The Red and Mackay Handicap over 6f at Windsor went to the Hannon/Hughes combination with GETCARTER, however once again it was the performance of one of the horses behind that got you thinking. ANNE OF KIEV had been reported to be in good form at home and in my opinion she was very unlucky here not to finish a lot closer. She was denied a clear run on more than one occasion during the race and she had to switch twice and weave her way through to finish a never nearer 7th. She is currently rated 75 and looks as though she is capable of winning off that mark granted suitable conditions. It was good ground here but being by Oasis Dream she may want some firm in the description.
The IPC Security Handicap at Newcatle over 5f saw Buachaill Dona getting his head in front for a change, however it was the performance of the 2nd CAPTAIN DUNNE that had you sitting up in your seat. Said to to need the run and looking like it beforehand he was dropped out the back before coming with a strong run. He met a bit of trouble when he made his move but eventually found a way through to finish with tremendous effect and would surely have won in a few more strides. Having run sevreral solid races last season, 2nd in the Epsom Dash and 3rd in the Portland, he would appear versatile as regards sprint trips. It will be very interesting to see where he goes next, will it be York or Epsom and what will the handicapper make of this in the meantime?. Whatever happens he looks sure to add to his tally very shortly.
This is a weekly look at the ups and downs of the handicapper. The Spring into Racing Beverley Handicap Class 3 over 5f saw LENNY BEE win comfortably and he has been raised 7lb to 92. He had the benefit of the best draw for this but looks to have improved over the winter. Of those behind PARISIAN PYRAMID ran a promising race on his return for a new stable and he has been left on the same mark of 89 as has OLDJOESAID 95 for the same yard. ISHETOO was dropped 2lb to 90.
The Dubai Duty Free Double Millionaire Handicap over 5f at Newbury was run in a time of 59.80s fast by 0.20 over ground described as Good and BLUE JACK (8-6)won easily on his first start for Tom Dascombe. This race has produced winners such as Kyllachy in the past and Dascombe has in mind the Group 3 Palace House Stakes at Newmarket as his next race as the track will suit. He has been raised 8lb as a result of this to 105, however the others behind were either untouched (ELNAWIN 104 and JUDGE 'N JURY 99)or dropped (SOHRAAB -1LB to 97, CHEVETON to 96, TAMAGIN to 108 and JARGELLE to 97)and it will be interesting to see how this race works out as the winners performance was probably the best 4yo + sprint performance of the week. SOHRAAB won the 5f sprint at the Chester May meeting last year off 96.
Fathom Five opened his account for the season by picking up another win at Epsom over the fast 5f. His performance wasnt anything special although the time was below statndard and it was some of the performances behind that could have you thinking. Fol Hollow ran better this time and we should keep him onside as he got bumped leaving the stalls, Indian Trail never got any sort of run and you got the feeling that had he done so he would have won easily. Out the back was Holbeck Ghyll who hasnt had much racing lately and he was given a particularly sympathetic ride and had he been up with the pace he too must surely have been placed, so it was a good run from him as the Dash is his main target and it will be interesting to see if he is dropped in the handicap as a result.
Castles in the Air made an excellent reappearance run at Pontefract on Monday, winning a competitive handicap in fine fashion. The choice of stable jockey Paul Hanagan, he was settled in midfield before being produced in the straight with a strong run to go a couple of lengths up and was never in any danger thereafter. The trainer felt that he may have been a little bit high in the handicap pre race but he has reportedly improved over the winter and he had to as he was carrying 12lb more than his last winning mark. It will be interesting now to see what the handicapper makes of it but bigger races look on the agenda for him.
Internationaldebut ran another fine race in 2nd and the uphill finish played to his strengths as he literally sluiced through the field once in the straight to be the only one to put up any serious challenge to the winner. Had the winner not been in the race he would have won impressively and compensation surely awaits if the right race can be found for him in the near future and he isnt overly penalised.
Foll Hollow gets another chance to redeem himself at Epsom over the flying five after his last run at Beverley were he was dissapointing. Billy Cray takes off a valuable 5lb and he is certainly value for it. Drawn close to the rail he hopefully can get to it and remain prominent throughout. Indian Trail, his stablemate, ran well in the same race at Beverley and is now refitted with the visor, at a track were he has won the Dash previously, but he is probably not well in with his stablemate at the weights on their prevous meetings and the former seems the more likely improver this year. There are others in with chances in what is an open looking race, but it is hoped that one of the Nicholls pair can come home in front.
The Class 2 6f Handicap at Pontfract on Monday could be a good opportunity for BALDEMAR to open his account for this season for his in form trainer. He ran well first time out and then ran on the All Weather but that wasnt a sufficient test and this uphill test should suit him down to the ground. HOTHAM has several course wins to his name and can also go well, although he is still a bit over his last winning mark.
Blue Jack's first run back produced an easy win in the Class 2 handicap at Newbury. Tom Dascombe has now taken charge and pre race he thought that he might be too high in the handicap to win but that was proved wrong in no uncertain fashion. Tried without blinkers he was able to produce his first win without them and it looks as though he will be without them in future judged on this performance. He looks sure to have his sights set higher now. Of the others Sohraab was staying on towards the end for Hughie Morrison and he probably needs to revert back to 6f to see him at his best. Fullandby was totally outpaced.
Parisian Pyramid showed promise for the future on his first start for Kevin Ryan at Beverley with Paul Mulrennan holding him up towards the back and giving him an easy time before running on towards the end of this stiff 5f. It will be interesting to see how the handicapper reacts as he looks sure to improve on this run and a step up to 6f may help him further. The winner Lenny Bee won readily and he looks as though he could defy a rise in the weights although he had the perfect draw here. Fol Hollow had every chance to win but faded towards the end and was overtaken by Tajneed a lesser fancied stablemate, so he may have had an off day and we shouldnt give uo hope as he may drop slightly in the handicap as a result of this run.
The Class 3 5f Handicap at Beverley on Wedenesday is probably the best sprint we have seen so far this season. As we know Beverley has one of the most biased draws in racing and the high numbers are strongly favoured in any race over 5f. This race sees several top performers and the one's who look most likey to take advantage of their draw are Fol Hollow drawn 13 and Ishetoo drawn 16 who are both feasibly handicapped at the moment. Fol Hollow likes to be at the front dictating matters and if he can get to the rail he will have a good chance of opening his account for the year, but if there are any slip ups then Ishetoo can take advantage. Maybe a reverse exacta would be the safest option and a check on the weather in the morning is also advised.
I have been a follower of racing from an early age with my first memory being trying to pick the winner of the Derby in 1965. This interest has moved on to having shares in horses which has resulted in wins at the Dubai Festival, with Turn on the Style, and more recently with Tatlisu in the Ayr Silver Cup.
This blog is primarily about sprinters which I have always had an interest in and it will cover most 5f and 6f races throughout the season.