BDH Weekend Review: Sifting through the wreckage…

Well Saturday was a tough day at the office!!

Jack Dexter ran a big race in 3rd under his welter burden and softened the hammers blows slightly (very slightly!!) but apart from his effort there was precious little else to shout about.

Let’s dissect the runs of our BDH squad and see if we should boot any of them into touch…

2.40 Ayr – Silver Cup

THUNDERBALL

Two things went markedly against Scott Dixon’s runner here. At the time of writing we were looking at Soft ground, which is the ideal conditions we want for him. By the time the gates went up it had dried to a tacky Good to Soft, OK for him but not perfect and in a race of this nature you probably want perfect conditions. It was also quite clear (by the time they crossed the line!) that it was the high stalls that held the upper hand here, he was isolated in stall 1 and that just left him high and dry with nowhere to go.

One thing that did surprise in this race was that the low group actually gunned it down the middle. Why not stay in a straight line and fire down the far rail? Most horses are better with a rail to run against, last time I looked there were no rails down the middle! Personally I thought it was a strange decision, it maybe made little to no difference but there was a rail down that side and I would have thought it would have been more beneficial to use it that float about down the middle of the track…

We learned nothing about T-Ball here and he stays on the list, hopefully we get PROPER soft ground for him next time out.

YEEOOW

I actually though he ran a sound enough race in 8th. He came there with a challenging run but as soon as he was pulled into the middle his run fizzled out. He was at least still well in the ball-park come the line and I’m happy to keep him in the squad for now.

3.30 Newbury – Group 3

STEPS

Didn’t even manage to engage 1st gear here! He was struggling after about 100 yards and never looked like landing even a glancing blow. Is he just feeling the effects of a long-ish season?

We have been unlucky not to collect with him recently (VERY unlucky!) but I fear he may be stuck in no-mans land now (above his handicap ceiling but not quite up to Group level). With that in mind it’s time to say goodbye to this squad member, he did us proud despite not winning but things are probably going to get tricky for him with regards where to place him and we now say au revoir to STEPS.

3.50 Ayr – Gold Cup

JACK DEXTER

Hard to crab a 3rd placed effort from a mark of 110 in one of the most competitive sprint handicaps known to man. He was an each-way bet and he delivered. For a brief moment it looked like he would unleash a barn-storming finishing kick but it wasn’t to be. Drying ground wouldn’t have been perfect for him but in no way could it be used as an excuse, I would have preferred soft but was more than happy to dive in on Good to Soft.

One thing that did spring to mind in the aftermath of the race was ‘Did he need the run?’

This was his first start for 84 days, his record after a break of 31 days or more now reads – 464312 – admittedly not that bad but now look at his record after a break of 30 days or less – 11100115371 – or even after 20 days or less – 1001111. Certainly edging towards him being better after a recent run and something for us to bear in mind going forward from here.

I’m more than happy to keep JD on the list after that run.

DUKE OF FIRENZE

No bet on DOF anyway and ran as I expected. To be honest I didn’t even hear the commentator mention him once! These would not have been his ideal conditions and I’m not judging him on this performance. He can still do damage when conditions suit him, just not sure there will be spots for him to strut his stuff before the season is out…

Additional selections…

I did put up 2 additional selections for the Gold Cup and they both ran OK without setting the world alight.

OUR JONATHON ran a sound race in 7th and I did briefly think he may sneak a place for us but he just couldn’t quite get there. He is on a decent mark and could pick something up before the season is out.

GABRIEL’S LAD was probably caught on the ‘wrong’ side of the high numbers and his 9th place was a decent enough run considering he had to do most of his work out in the middle.

Again I was surprised that there wasn’t a group trying to gun it down the far side rail. It was drying ground and what’s to say the far side wasn’t drying faster than the near side? Surely it was worth a punt instead of losing ground tracking over to the middle?

I’m going to review all the big sprints from Ayr later on today, there are a few I noted when watching the races ‘live’ as potentials for our BDH squad but as always I like to have a proper look once the dust has settled.

I’ll do my best to keep all things BDH updated in the coming weeks but my attention will be switching to NTF very shortly and I expect that to devour plenty of my time; I’m already doing some work on the Paddy Power Gold Cup!! I’m starting to think David Pipe has a fantastically strong hand (again!) to play in the race with a couple of his team (obvious and less obvious members) but there is also one from the Hobbs team that is potentially very interesting…

Anyway that’s for the National Hunt leg of my racing work (you can join NTF here and grab a bunch of FREE guides at the same time), I’ll hopefully have a new BDH squad member for you in the next couple of days on here.

Ben (BDH)

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BDH Saturday Qualifiers: Mob-handed in search of Gold & Silver…

Will 38 years of Scottish hurt end with Jack Dexter capturing Gold?

