Saturday, October 5, 2019

Arc de Triomphe 2019 - Immortality beckons for Enable

All eyes will be on Enable at ParisLongchamp on Sunday as she attempts to be the first triple winner of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Winning the most prestigious prize in Europe twice is a feat in itself that only a few have achieved; landing it 3 times would crown the daughter of Nathaniel the greatest winner of the race and arguably the greatest filly that ever ran.

There are no more adjectives to qualify Enable. She is in Frankel-esque territory, having won 13 out of 14 outings, crushing the opposition in many of them. She even did better than Frankel by winning outside of Britain by conquering France and the US. She is peer-less and it would take circumstances or an exceptional run by another horse to beat her on Sunday. Circumstances like the predicted heavy going might dent her customary acceleration but it is only a slight worry as she should tackle that kind of ground better than most.

The biggest dangers are likely to come from the 3-year old colts Sottsass and Japan. The former is the best colt coming from France and the convincing winner of the Prix du Jockey Club and Prix Niel, both big references for the Arc. The son of Siyouni has an excellent burst of acceleration and coming out of stall 1 should have him well placed as long as he does not get stuck in throughout.

Japan is the best 3-year old middle-distance colt coming from Britain. He won the Grand Prix de Paris in style and trainer Aidan O'Brien will certainly have him in optimum form come race day. There seems to be an air of confidence from the Ballydoyle camp. Both him and Sottsass will enjoy a 3-pound alleviation against the older brigade and I expect both to be very close at the finish.

The rest of the field is mainly noise in my opinion. Waldgeist is a moderate Group 1 performer that has shown his limits. Ghaiyyath is the dark horse of the race in that he can run an explosive race as well as run a stinker. I don't think he will relish the heavy ground and coming out of outside stall 12 won't give him much of a chance to dictate matters up front.

Enable should take all the beating in her unprecedented quest. As long as she has a clear run and there are no shenanigans going on during the race, she looks top notch to land the greatest treble in horse racing.

Win: Enable
Place: Sottsass, Japan

Friday, October 4, 2019

EPL 2019/20 - Week8

Brighton v Tottenham - Home
Burnley v Everton - Home
Liverpool v Leicester - Draw
Norwich v Aston Villa - Home
Watford v Sheffied Utd - Draw
West Ham v Crystal Palace - Home
Arsenal v Bournemouth - Away
Man City v Wolves - Home
Southampton v Chelsea - Away
Newcastle v Man Utd - Draw

Here's a drab draw I can think of this week-end; Newcastle v Man Utd. Both teams are dreadful in attack and have difficulty finding the net. If this game is to be won by either, it looks like it would be by the slightest margin. A draw looks very enticing though.

West Ham have found a firm footing under Pellegrini and I expect them to continue their fine form as they host Crystal Palace. One positive for the Hammers this year has been the return of Yarmalenko, who suffered a horrendous injury and long layoff last season. The Ukrainian has been on fire since the start and playing with great confidence. I expect them to enjoy the home advantage and edge the Eagles.

Bournemouth can have arguments for a value away punt as they visit Arsenal. I think the Gunners have rode some luck in their last league matches and are prone for a coming upset. The visiting Cherries have the strike force to bang in the goals and could edge a high-scoring affair at the Emirates.

Win: Bournemouth, West Ham
Draw: Man Utd/Newcastle

Friday, September 27, 2019

EPL 2019/20 - Week 7

Sheffield Utd v Liverpool - Away
Bournemouth v West Ham - Draw
Aston Villa v Burnley - Away
Chelsea v Brighton - Home
Crystal Palace v Norwich - Home
Tottenham v Southampton - Home
Wolves v Watford - Draw
Everton v Man City - Away
Leicester v Newcastle - Home
Man Utd v Arsenal - Away

We knew the title would again be between Man City and Liverpool at the start of the season but what is obvious is that these 2 teams are totally crushing all before them and even the likes of Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham look vastly inferior to those 2. I expect Man City to recover from their blip at Norwich a couple of weeks ago and get onto a serious winning run. It will be interesting to see how far the Kops can maintain their own winning streak to match the champions.

