SATURDAY 24TH JUNE

2.30 Chesham – ABANDON SHIP 66/1 – 1/2 pt EW

September comes here as Aidan’s only first time out 2 year old winner of the season and it was an impressive performance and comes here a worthy favourite, albeit a fair bit short in here against the colts. Masar won first time out at Goodwood and will only improve on that but at a huge price and a big ask first time out, ABANDON SHIP, which is something I’ve thought about doing all week comes here for a trainer who has won this race four times. He last won it with Berkshire in 2013 who had only one run when beaten in a maiden. He knows what it takes with an inexperienced one and could show up on debut.

3.05 Wolferton – MUNTAZAH – 22/1 (PP) – 1pt EW

A wildly open race in which the improving Khairaat has obvious claims for SMS, but did go up a fair chunk for winning a fairly mediocre Chester handicap when getting everything his own way in running. MUNTAZAH is an interesting one in first time cheekpieces for Owen Burrows who on bare form might not look up to this but tried a change of tactics last time when not getting home over 12f at this venue. Previous to that he was 5th beaten 5 lengths behind Ulysses and Deauville which on the face of it was pretty decent form. He was 4th when not getting a run in last years Dante and hopefully the cheekpieces can help him settle a bit better and finish his races.

3.40 Hardwicke – WINGS OF DESIRE – 15/2 (PP) – 1pt win

A tricky one and as much as I would like to see Dartmouth win this race again I have a nagging feeling this rattling quick ground over this trip might just be his downfall here. He was third in last years King George and one pace ahead of him was WINGS OF EAGLES, who won the Dante and finished 4th in the Derby prior to that. He was only seen once afterwards when tailing off in the Juddmonte but this trip and ground has him with a massive shout if John Gosden has him fit enough here.

4.20 Diamond Jubilee – LIMATO – 5/2 – 4PT WIN NAP

In my opinion not a strong renewal despite the big field which is mainly full of Group 3/Listed horses at best and LIMATO finally gets his ground and trip again after a bog here last year meant him missing out. He instead went to Newmarket and hosed up in a very hot race and he looks very difficult to get beat if at his best. You can ignore a poor run on softened ground in Dubai and he should be tuned up here and Candy has been in decent form the last month or so.

5.00 Wokingham – DONJUAN TRIUMPHANT NB 2PT EW – 40/1 (PP)

Another typically open renewal but the one for me who fits into the trends is DONJUAN TRIUMPHANT, a smart two and three year old who has some top class form behind Quiet Reflection in the Sandy Lane and Signs Of Blessing in the Prix Maurice De Gheest Group 1 sprint at Deauville only last August when ahead of the likes of Suedois, Jimmy Two Times. He didnt really kick on after that and was then messed around trip wise on the all weather. After a pointless run in the AW Mile he took a step back in the right direction with a run in 3rd behind Home Of The Brave. He is back at his optimum trip and has some good form in these big field events and this is a drop in class from the 6f races he was competing in last year.

5.35 Ascot – QEWY – 6/1 (Bet365) – 1pt win

Thomas Hobson stormed clear under a confident Ryan Moore on Tuesday and has obvious claims, although is without his partner that day and it remains to be seen how much it took out of him although his trainer knows what it takes to do the double having done it with Simenon in 2013. QEWY was almost the winner of last year’s Ascot Stakes, just running out of room when flying home and will have no stamina issues. He acquitted himself brilliantly in Australia at the back end of the year and finished 4th in the Melbourne Cup. He comes here without a prep but has run well fresh, including winning first time out in his 3 and 4 year old careers.

 

 

ROYAL ASCOT – TUESDAY 20TH JUNE

QUEEN ANNE – COUGAR MOUNTAIN – 33/1 (WillHill) – 1/2pt EW

I would be somewhat surprised if Ribchester got beat here but not really a price I want to play at and COUGAR MOUNTAIN has his optimum conditions here and with a big field and strong pace likely it could play to his strengths and he could well run into a place. He has been placed in this before behind Solow and was unsuited by the soft ground last year, he had a nice prep run when 3rd at Leopardstown and looks, on his best form, a cut above the rest of the ones around that 25-33/1 mark.

COVENTRY – MURILLO – 10/1 (Coral) – 1pt win

A totally wide open renewal with 6 or 7 having a clear chance. De Bruyne Horse was impressive in the way he did things at Epsom despite clearly disliking the track and should improve again for the return to a flat track. Brother Bear and Denaar have done nothing wrong in their two wins but MURILLO was mentioned by Aidan O’Brien at the start of the season but was way too green to do himself justice first time up. He took a big jump forward when readily beating a horse with decent debut form behind Romanised. He should improve again and could be in the shake up for last years winning trainer and sire.

