BDH Sunday Qualifier: Time for ‘Ball to Thunder home?

Pray for rain guys, pray for rain…

Hi guys, just a quick post from me as I’m a bit tied up with all things NTF at the moment.

BDH Sunday Qualifier: THUNDERBALL 4.45 Goodwood

6 furlong? Straight track? Race worth less than 20k to winner? Tick, tick and tick. But what about the 4th condition, the most important one; Soft ground. Well it is currently Good to Soft (Soft in places in the home straight) with rain forecast, some heavy rain as well by the looks of things. For me that is a 3/4 tick… so I’m on!

He drops down to Class 3 level today. His last 10 turf runs have seen him run at Class 2 level 9X & Class 3 level 1X. His run at Class 3 level was when we almost cashed in on him at Doncaster when he came a 1/2 length 3rd. Needless to say I’m happy with this step down in Grade.

There is pace coming from the stalls beside him – Stall 20 & 15 should go on and stall 18 may also be up there, we are in stall 19. There is pace at the other end as well so it isn’t a massive positive being where he is but it isn’t a negative and it is always handy to have pace round about Thunderball so that he doesn’t have to be making it himself.

We have never really been able to get properly stuck in to Thunderball since he has been in the squad (for 1 reason or another) but I’m willing to keep the faith with him today.

Now let us kneel down, fold our hands and pray for a bit of rain….

Ben (BDH)

p.s. The doors for the NTF Subscription service are now open….

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Ladbrokes St Leger: Dosage & Trends Analysis

The final domestic Classic rumbles into action today at Town Moor on day 4 of the 2013 St Leger Festival with the lung bursting St Leger taking centre stage at 3.50.

I have a full Dosage & Trends guide available for you later on in the Blog for the big one but first I’ll give you my thoughts on yesterday’s BDH runner as well looking at today’s BDH qualifier and some Portland Handicap analysis.

Let’s start with yesterdays BDH runners…

YEEOOW – 4.25 Doncaster

Finished 3rd, each-way money secured, handled the ground, I’m happy. The field split into 2 groups which didn’t really help our lad but he gave plenty of indications that he is still improving and he very much stays on the list after this run.

I’m hopeful he can land something for us before the season is out.

Now onto today’s action…

BDH Runner: STEPS 2.40 Doncaster – Portland Handicap

Ahh Steps…Steps…Steps. He probably should have won last time out and he again finds himself climbing the weights without winning. He is now 11lbs higher than his highest ever winning mark and 17lbs higher than his last winning mark. It’s starting to concern me for sure.

I would also slightly prefer him over a bare 5f rather this 5 & 1/2f.

On the plus side he has ground with cut in it which is a huge positive and he has winning form at Doncaster.

His hold up style of running should also be a bonus in a race that looks to hold plenty of pace up front.

He has fired in 2 career best’s on the figures on his last 2 starts so there is reason to believe he can overcome this mark.

Despite a couple of small reservations I’m happy to pitch in with him here today. The Varian yard are in bouncing form and with enough juice in the price to get on each-way I’m happy to have our BDH warrior STEPS on our side.

As is usual the case in race of this stature I’m also looking for another runner to carry my money. Let’s start by looking at the pace chart to see how the race is likely to shape up…

Portland 2013

To be honest the pace map doesn’t give us a great deal of help. The signs are that there is pace from all over the track so from this angle I can see no clear advantage to top, middle or bottom.

I would expect the field to split into at least 2 groups, with each group having solid front-runners at the head of affairs.

My next stop would usually be a quick delve into the trends but personally I don’t think this is a great race for that approach. I could fire up some trends without any problem but from past experience it wouldn’t be the strongest from the trends angle.

Instead I’ve had a look at the field from a handicapping perspective and picked out a clutch of runners that I have marked up as ‘well-in’ on old form, whether that is old handicap form or indeed old graded form.

That gave me the following shortlist…

MONSIEUR CHEVALIER

OUR JONATHAN

ANGELS WILL FALL

ANGELS WILL FALL has never struck me as one to enjoy a large field and she has been really struggling of late so she gets punted from that list fairly readily.

