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)

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New BDH Squad Members: Welcome aboard Regi and Choosy…

Sir Reginald Dwight, as he is known to his friends!

There was plenty of straight track sprinting action for me to delve into from the recent Ayr Gold Cup meeting, in search of some new members to freshen up our BDH attack squad.

The pace/draw angles were pretty clean-cut in all the cup races and that, to some extent, makes my job a little bit easier.

I actually pondered over adding my old mucker CHEVETON to our BDH squad. He ran a solid race from the ‘wrong side of the tracks’ in the Bronze Cup and although I will be keeping an eye open for him he just doesn’t seem to be giving out the sparkle of old. He will go into my own personal ‘Handicap Sleepers’ list (he was actually already there) and if conditions are right for him I will back him, but he just hasn’t quite done enough to step up into the exclusive BDH squad.

That honour goes to 2 runners from Saturday’s Ayr Silver Cup. One who most will have noticed and another who I reckon should have skipped under the radar of most…

Race in focus: 2.40 Ayr (21-09-2013): William Hill Ayr Silver Cup – 6f, Class 2 Handicap (27 ran)

How the race played out…

Ayr Silver Cup Review

We all know this was all about those drawn up high. The first five home were drawn in stalls 15 or higher and 9 of the first 10 home were also drawn in stalls 15 or higher. The field did split into 2 here but the low numbers, surprisingly, didn’t go and hug the far rail; a mistake in my opinion. In the previous days Bronze Cup, although it was also a high numbers race, the low numbers did the standard procedure of gunning it down their rail and they finished much closer to their highly drawn counterparts than the low numbers from this race did.

From the low numbers it was THUNDERBALL (Stall 1) & COLONEL MAK (Stall 7) that tried to set a pace but their bolts were pretty swiftly shot long before the race hotted up, fading to finish in 20th & 25th. It was always going to be a fruitless task trying to make serious strides down the middle of the track.

In the high group (near side) it was CHEVIOT in stall 25 that led the pack along and he held that position well into the final furlong. His front running provided an excellent tow into the race for the first 3 home (ANCIENT CROSS, FAST SHOT & AN SAIGHDIUR) who all sat on his tail before pouncing inside the final furlong.

It was quite clear that this was a race that favoured the high numbers and the low numbers really struggled to land any sort of blow.

The end result…

The winner ANCIENT CROSS had the luxury of being drawn in the 2nd highest box and as such had the ‘golden highway’ under the stands rail right underneath him all the way home. Although this was the highest mark he had ever won from he had placed/run well in the past from a slightly higher mark (100 & 101). The handicapper may well raise him above that mark after this and I imagine that may well anchor him for a bit. Second home, FAST SHOT, made a late surge for the line and was unlucky not to collect here. He has won and placed from around this mark in the past but if the handicapper knocks him up a couple of lbs he may also just find himself anchored, depends on exactly how much he is put up (if any). The Irish Raider AN SAIGHDUIR ran a career best in 3rd from a career high mark. He was ideally placed in the highest box of all (Stall 27) but had to move out a bit towards the centre to get a clear run, that may well have just cost him. PICTURE DEALER in 4th ran close enough to his best to suggest he may be able to pick something up from this mark. He is on a career high rating but is only a 4yo and could well have a bit more up his sleeve. The same comments could be applied to 5th home BOOTS AND SPURS, he ran a sound race and may be able to pick something up from his current mark. SIR REGINALD in 6th was the obvious eye-catcher. He was the only runner in the top 10 to be drawn in the bottom 14 stalls. The fact he came from stall 2 makes his 2 & 1/2 length 6th even more impressive. He actually came there with a serious chance in the final furlong but the efforts of running out in the middle ultimately left him a bit short in the finish. TAKE COVER is an interesting one. He finished a decent 7th here and he probably could have been done without the ground drying out. He is extremely lightly raced for a 6yo and he does give the impression that there is more still to come; he is one to watch from the well drawn ‘beaten’ horses.

BDH(s) to follow…

SIR REGINALD (6th) (R Fahey)

He is the obvious one to take from the race but that doesn’t mean we should ignore him. This was a mighty effort from his stall 2 outpost and his 2 & 1/2 length defeat gives further signs that he is back to somewhere near the form he showed as a youngster. It is easy to forget he was rated as high as 105 at one stage of his career and also ran well in Meydan from marks in the 100’s at the start of the 2012 season.