KINGS STAND – MARSHA – 7/2 (General) – 3pt win

Another big field here but the race for me revolves around the two fillies, with Lady Aurelia looking to replicate her Queen Mary performance of last year, and MARSHA, who improved all season last year culminating in a Group 1 breakthrough in the Abbaye and a top class weight carrying performance in the Palace House on reappearance. She should have enough to see off her market rival on known form. Profitable was beaten by Signs Of Blessing on reappearance but should reverse than form here and could go well at a bigger price at 16/1.

ST JAMES PALACE – No Bet

Just a watch race for me, Churchill should go in again but not a backable price and nothing else makes any great appeal.

ASCOT STAKES – BEYOND CONCEIT – 12/1 (WillHill) –

Previously with Balding on the flat he had the best part of 4 years off before moving to Nicky Henderson and did nothing but improve over hurdles this year, finishing with a 6th over an inadequate trip in the Supreme and then a half length second in the Aintree 3m Grade 1.His stamina is assured, he tried to make all in the 2m5 handicap at Goodwood in 2013 under todays rider Jamie Spencer off this exact mark when 4th and not beat far. He has the form to go very close.

WINDSOR CASTLE – No Bet

 

 

 

 

 

 

SATURDAY 13TH MAY

2.15 Ascot – BATTS ROCK – 11/1 (General) – 1pt win

The favourite Appeared has some nice form claims on face value with a 3rd to Frontiersman who has since won an Epsom handicap easily on Oaks day but it was a fairly messy race and he had previously been well beaten off this mark in a big field at York. BATTS ROCK has not been since near enough a year ago but he won a maiden easy off a big absence that day and may be better than this mark of 83. The horse he beat 8 lengths eased down in a maiden has since won one in Ireland and the effort in a muddling 3 runner race afterwards can be ignored. Michael Bell has hit top form in the last week or so and he could have a squeak at a bigger price.

3.25 Ascot – SINGYOURSONG (NB) – 11/2 (General) – 2pt win

Aristocratic looks a fairly weak favourite here with a never nearer second last time and proving a little hard to win with off a mark that keeps climbing without him winning. SINGYOURSONG was a course and distance winner last year and has continued to improve, with another career best on reappearance. An easy winner at Brighton and only raised 5lb for her troubles, the drop back in trip shouldn’t be an issue and hopefully another one for Jamie Spencer.

4.00 Ascot – CHARLES MOLSON – 28/1 (Bet365) – 1/2pt EW

A difficult one to win with but his two runs at the course have both yielded big runs, with a close second to Right Tough over 6 furlongs and a close sixth last year over today’s trip. His return on all weather finals day was eye catching and he didn’t run as badly as the finishing position suggests at Goodwood, having to make up plenty of ground drawn in the car park and only ending up beaten 4 lengths. He looks a huge price here and could take one of these races at some point in the season.

3.10 Haydock – FERGALL – 20/1 (BetVictor) – 1/2pt EW

A competitive but fairly poor quality renewal in which the top few in the market look suspect to say the least and FERGALL, with two big runs in Ascot handicaps behind the likes of Brain Power, Modus, Sternrubin and Consul De Thaix has in my opinion the stand out form in the race and has the first choice stable jockey on over Song Light and to me should be half the price on form. A nice run round on the flat last month should have put him right and he should at least run into the frame

3.55 Curragh – LAGANORE (NAP) – 11/4 (Paddy) – 4pt win

The standout on form with a nice comeback run behind Somehow when over 2 lengths ahead of Beautiful Morning and returns to her preferred quick ground here. She has Smullen booked today and everything looks set for a big run with that run under her belt. She’s the highest rated in the field and still could potentially find a bit more improvement.

 

 

GRAND NATIONAL DAY – 5TH APRIL

1.45 – ZARKANDAR – 25/1 – 1pt win

Following him over the cliff once more but comes back in class massively and runs off effectively 146 here at a track he enjoys. He beat 150+ horses at Haydock fairly comfortably and if still in good shape following Cheltenham he has a squeak here at a huge price.

2.25 – BRIO CONTI – 5/1 (Paddy) – 1pt win

The form of Finians Oscar and just the manner of his wins cast a slight doubt over his price for me despite being a Grade 1 winner and BRIO CONTI, who just missed out on the Martin Pipe, hosed up in a decent Kempton handicap in which the third, Dream Berry ran well in today’s handicap on the card. He travelled like a dream and looks a Grade horse in the making.

3.00 – FOREST BIHAN – 6/1 (WillHill) – 1pt win

Charbel has the obvious form claims here but did take a crashing fall in the Arkle and may not have recovered fully from that. FOREST BIHAN was way behind him in that same race when making a shocking mistake 3 out and then being hampered by the former but before that had beaten Cloudy Dream at Doncaster on decent ground. With a couple of these wanting to get on with it he should have a nice pace to aim at despite the small field and could go well.

