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Thursday 27 August 2015

2:20 Beverley Bullet Sprint Stakes, Saturday 29th August

The pronounced bias towards horses drawn low, on the inside, over 5 furlongs at Beverley is well known to punters and bookmakers alike and invariably influences the betting on the Beverley Bullet Sprint Stakes.

In fact, the eleven winners of the race so far were drawn 1, 2, 1, 9, 2, 4, 1, 9, 8, 7 and 6 so, while it seems obvious that we should concentrate on horses drawn in single figures, we may struggle to find selections that are anything but realistically priced.

Confessional (50/1) finished third, beaten 1½ lengths, in this race three seasons ago from stall 12, but it’s testament to his deterioration in the interim that he was rated 106 on that occasion and is rated just 84 today. A career record of five wins from 82 starts, none of which have come at Listed level, probably tells you all you need to know about Tim Easterby’s eight-year-old and he surely has too much to find, even from the plum draw in
stall 1.

Similar comments apply to Tangerine Trees (25/1), who won this race and the Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp as a six-year-old, but has officially deteriorated by 17lb since those halcyon days and is hard to fancy. He did manage to beat fellow veteran Borderlescott, on advantageous terms, in a small conditions race at Ayr in April, but his more recent form is less inspiring.

Of the others drawn in single figures, Line Of Reason (6/1), Maarek (5/1), Alben Star (6/1) and Dikta Del Mar (10/1) don’t fall into the ‘outsider’ category so, we’re left with Holley Shiftwell (14/1), Red Pike (12/1) and Cordial (25/1).

All three of them have work to do to beat the principals on official ratings but, while he’s raced just once (without success) over 5 furlongs, Red Pike has a decent strike rate for a sprinter and has plenty of winning form over 6 furlongs on the prevailing good going. He’ll probably need a career-best effort to win but, in a race where the market leaders look far from ‘bomb-proof’, he’s our tentative selection.

Selection: Beverley 2.20 Red Pike (12/1 generally available) to win

Wednesday 26 August 2015

8.45 Wolverhampton, Thursday, August 27

In the Compare Odds @ Handicap (8.45) at Wolverhampton on Thursday evening, Zed Candy Girl has won twice over course and distance and is just 2lb higher in the weights than on the second occasion, in June, so has an obvious chance from a handicapping point-of-view. The Sakhee’s Secret mare failed to make much of an impact on two subsequent starts in 0-70 and 0-75 company, at Chepstow and over course and distance, but ran a little better when fifth of eleven, beaten 4¾ lengths, in 0-65 company at Lingfield last time.

Back over 7 furlongs, on Tapeta rather than Polytrack, Daniel Mark Loughrane’s five-year-old looks worth chancing, particularly at the standout 20/1 available from Stan James in the early price lists. Winning jockey George Baker, who’s 1-2 on her, once again takes off a useful 3lb, so there appears no reason why she shouldn’t go well at a decent price.

Selection: Wolverhampton 8.45 Zed Candy Girl (20/1 with Stan James) to win

If you're looking for further selections why not check out this week's deadly double on our new blog.

Outsider Update

Here's hoping that you all got on the our Outsider suggestions for the Ebor with winner Litigant suggested at a massive 40-1 (33-1 SP) and Suegioo at 33-1 (40-1 SP) coming in 3rd. Two out of three ain't bad!!  Keep an eye out for our next update!

1st     20 Litigant                33/1
2nd    15 Wicklow Brave     9/1
3rd     10 Suegioo               40/1

Are you a pro at picking Outsiders? If you love a long shot and want to tell Outsider readers why they should back your selections get in touch.

Thursday 20 August 2015

Ebor, 3:45 York, Saturday, August 22

The Betfred Ebor, run over 1 mile 6 furlongs at York, is the most valuable Flat handicap in Europe, with £275,000 in guaranteed prize money, and is invariably fiercely competitive. As usual, a maximum field of twenty runners is set to face the starter on Saturday and, with winners at 100/1, 25/1 (three times), 20/1, 14/1, and 12/1 in the last ten years, our search for a generously priced winner may not be entirely in vain.