The other 2 are much more interesting to me…

OUR JONATHAN finds himself slipping to a very handy mark indeed. 2 years ago he won the Ayr Gold Cup quite comfortably off a mark of 105, today he runs off  97. We know he handles ground with cut in it, we know he handles large fields and we know he is classy on his day. He has also run some decent races at Donny without actually winning so his 0 from 6 track figures are a lot better than they first seem. At the odds available he is worthy of consideration.

MONSIEUR CHEVALIER is one that is very much of interest to me. I’ll let you into a little secret; he almost made the BDH squad after his last start. That was last weekend at Ascot behind our boy Redvers in what was only his 3rd ever handicap start. That race was over 7f and he made a serious move to hit the front around 2f out, however, as soon as he got there he smashed into his stamina wall and back-peddled rapidly.

It’s easy to forget he was once rated as high as 116 after a close 2nd in the 2011 Golden Jubilee at Royal Ascot. This year he has been tried over 8f (x3) & 7f (x4) and only once over 6f. Admittedly he did run a sound race in 5th over 7f at Glorious Goodwood in the Lennox Stakes but apart from that every sinew of him looks like it has been crying out for a return to 6f, if not 5f.

I’m not put off by the fact he only ran 7 days ago as his form figures when returning within a week read -12- and his form figures when returning within 2 weeks read -121115050- he clearly has no problem with a quick return.

We know he has the speed for this trip, we know he handles the ground and with jockey Natasha Easton taking off 5lbs we can be pretty confident the mark of 91 (taking the claim into account) makes him an interesting proposition.

I’ll take STEPS (BDH Qualifier) and MONSIEUR CHEVALIER (BDH almost squad member) as my 2 bets in this valuable sprint and I’ll ponder over whether to include OUR JONATHAN in calculations as well.

Ladbrokes St Leger full Dosage & Trends Analysis

We move from the sprinting division to the staying division with one fell swoop and put the St Leger under the full ‘Trosage’ microscope.

It doesn’t look the strongest St Leger in recent memory but someone has to win it and with it generally proving to be a strong race for both Dosage and Trends it was a no-brainer to give it a full and thorough seeing to.

The full analysis guide can be downloaded from the following link…

>>>Full BDH St Leger Analysis Guide

As always you don’t have to side with my selections, there is plenty of analysis in the guide that you can utilize for your own thoughts and workings.

Best of luck if you are getting involved today.

Sky Bet Super 6 – Jackpot now £1 million!!!

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If you don’t have one I suggest you grab one now and get your Super 6 predictions in ASAP!

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Ben (BDH)

BDH Stewards Cup Analysis: DD hoping to Hoof It to glory…

Aah Glorious Goodwood, Glorious freakin’ Goodwood! Unless in some dark and distant land Glorious means “the festival of finding trouble in-running” I think they should re-name it! In truth I’m being a bit harsh, I actually enjoy watching the meeting, just not punting on it as much, it’s a bit too in and out for my liking (I’ve learned this through numerous roller-coaster Glorious Goodwood punting experiences!) so I’m actually quite pleased I haven’t gotten too involved in the punting side this week.

The 2 BDH runners I did open up the punting bank for this Friday both got checked at vital stages in their forward runs (as is far too often the case at Goodwood!) and Duke Of Firenze most certainly still had plenty of nitro boost left in his rocket pack, he just had no room to use it!

Anyway here is my take on how our 3 troopers performed and my thoughts on them going forward from here…

TAWHID (2nd in the Thoroughbred Stakes) – I was more than happy with this run and also more than happy to have not punted him. He coped well enough on the Good ground but he still gave me the impression he wants at least Good to Soft and on the day was beaten by the better horse who was also more suited by conditions. Tawhid will get his chance once the rain gets into the ground at the back end of the season, and then we will be on and collecting the profit.

DANCE AND DANCE (10th in the Betfred Mile) – I think this was a case of Moore wanting the horse closer the pace but the horse wanting to do the usual and sit out the back. Moore had him well enough placed but when he made his move around 2f out the path he intended taking started closing rapidly and he had to switch. I don’t think it was the difference between winning & losing but it may have cost him nicking a place. He still remains of utmost interest from his current handicap mark.