3.40 – EMERGING FORCE (NAP) – 7/1 – 3pt win

A tough looking handicap on paper but a lot of these have a fair amount of question marks around them. EMERGING FORCE was a smart hurdler and won his first two starts over fences, before failing to give 8lb to Singlefarmpayment and another couple of smart horses when weakening into 4th in December. He has been kept fresh waiting for this better ground and it wont get any better than this for him and the trainer has previous in sending horses to Aintree fresh and skipping Cheltenham as we’ve seen with the likes of Arzal.

4.20 – COLE HARDEN – 4/1 – 2pt win

Yanworth steps up in trip here but he still looks to have problems with his jumping and isn’t the most straightforward. COLE HARDEN should finally get his ground here as the good ground is set to stay and ran a decent race in the Stayers Hurdle when beaten 7 lengths. None of the three in front that day reoppose and he ran well here when only beaten by Whisper in 2015.

5.15 Grand National

Going to have a two darts at this and the first will be ONE FOR ARTHUR who ran a stormer in the Becher when staying on strongly for 5th, and bettered that further when running away with the Classic at Warwick. The second came out and won a good handicap next time so the form looks solid and he should have no problem with the trip and has shown he can handle the fences perfectly well. All looks geared towards a huge run. Secondly RAZ DE MAREE, who may be 12 but has probably been in better form than ever before, 7th in the Troytown followed up with a brilliant second to Native River in the Welsh National. Kept fresh since bar a trot round over hurdles he looks to have a decent chance.

ONE FOR ARTHUR – 18/1 – 1pt win

RAZ DE MAREE – 33.1 – 1/2 pt EW

 

AINTREE FRIDAY 7TH APRIL

1.40 – DREAM BERRY – 12/1 (General) – 1pt win

Unexposed sort who has clearly not been the easiest to train but posted a career best when a fast finishing 3rd at Kempton behind the clearly well handicapped Brio Conti, he has Barry Geraghty doing the steering today and with a likely fast pace to aim at he definitely has to scope to be a fair bit better than a mark of 133. Jonjo’s string can be hard to catch right at times but they are in a little bit of form at the moment and he looks a nice price. Rather Be was well fancied for the Martin Pipe before unseating at the second and he could be the main danger.

2.20 – RIVER WYLDE (NAP) – 5/2 (Paddy) – 4pt win

A pretty hot renewal with Champion Hurdle pulled up Moon Racer dropping back to novice company but he is very fragile and hasn’t taken in another race as quick as this before. Malcolm Jefferson has to be respected at this festival and Mount Mews has done nothing but improve but RIVER WYLDE looks the one to be on. Nicky Henderson has won this four times in the last 5 years with horses he has had placed in the Supreme and this one fits the profile well. He has improved all year and with Labaik putting in a somewhat freak performance and Melon no doubt smart, the form looks fairly strong.

3.25 – GODS OWN – 7/2 (WillHill) – 2pt win

Last years possibly fortunate winner with the late Vautour falling but there is no doubting his spring form, confirming the form over the latter when winning over shorter at the Punchestown festival. He ran a nice race in the Tingle Creek and then made a shocking error 2 out when delivering a challenge in the Champion Chase. This step up in trip will suit perfectly and he should be bang there. Fox Norton is an obvious threat up in trip but the Tizzard stable hasn’t been firing all that well for the past month or so and GODS OWN should get the better of him.

4.05 Topham – MR DIABLO – 25/1 (Betway) – 1pt EW

A typically competitive race in which Paul Nicholls has two very live chances in As De Mee – who won the Grand Sefton over course and distance in December, and Bouvreuil, who races off the same mark as his 3rd in the Plate at the Festival. I am siding with an Irish Raider MR DIABLO who had some smart form last year when second in a handicap to Avant Tout and previous close finishes to Zabana and Sizing John. He returned from a break better than ever when cosily running out winning of a Leopardstown handicap in a first time tongue tie. The trainer ear marked this race for him recently and he looks potentially well handicapped off his current mark.

SATURDAY 17TH DECEMBER

1.50 Ascot – ALL TOGETHER – 25/1 EW (Bet365) 

A pretty wide open race in which you can make a case for virtually every horse but at around 25/1, ALL TOGETHER should prove sharper for his comeback run in a stronger race than this behind Quite By Chance, Nochu De Reyes and Roman Flight. This seems to be his sort of trip and has some form over the course. Farrelly has had a couple of nice winners recently and could outrun his odds.

2.25 Ascot Long Walk Hurdle – ZARKANDAR – 18/1 EW (Coral) 

I’m probably going to go crazy backing this horse this season, but at this price it’s hard not to play each way, with an encouraging comeback run when unseating at the last when still in hand in a race won by UTPT. His latest was almost too bad to be true and this is back to much more his trip. If he can run anything to his best he has a chance of making the frame.

