BDH Glorious Goodwood Assault: In Ryan Moore we do trust…

In Ryan Moore we do trust…

No BDH action on the first 3 days of Glorious Goodwood, which if I’m honest has been perfectly fine by me (I’ve had NTF Summer Stunner Carlingford Lough to keep me in clover this week!). GG has never always been the kindest meeting to me and I wasn’t overly keen having a punt anyway, not with the unsettled weather floating around over the Sussex Downs. The weather seems a bit more settled now, which is pretty handy because *BANG* like buses we go from zero qualifiers on the first 3 days to THREE on day 4!

Here is my take on our 3 BDH gladiators…

2.30 Goodwood – Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes

BDH runner – TAWHID

This one may have sneaked past the attention of some of you guys because…eh…well…it was a guest post from myself on horse-racing.ie! Ideally I want at least Good to Soft for this 3yo, so for him (and me) this drying ground doesn’t sit well. In fairness he has never run on Good before (best form on Good to Soft & Softer – worst form on Good to Firm) so this assignment possibly falls into that ‘maybe worth a punt‘ zone. SDS takes the ride here, however,  which at Goodwood, is a wee bit of a negative for me so that starts to swing it back into ‘maybe not worth a punt‘ zone. As you can see I’m a bit in 2 minds with this lad and personally I reckon there will be better targets for him in the latter part of the season, today I’m inclined to leave him alone. If he wins today then so be it, there will be other, possibly stronger opportunities for me to get my money down on him before the season is out anyway.

*If it rains, however, I will clearly look to change my mind about not backing him today.

3.05 Goodwood – Betfred Mile (Heritage Handicap)

BDH runner – DANCE AND DANCE

First up: Drawn in stall 1 over a 1 mile at Goodwood in a large field = Great! / A hold up horse drawn in stall 1 over a mile at Goodwood in a large field = Not quite as great!

However, in Ryan Moore do we trust? Yes, in Ryan Moore we do trust. Moore will know this horse is a perennial hold-up merchant but he will also know the value of the 1 stall in this race and the potential to waste that good draw by bolting his mount to the back of the pack from the favourable position. At the time of writing this post his Betfair column isn’t available so it will certainly make for interesting reading re. his race positioning plans for Dance And Dance.

For the record these are the draw stats for the  1 box in 15+ fields over the 1 mile trip at Goodwood since 2007…

7 winners from the 1 box from 25 races | 28% S/R | +£112.17 BFLSP – Win & Place 11/28 | 44% S/R

You don’t need me to tell you that is impressive figures! That is way more than expected and no other stall comes close to that sort of hit rate.

Apart from the draw quibble everything else looks in place. He is incredibly well handicapped on a mark of 94 (he ran 5th in this off 108! in 2011), the ground has come right for him, Ryan Moore has a solid record on him and he runs well after this sort of break.

The draw has slight issues for us but 2nd time blinkers may help combat that and I’m on this BDH warrior today.

In Ryan Moore we do trust…

3.40 Goodwood – Betfred King George Stakes

BDH runner – DUKE OF FIRENZE

Again we entrust our BDH warrior to Ryan Moore and again I’m happy to pitch in with him.

As far as the draw goes I’m thinking he is pitched in perfectly in the 7 stall. Take a gander at the pace map…

King George G Gdwd

There looks plenty of pace on in this Grade 2 and a lot of it is coming from down beside DUKE OF FIRENZE. In theory there should be a flurry of pace happening right in front of him and that should allow Moore to sweep in behind and strike hard, fast and late. There are also some speed options up high but the pace map gives firm indicators that the bulk of the pace will be blasting out from stalls 6 and below, DOF is situated in stall 7.

Outwith the draw we know DOF handles the track (1 from 1), handles the ground (all 4 career wins on Good), enjoys tackling undulating courses (form on undulating & very undulating tracks reads 111) and loves firing off the back of a burn up out front (check the Epsom dash). The only real query is whether or not he is up to Grade 2 class. There is no doubt he has to improve on what he has shown to win this but with only 13 runs under his belt that is a distinct possibility.

At the odds available I’m happy to take the plunge and I’m on this BDH warrior.

In Ryan Moore we do trust…

Ben (BDH)

 

BDH Update: Is the Duke ready to Fire?

Will Ryan Moore find the gaps?

Another quick update for you today guys as another BDH runner heads into battle.

First of all though a big thanks for all the comments regarding Doctor Parkes’ win yesterday. Fantastic to see so many of you on board and collecting the spoils.

Now onto today’s task in hand…

BDH runner: 2:05 Sandown – DUKE OF FIRENZE

Ahh the Duke… what to do with the Duke…

I must say it’s not as straight forward a task as the good doctor yesterday. I did mention in my notes that I think he is a graded beast…and this is a graded contest…however, I was thinking more along the lines of the big 16+ runner sprints such as the July Cup and races of such ilk. An 8 runner contest at Sandown poses a slightly different conundrum.

For starters we know he needs a strong pace to come hard and fast off the back of, so lets look at the pace map and see if there is potential for plenty of speed….

Sandown Sprint Stakes

That does give us a bit of hope. Three potential front-runners and 2 others sitting in-behind suggests there may well be plenty of pace on the go here.

My main concern really is that a flying 5 furlongs at Sandown generally plays to the hands of those up with the pace or making the pace, the ones coming from behind can often come unstuck (the stats do back this up).