DUKE OF FIRENZE (10th in the King George Stakes) – Traveled well enough but the doors just didn’t open at the right times for him. It still doesn’t confirm or deny whether he is a Group animal in the making but there is a large part of me that wants to see him tackle a handicap off this current mark, I really do think he can land a large handicap pot from his rating. Moore was easy enough on him once the lanes up ahead started squeezing shut and he still remains of interest.

We have another of our BDH crew taking to the Sussex Downs on day 5 of the “Glorious” Festival in the cavalry charge that is the Stewards Cup…

Saturday BDH Runner – DINKUM DIAMOND – 3.50 Stewards’ Cup

With 28 runners set to go to post the pace map is, as ever, a fine place to start…

Stewards Cup

From a pace perspective it looks like there is a good chance that it will be split right across the track. There is probable pace coming from Top (WHOZTHECAT), Middle (BLAINE) and Bottom (DR RED EYE). DINKUM DIAMOND is drawn almost slap bang in the middle and that gives him options on the pace side although he could just fire straight down the middle and hook on to the pace of Blaine. Draw/pace wise he looks fine.

Next up I want to look at the ground. My stipulation for him is Good to Firm; all his career wins have come on such a surface. At the moment Goodwood is sitting at Good (Good to Firm in places). For me that would be OK as he has run some sound races on Good ground and the G2F patches suggest it is currently heading for the faster side anyway. There are showers forecast so if there is significant softening of the ground then I would most likely be looking to jump ship, however at the minute I’m good with the likely underfoot conditions.

From a handicapping perspective I would say his mark (103) is well within his grasp and he is only 1lb higher than his 3rd in the Dash at Epsom and 3lbs higher than his excellent 3rd at Ascot last time out.

Cathy Gannon is getting to know him very well (17033) so it’s a positive that she keeps the ride.

I know he is yet to win over 6 furlongs but he has ran some eye-catching races over the trip and the way he was finishing last time out over the distance at Ascot tells me this isn’t too much of a worry, in fact he has actually ran to within 2lbs of his 5f form over the furlong longer trip, 6f does not scare me with this lad.

Ideally we want drying ground for DD but at the moment the conditions are enough to persuade me to punt and at around 18-1 (larger on Betfair) I’m happy to take the plunge. I will naturally be keeping an eye on the weather though…

*Note – Ground now changed to Good all round but no showers are forecast and it is set to be a dry and breezy day. Again it is a case of keeping an eye on proceedings, watching the weather and seeing how the first few races play out…

To be honest this contest looks tricky, fast and furiously tricky! But then it’s Glorious Goodwood and the Stewards Cup, we should expect nothing less.

I generally like to have a cover bet running for me in these sprint minefields so I gave the entire field a quick analysis with my own trends… but that didn’t really clear the waters much, there were a number within close proximity of each other.

Hoof It, Face The Problem & Prodigality are the 3 that I finally settled upon to make up my cover bet shortlist. Of that 3 I’m leaning towards 2011 winner HOOF IT.

He missed most of last year due to a couple of problems but he returned to action at York last month. That was over an inadequate 5f and clearly that was a race to simply blow away the cobwebs and smooth off the rough edges. He ran well without over exerting himself that day and he is sure to strip much fitter here.

He is only 1lb higher than when winning this race 2 years ago and considering he finished 1/4L 3rd behind Dream Ahead & Bated Breath in the 2011 Group 1 Haydock Sprint Cup I don’t see this mark being much of a problem.

Kieran Fallon back on top is a massive positive, with the pair having a 7117116 record together when teaming up.

He likes the ground, handles the trip and track, enjoys the thrill of large field sprints (4 wins from 10 runs) and Easterby is sure to have him primed to the minute for this repeat bid.

Like most Goodwood contests I’m fully prepared for hard luck stories in-running, especially with 28 runners belting it down the 6f straight track, but you gotta be in it to win it and I’ll be having a dabble on BDH runner DINKUM DIAMOND (providing the ground looks OK and doesn’t deteriorate) and a covering bet on 2011 winner HOOF IT.

Best of luck if you are getting involved in this fiendishly difficult conundrum.

Ben (BDH)

 

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)