Berkshire trainer Joseph Tuite could surely have found Litigant (40/1) an easier opportunity on his debut for the yard, after 491 days off, and the 7-year-old is an interesting contender on that score alone. The Sinndar gelding won a couple of races on turf for Andre Fabre in France as a 3-year-old and three more on the all-weather for Seamus Durack as a 5- and 6-year-old before joining his current yard in May.

He’s 9lb higher than when last winning a handicap, at Wolverhampton two seasons ago, but won by 3½ lengths, eased down, on that occasion, so may not be impossibly handicapped if fit and ready to do himself justice. Of course, the lengthy lay-off is a cause for concern and his ability to act on rain-softened ground is an unknown, but he’s run well after similar breaks in the past and could, conceivably, be open to improvement after just seven career starts.

Last year’s Chester Cup winner, Suegioo (33/1), probably needs further than 1 mile 6 furlongs and/or testing conditions and/or an end-to-end gallop to bring his abundant stamina into play, but was beaten far in the John Smith’s Northumberland Plate or the Coral Marathon on his two most recent starts and may not be a totally forlorn hope. The Manduro gelding has looked a difficult ride on more than occasion but, if first-time blinkers have the desired effect, he may be capable of springing a surprise.

Watersmeet (25/1) has yet to win beyond 1 mile 4 furlongs, but showed no signs of stopping when just touched off by stable companion Notarised in the Old Newton Cup at Haydock two starts ago. That performance proved his effectiveness on rain-softened ground and he was far from disgraced when stepped up to Group 3 level at Goodwood last time. His overall profile is highly progressive, yet the bookmakers appear, almost, to have written off his chances.

Watersmeet (25/1 generally available) has to be our first pick this week, followed by Litigant (40/1 generally available) and Suegioo (33/1 generally available). Good luck!

Wednesday 19 August 2015

4.20 York, Thursday, August 20

The EBF & Sir Henry Cecil Galtres Stakes (4.20) at York on Saturday is highly competitive, but Jordan Princess may be able to supplement her win in the Newsells Park Stud Stakes at Newmarket two starts ago. The Cape Cross filly carries a 4lb penalty for that success, but should be suited by dropping back to 1 mile 4 furlongs after a creditable effort in defeat when third of fourteen, beaten 4 lengths, behind Simple Verse in the Markel Insurance Fillies’ Stakes, over 1 mile 6 furlongs, at Goodwood three weeks ago.

Luca Cumani’s 4-year-old won her maiden on soft ground as a 2-year-old and ran well enough, when fourth of ten, beaten 2 lengths, behind Lady Tiana in the Bet365 Lancashire Oaks, on good to soft going, three starts ago, to suggest that slower going won’t unnecessarily hinder her chance. The Newmarket trainer has drawn a blank with six runners on the Knavesmire so far this season, but his record of 12-59 (20%) over the last five seasons, for a level stakes profit of 29.50 points is far more encouraging. Jordan Princess looks decent value at 8/1 with Paddy Power in the very early price lists.

Selection: York 4.20 Jordan Princess (8/1 with Paddy Power) to win

Thursday 13 August 2015

Great St. Wilfrid Stakes, 3:30, Ripon, Saturday 15th

The Great St. Wilfrid Stakes, a handicap run over 6 furlongs at Ripon, is the most valuable race of the year at the Yorkshire track. The race has thrown up six winners at double-figure prices in the last ten years, including Pepper Lane (20/1) in 2012 and Damika (18/1) in 2010, so another generously-priced winner isn’t out of the question.

Regular readers will have noticed that we’ve been following Poyle Vinnie (16/1) with great interest in recent weeks. Michael Appleby’s 5-year-old proved something of a revelation when making all to read win the Scottish Stewards’ Cup at Hamilton, on soft going, in mid-July, but fared less well under a 6lb penalty when only eighteenth of twenty-seven, beaten 7¼ lengths, behind Magical Memory in the Goodwood equivalent two weeks ago.

The handicapper has had his say and raised the Piccolo gelding another 3lb but, with outbreaks of heavy, thundery rain forecast for North Yorkshire on Thursday and Friday, he could have what appear to be his optimum conditions by Saturday afternoon. If that’s the case, he’s well drawn, in stall 1, on a course that traditionally favours runners that race on, or close to, the pace.

