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 Friday Qualifiers: Last chance saloon for WW & Taw?

Are 2 of our squad drinking in the last chance saloon today?

Two of our BDH squad take to the rain softened turf today with WAKING WARRIOR running up at Ayr and TAWHID running down at Newbury. Both horses potentially running in the last chance saloon as far as being fully paid up members of our BDH offensive line.

Before I give you my take on their chances here are my thoughts on our Wednesday runner MISSION APPROVED… ‘agggghhhhh not another bloody photo finish 2nd?!?!?’

Only kidding (kinda!!), here are my real thoughts…

MISSION APPROVED 8.45 Kempton (AW)

Whether it was Richard Kingscote stealing the race with an early move or it was in fact James Doyle ‘losing’ the race by getting his mount going too late is irrelevant now, the facts are the line came a yard or 2 too soon for our lad and we ending up going down by an ever diminishing head. It can be a game of fractions this racing malarkey and we just came out on the wrong side of it. There was nothing in this run to suggest we should take him off our list and for now he remains as part of the team. Hopefully we will see him back on turf next time out…

Now to tackle today’s runners…

BDH Runner: WAKING WARRIOR 2.20 Ayr

I’m possibly being a bit harsh on saying this is the last chance saloon for this guy. In fairness he hasn’t had the best of the draws on his last 2 runs, however, I don’t want to give him too many more chances as his flat record does give me a wee bit of concern (0 from 25). I am happy to wade in with him today though as there is plenty of juice in his price to warrant our involvement.

He actually ran a decent 5th in this contest last season off the same mark on heavy ground so we can be fairly confident the track and underfoot conditions will be fine for him.

From a pace angle he should be OK, there are pace horse close enough to him to give him a good tow into the contest. To be honest there is pace from a few sources right across the track so baring something unusual happening with the grouping splits he should have as good a chance as any. The one worry would be a large group far side (low numbers) and a small group near side (high numbers) and our boy stuck in the near side. In the big sprint on Thursday at the track they split into 3 groups and that situation here would be perfect for our lad.

In a race of this size and with the odds available on our BDH warrior I’m happy to pitch in with an each-way punt.

BDH Runner: TAWHID 4.50 Newbury

Soft ground; now we are talking! This is the real ground we have been waiting for. He has run 3 times for us since he was added to the squad, for the first & second of those runs he was a ‘no-bet’ as the ground was officially described as good. He ran well enough on both those runs without winning but from a punting angle it wasn’t for us anyway. Last time out (3rd run for us) he had Good to Soft ground, which was closer to what we are after, but it is safe to say that he was given an…um…interesting ride. Whether that was pilot error or riding to instruction isn’t clear but whatever it was it clearly didn’t play out well. Today we have Soft underfoot conditions; game on!

The Soft/Heavy ground form of Tawhid reads 113 (3rd in a Group 2) and Silvestre De Sousa back in the plate is a huge bonus (the pairing have a 1432 record together). Here he steps back down out of Group company for this first time since his maiden victory last October and the 3yo weight allowance he receives here sways things very much in his favour.

This is a golden opportunity for him and I’ll be backing him for the win. If he doesn’t convert then his place on the BDH squad is very much in jeopardy…

Ayr Gold & Silver Cups… 

At the minute we are double handed on the BDH front in both these contests, fingers crossed all line up on the day. Make sure you check back in either tonight or Saturday morning to see my full thoughts on these squad members. Needless to say the Ayr Gold Cup is very much a race I want us to nail…

Ben (BDH)