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

Friday, May 31, 2019

Epsom Derby 2019

An electric day at Epsom as Anapurna justified the confidence at a juicy 10/1!

The colts are in action on Saturday for the Derby and there are 3 names to consider here; Sir Dragonet, Telecaster and Broome. I don't think they are head and shoulders above the rest of the field at this point of their careers.

Sir Dragonet could be an "anything" horse. His wins over the classic distance have been dominant and he has only started racing this year. Kind of reminds me of Justify, the Triple Crown winner in the US or the great Lammtarra who won the Derby after a maiden win. Lack of experience will be the main factor against him but his class might be more than enough to compensate. He very possibly in a superstar in the making.

Telecaster has shown all the right aptitudes for a serious Derby contender. His last 2 wins have been telling and he hasn't shown any chinks in his armour yet. I think he will be a leading player in the middle-distance division this year. His pedigree cries stamina and he should relish the distance. A major player who should be thereabouts at the finish.

Broome has won his 2 trials comprehensively and should be relied to put in a solid effort in the race. The fact that he was off the bridle quite early on in the Derrinstown Stud Trial at Leopardstown might be seen as a negative but he quickened quite nicely at the finish to suggest that he has the gears to kick late on. I like him as a place prospect.

Win: Sir Dragonet
Place: Telecaster, Broome

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Epsom Oaks 2019

Friday is Oaks day and it could very well be called Frankel day or Gosden day as I see this being a contest between Anapurna and Mehdaayih, both from the Gosden stable and both by Frankel.

If there is a filly that will scupper Gosden's plans, it will be Pink Dogwood, from the all-powerful Ballydoyle stable. The daughter of Camelot will relish this 12f trip and had a convincing seasonal return last month. She should be in the thereabouts at the finish.

Anapurna has the best pedigree for the distance going into the race. Her mare, Dash to the Top, is a daughter of the peer-less Montjeu, whose progeny were the best at the classic distance. She has won her last couple of races running away and if she takes to the cambers of Epsom, she must have a huge chance. A top 3 finish is definitely a live possibility.

Mehdaayih was oh-so-impressive in winning the Cheshire Oaks. Her pedigree does not scream a mile and a half but the way she quickened away from the field in that race indicates she should tackle the stamina-sapping distance very well. I think she deserves to start favourite although Pink Dogwood seems to have the favours of the bookies for the moment.

Shall the above 3 fail to fire, then Maqsad could very well pick up the pieces. This daughter of Siyouni won the Pretty Polly Stakes in impressive fashion and although I do have reservations about her in a 12f contest, she has good chances to make the frame.

Win: Mehdaayih/Anapurna
Top 4: Maqsad, Pink Dogwood

Saturday, May 11, 2019

EPL 2018/19 - Final week

Brighton v Man City - Away
Burnley v Arsenal - Home
Crystal Palace v Bournemouth - Home
Fulham v Newcastle - Away
Leicester v Chelsea - Home
Liverpool v Wolves - Draw
Man Utd v Cardiff - Home
Southampton v Huddersfield - Home
Tottenham v Everton - Away
Watford v West Ham - Draw

And so it ends, one of the most exciting finishes of the Premier League for a long time, with Man City most likely the victors come Sunday evening. I just cannot see them lose points at Brighton. There are a few reasons I think Liverpool are not guaranteed to win against Wolves; their midweek exertions (including post-match) against Barcelona, and Wolves are no push-overs as well. But more importantly, deep down the Kops are aware they are almost chasing a lost cause and will have some of their minds on the upcoming UCL final.
Here are some value nuggets for this last weekday. I see Burnley shocking Arsenal. The Gunners will probably field a secondary team as they have almost no chance of making the Top 4 and they won't recuperate fully from their mid-week Europa league exertions. Like the Kops, they will look forward to their upcoming Europa final against Chelsea.
Another golden nugget regarding those same Blues who will be vulnerable for their trip to Leicester. I mentioned before that the Foxes are a different animal with Brendan Rodgers at the helm and they will create problems for Chelsea. Were it not for Kompany's strike, Leicester might have held Man City in mid-week and thrown the title to Liverpool. They are that dangerous and will be more so next year.