Man Utd v Arsenal used to be a prime fixture not so long ago but Monday's match certainly won't crown the future champion. I thought the Red Devils were terrible in the off-season not to replace Lukaku and with the injury to Rashford, are left with no proven striker up front. Sure, Greenwood looks a wonderful talent but a 17-year old cannot hope to bag in goals a la Kane or Lukaku. I feel this is Arsenal's opportunity to snatch full points here and although the Gunners themselves have suspect form, they should be able to get away from Old Trafford with at least a point.

Spurs are on a rotten form and if papers have any inkling of truth in them, Pochettino looks unsettled over there. Whether that is the case or not, I expect that team to recover their form quickly and they will relish the coming of the Saints at home. I still believe the latter will falter down the stretch towards relegation trouble and Spurs must surely be scoring full points in this match.

Win: Man City, Liverpool, Tottenham
Draw-no-bet: Arsenal

Saturday, September 14, 2019

EPL 2019/20 - Week 5

Brighton v Burnley - Home
Man Utd v Leicester - Home
Sheffield Utd - Southampton - Home
Tottenham v Crystal Palace - Home
Wolves v Chelsea - Draw
Norwich v Man City - Away
Bournemouth v Everton - Draw
Watford v Arsenal - Home
Aston Villa v West Ham - Home

Sheffield Utd are showing pretty decent form since the start of the season and the way that they succeeded a precious point at Stamford Bridge in their last match would have given them hope that they can be competitive , particularly on the road. For them to maintain their Premiership hopes, they will have to maximize points at home, and this week they have ample opportunity for full points as they host Southampton. I think the Saints will face relegation battle this year and unless things change dramatically for the better in their squad or management, they will be ripe to be taken on. The hosts here are fancied for the straight win.

Although they have had an average start to their season, Wolves are a tough nut to track at home and Lampard's men are in for a rough outing against Santo's team. The Chelsea manager is still in the process of imposing his style to the team and the new faces he's brought in will have to go through their baptism of fire. They look vulnerable on this trip and I believe getting Wolves on a straight win or on a draw-no-bet could very well be rewarding.

Win: Wolves, Sheffield Utd



Friday, August 30, 2019

EPL 2019/20 - Week 4

Southampton v Man Utd - Away
Chelsea v Sheffield Utd - Home
Crystal Palace v Aston Villa - Home
Leicester v Bournemouth - Home
Man City v Brighton - Home
Newcastle v Watford - Draw
West Ham v Norwich - Draw
Burnley v Liverpool - Away
Everton v Wolves - Home
Arsenal v Tottenham - Home

Since their teetering start against Aston Villa on weekday 1, Spurs have shown that they are nowhere near hitting top form at the moment. It seems they are still hung over from their Champions League final defeat. I expect them to eventually pick things up but their away match at arch-rivals Arsenal does not bode well for helping their recovery. The Gunners are a tough beast at home and with North London derby bragging rights on the line, I expect them to take full home field advantage and inflict Spurs another defeat.

It's hard to comprehend Man Utd's decision to loan Sanchez to Inter. Sure, money was a factor but the loss of the Chilean leaves them with a lack of potency up front. Greenwood might be a talent but an unproven one. Seriously, I think Utd will be seriously lacking in goals until they bring in some fresh proven blood in attack. I still expect them to eke out a win at Southampton on the early Saturday kick-off.

Win: Arsenal / Man Utd / Man City


Thursday, August 22, 2019

EPL2019/20 -Week 3

Aston Villa v Everton - Away
Norwich v Chelsea - Home
Brighton v Soton - Home
Man Utd v Crystal Palace - Home
Sheffield Utd v Leicester - Draw
Watford v West Ham - Away
Liverpool v Arsenal - Home
Bournemouth v Man City - Away
Tottenham v Newcastle - Home
Wolves v Burnley - Home

A quick rundown of this coming week-end's predictions up there. Particularly keen on wins by Liverpool and Brighton which seem the best value plays. Going for longshots Norwich and and West Ham might be rewarding as well. 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