I don’t have too many conditions that I want to apply to him as the main pointer for me is his handicap mark of 93 (he ran off 91 in the Silver Cup). 93 looks within his range and he looks a much happier and sounder horse these days. We must remember that his 3yo season was curtailed after 1 run because of injury and his 4yo season was also interrupted a touch because of another minor injury. His last 3 runs fully suggest that he is now over those ailments and is ready to show what he can do.

1 small condition I would like to have in our favour is Paul Hanagan in the saddle. The form line when the former champion jockey is in the saddle is 2119946016 compared to 335205097072 when he isn’t. Hanagan isn’t imperative in the plate but he clearly is a bonus.

Apart from that I’m happy to evaluate him on a race by race basis.

Conditions – Happy to take him on a race by race basis. Hanagan a serious plus but not a necessity. His handicap mark of 93 looks well within him and a big field handicap at 6 or 6 & 1/2 furlongs is a feasible target.

CHOOSEDAY (12th) (K Ryan)

This 4yo is a less obvious choice but it shouldn’t go unnoticed that he actually finished 2nd of the low drawn horses. He made a strong move to the front around the 1.5 furlong mark but his effort petered out on the unfavorable part of the track.

Pat Smullen was an interesting booking on the day and they obviously expected the horse to go well, only to be undone by the poor draw. This was actually the 2nd race in a row where he was berthed in an unfavorable stall, he was drawn on the wrong side of the consolation Great St Wilfrid Stakes at Ripon last time out but still managed to run a solid race in 4th. The race before that he fired in a career best on the figures in the Stewards Cup consolation race at Glorious Goodwood, giving clear signs that he is still a horse on the up.

Conditions wise we don’t want him on anything too testing.

His Soft & Heavy ground form reads 53577

compared to…

His Good to Soft or better form of 1343024214277340

He does handle cut but the signs are that he is much better without it.

I would also rather have him over 6f than 5f…

5 furlong form is 6 runs | 0 wins | 1 placed effort

6 furlong form is 15 runs | 2 wins | 5 placed efforts

Apart from those small points of note he is another we can probably play race by race. He is only a 4yo and seems to still be on the upgrade, he just needs a decent draw to show what he can do.

Conditions – Happy to take him on a race by race basis although would prefer to see him on Good to Soft or better and over 6 furlongs.

SIR REGINALD & CHOOSEDAY now both enter my Proform ‘Horse Watcher’ tool and I will post on the Blog when they are due to run next.

Ben (BDH)

p.s. I’m really starting to dig into the National Hunt action now behind the scenes. Make sure YOU don’t miss out on the action by joining the FREE updates list here >>> FREE NTF Updates List

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p.p.s One of the Handicap Sleepers on the Free guide just ran at Carlisle (Tuesday 24th depending on when you are reading this) in the shape of ROKER PARK. Everything looked in place for a decent run…but he ran a stinker! …so I had a closer look. He was drawn in stall 10 of 10. Runners in stall 10 over 5f & 6f at Carlisle since 2007… 3 wins from 91 starts for a 3% S/R! They do win quite a bit less than they should as well. Watching the race it was clear that Roker Park was up against it and he could never get into a position from that draw.

Carlisle is one of those sprint tracks that pretends it is a straight…but is far from it! Bit like Beverley and places like that. You are turning a fair bit and if you are stuck out wide you really are up against it. On the face of it ROKER PARK ran a stinker, digging a bit deeper I’m more than willing to cut him a bit of slack for that run.

…also I should have checked this before I backed him! Yes my money was down and subsequently lost as RP failed to get anywhere from that devil of a stall that is stall 10! Still, lesson learned, notes taken, we move on poorer but all the wiser!

BDH Qualifier: “I feel good!”…

…hopefully we will be feeling good at the end of the day anyway!

We have another BDH warrior getting ready to do battle for us on day 3 of the St Leger meeting. Before I get onto that, however, a quick word on Thursdays runner…

THUNDERBALL – 4.25 Doncaster

Gaaagh that was a close one! To be honest I can’t knock the run at all, he was beaten a neck & a neck into 3rd and battled on all the way to the line. There was serious money flooding on to the horse all day but hopefully some of you got some sort of price. The race kinda fell apart throughout the day with 7 non-runners but at least the each-way money was secured with his 3rd placed finish.