A busy day in store for us on Saturday as we fire double barreled assaults upon both the Ayr Gold and Silver Cups!

As well as our 4 Ayr raiders we also have last weekend’s unlucky 2nd, STEPS, ‘stepping’ into Group company for the first time at Newbury.

Before all that, however, we have to deal with Fridays runners…

WAKING WARRIOR 2.20 Ayr

12th of 24. Pace was up his side. Average run. Never looked like landing a blow. Time to drop him from the squad. He was staying on at the end but to be honest I’m just not feeling it and I’m happy to drop WW from the squad.

TAWHID 4.50 Newbury

Winner! Job done! He won how I hoped/expected/how he should have. Soft ground is simply a must for him and Silvestre De Sousa is a massive bonus when he takes the ride. His place in the squad is safe, lets hope there are a couple more spots for him before the season is out.

Now onto Saturday’s action…

Saturday’s BDH runners…

BDH Runners:YEEOOW & THUNDERBALL 2.40 Ayr

First things first lets take a look at the pace map for this 27 runner sprint…

Ayr Silver Cup

Pace coming from all over the track, which is handy as we are berthed in Stall 1 (THUNDERBALL) and stall 21 (YEEOOW). If anything there is slightly more pace down the bottom end (low numbers) but there isn’t enough to make a definitive pre-race conclusion. On the pace angle we are good with both. With the pace map looking like this I’m very happy to be hedging our bets with 1 high and 1 low.

Let’s deal with our 2 runners individually….

THUNDERBALL – Ran a very sound race at Doncaster last week (3rd), only 3lbs shy of his career best on the figures, and the 2lb raise he receives for the run still leaves him 1lb below his highest ever winning mark; good.

My initial assessment of him was that we want 6 furlongs and Soft and that’s what we get here; doubly good.

A straight track was also a preferable condition for him and he also gets that here, the only real ‘reservation’ is that this is a race worth more than 20k to the winner, an area he is yet to prove he is totally up to. However, he meets everything else and with Queally remaining in the saddle (form figures of 016813 when riding the horse) I’m more than happy to take a punt at prices of 20-1+. Needless to say in a race of this many runners I will be covering him in an each-way capacity.

YEEOOW – Another that ran a solid 3rd at Doncaster last week, running 1lb below his career best whilst at the same time meeting with ground with cut in it for the first time. Joey Haynes gets the leg up here and his 5lb claim takes the horse down to a mark of 87, 3lbs below his highest ever winning mark.

Off the back of last weeks effort and with the claimer making things interesting I think we need to play our boy again here. Like Thunderball I’ll also take this lad in an each-way capacity.

I would often try and find something else to have on my side in a race with this many runners but to be honest nothing really stands out at me, well nothing that tempts me into a bet. I’ll let it roll and just go to war with our 2 BDH warriors.

BDH Runner: STEPS 3.30 Newbury

Clearly Roger Varian’s hand has been forced to a certain extent here by the consistency of his horse and another rise in the weights (up 3lbs to 104) has made the trainer look to Group contests to get his 5yo back in the winners enclosure. I initially suggested that I didn’t think he would be up to this level but his last run has made me rethink that opinion.

He gets his bare minimum 5f trip here (well bar 34 yards!) and also his favoured Soft ground. Andrea Atzeni back in the plate is also interesting as together they have an eye-catching record of 131585. This wouldn’t be the toughest Group 3 we have seen and with Steps in such rude health I reckon it’s worth taking an interest in him again here. There is plenty of 8-1 flying around so I’ll probably look to take him Each-Way if I can.

BDH Runners: JACK DEXTER & DUKE OF FIRENZE 3.50 Ayr

Huge field again so let’s first take a look at the pace map…

Ayr Gold Cup

Like the Silver Cup there does seem to be a decent enough spread of pace here although it may just be that it is low to middle that is the strongest zone with regards to the pace. That isn’t totally ideal for our pair, boxed in stall 22 (JACK DEXTER) & 20 (DUKE OF FIRENZE), but it isn’t catastrophic either. It does mean that I’ll probably be looking for some sort of cover bet from the bottom half though. We will get to that later.

Let’s deal with our 2 BDH runners individually first….

JACK DEXTER – 110 is a hefty mark to win any handicap from but Advanced won this race from a mark of 109 in 2007 so it can be done and JACK DEXTER is certainly a progressive and classy beast, as shown by his close 4th in the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot. The soft ground will be perfect (form of 11111) and even if it dries out to Good to Soft I wouldn’t be put off (form of 261). He has good track form (531 – including a very comfortable victory in last years Bronze Cup), Graham Lee knows him very well (1541101041), he runs well in 16+ runner fields (741110064) and runs well in September/October time (4111).

I see very little negatives for him and the only small worry I have is the draw. At current odds I’m definitely on and once again I will look to cover him each-way.

