Epsom to be the Prestigious Icon & more!

Overall York proved to quite successful and Ajaya added to that on Saturday. Last week was good however this weekend proves a little uninspiring in honesty.

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It has been difficult to find any sort of value with some of the feature races having small fields. Here are a few at prices that should go well in their contests.

14:00 Goodwood – Prestige Stakes

This is a Group 3 for two-year-old fillies and you can see why Belvoir Bay is the favourite with the way she won here last month. This step-up should suit from the visual perspective of how she won that Nursery however the softer ground may prove against her, so at her current price I’d pass her over and look elsewhere.

Mark Johnston’s Fireglow is next in the market. She won a Listed race at Sandown and that performance may deserve upgrading. She settled well from the widest draw in stall eight and was kept wide throughout. That possibly helped as she was able to get a clear run through unlike the second Dessertoflife, who was kept trapped down the rail until she had gone over a length clear. She followed that up with a good run to finish second to Blue Bayou in the Group 3 Sweet Solera Stakes at Newmarket, again staying on strongly. She is unproven on this ground however there is evidence of soft ground form in her pedigree, which would give you some optimism about her on this ground.

At the prices I like Epsom Icon for Mick Channon, who knows how to win this race having won it twice in the last three years – Ollie Olga in 2011 and Malabar last year. She finished ninth of 14 on debut in a maiden where the form is working out. That was won by La Rioja, who could prove quite useful but the rest finished quite closely grouped and there have been plenty of winners to come from it. She went to Epsom for her second start and was stepped up to this trip, which helped to see her stay on to win. When last seen se won the Listed Washington Singer Stakes at Newbury on good to soft ground from Desserttolife with two other promising sorts in Palawan and Twin Sails third and fourth respectively. There could be more to come from this filly and at the prices is worth taking a chance on.

Epsom Icon could prove to be the value. Image Sportinglife

Epsom Icon could prove to be the value. Image Sportinglife

Of the rest Light Up Our World has proven stamina after finishing second to Marenko on good to soft ground at Ascot on debut. From that Marenko has placed in two Group 3 races – Sweet Solera and Prix Du Calvados at Deauville. That form looks useful and she got off the mark 28 days ago at Newmarket beating Langlauf, who has finished second again since. At a double figure price she could be one to improve and has proven ground form and stamina. Hawksmoor won her debut at Kempton on the polytrack beating Dutch Heiress. She was sixth of seven in the Sweet Solera on her first run on turf and raced too keenly. In time she will want further than this trip but her half-sister was a US Grade 3 winner at this trip. Show Stealer is a tracker horse, so is worth mentioning. She ran a nice race to finish third in a big-field handicap at Newmarket behind Holy Grail, who managed to reverse form from earlier in the season and Tutu Nguru, who remains one to follow. For me she will need to find extra in this company but has looked fairly progressive, so the extra furlong could bring about some much needed improvement.

Advice: Epsom Icon (11/2 each-way)

14:40 Beverley

The ‘Beverley Bullet’, as you may guess from its name is a sprint. A 5f sprint to be exact, so expect a race under a minute. There isn’t a draw advantage but looking at the last five renewals it pays to be low. The highest drawn winner was Tangerine Trees back in 2011 when he won from stall nine, so it may pay to look at the low numbers again.

Dikta Del Mar is a filly that has come across from Ireland and has plenty of upside. She was third behind Monsieur Joe and Iffranesia in a Listed race at Tipperary when last seen and there could be more to come from this three-year-old who is drawn in stall five. On the last day she was too keen early on but stayed on well to take third but had no chance of tasting success. If Ben Curtis can get her out well and settle her down early then she could prove to be a good little bet in a wide-open sprint. She is versatile on ground after winning a Listed race on soft ground at Longchamp in October and finished third at Ayr in a Listed race behind Katawi but can reverse that form here.

Following what I mentioned in the opening statement about the draw I’ve lost a bit of confidence in Ridge Ranger, who is drawn in stall ten. She won a competitive sprint handicap very takingly at Goodwood when last seen and deserves her chance at this grade. As a four-year-old there still could be more to come from Eric Alston’s filly but as mentioned the draw a concern. She does have form over further, so if they go a good strong early gallop then it could be set up for one like her. Northgate Lad has course form, which could be a positive here at Beverley. He has Silvestre De Sousa back on board, who won on him two starts ago but will need to improve stepping up into this grade.