THUNDERBALL stays on the BDH list and hopefully he can land us something soon, with the ground likely to be playing to his strengths until seasons end.

We also came agonizingly close with our handicap sleeper runner at Epsom. MY KINGDOM ran a blinding race in 2nd and at one stage it looked for all money that he would land us the spoils. Somehow and from somewhere Brocklebank sprouted wins from out the back and nailed our lad on the line. I’m pretty sure he picked up a discarded rocket-pack around the 1 furlong marker to fly home and scupper our celebrations!!

Still, I know plenty of you had an each-way double on the 2 runners so all was not lost at the end of the day.

Now onto today’s James Brown inspired BDH runner…

BDH Runner: YEEOOW 4.25 Doncaster (13-09-13)

This lad is probably the only 1 of our squad that has no real conditions applied to when and where we back him and as mentioned when I added him to our squad it is a case of taking him on a race by race basis.

First up there doesn’t appear to be anything else hugely well-handicapped in this contest so on the face of it the race doesn’t look too strong, obviously a bonus for us.

YEEOOW was actually dropped 1lb for his 6th place run at Goodwood last time out and considering that was his 2nd best career performance on the figures I’m more than happy with that outcome. This is only his 11th career turf start and with the 4yo only sitting 2lbs above his highest winning mark there is plenty in his recent runs to suggest he has improvement still in him.

The ground is an unknown for Yeeoow but I’ve haven’t seen anything to suggest he won’t act on it and until I see that visual evidence I’m happy to roll with it.

From the pace viewpoint with only 14 runners going to post there is no guarantee the field will split, I can see a situation where they stick as one group. The pace-setters look to be DUBAWI SOUND in stall 4, DR RED EYE in stall 5 and ELUSIVE FLAME in stall 14. YEEOOW is in stall 13 so he at least has a pace setter beside him and should, in theory, get a decent tow into the race.

The way things stand I’m happy to play YEEOOW here, there is enough juice in his price at the minute to play him each way and at the very least we should learn a bit more about our BDH squad member, hopefully he can land us some tasty profits in the process.

Best of luck if you are getting involved and I’ll leave you today with this classic (and damn funny!) James Brown clip…

Ben (BDH)

BDH Stewards’ Sprint Stakes Review: Yeeoow! I feel Good(wood)!

Get up! Get Down! Get up again…

A couple of points of interest from myself today as I take a look back at our Stewards Cup runner from Saturday and also introduce a new member to the BDH squad as we continue to bolster our offensive line.

Starting with…

Saturday’s BDH runners: DINKUM DIAMOND

Getting into top gear…door sandwiched shut! Gets round another way…finds arse end of another runner going nowhere! Yeah that’s Glorious Freakin’ Goodwood for ya! Dinkum Diamond didn’t exactly have a clear run in the hustle and bustle cavalry charge that was Saturday’s Stewards Cup, not enough to stop him winning but enough to get me pissed off for a couple of minutes! Cathy Gannon started stoking him up with 2 furlongs to go and although the response wasn’t instant he was starting to get some forward momentum, that was until the runners either side of him formed a pincer type movement and slammed the door shut in his face. In fairness to jockey and horse they found a way out but were then met with a back-tracking runner and that was game well and truly over. The interference didn’t mean the difference between winning and losing (far from it, the impressive winner had long since flown), at best it cost DD sneaking a place, but not getting a clear run is always a frustrating result in horse racing. It’s like sex without the climax…or something like that?! It’s wholly unsatisfactory, whatever you liken it to!

Anyway I digress… DINKUM DIAMOND stays in our BDH squad although we need to keep an eye on the underfoot conditions from here on in. The never-ending heatwave looks to be coming to a shuddering halt (booooo!) and we are starting to see conditions with a bit more juice in them. Ideally we want Good to Firm for DD (Good ground is passable) so hopefully his chances won’t be snatched from him by the ground.

