Qatar Stewards Cup Tips

Qatar Stewards Cup Handicap 6f Goodwood Saturday – First run in its present format in 1840 the race has seen plenty of lightweights in the winners’ circle in the past, but recent renewals have seen a “classier” animal to the fore. Indeed all of the last ten winners were rated at least 95, and three of the last five had ratings over one hundred. An eight year old, three six year olds, and two three year olds have managed to get their heads in front in the last twenty years but the overwhelmingly successful age groups have been the four and five year olds.

David Nicholls with four previous winners on the board must fancy his chances of making it five with his vastly improved 5yo entire, Orion’s Bow. A winner of his last five races, he started the sequence on Newcastle’s All Weather track in May off a lowly 69, and completed the five timer a fortnight ago at Hamilton in the Scottish Stewards Cup off a mark of 97. He took it up inside the furlong marker and won by 3 1/4L from the very good yardstick Hoof It, (won the 2011 Stewards Cup carrying 10st). He races on Saturday off a 6lbs higher mark which seems fair, but a bigger concern would be very fast ground. By Pivotal he does like to get his toe in but has got plenty of form on Gd/Fm and Gd.

The Nicholls yard is also represented by the 6yo Kimberella and judging by his last time out win at York, is no back number. He was quite impressive winning this Class2 event on fast ground off a mark of 99 so Saturday’s 103 looks doable. He has no Goodwood form but was a most unlucky loser of Epsom’s “Dash” so the downhill track shouldn’t present any problems. Worth considering!

Roger Varian’s 5yo Double Up ran a fine race over 5f at Haydock in May where despite being hampered was only beaten 1 1/2L and 3/4L by Take Cover and Cotai Glory in a conditions event. He looked a very progressive animal last year winning three handicaps, the last of them off a mark of 98. His mark at the weekend of 105 does look quite tough but with form on the track, and a progressive profile, stepping up to 6f he is worth considering.

A course and distance winner at the beginning of June off a mark of 80, Andrew Balding’s 3yo filly Dancing Star has attracted market support. She was impressive three weeks ago at Headquarters winning off a mark of 96, so her new mark of 102 doesn’t look too bad, and she just might become the first 3yo filly since Sir Michael Stoute’s Autumn Sunset (8st2lbs)  won in 1983.

Poyle Vinnie ran a great race to finish second in last years Ayr Gold Cup off a mark of love 103 and races on Saturday off a pound lower. Michael Appleby’s 6yo finished a respectable 3rd to Right Touch and Kimberella three weeks ago at Chester when apprentice ridden. Reunited with his usual pilot, Andrew Mullen, he is worth considering at a big price.

Sprint specialist, Robert Cowell’s 5yo has come in for plenty of support. He hasn’t won since his two year old days but showed the talent was still there when finishing second in this last year, and coming 4th in the Ayr Gold Cup off a mark of 102. His two runs this term have failed to catch the judges eye, but again racing off 102 and coming from this yard it would come as no surprise to see him involved at the business end.

Oddsguru’s E.W. Selection in last week’s International at Ascot Right Touch, was taken out to wait for this, so has to be of interest. Trained by Richard Fahey, he demonstrated his wellbeing three weeks ago when taking a Chester handicap from a poor draw off a mark of 95 and previously had run well over the Goodwood track last April off the same mark. In a 7f contest and apprentice ridden, he was beaten less than a length when finishing 4th but had been given an awful lot to do. Out the back with a furlong to run he finished best of all, so with Ryan Moore taking over steering duties it could be a different story at the weekend.

Selection:    Toofi

E.W.       :   Poyle Vinnie.

Gigaset International Stakes Betting Tips

Gigaset International Stakes Betting Tips 

Gigaset International Stakes (Heritage Handicap) 7f Ascot Saturday – With Saturday’s feature, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes looking like a shoe in for Roger Varian’s short priced favourite, Postponed, our best chance of tipping a decent priced winner on an excellent Ascot Card is to nail the victor of the £150,000 “International”.