Thanks for tuning in and hope you enjoyed and benefited from my ramblings over the course of this amazing EPL season.

Accumulator: Man City/ Man Utd/ Southampton/ Leicester/ Burnley

Friday, April 26, 2019

EPL 2018/19 - Week 36


Tottenham v West Ham - Home
Crystal Palace v Everton - Draw
Fulham v Cardiff - Home
Southampton v Bournemouth - Home
Watford v Wolves - Home
Brighton v Newcastle - Draw
Leicester v Arsenal - Home
Burnley v Man City - Away
Man Utd v Chelsea - Home

Hope you tagged on the Crystal Palace coup last week-end. Arsenal proved vulnerable as expected.
Man City removed a big hurdle in their championship quest by overcoming cross-rivals Man Utd at Old Trafford. Liverpool are racking on the wins but that massive Derby win should give the Citizens further impetus and confidence to close on the title. It's never easy to go to Burnley but it will a shocker if Guardiola's men don't get full points out of that trip.

Man Utd are reeling at the moment but I cannot see them lose to Chelsea at home. Through thick and thin, they should get at least a point out of this encounter although a win is much needed for them to aspire to the all-important 4th spot. At current odds, a draw-no-bet on the Red Devils looks fair.

I see more misery for Arsenal as they travel to Leicester. The Foxes are a totally different animal under Rodgers and will give the Gunners all they can handle. A win for the home team looks good value here.

Win: Man City, Leicester
Draw-no-bet: Man Utd

Friday, April 19, 2019

EPL 2018/19 - Week 35


Man City v Tottenham - Home
Bournemouth v Fulham - Home
Huddersfield v Watford - Away
West Ham v Leicester - Draw
Wolves v Brighton - Home
Newcastle v Southampton - Away
Everton v Man Utd - Home
Arsenal v Crystal Palace - Away
Cardiff v Liverpool - Away

Man City should rock Spurs and get their sort-of revenge on the Londoners who scuppered their hope for quadruple glory this past week. I see no problem of a Citizens win here.

Liverpool, I believe, will go on and win the title and they should have a relatively facile outing at Cardiff. If they cannot win the 3 points there, they won't win the Premier League, it is that simple.

For a shocker, how about Palace coming up trumps against Arsenal. Emery's men have been gathering the good results lately but they have had a hard European match at Napoli, and although they did win and qualify, I think they could come unstuck against giant killers Palace.

Win: Liverpool, Man City, Crystal Palace

Friday, April 5, 2019

EPL 2018/19 - Week 33

Bournemouth v Burnley - Home win
Huddersfield v Leicester - Away win
Newcastle v Crystal Palace - Home win
Everton v Arsenal - Home win
Chelsea v West Ham - Home win

Man City v Brighton - Man City win

A paltry set of matches in play this week-end. Liverpool got their title aspirations closer to reality today by winning at Southampton. I see easy wins for Bournemouth, Leicester and Chelsea, so they go into the accumulator.

I also see an easy win for Man City in their FA Cup encounter against Brighton. There is a big gulf of difference between those 2 teams and I cannot see Guardiola's men falter at this stage. They are motivated by the quadruple and although I don't think they will achieve it, the domestic treble is very much a live possibility.

Accumulator: Man City/ Bournemouth/ Leicester/ Chelsea

Friday, March 29, 2019

EPL 2018/19 - Week 32

Fulham v Man City - Away
Brighton v Southampton - Away
Burnley v Wolves - Away
Crystal Palace v Huddersfield - Home
Leicester v Bournemouth - Home
Man Utd v Watford - Home
West Ham v Everton - Home
Cardiff v Chelsea - Away
Liverpool v Tottenham - Home
Arsenal v Newcastle - Home

It certainly looks like Huddersfield is going down this week-end. I cannot see them getting a result at Crystal Palace and it is only a matter of when, not if, when they will go down. Man City should prove too strong for Fulham and so should Chelsea against Cardiff.