Maarek has been a fine runner for connections. Age may be catching up with him and he would prefer some overnight/ early morning rain to see him in contention. His last win came in the Group 2 Clipper Logistics Stakes at York on soft ground last May when he beat the recently lost Astaire. He has continually put in good efforts at a higher level than this, so the drop back into Listed company could see him going close. From five rides Jamie Spencer has two wins however this horse as mentioned may prefer softer ground and that is shown by looking when he does his winning, which is either early or late – no wins in July or August. I keep saying this but you have to respect Paul Midgley sprinters. He saddles Line Of Reason here, who holds his form quite well but didn’t go on the ground in the Nunthorpe last week, which you can forgive him for. Back on drying ground and from a low draw, also down in ground it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him regain some form. He won a Listed contest at Cork in June and was also placed at the Curragh. You wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the first three.

Advice: Dikta Del Mar (9/1 each-way – William Hill paying four places)


14:35 Goodwood

A 7f handicap and with there being 20-runners it is as competitive as you’d expect. Two for me against the field would be as follows.

Tatlisu ran a good race to finish third in the Great St Wilfrid at Ripon won by stablemate Don’t Touch. He raced in the group on the stands’ side where the first three home suggesting a possible bias however when you consider this horse dwelt out of the stalls and had to be rousted along early to get a position. He was staying on which would give you encouragement for the step back up to this trip. Over this distance he has recorded a win and two placed efforts from five and he is one that won’t mind getting his toe into the ground. The only slight concern is after a good run he throws in a bad one to follow, hopefully that isn’t the case this time and he can run a nice race at a double figure price.

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Jedd O’Keeffe’s Shared Equity is quite a lightly raced sprinter and there is still some promise there that he could win a race of this nature. Despite not winning since August last year he has put in some solid enough efforts suggesting he’ll be close to hitting the frame here. The only concern is that his mark is 12lb higher since that win but does prove he is consistent in running good races on slow ground. He’ll be held up early and then be seeing doing his best work late, as is his style. It is his first run here, so a change of scenery may see him find something extra.

Pastoral Player won here two starts ago under this pilot and has to be respected up in class. The ground does look to be the inconvenience for him. Enlace is another course and distance winner, also two starts ago. He’ll likely to be ridden close to the pace, which could well be more helpful on this ground but again he’s another that prefers it on the quicker side. Richard Fahey also saddles Farlow who won at Doncaster two weeks ago and Sammy Jo Bell offsets all but 1lb of the rise from the handicapper. He previously ran well to finish second behind Mr Win and finished well. He would need to find a bit extra to defy this career high mark.

Fox Trotter has to be respected. This three-year-old has only had one start this season, when fourth to Enlace over course and distance. Brian Meehan’s runners usually come on for the run, so you’d expect to see him and use that run to build his fitness. He won’t mind this ground either after finishing second in the Horris Hill Stakes on it at Newbury in October. You can see why the bookies are taking no chance by putting him towards the head of the market. Jallota won on good to soft ground at York three starts ago, so should relish condition. Despite finishing fifth and sixth on his last two starts, he hasn’t been beaten by far in other good handicaps including one won by Rene Mathis in the Bunbury Cup, so don’t be surprised to see that pair go close again.

Advice: Tatlisu (14/1 each-way)

            Shared Equity (14/1 each-way)


 15:45 Goodwood – Celebration Mile

With this being a Group 2 race I feel compelled to mention it despite there only being six runners meaning there isn’t a great shape to the market.

Kodi Bear looks like the most likely winner and the market reflects that with him being at 8/11. He won very easily in a Group 3 at Salisbury and wasn’t given the best of rides in my opinion with the way Gerald Mosse kept him away from the rest before manoeuvring over late in the race. However being on a horse with class saved him that day and could do again today in this small field. This ground won’t be a problem after he finished second to Belardo in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes in October as a juvenile. He’s got plenty of upside in this race. He gets weight for being a three-year-old making his task a little bit easier on top of that five of the last seven renewals have been won by three-year-olds.

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For me the way in would be by backing Cable Bay without the favourite. He is third in the market behind Breton Rock, who has raced over a mile on two occasions. Once back in 2013 on soft ground finishing second in a handicap and he was seventh in the Group 1 Lockinge when Cable Bay was fifth. Two starts ago Cable Bay finished third to Arod, who made all, and Lightning Spear, who was meant to be running here but isn’t due to the ground. After winning the Group 3 John Of Gaunt Stakes his trainer Charles Hills pointed out he likes cut in the ground and he sees out the mile, as shown in the Lockinge. For me we know more about him at this trip when compared to Breton Rock plus he’s a bigger price in this market.