Mark Johnston has a great record in the contest with three winners, all 4yo’s, but with a trio of lowly rated 3yo’s this year he will need plenty above them in the handicap to come out to even have a runner. The man with the next best record in the race with two winners, is fellow Yorkshire trainer Richard Fahey, and anything from this yard demands plenty of respect.

His course specialist, and last year’s winner, Heaven’s Guest, won the 2015 renewal off a mark of 103 on soft ground and gets into Saturday’s contest on only 1lb higher. He has also won over course and distance, as a 3yo, again on easy ground, but showed that fast ground wasn’t a problem when going down by 3/4L in a Class2 at headquarters off Saturday’s mark of 104 fourteen days ago.

The Brian Ellison trained Balty Boys was a head behind Heavens Guest in last year’s race and reappears on 6lbs better terms but has failed to impress in three outings this season. However he has been campaigned over further and it wouldn’t surprise to see him play a more prominent role returned to 7f.

Another of the Fahey contingent, Right Touch, demonstrated his wellbeing when winning over 6f at Chester two weeks ago off a mark of 95. Badly drawn, he stayed on well to lead in the last 50yards on the soft ground. He has won over the course, (6f Gd/Sft ) last September, and has a victory over the distance (Ayr 7f good) in the same month. His form is mildly progressive so given ground no faster than good is worth considering off Saturdays mark of 98.

The Stuart Williams trained Suzi’s Connoisseur showed the benefit of his first run for eight months when coming home strongly at Newmarket fifteen days ago to get within 3/4L of Swift Approval (7f Gd/Fm) off a mark of 98 under Oisin Murphy. He acts on any ground, so again partnered by the talented Irishman, and racing off 97 looks one for the shortlist.

The Michael Dodds trained Glen Moss ran a great race in the 6f Wokingham handicap at the Royal Meeting, beaten less than 2L in third off a mark of 100, and confirmed the progress when taking a conditions event at Haydock a fortnight later. Back up to 7f, a distance he has won over four times, and with Ryan Moore down to ride he looks a danger to all, but his new mark of 105 does look challenging.

Considering his relative lack of experience Librisa Breeze was a very well backed 8/1 shot for the Royal Hunt Cup and ran a blinder. He came with a strong looking challenge one furlong out but didn’t last home, and finished second off a mark of 97. While the evidence from his four outings on turf would suggest that this 4yo colt requires easy ground to perform to his optimum, it is worth remembering that All Weather performers (and Librisa Breeze has won three times on an artificial surface) adapt well to Ascot’s straight course.

The James Tate trained 5yo  Braxos needs a few above him in the handicap to come out in order to get a run but the 3lbs penalty he incurred for winning at Doncaster (7f Gd/Fm) on July14th has certainly helped his cause. Racing off a mark of 89 he held on by a nose from Regal Dan and runs on Saturday off 92. He did win over course and distance two years ago off a mark of 95, so the weekend’s Mark may not be insurmountable.

Mick Channon’s 4yo colt Bossy Guest ran well in the Hunt Cup, finishing 6th, less than 3L behind the winner, despite an interrupted passage. He also ran a Corker in last years Group3 Jersey stakes over course and distance, finishing 3rd, 1 1/4L behind the classy Dutch Connection. He disappointed last time at Newmarket fourteen days ago but wouldn’t be the first to bounce back from a poor display in that race at   Headquarters.

