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Weekly Eyecatchers – Horse Racing

(Last Updated On: June 21, 2016)

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That’s Royal Ascot’s horse racing spectacle out of the way for another year as have four or five of the English Classics and it’s not even the end of June. Still there is plenty of great racing to come with Newmarket’s July Meeting next month and then we have Galway, Goodwood and York Ebor Festival’s to look forward to.

This week’s column is slightly different as I will be concentrating just on last week’s Royal Ascot action. I will look at my highlight performances for each day of the meeting, as well as putting up a few horses to note for future assignments.

Profitable Royal Ascot For Eyecatcher Followers!

I am going to start by ‘patting myself on the back’ After Profitable won the Palace House Stakes at Newmarket at the Guineas Meeting. I put up the four year old as my idea of a decent ante post bet for the King Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot at 20/1 and he repaid that confidence with a fantastic win in that Group 1 sprint.

For those of you who didn’t see it before this is what I wrote about Profitable:

“The four year old looks to have done well from three to four and 5f on good ground looks to be his optimum distance. The son of Invincible Spirit’s next target will be the Group 1 King Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot and he is a best priced 20/1 with Coral for that race. There will be worse bets in that race and he looks worth a modest ante post bet at those odds”.

Hopefully you took note and had a nice ante post bet on the horse last Tuesday. When I started this column I was hoping to be able to identify some nice ante post bets from the eyecatcher horses. My 66/1 Gold Cup ante post selection Burmese wasn’t disgraced when finishing 5th in that race either. Hopefully Profitable’s win is the first of a few more big priced ante post winners for us this season.

Royal Ascot Review

Day 1 – Tuesday 14th June

Performance of the Day – Tepin – It has to be the American filly who won the Queen Anne in good style. The four year old not only overcome the softest ground she had ever faced, was racing on a straight track for the first time and was also not running on Lasix. She looks the best older miler in the world and whoever beats her will be a very good horse indeed.

Honorable Mention – Caravaggio – I also liked the performance of the Aiden O’Brien two year old who proved to strong for his rivals in the Coventry Stakes. Clearly a smart colt we know he handles rain softened ground well but there is every chance on pedigree that he can be even more effective on quicker ground.

One To Note – Cotai Glory – Given the rain softened ground wouldn’t have been in his favour I was taken with the strong finish produced by the Charlie Hills trained in the King Stand Stakes especially given he wasn’t expected to handle the going. All the four year olds best runs have previously come on good or firmer going. Ran below form in the Nunthorpe Stakes last year on sticky ground but if the ground was to be much quicker I could see this horse going close in that Group 1 contest this year. Worth mentioning that last year his trainer was quoted before the Nunthorpe as saying: “I think Cotai Glory is very good and if he can´t win it this year he’ll have a good chance next year.” The 10/1 available with Paddy Power for this year’s Nunthorpe looks fair value to me especially as Profitable who beat him just a neck, is a best priced 5/2.

Day 2 – Wednesday 15th June

Performance of the Day – Lady Aurelia – The Wesley Ward juvenile was the talking horse of Day 2 and won the Queen Mary Stakes over 5f. The filly put up the best performance of the week without any doubt and I don’t think we have seen an easier juvenile winner in many years. Always up at the head of affairs she was asked to quicken a furlong out and she put lengths between herself and the rest of the field. She has so much speed and it’s frightening to think she could be even better on quicker ground. Be great see her run in the Nunthorpe but after the race connections didn’t seem to be looking at that race as a target for her.

Honorable Mention – Ribchester – Third behind Galileo Gold in the 2000 Guineas, he had the form to win the Jersey Stakes and after travelling notably well throughout the race the colt proved to classy for his rivals. It looks like he will now step up to the mile with the Sussex Stakes a likely target for the horse. Will have a bit to find with the likes of Galileo Gold and The Gurkha but his chance shouldn’t be underestimated especially if the inclement weather continues.

One To Note – Sharaakah – Was having her first start since October but she was clearly fit enough to do herself justice in the valuable Sandringham Handicap over the straight mile. Last year she had only been beaten a length by the smart Nemoralia in a Doncaster nursery in September and looks capable of taking a handicap this season if she can build on this run. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her dropped back to 7f and better ground would suit her.

Day 3 – Thursday 16th June

Performance of the Day – Order Of St George – The best performance of Day 3 came in the feature race the Ascot Gold Cup. Before the race he had plenty in hand of his rivals based on the form of his Irish St Leger win of last year and if he stayed the trip he looked the most likely winner. So it proved as he had too much class for his rivals and also stayed the trip better than most. It’s a long time since a Gold Cup showed as much class and speed as the four year old did in this year’s renewal. Can clearly go on dominate the staying division but he has plenty of class to be a player if he was dropped back 1m 4f for the King George next month. He is a best priced 10/1 for that race with SkyBet and that looks fair price for him if connections go down that route.