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Advice: Cable Bay without the favourite (85/40 BetVictor)


17:40 Newmarket

This is your run of the mill Class 3 handicap at HQ but there is one that I’m interested to see again. London Citizen looked a useful for Karl Burke back in 2013 where he went to Sweden and finished second in Swedish Derby Listed race. However he missed the whole of last season and has come back in the hands of Chris Wall, who is having a good time of things of late. He’s has two runs this season and his return showed signs of encouragement. This slower ground may actually see the best of him following his lay-off. When he won on debut he proved he was a battler, which is always a good trait to have. If his 91-day break was to freshen up him after two quick runs then he should be in good shape here. Ashley Morgan takes the ride on him for the first time and claims a handy 3lb although he has only ridden one winner from 50 rides so far this season. In this wide-open handicap he looks worthy of a chance where nothing jumps off the page.

Uele River got off the mark in a maiden at Windsor on her fifth start. She dictated that race and won easily from Burmese and Oasis Spear, who have both won since. She is on handicap debut here but may find this difficult, as she may not be able to get the run of the race from the front but conditions could suit that style of run. Tim Clark takes 3lb off but she may need to find another level to win this. Urban Moon has had three runs for new trainer Michael Dods after coming over from Jonny Murtagh. His last effort on slower ground at Ascot in this class of race proved to have been his best for the new yard so warrants respect for the Nunthorpe winning duo of Dods and Paul Mulrennan. He remains on the same mark of 82 plus his three efforts over this distance have resulted in a win and two placed efforts.

Global Force is a very lightly raced three-year-old for Godolphin and his last three runs have been over course and distance, which saw him win a maiden but that was on the straight course rather than the July Course in operation. He has raced with cut in the ground finishing second on his second start and fourth when last seen 35-days ago. James Doyle takes over from Kevin Stott, which has to be seen as a positive considering Doyle made all on him to win his maiden and the jockey is one of the best when it comes to front running rides, as he judges the fractions very well. The mark leaves a question mark really. 92 may prove to be a little too high for him and the handicapper hasn’t really taken any chances with him but he is a three-year-old so could improve a bit more here. Field Of Fame is the other interesting runner. He ran well on his reappearance at York to finish third behind Mahsoob. H has run in a better class than this on the majority of his starts and when dropped into this class at Sandown he bumped into the improving Rembrandt Van Rijn. He won his maiden on heavy ground back in 2013 when ridden prominently but he has something to prove after his disappointing run at Ascot 36-days ago. That Ascot run suggested he didn’t get home and in similar conditions, on stiffer track he looks one to oppose.

Advice: London Citizen (12/1 each-way)

18:35 Windsor – Winter Hill Stakes

On paper this Group 3 contest is one of the more interesting of the day. Dermot Weld has sent across Fascinating Rock to add to his Group 3 success at the Curragh two starts ago. He was second to Al Kazeem in the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh 97-days ago and has had that time off probably due to the lack of races available to him on this ground. He has to be a major player in this race with plenty of form on this sort of ground over in Ireland however he may not want it to dry out too much throughout the day.

There looks to be plenty of value against the favourite, who takes up 38% of the market so far. Cannock Chase hasn’t been seen since the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot where he may have been out of his depth although it was a messy race. Two starts ago he finished second to Maverick Wave in the Group 3 Huxley Stakes on slower ground at Chester suggesting this shouldn’t be a problem. He’s been freshened up and is likely to be held up by Ted Durcan before trying to make a late challenge. He is a serious challenger but one I’m swerving. The three-year-old Racing History has only had three career starts and got off the mark at the second attempt on similar ground to this at Haydock. In that race he looked quite a smart prospect with how professionally he put the race to bed. He followed that up with a win on handicap debut at Chester, again doing what he had to do to win. He will need to improve for this as it is a big step up in class but he is a brother to Group 1 winner Farhh.

The two I’m looking at are Rembrandt Van Rijn and Master Carpenter. Preference is for the latter who we know won’t mind the cut in the ground compared to the former, who we don’t really know too much of on softer ground. David Lanigan’s Rembrandt Van Rijn is a horse on the improve and deserves a chance at this level with how he’s put races to bed recently. He’s a quirky sort, so expect George Baker to settle him and switch him off at the rear of the field before coming with a late turn of foot to challenge. It’s worked previously on the quick ground but will it this evening is the question. His sire is Peintre Celebre and his progeny have a fair record with cut in the ground, so it may not be too much of a negative. Master Carpenter won a handicap at York two starts ago where he stalked the leaders and improved in the closing stages to deny long-time leader Kelinni. When last seen he was the main challenger to Intilaaq in the Group 3 Rose Of Lancaster Stakes and despite being beaten by 5l he served it up to Roger Varian’s horse for nine furlongs of the race before the winners extra class shone through. If he ran up to that level again then he won’t be too far away in a good looking Group 3 contest. My only concern would be that he was reported to have an irregular heartbeat after that Haydock run and is turned out three weeks later although with him being turned out connections must be satisfied with how he has been working recently.

Advice: Master Carpenter (10/1 each-way)

Good Luck!


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