I’m very much in 2 minds about how this race will suit Duke Of Firenze. On one hand he has a good draw and should get a decent pace to aim at but on the other hand it is not a track that really suits horses flying hard and fast from out the back…hmmm…

My thought is to take a punt on him at around the 6-1 mark but at reduced stakes. Now I generally don’t play about with my stakes unless the situation really suggest that I do… today the situation suggests I reduce my stakes!

I think there will be better opportunities for this lad as the season progresses but there is the potential for the race to fall into his lap, especially if the 3 potential pace-setters go hammer and tong at it up front, and as such I want a bit on him in case that situation does arise, especially as we can get around 6-1 on the exchanges and with a couple of other firms.

Am I as confident as I was about Doctor Parkes? Not at all. Do I think there is more to come from this horse? Most certainly. Will he get the fast pace needed? I’m hopeful.

At the very least today will be a good test for him and hopefully a decent indicator of does he just have another valuable handicap in him or whether he can indeed take the step up the ladder to Graded level….

Best of luck if you are getting involved.

Ben (BDH)

 

Wokingham Stakes Review: The Duke still has plenty of Fire(nze)…

Today brings with it the last, but certainly not the least, of the BDH Royal Ascot previews. Fittingly it is the Wokingham Stakes that falls under the microscope as I try and uncover the next York Glory amongst the also-rans of the valuable 6f sprint handicap.

Race in focus: 4.25 Ascot (22-06-2013) – Wokingham Stakes (HERITAGE HANDICAP) 7f (26ran)

Wokingham Stakes

The runners split into 2 groups here although it was very much a middle to low heavy field as only 6 runners actually stayed on the stands side. Despite being in the main group the runners that were coming from stalls 1 – 11 really struggled to land any significant blow here with their best position being MASS RALLY in 11th. It significantly paid to be in the middle group of stalls here and the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th & 6th were all drawn in an 8 stall range (stalls 12-19). POOLE HARBOUR made the pace from down low but the main group of runners bunched into the middle and he ended up acting as front-runner for them all. BABAK CHINTA acted as a good wing-man for the overall leader and it was his early pace pushing that helped set it up for the hold up horses; the first 5 home in the main group were all hold up horses. From the high numbers it was ZERO MONEY who led the raiding party but he is far from a regular pace-setter and he just didn’t go fast enough to pull his small band of horses into contention.

The end result…

The pace coming down the middle played right into the hands of the winner YORK GLORY and he was able to hook behind the main pack from his draw and cruise menacingly into contention before landing his killer blows inside the final furlong. This was an impressive run from a horse that is probably going to go on and make his mark in Graded company. Second placed SHROPSHIRE was another that was able to sit out the back and come through late although he had no answer to the winners finishing burst. This was a career best run and he now finds himself on a career high mark, a mark he may well struggle from. Third placed DINKUM DIAMOND got going a little too late but this was a fine effort and he took advantage of his decent draw. Fourth placed KHUBALA was the first home from the stands side runners and this was a decent effort considering he would have liked a bit more cover. Fifth home was GLASS OFFICE and he was another that came from out the back. He is still lightly raced and probably still has more to offer. It should be noted that 3yo’s have a pretty poor record in this race so fifth was a sterling effort. Sixth placed REX IMPERATOR was another that took advantage of his draw and came from off the pace late. He has only has 2 wins from 14 to his name and seems a bit inconsistent for my liking. Seventh placed ELUSIVITY was the 2nd home from the high stalls and although this was an OK effort he is going to want a bit more cut in the ground before he is winning again. DUKE OF FIRENZE came home in 8th (3rd in his group) and realistically had no chance from the highest stall of all and racing in the small group. For him to get as close as he did was a fine effort as this really didn’t play to his strengths.

BDH(s) to follow…

DUKE OF FIRENZE (8th) (Sir M Stoute)

I think he is plenty better than this, I really do. He had little to no chance from stall 26 here and with no pace up his side his cards were played and busted as soon as the gates opened. He was finishing strongly here but he was never going to be able to get into a position to strike a killer blow. He was dealt a poor hand but in fairness I though he made the most of it.

As his win at Epsom in the dash testified he loves coming late and fast and passing through runners in the closing stages. He didn’t have any chance of doing that here but it was noticeable that he started to pick up and gain interest as others dropped back to him late on. He obviously loves threading his way through a pack, it brings him alive. Ryan Moore is the perfect foil for him as he can get the horse stoked up out the back and the horse will keep responding for him when asked.

I think a strongly run 5 furlong may just be his optimum conditions although I would certainly not discount him when running over 6 furlongs.

Is he a Group horse in the making? Possibly. I do think he has plenty of talent in the locker and a mark of 101 certainly doesn’t seem beyond him. After that, who knows.

Conditions – He will be a very difficult horse to win with from a poor draw so we really want to see him in a large field, covered up behind a strong pace and on the correct side of the draw. Ground wise he seems to be a Good ground type of horse, he certainly doesn’t look like one that would want it any softer. I do think there is a handicap still in him although Graded company may also be within his compass as well.

DUKE OF FIRENZE now enters my Proform ‘Horse Watcher’ tool (horse tracker in other words) and I will post on the Blog when he is due to run next.

The BDH war chest has now been stocked up nicely after Royal Ascot, we now just need a couple of them to deliver the goods York Glory style!

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