Now time to bolster our hit-squad with a Badly Drawn Horse from Saturdays Goodwood action…

BDH Review…

Race in focus: 2.05 Goodwood (03-08-2013): Robins Farm Racing Stewards’ Sprint Stakes – 6f, Class 2 Handicap (24 ran)

How the race played out…

Reserve Stewards Cup Review

Pace wise this was simple; if you weren’t drawn up the top end you had little to no chance of being involved in the finish. The first 2 were drawn in 2 of the 3 highest stalls and the first 4 home were all drawn in stall 17 or above. They ended up drifting down the bottom side in the final half a furlong but that is irrelevant as they were comfortably ahead by that stage. TAKE COVER was the main pace-setter from up high with ABOVE STANDARD also doing his best to get involved from his middle to high posi. TAX FREE tried to hook onto the pace from box 12 but he could never really get there, with the same being said about NOVERRE TO GO from stall 2.

The pace map gives us clear indicators that the high numbers were where the pace was emanating from and in the end that played right into the hooves of those drawn middle to high.

The end result…

First home SEEKING MAGIC came from the highest stall of all the runners and this easily allowed him to hook onto the pace setters and grab them late on in the shadow of the post. He has taken his form to a new level this term (posting career best figures) and his previous 2 runs fully suggested he was getting ready to strike and land a tasty pot. With only 19 career starts to his name he may yet have improvement to come before the season is out. Second placed TAKE COVER has to go down as unlucky here. He led everywhere but the line in this race and despite this being a big step up in class he showed he is more than ready for it. He is another that is lightly raced and may have more to give yet. Third placed CHOOSEDAY was never too far away and dug deep in the closing stages to record a career best RPR figure. My feeling is that he may just need a wee bit of respite from the handicapper to get himself back to winning ways. ABOVE STANDARD was on a hat-trick and a career high mark and battled on well for 4th and a career best on the figures. The ground probably wasn’t quite quick enough for him and he could still have another big run in him off his mark. Fifth placed OUT DO was the best of the middle to low drawn runners but he is still 10lbs higher than his win at Yarmouth in June and the signs are that he needs to drop a couple before winning opportunities come his way. Sixth home YEEOOW was drawn at the complete opposite end of the stalls from the winner and this effort was an improvement on the form he has shown since his win at Ascot in May. This was a fine effort from a very difficult draw and he stuck in well at the business end.

BDH to follow…

YEEOOW (6th) (Mrs K Burke)

This Holy Roman Emperor gelding was the first home of the low stalls and was comfortably ahead of the others drawn in the same vicinity. Essentially he is a horse that has to come with a late run and the way this race unfolded meant there was little chance of that happening here, with regards to the runners that finished ahead of him.The way the race panned out from a pace perspective gave him little to no chance of victory so his 3 length 6th gains the utmost respect from myself.

The Burke’s have a decent team at their disposal this season and this 4yo would be near the top of their tree with this run very much suggesting that he can still do some damage off his current mark (only 3lbs higher than his last win).

A scrutiny of his form doesn’t really give us much in the way of angles to work with (apart from his obvious liking for Kempton – 1212) but a quick squint at the Burke yards form with their sprinters suggest we should possibly be looking at a Redcar (4 wins from 14) , Carlisle (3 wins from 5) or Ffos Las (2 wins from 3) as future targets. There is, I admit, nothing concrete in any of that for YEEOOW and he is one we should probably play by ear, race upon race.

Conditions – As already mentioned there is nothing stand-out obvious about the horses turf form and I’m happy to take him as he comes and scrutinize him on a race by race basis. He probably doesn’t have masses up his sleeve from the 93 mark but there should be enough for another victory to be squeezed out, preferably with Martin Harley on-board who seems to know the horse well.

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

Current BDH Squad

The following are the current members of our BDH Offensive line…

BACCARAT | DANCE AND DANCE | DINKUM DIAMOND | DUKE OF FIRENZE | DUNGANNON | JACK DEXTER | REDVERS | STEPS (soon to be featured on my guest post for horseracing.ie) | TAWHID | WAKING WARRIOR (featured in my guest post for Make Your Betting Pay) | YEEOOW

If you want to read about them then click on their names in the BDH TAGS section on the right-hand side of the Blog or pop their name in the search function right at the top, that should take you to the original post. If I have missed any of our team from the list then drop me a comment below, I’m pretty sure I got them all though 🙂

Cheers – 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)