BDH Sandown Review: Gannon’s not Dun yet….

An interesting couple of days for us over the weekend and before I crack into the review of the 5f sprint at Sandown from Friday I just want to tidy up a few loose ends.

Starting with…

DOCTOR PARKES

As far as his role as a BDH runner is concerned it’s job done and thank you very much. On Friday he was very much a ‘well drawn horse’ and he rewarded us all at some very tasty prices. It will be interesting to see what the handicapper does but for the purposes of this here blog he happily moves off the BDH list. Good job Doc.

DUKE OF FIRENZE

I think what Duke of Firenze (I’m going to call him DOF from now on!) confirmed to me on Saturday was that he needs the big fields to produce his best. Small fields tend to congregate and cluster up into 1 group, causing plenty of traffic jams for hold-up runners, such as DOF. In large field races the runners tend to fan out at the end of the race and gaps appear between runners as the petrol gauge starts to flicker on empty, gaps that Duke of Firenze obviously loves coming through in the closing stages. When the runners are spread across the track they naturally open up and fan out as the energy levels drop in the closing stages, this is where I feel Duke Of Firenze can be seen at his best.

He certainly met plenty trouble in-running on Saturday and he was hindered at least twice when looking to make forward moves. As mentioned this is more likely to happen in small fields when they cluster up so as frustrating as it is, it also isn’t surprising.

For now he remains on the BDH list.

Now onto the meat of today’s post…

Race in focus: 2.20 Sandown (05-07-2013) – LONDON’S RACE TRACKS RACINGANDMUSIC.CO.UK HANDICAP (Class 3 Handicap) 5f (14ran)

How the race played out…

Doctor Parkes Sandown Race 05-07

As is generally the case with sprints at Sandown it is the runners drawn low and up with the pace that come out on top and it was no different in this contest. There was some fine analysis pre-race on Racing UK by Eddie ‘the shoe’ Fremantle about the effect of the draw at Sandown over the 5f trip, where he pointed out the advantage of being drawn in the low stalls. He himself had walked the track before the race and stated that there was a distinct advantage, in his opinion, to those drawn low. That was purely from him having walked the track and tested the underfoot conditions himself. As it turns out he was spot on and it was also something I had indicated in my Blog post on Friday. It is very much something to keep in mind when punting in these types of races at Sandown although obviously the bias is somewhat negated in the smaller fields (7 or less runners).

The pace map tells us that the pace was set by FAIR VALUE in the 6 box and he tracked across to the far rail early on. DOCTOR PARKES got a good break from the 2 box and that allowed jockey Neil Callan to position him just where he wanted him, something that proved pivotal in his victory. JOE PACKET didn’t break quite as well and he was maybe just a quarter step behind where he wanted to be for most of the race, nevertheless he was still in a decent posi compared to some. Possibly the most interesting aspect of the pace was the fact that the top 5 stalls (boxes 10-15) all made the early decision to switch in behind the pack and run held-up. That isn’t too unexpected as they all generally run that way anyway but in truth it was also their only real option from their unfavorable draws. Unfortunately it was also a moved that severely compromised their chances. Of the 5 of them the smartest riding came from Thomas Brown on STEPS who kept his mount on the outer of the main group, leaving him room to try and bullet home late with an unblocked passage (ooh er missus!). He did, however, have the ‘best’ of the wide draws and was in a prime slot to make that decision.

The end result…

The winner DOCTOR PARKES was well drawn, in the prime position throughout and took full advantage. This was a good performance and he won fairly readily in the end. He will possibly now be pushing on to a mark that he will start to struggle with, as always it will be interesting to see the handicappers reaction. Second placed JOE PACKET possibly didn’t get the best start and had to fight his way back into it a bit but it was a solid run and there is every suggestion that he can win from this mark. He may just be better suited to being stepped back up to 6f. Third placed STEPS ran a very sound race from out wide, he was one that didn’t have a great draw but the fact he stayed wide probably benefited him as he had a clear passage to the line. He is running from a career high mark at the minute but still remains competitive, it is a close call whether the handicapper has him in his grip or not; personally I would like to see him dropped just a couple of lbs. FAIR VALUE gave it fair effort from the front but just couldn’t keep the closer’s at bay and faded slightly in the final yards into fourth. His recent runs suggest he could well pick a race up from this mark though and an easy 5f is probably his best option. Fifth place TAAJUB didn’t really take advantage of his good draw and found trouble by being held up. He is another that suggests he could win from his current mark. As previously mentioned it’s hard to win from out the back and out wide over Sandown’s flying 5 furlongs so for that reason I would be willing to crank up DUNGANNON’s 6th placed run a notch or 2. It was an extremely difficult draw to win from and he did well to get so close and he did motor home once the gaps appeared; to only finish 2.5 lengths in arrears was a fine effort.

BDH(s) to follow…

DUNGANNON (6th) (A Balding)

This 6yo gelding put in some decent late work once the gaps appeared and whilst his finishing position probably doesn’t fully justify his effort it should be enough to keep him under the radar of most punters.

Possibly the most interesting angle with this horse is his current handicap mark of 88. That is a full 7lbs lower than his last winning mark and 2lbs lower than his 2nd highest winning mark. If we also consider the fact that he has run well from marks as high as 99 & 97 then it isn’t hard to make the assumption that he is currently sitting on a pretty handy mark.

It’s also interesting to note that all his wins have come when returning within 28 days or less of his last run (on Friday it was 32 days since his last run)…

Form when returning within 28 days of last run – 010061013571

Form when returning after a break of 29 days+ – 569252678055

He doesn’t necessarily run ‘poorly’ after longer breaks but the fact all his wins have come off shorter breaks suggests that ideally we want him on the track within a month.

He looks fairly adaptable when it comes to ground and to a certain extent distance (winning form over 5f, 6f & 7f) so his options should be open enough with regards to future targets. His handicap mark is clearly the most interesting aspect about him and I would be surprised if he can’t take advantage of it very soon, especially off the back of his run at Sandown last Friday.

Conditions – Ideally we are wanting him back on the track within the month, the 28 day window looks his optimum and there should be plenty of targets for him to be aimed at. He has winning form over 7f but personally I think 5f or 6f would be the ideal trips for him, again there should be plenty of openings for him within the next few weeks.

DUNGANNON now enters my Proform ‘Horse Watcher’ tool and I will post on the Blog when he is due to run next.

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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!

Free Guides & Updates

If you want to receive regular updates and download an array of free guides from BDH/NTF then please visit the following page and join the growing community –

>>> Join the BDH/NTF community

On joining you will be sent a link to download a multitude of FREE GUIDES, including free horse racing tips, pointers, guides and free horse racing betting systems.

(If you are a current NTF member then you can ignore this message)

Ben (BDH)