EPL 2019/20 - Week 2

Arsenal v Burnley - Home
Aston Villa v Bournemouth - Away
Brighton v West Ham - Home
Everton v Watford - Home
Norwich v Newcastle - Home
Southampton v Liverpool - Away
Man City v Tottenham - Home
Sheffield Utd v Crystal Palace - Home
Chelsea v Leicester - Draw
Wolves v Man Utd - Draw

Liverpool might feel the tiredness out of their mid-week Super Cup win but they should have enough in the tank to overcome Southampton. If they are to beat Man City to the title, they cannot afford to lose any points to the likes of Soton and Jurgen Klopp will have instilled that into the players' heads.

Spurs were arguably lucky to bag full points against Villa on opening day and I cannot see them riding their luck against Man City. Sterling is truly becoming a superstar and the Citizens are firing on all cylinders at the moment. They should win this handily.

Everton had chances to beat Crystal Palace last week but were their profligacy in front of goal cost them the win. They are tipped to make amends as they host a Watford team that demonstrated many defensive weaknesses in their home drubbing at the hands of Brighton. Watch out for Richarlison to be on the scoresheet in this one.

Win: Man City, Liverpool, Everton



Thursday, August 8, 2019

EPL 2019/20 - Week 1

Liverpool v Norwich - Home
West Ham v Man City - Away
Bournemouth v Sheffield Utd - Home
Burnley v Southampton - Home
Crystal Palace v Everton - Away
Watford v Brighton - Home
Tottenham v Aston Villa - Home
Leicester v Wolves - Away
Newcastle v Arsenal - Away
Man Utd v Chelsea - Home


Here we go again for another promising EPL season. It certainly looks that Man City and Liverpool will battle it out again for supremacy. They are the 2 best teams in the league by far and it would be far-reaching to look beyond these 2. You'd expect them to have improved over last year while there are big question marks regarding the other challengers. Man Utd are rebuilding, Chelsea are starting the Lampard era while both Spurs and Arsenal don't seem to have reinforced much. 

Everton have been busy bees during the transfer season and I expect them to perform relatively well this year. They look good enough for a Europa league spot. It is incoming striker Moise Kean who will be the object of much scrutiny, the Italian coming from champions Juventus of Serie A. So the Toffees look good value to make a potent impact while visiting Crystal Palace on opening day. The Eagles have retained Zaha against his wishes and that looks definitely a negative move that will backfire.

Liverpool should start the season with a bang as they entertain newcomers Norwich. So should Spurs against the Villains. Man Utd against Chelsea is the match of the week-end and I favour the hosts to edge this one. Chelsea will be a diminished team this year without Hazard. 

Win: Liverpool, Everton, Man Utd

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Goodwood Sussex Stakes 2019 - A Darn Hot contest

John Gosden and Franco Dettori are having a sizzling hot summer with their superstars and the trend looks set to continue when Too Darn Hot lines up for the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood. The juvenile champion seems to be back to his best after having been mismanaged in the early part of the season. The easy course mile looks very well within his compass and looks good value for the win at odds against.

The rest of the field are no slouch, with the likes of Phoenix of Spain, Lord Glitters and Circus Maximus but if the son of Dubawi has maintained the form of his Jean Prat win a few weeks ago, he should have fear of no one.

Win: Too Darn Hot
Value Place: Lord Glitters


Monday, July 29, 2019

Goodwood Cup Stakes - Who can stop Stradivarius ?


Stradivarius is the turf king stayer and is the overwhelming favourite to repeat in the Group 1 Qatar Goodwood Cup. The son of Sea the Stars is unbeaten in his past 7 outings, a winning run that has spanned the last 18 months! This handsome colt relishes top of the ground to unwind his powerful finishing kick and it is quite a worry from connections that the probable rain forecast could mix the cards come race time.

The main danger to Stradivarius appears to be Cross Counter, the Melbourne Cup winner. Beaten convincingly albeit not too far off in the Gold Cup, the son of Teofilo will certainly prefer the shorter 2 mile distance. Being the course holder of the mile and half distance, he will certainly not find the tricky Goodwood course a problem, an issue that some others in the field might find hard to tackle. This race represents Cross Counter's best shot of gunning down Stradivarius.