Another runner who’s made our shortlist more than once in recent weeks is Shore Step (12/1), who finished second in the Sky Bet Dash at York, despite a slipping saddle and fourth in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood, despite being hampered in the closing stages. Mick Channon’s 5-year-old has been raised another 2lb, but is still only 5lb higher in the weights than when winning at Doncaster on his final start last season and looks an improved performer this term.

Barnet Fair (16/1) finished second in the consolation race for the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood last season and second again in the race proper, off the same handicap mark, two weeks ago. He, too has been raised 3lb, but has been threatening to win one of these competitive sprint handicaps all season. All bar three of his 43 starts on turf have come on good or faster going and all four wins have come with “firm” in the going description, so testing conditions would be something of an unknown, but he remains feasibly weighted.

The last word this week must go to Clear Spring (33/1), who’s the complete ‘rag’ with some bookmakers. John Spearing’s 7-year-old unseated Cam Hardie shortly after the start in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood, but is only 1lb higher in the weights than when beating the winner, Golden Steps, at Newbury in May. His subsequent form hasn’t been as good, but he has winning form over course and distance and on soft ground, has recorded his best form when ridden prominently and is well drawn in stall 3.

So, in a break with tradition, our four against the field this week are, in order of preference, Poyle Vinnie (16/1 generally available), Clear Spring (33/1 generally available), Shore Step (12/1 generally available) and Barnet Fair (16/1 with Coral). Good luck!

Thursday 6 August 2015

2:20 Haydock, Saturday 8th

Unfortunately, there isn’t much in the way of ‘meaty’ handicaps for us to get our teeth into on Saturday and the bookmakers seem slow to price up what action there is, so this week’s preview will inevitably be a little shorter, and involve more guesswork, than usual.

The Betfred Goals Galore Handicap (2.20) at Haydock appears to be one of the more competitive races of the day, with 13 runners set to face the starter, so we’ve tried to highlight a couple that could belie generous starting prices.

The joint bottom-weight, Amood, takes a step up in class but, bar one inexplicably poor run at York in June, has run respectably in defeat since winning over 1 mile 2 furlongs at Newmarket in May. He’s 5lb higher in the weights than when beating Zugzwang by a head in that 0-90 contest but, while that form hasn’t really worked out, his recent form over a mile suggests a return to further is in his favour.

Silvery Moon hasn’t won in this grade for three years, but it’s testament to his consistency that, despite being beaten on all eight starts this season, he’s only 1lb lower in the weights than he was at the start of the season. He’s possibly still just a little too high in the handicap to be considered for win purposes, but wasn’t beat far over a mile at Ayr last time, stays this far and is pretty much guaranteed to run his race. He’s the sort that’s likely to pop up at a decent price at some point and certainly wouldn’t be winning out of turn.

Green Light is 6lb better off for 2¼ lengths with Sennockian Star on their running at Chester in June and, while a drop of rain would aid his chance, remains one to consider. He finally got off the mark, at the tenth time of asking, at Nottingham in May and should appreciate the return to a galloping track. He’s been off the course since, but could be another who’s open to some improvement if fit and ready to do himself justice.

So, our three against the field this week, in no particular order, are Amood, Silvery Moon and Green Light. Unfortunately, no prices were available at the time of writing, but all three should be a fair shade of odds. Good luck!

Wednesday 5 August 2015

8.25 Newmarket, Friday, August 7

In the Handicap (8.25) at Newmarket on Friday, Highland Acclaim is accumulating an unenviable string of duck eggs but, in his defence, has contested competitive handicaps such as the Victoria Cup, the Wokingham, the Bunbury Cup and the Sky Bet Dash this season. Consequently, David O’Meara’s 4-year-old is just 1lb higher in the weights than when winning the Shergar Sprint Cup at Ascot last August and drops back into 0-95 company for the first time since winning over course and distance the previous week.

The Acclamation gelding also finished second, beaten just three-quarters of a length, behind Spinatrix in the Coral Sprint Trophy at York last October off a 5lb higher mark, so he’s definitely well handicapped if able to recapture his best form. He took time to come to hand last season, so that’s by no means out of the question and 6 furlongs on the July Course at Newmarket should bring out the best in him. Taking an early, guaranteed price about him might be a shrewd move.

Selection: Newmarket 8.25 Highland Acclaim to win