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

Free horse racing guides are readily available with more currently in construction as I build up to NTF National Hunt 2013/14!

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 Weekend Review: Job Dun!

Well that was a pretty good weekend!

4 BDH qualifiers – 2 winners. For good measure the Haydock Sprint Cup winner was also thrown into the mix; good work GLB.

When reviewing the weekends action for my own records I also, naturally, kept my BDH brain in full recruitment mode as I look to replace and strengthen our squad. Unfortunately nothing instantly stood out at me and I won’t add new members just for the sake of it. That would be pointless and a sure way to eek into our profits.

I have a couple of potentials in mind but I want to review the action again with a fresh mind, possibly tonight or tomorrow, and do a bit more digging into their previous form.

For now, however, I’ll give you my thoughts on our 4 weekend runners and where we go from here with them…

Weekend BDH runners…

BDH Runner: REDVERS 1.55 Ascot – 1st at BFSP 10.37

He was drawn with pace round about him and jockey Richard Kingscote gave him a superb ride, hooking behind the pace on his side instead of right out the back and cruising into contention in style; job was a good ‘un.

As far as I’m concerned for our BDH list it is “thanks and good-bye, we will call again if your services are required”. As always that doesn’t mean I won’t back him in the future but for now he drops off the BDH list after doing the job we employed him for; securing us some tasty profits!

Good lad Redvers and best of luck going forward.

BDH Runner: WAKING WARRIOR 2.00 Thirsk – 6th at BFSP 12.5

The Kevin Ryan horse always seemed to be climbing a slippy slope here and that has to go down primarily to the draw. I thought it may be tricky from his berth but I maybe gave too much credence to its effect being lessened over the furlong further. Lesson learned and for now he stays in our squad.

I want to see him get a real shot at a race from a decent draw before making a solid assessment of his position in our squad.

BDH Runner: TAWHID 2.40 Haydock – 4th at BFSP 4.92

Hmmmmm…Tawhid…hmmmmmm. Either Mosse got the tactics wrong or the tactics he was given were wrong. The horse maybe didn’t help himself too much either but the facts are he managed to meet trouble in-running and wasn’t really able show his true potential. Once in the clear, and the race was over, he looked to have plenty left to give.

I learned nothing from this run, which is a shame as he had his ground on this occasion and should have been able to show more. He stays on the list for now.

BDH Runner: DUNGANNON 5.10 Ascot 1st at BFSP 4.74

This played out perfectly for Dunny and he made no mistake this time. I was a bit concerned by the price beforehand but I managed to get 5.5 on the exchanges about 15-20 mins before the off and I was happy with that; the more I looked at the race through the day the more convinced I became that he was going to win. (I tweeted 10 mins before the off that I had backed him, for transparency’s sake).

I see no need to keep him in our squad from here on in and like Redvers we say goodbye to Dunny after his well-timed victory at Ascot.

Good job Dunny, job well done, we may well see you back in the squad at some time in the future…

The other race covered by myself was the Group 1 Haydock Sprint Cup…

Haydock Sprint Cup

GORDON LORD BYRON did the job in fantastic style for us and that my friends is how you win a Group 1 contest! Impressive! To be fair he had his conditions but regardless of that fact it was an almighty performance.

In the end I only went with Heeraat as my cover bet, viewing of the ground from earlier races put me off Lethal Force as did his ever diminishing price. My own pace notes suggested he wouldn’t get an easy lead and that mixed with the softened ground just didn’t sit well with me as we approached the off. It is safe to say his run shouldn’t be taken at face value, he is waaaay better than the end result and conditions simply did not play to his strengths.

Heeraat ran a very poor race but his jockey Paul Hanagan did report after the race that his mount had ‘lost it’s action’ so we maybe also shouldn’t take his run at face value either.

In the end this was all about GLB though and he confirmed that when conditions are tilted towards him he is a serious player in the Group 1 sprinting division.

BDH Handicap Sleepers…

Some of you probably noticed that one of the handicap sleepers in my recent FREE guide was running at York yesterday; TIGER REIGNS in the 3.35. You will also have hopefully noted he was clearly a ‘no-bet’.

The field size was way outside his comfort zone and he was also running over a trip that was 2.5 furlongs longer than his optimum; he finished a comfortable 41 lengths behind the winner in 18th place!

Personally I’m happy with that. That should see another drop down the ratings from Mr Handicapper and it should also see him start at some juicy odds next time out. Hopefully connections will find a race that meets requirements on his next start (if you have the guide you know what they are), I really think he can land something at lofty odds when he gets his conditions…

Closing thoughts for the day…

Back to the main BDH list and if I see a potential new addition to our squad to replace Redvers and Dungannon then I will fire up a Blog post later in the week with all the details.

I’m also now getting properly stuck into the National Hunt game behind the scenes as I start work on the NTF National Hunt service 2013/14. I’ll hopefully still be blogging as regularly as usual on here but if not you know the reason why…

Ben (BDH)

BDH Sky Bet Dash Review: Fahey 4yo still to show his full hand…

Fahey runner just needs dealt a good draw…

A quiet enough weekend for us, with only Redvers pitching into battle for us (more on him in a moment). There were, however, a couple of races of interest for me as I look to increase the BDH squad in search of more under the radar profits. Before I give you the newest member of the squad let’s first deal with Saturday’s warrior…

Saturday’s BDH runners: Redvers

Ahh, Redvers… Redvers, Redvers, Redvers… what to do with Redvers…

First up was he drawn on the wrong side? After review of the race I would say no. Although the field split into 2 distinct groups I don’t think any side had a huge advantage over the other, the way the field finished would back that up.