DUKE OF FIRENZE – Hmmm…Duke Of Firenze (DOF)…what to do with DOF. My feeling is that 6 furlongs on soft ground will not suit. He has always struck me as one that is more at home on the top of the ground and his 2 runs on ground softer than Good have not promised too much.

Ryan Moore doesn’t make the trip up for the ride although I must admit Cathy Gannon is an interesting booking. She has ridden once for Stoute in the past 5 seasons and that was a winner. Is this a handy spare ride or have they booked her especially? It’s probably the former and in any case it isn’t really enough to swing me into a solid punt.

He is a tasty price for sure but I think he is a tricky ride and I would probably rather have a jockey that has ridden him before taking the mount here. I would also rather it was Good or better ground. If the pace does end up being down low then there is also a chance he doesn’t get a tow into the contest and as he seems to enjoy coming through runners late on that could prove to be a bit of a problem.

All in all I just have a few too many questions about DOF today and personally I won’t be backing him here.

So that leaves us with JACK DEXTER going into battle in the ultra competitive 27 Ayr Gold Cup; time to look for a bit of back up me thinks!

I want 2 others on my side here and those are GABRIEL’S LAD from stall 13 and OUR JONATHAN from stall 12.

I ran the entire field through my extended trends analysis and only 1 runner passed all 15 trends, that was GABRIEL’S LAD. He is an improving sort who was only just pipped by our BDH runner Redvers last time out and he also has winning form on soft ground. His mark of 99 looks workable and he is one I want on my side.

OUR JONATHON won this race 2 years ago, is fantastically well handicapped (10lbs below last winning mark & 19lbs below his peak rating) and will love the ground. He missed the break last week in the Portland at Doncaster but still ran well enough in defeat without managing to get overly involved. There is plenty in his favour here and his odds are too tempting to ignore.

Summary of runners…

2.40 Ayr

THUNDERBALL – Bet Each-Way

YEEOOW – Bet Each-Way

3.30 Newbury

STEPS – Bet Each-Way

3.50 Ayr

JACK DEXTER – Bet Each-Way

DUKE OF FIRENZE – No Bet

Additional selections…

Each-Way on GABRIEL’S LAD & OUR JONATHON – 3.50 Ayr

These cavalry charge sprints are always tricky to nail (bloody tricky!) but I feel we go in with solid chances of collecting at least some each-way spoils, hopefully much much more.

Best of luck if you are getting involved

Ben (BDH)

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BDH Update: Jack delivers but we wait on the Doctor…

Jack does just enough at Newcastle.

Just a quick update on a couple of BDH runners that took to the track over the weekend. I was actually away in Wales for a couple of days on a mini tour with Mrs NTF (She doesn’t want to switch names between Mrs NTF & Mrs BDH…so she remains as Mrs NTF on here!!) and just didn’t have the time/coverage to post them on here before they ran.

Both runners took the track on Saturday, one had his conditions whilst the other didn’t quite have his conditions….

JACK DEXTER – 29-06-13 Newcastle 2.05 Betfred Chipchase Stakes

I was slightly surprised to see this boy out so quickly after his Ascot run but it was obviously too good an opportunity for connections to pass up, especially as the rain had opened up the ground for him. The conditions were correct for us to get involved, being that it was over 6f and on ground with cut in it. The price was admittedly a bit skinny but he did the job with just enough to spare. I though Graham Lee gave him a fine ride as the horse had very little cover in the small field and Lee had to produce at just the right time, which he did.

The horse remains on the BDH list, he is obviously in fine fettle and fingers crossed he can get plenty of underfoot cut in future assignments.

DOCTOR PARKES – 29-06-13 Chester 2.45 Ma Kelly’s Blackpool Handicap

The ground was Good to Soft here and we really want at least Good ground before we get our money down; this was a no bet for me. He also had a relatively poor draw from stall 8. The upside of this lackluster run was that he was dropped another 1lb by the handicapper, always good for when we get him on his favoured conditions.

He remains on the BDH list.

Ben (BDH)

3.05 Ascot (18-06-13) – KING’S STAND STAKES (GROUP 1) 5f (19 ran)

It was safe to say we had a fantastic end to Royal Ascot 2013! As if Lethal Force romping home in the Diamond Jubilee wasn’t reward enough we were then blessed with the dual attack of York Glory & Dinkum Diamond streaking home in 1st & 3rd in the 26 runner Wokingham!

York Glory was the first ever BDH horse and this was his first run since I highlighted him as 1 to follow, indeed he is the first ever BDH horse to run subsequent to me highlighting them (well I guess he and Dinkum Diamond share that honour!); it really was a fantastically memorable day.

I also want to say a big thanks to you guys. You have obviously taken the methods in use at BDH to heart and that is by far the best endorsement I can get. The many tweets, comments, facebook messages and emails from you lot have been gratefully received.