Out of the above two, Dee Ex Bee represents the best form and could try to take the spoils going tactically up front.

Hard to go against Stradivarius here even at odds against. An exacta with Cross Counter, an a trifecta with Dee Ex Bee look to be the best value plays.

Win: Stradivarius
Place: Cross Counter
Exacta: Stradivarius/Cross Counter
Trifecta: Stradivarius/Cross Counter/Dee Ex Bee

Friday, June 21, 2019

Royal Ascot 2019 - Day 5

Godolphin, or more precisely Charlie Appleby, hold a strong hand on the last day at Ascot.

Pinatubo and Space Blues are among the market leaders in the first 2 races and it seems they will battle it out with the Ballydoyle contingent for the win. Blue Point has an outstanding chance of doing a 'Choisir' and be a dual winner of the Royal meeting but the main question is whether 4 days rest is enough for him.

Masar is an intriguing favourite in the Hardwicke Stakes. The Derby winner is making his seasonal return after over a year on the sidelines and the vibes from the connections could not be more positive. It is however certain that the son of New Approach will not be at the peak of his powers and will need the run. His class might be enough to get him through but there are a few others that might give him a race.

Defoe was the surprise winner of the Coronation Cup. The son of Dalakhani looked to have lost his way over the past year but seemed to have regained his form when winning convincingly at Epsom on Derby day. If he reproduces that form, he can be considered a major player.

Salouen can be a danger if the ground stays soft but his chances will evaporate as it gets drier.

Lah Ti Dar was a major disappointment in the Coronation Cup as I expected her to be among the main protagonists. The connections believe she did not like the cambers of Epsom. If that is the case, then she might be ripe for redemption at Ascot. There is still a doubt though about her; maybe she is not as good as what she let transpired early in her career.

Mirage Dancer is the dark horse of the race and without a doubt the best-bred as well. There cannot be many pedigrees beating the blood of Frankel and Heat Haze in the stud book! He comfortably won at the distance in his seasonal return and seems to be on an upward curve. Trainer Michael Stoute is a master at getting these older horses right and quite interestingly won the race last year with Crystal Ocean.

Lastly, Southern Image seems to be well backed on the basis of his last race where he went toe to toe with Stradivarius. I feel the 12 furlong distance might be somewhat too sharp for him.

If Masar comes out firing on most cylinders, he very well could win this. I see him petering out in the last furlong or so. At current odds, there might be value taking confidence in Mirage Dancer as an each-way prospect.

Each-way: Mirage Dancer


Thursday, June 20, 2019

Royal Ascot 2019 - Day 4

It was Dettori's day on Thursday with the Italian winning the first 4 races and having the bookies shaking to the core. Friday could be Ryan Moore's day with many top-notch chances, on paper at least.

If he can reproduce his Derby form, Japan should go close in the King Edward VII Stakes. The son of Galileo is weighted many pounds over the nearest of his rivals and looks set to get back to winning ways with conditions to suit.

Ten Sovereigns could double things up for Moore in the Commonwealth Cup. Although the son of No Nay Never lost his unbeaten record in the Guineas, his reputation came out un-dented as he ran his race as a sprinter and only petered out in the last furlong. On that form, he should be hard to beat back up in distance.

Finally, Hermosa puts her credentials as the best classic filly on the line in the Coronation Stakes. The opposition will be quite fierce with the likes of French Guineas winner Castle Lady and Frankel's unbeaten niece Jubiloso to name a few. Hermosa looks a little short at evens but she should definitely be in the thereabouts despite the strong opposition.

Moore is the way to go on Friday.

Win: Japan, Ten Sovereigns, Hermosa

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Royal Ascot 2019 - Day 3

There is no doubt that Stradivarius is the king of the staying division. The diminutive son of Sea The Stars is unbeaten in his last 6 starts, a sequence that started last year. If there is anything that will beat him to the quest of a Gold Cup repeat, it will be the rain. He has won on soft ground but top of the ground is really his forte. To beat him, someone else will have to outstay him.