3.00 Ascot – ANOTHER HERO (NB) – 14/1 (Bet365) 

You are always taking a chance with a Jonjo runner but this horse is very lightly raced and slots in here off bottom weight. He won his first two chases and then fell in the Irish National on only his third start over fences when still travelling okay. He should strip fitter from an adequate comeback run at Chepstow and looks one in here that could still be ahead of the handicapper compared to a lot of his rivals.

3.35 Ascot – MEET THE LEGEND (NAP) – 9/1 (PaddyPower)

A lot of the hype here will be about the Tony Martin and McManus runners but Dan Skelton has proven in the last year he will target these big 2m handicaps and will ready one off a long lay off. He won the County with Superb Story, the Swinton with Ch’tibello and the Greatwood with North Hill Harvey and has a similar profiled horse here. He started off with a decent 5th behind Altior before easily beating duel subsequent winner Emerging Talent. Then 3rd in a Grade 2 behind Le Prezien he has more than likely been aimed for this race and has to have a huge chance.

2.40 Haydock – COURTOWN OSCAR – 16/1 EW (WilliamHill)

Shrewd yard who are having a quiet time but he made a nice comeback over hurdles which should have him much more ready for this and will love the soft ground and any more rain will be a bonus. He is still improving judged on last seasons exploits and could have more to offer at a big price.

12.30 Fairyhouse – BROSNA GEORGE – 14/1 (Bet365) 

This one is much more of a stab in the dark, but in what looks like a very weak race, I find it interesting that Ross O’Sullivan, a fairly small stable to have booked Davy Russell for this race, having used a 5 pound claimer in his previous races. He has been well beaten in two previous handicaps but has one piece of maiden form that suggests this mark could be about right and has been off 6 months so he could have shown some improvement to trigger the jockey booking.

 

SATURDAY 10TH SEPTEMBER

Seems like a good day to get back into the swing of things..

2.35 Doncaster – HUMIDOR – 16/1 (Bet365) – 1pt win

Slipped to a more realistic mark and finished 4th in a good handicap at Goodwood behind Boom The Groom and Thesme. He followed that up with a decent 2nd at Epsom when having to make up a lot of ground late on. He has ran well on all 4 visits here, winning twice and placing twice. Looks a big price.

3.45 Doncaster – SWORD FIGHTER  – 14/1 (Bet365) – 1pt EW

Idaho comes here a short price favourite but preference is for stablemate SWORD FIGHTER, who made all gamely in the Queens Vase before repeating the trick in the Group 2 Curragh Cup. He didn’t get the run of the race in the Goodwood Cup but still ran a huge race to finish 5th when just fading close to home. He could get the race run to suit and looks a big EW price.

4.20 Doncaster – HARBOUR MASTER (NB) – 7/2 (General) – 2pt win

Ran ok in three maidens before quickly turning that form up a notch in nurseries, running away with two and could do so again here. The step up to a mile looks sure to suit and the trainer still has him entered in the Group 2 Royal Lodge. Very progressive and every chance of going in again.

6.10 Leopardstown – TRIBAL BEAT (NAP) – 4/1 (General) – 3pt win

A strong renewal, and the two at the head of the market, Awtaad and Hit It A Bomb can both have cases made against them. Awtaad clearly performs much better on soft ground and this is far from that as found out in the Sussex and Hit It A Bomb didn’t make much appeal on his return in a race won by TRIBAL BEAT. It was a belated return for the smart two year old and he won well in what looked a strong field. A repeat of that and any improvement would see him go very close.

6.45 Leopardstown – FOUND – 11/1 (PaddyPower) + HIGHLAND REEL 12/1 (General) – 1pt win

A fascinating renewal, stacked full of top class three year olds and the cream of the older generation. Dual classic Minding probably put in her least impressive performance in the Nassau, showing perhaps she is not as unbeatable as she has looked since the Irish Guineas. Dual Derby winner Harzand also commands respect, although possibly not crying out for the drop in trip and probably needs the run en route to the Arc. Almanzor won the French Derby beating Zarak and confirmed that form beating him again last time. He will definitely to improve again to take this. It may be seen as cheating but at the prices I am going to take two at double figure prices against the field. HIGHLAND REEL had the run of the race when winning the King George but did it well and followed that up with a big run in second to Postponed in the Juddmonte. If the ground remains quick he has a big shout. The other is his stablemate, FOUND. She is extremely consistent and will come on for her second behind classy stablemate Seventh Heaven and can definitely have the class to get involved here, second in last years race to Golden Horn. Worth a little reverse forecast bet.

WIN TREBLE 13/1 – 2pt win

5.35 Leopardstown – QEMAH

2.00 Doncaster – RIVET

5.05 Leopardstown – US ARMY RANGER