Liverpool still have their swagger and I see them getting a win against Tottenham. Kane has been on fire since his return but that is one of the rare good news coming out of White Hart Lane lately. Spurs could be under threat to get a top 4 position if they don't get their mojo back. I like Leicester's chances at home to Bournemouth; the Foxes are a better team under new manager Rodgers. Finally, Man Utd should have enough to overcome Watford although a draw will not be surprising either.

Accumulator: Man City/ Crystal Palace/ Leicester/ Chelsea/ Liverpool

Friday, March 15, 2019

EPL 2018/19 - Week 31

Bournemouth v Newcastle - Home
Burnley v Leicester - Away
West Ham v Huddersfield - Home
Fulham v Liverpool - Away
Everton v Chelsea - Draw

West Ham and Liverpool look the teams to back out of this shortened week-end of matches. Huddersfield are destined for the drop and I can see Chicharito having a field day against their poor defence. Liverpool are still alive in the title race and a win at Fulham will give them the lead and a certainly a psychological advantage. They should be too strong for Fulham.

For a good risk/reward flutter, it might be worth getting a go with Leicester. The team seems to have renewed impetus with the arrival of Rodgers and going to beat Burnley is certainly up their alley.

Accumulator: Liverpool/West Ham/Leicester

Friday, March 1, 2019

EPL 2018/19 - Week 29

Tottenham v Arsenal - Home
Bournemouth v Man City - Home
Brighton v Huddersfield - Home
Burnley v Crystal Palace - Home
Man Utd v Southampton - Home
Wolves v Cardiff - Home
West Ham v Newcastle - Draw
Watford v Leicester - Draw
Fulham v Chelsea - Away
Everton v Liverpool - Away

Spurs are slumping and Arsenal are on a roll. However, I cannot see Tottenham losing the London Derby at home to their arch-rivals. When the stakes are on the line, Pochettino's men have proven the more reliable and I expect them to use their superior mental toughness to overcome an in-form team that have yet to prove their mettle against the leading teams in the league. Spurs should prevail in that one despite their apparent loss of form.

With Liverpool having a seemingly-tough match at Everton, it would seem that Man City have the easier match-up against Bournemouth. I don't quite see it that way. I think that the Cherries have the potential to beat the heavily-favoured Citizens as they have strong form at home and Guardiola's men were not convincing in their last mid-week match against West Ham. An upset is possible here.

Accumulator: Tottenham/Wolves/Man Utd
Win: Bournemouth

Monday, February 25, 2019

EPL 2018/19 - Week 28

Cardiff v/s Everton - Away
Huddersfield v/s Wolves - Draw
Leicester v/s Brighton - Home
Newcastle v/s Burnley - Draw
Arsenal v/s Bournemouth - Draw
Southampton v/s Fulham - Draw
Chelsea v/s Tottenham - Away
Crystal Palace v/s Man Utd - Home
Liverpool v/s Watford - Home
Man City v/s West Ham - Home

Although they can still win the quadruple, the odds are really stacked against Man City to achieve something no team has ever accomplished in any league. But they are doing great in all their 3 remaining competitions, particularly in the league, when not so long ago, they were at risked of being left for dead by Liverpool at the top. The momentum has swung mightily and the Kops only hold a 1 point advantage albeit having played 1 extra match.

Both teams should win their mid-week home matches. The Citizens have the better match-up as they entertain a Hammers team that should be overwhelmed in every aspect. Guardiola will be thinking of working their goal difference here. Liverpool will face a pumped-up Watford team coming off a 5-1 thrashing of Cardiff. This will be no picnic for Klopp's men but I still expect them to edge this encounter in the end.

Newcastle against Burnley screams a goal-less draw. This has the air of a snoozer and might be worth a go in the accumulators.

Accumulator: Man City (Win) / Liverpool (Win) / Newcastle/Burnley (Draw)