Honorable Mention – Even Song – Highly regard by connections and the three year old filly, ho had missed the Epsom Oaks, was a good winner of the 1m 4f Ribblesdale Stakes. Only having her 4th career start she showed she is filly with plenty of stamina and it was that stamina that won her the race. Should have more improvement in her and she looks the one to beat in the Irish Oaks if she turns up for that race. There was some speculation about the St Leger after the race and given her half sister Simple Verse won the race last year she should stay the trip. The 14/1 available would be a good price if that was to be her late season target although she is more likely to head to the Yorkshire Oaks at York in August.

One To Note – The Major General – Another Aiden O’Brien horse and another one that seems to be getting better with racing and stepping up in trip. The son of Galileo had won at the Curragh over a 1m 4f on his previous start. He was shade unlucky here in this handicap. Held up at the rear, it wasn’t easy to make up ground from the back at the meeting, he had nowhere to go two furlongs out and had to be too switched out to get a clear run by the time he got clear the three that finished ahead of him at the finish had got clear but the colt was finishing best of all at the line. Could improve for a further step up in trip and although he hasn’t got a St Leger entry at the moment wouldn’t be surprised to see him improving further and going for one of the St Léger’s later in the season.

Day 4 – Friday 17th June

I didn’t think Day 4 was a good as the previous three days and there were no stand out performances.

Performance of the Day – Quiet Reflection – Had looked a classy horse when winning a Group 2 at Haydock on her previous start and she continued to improve and once again was to strong for her rivals in the Commonwealth Cup I don’t think this years renewal was as good as last years but there’s no doubt she is a very good horse and her turn of foot will always come in handy for these sort of races. The July Cup next month could be on the agenda but trainer Karl Burke seemed to indicate that she would be given a rest now with the Sprint Cup at Haydock in September being a good target for her.

Honorable Mention – Nemoralia – Didn’t win the Group 1 Coronation Stakes over the round mile but ran a great race to be second. The ground wouldn’t have been to her liking and she didn’t get the best of runs two furlongs out with a better run she would have got close to the winner. With quicker ground she would beat the winner next time at the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket would seem a good race for her and she would take some beating there on quick ground.

One To Note – Fabricate – Was given plenty to do and didn’t have the pace to get closer than 5th here. I noted him staying on steadily over the 1m 4f and could well improve further for a step up to 1m 6f. He might not be the easiest of rides but this was only his 5th career start and he is still open to further progress. Maybe a tilt at the Ebor handicap could be on the agenda for the gelding.

Day 4 – Saturday 18th June

Performance of the Day – Twilight Sun – Had looked in need of the run on his seasonal reappearance at York and showed he had improved for it here when taking the Diamond Jubilee Stakes over 6f. Well suited by a bit of juice in the ground and he will be tough to beat over this trip when he gets his ground. Mind you he did get the ride of the week from Ryan Moore who lifted the four year old over the line with a very strong ride. The four year old has only had 8 starts so it would be foolish to assume that his improvement has ended.

Honorable Mention – Dartmouth – H.M. Queen got a belated 90th Birthday present with a win by the horse in the Hardwicke Stakes. Progressive last year the four year old keeps on improving and the gelding operation has certainly been the making of him. He made it three Group wins on the trot now and it will be interesting to see where he goes next. He would need to be supplemented for the King George but he would be an interesting runner if he was turn up as his improvement probably hasn’t finished yet.

One To Note – Toofi – Trainer Robert Cowell won the Wokingham handicap with Outback Traveller but the one to take out of the race could be Toofi. He only finished 8th here but it was only his second start for new trainer and there will be other days for the five year old. He was second in last years Goodwood Stewards Cup and a close up 4th in The Ayr Gold Cup. Those races will no doubt be on his agenda again and given he prefers good ground he will be much more competitive when he gets it.

Finally, a quick mention for one of the previous eyecatchers Spark Plug who ran yet another eyecatching race in the Hunt Cup. There is a nice big field handicap in this one I am sure of that, especially on better ground

That’s it for now, I will be adding a couple of extra tracker horses for Eyecatcher Pro subscribers, and now all that’s left is to wish you a profitable weeks betting.

John Burke

I have a MA in International Politics and having spent a number of years working in political campaigning but I eventually I realised that politics was not the world where I wanted to work I had been interested in horse racing since the late 1980s but in the early years I was merely just betting and watching racing like most people as a bit of fun and a hobby, then the hobby becomes a passion and that’s what happened to me with horse racing. I soon realised that to make money from my hobby I had to learn as much as I could about the sport and betting in general. The whole process took time but after a number of successful years of betting, I decided in 2011 to take the plunge, gave up my full time day job and decided to bet on horse racing as a part time business and I haven’t looked back since. I like to specialise in the better class of races and I love to solve the puzzles posed by big field handicaps the latter races often provide punters with great value betting opportunities. Whilst most of my time is spent reviewing previous races I like to keep things as simple as possible as even the biggest field handicaps can usually be pruned down to half a dozen strong contenders with the right sort of approach.

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