Thomas Hobson is the only other horse to have won at the two mile and four furlong distance. This son of Halling will not mind the softish conditions. In fact, he gave Stradivarius a fright in the Long Distance Cup at 2 miles on giving ground the last time they met. He has won at Royal Ascot before in the Ascot Stakes and 20/1 on the exchanges, looks like a good each-way punt.

Many believe that Cross Counter will be the main danger to Stradivarius. The Melbourne Cup winner is certainly top-class but I am not overly optimistic of his winning chances at a distance new to him on worse than yielding ground. I think he will get outstayed in the end. A place might be best he can aspire to.


Win: Stradivarius
Each-way: Thomas Hobson


Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Royal Ascot 2019 - Day 2

This years's edition looks truly a fantastic renewal of the St James Palace Stakes. Throw away the rest of the field, this race will be rightfully decided among the 4 market leaders Magical, Waldgeist, Sea of Class and Crystal Ocean. All are top-class middle distance performers that are closely matched on paper.

The ones with the superstar potential are the fillies Magical and Sea of Class. Both have come under the sword of the mighty Enable last year, albeit with their reputations enhanced. In fact, not many would argue about them reversing placings with the dual Arc winner should they cross paths again. Magical has already won 3 times this year already although it must be said the best she beat was stablemate Flag of Honour on all these occasions. The runner-up is certainly far from the best of the breed from the Ballydoyle contingent. So, asterix there may be on those wins. Still, Magical is among la creme de la creme of the staying division and should be thereabouts.

Sea of Class will make seasonal return in the race and she might be lacking in fitness in comparison to her opponents. Certainly she will come on for the run. If she has maintained or improved her form of last year, she will definitely be a major player in this race and later. I just feel this race might just be too hot for her for a first time out but she cannot be dismissed as her class can make up for the lack of being wound up.

Crystal Ocean hardly ever runs a bad race and is sure to give his all even though he might be sub-par talent-wise compared to the fillies. If everyone else is having a bad day, this son of Sea The Stars will pick up the pieces with no qualms.

Waldgeist is among the best stayers in France and needs to translate that over this side of the pond. He won with great authority on his seasonal return and his trainer Andre Fabre does not usually send them across unless they have a winning chance.

What could decide this race are the conditions afoot on Wednesday. The forecast rain will appeal to Waldgeist and to a lesser degree Magical. The dryer it is, the better for the other two. So this is a game time decision really. Look at the going stick or penetrometer reading as the rest of the racing world likes to say. With a soft going, I will go with Magical over Waldgeist. On good ground, I like the form fit Magical over Sea of Class.

Win: Magical

Monday, June 17, 2019

Royal Ascot 2019 - Day 1

The great John Gosden admitted Too Darn Hot has been the most mismanaged horse of the year. What an understatement! He almost ruined the horse! Let's face it, Too Darn Hot has proven darn good in his 2 defeats since the start of the season.

Coming a close second while 80% fit in the Dante proved his class, not his lack of stamina like everyone seemed to be pointing. It is easy to say things in hindsight but now we know that he was not fully fit for that race, there are strong reasons to believe that he would have beaten Telecaster if he were fully wound-up. Then running second in the Irish Guineas after ONLY 10 days of rest says enormous about the potential of this fellow. I cannot recall a horse with such a perturbed preparation and schedule that came up trumps as this son of Dubawi. At 3/1 in the St James' Palace Stakes, he screams a big buy. I believe he is a better horse than race favourite and Irish Guineas victor Phoenix of Spain as well as the rest of the field for that matter. If he is at 100% and can unleash his full potential, he should win this.

It is the duel of the super sprinters in the King's Stand Stakes as Battaash takes on Blue Point (or vice-versa). At 3/1, the Godolphin sprint star looks appealing here. In the words of his trainer Appleby, he is the finished article and is more worthy of confidence than the fast but quirky Battaash. The softish conditions should be ok for Blue Point who beat the same rival in this race last year.


Win: Too Darn Hot, Blue Point