Last weeks Royal Ascot action gives us plenty of straight track action to tuck into and source future York Glory’s for our punting pleasure. My plan is to review a number of those races this week and add more horses to our BDH to follow list.

For the record York Glory will now be removed from the BDH list as his form is now clear for all to see. That doesn’t mean I won’t back him in the future and I’m certainly not saying to you guys to not back him, far from it. The idea here on BDH is to look for runners that ran well from bad draws and look for spots in their following runs where we can back them under more favourable conditions. For York Glory that was Saturday and he has done the business for us in fine style. If I back him in future runs it will be for other reasons than he was a BDH horse. He was well drawn on  Saturday, took advantage of that and landed us a punt; job done.

The first Royal Ascot review race is the King’s Stand Stakes from last Tuesday…

Race in focus: 3.05 Ascot (18-06-2013): King’s Stand Stakes – 5f, Group 1 (19 ran)

How the race played out…

Kings Stand Stakes

As you can see from the pace map there was a bit of a middle to high pace bias in play here, the low numbers realized this quite early on and the field almost congregated as one down the middle in the early stages. Joseph O’Brien made the decision to stick to the rail from his high draw and was the only runner to do this, as such you can completely ignore his run as he spent the entire race in a wide no-mans-land.  I wouldn’t say it was a huge draw/pace bias at play here but horses down the bottom (low stalls) were the most inconvenienced by how the pace did play out.

Bungle inthejungle was the one from low to middle that could have set them a decent pace to aim at but he seemed to struggle with the early pace and as such didn’t act as much of a pace-setter at all.

The end result…

For the winner SOLE POWER the pace played into his hands to a certain extend and there was plenty happening in front of him to tow him into the race for his late charge, whilst at the same time the runners fanned out enough to give him late space and a straight blast to the line.  Second placed SHEA SHEA made the most of an average draw and didn’t get as good a tow into the contest from Bungle inthejungle as he probably would have hoped. It was a fine effort and he was unlucky not to collect the spoils. He is a real Group 1 animal and it was his class that got him so close to the prize from his unfavourable draw. Third placed PEARL SECRET was ideally placed in stall 10 to come from off the pace and this was a solid effort on reappearance. Fourth placed JACK DEXTER had the same problem as Shea Shea but he is a real hold-up horse and the lack of pace down their side was even more detrimental to his chances. He needs to come off a strong pace and he really didn’t get that down his side so this was a commendable effort indeed.

BDH(s) to follow…

JACK DEXTER (4th) (J Goldie)

The performance of Jim Goldie’s 4yo was eye-catching for 3 reasons…

1) He had an average draw and no real pace to aim at

2) The race was run on ground that would not have been ideal for him

3) There must be a train of thought that he is better over 6f and possibly even 7f

We have already touched on the first point and as mentioned this was a mighty run considering he likes to come through horses off a strong pace, which he didn’t get here.

On the 2nd point consider this if you will; ALL 6 of his career wins have been gained of SOFT or HEAVY ground. On Saturday they were riding on officially GOOD ground and previous form tells us that would not have been his optimum.

Let’s look at his ground form figures…

Form on Good or better ground – 3700454

Form on Good to Soft ground – 26

Form on Soft or worse ground – 111111

Unbeaten on the soft stuff! They were not all ‘run of the mill’ races either. Within that form line is a trio of valuable races worth upwards of 20k to the winner.

If we look at his distance form lines we also see that his form over 6f & 7f is slightly more eye-catching than his 6f form…

Form over 5f – 3714

Form over 6f – 115410106

Form over 7f – 21

It isn’t as strong an argument as his ground preference but the longer races give him a bit more time to reach top gear and finish with a rattle.

This run was also his first step into Group 1 company, a step up he took with what looked like consummate ease.

Such was the close and dramatic finish of this race by the front 2 I can see Jim Goldie’s horse being overlooked a bit here, hopefully keeping his price up for future assignments.

Conditions – I think what we really want for him is a bit of cut in the ground. Soft and Heavy are a big YES for him but I would also have him in mind on Good to Soft conditions as well. I have a feeling that conditions with cut in them not only bring out the best in him but also blunt the finishing power of the others in front of him, allowing him to pick them off late. He clearly also needs to be draw on the side with pace so he can get a tow into the race. 

He looks a similar type to Goldie’s other hold-up style sprinter Hawkeyethenoo so we can be confident that ‘Big Jim’ will also place this lad to his best abilities. We may have to wait for the ground to start turning again before we get our money down although this is Britain, the next downpour may well be just around the corner!

JACK DEXTER 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.

I will be back again tomorrow with another Royal Ascot review as I continue to build our BDH war chest…

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Ben (BDH)