Selection: Suzi’s Connoisseur

E.W.    : Right Touch

Betfred Summer Plate Handicap Chase Tips

Betfred Summer Plate Handicap Chase 2m5 1/2f Market Rasen Saturday – Welsh trainer Peter Bowen has an outstanding record in the Summer Plate, winning it four times between 2003 and 2008. Over the last five years he has drawn a blank, but continues to target the contest, so his runners are always worth a second look. Of his two possibles at the time of writing, the 8yo Wadswick Court looks the more likely candidate, but does need five above him in the handicap to come out to get a run. Despite quotes of 33/1 he has shown some promise in his two most recent outings and his price underestimates his chance. He finished second in a Class3 Handicap Chase at Newton Abbot following a five month break on June 21st, and was then sent off the 7/2J Fav to go one better nineteen days later in a similar contest at Perth. Unfortunately he suffered interference from a faller at the 6th but was still in contention when unseating four fences later. Well suited by a flat right handed course, he won’t be inconvenienced by any rain so if getting a run is worth considering.

Nicky Henderson’s 6yo Theinval had been placed in all four of his previous runs over the larger obstacles before “bringing home the bacon” in very taking style last time over 2 1/2m at Uttoxeter seven weeks ago. A winner at Class 1 and 2 level over hurdles, he gets into his first handicap chase off his hurdles mark of 144 giving him a nice racing weight of 10st13lbs. Always going to be a chaser, he has won twice at right handed Kempton and looks one for the short list.

David Pipe and his father Martin before him, have enjoyed considerable success in the contest, and this year the Pond House operation relies on top weight Ballynagour who, has had an unusual, to say the least, preparation for this. Having failed to complete in the Grand National he was sent to Auteuil for a Grade2 hurdle where he was a well beaten 7th, but last time put up a much better show. He kept on well to finish second over 26f at Uttoxeter off a mark of 152 three weeks ago. However he races off a mark 5lbs higher at the weekend, and I have my doubts that going right handed over Saturday’s trip on decent ground is going to suit.

Jonjo O’Neills 6yo Easy Street is another who will need a few above him in the handicap to drop out to get a run, but he does look progressive. He hacked up on his first attempt over fences off a mark of 105 (3m1 1/2f Fontwell June 1st) and then, dropped back in distance to 2m4f, and racing off a mark of 112 at Uttoxeter eight days later, won cleverly from subsequent winner, Casino Markets. Twenty four days later, over Saturday’s course and distance, racing off a mark 13lbs higher, he was sent off the 7/4fav but, racing too freely, he stumbled at the 7th and unseated. If settling better at the week end, off the same mark, he is going to be a danger to all.

Jonjo also fields the 2014 winner It’s A Gimme who won off a mark of 132 and now races off a mark of 138. Winnerless since, he made his first racecourse appearance for over twelve months three weeks ago, over an inadequate two miles at Uttoxeter and showed little. However he has been found in the market and with these connections is hard to dismiss.

Philip Hobbs (pictured) runs the 5yo novice, Golden Doyen, and this winner of a Cheltenham Grade2 over hurdles looks well treated off a mark of 135 on his handicap debut, giving him a nice racing weight of 10st4lbs. He finished 3L behind Harry Fry’s Henryville on his first run for over four months, despite losing  a shoe at Exeter in March, and now meets the winner on 5lbs better terms. He ran another fine race three months later here at Market Rasen (2m3f June 17th) finishing second, and indeed would have gone very close but for hitting the last.

The Paul Nicholls trained Valco de Touzaine ran well in this last year, finishing third off a mark of 142 despite a mistake at the 12th. He ran again over course and distance in September but was far too free, and finished 6th. He has only had the two runs since and ran pretty well in the second of them, over three miles at Perth seven weeks ago. In a tactical race he finished a well beaten third but was in contention until two out. If tidying up his jumping it would come as no surprise to see him involved at the business end.

This is certainly the right way around for the Tom George trained 6yo Cernunnos who has run some of his best races at tricky right handed Kempton, and off a mark of 135 isn’t badly treated. He hasn’t been seen since being pulled up at Aintree over 25f but reverting to what is probably his optimum trip and coming from a stable in form is worth considering.

