Wait For Me. The former took last year’s renewal off a mark of 140 when a well supported 6/1 chance but is now 8lbs higher, and hasn’t run since finishing down the field at Newbury on heavy ground in mid February. Saturday’s ground should be much more suitable, and it is a race where previous winners have performed well on their return, so his chance is respected.

Wait For Me ran a fine race in The County Hurdle at the Festival for a novice, having only his fourth run over the smaller obstacles. Backed in to 7/1 joint favourite from 11/1 on the day, he was held up towards the rear, crept into the contest, and stayed on to finish 4th. The hurly burly of Saturday’s contest should hold no fears for him, and off the same mark as Cheltenham, has a lot to recommend him.

Welsh maestro, Evan Williams has also trained the winner twice, in 2014 and 2013, and indeed his 2013 winner Barizan was placed 2nd last year. It would seem that Williams targets the race so his contender John Constable is of special interest. This decent flat racer, (rated92) put up an eye catching performance on only his third run over hurdles at Newbury last November. In a Class1 handicap he finished 2nd to Sternrubin and had Saturday’s opponent, and likely favourite Ch’tibello five lengths back in third. John Constable has disappointed in his two subsequent races but the yard has been badly out of form. He now meets Ch’tibello on 3lbs better terms than Newbury, and as the stable has had a winner this Tuesday he’s one to keep on the right side of.

The Paul Webber trained 5yo novice Gwafa was taking a huge step up in class when contesting the Grade1 novice hurdle at Aintree but was badly hampered at the 4th and unseated his rider. He had won his two previous races very easily at Fakenham and Huntingdon,so this 92 rated flat racer may have got in lightly off a mark of 137 and is worth a second look.

Paul Nicholls has never won the race but seems to be making a serious attempt with three runners this year. His 5yo, All Yours, probably represents his best chance of correcting this particular blot on the Nicholls C.V. The winner of the Grade1 novices event at last years Aintree festival, (April 2015) he has had a very easy time of it since, running only twice. He was a well beaten 5th behind stablemate Irving at Wincanton in November, and wasn’t seen again until running in the County Hurdle in March where he ran better than his finishing place of 12th would indicate. Well suited by a flat track and reasonably treated off a mark of 145 it will come as no surprise to see him involved at the business end.

Robert Stephen’s 5yo Beltor has attracted some interest in the market and actually beat All Yours easily on only his second race over hurdles, at Kempton 14 months ago. His two subsequent efforts, in the 2015 Triumph Hurdle, and the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle last November, have been disappointing and I just wonder does he need to go right handed.

The other trainer who can boast two previous wins is Nicky Henderson and his 7yo Cardinal Walter, despite failing to hit the back of the net for 14 months is interesting. His win in a novice hurdle at Doncaster in Febuary 2015 was achieved with consummate ease and his 3rd to Saturday’s opponent Shrewd at Musselburgh this Febuary was a pretty decent effort. He meets the winner on 14lbs (excluding Shane Shortalls 5lbs claim on the winner) for the 2 3/4L beating and as his jumping wasn’t the most fluent things could be a lot closer between them on Saturday.

Dan Skelton runs his Scottish Champion Hurdle winner, Ch’tibello and he must have a serious chance off just a 6lbs higher mark. At Ayr he showed a great change of gears between the bypassed third, and second last flights, and despite a mistake at the last the result was never in doubt. This was his first run for five months so further improvement can be expected, and with Saturday’s ground likely to be even more suitable he has an awful lot going for him.

Selection : Ch’tibello

E.W. : All Yours