Did he meet trouble in-running? Personally I would say yes and it was just as he was hitting full stride. Hughes got the gaps alright, the horse started clicking through the gears alright, but at a vital moment 3rd placed finisher Loving Spirit decided to shift and park himself directly in Redvers lane (watch the replay, it’s quite noticeable). The effect of this was that Hughes had to take a pull (albeit a small pull) and then restart his mounts forward momentum and challenge all over again…except there was no time to restart his forward momentum and challenge. There wasn’t much in it but in a race of spit second actions and decisions it was probably enough. In fact I’m sure Hughes eased up a touch once he new his chance was gone (which is fair enough…to be fair!).

So does Redvers stay in the BDH squad? For now, yes he does. The ‘problem’ with Redvers is that his running style is always likely to cause him potential traffic issues, he comes from out the back and he comes late, that in itself brings potential traffic jams. Ideally his 5 length defeat will be enough to drop him a pound or 2 from the nice Mr Handicapper, although that may be a bit of wishful thinking from myself!

For now Redvers stays in the BDH troop.

Now time to add another warrior to our squad…

BDH Review…

Race in focus: 3.30 York (27-07-2013): Sky Bet Dash – 6f, Class 2 Handicap (20 ran)

How the race played out…

Sky Bet Dash

 

Pace wise this race played out a bit on the strange side, especially with the front-running BOGART depositing his jockey on the turf (saddle slipped) at the 2 furlong pole. It seemed that the field formed a bit of a fragmented large group for most of the race although on closer inspection it was the middle to high numbers that had formed the sturdier group, with the low numbers having their own mini battle in a sub group just off the bulk of the field. BOGART was the main front runner of the pack and until his saddle incident he was the one that was pulling most of the field along. From the low numbers it was PRODIGALITY & FAST SHOT that attempted to stamp their authority on the contest although they never quite got the lead they wanted. The pace map tells us that it was those from middle to high that dominated the finish, even though they actually ended up drifting across the track in the final furlong and ending up fighting the finish out in the lanes of the low numbers. Regardless of this it still suggests there was an advantage following the BOGART side of the field (middle to high) rather than the PRODIGALITY/FAST SHOT side of the field (low).

It was a wee bit of a pace muddle in truth but we can still take positives and negatives from the outcome.

The end result…

Winner TROPICS sat in the middle of the pack and made his winning move in the final couple of furlongs. He has been progressing well this term and was probably still handily handicapped for this contest but I have a small suspicion that the next weight rise will be the one that anchor’s him; he probably didn’t have all that much in hand at the finish. Second placed SUMMERINTHECITY put in a fine shift and should be on a mark he can win, or at least get close, from; a bit of juice in the ground won’t go amiss for him. KHUBALA did well to finish 3rd as he met trouble in-running at a vital time. There is every suggestion he is still on the up and would remain of some sort of interest. Fourth placed PRODIGALITY found himself a bit isolated and is probably better with cover, he is possibly just at the top of his handicap ceiling as well, with that in mind this was a solid run. TAROOQ was hampered slightly 2f out but I don’t think he would have necessarily finished much closer than he did. He is clearly much better on the A/W than the turf (8 A/W wins compared to 1 turf win) but he is a massive 20lbs lower on turf than A/W and one feels there has to be a turf race in him off that mark somewhere. Things really didn’t go to plan for 6th placed BACCARAT. He missed the break and was on the back hoof for most of the first 3 or 4 furlongs. Paul Hanagan did manage to coax him back into the contest but he was then hampered by the tumbling Amy Ryan (Bogart’s jockey) and despite finishing like a train his mishaps pretty much cost him any better than 6th place. Despite everything it was still a noteworthy run and fully suggested there is still more than enough to come from his current mark.

BDH(s) to follow…

BACCARAT (6th) (R Fahey)

Quite simply things did not pan out for this improving 4yo. Stall 5 wasn’t a great draw, as the pace map tells us, and the fact he missed the break just made it all the more difficult for him. Despite Hanagan working him back into the race he didn’t really have that much to hook onto the back of so the fast finishing effort deserves marking up a touch, in my opinion anyway. The interference he suffered also put a rather big, Amy Ryan shaped, spanner in the works and in the end a 3.5L defeat was a pretty good result.

From a handicapping viewpoint there really does look like there is plenty more still to come from his mark of 94 and I can’t believe for one minute that this is his limit. At a rough estimation we are probably looking at a 100 rated horse, at least.

It’s hard to assess if it was the missed break or the generous early pace that left him floundering out the back (probably 75% break – 25% 6f pace) but I do feel a step back up to 7 furlong would not go amiss, there is plenty enough stamina there and he does already have form over the longer trip.

This would be the 2nd race in a row that he has been dealt a poor hand by the draw dealers, admittedly it was worse in the Buckingham Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, and I really feel he is a potent weapon waiting to strike from a handy draw. With only 7 career starts to his name there still looks plenty more to come this son of Dutch Art.

Conditions – I’m looking for 7 furlongs as an ideal but 6 furlongs would be perfectly adequate. He seems to cope well with the Good & Good to Firm ground so hopefully it stays dry for a bit longer.

He is stacking up some decent form lines, is in form and his mark looks well within his range, he is an improving 4yo I’m very happy to add to our squad.

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

Ben (BDH)