Selection:  Golden Doyen

E.W.    :  Valco de Touzaine

Darley July Cup Betting Tips

Darley July Cup Betting Tips

Darley July Cup Group1 6f Newmarket Saturday – Nine 3yo’s have lifted the July Cup since 1990 and two of this year’s classic generation have the potential to make it ten. Of serious interest are the Aidan O’Brien trained Air Force Blue, and Karl Burke’s flying filly, Quiet Reflection. The former, winner of three Group1 races at two (one at 6f), ended the season as the top rated 2yo, but so far this season has been disappointing. He was sent off the 4/5 favourite for the 2000gns but trailed in second last, 15L behind the winner, and did even worse in the Irish equivalent finishing nearly 20L out the back. However plenty of winners of the July Cup in the 1970s and 1980s, having failed to stay the mile, found their true metier in the sprinting game, and indeed two of Aidan’s previous three winners, Stravinsky 1999 and Mozart 2001, fit this profile. By War Front, Air Force Blue needs good ground, so with the forecast for a dry weekend, he is well worth considering.

Karl Burke’s daughter of Showcasing, Quiet Reflection, changed hands as a 2yo for £44,000, and having banked over £400,000  from her six victories, including two Group3s, a Group2, and last time, that scintillating win in the Group1 Commonwealth Cup at the Royal Meeting, she has proved a rare bargain. Always travelling comfortably within herself, she quickened impressively inside the final furlong to win in the style of a really high class filly. Two slight reservations about her prospects on Saturday would be, that she seems to need a little ease in the ground and secondly, that no 3yo filly has won since Habibti in 1983. However Burke’s filly looks a really exceptional animal and given any cut in the ground has to be on the short list.

Clive Cox has supplemented his Kings Stand winner, Profitable, (tipped by Oddsguru) at a cost of £40,000 for Saturday’s contest, and if getting the extra furlong, the son of Invincible Spirit would be a danger to all. He certainly wasn’t stopping at Ascot, and considering his shrewd trainers decision to spend connections cash so lavishly, they must be pretty confident that the tough Profitable will last home. However the stats are against him as no winner of the Kings Stand has doubled up in the last twenty years and winning form at the trip has been a must.(The Cox horse was unplaced in his only attempt at 6f).

Since 1970, thirteen winners have come from the 6f Diamond Jubilee Stakes and the winner, fourth and fifth of this year’s renewal are of definite interest. The winner, Henry Candy’s 4yo colt Twilight Son won on merit, turning around  4 1/2L deficit on previous York running with Magical Memory, but he did have conditions to suit. Soft ground is ideal and with the barometer rising may find the going too fast. However this winner of six of his eight races, two at the top level, is clearly improving at a rate of knots, and does have a victory on Gd/Fm over 6f at Headquarters, (Rowley) on his c.v.

Fourth in the Diamond Jubilee, Magical Memory was less than 1/2L behind Twilight son on the unsuitably sticky surface, and as he also wasn’t the recipient of one of Frankie Dettori’s better rides, hopes are high, that given good ground, placings can be reversed. He showed he can handle the undulations of the course when taking the valuable 3yo handicap on the card last year, so a repeat of his excellent York performance when beating Suedois and Danzeno should see him go close.

Another who will appreciate faster conditions is Henry Candy’s second string, Limato.

This 4yo gelding returns to 6f for the first time since finishing second in last year’s Group1 Commonwealth Cup and is actually rated 2lbs higher than Twilight Son. There has been plenty of interest in the him in the market so given fast ground must be worth considering.

Cotai Glory took everyone by surprise when running such a fine race in the Kings Stand on what was considered unsuitably soft ground. A 33/1 shot, he closed over 1f out and ran on strongly to get within a neck of Profitable. He has only raced over 6f twice, finishing second to Limato in a listed race at Newbury as a 2yo. Hailing from the same yard as Magical Memory, trainer Hills is quite bullish about his prospects, noting how well he was staying on all the way up the hill at Ascot. Given fast ground at the weekend, another to consider!

Selection:  Magical Memory

E.W. : Cotai Glory